June 26, 2017

June #InkRipples: Word Vomit…er, I mean Blurbs

Blurb. “Excuse you.”

The word itself sounds a bit like word vomit, doesn’t it?

Blurb. “Are you feeling all right? Can I get you something?”

Most of the time that’s exactly how I feel about the blurbs I write. They are word vomit. At least in the beginning.

Imagine you just redecorated your living room. New flooring, paint, furniture, clever accent pieces, and a kick-ass color scheme that makes people stop in their tracks. Your mother walks in. Her eyebrows arch and she does a slow spin on her sensible 1 ½ inch pump heel. “Whhhhaaaaatttt? How on earth did you pull off puce as an accent color in here? So unexpected.” You immediately dive into an explanation that includes all the detailed thought that went into the design. Including the colors that didn’t work, how you chose just the right accent pieces, and how varying the height of each puce piece was really crucial. You grin and look around the room and then realize your mother has already left for lunch.

Too much information.

So when your bestie shows up and says, “Giiirrrll, you rocked it in here. Puce? How did you ever?”

You grin. Look around the room and say, “It’s all in the placement.”

She tells you about her cousin who has a man cave to convert after her divorce and says she’ll recommend you.

Blurbs. They are high level. Enticing. They are all about the placement, but never the details on varying heights.

It’s super hard for authors to get high level about a story they’ve just spent countless hours on. I get it. So maybe imagine having to sell the book to your mother. Or whoever it is in your life who has more important things to do than listen to the details.

Happy blurbing.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

June 23, 2017

Lost & Found by Sharon Ledwith

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking... 

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

Book Details:

Print Length: 203 pages
Publication Date: June 17, 2017
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Goodreads Link:

Purchase Your Copy:

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS.

Author Tagline:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website:

Sharon’s Blog:

Sharon’s Facebook Page:

Sharon’s Author Facebook Page:

Twitter: @sharonledwith:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Google+ Page:

Amazon Author U.S. Page:

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Café Press Shop:

June 21, 2017

The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram & #Giveaway

 The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram How do you tell someone who hates you and blames you for the death of his best friend that you miss him? From the bestselling teen and young adult author of Cinder & Ella comes a new heart-wrenching romance sure to bring all the feels. The tragic death of Spencer Schott unravels the lives of the two people he loved most—his girlfriend, Bailey, and his best friend, Wes. Secrets and guilt from that fateful night keep both Bailey and Wes from overcoming Spencer’s loss and moving on with their lives. Now, nearly a year later, both Bailey and Wes are still so broken over what happened that Spencer can’t find peace in the afterlife. In order to put his soul to rest, he’s given one chance to come back and set things right...even if that means setting up his girlfriend with his best friend. With the emotional resonance of Jellicoe Road and the magical realism of The Lovely Bones, The Ghost of You and Me is a story about overcoming grief, finding redemption for past mistakes, and the healing power of friendship and love. Fans of John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Nicholas Sparks are sure to love this haunting new tale from Kelly Oram. This is a clean young adult romance stand alone novel that reads like contemporary drama romance and has just a touch of magical realism.

  Author Kelly Oram Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
 Ends 7/15/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 24, 2017

Cover Reveal of Princess Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure

Readers! Readers! Readers! This is so exciting. I'm super happy to be sharing with you the cover reveal for Beverly Stowe McClure's upcoming tween sequel, Princess Breeze. I read an early, early version of this book and because it was a while ago and I have a really patchy memory, I can't wait to read it again! Breeze is one of my favorite characters of Beverly's. Here is more about the book to get you as excited about it as I am.

PRINCESS BREEZE by Beverly Stowe McClure

For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school, who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

But really, the best way for you to prepare for this release is to read the first book in the series, Just Breeze.

Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. She’s still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her class, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind everyone within ten feet.

Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep. 
About the Author:

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears.  When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

Keep in touch with Beverly: 

twitter: @beverlymcclure

May 17, 2017

Cover Reveal #MARKEDBEAUTY by S.A. Larsen

I'm so excited to be participating in the cover reveal for S.A. Larsen's debut young adult novel. Sheri is an awesome author, a fantastic person, a constant supporter of her fellow authors. How can I not be excited to help her out? And then you read the blurb for this book and it's like...what...? I have to wait until October to read this?! 

You can get in on the action too. Be sure to look over the easy peasy instructions at the bottom and share the cover love! 

MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen, Cover Reveal 
Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.

As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.


About the Author
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.
Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads


This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:
  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.
***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)
"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0
"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit
The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.

May 10, 2017

Three Times A Charm with Danica Davidson

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. Today I’m introducing you to a middle grade and young adult author, Danica Davidson. Thanks for joining us today, Danica. Tell us a little about you.

When I was three, I used to dictate stories to my parents. When I learned how to write on my own, I got even more down on paper. (Learning how to spell well came later.) I have a background in journalism, but fiction writing is where my heart really sings. So far I’ve been writing middle grade and YA books, and I want to write in all different genres and for different age groups.

I think writing for different medias (such as journalism and fiction) really develops a person’s storytelling skill. Tell us about your published work.

I’m the author of the middle grade Overworld Adventure series, also known as “books for Minecrafters.” They take place as if Minecraft is a real world and follow the adventures of 11-year-old Stevie as he finds a portal to Earth and explores the different worlds. There are six books in total: Escape from the Overworld, Attack on the Overworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither.

A spinoff series starring Stevie and new villains will come out later this year, and the first book there is Adventure Against the Endermen. I have a Barbie comic called Barbie: Puppy Party out, and a book on how to draw manga called Manga Art for Beginners. A sequel is coming out next year that will be on manga for intermediates. I have a story in the new Tales from the Crypt #2 comic. And there’s more on the way!

I recommend my book to readers who like: The Minecrafter books are especially for young fans of Minecraft, but they’re adventure stories that take place as if Minecraft is real, so as long as you like adventure, you can read these books without playing the game. (Some parents have told me it helps them understand the game better so they can share a connection with their kids.)  Barbie: Puppy Party has Barbie and her sisters throwing a party to get all the shelter pets adopted, so besides young Barbie fans, I think it would be of interest to people who care about animal welfare. This can help them talk to kids about it. Manga Art for Beginners is for manga fans wanting to learn how to draw in the style. And Tales from the Crypt is for whoever likes horror and wants a good, guilty read.

Now for the 3’s. Share with us your top 3 responses to the following questions to help us get to know you better.

  • Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.

1. Learning never stops when you’re a writer. I’m learning something new every day, and I try to look at mistakes as learning experiences I can grow from.

2. Everyone gets rejected. It took me years and years before I got an agent. I wanted to be a professional author more than anything else, and I have stacks of rejection letters to show it definitely didn’t happen overnight.

3. I didn’t “become” a writer the day I was first published. I’ve been a writer as far back as I can remember. One of the things we all have to learn (and I think we all struggle with) is to not look toward others for recognition and happiness. Which is easier said than done, but a great way to handle difficult issues like this is to write about it!

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

To be honest, the one career I always wanted was to be an author. Sometimes I thought about other careers, but they were always in addition to writing stories. The other two side careers I considered as a kid were paleontologist and marine biologist. I have some real dinosaur teeth and coprolite (which sounds fancier than it is, because all it means is fossilized dinosaur droppings.) And if I could still find a safe opportunity to swim with sharks, I would.

  • Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.

1. Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is usually attributed to Gandhi. I take it to mean that you can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. We can each do our part to be kind and compassionate.

2. “Follow your bliss.” I love to read mythology, so I love the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell. To me, this is about finding what makes you happy and also knowing you have to go down that path and work toward it. Writing is my bliss, so I follow it.

3. “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." This is from Anaïs Nin, who is one of my favorite writers. Art lets us delve into what is means to be human. It isn’t always pretty, but if it’s honest, it will affect others and they’ll recognize themselves. These are three quotes I think about a lot.

Now, Danica, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find more about you and your writing.


I’m so glad you stopped in. Best of luck to you and your books.


May 1, 2017

Funny thing happened on the way to publishing books. Fairy tales. May #InkRipples

Simply put (according to Wikipedia)  A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as dwarves, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. 

Once upon a time I didn’t like fairy tale retellings. But one day I was home and bored, sitting on the couch, covered by a blankie, and in desperate need of a new story to read. I picked up a copy of The Curse Girl  by Kate Avery Ellison, a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I sat, and I read, and before I knew it I was done. Imagine my surprise when I enjoyed it! Then I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge  Another Beauty and the Beast retelling. A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn  a Sleeping Beauty retelling. Maybe you see that I was starting to like them.

One day, while reading messages and reviews for my first published book The Weaver. I realized one of the most common comments was how the book had a fairy tale feel. Though The Weaver isn’t a retelling, I thought it would be a good idea to take the series forward with fairy tale retellings. So I wrote The Wishing Well – Cinderella retelling, and then one of my favorite books, The Lumpy Duckling – well, that one’s obvious, right?  Right?

The moral of the story is that I now enjoy fairy tale retellings and have even used it in my own stories. As a special bonus today, click this link to read my Goldilocks retelling, Pillaging https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6NdYVO_8LENVXduc2JQOE51c3M/view?usp=sharing

I’d love some retelling recommendations. Which have you read and loved?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 27, 2017

April #InkRipples Workshop - Revision

Welcome to the last week of the #InkRipples revision workshop. I hope you’ve found the revision tips and exercises fun and enlightening. If you missed the last three week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here. 

Revision Tip #7

Double check the end of each chapter to make sure it lures the reader to continue. Then double check the beginning of each chapter to make sure it stands on it’s own.

As often as possible, you want the end of each chapter to be a mini cliff hanger. There are times where the actions slows to a logical end and a cliff hanger would feel wrong, but in order to keep your reader turning pages you want them to think, “Crud! What happens next?” Or, “Oh my gosh, what is he going to do when he finds out she did that?” Keep them turning pages until the wee hours of the morning. ;)

However the beginning of the chapter shouldn't start in the middle of action and should establish who is in the scene. Even if the chapter before ended with her pulling a gun on her boyfriend, the beginning of the chapter has to state, Leslie’s hand didn’t even shake as she pointed the gun at Trevor’s heart. Because what if your reader did finally close the book and go to sleep at the end of the previous chapter and then the next day they had to take their cat to the vet after it got a reed stuck up its nose and their left rear blinker went out on the way to school, so they had to stop at the auto parts store after work, and then their mom made them go to the fundraiser dinner, so they didn’t get back to the book for two days. You don’t want them to pick up the book and read Her hand didn't even shake as she pointed the gun at his heart and think, “Wait. What? Is this Leslie or Courtney? Trevor or Kyle?” And then have to page back to catch up again. Instead, they pick it up and see that Leslie is holding a gun on Trevor. They smile and think, Oh yeah. Awesome.

Revision Tip #8

Have fun. Seriously. You will experience a myriad of feelings about yourself and your writing as you go through revisions. You’ll alternate between, “I suck – why do I do this?” and “This paragraph is the most brilliant arrangement of words – ever!” But don’t lose sight of the reason you write. Because you love it. If you feel like the manuscript is a crap ton of trash, then stop revising and just read. You’ll find the story you’re trying to tell again and you’ll be positively inspired to dive back in to revisions and chip away at the caked on mud.

Now let's get to work. But instead of an exercise, share with us your favorite revision tip. Which tip do you feel helps you bring the best out of your work?

Thanks for joining me this month!

Join us for #InkRipples in May when we talk about fairy tales!

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 17, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

Welcome back for another week of #InkRipples revision workshop. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but to also stage some revision exercises. If you missed the last two week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here.

Revision Tip #5

Read backward. Start at the last chapter, revise it. Go to second last, revise it…etc. Don’t actually start at the last word and work your way to the first. Too hard. However, by reading backward you will avoid getting caught up in the story making it easier to spot mistakes.

Revision Tip #6

During one of your revision passes: make a timeline. It is so distracting for a reader when your calendar doesn’t add up. If you mention that two weeks has passed and then the character refers to an event as having just happened yesterday, you lose your reader. If you have a pregnant character who is sporting a full belly after only a few months – problem. Timeline inconsistencies are easy for the author to lose track of, but really easy for the reader to spot. We get distracted by things like character consistency, not missing an ‘and’ or a ‘the,’ and trying to remember what season it is. But a reader doesn’t get buried in our story the sane way we do. The story unfolds for them as they go through. Of course they will spot inconsistencies easier – they didn’t see the previous six versions of the manuscript. They’ve only seen the one version and if you have a person training for the Olympics and they are in top form in six months – readers are gonna cry foul.

Okay let’s get to work.

I’m currently revising the blurb for my time travel romance, Again for Love, which is set to publish under my other pseudonym, LA Dragoni, later this year. I know my weakness is writing a tight blurb. So, how would you tighten this bad boy up?
A life must be lost. Who will make the ultimate sacrifice?

Lawson lives a simple life; a job at a brewery, basketball and hockey leagues, and an eccentric lifelong friend and roommate intent on discovering time travel.

Then life becomes complicated when Jory enters it. Lawson feels an immediate attraction to her from the first day she starts work at the brewery. Yet their first couple attempts at dating end with him thinking it just isn’t meant to be. Jory however, has a different opinion and continues to pursue him.

When one date ends tragically Lawson turns to his best friend to use the experimental time travel program he’s invented. Except when Lawson relives that fateful night it ends just as horrifically. Each time he resets time, it ends with a loss.

It’s clear a life must be lost and Lawson is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. But he isn’t the only one playing with time. Will he save Jory by giving his own life or will someone beat him to it?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

Cover Reveal - Pirate Island by Katie L. Carroll

I'm super excited to share my good writing buddies new book cover for her upcoming middle grade novel, Pirate Island. I met Katie through MuseItUp Publishing. She edited my middle grade, Beware of the White. I LOVED working with her. Then her book, Elixir Bound came out and I loved it too. I've had the privilege of critiquing a version of another young adult novel she currently has out on submission - that I STILL think about more than a year later. She's that good. In other words, put Pirate Island high up on your to-read list. I am!

by Katie L. Carroll (katielcarroll.com)
Cover Illustration by Susan Tait Porcaro (susantaitporcaro.com)
Coming October 2017!

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A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?

For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.

About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll always says she began writing at a very sad time her life after her sister Kylene unexpectedly passed away. The truth is Katie has been writing her whole life, and it was only after Kylene’s death that she realized she wanted to pursue writing for kids and teens as a career. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She has had many jobs in her lifetime, including newspaper deliverer, hardware store cashier, physical therapy assistant, and puzzle magazine editor. She works from her home in Connecticut that is filled with the love and laughter of her sons and husband.

In addition to PIRATE ISLAND, Katie is the author of the YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND. Find Katie on her websiteTwitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

April 10, 2017

April #InkRipples Workshop - Murder and Mayhem

This month’s #InkRipples topic is revision. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but to also stage some revision exercises. So, I’m hosting the first ever #InkRipples Workshop! If you missed last week’s tips and exercise, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here.

I promised murder and mayhem, didn’t I?

Revision Tip #3 (Murder)

Kill your darlings. I don’t mean Dumbledore. Somewhere along the way this saying became misinterpreted as killing off characters. What it really means is to cut the excess. Authors tend to love their words. Too much. Part of a good revision is to know when you have too many words in a section.

The first novel I wrote was my middle grade novel Beware of the White (currently unpublished, but stay tuned for a re-release and series expansion – finally!) This novel was all passive voice all the time and required a heck of a lot of revision. My first draft was over 85,000 words. The published version was just over 70k, I believe. I killed a LOT of my darlings. For example:

The [K1] you see at the end is a note from a kind person who critiqued an early version of the book. She said she worried that the scene was moving along too slowly. I agreed and cut all of these words from the scene (as well as others) to pick up the pace. This information was important for me, the author, to know, but not as important for the reader to know. By cutting this segment I took out 72 unnecessary words. 

Revision Tip #4 (Mayhem)

Read aloud. This is an essential way to learn how your dialogue plays out. Is it natural? Does your character tend to say the same thing two different ways or repeat what you say in the text? Are your transitions choppy? Is there any awkward phrasing? Are you missing words? Do you use too many pronouns or the character’s name too often? All of this becomes more obvious in a read aloud.

I record myself reading so I can go back and read along as part of the editing process. If any of my kids are around – and have the time – I read to them at the same time so I can gauge their reactions. Do they laugh when I want them too? Are they begging me to continue when my voice gives out? I also pause to ask questions along the way. I try not to ask leading questions. I.e.; What do you expect the character to do next? How do you feel about the decisions he/she has made up to now?
Okay let’s get to work. I’ve plucked a segment from my short story, Lake Effect, a prequel to a super fun YA fantasy series I’m working on. I’ve intentionally screwed up these paragraphs (It was hard to do, btw) with run-on or choppy sentences, pronoun abuse or neglect, missing words, etc. Your assignment is to pick one or more or all of the following tasks. Post your work in comments if you want. There are no wrong answers!
They were so wrapped up in each other, their passion alive with smacking lips and breathy moans of pleasure that at first Kira didn’t realize they weren’t alone any longer on the dark lakeside beach. The lap of waves on sand was replaced by the sound of rain dripping from a rooftop.  Reluctantly, Kira pulled her lips from Jayden’s and glanced toward the sound. Was Kira sleeping? But heated trail Jayden’s lips burned along Kira’s neck was too real to be a dream.

“What the hell?” she whispered. She was confused by what she saw. She leaned forward to get a better look. Her action drew Jayden’s attention away from her.

Water burbled and flowed upward out of the surface of the lake like a fountain you might find in front of a fancy hotel. But instead of falling back into the lake, it drew together into a humanoid form. The sight was unrealistic. Kira expected it to be accompanied by a horror movie soundtrack. Roars and growls, not the pleasant patter of water droplets of a waning summer storm. She stared with dread as the liquid man emerged from the lake. Too long of arms and eerily elongated fingers, already reaching forward even as they formed, curling and grabbing at the air. Oversized feet took shape at the bottom of thick legs as the creature rolled across the sand like a tidal wave.

The ceiling of stars reflected on the creature’s domed head and wide shoulders and Kira screamed, but fright stole the force behind her voice and only a squeak escaped from her lips. Jayden clutched her arms and stared shocked awe at the reformed water that stalked toward them. Within seconds the creature was upon them. Slipping between them. Pushing them apart until Jayden’s hands slipped away as the creature forced him backward, toward the lake.
1)      Pick one paragraph and edit it.
2)      Rewrite paragraph 3 to say roughly the same thing in only 75 words or less (currently 123 words)
3)      Draw the creature and share the drawing on your FB and/or Twitter along with a link to this post. Share a link to the drawing in comments so we can visit you and tell you how amazing you are!

Come back next week for more clever tips and another assignment.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 3, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

This month’s topic of revision comes at a perfect time for me because I am getting ready to start revisions myself. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but also stage some revision exercises. So loosen up those revision fingers ladies and gents, because you are participating in the first ever #InkRipples Workshop. Free of charge no less. You lucky little devils!

Revision Tip #1

The first thing you need before you start your revisions is a completed first draft. That might sound obvious, but there are people who revise while drafting. Don’t. It’s a waste of time. For your revisions to be good and useful you need to know the full story arc and how each character contributes to it. My advice is to put that time to better use by continuing that draft!

Revision Tip #2

Second tip to productive revisions: Time away. Rapacious readers demand faster publications from their favorite authors, so it’s easy to get swept up in their fury and draft, revise, edit, publish. But do your readers a favor and take time away from your manuscript before you revise. If you aren’t a voracious writer, then go out and live life. Do your spring cleaning, see the school play, have coffee with friends. If you are a productive writer, write something else. NOT the next book in the series. Get away from that plot, that setting, those characters. However you do it, get them out of your head completely. Your fresh eyes combined with your intimate knowledge of the plot, characters, pacing, etc, do more to take your story to the next level than any other writing trick.
Okay, let’s do some work. I’m about to start revisions on Guardian’s Touch, the second book in the Touched by Afterlife series I’m writing under my other pen name, LA Dragoni. (I publish books for the grown ups among us under that name.) I’ve got a bad guy in the story named Churl. Here is a sound bite from one of his appearances.

(1st example)

The problem here is you can’t tell that he’s a bad guy. The reader doesn’t get a feel for his uneducated, street tough, bullying character in the example above. Plus his speech should be more distinct so that even without a dialogue tag a reader would know who is speaking. So I might revise like so:

Now it’s your turn. Take the first example and decide what kind of character Churl is in YOUR story. Is he southern? The professor type? Female? Post your rewrite of the passage in comments letting us know what character type you’re shooting for. If you have any questions about revision, ask. I'll try to answer them as April continues. Come back next Monday for murder and mayhem.

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

March 15, 2017

Book Spotlight on Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Proof of Lies (Anastasia Phoenix, #1)
by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Published by Entangled Teen
 Published on March 7th, 2017 
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28143051-proof-of-lies?ac=1&from_search=true
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/index.php/proof-of-lies.html Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Proof-Lies-Diana-Rodriguez-Wallach/dp/1633756084
 B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/proof-of-lies-diana-rodriguez-wallach/1124230937?type=eBook 

Some secrets are best kept hidden… Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages. And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead. She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true. Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility. She will find her sister.

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is not the child of super spies, as far as she knows. But she is an avid traveler, and every scene in her books comes from a place she has lived or visited—from her senior year apartment in Boston, MA to the hotel where she stayed in Cortona, Italy. In addition to the Anastasia Phoenix series, Diana is also the author of the award-winning Amor and Summer Secrets series; the Mirror, Mirror short story collection; and essays in both Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories and Latina Authors and Their Muses. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two kids. But of course, this all could be a masterly crafted piece of disinformation… Website: http://www.dianarodriguezwallach.com/ Twitter: @dianarwallach Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianarwallach   Playlist: Check out the Proof of Lies playlist here: http://dianarodriguezwallach.com/wp/proof-of-lies-playlist/

March 8, 2017

Spotlight on the Going Down in Flames Series by Chris Cannon

Going Down in Flames (Going Down in Flames #1)
by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen
Published on June 30th, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22591993-going-down-in-flames https://entangledpublishing.com/going-down-in-flames.html

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution. Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on. Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention. Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules. At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

Bridges Burned (Going Down in Flames #2)
by Chris Cannon Published
by Entangled Teen
Published on January 19th, 2015 
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23867175-bridges-burned https://entangledpublishing.com/bridges-burned.html

Don’t just fight the system…burn it. Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking… But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally. Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.

Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames #3)
Published by Entangled Teen
Published on April 4th, 2016
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29562317-trial-by-fire https://entangledpublishing.com/trial-by-fire.html

 Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon. The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life. She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames #4)
by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen
Published March, 2017
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33811916-fanning-the-flames
Entanged: https://entangledpublishing.com/fanning-the-flames.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fanning-Flames-Chris-Cannon/dp/1682814459
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fanning-the-flames-chris-cannon/1125780913

Bryn McKenna has it all. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting in the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparent’s want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire. If she doesn’t say “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance. Website: http://www.chriscannonauthor.com Twitter: ccannonauthor Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8285334.Chris_Cannon

March 6, 2017

March #InkRipples - Tropes

This month #InkRipples is exploring the topic of literary tropes.

For my post I’m going to use the Wikipedia definition of the word trope which has come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.

It’s interesting to me that agents, publishers, other authors, and even readers call out for originality, yet tropes – like a story formula – are popular. Yes, walking that line between originality and familiarity can be very difficult.

I asked a few of my super smart author friends what some of their favorite tropes are for both reading and writing.

Editor and author coach and YA author, Trish Wilkinson likes the trope of the victorious underdog. She uses the trope in both fiction and nonfiction.

Marie Harte – who knows her way around a spicy love story – loves the enemies to lovers trope. I admit, I do too. I discovered it in my late teens/early twenties when I picked up my first Harlequin Romance. To this day my heart starts to beat faster when a girl has a negative reaction to a drop dead gorgeous guy – ‘cause you know where that’s gonna lead.

Mystery and western romance author, Paty Jager, seconded the underdog trope and added the ugly duckling-to-swan theme, which I explored in my middle grade book, The Lumpy Duckling. Paty also mentioned a trope I hadn’t previously heard of, the librarian to lion. You can find an example of it in the movie The Mummy – love that movie! But since reading is your thing, you’ll find it in Paty’s book, Davis: Letters of Fate.

Generally when I’m planning a book, I like to take a trope that appeals to me and then twist it to provide an unexpected viewpoint. In TheLumpy Duckling, the unattractive character does become handsome, but I explore how that impacts the relationship with his best friend. In King of Bad I took the outcast/coming of age theme but applied to it the villain and how he finds his place in the world. I believe readers like the familiarity and comfort of a literary trope, but are also pleased when the story takes an unexpected turn.

What are a couple of your favorite tropes? Or which tropes are you just plain over!?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.