Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog tour continues...

I'm over at the wonderful Donna Cummings' blog today talking about story problem. Please come by and let me know if you  are conscious of your story problem when you begin a new manuscript.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Completely off the topic of writing

Okay, so I have to say this because it's bugging me...what is up with all of these new musicians who feel that they need to state their name at the beginning of their song? Is it because they are afraid that no one will know who they are if they don't include their name? Or maybe, they just have that big of an ego that they have to have the world sing their name?

I have Sirius XM and I listen to Hits 1 on 2, channel 3 or 10 (can't remember what the names of channel 3 and 10 are for the moment), and also listen to the 80s, 90s, Alt Nation, Rewind, etc. (love me some old punk and alt music). Channels 2 and 3 play mostly the same stuff, and 10 plays songs from the 2000s. But what is the phenom of singers having their name in the song lyrics. And why does this bug me so much?

Do you notice this or is it just me?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm over here today!

Holy smokes....I almost forgot that I'm over at Chris Eboch's blog today talking about writing and Saving Redwind. Guess getting up at 4am has its disadvantages! Please come visit me (of course after you've checked out the blog post below about Pete Morin's new book!) so I won't be too lonely!

Pete Morin's Diary of a Small Fish is now availalbe!

I wanted to share with you a fellow BCer (that's Book Cents) whose book is out today! Please check the blurb below and Pete's bio. Links to his book are at the end of the post. Thanks!

When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury, everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. Then the FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives him a clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.

Paul is already dealing with the death of his parents and divorce from a woman he still loves. Now, with the support of an alluring grand juror, Paul must expose the vindictive prosecutor’s own corruption before the jury renders a verdict on his Osso Buco.

Author bio:

Pete Morin has been a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and a witness (voluntary and subpoenaed) to countless outrages. He combines them all in this debut novel.

Pete’s short fiction has appeared in NEEDLE, A Magazine of Noir, Words With Jam, 100 Stories for Haiti, and Words to Music. He published many of them in a collection titled Uneasy Living, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When he is not writing crime fiction or legal mumbo jumbo, Pete plays blues guitar in Boston bars, enjoys the beach, food and wine with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two adult children, and on rare occasion, punches a fade wedge to a tight pin surrounded by sand or water. He lives in a money pit on the seacoast south of Boston, in an area once known as the Irish Riviera.

Pete is represented by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency.

Diary of a Small Fish is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally back to writing...

Well, I hadn't really stopped. I'd been tweaking the MG survival story and now have delivered that to my awesome agent. Now, I'm finally back to the YA that I promised the screenwriter I'd have finished by November.

Who wants to bet me that I can get about 52k down by then?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Author in the Locker Room: Chris Eboch

The locker room is all cleaned again (!) and I'm so happy to have MG author, Chris Eboch, here talking about her new book, The Eyes of Pharoah. Please give Chris a high-five!

What kind of research did you do for this book?
I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was a kid. Plus, I grew up in Saudi Arabia, so I have some familiarity with the Middle East, and my family visited Egypt when I was in my 20s.
The Eyes of Pharaoh is actually the second novel I’ve written set in ancient Egypt. The first one still needs major revisions, so I’m not sure when (if ever) I might get it out, but I was able to use much of that earlier research. I have at least a dozen books on ancient Egypt on my bookshelf, including several of the Time-Life books about how people lived, with lots of pictures. I also did a lot of library research, and I’ve been to several museum exhibits.

What is the most surprising thing you learned from your research?
One thing that intrigues me about history is how some of the lessons of the past resonate today. My first novel, The Well of Sacrifice, is an adventure/drama set in 9th-century Mayan times. I explored some of the reasons the Mayan civilization collapsed, such as environmental degradation and too much money flowing to the government and away from the people. For The Eyes of Pharaoh, I touched on issues such as illegal immigration and the dangers of a country thinking it’s the best and most powerful country in the world, and therefore untouchable. It’s almost creepy how some of these themes still affect us. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever learn from the mistakes of the past, but I hope my books will get people thinking a little harder about these issues.

What is your normal writing day like? Where do you write? What things do you need (silence? music? the cat?) in order to write?
I check e-mail while eating breakfast and drinking my tea. Then if I’m working on a novel, I’ll try to write a chapter. That usually drains my creative energy, so in the afternoon I work on nonfiction articles, blog posts, critiques, publicity, or errands.

I usually write directly onto the computer, though if I’m struggling I like to take a walk with my miniature digital tape recorder and dictate. I find that the rhythm of walking helps me focus. Once I start that way, I can usually head back to the computer and keep going. I use voice recognition software, so dictating my work isn’t uncomfortable for me. I don’t listen to music, since it would interfere with the voice recognition, but I prefer quiet anyway.

I don’t have a pet right now, but I do enjoy having a window that looks out on a bit of nature, so I can watch the birds or any other critters that wander by.

What is your writing process like?
Over the years I’ve gotten better at using outlines. Now I prefer to start with them, as it saves me a lot of time and frustration during the writing process. That means I’ll spend several weeks brainstorming before I start writing, and I’ll also do any necessary research in advance. Once I start writing, I generally set a daily word count goal – about a chapter, which is 1500 words for a middle grade novel and 2500 words for an adult novel. As long as I don’t have too many distractions, like speaking engagements, I’m fairly successful in meeting those goals. Then I take a few weeks for editing, and maybe a break between books to catch up on other things.

Did you choose your genre, or did your genre choose you?
Writing middle grade novels seemed like a natural fit to me. I read an enormous amount as a kid, and I still enjoy reading children’s books. It fits my style, partly natural and partly based on journalism training, with a focus on simple, clear language and plenty of action and dialogue to keep the pages turning.

A couple of years ago, I was starting to feel restless and wanted a change. I realized I had mostly been reading adult romantic suspense novels. I decided to try one, and eventually published Rattled. It was fun to do something new, plus I got to draw on my passion for my local New Mexico landscape and activities such as hiking and wilderness exploration. I have another romantic suspense with my agent, and I’m ready to start a third, which will involve falconry and a murder.

I also write articles about writing, teach writing through a correspondence school, lead workshops, and offer private critique services. I enjoy teaching, and I learn a lot from analyzing other people’s manuscripts. I recently put together a book called Advanced Plotting, designed to help intermediate and advanced writers write stronger manuscripts.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the fourth book in my middle grade Haunted series, The Ghost Miner’s Treasure, come out next year. I expect my future will hold a combination of writing for children and for adults, plus teaching and editing.

What one piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?
Take classes and get professional feedback. Most people try to submit their work long before they’re writing at a professional level. You’ll save yourself frustration if you focus on learning to write better for a few years before you worry about the submission process.

Describe your book in 140 characters or less...
The Eyes of Pharaoh brings ancient Egypt to life as three friends investigate a plot against the Pharaoh.

Where can readers find your books?
Readers can learn about all of my books and order them on my Amazon page: They can also read excerpts of my children’s books at, learn about my romantic suspense novels at, or get writing tips and excerpts from Advanced Plotting on my blog,

Chris Eboch's novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; and the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots. Learn more at or check out her writing tips at Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. Rattled launches her new romantic suspense series featuring treasure hunting adventures in the New Mexico wilderness. Read the first three chapters at

Friday, September 16, 2011

Split Personality today

Hey, my blog tour continues and I'm over at two blogs today! If you get a chance, please head over to Heather Cashman's blog and then why not drop by Robyn Campbell's blog. It was a lot of fun answering their questions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Author in the Locker room: Heather Cashman!!!

Today I've cleaned up the locker room and have invited Young Adult writer, Heather Cashman, to talk about writing and her book, Perception. Please welcome Heather as we always do here with a high-five and a "what's up, dude?"

Kris: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your life at this point?

Heather: Staying sane with three teenagers living in my house. Second would be staying married for almost 20 years (which has really been a lot of fun). Third would be writing a book.

Kris: Perception is a survival story of twins trying to find their way through a land where deceit and treachery rule, but it’s also a love story. How did you come up with the storyline?

Heather: I'm not sure I did. I knew what Ardana and Kade were like, their personalities, their back-story. Then my imagination ran wild. I have no idea where that stuff came from. The characters dictate what they will do next, and Ardana is so impetuous. I suppose the bottom line is that, when you know the characters' motivations, you can see what will happen, what they will do to get what they want or need, and how that's going to impact those around them.

Kris: Having the ability to hear thoughts and feel emotions of other people and animals was intriguing to me. Why use a tiger or vine as a ingenium to the human counterpart?

Heather: You will find out the entire story in the prequel, Resurrection. The short story is that human and animal/plant DNA was being mixed to create super-human soldiers. Tigers are fierce, strong, etc. Scorpions can live for a very long time without food and withstand a great variance in temperature. The Passion Vine was not supposed to happen, but scientists have a way of doing things they probably shouldn't when their passions come into play.

Kris: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Heather: Not a lot. I did research the qualities of animals to make descriptions accurate. I've read innumerable books about how to write since my college degree is in Biochemistry. Other than that, I googled a lot when I needed to know something.

Kris: What was the most challenging thing about writing this book and how did you overcome it?

Heather: I've been asked this before, and my answer seems to change depending on my recent experiences. Sometimes I feel like publishing was the most difficult. Other times I would say that marketing it is a bear (and her cubs). At the same time, I am learning so much and meeting so many wonderful people in the process, I can't regret any of it. In reality it's the people banging down my door for the next novel and my love of the craft that keeps me in the game.

Kris: What was the easiest?

Heather: Writing. Editing. I love that process.

Kris: If you could trade places with any of your characters, which one would it be and why?
Heather: Ardana. I think Kliax is really amazing. (Dare I say? . . . No, I don't. But he's really . . . great.)

Kris: Did you self-publish or traditionally publish?

Heather: I self-published because I thought this would be a hobby. It was all a ruse. I now spend about ten hours a day at it or more.

Kris: I love when authors stop by and share their journey and their writing. Where can we find Perception?

Let me tell you that Perception is one story not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by the locker room, Heather!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I am not a Campaigner - bummer!

I had so wanted to take part of Rachel Harrie's Third Platform Building Campaign, but I just do not have the time at the moment. So for all of you that have followed me, I will be sure to follow back - I haven't even done that yet. I wish I had hours to spend blog hopping, but I don't.

I also signed up for this other cool opportunity - Novel Publicity's "secret" society. That is also something that I've not been too involved with, but I think I can handle going forward.

I've got two blog stops coming up this week, and I've have Heather Cashman here on Wednesday talking about writing and her book, Perception.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest blogging today

I'm over at the Gem State Writers blog talking about how I started my writing journey and how I ended up writing middle grade. I'd love if you'd visit me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Excuse this interuption for a winner announcment-------

Thanks again to Laynie King for stopping by and letting us all get to know her. She's picked a winner of a copy of her book, Palo Duro Panic, and that person is........

Sheri Larsen!!!!!

Sheri, Laynie will be sending you an email so you all can get together.

Today is the first day of school for my kidlets, so I'm busy getting their little butts off to school. It's a half day, so they won't be gone too long! But tomorrow our fall schedule starts, and I'll get back to blogging on a more usual basis. This Friday I'll be a guest blogger over at the Gem State Writers. I'm looking forward to talking about writing, why I chose middle grade, and how I developed the world within Saving Redwind.

Since it's the first day of school here, I'm wondering what memories you all have of your school days. The older one is starting 7th grade and the younger one is starting 5th grade. 5th grade, for me, was the last year of elementary school, and it was also the year I got my finger smashed inside of the school door. Ouch! It was also the first year I had a "boyfriend". 

What are your school memories?