Where You'll Find Me

I'm currently running my blog over at WritersAfterDark.net. I'd love it if you stopped by and hang for a bit! I'll return the favor, promise!

Running two blogs gets a bit difficult, so bear with me while I figure things out. In the meantime, if I could interest you in industry news, writing tips, and poking some fun at writerly problems, you'll find me here:



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Let's Do It the Old Fashioned Way

Rock? Nope.
Scissors? Maybe . . .
Paper? Oh, hell yes!
Pen? How many? 
Because you mean several pens, right? 
I need pens, so yes!



Raise your hand if you practically live on the computer. And don't be literal, not on top of it (no one likes a smartass) (well, depends on your delivery), but using computers on a daily basis for hours at a time.

Yeah, me too, guys. Me too. I'm a big fan. Well, technically I'm on the laptop not a desktop computer, but that's neither here nor there. I enjoy typing away to my heart's content. I enjoy popping on Google to do research with just a couple of clicks. I may . . . on occasion . . . enjoy Facebook and Pinterest, but I'm not admitting to a thing. I also like the fact that emails pop right up, which is handy if I'm eagerly awaiting one (usually from Amazon saying "your order has shipped"). Ahem . . .

But those are distractions aren't they?
Yes. Yes, they are.

Now, I will assume that if you like to write you also enjoy or enjoyed writing on paper at one time or another. I'm here to suggest you try to go back to that once in a while. I've been writing the old-fashioned way a bit more lately and have been enjoying it. Sure my hands can get crampy sometimes, but let's not pretend carpal tunnel doesn't exist. Pen and paper gives me a different kind of thrill. A nostalgic kind, if that's a thing. I remember it influencing my love for writing to begin with. And did I mention it cuts out distractions?


When last did you write the old-fashioned way? 

Don't you remember it being easy on the eyes? There's no glaring light shining down your beautiful face. There's easy access to every single word you wrote down, even if you put a line through it. You get artsy ink splattered on your fingers (yes, artsy. It's abstract looking, no?).  You can go just about anywhere to write, with no worries of power ever running out. Well, maybe your energy will run out, but snack or drink something and you'll be fine. I think. Sure it may take longer to write, but but but . . . it can be liberating. 


Is it perfect? Of course not. 

But how many first drafts are ever perfect? What I'm saying is it can be freeing to just let go. Scribble away and make little bubble notes where you want. Since it's messy regardless go ahead and draw lines with little arrows, or hearts, whatever floats your boat. It will all be fixed when you get it on the screen . . . and that's probably not until a couple revisions, so what's the worry? 

And hey, If you suddenly remember there was an article you meant to read or a YouTube video that looked funny, you can always turn to a page further down and make notes to get to them. So don't fuzz, just make a list of things you'll do on the computer later on. How good will it feel when you check them off after? Even if its mindless internet stuff, checking off to-dos always feel good ;)

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with mixing it up once in a while. What do you think? 

Do you currently engage in my pen & paper "activity"? 
Or will you be trying it when you're feeling stuck?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Readers Are All the Rage!


All of us creative types know that when we  . . . well, when we create for the lack of a better word (way to be creative there, SK), we must do it for ourselves first and foremost. As writers we have to listen to our hearts. Feed our passion. Pour our most insane and intimate thoughts on paper. And most importantly tell the stories we have buried inside while keeping it real, real for us and only us.
Right?

Right!

But also wrong.

Because dammit, apparently readers are all the rage. 

And apparently we have to tell OUR stories the way our readers will accept it. And apparently there are many shoulds and shouldn'ts when it comes to this. They are the driving force behind our work, after all. If we're not writing for our work to be read, then what are we doing? Sure. We do it for us. How sweet. But not really. We do it for them . . . our lovely readers. 

Here's my problem and reminder all in one: 
there's a difference in writing for readers & in writing for reviewers. 

Often we get lost in thinking of the critiques. Of what has already been done. Of what reviewers will say. Of the ratings they will give that part of us we decided to share but chopped up so they would give us a favorable amount of stars. Sometimes those "reviewers" don't exactly care if this is the way your darling soul felt the story went down when it was pouring out your bleeding veins. Nope. If they can't relate, then you suck. And we'd like to think, "well, what do you know? Tell your own story your way if you want." If only it was that easy . . . because, did you know? Reviewers are also all the rage in our world, so we have to play nice.


Sure, technically readers and reviewers are one and the same. 

But its the way we approach our writing when thinking of them that matters. You know, if you don't focus on just how you want to tell your story for you. Let's be honest, they're at the back of our minds when writing one way or another. We have to just remember that our readers will read and feel our stories if we write it and convey it that way. We have to not get lost in the "but it must be completely and absolutely unique" aspect of it, because we need them to relate after all and sometimes the overthinking is what causes disconnects. We have to remember that even on a given day we ourselves hate and love our work, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed we didn't catch them on a bad day (bribery might work here). 

We also have to remember that most readers do not leave reviews. And the ones who do? It's always a matter of preference, if they like or don't like something . . . well, they're right. We're no better off if we try to explain why they should love or accept a part of our work just like they're no better if they try to tell us how to write our stories. But they can like and dislike parts of our work, that's why we write them. For them to feel something. So . . . readers are all the rage. But if you take pride in your work and accept that your stories are yours but share them anyway, it will all be fine. Because did you know?


For readers, authors are all the rage.
Go rage it up. No pressure.



***PS. I'm not having reviews issues of any kind. It's just a general thought on how we sometimes write while having readers' reactions in mind. :) ***

CATCH ME WHEN I FALL By Vicki Leigh — Blog Tour and Excerpt!

Thursday, November 6th, 2014




About Catch Me When I Fall:

Genre: young-adult, urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release­­: October 23, 2014
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts

Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

Find Catch Me When I Fall Online:


* * * Excerpt * * * 

Kayla sat in a rocking chair, staring out her window at the courtyard below, dressed in the white outfit that identified her as a patient. Her dark brown hair fell in waves over her left shoulder, and her full lips were tight in concentration. With pastels, she sketched the profile of one of the patients sitting in the courtyard.
Kayla’s large, hazel eyes flickered over the features of the old man below. She was more attractive than I could’ve imagined, so much more stunning than in the picture Giovanni gave me. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
A knock at the door made her jump. She turned her head as a nurse wearing SpongeBob SquarePants scrubs waltzed in with a glass of water in one hand. The other carried a small paper cup.
“How are you feeling today, Kayla?” the nurse asked.
“I’m all right.” Even her voice was beautiful. The way she said the words were as if she was singing, her tone a melodic alto sound.
“Glad to hear it, sweetie. I brought your medicine. You should take it before you come down for lunch. You had a rough night.”
Kayla pouted as she took the small, paper cup and swallowed the pills with the glass of water.
“What’s she thinking?” I asked Tabbi. As a Dreamweaver, she could read humans’ minds. Weavers were limited in the fact that they couldn’t read other Protectors, but if a human was within a certain radius of Tabbi, she could focus on the person’s thought pattern and hear what they were thinking.
Tabbi shook her head. “It’s all a jumbled mess. She’s trying not to think. And the nurse thinks she’s crazy. They gave her a shot two nights ago. The nurse hopes they won’t need to use it again tonight.”
They used a tranquilizer on Kayla? She couldn’t weigh much. How could she possibly be a danger?
The nurse took the glass back from Kayla and told her they’d be back for her in thirty minutes for lunch. Kayla returned to her chair and continued working on her portrait.
“Why did they give her the shot?” I asked.
 “She was screaming, and when the nurses tried to calm her down, she fought them. She scratched one and wouldn’t wake up. She kept screaming, ‘He’s going to hurt me! Don’t let him hurt me!’” Tabbi shuddered, and I frowned.
“Are you sure you’re going to be able to handle this?” I’d seen some pretty freaky stuff before. But from what I’d read in the emails she sent, Tabbi had only helped Weave for old people who lived happy, quiet lives in nursing homes. She’d yet to see anything like this.
Tabbi’s green eyes bore into mine. “Stop babying me, Daniel.”
I raised my hands in defeat. There was no point in arguing that she was still, technically, a child. “All right, sorry.” I returned my attention to the beautiful girl in the chair. Who would want to hurt her?


* * * 


About The Author:

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.

Vicki is an editor for Curiosity Quills Press and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Find Vicki Leigh Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet the Women of Power in SOULLESS by Crystal Collier . . . & Giveaway!



Women of Power
by Crystal Collier


Casting is especially difficult for me because I'm a SUPER visual person, so when I create characters, I have a VERY specific image in mind. It's almost impossible to find a match. Because of that, there are no easy-fit actors or actresses for my characters. (Contains spoilers for those who haven't read MOONLESS. Get your copy October 13, 20, 27, 31 or November 7 for FREE.)

Alexia

(Jenna Coleman--not a true match, but as close as we can get.)

Alexia's world has been a whirlwind of upsets since her first prophetic nightmare came truth with the death of a neighboring nobleman. (Say nothing about how she's begun manipulating time.) She's a determined young woman, a bit against the grain (especially for her era), who challenges the dark and fears only that the man of her dreams will come to his senses and realize she's more of a weakness and burden than an appropriate future wife. 

Mae

(Carey Mulligan, but give her light blue eyes, and one eye that droops.)

Mae is a gentle, blind soul who manages an inn on the outskirts of civilization...but don't let her easy manner fool you. With a smart tongue, she is a woman of great and deadly power. She is trusted by the leader of the Passionate with some of the greatest assets their people possess. 

Ethel

(Helen Mirren)
Ethel has been around for much longer than one might guess by looking at her. With the gift to travel by mist, she's the right-hand asset of the Passionate--although she fains living as a "seamstress." She serves as a surrogate mother to Alexia and will also claim she's in retirement. (She's not.) 
Nelly

(Leslie Nicol)

Nelly has a nasty history and has fallen under the protection of the Passionate leader. By his decree, she will never be asked to use her gifts, ever, but that doesn't mean she won't use them to protect those she loves.

About SOULLESS:

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soullessówho then steal the only protection her people haveósheís forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy.

Meet the characters for yourselves by getting the books HERE,
or enter to win some AWESOME prizes.