Friday, May 20, 2016

Writing Celebrations

Hello, all! I didn't intend to disappear from the blogosphere for the past few weeks, but I do have a good excuse because I've been busy writing! I'm trying my best to concentrate as hard as the little cutie in the picture above and keep writing, writing, and writing.

But since it's Friday and time to celebrate, I'm jumping back in to blog land and celebrating some writing-related fun I've had in the past few weeks.

1. I was interviewed by Carolyn at Authors, Agents, Books, and More and it was a great experience to be featured there! Carolyn does an awesome job with that site and I was so grateful for the opportunity. If you'd like to see my interview, click here.

2. I received an unsolicited invitation to appear at an author's event in 2017 and I couldn't be more thrilled. The lady who contacted me asked what my fees would be to appear and I almost fell off my couch. Fees? Someone was asking me about fees when I would happily pay to attend? Yes, she was, and she also offered to pay my expenses. I took her up on that since I will need a hotel but I told her I don't charge any fees. Just the idea seems so crazy! But who knows, maybe someday I'll actually be in that position. It sure was nice to be asked! Anyway, by total coincidence, the event is in Marysville, Ohio, which happens to be the home of Baby Moo and Sunrise Sanctuary, the star and setting of my forthcoming children's book. I couldn't believe that coincidence but somehow it feels like a good omen!

3. Finally, I'm celebrating that I'm making real progress on my new story for my Polar Night series and I'm genuinely enjoying the writing. And I'm thinking about the story ALL the time! When I'm in the shower, when I'm driving to work, when I'm taking Clancy for a walk.... it's always fun when a story takes over like that. :)

So after the past few weeks, I'm not only as focused as that little cutie above, I'm also as excited as this one.

Happy Friday and weekend, all!

The Celebrate the Small Things hop is hosted by my buddy Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge, Tonja Drecker at Kidbits, and Katie at The Cyborg Mom. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Celebrations & a Visit from Misha Gerrick

It's Friday and that means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things from the past week. The hop is hosted by my buddy Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge, Tonja Drecker at Kidbits, and Katie at The Cyborg Mom. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

I'm going to make my list of celebrations short & sweet because I am also welcoming Misha Gerrick to the blog today as part of her tour for her new release.

I'm celebrating:

1. I attended the Mad Anthony Writer's Conference in Hamilton, Ohio last weekend and had a great time. I met up with some members of my SICCO writer's group and enjoyed spending time with them, plus I feel like I learned some things thanks to a great presentation from Jane Friedman.

2. As I mentioned in my IWSG post, I'm working on a new book in my Polar Night series and I'm super excited about it.

3. Game of Thrones is back and, as of the end of last week's episode, so is my favorite character. (I'll leave it at that in case anyone is behind on watching.) All is right in my tv world. :D

And now I'm turning it over to Misha. Hope everyone has a great weekend!


One of my favorite things about Endless was Nick’s narrative voice. It was just magic from the beginning. I didn’t need to do anything. He just came alive as I wrote, so often writing his scenes were the easiest writing I would do all day.

Ryan and Aleria’s voices were a bit more difficult. Ryan, because he’s more of distant person, who’d built so many walls around himself over the past few decades that he just doesn’t come across as interesting unless I push him.

Aleria was tricky because… well… she doesn’t know who she is.

That said, the foundations for both were laid in the rough draft phase, same as with Nick. All I did was to start with whatever the character wanted to say, and then let the characters do the talking.

As the story progressed, I got more of a feel for who each character was, and how that influences how they sound. Which meant that by the time edits came around, it was easier for me to refine each character’s voice.

I know that nailing down voice in a story is seriously difficult, so I thought I’d share my five tips for managing it.

1) Focus on how the character would say something. Not you. The character is the one speaking to the reader. Not the author. If you can remember that, you’re on your way.

2) Listen to your character even as you write. You’ll start getting a feel for the character’s word choices, speech patterns and turns of phrase. So that you can go back and reinforce moments where you slip up during the rough draft.

3) What that character reveals is important. What the character doesn’t reveal to the reader can be even more so. So get to know that character as well as possible so you know what’s going on. If you’re familiar with a character, you’ll know the things the character will never say.

4) Don’t focus so much on making a character sound unique that the character ends up sounding fake. Some phrases are commonly used between at least more than half of English speakers everywhere. It would be stupid to make one character avoid using one of those just because another character used the same phrase earlier.

5) Careful of letting a character’s hobbies/jobs/interests inform every description or turn of phrase. Just because someone is a vegetarian doesn’t mean that they will describe everything in terms of vegetable or fruit colors, for example. It comes back to point #4. Yes, a character’s life will inform the way they see and describe things. But often, this difference will be subtle. Think of yourself and your job. How does it affect your perceptions?

My day-job is exporting fruit and veg. I still don’t see everything in terms of fruit and veg. But I will pick up quality issues in almost any fresh produce within seconds of seeing them. Because it’s my job. But I won’t arbitrarily call a green “lime green” unless the color exactly matched that of a lime.

Bonus tip: Subtlety goes a long way.

How do you nail down voice in your story?

About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG & Sign of the Green Dragon

The first thing I thought when I realized it was time for the May meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group was how is it May already? I can't believe a third of 2016 is already in the books. 2015 was not a productive writing year for me and I started this year determined that 2016 would be different.

So far it hasn't been! But I am confident that will change because I finally have a solid story mapped out for another Polar Night book and I am excited about writing it. Last year I tried to force an idea that just didn't work and I knew it wasn't working all the while I writing it, so the whole thing became a chore. I know it's different now because I actually look forward to writing again and we all know what a great feeling that is.

Originally I planned to post about my insecurity that the year was already getting away from me. But as I sat down to write that post I realized I don't feel bad about that because I am excited and enthusiastic about writing my new story. I know the rest of the year won't be a waste. So I'm kicking the insecurity to the curb and focusing on that enthusiasm instead.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit Alex's site to join in and view a list of members.

I'm also excited to share the awesome cover for Sign of the Green Dragon, the latest great book from the talented mind of C. Lee McKenzie. The book will be available in August of this year.

Book Summary: When a wall of their cave hideout crumbles, three boys discover a skeleton, clutching a treasure map. They set off to trace the story of an old murder, but stumble into a modern crime, and confront ancient Chinese dragons. 

Want to Read Link: Goodreads 

Author Bio: C. Lee McKenzie is a 4 & 5 star reviewed author. Her greatest passion is writing for young readers. Sign of the Green Dragon is her third Middle Grade novel. Alligators Overhead and the sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster were her first two. She has traditionally published four young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets.

Congratulations, C. Lee!! And Happy May, all! :)