From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Friday, December 31, 2010

Writing Goals - 2011

You can't escape it....we are on the brink of a new year. Looking over the past year are there any particular writing accomplishments you are proud of? Any new goals you would like to set?

Here at FictionFlurry we have started a encouraging one another by emailing our daily word count and posting it on our Facebook page.

If your not a friend of ours stop by and check out our progress. My personal writing goals are as follows: Write every day...even if it's just a paragraph. Finish my third novel entitled The Generation, attend one writer's conference, read more...both fiction and writing craft books.
Some dream goals: Nab that publishing contract, obtain literary representation.

How about you? What are your writing goals?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Giveaway: "Bitter Legacy" by H. Terrell Griffin

Bitter Legacy (Matt Royal Mysteries)
It's been a while since Fiction Flurry has done a contest or giveaway, hasn't it?  How about this...between Sunday, December 26 and Sunday, January 2, 2011, leave a comment with your New Year's resolution, and you'll be entered for a chance to win a hard copy of H. Terrell Griffin's Bitter Legacy. 

We'd love to see some resolutions about your writing goals for 2011, if you're are the writerly type.  If you're not a writer, let us know what you're focusing on for the coming year.  And if you leave a comment, please check back with Fiction Flurry to see if you've won.  Heck, even if you don't leave a comment, come back to Fiction Flurry any old time you like. 

What's your resolution for 2011?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Teen Readers

Okay all you last minute Christmas shoppers, I have a list here that will help you buy novels for the teen reader in your life. Here are my recommendations (in no particular order) for hot Young Adult books that are currently on the shelves.


(Book Two in a Series. Book One: Perfect Chemistry)
When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.


Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.


Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.


Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.


Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.


Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


(Book Two in the Series. Book One: HUSH HUSH)
Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but atleast she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperatly searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.


(Second Book in the Series. Book One is DEMON PRINCESS)

Fresh from finding out that she is a demon princess, fighting her aunt for her life, and rescuing her father from being poisoned, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But when Rhys, the handsome king of the faery realm, decides to show up at her school as a "foreign exchange student," Nikki knows this won't be possible. Couple with this a whole host of other problems: there's a new prophecy that claims she will destroy everyone. Her conflicted feelings for Rhys and her boyfriend, Michael, are getting in the way of their relationship. Her best friend Melinda just might be a demon-slayer-in-training, and her old crush Chris might know of her demon side. Throw in a field trip to none other than Hell itself … and Nikki's going to be hoping for a rain check on more than just her homework!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: "Bitter Legacy" by H. Terrell Griffin

Bitter Legacy (Matt Royal Mysteries)

Full disclosure, here, folks. Oceanview Publishing sent me an advance review copy of H. Terrell Griffin's Bitter Legacy, a December 20, 2010 release.  The 360 page novel is the fifth "Matt Royal Mystery" for the author.  Though I had not read any of the previous books in the series, I did not feel lost or left behind. 

Florida's Gulf Coast is as much a character in this book as Matt Royal, so if you've spent time there, you'll appreciate the vivid descriptions of place in this book.  The main character, Matt Royal, is a now retired special ops military dude who later dabbled as a trial lawyer.  Now he drinks beer and goes fishing with his buds, except for when he's trying to avoid getting killed.  Someone is trying to eliminate Matt and his friend Logan, but they have no idea why.  Matt puts his military experience to good use by picking off bad guys who are trying to off him. 

From the beginning, the pacing is very quick and the action is intense.  Matt is a man's man, to be sure.  He seems to be the type to sample the chick du jour, and in this book, Matt takes an interest in a new detective to the island, J.D. Duncan.   Matt's time is consumed, however, with trying to figure out why he and his friend are targets.  He eventually finds a link between the target on his back and Florida's Seminole Indians and their past dealings with the United States government.  The reader gets an interesting history lesson in the region's native population and their link to African American slaves.

From a reader's perspective, Bitter Legacy was a fast read filled with action, and would make a nice gift for a manly man.  That said, coming from a woman's perspective, the book was certainly not unpalatable for a gal's taste, either.  The main character is able to get in touch with his feelings on brief occasions, though there's not much time for emotion when you're trying to avoid being killed.

From a writer's perspective, my eye was a bit more critical, though it did not ruin the experience.  The book was written in both first and third person, which was a little discombobulating for me.  Some chapters were written from the main character's perspective, and all others were written in third person.  Additionally, some chapters were very short, only a couple pages.  There were a few chapters like this that could have been eliminated because they did not further the plot or reveal the unraveling mystery. 

Further, there were some editorial hiccups that made me stop reading from time-to-time so I could figure out if what I was seeing was error or purposeful.  For example, the book is organized into events that occur on each day for a week.  The book starts on a Saturday, which is made quite clear because an entire page is devoted to just the word "Saturday" before chapter one even begins.  However, in the second paragraph of chapter one, the following sentence appears:  "It was Friday, and there was a hint of expectancy lingering in the thin spring air, relief that another week was about over, that the weekend beckoned."  A nice sentence overall, save for the confusion in time.  I also noticed the spelling of a minor character's name spelled two different ways.

There were good things about the writing, too.  The author is masterful at painting the scenery, and does a good job with plotting.  The main character is someone you grow to care about, which is always a plus in a novel!

Since Fiction Flurry is mainly a writing blog, I felt the duty to offer a review of the writing as well as of the reading.  Regardless, for a quick read over this holiday break, it would make a good gift for an action-loving guy in your life. 

Come back next week for a chance to win a copy of Bitter Legacy by H. Terrell Griffin!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Because Santa Said So!

Back when I was five years old, my best friend in the whole world was a little boy who lived down the lane named Teddy. We had practically everything in common. We both had tag-along little brothers who were the bane of our existence and whom we tortured endlessly. We both loved to play outside, all the more so after our mothers had called us in and we feigned temporary deafness. We both adored going barefoot in the warmer months. Essentially, all the most important qualifications for a childhood friendship.

But, alas. One day a terrible rift surfaced in our relationship.

For, you see, Teddy’s birthday fell in the languid summer months, and mine fell in the cool autumnal season. And so that September, I watched from my second floor bedroom window while my friend, Teddy, climbed the black, rubber-treaded steps of the yellow Indian Run School bus. Tears of the unfairness of it all, the blistering envy that I felt, puddled in the corners of my eyes. Teddy had started Kindergarten, and I would have to wait an entire year until I could go.

My greatest desire in the whole wide world at that tender age was to learn to read. I would sit upon my father’s lap while he read to me in the sinking light of the evenings, wondering in awe at the hieroglyphics that tap danced from their inky residence on the page and sprang to life with my father’s tenor voice.

Do you know a child like this? Is there a little bookworm in your life?

This Christmas, in addition to the bikes, the Disney movies, the action figures and the Wii games, I urge you to buy a child in your life a BOOK. (More than one is even better). Give a child the greatest possible gift – the gift of endless imagination. Reading is the foundation of learning, so encourage children this holiday toward achievement. Support their desire to read.

There are many fabulous choices out there. Here are but a few:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Lion, The The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
What about you?
What book will you be giving to kids this year?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Writing Suspense

I love reading and writing suspense novels. There's nothing more satisfying to an author than to hear those magic words, "I couldn't put your book down, I just had to finish it!"

Even if you don't write in the suspense genre, you can benefit from these tips from James Scott Bell to take your fiction to the next level.

1. Create a character your readers will care about. Then...put them up a tree, throw rocks at them, and get them back down.

2. What is your main character's biggest fear? Make them face it.

3. When you find that a scene is moving slow...bring in a man (or woman) with a gun. When a character shows up with a gun, action always follows.

What are some of your favorite writing tips?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Writing Without Eyeglasses…Guest Post by Holly Schindler

On Writing Without Eyeglasses…

I graduated with my master’s degree in the spring of 2001, and decided to nix the idea of a full-time job in order to pursue a writing career—my lifelong dream. This was possible, of course, only because of the incredible—INCREDIBLE—financial support I received from my family. I know—very ROOM OF ONE’S OWN. That support allowed me the freedom to spend my time drafting enough manuscripts to form a pile that stretches from the floor to the ceiling in my office! A mere (ahem) seven and a half years after grad school, I snagged my first publishing deal…A BLUE SO DARK, my debut novel, was released in May 2010.

…After all that time spent writing project after project, if I could give writers just one piece of drafting advice? Take off your glasses.

Yup, take ‘em off completely…

I drafted the entirety of A BLUE SO DARK in late 2006…only took about two months. The reason I was able to write at such an incredible pace was because I took my glasses off as I wrote—I’m so nearsighted, the print COMPLETELY disappeared from my screen. The beautiful part was, if I couldn’t SEE what I’d just written, I couldn’t second-guess it. So my internal editor was silenced. Completely. And it really didn’t take any effort to silence her. She was just…gone.

Sure, the book was revised globally about four different times in the next two years. But revising for me is always far easier than drafting. I’d much prefer to be reworking something that’s already down in draft form than trying to come up with something from scratch.

…And one thing I’ve heard repeatedly from bloggers about BLUE is that it’s honest… But I think the reason I GOT that honesty is because of the blind first draft. That stark truthfulness was there from the get-go.

So, all you drafters out there (even those of you currently in the midst of NaNoWriMo), put those glasses down—or turn off or cover your screen…Remove the temptation to read that last sentence. Not only will your internal editor fade away, but you’ll actually forget about the potential audience, too…It’ll just be you and your words flowing as naturally as the thoughts in your own head…Which will make YOUR book brutally honest, and your main character seem flesh-and-blood real!

--Holly Schindler

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life in the Way of Writing

Today is Saturday about 11:30am. My husband is home, I should have some free opportunities to write, in theory that is. But, as I begin this short blog project, which I have explained to the knight in shining armor I married, that I just need ten minutes, I am interrupted first by my two year old's unexplained crying. Then, as I sit down prepared to begin again there is a knock at the door followed by my dearly beloved ushering in my four year old who has fallen in the back yard only to land in the neighbor's dog's um, leavings... Now I must clean him up. And so my life routinely goes.

It isn't very often that I am free to sit for any stretch of time and let my imagination run wild, my fingers hammering the keyboard in an attempt to keep up. But I digress, let me start at the beginning. Four years ago I had my first child, four months after that I quit my teaching job and on December 26th, yep you read it right, my family of three moved from our 1920s cape cod in Kansas to a two bedroom duplex in Marysville, Ohio. It didn't take me long as a stay at home mom to become bored with daytime television and being new town, the dead of winter did not offer many opportunities to meet other moms. So, I quickly burned through our library, reading anything and everything that caught my eye. I've always read, I love to read and imagine. As far back as I can remember my grandmother and I traded books and talked about stories together.

So, at my grandmother's suggestion I set out to write a novel. My son was young enough that I was able to take full advantage of his nap times for my writing and since he napped twice a day I was on quite a roll. Every afternoon as soon as I finished that day's editing and writing I emailed it off to Grandma in Kansas. She replied nightly with "It's wonderful honey, I can't wait for the next bit." Now, you might think this would be sufficient and rewarding. I on the other hand I did not (Love you Grammy), I wanted constructive criticism.

A year later I had almost finished the book but was bored with it. This is not a very good sign. If I didn't want to read it why would anyone else? I saved my first manuscript and tucked it into the back of a drawer. By this point I'd met a few people in town, one of them an author with whom I shared my manuscript. Over the next two years as my writing dwindled to a stop, she never gave up inviting me to writing events, and eventually the group for whom this blog is written. I am happy to say that I've picked that novel back up, saved my original and began again with all the tips I picked up, suggestions other writers have given me and am excited about the new face I've given my story.

I have learned a lot during my journey, in my personal, professional and writer's life. I work part time to keep my sanity, I have discovered adult interaction is very stimulating to the senses and prompts brain activity. I have an amazingly supportive husband who quite literally pushes me out the door when he senses my need for personal time. Always have a notebook, you never know when inspiration will strike or you'll need to write down a passing quote or scene. Keep connecting, eventually you will find a niche that fits just perfectly where you can grow some roots.

Michele Buchholz

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanks Giving

I have to admit: Thanksgiving has always been my all-time favorite holiday. When I was a child, our house was the hub for all the festivities. My mother cooked the turkey, and my grandparents, cousins, friends of the family – whomever, as the list was long and all were welcome - would dine at our round oak table along with my brother, my parents and me. Sadly, the group at our holiday feast has dwindled considerably with the passing of time, but my enthusiasm for the day has not waned in the least.

I know that this year it seems harder than ever for many folks to conjure up the enthusiasm for our “day of plenty” when it may appear that there is so little to go around. Yet despite the difficult economic times, I would like to encourage you to take this day and reflect upon your own personal “Thanks Giving” list. I bet that each one of you could come up with at least three things that you are grateful for. (And probably a great number more, but three seems pretty manageable).

Now, taking the three items on your list, here are some ways to make your Thanksgiving a day of true gratitude:

1) DIG DEEPER. Like many people, you have probably included loved ones on your gratitude list. For example, you may be thankful for your parents. But dig deeper – are you grateful for them because they always supported you when you failed? Or are you grateful for them for the life lessons they instilled in you throughout the years? Whatever the three items on your list, dig down and determine just why you are glad to have them in your life.

2) GET LOUD! Don’t keep your list to yourself. Is your child on your list? Then tell them how proud you are of them. Tell your son that he makes you laugh or your daughter that she inspires you. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. And don’t stop there – tell other people what you are grateful for, and ask them to share their lists. In a world where we are all too quick to offer criticism, use this day to make someone else feel cherished.

3) STOP AND SAVOR. This is a fact: time goes more quickly with each passing year. I don’t think Einstein has a theory for it, and probably you scientists out there would argue that “technically” time, in and of itself, does not move any faster. But, for those of us over forty, you know exactly what I mean. I find myself thinking about all those things I planned to do “someday” and I realize: someday is now. So, linger over your meal today. Enjoy the aroma of the food as it cooks. Use every single one of your 10,000 taste buds. Listen attentively when others are speaking. Enjoy the sensation of a full belly, but most importantly, enjoy having a full heart.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

by Erin McCahan


Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.
When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birthday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. So why the sudden hesitation?
Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine two things – who she truly is and who she truly wants to be. And the answers are not what she thought they’d be.
My thoughts:

The cover of this book drew me in and after reading the much edited wedding invitation on the back cover I knew I had to read this book. At once I connected with the main character Bronwen because during my teenage years I often felt as if I had to be switched at birth and there was no way I fit in with the rest of my oh so perfect family. From that point on I couldn't put down the book and was extremely invested in Bronwen's personal struggle to find out just who she was, where she would end up and what the fall out would be.

-Michele Buchholz

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Using Non-Fiction Publications as a Jumping Board to Fiction Publication

Okay, I feel like I'm cheating somehow by discussing non-fiction writing on a blog devoted to fiction, but bear with me.  As any agent or publisher will tell you, it is far easier to publish and sell non-fiction than fiction.  Our instant gratification society makes for a ripe market for information of any kind.  For beginning writers, it's pretty easy to get published in non-fiction on the web, in small newspapers, in local magazines and newsletters.  Once you have a few publications under your belt from smaller publications, move onto bigger fish.

If you're not an expert on any particular topic, you can transform yourself into one. For example, if you're a working mom, start blogging about your frustrations and experiences about being everything to everybody.  Interview other working moms to get their tips for coping.  Pick up some followers, and're a self-made expert.  Use the platform you've established to sell your first articles or essays to local or web publications.  Really, when I mean "sell," I don't necessarily mean you'll be compensated in greenbacks at first.  What you'll get in return is a publishing credit.

Having your non-fiction writing published will give you more gravitas when you are searching for someone to publish your fiction.

How many times have you looked at the fiction submission guidelines for your favorite literary magazine or for a literary agent and realized that they want a listing of publications in which your writing has appeared?  What agents and publishers want to know is that you've been vetted by other publications (and they think you're ink-worthy), and that you are a professional who can work with editors. 

If you have been frustrated with rejection for your fiction, it might be time to readjust your publication plan of action.  Building a platform as a non-fiction expert can take a while, but once you get those first few non-fiction publications under your belt, you will have new confidence in your attempts at fiction publication.

Here are a few helpful resources:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Self-Editing...How the Heck Do You Do It?

First off, KUDOS to you if you've made it through the intital draft of a novel and are ready to edit. That's a feat in itself. Most people who start a novel never ever finish it. So, stay positive. You're already heading in the right direction.

So far in my journey to publication I have written (and edited) two full length Young Adult novels. The first one was, well, horrible. A complete learning experience. My grammar skills left a lot to be desired, let me tell you. But, hey, putting it out there to beta readers was my very first step in learning to self edit. I didn't even know what a dialog tag was two years ago let alone a beta reader!

When I tried to edit my first novel, I had no clue what I was looking for. Mainly, I just ran through looking for misspelled words and run-on sentences. So, when I got my first red-filled edited version from a beta reader back, I was a little taken back. I had a lot to learn.

Instead of getting mad at the people making the marks, I went back to them and asked them to teach me learn some skills and so I can improve the next time. For this post, I figured I'd share what I learned from the disastrous first novel.

1. Shorter Sentences: Yep. Aim for short concise sentences. Agents even pointed that one out to me. This makes the words flow and people can read it fast.

2. Keep Your Sentences Active: What I mean here is, instead of saying something like..."I watched him stand..." make it "He stood." Again this helps flow.

3. Internal Thought--Make Sure It's There: Another words, just because you know in your mind how you want your character's dialog to be perceived, doesn't mean your reader gets it that way. If your main character says something snippy, but the reader doesn't see some internal reasoning for it, it can turn the reader against your character. You want people to like your characters. To empathize with them. So, make sure they come off the right way.

4. Pacing: Most agents will tell you to start your story with action. To get a good feel for what they mean here, pick up a book from your shelf and read the first couple of pages. More than likely it's an action scene. Don't lead in with backstory, even if it's important. Figure out a different way to work it into the story. Cut scenes that drag the story down. Save them in a file for later, they work somewhere else.

5. Look For Repetition: This can range from overly used words (Look and eyes are some of mine) to repetivie thoughts. I've had my hand smack for saying the same thing eight different ways in just three chapters. The reader will get it the first time, don't beat a dead horse.

6. Forshadowing: Make sure you weave it in throughout the novel. It's imporant. Weather you know it or not, it's one of those things that can keep your reader hungry to finish your novel. So weave in some clues.

7.  Stay in the Right Tense: This is a biggie for a lot of people. If you start in present tense or past tense, stay in that tense. Most of all, pick the tense that best suits your writer's voice.

8. Let Your Voice Shine Through: You hear it all the time, voice is everything. If you hear someone talking to you in your head, write it down just like you hear, weather it's snarky or whatever. It's what's calling to you. Be true to it.

9. Establish Your Crisis in the First Quarter of the Book: First off make sure you know your MAJOR crisis. It's really hard to make that the center of your writing when it's not clear to you even. Take a hard look at your plot and make sure you know and can clearly state it.

10. Have Fun With It: Remember why you are writing. The minute it's not fun anymore, is when you stop loving it. It's okay to put a novel back on a shelf and edit it later if you become frustrated. Sometimes a break can give you fresh editing eyes.

Any other tips you wanna share???? We'd love to hear them!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Writing A Heartbreaking Scene: How Do You Go There?

So I've had a couple days off, and I spent a chunk of those days watching sappy click flicks and working on revising my manuscript. There are some really great tear jerking scenes in movies and books out there right now, just FYI. Anyway, when I think about writing a sad scene, like a break-up or something, I like to pull out some sappy movies and get my mind right. Writing a heart wrenching scene works so much better when you can feel empathy for your characters and a well written scene (movie or book) can draw you in and instantly make you feel that.

I was thinking of some of my go to movies and books that just bring out those emotions that in turn help me write better scenes in my own manuscripts and I thought I'd share. But I warn you now, most of my list is YA/Teen stories since that's what I write. Who knows, maybe someone I'll help someone get through a block. :)

Here goes:

Twenty Boy Summer (YA Novel)

The Sky Is Everywhere (YA Novel)

Twilight Saga (New moon break up or movie)

 A Walk to Remember

There's a few to get you started. Have any you want to share?

Happy NaNo Everyone!!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview With Kylie Brant

Today, I'm interviewing romance author Kylie Brant.

FF: Kylie, thanks for being here today. Tell us a little bit about your background.

KB: I'm a Midwesterner, having lived my entire life in Iowa. We do quite a bit of traveling, especially once winter hits. We favor tropical locales once the snow starts flying!

FF: Tell us your latest news?

KB: Deadly Intent is Book 4 in The Mindhunters series from Berkley Sensation. Although part of a series about investigators who work for the legendary ex-FBI profiler Adam Raiker, each of the books stands alone. In Deadly Intent, forensic linguist Macy reed and investigator Kellan Burke race the clock to find an eleven-year-old girl who has been kidnapped--for the second time.

FF: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

KB: Writing always came easily to me in school, although I never considered doing it for a living. But I've always delighted in words, their nuances and inferences. I have always been a voracious reader, and I think we absorb quite a bit about good writing skills just by reading works by fine authors.

FF: What inspired you to write your first book?

KB: My favorite authors just couldn't write fast enough to keep me in reading material. So one summer I decided to try my hand at writing my own romance. That was 1990. I sold my first and second manuscripts to Silhouette in 1992.

FF: how does your family feel about your writing?

KB: My husband has always been very supportive. I have five kids and I started writing when they were 12, 11, 7, 4 and 4. So they've grown up with me writing. They sort of take it for granted, I think. However, now that I've branched out into single title books and sold them to Germany, they are taking more of an interest. And they are old enough to start reading them for themselves, so they have a big better idea of what the plots entail. The kids are proud of me--but that doesn't mean I don't take my share of ribbing. Nothing is sacred with those guys!

FF: What books have influenced your life most?

KB: The authors who inspired me to try writing for myself are the ones who I just couldn't wait for their next releases! Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Patricia Gardner Evans...they were some early favorites.

FF: What is your favorite book?

KB: My favorite books of all time are To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger; and Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.

FF: What book are you reading now?

KB: Oh, I always have several books going at once! Right now I'm reading Silent Scream by Karen Rose and The Search by Nora Roberts.

FF: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

KB: Impossible for me to choose only one! I love Nora Roberts because her characterization has so much depth. Tami Hoag has fabulous suspense that never disappoints. And I love Lee Child and Robert Crais's recurring characters in their series.

FF: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

KB: Recently, I've enjoyed Leslie Parrish and Kate Brady.

FF: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

KB: When I started writing it was before email, and before the Internet. I didn't belong to any writing groups, nor did I know anyone who wrote. After my first sale my editor strongly suggested I join RWA. I have found such a wonderful sisterhood there and made some great friends. I look forward to the conference every summer just to catch up with my buddies!

FF: What are your current projects?

KB: Right now I'm writing the sixth and final installment to The Mindhunters series, Adam Raiker's story. And I already have an idea for a new series!

FF: Do you have anything you want to say to your readers?

KB: I always encounter readers who are a bit hesitant about joining a series midway in, if they haven't read the first few books. I just want to assure them that each of the Mindhunters books are stand alone novels. I can promise you won't feel lost if you start with Deadly Intent! The first three in the series were released last fall back to back and the third Waking The Dead, was a 2010 Rita finalist.

FF: Thank you so much for spending time with Fiction Flurry. Kylie's latest release Deadly Intent is getting fantastic reviews! Be sure to add it to your reading list. If you want more information about this author, please stop by her website

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo Tips

Four days into November and the craziness of trying to write a novel in a month, and I remain optimistic.  I have written every day thus far, though not enough to be on target.  I hope to make up for it this weekend at a write-in.  That brings me to my limited advice on ways to get through NaNo.  The advice is limited because this is only my second attempt at NaNo, and I have a word count to try to keep up with!

Here's what's helped me so far:

1.  I tend to write more in the evenings, so a small glass of wine or some beer helps me to loosen the writing muscles, or at least reduce anxiety about whether or not I'm up for the NaNo challenge. I don't usually partake of the adult beverages, so I don't drink more than 1/2 a glass lest it put me to sleep, which would be counter productive, now wouldn't it? 

2.  Attend write-ins in your area if your house is a zoo like mine.  Fellow writers offer camaraderie, but they're all there to do the same thing, which is to crank out copy.  The best part is no kids, phone, tv, or piles of laundry to distract you.

3.  Don't worry about the language usage or fine details of your story.  NaNo is perfect for simply building the skeleton of your novel.  Go back to your story after November and put some meat on those bones.

4.  Make big batches of soup.  It freezes well and heats up nicely.  There's no sense in spending otherwise good writing time on cooking.

5.  Don't beat yourself up if you are not on target for your daily/weekly word count.  This is supposed to be fun and productive, not a burden.

Now...quit surfing and go write.  But please DO come back to Fiction Flurry tomorrow.  We will have an interview tomorrow with author Kim Bahnsen!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My First NaNo

"So," I announced to my husband with a flourish, "I've signed up to do NaNoWriMo this year."

Pulling his attention (reluctantly) away from the TV, he asked, "What's that?"

As I explained the concept of National Novel Writing Month, and my personal reasons for participating, I began feeling anxious - and overwhelmed - about the commitment. I went on about how I would need my computer free in the evenings and why I had to get dinner over with in a timely manner, but I could see his eyes glazing over.

"Okay," he said when I sputtered to a stop and went back to watching TV.

This was my first clue that I was starting to obsess about National Novel Writing Month.

This is my first year for NaNo. Last year, several members of my critique group participated, but I did not. And I felt that I had good reasons for my decision. I was several chapters into my first novel and I didn't want to stop the momentum to start another story. Also, the Thanksgiving holiday is something that doesn't happen just once in my family - between my husband and I, we have a large family requiring our presence at 2-3 family functions. Then, of course, there's Christmas shopping and decorating to do (I like to get it all done early). So I felt justified for holding out.

But, what I realized - as I watched other people (people I knew) participate in NaNo - is that none of my reasons were really valid. Everyone has lots to do at Thanksgiving and everyone has Christmas shopping or something equally as important. My real reason for not participating was plain, old-fashioned fear.

The final straw, so to speak, was the wonderful Guest Blog posted by Urban Fantasy author Laura Bickle. If you haven't read it you can find it here. She talks about her experiences with NaNo and the two books - both now published - that she completed during the month. After reading about her success, I realized that I needed to face my fears.

Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being ridiculed. These fears have ruled my writing, crowding my head with "What ifs" and "You can't say that" thoughts. Participating in NaNo is about facing these fears and moving forward with my writing.

I also have other compelling reasons to participate.

First, I need to learn some habits as a writer. Umm...make that GOOD habits. Most important of these is to write every day. I have a lot of excuses for NOT writing - and I'm really good at deploying them. Web-surfing, FARMVILLE, my favorite TV program - all of these have kept me from my writing goals.

Second, I have to learn to write without editing myself. My Inner Editor is a cold-hearted, evil bitch with no compassion whatsoever. She delights in ripping my efforts to shreds - before the words even hit the page, if possible. I sit, staring at the blank page, desperate to find a word - any word - that's suitable to type.

And finally, I really need to finish something. I'm good at starting a story, but not so good at sticking with it. Halfway through (or before) I've already decided that the story I'm telling is overdone, my writing sucks and the ending I'm working towards is garbage. So I quit. The story I was in the middle of last year at this time (the one I didn't want to put away) now languishes on my computer - stuck on Chapter 8.

So, I made the plunge. Headfirst dive, no safety net - just me and a blank page. I've locked my Inner Editor in a closet and bought my fears a one-way ticket to Antarctica. You'll have to check back to see how it goes.

If you have a moment to spare from your own project, I would love to hear your experience with NaNo. Is it your first time? Have you participated before and if so, what are your thoughts on the experience. If not, why not? All comments are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Holy cow!  Less than a week to go now before National Novel Writing Month begins and I feel woefully unprepared.  I have no idea what plot, characters, or setting I'll be using for my novel.  And the time...where am I going to find the time to do this?  This time of year, I can barely write 1,600 words a month, let alone 1,600 words a day.  Between work and kids, writing 50,000 words in November will be a miracle.

This is just my second attempt at NaNoWriMo.  Last year, I wrote less than 15,000 words.  Pitiful, yes?  This year, I'd like to better prepare myself for the challenge.  Even if I don't hit the 50,000 word mark, I'd like to make a respectable showing this year.  So, here's my To Do list that will get me off to a good start:

1.  Have a basic plot outline.
2.  Prepare a brief biographical sketch for each of my main characters.
3.  Bribe my husband so that he doesn't kill me for dumping the kids on him the entire month of November. 
4.  After the time changes this weekend - we "fall back," right? - I'm going to keep getting up at my usual time, foregoing the extra hour of sleep, to write.  So, I usually get up at 6:00, but I'll set my alarm for 5:00 and my body will still think it's 6:00 because of the time change.  Am I making sense?
5.  As much as I hate staying in the office over my lunch break, I will, just so I can write.
6.  I will not permit myself to edit as I go along, like I usually do.  That pesky self-editing is what keeps me working on the same four chapters I wrote for NaNo last year without progressing any further.
7.  I'm clearing a spot at home to write where there is no TV and no phone. 
8.  I will not log onto the internet during a writing session.
9.  If the husband bribery works (see number 3), I will attend the Saturday write-in sessions my writers group is hosting.
10.  Apologize to family and friends in advance for my lack of time to chat, socialize, go out, etc.  (Who am I kidding. I live a really boring life as it is.)

If you have never given NaNoWriMo a try, you should.  Check it out at 

Good luck to all!  I'll see you on the other side of November...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Winner of SPARKS

J to the ILL

Winner of SPARKS by Laura Bickle

Thanks to everyone who hung out with us this week and a BIG thanks to those who commented. To our new followers - WELCOME! We hope everyone will come back and check us again soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Laura Bickle - Guest Blogger

Today at Fiction Flurry, Urban Fantasy author Laura Bickle talks about her experience with an annual November tradition. Nope, it's not Thanksgiving.  We'll let Laura tell you more about it.

But first, we want to say a big THANK YOU to Laura for hanging out with the Fiction Flurry crew this week. We've had a lot of fun working with Laura and hope she'll come back again soon - maybe when her new book ROGUE ORACLE is released?  What do you say, Laura? 

Followers, if you want Laura to return, please make her feel welcome by commenting generously.  As an added bonus, anyone who comments (on any of Laura's posts this week) will TRIPLE their chances of winning Laura's newest book, SPARKS. Laura is giving away an autographed copy of SPARKS to one lucky winner this week.  See the Contest Tuesday post for additional details. (and if you missed it, check out Laura's interview here.)

So now, the moment you've all been waiting for....Laura, the blog is yours.

Why I Love NaNoWriMo

The blank page is the most intimidating force in the universe to me.

It says nothing, and it's likely to say nothing. I fight against all that white space, trying to fill it, wondering how a ream of blank paper becomes a book. I used to take years to finish a book. I'd pick it up, put it down. I'd ignore it for weeks or months. I'd lose my place, go back, get sucked into editing. I'd wander into internet research, never to return. I had no deadline, nothing external to make me finish.

A friend in my writer's group mentioned National Novel Writing Month. I wrinkled my forehead and asked her:

"What's that?"

"It's an online challenge to write fifty thousand words in a month."

"No kidding?"

That sounded like a complete impossibility. After all, it took me YEARS to finish a book. How could anyone possibly do fifty thousand words in A MONTH? In a month, with a full-time job and other commitments?

"Sure. You should try it."

"Um. Okay."

I was doubtful. Really skeptical.

But I gave it a shot.

And I learned more in that crazy month than I did in years of plinking around with the same book. Laundry piled up. Sleep was at a premium. But I learned the most important secrets to writing a novel that contributed to me becoming a published writer:
  •  Integrating writing into my daily life. NaNoWriMo requires that one keep a pace of around 1600 words a day. It became easier and easier for me to fold that into my life, to keep the momentum going.
  • Suspending the dreaded inner editor. My inner editor can become quite vicious. NaNoWriMo allows me to hold her at bay for weeks, allowing me to get the skeleton of a story down on the page.  
  • NaNo taught me to finish. Completing a manuscript is the most important thing that a writer can do to further her career. And doing it again. And again.
Dark OracleMy 2008 NaNoWriMo novel, DARK ORACLE (under my Alayna Williams pseudonym), was published in June 2010 by Pocket Books. My 2009 NaNoWriMo book, ROGUE ORACLE, will be published in March 2011.

I use the skills I learned in NaNoWriMo in all the novels I write. I've learned to write quickly, to write daily, and to complete a story over and over. At the end of NaNoWriMo, I certainly don't have a complete eighty thousand word manuscript. But I have the skeleton of a book, something that I can build upon.

And I'm no longer facing the terror of the blank page. I know that it won't be blank for long. Within a few weeks, I'll be on my way to something wonderful.

Well said, Laura! For more information on Laura and her books, check out her website.

So tell us, are planning on participating in NaNoWriMo?  Have you participated in the past? We would love to hear about your experiences.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Contest Tuesday - Win a copy of SPARKS by Laura Bickle

Urban Fantasy author Laura Bickle joins us again today. Her latest release, SPARKS, is the perfect spooky read for this time of year. Here's a synopsis:

SparksWITHOUT A TRACE. Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department--while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits plaguing a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell--but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains-- or, more precisely, the lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims--and she is sure this was no naturally-occurring blaze. Soon she's unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit's poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more--she's collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky's freshly-hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

So here's the deal. Laura is giving away an autographed copy of SPARKS to one lucky Fiction Flurry follower. If you're not a follower, what are you waiting for? All followers get one chance to win. HOWEVER, if you comment on any of Laura's posts this week (Monday Interview, Contest Tuesday, Thursday Guest Blog), you will receive THREE chances to win.

That's right followers - anyone who comments will TRIPLE their chances of winning Laura's new book, SPARKS.

We love our followers! Complete rules and guidelines for claiming your prize are in the sidebar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview with Urban Fantasy author Laura Bickle

Urban Fantasy author Laura Bickle is with us this week at Fiction Flurry. Laura has a new book out, SPARKS so we are lucky to have her. Today we sit down with Laura to talk about her background and how she got started writing. Tomorrow we’ll have a special giveaway featuring one of her books and later this week Laura will take center stage with a blog post of her own.

Laura thanks so much for joining us. Congratulations on the new book!
Thanks so much! I really appreciate you having me.

So, tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from?
I live in the Midwestern US with my husband/chief muse, where we're owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. My background is in Criminology and Library Science. I've worked in and around criminal justice for the last ten years, which has really helped me with the criminal investigation aspects of my books.

SparksI write urban fantasy novels as Laura Bickle and as Alayna Williams. This past year has been busy. EMBERS and SPARKS were released in April and September. DARK ORACLE was released under my Alayna Williams pseudonym this June, and will be followed by ROGUE ORACLE in March, 2011.

Wow, you have been busy! When and why did you begin writing?
I've always been writing, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. When I was a kid, I used to write stories from the perspectives of the family pets. The dachshunds and the cats had pretty exciting adventures in the woods, chasing critters and climbing trees. The fish...not so much.

Poor fish! What inspired you to write your first book?
I probably completed my first book ten years ago. It's still in a shoebox. The road to publication is really long.

EmbersMy first published book, EMBERS, was inspired by a theme that pretty much built itself. By day, Anya investigates suspicious fires as an arson investigator in Detroit. By night, she works as part of an eccentric group of ghost hunters. Anya's the rarest type of spiritual medium - a Lantern. Where other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya incinerates malicious ghosts.

I'd established a theme centering around flame....and decided to give Anya a fire salamander as a companion. Salamanders haven't gotten much press since Paracelsus' time. They are the elemental avatars of fire. Our ancestors assumed that they were the spirit of fire, as they were often seen crawling out of logs tossed into hearth blazes. The salamander was probably annoyed to have his peaceful woodland home turned to tinder, and was making a fleet-footed escape. But alchemists and sorcerers made the link between salamanders and flames, and the association has endured.

So...for me, inspiration is pretty much following a theme down a rabbit hole.

It seems like you don't have any problems finding inspiration at all. So I have to ask, do you ever experience writer's block? If so, how do you get through it?
All the time. I think that the worst thing that I can do is to give into it. There's really no good solution except powering through it with the "butt in chair" approach.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I do a lot of research. I keep files of clippings about arson investigation, spontaneous human combustion, ghosts, Tarot cards…I’m sure that my files greatly resemble Fox Mulder’s from the X-Files. I’m doing research before and throughout the writing of the book. I often arrive at a point where I need to know something new for a plot detail. Everything I’m reading when I’m writing a book is research for that project – sort of a total immersion. I find that I get the best ideas that way.

Dark OracleWhen I’m working on the ORACLE series (as Alayna Williams), I write with a deck of Tarot cards at hand to try out a spread or generate ideas. It’s a really fun way to work.

Probably the hardest research I did was research on Chernobyl for ROGUE ORACLE. That kept me up at night, everything from eyewitness accounts to pictures. Really disturbing stuff

Wow. That sounds like pretty heavy research.

So let’s switch gears for a moment. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It's something I've always done, but never really thought much about. I've always had at least one project going on.

What book(s) have influenced your life most?
When I was a child, I read Robin McKinley's HERO AND THE CROWN and BLUE SWORD. I'd never read any fantasy before with strong female heroines, and I was instantly in love with the genre.

What book(s) are you reading now?
I'm reading Ann Aguirre's HELLFIRE. Also THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO ALCHEMY. I love mixing pleasure reading up with research.

Is there someone you consider a mentor?
I've had a lot of help and encouragement from fabulous authors like Linda Robertson, Ann Aguirre, and Jeri Smith-Ready. But my favorite mentor would be my editor, Paula Guran. She really teaches as she works. I've learned so much about what it takes to make a book through the four books she's edited for me.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?
I'd be a veterinarian. Maybe for some mythical beasts, like dragons. :)

And to finish up, what has surprised you the most about the publishing industry?
That it isn't over once the contract is signed. There's so much to do after the fact...copy edits, promo, worrying about can get to be overwhelming.

Do you think your experience is typical in the publishing industry?
Probably not. My first four books were sold directly to the publisher without an agent. I only recently acquired one, and am very excited to begin to work on new projects and ideas.

Any words of advice on how to get published?
Know how what you're writing fits the market. Study submission guidelines carefully - there really is no leeway. Only submit if your manuscript meets those requirements.

Be patient, persistent, and flexible. Once you've sent a manuscript off, be working on the next. This may not be the book that is your big break, but it may be the next one. Keep pushing your darlings out of the nest. One of them will fly someday.

Go to local writer’s conventions and join organizations that are involved with your type of writing, like RWA and SFWA. Go to conventions and meet other writers, editors, and agents. Though it's difficult for introverted writers like, network, network.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice I can give is to finish. Whatever you’re working on, push through to the end. And do it again. And again.

To that end, I strongly recommend participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The process challenges you to write 50,000 words in November. That was really a breakthrough in my own writing process, in learning what was possible. Both DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE are NaNoWriMo books.

Laura thanks so much for your time. For all of our as-yet unpublished authors out there, your story is very inspiring because it proves that there is not just one way to get published. Great job!

Readers, if you want more info on Laura or her books, check out her websites  and  Plus, we’re not done with her yet. Laura will be back on Thursday with a guest post on the upcoming NaNoWriMo that you won’t want to miss. Best of all, Laura has a great giveaway for the Fiction Flurry followers, so be sure to check back with us tomorrow for Contest Tuesday.

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