Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Blogging

Today I am guest posting over at the MuseItUp Publishing blog.  Hope you'll come and join me for a Halloween post and pumpkin seed recipe!

Next Monday I'll return to the How Author's Write series.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Time!

It's hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner. Every year we gather together, carve pumpkins, and make pumpkin seeds.

Here's how our night started out this year

Then we moved on to the carving:

And while we carved away, the seeds were cooking:

And here's the end result:

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Authors Write- Dianne Salerni

Today is the first in the series of How Authors Write. Up first, I have Dianne Salerni. I've been honored to have Dianne work with me on my current WIP, and am thrilled to have her here to explain her writing process to us.

What do you write?
Up to now, I’ve written YA Historical, usually with a twist of supernatural or mystery (or in one case, science fiction). Recently, I branched out with a contemporary fantasy which my agent feels is more MG than YA. So, I’m making some revisions based on her advice, and I’m very excited with the results so far.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs (Points of view)?
My first novel, WE HEAR THE DEAD, was first person POV, with occasional counterpoint chapters written from the main character’s younger sister. But shortly after that book was published, I tried writing in close third person and loved it so much, I never went back to first. I usually stick with one POV, although my most recent work broke that pattern (as well as ventured into a new genre).

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
Usually I have the premise before I have anything else. With WE HEAR THE DEAD, I stumbled across the story of the Fox sisters while researching something else. I was so fascinated by the way two 19th century teenagers pulled off an elaborate séance hoax, I knew I had to write about them. As for my next book, THE CAGED GRAVES, I started with real-life caged graves in an abandoned cemetery and built a mystery around them. (Like there wasn’t enough mystery about them already!)

Do you draft quickly or are you more detailed in your draft?
It varies by project. The first draft of my most recent project took only 4 months to write, while WE HEAR THE DEAD took 2 years. All my first drafts are bloated – chock full of words and sub-plots that don’t need to be there. I usually spend the next several drafts slashing words and getting to the heart of the story.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I have to do some research before starting the draft, especially if I’m writing a historical piece. But the research continues throughout the drafting process, and I can tell you from my recent experience getting THE CAGED GRAVES ready for publication that it continues right up to the line edits. (For example, the line editor asked me: “Could this person really travel this distance in one day in 1867?” And I found out the answer was no, she couldn’t. Eeep!)

Do you outline? How?
My outline is more like a bulleted list of suggestions, which my characters feel free to reject. I guess I use what some authors call the dot-to-dot method. I know the major “dots” or “events” of the plot. But how to get from dot to dot (or even if I have the dots in the right order) is something I discover by the seat of my pants.

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
Even during a first draft, I revise, edit, and polish each chapter before continuing to the next one. I can’t move forward with blanks or discrepancies in my work. The exception might be when I need a description of a specific location and I know I can get that later.

Do you work with CP's (Critique Partners) or Beta's (Beta Readers)? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I have two CP’s who see my work chapter by chapter as I write it. They are great for cheering me on and also helping me brainstorm when I can’t figure out how to get to the next “dot.” My family also reads my work as I go – I print out chapters for my daughters and my husband. And sometimes I send chapters to my sister’s Kindle.

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
I use a lot of reference books related to whatever topic I’m currently writing about, and I love websites where I can find historical photographs or word and phrase origins. When you write historical, it’s important to avoid anachronisms of language. My first go-to is often, which dates words, phrases, and idioms. As for books on the craft of writing, I don’t read them. I just can’t force myself to sit down and read a craft book. There are too many novels waiting to be read.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
Oh, SO MUCH. Not all of which I can share publicly, LOL! Let’s just say I was pretty naïve about the whole publishing business when I started, and I’ve learned A LOT simply from participating in the blogging world.

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?
My historical mystery, THE CAGED GRAVES, comes out May 14, 2013. It’s the story of a seventeen year old girl who returns to her home after fifteen years away to participate in an arranged marriage -- only to discover that her mother is buried in a caged grave outside the local cemetery.

Also, I recently got word that a film short based on WE HEAR THE DEAD (tentatively titled THE SPIRIT GAME) will be filmed this fall! My websiteDianne K/ Salerni Author features both my books, and I have a book trailer for my first book 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your process with us, Dianne.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I've been tagged to be part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop by Dianne Salerni, Tricia Leaver, and TC McKee (aka Tammy). (click on their names to see their posts.) Also tagged by Dianne are Marcy Hatch and Donna Weaver. Be sure to check out their posts, too!

What is the working title of your book?
I had a hard time with naming this one. It tarted out as Sleeping Handsome, then I called it Kaylee (after the MC), and finally settled on Quest of the Hart

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A friend suggested I write a book where the princess had to go on the quest to save the prince, and Quest of the Hart was born.

What genre does your book fall under?
YA Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Kaylee- Britt Robertson 
Devlin- Chace Crawford (with longer hair)
Sabrina- Shelley Hennig
Arabella- Phoebe Tonkin (just needs violet eyes and blacker hair)
Thaddeus- Jake Sandvig

(and yes, it's pure coincidence that 3 of those people are on the same show!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A reverse Sleeping Beauty tale where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am publishing through Muse It Up, a small publishing press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft? I'm not sure. I know I have about 8 years into this book (and many different incarnations!)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I hate to compare, but seeing I have too, I'd say Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Tanith Lee's Wolf Tower

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See question 2 :-)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
All the princesses in my world have animal abilities that allow them to do special things (talk to animals, see through the eyes of animals. things like that.)

Now, for my tags! Be sure to hop over and see:
Nicole Zoltack (posting today)
Cherie Reich (posted previously- link goes to her post)
Margaret Fieland (posting today)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Writing Process Series

As an author, one thing that has always intrigued me is the process that other authors use to draft their work. There is no 'right' way to draft, and what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

With that in mind, I asked some authors to share their process with us. Over the next several weeks, I will focus on an author and their writing process. I hope you will enjoy this series of posts, and learn somethings, as I have, from these talented ladies.

Dianne Salerni
Margaret Fieland
Elle Druskin
Lisa Blackwood
Nicole Zoltack
Terri Main
Michelle Pickett

Oh, and I'll be posting Wednesday this week (instead of Thursday) as I am participating in The Next Big Thing blog hop. Hope you stop by to see what I've been up to, and to hop around to meet some really talented writers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cover Reveal- Concilium: The Departure by Michelle Pickett

Today I am thrilled to be a part of Michelle Pickett's (fellow MuseItUP author, and blogging friend) cover reveal.

Concilium: The Departure (Book 2 in the Concilium series) releases in November, and I know I can't wait to see what Leslee and Miller face next.

Now, to help you get as excited about it as I am, here's the fantastic cover!

Isn't that just gorgeous??? Lex did a fantastic job!

Now, to wet your reading appetite even more, here's the back cover copy.

Her nightmare is back.  Evil.  It’s alive, and it’s back for her.

Six months ago Leslee’s life was turned upside down when she was hunted by the Cruor Imbibo.  Now, they’re back and no one knows why.  But it’s clear – they’re out for blood.

Working for the Concilium, Miller was assigned to protect Leslee the first time the Imbibo entered her life. He saved her life and stole her heart.  But when the Imbibo left, so did Miller, ripping apart Leslee's dream of a happily-ever-after.  Now Miller’s back to protect Leslee and rekindle their romance.  But she makes it clear, she wants no part of him or his romantic gestures.

Thrown together despite their tense and sometimes hostile relationship, Leslee and Miller fight to uncover the reason the Imbibo have returned and end their killing spree.  Because if they fail, Leslee is next on the Imbibo’s hit list.

Stay out of the dark.
The Imbibo are back.

Title: Concilium: The Departure (Concilium Series #2)
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (
Cover: Lex Valentine of Winterheart Design
Release Date: November 2012Format: e-book