Tag Archives: novel

Getting the Pieces in the Right Spots

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imageWriting  a novel is much like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. You’ve got lots of pieces laying around, whether they’re in an outline, written free form scribbled on a napkin or just floating around in your brain.  You might start with an idea, or just a character. Maybe you only know you want to write something with a specific theme. Those little pieces have to come together to build the big picture that is your story.

When working on a puzzle we think may a piece fits somewhere but at second glance,  it seems a bit off. The color might work but maybe the fit isn’t tight.  You wouldn’t throw that puzzle piece away, would you? No! Without it you won’t have a complete image. Sometimes in the editing process we find better places for those pieces. Places where they fit snuggly and help make the clearest image for your reader.

When I was writing Heavyweight I originally had the story start differently. It wasn’t until I read it at a writing seminar that it was suggested to me that I change where the beginning started. I was able to rearrange things without cutting out what I thought was important information and it made the story much stronger. I really think it had a lot to do with selling my book to my publisher.

Yes there will be appropriate times to cut out information. We tend to add a lot of extras (especially in our early days of writing) that aren’t really necessary and will most likely slow down the flow of the story, but many times you will have beautifully penned prose that you can’t bear to lose. Most likely, with some rearranging of the pieces in editing, you can find the appropriate place for that section.

Don’t be afraid to move things around. If the beginning seems slow because you’re front loading the world building, break it up and add it as the story goes. You want to engage and hook the reader, not have them flipping ahead to see when the “real” story starts. Move those story pieces until you get the picture completed, each part fitting tightly with its neighboring parts, creating a seamless story.

When editing, do you just cut big parts or do you try to find new places in your story for them?

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Persistence is a Necessary Key to Unlock Success

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The cases of someone gaining instantaneous fame and success are far and few between. If you’re just sitting back on your laurels imageawaiting for stardom to come knocking on your door, you’re probably going be waiting there a loooong, long time. The “Greats” in any field have likely been knocked down, rejected, laughed at, spit on, etc. before they gained a solid foothold and made a decent name for themselves.

Having a successful career as a writer is no different (and we’ve discussed different forms of success in the past, so I won’t get into that aspect at the moment.) A quick Google search can have you finding how many times your favorite authors were rejected before they had a book picked up and published.

Scrolling through social media will have you seeing book deal announcements and others having self-publishing success. It can be disheartening, but you are not alone and that’s no reason to throw in the metaphoric towel. Many people who don’t write think it’s an easy task. How many of us have had a conversation similar to this?

Them: “Oh! You’re a writer? I could do that…I’ve got this idea that would definitely be the next great American novel, ya know? I could totally do it, if I just had the time.”

You: “Umm, yes well, let me know how that goes for you…”

But as us actual writers know, it’s not an easy task. It takes time and planning, more than a general knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. It take persistence. You have write, re-write, edit, re-read, edit some more. You polish queries and summaries. You have to send out letter after letter, suffering rejection and kind, but still hurtful, suggestions from those who think you have promise but the book is “just not right for them.” Without persistence, the novel would never get finished. Without persistence, the queries would never get sent. Without persistence, the book would never get picked up or self published. Without persistence, no one would have a chance to dive into your wondrous worlds and fall in love with your characters.

It’s a long journey with peril of rejection at every turn. But is it worth it to hold that printed book in your hands? Most definitely. If the first key doesn’t turn the tumblers, be persistent and keep trying until you find the one that will unlock your success. Your work is worth the commitment.

How do you stay persistent in your publishing journey?

An Interview. A Book Release. A Chance to Win Stuff With Raine O’Tierney!

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Look at that sweet cover!

Look at that sweet cover!

I have the delightful honor of being the first stop of author Raine O’Tierney’s blog tour for her new release I Will Always Miss You, a LGBT YA novel that deals with diversity and reminds its readers that family doesn’t always mean the people you share DNA with.

I was able to pin down the busy author for a bit and got her to answer some questions about the book and her writing in general. Let’s see what she had to say!

(Keep going after the interview for blurbs, excerpt,purchase links, contest info and more places where you can connect with Raine!)

1) Is this your first Young Adult book?

It is! And I’ve got to say—mad props to anyone who writes YA exclusively. Getting the ever-changing voice of a teenager right is hard work! How we talked as teens is insanely different than how teens today talk, and I don’t even consider myself a *total* dinosaur.

(MB- as a fellow YA author, I understand this struggle completely!)

2) Why do you write Young Adult?

Even though I’m closer to 30 than I am to 18, my experiences as a teenager—the good, the bad, and the awkward—are still so vibrant in my head. Writing YA lets me explore some of those emotions in a creative way.

(MB – as someone over 30 I can tell you some of that vibrancy never fades…)

3) What’s so important about I’ll Always Miss You that made you have to tell the story?

In addition to trying to contribute to positive LGBT literature for teens, I wanted to write a story about an Arab-American teenager. We need more diversity all around, but there’s a noticeable lack of Arab characters. Throughout this story Isa Zaman struggles with how others perceive him and his family and how he perceives himself.

4) Were there any parts that were difficult for you to put down on “paper”?   Why?

Any time the boys were in a fight. I would argue with them, nooo, guys, let’s all get along! But characters do what they do.

(MB – They have a mind of their own, don’t they? Silly characters!)

5) What do you hope people take away with them upon completing the book?

There are so many things you can walk away with depending on the angle you look come at it from. But, hmm, my favorite theme? Family doesn’t always mean our blood relatives.

6) Who was your favorite character in the book and why?

Isa’s oldest sister Aaliyah is my favorite character. She has completely embraced her Moroccan heritage and creates beautiful things that inspire Isa on his journey. She’s also very kind—the sort of person I wish I knew in real life. I’d love to spend the afternoon with Aaliyah.

7) Who or what inspires you to write?

Siôn O’Tierney (my writing partner and hubs!) He said he married me for my sweet, sweet writing monies (hahahahaha…ha…) so I keep writing stories for him.

8) What are five of your favorite reads?

(In no particular order)

Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

(MB – I…don’t know any of these! To the Amazon.com!”)

9) Do you have any other projects in the works readers can look forward to?

I have an adult work coming out from Dreamspinner Press in May called All That Shimmers and a collaboration I did with the fantastic Debbie McGowan called Leaving Flowers that will be out in June from Beaten Track Publishing.

10) Where can fans connect with you?

Swing on by my FB page for randomness! ❤

https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor

11) Bonus Question! If I’ll Always Miss You was turned into a hit Broadway musical, what would the name of the big song played in all the commercials be called?

Shoes on the Wire! (With the exclamation point.)

ISBN-13: 9781632165244

Pages: 256 pages

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Categories: Young Adult | Bisexual | Coming of Age |

 

BLURB:

Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.

Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.

EXCERPT:

He took a deep breath. “That’s sort of the thing. I don’t like anything about her.”

“What?”

“She asked me out.” Mackie shrugged. “But I don’t really like her all that much either.”

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. We’d been ignoring each other for all that time over a girl he didn’t even like? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.

“Are you for real?”

“Yeah.”

“So why are you going out with her, then?” And then I remembered what he’d said in my room that day, that he was dating her just because…. Because why? If we were ever going to be friends again, then I needed to know. “Why are you going out with her?”

“I really don’t want to talk about that, Isa.”

“C’mon, Mackie. It’s been driving me nuts. Why would you date someone you didn’t even like? Or do you like kissing her?”

“Not… really,” he said. “That’s kind of the thing. I thought I would. But… I don’t.”

The book.

“Okay, then stop.” I shrugged. “We’re supposed to start working at Rashid’s, and we could hang out again, and there’s only like a week left of school. We could be friends.”

I don’t… think that’s… a good idea.”

“You don’t want to be my friend?” I demanded. “What? ’Cause of Katy? ’Cause I was a jerk? That’s stupid, Mackie! It was your fault too! I don’t understand you at all.”

He was quiet for a really long time.

“I’m screwed no matter what I do,” he finally said on a low sigh.

“You think?” I asked, not knowing what he meant. I rolled Dad’s nine iron with my palm.

“Jesus H, Isa. You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”

“Yup,” I told him dryly. “Yup, I’m going to make you do this, whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”

He turned his face and stared at me. He stared at me so hard and for so long, I started to get uncomfortable. And then he leaned in, and I thought he was going to whisper it. Whatever the big secret was, whatever he’d been hiding from me, his reasons for dating a girl he didn’t even like, his reasons for not wanting to be my friend, all of it. Instead, he kissed me.

 

BUY LINKS:

 http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6128

 http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Always-Miss-Raine-OTierney-ebook/dp/B00TWR8A7C/

 https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-i039llalwaysmissyou-1740472-149.html

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ill-always-miss-you-raine-otierney/1121262925?ean=9781632165220

 

 GIVEAWAY:

 Rafflecopter prizes: $25 Amazon.com giftcard and an e-copy of I’ll Always Miss You

(Please clicky the link! Sadly my version of wordpress does not support Rafflecopter widgets *sad panda face*)

Click me to Win Stuff! Pretty Please!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Raine O’Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Homepage: Raineotierney.com

LGBT Author Interviews: http://raineotierneyhatparty.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaineOTierney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney

Cover Reveal: Michael – Path of Angels Book One

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I’m excited to be able to share the very pretty cover of the first of four short stories that make up Path of Angels, by my lovely writing buddy, Patricia Josephine. Isn’t Michael’s fiery sword the coolest? Don’t you want to know what he uses it for? Add the book to your Goodsread list (see link below) and keep an eye here announcing the March publish date!

 Michael
Path of Angels Book One
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Add to your Goodreads shelf

Blurb

There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

About the Author

 photo PatriciaLynneAuthorwithbook.jpg

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and this one chose her. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.Patricia Josephine writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Follow Patricia on Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Website | Wattpad

Book to Movie Adaptation: 50 Shades

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Today marks the debut of the first trailer for the (much?) anticipated 50 Shades of Grey movie.  Looks like it could be pretty steamy.  As someone who read the books, I’ll probably check out the movie just to see  if the movie translates better than the not so stellar writing of the series (Will movie Ana continue to talk about “down there”?).

Here’s the thing though, even with all the success of the books, I have a feeling the movie is not going to be as well received.  When reading the books, ladies of all walks of life could do so in the privacy of their own bedrooms, bath tubs, etc. never needing to let the public know that they were engrossed by the somewhat steamy stories. To walk into a theatre and buy a ticket, sit in public and possible squirm at the sexy parts will be a whole different experience.

While I don’t particularly care if the movie is a big success or not, I hope these shyer women will get out and see it and not be concerned about what others might think of them.  If they have no shame in enjoying the book and could discuss it with friends, hopefully they can/will get out and enjoy it on the big screen. Maybe make it a group “date” with other lady friends who might be embarrassed to go see it alone.  A ladies night out for all sorts. Make it fun. Live it up. Celebrate sexuality! But uhhh…ya know, keep it legal in public, ya know? 😀

Will you be going to see 50 Shades in the theatre?

Here’s the trailer for those who have yet to see it: