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I'm so close to 1000 followers on Twitter! Follow, enter here, and tweet about it to win a copy after I get 1000 followers! a Raffle...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Excerpt from "Master of Emotion" by D. Ogden Huff

Beau’s getting loads of attention lately. Whether he wants it or not. Even if it’s his worst nightmare.
Announcing the release of Master of Emotion, a YA paranormal romance by D. Ogden Huff.
When a reclusive teen with the enhanced ability to read others’ emotions finds more teens with similar powers, he must confront his fears before a budding romance and his twin brother’s life fall into the hands of the devious doctor who created them all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decluttering Part 2: Diluting the Action

And now to continue on words I'll slash from any MS you show me:
* words that dilute the action
There are certain words that distance the action, just making the sentence longer. Especially in action sequences, these words make things feel less imminent. Less dangerous. Less interesting--which we all know is a very bad thing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Author Interview: Sarah M. Eden of "The Kiss of a Stranger"

After shamelessly stalking Sarah's blog, I knew getting to interview her was going to be a hoot. And of course she didn't disappoint!

Me: First, and I hope this isn't awkward, but I've felt for a very long time that we were meant to be best friends. Are you interested? (Do I sound like a stalker?)

Sarah: I prefer to be alone and friendless. You see that will one day make for a great "about the author" interview with Barbara Walters or Oprah or someone like that. {I'm holding out for "Live with Kelly"} "I have languished for many years alone with my art…." Are you seeing the possibilities here?!?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Variety Excerpt: "Falling in October" by Gina Gates

The first Variety Excerpt is truly more unique than anything I've ever come across--part-memoir, part self-help. As well as a million other things. Please welcome Gina Gates ...

When I was asked to post an excerpt from “Falling in October,” it was a challenge to choose just one passage to represent the spectrum of the entire book. The elements are diverse and fascinating. It’s a memoir, except it’s mostly about a time to come. It's about real life, but sweetly steeped in fantasy. It's quite romantic, yet it's not a romance. And it’s just as much a spiritual work as a fairy tale.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Somewhat Disappointed

Pardon my seemingly formal language. I've gone mad and decided to delve into Regency romances. (It's totally Sarah M. Eden's fault for this, although Georgette Heyer has been indoctrinating  me since a young age, so she may share the blame.) And researching for said crazy venture is in turn driving me crazy. It's a vicious cycle.
But I digress ... Unfortunately no new followers joined on Monday, but I'll still give away $5 gift card to one of the two commenters who entered!

And the winner is ...


Congratulations! I hope to see more people hanging around for Variety. It promises to be a lot of fun! (And, Kris, I promise I put both your names in a hat and didn't just pick the first person on the list.) :)

Review: "The Kiss of a Stranger" by Sarah M. Eden

As many of you may have noticed, I'm a total sucker for a regency romance. And I basically swoon over well-written ones. I knew before I ever picked up a book by Sarah that I'd probably adore it because of this post on her blog. Ever since I've been convinced we're meant to be best friends (more on that later ...). What better recommendation can I give "The Kiss of a Stranger" than that I read it in two days?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Variety Short Story: "Foreboding" by Rachel Rossano

Introducing, Rachel Rossano:

Rachel grew up reading. Her family didn’t own a television until she was twelve years-old. Instead, they read their way through the library. She didn’t discover the science fiction section until her teen years. It was fascination at first sight. Emboldened by a love of Star Trek and Star Wars, she dove into the midst, devouring everything that grabbed her fancy.

Now, after years of writing fantasy romance novellas, she has ventured once again into the strange landscape of science fiction. This time she brought her pen. The following is a teaser for her short story, Exchange, the first of many. "Exchange" is available on Amazon, here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kicking off some VARIETY!

Well, thanks to the AWESOME response when I sent the call out for variety on my blog, you {readers} are about to get entertained.

So far I have a LOT of fun projects on the slate of every kind:
-some critiques for you to chime in on
-excerpts from books with author commentaries
-guest posts
-and some short stories!

Which means we need to share all this fun! So to kick off the advent of Variety on my blog, we're going to have a contest.

The first Variety post is a short story "Foreboding" by Rachel Rossano on Tuesday. From right now until midnight tonight, share this post everywhere! The number of followers we get will be the amount of the Amazon Gift Certificate I'll give away Tuesday night. So if we gain 5 followers in that time, the gift certificate will be worth $5. If we gain 50, you'll have a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate!

To enter, comment on this post! (And don't forget: the more you share, the more you win!)

**Plus, if you want in on Variety, check out the "Guest Post" tab above or email me!**

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Author Interview: Theresa Sneed of "No Angel"

Me: There are tons of books out there right now in the "angel" category, but yours is so unique! Where did you get the inspiration for "No Angel"?

Theresa: Where did I get inspiration for No Angel? Probably from my own guardian angel who will no doubt insist on all the rights in some future day! Actually, I’ve had a few life experiences that have given me a unique perspective of the spirit world—add that to a rather active imagination, and No Angel was a cinch to create!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: "No Angel" by Theresa Sneed

After being forced (by life, December, everything in general) to read "No Angel" in spurts that were sometimes separated by several weeks, I finally finished! Woo-hoo! This makes two "angel" themed books I've read so far during the latest craze. ("Fallen" being the other; liked this one better!) Read on for the review!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


As I sat here looking at my blog today, I wondered what it needed to be more entertaining. I'm working on getting more author interviews, and I have lots of good reviews coming up (No Angel by Theresa Sneed; The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden). But I wanted much more variety. Something to come to the blog for besides my rants on grammar and my opinions on books.
Here are some things I'd really like to include:

*Critiques! --Are any of you out there brave enough to let me critique your work in a public forum (a la Query Shark style)? You'd get (what I think is) fabulous feedback on an excerpt of your work while helping educate the public.

*Guest Shorts -- I LOVE to read short stories by other authors. And when you don't have the time for a full novel read, I want you to stop by for a snippet of fun.

*Guest posts -- On anything you want to ramble on.

*Let Your Book Shine -- A chance for authors of all walks to promote their books through an excerpt and your commentary on the book.

Are you interested in doing any of this for me? {Don't be shy, now!}
Please email me at raneesclark@yahoo.com if you are interested!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Review: "Maid to Match" by Deeann Gist

Maid to MatchI've given up calling them "free reviews!" But you really should make it a habit to troll the Kindle "Best Sellers" list for the free books. Lots of authors offer their books for free to drum up business and books like this is why that works. What is there to say about "Maid to Match" except ... {sigh} ... I loved it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNo-Excerpt-Palooza, Part 3

Today's Excerpt: "The Huntress" NaNo WriMo 2010

This is a scene from the opening chapter of my monster hunting NaNo Novel. And you must know this, the fireman in the scene, pulling out his hose and ready to help fight the dragon is my dad. He gets that cameo purely because when I texted him one day asking, "If the Lovell Firefighters had to fight a dragon, what would they do?" he fired back a very logical answer without even blinking an eye. He's the coolest dad ever.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNo-Excerpt-Palooza, Part 2

Today's Excerpt: From "High School Revolution," NaNo WriMo 2011

Candice the Secretary met me at the door of the student council room after school the next day. She checked a name off the list in front of her. “Meeting’s cancelled for today,” she reported. “Mr. Leopold got called into some meetings with the superintendant.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Well, NaNo WriMo is winding down. All over the world, I'm sure, people are feverishly trying to get the last four thousand, six thousand, or in my desperate case, twenty-five thousand words before November 30th. Since it's seemingly impossible for me to accomplish 50k, I think I'll post excerpts every day until the end.
Today's excerpt: From "Lodore" NaNo WriMo 2011

I started this draft a while ago, but just never got to finishing the last few scenes. So, when I ran out of ideas for "High School Revolution" this year, I went back to get some of my words finishing "Lodore." This is one of the final scenes where the MC Rane and her sister vanquish the evil witch Storma.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Quit

Doesn't that sound awful? It feels a little bit awful. For the first time in a couple years, I'm not going to finish NaNo WriMo. You've all known that I've struggled with my novel this year, which honestly took me by surprise. I had an excellent outline. I was excited about the story. I have great characters, a fun plot line. But I finished at 15k. I was able to go back and develop some relationships more and add a few more scenes. I got about seven thousand more words than I imagined a week ago.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Time for NaNo Excerpt

Here I am, updating my blog posts when I should be trying to fit new words into my novel. I do happen to need over thirty thousand in the next couple weeks. Ahhh, well. :D

From this year's NaNo novel, I present: High School Revolution
The Counter-Revolutionary Football Scene. Posting it serves a double purpose. One, obviously to share part of my novel with you. Two, to find out if you understand the scene. I get football because I watch it with my dad and brothers, and my awesome bro DJ talked out this scene with me to make it awesome. The question is, does the average reader who may not understand foobtball get it?
So without further adieu:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

Well, if you like "The Hunger Games" (movie coming out next March, squee!!), then "The Maze Runner" is something you'll like. It has the same types of themes, excitement, and action throughout. So, there's my endorsement, now on to the review:

Saturday, November 12, 2011


The November Blog Hop has rolled to a close! Thanks "I Am a Reader, Not a Writer" and Tristi Pinkston for hosting. Since everything was so successful over here, we have two winners to announce. The blog hop contest winner and the followers winner.

November Blog Hop contest winner:

Jesica H.

And the followers winner:

Liz @ Fictional Candy

Congratulations guys! I'll be contacting you via email with your prizes. Thanks so much for participating and hanging out with me here. Stay in touch! I'll have reviews, interviews, more contests, writing excerpts and more all around fun coming.


A Georgette Heyer Moment

Georgette Heyer books are like my sherbet. When I've read something heavy, or that requires me to think, or something out of my usual likes, I turn to Georgette to cleanse my reading palate. And her books are just so sweet!
The final pages are usually my favorite, when the roguish but still honorable and totally charming hero convinces the flighty, frivolous, but deeply witty and wise heroine that he is actually in love with her. They always contain the sweetest lines, like these from "These Old Shades":
Hero: "Leonie, you will do well to consider. You are not the first woman in my life."
Heroine: {She smiled through her tears.} Monseigneur, I would so much rather be the last woman than the first."

Me: *long, contented sigh* Awwww ...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Woo-Hoo! 100+ Followers!

Well, what do you know. I tuck myself away in the mountains for a week with my husband and sporadic service and my following explodes!! This calls for a celebration right? So here it is. All the followers will be automatically entered in a $10 Amazon gift card tonight at midnight. (So if you're not already a follower, better get on that!)
So a big {Thank You} to all my fans (yes, I'm going to call you that.) I hope you all stick around!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Blog Hop!

Time to win prizes again!
And it's ridiculously easy to do it. On this blog you only have to do 2 things. 
1) Become a follower. (If you already are one, you're halfway done already!)
2) Post a link somewhere like Facebook, Twitter, or just your blog. 

To insure that you get an entry, leave a comment below stating you're a follower and a link to your link. :D

So what are the prizes, you ask? Well, until I manage to get a book published, it is a $20 gift card to Amazon so you can buy whatever books you want! ;)
Make sure you have your comment in by midnight on November 11th. 

And check out the rest of the blog hops, where you can get a chance to win TONS of other prizes.
Hosted by: I am A Reader, Not a Writer and Tristi Pinkston

Other blogs participating:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Celebration of NaNo: From my 2009 NaNo Novel

As I began editing and rewriting "Bloom" and its sequels -- The original version of "Bloom" was my first NaNo Novel, although I didn't complete it during November -- I knew I needed some background for my characters. Since I had so much story in my head, I thought, Why not kill two birds with one stone? I'd flesh out my back story and write my NaNo novel all in one, and maybe someday I'd release it as a prequel if "Bloom" ever gets published. Without further adieu, and excerpt from the still untitled 2009 NaNo Novel: (remember, it's still rough)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNo Excerpt Blog Hop

Who's brave enough to showcase excerpts of their NaNo Novels this month? I'm hosting a blog hop throughout the month. Sign up with the linky below and post excerpts throughout the month. I can't wait to see all your mad-month of work! (If you sign up, please post a link back to this post in your excerpt posts email me for the linky code.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNo Eve

It sort of feels like Christmas, right? I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. I'm guessing characters will run through my dreams and wake me up every hour or so. And tomorrow morning everything will go crazy, and I won't actually end up writing until the afternoon.
Have you dropped by Mommy Authors lately? I've been blogging there about preparing for NaNo WriMo. I'll continue to blog about it throughout the month, so you may not see a lot of NaNo content on this end. Except for ... drum roll .... samples of my past NaNo Novels in honor of one of my favorite months. (Come on, when you add in Thanksgiving it is a truly awesome time of year.) So check out the blog throughout the month to get samples of past (and present if it's not to awful) NaNos.
If you're doing NaNo this year, come join our Facebook support group. It's sure to be a blast!
Under four hours and counting ... maybe I should stay up 'till midnight. ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Author Interview: Mandi Slack, of "The Alias"

One of the coolest things about ANWA is that it's put me in the way of lots of really cool ladies who've had their work published! And they're all so nice they let me practice my blog-interviewing skills on them. After reading and posting the review for Mandi Slack's "The Alias," I emailed her and asked if she'd be willing to answer a few questions for a blog interview. Of course she was more than happy. Thanks, Mandi!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples: from "Bloom"

In case nobody noticed, NaNo WriMo is RIGHT around the corner. Throughout the month of November, every Sweet Saturday Sample will be from my past and (if it's not too awful!) present NaNo Novels. To kick things off with a huge bang, the entire first chapter of "Bloom," my first NaNo Novel, and the first novel I ever totally completed! To read the story of how "Bloom" turned from a NaNo Novel to it's polished version now, check out this page. So, on with the show!

Born into one of the Big Three families of the Enchanter realm, 17-year-old Finna Claremont’s lineage—yeah, lineage—should mean she’ll make a great guardian…. Right. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: "The Alias" by Mandi Slack

When I heard through the grapevine (i.e. Facebook) that "The Alias," a book already on my to-read list was on sale for Kindle, I snatched it right up! It's so fun to read books by people I "know" on Facebook. It's *usually* a boost to me to see so many friends published!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples: More From "My Best Friend is a Superhero"

I just finished polishing it up to start sending out queries, so I figured what better way to celebrate than giving everyone another "sweet" taste! So here's the hook, and the sample from Chapter 2. (For a sample of Chapter 1, check out this post; for another from Chapter 10, check out this post.)

Hook: (And definitely tell me what you think)
If seventeen-year-old Bek Black is right about her best friend being a superhero, falling in love with the notorious player means putting more than her heart on the line.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Query Help Anyone?

So here's the latest query for "My Best Friend is a Superhero." I would LOVE to hear all your comments so I can make it simply amazing and get an agent overnight. (Is that too optimistic...?)

Dear NAME,
I would like to submit to you my 52,000 word YA novel MY BEST FRIEND IS A SUPERHERO.
If seventeen-year-old Bek Black is right about Adam Axley being a superhero, falling in love with the notorious player means putting more than her heart on the line.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Abbreviated Review: "The Best Intentions" by Candice Hern

My mom loaned me this book (I LOVE the new Kindle loan feature!) and I got right to it. (I only had 14 days, after all.) 
The Earl of Strickland, Miles Prescott, knows it's time to find a new wife. His daughters need a mother and his home needs a mistress. So despite reservations, he allows his sister to bring the widowed Lady Abingdon as an excellent prospect. And she's attractive. But is she the right mother for his two young girls?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Decluttering: Getting Rid of Unnessary Words, Part 1

Time for another Ranee's Pet Peeves rant. I want to talk about some words that crowd up your manuscript. Usually you hear all about adverbs, so I'll spare you that lecture for now. The words I want you to get rid of fall into two categories:
* words that dilute the action
* words that crowd the sentence

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: "A Proper Companion" by Candice Hern

So, I must be fairly lucky in coming across books on the free Kindle books list, because every time I download one in an attempt to do a review of a free book, by the time I get to the review, the book is no longer free! The good news is that "A Proper Companion" is only 99 cents, so still worth it. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Sorry!

Sorry there hasn't been a lot of new content lately. I'm in the middle of a move and trying to work off my iPad, which isn't the best way to write blog posts. I'll be up and going again soon, so please stay tuned!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples: Excerpt from "The Gates of Lodore"

The Gates of Lodore is named for a recreation spot of the same name in northwestern Colorado, near Brown's Park. When my family and I lived there last summer, I saw the name and said it was too good not be to the name of a book!

Rane Barton and her sisters only have their exceptional beauty to recommend them and save their ailing family estate. Rane even catches the eye of the prince. But when she discovers the reason for her beauty and her uncanny abilities, Rane has to choose: protect her family or protect her heart.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Author Interview: Jenni James, author of "Pride & Popularity"

This is my first official Author Interview and I can't let that just slide by without some hoopla!

So, drumroll ...

The first person to comment on this post with a question they want to ask in my next author interview (volunteers?) will win a $5 Amazon Gift code (which happens to be enough to buy Pride & Popularity for Kindle!)

But on to the interview:
First off, a big THANKS to Jenni James for being my author interview guinea pig. She deserves so much more. :)

Me: Yippy, I'm so excited. This is my first author interview ... I hope it doesn't show! :) Here goes: I know its so cliche, but we all want to know anyway ... when and why did you decide you wanted to write? 

Jenni: I never wanted to!  Honest!  lol!  I started writing Pride & Popularity when Taylor [Anderson, the hero of Pride & Popularity] wouldn't stop talking to me.  No joke. He kept me awake for three weeks, after that I decided I better stop fighting it and write the book.  It totally changed my life. 

Me: Where did you get the idea for "Pride & Popularity"?
Jenni: Actually, I was a few chapters into the book when I called my mom and was telling her I needed a title for it.  After a few minutes of laughing over the different silly ones we'd come up with.  I got real quiet and said "you know, this book is like Pride and Prejudice."  My mom didn't even miss a beat when she said, "Well, why don't you call it Pride & Popularity?"  I didn't even realize I was rewriting Jane Austen until that moment.  After that it was a no brainer to add the other books. 

Me: What was your favorite scene to write for "Pride & Popularity"?  

Jenni: Oh man... I loved so many of them.  But my most favorite had to have been the MORP scene.  It's just amazing.  :)

Me: You're obviously a Jane Austen lover (like me!), which is your favorite book? Favorite movie version? 
Jenni: Hands down my favorite book is Persuasion.  I soo love that book!  And I love the newer one with Rupert Penry-Jones. :)  But my favorite of all the Austen movies is the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice.  *sigh*
{Of course, who doesn't!}

Me: Equally important, are you a "pantser" (writing by the seat of your pants) or an "outliner"? JenniOh, definitely a panster.  I never have any idea what's going on as I'm writing.  I swear it's my secret for writing so fast.  I have no idea what's gonna happen and I can't stop writing until I figure it out!
Me: Describe your publishing experience. (That was droll ... sorry!)
Jenni: Well... I wrote P&P in 2008 and after sending out 50 queries, I got my agent a few months later.  That November we sent P&P out to the big publishers and had some amazing interest from three of them.  On the day we were hoping to have an auction for the book, the publishing world stocks crashed.  They each asked us to come back in 6 months.  The day we were going to submit again, my agent went into premature labor and had her twins three months early.  That fall (2009) I found a new and upcoming LDS publisher, Valor Publishing.  I loved what they stood for.  After talking with my agent, I decided to sign with them.  Due to the economy, by the time they were ready to print my book, their finances had depleted and the company folded this past Spring when I walked.  I'd decided to self-publish and had put P&P up on kindle for 3 weeks, before I signed with Walnut Springs.  Even though I had several publishers approach me, I'd still planned to do the series on my own, for various reasons... but after talking it over with my awesome publisher, I decided they were the best fit.  And here I am.  P&P has been through about 21 rewrites since 2008 when I first finished it.  :)
Me: And finally, what book character would you like to meet in real life?
Jenni: Oh goodness.  I have to choose one?  I'll stick with the characters in P&P.  Since Taylor was based loosely off my friend from high school... I'm going to have to go with Blake.  I'd love to see just how charming he really is.  :)  Hehee.  I always find the bad ones intriguing. {Don't we all ... }

Again, a big thanks to Jenni for participating. Hurry and post your questions for the next interview!

WINNERS of the Awesome August Blog Hop

Thanks ALL of you for all the comments. I can't believe how many comments the background got! :) I love it. Oh ... you want to know about the winner! Okay, here she is ...

Drum roll ...

The winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Certificate is Brenda Jean!

And for the Line & Content Edit Combo package:
I had such a HARD time choosing just one, so I forced myself to choose the pitches I liked the best and drew randomly from those. The winner is Crystal!

I'll be sending you all emails to notify you. THANKS again for participating. I hope you all stick around. They'll definitely be more book reviews and author interviews coming. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Writing Tip

From "Portable MFA in Creative Writing":

"By telling -- that is, by providing a resume or a psychological profile for your character -- you are providing information in a form that glides past the reader like a software terms-of-use agreement. By showing -- that is, by allowing the reader to observe your character in action -- you are dramatizing information, and information through action stays with the reader."

Happy Writing!

Review: "Pride & Popularity" by Jenni James

So as soon as I saw the title "Pride & Popularity" on Jenni's facebook profile, I knew it'd be a book I'd like. Because obviously, I love Jane Austen. And I love YA. Jenni combined my two book loves effortlessly.

This review comes as a two part series! Part 1: The Review, Part 2: The Interview!

The Point of the Plot:
Chloe Hart knew from the moment she set eyes on Taylor Anderson that he was too popular for his own good. And she's right, of course, especially when she discovers how miserable he's trying to maker her senior year. But could Taylor's behavior possibly be because he likes her? Impossible ...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is an Awesome August Blog Hop Stop

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grammar Tip: Commas between all items in a series to prevent confusion (CiS)

It's not often that I write a Grammar Tip post that lets you make the decision, but this just happens to be one of those comma's that isn't always required.
The Sentence: I went to the store and bought eggs, milk, peanut butter and jelly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Do You Outline?

If any of you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I'm much too excited about Nano Wrimo much too early! But that's beside the point. Since I already have an idea I'm really excited about (you can read about that if you want at my new history blog writeplushistory.blogspot.com) I thought I might as well start my outline.
Well, long story short, I'm actually a "pantser." (by the seat of the pants writer!) My outlines are usually at most 8-10 bulleted points. I find though, that with the pressure of NaNo WriMo, I might appreciate a better thought out outline. So my question is: what outlining methods do you guys use and why do you like them?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why is Darth Vader such a great villain?

It's true. Who doesn't know about Darth Vader? Who hasn't--in that raspy, deep voice paired with the hiss of oxygen--uttered the words "Luuuke ... I am your father"?
Agent Kelly Sonnack said that cliche villains are so ... well, cliche. Give your reader a villain who has something to offer the hero, something to tempt him with. Who does that better than Darth? Especially when the movies are paired with the prequel episodes. I kept hoping that somehow Mr. Vader would turn things around.
The best villains are the ones you're secretly feeling sorry for; the ones that make you feel the need to shout at your book, "DON'T LISTEN, HERO!"
How to round out your villain:
1. Treat your villain with the same respect you treat your main character. You put a lot of time into crafting the hero/heroine's backstory. Do the same for the villain. How much do we know about Voldemort's story? Almost as much as we know about Harry's! The more you know about your villain, the more villainously appetizing you can make him.
2. Make sure he/she has something to offer the hero. An amazingly evil laugh just doesn't cut it these days. Take The Sphinx from Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series. He's convinced he's committing also sorts of evil injustices for the greater good of society. He has something to offer Kendra and Seth. Your villain should have something that tantalizes the hero; that makes him/her second guess themselves.

Who's your favorite villain and why? What makes them so good ... or bad ... or whatever ... ?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mommy Authors

Hey Everyone! Starting on August 23rd, I will officially be part of the Mommy Author's blog team. (Okay, I'm already officially part of the team, but my first post will go up on that day.) I'm really excited to blog about lots of things Mommy and Writing related. There are three other fun bloggers too, each of us with different perspectives on motherhood, writing, and the two of those combined. I think you should ALL check it out.


Sweet Saturday Samples: Excerpt from my 2010 NaNoWriMo Novel "Mae Nickson: Monster Hunter"

Beware! This novel has not been edited at all since I wrote it in a mad rush in November of 2010. But the scene is one of my absolute favorites. :)

Mae Nickson: Monster Hunter
Mae Nickson has been hunting monsters her whole life--her whole eighty-plus years, and she still only looks 17. And most of those eighty years she's pushed away every one, until she meets Porter Heyward, the boy who won't quit. When the ultimate bad-guy Cirraco targets a small town, Mae is forced to team up with Porter to figure out why. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Free Review: "Surrender the Heart" by MaryLou Tyndall

I should probably change the title of this to a "Free for Me" Review. I bought this book for my Kindle app, and at the time I downloaded it, it was free. Probably a promotion by Ms. Tyndall, and in my opinion, a good one, because I'm a little bit considering buying more from her for my Kindle app. :) But let's get down to the review.

A Post about Stupid MC's

My very cool friend Kristin wrote a GREAT post about MC's making stupid decisions over and over. I have a strange relationship with this phenom. While I abhor characters who make dumb decisions or refuse to see the solution that's hovering right in front of their face, I tend to lead my own characters into the same trap. So I definitely thing it's worth your time to hop over to the ANWA Founders & Friends blog and read Kris's awesome post.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples: Another Excerpt from "My Best Friend is a Superhero"

One of my FAVE scenes, from Chapter 10
The doorbell rang at exactly six, but I stayed in front of my mirror. No time to change again. I settled for giving myself a lecture. “It’s a study date, Bek. You’re fine if he just wants to be your friend. It’s just studying.”

Adam was sitting in his usual chair at the dining room table when I came in. He waved a paper at me. “I got a copy of the test for you to practice on. Mr. Williams won’t put the same problems and questions on it, but the retest will have the same information.” He held out his other hand, revealing a plain white sack. “And I brought dinner. Orange chicken and fried rice. Plus I stopped and got those breadsticks you love.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Non-Wet T-Shirt Contest over at "Garbage"!

"Garbage" is quickly wrapping up! Can you believe it? Well, of course, not before a few more crazy things happen of course. Including a contest for a free t-shirt! Because who wouldn't want to walk around advertising for us? hehehe. Go check out the contest now! Or you can head straight to our new Facebook fan page, where you can follow everything happening with "Garbage" and enter the contest there, or vote for the fan you think most deserves the t-shirt.
See you there!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Change in My Editing Fees

**Effective September 1, 2011 I will be changing my editing fees. I'm doing this because there's a big difference between the time it takes to line edit at 50k word manuscript and an 85k word manuscript (and 85k words falls under my 100k threshold!)
The price changes will be as follows:
Basic Content Editing $0.0006/word
Line & Content Editing Combo $0.001/word
Whole Manuscript Line Edit $0.002/word

The prices may look confusing. If you do the math (and I don't blame you if you don't want to), you'll notice that at 50,000 words, the prices for each remain the same. (I.e., it will still cost $30 for a Basic Content Edit for a 50,000 word MS; $50 for a combo edit for a 50,000 word MS; and $100 for a Whole MS line edit.) This change will allow me to keep my prices low so I can help out people who can't afford pricier options, while still compensating me for the time spent on longer manuscripts.

After September 1, 2011, when submitting the first 15 pages for review, please also include the word count so I can send you a quote for the full project.
Short projects and manuscripts over 100,000 words will still require special pricing. Please contact me for information.

**Projects submitted to me prior to August 31, 2011 will still receive the flat rate pricing ($30, $50, $100 for manuscripts under 100k words) even if I don't complete the editing until after September 1, 2011**

As always, please contact me if you have any questions. If you planned on sending me a project in the near future, but the project will not be ready for editing by September 1, 2011, please email me to make arrangements for you to take advantage of the flat rate pricing. 

Would You Want to Know More?

I noticed that a lot of authors post their work on their blog. I guess I'm already doing that over at the "Garbage" blog. (btw, you NEED to go check that out! The action is getting intense as the story races toward the ending!) But if you didn't know, "Garbage" is my first foray into dystopian. I'm usually writing YA fantasy or something similar.
Lately, while I pretend I don't need to study for the GRE, I've been editing "My Best Friend is a Superhero," one of my favorite WIPs to date. (Is it because the hero is named after my husband? Quite possibly...) So today for your reading pleasure, is the first chapter. Will you comment below and tell me if you'd want to know more?

Mom ran her finger along the corrugated lines of my forehead. She sighed. “Bek, at some point you’re going to have to accept that you’re going to Lincoln Academy this year and try to be happy about it.”
I looked up from the map full of tiny squares I got when I registered thirty minutes before. I’d been trying to locate my classes on the campus of one of the most prestigious private schools in the country even though school didn’t start until the next Wednesday. “I don’t have to be happy about it.”
She stared at the traffic jam that made Lincoln Boulevard look like a parking lot. “Fine. But having a bad attitude won’t change our minds about sending you there.”
I smoothed out my scowl and turned to Mom with wide, pleading eyes. “I’m a junior! Only two more years left at Whitson.”
“Bek, you have friends at Lincoln, too. Tessa, Josh, Adam…”
“Josh is my brother.”
Mom turned back to the road.
I didn’t give up. “Whitson is a good school. The kids there are just as rich as the ones that go to Lincoln. The curriculum is…good. Couldn’t we be grateful that Calvin made it possible for me to cross districts?”
“Bek, how many times do we have to have this argument? Lincoln is a top notch school, and the fact that I finally convinced Calvin to pay part of your tuition is not something we can turn our noses up at.”
I turned my face back to the window, my scowl returning. Mom maneuvered through traffic, the tall, shiny buildings of downtown Pride City passing slowly by. I folded my arms, and the registration folder on my lap fell to the floor of the car. I didn’t bother picking it up. I looked down the street. The suburban houses in the distance seemed too far away. Mom had several minutes at least to argue with me. “I don’t have to have everything Josh has.”
I could practically hear Mom’s teeth grinding together. “This isn’t about forcing Calvin to acknowledge that you are his child too. This is about you getting the best education you have the opportunity to get. We’re not changing our minds. You know that. I can’t force you to be happy about this, but I think you’d like your life more if you’d try to have a good attitude. Think about the bright side, Bek. You won’t have to see Dan every day.”
She had me there, but I wasn’t about to let on. “Whatever.” I leaned over and gathered the scattered papers off the floor of the car, frowning at the shiny map. A beautiful campus, top-notch classes and extracurriculars, a sports complex that rivaled most colleges, and even a food court and gift shop on campus—it was all worth leaving my friends at Whitson High School to go across town to Lincoln Academy where my brother and his friends went. But honestly, my I objected mostly because of my pretentious father, Calvin.
Mom cried out in surprise, and I turned just as she slammed her arm against my chest. It knocked the breath out of me. I couldn’t even scream when the car rose off the ground, flying backward.
The car landed, jolting me forward. I gripped the sides of my seat. The car dropped an inch or two, crushing the hood of the car beneath us. Mom and I sat there in silnce. We waited to see if the car would move again.
“Are you okay, Bek?” Mom asked breathlessly.
I stared in surprise out the window and tried to find my voice. “Is that a robot?”
“Looks like it.” Mom pulled out her cell phone and pushed a button. I frowned, confused when she shoved it back in her pocket. She turned and pushed against her door. The car shuddered again. The robot loomed over us, looking gigantic. It stood up, it’s head level with the third story windows of the Pride City National Bank. Shiny black metal reflected off the windows until the robot shattered half a dozen with its fist.
“Bek? I could use your help with this door.”
Mom’s calm voice broke me out of my thoughts. It didn’t surprise me she remained unruffled in the face of a giant robot making Honor Park look like a construction site. When you live in a town with a super-hero, I suppose you get used to weird stuff like that happening.
“How?” I asked.
“Get as close to me as you can and we’ll kick together.”
I scooted across the seat and braced myself against the steering wheel. “One…two...” I pulled my knees back. “THREE!”
We both jammed our feet against the door. It didn’t budge.
“Again,” Mom yelled.
We pulled our feet back. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black streak. Was it The Fox? The door disappeared. We didn’t notice in time to stop the momentum of our feet. Mom tumbled out of the car. I grabbed the steering wheel.
“You okay, Mom?”
“Been better.” She stood up slowly, turning toward the robot. I looked out the windshield. The Fox—Pride City’s local super-hero—had jammed our car door into one of the robot’s eyes.
“Come on, Bek. Let’s get out of here.” The calm tone of Mom’s voice freaked me out.
I scooted out to the edge of the seat, preparing for the short jump to the road below. Out of the corner of my eye, the metallic gleam of the robot’s arm blinked at me. I threw my arms around the steering wheel as the robot scooped our car up and sent it air born.
I screamed. I closed my eyes, trying to somehow brace myself for when the car hit the pavement again. But it never came. My descent slowed. Then stopped. The car dropped softly next to the overturned swing set in the park.
Scrambling out, I tumbled into the sand. The Fox, in black spandex from head to toe, shot off the ground toward the robot. In one swing he decapitated it. Its head flew into the side of the shattered bank building. Its body crumpled lifeless to the ground. Applause met my ears. For some reason I grinned.

Okay, so I lied. That's not the whole first chapter. (It was sort of long for a blog post...) And I cheated and cut it off at a pretty good part. Sorry about that. ;) 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: "The Star Prophecy" by Joan Sowards

The adventure begins with the blog tour
The Star
by Joan Sowards

We will be giving away THREE copies of The Star

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read The Star
. Remember to include your email address.
2. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on January 28.

You are crazy. No Nephite has ever

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to
Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law
mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to
his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously - the shipbuilder Omnihah,
Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of
Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ
would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set
sail across the great waters in search of his dream - to see the face of
the Messiah.

The Star Prophacy is a surprising
story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and his
friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the
Christ child.

January 10
I Am A Reader, Not A

January 11
Totally Tina

January 12
Peggy Urry

January 13
Tangled Words and Dreams

January 14
Kaylee Baldwin

January 17
Of Writerly Things

January 18
Writers Mirror

January 19
Bonnie Gets a Say

January 20
The Blessing of Family

January 21
Anna del C. Dye's Blog
Renee S. Clark

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free Reviews and the inaugural (kinda) post: "The Guise of a Gentleman" by Donna Hatch

Every time I drive to Walmart I pass a church with a sign that says, "Evangelical Free Church." Until I asked my friends on facebook what they thought it meant, I always thought to myself, "Free...does it mean the church is free of Evangelicals? Is it free to go to church there? Are the people that attend the church free, as in not slaves...?" The mental ramblings went on for hours. What does this have to do with my post? The title. I don't want you to mentally ramble over it for hours. It doesn't mean I'm going to make you start paying for my book reviews....Okay, only if I get really famous.

What I mean is that there are lots of free books out there--in the form of ebooks for Kindle (which has apps for a lot of devices like iPhone, iPads, iPods, and Droids), and from sites like Smashwords. (And if you don't have a cool phone or device to use Kindle or whatever, don't worry. You can get Kindle applications for your computer.)
And while there are LOTS of free ebooks, not all of them are worth your time. That's where I come in. I'll read them, review them, and let you know if you should read it. SO without further adieu, the first Free Review--well, kind of.

Today I'm reviewing "The Guise of a Gentleman" by Donna Hatch, which was free for me because I won it in a contest. ;)
Elise Berkley enjoys her quiet widowhood in the English countryside; that is, until Jared Amesbury comes along and forcibly shows her what she's been missing.
I have to admit it started out a little slow and took me a few chapters to really get into it. Once I did, though, I didn't put it down for several hours, and only because my husband pried my iPad out of my hands and forced me to mingle with others at his family reunion. As someone who needs my dear friend Tracy Astle's help whenever I write a kissing scene, I can really appreciate it when someone writes it well. Elise's not-entirely-innocent-yet-still-sweet kisses with Jared really got my heart rate up. To me the mark of a good book is one that can get me so emotionally involved in the characters that I tear up. Yup, it happened. And you're going to love this part: it has pirates and lots of adventure! Jared Amesbury is one of those really great heroes that will keep you fantasizing...er, thinking about him after you've put the book down. And a tip; if you picture Gerard Butler playing Jared, you might actually swoon a couple times. (Which, thank heavens, Elise only does once in the book, and at a totally appropriate moment. I would've too.)
You can check out more by Donna (I sure will!) at http://donnahatch.blogspot.com/ or buy "The Guise of a Gentleman" at Amazon.
And if you want to actually read another free book online, head over to my other blog with my brother http://childoftherebellion.blogspot.com/ and read "Garbage."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: "Constant Hearts" by Donna Hatch

In two words: Worth it.

Donna's Austen inspired, "Constant Hearts" is only $1.99 at Smashwords. So of course when she told her ANWA sisters about it on our social group, I clicked right on over.

Her romance is about two long lost lovers (can I use that word innocently, like Austen always did...?) who have a shaky reconnection. Both characters have matured since their first encounters, but that doesn't stop their hearts drawing them together.

It's a simple novella, which means its a quick, enjoyable read; but that also, unfortunately means that it feels like it goes by too fast! I don't think you'll regret the afternoon you spend reading it. Preferably in a scented bath, surrounded by candles.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Agent Contest!

You need an agent? (If you don't, congratulations!) Whittle your pitch down to 140 characters and enter this contest!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Win Anna del C. Dye's ebook "Curse of the Elfs"

It's time for another "Garbage" give-away and this time the prize is a lot awesomer than a box of garbage bags--as much as I love Glad bags...Fellow ANWA sister Anna del C. Dye's ebook "Curse of the Elfs" is up for grabs. Head on over to the "Garbage" blog (http://childoftherebellion.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-give-away.html) to see how to enter, catch up on your reading, and/or get addicted to Eve and Micah's story. See you all there!

You can check out Anna's website at www.annadelc.com!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grammar Tip: Contractions (CT)

I'm sure you all went to first grade and learned about contractions, so I'll skip the lecture on what they are and start with USE THEM.
Contractions are for everyone. As Kelly Mortimer put it at the ANWA Conference, unless you want your character to sound like a stuck-up, over-educated snob, use contractions. Everyone speaks in contractions.
 Read this sentence out loud:
"I have had a really great time every time we have gone out together. I think we are meant for each other," she said dreamily.
Now aside from the general cheesiness of that statement, it really sounds out of place, doesn't it. Try this one:
"I've had a really great time every time we've gone out together. I think we're meant for each other," she said dreamily.
Rolls off the tongue a lot easier. :)

Garbage Give-Away

Head on over to http://childoftherebellion.blogspot.com/ for the First Ever Garbage Give-Away!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I feel like we're all strangers. It's been a long time since we sat down and had a good grammar chat, right? Or reviewed a book together. Yeah, life happens. I've had a blast lately writing with my brother (hint, hint, check out childoftherebellion.blogspot.com), getting crafty, going on awesome vacays with my awesome family, and pretty much doing as little to do with real writing work that an aspiring author like me can get away with. I did send out 10 more queries last night. I'll admit I'm in a writing slump. I'm looking to Week of Writing (WOW) to get me out of that. The problem is that I can't decide what to do! As far as actual pen to paper writing goes--excuse me, typing. I haven't used a pen and paper for years--I could finish this girl power story I've been working on for a year. I could start my third Superhero book because the ideas for it are having a party in my brain. It's silly, but I'd actually feel guilty for that. (Because the first one needs polished and the second one desperately needs subplots...and a lot of editing.) I should just sit myself down and remind myself that I don't have deadlines (yet) and I can do whatever I want.

In the meantime, I want to shout out to any of my published (or soon to be published--nudge, nudge, Jolene) audience. Any of you willing to do an interview with me for the blog? I'd love to pair it with a book review!

Friday, May 13, 2011

First "Garbage" Reader's Choice

For those of you following the book-on-a-blog my brother and I are writing--and for those of you who aren't and should really start!--chapter six has been posted with the first reader's choice. I can't wait to see what you guys think and how you want to influence the story. Check it out!

Review: "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater

It's time for a new post, right? And I haven't done a review for a very long time.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I can't help it. For some strange reason I can't stay away from paranormal romances. Shiver, for all intents and purposes, is right up that alley. I can't remember where I first came across it. I do know that I plopped it onto my to-read list (on a digital sticky note on my computer), and when I got a couple free audio-books, I downloaded it.
The skinny on Shiver. It takes place in a small town in Minnesota. It is told from the point of view of Grace and Sam, alternating in first person. Grace is saved from a wolf attack at age eight by an unknown wolf. As she grows older, so does her passion for the wolves that live in the wolves outside her home. Then she finds out that they're actually werewolves.
The good things first, which is how I always like to start my reviews:
* You'd think that alternating first person POVs between Grace and Sam might give you something like mental whiplash. The good news is that Stiefvater does it very well. The two narratives flow quite seamlessly together.
*The characters are pretty believable and likable.
And, I have to be honest, that's where my praise ends. At best, Shiver is a tribute to Twilight, at worst it's a barely concealed copy. Granted, much more likable, strong, less whiny and needy Grace replaces Bella. Edward is a werewolf named Sam. The dramatic, teen, true-love story is basically the same.
One large plot hole pops up right at the beginning. We learn that the cold weather changes the wolves from their human form to their wolf form. What's the first question that pops into your mind? It's probably the same one I had when I found out this is why the wolves changed. Why don't they move to Mexico? Stiefvater does finally take care of this question late in the book. And the explanation is plausible and creative (the warmer temperatures cause their bodies to be more susceptible to even the smallest changes in weather, making it easier for them to change into wolf form at the smallest drop). The problem is that this explanation comes far, far too late, especially since the question presses on the reader's brain from near the beginning of the book.
Another question never answered? Grace is bitten by the wolves at age eight but never changes, and the explanation that Grace and Sam discover just in the nick of time is a good twist to the story. The problem is that Grace's wolf rival Shelby attacks Grace near the middle of the book and bites her again. Stiefvater never explains why Grace doesn't change after this bite, or even adresses it.
In short, I'm intrigued enough by Shiver to want to know what happens in the latter two books, but not intrigued enough to actually read them. I'm currently searching for a detailed outline. ;)

I'd love to have a discussion with any of you who've read it? What's your opinion? Have I been to harsh? Do you agree?

Monday, April 25, 2011


Micah and Eve are destined for mediocrity--unless they can change their DNA.

My brother and I are leaping out into that crazy unknown blog world to write a book on a blog. It will be written from two points of view. DJ will write Micah's POV, and I will write Eve's. The project was conceived by my brother, and he so kindly invited me along for his summer project, entitled Garbage. I'm pretty dang excited for this, and I hope all of you will come hang out with us this summer at http://childoftherebellion.blogspot.com/. We're hoping to each have a chapter a week, tentatively going up on Wednesdays and Fridays. The first installment is set for this Wednesday, April 27th. The fun thing we're planning is to have readers choose where the actions goes at certain points in the plot. So come on over, comment, get involved and hopefully LOVE the story.

And the Winner is...

Deb Erfert!

Congratulations, Deb. You get a FREE Line & Content Combo edit from yours truly.

Thank you to everyone who entered. For those of you who didn't win, remember that I offer some really cheap options for editing. :] A big thanks to those who helped spread the word. You're awesome. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contest Was Extended!

It's just like me to forget to post that I've extended my contest until April 22! Leave a comment here on my blog with your name to enter. If you'd like multiple entries, post links to show that you've shared the contest on Facebook, your blog, or some other social media outlet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grammar Tip: Comma Splices

I first discovered the evil of comma splices this summer. While living in two different locations for six months, I did a lot of driving. I downloaded a bunch of podcasts for those drives, including several Grammar Girl podcasts. She dedicated an entire podcast to comma splices. It is VERY worth the eight or so minutes to listen to or to read. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/comma-splice.aspx

From my Editing Guide: (CS) Comma Splice
According to Diana Hacker in “A Writer’s Reference,” a comma splice is, “Two or more independent clauses joined by a comma without a coordinating conjunction…[or] joining by a word that is not a coordinating conjunction.”
In my words: You can’t throw two random thoughts together, stick a comma in, and call it good. 

As Grammar Girl notes, some authors will use the tool stylistically, the same way you might use sentence fragments. (I can't say anything about that. I'm a blatant sentence fragmenter.) But I also agree with Grammar Girl that in most cases, it's better to not use a comma splice.

Here are some examples:

I ran to the edge of the lake, it looked so dark and scary. Wrong
I ran to the edge of the lake. It looked so dark and scary. Better Creating two shorter sentences actually adds to the punch of these sentences. 
OR I ran to the edge of the lake, and it looked so dark and scary. 

Commas have a place. There are lots of rule governing where they go. A good idea is to go to a site like Grammar Girl or the Blue Book of Grammar and check out the rules, that way you'll know when your using a comma incorrectly. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things You Need To Know Now: Let Me Formally Introduce You To Your Character

If you write regency romance, you are excused from this lecture.

It's happened to all of us. That witty comment sounded soooo good in our head. Then it came out of the mouth of a twenty-year old. And the eyebrows of your teen audience shot up, and they thought, "I would never say something like that..."

If you want to check out how truly hilarious regency-era speech can sound in a modern plot, check out Sarah M. Eden's blog post here: http://www.sarahmeden.com/2011/02/if-every-story-were-written-like-cliche.html.

The truth is, unless your twenty-something hero went to boarding school in England and was raised in strict, traditional, butler-and-all English manor house, he can't channel Mr. Darcy, Edward Ferrars, and heaven forbid, Mr. Rochester.

It just isn't done, my dear.

I know what you're thinking. You know how kids talk now, don't you? You have teens. Heck, you were a teen once, not so very long ago, right? Do you know what the word "besty" means? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Unfortunately, there's not a quick-fix for getting your character's speech down. Here's a few suggestions:
1. Sit down and write, in a bulleted list, your character's specifications. Age, looks, likes, dislikes. Better yet, take one of those chain emails where you tell everyone all about yourself and answer the questions for your characters. Just free-write. Don't worry about grammar (gasp!), or word choice, being repetitive, etc. Just write like you would in a diary. Get to know your character.
2. Use contractions. Unless your characters has some big reason for sounding snotty and over-educated (like they were born in 1809), use contractions.
3. Find someone who is the age of your character and have a long conversation with them. Note the words they use, the phrases, the lack of grammatical correctness, and the over-usage of the words awesome and totally.

One more thing, if you're saying right now, "Well my heroine is 32. She wouldn't say awesome. Or totally. She's so mature now." (I can't believe I'm admitting this...) I'm 28. I use those words on an hourly basis. And I consider myself very mature. :)

If you're not sure, post your paragraph below. We'll have a rousing discussion! :) And I will always edit 10 pages for free. Send me a big chunk of dialog. I'd love to hip-up your 25 year-old hero.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Grammar Tip: Coordinating Adjectives

This past February I had the awesome opportunity to go the ANWA conference in Phoenix. It was a blast and I leaned a BUNCH. Between pitching to Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown and Kurt Shaw from Covenant, I got to listen to some great speakers. One of the sessions I didn't get to stay for all of it, but loved the twenty minutes I got was Kelly Mortimer's self-editing class. She gave out an AMAZING hand-out of all these little things she sees when she reads manuscripts.
It gave me an idea. When I edit, I can't help but comment on all these tiny little things. So I created an editing guide. Armed with abbreviations, I cut down my editing time significantly. 

So, since I haven't had the time to write a THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW post, I'll insert some grammar tips to tide you over. ;) Because as we all know, Grammar Is Not Optional. 

Today's Tip: Coordinating Adjectives

I'm just going to start at the top of my guide and head down. It's in alphabetical order (thanks to a suggestion from Shaunna). I've already covered AP (attribution punctuation. If you missed that post, it's under the THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW series, Grammar Is Not Optional. It's a very necessary read if you don't know the proper way to punctuation "I went to the store," she said.)

That means CA is next: Coordinating Adjectives, which is exactly what is sounds like. Adjectives that coordinate with each other. 

We'll start with this sentence: I love my large, brown dog.
Think of it this way, Large and Brown texted each other and both decided to modify dog. They coordinated with each other. They need to be separated by a comma.
The trick to knowing if two adjectives are Coordinate Adjectives is if you can switch them around, insert and, and not change the meaning of the sentence.
I love my brown and large dog.
Yeah, that sounds a little kooky, but it's still correct and still makes sense.
There are times you don't need a comma, and that's when the adjectives don't coordinate. Grammar Girl uses the example "exquisite custom houseboat." Custom modifies houseboat, but they kind of end up as a couple, modified by exquisite. Make sense? Could you switch them around and still have the same meaning? No. So they're cumulative, not coordinate.
Here's the link to Grammar Girl:

And remember, enter My First Ever Blog Contest by leaving a comment in the last post!! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My First Ever Blog Contest!

Did you notice the new page I added to the blog today? Look up top: Basic Editing Services!

I know so many of my ANWA sisters are hesitant to ask others to critique full manuscripts because of the time it involves. Or you don't do much critiquing yourself and you feel bad asking others to do it for you. On the other hand, the cost of having it done professionally can cost you anywhere from $500 to $2000 and even more!

So I have a solution. I'm offering to you my services. :) Check out my Basic Editing Services tab for the whole scoop.

And a contest! To celebrate my new venture, I'm giving away one of my newly offered services: A Free Line & Content Combo edit (check out the details by clicking the tab!) to the winner of My First Ever Blog Contest.

All you have to do is comment here and include this information:
Your Full Name
Describe your manuscript in one sentence.
*Get two entries by posting a link to the contest on your blog or on your Facebook page. (Leave a direct link so I can check it out.)
*Get a third entry if you refer someone who enters the contest. (Make sure they write Referred by Your Name in their comment.)

Contest will close next Friday, April 15.

**Apparently there are some issues with commenting! If you can't comment, please send me an email at raneesclark@yahoo.com

****The contest has been extended to April 22.

Attributives! (Again...)

I love Grammar Girl. Let's just get that out there right now. I tend to turn to her more often than not when I have a grammar question. And today, while looking for some information on attributing to add to my Critiquing Guide, I found another great podcast from Grammar Girl on attributives:


Check it out. It is SO worth your time. (Five minutes, max--if you read it. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

That just CUTS me!

I'm one of those people who hates giving up scenes, especially the ones that have that one witty comment, or the MC and her love interest share that brief look.... Still when your MS starts climbing over 90k (and 85k is supposedly the sweet spot of your genre), it's time to say goodbye! Even if you're under the target word count, you still need to take a look at each of your scenes with a fine-tooth comb. As Kris P. told me, read each scene separately and ask what it does to the book: slow or keep pace, advance the plot? If you can't find a good reason to keep it (besides that sweet kissing scene), it needs to go. :)
Still, I had a hard time--until I started reading aloud to my husband. It was easy to tell which scenes weren't keeping his interest, slowed the pace, or just plain held fun and interesting, yet unnecessary information. (I'd actually recommend reading it to someone outside your target audience, too. When you read a novel meant for 15 year-old-girls to a 28 year-old guy, you can really polish it up!)
Good luck!

Insurance Query

So you can guess what's been on my mind lately, right? There are so many other "agents" in the world that we interact with every day, that beg US to let them represent us. What would the letter look like if we had to query insurance agents?

Dear All State Rep,

Because of your interest in combined home and auto policies, I'm excited to tell you about my three-bedroom, two-bath home in need of representation.

When the Clark patriarch, Adam, gets a new job several hundred miles from their hometown, the Clarks are forced to sell their cozy, first house they bought together and search for a new one. After facing discouragement, the Clark's happen upon the perfect home--a dream bathtub and master suite included! But without the proper allotment of storage space, the Clark's must leave some of their prize possessions (like all the baby stuff) in a storage unit back home.

Our home marries the "lived in" decor reminiscent of "The Brady Bunch," with ample allusions to "Toy Story." If you'd like to consider putting together a policy for us, I'd be happy to forward you the full specifications as well as information on our Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Ranee` S. Clark

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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