Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Tour of My Storyboard

Last month I completed my storyboard for THINKING OF YOU. I've showed you a picture of some of the finished index cards before, but I decided to make a video showing you the entire board and explaining it and my process in making it a bit more-a tour video if you will.

Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions. ^^

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Guilt

Today is President's Day, which means I have no school. Since I have no school, I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done. I'm hunkering down and immersing myself in books in a way I haven't done in a long time. I'm letting myself go and getting rid of this "book guilt."

What is book guilt? It's a term I learned from Kristina Horner. I'll let her explain it to you.

When I saw this video, it felt like she was talking about me, like she was describing my reading life. It was eye-opening. I don't want this video to be about me. I want to go back to the way I was, where I read every chance I got and enjoyed it and fell in love with characters and stories that I still carry around in my head today. I'm climbing back up that reading slope and today is my first step.

If you have the time, I've made a video about the books I want to read by the end of the month and all the books I've gotten this month.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kaylie Austen's RAVENS Release Day Interview

I hosted Kaylie Austen on my blog back in March 2012 (here and here). Today she is back again with big news. Her book, RAVENS, has been published! In celebration, I have asked her a question for each letter of her book title. She is also being nice enough to giveaway a signed copy of RAVENS! Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.

Brooke: RAVENS has had two different publishers. How did having to switch publishers make you feel? What do you suggest for other writers who have problems with their publishers?

Kaylie: Having to make a change like that was worrisome and frustrating, but thankfully RAVENS was picked up quickly by another publisher who had also liked the novel from its early days.

When writers have issues with their publishers, they should always evaluate the issue first and get to the root of the problem. Sometimes fault is with the writer and as a writer, you must be humble enough to acknowledge that and make necessary changes. This is a business, not a right, and that goes both ways. Publishers and editors must also be professional and dependable. Make sure it’s a legitimate issue. If the problem is actually your editor or publisher and not you, then approach that person. They should be willing to discuss things and want to work on it with you. The next step is to contact the head of the department or CEO. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, look at your contract carefully and see if you can retract your rights based on the legal qualifications. Sometimes, and thankfully not my experience, a writer may have to take a serious loss or get into a legal battle. After the storm, you just dust yourself off, gather your confidence and know-how, and move on with another lesson under your belt and become a bit wiser.

B: Are there any big events happening to celebrate the release of RAVENS, either online or in real life?

K: There’s a Goodreads giveaway, and I’ll have a giveaway on my blog as well as some interviews around the web. No big event, though. I’m getting my toes wet for now.

B: Vaguely described in your book summary, Ravens play a big part in your story. Could you give us a few more sentences explaining what Ravens are? Do they actually look like the bird or are they something entirely different?

K: I’m a huge fan of the X-Men and Gambit (swoon) is mighty hot. I loosely fashioned Ravens after him. Ravens are children who were teleported into a parallel universe where they’re superhuman and are hunted by humans. The colored part of their eyes are white and the white parts are black. They only emerge at night to remain hidden. They have electromagnetic capabilities, are agile, fast, strong, and many have independent powers. For example, Liam can cause illusions in people, read their minds, and he can communicate with Kendra when she’s in our world using telepathy.

B: Even though releasing RAVENS is extremely exciting, you have other books as well. Do you expect to release HELLHOUND any time soon, with this publisher or another one? Are there any other novels in the works?

K: HELLHOUND (paranormal mystery) will release in 2013, but we don’t have a set date yet. As a surprise that I’m announcing with you, because it seems you’ve been with me for so long, I’m terribly excited to announce that my zombie mermaid novel will also be published, hopefully in late 2013 or 2014. I have a few novels I finished in 2012 that haven’t found a home, yet. I hope to have amazing news about them soon.

B: Novels can be hard to write, which is why many authors also write or start out writing shorter works. Do you have any shorter projects you're working on now? Do you have any published?

K: I had two paranormal romance shorts published in 2010, but they are no longer in circulation. I don’t have any projects going right now, although I do have ideas for a RAVENS sequel that will take the crew to one of the three moons in the parallel universe, the one that’s been terra-formed for prisoners.

B: Saving her sister is Kendra's main goal in RAVENS. What are your goals, both for RAVENS and your writing?

K: Every writer wants to see their baby become a hit. I just hope people like it, even if it remains low key. My goals are simple, though not easily obtainable. I hope to achieve some of these goals in 2013: signing with an agent, signing with a major publisher, and eventually, one day, maybe making it onto a bestseller’s list. I think that’s a generic ballpark for most aspiring authors, but a worthy one and one worth fighting for. Blood, sweat, and tears as they say.


What are Ravens, and are they as the world wants us to believe—sinister and without human qualities? When abruptly taken from their world, select humans are transformed into creatures of the night with penetrating eyes and uncanny abilities that most believe are a threat to mankind. Stripped from their mundane and ordinary lives, these creatures have no choice but to stalk the night and fight back in order to survive.

One such Raven is eighteen-year-old Liam, who uses his telepathy to communicate with Kendra in order to lure her into the transformation. It proves to be a double-edged gambit that turns into a tumultuous journey. Racing against time to save her sister, whom she believed to be dead, Kendra falls through a portal and into a parallel world where humans hunt her. She becomes a Raven with ill-controlled powers, trapped in a torrid affair with Liam, and desperately struggles to find a grip on her new reality.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Kayle At: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

About Kaylie Austen: I was born during a monsoon in an Indian village that lacked a doctor and a hospital but had many nesting cobras nearby. That’s the most fascinating thing about me. Other than that, I’m a true Texan, and yes, I bleed orange (Longhorns!). Currently, I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my husband. My novels include YA fantasy, YA sci-fi, and paranormal romance/mystery.

I’ve been writing since the age of ten, and completed two novels before high school graduation. I love to learn, my life is rich with culture, and I’m an undercover nerd.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Charity Bradford's Blog Tour Post: Changing Plot Points

Today is magical. Why? Because I'm hosting Charity Bradford on her blog tour for her debut novel THE MAGIC WAKES. I've been following Charity on her writing journey for quite some time and I'm so happy for her. Plus, I just love her cover. -sigh-

Changing Plot Points

I want to thank Brooke for hosting me today, and for thinking of such an interesting topic. Leave it to another dedicated writer to think of asking “How many times did your plot change while writing THE MAGIC WAKES?” Before I answer, I want to do a quick review of plot and plot layers or subplots.

Plot is your story. What happens in the beginning all the way to the end—the main storyline. This plot can have lots of layers or subplots that keep it interesting. Their purpose is to add conflict and put obstacles in front of your characters. Slow them down from reaching their goals.

For instance, the main plot in THE MAGIC WAKES is Talia needs/wants to survive a planetary invasion. That’s simple enough. Don’t die. Since she lives in a technical world, I added layers by making her a scientist that knows about the invasion because of magical qualities, not research. She’s also accused of working with a secret society out to depose of the monarchy by my male MC. Throw in a heavy dose of immediate physical attraction during their verbal sparring and things are complicated even more.

Subplots can also be storylines of secondary characters. They should however relate to the main plot and intersect it in places. Jaron is an alien out to destroy the Dragumon—no matter the cost or people that get in the way. His goal is different from Talia’s for most of the novel, and debatable even after they meet.

Now to Brooke’s question. How many times did my plot change while writing THE MAGIC WAKES?

Who knows! My big plot changed at least once that I can remember, and at times it felt the layers were in constant flux.

In the beginning Talia was named Elyzbeth. She was only 17 and heading off for her first year of university life. She had loving parents, a brother, and a best friend. The idea was that she met this mysterious and totally hot guy in her mandatory arts class. After years of them just flirting I knew something had to change. There was no reason for my bad guy to pick on them. They were just going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and it wasn’t working for me.

I changed Elyzbeth’s name, killed her whole family, and gave her another ten years of experience. Now she had a career and emotional issues to deal with. This is also when I decided to combine my weak original idea with some creepy dreams from my past. Now I had goals for Talia.

Many subplots changed while working with crit partners or my editor. They were wonderful about pointing out areas that needed more. We discussed things and several new scenes (some that are my new favorites) came to be. Here’s a short list of subtle changes:
  • Talia gained a furry pet
  • Talia’s dreams come true in degrees
  • Landry gained a real reason for hating the Signum
  • Talia learned how to control her dreams at times
  • Jaron’s demon gained a personality and now will play a major part in book 3!
  • My beginning and ending both changed at least 100 times
  • Because of beginning tweaks I came up with some new tech for certain scenes of the book
  • One guy turned out to be the bad guy after being a good guy for 4 years
I guess the bottom line is plot changes during the writing process are not only good, but necessary for us to reach our highest potential. It goes back to that idea that you think of what might happen and then think of 4 other possibilities before settling on one in order to avoid clich├ęs. We write what comes naturally, and then we dig deeper and things change.

THE MAGIC WAKES by Charity Bradford

Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

About the Author:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | First Chapter

Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS and SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. THE MAGIC WAKES is her first novel.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Overcoming Adversity Bloghop - Flash Fiction Piece

Today I am participating in the Overcoming Adversity Bloghop to support a good cause. The host of this blogfest, Nick Wilford, is trying to raise money to send his disabled son to a higher education school that will fit his needs and help him have a successful and satisfying life. He will be compiling the flash fiction pieces posted during the blogfest into an anthology which he will then sell. The proceeds of this anthology will go into his son's college fund.

The two major requirements for this piece were:
  1. The entry must be at or below 500 words.
  2. The entry must be centered around the prompt "overcoming adversity."

Her name was Adversity and I guess that was appropriate because she had red hair. As red as the blood she coughed up on occasion into white tissues she kept in her pocket.

Her favorite class was English, a sort of dry humor considering she was a play on words herself.

Her favorite class was also mine because I sat right beside her every day. Every day she was there anyway. On none of those days did I say a word to her.

Until she wrote a word to me.

She leaned across the aisle, her yellow pencil clenched between her fingers. She only ever used wooden pencils. It scratched across the top of my desk, but her hand was in the way and I couldn’t see what she had written until she straightened once more.

The faint gray marks almost blended into the desk top: four lines, three dots, and a curve. The rest of the hour, though the teacher must have written and gone over a hundred sentences on the board, the only mistakes I saw were the slight waver of the “i” in “Hi” and how she ended it with a smilie face instead of a period. I wouldn’t have corrected them for the world.

We met at the door to the classroom when the bell rang. Everyone else had streamed ahead, eager to be home and out from behind the bars of school. I gazed down at her, trying to find the word in my throat. I had never realized how short she was, how narrow and frail. Her presence always outweighed mine.

She waited, smiling, and ran a hand through her hair, shaking off the few strands that clung to her fingers.

I watched them drift to the ground as I said, “Hi.” Not nearly as perfect as hers.

She laughed until she coughed, but even as her chest made horrible over-crowded noises, the grin never left her lips.

I glanced back into the empty classroom. The teacher cleaned the last errors off the board.

“You know, you would’ve gotten in trouble if you’d been caught,” I whispered close to her ear. Her heat made my skin itch.

“I know,” she said and this time when she laughed it was clear, “but I did it anyway.”

The teacher looked over at us then, her eyebrows close together.

“Guess we better go,” Adversity said.

I opened my mouth, but she put her finger over it. “I don’t believe in saying good-bye.” Then her skin was no longer touching my skin.

I stayed in the doorway as she walked down the hallway, stopping just inside the open outside door. Sunlight gave her entire body a halo. She pulled the tissues out of her pocket with two hands and threw them all away.

-465 words

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Preparing for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute Audition

Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute's Class of Creative Writing 2012

Some of you may remember when I made it into the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute last year. I'm trying out again this year and my audition is next week on Sunday at 1:30 PM in Oklahoma City.

As part of the audition I must bring four copies of an up-to-five-page writing sample that can be any combination of poetry or prose written after June 24, 2012. I've been working on that writing sample since the beginning of January.

So far I have written and edited: one "longer" story, about 1k, that takes up two pages; three poems that take up one page; and one flash fiction piece, about 500 words, that takes up one page. I have one flash fiction piece left to write. I will probably start work on it Tuesday or Wednesday since I still have to write my piece for the Overcoming Adversity Blogfest.

While I think my two prose pieces are pretty good, there might be something I've missed. To ensure they are as well written as possible, I've posted them on Figment for critique. SHOW ME YOUR FANGS, the longer piece, is here, and HEARTH AND HOME, the shorter piece, is here. I would appreciate it you read either one of them and told me what you thought either here in the comments or on Figment. I will post the three piece when it's ready.