Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review: In The Shadows

To be wrong about someone can be disappointing, but what do you do when that person is someone you love and thought you knew everything about? That is what Giselle Bergman must find out in Julieanne Lynch's book In the Shadows. The author introduces us to Giselle right from the start and it is not hard for the reader to connect with her. At eighteen years old Giselle is pretty much your average teenager and one nearly everyone can relate to. Regardless of how imperfect her family may be, Giselle really has a lot going for her. Her family loves her, she has a popular boyfriend, and is best friends with a boy who would do anything for her. What more could a girl ask for? It is soon discovered that things are not always what they seem. That some people are not who they appear to be. And that no matter how normal her life may seem at the moment, high school romance drama included, Giselle's life is about to change very suddenly. Catapulted into a life she never asked for or even believed existed, Giselle soon finds herself submerged in a world made from the stuff of nightmares and forced into making decisions that will change the course of her future in drastic ways. Her once ordinary life is filled with chaos and betrayal and a new bloodlust that rages through her constantly. She is also forced to realize that if she wants to survive in this new life of hers, Giselle will have to awaken the darkest part of her. A powerful part of herself that she never knew existed. Until now.

Typical and washed up are what usually come to mind when you hear the word vampire. It is easy to see how this could be considering the latest craze and all the hype that has come along with it. After reading In the Shadows by author Julieanne Lynch, however, one cannot bring themselves to utter such words. Readers are instantly aware of the darkness that almost flows off the pages. We are beckoned and enticed by the author who sucks us deep into her characters' world to make us see and feel as they do. The author's simple and down to earth style is refreshing. There are no dressed up words to take away from the story but there is an elegance in her writing that speaks or itself. In the Shadows is a fantastic read that will leave you breathless the entire way through. There is not one page of disappointment in this book except the fact that it ends and leaves you thirsting for more. This is one book you do not want to miss.
Buy it now!
On Amazon and on Smashwords!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whatcha Reading Tuesday!!

Can you believe its that time again? Of course you can! Its Whatcha Reading Tuesday!! Come and share anything at all that you're reading with us. From books to your own writings to comics to that Wanted sign with your picture on it. Just share!! Oh and answer this week's question. We talked about overrated writers, now tell us a writer you think is underreated? Besides yourself of course :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Poetry: Surge

by: lilith
I want to touch your immortal soul,
caress your dark heart,
drink from your well,
walk on your waves,
be submerged by your sea.
Should I dip my toes
carefully, cautiously?
Or plunge fully,
fiercely, freely;
without care should you
spit me upon the sands
or swallow me in your surge?
My wish is to hear your voice;
in my head,
flowing thru my ears,
thrumming against my palms
as I embrace your bones,
nudging your conciousness
with my need.
Yet dare I make contact,
crashing myself into
your existence,
shaking your tree
til the fruits plummet into my grasp?
I rage with insecurity,
once blown apart
by impetuous desire,
my heart no longer sure
what is lie and what is truth.
So should I suffice
with silence;
only my verse to express
my wonderment,
and be content with the presence
that haunts me ever
in my dreams?

Copyright ©2011 Spiritwind Studios Ltd

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Blogger Al Lamanda: Rambling Musings of the Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way to Being Published.

**Please welcome author Al Lamanda, who is this month's guest blogger.**

You’ve sweated, stressed over, lost sleep because of, skipped meals, stood up friends and family, wrote, rewrote, gave up on, went back to, and finally finished the book you started out to write.

Finally, it’s finished. Your book. Now what?

When I first started writing, there weren’t the choices there are today. My choices were traditional publishers and that was it. Today, if you so choose, you can self-publish on a dozen different eBook publishing sites.

Before you try the eBook route, you want to take your best shot at getting you book scooped up by an agent, who will then in turn sell it for the best deal possible to a publisher. Where do you start?

Why, at the beginning, of course, because very little has changed in the world of traditional publishing. Your best chance of selling your work to a publisher is to get an agent who believes in you, and that isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.

So, with that in mind, here are some of the things I did wrong and what I did to correct them along the way.

First, assuming you’ve finished your book, you must write a perfect query letter to an agent. One page or less, preferably less. An agent may receive hundreds of query letters in a week, how much time do you think will be spent on your six page rambler? My first query letter was almost seven pages. I included everything but my height and weight in it, and guess how many responses I got in return?

So what’s in a perfect query letter? Who you are, what your book is about, your contact information and a short bio of your work, if you have one. You can find many good examples of query letters on the sites I will list below. Note they are all one page or less. Practice yours until it’s the best query letter you can make it. Remember your query letter is your face, your introduction and your first impression. Make it a great one.

Now you have a query letter, so what do you do with it? Send it to an agent, of course. I mean, how could they not love it? After all, it’s your book. Right? So what I did was send my query to about five hundred agents. I figured volume query lettering would have to work if you send out enough of them. Of course, that proved to be the exact wrong thing to do.

Here’s why. If you do your homework, you’ll find that most agents represent the type of books they are interested in. So why query an agent looking for women’s fiction and tell them about you great mystery/thriller? Why query an agent looking for action/suspense with you great new western or romance novel? Do you homework and find the agents interested in your genre and query them. If you check the websites I’ve listed below, you can locate the agents interested in your genre. Those are the ones to target.

So you written the perfect query and sent them to your targeted agents and yikes, an agent wants to read your work. What now?

Simple, you do what the agent asks. Some will want to see a synopsis and first three chapters. Others will want a synopsis and the entire manuscript. Most, if not all will request a synopsis. The first time an agent asked me for a synopsis, I sent one nearly the size of my book. I never heard back. A synopsis should be two to six pages and no more. An agent doesn’t have the time to read a twenty page outline. If you had to read twenty or thirty of them a day, would you? Check the websites I list below for samples of some good synopsis writing. Practice writing yours and make sure it’s the best it can be before sending it out.

You’ve gotten this far, but you’re not there yet. When the agent asks to see your manuscript, what is expected is a manuscript formatted to industry standards. Nothing fancy in the least. Just 12 font, double spaced and as mistake free as possible. They don’t expect perfect, but they do expect industry standards and good. If the book is sold, a professional editor will take it from there. Check the websites below for samples of industry standards.

After that, it’s a waiting game. Don’t bug the agent. Normal response time is three months to get back to you, some as much as six months. After all, yours is not the only manuscript they have to read on their desk.

One final note on a doozy of a mistake I made early on. I took rejection personally. It isn’t. Resist the temptation to let that agent know what you think of their rejection notice. Rejection is just part of the business. Every reader won’t love your book and neither will every agent. Keep in mind that the agent who rejected your first book just might love your second one, but they will never read it if you make them an enemy.

Remember, when it comes to agents, it only takes one. If you don’t make the mistakes I did and your book is good enough, you will find that one.

Thanks for letting me share some of my mistakes with you and I hope they help you along your way.
Predators & Editors

Al Lamanda is the author of the books Dunston Falls, Walking Homeless, Running Homeless and Sunset (release date 2012.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bits O'Wisdom: Rule Breaker!!

I know what you're thinking. *Gasp!* She can't be seriously telling us to break the rules...right? Haha yes.
Well....sort of.
I've been writing since twelve. Not much to brag about from back then since most of the poetry I wrote were rantings of an emotional preteen. Haha. Eventually, years later, I sat myself down and began writing my very first novel, entitled: Welcome Home. I was super excited. I spent weeks clicking away at the computer in the living room. Days, nights...I was on a freaking roll! Writer's block? Ha! I had no idea what that was. None of that wretched disease for me! The words flowed like an endless fountain of word vomit. It was beautiful. I was having so much fun.

Then again I also had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know my characters needed to move things forward. Didn't know that all those adverb cluttered sentences were no-nos. Or that I was probably putting too much detail where there shouldn't be...too little where there should be more. I was ignorant. And like they say...ignorance is bliss.
A couple months later my novel was finished. Can you guess what I did next? Oh yeah. I queried the thing. (Or at least I thought I did. I really had no idea what a query letter should look like) Sent it out to every address I could get my hands on and waited. I really wish I could tell y'all that I got a miracle response with a book deal that made me famous. That some kind hearted editor saw past the badly written manuscript and took me under their wing. Unfortunately this is reality and stuff like that rarely happens. If ever. No, what happened was a wake-up call. I was rejected.

I wallowed a bit. Sniffled. Then I picked up the pieces of my shattered ego and got myself into some writing communities. I started learning the ins and outs of good writing and met some fellow writers who helped me along the way.

Like everything in life...writing has rules. As writers we need to learn these rules, practice them. It's the only way we will ever get better. Unfortunately, sometimes it's these same rules that hinder our creativity. Stifle our muse(s). We get so caught up in following these rules, these guidelines, that we forget to let our uniqueness show. Which is why..sometimes..we have to break them.

---> Save the unconventional writing for when you're established...
Um, we've all heard this. I've heard this. All the time. But what if your story (you know the one in your head that is screaming to get on paper) is supposed to be mainly back story? *gasp!* Or what if the whole thing can't be told any other way except for multiple flashbacks? *eek!* I can see all you 'Rule-Followers' cringing in horror. I can hear it now: "Don't do that! Nobody will publish you! That's a no-no!" Really? Think about all the great many of them broke the rules? Is it ok now because they ARE published? Doesn't that mean you can too? Once upon a time J.K.Rowling was not J.K.Rowling. Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Nicholas Sparks...they weren't always THEM. Hmm..

---> Stick to the 'formula'...
It's not really called that, not always, but y'all know there is a formula for erotica, romance, fantasy, horror...some method one must follow to build a 'good story.' Romance must have that element introduced early. Sex scenes must show up almost first thing in Erotica. Inciting incidents must be huge in Fantasy...I get it. Again I ask: What if that's not how your story is supposed to be told?

Those are just a couple of rules that are often advised one shouldn't break. It defies the norm. It goes against the way things are done. Yes, stories must have structure. They need a purpose driven plot and characters that aren't flatter than a pancake on Sunday morning but they also need to have that uniqueness that sets it apart from all those other books out there. Does your story have that? Is it unique? Does it have that spark? Yes? Good.

So...are you going to tell it the way it was meant to be told? Or are you going to tell it the way others say it should be told?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whatcha Reading Tuesday!!

Do I have to keep saying it? Okay I will! It's Whatcha Reading Tuesday!! A time to share what it is you're reading with us. Come on and share whatever it may be from books, your own writings, comic or a certain blog (ahem) :) This week's question is what character would you be in real life?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review: The Well of Ascension

Genre: Fiction/Epic Fantasy
Published by: Tor Fantasy
First Publication Year: 2007  
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Now, due to the summary spoiling a key point in the novel, I won’t post it up here. I try to keep these reviews relatively spoiler-free.
In book two of the Mistborn trilogy, Sanderson has raised both the personal stakes and the physical threat. A year after Kelsier’s rebellion, Vin, Elend Venture, and the other members of Kelseir’s crew are left with a fledgling kingdom on the verge of political collapse. With three armies waiting to attack the city of Luthadel—One led by Elend’s father, Straff Venture, another by nobleman, Lord Cett, and another led by Jastes Lekal, a former friend of Elend’s—Elend struggles to keep control of the throne amid this growing threat, and Vin is left wondering about the strange behaviour of the once-comforting mists and of the strange, elusive Mistborn who watches her.
In this novel, there is a lot of focus on the ancient prophecies that shaped the world. On the concept of the Deepness and searching for the Hero of Ages—an ancient champion mentioned to defeat the Deepness. Combined with the raised stakes, this made for a much stronger conflict then the previous novel, and a much more fulfilling read.
As for characters, Sanderson has yet to disappoint. Kelsier’s crewmembers are quite fun and their banters made me smile. Like squabbling old friends, I looked forward when one of them would make an offhand comment to tick off another member. The banter between the pewter-burning (a strengthening metal) Thug, Hammond, and the portly, distinguished Soother (a Allomancer who controls emotions), Breeze, were hilarious.  
If I were to look at character growth, however, the characters that changed most from book one were Vin and Elend. In THE WELL OF ASCENSION, Vin has grown into a competent, strong Mistborn, confident in her abilities. Her personal struggles and frustrations over her inability to protect Elend and save Luthadel and its people and, her determination to do so, only served to make her all the more relatable and human. Elend Venture was probably the one who changed the most through the book. Taught by a Terriswoman Keeper named Tindwyl, he transformed from an endearing, scholarly idealist to an honourable, assertive king.
Again that message of friendship and trust was well done through the novel, just as it was done in the first. But Sanderson also added another factor into the mix: Trusting in those you love to do what’s right, understanding what love really is about: Respect.
This novel was a satisfying sequel to MISTBORN and uncovered much of the puzzling questions and revelations that MISTBORN left unanswered.
Would I read this again: Yes.
My rating: ***** (five stars)
I rated this novel five stars because, although Sanderson’s passive writing style and lack of strong hooks were something that may have hindered the first novel, this novel made up for it with a strong conflict and filling in the blanks with surprising, major twists.
Would I recommend this sequel to MISTBORN? Yes. If you enjoyed the first novel, I’d urge you to pick up the sequel ASAP.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Poetry: E


I'm sick of the corruption
The fighting and wars
I just want some peace for my children who
Will walk along these shores
Why can't we just be?
We can't live happily
Our kids won't soon forget
All the devastation
All those who wept
The shores are littered
For what?
For cash?
We burn, we burn, we burn
Yet people never learn
We are polluting let and right
There is no end in sight
What happened to compassion
Understanding and trust?
What happened to all the good things which
Have been left out to rust?
I cry for my generation
This overly consuming nation
We need to do something
Before we end up with

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Shorts: House of Broken Dolls

by lilith

"You really shouldn't break your dolls."

"But I want them to look just like me."

"You're not broken, Christina, you're whole, like I am."

Libby stopped writing on her tablet and smiled at the eight-year-old, always enchanted by her long, chestnut hair and amber eyes. Her fingers twirled her pen thoughtfully, the barrel made of thick glass in alternating stripes of brown, yellow, sea green, and white - the colors Christina said reminded her of a faerie forest.

Christina sighed and continued to mangle her dolls, brushing the silken black hair of a severed head with a brush made out of the same striped glass. "I so love the stripes, Mommy."

"I know." Libby's eyes welled up, but she fought back the burning tears. "I carry a piece of you around with me wherever I go."

In the small room there was a vanity filled with objects of striped glass - hairpins, rings, beads, bracelets- as well as macabre mobiles of pieces of dolls hanging from the ceiling, small shards of glass attached, making them tinkle like chimes in the breeze of the fan. Libby's heart wrenched as she watched her daughter, knowing that dawn was swiftly approaching, knowing that time was not on her side.

"Come here." Libby streched out her arms, her hands flexing as Christina ran to her. She grabbed her into her embrace, holding tight while the tears and sobs finally broke free."I don't want to lose you again, stay with me, please. I miss you."

"I miss you, too, Mommy, but you know I have to go." Christina whined, slipping from Libby's embrace, the once beautiful child now laying among the dolls with shattered limbs, bone and blood where skin should be, matted hair and fleshless face. "See, I told you I was broken like them."

Libby's shriek of anguish rang through the empty air as morning peeked through the blinds, her child fading before her, leaving nothing but damaged dolls and mutilated memories. Dashing the pen against a wall, she barely flinched when the small shards bit her cheek, trickles of blood mixing in with her tears.

Within an instant she was composed, rising and picking up the fragments to take them her workbench, laying them among the others along with her drimmel and filament. She would see the glassblower again tomorrow, take him more ashes which he at first had thought to question, yet she paid him handsomely and besides, the ashes lent the glass an ethereal irridescence. In the meantime, she would methodically pick up the pieces like she always did, singing to break the suffocating silence.

Don't you know
I've lost my way
can't find my way
Don't you know
I've lost my way

But I'll try and I'll try
until I die....

*lyrics from Ba da da da, copyright Angel'n Irons*

by lilith

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lit to Film: Angels and Demons

I think it's pretty safe to say that the books Hollywood turns into films are often...lacking. Whether it's missing character traits or thoughts, plot changes to make the story flow better on screen, certain scenes removed altogether...etc...we all know how badly a book can be destroyed while making its way to the silver screen. Last month D.F. Matthews gave an example about how The Shining was one of those films that wound up being better than the book. This time it's the opposite. The film Angels and Demons has nothing on the book by Dan Brown.
Before you go on though, I have to warn you:

Angels and Demons is actually the first book (not The DaVinci Code) from Dan Brown that introduces the character Robert Langdon. The novel opens with Langdon receiving a midnight phone call from Maximilian Kohler, the director of CERN, the world's largest scientific research facility in Geneva, Switzerland. One of their top physicists has been murdered and branded with the word Illuminati across his chest. As a symbologist, and expert on this ancient secret society, Langdon is asked to help solve the murder. Turns out that this dead guy was not just a physicist but also a Catholic priest who had been working in secret with his adopted daughter Vittoria (also a scientist) to create antimatter. Problem? This antimatter stuff is extremely delicate. As in it can destroy an entire city--Vatican City--which is where the canister containing it is hidden.
To make matters worse, the Pope has just died and the four priests being considered as replacements have been kidnapped. So now Langdon and Vittoria are in a race against time to try and decipher the clues left by this murderer, who claims to be Illuminati, before it's too late. This race leads them to sealed crypts, empty cathedrals, and into the greatly restricted vault of Vatican City itself to search for the trail of enlightenment which will lead to the location of the secret Illuminati meeting place that has been hidden for centuries.

Now here comes the film, directed by Ron Howard. To say the interpretation was okay would be putting it nicely. Those of you who have read the books and seen the film will probably agree with me. Those who haven't...let me explain.

While the plot pretty much remains the same....

Langdon must figure out the clues and what the Illuminati are saying before the murderer kills every one of the kidnapped priests.

...I was shocked to see how different the film interpretation of the book was right from the start. Not only was it not Kohler who calls Robert Langdon--but Kohler's character was completely erased from the film. The dead scientist was depicted as Vittoria's colleague and not her father. Even Vittoria seemed to be 'dummed' down in the film. From here it just gets worse. The Carmerlengo (a major part of the story) is missing so much of the backstory that made him the great character he should have stayed. There was no understanding from the audience as to why he would do the things he does and his relation to the Pope was also taken out. It made him seem more like master's pet and nothing more. One thing I did find very disappointing is the murderer himself. The Hassasin. There was nothing about his past to motivate him. He's merely a hire for kill. Truly saddening, considering he was very good at what he did. In was beautiful. (Though I'm no sadist)
Still, I don't have to point out the details to show how off mark the film was. In the end of the book, all four priests are killed. In the movie, however, Robert Langdon manages to save one--who later becomes the Pope.

For those who did read the book and saw the film, the plot changes made the thing hard to follow. Then again there was so much that the director assumed viewers knew that he left out things that would allow the non book readers to understand the story the way it was meant to. An epic battle between Science and Religion. The film played up the conspiracy of the Catholic Church more than explaining the reasons behind WHY characters behaved the way they did. It was typical bad guy vs good guy. So not what it should have been.

So for those of you who have read and watched Angels and Demons...which do you think was better?
Or if you've only watched one and not the other...would you consider reading/viewing the other?

I'm sure there will be some of you who disagree, but I wouldn't recommend watching the film until you've read the book. It will ruin things for you. Then again, I can't really say the book won't ruin the movie either. Guess that's just a decision y'all will have to make. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bits O'Wisdom: Social Networking--FACEBOOK

Let's pick up where we left off with the dos and don'ts of social networking. Last time I talked about how Twitter is can be one of an author's best marketing tools if used correctly. This time I want to talk about Facebook. The social network that is not just a noun...but a verb. It's so normal nowadays to say, "Oh, I was facebooking last night." or "Facebook me!"

I have to admit--I was against it at first. Oh, nothing and noone could convince me of how great the site was or how much fun it could be. I thought it was dumb. (shields head from lightening bolts) Then, like most of us, I opened an account and decided to give it a whirl. Lo and behold just a few months later...I was hooked. Pretty soon I was working the site like a pro. Poking people. Chatting. Posting slightly questionable status updates....

**What was that? What about MySpace? Let's face it. MySpace is no longer a useful site for authors to promote themselves. Except in very rare (and I do mean rare) circumstances. If you feel strongly otherwise, leave a comment. Especially if you have a success story to share! :)**

Unlike Twitter, Facebook really is more of a personal social network. You can list not just your friends but your family and co-workers. You can post pictures up, create events, etc. Even find people you haven't spoken to in years. So yes I do get all the 'personal' goodies that don't need to be shared with every one of your fans...and probably shouldn't be. Here's a couple of big things that are great about it, though.


1.) Pages
Oh yeah.You know what I'm talking about. How many times have you searched your favorite music artist, actor, actress...Author? Mm hmm. You can make pages for all sorts of things and people. Including authors. Published and unpublished. These things are like a mini website that can be shared with your friends and even advertised. You can put your author bio up along with any links you might have. You can start discussions. Facebook has now updated the way its pages work by allowing the owner to navigate the site (i.e. comment on other pages' posts and links) as the page itself and not their own personal profile. It's the perfect way to keep personal and professional seperate.

2.) Groups
Ok, this one is a little trickier. The good thing about groups on Facebook is that you can add whomever you want without their permission. That, unfortunately, is also one of its biggest faults. I'm not saying they shouldn't be used. They are great because you can chat privately with group members only (author interview anyone?) and make it private if you wish. Group owners do need to practice some common sense and courtesy, however.
Let's say Dee Writer wants to make a group for herself. She sets it all up and adds all her friends to the group. Yes. All 897 of them. She starts posting stuff about her books, her blog, etc...
Problem. More than half those 'friends' of hers are either A. Not going to have a clue they've been added to the group or B. Be very aware of it and very annoyed because they don't understand WHY. Maybe they're even wondering WHO she is. (especially if Dee Writer is her pen name) So they leave.
I can't tell you how many times I've been added to a group I had no wish to be a part of. I'll sign into my account and every now and again I'll realize that I am now a member of Do It Yourself Home Repair. thanks.

There is also the snazzy way you can share almost anything from the web on Facebook. And vice versa.

As far as Dos and Don'ts go...

Don't over advertise your book or your blog. There are so many other things you can post about in between. Trivia, quotes, updates on your writing activity, fun questions...Use your imagination. Be personable and not just some stuffy author who wants readers to buy his/her novels. Contents are also something to think about.

Again: There is a difference between personable and personal. While it's nice for readers to know that you're human after smart about how you go about it.

What things have you noticed about authors with pages or groups on Facebook? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whatcha Reading Tuesday!!

Say it with me now...Whatcha Reading Tuesday!! Come and share what you're reading with us whether it be book, comic, blog or instruction on trapping lost tarantulas. Anything at all! Share! This week's question is what is you're earliest reading memory?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Poetry: And The World Always Turns/She Was a Dandelion Seed in the Wind

And the World Always Turns

She walks somewhere I do not know
And I wish I was there
But love in time I did not show
That I for her did care.
It matters not in lifes scheme
That in love with her was I
That of her I did often dream
But to say so was too shy,
So I have lost and that is life
My heart with loves pains burns
She will be someone elses wife
And the world always turns.

And I surely with the coming of time
Another I shall find
Worthy to tributes write in rhyme
But still there in my mind
The lady of the sweetest smile
Who exuded such grace
For whom Id have crawled many a mile
Will always hold a place.
Others she meets she may welcome
Other men sometimes she spurns
She'll know not the love of where Im from
And the world always turns.

She Was A Dandelion Seed in the Wind

Once upon a time in a garden
There was a seed that the wind blew
Dancing, like a ballerina in the air
Up and down and round it threw
In a dance that was enchanting
The parachuted passenger seed of dandelion
In the flamenco passion of the wind
Looking like a creation devine
And chance would tell where it lay
And time would tell where it grew
Such a seed was she blowing into my life
That girl from Italy I once knew.

Sometimes you have to catch a seed
To hold it close and lose it never
But I let her blow away
And so lost her forever
I will never forget her smile
Though I forget her last name
That dandelion seed in my life
That I failed to plant and tame.

All dandelion seeds are the same they say
And true as that may be
I knew in my heart there was the chance
She was the one for me.
But if the garden of my heart
Was good for her to grow
I never had the courage to ask
And so, shall never know.

So when you see a dandelion seed you desire
Grasp it in your hand
And blow its parachute away
With love... strand by strand.
Or you will be like me
Full of regret because
A wind blew her over the garden wall of my life
And I lost a love that never was.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bits O Wisdom: Using Twitter or Facebook to Keep the Motivation

A strange thought occurred to me this week. I was updating my Facebook and checking Twitter. It was a slow day for writing. I hadn’t got much done, and it seemed like my muse had gone on vacation. But as I was typing up a Twitter status, I wondered… is this helpful? Is this micro-blogging good for writers who are stuck in the kind of mood I am in? When things don’t want to flow right, when your characters won’t talk or when writers block has you in its clutches? 
When I’m stuck, I always end up on Facebook of Twitter—either venting or replying or just to see what others are up to. Just for something to do, to jog my brain for a bit, while I try and get out of this funk.
Because, for some reason, I always know what to post or tweet. It’s quick and easy, short and sweet.
So, for a quick writing exercise, if you’re stuck, pretend your first sentence or your continuing one is a Facebook (So you’ll limit yourself for this update to 420 characters) or a Twitter update (limited to 140 characters). It doesn’t have to be in first-person, or about your life. You just have to write. You can post it either in Twitter or on Facebook or just in your document if you like. The idea is to just give yourself a boost, a way to get the writing going again.
Who knows? It might work.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Whatcha Reading Tuesday!!

It's that time again for Whatcha Reading Tuesday!! Come on and share with us what you're reading. Spread the love of reading one book, blog, magazine, comic book, or contents label of pickled pig's feet at a time :) And this week's question is what is your all time favorite book?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day (minus Will Smith)

Happy Independence Day!! Isn't that a fabulous word? Independence. That is what I decided to focus on today for this post: independence. A simple word to say, but one of the more difficult ones to put into action.

This week, without realizing the significance of the weekend at the time, I made a promise to work on a query letter. For you more bold writers this may not seem like much of a thing to promise. However, if you are like me; timid, shy, that kid who always sat in the back and was told they'd never amount to anything, well then I'm sure you know how I felt. This was the next step. A new step into an alien world. Its not the world of publishing which was frightening. What was frightening was actually trying. To not stand on the sidelines and get into the game.

It's one thing to have talent, to have skill with putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, and writing what's in you. Now you've breathed life into these characters, you've created a world unlike any other, and now you're creations have life and a voice. They cry out to you that they want to be heard...but you keep them on a file in an unused folder on your laptop. In my case, you keep several finished and half finished notebooks of stories in a dusty tote in a shady corner of the room. Day after day you lie to yourself that "today I'm going to pull it together", "I'm going to spend all day on this", and "Take the kids out! I need to focus. Do you want me to be a writer or not?!" So fine you get your way the house is empty. No kids running around. No phone ringing off the hook. That pesky neighbor decides to leave you alone for the day. Now its and the silence. There's no more excuses, nothing to distract, nothing to keep you from reaching new heights and taking that leap of faith. Except there is something still there: you.

When you're in that position you have to face the fact that you aren't free. Fear, doubts, the past, whatever it may be something is shackling you and stopping you from being the person you want to be, living how you want, from even attempting to be that person. You wonder about yourself and the skills you know you have. I have even wondered why I was asked to be a part of this blog with such amazing writers. I've diminished accolades from other people, sites, and whatnot, choosing to live in a shell. But no turtle stays in its shell forever. You have to poke your head out.

That's when you have to declare Independence.

You have to stand up with the same conviction as the colonists had against the British. (I apologize by the way for the whole tea thing for our British readers) But they came to a point where they said "enough is enough". They fought for what they believed in and they made up in their minds they would sever the bonds of tyranny oppressing them. How? They tried. Talk wasn't going to get them anywhere. They had a focused goal and set out to accomplish it in any means possible.

Sure, many people fell and countless others were wounded. But they knew it wasn't going to be easy. Nothing worth having comes without buckets of sweat, drums of blood, and at least a warehouse full of pain. That's the only difference between the would be author and the bestselling author. The bestselling ones cried "enough", shook off the fear and the doubts and other creepy things lurking in their heads telling them not to procede.

I've been writing since I was nine. It's hard to remember a time writing has not been in my life. But until now I haven't been free. This weekend i took the steps, I'm trying, I'm telling those horrid voices in my head to can it. Writing is what I love, what I will always do, paid or unpaid. I declare my independence from the "wells, maybes, and certainly from those buts". I speak life over my dreams. I finally take control of my life!!

This week I will send out my query. No matter what. And I will keep sending them, while writing, writing, writing. I'm FREE!! Independent and loving it :D

My only question is...who else is with me?

Declare your Independence, loud and proud. Take back your esteem and move past the past. Brighter writing days are ahead my friends. Just shake free of those shackles.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Poetry: Stronger Than They Say/The Man I Am Today

Stronger Than They Say

If you've found yourself afraid and you thought it best to run
If you've found the world untamed and you're kept from all the fun
I hope these words comfort you and you see all your dreams through
I hope these words comfort you and your wishes all come true
Because you're stronger than they say and your courage grows each day

And every breath you take, every step you make is everything but a so-called mistake
Yeah, every fear you face, every life embraced is nothing less than a scar replaced
Because you're stronger than they say
Through every road or bend your family and friends will stand by you till the end
Yeah, every time you take a stand, every time you lend a hand is a sign you understand
Because you're stronger than they say

If you've ever felt ashamed to the point of breaking down
If you've ever been betrayed and emptiness is all you found
Please understand you're not alone and it's all right to shed some tears
Please understand you're not alone and in time the skies will clear
Because you're stronger than they say and your courage grows each day

And every breath you take, every step you make is everything but a so-called mistake
Yeah, every fear you face, every life embraced is nothing less than a scar replaced
Because you're stronger than they say
Through every road or bend your family and friends will stand by you till the end
Yeah, every time you take a stand, every time you lend a hand is a sign you understand
Because you're stronger than they say


The Man I Am Today

For all the hurt I caused you and the worry I infused
I apologize from my heart for the comfort I refused
For all the tears in your eyes and all the words unsaid
I apologize from my heart for ever wishing I were dead
For all the times I broke you and the tales I told untrue
I apologize from my heart for and I'm glad my mom is you

Because you shaped me by your courage and you shaped me by your strength
Yeah, you shaped me by your smiles and you shaped me by your fears
Yeah, you shaped the man am today
Because you shaped me from your heart and you shaped me from your soul

For all the days that I'd run and the privileges abused
I apologize from my heart for ever making you confused
For all the fights that we had and all the silent bends
I apologize from my heart for telling all my friends
For all the scars that I hid and the times I hated you
I apologize from my heart and I'm glad my dad is you

Because you shaped me by your courage and you shaped me by your strength
Yeah, you shaped me by your smiles and you shaped me by your fears
Yeah, you shaped the man am today
Because you shaped me from your heart and you shaped me from your soul

Whoa, you shaped me from your knowledge and you shaped me from your dreams
From the moment I was born to the first steps I walked forth
Whoa, you shaped me from your knowledge and you shaped me from your dreams
From this moment till my death you'll shape me forevermore
Because you shaped me from your hearts and you shaped me from your souls
Yeah, you shaped the man I am today


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