Friday, August 31, 2012

Developing Characters

I'm visiting Laura Howard today over at Finding Bliss. I'm talking about how I develop my characters... or how they develop themselves! I'd love to hear how you develop yours. Hope you pop on over to chat!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


The sweet and talented Stephanie Diaz tagged me the other day. This is another fun one!


If you are tagged, do a search for the word "look" in your work in progress. Copy that paragraph, along with surrounding paragraphs, to your blog, to keep the game afloat. Don't forget to tag others.

Gotta say, I was kind of nervous about this one. Look/looked are words I tend to overuse. They show up whenever I wordle my stories to find those overused words. Anyway, here we go...

“Hey there, pretty girl. You hungry? Does that grass really fill you up?”

The chuckle behind her made her jump. “That’s a steer, not a cow. A male. Cows are female.” Hawk walked up beside her and grinned. “Steers make the best meat.”

Terrific. First she nearly fainted on him, then she babbled. Now he finds her talking to herself. Worse, to a cow. And insulting the animal into the bargain. “Steers? I thought male cows were bulls.”

He grinned and walked up to the fence, leaned his arms against the top rail. “We don’t raise bulls. They’re for stud work. We raise steers.” Her confusion must have shown, because he continued. “Bulls are all male. Steers are castrated. Makes them get along better.”

Castrated? She looked again at the cow – steer – on the other side of the fence. “Poor guy.”


Once again, if you'd like to play along, consider yourself tagged!

Is 'look' one of your overused words?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Ciara writes to ‘Defy the Dark’ with her fantasy and paranormal books. Her debut novel, The Curse of Gremdon, was released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Also, book I, Rise From Darkness, from her debut young adult Battle For Souls series, secured glowing reviews and won July Book of the Month from Long and Short Reviews.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

Ciara is extremely sociable so please feel free to connect with her at her blog, website, Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook,

Weighted (Prequel Novelette)

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Upcoming books in The Neumarian Chronicles:
Escapement (Book I) - Early 2013
Pendulum (Book II) - Mid 2013
Balance (Book III) - Early 2014

Other books by Cara Knight:
Battle for Souls Series
Rise From Darkness
Fall From Grace
Ascension of Evil - Coming in October

If you'd like to read an exceprt from Weighted click here!

You can snag your copy at: Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N.

Congrats to Ciara! Doesn't that blurb sound great?  And I love the cover.

P.S. If you haven't popped by FTWA to talk about cycles in your writing, I'd love if you would visit!

Monday, August 20, 2012


I'm over at FTWA today talking about cycles in writing. I'd love to hear how your process works - I hope you'll pop on over and join the discussion!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Alligators are Here!

We've got a treat today! C. Lee McKenzie is here today to share about her awesome new book Alligators Upstairs.

Thanks for letting me talk about my book on your blog, Jemi. I appreciate this opportunity a lot.

Here’s what the book is about.

Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

About the author:

C. Lee is writer who captures the pulse of adolescent confusion in her Young Adult fiction, Sliding on the Edge and The Princess of Las Pulgas. She admits to revealing a lot of her Old Adult confusion while doing that. Alligators Overhead is her first Middle Grade novel. She lives in California with her husband and assorted animals at the edge of a redwood forest. Lee blogs at The Write Game and she’d love a visit at her WEBSITE.

So many people ask me "So why alligators?" I used to answer, “Why not?” But lately, I've been besieged by cats demanding that I rewrite the book, replacing the alligators with them as the witch familiars. They've gone so far as to threaten book banning!

You may have seen some of the NEWS ARTICLES. Fortunately, the cats have some sort of conference this week so I have a little time to prepare my arguments. This has been very upsetting. The cover is out. The trailer is out. The book is out! I'm hoping these cats will come to their senses and let the book and me alone. In the meantime, I'm looking for suggestions about how to deal with the situation, so if you or any of your readers can come up with a solution or a great negotiating point I'm giving that person a free eBook--any format. I'd also appreciate if they'd stop in and give my new page a like. The alligators need to know they're not losing this popularity contest to the cats.

Leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll choose a winning entry.

Thanks again for letting me visit, Jemi.


You're very welcome Lee. I LOVED the book! It's a fabulous MG adventure story and I know my students are going to love it!

You can find the book:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback

You can find Lee:
Twitter @cleemckenzie
Amazon Author Page

So, what hints and ideas do you have to help Lee out with those pesky cats?

Monday, August 13, 2012


Call me crazy, but I signed myself up for NaNo camp last week. I didn't sign up on the 1st - I hadn't planned to sign up at all. Then a tweet caught my eye and I thought... why not?

That complex romance/mystery/cozy/suspense idea has been niggling anyway. I've got a few more weeks before school starts. I'm going to be out of town and computerless for some of this week, but I'm trying to bank some words now.

I had about 10k written when I made a comment to my crit buddies about my male MC having a great backstory, but not enough oomph in his current story. A couple of golden comments later (LOVE my crit buddies!!!) and it clicked. I'd taken a wrong turn. Made things happen too quickly. The guy had already solved his issues. He was too mellow.


Goodbye 10k.

Yup, I started from scratch. At first I thought I could use some of what I'd written, but within the first scene I realized I wouldn't.

Was it a waste of time and effort? Absolutely not! I know the town, the people, the interactions between the leads and I have a better handle on the male MC. This time around I'm doing a much better job of sprinkling in the backstory and upping the conflict. Yay!

But I'm still counting that 10k for NaNo!! :)

Have you ever scratched everything you've done and started again? Did it make you feel better too?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Of You and I

I believe in the power of you and I

I love the Olympics - always have. Life gets put on hold for me when the Olympics are on. I loved sports as a kid and played many of them. None of them to any extraordinary level of achievement, but enough that sports are important to me.

Our Canadian television stations have worked together to coordinate coverage and we've seen an incredible amount of events. The Canadian theme song of the Olympics is I Believe. We see daily montages of athletes striving to this music every day. I know I'm a total sap, but these things can move me to tears. There is so much aout the Olympics I believe in.

Believing is important.

In sports, in our careers, in our families. In our dreams.

There has been a lot of good news lately over at Agent Query Connect (if you're an aspiring writer and don't know this site, get thee hither!). Lots of folks getting agents & deals, pubbing, making the NYT bestseller lists.

Yesterday the wonderful RC Lewis announced an incredible deal. I don't think I could be any more excited. RC is one of 'those' people. You know the ones. Smart, kind, generous, funny, talented. I'm still smiling this morning for her.

So, let's all channel that Olympic spirit. Let's believe in the power of you and I.

Any good news you're excited about? Are you a fan of the Olympics? Do you Believe?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Be Inspired

The charming Jeff O over at The Doubting Writer tagged me with the Be Inspired Bloghop meme. I don't always do the memes but I'll be brave today! :)
1. What is the name of your book?
I'm flip flopping between titles at the moment. Some days I call it THE NOT SO COWGIRL, other days I call it MAKES YOU STRONGER. Titles are not my thing!

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
A lot of it came from a workshop I attended about the trauma involved in school shootings and the mental fallout for the survivors.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Strangely enough after that last answer, it's a romance set on a ranch. Yeah.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
I don't know! I'm really bad at this kind of thing.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
Hmm. Teacher Tori Carter heads to a Montana ranch to heal from the physical and psychological wounds of a school shooting and finds herself facing another crazed killer.
6. Is your book already published?

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
A long time. I don't keep track. Really. I currently have 4 projects on the go - all in varying stages. I like to let things simmer and marinate for a while between drafts. I started it over a year ago. I think. :)

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
I think anyone who likes contemporary romance would like it, but I actually think (hope!) the audience is wider than that because the story is about so much more than the relationship.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
I've always read voraciously. I love disappearing into stories - always have. From Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew & the Boys to Lucy Maud Montgomery to Agatha Christie to Anne McCaffrey to Nora Roberts to all my blogging buddies. Every book I read that pulls at my heart inspires me.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
I love writing dialogue and I think the dialogue between the two main characters is a lot of fun.

11. Tag five people!
Okay - I've followed too many rules today. If you'd like to participate, consider yourself tagged!
What's your favourite part about the story you're working on right now?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


(Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head. Sorry if you do too!)

I've pulled out that older story I spoke about the other day. It's been marinating for over a year on my computer. It's a lot of fun revisiting this world and the characters in it. I've noticed a few interesting changes though.

I'm a better writer!

I write in past tense. I rarely use 'ing' verbs. I prefer 'ed'. To me it adds more action to the scene - makes it more immediate, less distant. I didn't have tons and tons of 'ing' verbs in the ms, probably one every couple of pages or so, but it felt good to change them out! Progress.

I also did some accidental head hopping during scenes. I love Nora Roberts' books - she's a very experienced, popular romance/romantic suspense author. She head hops all the time. BUT, she's a highly successful writer and is allowed to. As a newbie, I know this can be a deal breaker. Even though I don't think any of the scenes with the head hopping were confusing (I actually think I hopped pretty well thank you very much!), I'm changing up all those scenes. Now, each scene will have a single pov.

I've noticed technology changes too. In the story, one of the characters buys a cell phone that has email. Very high tech and new in the story. Yeah. Not so much now. So that required a change up too. It's amazing how quickly the technology has changed in just over a year!

What changes have you noticed when you've gone back to look at an older project?