Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Posts Tagged ‘For fun’

My Writing Process

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

I’m sure you’ve been seeing all the other writers doing The Writing Process blog post lately, and I was nominated by my friend Chloe Banks, who did her post last week. So now you will know all about my writing process.
What I’m working on: I have so many manuscripts that need work. I did a lot of writing before I knew how to do it. So these manuscripts will need a ton of work, and eventually I’ll get to them. But right now I’m working on a contemporary YA about two foster kids. I just gave it to two more betas and hope to start querying maybe by summer time.
How my work differs from others in its genre: I usually go for stories that are about the struggles of teens, whether it’s by their doing or someone else’s. A lot of time in these kinds of stories, the parents are not ‘good’ parents—which of course leads to those problems, or they’re blind to what’s going on with their teens. With my current story and some others, even though I have those bad parents, I also have ‘good’ parents who have a big impact on the main character’s life.

Why I write what I do: I just love to see how my characters grow. Their struggles are real, and they often make bad choices at the beginning, but usually… by the end, the new choices change their lives in a positive way.

How my writing works: I’m more of a pantser. I start off with a basic premise and write. More often now, I start thinking about character traits at the beginning, but I don’t necessarily have it all plotted out. Sometimes I’ll have the turning points, but other times I don’t know until after I start writing. Sometimes I won’t have the ending planned out yet.
It’s different for all the stories, and since I write fast, I end up spending 10x the amount of time editing.
So that’s about it. How about you?

WIP The Movie Blog hop

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Today is the movie blog hop where my MCs can be stars! I may be wrong, cause sometimes that happens, but I think this was the first blog hop I ever participated in, 2 years ago. And I pulled it together like last minute.

Not this time. I started early. So thank you to Kyra Lennon and Rachel Schieffelbein for hosting this blog hop.

So the point of this blog hop is to show the actors/actresses you’d cast in one of your WIPs. I’m going back in time to my very first YA story. I still love it today and will probably be going back to work on it. Maybe when I start querying my current WIP.

This novel is called Beyond the Wake. Here’s a short blurb—and I apologize because it’s not query ready and therefore, may suck.

Seventeen-year-old Jason is invited to spend the summer at the lake with his buddy Mack. He looks forward to the skiing, partying and girls. But when Jason unexpectedly falls for Mack’s younger sister, he has to decide if he can give up his partying ways to be the guy Alexis needs.

Fifteen-year-old Alexis looks forward to swimming, the sun and catching up on her stack of unread books. When Jason shows an interest in her, she’s flattered and pleased that her brother, Mack, hates the idea of them dating. When Alexis learns Jason leads a different life than her, and she must decide if she’s willing to surrender her values for the guy she’s fallen for.

And here are my choices for actors.

Abigail Breslin is Alexis. She just has a sweet innocent look to me and is perfect for the roll.

Julian Morris is Jason. This guy is probably a little old to be playing a teen, but he’s got the right look.

Logan Lerman is the brother, Mack.

So that’s it. Now go check out the other participants by going to Kyra’s site.

(Never) Again Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

As many of you know, today is the release day of (Never) Again by the fabulous Theresa Paolo. And to celebrate, she’s doing a blog hop where you share something that you swore you’d never do again, but did.
But first. If you’d like to see how I first met Theresa and all the fun things we have in common, go here.
Now on to the blog hop.
Well, I hope I don’t disappoint anyone today because I have nothing shameless or salacious to share. Instead, my example is rather innocuous, perhaps mundane. (Can you tell I went to the thesaurus for interesting words?) But hey, when I try come up with examples to questions like this, my mind always goes blank.
First: I am not a slave to fashion. I prefer comfort over style.
So back in the 80s, clogs were the in thing. I had one pair. I hated them. They were big and stiff. Clunky—wasn’t clog just the perfect name for them? Kinda ugly. And they didn’t like to stay on my feet.

I said I’d never wear them again.

But then a few years back, my mom gave me a pair of hers she didn’t want anymore. And because she doesn’t buy Payless Shoes like me, the black pair she gave me lasted over three years of regular use. And I loved them. So now I’ve even bought my own. Something more like this.


These shoes from are cute. Their $150 price tag, not so much. Oh, and when I said I’d buy something more like this, I meant style wise. I’d choke over paying $150 for shoes. (Remember, I like Payless.)
So even though they’re not the most stable shoe, I now like them. And there are so many cute styles.
Even though I gave in to the clog, I will never… never wear flip flops. I’ve weathered through this fad for the second time without giving in, so I’m fairly confident I’ll keep my word. Flip flops suck.
So check Theresa’s site to see the other blog hop participants.
And congratulations to Theresa on your big debut!

A new direction?

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Last week, I mentioned that I’d decided to stop doing one of my blog features: Sloppy Writing. If you want to find out why, just go back to last Sunday’s post.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

So then I started thinking about what direction I’d like my blog to go, and I asked myself what I like best about other blogs. There are tons that have great writing information, and often times, I don’t even read those author’s books, but I love their blogs.
And of course, a lot of blogs I read are my writer friends, and it’s a great way to keep up with what they’re doing.
But what I figured out was, that some of my favorite blogs are the ones that make me laugh. And they’re usually writers because those are the blogs I frequent the most.
Anyways, here are a few that give me many laughs.
Cassie Mae: She is so open and silly and fun, how can you not love her and her posts?
Kellie at Delightfully Ludicrous: She takes articles from around the world and humorously points out the ludicrousity (I like that better than ludicrousness) of things people do and say.
Eileen Cook: I love her blog. Whether it’s the little cartoons or posts about her writing life, the always make me laugh.
AuthorLife: Okay, this is tumblr, and I’m not sure if tumblr is really considered a blog, but this writer posts gifs with their added caption and not only does she make me laugh, but I can also often relate. (Although not always, because obviously this author is published, but I still get it.)
Andrea at Maybe It’s Just Me: She does these random posts about her life and family and they always make me laugh. And I love her title because I have that thought often: maybe it is just me.
To sum things up, I would like to write funny things and make people laugh. But this puts a lot of pressure on me, because what if people don’t think I’m as funny as I think I am. I mean, that’s totally possible.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

So maybe I’ll try something like the writer Mindy McGinnis, who was one of the first writerly blogs I started to followed. Her Thursday Thoughts are small random musings about whatever, but once again, they make me laugh. And maybe if I just try go for that once a month, that’d be a good way to test the waters and see how funny I really am. I will not put pressure on myself, so if I don’t have any funny thoughts, I won’t worry about it.
What do you prefer to read on blogs? Funny? Serious? Writerly tips? Politics? Personal stories? Anything? Everything?

A writers’ retreat

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Last weekend I went on my first writers’ retreat. It was just so much fun, and yes, I got a lot of writing (actually editing) done, but more importantly I finally got to meet (in person) so many terrific ladies: Rachel, who put the whole weekend together, Theresa, who drove all the way from New York City to Minnesota with Cassie Mae, Jessica, who along with Rachel lives within a reasonable driving distance so there’s a good chance I’ll see her at a conference or something sometime, and Mandy, who I’d never met before, but who gave us some terrific insight on being an editor.
One other very important thing we did that weekend was to learn how to pronounce everybody’s last names, because a few of us have names that could be pronounced multiple ways. For instance, none of us knew how to say Rachel Schieffelbein’s name. Now I know, (shuffle-bine), thanks to the suggestion (sorry, I can’t remember whose) of linking it to shuffleboard.
So you know how we (society) complain about teens today and how they’re so immersed in the digital age they don’t know how to have regular conversations? Well it’s kind of funny to be sitting in the same room with someone and talking through e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and not saying a word to them aloud.
Now I wouldn’t do that that all the time, but trust me, we got plenty of regular talking in too.
And it was so nice not to listen to any children complain that I was on the computer too long. Or hear the line, well if you’re on the computer I can play my video games too. You know, cause to children, everything should be equal and it doesn’t matter that you’re an adult and they’re a child.
But that’s a totally different post.
And I never got a sore butt even though I was sitting on it most of the day. Must’ve been the comfy couch.
Anyways, I wish I could’ve extended the weekend, but alas, everybody had to go home, and well… it wasn’t my house. And now I can’t wait to see everybody again, and I hope we can make this a yearly thing.
Have you ever done the writers’ retreat thing?

Is this just me?

Sunday, June 16th, 2013


Are you one of those people who get annoyed when you find grammatical errors in a novel? (Or novella, short story, newspaper/magazine article, children’s book… :) )
And do you get annoyed a lot? Or just a little?
I fall into the I-don’t-get-annoyed-much category, with the exception of if it’s a mistake that happens consistently throughout the book. But sometimes I get into a story that has style issues I don’t like. Of course that’s a totally personal thing, but I’m gonna talk about the ones I don’t like. Actually, I’ll only talk about one today because:
1. People tend to skim posts when they get too long
2. I want to drag this out into two posts cause it’s one less posting I have to create. :)
So have you seen any novels where the author didn’t use quotation marks?
A few years back I ready LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard. I loved the story and would still recommend it to others, but one thing about it frustrated me. Her lack of quotation marks. She used dialog tags, but still, sometimes it got confusing. In the end, it took away from the enjoyment of the book.
It was just weird. I’ve never read anything else by her, so I don’t know if she’s used that style a lot, or if LABOR DAY was the only one. But it is the only novel I’ve read with no quotation marks, and I’m sure there are others. It won’t stop me from read a book, but it will slow me down.
Have you ever read a book that didn’t use quotation marks in their dialogue?
Did it bother you?
Have you read LABOR DAY? (If you haven’t, you should.)

More about me

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Recently I received two Liebster awards, which means I get to answer a bunch of random questions.

The first set comes from Kate at My Next Life. Here are her questions.

1. If you were an animal, what would you be?
Dolphin maybe? That’d be fun swimming across the ocean, jumping out of the water and playing around.
2. What is your favorite book of all time?
The Outsiders has been my favorite since grade school. Haven’t read it as an adult, but I should. Also loved the movie, as any girl would.
3. What’s your biggest fear?
Dying without seeing kids grow up.
4. If you could have any talent, what would it be?
Singing would be cool. Not that I’d want to do it for a living; I just wish I could carry a tune.
5. If you could invite 3 famous people to dinner, who would you choose?
Emeril Lagasse: he’d have to cook dinner
President Obama and Rush Limbaugh: just to see what would happen

6. If you had a time machine, where would you go first?
For fun: medieval times. Take the place of a princess or queen. That’d be cool to live in a castle.
7. If calories didn’t count, what would you eat today?
Shrimp and scallops fettucine alfredo with a side of the most tender filet wrapped in bacon. Brownies (no nuts) and vanilla ice cream.
8. What book do you wish you’d written?
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
9. What antagonist do you most relate to?
I have no idea. I’m not very antagonistic. :)
10. If you could relive any day of your life, what would it be?
Wedding day, probably. So I could remember more of it. It goes by too fast.
11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

The second set comes from Dani at Entertaining Interests. Here are her questions.

1. Which urban legend freaks you out the most?
The person in the back seat of your car with a knife. Yet, I don’t always check my back seat like my mom always said to.
2. If given the chance, which dream celeb would you have asked to your prom?
Back in the day, it would’ve been Corey Haim or Kirk Cameron… what dreamboats. I think Kirk turned out okay, unfortunately Corey did not.
3. Who would you “Freaky Friday” (switch places) with?
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Maybe she’s not a princess or a queen, but maybe duchess is the next best thing.
4. Why?
I don’t know. It’d be cool to be a duchess.
5. If you could claim any novel as your own, whose would it be?
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
6. Is there any skill you’d like to learn?
I always wanted to learn fencing. I should’ve taken a class before the kids were born. I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon.
7. What movie would you like to star in?
Any of my novels made into movies. I’d even take just a little cameo instead of the starring role.
8. Which book/series would you like to see made into a movie?
I think Shine by Lauren Myracle would make a good movie.
9. You just crashed into the back of Ryan Gosling’s car, what do you do?
Grab my camera. And not to take pictures of the damage.
10. The zombie apocalypse just broke out; besides family, pick 1 movie star, athlete, weapon, and one other person or object, who/what would they be?
Movie star: Charlton Heston. I figure he’s got a good stack of guns somewhere. Even though he’s dead himself now.
Athlete: Whomever is the last winner in the UFC championship.
Weapon: Crap. I don’t know what all kills zombies. If I can have unlimited bullets, a gun, but otherwise a samurai sword.
Person/object: Magic zombie killing powder. (The question didn’t say it had to be real)

11. What is your dream day?
Sleeping in to a quiet home. Doing some reading in a quiet home. Doing some writing in a quiet home. Eating what/when I want in a quiet home. Basically I want a quiet home. :)

Thank you to Dani and Kate for the fun award. And as usual, I’m backing out of the passing it on to other, because I hate that part.
So go check out their blogs to learn more about them.

Secondary Characters Blog Hop

Sunday, May 12th, 2013


I’m excited to be co-hosting for the first time a bloghop with some terrific ladies. The Secondary Characters Blog hop was created by Rachel Schieffelbein in honor of her new story Secondary Characters.



And we have a lot of fun prizes. So here’s what you need to know.

Sometimes secondary characters steal the show, (or the book) and become our favorites. On May 22nd we want you to tell us about your favorite secondary characters from books or movies, or both!
Whether it’s the funny best friend or that goofy kid next door,
we want to know what secondary characters
you just couldn’t get enough of and why.

All these lovely ladies (including myself) are offering critiques as prizes:
Theresa Paolo, Kelley Lynn, Jessica Saylor, Jenny Morris
Rachel is also planning on giving away a three chapter critique along with an ebook of Secondary Characters, which releases on May 28th.
Cassie Mae and Kelley Lynn will also pick a winner to get either an ebook of
Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend,
or a signed copy of Fraction of Stone.
So sign up on the linky list below and start thinking about your favorite secondary characters!

Won’t you be my neighbor

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

The other day Jolene Perry mentioned in a blog post about how when she ends up on the B&N bookshelves, she’ll be sitting close to Perkins, Stephanie. Great placement.

Image courtesy of [digital art] /

I’m like, hmmm, I never thought about that. Who would I be next to on the Barnes and Noble bookshelves?
And so very conveniently, I was going there in a few days and could look.
So here are my neighbors if I was on the B&N bookshelf.
Slice of Cherry Dia Reeves and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs.
I think that’s pretty good. I haven’t read either, but know of them and have them on my TBR list.
As of now, I assume I will use my current name. But in case I happen to go back to my maiden name for a pen name, I checked that out also. And these would be my neighbors.
Where Things Come Back John Corey Whaley and Clash Nicole Williams
And one book down was Carol Lynch Williams, whose books I really like. So that was kind of cool too. I don’t know much about the other two, but the John Corey Whaley book was an award winner.
So those would be my neighbors. Have you ever thought about or looked up who your neighbors on the bookshelf are?

Made for Stars Cover Reveal

Monday, March 18th, 2013


I’m happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Kelley York’s newest release Made of Stars. I’ve read three of Kelley’s books and loved them all, so if you haven’t checked out them, you need to do so.

Made of Stars by Kelley York
Release date: October 1st, 2013 from Entangled Publishing
When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.
The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.
Then Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent…they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?
To learn more about Kelley York, go here:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
To pre-order, go here:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble