Monday, March 2, 2015

Many Thanks to Milo James Fowler

Many thanks to Milo James Fowler amazing fictioneer, who allowed me to hijack his blog for "Book Signings for Beginners" (which I belatedly realized is an unintentionally hoity toity title).

If you aren't too offended, please come check it out.

"Book Signings . . . "

Friday, February 27, 2015

Do You Have Goals Update and Celebrations!

 Many thanks to Lexa Cain, Katie, and LG Keltner for keeping this hop hopping, and many thanks to Viklit for starting it!

I'm celebrating everything below in this post, and for this hop, specifically:

1. Shelley Sly's sweet review and interview on Monday.
2. C. Lee Mckenzie's Opening Lines guest post here.
3. Getting done with a novella on Wednesday night at 11:24p.m.
4. Lexa Cain's shout-out for my "Seedling" story freebie. Thanks, Lexa!

 Write 1 Sub 1: I have today and tomorrow to make this happen. Agh. I'm working on a few hint fiction stories because that's the length my brain can handle outside my longer projects right now.
 This is my personal goals banner for the year. And, I've been working on those foundations every day!
Official Goals Update for Do You Have Goals, hosted by Misha and Beth:
1. Finished the novella project.
2. Received rejection letters (at least three, didn't want to count more), but that meant I submitted work, right?
3. Re-subbed a hint fiction story.
4. Re-entered my curriculum project - ultra copy edit time.
5. Really happy with publishing A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts and it's sibling projects: A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, Jumble Journal 1, and Jumble Journal 2.
6. Relational: I have a few bloggers guesting here next month! But I haven't invited anyone for May yet. (Skipping April for A to Z) And, in the HD/real world, I need to get invitations going for March.
7. Exercise: minor floor exercises: leg lifts, sit ups, etc. No walking/biking allowed by docs yet. Next month.
8. Spiritual: Ash Wednesday talk at my church, Children's Message at a Sunday worship, daily time - most days with prayer as the focus and some Biblical study.
9. Marketing . . . some twittering and regular posting here. Using the free version of the Buffer app for pre-written twitter posts.

So, do you have goals? How do you put foundations under them? And, what are you celebrating this week/month?

If you are looking for a few writing prompts, A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts is only 99 cents for e-readers at Kindle, B&N, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guest: C. Lee Mckenzie's Great Time Lock Disaster and Opening Lines

Today, I'm excited to hand my blog over to the talented and wonderful C. Lee Mckenzie!

There's nothing’s more dangerous than a wizard-in-training. And Pete Riley, has just proven it. He's worked a bad time spell--a very bad time spell.

No YouTube, no smoothies, no Manga. Not ever again. Not unless Pete figures out how to reverse his spell and free Weasel and him from Victorian England. 

He has until the next full moon. Only a few days.

Tick. Tock.

C. Lee On Opening Lines

Opening lines are the hardest for me to write. So much hinges on them. I’ve gone through books and read hundreds of first lines to find out successful writers’ secrets for getting me into a book. 

Then I started doing a bit of research. The best definition of a great opening came from Sol Stein in Stein on Writing. Here’s a short version of what he says: 

The first lines must: 

  • excite the reader’s curiosity, preferably about a character or a relationship.   Stein later refers to this as “quick characterization.”
  • introduce a setting.
  • make the story important enough for the reader to continue.

I’d add that the first lines must sweep me away from where I’m reading in my chair and plunk me dead center inside the world of the story.

Here are three of my favorites. 

1. Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water.  Alcatraz sits smack in the middle of the bay—so close to the city of San Francisco, I can hear them call the score on a baseball game on Marina Green. Okay, not that close. But still. Al Capone Does My Shirts, Choldenko

2. Tad was beginning to hate the spear. 
It was his first spear, and—when he had woken on the morning of his twelfth Naming Day—he had thought that it was the mist beautiful thing he had ever seen. His father had always pretended that Naming Day presents were brought each year by the Moon Elves, who traveled to Earth on moonbeams and brought gifts to well-behaved girls and boys. The Waterston, Rupp

3. “Where’s Papa going with that axe?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. Charlotte’s Web, White

  • In each case, we immediately locate the character(s). 
  • We sense their emotions and know a bit about them: 1) a relocated, not too happy person  2) disappointed  12-year-old 3) kid who’s curious and a bit fearful 
  • We know which point of view these stories are going to be told in. 
  • We know a bit about the setting: 1) isolated place, unattractive, sense of coldness 2) a different way of life with Naming Days and kids with spears 3) morning, maybe on a farm

Now here’s my attempt from The Great Time Lock Disaster. I’m up against some stiff competition. 

One minute the clock was tick-tocking on the mantel and the next it was a smoldering mess.

“No,” Harriet shouted. Then she braced one hand on her desk and covered her eyes with the other. 

Pete froze, not blinking, not breathing, but waiting to see if Harriet would point one of her long, bony fingers at him and turn him into a turnip or something slimy. 

To celebrate the launch of The Great Time Lock Disaster I'm giving 20 eBooks away. Hope you'll jump in to the copter and go for a ride!

Usually, C. Lee takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Double Negative (2014) was her third young adult novel. Researching it turned her into a literacy advocate. Her fourth YA, Sudden Secrets came out in December 2014. 

When she really want to have FUN, she writes middle grade books. Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster are now available.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Just a tiny shout-out to Shelley Sly, MG Author for hosting me at her blog today. It's late, and after a long day of teaching and some extra long conversations with my daughters this afternoon about "yesterday, today, and future plans," I made dinner and remembered the interview and the sweet review that Shelley gave me for A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Shelley!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Many thanks to Lexa Cain and her wonderful co-hosts, and to Viklit for starting this hop!

What I'm celebrating this week:

1. I've been banging my head against the keyboard over a particular plot point this last week, and finally, finally on Thursday evening I had an idea and wrote blissfully until my oldest daughter came in and told me she was HUNGRY - and somehow, even though it was nearly 8p.m., I didn't overcook the beef roast.

2. Um, despite said above project being due very shortly, I have just barely enough time to work on it. (I will try to visit around today, but my comments might be tiny short.)

3. I've had some amazing retweets this last week for A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, and I'll have an interview with Shelley Sly on Monday!

If you are looking for a freebie flash fiction story, check out "Seedling" for Amazon kindle - it's permafree these days.

What are you celebrating today?