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  1. The Big Reveal

    November 21, 2014 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.
     
    This week I have a whole new set of writers,
    so I’d like to say welcome, glad to have you here.
     

    For this first week, please let us know a little something about your current WIP. And then I want to know about titles. Are they hard for you?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Title: Timewalkers, Genre: Mythical Fantasy
    Titles usually come easy for me. Once I figure out a premise for a WIP the title will follow shortly after. Creating a title is one of the easiest topics for me when it comes to writing.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Stealing the Stars — Contemporary Fantasy. I don’t have a process for choosing titles, which probably means they suck. I usually try to come up with something on my own, but sometimes I ask for help brainstorming. Titles are hard.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I’m writing a new adult contemporary romance for NaNoWrimo. I do have a title for it, but I’m keeping it as Untitled for now.

    I have several ideas for titles, even though I don’t have stories to go with them yet. My process is boring, in that, they pop into my head, and I write it down for later. But hey, it works.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My book 25 Roses comes out in January 2015. Titles sometimes come easily, but sometimes I have to write an entire book before a good title comes to me. 25 Roses was one of those titles that came along with the idea. I was thinking about the carnation sales we had on Valentine’s Day in high school and I wondered what would happen if one of the students secretly purchased carnations and handed them out to the kids who never received any. 25 seemed like a nice round number, but 25 Carnations didn’t sound like a very good title. So I went with 25 Roses and made them chocolate in the book because…hey…chocolate!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    In the speculative fiction titles I’m working on are: Can’t Dream Without You (Paranormal fantasy), Cursed on the Prairies (Alternate history).

    I used to have a hard time with titles and just picked working titles but then I learnt a neat trick. Write the one-liner; who does what in the hopes of what—and slam that title at the end without thinking about it. Example: When a young man is bit by a spider he develops strange spider-like powers that allow him to save his city from a dangerous supervillain.—Spiderman

     

    Trisha Leaver
    My current YA Contemporary WIP is about a seventeen year old girl struggling to find her place in a family of virtual strangers. Its working title is a gripping, thematic WIP#5 LOL. So…yeah, titles don’t come easy to me. I usually don’t bother even pondering a title until the project is complete and I have a full sense of my main character and her struggles. Then I dig deep and try to come up with a title that conveys the theme and tone of my book. More often than not, this is a collaborative process between myself, my agent and my editor

     
    Do titles come easy for you?


  2. A useful tip

    November 16, 2014 by Suzi

     
    Right now I’m reading a big book. It’s just over 700 pages long. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
     
    Well it isn’t. Cause it’s a large print. According to Amazon, Gone Girl is 432 pages, which isn’t exactly low, but it’s not 700. As most everybody knows, Gone Girl is the big rage now, especially because the movie is out. Which means that the book is hard to find at the library.
     
    There are 22 digital copies available through our library, and if I wanted to put a hold on it, I’d be number 185.
     
    Yes, that’s the 185th person waiting to check it out.
     
    I’m sure the hard copies have a big waiting list too although I don’t have that exact number.
     
    But I found a faster way to get it.
     
    Which is why I’m reading a 700 page book. When I first checked the book’s availability a while ago, the large print book was checked out, but nobody had put a hold on it. So I did.
     
    Reading a 700 page hardcover book is kinda a pain. I might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, but it beats waiting.
     
    So remember that tip. If there’s ever a book you want to check out, more likely one that’s gotten pretty popular, check to see if there’s a large print edition because you might get lucky like me.
     
    Do you ever read large print books?
    Have you read Gone Girl? Seen the movie?


  3. Skipping ahead or leaving it all behind

    November 10, 2014 by Suzi

    Not long ago I finished reading a book. And by finished, I mean I read the last few chapters. But I didn’t read ALL the chapters.
     
    This book is by a popular author but I never connected with the characters, didn’t find the story all that interesting either.

    Image courtesy of Traffic Barrier by mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    Because of some busy times a few weeks ago, I put the book down at about the 60% mark, and I could’ve walked away. Would’ve never given it another thought, but I wanted to read the ending—which I’d sorta heard about anyway, but didn’t know the exact details.
     
    So I did something I haven’t really done. I just skimmed a few chapters and jumped to the end.
     
    The ending didn’t change my mind about the story, by the way, and I didn’t regret skipping 1/3 of the story.
     
    Usually, if I quit a book, I quit fully. I don’t look to the end to see what happened. I just stop. (Of course, I normally stop before the 60% mark though too. And really, the only reason I read that far was because it was going fast and I kept wanting to like it like everybody else did.)
     
    So I was wondering what others do. If you give up on a book, do you jump ahead to the end to see what happens? Do you read spoilers in reviews to get an idea? Or do you just walk away and forget it?


  4. The Big Reveal

    November 7, 2014 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.
     
    This is the last posting with this set of writers. I’d like to thank everybody
    for being a part of my blog. It was fun getting to know you all better.
     

    How much do you read?

     

    Shelly Brown
    My goal this year was 100 books and I’m only in the 60′s as of writing this. But there’s time. I made this goal after reading just about 10 books last year and realizing how pathetic that was (it’s HARD to read AND write AND do everything else that is expected of me.) So I guess you could say that I’m all over the place when it comes to reading. But I’m not one of those people who can polish off a book in a night. I wish!

     
    Crystal Collier
    I start every day with ½ hour of personal study reading scriptures or uplifting articles, and later will read over several online articles or critiquing pages. Above and beyond that, I typically I read 1 to 3 novels a week, approximately 100 books a year. If you want to be a successful writer, you have to first be an avid reader.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I read a lot when I have time. In a good week I can read 3-4 books. In a bad one I’ll read 0-1.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    A lot. :) I’d say about a book or so a week. If I don’t read for at least a little while every day, I get cranky. Just ask my poor husband.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I read about four books a month (usually all crammed into one week when I’m on a reading binge). I wish I could read more—my TBR pile is intimidating.

     

    Chad Morris
    I’m not that fast at reading, nor prolific, but I’m always reading or listening to something. Between my full time job, my writing, keeping up with my five kids, and dating my wife, I don’t get a lot of reading time. I mostly sneak it in on bus rides to and from work and at night when the kids are sleeping. But that’s writing time too, so they compete. I don’t know how many books I read a year—I never keep track–, but it wouldn’t be impressive.

     

    Are you a big reader?


  5. Finding what you didn’t know

    November 2, 2014 by Suzi

    Halloween is over but I’m sure I got my fill of candy. The DVR is filled with some cheesy horror movies and some decent ones.
     
    A weird thing happened this week. Okay, it’s not really weird, but more surprising. I’ve seen all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies—or I thought I did. With all the horror movies on AMC this month, I found one I missed. And that surprised me. (Even though there’s like a hundred, I figured I’d seen every one. :) )
     
    The same thing happened with some books this same week. I stumbled upon an author I’ve never heard of. Amy Reed. She just released her 5th book (since 2010) from Simon Pulse and her books are the type of I would read.
     
    And I was like, why haven’t I heard of her?
     
    Maybe I’d run across one of her books somewhere, and maybe then the cover or title didn’t strike me to read the blurb. But usually I’d at least have some memory of that book. I don’t have any recognition of her name or titles.
     
    She writes in a genre I’d like to be in and she’s published (five times over) by a major publisher. None of her books are in our local library, but they are in the library of the city next to us—of which I frequent sometimes. So it’s just weird to me that she just got onto my radar.
     
    If it were some Indie author, I can understand, but I bet she’s in Barnes and Noble too. (I’ll have to look.)
     
    And now I’ll have to check out her books.
     

    Anybody else ever had a similar situation like this occur? When you discovered a prolific writer in your genre that you probably should’ve known about by now?
     
    Have you ever read Amy Reed’s books? 


  6. The Big Reveal

    October 31, 2014 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.
     

    Are you artistic/creative in other ways?

     

    Chad Morris
    I’m pretty mediocre at sketching, plucking at the piano, and playing guitar. I’m probably a little better than your average Joe at the drums and writing and performing comedy.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I am an actress by training. Lending itself to very character-centric stories.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Before I could write, I was telling stories through pictures. Eventually my love of words evolved to lyric and orchestral music composition. I loved crafts when younger, and event planning has always been a forte, along with stage performances–whether for singing or theatrical purposes. Mom always came to me for ideas, saying the day I quit having a hundred amazing and new ideas, was the day I quit being Crystal.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    Not really. Until I started writing I never considered myself artistic at all. I used to write poetry when I was little, but I stopped doing that.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I try to be. :) I take the occasional art class, and I’m getting more into collage and mixed media work.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I like to try being artistic but don’t always succeed…there are many half-finished knitting/sewing projects around my house! I do play the piano and have done for sixteen years now. Writing and playing the piano are my two main creative outlets.

     

    Do you have any artistic or creative talents?


  7. Soulless

    October 27, 2014 by Suzi

    I’ve got Crystal Collier here to celebrate the release of her newest novel, Soulless. The sequel to Moonless, released last year. One of the interesting things about this series is where it akes place and the time period.
     

    I was curious about why she chose that time and location, and now she’s here to answer my questions. Welcome, Crystal. So my first question, as I said above, is how you chose England 1768 as the location for this series.
     
    About the time I penned out the first draft of MOONLESS, I was working on a musical based in 1798, England. (It may have slightly influenced my writing.) I knew the time period for MOONLESS had to reflect England’s most prideful hour—a time when aristocracy was at its height, before the American revolution and industrialization. This story has been in my brain for a LONG time, and the nation/time period was very strategically placed to accommodate the entire series arc.

     
    Did you have previous knowledge about this period in time or did you have to research everything?
     
    The musical prepped me, but I seriously spent about five years reading articles, essays and books based close to the time period, not to mention studying fashion, technology, maps and anything else I could get my hands on. The greatest challenge of writing historical fiction is understanding how people thought in a different era. There are so many anachronistic social expectations we embrace (that I had to wipe from early drafts). Gaining an authentic cultural mentality was like learning a new language. And becoming an anthropologist.

     
    Wow. Five years. That’s a lot of prep work! :)
     

    One thing I was curious about. Did you have to revise any details from the story because you discovered they didn’t fit with the time period?
     
    Contractions (can’t, doesn’t, we’d, etc.) are modern inventions. That’s not to say people didn’t slur their words together in 1768, but they would never have written or spoken that way in polite society. That made for a bit of a rewrite…
     

    Clocks had just been invented, and only the most modern of men possessed a pocket watch…which set back my method of explaining time. It was a transitory period, going to from candle-marks, moon cycles and season to hours, minutes and seconds. Another tricky one.
     

    John is a smoker, but not a pipe kind of guy. Turns out the story takes place RIGHT at the time when cigars made their debut…or I may have fudged that one by a couple years—because I can.
     

    I had a writing coach who absolutely adores my time period, and a literary agent mentor who was kind enough to point out some of my early, erm, foibles, but mostly I corrected myself while studying. For instance, in 1750, King George the first established new marriage laws that dictated the legal age of marriage as 21. (Our equivalent of 18.) In early drafts I wanted to call “coming of age” 16. Major no-no.
     

    Definitely good to do your research. That is one of the things that scares me away from writing historical fiction. Do you get nervous about people bashing you for not being historically correct?
     
    I’m such a perfectionist. Seriously. The only way to conquer your fears is to face them, knock them down and grind your heel in their face. I listened to all the bashers in beta readings (probably went overboard in how many betas I used for MOONLESS) and studied my guts out. I even went so far as to research every word and phrase for its historical accuracy. It really was like learning a foreign language, but the more you use that language, the more fluent you become. After all that, I came away rather confident—no matter whether people might rip or not. (Which they haven’t—even the mean ones—so I must have done okay.)

     
    Thanks so much for sharing with us, Crystal, and congratulations on the release of Soulless. And now you can find out more about Crystal’s book and have a chance to win some special prizes.
     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Soulless by Crystal Collier
     
    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 Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
     
    And risk losing everything.
     


  8. The Big Reveal

    October 23, 2014 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 many story ideas sitting in your mind waiting to be written
    or do you only think of one story at a time?

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I have a lot of ideas floating around, some more formed than others. I have ideas that will probably never get written because there isn’t the time for all of them. I do focus more on one at a time and then work on that one once it’s more solid in my mind.

     

    Chad Morris
    I have files with a lot of ideas. I think I have about seven that are my favorites about now I’ll have to decide between them.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I love a good shiny new idea but I’ve learned to write myself notes and keep plugging away on my current WIP until it’s November. When it’s November I get to chose between many fun stories searching out the one that I think will sell or the one I just HAVE TO write. Everything else has to wait.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Shall I turn out my story folder? I have at least one epic story dream a month, and find myself contemplating circumstantial possibilities even more often. I actually quit recording all my story ideas because as it is, not all of the 40 or so waiting to be written will probably ever happen. That said, once I start seriously drafting, I get tunnel vision.

     

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I have a notebook with me all the time for this exact reason. An idea will pop into my head and I’ll jot it down in my book. I think I have about 6 or 7 ideas in it right now. Some will get written and some never will. Then when I’m ready to start something new, whatever is speaking to me loudest gets written.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Ideas come to me all the time but they usually only come in snippets – a few lines of dialogue or description, a character’s name, a feeling, etc. It’s not usually much to go on right then, so I jot the snippets down and put them away for another time. Sometimes, though, the idea is more fully formed and clamors to be worked on right away…

     
    Do you many story ideas waiting to be written?


  9. (Never) Again Giveaway

    October 22, 2014 by Suzi

    Just recently was the first year anniversary of (Never) Again, by my good friend Theresa Paolo, and to celebrate her publisher is giving away 5 copies. FIVE!

    Enter below for your chance to win! (*You have to be a member of NetGalley in order to win. If you’re not, sign up is free and super easy.)

    http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/984c05ae9/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway

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