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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #1

Did any of you catch Gennifer Albin's live forum event at WriteOnCon where she critiqued the first 100 words of 10 lucky people's manuscripts? You know the comment I saw the most? "I wish I could have mine critiqued by a professional."

Well, I consider myself somewhere in between. :D I've been free-lancing for a while and now also do contract editing for the independent press Dessert Breeze Publishing. Plus, everyone knows that other eyes seeing your work is good for a writer. Seeing it through fresh eyes is invaluable.

So, introducing Three-Hundred Thursday, in which I and the readers critique (respectfully!) the first three hundred words of a writer's manuscript. (Do you want to participate? I'll post how you can get in on the fun at the end of the post.) Without further adieu, the first victim ... er, participant, Shauna Gonzalez.

The Best Birthday Present Ever ... I hope!

So, if you follow me on twitter you might know that I took on a project for my son's birthday: writing him a book. Granted, it's not the book he wanted me to write, I'm still pretty pleased with myself. Today I worked on formatting it for CreateSpace and creating the cover.

The cover is thanks to my talented sister, Keesha. She drew the picture of my son reading a book. I snazzed it up a little with the title and you know, author name, but she is mostly the creative genius. AND now I'm going to reveal it to you, so long as you promise not to show it to my son.

Pretty soon I'm going to upload the file so you can all read this AWESOME book, but not today. I'm sick of this computer for today ... or at least for now. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog

At the advice of agent Pam van Hylckama at WriteOnCon (she seems quite awesome) I decided to get involved in some of the cool blog memes out there, like Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the book blog Broke and Bookish. So, I'm not promising a top ten post every Tuesday, because I'm me and it just might not happen. And I'm not going to guilt myself for that. There's a lot of other really great things to guilt myself about. 

Drumroll ...

My first Top Ten Tuesday post: Top Ten Favorite Books I've Read During the Lifespan of My Blog

(Have I ever mentioned here how terrible my memory is? Good thing I had a review page to look over ...)

1. Sarah M. Eden - I know. I'm cheating. She's not a book. She's an author. But if I didn't cheat like this her books would populate most of this list and that's just not fair. I am SUPER happy I discovered her books through a post on her blog that someone reposted. My favorite: FRIENDS AND FOES. Philip is the best Sarah M. Eden hero EVER.

2. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White - I judge books by their covers. I do. I can't help it. I think I saw the cover of PARANORMALCY on a blog hop of some kind and then went and looked it up on Amazon. The rest is history. I bought it. Devoured it. Ordered the last two in the series immediately. I love, love, LOVE the voice in this novel and the fabulous, almost mocking tone of paranormal books. It works.

3. MY RIDICULOUS ROMANTIC OBSESSIONS by Becca Wilhite - I found this book through Sarah Eden's blog. It has an awesome, unique, witty voice just like the top two, which I adore in books. I CRAVE it in books. I will race through a book that's making me laugh out loud every two seconds. The inner-dialogue of the main character is fan-freakin'-tastic. 

4.OF GRACE AND CHOCOLATE by Krista Lynne Jensen - Yet another author I found through Sarah Eden. And since she lives in Wyoming, like me, she's dear to my heart. I'm also beginning to see a pattern in my favorites: voice. This one has a great, funny voice that captured me. AND it's one of those non-patterned love stories. I'm always a fan of things happening differently in romance.

5. EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson - Regency Romance. From the time someone first handed me a Georgette Heyer novel (Thank you, whoever you are -- probably my mother), I have ADORED this genre. I recently passed on the obsession to my sister. You're welcome. Anyway, so this book is in the vein of Sarah Eden's (sigh-worthy heroes, cute voice) but unique in it's many splendored ways. The hero's name is Philip, so I liked him right away. And then he was awesome, so I loved him. I really enjoyed following the romance in this book.

6. The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter - These books should probably not be so far down my list, considering I LOVED them. I'm not sure why I haven't reviewed them. My little sister -- possibly 12 years old at the time -- had checked out the first book from the library, and when I was visiting my mom I picked it up. By the end of the evening, I was well over half-way through the book. So when I got home I promptly headed over to Amazon.com and ordered as many in the series as I could. Then waited impatiently for the rest. These books have always made me think of a cross between Harry Potter, James Bond, and teenage girls. They rock.

7. BEYONDERS by Brandon Mull - Alas, another book I'm not really sure why I don't have a review for it.  I was actually quite mad at Mr. Mull when I first read this book because the idea of two kids saving an alternate realm had been kicking around in my head for a while. Admittedly, I did not think to have them arrive in such a world through a hippo. That's entirely him. I am also mad at the backlog on my TBR list keeping me from reading the second book.

8. MAID TO MATCH by Deeanne Gist - I love history and anything around 1900ish is right up my alley. (There's a reason I have a WIP that takes place in 1909.) It's such a cool time period. Oddly enough, I started loving this era while reading a series of books I hated, but let's not go there. This book just spoke to me! The historical details were so fun and didn't feel like they came right out of a history book. And even though it's been several months since I read it, I can still remember the tension between the two main characters and how desperately I just wanted them to touch.

9. THE BEST INTENTIONS by Candice Hern - Another regency. Ha! Are you surprised? No, you're not. This book made my top ten list because I ADORED the heroine. She was young and a really "hoydenish" -- so reminiscent of some of G.H.'s best heroines. 

10. VARIANT by Robison Wells - This one should be further up, but I'm still punishing Mr. Wells for that cliffhanger at the end. My reason for complaint is drying up though, as I'm told the paperback has the first three chapters of the sequel FEEDBACK. Still, he deserves to be down here for making me wait this long to find out WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED!?! Take that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Buy HAVEN on Amazon

My speculative fiction romance story HAVEN is now available on Amazon. It's only $0.99, so of course I think you should all head over and BUY IT!

Here, I'll make it easy: http://www.amazon.com/Haven-ebook/dp/B008YFXBXG/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345144099&sr=1-2&keywords=Ranee+S+Clark

The IT'S A LOVE THING anthology is still available in both ebook and paperback forms. (You can buy it at a bunch of places: 
Amazon (print)
Amazon (ebook)
CreateSpace (print)
Barnes & Noble (ebook)
Smashwords (ebook all formats) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, The Revision Checklist by author Talia Vance

(You can find the full post at the WriteOnCon website: http://writeoncon.com/2012/08/the-revision-checklist-by-author-talia-vance/ It was pretty fantastic!)

I loved this post by Talia Vance. I will definitely be putting it into practice when I begin revising my WIP. 
I also look at where the plot is at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of the way points, to see if I am hitting turning points and act climaxes at about the right time.  This is a great way to analyze pacing in terms of your overall plot.  At the 1/4 point, I should be through the first act turning point, and the character should set off on the journey that will take them to the climactic scenes at the end.  At 1/2, the main character should have an emotional turning point of some kind, or make a discovery that is unexpected.  At 3/4, the character faces the darkest hour, and must regroup for the climactic scenes in the last 1/4 of the book.  These are rough points that don’t necessarily have to hit exactly, but they should be close.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, Veronica Rossi

I'm at WriteOnCon. Like right now. This minute. Because it's online and it's free. Already I've absorbed some super query awesomeness by following along on a forum event with agent Peter Knapp. I need to go back and take notes. 

Guys, it was nearly the same as sitting in a conference room. Except I'm not in a nice hotel. Also, I'm still in my pajamas and my boys are watching "Ice Age."

And what does any good writer/blogger do when they get really GREAT advice? They pass it on. So here are some tidbits I've gleaned so far. WAY more to come this week. People, it's SO easy to register, you could go do it now and be caught up in like, three hours, I think. :D

So first up, some FAB advice from UNDER THE NEVER SKY author Veronica Rossi: 
(And BTW you can see the class/post RIGHT now at http://writeoncon.com/2012/08/sustaining-the-writing-groove-by-author-veronica-rossi. For free. And no one is going to glare at you for walking in late. Sweet, right!)

Here are just a few of the things Veronica had to say about "Sustaining the Writing Groove."

Yes, work. If you want to be a professional writer, then it helps to treat your writing like a profession.
I struggled with this for a long time -- well into the days when I considered myself "serious" about writing because I was passionately working to get published. Finally, one day, when people started asking what I did. I'd say, "I'm a stay-at-home mom," (because I am and I'm really, really happy to be that), "and I'm a writer." And I started calling the three-hour block that is nap-time, "when I work." You should do it too. It's liberating in a strange, now-I'm-chained-to-the-desk sort of way. WHICH Veronica addresses too:

Writing is work, yes, but it’s also fun. It should also feel like play, so let yourself riff on something that seems silly or even meaningless. I bet it won’t be. I bet you’ll surprise yourself.

I do this a lot when I'm stuck. I abandon ship and go work on something I just want to work on. It means there's a lot of unfinished MS's in my files. Some of them will probably never be finished. That's okay. When I need to just write, I can always go over there and fool around. And you shouldn't feel guilty about it -- at least not too much. I'm also a big advocate that you should stick to one project at a time in order to be more productive. I know. I'm contradictory, but I'm a writer, so I can SO totally be contradictory if I want to. Stick to a project. Cheat when you want. There you have it. Oh, and as Veronica says, you should also READ!
Whether non-fiction or fiction, reading gets me pumped up about writing. A research book can spur a fresh idea. A beautifully handled character introduction can, literally, make me sigh. 
I don't know about you guys, but when I read a good book (or watch a great movie) it lights a fire under my butt. I HAVE to go out and write. So, you know, it helps in a lot of ways beyond helping you know your genre and to know the market out there. READ! Read, read, READ!

Come back. I'll have more tidbits coming. This is so much fun guys. Really!


Monday, August 13, 2012

WriteOnCon: Are You Going?

Conferences. It's one of the first bits of advice you'll get as an aspiring author. Go to conferences.

Did any of you know I live pretty much in the middle of no where? Well, not really, totally. But kind of. In Wyoming. That's usually far from the conferences. I don't get a lot of opportunities. But that's the place where you get to meet agents and pitch your work. Pitching is WAY better than querying. The agent gets to meet you and ask questions about your work. That equals better chances of getting requests for material, which we all know is a GREAT thing.

So you're like me? It's hard to get to conferences? That's why WriteOnCon is so fabulous. It's online. It's free.

What the heck is stopping you?!?

Oh, you write adult fiction. Ooops. Sorry. Okay, so anyway. For those of you who write for kids (YA, MG, childrens, etc.) Go. GO NOW! Sign up. (It's SO easy.) Get query critiques, first 250 word crits, Five page crits ... and REAL LIVE AGENTS will be lurking. There's live events with agents, editors, authors, YOU NAME IT.

You will not regret it. :)

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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