Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Heartwarming Christmas Story

You will never believe who the highest earning Salvation Army bell ringer is. Click the link below to find out who it is that brings in ten times as much as any other volunteer!

The Best Salvation Army Bell Ringer

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

For All You Doctor Who Fans Out There

Because of my two older brothers, the show, Doctor Who, was a big deal in my household growing up. So imagine my surprise when I walked out to the parking garage last night after work and discovered this written on the wall!

I found myself wanting to glance over my shoulder to make sure there weren't any stone angels around. If you don't know what I'm talking about you'll have to hunt down a copy of the Doctor Who episode called Don't Blink. But only if you are brave. This particular episode is a little on the spooky side. I visited London a few years ago and acidentally stumbled onto the Tardis while walking down the street one day. As you can see, the light is on, but Doctor Who is not at home. Probably off fighting Daleks or something. : )

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forbidden Sea Trailer!!!

The Forbidden Sea trailer is finished and ready for viewing. Pop on over to my official Forbidden Sea blog and check it out at this link here:


Let me know what you think! : )

P.S. FYI the handsome kid who plays Denn in the trailer is my fabulous nephew!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Few Things I'll Bet You Didn't Know About Being an Author

I started writing stories in elementary school. Back then, I believed that all I had to do to become a best selling author was to learn how to write a good book that people would want to read. That's it. Art in its purest form. So simple. No fuss.

I look back on my sadly disillusioned, naive, young self and laugh until the tears come.

What I didn't know back then, is that creating a book is only a small part of the writing an author has to do in order to get  published. What kind of writing, I hear you authors-of-the-future ask? Well let me enlighten you my creative friends. If you are serious about wanting a career in fiction writing, this is just a small sample of some of the crazy stuff you'll need to learn how to do--and do it well.

Most publishing houses will not even look at unsolicited manuscripts. In other words, they have to ask to see your manuscript. You can't just send it off to them. To get solicited, you must first send them a query letter. This is a short, one page long letter that includes two very important things.  A short synopsis of your story (a pitch) and your resume as an author. Here is a link to a more in depth description of how to write a query letter. I'll warn you now, writing queries is not for the faint of heart. But those who are serious about wanting to become published MUST learn how to write them. And this leads me to the next thing on the list--something no self respecting query letter should be without . . .

A pitch is your story reduced down into one or two paragraphs. But not just any paragraphs. These must be the most gut wrenching, breathlessly irresistible paragraphs in the whole entire world! Because, for most of your manuscripts, these paragraphs are all the publisher will ever see of your story. If they don't like your pitch, then they will never have the desire to see the full manuscript in all its glory--no matter how many years you have spent honing it into finely crafting perfection. Writing a quick and concise pitch is nothing like writing a fiction novel. It is a whole different craft unto itself. There isn't room for depth of character or a slowly simmering sense of place. This is short and sweet in its most refined form. And that kind of writing takes practice.  Lots of it!

Proposals usually only work once you get a book published and already have a working relationship with a publishing house. A proposal is when an established author has a great idea for a story but they haven't actually written it yet--such as a sequel.  A proposal includes an in depth outline of the entire book, a description of all the characters that will star in it, and the first few completed chapters of the final manuscript. A first time author, attempting to get their first book published, will rarely be asked to write a proposal. But once you get that first book accepted, be aware that a book proposal might be in your near future.

Every author goes about writing a book in a different way. I always start mine with two things--a  character list and a chapter outline.

1)   A character list includes: a physical description of all characters, (major and minor) a quick summary of their personality traits, and their history and driving motives. I also like to have the proper spelling of their name on hand because, darned if I can remember what I called that little guy who shouted out from the back of the crowd on page 5.

2)   A chapter outline is when I write up a description of the whole book chapter by chapter. The summary for each chapter is usually not longer than one or two paragraphs.This outline gives me an idea of how many chapters I currently have in the book. And once I know how many chapters, I guess about how many pages a story will be. It also helps me see if there are any problems with the story's plot without having to write three hundred pages and THEN realize something is seriously wrong.

3) Writing a rough draft of the story is the next step. At this stage, my writing is only a skeleton of what it will become. I don't spend a lot of time on sense of place, characterization, or flowery descriptive passages.  I just write whatever comes into my head and get it down. I do not allow myself to go back and do a lot of fiddling at this point, because if I did, the book would never get done. Ever. In other words, I just write a bunch of garbage. Really bad garbage. And I don't worry about it. Yet.

4) Editing the manuscript comes next. Once my rough draft is complete, I can now go back and see where all the problems in the story are and fix them. I go through the manuscript multiple times, focusing on a different aspect of storytelling each time I do. On average, I will polish each chapter in a story anywhere from 5 to 12 times, depending on whether or not the chapter is working right. (Some chapters are so difficult to figure out that it can take more than 12 times to get the chapter where I want it.) I really hate when that happens. I'll often skip on to the next chapter and come back to it when I have more patience. Authors do not have to edit their books in chronological order. Author's prerogative.

And those are just the kinds of writing you have to do before your book gets published. AFTER it is published is a whole other ball of wax--but I'll save for a post on some other day.

So at this moment, I am currently working on two brand new book proposals, one almost finished manuscript, and three in-process manuscripts. So, if you ever wonder why I'm a little slow updating my blog posts--now you know why. : )

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Creepy Fact of the Day

Did you know that Disney Princesses never make eye contact with each other when they are pictured on the fronts of books or DVDs together? It's a little creepy once you know this. Check the link below if you don't believe me.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

One of my Favorite Authors

Yes, we atuhors are people like anyone else. People who are readers no less--otherwise we would never have gotten into writing in the first place. And as an avid reader I have favorite authors too. One of those favorites is Janette Rallison. If you haven't read any of her books, hurry down to your library and check one out immeadately. My favorite book written by her is Just One Wish. Very romantic and sweet and hilarious too. Well today, Janette Raillison blogged about me. Or more percisely, about a necklace I made for her.

I met the gracious Ms. Rallison at a author signing once and went totally fangirl on her. She was kind anyway, and didn't ask for them to move her to a table further away from mine. Instead she did me the compliment of wearing my necklace to Comicon. I'm still geeking out about it. Check it out!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Forbidden Sea Mermaid Contest Giveaway

I'm hosting a contest giveaway over on my Forbidden Sea book blog. Click here to get more info and see how you can enter to win all the fabulous prizes pictured here. Including the hand made miniature mermaid necklace above!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

People often ask me how an author comes up with new ideas for a book. Well, I recently got a great idea for a new novel after reading a bizarre news story. Sometimes the truth is so much stranger than anything we authors could possibly make up in our heads. Here are a few examples of some news articles that would make great beginnings for stories. (I'm not including the one that inspired me just yet. I still need time to work that story out.) I have included a few other articles for your viewing pleasure. Click the links to read more.

Town is Mysteriously Rattled - The cause of this strange phenomenon could be just about anything--especially if it were the plot of a fantasy/sci-fi novel.

Ghost Ship Sails the Sea Without a Crew - According to the article, an unmanned ship is a dangerous thing, so they are attempting to hunt it down and sink it. Think about the adventures a fictionalized crew might have while doing this. What if the "ghost ship" fought back?

Piano Left in the Middle of a Forest - I can't even begin to think of an explanation for this. But I'll bet some budding author out there somewhere can.

Panama Monster - Okay, that's just creepy. I don't even WANT to know.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

School Visits Are the Best

I recently did a school visit at a local school near my home. They had never had an author come to visit them before, so they were very excited. The faculty had to turn away some of the classes that wanted to hear me speak because of the fire code's maximum capacity in the gym. I don't think I've ever spoken to such a big group before. They had fourth grade up to ninth grade--with some interested third graders thrown in for good measure. They were a fabulous group and I had a lot of fun talking to them about how you go about writing a book. My favorite part of school visits are the question and answer periods that come at the very end. Here are some actual questions that were asked of me by kids this time:

1) Have you met J.K. Rowling?! (Don't I wish!)

2) Can you name one of the characters in your books after me? (Get in line behind the lovely ladies I work with who think they should all be in my books by now.)

3) Which team are you on--Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Uh--Team Peeta?)

Seriously--I kid you not. I almost burst out laughing right there on stage!

Friday, February 3, 2012

If You Like Forbidden Sea . . .

 Have you ever wondered how Amazon does their book recommendations? You look up one item and all sorts of great suggestions come up of other books you might enjoy. Click the link below to see an awesome visual re-creation of how this works.


The link below is the visual list created for finding books like Forbidden Sea. So cool, check it out!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Dolls in the Dark

My mother and I have been reading one of my new manuscripts--one that has haunted dolls in it. So one day, after reading, my mother went into my room without turning on the light, to place something on my bed. When she turned around, she came face to face with the doll pictured above. Now, you have to understand. This particular doll is big. (two feet tall) He is usually kept in a glass display case out in the living room with all of my other dolls. But a couple of my nieces accidentally knocked him over and I took him into my room and stood him against the wall so that he would be safe until the kids had gone home. Unfortunately, that was when my mother had her run in with him in the dark. He totally scared the snot out of her. I must admit, he does look a little like one of the dolls I described in my book. She said that was why he startled her so bad. It was like my story had suddenly come to life. My mother is not normally a jumpy person. She said, my story had just made it seem so real. We couldn't stop laughing about the incident afterward.



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