Jo Michaels ~ Author

A blog dedicated to the education and support of indie authors. Also striving to provide great book recommendations for readers.

After Twilight Releases Today

There’s an exciting new limited edition boxed set OUT NOW!
Only .99!!


After Twilight: Six Tales of First Loves, Extraordinary Heroines and Daring Adventures is a YA multi-author boxed set comprised of authors: Julia Crane, Sophie Davis, Lizzy Ford, Ella James, Tara West, and Morgan Wylie.
 
This special Limited-Edition boxed set includes not only six FULL-LENGTH novels, but also four brand new, NEVER-BEFORE RELEASED companion stories. The cover was beautifully done by Eden Crane Designs.
 
After Twilight includes:
 
Freak of Nature (IFICS #1) by Julia Crane, plus a special short story prequel
Talented (Talented Saga #1) by Sophie Davis, plus Condemned (A Short Story Prequel )
Cursed (Voodoo Nights #1) by Lizzy Ford
Here (Here Trilogy #1) by Ella James
Sophie’s Secret Crush (Whispers Book 5) by Tara West, plus Krysta’s Cursed Cat (A Short Story)
Silent Orchids (The Age of Alandria: Book One) by Morgan Wylie, plus The Rise of the Paladin (A Short Story Prequel)
 
BUY Links: AMAZON iBooks Smashwords
~~~
Help these authors reach their “BOOM” via Thunderclap! 
Thunderclap: It’s what happens after the lightning strikes when the thunder BOOMS and is the result of a sonic shock wave that shoots out.  It’s called Thunderclap. 
Have you heard of it? Check it out…

"Thunderclap is a “crowdspeaking” platform that lets individuals and companies rally people together to spread a message. The site uses an “all-or-nothing” model similar to crowdfunding sites such Kickstarter, in that if the campaign does not meet its desired number of supporters in the given time frame, the organizer receives none of the donations.
On Thunderclap, backers donate tweets and social media posts rather than money.” ~~Wiki
Except it’s FREE!!
Please consider donating a tweet or FB or Tumblr post. It’s super easy and (we love this part) it’s FREE. Just click the link!

Join zOctober for a ton of Zombie Fun!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Well, it’s mid September, and that means one of the most awesome events ever is about to happen. It only takes place once a year in October, and I had the very distinct pleasure of meeting the mavin behind the fun at UtopYA con 2014. She’s awesome and very into zombies! So sit back, relax, and get your clicking finger ready to help you join the events!

Do you love zombies?

How about a whole month of them?

I’m proud to take part in the brain eating goodness happening over on…

My Book Addiction

With the always awesome Toni Lesatz!

Here’s the cute little event icon for you to share:

I’ll have a guest post rocking along over there, and I’ll be hosting one day of the party on Facebook with some great zombie prizes to give away. There will be some exclusive I, Zombie swag, too!

Anxious yet to find out where you can join in and possibly win some awesome zombie books and swag?

Okay, okay.

Join by:

Following Toni’s blog.

Going to the Facebook party.

Be sure and follow the hashtag on Twitter:

#zOctober2014

And give Ms. Lesatz a follow over there while you’re at it:

@Toni_BookAddict

Or on Google Plus, where I know she’ll be sharing all the zombie goodness!

Excited yet? Are you gonna go? What will you be looking forward to most?

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

Jo

Book Review - Feast Island

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Heck yeah! Today, I have another book review for you all from my Indie Fever 2014 reading list. I’m making one hell of a dent in my list, and I’ve scheduled myself a review a week (sans November, because of NaNo) until I get them all done. Then, I’ll have a new collection coming at me in December from my 12 Days event. If you’re an author, you don’t wanna miss that fun! I only take review requests once a year, and if you miss it, you’re out of luck.

Now, if you’re a reader, join us over on the Indie Fever Challenge! So far this year, we’ve reviewed over 300 Indie books! Wow! That’s a lot of awesome for self-pubbers right there. You can join in the fun here. Just add your name to the linky thing with your pledge level, grab the badge, and get to reviewing. Here’s mine so far:

Tamar Hela Feast Island REVIEW BELOW

Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper’s Daughter REVIEW HERE
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements REVIEW HERE
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW HERE
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
Thaddeus White Sir Edric’s Temple REVIEW HERE
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Reap REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
S. G. Daniels The Druid’s Doorway REVIEW HERE
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $3.99
Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.99 
C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.99
Gloria Piper Finnegan’s Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $3.99 
Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $0.99
Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99 
Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99

Here’s a little about today’s book:

Title: Feast Island  (Spirit Lake Book 1)
Author: Tamar Hela 

Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Length (print): ~ 192 Pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $2.99

Synopsis:

Seven teenagers from Northern California are assigned a seemingly innocent group project for their freshman English class. Little do they know, this project will literally take them on a journey out of this world. Cantelia appears much like Earth, until the kids realize magic is as plentiful as the danger surrounding them. A dark and evil ruler has placed a curse on the tribal people of Sikuku Island—the same island where the teens have been transported. Now, they must help the tribal people break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Join Alex and her friends as they learn that there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary Spirit Lake.  

**Will not appear in review elsewhere.  While the cover does capture the story on the pages, it’s a bit too dark overall, in my opinion. This is YA and I feel like it needs to be a bit lighter. That being said, it’s just an opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt.**

I picked up this book when the author, Tamar Hela, pitched it to me on my blog during my Twelve Days of Christmas event. She was looking for reviews, and her book got me from both the pitch and the sample. I ran out and bought it, as I do all books I review, and the rest, as they say, is history. Enough about how I came upon the title! Let’s get to the good stuff.

From a Reader’s Perspective:
This book has a lot of heart and a great story. I enjoyed the main character, and felt like she grew as the book progressed. It’s a standalone in the beginning of a series, but there’s no crazy cliffhanger at the end. Everything is wrapped up in a pretty bow. Plot-wise, Feast Island was spot on. Teens getting whipped away into another world? Yes, please! I also adored the idealism of the youngsters. I felt the story was paced well, and will be a great read for younger people. All that being said, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I think it’s because there were too many for me to get a firm grasp on one. I did like that I got to hear Alex’s thoughts (she’s a typical teen with a snarky process), but I found myself wishing for more of the Spirit Lake legend to be intertwined with her journey. There were also a ton of redundancy issues. Head hopping happens a lot, and there are at least three POVs (though the only one I could put a finger on whose head I was in was Alex’s). There were a few times the author’s voice intruded, and pulled me out of the story. Dialogue felt forced with names spattered in often. Which leads me to…

From an Editor’s Perspective:

Very few pronoun issues. I was pleasantly surprised by that. However, the issues I found were redundancy (as mentioned), lack of comma lists where needed, author’s voice intrusion, and confusions/dropped words. Examples: She had long, white hair that was braided and pinned close to her head and looked younger than she was. This translates to: her hair looking younger than her face. Nominated and voted. Same meaning in two words. Use of ?! and ?? happened often. Corporal and corporeal. Two very different words, the first used where the second should’ve been. I dismounted and chained my bike to a tree and made my way… Needs commas to improve flow.

Rating:

1 Star for giving me a fun read with great pacing

1 Star for making me laugh at some of Alex’s inner monologue

1 Star for tying up all the loose ends and an interesting plot

-1 Star for redundancies and forced feeling dialogue

-1 Star for confusions of words and phrases and for head hopping with no focus

Overall, 3 out of 5 stars. A good read for a teen (very clean), and something to enjoy on a rainy afternoon.

What do you think? Have you read it?

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

Jo

scribnerbooks:

this photo is everything.

LOVE this pic!!!

scribnerbooks:

this photo is everything.

LOVE this pic!!!

Stereotypical Stuffed Shirts - Changing Cliché Characters

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Excuse me. I seem to have alliterated. *grin* Okay, all grammar nerd jokes aside, I bet you’re all knee deep in the work week and looking forward to a little break, eh? Well, today I’m bringing you a post all about using stereotypes to your advantage. People tell you never to use a typical character, but I think using common folk as a base is a fantastic place to start. This is gonna be another work with me post, so grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going!

First, let’s list some stereotypes:

  • Crazy aunt who pinches cheeks and laughs too much.
  • Shy, smart, eager to please teen who’s bullied in high school.
  • Bad boy who smokes, drinks, and gets in fights all the time who turns good with love.
  • Good girl who has no one and nothing, but does everything right (perhaps even playing nursemaid to a sick parent or other relative).
  • Southern idiot with a drawl, a gun, and a coon hound.

Okay, that should be enough to get us through this exercise. Now, stories with these characters are abundant. You can find at least one in every three books you read.

They make great secondary/forgettable characters, because there’s nothing about them that stands out from the fray. People forget them easily (especially if you don’t name them).

That being said, you don’t want to slap this kind of person into a tale and put the spotlight on them.

Unless…

You add a little something to make them twisty to the reader. Take the stereotype and flip him/her on their heads. Throw in a surprise for your reader that’s like a nugget of gold hidden in the pages. After all, riches kept miners going to the deadly land of Alaska looking, right?

Reward your reader; they’ll come back for more.

How can you do that? Well, let’s use the characters from above (yeah, you knew that was coming) and work out how we can make them more than they seem. I’ll give typical traits, then how you might be able to give that character a twist.

Crazy Aunt - Now, this cliché lady crochets, makes jam, and probably has a fruit pattern on her plastic dining room tablecloth. But the twisty lady might keep kids in cages in the basement, men tied up in the barn to torture (perhaps she was a victim of abuse and this is her revenge on the male species), or she’s a spy for a foreign government.

Bullied Teen - Typically quiet, excellent students (because no social life), and usually dress down so as not to draw attention to themselves. If you gave them a twist they could bully others anonymously, enter beauty pageants in other states, or run for class president (now that would be a shocker).

Bad Boy - Women are drawn to him, he’s crazy sexy, and he has some sort of tortured past. Flip him and make him rich with great parents and un-saveable, someone who’s doing a social experiment by acting like a bad boy (your reader will gasp), or have him be really bad and kidnap girls who fawn over him because he was always fascinated by the way women look.

Good Girl - She goes to her job every day like clockwork, never gets in fights, and makes perfect grades. Change her by giving her a twisted fetish she has to hide, visions of dead people she shakes when she sees but hides because she’s actually crazy, or let her go on a murder rampage and kill everyone who ever expected her to be perfect.

Southern Imbecile - Hunts, fishes, not playing with a full deck of cards, drives a dirty pickup truck. Make him different by giving him a secret lab and off the charts IQ he hides, making him an alien, or let him be an over the top wealthy guy who’s a brilliant artist in hiding.

Now you try. List each one on a piece of paper and try to come up with three things you could do to make them different. After that, come up with your own cliché characters, and change them, too!

No matter how you accomplish the twist, keep it fresh, keep your reader guessing, and do something folks don’t see all the time.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to change characters up and make them more.

What do you think? Ever used a stereotype in a different setting? Tell me about it!

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

Jo

Office 365 - Good, Bad, and Awesome

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Do you remember that post I did a while back on MS Word vs Scrivener? Well, I may have mentioned something about Office 365 playing a huge part in the decision on whether I’d take the leap and learn Scrivener or just stick to MS Word. So, I invested in the Office 365 suite, downloaded the app, and the results are in. If you’ve been on the fence, this might be the tipping point. Of course, my experience with the program may not mimic yours, so remember to take everything you read (no matter the source) with a grain of salt. Grab your comfy chair, a cup of Jo, and let’s get going!

When I saw the editing and portability power of Word in the 365 suite, I knew it would be the game changer for me. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to write on my computer, pick up my iPad and go outside to sit with my daughter while she swims and write some more, and then come back in and have the words I wrote magically appear on the screen in my manuscript. Can you say freedom? No longer am I tethered to my desk.

But writing in two different places and having it all sync up is something Evernote could do, right?

Yes.

However…

I’m also an editor (and if you’re a writer, you kind of are, too). No other program holds the MS I’m editing, allows me to make inline changes and comments, and keeps it all in a format most people have the program to open (.docx). Best of all, it can also be saved out as a .doc.

Now for the one downside so far:

On my iPad, it’s difficult to highlight a specific place in the text because I don’t have a mouse. It requires a few more motions to get to where I need to be because of the press/hold/select function. I kinda wish it was adaptable to highlight whatever I hold my finger on without me having to go into select/select all.

But, I can also see how that might be an annoyance. Hello? I just clicked to put the cursor there, not select the word! Right? So, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Also, I’m not losing as much editing time when I have to hold my finger as I would be if I needed to be chained to my desk to work.

Make sense?

So, the pros outweigh the cons for me. But, allow further elaboration. Here are some screenshots of my WIP in Word 2013 on my iPad (click to enlarge):

Here we have the HOME screen.

You can see, it looks a lot like the traditional Word. No huge learning curve, and nothing to be alarmed about. You won’t be able to format your page like you can in Word, but if you take a moment and set it up beforehand, it functions just fine. Or, you can always open on your laptop or desktop and select all and format. It’ll save the changes over automatically.

When we click on the INSERT tab at the top, we get this:

It lets you add pictures, shapes, a text box, and all sorts of goodies.

Next up, is LAYOUT:

Just like in the older version of Word, you can change the margins, headers and footers, and numbers.

Then, we have my favorite, REVIEW:

Ahhhh, the power of the editor is here. This screen. You can turn on Track Changes, leave inline corrections, comments in balloons, and do so much more. See that tiny icon in the top right? You can add editors to the document if they have the program. Their edits show up in different colors when you look at the document again. How cool is that?

Last, is VIEW:

This is where you can choose what Word shows you as you write or edit. You know we all love word count! *grin*

Another awesome thing is how this program (on your desktop or mobile device) will take you to the place you left off when you return. It happens automatically on the iPad version, and you just click a ribbon that resembles a bookmark on the desktop version. My app crashed on me one time so far (knock on wood) while I was editing. But the changes were automatically saved as soon as they were made, so I lost nothing. Yeah, awesome.

By the way, the desktop version functions like MS Word 2007. Not a bunch of new stuff to learn before you use it.

Everything is stored in the cloud, and you’re giving a ridiculous amount of storage space with the home version (I have 1TB). I mean, will I really ever use a terabyte of storage? I think not.

It is a per-year cost, so consider yourself warned. But every single one of you are writers or editors and will be using it for work, right? Ask your tax rep if you can write it off. My version is Office 365 Personal and will be $70 a year. It includes one desktop and one iPad license.

Anyway, now you have more information and a personal account of this new software. As always, I get no kickbacks from anyone, and there are no affiliate links on this blog. I just tell it like I see it and let you make your own decisions. You can get more information here or do a Google search for Office 365 and go from there.

What do you think? Have you considered changing? Any questions about the software for me?

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

Jo

Book Review - The Last Keeper’s Daughter

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I bring you another book review from my Indie Fever reading challenge commitment. I know this post is a bit late, but I do like to finish the books before I review them. If you aren’t familiar with the Indie Fever reading challenge, check it out here. So far this year, we’ve reviewed over 300 Indie books, and still have three months to go! You can still join us. Just visit the link, add your name and commitment level to the linky thing, and get to reading. It’s a wonderful event that celebrates my favorite people in the world: Indie authors! I’m gonna give you a quick recap of the reviews I’ve written so far, and the list of books on my TBR (in no particular order), before we get to information about the book and my review. So grab your comfy chair and a cup of coffee, and let’s get going!

Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper’s Daughter REVIEW BELOW
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements REVIEW HERE
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW HERE
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
Thaddeus White Sir Edric’s Temple REVIEW HERE
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Reap REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
S. G. Daniels The Druid’s Doorway REVIEW HERE
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $3.99

Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.99

C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.99

Gloria Piper Finnegan’s Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $3.99 

Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $0.99

Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99

Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $2.99
Tamar Hela Feast Island Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99

Title: The Last Keeper’s Daughter

Author: Rebecca Trogner

Genre: New Adult Paranormal

Length (print): ~ 242 Pages

Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $4.99

Synopsis: To the outside world Lily Ayres is the privileged daughter of an old moneyed family. She is young, beautiful, and a talented horsewoman. All of which are enviably qualities, but few know that beneath this thin veneer of societal perfection lies a deeply troubled young woman. For Lily rarely speaks and is incapable of normal, human interaction.

Unable to understand why she is this way, she further retreats inside herself, until memories and suppressed emotions begin to bubble to the surface. Murder, revelations of her family’s hidden purpose and dark secrets are revealed as she is thrust into the supernatural world of Krieger Barnes, Vampire King of North America.

Now that you know about the book, how about that review? *grin*

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. You all know how much I love covers. This one is pretty as all get out, but it’s hard to read the title at small sizes. I’d also like to see the author’s name in a larger point size. Your books are your chance to make a real stamp on your author platform. Be proud, not meek.***

Rebecca Trogner answered a call last year to pitch her book to me during the Twelve Days of Christmas event on my blog. This is the only time of the year I take requests for reviews, and buy the books that capture my attention. Well, her pitch and sample snagged a purchase. I loved the intrigue building behind the opener, and I had to know more. Let’s get going about the rest of the story, eh?

From a Reader’s Perspective:

Humans and vampires. But, then, there are Others. Let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect out of this story, but I loved the twisting and turning of paranormal creatures. Vantors were my favorite! Descriptions were very well done, and I liked how the main character, Lily, came into her own over the course of the novel. I didn’t care for the back and forth between Lily and Krieger, hot one minute and cold the next, but I did appreciate the moments when the two were together and he seemed deep and caring. On characters, I got confused a number of times when reading about Walter, Winston, Henry, and Hunter. Their names were a bit too close to one another, and I kept having to stop and think about who the heck the subject of conversation was. Not fun. I liked the pacing (no dawdling here), and was able to finish the book in a week. Surprises abound. This tale is a twisty one and will keep you guessing until the end. I did have to shut off my editor’s brain, but the errors I noticed probably would go unseen by the casual reader. Speaking of that…

From an Editor’s Perspective:

There were several places I lost traction. Sentences like this one: “The bladed was forged with magic,” and “Randolph convinced him to let him investigate it.” Use of the word wracked in place of racked. It was little things like these that lose half a star, but the book is well written despite. Great plot that doesn’t dawdle.

Rating:

1 Star for giving me lots of paranormal folks besides vampires

1 Star for bringing Lily from weak and meek to awesome

1 Star for the twists and turns

-1 Star for names that were too similar and the weird romance/not romance thing happening

-.5 Star for editing of sentences, grammar, and pronoun misuse

.5 Star for a unique plot and good pacing

Overall 3.5 out of 5 stars. We all know I round up, so this book gets a 4. Recommended to fans of vampires, mysteries, and other paranormal creatures.

What do you think? Have you read it? Plan to?

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

Jo

Announcement - UtopYA 2015 Official Bloggers

Happy Hump-Day! Wow. I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited I am! Today was going to be a book review, but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I have some amazing news to share with you all. If you’re a writer, you’ll be excited. If you’re a reader, you’ll be happy dancing. Best of all: If you subscribe to my blog (or follow me in any way) you’ll have opportunities to win some amazing things, and you’ll be one of the first to get information about things happening at UtopYA Con in 2015.

Why?

Because, the announcement has been posted on the UtopYA Con blog

AND I MADE THE LIST!

That’s right! In tandem with three other amazing bloggers, I was chosen to be one of the official news folks.

Plus, I get to display this awesome badge on the blog! *drools over the pretty*

image

Along with myself, here are the other awesome ladies bringing you news and prizes from the event:

Maria Pease

The Paisley Reader

Ashley Bodette

A Book Junkie Not so Anonymous

Shana Benedict

A Book Vacation

Go subscribe to their blogs, because you don’t want to miss a thing.

Are you going to UtopYA Con 2015?

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

Jo

Story Designs

Happy Tuesday! Wow. We’re into day two of the week and already it looks like it’s gonna be five days that feel longer than they should be. But, as always, we must continue to press on. Today’s post may lighten your mood a bit. I’m discussing plots. That’s right, those timeless things we all have to consider when beginning to craft our novels. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I know we’re all gearing up to take part in the most fabulous writerly collective to ever happen. Maybe this post will spark some ideas for you. So, grab those pens and pencils and let’s get going!

There are several structures you’ll see used in novels. I’m gonna go over the most common ones.

  1. The Boy She Can’t Have - A female meets a male, and something is keeping them apart. We read on to the end to find out if they can ever resolve the obstacle and end up together. Many variations of this have happened, and there could be more than one thing the two need to overcome before they can be together. A sub-plot often includes another male the female may have an interest in, and she ends up having to choose. As an aside: This can also be male meets male or female meets female (LGBT romance). It’s becoming more popular, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
  2. Taking Down the Bad Guy - Your society has a tyrant in control and he/she must be brought to justice somehow. This can also be Taking Down the Regime.
  3. All Grown Up - How the protagonist matures to find inner strength through the span of life. A twist on this could be they can’t die and end up having to live more than one life. May be physical or emotional aging.
  4. Oh! The Grass is Greener… Right? - Your protagonist dreams of a brave, new world where everything is rainbows and butterflies, and everyone thinks he/she is the best. This person is probably feeling trapped, ostracized, or enslaved. But, once they get to their salvation, they realize what they had before wasn’t so terrible after all, and they long for nothing but to return to life the way it was.
  5. The Cinderella Syndrome - Poor girl/guy comes to fabulous riches through some means. It can be hard work, a fairy godmother, or a stroke of luck (like a winning lottery ticket). Your protagonist must be rewarded greatly. Be sure it doesn’t turn into a Grass is Greener situation.
  6. Cold to Hot - When the bitter heart of another is morphed into love once again. We all like to think people can be saved (even when at their worst), so this tale is about the most terrible villain brought to love once again by the most unassuming thing. Usually works best with something you never thought could bring a baddy to his/her knees.
  7. The Little Engine that Could - Someone from humble beginnings sets the world right again. Basically, you’re crafting a future hero for the people. 
  8. Obtaining the Unobtainable - Many people have tried, and failed. But your protagonist succeeds. Think of lost treasure or a super power/bit of knowledge others have died trying to own.

As you can see, there are many structures for novels. When you get crazy fun, you can twist the plot to look like you’re taking down the bad guy, only to have the worst person not be the one in the line of fire.

I suggest letting that happen organically. If you see it coming, your reader will, too.

No matter what structure you use, be sure you’re writing in the genre expected by the reader. You don’t want to bill it as a romance then kill off the lover at the end, or have your heroine running for her life while being chased by a crazy killer the whole time. Make sense?

What’s your favorite structure/plot? Are you a Boy She Can’t Have fan, or do you tend more toward The Cinderella Syndrome? Inquiring minds wanna know!

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

Jo

Author Interview - Kelly Martin

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! I can hear you all cheering at the newest, UNofficial UtopYA Con author interview on the block! You know what that means, right? Yup, a new person to get to know, and a new featured book for the week. Today, I have Ms. Kelly Martin with me. You’ll love getting to know this vivacious little lady! If you don’t have your tickets to UtopYA Con 2015 yet, go get them here. Remember, prices go up as time goes by! It’s been expanded to a four day conference, and there are a ton of surprises coming your way for the 2015 lineup! Anyway, on to the author! Sit back, relax with your cup of Jo, and let’s get going!

Jo: Hello, Kelly, and welcome to my humble ablog! It’s wonderful to have you here, and I can’t wait to get to know you better! Let’s jump right in. Ready?

Kelly: As ready as I’ll ever be ;) I’m so excited to be here!!

Jo: Awesome! As ready as you’ll ever be, eh? Well, my readers like the good stuff, so I hope you’re prepared to answer some difficult questions! Allow me to start off by asking you about your daily to-do lists. Why do you make those, and how do they help or hinder?

Kelly: Um… Well, I do, sort of. I have three kids in school plus I’m a teacher so lists are sort of my life. Except I tend to lose them sometimes and then it’s not very pleasant. Basically, my main to do thing for my girls is to not forget their snack money. Everything else is extra ;) For writing, I ‘try’ to write 2,000 words a day after they go to bed, but sometimes I don’t. If I don’t, I at least try to do something ‘writerly’ like… you know… read ;) Lists help me focus because I’m one of those people who if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Cabinets are my enemy.

Jo: I feel you on the to-do lists. I can go to the store for bread and come home with everything but. Haha! With all that going on, how the heck do you get any rest? Like I always say: Organization is the key to productivity. Have you tried pinning your list to your shirt? Yes, I’ve done that. Don’t judge me. *grin* Onward! What got you started writing?

Kelly: In October, 2011, a friend of mine named Charlotte told me about NaNoWriMo, and it changed my life. I’d always wanted to write a book, but I never thought I could (because I’m me). I decided why not and started on what ended up being my first published novel, Crossing the Deep. Five months later, I was ready to query it. I signed a contract in July and it came out in October 2012.

Jo: Wow! That happened pretty quickly for you! I know authors who’ve worked for years to get a contract and still don’t have one. Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment, young lady! *cheers* I already know the answer to this, but I’m gonna let you tell my readers. How long have you been blogging?

Kelly: I started blogging in 2007 actually. It wasn’t anything writer related because I didn’t know I wanted to be a blogger. It was basically a sort of journal. I went all Doogie Howser there. Then in 2010 I started more of a mommy blog, then a devotional blog, and then a cleaning blog (which I still can’t believe I wrote), and then a publishing blog.

Jo: Whoa. Talk about your path being a winding one. I’m glad you finally found your sea legs though. Now I can interview you on my blog! What an honor, eh? *wink* Kidding! Moving on! What are three things you wish you’d known when you started, and what are three things you hope to learn over the next year?

Kelly: I wish I had known about the money vs. time. Honestly, that was a bit of a shock. I knew I wouldn’t get rich, but I had certain goals that I haven’t met yet. Also, I wish I had known more about the writing process. And how helpful other authors really are because I had to figure out some stuff that, if I had just of asked, someone would have told me.

Three things I hope to learn: *Different types of social media (tumblr is my love, but I don’t use it much for writing. Just fangirling… because I totally am). *To not rush through a book. *Read all the classics on my ‘bucket list’

Jo: Perseverance will take you everywhere you need to go. Just hang in there. Love your learning list. I have classics on my must read list as well. LOL! I’m gonna oust you here. *cackles* I read somewhere you were experiencing writer’s block back in July/August of this year. Is it better now? What did you do to overcome it?

Kelly: YES! Holy cow! It was awful. I was off all summer, but I couldn’t write. Basically, I was scared. You’d think after 10 books, all published with great reviews (2 who hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for YA/Religion) that I’d be okay writing. You’d think wrong. I lost my confidence and if an author has no confidence, you can’t write. It’s just the way of the world. I would sit down and have a story in my head, but after the second sentence, I wouldn’t be able to write anymore because I thought it was horrible. Re-reading what I wrote later, it wasn’t horrible. It was pretty good, but at the time, I was sure I was the worst writer in the history of writer-dom.

SO what changed? I got this idea for a book that would just be for me. No publishers, no critiques, nothing. It would be my baby. The characters would be mine. It didn’t matter if I had horrible grammar or an unlikable male lead. It didn’t matter what I wrote. It didn’t matter if every word was the worst word choice ever, it was my story. That lead me to writing a 61,000 word draft of a story in less than three weeks and it was wonderful! (maybe not the story to anyone else, but it was SO freeing to just write, tell a story, not worry about ‘oh, how would you market this’, ‘wow, the grammar really stinks’, ‘do I have enough conflict here’, etc). Will that book ever be published? I don’t know, but I know it got me out of my funk. It is probably one of my favorite stories I’ve written too. Probably because it is so personal— not that any of the events happened to me, but because it was the story I wanted to tell—I hope that makes some sense.

Jo: That makes perfect sense, and every writer reading this interview should take note. No one should ever lay down and give up! Find a way to work through everything! Thanks for sharing that, Kelly. Now for an eye-opening question for many people: I noticed you have eight books on Amazon and not a single one star review to be found (WOW!). To what do you attribute that?

Kelly: I don’t know lol. I wish I did know some secret. I guess it’s funny or strange to think of someone who hasn’t had a bad review to go all weird with writer’s block. I think, though, that since I had such great reviews, I didn’t want to let anyone down. Eight books with no bad reviews is an amazing streak. I didn’t want to ruin it.

Jo: Fear is the most common motivator for many things we do. Rapid fire question time! Green or Purple?

Kelly: Purple

Jo: Great answer! Favorite drink?

Kelly: Water (I’m so bland lol)

Jo: Uh, YUM! Not bland! LOL If you had a time machine (come on, the theme for 2015 IS time travel! *grin*), what would you change in the past or look at in the future? Why?

Kelly: Oh! The past. Definitely the past. I don’t want to see my future because, like on Back to the Future for example. They went to the future, then back to the past which changed the future. So the future isn’t truly written. If you were to go to the future it would be the future of the point in time you were at the very moment you left. And if you went there, you could always go back and change it— so it wouldn’t really be the future, would it? (Sorry for the long winded answer lol). But I’d love to go to the past. I love reading historical books and watching movies from the past. I think it would be cool to go back there.

Jo: I expected a long winded answer! I agree, but I’d like to hop to the future for a second (I think). What a hard question, eh? Ha! Now, tell me which of your novels was the most difficult to write and why.

Kelly: My 10th book which comes out in October from Blue Tulip Publishing. It’s called Betraying Ever After: A Shattered Fairy Tale, and it was the most difficult book I’ve ever written. Not that it isn’t good. I think it’s good, but it is my first historical/fairytale/anything outside of Tennessee (all of my other books are set in Tennessee, where I live, so it’s a bit easier). I hope readers love it too. Emma and Vaughan are such a cool couple, and Mr. Dodsworth is an awesome villain. He makes me happy—strangely.

Jo: Tennessee is a great place to set a novel (I was born there and lived there for about ten years recently)! But, I agree, sometimes you gotta step outside the box. *grin* Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Kelly: What is the meaning of life? ;) Actually, I’m glad you didn’t ask me that. I’m still working on the answer.

Jo: Let me know when you’ve found it, okay? We’ll compare notes! Well, that’s all the time we have for today. It was lovely having you on the blog, Kelly. Thanks for stopping by and spending time with me and my readers!

Kelly: Jo, I can honestly say this has been one of the best interviews I’ve ever been a part of. Loved your questions. Thanks for having me!

Awwwww I just got warm fuzzies!

Now, it’s time to tell all you lovely readers about the featured book! It’ll be on the sidebar of the blog for the next two weeks. Grab a copy! You already know it has great reviews. *grin*

Title: The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe

Author: Kelly Martin

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal with religious elements

Length (print): 228 pages

Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~ Barnes & Noble Nook $2.99 ~ Smashwords $2.99

Synopsis: If Shane Davis had it to do over again, he wouldn’t have gone out that night. He wouldn’t have burned down the church. And he sure wouldn’t have taken the annoying dead girl home with him.

Now that Shane has her, he has no idea what to do with her. He can’t release her into the “wild” because people will recognize her (being a hundred and fifty year old town ‘legend’ will do that). He can’t send her away because she can’t take care of herself yet. And she can’t stay because if people find her, they’ll know he burned the church. Being eighteen now, Shane definitely doesn’t want that fact coming out.

Unbeknownst to Shane, someone has figured out the girl’s secret and will do anything to get it for himself… even kill the girl who isn’t so immortal after all.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Martin a follow here, there, and yonder?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/martieKay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyMartinAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KMbooks/

Website: http://www.kellymartinbooks.com/

Blog: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+KellyMartinAuthor

Other: (tumblr) martiekay.tumblr.com

If you have any questions for Kelly, pop them into the comments below!

I hope you enjoyed meeting Kelly as much as I did.

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

Jo