Jo Michaels ~ Author

This is an official blog for the author Jo Michaels. Get news about upcoming releases, her books in progress, and follow along with her as she stumbles through life as a writer.

Pronouns - Round Two

Happy Thursday, everyone! I know you’re all excited about the approaching weekend, but stay with me today. I’m going over one of the most common errors in writing (again). Why am I bothering to write about it now if I already wrote a post about it last year? Well, because that one got a little buried in the sand (archives) and it’s something every author needs to be aware of. Misuse of pronouns is the thing I find most often when editing or reading; and, I’m sorry to admit, the one error I make consistently when writing. Ready? Grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going!

First off: What’s a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that’s used to replace a noun. He, his, him, she, her, hers, it, its (no apostrophe), their, they, they’re, and theirs are the ones to watch out for.

When should you become hyper-aware of pronouns?

Anytime you’re following up naming a person or thing by using a pronoun.

Examples of misplaced pronouns:

Larry looked into his dad’s eyes. He noted the sadness there, and wondered if his mind was on the task they were doing. His hands dug into the soft dirt like they had for the last thirty years. Would he ever get used to seeing him this way? Grabbing a handkerchief from the toolbox, Larry used it to wipe his face.

Quickly! How many misplaced pronouns were in that paragraph?

I’ll give you a moment to look it over.

Done yet?

Answer: Four out of ten are incorrect.

To find the ones that are wrong, we replace each pronoun with the last person or thing named. I’m going to number the pronouns so we can discuss after, keep the ones that refer to Larry’s dad as “Dad,” and break it down once I’m done. Errors are bold.

Larry looked into (1.his)Larry’s dad’s eyes. (2.He)Dad noted the sadness there, and wondered if (3.his)Dad’s mind was on the task (4.they)Dad’s eyes were doing. (5.His) Dad’s hands dug into the soft dirt like (6.they) Dad’s hands had for the last thirty years. Would (7.he) Dad ever get used to seeing (8.him) Dad this way? Grabbing a handkerchief from the toolbox, Larry used (9.it)the toolbox to wipe (10.his)Larry’s face.

  1. His - Right. Because we’re talking about Larry’s dad. Larry was the last person named.
  2. He - Wrong. It’s Larry who noted the sadness in his dad’s eyes.
  3. His - Right. We are referring to Dad, even though Larry should’ve been the last person named.
  4. They - Wrong. Eyes can’t dig in the dirt and they were the last plural noun.
  5. His - Right. We are talking about Dad’s hands.
  6. They - Right. Dad’s hands had dug in the dirt for the last thirty years.
  7. He - Wrong. We should be referring to Larry, not Dad.
  8. Him - Right. We do mean Dad.
  9. It - Wrong. This should be the handkerchief, not the toolbox. I can’t imagine wiping my face with a toolbox.
  10. His - Right. We do mean Larry’s face.

Ugh! Right?

So, how do we fix it? There are many ways. Here’s one:

Larry looked into his dad’s eyes, noting the sadness there, and wondered if his mind was on the task at hand. His fingers dug into the soft dirt like they had for the last thirty years. Larry wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to seeing the strain staring back at him from those eyes. Grabbing a handkerchief, he used it to wipe his face.

If you have to include the toolbox, do so before the word handkerchief: Reaching into the toolbox, he grabbed a handkerchief and used it to wipe his face.

It’s all about wording and construction. I know you probably think pronouns are the least of your worries, but a little bit of attention paid to this tiny thing will help your book tremendously in the long run.

These are rules that can’t readily be broken without seriously confusing the crap out of your reader. Now that you know what to look for, scroll back up and read the first paragraph again without the breakdown.

Heck, I know I miss a couple when editing my own work or the work of other people; that’s to be expected. I find errors like that in traditionally published books, too (though few and far between). But four in one paragraph?

How about you? Have you become pronoun proficient? Or did this post teach you something new?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Word Processors for Writers - MS Word vs Scrivener

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! I know you’re all super excited to be knee-deep into the last day of the week (I know I am). With the weekend being just around the corner, I know your attention span is probably as limited as mine is. *grin* But, try to keep focused as we discuss these two word processors available for writers on the market today (ones I’ve personally used). I’m also gonna tell you about something awesome that was on Flipboard this past weekend. Stay with me!

So, let’s begin by talking about MS Word (since it’s the most popular word processor out there).

The Pros:

  • Easy to use WYSIWYG editing program that has some awesome features (like the one I discussed here).
  • Easy to switch to print layout with a few minor adjustments (though I still recommend InDesign for this).
  • You can get templates for various platforms (discussion on that here).
  • Most people are familiar with the functions.
  • If you mess up your MS, a quick undo fixes your boo-boo.

The Cons:

  • Limited ways to incorporate images in layers for printed version.
  • Sometimes difficult to set up for printed version (for novices).
  • No bulletin board type feature or note card feature.
  • Wasn’t designed specifically for writers.

Now, we’ll go into Scrivener.

The Pros:

  • Built in Character bio sheets.
  • Built in novel templates.
  • Folders to manage chapters and scenes along with a cool note-card peg-board type thing.
  • Separate creation ability for writers.
  • Was created specifically for writers.
  • Can change a character’s name with the click of a button.
  • Easily outputs to various digital platforms with the click of a couple of buttons.
  • Gives a lovely side by side view of your MS.
  • Keeps all research together in one file for easy reference.

The Cons:

  • Not easy to use if you’ve never messed with it.
  • Preferences must be set on day 1 and are a PITA to change.
  • You must learn a whole new program.
  • There’s little margin for error when combining things or clicking buttons when you aren’t sure what they do.
  • It’s hard (might even be impossible) to undo big changes when the program auto-saves the way it does.

Now, I’ve used both of these (I got Scrivener at a discount for winning NaNoWriMo in 2013). I have to admit, I wanted so badly to fall in love with Scrivener, dive in, and use the hell out of it from day one. I’m not an unintelligent person, but to learn how to use a whole new program just hasn’t been in my time management ability sheet lately. Yeah, I’ve had it for over a year and used it maybe twice. I wrote five chapters in it before pulling it all out and moving it to Word. I was hella confused and super frustrated.

Am I gonna make the time to learn how to use it? Maybe. I see the potential there, but I’d rather be writing. Will I ever give up MS Word as a processor? Not likely. I love Word. It’s so easy to use! Not to mention the awesome tidbit of information on Flipboard about it this past weekend that makes me want to hug the hell out of Bill Gates.

Are you ready to hear this?


Are you sure?

MS Office now has an app for your iPad! It’s called Office 365. Holy smokes! It’s not cheap (at $100 a year), but it may be worth the money (for me, at least - an editor on the go). Scrivener has been working on developing one, but they haven’t gotten there yet.

Check out Office 365 here and get more information.

Is that gonna make a huge impact on my decision of which one to keep using? It’s possible. I have a feeling it’s gonna replace Evernote for me. Everything stays in the cloud so you can access it from anywhere, on any device.

You all know I LOVE being synced across my devices and anything that saves me time. You all also know that I refuse to talk about anything I don’t love, intend to love, or use myself here. I’m not compensated in ANY way for any of my posts, either (except by the continued love and comments by my readers). So, get on it and check this stuff out. Also, take my opinion with a grain of salt (I’m not a die-hard Scrivener lover yet).

What do you think? Stroke of brilliance on Microsoft’s part?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Shying Away in Your Writing

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Wow! It’s hump day. We’re halfway to the weekend and have a ton of awesome stuff done already, right? Well, you have just two more days until you get a couple off to lounge around and soak up some sun (don’t forget your sunscreen!). Today, I’m gonna be talking about those hard to write scenes and why you should write what you feel; not what you think your readers want to read. Ready? Grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going.

As you probably know, I review a good number of books here on the blog (at least twelve a year by Indies, and that number tends to go up as my favorite authors - both Indie and Traditionals - release new works). One thing I notice in the books I read is the author holding themselves back from writing a scene that may seem too graphic for their audience. No, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about violence, gore, and death.

If you’re writing Young Adult, you do have to keep it toned down. That’s not the genre I’m talking about here. However, you may reconsider your target audience if you come upon a scene you know will launch your story into a whole other realm. You feel me?

Most writers I know see the story take shape in their head as they put the words on the page. Things happen, characters act in their own way, and unexpected situations arise. Remember: A book isn’t prime-time television, and you can write what you’re seeing in the moment.

Let your fingers communicate what’s in your head. If you see it on your inner-movie reel, put it on the page.

I can’t stress this enough.

Here’s some examples of lead-ups to scenes that you may shy away from writing:

Tiffany spun around the dark room; her eyes searching in the inky blackness for a visual to accompany the sounds her ears were picking up. Shuffling, grunts, and heavy breathing assaulted her most active sense. Arms out, she waves her hands through the air like she’s swimming. Her heart is pounding, and she can smell metal. Something hard, cold, and rough is found. A wall. It must be a wall. Feeling her way along, she finds what she hoped for and pushes the switch to the on position. As the light fills the space, and her eyes adjust, her hands fly up to cover her mouth and muffle the scream building behind her lips.

Now, this can be a myriad of things:

  • People being eaten
  • A group of men ready to attack her
  • A group of women ready to attack her
  • Zombies
  • Vampires
  • Rats
  • Giant spiders
  • Clowns

I think you get the idea. Whatever happens next, you’ve built up that tension for a reason. Readers are waiting for what Tiffany is surprised by. Give it to them, and don’t be shy. Go into detail about what she sees, smells, hears, feels, and tastes. If she’s murdered, go into how. Torture? Give it raw. Write it exactly as you see it in your head.

Clark walked through the flower field, letting his hands graze the soft tops of the tall blooms. A breeze tickled the back of his neck and caused the tiny hairs there to stand on end. He’s lost with thoughts of Delia to pay too much attention to the fact that the sun is setting, but the clearing is getting brighter by the moment. His ears pick up a whisper on the wind, and he freezes in place. Delia fades from his mind as a beautiful woman steps from the treeline and holds out her arms to him. Icy puffs of breath come from his mouth as it falls open. Heat spreads through his body as he takes in her form, and his fingers twitch to touch her alabaster skin—around which long, black hair twists and flows like a silk sheet in the breeze. Red lips that need no lipstick, blue eyes the color of the clear sky, and a Romanesque nose sized to perfection all beckon to him with promises of fantasies come true. If only he’ll step into those open arms.

Again, you can take this in a million directions:

  • Death by haunting vixen
  • A quest
  • Ghostly encounters
  • Witches
  • Vampires
  • Myth and Lore

You get the picture, eh? Again, this is a tense scene. You’ve told your reader something big is coming because you’ve painted with your words. Bring it on. Don’t leave them hanging and frustrated. Go where the wind takes you (hey, there’s another idea!).

What I’m trying to get across here is: Don’t let the audience dictate what you put on the page. If you end up with a novel geared toward an older, more mature audience, let it go. However, if you think Clark will end up whisked away to a land of fantasy and the story is supposed to start there, let it be so. But if another idea strikes you, let it come out. Write it two ways if you must and choose your favorite.

Whatever you do, don’t shy away from the gore, death, or violence if the story calls for it. I’d be willing to bet that your YA brain already went with a quest (if that’s what you write). Listen to your inner writer.

Have you ever ended up with a book totally different from the idea you began writing?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

A Guest Post by Alison Pensy

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I welcome back Ms. Alison Pensy. She’s gonna regale you all with a few words about writing what you know (something I talk a lot about here on the blog). This one may jerk some tears out of you, so be prepared. As you may know, Ms. Pensy is one of the authors attending UtopYA Con in June of this year. If you don’t know what UtopYA is or don’t have tickets to the event yet, go here and pick yours up now. You don’t wanna miss out on this one! Without further ado, I give you Ms. Pensy’s guest post:

Write What You Know

by Alison Pensy

Firstly, I’d like to thank Jo for inviting me to be a guest on her blog. It’s an honor to be here. I hope you enjoy the post.

I’m going to talk today about how drawing upon life’s ups and downs can give your writing and your characters more depth.

Something very sad happened to me last Monday. It was inevitable, I knew that, I was just hoping for a little more time. At around 9:30am I put my arms around a very special friend who’d been in my life for twelve years, buried my face in her soft fur as the vet did his thing, and sobbed into her neck as she fell asleep in my arms never again to wake up. It was possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. One of my best friends had just died in my arms. I felt that time momentarily stood still, I wished it would because I didn’t want to let her go. My body was racked with sobs, my face would have fit neatly into a zombie movie without the need for stage makeup, and my heart hurt, it literally hurt, and continued to do so for hours after I’d left the vet’s office carrying an empty collar, and made my way home.

Experiences like this are tough, but we all go through various things in life that, although being the last thing we are thinking at that moment in time, have the potential to give our writing much more depth. How else would you be able to describe the emotional and physical pain of losing a loved one to any kind of degree without experiencing it? Yes, you could say it was gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, traumatic, or countless other adjectives, but would you know that you actually got pains in your chest from it? I didn’t, until I just experienced it the other day. Would you know how to describe it to a degree that the reader could feel it too? Maybe not.

It’s not just the sad stuff. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. When I first started writing, I kept seeing the same quote, time after time…”Write what you know.” When I first saw this, I took its meaning literally because the book I happened to be writing was using my adventures backpacking around Australia when I was twenty. I threw in some romance, which wasn’t part of my real-life adventure, and ended up with an NA romantic comedy. I am probably the clumsiest person on the face of the earth and I got myself a job as a jillaroo (Aussie cowgirl) working on a sheep station in the outback for six months. How I got out with all my limbs intact is still a mystery. For goodness sakes, they let me loose with a tractor, and a motorbike! Me… on a motorbike…chasing sheep *clutches sides*. I was the quintessential Bridget Jones and all around comic relief for the family who owned the station. Writing what I knew for that novel was not a stretch.

It wasn’t until I had the urge to write a fantasy novel that the true meaning behind “write what you know” hit me between the eyes. I didn’t know anything about faeries, dragons, red caps, Valkyries etc, other than what I’d read in other fantasy novels or on Wikipedia, let’s face it, who does? It was then I realized “write what you know” went much deeper. If I infused my characters with emotions that I had felt throughout various experiences in my life, I could make them more three dimensional. They would come alive on the page and to the reader.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Writing who you know can also help develop some very interesting characters and it can be very cathartic to boot *rubs hands together*. I had a lot of fun using an ex-boss, who made my early career life a living hell, as the basis for a slimy toad of a character in one of my books. Someone else I had the misfortune to know was also drawn upon for another less than savory character. Then there’s the good guys. Lots of my hero characters portray traits from my real life hero…my husband. The female characters portray traits from my BFF’s, the list is endless really, but writing what and who I know has certainly helped me become a better writer.

How about you? Do you draw on situations and/or real people who’ve impacted your life whether good or bad, to help you develop your characters and give them more depth?

~ Alison Pensy

How was that for a guest post? Pretty awesome, huh? Get your fingers in the clicking mode and go give Alison a follow on Goodreads or give her author page on Amazon a like.

Because I’m playing a bit of catchup here, you’ll get to meet Ms. Rachel Harris on Thursday, so be sure and come on back for that!

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Young Adult Novelettes Anthology Call for Submissions

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I’m gonna talk about an idea I have regarding novelettes and putting together an anthology. If you’re an author, I invite you to read on and consider what I’m offering. Grab your cup of coffee, a notepad, and a pen, and let’s get going!

I know you’ve probably seen a ton of anthologies out there, but I intend for this one to be different. I’d like to give readers a sampling of many different genres in one great book. So, my call is to those who write in the following fiction genres:

  • Sci-Fi
  • Paranormal (including angels, demons, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, vampires, etc…)
  • Romance (including western, historical, contemporary, etc…)
  • Urban Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Magic (of any kind - witches, wizards, superheros, etc…)
  • Time-Travel
  • Crime
  • Suspense
  • Horror
  • Historical
  • Mythological
  • Humor
  • Satire
  • And any of those I may have missed.

I’ll take a total of fifteen; but each one accepted will be in a different genre and be YA appropriate/themed. This means: No foul language or sexual situations and your protagonist must be between the ages of thirteen and seventeen.

What’s different about this offer? Well, you have a built-in editor, proofreader, and cover designer, as well as a formatting person for both digital and print.

Our book will stand out amongst the crowd for many reasons. One being because your author information will be right after your story, not bundled in the back of the book with everyone else. This will include links to your social media pages and a brief biography as well as an author photo. That way, if someone enjoys what they just read, they can find you right away.

Another reason will be the length of the stories inside. Most anthologies are short story collections; this one will be a collection of novelettes.

I’ve also considered having everyone use the same protagonist, but put him/her in different situations/worlds. Again, that’s up for discussion. But wouldn’t it be an interesting twist on the common anthology theme?

Here’s what the author bio pages will look like:

image

I’m thinking the title should be something along the lines of: Genre Mash-up: A collection of fictional tales.

But that’s open for discussion. Length of stories will be at least 5k words, up to 10k and may include chapters. With fifteen novelettes, that’ll give us a final product that’s between 75k and 150k words.

Here are two things I require: You must be able to attend a meeting at least twice a month to discuss the book until it goes live, and you must be expedient with all editing suggestions/proofreading requirements/communication responses.

If a deadline is missed, I’ll take it as a sign that you didn’t want to participate in the first place, and put in someone who didn’t make the cut the first time around for a reason other than missing a deadline.

Speaking of which…

If you think you have what it takes to be a part of this awesome opportunity, send a short sample of your work (2k-3k words - can be published already) as an attachment in MS Word format to me at WriteJoMichaels [at] gmail [dot] com. Include the following in the body of the e-mail:

  • Name and Pen Name (if applicable)
  • Genre you want to write in for the anthology
  • Your Twitter, Facebook, and blog addresses

Subject of the e-mail should be: Anthology submission.

Please have those in to me no later than April 20th. Publication date will be sometime in either July or August of this year. It depends on how quickly everyone can get their stories written. Heck, we may be able to get it out by mid to late June. Let’s get this party started!

Have you considered being part of an anthology before? What do you think of the idea of a collection of novelettes in general?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Book Review - Sanctuary

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I’m bringing you another book review from the Indie Fever 2014 Reading Challenge. If you’ve never heard of this event, it’s a group of readers who get together every year and try to read as many Indie books as they can. We strive to discover new, awesome Indie authors and share them with the world. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, pop on over to this page, commit to the level you’re comfortable with, add your name to the linky thing, grab the badge, choose your books, and off you go! So, today I have a review of Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden.

As always, let’s start with a little information about the book I’ll be reviewing for you.

Title: Sanctuary

Author: Pauline Creeden

Genre: Christian Science Fiction

Length (print): 280 pages

Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $2.99  ~ B&N $2.99  ~ Paperback $9.36  ~ Audible $17.46

Synopsis: In a heart-racing thriller described as Left Behind for the Hunger Games Generation, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…

When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. Tidbits for my blog readers’ eyes only! I saw the cover of this book and just fell in love with it. Pauline was my UtopYA secret Santa this past Christmas and gave me the book as a gift. It was a lovely surprise because I’d just finished writing I, Zombie, and have been consuming (no pun intended) zombie books for the last year and a half. When I got this one, I was over the moon.***

Moving on to the review.

Zombie novel? Love! Christian science fiction with zombies? Um… Wow. I had no idea what I was in for when I started this book. What an awesome twist on the biblical apocalypse. Rather than being some mutated disease causing people to start acting like zombies, what if it’s an alien invasion? Well, this is the direction Sanctuary takes you in. Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

From a Reader’s Perspective:

I loved watching the main character, Jennie, come into her own through the story. When we begin, she’s a lot like any tween would be: Self-centered, technology reliant, BFF in place, and has dreams of what she plans to do with herself down the road. As the tale moved on, she becomes a strong, self-reliant young woman. This change was perhaps the most moving one in my eyes. Pacing through the story was great, and I loved the little twists and turns thrown in. Hugh was a great character and I’m eager to see how his relationship with Jennie develops in future books. Oh my goodness what a cliffhanger at the end! If you’re not a huge fan of being left with a juicy bone dangling in front of you, the ending will be less than satisfying. But I loved it. I’m now chomping at the bit for the next installment. Aliens were a nice twist to the common zombie novel, but the thing I love most about them was still prevalent: human survival struggles. What would one do in any given situation when they’re terrified out of their minds? There’s plenty of that going on in Sanctuary. Having said that, let’s move on to part two.

From an Editor’s Perspective:

I found a few niggling little errors like: “…but she knew the door would be locked as the red sign on the door clearly stated they were sorry about.” and: “The ideas spun in his Hugh’s head like…” But none of them really took me out of the story, and there were only around fifteen in the whole book.

Rating:

+1 Star for bringing Jennie into her own via life and death events

+1 Star for pacing and plot (both were excellent)

+1 Star for the awesome twist on the cause of the zombie virus

+1 Star for plenty of human angst during a crisis situation that left me biting my nails

+.75 Star for writing and editing

-.25 Star for need for a proofreader to eradicate those tiny errors
Overall: 4.75 out of 5 stars! But I round UP, not down. Highly recommended if you love zombie novels or any book that’s gonna make you think about your own humanity.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Cover Reveal - Magic Unfolds

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Woo hoo! New week, new stuff to do. If you missed yesterday’s post with the interview of author Alison Pensey, be sure and check it out here. Today, I have another lovely UtopYA Con author, Ms. N. L. Greene. She’s joining us for a cover reveal for her new book Magic Unfolds. It’s the second book in the Mystic Seeker series and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Illusions Begin was an awesome read (review here) and I’m dying to know more. Without further jabbering on my end, I give you: the information (What? You didn’t think I was going straight into the cover, did you?).

Title: Magic Unfolds (Book 2 of The Mystic Seeker Series)

Author: N. L. Greene

Blurb: For the first time in her life, Becky had hopes of fulfilling her own dreams when Blaine Winters inexplicably arrived into her quiet life, teasing her with astounding possibilities she never thought imaginable. Not only did he reveal that magic was indeed real, but he also stirred feelings in her that she had only read about in clichéd romance novels. But just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Then Becky’s life was turned upside down by a family emergency. With the overwhelming demands of running an elite law firm as well as her ex becoming more of a threat each day, she didn’t have time for whimsical thoughts or personal exploration anyway.

Now that Blaine has mysteriously disappeared from her life, she can put her family first and focus on what she needs to do. If only it were that easy. Blaine may be gone and all of Becky’s little girl dreams of a world filled with magic with him, but that doesn’t mean all’s forgotten. Nightmares are plaguing her, someone is watching her, and there are powers within her that she can’t seem to control.

Will Becky finally get her chance at magic after all, even if she doesn’t want it?

Sounds good, huh?

Now, on to what you came here for: the cover!

Oooooooooh! Pretty! How about the full wrap?

Oh my… Now that’s a book cover :)

Are you wondering yet where you can pick up a copy? It’s available for pre-order now!

Click here to pre-order the book from Barnes & Noble (you can also pre-order for iBooks). IF you get it before April 20th, it’s just $0.99.

Illusions Begin (Book 1) is $0.99 through April 20th as well. Get started on the series while you can. Link to Amazon here.

About N. L. Greene

Author N.L. Greene is a writer of YA and NA Contemporary and Paranormal Romances. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two beautiful daughters. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys traveling around the world with her family, shopping and doing other girly things with her girls, or playing video games with her husband. She is a lover of dogs, chocolate, and anything pink!

To connect with Ms. Greene on Social Media, click the following links:

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Page

Twitter

Blog

Goodreads

Smashwords

I hope you all enjoyed this post! What do you think of the cover?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday Funday

Happy Friday, everyone! The weekend is almost upon us and I figured I’d give you a few things to do in your downtime that will help your writing skills. Just a little weekend fun to keep your writerly brain engaged and on target for the workweek ahead. I know you don’t really want to think about Monday, but it behooves us all to be prepared. I’ll begin by giving you the name of the exercise, and then move on to how you can accomplish it (and maybe have some fun, too). Grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going.

Exercise #1: Dialogue Dissection

Grab a friend or family member and chat with them. Be sure you have a recorder of some kind running (voice notes on an iPhone work great for this). Give yourself ten to fifteen minutes then shut the recording device off. End the conversation and move to a room where you can be alone. Play back the recording and recall what each of you were doing as you spoke. Mentally add commas and periods where you think they belong. Listen to it again. Pay attention to the words used, pronunciation, and inflection. Think about how you might write the conversation out. If you feel so inclined, you may do so; but, this is more of an exercise to get your brain thinking about dialogue in general.

Exercise #2: Title Trivia

Sit down with a friend or family member and grab a couple of sheets of paper or 3.5”x5” index cards. Cut them into pieces and have everyone write one word on each piece. Fold them up and throw them into a bowl. Take turns picking out two pieces and sticking them together. Pretend it’s the title of a book and come up with a synopsis to support it. This is all verbal, so no need to write anything down (unless you hit upon the next great novel idea!).

Exercise #3: What’s That Word?

This, again, is a two or more person game. Grab a sheet of paper and write down a sentence with at least ten words in it. Exchange with others. Now, try and come up with as many words as possible in place of the ones written. Whoever has the most variations (accurate ones) wins! Don’t cheat and use a thesaurus! I find chocolate is a great motivator as a prize for this game.

Exercise #4: Acting Gone Awry

Take a character from one of your favorite novels and pretend to be them for the day. Respond to other people the way you think the character would, do things you think they would do, and really try to walk in their shoes. Take little notes as you go if you want. At the end of the day, reflect on your actions and try to flesh out the character in your head. Were there circumstances that made you wonder about the character’s personality or how they would react or did it all flow very naturally? What part of the book let you know that? Use this knowledge the next time you’re building your own characters (or when writing scenes of discovery).

Exercise #5: Cover Collection Craziness

Go online and take a look at other books in your genre. Save images of the covers. Print out a quick copy on regular paper or pull them up in a photo editing program. Make notes about what you like and don’t like about each one. If you wanna get crazy, cut them up and glue together a whole new cover with some of the elements. Kids love this one.

These are just a few games you can play with your friends or family members to help you become a better writer. An added bonus is: You get to spend time with your loved ones while sharpening your skills!

Which one of these sounds the most fun to you?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

New Release - Evermore by Amy Miles

Happy Thursday! I bet you’re all looking forward to tomorrow, huh? I know I am. I need a weekend to recharge my batteries. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger this week. Bronya (book 1 of the Mystic series) is getting a major overhaul in both the editing and cover department. I’d like to take the newest versions of the series with me to UtopYA Con in June so I’m busting it out. Busy, busy! I’m planning to do a raffle for a couple of special things at the con, so be sure and visit my table in Area 51. I’ll be sharing space with the ever awesome Tia Silverthorne Bach and we’ll have some IBGW goodies to give you all, too!

But, today, I’d like to tell you all about a new release by Ms. Amy Miles titled Evermore. It’s the fourth book in her Arotas series. Without further ado, I give you the info!

Title: Evermore (book 4 of the Arotas series)

Author: Amy Miles

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Coming of Age

Length (print): ~91 pages

Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $0.99  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Barns & Noble $0.99  ~  iBooks $0.99

Synopsis: I pledge my heart, my life, my soul to you on this day and all the days to come. My life, bonded to yours, if you will have me. ~ Gabriel, Redemption

With a single vow and a swift blow, everything Roseline Enescue held dear is stripped away. The battle is over, but the victory is far from sweet. Laying Gabriel to rest in the Enescue family mausoleum beside her beloved friend and former lover, Fane is the hardest thing she has ever had to do. With an eternity of loneliness stretching out before her, Roseline withdraws into herself, shutting everyone out. Even Elias, Gabriel’s guardian angel leaves her to mourn by herself, but his sudden return brings about a series of thrilling and terrifying events, the likes of which will forever change the course of her life.

Follow Roseline and Gabriel as they are reunited after death, enjoy Sadie and Nicolae’s fiery romance, experience William’s growing feelings of uselessness and discover what happens when there is no one left to control the forces of darkness.

With a single vow everything changed. A prophecy yet to be fulfilled. A new legacy to last the ages.

EVERMORE, an Arotas novella. The final installment.

Sounds like a pretty awesome book, eh?

What do you think? Will you check it out?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Writing Your Ending First

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today we’re gonna talk about an interesting way to write a novel that goes out with a bang. All you pantsers out there are probably gonna love this. Those of you who work with a strict outline will most likely cheer. I’ll admit to using this trick only once; but, I loved the results so much, I figured I’d share what I did and how I did it. Grab your pens and notebooks and let’s get going!

Imagine this:

You have your story idea in your head. All the research has been done and you may or may not have an outline ready and waiting. Cracking your knuckles, you sit at your computer and start banging out your first chapter. Then another flows out. Then another. You take the rest of the day off because writing those nine thousand words really took it out of you.

Day two rolls around and you grab your coffee, determined to crack out as many words as you did on day one. This day you get two chapters written before you push away from your desk, exhausted, but loving the story on the pages.

By day three, you’re back to rolling out words like a Lorem Ipsum generator (but yours makes sense, of course).

Fast forward a couple of months.

You stare at the screen. Your energy is drained because you’ve given your everything to writing this novel you’re sure has the stuff of awesomeness. And now it’s time to write the ending. Your creative juices are drained and you can’t figure out how in the hell you’re gonna go out with a bang. *head to desk*

Words begin to meander out of your fingers and you end up with a lackluster finale you know your readers are gonna lift an eyebrow at. But you’re so tired of looking at/working on this novel, you don’t have it in you to re-write it.

In edits, you may revise that ending. But it’ll never have the level of awesome the first eighty or so pages of the novel. Why? Because you were exhausted.

Now, step back in time to day one. You knew exactly where the story was going back then and had a vivid idea about where your characters would end up, right?

Why not write the end and the beginning on that first day?

I heard that gasp.

Let me try and put it another way. If you have a clear path to your character’s finale, using your awesome creativity to craft it when you’re fresh out of the gate will leave you with something rich and satisfying.

Write the end, then step back and start at the beginning. You’ll find you rush less, take the time to choose just the right words, and it may even help give your novel clearer direction.

Try it once. If it doesn’t work out for you, I won’t take it personally. But this is a cool way to be sure your ending is everything the beginning is.

I used this technique in only one book: I, Zombie. I knew what I wanted to happen by the end and I wrote it, then the beginning. It was one of the most surreal writing experiences of my life. Endings will now always be written first when I start a novel.

Have you ever used this technique? Think you’ll try it now?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo