Thursday, November 6, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014!

I've been busy since Halloween! Almost every free moment has been stolen by my desire to write 1,700 words a day for NaNoWriMo. I participated last year and had such a great experience (and I might be addicted...) that I had to join in again for word mania! ;)

Because I did NaNo last year, I'm doing some things a little differently this year.

  • At the end of each day, I scribble down what I need to write about the next day. This has been super helpful for me. I highly suggest doing the brainstorming the day before to save time staring at the computer screen.
  • If I can, I try to write half of my word count in during the day and half after my kids go to bed. This helps what I call BRAIN DRAIN. I should do brain crunches or something to help eliminate this problem, but I haven't figured out how to do that. 
  • I'm writing editorial notes as I go. I can't completely shut down the inner editor, so this is my compromise. Right now, I'm guessing that half of the names for people and/or places will change when I go back to edit after November. There are also many, many repetitive words that will need the assistance of a thesaurus. 

And that's it so far. If I come up with any other strategies, I'll try to write them down and blog about them. 

Are you participating in NaNo? Or do you hate the idea of writing fast and sloppy? If you're participating, let me know, and I'll cheer for you! :) 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I couldn't pass up Halloween and not write about my love for vampires! It all started when I watched Interview with a Vampire and all the Blade movies a long, long, long time ago. I literally had to drag my friends with me to watch them. Next came Queen of the Dammed and Bram Stroker's Dracula and then...Twilight, a totally different kind of vampire (and my friends willingly went with me!) as was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Daylight was an interesting take on the undead as well as Let the Right One In. The TV shows True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Dracula are always fun to watch too. I haven't seen the most recent Dracula movie, but it's on my must-see list.

As much as I love movies and TV shows about vamps, I also love books about them. Some of my recent favorites are Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in ColdtownJulie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series, and Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is also wonderful and full of a very different kind of vampire.

The most intriguing thing for me about vampires is that they live so long and I wonder what it would be like to watch people you love die and still keep going year after year. And after hundreds of years of loss and relearning to love, knowing that loss would be inevitable, I ponder the frailty of the mind and heart. So I always like seeing how different people write vampires and how those immortals deal with their longevity.

How about you? Do vampires creep you out or interest you? Any great books or movies I must read or watch? I love recommendations! :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Magic isn't just for witches and wizards

I so wanted to post last week, but life happened! My oldest son broke his arm and as mommy, I was more than happy to press pause on everything else to make sure my dude received all the help he needed adjusting to life with a cast. Now he's back in school, and I have the time to give a shout out to...


Unlike zombies, I haven't read any genre mash-ups with witches or wizards, but if you have, please tell me so I can put those titles on my TBR list. :)

Why do I think witches and wizards are awesome?

They have power(s) to change the world around them and influence people whether for good or bad. Their choices make a difference in the world that they live in.

And my answer got me thinking. I want to make a difference and influence people. I want to change the world for good, and I can! You can! We have the power of happiness, kindness, goodness, the ability to build confidence in others, eliminate their loneliness, heal their wounds, and give them hope. Those things are tangible and lasting in our world. Heck, loving each other changes lives for a lifetime. So let's wield some real magic this Halloween. :)

Now, on to some of my all-time favorite witch and wizard stories:

Hocus Pocus, The Witches, Practical Magic, Narnia's White Witch, Witches of East End, The Witches of Eastwick, Bonnie from the TVD, The Craft, and all the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Ring books and movies.

And here are some books that I love that are simply magical, not necessarily about witches or wizards:




How about you? What are some of your favorite magical books or witches and wizards? Why do you like them?

*book covers from goodreads*

Monday, October 6, 2014

Classics and Zombies

To celebrate my love for Halloween, or really, all things speculative, during the month of October, I've decided to elaborate on some of the things I adore. I'll open with this:

Book cover from amazon.

I was on an airplane from the U.S. to Germany when I read this and received several weird glances, but I didn't care. If you put two of my favorite things together, I'm going to be proud to show off the creepy, fantastic cover. Now, for the next.

picture from AMCTV The Walking Dead.

I'm a HUGE fan of AMC's The Walking Dead. Season 5 starts this Sunday, October 12!!! I'm sooooo excited!! There's a marathon all week, so I can get a full dose of zombies and the intriguing people that kill them before the premiere. Thanks, AMC!!

Now, because I'm a writer and things must orbit either writing or reading, there's an unconventional book publisher out there that favors the same things I do. Quirk Books. Go check them out and see all the awesomeness happening over there and their new releases. So. Much. Fun.

And just in case you need ideas on great books and movies that are full of zombies, here are a few suggestions*:

What about you? Do you have a passion for strange books or zombies? Is there a fictional juxtaposition out there that you're dying to write about or read about? I'd love to know. :)

Happy haunting, reading, and creating. No one can be you! So let yourself shine! :)

*images from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fragile Reign Cover Reveal!!

I'm so very, very excited (*happy dance*) to help reveal the cover for FRAGILE REIGN (Mortal Enchantment #2) by Stacey O'Neale! Check out the cover below, and let's gush all about its awesomeness in the comments! AND enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon or B&N gift card!

Details about the cover, from author Stacey O'Neale:

In case you're curious about the cover, the model represents Marcus. The background represents the woodland court and the caves at the bottom are where the members of the royal family live. I chose caves because the woodland court protects the forests of the world. I didn't think they would choose to cut down trees to make a castle, so the massive caves worked out nicely. If you zoom in, you can see where the doors and windows are cut out. The inside is very lavish. If you read FRAGILE REIGN, you'll learn all about it.
FRAGILE REIGN (Mortal Enchantment #2) by Stacey O'Neale | November 18, 2014
It’s been a week since all hell broke loose… Rumors of King Taron’s weakened powers have left the air court vulnerable. Kalin is desperate to awaken her akasha powers, except she doesn’t know how. Tension within the court is at an all-time high. Pressure is mounting for her to ascend to the throne, but a halfling has never ruled over any court. To solidify her position, the council has advised her to marry Sebastian—a high ranking air elemental she’s never met and her betrothed. Will Kalin sacrifice her relationship with Rowan to strengthen her court? Rowan and Marcus return to a fire court in turmoil. Liana’s death has fueled the fire elementals’ distrust against the air and woodland courts. The unbalanced elements have set off natural disasters all over the mortal world. Rowan takes the throne to restore balance, promising to unite the fire court. But not all elementals are happy with his leadership. Many are secretly loyal to Valac, which means Rowan needs to find allies for his cause. Can Rowan unify the court of fire before the elements destroy the world?
Add Java Man to your Goodreads TBR!
Be sure to add FRAGILE REIGN to your TBR on Goodreads, or pre-order on Amazon! The prequel novella, THE SHADOW PRINCE, is currently free on Amazon, and you can also read MORTAL ENCHANTMENT for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Stacey O'NealeAbout the Author

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest
Stacey O’Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.
Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at


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Monday, August 25, 2014

WriteOnCon 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26-27

To writers everywhere -- I LOVE WriteOnCon!!!

It's a super wonderful conference just for children's literature including: picture books, middle grade, young adult, and new adult!

Here's a quick list of the fabulousness I enjoy:

  • I meet new writers!
  • There are critique forums for query letters, 1st 250 words, and 1st 5 pages.
  • I found one of my super critique partners there in 2011! She's brilliant. I met her through the critique forums, but if that doesn't work, there's a CP match maker forum too!
  • It's FREE!! YES, FREE! 
  • They post the days events online so I don't miss anything! That means, if I have to be out of the house, I can check in at night and still be a part of the awesome.
  • Archives from 2010+ are also posted. So I can benefit from the coolness of past years! YAY!
  • Tons of agents browse the forums and can request my ms!! Double YAY!
  • I can submit my pitch for agents to see! Yes, yes, I can! 

Another great thing about WriteOnCon: It's open to everyone! So if you live in Australia, England, Taiwan, or Canada, you can attend!

Besides all this, amazing authors contribute their advice and share their knowledge. I mean, wow, right?!?

So come on and join the fun!! Critiques are happening NOW! You can get everything polished up before the agents come perusing.

Links: WriteOnCon, Pitch Event Instructions, 2014 Ninja Agents, The AMAZING Organizers, and Nifty Facts.

As always, happy writing!

And remember, no one else can be you! Don't be afraid to share your awesomeness! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fear Can Eat It

Eat what exactly? I don't know....

Unicorn poo. ;)

Design by Mike Jacobsen via Neato Shop

For the first time since I've started the journey of writing toward publication, I woke up in a state of panic. It might have been a panic attack. I'm not sure. I've never had one. 

What does this feeling tell me? I care too much what others think.

Yep. Said it.

Does that mean I hate criticism? No! Never! Well, sometimes. I really L.O.V.E. my critique partners. They are AMAZING!

Actual querying is different. People I haven't met, except for stalking them online, will see my work! (At least the first 5, 10, or whatever amount of pages they want with the query.) *wink wink*

I've met some of the agents on my list at conferences, so I'll be devastated if they pass on my book. I know it will happen. I'm prepared for the form rejection letters that are sure to flood my inbox. Publishing is subjective. I don't always like the books I pick up either. I understand!

Point is, I hate being negative. Heck, I hate having anxiety creep into my mostly non-panicky life, and I have three kids. We've been to the ER, had multiple stitches, but I'm not the mom who freaks out at the sight of blood. So it's extra weird that I'm freaking out over emailing people. 

I wish I could be starry-eyed and innocent, not thinking about the rejection part. During the time I'm querying, I don't want to wake up with a racing heartbeat for no apparent reason. I like to save breathlessness for good romance novels and kissing scenes. Or those wish-they-would-hurry-up-and-kiss scenes! ^-^

What can I do?!?

Feed my fear to a unicorn and see said unicorn poop some rainbows! :)

by Ap Lad via Flicker
How about you? Does sharing your work scare your pants off? How do you deal with the anxiety?

Wishing all the writers out there oodles and boodles of luck finding their perfect road to publication!! Crossing my fingers for you! :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Giving your time to help others succeed

Photo credit: Time by Alan Cleaver via Flickr

Time is one of the most important and precious things you can give.

This past weekend, my superstar husband gave me an entire day to research agents, polish my query, and give my submission pages one last glance.

I was so overwhelmed! It was incredibly generous of him (we have three kids, two cats, and a dog!) and worthy of acknowledgement.

Has someone done something similar for you?

Many people gave their time to help me hone my work in progress. When I first started sharing my book, more than a few people gave me great suggestions. They took the time to teach me what they knew. I listened. I read the craft books they recommended and I learned. I'm so very thankful to each of them.

My current critique partners are super awesome! (Amelia, Cheryl, Henry, LaWanda, Marlana, Michelle, and Rina!! *hugs*) Every week, they schedule time to review my submission when they could be revising their own. Their advice is invaluable. My writing is better because they take the time to make thoughtful comments and catch the mistakes my eyes/brain couldn't find.

In return, I give them my best. When one of us is in a crunch and needs some extra eyes on our work, we help each other out. It's greatness. And it wouldn't be possible if we didn't give our time.

Are you part of a critique group? How can you share your time to impact someone's writing journey? Have people in your life been generous with their time to help you succeed? Give them a shout out! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

That Queasy Feeling

My stomach is all uneasy as I'm putting the final touches on my manuscript. It feels like saying good-bye to a really good friend you know you won't see again for awhile. It's silly. I'm not letting my novel go or deleting it. Good-bye isn't happening. But it feels that way! 

I wasn't expecting to have any emotional outpourings during final edits. Yet, here I am getting some strange feels. I've read where writers say that their novels are like children to them. That unique sense of attachment hasn't presented itself so far, but something like it. I had all sorts of nervous twitterings when I sent my first two kids off to kindergarten. I missed being with them all the time. In a way, sending my manuscript off to agents gives me that same butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling. Except that agents will judge my book worthy of their time or not. Teachers have to take my kids! ;) 

Here's what I've edited during the last spit and shine.

1. Repetitive words 

2. Clunky sentences 
3. Punctuation 
4. Emotional expressions 

I wrote about some fast and easy edits here and 6 tips for a cleaner manuscript here.

How about you? How did you feel sending your manuscript out for the first time? Do you have a short list for final edits? 

Happy reading and writing! :)