- What’s Jack up to? Mr. Pushy has been just that lately. Pushing his luck with the early wake up calls and coming over to my side of the bed giving it a bit of a hard shove. He may look small but that dog is strong. Oh Jack, you know I’m not a morning person. Lord knows you get quite the attitude when folks come around messing with your afternoon naps.Twitter can be the devil, but it can also be a wonderful thing if used correctly. Last week I posted a Friday tweet question.What are your favorite writing books? Please RT.
I’m happy to say I got lots of good responses and some of the books were new to me. Here is the list in pretty pics. Some that got multiple nods: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Steven King’s On Writing and Forest For The Trees by Betsy Lerner.And you thought you could just sit and write. Well, I know I at least hoped.Please share some of your faves that were not on the list or tell me if you’re a writer that just wings it. I have to say, though I have a few of these and reference back to them often I have the hardest time getting through a writing book. Maybe that’s my problem. Hmph!Now if you’re not a writer what sort of tools do you use to hone your craft?Best,Kwana
- The other morning I woke up with one thought on my mind. “I wish I had a straight contemporary romance novel.”Seriously, these were the words that entered my mind as I opened my eyes. Strange right? Now none of my three ideas which I’m still very excited about and talked about is as a straight contemporary. But I know where this came from. I have just finished reading Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger and she’s one smooth writer. You seem to pick up her books, you get involved with the characters, you read it and ‘poof’ it’s done. I love it.Then it came to me, I did have a contemporary romance, my very first book from waaaay back when.Now I know this book is a hot mess and I do mean a hotttt mess. But I went to the old computer and after some frantic searching I found it along with a very embarrassing query letter. (I can’t belive I sent that hot mess out eek!) The embarrassing thing about this query is this is before I joined RWA and had done all my reading and learning about queries so it’s really long with no hook to speak of. The crazy thing about it is in its longness I found that I wrote the shortest synopsis of my life when I didn’t know anything about writing a synopsis at all. Nowadays my goal is to write a short synopsis and I’m having the hardest time doing that. Getting anywhere near 5 pages is torture and suddenly there it was, right before my eyes, written by me, a 1 ½ page synopsis.Amazing!Ignorance is Bliss in some ways I guess.Best,Kwana
- I’m at one of those awful and awfully exciting times when I’m ready to work on a new project.
It always fills me with a little bit of fear and dread, the thought of commitment, especially for my Gemini mind.
Now of course I don’t just have one idea I want to work on, but two that feel semi-good. Neither of them easy. Then out of the blue another sneaks into my head, poof like it’s the cleverest thing in the world (I’m sure it’s not. Sneaky little bugger) like I’ll have time for it. Like I’ll have time for the other two. The truth is I’m no fast writer and the hardest word for me is the first.Ugh. Decisions, decisions. How in the world does one know which direction to take when there’s that large fork blocking your view?Best,Kwana
Ok it’s official I’m pooped. After Book Expo, dinners out, the subway, walks around the city and The Strand (18 miles of books, yo) I then went to Lady Jane’s Salon last night. How could I resist?
The first readers were Diane Gaston and Amanda McCabe (my weekend hang out buddies) reading from The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor anthology. They were both charming and funny. Totally entertaining the packed house.
Also reading were New York Times Best Selling author of over 70, yes, I said 70 books Wendy Corsi Staub. It’s always fun to chat with Wendy. She had the room on the edge of their seats.
The evening finished with New York Times Bestseller paranormal author Marjorie M Liu. It was Marjorie’s first reading and she was fabulous! What a voice and what a talent.
It was great seeing all of you at Lady Jane’s last night. If you didn’t make it the next one is July 6th. Please come on out and support romance and have a fun night.
Wish I could now sleep the day away but duty calls. Gotta get to work and the real world. There’s a house that has been neglected and then I have some writing to do. That’s what I do right?Wendy, Marjorie, Diane and Amanda(sorry about my bad crackberry lighting Amanda)
Oh, before I go please check out Barbara Vey’s PW Blog today. Barbara did one of her Drive By Videos and I’m so scared I’ll be on it. It was fun seeing you again Barbara!
Also check out Romance Novel TV Maria and Marisa were in the house covering Lady Jane’s. Two wonderful and friendly ladies.
These cool industry blogs will give you much better coverage than mine.
Hope you have a great day!
It’s a scary celebration here today. I’m happy to announce the release of
GHOST HUNTRESS BOOK 1: THE AWAKENING.It’s the first book in my friend Marley Gibson’s exciting new Young Adult series. Yay, Marley!
As a treat I was able to pin Marley down for a few moments in between all her exciting travels and Ghost Hunts and have her answer a few interview questions.Now here’s Marley…1. Tell us about GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING?It’s the first in a trilogy. Get out your tape recorders, crystals, and extra batteries— you’re about to go where our world meets the spirit world..Psychic Kids, Paranormal State, Haunting Evidence—these and countless other television shows are making believers out of millions of people: Ghosts exist, and they’re living right beside us. For centuries, individuals have been trying to prove the existence of ghosts. But without hard evidence, it’s been difficult to make the case. But now as science and technology have progressed, ghost hunters have been able to use scientific means, along with more traditional psychic tools, to make their case. Photographs, video recordings, and sound recordings are all producing some amazing results.In this new series, Ghost Huntress, meet Kendall Moorehead, a seemingly typical teen. When her family moves from Chicago to the small historical town of Radisson, Georgia, her psychic abilities awaken. She’s hearing, feeling, and seeing things that seem unbelievable at first, but with the help of the town psychic, Kendall is able to come to terms with her newly emerging gift. So, together with her new BFF, Celia, Kendall forms a ghost hunting team. They’ve got all the latest technology. They’ve got Kendall for their psychic. Now they’re going to clean up Radisson of its less savory spirits.
The story is fiction. The science is real. Welcome to a new reality.
2.How did you get the idea for the series?
I was attending the New England Romance Writers’ Conference back in 2007 and attended a session run by the New England Ghost Project talking about their ghost hunting investigations. I found the idea completely fascinating and knew I had to write a story about teenage ghost hunters. I had no idea at that time that there were TV shows such as GHOST HUNTERS, HAUNTING EVIDENCE, and DEAD FAMOUS – to name a few – that highlighted such types of investigations. From there, everything just blossomed.
3. What do you want your young readers to get from the series?
I’d like young readers to know that the challenges of growing up and finding out who you are and what your place in life is are universal and timeless. I just want readers to see that being different is okay, no matter if you’re new to a town, have an accent, are too skinny…or are experiencing a psychic awakening.
4. Care to give us a hint about what’s coming next?
In GHOST HUNTRESS: THE GUIDANCE, out in September, readers will see Kendall growing more comfortable in her psychic skin. She will continue to develop and hone her abilities through the guidance of not only her group of fellow huntresses, but her parents, her mentor, Loreen, and her priest, Father Massimo…and her spirit guide, Emily.
I am currently working on GHOST HUNTRESS: THE REASON, the third book in the trilogy that will be a little darker than the other two books. Kendall will experience some very life-changing things that will leave her questioning everything she’s ever known. That book will be out in May 2010.Thanks so much for being here Marley. I’m so happy for you and wishing you much success. Happy Hunting!You can check out Marley at her website here and also at her blog which she shares with other wonderful young adult authors: Book, Boys, Buzz here. Enjoy!Kwana
What’s Jack up to? Jack is full of energy today. All I hear is tap, tap, tap as he wanders around the house his nails tapping in the wood floors. I have no clue what he’s up to and honestly I don’t want to know. I’m sure it’s trouble.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the debut of Lady Jane’s Salon. Lady Jane is a new monthly romance reading series held at Madam X in Soho. It is the brain child of Authors Maya Rodale, Hope Tarr, Leanna Renee Heiber and Ron Hogan of Beatrice.com.Admission was 5.00 or a gently used romance novel. The reading was for a great cause: Share the Love which is an organization that collects gently used romance novels and passes them on to non-profit organizations that provides assistance to woman in transitional periods of their lives. For more information on share the love your can check out their website at http://www.share-the-love.org/.This month’s readers were Hope Tarr and Andrea Pickens. Both did a fabulous job and launched the series off in a most romantic way.
And the best part was I got to connect with lots of my writing buddies and blog friends. Here are a few pics. Sorry about any blurriness. All taken with the Blackberry and shaky hands.The founders: Hope, Ron, Maya, LeannaAndrea PickensLeanna, Lauren Willig, Elizabeth of Scandalous WomenSarah Tormey and ElizabethNext month my RWA/NYC chapter mate, and New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig will be reading along with Jenna Peterson. If you’re in town come and check it out the first Monday of the month. Don’t forget to bring a book!
- On my current reading list is a Christmas gift that was given to me by one of my critique partners. As a matter of fact she gave a copy to each of us in our small group with the comment of something like, “this book is making me miserable so I thought you all had to have it too!” Sweet. This is why I love my critique partners and wouldn’t trade them for anything. She did back it up with, “don’t get me wrong, it’s making me miserable in a really good way.”
The book in question is The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby.
Here is a blurb: “If you’re ready to graduate from the boy-meets-girl league of screenwriting, meet John Truby . . . [his lessons inspire] epiphanies that make you see the contours of your psyche as sharply as your script.”—LA Weekly. John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood’s most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby’s own unique approach to building an effective, multifaceted narrative.
Now, I’m just beginning the book and am only up to step three. I’m horrible at finishing writing books. It’s a strange block with me or maybe they are just hard to get through. The only one I did do start to finish was Stephen King’s On Writing. He even made a writing book interesting. Go figure.
But so far this book has me with its talk about The Dramatic Code which says: character change is fueled by desire. Truby steps away from the classic 3 act structure of most stories. He promises you’ll enjoy the creation process as you follow his 22 step program then in the very next chapter on premise he challenges you to: Write something that may change your life! Gulp. Sure I’ll get right on that. And then he gives this little tidbit: 9 out of 10 writers fail at premise. Yeah, it’s a real upper. Tons of enjoyment there.
But I’m up for the challenge. I just adore my friends. Misery, company and all that.
So tell me, what makes a story good for you? Can you pin it down? Is it a feeling? The Characters? The flow? The tension? The suspense? Please share or give examples of your favorite stories, either books or movies. Don’t be shy now.
KwanaP.S. – Scroll down for Top Chef talk. Warning spoilers ahead.
- What’s Jack up to? He’s admiring all the snow that I’m coming to loathe. Enough already with this winter thing. Is it over yet? Come on, another snow storm? Another snow day? Waa Whine…
So, I’m happy to say Katie was not telling tales when she made Lisa Kleypas’ Blue Eyed Devil one of her top picks for 2008. I finished the book the night before last and I can’t tell you all how disappointed I was that it was actually over.There I was at 11:30 at night looking around with at least a hundred other unread books in my house, but sad that I didn’t have another Lisa Kleypas just like this one to begin reading right at that moment. Don’t you love it when that happens?
It was refreshing to read a straight contemporary for a change. No mystery, magic, shape shifters or vampires. No deep tales of angst or melancholy. Just a good romance with an intriguing heroine and sexy rake (yep, a contemporary rake) of a hero with all sorts of trouble getting in the way of their love.The tension was kept so high. There was one suspenseful moment where I was so into the book and it just so happens something fell in another room of the house and I actually jumped. Eek! Like a little girl. That never happens to me. (note to self: keep the tension high)Well done! Thanks for the recommendation, Katie. I’ve turned into a huge Lisa Kleypas fan. The woman can write right.Best,Kwana
- What’s Jack up to? Mr. Jack is a missing the DH after the Christmas Holiday. I’m just not as playful. Sorry Jack. I’ve got to step up my game.If you’re like me, and I suspect a few of you are, you get excited over the opening of a crisp new book. So sweet!
So like a fruitcake, I spent a good deal of time on Sunday searching for the perfect new daily planner to help organize these days that seem to always get away from me. I also had way too much trouble finding inserts for my Filofax which I’ve had for years for all the family appointments. See I’m big on writing things down and if it doesn’t make it into that red book, well, we don’t make it where we need to be. Organizing a family is not easy. Can I get an amen?One of my Christmas gifts this year was a new Blackberry which should arrive any day. The DH feels this should answer all my organizing needs. Now I love him dearly, but he should know by now that you can never pry the pen from a writer’s hand.Are you ringing in the New Year by turning a new page? I sure am. Think of all the wonderful possibilities of a clean slate. That first moment of infinite ability.Best,Kwana
- I’m currently reading Charlaine Harris’s DEAD UNTIL DARK which HBO’s True Blood is based on. I really like her voice. It’s like being in Sookie’s head all the time. Luckily I don’t mind and find Sookie quite funny and quirky.I find it so interesting, reading this after enjoying the series on HBO. It’s usually the other way around for me. I’m only a few chapters in and already it’s a few episodes in. Wow. Charlaine sure gave them lots of rich material to work with and this is just the first book in the series. Very cool.I am always so in awe of creative people. It just makes me smile.What are you currently reading?Best,Kwana