Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why We Have Rules (and why you should break them.)

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. 
~Henry David Thoreau

Haven't had a Thoreau quote for a while, and this one seemed appropriate to what I've been thinking about lately.

The Writing Rules. 

Yes, I've blogged about this before. That's okay. It's worth talking about again. I'm sure you've heard these "rules" for writing. To be verbs, adverbs, show don't tell, blah, blah, blah...

There are actually good reasons for these rules.

Avoid using "to be" verbs (is, was, etc.): Because this often indicates a passive sentence and those are, well, passive. Active is more engaging. But, really, we can't eliminate one of the most used verbs in the language now, can we?

Don't use adverbs: Because adverbs don't leave a strong impact on the reader. Unless you use them judiciously and sparingly. Then they'll have an impact.

Ditto for dialog tags other than "said."

Don't start sentences with an -ing verb: Because if you overdo it, your sentences all have the same cadence and become sing-songy. Readers will tune out. But, hey, once in a while isn't a problem.

Show, don't tell: Because telling distances the reader from the story. There are times when you need a little distance in the story. Don't show when showing would be boring or unnecessary.

This will hold true for any writing rule you've ever heard. It's important to know these rules. It's important to know why they are brought up. It's important to know when to ignore them.

We each have a unique voice.  Don't stifle yours by obsessing about the rules. Only you can decide what is right for your story. Trust yourself to know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Armor of Light--A Review

Before I start with the review, I want to let you know that there's a little contest going on on my Facebook page. You could win your favorite candy bar! Come check it out.

I first read Karen Hoover's The Sapphire Flute, Book one of the Wolfchild Saga, in May of last year. I loved it, and I've been anxiously awaiting the second book, The Armor of Light, ever since. This month I finally got the opportunity to read it!

Ember has been accepted into the mage academy, but not without cost. She has gained a new enemy, ancient and dark, whose entire purpose is to destroy all white magic and her along with it. After nearly losing her life in a brutal attack, DeMunth is assigned her guardian, and the keystone he wears, The Armor of Light, begins the transition that will make it a true power.

Kayla has lost most everything of importance to her—the people, the prestige, and all she fought for the past ten years. With nothing left to lose, she continues her search for the birthplace of The Sapphire Flute and the Wolfchild she believes to be its player. Her journey will take her to strange, foreign, and often dangerous places, and everything she had thought to be true will be proven wrong.

In a showdown full of betrayal and heroic loss, Ember and Kayla finally meet on the battlefield, fighting a war on two fronts—against C'Tan and her people, and the mysterious enemy bent on destroying all magic—the shadow weavers.

The story is full of power, betrayal, hope, and love. The elements of the universe are coming together, and none can know who will stand in the end.

The Armor of Light is a wonderful continuation of the exciting story in that began in The Sapphire Flute. I love both of the main characters, Ember and Kayla. They each have unique strengths and weaknesses and I could relate to both of them. The book is full of action, danger and just the right amount of romance. The exciting ending took my breath away! Now I can't wait to read the third book!

If you enjoy epic fantasy, then you'll love both The Sapphire Flute and The Armor of Light.

You can read samples of both and find ordering information on Karen E. Hoover's website. I highly recommend you check them out!

*I received a free e-book in exchange for my honest review.*

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Goin' Moblie

I want to start by saying that I don't have a cell phone. Well, okay. I DO have a cell phone.A droid. But I have no phone service (and, no, I won't be getting any). It's basically a glorified pocket watch. But I can get on the internet if there is a wireless network available, and luckily at my house there is! So, I do occasionally read blogs from my phone.

I would like to suggest that if you have a blog, you enable mobile view. If you don't the blog is basically unreadable from the phone. It's super tiny. And if I enlarge it, then I have to move the page all over to read everything. Annoying.

Here's what mobile view looks like:

I wanted a sample of my blog, but this was all I could come up with. You get the idea.

Yeah, there's no sidebar, but in my opinion, it's better to have someone able to read your posts from their phone than not. If they can read you on the phone, they're much more likely to visit your blog from an actual computer than if you annoy them with an unreadable page.

To enable mobile view, just go to settings, mobile & email, and enable it. Super easy.

Your mobile readers will thank you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Empty Well

Holy cow! It's been a week since I last posted? How did that happen? I had it in my mind that I had posted on Wednesday last week. I didn't realize it was clear last Monday. So sorry! (That sort of shows what last week was like.)

I've been pretty much empty of blog post ideas anyway. But on the plus side, I've been chock full of great plot ideas. I think that's a pretty good trade-off.

I know there are some of you writers out there who are brimming with ideas all the time. People who have so many all at once that they can't decide what to write first.

That's great, sure isn't me. Ideas tend to come to me in a slow trickle. And sometimes I have to dig pretty deep to find any at all.

Do you ever have that problem? I know there are ideas all over. Everywhere. In every conversation, in every place you go, in everyone you meet. I see them, but the vast majority just don't speak to me.

Oh, what a joy it is to find one that does. The idea that makes me sit up and go, "Yes! I can't wait to write that!" So, I'll trade off blog post ideas for story ideas any day.

What about you? Do ideas come to you in a flood or a trickle? Any tricks for getting the flow going?

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Time to Facebook And a Time to Refrain From Facebooking

One of my Facebook friends recently posted. "Face your problems. Don't facebook your problems."

Do you agree or disagree with that sentiment? (Do you think facebook is a verb?)

I tend to agree. At least for me, in the way I use social media, I have definite boundaries about what to post and what not to post. I try to keep it positive. After all, what happens on Facebook (Twitter, etc.) stays on Facebook. Forever. For everyone to see.

It may be okay to post, "Had a bad day at work." But it's not okay to post an all caps, profanity-laden rant about how much you hate your job. At least, not in my opinion.

My own rule of thumb is that I can never, ever use social media when I am angry. True story: The day I started my Facebook account, I deactivated it a couple of hours later. I was mad. The urge to get online and vent my frustrations was almost overwhelming, and I knew what a disaster that would be. I have learned the hard way that it is easy to say things online or in email that I would never say in person. And that's not the face I want to present online. So, I don't use social media when under the influence of anger.

What about you? Do you have any social media rules you stick to?

Friday, September 9, 2011

So, What's it About?

Do you have trouble answering that question about your book? I sure do. I'm almost afraid to answer it. What if they think it sounds stupid? But...I think I'm going to have to come up with a good answer because lots of people having been asking lately. The deer-in-the-headlights look probably isn't the best thing.

I'm thinking, "Mormon youth fight to free the earth from alien invaders." Or something like that.

Anyway, if you really want to know what it's about (you do right?), here's the blurb I posted on my brand-new website.

Hannah and her friends have been warned about the danger lurking outside of their secret refuge, but some things, like friendship and freedom, are more important than staying safe.

Hannah and Derek have spent their lives hidden underground, out of the reach of the alien invaders who devastated the world years before. When McKenzie and Jeremy decide to run away, Hannah and Derek follow, determined to bring their friends home.

Once outside, the four teens soon realize they cannot return to their refuge without endangering everyone there. Captured, enslaved and separated, Hannah, Derek and McKenzie each learn the unique role they must play in liberating the Earth, because even an alien invasion cannot stop the work of God. 

 Oh, that really leaves out so much cool stuff. Like the Avenging Angels--high tech air/space strike fighters. And Toovuts, the Paiute Indian Wolf deity. And the overskins. And...well, lots of stuff. Why do blurbs always feel so inadequate?

I just want to thank you all for all the love on my last post. It really is wonderful to be able to celebrate our successes together. I just love this community. Thanks so very much!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Did It!

Almost two years ago, I set a Big Goal for myself. If you don't remember, it was this:

Within two years (by Nov. 2011), I will have a novel published or at least have a contract. Also, I will be presenting at a local writing conference.

Well, check this out.


Yep. That's me signing my book contract with Walnut Springs! And guess what? My sci-fi adventure novel, tentatively titled Defenders of the Covenant, will be out by November!

So, with my presenting at LTUE and CONduit, that big goal?


*throws confetti*

See? Dreams really do come true. And if I can do it, you can do it too!

(P.S. Come and check out my Author Page on Facebook! I'll have a new website coming soon too, so watch for that. And thank you, thank you, thank you for all your awesome support. I couldn't have done this without you.)