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  1. What a bargain

    March 30, 2015 by Suzi

     
    Recently I got this cool book from Barnes and Nobles. You know, the bargain racks with the cheap books, often hard cover, and usually non-fiction. This one was about royalty—kings and queens from the medieval times to now and their issues.
      king

    Like Vlad the Impaler, AKA Dracula (the real one) and Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary. Both sadistic killers who enjoyed torturing people.
     
    I also learned a lot about how insanity was passed down through generations in some royal families, like that of Queen Juana I of Castile (Spain). Her story made me wonder if now her problems could’ve been cured or at least managed with today’s medicine.
     
    This book is full of all sorts of examples of royalty behaving badly. Kings and their mistresses, spoiled children, and power hungry men and women who spend all of their country’s wealth. It’s fascinating how messed up European royalty was at times.
     
    I really should shop more often in the bargain bin of B&N. Of course then my wallet would be a little lighter too.
     
    Have you ever stumbled onto any terrific reads from the bargain bins of B&N or some other store? Do you think that reading about royalty in medieval times is fascinating too, or is it just me? :)


  2. The Big Reveal

    March 27, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you tend to over-write or under-write?

     

    Jackie Felger
    I over-write. Every. Dang. Time. The most I’ve cut from a novel is 30k, which was a grueling process slash learning experience. I do try to be careful with my word choices, but even still, some words creep in that aren’t needed. Sometimes, though, over-writing is important to me. Sure, I may not use the info in the manuscript, but it helps me to understand my characters.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I usually write at the required word count—and I’m stretching to do that! Most of revision for me is completely rewriting scenes!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    My very first draft is always around the 30-50k mark. This seems to be what I need to get the story out in its rawest form. I don’t aim for any number, this is just what I noticed. This first draft is usually starting at the wrong spot and has no climax. It will be missing vital research but it has everything I need to build a story. From there I grow my story by adding in and cutting, digging in to the lives of the characters and their motives, moving things around and researching. This will bring me up to around a 90-110k word count. Then I polish it and my final drafts are anywhere from 80-100k. My longest MS was 120k and I cut it to 100k. I’m still working on it and expect it to be around 80-90 when I get it where I want. I don’t usually worry about word count, a story takes what it takes, but if a romance is over 70k, I start asking myself if maybe this is two stories or if I overdid something? I usually did. If a fantasy is under 90k I start to wonder if I was too easy on the hero or if I missed setting? I usually did. Since I have written so many novels, I know what to expect from myself, but at the start, word count meant nothing to me and it confused me why people worried about it.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    When I am writing a short story, I over-write by about 10,000 words then I come back in scale it back. When I am writing a full length novel, I generally underwrite. It is my CPs, agent, and editors who help me figure out which parts need to be more fleshed out.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Under-write. I always need to go back and more details or “fluff”.

     

    Are you an over or under-writer?


  3. The Big Reveal

    March 20, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you re-read books ever?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I used to re-read Harry Potter all the time, but I haven’t done that since I started writing. Writing makes reading harder :)

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Very rarely. I’ve read Stephen King’s The Stand more than any other book, but I prefer to discover new books.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I hate the idea of re-reading a book. First of all, the magical feeling it gave me that first time was an experience I don’t like to ruin and the re-read always does this for me. But yes, I do re-read. I re-read parts that I noted for research. I re-read books I loved to my kids. I re-read something I hated in case a new perspective will give me a new view on it. I re-read things I loved to pick out exactly where it hooked me. A book, good or bad, is a writer’s best friend. Revisiting them is important for so many reasons.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I do. I have pile of books on my nightstand that I’ve read at least a dozen times. They are my tried and true favorites, the ones I pick up at 2am when insomnia gets the best of me. And because I have read them so many times, I can skip to my favorite scenes and instantly get lost in the character’s world.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Nope, I’m definitely not a re-reader. I have far too many TBR’s and not enough time to read something I’ve already read.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Absolutely. If I really love a book, I’ll reread it later on or go through and read my favorite parts. The Fault in our Stars, Stardust, Twilight, The Notebook, and Blood Promise are books I’ve re-read several times.

     
    Do you re-read books?


  4. My very first

    March 16, 2015 by Suzi

    I’ve got something kinda cool to share. The very first story I ever beta read is coming out in about a month. In early winter 2011, I hooked up with Stacy Stokes through AgentQueryConnect.com when we were both looking for beta readers. I’m not sure how many she’d critiqued before, but it was my very first time. Kinda scary and all that. What did I know about critiquing? Would she think it was too much… too little? Critiquing with someone new for the first time really gets your nerves going.
     
    In December we exchanged stories and I think it went okay. She still talks to me, at least. :) But that was the start of something new for me. I’ve learned so much from critiquing other people’s stories, and I’ve become a better writer, but I’ve also come to realize how much I enjoy critiquing and editing.
     
    Back then I was trying to connect with writers and I didn’t know anybody who was published. (Now I know lots. :) ) It was so cool to think then, and even now today, that I had a part in the journey of a story I was reading. That it could someday be published. And now for Stacy, that is happening soon.
     
    So for those who have not heard of it, Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes will be released next month and is now available for pre-order. Check it out here on Goodreads.
     
    Congratulations, Stacy. I can’t wait to read the final version (which she’s said has much changed).
     
    What about anybody else. What was the first book you ever critiqued and was it published?
     
    staircase
     
    Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes
     
    After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoke wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.
     


  5. The Big Reveal

    March 13, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    What social media do you use?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I mostly use Facebook. I feel like I can connect to other writers the best that way. But I also use Google Plus for fans of my fanfiction. I can talk about something I like, make friends, and find an audience. I should mention Google Plus is only good for Kpop since it’s directly connected to YouTube.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. My favorite is PINTEREST. I’m addicted. I can use it for story inspiration, character development, and plotting. Also, I find yummy recipes on there as well as various methods of organizing… which I rarely use, because I like to procrastinate… on Pinterest.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I probably spend the most time on Facebook, but I’ve been increasing my Twitter usage lately. I think with Twitter, there’s almost too much out there. It can be overwhelming at time. I also have an Instagram account, since it’s popular with younger social media users.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I use them all, although I recently quit some. I ask myself daily; WHY AM I ON THIS? I only have so much time to invest in my writing in a day or night. So each moment counts. WHY must I be on Pinterest today? If the answer is to find out how light enters a castle when the curtains are drawn, then I am on the right site! Every social media I am on serves a purpose and I must remember it while on it. I sometimes find a new purpose for it, but it still has to matter to writing. It has to help my creativity, my marketing, my career. If I can’t answer WHY? I quit and invest that time in my manuscripts.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    HA! All of the above! Twitter I am probably most active on. I love Pinterest, but I find it to be a total time suck for me. Once I am on there, I spend hours looking at pins of everything and nothing. I lo on looking for 2105 book covers and end up staring at pictures of hobbit houses. For hours.
     
    I recently discovered Instagram, and I love its visual format. (Probably related to my people-watching skills. J) Tumblr… now there is a form of social media I’ve vowed to become more active on in 2015. What I need to do is find a Tumblr guru to show me all the ins and outs of the site so I can dive in head first.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I use all of those: Blogger, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram. I’m frequently on all of them but my favorite would have to be Pinterest. I love pinning!!

     

    What social media do you use?


  6. The Big Reveal

    March 6, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    What’s your process for naming characters?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Picking names is kind of easy for me and also my favorite thing about writing. They usually come from dreams, people I know or sometimes they simply fall in my lap.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Usually it’s random, but Stealing the Stars was different. Most of them are named after my siblings (I have five siblings, so plenty to choose from) and the main girl is named after a constellation :)

     

    Jackie Felger
    If I like how a name sounds, I’ll jot it down and save it for a story. I’ve used baby books as well as online baby name searches. Also, I use my kids class lists from school.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I have a spreadsheet filled with names I chose from a baby-naming site for the year my characters would have been born. I check those off when I use them.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I love to create names: Terror, Dreems, Watcher… Names always find my characters. If I don’t have one I just start writing without one and suddenly it appears as if by magic. Sometimes they evolve. Once I had Penny and Peers in the same book and all the P’s were driving me nuts but he had to be Peers and she needed an –y name (no idea why). So I changed her to Hadley and everyone was much happier. Sometimes I research them to make sure they fit with the time period, the culture, or that they stand out among the other names in the book, (I avoid Mitch, Marc and Mathew as brothers… But Andrew, Jip and Kim seems to work!). Some characters just need a small snappy name and others need a longer name that can be shortened to something sexier. I do love to use baby books to see what a name means, especially for a secondary character because if I need someone strong on the sidelines should he be Charlie or Charles or Chuck? These little details matter to the magic.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    To be honest, I never really thought much about this. Character names have never been a struggle for me. Book titles… now that is a completely separate story! I’ve been known to go through my kid’s school directory, saying the names out loud until one clicks. But my characters have pretty traditional names, so I usually come up with one rather quickly.

     

    What’s your character naming process?


  7. Prove Me Wrong

    March 2, 2015 by Suzi

    Another must read by my good friend Theresa Paolo (writing as Tessa Marie.)

    Prove Me Wrong

     

    Prove Me Wrong

    By Tessa Marie

    RELEASE DAY BLITZ

    March 2, 2015

    PMW

    A single secret changes everything.

    With no college ambition—or desire to care—Luke Hannon’s ready to bail on school before senior year even begins. But when he spots the hot new girl reading an upside down map, he changes his mind.

    Hailey Saldino desperately wants to start fresh at a school where she’s free of the snide remarks and hurtful stares. A place where no one knows her past…or her son, Brady.

    Luke wants a no strings attached, physical relationship, until Hailey becomes more than a cute girl in a skirt. Usually his bad boy reputation hooks the ladies but it won’t be enough to land a girl like Hailey. Needing a lasting approach, Luke decides to be honest. No lies. No BS. As the connection between them deepens, Luke shares all his shameful secrets.

    Afraid to lose one of the few people who’s ever looked at her as something other than a slut, Hailey buries herself in compounding lies. And when Hailey’s purposeful deceit blindsides Luke, he must decide if he’ll walk away, or accept Hailey and the little man she already loves.

    BUY IT ON AMAZON:

    ~*~ABOUT TESSA MARIE~*~

    Tessa

    Tessa Marie lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin) and (ONCE) AGAIN released last summer under her real name, Theresa Paolo. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Faceb


  8. The Big Reveal

    February 27, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you have any trunked novels?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I’ve been writing since 1995 and have only had two novels published so far. So you can probably imagine the number of unpublished manuscripts I have. There are a few I’d love to see published someday, but I always have so many great new ideas, I’m more eager to move forward on those than to revisit old stories.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    The very first novel I wrote was twenty years ago. It is the best garbage I ever wrote and it should remain in a trunk and tossed at sea. But! I do believe that every story should be told. So, now that I have many years under my writing pad, I thought I’d take another look. Unfortunately, what it needs is beyond my abilities and will take me another twenty years to master. However, what I did see was chemistry between three minor characters who needed life. What I did see was a strong heroine needing a better plot. So I ripped them from their home and gave them a new genre and new missions, creating two new stories that pushed me in very different directions.

    I have many novels in cooling periods at various stages. I work on them when the fit takes me, trying to grow my writing abilities.

    Claiming a story as truly done is very hard to do, putting it in a trunk and tossing it to sea is somewhat easier. Thankfully, I live far from the sea.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Oh yes… several that are so God-awful I hope to forget about their mere existence. I have one in particular that I love. My CP’s seem to think has merit, but the market timing is off, so it sits on a lonely shelf awaiting its time.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Sadly, I have set them all aside. I have started five… yes five novels, and I’ve sat them all aside. But luckily I have not lost my love for them and will one day finish… one day.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Oh yeah! I have two that I’d love to take a look at again, but part of me can’t help but think they’re trunked for a reason.

     

    Do you have any trunked novels?


  9. What would you do?

    February 23, 2015 by Suzi

    So recently, I was at the library and saw this really cool book, but I realized it was actually a sequel. Luckily book one was available and looked just as awesome.
     
    But it wasn’t. The characters fell flat, the plot fell below expectations, the writing didn’t grab me, and I was disappointed. Which happens sometimes, but now I have a dilemma.
     
    Originally, I’d grabbed book two and thought it sounded intriguing. And I still think it does. But do I read it or forget it? Because one was a disappointment. And I can assume that the writing and characters will be similar in two. It’s not like it’s a minor complaint with book one; it was characters, writing and plot.
     
    I didn’t hate book one. I was just severely unimpressed.
     
    What would you do? Give book two a chance and hope it’s way better? Or give up and move on to another writer.


  10. The Big Reveal

    February 20, 2015 by Suzi

    Yay! I’m glad to have my blog back. I’m not sure what happened, but for about 2-3 weeks there I couldn’t get into it. Couldn’t view it. And many people told me they couldn’t either.
     
    I don’t know if somebody fixed it or if whatever glitch went away, but it’s back. And now I can return to blogging again.

     
     
    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Where do you usually write?

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I am a writing addict. I write all the time: in public, in secret, in short exciting doses or even in longer weeklong binges that almost kill me. I even write at the dentist office, and when waiting to pick up the kids. Are the kids fighting? Then it’s a perfect time to work on that fighting scene. I’ll even ask them to pause so I can get the way her hand wraps around his torso just right.
    My dream place to write would be in the actual story I am working on. If I could just get in there and see the world the way I need to, it would really help.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I’m old-school; I have a writing desk. It was my Grandmothers and now it is mine. I have tried writing at the library or a coffee shop, but I get easily distracted. Plus, I am a chronic people watcher, so ask me to write anywhere in a public setting and I will get nothing done.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    My writing setting is pretty much whenever the mood strikes me to write. However, my ideal setting would be in some cabin tucked away in the mountains somewhere in Montana in the middle of summer.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I can write with noise or when it’s quiet. I don’t mind either way, just as long as I get words down, that’s all that matters to me.


    The beach would be my dream setting to sit and write, with my tootsies in the warm sand and listening to the waves.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    People think it’s crazy, but I write with the TV on, usually streaming on my computer. I don’t know why, but it helps me focus on what I’m doing. I’d love to write in a house with a good view, perhaps of trees or the mountains, but often a view is too distracting. As for snacks, I love chocolate, but I try to stay away from it. My go-to drink is a bottle of water with Crystal Light in it.

     
    J.A. Bennett
    I like to write at my desk. Even though I have a laptop, I also have a comfy office chair. It’s nice that I can take my computer elsewhere when I need to. I only drink water when I’m writing. If I eat or give myself a treat, I tend to get distracted. So only the essentials.
    Where do you prefer to write?