Thursday, April 30, 2015

{WR} Zealous: Which Is What We Writers Are! {Blogging from A to Z}

We made it. 26 posts. One month. This was my first A to Z Challenge and I loved it! I will be back next year but until then I will be zealous in my writing and blogging!

Zealous: avid, enthusiastic. I came across so many amazing blogs and some that were just confusing or even dull. I could tell who was avidly doing the Challenge because they loved the writing part and the challenge of sticking with a theme (if they chose to do so).

I am going to miss the community; the checking of my mail to see if anyone commented. To see my "Followers" slowly rise. To read a blog and know there are other like minds out there! I know the A to Z list will always be on the site and I will visit it, finding other zealous writers :-)

Is there anything else that you have a passion for besides writing? I love reading and working with children, coffee and chocolate and sarcasm. What are yours? Please share!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I truly appreciate all of you and look foward to following many of you in your journey!






Wednesday, April 29, 2015

{WR} Yours Truly. Sincerely. Love. Does Anyone Write Letters Anymore? {Blogging from A to Z}

I grew up in the 70's and 80's where I had to hand write Thank You notes. I wrote letters to penpals all over the world and still have one in Rome, Italy today. As the INTRAnet became popular in college, then AOL mass marketed their CDs of thousands of free Internet hours, quality handwritten letters have gone by the wayside.

I remember decorating envelopes, making my own stationary, writing lines in different colors, dotting "i's with similes or hearts. I remember trying to figure out: how do I sign certain friend's cards or letters to penpals? "Love"? "Sincerely"? "Take Care?"

Do they even teach letter writing in school anymore? I have two high schoolers and a middle schooler and I think my oldest learned how in elementary school but not his younger siblings. I had to teach them how to address an envelope, where to put the stamp. They don't even write Thank You's anymore because they text or email it sooner than I can even ask them to write a letter. (And don't get me started on cursive disappearing!)

When I moved here three years ago, I sent some of my friends handwritten letters just to be different, to show how much I loved them and to see what their response would be. One was very surprised, the others loved it and told me it was nice to get something other than bills or junk mail.



Have you sent a handwritten letter to anyone recently? I still send paper Birthday and Christmas cards but since my handwritten letter binge three years ago, I haven't sent any letters. It's just easier and quicker to do it via email. However, the feeling of writing and receiving a letter is not something that can be replaced. To know a person spent time sitting and writing and making an effort to spell things correctly is something that can't be given via a computer.

This being said, I wonder how many authors till use pen and paper to write their stories?


Yours Truly,
Heather McCubbin

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

{WR} Xerox/Copies, Tissues/Kleenex, iPod/MP3...what is the right word? {Blogging from A to Z}

I am going to xerox that paper. I use kleenex. I drink Coke. I listen to my iPod (even when I had a non-Apple product I called it this.) I Google answers.

It's amazing how some brand names have become an 'everyday' word for an 'everyday' item. I am not brand loyal when it comes to buying a facial tissue, but I still call it a Kleenex. I am not from the midwest so I don't say pop, I say soda, but when I talk about ordering a drink I will order I say, "I'm going to order a Coke...I'll have a Diet Coke and my daughter a Sprite."I also am going to xerox this contract and pass it out," whether it's on an HP or Xerox copy machine.

I find that my characters may be adopting this lingo as well. I try not to in many instances (see the brand name post Brand Names in Writing) but sometimes, my character REALLY wants a Diet Coke. Or, they are on the search for the newest iPod because they have to have it for a gift to give someone in the book.

Can you think of any other examples of a brand name being substituted for other items? Do you use any specific ones in your writing with your characters?

Monday, April 27, 2015

{WR} Writing Brands/Local Places Into Your Stories: Is It The "Write" Way? {Blogging from A to Z}

I have been told, and I have read often, to not use brand names in your stories.
What about local names of places/businesses/restaurants etc?

I can understand brand names as they may date the book. (I mentioned this in a post before). Will iPods (or Apple) be around in 40 years? Does AOL even have the same punch as it did 15 years ago if you talk about it in a book? Should we say a character is going to "Google" something? I try to stay away from using brand names when I can, but sometimes I have to use it or the sentence may sound awkward and 'made up'.

 As for local names...what are your feelings on using them?

"Jill had to run to the Publix to get milk so her Oreo cookies wouldn't be lonely."
"We all went to In-n-Out after the basketball game for burgers."
"Wegmans was the largest grocery store that Jane had ever been in and it took her hours to shop."

Do you think using these names will make the reader feel a little more removed from the storyline? Do you seclude someone in New York who is reading the book where "Publix" is mentioned since it's a southern grocery store? Is someone in Florida going to search for "Wegmans" to see what kind of store it is since they hadn't heard of it? People in CA will nod their head at the"In-n-Out" reference whereas people in Virginia may be thinking it's a strange name for a burger place.

Where do you draw the line on mentioning local places...if any lines need to be drawn? I personally don't mind reading funny names of bars or restaurants and would have no idea if it's a real place or not. I know about the three places I mentioned above and only one is in my geographical area (Wegmans). I am conflicted about this and will try to keep to the "vibe" of my story and if the word fits in, great. If not, then I'll use the generic "grocery store" or say "her favorite Italian restaurant" instead.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

{WR} Visting Other Authors Blogs {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

Here's a chance for you to tell us some of your favorite authors/writing blogs. I have found so many interesting ones doing this challenge (and being a moderator for Lisa's Live Wires I see other non-writing ones as well).

Please take a moment to share, in the comments section, a blog you love to visit...and don't forget to include your own as well!

My list:

Donna Weaver
Books and Bark 
Lori Maclaughlin
Lani Woodland
Alex Cavanaugh--host of the Insecure Writers Support Group

Thanks, everyone! I look forward to visiting some of your suggestions. Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, April 24, 2015

{WR} Understanding Your Characters {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

Yesterday, I read a post on the Insecure Writers Support Group Facebook page about a writer whose villain was writing his own story. His line was going in a direction she didn't originally want so she wasn't sure if she should keep writing or not. She reached out and asked us our thoughts and almost everyone advised to roll with it, see where it takes her.

I find this veering off happens to me to the point where I have to rewrite some scenes (that I skipped ahead to write) just because they don't fit within the story anymore.

You think you understand your characters, but I think if you are writing fiction, sometimes they will surprise you and take you on a journey you didn't expect.

Has this happened to you? In what way?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

{WR} The End...How Do You End Your Work? {Blogging from A to Z}

THE END

What every author strives for after toiling at the computer, or paper, for months...years. Maybe decades.  Or, as one of my friend's wrote in her Word Doc, to her sequel of  Sing Sweet Nightingale, and posted it to Facebook: "The F*&^ing End" (I have a post about the "F" word in this challenge).

When you write "The End" are you done? Or do you like to have an epilogue? While we are at it, what are your thoughts on Prologues?

I like having an epilogue, usually. I didn't like the epilogue in Scott Westerfield's "Midnighters" series...and I was warned by the said friend above to NOT READ IT. But, I did...I should have listened to her.

Usually, I find that I want to know what the characters did after the story has ended and I do have epilogues in my stories. Prologues annoy me sometimes because I feel like it's almost the same as the blurb on the cover of the book. It gives you a hint as to what the story is going to be like. I can't really think of an epilogue that stands out in my head as being beneficial to the storyline of the book.

What are your thoughts, if any? I find the stories I write are never really 'ended' in my mind. I can think of dozens more scenes I could put my characters in, but know they aren't quality enough to be included in the story.

THE END

Blogging from A to Z

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

{WR} Stymied For Writing Ideas? How Do You Find Your Muse? {A to Z Blogging Challenge}

If you have written, or are writing, books or stories how did those ideas come to you? I have a few full stories written and saved on my computer. I have let them sit for months, almost a year at one point, because I had hit a wall. I didn't know where to go...until a song came on the radio (Imagine Dragons "Demons") and the flood gates opened...see #3 below!

--One came when I couldn't find anyone to go to a football game with me and my mother said I should sell my one ticket on EBAY and see who buys it.

--Another one came when a friend said my "Draco" in my Harry Potter fanfic was so far removed from canon, I needed to write an original fiction...thus "Lane Changes" was born.

--A third when a friend had a dream and I thought it'd make a great story, but I couldn't figure out the personality of the main character, until I heard a song. Now,  my friend and I are working on it together.

--A fourth just brewed in my head for NaNoWriMo a few years ago and I just wrote it out/brainstormed and came out with a 30K story that still isn't finished.

How do you find your muse if you lost it/or how do your story lines come to you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

{WR}, Ready? Read...What Are Your Must Reads? {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

Reading...a great way to pass the time. To live vicariously through others. To take a break from reality, to learn, to experience.

What books do you tell people they must read? What books do you have multiple copies of so you can loan them out to your friends and family?

I read a wide variety of books, from Children's to Romance, from Fiction to New Adult. I recently discovered Penelope Ward in the 17+ series. I've loaned a few of hers out via my Kindle.

In my previous post I mentioned the Stephanie Plum series, plus "Outlander" but I also like "The Burned" series by Karen Moning, "A Certain Slant of Light"...I loved Harry Potter, also.

I cried when I read "A Dogs Purpose" and "Racing in the Rain." I am not a fantasy or sci fi fan but my children are; I don't really read biographies or non-fiction (except Malcolm Gladwell) but as my children were growing up I skimmed different books on child rearing just to see what theories were out there. I read "A Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" and cracked up through the entire thing. I'm sure I am missing a million more great reads out there.

So many books...so little time!

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Monday, April 20, 2015

{WR} Quality, Not Quantity: How Many Books In A Series Is Too Much? {A to Z Blogging Challenge}

Climb into my time machine, or the Delorean I don't have, and type in the date Summer 1985. "Sweet Valley High" series. I LOVED THEM! I was in middle and high school when I read these. I used my allowance on the newest book and waited anxiously for it to come out. When I grew up, I wanted twins. Jessica and Elizabeth were now my favorite girl names. Then either I matured, or the storyline got old (or both) and I stopped reading them. And, I don't have twins...

Currently: I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. The books before #12 were "Laugh aloud on the plane and have people stare at you funny." I looked forward to seeing how Stephanie's car was going to blow up this time, what trouble and shenanigans Grandma was going to pull...then the books went on. And on. And Stephanie hasn't made a decision between two men, she still has her hamster from book #1 and even though she has upgraded from a pager to a cell phone there hasn't been any movement towards a finale in the life of The Plums. I feel about this series as I feel about the tv show The Simpsons. It's time. I know it's not a chronological book, but it's time for her to make a decision and move on.

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorite books. I watch the STARZ tv series. I read the first four over and over again. Then, when the characters' children grew up and had children of their own and their stories came into play, I gave it one more book...and then I gave up. I got tired of being bounced back and forth from country to country, time period to time period. Lord John seems to be one of Diana's favorite character's and he begins to trickle in and out. He even has his own series which soldified the fact to me the "Outlander" series is done and it was time to move on.

My series "Lane Changes" will have two books published, the third is written and the fourth and fifth (final one with the main character) are done but not edited. For fun, I began writing from Lane's oldest's POV moving forward and it's fun to write. Will it ever get published? I don't know. I just know writing it brings me enjoyment; I'm not ready for Lane's saga to end. So, I can see why Diana did it...and it does keep me out of trouble. But I'm not a world famous author.

And these are just my opinions. How about you? Have you come across a series of books that you think should just end because the author has exhausted the storyline?


Friday, April 17, 2015

{WR} Pants, Jeans, Khakis-Synonyms! {A to Z Blogging Challenge}

I ran an elementary school spelling bee years ago and one of the words for the third grade was "dungarees" and I wondered how many kids knew what they were? Answer was zero. I ended up taking it out as I had to cut the list down.

In writing the thesaurus is my best friend. One can only wear "jeans" so often and I can only use/type the word "said" a few times in a conversation. It is so easy to use in Word. Put the cursor next to the word, hit TOOLS then THESAURUS and Bam! Synonym and Antonym are listed. I feel it is one of my most valuable assets for writing that is on my computer. Besides the SAVE AS :-)


{WR} O is for Orioles and Other Sports Teams {Blogging From A to Z}

I was born and raised in Maryland and am an Orioles (baseball):

 Redskins (football):


and Capitals (hockey) fan.


I currently live outside of Boston so I am in the minority.

To bring a bit of home to me, when I write, I always talk about one of those three sports teams. I may mention them only once, while the main character may really be a fan of a different team, but it's my homage to Maryland and my teams. In "Lane Changes" she mentions the Redskins in passing as she isn't really into any professional sports. However, her boyfriend is a Pittsburgh Pirates (baseball) and Steelers (football) fan as that is where he was born. I am neither but since the characters are not me, I don't really have a problem with them liking these teams.

When you write, do you use real names of teams or places or even gadgets?

 I read awhile ago that you shouldn't reference things like music groups, certain fads or movies as that will date the book. Though, I dont't think you can really get around it anymore. I remember reading the original "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume to my children and Peter in the book had a tape player. Fast forward a bit and I'm reading the book to a 3rd grade class, a different version that I didn't know was updated until Peter suddenly had a CD player. But, how was Blume SUPPOSED to reference the music Peter was listening to back in the 80s? How am I supposed to reference the music that my characters listen to without using the words MP3 player or even iPod? I can only be so vague.

Just wondering what your thoughts on using brand names etc are in your writing and if you do it at all!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Blogging from A to Z

Thursday, April 16, 2015

{WR} Nine Things That Scare Me About Writing {Blogging From A to Z}

1) That the characters I write, who are so very alive and dimensional to me, will fall flat with readers.

2) That certain scenes in the story: sex scenes, a wedding, difficult to write ones like abuse, death, drinking etc, readers will think is a reflection on my life when it 99% is not.


3) That I get so involved I think about the story when I am not writing it. Driving, working, a lull in conversation with friends. I wonder if I am a bit obsessed and the only one?

4) My story will become published and people will begin reading it and the reviews will come in...and they'll be negative.

5) The flipside: my story will become published and people will begin reading it and the reviews will come in...and they'll be positive and I won't know how to react.

6) My family will read it and hate it.

7) That my computer will shut down in the middle of working on the story and I will not be able to recover it. Even though, every couple of days I back up onto an external hard drive, I can't imagine the pain of people who have dealt with computers crashing!

8) That some random published author out there will read my story and find something so similar to their story, they will think I plagiarized them and I will have to prove I didn't.

9) One day I won't be able to write, meaning something drastic happens and I can't see, can't use an arm, I think my writing is awful. Any number of things...


What are your fears?

Blogging From A to Z

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

{WR} Marketing Your Manuscript/Book {Blogging From A to Z}

I started my current series in 2006. When I finished the first book and edited the hell out of it myself and with help, I formatted it to the Manuscript (MS) settings and sent it to at least 20 different agencies.

70% were rejections.
20% didn't answer at all.
8% wanted a few more pages.
2% wanted the whole thing...

...and it still didn't get taken. I was okay with that because I was so happy I was asked to print off the entire MS, send it off and get some valuable feedback. After I edited it and decided to do a sequel, then another, then make it a series that brings us to...today. (I also took a two year break in there to work a 'real, paying' job!)

Nowadays, I feel so much has changed in the way we market our MS or our books. Back in 2006, I don't think there were e-readers, or if so it was a clunky device that I didn't want in my hands. I hadn't really heard of 'self publishing' back then either and now it's all the rage. You can write anything and have anyone in the world read it if you put it up on certain sites. It's an amazing concept.

For "Lane Changes" I have a friend who told me she thinks I should self publish it, and not use the small publisher that currently has it. I told her I don't know anything about marketing a book besides talking about it on Facebook, Twitter, other social media, this Blog and by word of mouth. I don't know enough to build a website (though in this day and age it seems simple enough) and I don't know what blogs or authors to contact in order to read and review it. That's why I want this company to do the first few books.

I don't mind the concept of self publishing, Indie publishing or small starts-ups publishing books. I have come across so many great stories that way and I have come across pieces of crap that make me cringe. I could probably teach a whole class off those books: "What NOT to do!"

What are your thoughts on marketing your MS or book and is there one particular avenue you would take or have taken?

Blogging From A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

{WR} Let's Take A Look At Our Bookshelves {Blogging from A to Z}

Chances are, if you have lived in your house for awhile, your bookshelf is overflowing. Or you need to go out and buy one.

Luckily, we have moved twice in the last three years and I have purged, stored and handed down many books. For staging purposes in our house, we had to get rid of seven bookshelves that were around the house. We are down to three and one is mine, with about 1/4 of the books I own. As I moved, I was forced to really think about the books I wanted to keep. I noticed I had books that were never read on my shelf and when I read the blurb, I wondered why I even had it...so I donated those. All the preschool and early elementary school ones I used in teaching went into storage and hopefully will come back out when I get back to teaching this fall.

From an early age, I organized my books alphabetically by author. Here is a photo of my one bookshelf in my office...until we move at the end of June. Then, I can put up my other four bookshelves and fill them back up again. What do you have on your shelf? (I wish we could put a photo in the comments section so I could see...feel free to add a link if you have a picture of your shelf/shelves).

For the stories I write, I always have a character who likes to read. I may mention certain classics in the story but rarely do I mention books by name. Maybe, one day, when I become famous (ha!) and my character is reading a book in a scene and a reader asks what was she reading I will tell them what was in my head at that moment :-)

Monday, April 13, 2015

{WR} Killing Off A Main Character--Yes? No? Maybe So? {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

I was hopping around the blog verse on Saturday and came across someone who talked about Harry Potter and asked what our favorite scenes were. I couldn't pick just one, but the quote and scene she talked about was when Snape showed Dumbledore his patronus.

SPOILER ALERT for Harry Potter and the book "One Day" by David Nicholls.

This got me thinking about when Dumbledore died. How I cried at that scene but knew it had to happen. However, in my opinion,  JK Rowling did what she had to do and I could see the value in it especially when everything was revealed at the very end.

Now, we are to the letter "K" and I was thinking about the books where killing off a main character has worked and where it hasn't. One book in particular had me so pissed off if I didn't revere books, I would have hauled it across the room at the wall. "One Day" by David Nicholls was a pretty good read until the very end where Em, the main female character, gets hit by a car and dies. I could not believe it...what was he thinking? I couldn't see past the fog of my own sadness and anger as to why Nicholls chose to do end the book that way.  I will not be able to read it again and I didn't see the movie.

Another book, that I admittedly didn't read but my kids did, was the third book in the "Divergent"series. They told me who died in that one and all three of my kids were pretty angry and upset; I have no idea if it fit into the story line or not as I only read the first two.

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" has a similar theme as well and I'm still trying to make up my mind about a main character dying in that book. And I read it over five years ago!

In my series, "Lane Changes", I was hit one day with the thought: "I have to kill off a character" and I tried to avoid it. I really did but in the end it had to happen. For three days I wrote this person's death scene to certain songs and I cried. I was slightly depressed I had to do this...so after I got the scene down I stopped writing for a few days to recover. Then I went back and each time I read that scene, the ones before and after it I realized..this is what has to happen! I don't cry, but I do tear up, when I read/edit it now. I wonder what my publisher will think when she gets to that part?

Have you ever come across a book where a major character was killed off? Do you think it worked? Why or why not?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

{WR} Just In Case You Missed It...I Changed The Background Of The Blog...Why? (Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

I have thought about "J" for two days and kept coming up empty. And I can usually pull anything out and make it work (like the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon) but not this time.

So, I decided to see how many of you chose a background for your Blog that represents your current Work In Progress (WIP). Or, bring your WIP to life in other ways.

For over a year, I had a Gargoyle on my background. It represented the story I am working on with a friend entitled "Sticks and Stones". It's been on hold since said friend is in Nursing School and "Lane Changes" is actually going somewhere so I need to work on it more than the other one.

Finding a background that represented "Lane Changes" was hard. It's about teens, friendship, romance, heartache, tough decisions and that'd be weird to have a bunch of teenagers on my background. I couldn't even find good street signs that had the words LANE CHANGES on it to use. Then, I remembered the three main characters swim in high school and two swim in college. I went to a high school with an indoor pool; the only one in the county if I remember correctly. So, I looked under the images section of GOOGLE for "indoor high school pools" and really liked this photo mainly because of the reflection in the water itself.

Do you do anything to put you in a mood to write about your story? I talked about music in the last post. Do you change the theme of your Blog? Put up or draw pictures of your characters so you can refer to them when needed?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 10, 2015

{WR} iPods, iPhones, iLove Them (Blogging from A to Z}

Can you listen to music when you write? I used to when I wrote Fan Fiction and found that certain songs worked better with some scenes. With my iPod I could put that song on repeat and work out the scene with the music until it went the way I wanted.

Fast forward to now, leaving Harry Potter Fan Fiction behind, and I find I can only write certain scenes to music. Then it has to be quiet but when Verizon Fios had The Weather Channel, I could use that as background noise and write. I'm not sure why TV worked and my iPod didn't...now I can't even watch TWC so my tv is off when I write. For now. I know many people can just sit back, plug in their headphones and write away. I envy them.

One thing I have figured out is I can listen to a group/song and write a scene in my head to go with the music. Then I will write it out and see if it'll fit somewhere in the story. I did this to Vega 4's entire album:

 and to Angel and Airwaves as well:
 The Fray, One Republic are also represented in my first Lane Changes book.

I have a new car, one that has Bluetooth and a month ago I finally uploaded some iTunes music to my iPhone and got it to work in my car. I. Love. It. I can listen to an album on repeat when driving, I can flick it on when I'm tired of Sirius or a favorite radio station fades in and out. I wish I had discovered this sooner!

Music is an art form as is writing and if you can merge the two together, you can get a fantastic piece of work! Fingers crossed I am able to do that with my writing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

{WR} How True is the quote: "Be Careful Or You'll End Up In My Novel" ? {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

"Heather the Feather that can tell the Weather" was something a friend's older brother said to me all the time when I was little (like 7 or 8 years old). I tried to be mad when he said it but I found I couldn't. There was a book called "Heather's Feathers" that I liked and I loved weather so...what he was saying was essentially true.

Fast forward to late elementary school and I became known as "Mommy Longlegs" and kids would make fun of my high-waist (pants that settled above the belly button on whatever hips I had then). I was the second tallest girl in my grade until middle school.

Middle School, it was mostly boys making fun of every girls body, guys coming up and shoving books out of your arms. Girls taunting that you "liked" so and so...and I would admit it by blushing if they found out the guys name that I did have a crush on. I was on the basketball team and the coach had her favorites, I was not one of them, and began to be ostracized by 3/4 of the team...and the coach. Yet, I liked the game and continued playing for some reason.

High School I was on the 9th grade and JV basketball team and there were a group of about four girls who made my life hell. I'm not sure why you would push, jab, shove and make fun of a teammate but that happened. I was ostracized for some reason even when on the court for practice. By 10th grade I said, "Enough" and joined the Marching Band/ Color Guard and loved it. In 11th, I joined the track team and had a great junior and senior year and solidified numerous friendships. One of the bullies was convinced to run one season and I found, much to my satisfaction, she didn't fit in; she never returned to track after that year.

But those girls never left my head (one ended up at my college and ignored me). They were bullies and at the time I remember desperately trying to figure out what in the world I did to piss them off? I never heard the quote "Be Careful or You'll End Up In My Novel" even though I was writing at the time and just used the guys I liked in my stories but with different names.

Now, I'm writing. For real. I have a short story published in an anthology and a series of books that will be published in the next year; we are working on the marketing right now. Since this series begins in high school, yes there are mean students. And yes, these girls (and some boys) shaped the characters. However, as I go back and edit and edit some more I realize that the nice students, the teachers, the secondary supporting characters are based more upon my friends and the nice students/staff I knew in school.

I bet my friends will recognize those characters. The bullies? Probably not so much. I'm fairly sure they don't follow me at all in social media and they aren't on my Facebook page. They may have changed, married, had families of their own and may not recognize themselves in the book. But know this, anyone a writer comes across in their lives is fodder for their novel. And I get to see them at my 25th high school reunion in a few months; but I also get to see my friends and the people that were always nice, pleasant, supportive and that makes it worth all the crap I went through in middle and high school.

Remember: Be Careful Or You'll End Up In My Novel!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

{WR} Going to find new authors {Blogging from A to Z}

How do you find new books to read? Lately, many adult fiction books are written poorly, are too chick-lit like or just don't interest me. I read a lot of YA and New Adult. Someone recommended Penelope Ward, who writes for the over 18 crowd. I fell in love with her books and told her so...amazing who you can reach with Twitter! (Of course, I had to download these to my own Kindle account given their nature and the fact the rest of my family shares an Amazon account.)
I am finding Amazon's recommendations to be pretty spot on. I just finished "Archer's Voice" by Mia Sheridan and have to say it may be one of my favorite books. 
Sometimes, I have to step away from these intense books and will find another one to read via Goodreads or end up just writing and working on my own series.
Who and what do you like to read and how do you find new authors or genres?



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

{WR} The "F" Word as in F*&K {Blogging from A to Z}

The "F" word. It can be made into any part of speech and was viewed as vulgar when I was little. It was the word I shouted at a child, when I was maybe 7, because I had heard it somewhere. I was mad, a fellow neighbor wouldn't let me ride her bike! The nerve!;-)  When I shouted it my mom heard me and I was hauled inside and had a talking to by her and my father.

I don't use the word and am amazed at how easily it can drop off people's mouths like using the word "Hey". I hear it in the work place, when middle-schoolers walk by my house, by adults on the phone in almost any public place. I am not even comfortable writing the word. Maybe my parents 'talking to' set deep within my subconscious.

Now I am in my 40s, I still don't use it unless I am repeating what someone else said or maybe in a rare situation where it warrants it (which, really, should be never) and around people I know I won't offend. But in writing?

I have used it sparsely in the series of books I am writing. It adds a punch to something that otherwise may seem ordinary, but only if you use it very rarely. If someone says it all the time, it may be a part of their character and personality. However, when used over and over again I don't think it can pack a punch when used in certain situations like sex, describing a situation, or demeaning someone. The main character in my series, her name is Lane, doesn't curse much. It's one of the things that she thinks is lazy and knows there has to be a word she can use in place of "a four letter word".

However, once in awhile she lets it drop and the person she is around is surprised, calls her out on it, or asks what is wrong. And when she curses, you know she is angry. I don't have to add, "she said in a terse voice" or "she yelled, angrily" after she says whatever curse words fits the mood.

I think the "F word"or any other 'four letter word' can be a way to get across an emotion, a feeling, in just one word but only if used rarely and in the right situation.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Monday, April 6, 2015

{WR} Eating in Real Life and in Fiction {Blogging from A to Z}

I am a sucker for going out to eat. I love to do it, try new restaurants and revisit favorites. Since I am on Weight Watchers, I am more concious of where I go and what I eat...but when I write about my characters they always eat. And sometimes, it's not the healthy meal they should be eating.

(I am writing this blog as I eat an apple and some almonds for my breakfast!)

Years ago, when "Twilight" and "Breaking Dawn" were huge I remember reading an interview with Stephenie Meyer. She said that Bella was like a daughter to her (and was the name she would have given one of her children if she had a girl) so she needed to make sure Bella ate. When I reread the series, I noticed she had indeed fed Bella! That stuck in my head and with my own writing, I make sure my characters eat. Since I like to write YA/New Adult--and at least one character is in high school--there are the typical cafeteria scenes. I have them snack at home, eat a dinner or pop in a frozen pizza. When they go out to dinner with friends, I always have a specific restaurant in my head (even though I don't mention it by name in the story) and the characters order my favorite dishes from there.

Great conversations, personal stories, secrets and revelations happen when friends get together to eat and I find it's a great way for a long conversation to happen in a book. There aren't a lot of distractions, they are focused on each other and there is minimal movement to describe. It's also an easy way to talk about the time of day or mark the passage of a specific span of time.

When "Lane Changes" is finally published (no date yet) you'll see the typical cafeteria scene, friends ordering pizza, best friends eating pasta, snacking on bowls of grapes and having a soda. Americans love their food and so do my characters!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

{WR} Debt...What is too much in regards to college? (Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

(I always try to bring the post back to writing, so please stay with me!)

My oldest just committed to a college after months of agonizing. He had an existential crisis (his words), having been accepted everywhere he applied. Even his #1, favorite school accepted him and gave him a scholarship. However, American University is VERY expensive and even with what he received he'd graduate with $40,000 in debt.

That's not an acceptable number to him when he wants to be a teacher. He managed to eliminate the Massachusettes state school he applied to because he didn't get into the Honors program there (but did at American, so we were a bit confused there...) so he had to decide between three schools (two in PA and one in MD) in the end. He chose the one in the middle, kind of like Goldilocks did. This one was not the cheapest nor the most expensive. It wasn't the preppy one nor the more laid back one. It was "just right"; the campus he felt at home in when we took two tours, the one that catered to him and sent him numerous flyers, phone calls and wooed him in. He got accepted to their honors program and was impressed with their education program as well. On the debt side he will graduate with less than $10,000 in debt which is very managaeble on a teacher's salary.

We were impressed he'd think this way, and actually listened to us when we said that a large amount of debt for certain majors doesn't make much sense. Put your money into Grad School, which is definitely on his radar as he wants to teach secondary and maybe college history.

I'm writing a series of books and right now, the child my main character has is college age. No, he's not becoming a teacher but an architect/designer. I tried to make subtle hints in the story about how he chose his school. The character thought about debt, where he felt comfortable and I introduced real life situations in the scenes with him in college, knowing my son will face similar ones as well.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 3, 2015

{WR} Cougar Town! {Blogging from A to Z}

Cougar Town! A show that, when it orginially aired, I honestly thought it was about a group of women in their 40s who dated young men. Which did not interest me at all.

Fast foward to two weeks ago when my sister forced me to watch the first episode because she is convinced Travis, the son, is the twin to my son in looks and attitude. I had to agree and found myself laughing so hard and identifying with so much of what the friends on the show went through, I have watched the first season in two weeks.

I find the writing hilarious, the quick jokes, wit and barbs always entertaining; the way the lines are delivered with the perfect facial expression or body language. I could never be an actor as I just don't have that talent. However, I think that when you get the trifecta (good writing, good acting, the perfect person to play said character=chemistry!) then you have an amazing show. I only hope the rest of the seasons keep me laughing, and crying, as much as the first.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Thursday, April 2, 2015

{WR} Blasted Laptop! {Blogging from A to Z Challenge}

Four years ago, I thought I wanted the best laptop, I wanted the newest, fanciest one so I got a MacBookPro.

Four years later I am like, "What the hell did I buy? I can't figure out half of this computer and I can't even change the freaking file name if I misspell something! I have to "Save As" again then trash the original document!"

I was complaining to my husband about it this morning and realized, I am a simple person. I want a simple laptop that I am not cursing everyday. I had a Dell for ten years until I got this one and I am ready to go back. I save all my stories/books on this (and copy over to an external hard drive) but can easily do that same on a Windows based laptop. On a Windows based laptop, I could EVEN CHANGE THE FILE NAME WITH A CLICK OF THE MOUSE!

Can you tell I am frustrated? BLASTED LAPTOP!

So, do I go back to a Dell or is there a laptop that you have found which is better for writing? I use MS Word for writing everything. I don't play games, I surf the internet, I watch "Cougar Town" (only on season one so no spoilers), I look at photos--which I can't do anymore on my MacBook because an update ruined the iPhoto ap so...I can't edit or anything so that ap is useless to me now!

In addition to moving this summer, I will be in the market for a new laptop as well. Any advice would be appreciated or I will just get the Dells I was used to years ago.

Thanks for listening!


UPDATE: The hubby figured out how to rename the file. Four years and it took me that long to figure it out. Even the internet didn't help me. I think I am in over my head with a Mac :-)
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{WR} Apples, Berries, Carrots... {Blogging from A to Z Challenge} and IWSG!



I was gone all day yesterday and didn't have a chance to post for the first day, the letter A or for IWSG! I guess I could make a comment about it being April Fools...Anywho...I will post every day and try to mention writing (or anything that has to do with it) within the post and why I chose to write about what I did...

APPLES, BERRIES, CARROTS

I chose this as I am on Weight Watchers, and have been since mid February. My work is very health conscious and for only $4 a week I can attend a meeting at work, get weighed, have access to their ap (which is amazing) and sit with like minded individuals that I work with day in and day out. So far, I have lost 16 pounds and with that comes more energy, a better attitude and I even feel more creative when I write. I am also in that zone, in writing, where I will sit for two hours and pound out a scene then realize I wrote instead of ate. So, writing can also help with weight loss if you can lose yourself in your characters. I think a lot of overeating stems from being bored and when I get into a scene that takes every ounce of concentration I have, the urge to snack goes away. So, I signed up for another WW session and my goal of losing 40lbs total is almost half way there...off to eat more fruit and veggies!
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