Thursday, March 28, 2013

Writing Pet Peeves

Today I'm talking about writing pet peeves over at the MuseItUp blog. Come on by and join in with yours!


Monday, March 25, 2013

How Authors Write-Lisa Blackwood

Today I welcome fellow MuseItUp author, Lisa Blackwood, to share her writing process and give us a peak at her book, Betrayal's Price. Welcome, Lisa!

What do you write?
I’m one of those annoying authors—you know, the genre hopping kind. LOL. So far I’ve started a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series, an epic fantasy series and I’m now working on a sci-fi series. (With another urban fantasy series in the works) The only thing they have in common is they have romantic elements.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
I always write 3rd person with multiple points of view. I firmly blame growing up on epic fantasy for that.

How do you get started with a book?
I suppose it varies from book to book. Betrayal’s Price had its start when I was a teenager, many, many moons ago. So I don’t actually remember how those characters came about. As for Gregory, the hero from Stone’s Kiss (my urban fantasy with a gargoyle hero) he just came out of left field. He was originally a minor character in the Betrayal’s Price universe, but he demanded his own story and ran away with it. What a mess that first draft was!

Do you draft quickly?
I didn’t know what an outline was when I penned that horrible early version of Betrayal’s Price. It was a wandering, disaster in slow, wordy motion that spanned a good 10-15 years. In the end, with the help of a number of very helpful people, it became a real novel.

By the time I wrote Stone’s Kiss, I had the beginnings of a writer’s craft under my belt so I knew about pace, plot, POV, character development and motivation so I drafted that one in about 6 weeks. But the editing took over a year, because I had to separate all the world building from the Betrayal’s Price universe.
About this time last year I started on the sequel for Betrayal’s Price; its working title is Herd Magic. It’s taken a year, but it’s almost ready to submit. (I probably could have had it done in about five months, but I work full time, volunteer at a horse rescue (Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue) and 2012 was the Year O’ Family Health Issues. But that’s life, and a writer has to learn to find the time to write.)

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
My day job is as a librarian. I research before, after, in between, in my sleep.

Do you outline? How?
I think the sequel for Stone’s Kiss is the first time I’ve written a detailed outline; it’s chapter by chapter. So far, so good. I’ll see if Gregory--the annoyingly independent gargoyle mentioned earlier--decides to make a royal pain of himself or if he will graciously stick to the outline I’ve planned. ;-)

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?
Guilty as charged. I’ve started handwriting my first drafts; it keeps me away from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all those other internet sins. During a first draft, I write myself lots of red pen notes in the margins as I go and the occasional sticky note. I’ve even given characters and place names temporary place holders.

Do you work with CP's or Beta's?
Betrayal’s Price and Stone’s Kiss were both read by several critique partners. (I learned the basics from an online writer’s workshop. If you want an honest critique of your work, get a like-minded stranger. They’ll tell it like it is. Family and friends can’t be trusted to be brutally honest). ::grins::

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
For books, the Chicago Manual of Style is what is sitting next to me now. I asked for one for Christmas. I had lots of other writing books, but this one has just about everything in it.

The Absolute Write Water Cooler is a good place to go for researching publishers, agents and editors etc. But there are many great author and agent blog out there. I follow a bunch loyally.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
How to self edit. How to write. How to self edit. How the publishing system works. How to self edit. I think I’ve committed just about every writing sin there is. How to self edit--->sadly, I’m still learning how to really self edit effectively.

What do you have out now, or coming out?
I’m almost finished with Herd Magic (epic fantasy) and then it’s on to the Stone’s Kiss sequel. (which will be out first since it is a self published title.) I post updates on my blog  and my website

Betrayal’s Price:
For some, rebirth is not a reward.

Ashayna, warrior-scout for her father's army, hides a terrible shame. She is host to a mysterious force she doesn’t understand and can’t control—one which puts her very life at risk should the magic-hating priests ever unearth her secret.

Help comes from an unlikely source when she crosses swords with Sorntar, Crown Prince of the Phoenix. Through Sorntar she discovers she is host to a Larkin—a volatile spirit creature of vast power. If she can trust the word of a man who is part avian, he is host to her Larkin's other half.

When Ashayna and Sorntar are accused of possessing Larkins corrupted by an ancient evil, they must work together to discover what happened in the past to pit one bondmate against another.

Although the human warrior and the phoenix prince often clash during their search to unravel the mystery, nevertheless they are entangled by an unbreakable bond—but is it love, or the manipulations of a deadly enemy?

Lisa Blackwood, author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and epic fantasy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Author's Write- Philip Coleman

Today I welcome fellow MuseItUp Author, Philip Coleman to share his writing process and an excerpt from his novel, The Master's Book.

What do you write?
I’ve gravitated towards YA as the genre where I’m most at home. Perhaps it’s because I used to read aloud to my own children right into their teens. I have had a go at YA fantasy and sci-fi but my first published book is a thriller set in contemporary Brussels, where I myself lived for three years.
    Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?This book is the only one where I’ve used first person; the voice of a teenage Irish boy called Sean. It seemed natural to the story and the setting – the mixture of a boy trying to sound self-confident with his man-of-the-world sarcasm, while at the same time being completely unsure of himself when faced with a girl that he can’t stop thinking about.
    How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?It varies from story to story but character is always key. I like strong female characters and Stephanie, Sean’s female counterpart, is very feisty indeed. Setting and sense of place are also important.
    Do you draft quickly?
    It depends on other commitments. I can do a first draft in about two months if there are no interruptions but it can run to six if work or family issues intervene.
    Do you do research before your first draft, during?
    I might check out some basic facts at the beginning; in the case of the present book, the basic elements of the relationship of Mary of Burgundy to the medieval artist/ illuminator known as the Master of Mary of Burgundy were key. The rest I check out as I go along or when I read back each draft. Not living in Brussels any more I sometimes have to check out Google Maps and Street View, and even make some brief trips back.
    Do you outline? How?
    I always try because I feel I should, so I outline some basic stages in the story. Then, once I get going, the pace of the narrative – and especially key dialogue – tends to render the outline redundant so I’m back making it up as I go along.
    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?
    Occasionally I leave comments but mostly I try to name everything up front. Since I’m a bad outliner, it’s important to keep the flow above all.
    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?
    If you mean do I work with friends and/ or professional editorial consultants, the answer is yes but I try to get a draft that I’m not embarrassed by before I let anyone else see my work, and I get more easily embarrassed the more experienced I get.
    What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
    Write to be Published” by Nicola Morgan is a great book, well worth it’s low price. 
    “Story”, by Robert McKee is about writing movie scripts but it has good advice for anyone crafting a fictional plot., run by the UK Arts Council, is a good website for getting anonymous feedback from other writers.
    [I have to confess that I haven't heard of these, but they sound, and look, great!]
    What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing.
    Lots of things! Most of all, the fact that there are so many talented authors out there struggling to get that first rung on the ladder so that expectations need to be managed. But also that persistence is very important.
    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 book, “The Master’s Book” came out last week. You can buy it at MuseItUp Publishing

    You can check out my Facebook page at:

In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.

The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen 
almost at once.

Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?

Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

Here is a little excerpt from my story (there’s a longer one on the purchase web-page):

So tell me more about this murder.”
What am I to say? I’d love to tell her what I found this morning, but can I trust her?
There’s not really much more to tell,” I said. “The house was ransacked, but we don’t know what they were looking for.”
Hmm. So you don’t think there’s still something hidden somewhere in the house?”
She’s near the mark.
No, I’m sure there isn’t,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.
Oh, come on.” She poked my shoulder. “You realise you’ve missed a chance to make up a really good story.”
The laugh I gave mustn’t have been very convincing, maybe because I’d fixed my gaze on the floor. She stared hard at me and suddenly gave me a nudge.
You’re not telling me everything, you sly thing,” she cried. “You did find something. You
were trying to keep it a secret, weren’t you?”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Updates and a Blog Tour

Sorry I haven't been around much for comments on your blogs, I've been there, lurking, but most of my time has been used on my new WIP. I'm about halfway through my second draft, and so far, the feedback I've gotten is positive. There are a few things I need to clarify. (Thank God for CP's!)

Quest of the Hart is releasing on April 19, and on the 20th, I am doing a signing and reading at a local library. I am soooo excited, and will have more details soon! If you have any suggestions for what to do at a release party/signing/reading please share. Oh, and yesterday, Michelle Pickett picked it for her Waiting on Wednesday post. You can read her take on it here.

Edits for The Lost Princess are coming soon. Can't wait to see what my wonderful Content Editor, Judy, has to say. I know together with her and Nan, we'll get it in tip-top shape!

Lastly, I'm setting up a blog tour for Quest running from Friday, April 12 to Friday, May 10. If you're interested in participating, let me know either in the comments or by e-mail (mewaibelATgmailDOTcom)

Enough about me. How about you? Any new projects? Good books you've read? News you want to share? Post below and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Viola Ryan's Mark of Abel

Holy Hell TourToday, Lucifer, from Viola Ryan's Mark of Abel, is visiting the blog. Be sure to read through to the end for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card!

Welcome, Lucifer.

Thank you, Mary, for having me. Not many people want to listen to the Prince of Darkness. They call me the Prince of Lies. What’s with all the princes? I am the Bearer of Light, Lucifer. Actually, I hate all the titles. Darkness? Nothing is darker than what lies in the human heart. Lies? I don’t lie. I don’t need to. That is just something HE wants you to believe so you won’t listen to me.

If only you would listen to me. Eve was unfairly kicked out of Eden, but if you would just behave, all of earth could be paradise again. It’s not that hard. My brother, Jesus, put it quite simply “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” One thing I love about humans is you aren’t dumb. You get that from your mother. Eve was a brilliant woman.

I tried to help. That’s why I created hell. You respond well to four things: 1) Pleasure, 2) Pain, 3) Promise of Pleasure and 4) Threat of Pain. What is hell if not the ultimate threat of pain? That’s how I designed it. I came up with the idea and let Lilith run with it. She oversees hell with the help of our twins, Dan and Dana.

Lilith will personally design your torment. You should see Lilith’s latest creation. The deceased is trapped in a video game. If they can solve it, they are freed. Small problem, they can’t solve it. Whenever they come close, the game ends, and they have to start all over again. It’s Tron meets Sisyphus. Lilith is truly brilliant when it comes to these things.
Thanks again, Mary. Believe or not, I like Eve’s children and I want them to succeed. I want earth to return to paradise. Eve never should have been kicked out. The Grigori never should have been able to convince Cain to murder Abel. All so they could drink his blood and become vampires. It is a true tragedy, one the children of today can change.

Wow! Thanks for visiting, Lucifer. Now, for a little more of his story.

Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.

Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.

A very good friend of Viola Ryan in high school said, “You don’t think outside the box. You blow the thing up.” Sometimes boxes need exploding. That’s why she’s here. She has a whole bag of C4 and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s blessed with people who treasure her eccentricities or at least put up with them.

Sometimes the box can be a cozy place. Without some sort of stability, her two daughters’ and her life would be unmanageable. That stability comes from her husband. He’s the rock holding her family together.
On the flip side, his career is anything but stable. He’s a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard. They’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia. Fortunately, the moves have all been on the east coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast.

Her oldest daughter (16) was born on Cape Cod, not far from Plymouth. Massachusetts. Her youngest (12) was born in Yorktown, Virginia, down the road from Williamsburg. Viola jokes they’re doing the colonial America tour.
Viola can be found:

Mark of Abel is available at: