Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, my blogger friends! Anyone dressing up today? Going to a party?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friendly Friday

So last Friday, I talked about dinosaurs and how I wanted to be a palentologist. (And now I have several awesome plot bunnies about dinosaurs and a really cool shifter story). I thought I would share in this post what I actually worked as before I quit working to be a full time mom and writer.
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I went to college with my original major as law and society. I wanted to be a lawyer - a prosecutor. But that didn't last long. I ended up switching my major before the first day of classes when I learned that they were starting a new track with the sciences to add a forensic track alongside chemistry or biology. So I became a chemistry major. Ended up with a BS in chemistry with a concentration in forensic science and a minor in biology.

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For the most part, I didn't mind my science courses, but I loved my cj courses and my psych courses. I was one course short of a psych minor. My absolute favorite course was called Crime Lab. Best course evah. I also took Forensics and Criminal Investigation, Forensic Psychology, and Dangerous Minds: The Psychology of Antisocial Behavior.

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I followed this course of studies because I wanted to work in a crime lab and be a crime scene investigator. But once I graduated and started looking for a job, there weren't any avilable.

I was devasted.

Well, that's not exactly treue. There were some openings. In California.

I live in Pennsylvania. And was engaged at this point in time so there was no way I was moving across the country.

So I ended up taking the first job I was offered - as an organic analyst in an environmental laboratory. Not what I had in mind but it paid the bills.

So you might be wondering why I write fantasy with my background. For one thing, I love to create whole new worlds. And I love magic. And mystical creatures.

But I would love to write mysteries someday, to use my forensic background and incoproate it into stories. But to write mysteries, you have to be a plotter. I'm a pantser. So that is going to take a lot of time and effort on my part to write a mystery. So it probably won't be for years until I try that.

But I also love all of the psych courses I took in college and plan to use them in stories too. I have an idea for several mind thrillers, stories about people and the mental cages that they build for themselves. It's gonna be interesting to write those stories, very interesting.

So if you have any questions about science or forensics or psychology when writing your stories, feel free to ask me. I might know the answer, I might not, but I'm more than willing to help a fellow author out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gearing Up for Nano

It's almost November. I can't wait for Nano. In a way it's sad that I'm waiting until November 1st to get back to serious writing but I am always so inspired by Nano that November is always my most productive month by far.

Between Nano and PiBo, I am going to be really busy next month. As a result, I probably won't be visiting as many blogs as I normally do. I apologize in advance for that. I also will not promise long blog posts, although I will try to continue to blog every M-F. We'll see how that goes though, so I make no promises about that either.

I also want to make a writer's pledge. Starting November 1st, I am going to make writing and my writing career a higher priority in my life. I want to be an author, to have my books for sale at Barnes and Noble. I know I can make my dream a reality. It's about time that I do everything in my power to make it actually happen. So I am not going to make excuses. I'm not going to waste time playing fb games. I will work on furthering my career. That is my goal, my aim, my mission. Writing has been such a large part of my life, it's about time that I take the next step.

I will write/edit/polish Champion of Valor and finish it before the end of the year.

I will rewrite Alexia's Pen and start querying before the end of the year.

I will send out queries for Hidden in Shadows.

I will find an agent.

And I will get published with an NYC publisher.

Anyone else want to make a writer's pledge?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contest Today on the QueryTracker Blog

Agent Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency will judge the QT contest that opens today, Wednesday October 27th at 9:00am Eastern time and ends 24 hours later at 9:00am Eastern time on Thursday, October 28th. 

EMLA represents children's literature only, so no adult projects in this contest, please.

Ms. Paquette wants to see a one-line pitch and the FIRST 100 words (plus or minus 1/2 sentence--don't just cut it off mid sentence) of completed children's picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, or young adult novels.

Because Ms. Paquette does not accept unsolicited queries, this is a great way to get your work in front of her.

Is anyone going to enter? I am! I'm going to enter my PB story. It's the first time I'm sending this story out into the big scary world of submissions. *bites nails*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Author Interview with Lisa Rusczyk

Lisa was one of the winners from my 100 followers contest and here is her interview as her prize.

So, Lisa, could you please share with us your latest news.

My book, Chasing the Dark, has been released by Passionate Writer Publishing.

That's wonderful! When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got a job at Demand Studios writing articles for eHow and earned my first paycheck from writing.

Ah, Demand Studios. I write for them too. Sadly I make more money from them than my fiction writing, which is my first true love. Hopefully that'll change soon. Anyhow, what inspired you to write Chasing the Dark?

I saw an ambulance pass one day and wondered if there were people who followed them to see the gore.

Oh, now that's interesting. Love the concept. Do you have a specific writing style?
I change it up for each book I write. It depends on the genre and story.

How did you come up with the title, Chasing the Dark? I love the title!
It had another name originally, but my editor said we should rename it. She gave some suggestions and I took the one I liked best.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I just hope people enjoy it.

That's all any writer can want. What books have most influenced your life most?
Watership Down, John Steinbeck books, Stephen King books, Pillars of the Earth... I could go on and on.

Spoken like a true reader! lol I'm the same way. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
My brother.

Aw, that's so sweet. What book are you reading now?
A Bitch Named Karma. A fellow blogger wrote it and I am reading it to review on Raven and the Writing Desk, a blog I do with a couple of other writers, Cherie Reich and Aubrie Dionne.

Oh, I love Steph! She's awesome. (Steph Haefner is the author of A Bitch Named Karma) Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are a ton of new writers I'm being exposed to through my job. They are all really good and I love reading new things.

So many good books to read, so little time.... What are your current projects?
I have three that I'm working on right now. One is middle grade, about cats. The second is a scifi. The third is a thriller.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Motivation. I have a hard time sitting down to do it. Once I spend some time with writing, I get into the groove, but getting started is always hard.

Mine is finding the time, but motivation is up there too. Sometimes I just feel like there is so many other things I could do and writing gets shove aside. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
That's too tough to nail down. The authors I like the most make everything exciting, even when I'm not reading the book.

What a great answer. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The first draft was really rough. It took a long time to fix my errors and make the book more cohesive. I wrote it in six days and that first draft showed it.

You wrote a book in 6 days?! Wow, that's incredible! Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Check out Hazard Cat, the blog I edit for cat fiction, poetry and art. 

Does it normally only take you a week to write a book?

This one took a week, but usually it takes a year or more. The Blue Pen took five years.

Oh, ok. At first I thought you were a crazy superspeedy writer. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write 2000 words in every sitting, so usually 2000 words a day when I'm at it.

That's not shabby at all! What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually read everything I've written on a story before starting each time I write, unless I'm pretty far into it. Then I will read about 20 pages back to the starting point for the day.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Lisa, and wishing you many sales!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Dear Lucky Agent" Contest Details

E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments. 
The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of young adult fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.
Please note: To be eligible to submit, I ask that you do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media—blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add Guide to Literary Agents Blog ( your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step!
      1. This contest will be live for approximately fourteen days—from Oct. 21 through the end of Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, EST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
This contest is solely for completed book-length works of young adult fiction.
You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again.
The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA's publisher, F+W Media.
6. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the "Comments" section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)
Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to

Tamar Rydzinski is a literary agent
at the Laura Dail Literary Agency in NYC.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friendly Friday

I wasn't sure what to talk about today so I thought I would talk a little about myself. If you enjoy this, I might make it a weekly thing.

I always wanted to be a writer. I used to make up stories in my head all the time. My mom used to give my sister and me paper and pencils and told us to write. It's no surprise that we both want to be authors.

Anyhow, my mom, ever practical, told us that we would have to do something else in order to support ourselves until our writing careers took off. After first, I didn't want to hear it, but she did have a point. So I started to brainstorm.

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Shortly thereafter, I watched Jurassic Park and decided that I would be a paleontologist to support my writing career. Getting paid to dig up bones, how cool is that? Sign me up! My aunt even bought me paleontologist Barbie (which I still have, btw)

When I informed my mom, she sighed. Apparently paleontologists are also poor and have to beg for grants in order to dig.

That was disappointing.

I still read up a lot on dinosaurs. Even back then I enjoyed doing research.
If you like dinosaurs, you have to read the book Raptor Red. It's fantastic. I've read it countless times. It's told from the POV of a raptor!

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I still read up on dinosaurs when I get the chance. Earlier this week, there was an article on cnn about Tyrannosaurus Rex. Appareantely there is evidence that T-Rexes were such scavengers that they would eat any dead dino, even dead T-Rexes! Those cannibals!

A couple of months ago, I watched a show about dinosaurs and theories about their extinction. (If you haven't already guessed, I'm a huge nerd, lol) I never knew what to think of the whole meteorite/extinction theory prior to watching the show and now I'm more certain that the meteorite may have killed some dinosaurs, but that they were already dying out before the large rock hit.

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There were many reasons why they became extinct. First, on Pangaea, there were a lot more volcanoes than there are now. And there were huge eruptions that would kill most of the vegatation in the region. This would weaken the dinosaurs in the area. Gradually, the eruptions grew closer together so that the earth didn't have a chance to regrow all of the vegetation and reset itself before another one hit. This contributed to the dinosaurs dying.

Also, there is evidence that the water level greatly receded before the dinosaurs died out. This revealed new land bridges. Dinosaurs began to migrate to new parts of pangaea and brought with them germs and diseases that other dinosaurs weren't immune to. This also greatly reduced the number of dinosaurs.

Finally, the meteorite hit and killed what few remaining dinosaurs there were. If an asteroid alone had killed the dinosaurs, there would be a massive amount of dinosaur bones in that rock layer in the soil. There are very few dinosaur bones to be found in the ashes though.

So even though I never did become a paleontologist, I still developed a love for the giant lizards. And I still would love to go out on a dig . Anyone want to join me?

Oh, and if you get the chance, visit the Author Hotspot. I'm talking about Mertales. I would love it if you stopped by!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Character Names

Normally when I get a new story idea, I don't know the characters' names right away. I'll write down the idea with girl or guy in leui of names. Before I sit down to actually start typing the story, I'll pick a name then. If the story is historical, I'llmake sure the names are time period approiate. Other times, I'll pick a name because of its meaning. Or just because I like the sound of the name. Baby name sites are awesome.

For my fantasy YA story, I've been thinking of changing the male MC's name. The main character is Alexia. Right now, the MMC is Artex. I started this story in the 6th grade (literally, wrote parts of it during class) and The Neverending Story was my favorite story (still is up there). When I started the story, I had loaned my copy to a friend. I had wanted to name my MMC after the horse, but misspelled it. The horse's name is spelled Artax. When I realized that, I never bothered to correct the spelling.

Now, however, I don't want to name this character after the horse. So I need a new name for him. One that is unusual, unique. I had thought of Alastair. Someone on twitter suggested Arthus. I'm partial to that name. But remember, the FMC is Alexia. It's probably not the best of ideas to have both characters names start with 'A'. Can I get away with it though, since the story is told in 1st person? Or is two 'A' names too confusing?

Hmmm... maybe Ruthus? Any suggestions? Thoughts? I would really appreciate your insight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Anthologies and Writing Update

If you look under my list of short stories, it's slowly growing. I sold another flash piece for Pill Hill Press' Daily Bites of Flesh anthology called Deadly Flat Tire. I also sold Dead Roses to Gone with the Dirt: Undead Dixie. This anthology contains stories about the south, during the Civil War, about zombies. I adore Gone with the Wind, so I really wanted to be included in this anthology. Don't you just love the cover? I love all of PHP's covers.

I also sold a short Christmas sweet romance story to Night Wolf Publications called My Christmas Luck in A Yuletide Wish anthology.

I use to find most of the anthologies. Duotrope is such a wonderful resource. You should check it out, if you haven't already.

I love writing short stories for anthologies. However, I'm going to stop writing them for the time being so I can clear my plate and gear up for Nano. November is almost here! I'm getting excited (while hubby is groaning, lol)

Do you write short stories? Have you ever tried to get into an anthology?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
October 19, 2010 Science fiction/adventure/space opera
ISBN 9780981621067 Dancing Lemur Press LLC

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal


Links to purchase:







Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inspiring Mondays

I'm thinking evil villain's fortress of doom.

If you have the time, stop by this site. I'm talking about the history of Halloween. Leave a comment and you could win an ebook, either Woman of Honor or Knight of Glory!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shiny New Idea Syndrome

Do you suffer from shiny new idea syndrome? I know I do.

Shiny new idea syndrome is when you are plugging along on a story, making awesome progress on it, when you get an idea for a new story, a better story, an epic idea. And you want to stop writing the first story to write this mega blockbuster story. It's shiny and new and has to be written now!

This happens to me constantly. I usually can ignore it by writing down the gist of the story and saving it in a word document. If it's a short story idea for an anthology, I'll usually start writing it right away, at the same time as my other story. I don't normally write two novels at the same time, although I might be writing one and editing another.

So do you suffer from this horrible writing affliction? What do you do to overcome it? What's your writerly medicine?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Picture Book Idea Month

So I'm crazy.

But I'm sure most of you already realized this. Glad you still come back though!

Anyhow, a couple of days ago, I mentioned how I  want to start writing picture books, as if I don't already have enough on my plate.

Well, while doing some research on PB, I found this wonderful blog that mentions November being Picture Book Idea Month. You're supposed to come up with 30 PB story ideas in the 30 days of November.

Now, November is also National Novel Writing Month, and I already signed up to do that.

But how hard is it to come up with 30 PB ideas? It can't be that hard.

So I'm going to do both.

I told you I'm crazy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My author's copy of Mertales arrived in the mail yesterday! I'll have to post a picture of me holding it on my blog soon. Mertales is a collection of stories of water, fin, and pearl. Fellow bloggers Cherie Reich and Aubrie Dionne also have stories in this wonderful anthology. You can purchase it on Amazon.

In this collection of short stories for teens, readers will be plunged into tales of terror and love, with unimaginable beings of the deep.

From the kelpies and banshees of Tim Reed's 'Waiting at the Water's Edge' to the shark-men of Jerry Sutton's 'Discovery on Neptune Two,' we meet some of the less understood watery creatures.

Dark and dangerous, Mertales will captivate and thrill, as selkies, kelpies, mermaids and river gods keep you captive within its murky depths.

My short story is called 'Beauty is Only Fin Deep' and it's the last story in the collection. You could probably guess this, but my story is not one of the terror ones, at least not in this collection!

Wyvern Publications publishes one anthology each year. Last year was Dragontales, this year Mertales, next year is Fangtales. I plan on writing a piece to send in for this anthology and would love for you to send one in too. The guidelines are here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Picture Books

My hubby and I love to read to our sons. Son #1 especially loves it. He'll turn the pages (sometimes before we're finished reading it). There are times he'll sit with a book and flip through it while babbling. It's so precious. And I love that he loves to 'read.' He just turned 2 a few days ago and he's already a reader.

So this of course, makes me want to write books for him, stories that he would like read to him. So a light bulb went off. Picture books! I could write a picture book!

Well, writing one isn't hard. I wrote one, a cute little story about a baby brown bear who loves Christmas. The only problem - I know nothing about picture books. I don't know the market, how to write a query letter for it, anything really. Are any of you picture book writers? Have any pointers for me? Any suggestions? If you aren't a picture book writer, would you ever consider writing one?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Inspiring Mondays

I love this picture. It could be historical or fantasy, definitely romance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Silly Interview with Jen Daiker

Jen was one of my awesome winners from my 100 followers contest and her prize is an interview filled with off-the-wall questions so here it is!

What paranormal creature would you be and why?
I'd prefer to be an animagus, I'd like to be like Professor McGonagal and be a cat and then a human. More or less because it would be something no one would expect.

Oh, that's an awesome choice! What would you do if you didn’t have to work?
Too easy, a full time writer.

LOL Figured that was going to be your answer. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?
An Architect (actually started when I was 7 years old.)

Interesting. Now instead of creating buildings, you're creating worlds. Talk about an ego boost! :) What makes you laugh?
My husband and very sarcastic humor.

If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
I'd like to be Princess of their land and give others the gift of magic, beacuse of course this alien world is magical!

Princes and magic, what more could you need? If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter or Sophie Mercer from Hex Hall, I'm a witch fan, what can't I say.

I love Hermione! If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Sandra Bullock, because I love her, she looks nothing like me but I like her!

Sandra is my favorite actress and While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite movies. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be
I'd like to fly and be invisible... super easy!

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Unedited (I cheated!)

LOL You are a cheater! :) If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?
Visit family, buy and fix a fixer upper, travel, write another novel.

Buy and fix a fixer upper - that's a great idea! If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be, and why?
I'm not a huge history buff so I'm going to go with a few people I'd love to meet, one would be J.K. Rowling and the other Susan Elizabeth Phillips, it would be amazing to meet them.

I would love to meet J.K. Rowling myself. If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
A cat, I am independent, have an attitude, and in the end I ALLOW you into my world.

If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Pay off debt, buy a house, travel to see family, invest, open an adorable bookshop. I'm simple.

Great answer. I wonder what percentage of authors would open a bookshop if given the chance? I'm guessing the majority. If you were a Star Wars character, which one would you be?
I don't know enough about the characters to choose *ashamed* sorry.

Say what? We can't be friends now. LOL Just teasing. What kind of people do you dislike?
Whiners and One-Uppers

What makes you angry?
People I dislike, lol. 

LOL I hope everyone enjoyed reading this interview full of awesome questions and answers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writing Update

I'm finally getting back into writing somewhat consistently after giving birth to son #2. Yay!

I had a flash piece that I tried to sell to different magazines. No one wanted it so I chopped it up, changed the bad guy to a paranormal creature and submitted it to Pill Hill Press' Daily Flesh Anthology. A day later, I received a contract for it. Another yay! So now I will have two stories in it: Deadly Flat Tire and Zombies Don't Bite.

I also received contracts for a short sweet Christmas romance story called My Christmas Luck which will be in A Yuletide Wish from Night Wolf Publications.

I submitted a short story to Pill Hill Press' Gone with the Dirt anthology. Since Gone with the Wind is one of my all-time favorite movies, I had to submit a piece to this anthology. My story is called Black Roses and I should be hearing about it soon.

The Prideful Knight had been shortlisted for Pill Hill Press' Shadows and Light II anthology but when the editor looked over their slush pile, rejected it. So I sent them another story which is now on the shortlist.

I started to write a prequel to Hidden in Shadows to submit for an assassin anthology, forgetting that the market wants sword-and-sorcery type stories set before 1700's. So I started another story, with a FMC that I have a couple of other stories about, and submitted that. The editor liked it and asked for the rest of the story so I finished it and submitted it. This story is called Collecting Hearts.

I had written a paranormal romance short for ARe's contest but it wasn't picked as a semi-finalist so I submitted Never Shall We Part to More Scary Kisses. I really like this story. It's different than most paranormal romances.... no vampires or werewolves. But I'm gonna be a tease and not say what creatures. :P

I still have several other short stories currently on submissions to different magazines. One magazine, I've been waiting over 470 days on. It would be worth it though, I receive an acceptance. It's a pro market so that means 5 cents a word. Would definitely make my day to crack that market.

As for novels, a publisher and an agent both have the full MS of Hidden in Shadows. My stomach flip-flops each time I check my email. I also just about ready to start querying Alexia's Pen.

I'm also working hard on Champion of Valor. I've been slowly piecing together an outline and trying to make certain that there aren't any loose ends. I really want this book to satisfy my readers.

So that's my writing update. How's your writing going? What step are you at ? Querying? Submitting? Revising?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Author Interview with Theresa Milstein

Theresa was one of my 100 followers contest winners and here is her interview.

So, Theresa, please share with us your latest news.

BlogHer has begun reposting some of my previous posts. It’s my first paid gig, which is pretty exciting. I hope to be a more regular contributor to the blog. Here’s the link to my profile. I get less comments than my regular blog, but more readers.

I'll say that's exciting! Congratulations! When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s been a gradual process. I decide to write seriously about four years ago, but had only taken one creative writing course in college so I had much to learn. I think I became comfortable with telling people I’m a writer shortly after I started my blog “Substitute Teacher’s Saga” last September. I write, therefore I’m a writer.

What inspired you to write your book?

I was driving to New York for Christmas break. There was this creepy mist wrapping around trees on the side of the highway. A minute later, I passed by a Walmart, and the line, “Walmart was the first to disappear,” popped into my head. I spent the rest of the trip trying to figure out why and how a Walmart disappeared and what it had to do with the fog.

Oh, what a fantastic prompt! Love it. There are so many different directions, it makes my head spin. :) Do you have a specific writing style?

I love writing children and teen dialogue. It comes easily to me since I spend so much time with my kids and students.

How did you come up with the title?

For my manuscript that I’m querying The Mist Chasers, it was originally called The Disappearances. My main character, Eve, calls herself a mist chaser. Someone in my critique group suggested the title change.

Now that is an awesome title. It's not always easy to choose a title. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Since there’s an environmental message, I’d like teens to think about the changes they could make in their lives, little and big, to help save the planet. If we wait for the government to do everything, we won’t do enough.

Oh, that's a great message. What books have most influenced your life most?

Harry Potter because it got me writing. I want to create books that can have whimsy and humor, but still have an important message and an exciting plot. When I was around eighteen, The Accidental Tourist taught me about healthy relationships. The idea that it’s not enough to love someone, but it’s who you are when you’re with that person that really stuck with me. And I’d add The Lorax because it made me care about the environment was I was in first grade.

I love the Harry Potter books! If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would choose Kate DiCamillo because she writes different books in different voices. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is one of my favorite books, ever.

Now that is an awesome book. I read it to my youngest sister once even though she had already read it about five times. But some books are just worth rereading. What book are you reading now?

I always read two or three books at a time. Right now, I’m reading Tithe by Holly Black and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack by Chuck Sambuchino. I follow Chuck’s “Guide to Literary Agents” blog and I’ve done two guest posts.

That's an awesome blog. I follow it too. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I really enjoyed Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. The protagonist, Evie has a great voice and the premise is clever.

I have to read that book. I've heard so many great things about it. What are your current projects?

I just wrote a short story “Allured” that I submitted to Wyvern Publications. I hope it will make it into their upcoming YA book, Fangtales. I’ve also unearthed my first manuscript to see if it can be rewritten knowing what I know about writing now. Can this manuscript be saved?

Oh, good luck! I plan on submitting to that anthology too. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m on chapter five of Naked Eye, which is a YA fantasy. The protagonist, Lucienne, loses her eye in seventh-grade. When she’s sixteen, her prosthetic eye is replaced by a magical one so she knows when people are lying. She finds skeletons in her past and has to figure out whom to trust.

Oh, that sounds griping! You have awesome story ideas. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The query is more daunting than writing the book. I use “that” and “so” way too much. I add too much tell and need to replace it with showing, but I’ve gotten much better about that.

Queries are awful. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their

It’s so hard to choose! I guess I’ll have to mention J.K. Rowling again because not other author made me want to live the protagonist’s life so much. How many of us dream to be more than a mere muggle? And the way book 7 brought everything together was impressive and satisfying.

Great choice! What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Editing. Figuring out what’s wrong and how to make it right. And I wish I’d paid more attention to those grammar lessons in school.

I'm with ya on editing. A necessary evil. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I only have blog readers. Your support keeps me going.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually five weeks. I eat, sleep, and breathe the book. When I’m done, it’s a rough, rough draft.

Wow! Color me impressed. I always say that you have to have the words written first in order to polish them. Man, I wish my first draft could be done in 5 weeks. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

If it’s not the weekend and I don’t have a sub job, I try to devote three to four hours of solid writing and editing. And then I sneak in more when I can.

That's great. I'm so envious. I wish I had that amount of time to devote to writing. I'm lucky if I get a half hour here or there. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I will wake up dreaming about the next scene in my WIP, and have to get up in the middle of the night and write it down before I forget. Does anyone else do that?

*waves hand* I do! Although usually it's a new story idea, but sometimes it has been a scene from the story I'm working on at the time. Now for some fun questions. What paranormal creature would you be and why?

I’d be a witch in HarryPotter, of course. I’m just waiting for that Hogwarts letter.

Me too! Haven't seen any owls yet though. What would you do if you didn’t have to work?

I’d love to have more time to write. And if I could visit Paris often and write there, that wouldn’t be too bad.

Writing in Europe would be awesome. If I ever make it big, I'm definitely gonna do that. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

An artist. Later, I found out I was good, but not that good.

What makes you laugh?

My husband makes me laugh. He’s really sarcastic. My children make me laugh as well. Lately, they keep trying to speak with British accents, but they sound awful. We all crack up about it. And two of my favorite funny TV shows are “30 Rock” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

I love sarcastic humor too. Thank you so much for joining us today, Theresa!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

With a Little Help from My Friends

The awesome YAlitchat is having a query contest and for the first round, voting is open to the public. My query for Alexia's Pen is in the running, and I would greatly appreciate your thumb up vote. But don't feel pressured to vote for me, check out the other entries as well. You're only allowed one vote. Voting is open to the public until October 31. Thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Inspiring Mondays

Danielle asked for a paranormal romance picture so here's a picture of vampire love:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shelley Munro Guest Blog - Hope in The Mail

Once upon a time there was a young girl (that would be me) who loved to read. She started out reading Doctor Dolittle adventures and graduated to Famous Five and Secret Seven mysteries. Next came Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys plus lots of other books in between. One day she went on holiday to the beach. It rained and it rained and she ran out of books to read. In desperation, her mother handed over her Mills & Boon paperbacks. The girl, now in her teens, devoured the medical romances her mother gave her, and thus began her love affair with the romance genre.

On another day, a few years later, she decided that maybe she could write her own book. She made a few starts and discovered this book writing business might be a little harder than what she'd thought. Oh, well. Never fear. She put her writing attempts aside and started dating boys. She found a boy she really liked and married him. They decided they'd like to travel so they set off on an overseas experience, exploring quite a bit of the world. Six years later, they finally returned home to New Zealand. The girl found a job and they lived happily.

One day the girl woke up with an overriding thought on her mind. If she didn't make a serious attempt to write soon, she'd run out of time.

That day was a turning point.

The same week, she discovered a course on writing romance at Auckland University. She enrolled. One of her favorite magazines ran an article on Susan Napier, a New Zealand writer, and gave details of an organization called Romance Writers of New Zealand. Fate, she decided. A sign that she was meant to write romance.

She attended the course and started writing. She completed her story and sent it off to Harlequin Mills & Boon in England. Then, she sat back and waited for a contract to arrive in the mail.

A rejection arrived one month later.

This was her first experience with rejection. Undeterred, she set about writing another book. Another rejection. This process repeated for the next five years…

She found this rejection business very irritating and disappointing and frustrating. Each one was a blow requiring many chocolate bars, the odd glass of wine and many consoling hugs from her husband. She grew tired of rejection and decided to employ a strategy that she calls “Hope in the Mail”.

With several manuscripts under her belt, she resolved to make sure she had several submissions out at once. She also started to enter contests and she entered more than one at a time. This meant she had several coals in the fire. If a rejection came back, she could tell herself she still had hope in the mail. One of those submissions might just be the one. If she received a rejection, she'd evaluate and either submit it to another publisher or rework it, ready to send out yet again.

During her sixth year of writing, she and one of her writer friends had a competition. The one who had the most rejections by the end of the year would win a lunch out, paid for by the loser. The girl ended up receiving quite a few rejections and won a free lunch. On the second of January the next year, she received an email from a publisher wanting to publish her book. It was a good year because she sold to several other publishers too.

My name is Shelley Munro. I currently write for Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing and Carina Press. I write contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi and historical romance.

One thing you mightn't realize is that published writers still receive rejections. I hate rejections. Most people do! I try to keep my hope in the mail strategy working for me to cushion my disappointment. At present, I have only one submission out, but I'm working hard to complete another manuscript. I need more hope in the mail!

CONTEST: Win a download of Shelley's recent release, The Spurned Viscountess. All you need to do to enter the draw is answer one of the following questions.

What is your favorite way to cope with rejection? Do you wallow? Eat chocolate? Drink a glass of wine? Do some retail therapy? Or, if you have any questions for me about writing, that will put you in the draw as well.

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and loves to write romance. She also loves to travel and explore the world. Her latest release is a historical romance called The Spurned Viscountess, currently available from Carina Press. You can visit Shelley and learn more about her books at her website 

 The Spurned Viscountess purchase link

Nicole here, thanks for all the wonderful comments you left for Shelley! The winner of Shelley's contest is Aubrie. Congrats, Aubrie and enjoy!