Friday, July 29, 2011

gathering leaves: Feature: The Superiors by Lena Hillbrand

Hey guys! Here's a review for my book on my blog tour, AND a giveaway if you still haven't read it!

gathering leaves: Feature: The Superiors by Lena Hillbrand: "As part of her promotional tour, Lena has provided three ebook copies of The Superiors for a little giveaway!  Details following the review..."

August Summer Blog Hop


Hey guys! I will be participating in this awesome event over on SeeitORreadit. I hope you will join me for lots of free & fun stuff! Here's the schedule, as posted on Jaskirat's blog!

There has been a lot of BUZZ around SeeitORreadit about:

August's Blowout Summer Blog Hop

But what is that? And why is it such a big deal?

The August Blow out Summer Blog Hop is when we are going to be voting for the BEST BOOK. Our nominees are:

Now here is how the event works. These books will be competing against each other. The book that wins the most rounds wins the title of BEST BOOK! So you guys need to vote for your book so it wins.

Along the way there will be lot's of contests, guest posts, and giveaways! So stay tuned all month long.

Here is the schedule for the whole month.Check back here for weekly and daily updates because SeeitORreadit is where the voting is taking place!

Week 1: (Aug 1st-7th)

-we will keep it REALLY easy because it's the very first week of the event and we'll still be gathering voters so we will give the reps time to gather voters.

- Create a review for one of the nominated books and post it on as many sites as you can (goodreads, B&N,etc) and enter to win (come back to SeeitORreadit on Monday to learn how to submit your review):
- One of 2 copies of Shadow Cat
- Moonspell
-one of 2 copies of Blood Will Tell

-post teaser in the comments of ANY book to get a chance to win (come back to SeeitORreadit on Monday and Friday to learn more):
- one of 3 copies of Slumber
- one of 4 copies of Drip Drop






-all day
-unlimited votes

- one of 2 copies of Slumber
-To Tame a Wild Hawk

WEEK 2 (aug 8th- 14th)
Author's talk about release dates (to learn more drop by at SeeitORreadit on Monday)

(to enter readers include title of bk, reason why (about a sentence or two), name, and email in comments to be entered in draw to win)
-Drip Drop
- one of 3 copies of Paradox's The Angel's are Here
To Tame a Wild Hawk-
-(to learn more drop by at SeeitORreadit on Monday)

- guest post
- post comment on vote entered to win
- one of 3 copies of Blood Will Tell
- (to learn more drop by at SeeitORreadit on Tuesday)

-trivia about competing books
- if get at least 3 questions right entered in draw to win
- Crossroads
-one of 2 copies of Paradox's The Angel's are Here
- one of 2 copies of the Superiors
-one of 2 copies of River Cast







-all day
-unlimited votes

-one of 2 copies of River Cast

Week 3 aug 15-21
-massive giveaway
- fill out form to win
-one of 3 copies of Blood Solstice
- Crossroads
-Paradox's The Angel's are Here
Dark Warrior-
- River Cast
- one of 3 copies of the Superiors
- GET POINTS FOR FOLLOWING AUTHOR'S AND BLOGGERS (tune in to SeeitORreadit on Monday to learn more)

- CONTEST: readers send us 2-3 pgraphs of a story you are writing (choose their fav scene to enter)(tune in to SeeitORreadit on Monday and Tuesday to learn more)
- winner wins:
- Blood Solstice
- Immortal Embrace
- one of 2 copies of I loved you First
-Dark Warrior



-all day
-unlimited votes

Doorway of the Triquetra

Week 4 AUG 22-28

-blogger spotlight
- provide advice for new YA bloggers (tune in to SeeitORreadit on Monday to learn more)
- entered to win

- trivia about authors themselves if get at least 3 questions right entered in draw (tune in to SeeitORreadit on Monday to learn more) to win
-Immortal Embrace
-one of 3 copies of Shadow Cat
Doorway of the Triquetra

- GUEST POST (tune in to SeeitORreadit on weds to learn more)


VOTING DAY (last before finals): (28th)


-all day
-unlimited votes

-one of 3 copies of I loved you First

-all day
-unlimited votes

- Paradox's The Angel's are Here

- Blood Solstice
Doorway of the Triquetra

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

eBook Review: Fire In the Blood by Dale Ibitz

Fire in the BloodFire in the Blood by Dale Ibitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, first off, let me just say that I usually avoid teen paranormal romance/fantasy/whatever you want to call it. But this one was really fun!

It's a hilarious fantasy/sci-fi book for young adults, complete with romance, the requisite love triangle, plotting and betraying, kidnappings, alternate worlds and runes, oh my! The whole time I was reading, I kept cracking up, which is not what I expect from this kind of book. But in the best way, of course! I love books that make me laugh. I was surprised that this book was self-published, because it seemed to fit so perfectly into the YA genre that is so popular right now.

This is a new author I believe, and I have no doubt we'll see lots more from her in the future, probably traditionally published books. If you're wary of indie books because you think they aren't well-written or edited, you'd be surprised. This book is every bit as good (or better) than the handful other YA fantasy books I've read. Even better, it's funny! The protagonist has a witty, wry and sarcastic voice that will pull you in and make you laugh. My only complaint with this book was that it ended too soon! I wish it had been a little longer. I can't wait to see what happens to Haley in the next book.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Author: Interview with Julia Crane

Julia Crane author of Coexist Keegan's Chronicles


1. Tell us about your current work?

First, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my work. I recently published Coexist: Keegan's Chronicles.

Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends--she's an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan's brother Thaddeus told her Rourk's name because his visions warned him she'd need Rourk's protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan's side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan's family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle...without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

2. How did you come up with the idea to write this book?

A few days after I met my husband-to-be he told me about a strange dream he had about elves in a big battle. I thought it was funny since I've always loved elves and my grandmother from Ireland use to tell tales about elves and other magical creatures. It also happens that I've gotten teased for my "elf ears" all my life. So when I sat down to think of what I wanted to write about elves was the natural answer.

3. How long have you been writing?

I wrote as a teenager and gave it up as pipe dream. When I was in college I got invited to a creative writing group which sparked my interest again. Fast forward several years and I finally sat down to write a novel.

4. Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have more (published or unpublished) that you wrote before?

This is the first novel I've written.

5. Describe your writing process.

I'm a fast and furious writer. I just jot down whatever comes to mind and go with it.

6. Who are some of your literary influences?

Goodness, there are too many to name. I'm an avid reader and love so many genres. Ayn Rand, Ken Follett, Nelson Desmile, James Patterson, Irish Johansen. The young adult genre of course Stephenie Meyer.

7. What kind of books do you read, and is it different from what you write?

I go through cycles sometimes I am sucked into the best sellers list other times I go through an auto biography phase, or go back to the classics. I write young adult so that is different form my normal read. I have a 14 year old daughter I try to read whatever she is reading. So we have something to talk about and it's always interesting to me to see what has captured her attention.

8. Where do you come up with your characters? Do you base them on people you've seen or met?

It's a mixture. I like to take characteristics from people I know it makes it easier, because I have seen how they react in situations. Some are completely made up which is also fun.

9. Do the names of your characters reflect anything or mean anything in particular? Is there a reason behind the names you choose?

My two main characters I choose from books that I loved and thought wow that is a great name. Many of the smaller characters in the book I've used family names. We have some very interesting names.

10. Is this part of a series, and if so, when will the next book be available?

I am hoping to have Conflicted: Keegan's Chronicles out by December Fingers crossed for October, but we'll see!

Thanks for having me it was fun to answer your questions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Love Triangles Ruin Books

Okay, here’s my rant. Haven’t we seen ENOUGH love triangles? Can’t authors think of some other plot device for our heroines? Do they all have to be caught between two guys forever, the same two guys in every book? Love triangles are becoming so tired and worn out they are a cliché in themselves.

It seems all teen romances these days are cursed with the classics love triangle. One unremarkable girl (and how do all these unremarkable girls always get not one but TWO hot, amazing guys to fall in love with them? By being passive, average, and unexceptional in all ways, of course) is caught between two guys. Ever notice how it’s never a girl fighting another girl for a guy? It’s always two guys and one girl. One of the guys is always nice, sweet, caring, nurturing, and a bit of a pushover (and hot as hell). The other guy is always mysterious, dark, dangerous, troubled, and usually a bit of an a-hole (oh, and of course also hot as hell).

Usually the mysterious guy treats the heroine like dirt, which of course makes her love him more. He is completely condescending, smug, and acts like he’s superior to everyone around him, especially the annoyingly passive and sweet other guy in the love triangle.

And here’s the real problem with love triangles. They are completely predictable. In EVERY SINGLE ONE, the heroine ends up with the mysterious guy. It sort of ruins the book for me. I mean, if I pick up a book, and by 30 pages in the love triangle is established, then I already know who she’ll end up with. So what’s the point of using a plot device that gives away the ending? It’s infuriating. You know what else is infuriating? That women are insulted time and again, shown to be shallow idiots who are so easily manipulated by the allure of the mysterious guy. Really? SOME women like nice guys. If they’d mix up the love triangles a little, it would still be interesting, but noooo… in EVERY SINGLE ONE the heroine picks the same guy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Words from a witless lackey: Bloodsucking Ghostly Summer Giveaway!

Talented author Dennis Sharpe is giving away some ebooks! Go to his blog to see the contest rules!

Words from a witless lackey: Bloodsucking Ghostly Summer Giveaway!: "I’m having a Celebratory Giveaway! I’ve had a lot of good news lately, and a lot of good reviews and the latest was enough to just put me o..."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn’t the kind of book I would normally read (ie, popular) but I ended up really liking it. It was a very quick read and very addictive too. I definitely got sucked into it and wanted to read it all day. I especially loved the parts about Rosie, which were hilarious, touching, and so sad. I think I may have cried a couple times when she was being mistreated, and it was so horrifying I almost couldn’t read it.
Gruen does a great job describing everything in vivid detail so I could see it almost as clearly as if I’d been there, yet not going overboard and getting bogged down in detail. It didn’t bore with detail, but I got sucked in emotionally to all the struggles and conflicts. The only thing that could have used more detail for me was Marlena (amazingly, in a world of Twilight, that I could want MORE detail about a character’s appearance). Not just her appearance, but I felt like her character needed a bit more development.
I also liked the afterward--if anyone has a version of the book with the afterward, make sure to read it! It tells about how Gruen researched circuses and put a lot of the stories in her book, and the parts about circus elephants was especially interesting to me. And my favorite part: I loved Rosie’s revenge at the end--it was so perfect and made her story not so tragic as it could have been. Because really it seemed to me that the book was Rosie’s story more than anyone’s.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Author: A.F. Stewart on Why We Love Fictional Villains

Hello, all! Today I'm hosting A.F. Stewart for a very special article on fictional villains. Happy reading! Make sure to go over and check out her blog if you like what you read here!

Without further ado, take it away, A.F.

Why We Love Fictional Villains.

We all like to boo the bad guys, hiss at the scoundrels in books and on screen, but do we ever take the time to really appreciate their contribution to our favourite stories? Where would stalwart heroes be without their adversaries? Would Sherlock Holmes intrigued as well without Moriarty, would we have cared as much about the fate of Luke Skywalker without the threat of Darth Vader? Perhaps, but doubtful, a hero needs a good villain to truly shine.

What is it about villains that we love? Do we want to see them virtually vanquished, or is it that we relish the age-old sentiment of good triumphing over evil? Maybe we like that vicarious rush of wickedness we feel when watching them onscreen or reading about them in books?

Or do we all secretly want to be that fictional bad guy, just a little? I know I did. I liked playing pirate or bandit when I was a kid and my favourite Halloween was the one where I dressed up as Darth Vader. I never wanted to be mean in real life, but being a pretend bad guy, now that was cool.

And that’s probably why I still have such fun when writing the villains in my stories. My scoundrels and their dastardly deeds are always dear to my heart and I love it when they leap off the page wreaking mayhem.

No doubt this is what led me to write Killers and Demons, a collection of stories starring nasty, nasty rogues and the evil they inflict. My five baddies are as wicked as you can get, murderers to their core, dispatching their hapless victims with no remorse. Jeremy, Scott, Mr Peters, Balthazar, and Imaria are not the sort you want to meet in a dark alley (or a bright one either), but they do their work in style and with flare, just to give you, the reader, the cold shivers.

And isn’t that just what a villain is supposed to do?

to find out more about A.F. or her work, see below.

Her Website

Her Blog

Her Book

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just 1 Writer: Guest Blog: Lena Hillbrand

Hey guys! As part of my blog tour, I was invited to share some writing insights on Ken Lindsey's blog. Check it out here!

Just 1 Writer: Guest Blog: Lena Hillbrand: "How I Write Now While every writer has a different process, I’m sure we all have some things in common. I tend to be a procrastinating wr..."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Sara's Face by Melvin Burgess

Sara's FaceSara's Face by Melvin Burgess
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book a few years ago, but it's one that stood out in my mind, so I think I can remember enough to write a book review.

First of all, Burgess writes this book in a documentary fashion. It seemed so real that every time I started reading it, I wanted to go look up on the internet and see if it was based on a true story. I've read four of Burgess's books, and they are all so absorbing I become borderline obsessed while reading them. I can't think of another author who writes in such a consuming way.

The story is about a girl who wants to be famous. She's obsessed with fame, but she doesn't want to do anything to become famous. She just wants to be famous for being famous. It reminded me of Paris Hilton when I read it. The girl in the book, Sara, was pretty, but she didn't want to sing or model or act. She even scars her face so as not to be pretty. She's very weird and self-destructive.

Sara meets Jonathon Heat, a famous musician who has had so much plastic surgery his face collapses or is ruined (Michael Jackson, anyone?) He wears a mask of his own younger face and never lets anyone see the ruined mess that is his real face. Sara becomes obsessed with him and wears his mask all the time, too. He takes her under his wing, of sorts, because of the resemblance between her face and his younger, pre-surgery face.

About now the story gets weird and very creepy. Jonathon lives in a weird house with all these rooms, including a creepy plastic surgery center in his basement. Sara breaks with her parents and goes to live with Jonathon and begins to fall in love with him, or at least his fame. There is a scene that stands out in my mind where Jonathon goes to kiss her and she can smell this rotting smell from under his mask. Sara starts getting a little creeped out, but not nearly enough. Things start getting weirder and weirder, and you can feel Burgess dragging you to the horrifying climax that you have to read even as you cringe and don't want to...because you know Jonathon is going to steal her face. Or at least try.

The ending of the book confused me some, as it is much later. I wasn't too concerned with writing quality when I read this, so I didn't notice much. I believe Burgess is an extremely talented story-teller who can keep a reader rapt and panting towards the conclusion. This was an extremely timely book full of social commentary and disturbing circumstances that ring eerily familiar in our society. Along with Smack, this is Burgess's best book by far.

Recommended for anyone who loves a good satire, creep-fest, or gripping thriller. Must be able to handle disturbing material.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Author: Interview with Ronnie Massey

1. Tell us about your current work.

Crimson Dawn is an urban fantasy with a paranormal romance twist. It revolves around a 98 year old Pureblood vampire named Valeria Trumaine and her struggles to catch her psychotic ex-fiance after he goes rouge. Her best friend, a 300 year old Tuatha De Danann princess, named Irulan aides her on the hunt for Tristan.

2. How did you come up with the idea to write this book?

I am a huge fan of Kim Harrison and her Rachel Morgan series. For those that have not read any of the books in the series, Rachel is a witch who’s roommates with a living vampire named Ivy. To make a long story short Ivy is bisexual and in love with Rachel. Rachel takes Ivy on this emotional roller-coaster ride with her inability to commit to her but she wont let her go. I love the novels and eagerly wait for each new one, but that aspect of their relationship buggs me to no end. I wanted a story in which the bi or lesbian character ended up getting their girl. I began searching for such a novel but most of what I found was hard core erotica and lacked real story lines. So I decided to write my own. So in a sense, Kim Harrison inspired me to write Crimson Dawn.

3. How long have you been writing? I have been writing short stories since I was in high-school which was (gasp) over 15 years ago. I actually started writing erotic short stories because I was picked on a lot and to keep people from picking on me, I wrote the stories and passed them around. Soon I went from the girl to make fun of to the girl to get smut from. I am so lucky a teacher never got their hands on one of those stories.

4. Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have more (published or unpublished) that you wrote before? Before Crimson Dawn I made one attempt at writing a full length novel. The title of it is Ecomancers. It's full of vampires and werewolves but also telepaths and people with super-hero type powers. I got maybe fifteen chapters into it before I threw in the towel and decided that it was too hard for me to write a full length piece. It's actually a pretty good concept that I might go back and revamp and finish one day.

5. Describe your writing process. When an idea pops into my head it usually starts one of two ways; with a character or an entire scenario. With characters it usually about what's going on with that person. I get a feel for their personality and the challenges they might face. If the character sticks with me then I sit down and jot down a quick life history and a story usually springs from that. In the other case, sometimes I wonder if for instance, 'what if a werewolf had to go through this?' Once I get that question in my head I come up with a main character and start outlining. I am a stickler for background info. Before I write anything I have to have character bio's and species descriptions. I have full family tree's for some characters and a chart that details the blood kin of all of my Extra's races.

6. Who are some of your literary influences? Kim Harrison, Laurell k. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Alex Haley, Nikki Giovanni, and Maya Angelou.

7. What kind of books do you read, and is it different from what you write? Whether it's adult or YA, I am addicted to paranormal romances and urban fantasies. But I also love afro-centric historical works such as Roots and Queen. And I love poetry. With the exception of the shorts that will be in my poetry collection, and the poems themselves, most of my work is paranormal or fantasy related.

8. Where do you come up with your characters? Do you base them on people you've seen or met? I'm not totally sure where all of them came from. Val in a lot of ways is the inner Ronnie. She's smart mouthed, uber confident in what she's capable of and leaps before looking instead of over analyzing situations; all qualities that I wished I possessed at one time or another. She also has issues that influence her actions and make her strive to be a better person. I think a lot of us face similar situations at some point in our lives. As for basing them on people I've met or seen, well the visuals I get in my head when I write certainly influence the description of them. I'm a big movie fan and a lot of the times I see certain actors as the characters and I give my characters those physical traits. Val is Jurnee Smollett in my head and Irulan is Gemma Arterton (circa. Clash of The Titans).

9. Do the names of your characters reflect anything or mean anything in particular? Is there a reason behind the names you choose? I chose Val because it was close to my first name which is Veronica. I chose Irulan's name because I am a big fan of The Real World and had kind of a mini-tv crush on Irulan from the Las Vegas season. I named Irulan's mother FreDonia after my grandmother. There are also characters in other works that are named after family members. In my werewolf novel, Ascension: Wolves of Goose Creek, the main character Still, has two younger twin sisters. I named them Maya and Malia after my daughters.

10. Is this part of a series, and if so, when will the next book be available? Yes Crimson Dawn is the first book in the Darklife Saga. I have outlined 5 books in the series so far. The second book is titled Black Moon Rising and I am twenty chapters into it. It picks up four months after the events in Crimson Dawn. I have a YA title that revolves around the character David that is introduced in Crimson Dawn, titled Freak Among Freaks. The events in F.A.F's run parallel with the events in B.M.R. so I am treading carefully to make sure I don't run into any continuity issues. But I am hoping to be done with the first draft by the middle of next month and revisions by the start of September. After that I'm not sure when it will be available but I am thinking the start of 2012. I have another novel coming out this year so I am almost certain B.M.R. will have a 2012 release date.

check out Ronnie's awesome site below: Crimson Dawn on Goodreads.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A. F. Stewart's Blog: Interview with Lena Hillbrand, author of The Super...

Hey readers and writers! My blog tour continues today with an interview at A.F. Stewart's blog. Please check it out if you have a minute!

A. F. Stewart's Blog: Interview with Lena Hillbrand, author of The Super...: "Today, we have a guest on the blog, writer Lena Hillbrand, author of the urban fantasy book, The Superiors .  She graciously consented to th..."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Kindle eBook Aries at Dawn by William Amerman

Aries at DawnAries at Dawn by William Amerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aries at Dawn is a thriller about one man's life as it falls apart. Although it's not my usual genre, I enjoyed it very much. Amerman is a gifted writer, something that goes a long way for me. This book is clearly well-edited and polished, which made reading it a joy. Amerman has a unique writing style that has great rhythm once you get into the flow of his prose.
The story itself is well-crafted, and while reading, you know you are in the hands of a talented writer who knows the art of writing, pacing, plotting, and everything else you'd want in a book. Without giving too much of the story away, I will say that it keeps you moving and wanting to know what comes next. At one chase scene, my heart literally started beating faster!
The only part of the book that lost me a little was the technical stuff about unions and details about the shipping industry, but that's my shortcoming and not the author's. Overall, this is an exciting and very well written book that I would recommend to anyone who likes a fast-paced read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blog Tour Giveaway: Free Ebooks!

Hey guys and gals,

As part of my blog tour, I'm doing an interview and giveaway today only on Dale Ibitz's blog!

All you have to do to win a free e-book of The Superiors is go to her blog, read my interview, and come back here. Please follow me and her if you haven't already--it's not necessary but we'll send happy reading vibes your way if you do!

Please leave a comment here so I know you've read her blog post. Answer this question in your comment: Name one of the three books/series I read in middle school. Also leave your email address or message me with it so I can send you your free copy of The Superiors.

That's it for today! Thanks!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Author: Meghan Ciana Doidge

Hey everyone! Please welcome to my blog Meghan, author of After the Virus. She's got some great tips on writing for us. After you read the post, go check out her blog and see what else she has going on!

The role of structure in a 1st draft novel

by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Transitioning from writing screenplays into writing novels has been an exciting and daunting task. Exciting, because, after writing screenplays for over 10 years, I fell into writing my first novel, After The Virus, and the writing just flowed. Daunting because now I have to follow up and recapture the magic I found while writing After The Virus.

When I write a screenplay I rely heavily on structure to craft the 1st draft, and I mostly adhere to the Syd Field school. I don’t even write a single word, other than jotting down scene ideas or bits of dialogue when they come to me, until I have the entire screenplay plotted out. But, I didn’t craft my novel, After The Virus, in this same fashion, though it is quite structured (as that is just in my nature), however its structure ended up, by necessity I now believe, being flexible.

So as I jump into another novel (or 4) I’ve been thinking about screenplay structure and how it applies, for me, to novel writing. Here are the elements that I think are most helpful when crafting a 1st draft.

1. Three Acts – Beginning, Middle & End – this might be a no brainer for most writers, but it is odd how many stories don’t actually have a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. It is amazing how many novels and/or movies I have read/seen that don’t end well (God, that can ruin a story!!).

So pull out a piece of paper, divide it lengthwise into three sections, and jot down a sentence to describe the beginning of your story (aka your set-up), the middle (aka the confrontation) and the end (aka the resolution). By the way, each sentence should be about the plot not about the characters feelings or thoughts; what happens?

2. The beginning – start with the The Inciting Incident – what is the one action or plot point without which your entire story could not actually take place? Start writing there, and don’t worry about an introductory chapter or setting up the story. What propels the plot? What pushes your protagonist through the story?

After you’ve compelled your 1st draft and you still think you need an introductory chapter, write it in your 2nd draft pass. But start in action, and you’ll suck your reader right into the story. The character background, environmental elements, and other introductory items can be worked in to the action of the plot as you move forward.

If your story is a chess game, you lead with your queen not one of your pawns. Pawns are follow-up, development. Start strong. Play your queen.

[spoiler alert] In my novel, After The Virus, the inciting incident is when my main protagonist, Rhiannon chooses and succeeds in escaping her capture/captors. Without this action (aka plot point) none of the remaining story is possible. Note my emphasis on the protagonist choosing action, as there are not too many stories that can function well with a passive protagonist (there are, of course, always great exceptions to this and any other rule).

3. The middle – also known as the place where writers go to die a slow, painful death – solidify your The Midpoint - this is your hook from which your entire story hangs. If your story was actually hanger this would be the hook that hangs off the closet rod.

The entire first half of your book builds to this point and then something happens that propels us into the second half of the book. This something is directly tied to the main plot and completely changes the game. Someone dies, someone loses, or, in less action driven narratives, someone has a massive epiphany. This is the point of no return. The characters will never, ever be the same and, to repeat myself because I think it is important to stress this point, there is no going back.

To take this a little bit further, the midpoint is usually tied directly to the inciting incident.

[spoiler alert] The midpoint of my novel, After The Virus, is when the mute child, Snickers, falls in the river and Rhiannon--ever the hero--chooses (again, chooses), risking her own life, to dive in after the child. How is this tied to the inciting incident? By jumping in the river after Snickers, Rhiannon finds herself entering, under duress of course, the very city she escaped at the beginning of the novel. This midpoint also causes Will, the secondary protagonist, to step up and spring into action. There is literally no turn back from this point forward for Rhiannon or the plot.

Side note: speaking of being flexible with your 1st draft. What is now the midpoint of my novel (spoiler: Snickers going in the river) I had first thought was my turn into the 3rd Act (The Climax). As I was writing it became apparent I was wrong and this plot point was actually my midpoint.

4. The ending – ramp up to The Climax – after the midpoint this is what the entire set-up and confrontation of the novel has been building too, and, after this point, it is all resolution, which doesn’t necessarily mean we are in the happily-ever-after section of the story, but that everything that happens after the climax is a reaction to that climax.

This must be a big moment, ideally it should involve all your main characters, and it is (to paraphrase from Save the Cat) always the darkest night of the soul.

[spoiler alert] In After The Virus, the Climax is the moment Rhiannon stops fighting her (second set of) captors, willingly adopts the movie star persona, a mask which she has spent the entire novel attempting to shed, and chooses to face the evil she’s been running from, in order to save the child.

The 3rd Act of After The Virus opens with my absolute favourite scene of the novel. Here is the snippet:

A brisk, salty wind, they must be very close to the ocean here, blew through the buildings and billowed around and beyond her. The dress was instantly slicked against her. She could feel the light fabric lift about four feet behind her and her hair a similar sail. Her silk-sheathed nipples rose in protest of the chill, and a murmur, punctuated with gasps, rustled through the following crowd. She gritted her teeth at the exposure, at the perceived sexuality, at the perceived vulnerability of an involuntary bodily function.

They reached for her then.

Lining the sides of street, suddenly as far as she could see, they reached fingers for her, but didn’t touch.

She walked like that for a full block, so close she could feel the brush of energy from each fingertip--thousands of fingers.

What was she to them? The time before? Whatever it was, it wasn’t a role she was willing to accept, or that she was even qualified for.

That’s it! Just four elements with which to construct your 1st draft: Three Acts, Inciting Incident, Midpoint and Climax. Make sure the Inciting Incident, Midpoint and Climax are all tied together, like knots along the same piece of string.

Be flexible, let the writing just flow, don’t edit yourself…at least not until the 2nd draft!!

If you’d like to read my novel to see if I actually know anything about writing (which I hope to God - after all these years - I do, even if I don’t articulate it particularly well above), please check out, After The Virus:

Goodreads ePUB

Four FREE chapters

And drop by my blog for a chat!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, July 1, 2011

Blog Tour

Hey guys! I've put together a sort of blog tour for The Superiors, so feel free to follow all the goings on. There will be giveaways, reviews, spotlights, interviews, and posts. If you've missed some, make sure to check out the links. I will be adding more dates, so check back!

ALSO! I am including my book in the Smashwords Summer Sale! What does that mean? That means you can get my ebook in ANY format (Kindle, Nook, Sony, iPad, etc) AT HALF OFF! Just follow this link and enter the code SSW50 at checkout (the code is listed on the link, too).

Plus, I will be giving away ebooks on a few of the dates scheduled below! The schedule:

5/24 Interview with Haresh Daswani on Goodreads

5/27 Read The Superiors chapter 1 on Patti Robert's blog

6/02 Interview with James Oh

6/03 Spotlight with Ronnie Massey

6/03 Interview with Ronnie Massey

6/23 The Superiors Book Review by Jenn

6/27 The Superiors Book Review by Dale Ibitz

6/28 Interview with Ken Badertscher

7/1 Interview with Meghan Ciana Doidge

7/5 Giveaway and Interview with Dale Ibitz

7/8 Interview with A.F. Stewart

7/12 Spotlight with Lenore Wolfe

7/15 Guest Post on Ken Lindsey's blog

7/19 Interview with Traci Hilton

7/22 Guest post on Ben Wallace's blog

7/26 Interview with John Vander

7/29 The Superiors Book Review by Cassie