Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve!

Happy New Year!

 Currently, I'm in Va. Hubby, the boys, and I are on our way to NC. My childhood best friend is getting married tomorrow. Isn't that the most romantic way to start a new year - with your wedding? I'm so excited for her!


I wish you all the best in the coming new year. I hope you enjoy time with your family and friends, eat and drink, be merry. I want the best for you all, I really do.

May this be our year. :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brings you all the love and happiness that you'll ever need.


Oh, and presents too.


I'll see you all on New Years!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Medieval Love

Just a quick, short little post today. I wanted to share a link. I guest blogged at the Book Boost about medieval love and would love for you to visit and leave me some comment love!

And I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve, spent with your family and loved ones, as we await for Jesus' birth on Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,


All I want for Christmas is a totally awesome story idea. Ideally it would make for an immensily popular movie too. #writingiseasy #Illfinishinaday

Love, Eager Wanna-be Writer

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for that totally awesome story idea to be a totally awesome story. #whoknewwritingtookupsomuchtime?

Love, Wanna-be Writer with No Time to Write

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is a kick-ass query letter for that totally awesome story. #writingqueriesisworsethanwritingastory

Love, Writer Ready for the Query-go-round

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is my dream agent to offer to represent me. #hittingsendmakesmesonervous #Iwanttopuke

Love, Writer who is Losing Weight from Nerves

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for my dream agent to sell my story at auction. #wouldsellmysoulifitwouldhelp

Love, Writer with a New Eyeglass Prescription from Checking my Emails Excessively

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is to earn out my advance. #needtohavereadersupport

Love, Writer who still feels Nervous and Anxious

Dear Santa,

Now that my awesome story has sold through three printings and is being turned into a major movie, all I want for Christmas is another totally awesome story idea. #writingisthebestpart Oh, and a new agent. My last one decided to become an author. #yeahneedtogobackonthequerygoround

Love, Writer who is Clearly Insane but more than Ready to Go Through the Vicious Cycle all over again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2010 Goodie Tour with Danielle Thorne: Let Them Eat -- Orange Chocolate Cake!

Greetings, Nicole, and thank you for letting me visit your beautiful blog on my 2010 Goodie Tour. I've enjoying visiting all around the blogosphere with my sweet recipes and sweet adventures. I appreciate everyone who has followed me on this sugar trip. (Haha!) Today is my final stop, so I'm not only excited I shared the best for last, I'm also giving away a copy of my environmental romance, TURTLE SOUP, to one of the lucky visitors who comments on this guest post. Did you know TURTLE SOUP has a bonus recipe following the story? Now you do!

For your holiday banquet, tempt your family and friends with this luscious Orange Chocolate Cake that I found browsing through my buddy's cookbook collection a few years ago. Both the cake and the frosting originally come from THE CAKE DOCTOR series (with a few of my tweaks to make it my own). I matched the cake and its topping together. It is a rich, refreshing combination that will amaze your taste buds, and the frosting is my number one favorite – you know – the kind of stuff you want to eat out of the bowl with a spoon. Out of five stars, this recipe is a six, and I use it whenever I want to impress.

ORANGE CHOCOLATE CAKE AND FROSTING

Cake:
1 box of Devil's Food cake mix
1 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (I use Tropicana Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice.)
½ cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of orange zest

Grease a 9X13 pan. Blend ingredients in mixer one minute on low. Beat on high for two minutes. Bake about 30 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.

Frosting:
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
½ stick of butter
¼ cup of dark (Dutch) cocoa
½ teaspoon of orange peel
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice
3 and ¾ cup of powdered sugar

Blend cream cheese and butter on low. And the other ingredient except for the powdered sugar and blend on low. Beat in powdered sugar to spreading consistency. YUM!

Now, to go along with your amazing cake, check out one of my sweet romantic adventures, such as Regency Romance, JOSETTE, or my pirate ship treasure hunt, BY HEART AND COMPASS. Need a getaway? BY HEART AND COMPASS will take you on a trip you'll never forget!

When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again. But will finding it cost her heart?


Have a wonderful, sweet holiday season!

Sincerely yours,
Danielle Thorne

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Critiques for Christmas Winners!

It's time for me to announce the winners of my my Critques for Christmas contest.



 
And
  the
  winners
   are
    ...
     ...
       ...
       Everyone!

That's right! In the spirit of the holiday, I'll give a critique to everyone who entered.

Email me at Nicole.Zoltack@gmail.com with your query, synopsis, or first page.

Thanks everyone for entering!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jolly Pictures and Dessert!

This post is a part of the awesome Jen and Melissa's Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest! You can check out the rest of the awesome entries here.

Now I don't have any pictures to post of my tree but that doesn't mean I won't post pictures of some awesome trees:

And now for dessert. I am usually the queen of baking at my house but hubby made some delicious cookies the other day. So easy to make and absolutely delicious too.

Peanut butter cup blossoms:

Ingredients:

Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
Sugar
Reese's peanut butter cups


Make the peanut butter cookies as directed on the back of the Betty Crocker bag. Roll the peanut butter cookie mixture into balls. Roll the balls into the sugar. Cook the balls as directed. Before removing the cookies from the oven, add a peanut butter cup in the middle of each cookie.

Now the peanut butter cups will melt a little so you may want to put the cookies in the fridge for about 20 minutes for them to harden. Enjoy with some hot chocolate!

Tomorrow I'll post the winners of my Critiques for Christmas contest!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Friday

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.

And don't forget, today is the last day to enter my Critiques for Christmas contest!

So our tree is up and decorated, all of our Christmas shopping is done (just waiting on a few more packages), and our Christmas cards are all sent. Time to relax, right?

Naw. There are parties to go to, cookies and desserts to make, the house needs to be cleaned (I swear cleaning is evil. The house never stays clean so what's the point? I live by the saying that cleaning the house while the children are growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing.).

Hubby wanted son #1 to put the first ornament on the tree. So I gave him a plastic ball, which son #1 loved to throw on the kitchen floor. It bounced away from him, he would chase it, pick it up and throw it again. Eventually I "helped him put" (read: I put) the ornamanet on the tree. Then we strapped him and son #2 into their chairs so they could watch us decorate the tree.

Later on that night, son #1 somehow got free in the kitchen. Not all of our Christmas balls are plastic. He grabbed a solid red ball and threw it. Of course it was glass.

His face was priceless. Why didn't it bounce?

Poor little guy. He didn't know if he should be scared or heartbroken.

Luckily, it was a solid red ornament, not one of our nicer ones. Besides, we have more red than any other color so it was just as well. And because he threw it (even though he doesn't have a lot of arm strength yet, after all he's only 2), he didn't get hurt.

Now I make sure he doesn't get near the tree or in the kitchen. The one time he did follow me in there, he stayed away from the tree, lol

So are you ready for the holidays? What are your favorite traditions?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where to Begin

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.

And don't forget, tomorrow is the last do to enter my Critiques for Christmas contest.

The beginnings of story... I always have such a hard time writing the beginning. Endings come easy. Wrap up loose ends, everything just falls into place, the words practically type themselves. But beginnings... beginnings are another story.

I struggle with beginnings. I write and rewrite them, add new scenes before them as a new beginning. How do you know where exactly your story starts?

That's a very good question and it's not an easy one to answer.

You need to start shortly before the MC's life is turned upside down. The inciting incident doesn't have to happen on the first page, but it probably should be within or at the end of the first chapter.

The inciting incident in Alexia's Pen is when she receives the pen at the end of the first chapter. Why not at the beginning? I needed to show Alexxia and introduce her and Artex. Plus I wanted to show a little bit of her normal life before everything becomes crazy.

As writers, we've been told over and over again that the first line has to be incredible, our first paragraph has to be griping. Likewise our first page, our first chapter. This is all true but the same can be said for the next chapter and the next, all the way until the end. So many times, agents have talked about polished first chapters but then the shine isn't there for the rest of the ms.

Beginnings are hugely important. So is knowing when to start the actually story. But the middle and the ending has to be just as strong.

Do you find the beginning of a story easier to write than the end?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Blog with Shawna Williams

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.

 Everyone, let's welcome Shawna back to my blog. She's hear to talk about her latest book, Orphaned Hearts:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV

Orphaned Heart is my latest release. It's a wonderful little story set in Northwestern Arkansas, during 1932.

The story is about a minister, David Langley, and his search for a home for Caleb, an orphaned child with a missing arm. David is especially concerned with Caleb's situation because David knows that Caleb's disability will affect how people see him. David, who also grew up orphaned, was severely burned in the fire that killed his family. As an adult he is able to hide these scars beneath his clothes, but he always felt that his disfigurement was the reason he was never taken in by a family when he was a child. For these same reasons, he believes he'll never have one of his own as a man. So, in a way, finding a home for Caleb proves there's still hope for him.

Sadie, the town spinster, has been in love with David for years, but she doesn't think he can see past her label. Circumstances bring Caleb into her home on a temporary basis and her love for the boy blossoms, healing his pain and hers. But things become desperate when they learn of danger at the orphanage and that Caleb must soon return. David and Sadie team up, both working to find a permanent, loving home where Caleb will be safe, but while searching they discover a family instead.

Orphaned Hearts isn't my grandparents' story, but it was written because of them. My grandfather grew up in the orphanage I based the one in this story upon, and some of the details of his experiences there are woven into the story's pages. My great-grandfather was hired to work the orphanage's dairy during The Great Depression, bringing his young family with him to Arkansas. That is how my grandparents met.

My grandparents served as foster parents for many years and I have often wondered how many lives they affected. At my granddad's funeral, I sat in the pew marveling at the fullness of his life, but also thinking how unfair it was for him to have been orphaned as a young boy. Then I remembered a story my grandmother told me of a young girl who came to live with them through Child Welfare.

She was pregnant and cast from her house. My grandmother had been told that she would be a problem, but that wasn't the case at all. She was sweet, appreciative, and longing. For a few short months she got to experience a home -- a real, loving home. She decided that's what she wanted for her child and gave her baby up for adoption. The girl left not long after her baby's birth and my grandparents moved from the area. Life went on.

Many years later my grandmother ran into an old friend who went to church with the family who had adopted that baby. She learned that the little girl had grown into a lovely young Christian woman. She was smart, attending a university and had a bright future ahead. I can't help but wonder; had my granddad not been an orphan, had that compassion for hurting children not been embedded deep within my grandparents' hearts, what would have happened to that little girl, and so many of the others they took into their home.


To Nonnie and Papa.
Your story inspired mine.

Here's a short excerpt:

David ran back to the bench and removed his suit jacket. Sadie raised her brow. In the five years she'd known him, he'd never been without a coat and tie. A little peculiar -- yes -- however, he did take his position as a minister seriously. Perhaps Caleb was also helping David to realize that ministers could take time off for fun.

"Join us," David said.

"Join you?" Sadie looked down at her 'too full to be fashionable' skirt and then at her gloved hands. No telling how much flour was caked beneath her nails.

"But I'm--"

"You are the same girl who ran around in overalls, hoping to be a miner someday?"

She glanced up and noted David's challenging smirk. Suddenly the ball hit her in the shin. Caleb broke out into a fit of laughter.

With her youthful, tomboyish spirit revived, Sadie narrowed her eyes, shooting Caleb and then David an 'I'll-show-you' look. As an only child she'd fulfilled the roles of both daughter and son. Neither David nor Caleb had any idea just what she was capable of. If she was still capable?

Sadie picked up the ball and stepped away from the bench. She carefully set it on the ground and took two long steps back. She glanced at the ball, then -- squinting her eyes -- looked through the rays of sunlight streaming through the trees, off into the horizon and imagined the ball flying into the distant mountains.

Furrowing her brow in concentration, Sadie fixed her gaze on the ball, lifted her skirt to her knees and took in a deep breath. Then she rushed toward her target, slinging her right foot back and propelling it forward. It connected in a loud thud. She watched as the ball flew higher and higher, threading between the trees and disappearing from sight.

Sadie dropped her skirt and heaved a satisfied sigh as she dusted her hands. Both David and Caleb stood frozen with their mouths gaping wide.

"Wow!" Caleb gawked and took off running in search of the ball -- which may very well have rolled down the base of the hill. She hadn't considered that. Suddenly her mothering instinct kicked in. "Caleb, wait. There could be snakes."

Shaking his head, David chuckled. "I'll go with him." The spring in his jog showed of amusement more than worry.

Sadie smiled as she watched David close the distance. A euphoric sensation surged through her, and some strange power beckoned her feet to take flight.

Not just her feet. Her heart.

What a wonderful excerpt, Shawna! Thanks for dropping by. Shawn's website is here and her blog is here. The link to purchase Orphaned Hearts is here.

And if any authors would like to contact me about a guest blog spot or an interview, just email me. Nicole.Zoltack@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More about Sympathetic Characters

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.

Sympathetic characters. What exactly does that mean? What do critique partners and agents/editors mean when they say you need to create more sympathy for a character?

The more I think about it, the more I think it means that the character isn't relate-able, they can't bond with the character. They don't understand the character's emotions and motive.

Which means I won't be giving Lorna a pet puppy. :)


Lorna undergoes huge character growth in the novel. In the beginning, she's cynical. Tough. Rough. She is an assassin after all. Has been for nearly a decade when the story starts. In the beginning, she enjoys killing. She's cocky and arrogant about her killing ability.


But she does change throughout the novel.


When I do back and read through the feedback that I've received for various beginnings of the story, I first was told to slowly add in her reason for being an assassin. So I changed it to reflect this. I drop hints (her first target is a druggie. At the end of the scene, you learn that he also used to beat up his son).


Then I was told that I should move up the sympathy. That readers needed to have sympathy for Lorna immediately, on the first page.


BUT most of those people that said that also said that they don't read assassin stories. I don't think they will ever feel for an assassin. Which makes them not my potential readers.


Basically, I am going to change the beginning. I'm going to add a scene where Lorna witnesses the abuse and decides to kill the druggie husband even though the mother wasn't able to come up with the money for Lorna's hefty fee. Doing that will create real smypathy in the reader (versus the fake sympathy from adding a puppy) but it will also show Lorna's god complex (you have to have a god complex in order to be an assassin) and will also lend more credibility to Lorna's growth and change throughout the rest of the novel.


What does sympathy mean to you? Do you have a hard time writing sympathetic characters?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas with Lady Nicole and Sir Todd

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.


"Twelfth Night" by David Teniers the Younger
This post is part of Christine Danek's Crazy Holiday Blogfest. Enjoy! :)

The castle had never looked more festive. Holly, ivy, and mistletoe dotted nearly every surface, and the candle lights glistened, the flames giving the large dining room brightness and warmth.

Lady Nicole hurried outside. A light snow had started to fall on this Adam and Eve Day, the day before Christmas. She ran through the market to the trees beyond, where many of the villagers, including her husband, Sir Todd, decorated them with apples.

She snuck up behind him and covered his eyes with her hands. “Guess who?” she whispered.

“My Christmas angel.” He lowered her hands and turned around to kiss her.

Some of the villagers began to sing and dance around. Lady Nicole tugged on her husband’s hand. “Come, let’s join the carol!”

Her husband laughed, and the joined in the revelry, dancing in a circle and laughing so hard they could barely sing along. As the carolers increased the sped of the circle, Lady Nicole lost her footing and tumbled into her husband. They both fell onto the snow, unable to stop laughing.

Lady Nicole struggled to sit up, and Sir Todd kissed her forehead.

Lady Nicole smiled bashfully. Her hand went to her stomach, a faint blush on her cheeks.

“Is something wrong?” Sir Todd asked, concern in his dark brown eyes.

Lady Nicole smiled and shook her head. She brought his hand to her stomach. “I thought so, but I wanted to be sure.” She shivered with delight when she left the faint movement again, so soft and gentle, like bubbles popping or the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. Quickening. “I’m with child.”

Sir Todd let out a loud whop and swiftly embraced his wife. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

She smiled. “I know. The perfect Christmas present.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Query Letter Blogfest

This Query Letter Blogfest is courtsey of Jodi Henry's blog. Here is my entry:


Dear Agent:

Traumatized by witnessing her father’s brutal murder, Lorna masters her feelings of powerlessness by becoming an assassin.

As a paranorm with the ability to create and hide in shadows, Lorna has been searching in vain to find her father’s murderer when the Paranormal Intelligence Agency tries to recruit her and her power. Lorna distrusts the agency and continues to accept assassin assignments including an island king.

King Alaric is everything Lorna isn't — noble, kind, good. When the two fall in love, Lorna tries to hide her past. When Alaric learns she is the world famous assassin, he wants nothing to do with her.

The PIA gives Lorna a deal. If she will kill an innocent person, they’ll tell her where here father’s murderer is. The old Lorna would have killed without a second thought, but now she finds herself conflicted, forced to decide if her thirst for revenge outweighs the love she never expected to need.

HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 97,000-word urban fantasy with romance elements. It is a standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance trilogy, The Kingdom of Arnhem – WOMAN OF HONOR (2009) and KNIGHT OF GLORY (2010) published with Desert Breeze Publishing with CHAMPION OF VALOR coming in 2011. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including MERTALES by Wyvern Publications, and many collections from Pill Hill Press.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Family Fridays


I'm a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. My husband, unfortunately, is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. We HATE each other’s teams. Hate hate hate. If you don’t watch sports, it might be hard to understand just how much hate we feel.

The Eagles have a fight song. I love it, hubby thinks it’s corny, but I say he’s just jealous because the cowboys don’t have one.

Anyhow, I sang son #1 lots of songs when he was in the womb, including the Eagles fight song. So he had no choice but to be an Eagles fan. He is, btw. He loves to hand me his Eagles outfits, he’ll point to their logo and say “eagle eagle eagle,” he’ll clap and cheer with me when they score. I’ve been trying to get him to spell E-A-G-L-E-S.

I have many Eagles hats, one of which has the word Eagle on it but no emblem. I pointed at the letters so son #1 could read them to me.

Instead, he said “eagle,”

Yep, the first word he ever read is “eagle.” (who needs the ‘s’?)

Don’t understand why hubby wasn’t as thrilled as I was.


In case you’re curious, son #2 will be a cowboys fan. *sigh*

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Creating Sympathetic Characters

I'm sorry today's post is late - I blame it on not getting enough sleep. Son #2 is back in a rut where he likes to wake up 3-4 times a night to nurse. And if there are any typos, I also blame that on the lack of sleep. That and typing in the dark. Son #2 is still sleeping (and I should be too...)

Anyhow, today I want to talk about sympathetic characters. Specifically how to create one.*

1. Give them a puppy.
2. Give them red hair.
3. Give them zits and glasses (works best in YA novels.)
4. Make them tip the scale.

* Obviously this list is meant purely in jest.

 I've been receiving a lot of conflicting advice regarding Hidden in Shadows, stemming from Lorna, the MC. For one thing, she's an assassin, definitely an anti-heroine., automatically making her less sympathetic. (Btw, can anyone think of some good stories with anti-heroines? I want to read some for research but can't think of any off the top of my head.)

I had two versions of the opening scene, where Lorna hunts and kills a man. In version A, I mention immediately that the man is a druggie who beat his kill, almost trying to force the reader to align him/herself with Lorna. But I was told that it was basically an infodump (the paragraph about the druggie) and that I should sprinkle in the details as to why Lorna was killing him.

I agreed. I also pared down the descriptions more, thinking that Lorna would be more focused at the task at hand, killing a target, so I dropped hints that he was a druggie. But now Lorna wasn't sympathetic enough, even though I have her reflect on the druggie beating his child after she kills him.

So now I’m not sure what to do with the scene. I still think that having Lorna reflect on the druggie would be out of character. Basically, I’m not sure how quickly I have to make Lorna a sympathetic character, nor how exactly to do about showing it.

 Because of her profession, does she have to be sympathetic right away on page one? Or by the end of the first scene?

Maybe this is because I’m sleep deprived but is it so wrong that I’m actually thinking about giving Lorna a puppy in scene two?

I’ll have a more serious post on sympathetic characters on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam

Here's a fun link to the Fantasy Novelist's Exam. Basically, it's a list of questions about your fantasy novel. If you answer "yes" to any of the questions, the teacher will give you an "F" and suggests you should abandon your novel.

The list is a joke. It mentions many of the overused tropes in the fantasy genre (Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?) (Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?) (Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?)

However, I have written a fantasy novel or two or three that I would have to answer "Yes" to a few of the questions.

Is this the first book in a planned trilogy? (Yep - Woman of Honor is book I in a trilogy)

Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names? (Trolls do in Knight of Glory and Champion of Valor - there are new races that I explore in Champion of Valor and made sure there weren't any more apostrophes or dashes in them.)

Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? (Orcs - no but they are mentioned. Elves - well, Drow are. Dwarves - yep. Halfings - no.)

All in all, it's a funny list. What tropes are you sick of seeing in fantasy? What ones don't you mind? Do you think elves are better than dwarves?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Charlie Schulz Philosophy



The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions.
 Just ponder on them. 

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the  world. 

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. 


3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant. 


4  Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 


5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress! s. 


6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

 


How did you do?


The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. 


These are no second-rate achievers. 


They are the best in their fields. 


But the applause dies.. 


Awards tarnish.. 


Achievements are forgotten. 


Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
 

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 


2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 


3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 


4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special
.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
 



Easier?

 
The lesson: 


The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the
most credentialsthe most money...or the most awards. 

They simply are the ones who care the most
.


'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia !'
 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inspiring Mondays


I love the colors in this, the blues are beautiful. Who is she? Who is she waiting for?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friendly Friday - Critiques for Christmas

I'm a Catholic. Grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schooling all my life. Before you stop reading because you're a different religion or have different beliefs or no beliefs, I'm not trying to talk about religion or convert anyone. Just stating a fact about myself.

As a Catholic, I celebrate Christmas every year.

While I hate how commercialized the holiday has become, I love to give presents. Seeing other people smile when they open their presents - it makes me so happy.

So while I've been looking around online for presents for my sons and my hubby and my siblings and parents, I thought about you all.

The writing world is such a wonderful community and I want to give back. So I'm going to do something special for some of you this Christmas. I've giving away critiques. Calling this contest Critiques for Christmas. (So creative, I know, but it's really late when I'm typing this post so forgive me for not coming up with a better name.)

Anyhow, if you win, you can pick your prize:

Query critique
Synopsis critique
First page critique

Number of winners will be determined at a later date.

How to enter? Be a follower and comment on this blog. If you tweet/FB this, you get an additional entry (up to one per day). Leave a link in the comments.

This contest will be open until December 17th. I'll announce the winners on the 20th. If you get back to me right away with your query/synopsis/first page, I'll try to return the critiques before Christmas.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nano Wrap Up and December Goals

I was originally going to update you all on my Nano story yesterday, considering it was December 1st, but Talli overtook the blog world in a huge way, and my blog was part of the splash.

But today is all me again.

I wrote just over 50k of Champion of Valor in November, making me a winner! Although I still have a lot of words to add - roughly 40-50k - before the story is completely finished. Then it'll need to be edited and sent to beta readers and edited again. I already wrote the ending but I'm sure some of the details will need to be adjusted/fixed. A lot of scenes were glossed over *insert battle between X and Y* *insert battle between Z and A* lol This book is full of action scenes, which is to be expected, after all, it's about a war.

I really like how CoV is shaping up. I don't want to go into too many details but here's the basic gist:

The final war between Speica and Arnhem draws to an end as allies are gained, lines are crossed, people die, and a mage and selkie struggle to make their love work as Lucifer attempts to bring about the Apocalypse before its time.


I've mentioned this before but book I in the series, Woman of Honor has a mostly historical feel to it, with some fantasy thrown in. Knight of Glory focuses more on the fantasy. Champion of Valor has both fantasy and religious undertones. High fantasy - meaning a medieval type world. In the Middle Ages, religion was a huge part of their everyday lives so I had to include religion.

I've created a lot of problems and dilemmas for my characters. It'll be interesting to see how they fix everything and restore order, and who's let standing to see things through til the very end.

Hubby was a big help, watching the boys in order to let me get some writing in when our sons refused to nap at the same time. Wouldn't have won without him!

I also was a PiBoIdMo winner. I came up with 32 ideas for picture books. Some are better than others but it was a lot of fun to sit and think up picture book ideas. Can't wait until I have some free time that I can devote to picture books.

I guest blogged at Loraine's about previous Nano experiences. Feel free to check it out and leave a comment!

So for the rest of December, I'm going to finish Champion of Valor. If I have time there are a couple of short stories I would like to write. Prime books is publishing an anthology of urban fantasy werewolf stories. Pill Hill Press has a romantic suspense anthology. And Fangtales, the next in the Tales anthologies from Wyvern Publications, scary YA stories about vampires. So December is going to be busy, busy, busy. If I don't get to the short stories, I don't get to them, but I'm going to try. Might as well set the bar high and strive to do all I can.

How productive was your November? Did you do Nano? What was your story about? Did you win? Have you read any good books lately? What are your reading/writing goals for December?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hating Game

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/hNBkJk

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com.

About THE HATING GAME:

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?