Monday, October 24, 2011

CONTEST! Hurricane Season Double Book Launch Give-Away!

We here at the Scribblers Cove are thrilled that two of our jolly crew will celebrate book launches NEXT WEEK! Elizabeth Mueller will bring out her paranormal romance Darkspell on October 31st, and Sue Quinn reveals her paranormal sci-fi Open Minds on November 1st.

In honor of these big events, we're having a Hurricane Season Double Book Launch Give-Away! Between now and the end of November, enter to win the following fun prizes:

- A free e-book copy of Darkspell by Elizabeth Mueller

-A free e-book copy of Open Minds by Sue Quinn

-An official full-sized movie poster from the film "The Perfect Storm"

-A 5x7 print of "Macaw in Flight" by our very own Jonene Ficklin
-An 8x8 print of "Seahorse" by our very own Rachel Bayless

There are lots of easy ways to enter!

1. Leave a comment on this post. In your comment, be sure and let us know what additional entries you claim (+1 entry).

2. Join this blog if not already a follower (+1 entry).

3. Mention our Hurricane Season Double Book Launch Give-Away on your favorite social media networks (facebook, twitter, google+) and include a link to this blog post (+1 entry per each).

4. Blog or post about Sue's or Elizabeth's book launch and include a link to their websites:

Sue Quinn's Mindjack Trilogy Website:

Elizabeth Mueller's Darkspell Website:

(+1 entry per each)

Contest officially closes at midnight EST on November 30th. Winners will be announced on Dec 1 (after I get up in the morning. Give me some time, the sun rises late out here in the middle of the Pacific).

THANKS FOR HELPING US SPREAD THE WORD! Best wishes to our two daring pirate ladies as they launch for high adventure this hurricane season. We're mightily proud o' ye both!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Launching Darkspell with a SMASH!

I am throwing an online party over at my blog, October 31st! Join in the festivities to win a signed poster Illustrated by moi, a $10 Amazon gift certificate or a copy of Darkspell!

After signing up, all  you have to do is post on October 31st--Darkspell's release date--saying what you'd do if you had all the magic in the world. I will provide a cut-and-paste blurb of Darkspell with its cover. Viola!

Are you with me?

PS--please don't miss my stunning Illustration countdown--happening now!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turning Point

Had any of these thoughts?

What if I'm not good enough?

What if I never make it?

What if I'm wasting my time doing this?

When I started out to become a writer, I never imagined what it would cost. Writing takes time, it takes dedication, it takes passion. It's a serious emotional risk. When the words don't turn out the way I want, it hurts. And like a skater who slips while trying for that triple-toe, I have to pick my bruised self up and try again.

But sometimes I really want to sit there on the ice and cry.

I got that way last week, while stuck for two whole days on a single piece of dialog. No way was it working no how, and I suspected it was because I'd taken a horrible wrong turn somewhere in the story, and that meant I'd need to back up and start over. It was like the ice broke and I fell through into that dark, freezing current that constantly drags beneath my false sense of the solid.

Submerged in cold gloom, I went through the motions of the day, questioning all my writing goals and dreams. What proof do I have that any of this effort will ever pay off? None! Wouldn't I be happier without driving myself to distraction over nothing more than several thousand words strung together by my overactive imagination?

And then one fierce, hot spark sprang up inside me. I don't care how "good" I am. I don't care if I "make it" or not. I chose to do this, and I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it because I love it!

The moment I thought that, all the bad feeling melted away.

Writing is never a waste of time, so long as I'm always reaching higher, pushing myself, learning new things. What wastes time is worrying about what will come of it. With all the changes in publishing in the past year, I can't begin to guess the future lives of my stories. All I can do is make them the very best I can, then see what happens.

That's exactly what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The importance of punctuation

I saw a bumper sticker the other day, it read:

Love people. Cook them. Tasty food.

I laughed, then looked again. It actually read:

Love people. Cook them tasty food.

What a difference a dot makes. (Now go comb your manuscript for such faux pas as this!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Forward Motion

Hello, this is your amazing cabin girl, and unlike some of you might have thought, I am not dead.

In fact, I've written a second novel-length manuscript. It's much better than my first one. It's also about ten-thousand words longer, but we're trying not to obsess about word count, right?

I brought my new manuscript to school to show all my writing friends in my writing club.

You didn't know about that either? I really haven't posted for a long time.

Anyway, I gave it to a friend before school. She read several pages, occasionally chuckling or gleefully repeating a phrase. She gave it back to me, telling me it was really good, and I went away feeling happy.

At lunch, another friend asked me if they could read it. I gave it to them. The friend who'd read the first ten pages that morning, who was sitting right there, didn't even seem to notice.

In fact, neither person asked me for it a second time, though both of them said it was good. And at least one of them is the type who would tell me if it wasn't. But there had to be something wrong with it if they didn't have a desperate need to keep reading.

Fellow writers, I have just had a major breakthrough.

A few days later I was at my voice lesson, singing "Simple Gifts" which is an amazing song. My voice teacher stopped me at the end of it and said it was good, but it felt like I was sitting on it. I needed it to be light and alive.

That made me think. I've always known that my artwork is very still. There's no life in it. I'm accurate, but the page doesn't come to life and start growing like it should. It's the same way when I sing, and it's the same way when I write, and it's all because I think about the moment and don't look at what's coming. There's no forward motion.

I've found that if I think about the note at the end of the phrase when I'm singing, I sing more in tune and it suddenly comes alive. I wrote the prologue for a story in a notebook. Then, later, as I typed it out, I thought about where the scene was headed. When I read it over, there was life in it.

Now that I know what I'm doing wrong, I can find a way to fix it.

Forward motion is very important in a story. If the reader doesn't feel the need to know what happens next, will they pick up the book again? No!

It's not blind curiosity that makes us keep reading, it's the hints about the future. Things we recognize about stories we've read before and our guesses that want to be proved or disproved. I'm a discovery writer, which means I have no idea what my characters are going to be doing at the end of the scene, much less at the end of the story. So, I need to go back and revise my stories after I've finished them, making sure I give hints about other things that will happen in the future.

Forward motion is what keeps the reader going. Without it, books may be readable. But with it, they're un-put-down-able.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strength of Character

Last week I had the immense pleasure of being part of our annual elementary school play-in-a-week. The PTCO takes over the cafeteria during fall intercession and puts on a show. We had over 100 children in the cast, and that's not counting the teenagers from the junior high and high school who were our stage crew, our assistant directors, our writers, and our choreographers, PLUS all the moms who made costumes, painted sets, blocked scenes, and herded groups all week. It was one big long creativity party.

Having been a costume seamstress for our production of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" last year, I watched this marvelous process in action and decided that this year I wanted to get in on the ground floor. I volunteered to help with the new script, an original one created mostly by our teen writing team. The premise: long ago there was a tablet that kept the world at peace, but it was broken and the pieces were scattered to the seven wonders of the ancient world. In each scene, two or three kids would go to a site, then fight crocodiles, duel Greek gods, or dance with skeletons to earn their piece. In the end, all the pieces would come together and peace would be restored to the world!

A week before rehearsals were to start the script was nearly done. The show was cute, it was working well, but it still needed something.

And then one of the moms took the script home and gave the characters personality.

Where most of them had been generic kids spouting lines, they became surfer kid, gangsta kid, cheerleader kid, detective kid, boy scout, girl scout, polite kid, cocky kid, stressed kid, sleepy kid, etcetera. Suddenly the whole show sprang to life. Each child actor or actress had a distinctive role to get into.

The characters made all the difference. When each one had a unique voice, the show went from pretty good to absolutely amazing. So writers everywhere, learn from this. If your story seems to sag a bit, give it some punch by strengthening your characters.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You Live in a New World

 Watch this absolutely inspiring video about the Social Media Revolution:

The internet is the new town square, and the whole world goes there to find out what's happening. What does this mean for writers? I can't say for sure, but I think in the future it will be less about how much money your publishing company pours into your book's ad campaign, and more about how much your readers love your story--love it enough to facebook, blog, and tweet about it.

I think I'll go sign up for twitter now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Will You Join My Party?

I've announced the upcoming release (11-1-11!) of my paranormal/SF novel Open Minds, over on my blog. I would love for any of the pirates of Scribblers Cove who are so inclined to join in my Virtual Launch Party on November 1st!

Thanks for letting me share and sorry I haven't been posting over here as often as I should!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Power of Print

This placard greeted me as I stepped into the campus copy center yesterday afternoon:








Long live the printing office! And long live the internet. After I read the placard I ran home, fed Google a few key words, and discovered that this passionate tribute to typeset was created by Beatrice Warde in 1932 as an advertisement for Monotype. She was a typographer who was an expert on the history of the Garamond style of type, which Harry Potter fans will recognize as the charming, old-fashioned font that transported them to Hogwarts.

Warde's words have been immortalized in bronze and stand not only in the BYU-Hawaii Campus Copy Center, but at the entrance to the United States Government Printing Office in Washington D.C.

It got me thinking. A hundred years from now, this blog may be about as easy to read as the journal entries my friend used to keep on his Commodore 64. Possible, maybe, but worth the effort? Electronic words... how long will they last? Only until the formats change, the data corrupts, the CD's get scratched. 

I've got a cookbook that was printed in 1855. It's fragile--I keep it in a ziplock bag. But I can still read every page, plus all the recipes its first owner cut from the newspaper and glued onto the end paper. A hundred and fifty years from now, no matter where civilization goes from here, I bet my great-great-grandchildren will be able to read the hardback, library bound copy of Gail Carson Levine's "Dave at Night" that I bought last week from my local library's discontinued book sale for fifty cents.

Electronic books are nifty. But I somehow doubt I'll be able to pass a Kindle on to my great-grandchildren when I die. First of all, unless I die in a car accident soon, I'm going to seriously outlive any piece of electronics I own. Second, even if the Kindle somehow does survive me, whatever they're putting out then will be impossible for it to read, poor primitive thing.

Books, on the other hand, from my hand-penned journals to my children's fiction collection, will still be there for my posterity.

Long live the printed word.