Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updates and Upcoming

Can you believe that November is almost over? Where has the year gone?

This year I didn't sign up for NaNo. I was was super busy and forgot about it, then when November came, I didn't think I'd have the time to devote to it.

While working on a new idea for a girl highwayman story, my characters hijacked the story and told me it would be a paranormal romance (in modern time), in first person (I usually write in 3rd) and from one POV (I usually have at least 2). Well, my characters must have known what they were talking about, because in two weeks I had around 35,000 words. And I had edited them some. One day, I wrote a chapter, and then the next day I removed the entire thing and re-wrote it, as the first idea didn't work the way I wanted it to.

I was plugging right along, then I hit a wall. My characters had led me to this place where I needed to figure out what/who was my "big bad". So, I read. And read some more. And I started watching a series on Netflix. All the while, I was letting my subconscious work out the story problems. And slowly, the answer came to me. Now, I know what my big bad is, and where I need to go, and I am hoping my characters (and muse) keep throwing the words I need out to me.

Did you NaNo? If so, how'd it go?


Tomorrow is the release day for Michelle Pickett's Concilium: The Deaprture

Sunday I am hosting Aubrie Dionne here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, and a Winner!

I have so many things to be thankful for. A loving family, great friends, incredible support from the writing community, and good health, just to name a few.

Today, I hope that you and yours enjoy good times with family and friends, creating new things to be thankful for next year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

And congratulations to Elizabeth, winner of Lorrie's book, WILD BLACKBERRIES.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How Authors Write- Katie Carroll

Today I welcome fellow MuseItUp author Katie Carroll. As I read through her answers, I found that Katie and I have more in common than just our fantasy stories and Muse.

What do you write?
I write YA, MG, and picture books in everything from fantasy to contemporary.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
I’ve worked in both 1st person and 3rd person. I do have one story with multiple 1st person POV characters. It really depends on what the story calls for.

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I usually start with an idea. It could start from a dream, a scene in nature, a “what if” question, really anywhere. Usually the idea is associated with a character. Although, it requires more of a concerted effort on my part to flesh out a character versus developing an idea.

Do you draft quickly? Or are you more detailed in your draft?
I am a painfully slow drafter and am constantly working on ways to be quicker with drafts. I tend to work out in my head most of the major plot points of a story before I even begin writing. It took me a couple of years to draft my first novel and slightly less time for the second novel I wrote.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I might do a little research before I begin drafting, but a good amount of research is done while I draft. I often end up doing some research while revising as well.

Do you outline? How?
I don’t outline, except in my head. As I've become more familiar with my own writing style, I've realized I am a very plot driven writer. Outlining really isn't necessary for me to keep track of my plot; it’s all there in my head. I do, however, create what I like to call a “mess” for each story. The mess can be all types of things: marked up books I've used in research, scribbles in my notebooks about characters and plots, sketches of physical spaces in my WIP. I usually have a whole folder on my computer devoted to the mess as well, which can have anything from articles from the Internet to a calendar of events in the story.[The outlining in the head and notes everywhere is so me!

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?
I tend to draft straight through without leaving out too much. Lately, though, I've been trying to push through drafts quicker, so I've been allowing myself to leave holes to come back and fill in later.

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I have both beta readers and a critique group I work with. I like to give my beta readers chapters as I finish them. I use my beta readers more for cheerleading than for critique. My beta readers are there to keep me motivated by saying, “Where’s the rest of that book? I've been dying to see how it ends.” I like to have a full draft done before I engage my critique partners because I find too much feedback too early in the drafting stage is too debilitating for my drafting process.

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
Okay, confession time: I don’t really like books or websites about writing. I think they help lots of writers be better writers, but I just don’t personally get a lot out of them. I find going to conferences helpful in many ways. They keep me inspired and eager to write. There’s also something about seeing and hearing a writer in person talking about their process that resonates with me much more than reading about a writer’s process. For a supportive kidlit writing community, I've found author Verla Kay's discussion boards to be priceless.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing.
That every published author has his/her own path to publication and no one writer’s path is better than another’s. I think it’s important to cheer on fellow writers, but it’s equally as important not to compare your own journey with theirs. [What a GREAT point!]

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 YA fantasy Elixir Bound is currently available through
MuseItUp Publishing and on Amazon. [I love this cover!]

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.
For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
Buy Elixir Bound for your Kindle, Nook, PC, and other devices from MuseItUp Publishing. Elixir Bound is also available at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and other ebook retailers.

I also have a picture book called The Bedtime Knight coming out in November through the picture book app company MeeGenius! and illustrated by Erika Baird.  [This looks absolutely adorable!] 

With a little help from Daddy Knight, a young child learns how to turn the scary shadows of the night into fun imaginings. Read it yourself or have it read to you with the MeeGenius! picture book app.

My website and blog are at

Thanks for sharing your process with us, Katie!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gypsy Blood by Lorrie Unites-Struiff

Today, I welcome back fellow Muse author Lorrie Unites-Struiff. She's here to tell us about her Paranormal Romance, GYPSY BLOOD and a special giveaway she's running.

Hello again, everyone. Mary, Thank you so much for inviting me back to your blog. This is such a fun place.

Aw, thanks, Lorrie. I'm happy to have you here again.

Today, I want to tell readers about my novella, GYPSY BLOOD.

Oh, what a treat. I really enjoyed this novel. It's full of mystery, romance, and I loved the Romany plot line so much! You must have learned a lot of interesting things researching that.

When I researched the Roma culture, I was very surprised to find such a rich heritage and learn about these beautiful people. Their lore is one of the most fascinating I’ve ever read. Many live among us today in the U.S., Canada and abroad. They number in the millions.

Did you know Yul Brynner was Roma? Sir Charles Chaplin? Bob Hoskins, who spent his youth working in a circus and then became an actor? The TV program, Criminal Minds, had a story on last year about a gypsy family and a tradition. LOL. Of course, for that program, it was on the darker side.

There are British actors who have a Romany ancestry—though dating back to some generations ago. Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore.

Never the less, I’ve read about their customs, their beliefs, and have included many in my novella.
Come and meet Rita Muldova of pure Roma blood, and a detective for the Keyport Police Department. Meet her family: her mother, Anna, a great seer, and Uncle Dragus who plays the sweetest melodies on his violin.

Instead of going on and on, let me show you the cover, and you can read blurb and excerpt.

Everyone has secrets.
Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that shows her the last image a victim had seen before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped.
FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep dark secret about the killer.
When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.
Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?

The units arrived and sealed the crime scene.

Matt walked to her. “It’s a wash for tonight, let’s call in our troops. All the uniforms on the scene will keep our man away.” He took her hand. “Damn, your fingers are like ice.” He grabbed both her hands and rubbed them between his, the friction warming more than her fingers. “It’s late. Let me take you back to your car at the station. You look wiped.”

She let her shoulders slump. “Yeah, it’s been a long day.”

The SUV’s seat cushioned her sore muscles. Rita let her head fall back on the warm headrest with a deep sense of relief and closed her eyes. Matt turned up the heat, and delicious warmth flowed over her legs. A whisper of breath brushed her cheek, a hand slid over her waist. Her eyes flew open.

He laughed. “I’m just putting your seatbelt on. Don’t panic.”

Rita inhaled deeply and caught the faint scent of spice, pine, and man. His nearness tempted her to lay her head on his broad shoulder, cuddle, and sleep.

The grin he flashed…well, for a moment she could have sworn he had read her thoughts. She sighed with frustration.

They pulled up to the station and he walked her to the Rover. “Lock your car doors. You’re still dressed like you’re ready for action.”

The chilly car seat sent gooseflesh up the back of her thighs. With the door open, she quickly turned the key and hit the heater. When she glanced back up at him, she found his eyes devouring her from the top of her blonde wig, down her legs, then back to rest where the hem of her skirt barely covered her bikini panties. 

She cocked her head. “What?”

Matt shook his head, took a deep breath, and groaned.

Her gaze strayed to the noticeable bulge in his jeans. She lifted her eyes to meet his. That sinful smile surfaced on his lips again.

Watch your legs.” He shut the Rover’s door and walked back to his SUV.

For your reading pleasure this paranormal/romance/thriller-chiller/action/mystery is Available on Amazon at

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment and to one commenter, I will put names in a hat and send you a PDF copy of my popular paranormal short story, Wild Blackberries.
Read more about my published works at,
My blog
Hope to see you there.

Thanks, Lorrie!

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Authors Write- Michelle Pickett

Today, I welcome fellow MuseItUp author and friend, 
Michelle Pickett, to share her writing process with us.

What do you write?
I write both adult and young adult urban fantasy, sci/fi and paranormal romances.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
So far I've only written in the first person POV, but I'm drafting a book that will be in the third person. I'm finding it a lot harder than I thought it would be.

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
It is usually the story that comes first for me. Although, sometimes the story and the main character show up simultaneously.

Do you draft quickly or are you more detailed in your draft?
I'm not a fast drafter. It usually takes me about six weeks to draft my first draft and another six to do revisions and rewrites. [Wow! That seems fast to me, but my drafts are all over the place!]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I don't usually have a lot of research that needs to be done, but if I do I tend to do it while I'm writing rather than before.

Do you outline? How?
I don't, is the short answer. I have a general idea and just go with that. However, I'm starting to see the benefits of having at least a loose outline to follow. I haven't found the method that works best for me yet, so I'm trying different formats. I've been reading some craft books on outlining. So far I've just been jotting down notes and keeping them in order in relation to the storyline.

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?
I generally name everything up front, but that doesn't mean the name will stick. I've been known to change names a few times before finding the one that I "feel" fits.

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
Nope, I've never worked with them. When I started writing Concilium I didn't know they existed. Afterward, when I learned of them, I was never really sure how to go about finding one to work with. I have some family members and friends that read my work that I call my "Betas and CPs" but they really aren't.

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
Hooked, by Les Edgerton.
Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne, Dave King.
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing.
I wish I knew about Beta readers and Critique partners and how important they are. I think Concilium would have been a much stronger book if I'd had some additional input from outside sources. It's hard to be objective when it's your "baby."

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?

Concilium was released in July. 

The sequel, Concilium: The Departure, is scheduled for release in November. Both are published through MuseItUp Publishing.

PODs, my debut young adult novel, will release in paperback through Spencer Hill Press June 4, 2013 (my son's 12th birthday!) [I think that is so awesome!]

I just signed a second contract with Spencer Hill Press for a young adult paranormal romance, titled Milayna, that will release in paperback in March of 2014.

Upcoming Events: I'll be at the 2013 Book Expo America in at the Javits Center in NYC signing copies of PODs.

Places you can find me on the web:
Book Buy Links:

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your process, Michelle!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Letter from MuseItUp Publisher Lea Schizas

MuseItUp Publishing may be a Canadian house but our authors come from all over the world, especially the United States where Sandy has caused horrific damage to our neighbours.

For the entire month of November, with any purchase made from our MuseItUp Bookstore, we will donate 10% of the purchase price to the Red Cross toward the devastation caused by Sandy. On behalf of all of us at MuseItUp Publishing we'd like to thank you for your support.

Lea Schizas
MuseItUp Publishing

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Authors Write- Margaret Fieland

I hope you all had a great week last week, and that you were all safe during the Hurricane.

Today, I am returning to my series on How Author's Write. You can find my first post, with Dianne Salerni here.  This week, I welcome fellow MuseItUp author, Margaret Fieland who shares her writing process with us.

What do you write?
I write poetry and fiction. I have a tween/YA sci fi published, and a chapter book accepted for publication, due out next year.  I'm working on two more: another tween/YA sci fi, and an adult sci fi.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
"Relocated," my published novel, is first person. The other, "The Angry Little Boy," is third person limited  -- one POV. Of the two I'm working on editing. the  tween/ya is first person. The adult sci fi is my first multi-person POV novel. It's got five points of view: the four characters involved in the main plot relationship, and the antagonist, the bad guy in a political plot thing.

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
It varies, but generally with a character and a situation, a setting, the start and the finish. The details in the middle tend to be murky. For "Relocated," I did plan -- but most of my planning was devoted to world-bullding. I had about a page of notes on the plot, most of which make me cringe when I read them over now, and most of which went out the window once I started to write.

Do you draft quickly? Or are you more detailed in your draft?
I generally draft quickly. Then I have to go back and edit. For the multi-person novel I'm editing now, for example, I wanted to weave together two four-person relationships and an antagonist. I started it out  as a YA, first person, with the same main character as "Relocated." I also drafted another version, multi-person, sketchy, focusing on the story of the adult foursome. I got as far as a beta reader for the first person YA version. She convinced me I was telling the wrong story.

So I went back, reread both versions, and went back to the drawing board. This time I decided to focus on the four characters in the adult relationship, plus the antagonist, as POV characters. My first draft was a lot better, but I skimped on the secondary characters, and had to revise to bring them more forward. I'm pretty happy with the current version, and am down to what I really believe are final edits on it.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
As necessary. Since I don't do a lot of planning, there will most likely be research needed as I go along. I do do some research beforehand -- for example, on desert ecologies before I started "Relocated." I ended up having to research glass blowing and ceramics for the novel later on. I researched the International Court, Native American culture, and stringed instruments, among other things, for the multi-person POV novel I'm working on now.

Do you outline? How?
I generally have the beginning, the ending, the major plot points, and some notes about scenes.

For the 2011 Nano Novel, I had about two pages of notes, with notes on scenes. I followed them for more or less the first quarter of the novel and then it took off.

Mostly, though, I can't plan in too much detail, because my characters live and breathe for me as I write them. I don't know all of what's going to happen until I write it.

As to detailed scene planning. I often play a scene out in my head before I write it, and then I write it down. If it's the first draft, I'll make notes about the next couple of scenes as well.

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?
I'm not much for going back. If I really need something, I'll make a note in the MS: ** FIXME ** :
Then when I need to, I can go back and search for FIXME.

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
Both. I have a writing partner. We exchange a chapter a week. As to Beta readers, when I reach the point where I feel it needs a whole read-through and comments. How do I know that?
Good question {grin}.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
{grin} How to write fiction. I wrote the novel coming out next year in a weekend, then I spent the next year and a half or two years learning enough about fiction to make it into a publication-worthy novel.

But I might not have been motivated to study all that if I hadn't needed to get my novel right.

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?

"Relocated" was published by MuseItUp Publishing this past July, and I have a blog tour starting at the end of October. I self-published "Sand in the Desert," the book of poems I wrote to go with "Relocated." Eight of the poems appear in the novel. I'm also one of the Poetic Muselings. Our poetry anthology, "Lifelines" was published in November, 2011.

I can be found online in the following places:
The Poetic Muselings website and blog:
Link to "Relocated" on the publisher's website:
Link to Sand in the Desert on Amazon:

It's also avail in print. Link to Lifelines Poetry Anthology:

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Pride by Laura Diamond

It’s here! My prequel novelette, NEW PRIDE, releases today. I’m SO stoked for it to run wild in the world.  
[Be sure to read all the way to the end for a chance to win a copy of NEW PRIDE from Laura!]

NEW PRIDE was born from my upcoming novel, SHIFTING PRIDE (coming December 7, 2012!). In SHIFTING PRIDE, the main character, Nickie, searches for her missing father, Richard…and NEW PRIDE is all about Richard’s journey to independence and new love.

New town, new love, new terror.


A shape-shifter without a pride, Richard Leone strikes a tenuous friendship with power hungry, Derek, from an unstable, rogue group. On a hunt in the forest, they encounter a gorgeous brunette, Molly, partying with friends around a campfire. Derek tells the rogue pride and they bristle at humans trespassing on their territory. Richard risks life and tail to protect his secret and the humans—especially Molly—while simultaneously trying to win her heart. When Molly is kidnapped, he faces taking on the rogue pride alone, but quickly finds he has to put his trust in Derek, not only to rescue his new love, but to ensure the rogue pride doesn’t wreak havoc on his new town.

About Author Laura Diamond:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, horror, and middle grade. Her short story, City of Lights and Stone, is in the Day of Demons anthology by Anachron Press (April 2012) and her apocalyptic short story, Begging Death is in the Carnage: Life After the End anthology by Sirens Call Publication (coming late 2012). Her debut young adult paranormal romance, SHIFTING PRIDE, is coming December 2012 by Etopia Press. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer , and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke Corgi named Katie. 

How to find Laura Diamond on the web:

YouTube interview:
In The DM Zone—Talking about SHIFTING PRIDE

*GROUP HUG* Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to celebrate with me and for helping me spread the word. This wouldn’t be happening without you. Yes, you! Without you, I’d have given up a long time ago. ;)

I hope you enjoy NEW PRIDE and SHIFTING PRIDE.   

A bonus: 

I will be giving away copies of NEW PRIDE to several lucky fans! Please click this link and fill out the form on my fan page to enter.