From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Amazon has updated 
Tales of Summer Romance  is on sale for $1.99!

From all of us at Fiction Flurry we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Tales of Summer Romance

Promotional Code MK99Z 

Use at to download your eCopy of our short story compilation for $1.99!

Good through 01/15/12.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hunger Games trailer

There are few movies that I get so excited about that I count down to the release of the trailers. In fact, I can't think of a single one outside of the Harry Potter movies (particularly the last ones). I love movies, as a whole, and I always have a few each year that I feel like I have to go see before they leave the theatres, but it's a rather rare occasion when I actively anticipate a movie's release. I've only been to the midnight premieres of the last couple Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and the last several Harry Potters(and Batman Begins, but that wasn't entirely voluntary).

In other words, I love movies, but not nearly as much as some other people.

Next spring, a movie is coming out that I am so excited about I was DEEPLY upset that the trailer was released while I was at work. Deeply. To the point that I went and found high-resolution screencaps from the trailer, just so I could get SOME kind of glimpse as to what everyone was talking about on Twitter.

The Hunger Games.

Here's how excited I am for this movie. I have followed casting announcements and other movie news surrounding it since production was announced last year. I have fangirled each poster that has gotten released (and one time, when I went to see Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for the...third time...I actually got a Hunger Games poster at the movie theatre. That poster now hangs on my bedroom wall). I have freaked out about every movie still that has been revealed. When we found out the teaser trailer was going to premiere during the VMAs, I made a point to record the show, just so I could fastforward to where the thirty second teaser trailer was. I have speculated with everyone else, guessing when the first full-length trailer would be released...which movie it would be in front of.

And then, when we found out last week that the trailer would be premiering on Good Morning America this past Monday, I nearly had a heart attack. It was a bundle of mixed feelings--excitement, because of finally getting a full trailer...nervousness, for finally seeing what this movie will be like...and pure bitterness that it would be premiering only half an hour or so after I would get to the office and that I would be unable to see it until after I got home.

And yes...when I finally got to watch it...I watched it several times in a row.

My opinion? I think this looks phenomenal. I know some people are having issues with the fact that the stars are in their twenties, while the characters are in their teens, but I don't think it looks like an issue at all. I totally see Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. I LOVE how epically creepy Effie Trinket looks. Peeta...could probably be blonder for my taste, but I'm not going to pass judgment until I see more of his acting. I love how the Capitol looks, especially in comparison to District 12. I CANNOT wait until the Reaping scene in the movie, because just this small taste of it at the beginning of this trailer gave me absolute chills.

And I absolutely, positively cannot wait until March 23 and the midnight premiere of this movie. I can guarantee that I will be there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Today started National Novel Writing Month, one of my absolute favorite times of the year. And even though I'm writing some novel or another at any given time, I use NaNoWriMo as license to shut my inner editor down and to be completely ridiculous. Anything is fair game. If I want a duck to walk through a subway stop for no apparent reason, then a duck will go chill with the subways. Whatever.

This is my eighth year participating and hopefully will be my third time winning.

Any of you guys participating in NaNo this year? Good luck to any of you that are!

(And, as a treat, here's a song for the occasion, by one of my favorite nerd bands, ALL CAPS. Fun fact: Kristina Horner, the girl singing in the video, is the model for my main character in the novel I'm currently querying.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Favorite Season

I love fall.

Hands down, it's my favorite season. If you talked to me in person, you might not pick up on that right away, because after a winter in Ohio (ugh!) Spring is just so wonderful that I tend to go on and on about how much I love Spring. And on those rare years when Summer cooperates by being a) not too hot and b) not too humid, you might think it's my favorite season.

But no, it's always been fall.

I admit, I'm a little in love with the crunchy leaves. And all the colors that the leaves turn. And the crispness in the air. Which is why I'm really excited about this weekend. My husband and I are driving into northern Ohio - Amish country - to see what we can see.

Next week I'll (hopefully) have some photos to share from our travels. Until then, tell us what is your favorite season and why?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recovering From A Conference

I just returned from a five day conference in St. Louis, MO. This is the third ACFW conference I have attended, and each year I meet more people, sharpen my writing skills, and have a great get away talking for hours with people who love writing.

Traveling to the conference was a little stressful. On the way to the airport we encountered a little traffic. A truck over-turned, leaving a load of cabbage and some diesel fuel on the highway. Thankfully, I made it to the airport with fifteen minutes to spare....thank you Southwest for allowing me to board!

My classes were all very interesting, and I was able to plot out a sequel to the book I was pitching. I had four meetings with agents and editors, and I was very encouraged by the response to my latest book. The picture included with this post was taken on the last night of the conference.(I'm the one on the right.) There is an awards banquet, the food is always excellent, but the highpoint of it all is hearing who won the awards.

If you haven't attended a conference, I highly recommend them. Which writer's conferences are you considering attending?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking Software to Write a Book?

I was recently approached to review some digital scrapbooking software called My Memories.  As I was exploring the software, I thought that it might be a useful tool for someone writing a memoir or a family history with a lot of pictures and digitized archival documents.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the latter.

I have been tinkering with genealogy for over a decade now and have accumulated hundreds of pictures of my ancestors, as well as interesting documents that summarize the high and low points of their lives.  Take, for example, my grandma's two young uncles, who were tragically electrocuted in 1918 while working on a barn.  I found a newspaper article detailing the incident:

I'd like to be able to share the fruits of my labor with my extended family, and have been thinking about putting together a book with the best pictures and documents from my research.  The digital scrapbooking software came to mind.  Most of my family history pictures and research is already digital anyway.  It would be really easy to dump the pictures into pre-designed templates and add the text containing the details and dates necessary to identify the subjects. 

For people who are writing memoirs, I think the software might be useful as well, depending on the nature of the memoir.  Let's face it.  Memoirs are really difficult to market to traditional publishers unless you're...well...somebody.  Self publication might be the way to go for many memoirists.  If your life story is very image heavy, then it's worth checking out software for digital scrapbooking.  You can distribute your book in a variety of forms, including on CD, DVD, and hard cover.

Finally, if you  just have a ton of digital pictures and video that you want to organize and share,there are some really powerful software products out there. 

If you're interested in a chance to win free digital scrapbooking software, hop on over to my place at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

Remember how sometimes teachers would assign that ridiculous essay asking what you did over your summer vacation? Our little Fiction Flurry hiatus felt a lot like a summer vacation to me. I feel like telling you what I did.

1. I turned 24. And while I'm still the "young'un" of the group, it feels old to me. I keep thinking there's NO WAY I'm 24. And, yet, I am.

2. I celebrated 4th of July with my friends the only way we seem to know how--going to downtown Columbus for Red, White, and BOOM and hanging out with the million other people who do the same. There were some drunk teenagers on our bus on the way into the city. One girl puked in her own purse. It's moments like that when I ask myself why I love RWB so much, but I do.

3. I helped run Portkey, which was a special online conference of sorts that the Harry Potter Alliance staff put on during LeakyCon, which was the BIG Harry Potter convention that was down in Orlando, FL this year. I headed up Gryffindor house for the house cup and Livestreamed a lot. We gained fans. It was...surreal.

4. I nerded out over the last Harry Potter movie, re-read all the books, held a two-day "Potterpalooza" with my friends (where we marathon-watched all the Harry Potter movies), and then I dressed in costume and went to the midnight premiere of the last movie. I cried. But my costume was AWESOME.

5. I went to a couple of concerts, all indie artists. One was in Cleveland, to see a few "nerd bands" as you might call them--Alex Carpenter, Jason Munday, Christian Caldeira, and Mike Lombardo. They're all YouTube musicians, three are/were in wizard rock bands, and I fangirled with the best of them. The second concert was Harry and the Potters. Judge away.

5. I moved out of my parents' house, and into an apartment with my friend Tracy (whom I've known since kindergarten) and my friend Kathleen (who was my roommate for four years in college). We have yet to kill each other, so I count it a success. I finally finished unpacking my room this weekend.

6. I watched an obscene amount of NCIS, after stocking up on all the seasons on DVD. I'm currently on season 8 and trying to see if I can catch up before the season 9 premiere on Tuesday.

7. I kept Livestreaming with Portkey, but not as a conference. We decided to keep the fun alive, and somehow I found myself as a regular host. On the night of July 30/July 31, we spontaneously decided to pull an all-nighter to try to get into the beta of Pottermore with the first clue posted in the "Magical Quill Challenge." Ten. Hour. Livestream. I went to bed as the sun was coming up.

8. I started beta testing Pottermore...getting access to the site one week after access started. That was a painful week to wait. And then I had a slight identity crisis as I got sorted into Ravenclaw, as opposed to Gryffindor. And then I got over it. Now...dude, I'm a Ravenclaw and don't know how I didn't see it before. Since getting access...I've successfully brewed a handful of potions and successfully exploded two cauldrons (and I still have no idea why).

9. I started re-reading the Harry Potter books. Again. After buying a third set of the books to mark up, highlight, and write in the margins to my heart's content. Now, let's be fair. I'm reading it through this time much slower...mostly only at night, before bed. But it's still fun to have a set of Potter books that I'm allowing myself to mark all over.

10. I danced at the Dublin Irish Festival, as I have done since I took up Irish dancing two years ago. I won five medals in the dance competition. And then, recently, we lost our dance teacher to cancer. It's been strange starting the new dance year without her there.

11. I went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with my friends for the first time in about five years. I bought a quill, a leather journal, and a jar that says "Floo Powder," because I can't go anywhere without buying something nerdy (at the Irish Festival, I bought a Deathly Hallows symbol...and if you know what I'm talking about, you get extra points in my book).

12. I finished my third draft on my novel. Then I bought myself a HUGE cup of frozen yogurt, with WAY too many topics at Menchie's.

13. I went to the 20th Anniversary Homecoming game for my high school, and marched in the alumni band with people who represented 16 of the 20 graduating classes from the school. It was amazing and fun and stressed me out to no end, because I somehow found myself in charge of organizing it.

In summary, I did many, many geeky things and had many, many adventures. And now it's the fall, and I'm getting ready to send out my novel to literary agents, and I'm counting down to NaNoWriMo, and I'm still doing Livestreams with Portkey, and I continue to work with the HPA. I've also become a writer for the Potter Games, a choose your own adventure style online game, and I've made amazing friends over at an RPG called Magic is Might Continues, which has become a great writing exercise for me and entertains me to no end. Yes, I've fallen even more into the Potter fandom, and I'm okay with that, and I continue to learn more about my own writing. It's been an amazing summer, but I'm ready for the fall and the new adventures that will bring.

So what did all of YOU do during the "summer vacation"?

A Lady and her Wolf

To all our dear followers; readers and authors alike,

I have been on my writing journey for nearly a year now and am coming to the portion of my novel where I'm wrapping up the various mysteries and romances. With that in mind I'd like to ask a favor of you all. What are your opinions on the short blurbs at beginnings of chapters?

You see, I'm writing a historical romance/mystery. If you are a follower of Sabrina Jeffries you'll be familiar with what I'm talking about. For several books now she's had snippets of correspondence between two characters at the beginning of each of her chapters. If you aren't aware, she's finally come out with the story where these two have the starring roles.

I have employed this same tack in my current piece of work. I did, however, put my own spin on the technique. I've used the secret diary entries of my leading lady's great aunt, from the age when she was on the marriage mart.

I have included the first entry for your perusal.

Sept 17, 1715

Today I received this journal as a gift from my father for my sixteenth birthday. After much consideration I have decided I will use this wonderfully made tool to document my search in such hopes that it will help me chronicle a categorical search culminating in the discovery of the legendary Settrington jewels. I have armed myself with a copy of the poem my father shared with me. I shall begin by systematically searching the household for hidden rooms, passageways, and compartments. My hope is that through these efforts I will be led down the path to discovery or at the very least leave behind a detailed path of my journey that one of my descendants might be compelled to continue.

Remember, these are the diary entries of a long dead relative. Though both women are after the same goal. The heroine of this story lives in 1813 England and is the tender age of 19.

Thoughts? Ideas? Criticisms?

Michele Buchholz

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reinventing Ourselves

You may have noticed that the gang at Fiction Flurry has been on hiatus for a month or so.  To be honest, we were burned out.  Frustrated.  Uninspired.

We took a break from our meetings.  We took a break from blogging.  Some of us took a break from writing.  The good news is we're back!  And things are going to be a little different around here.

The Fiction Flurry writers are going to blog about what ever strikes our fancy.  It might be about what we're writing, or what we're reading, or even about what was for dinner last night.  The point is, we don't want the blog to be a chore for ourselves or more importantly, for our readers.

Stay tuned.  It's going to be a fun ride!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting To Know You...Part Seven

Today we are interviewing Colleen Scott

FF: How long have you been writing?

I have loved writing since elementary school. I started writing fiction about ten years ago. It started with an idea that woke me up in the middle of the night. Three novels later, I can comfortably say, I’m addicted.

FF: What genre do you write in?

I write for the CBA. Most of my books are romantic suspense, but the first book I wrote could is more of a romantic comedy.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

The title of the story is The “I Do” Blues. It’s about a woman who is engaged to marry one man, but is in love with another. She has lost her family, and will do anything to keep the family ranch.

When her first love comes to town to walk her down the aisle, she must make a crucial decision. Marry someone you don’t love and keep your family memories and property, or marry the man you love, and lose it all.

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

Yes, and I’m having a lot of fun. The title of the book is A Matter Of Conviction. It’s about a woman who is thrown in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. When she escapes prison she unknowingly accepts help from a ex-convict out on parole. Together, they must evade the police and find out who really committed the murder she was convicted for.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?

The best advice I’ve received is to write the nifty two-fifty. The first conference I went to I attended a class offered by James Scott Bell. He recommended writing at least two hundred fifty words a day. When I follow this advice I usually end up writing a whole lot more. The worst advice? That’s a hard one. When faced with negative comments or unhelpful advice, I try to see if I can learn from it. If not, I disregard it.

FF: Any other information you want your readers to know?

Currently, I don’t have a website or blog. But as things progress, that will be in the works. I am on facebook, and I also enjoy hearing from readers at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting To Know You....Part Six

Today we are interviewing Erin Millar.

FF: How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first story when I was seven, for a reading group project in first grade. I had always loved reading and making up stories before then, but I think that's when I realized that it was also fun to write them down. It was really all downhill from there

FF: What genre do you write in?

Typically young adult, but I've also written some things that could probably classify more as literary or commercial fiction. Regardless, my protagonists tend to be teenagers. The project I'm working on currently is a young adult dystopian

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

It's very nerdy. It's set at an all-encompassing fandom convention in the middle of summer. The story is told from a girl named Beth's point of view. She doesn't really want to be there, but was forced to go by her friends, because they've always gone. And then she meets this guy who's volunteering for the convention and isn't nearly as comfortable with his nerdiness as she is

I got the idea due to the fact that I'm on the staff for an online-based nonprofit social activism group called the Harry Potter Alliance. There was a convention in Florida this summer that most of the staff went to, but I wasn't able to make it. Listening to everyone talk about their plans and excitement about it got me thinking about conventions and general nerdiness. This is what happens when I embrace my own nerdiness more than I usually do

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

I am. It's a young adult dystopian. I'm currently revising it to get it ready to send out to agents. I'm also writing the first draft of another installment of the project I'm revising. I'm trying to focus more on the revisions, though, but I've always found that I do better if I have at least one thing to just write a first draft of. First drafts require far less energy than revisions

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?

The best advice I've received is to keep going. Of course there are a lot of times when you just want to stop, or give up, or move on to that shinier idea, but you'll never getting anything accomplished if you don't try to focus. The worst advice I've received...I don't know if I've ever gotten strickly bad writing advice. I guess the worst advice would be that taking my writing so seriously is a waste of time. But it's not like I listen to anyone who tells me that kind of stuff anyway

FF: Any other information you want your readers to know?

Let's see...I have a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio Northern University and have lived in Columbus my entire life, excepting the time I spent at college. I work a boring day job in order to pay for my nerdy habits. Because I really am a nerd--I mean, I've read Harry Potter a ridiculous number of times and have way too much Potter paraphernalia. I'm on the volunteer staff of the Harry Potter Alliance, which is great fun, and I write freelance theatre articles and reviews for the Columbus, OH edition of I'm also an Irish dancer and I play handbells in the choir at my church. You can find me on Twitter @ErinLMillar.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting to Know You...Part Five

Today we are interviewing Michele Buchholz.

FF: How long have you been writing?
My journey started four and a half years ago after my oldest son was born. I’ve always loved to read, and being a stay at home mom I burned through our small town library pretty fast. Throughout my life I’ve taken creative writing classes and literature studies, even tried my hand at poetry. One day, I was conversing with my husband about how bored I was, because let’s face it, a baby doesn’t offer much interaction for an adult who’s used to working full time. And did I mention we’d relocated 1200 miles away from anyone I knew, thanks to the hubs new job. So, smart man that he is, he suggested I write something for a change.

FF: What genre do you write in?
I took my love of historical romances and wove in a mystery. I absolutely love getting lost in history. Dreaming of a simpler time coupled with the glitz and glamour bestowed upon the romanticized peerage. I grew up sharing, discussing and solving mysteries with my grandmother. She instilled in me a deep love of literature; some of my earliest memories are reading Go Dog Go with her. And isn’t everyone just mesmerized by the party tree at the end of the book?

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.
“Washed Ashore” is about bored and lonely Lady Lenora Brightly. Ensconced at her family’s island estate in the Northern English Isles she discovers a ship and a naked man wrecked on the rocks outside her private harbor. As a shipwrecked spy, Nathanial must decide how deeply to embroil his rescuing angel in her father’s world of espionage. A dance of intellect begins as the two ensnare each other in a web of secrets and attraction. Through intrigue and deception they work together to smuggle him off the island under the Royal Guard’s nose. Lenora pins all her hopes on him. Will he deliver her the story book ending she desires?

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?
Yes, a historical romance set in 1813 England. Nineteen year old Lady Elena St. John has spent the last three years running an impoverished barony and searching for a hidden family treasure. She is plagued by the ghost of Lady Katherine, the one who devised the secret, complete with clues, though the apparition refuses to give up any answers. Enter Lord James Stewart, Earl of Richmond, who had inherited the barony upon the death of Elena’s grandfather during his decade of absence from England. On the run from the match-making machinations of the Ton he escapes to this forgotten barony. Frustration mounts as Elena, desperate to hide her family’s smuggling business, deflects James’ curiosity with the legendary hidden treasure. They embark on a journey of discovery following the clues to the treasure and each other’s hearts.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?
Best advice, I’d have to say is this quote, “Writing is more about re-writing and editing.” Every time I’m ready to give up and bang my head on my laptop, I’ve reminded myself the phoenix always rises from the ashes. I’ve found that it’s fairly easy to get the bones of the story out on the page. The hard part is sitting through the editing process and putting your work out there for someone else to critique. You have to be very open to change and more change. Fine tuning, re-working and completely deleting your ‘darlings’ has been the toughest on me.

I am an avid reader of Historical Romance and lover of mystery. Reading and writing are my favorite pastimes. Whether by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night or soaking up the hot summer sun, I find the opportunity to indulge in imagination. I am married to a very supportive and patient engineer who corrals our two miniature gentlemen-in-training, for which I am very grateful.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting To Know You....Part Four

Today we are interviewing Michele Downey.

FF: How long have you been writing?
Forever it seems like! No really, I started writing when I was 10. I had the most amazing teacher (thank you Mrs. Alexander!!) who taught me to love words. One of the things we did every week was use our spelling words to write a story….and let’s just say I made the most of it. I believe her words were “You certainly have an imagination.”

FF: What genre do you write in?

Paranormal Romance. Although it’s very trendy right now, I’ve loved vampires, werewolves, witches and the like since I can remember. I’m so glad to see them all getting their due these days and I hope that eventually it won’t be seen as a trend at all, but an ongoing, sustainable sub-genre.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.
In Second Chances, Samantha Grayson returns home after a horrific car accident that claimed both her parents. Battling her memories, Sam must decide if she is ready to take a chance on love with the most unexpected person of all.

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?
Yes! My current WIP involves the ageless struggle between the Light and the Darkness. Lila and Gabe must battle the Shadows, save the Book of Light and somehow find a way to be together.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?
Best advice: start writing and keep writing. I still struggle to take this advice every day. Worst advice: hmmm….I can’t really think of any bad advice I’ve gotten, because I try to at least consider it, even if I don’t end up using it.

FF: Information to share with your readers:
When she's not working on her novel, Michele enjoys reading paranormal romance, writing short stories and cooking for her (extremely tolerant) husband. You can follow her at Fiction

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting To Know You....Part Three

Today we're interviewing Rachel Dilley

FF: How long have you been writing?

Though I was an English major in college, I really didn't start writing until about five years ago. I found myself in a situation where someone was demanding my attention at all times, leaving no time nor energy for myself. I started writing short stories mostly because they were...well...short. I still don't have a lot of time to myself, as a wife, mother, and full time paralegal. However, on those occasions when I do write, I enjoy creating something that is all my own.

FF: What genre do you write in?

I write mostly contemporary fiction with some kind of historical twist. I love history, but writing historical fiction is so much work! I also really enjoy writing non-fiction. I've had some success in publishing personal essays.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

As most of my fiction does, my story Full Circle has a bit of my real life at its heart. I started vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since I was about 5 years old. Back then, it was a bare bones island with very little commercialization. My family started vacationing with another family year after year, and I eventually ended up marrying one of the boys from the family with whom we vacationed. Full Circle is about a woman who returns to the Outer Banks where she spent summers as a girl, to heal from a divorce. She is reunited with a childhood friend who remained on the Outer Banks, and the pair quickly pick up where they left off.

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

Well, yes and no. I have started a novel and I'm 6 or 7 chapters into it, but I don't have the chance to work on it as regularly as I'd like. It's a contemporary thriller with American History at its core.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?

The best advice I've received, I wish I had actually followed. It is to write every day, even if it's just a few hundred words. Time is elusive and I find that it gets eaten up very easily by the tasks of daily life. You can accomplish big things in writing with only little chunks of time.

Rachel Dilley's personal essays have been published in BGSU Magazine and in the Columbus Dispatch.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting To Know You.....

In Celebration of our recent release, Tales of Summer Romance. We're going to be taking a few posts to introduce the authors behind FictionFlurry. Today we're interviewing Susan Gee Heino.

FF: How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since before I could read. I'd sit at the kitchen table scrawling out stories, forcing my poor mother to spell out every word for me. In college I studied creative writing in its various forms, and discovered playwriting. After graduating with a degree in Theatre, I had several plays produced at small theatres here and there, and then moved into writing drama for church productions. Always my dream was to publish a novel, though, and in 2003 when my children were small I turned my focus toward that. I joined Romance Writers of America and worked very hard to educate myself and slowly move toward my goal. I had six completed manuscripts before I finally made my first sale in 2008.

FF: What genre do you write in?

I adore stories with happy endings about people who discover that life is better if we can learn to love. I write romance. Specifically, my first published novels have been set in the English Regency time period, but I do have some other projects in the works so hopefully I'll be expanding my scope a little in the near future.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

The story I have included is "The Sister Solution" and it is set in the Regency time period. If you're not familiar with this, just think of Jane Austen. Her works were published during the English Regency (1811-1820), so think Mr. Darcy in a starched cravat and Lizzy Bennet with a scuttle bonnet. I just love that time period and all its social strictures. This is one of the elements I've capitalized on in my story. It was very much a man's world back then and women had few options if they wished to better themselves. Basically, if a girl was not blessed to be born with a fortune, the best she could hope for was to marry well. And that, of course, would never happen if her family members were prone to scandal. This is Lizzy Courdray's dilemma as my story opens. With her father deceased and her mother behaving quite shockingly, how is poor Lizzy to look after herself and her flighty younger sister? What's to become of them if their reputation in town is dreadfully ruined?

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

Yes, several! I just turned in the forth novel in my current Regency series and I'm in the brainstorming process for the next. Also, I'm polishing a contemporary-set romance that I just love and my agent is getting ready to start shopping it. And as if that's not enough, I've got a really fun YA thriller series that I'm working on, as well. My agent is very excited about this and is stalking me to get it finished up so she can shop that, as well. I'm a busy gal!

FF: Best/worst advice you've received?
I've gotten lots of "best" advice over the years. Depending on what stage I was at in my writer's journey, different things have turned the light bulb on for me. One of the really brilliant things I picked up a long time ago was, "Don't write the boring parts." It seems like this ought to be intuitive, but believe me, I really want to write the boring parts. It's a constant battle in my brain: Is this scene really necessary? What does the reader learn about these characters? How does this build the conflict or the tension? Trust me, even the funniest/sexiest/most tragic scene is wasted paper if it does not move the story along and help develop your characters.

What's the worst advice I've gotten? That's hard to say, since I tend to filter this out and toss is aside so it doesn't take up space in my already too-cluttered mind. I think some of the worst advice is the stuff people love to tell beginning writers: "Don't use words like was and that." "Avoid all adverbs." "Write only what you know." And the very worst, "Hardly anyone ever gets picked up by the big New York publishers. You might as well give up now."

Susan Gee Heino Bio Information: In 2008 I was honored to win Romance Writers of America’s coveted Golden Heart ® Award in the Regency Historical category. My winning manuscript sold at auction and I signed a two book deal with Berkley Publishing. MISTRESS BY MISTAKE was published in 2009 and became a national bestseller.

DAMSEL IN DISGUISE followed in 2010 and I signed another two book contract. Now this summer TEMPTRESS IN TRAINING has just hit shelves and PASSION AND PRETENSE will release in April, 2012. I live in rural Ohio with way too many pets, my very supportive husband, and my two adorable (and frighteningly creative) children.

I love to hear from readers! You can contact me through my website at or check out my neglected blog at

Monday, July 18, 2011

And the Winners Are.....

Thanks to everyone who is following Fiction Flurry.  Stick with us, as we have a lot of fun reviews, author interviews, and giveaways!

Here are the BlogFest 2011 winners:
Maria (pronounced Mariah) $15 gift card
Shelbie and Amanda $15 Barnes and Noble gift Card
Ellie $15 Starbucks gift card
books4me  free copy of Tales of Summer Romance
Barbara Hightower free copy of Tales of Summer Romance
Judy  free copy of Tales of Summer Romance

Check your e-mails later tonight from Fiction Flurry to claim your prize.

Congrats to all!

BlogFest Winners to be Announced Monday Night

Hi All:

We're so happy with the response to our giveaway!  There are so many entries that it will take us a little time to draw the names.  Please check back Monday night for our list of winners.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

BlogFest 2011 Giveaway


Welcome, welcome, welcome to Fiction Flurry!  Fiction Flurry is a writing critique group based in Marysville, Ohio.  Our members write in a flurry of different genres:  YA, Romance, Historical, Inspirational, Paranormal, and even a little non-fiction now and then.  This blog is devoted to lovers of reading and writing.

So, we know you have a lot of blogs to visit in a short period of time, but we would like to first tell you about the short story anthology we recently published.  We would love for you to check out Tales of Summer Romance: A Collection of Short Stories.  There are seven summer-inspired stories by Fiction Flurry authors, including Regency Romance Author extraordinaire, Susan Gee Heino.  The e-book is only $2.99 and half of the net proceeds from the sale of this book between now and the end of 2011 will be donated to our local humane society.  How can you go wrong?  You get some fun summer stories and help cats and dogs find homes!  Click here to purchase the book or download a sample.

So enough shameless plugs.  Onto the business at hand.  Here's what Fiction Flurry is offering during this giveaway:

1. gift card, $15
2.  Barnes and Noble gift card, $15
3.  Starbucks gift card, $15
4.  3 winners will receive a free copy of our e-book, Tales of Summer Romance

We ARE open to international entries.

Here's what you need to do to enter:
1.  Be a Fiction Flurry follower through Google Friend Connect (see right margin)
2.  Leave a comment indicating your e-mail address, your favorite genre, and whether you prefer e-books or hard copy books, or both.
3.  Though it is not required, you will be entered for this giveaway twice if you follow us on Twitter or friend us on Facebook.

Have fun!  Here are your next 5 blogs, if you're going in alphabetical order:
57 For What It's Worth
58 Free & Frugal Mommy of One
59 Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger (INT)
60 From the Shadows
61 From the TBR Pile

THANK YOU to for organizing this BlogFest! 
If you are keeping track, here's the link to the tracker:

Get Ready...BlogFest 2011 Giveaway July 15 through 17

Photobucket   Come back to Fiction Flurry from Friday, July 15 through Sunday, July 17, 2011 to enter our giveaway for some great prizes, including gift cards and copies of Fiction Flurry's new anthology of short stories, Tales of Summer Romance.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Short Stories: Love'Em or Hate'Em?

As I hope you now know, the writers of Fiction Flurry have just completed an anthology of short stories entitled, Tales of Summer Romance. There are seven short stories, all centered around a summertime setting and each with a romantic twist.  (Additional information can be found here.) Short stories can be a great way to hone your writing skills. They require you to get to the point and limit yourself to only the most important details. Every word counts when you are restricted in the number of them that you can use!

On the flip side, if you are a reader, a short story can be a perfect, brief escape. As one of our members stated: a short story is to a novel what a 30-minute television show is to a three-hour movie. Sometimes, you simply don’t have a big chunk of time to commit to reading an entire novel. You just want a “quickie.”

If you love a good short story, you are in luck! The internet abounds with sites created for the specific purpose of sharing and promoting shorts. A few which come to mind:

American Literature

Short Story America

From Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Tell-Tale Heart" to O. Henry’s "The Gift of the Magi" to Stephen King’s "The Body" (which was made into the movie Stand By Me), short stories offer a spectacular return for a very small investment.

How about you? Do you like to read or write short stories? Do you have a favorite short story or short story author? Share it with us!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tales of Summer Romance: A Collection of Short Stories

The authors of Fiction Flurry proudly announce the publication of our anthology of short stories!  Seven romance stories, including historical and contemporary genres, will delight you on these hot, lazy days of summer. We are happy to feature a story written by Susan Gee Heino, whose third book, Temptress in Training, was released this week.

What's even better than a playful summer read is knowing that your purchase of Tales of Summer Romance will help the Humane Society of Union County, Ohio.  From now until December 31, 2011, half of the net sales proceeds from the sale of our book will be donated to help the pooches and kitties in our area.

Tales of Summer Romance is an e-book available for $2.99 now at:

You can download the book today to your PC, Kindle, NOOK, Sony Reader, or Kobo directly from Smashwords.  The e-book will be available soon on Amazon, Apple, and Barnes and Noble. 

We want to thank our followers and readers for your support and loyalty.  Fiction Flurry hopes that you enjoy these short stories.  After all, what's better than summer love?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

3 ½ Stars out of Five

It is 1942, and twelve-year-old Henry Lee straddles two very different worlds. At home, his immigrant Chinese parents refuse to let him speak his native Cantonese, yet at the same time insist he wear an “I Am Chinese” button on his lapel. At his all-white school where his parents have sent him “scholarshipping,” Henry is regularly ridiculed and even outright physically harmed for being different. Yet despite what might seem to be dire circumstances, there are some bright points in Henry’s life – his black, jazz playing, street corner performer friend Sheldon, and the new girl at school – Keiko. But Keiko is Japanese – the sworn enemy of both America and China. Add to this mix the chain-smoking lunch lady, Mrs. Beatty: is she a friend or a foe? (Hint: think Coach Beiste from Glee!)

I would most definitely recommend this novel. I think author Jamie Ford has done a fantastic job of pacing, for one. So many times, authors are encouraged to start “in the middle of the action” and then just speed headlong from scene to scene. Ford allows this tale to deliciously unwind, while the reader is given the rare opportunity to savor every nuance along the way. The book actually opens with Henry as an adult, having just nursed his ailing wife through a losing battle with cancer and also contemplating how to mend his relationship with his son, Marty, who is soon to graduate college. Ford deftly moves the story back and forth in time from 1986 to 1942 and back again, like a slow, sensual dance, taking the reader right along with him. I was constantly driven to read “just one more chapter,” the ultimate compliment to any writer.

Just as adult Henry is adjusting to his new station in life, a commotion in what was once The Panama Hotel – a gateway between Seattle’s Chinatown and Japantown – shakes his world, and causes him to reflect back, remembering the place…“where he’d once met the love of his life.” I especially appreciated the fine details that Ford gives throughout the entire tale. I could feel myself sink into the depths of the dank basement of the Panama, lit only by bare bulbs, and feel the damp air send chills along my spine as Henry surveys the long forgotten belongings of entire families. In addition, the relationship between Henry and his own parents is richly drawn. Yes, it is rife with conflict, but the reader is equally invited into the intimate world of the Lee home, where Henry’s father (a Chinese nationalist) and his mother (conflicted by the two men in her life) sincerely want to create a better existence for their only child.

In an historical context, Ford’s novel reminds us (by “us,” I mean the collective us of America) of a most troubling time in our own recent past. Sadly, I believe there will be a number of readers who may be completely unaware of the fact that the U.S. government once imprisoned over 100,000 of her very own citizens. I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this novel will use this as an opportunity to learn more about this chapter of American history and about Executive Order 9066 which was issued by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order set up an “exclusion zone” that consisted of the entire Pacific Coast where any persons of Japanese descent – despite their US birthright – were prohibited to live, work, travel or otherwise occupy unless interred in a special camp.

I always find it especially engaging to read the version of any book which contains a “Reader’s Guide” within. I appreciate the extra insight the author gives, as well as delving deeper into the motives/characters of the particular piece. In this instance, there was also a Q/A with author Jamie Ford. When asked about the split-narrative, Ford gives this response (from the 2009 Ballantine Trade Paperback Edition):

I wanted to give the book a more redemptive ending. That’s a literary way of saying, “And everyone lived happily ever after.”

The short story wrapped up on a fairly tragic note. And even if I continued the story in the ‘40s, there really wasn’t a way to give it an ending that felt satisfying. I mean, after the war was over, it didn’t suddenly get better for Japanese American families. Their lives had been completely turned upside down – sort of like people who survive a hurricane. Sure the wind stops blowing and the floodwaters recede, but what do you have left except rubble, and does that provide happiness or just relief? It took decades for most of these families to recover. It just seemed natural to have that redemptive ending come years later as well.

Also, I think that most people can relate to seeing their first love again, at a class reunion or just by chance, and there’s this wave of nostalgia and melancholy – it’s very poignant and universal, I think.

So, now I toss this over to you. Whether you have read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or not (and I suggest that you do!), I want to know: do you still remember your first love? How old were you when the two of you met? Do you still see this person? What would you do if you were to run into him/her on the street this very afternoon?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ode to Thomas Jefferson, Patriot and Writer

This Fourth of July, I think it's important to pay homage to some of the greatest writers in American history.  They weren't novelists or poets.  They were the technical writers of their day.  There's no glory in technical writing, but as a reader trying to figure out how something works, you know immediately if the technical writing is bad.  The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were the ultimate technical writers, weren't they?

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, among others, wrote the documents that have been our nation's "user's guide" for over two centuries.   If you're like me, when you're trying to assemble some complicated toy on Christmas morning, nothing annoys me more than poorly written directions.  Think about the set of directions written by our founders:  they are general enough to leave room for interpretation, but specific enough that essential rights are identified and preserved.

The writing process for the Declaration of Independence was not unlike the publishing process of today.  We can consider Jefferson the author.  He presented his draft to John Adams and Ben Franklin, his writers' critique group.  It was a painful process for Jefferson, who had chosen every word of his draft with intention and care.  Nonetheless, Adams and Franklin suggested some changes.  The document then went forward to the Continental Congress, or the publishers, who made additional changes.

The Declaration was a proclamation of rights and a notice to the King that because he refused to recognize these rights, we were leaving the umbrella of his rule.  The Constitution, written in large part by James Madison, is the real blueprint for how our government would operate with the goal of preserving the rights enumerated in the Declaration.  Where Jefferson was artful in explaining abstract concepts, Madison was masterful in the specific implementation and protection of those concepts. 

If you're a writer or just someone who appreciates well-written instructions, I hope you spend some time re-reading these important documents and recognize the skillful craft that went into their creation.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ePublishing - The Cover Image

As you all know we at Fiction Flurry have recently been working on publishing our first anthology of short stories. During this process we've learned quite a few things which we'd like to share with you.

Seven of us chose to write short pieces for inclusion in our first publication. During the conception of this project we batted around a bunch of ideas, carefully wrote out a to do list and bravely got started. Each author forayed into their own imagination to create a short story.

At our next group meeting we shared a short synopsis of our personal creations. Then we set out on the Herculean task of a cover concept. One author stepped forward and undertook the task of perusing sites that offer photos for publication use. Several eMeetings over email later we all agreed on the summer beach theme.

Introduce Jennifer Unruh, my wonderfully creative sister. Jen has worked in the advertising industry for several years. She has a natural eye for photography and an artistic sense of design. Frequently she will walk into our father's enormous farm shed and emerge with works of art worthy of any showroom. So, as sister's do, I begged a favor for our first self-publishing endeavor. And, well, she agreed.

Now, my sister is no stranger to the creative arts by any means. She has tackled multiple projects for my job that pays the bills at a real estate and mortgage broker. She has created commercials, videos, light shows and much, much more. So, this was a relatively easy assignment. True to form, she gave us a finished project more beautiful than we could have imagined.

Thank you Jen for the amazing cover you cobbled together from the ideas of seven creative individuals!

Please keep checking back for more details as we get nearer to publication in July 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fiction Flurry Announces Anthology

Big News! 

Fiction Flurry is excited to announce the publication of a very special e-book:  A collection of short stories that will warm your heart like a sunny day at the beach. Tales of falling in love and finding romance that mends the broken heart, romance that's just for fun, romance from days gone by, and romance that lasts forever.

Dip your toes into Tales of Summer Romance from the writers of Fiction Flurry with titles ranging from "The 'I Do' Blues" to "Washed Ashore" to "Full Circle," and featuring one short by our very own Susan Gee Heino (author of Mistress by Mistake, Damsel in Disguise and her new release, Temptress in Training)!

Summertime is heating up, so grab a cool drink, kick back, and get swept away by a flurry of summer romance

Check back for downloading options and more details...
arrival date July, 2011. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Magic of Books

I've been taking a lot of flack over the last few weeks from my fellow Fiction Flurry bloggers about the fact that I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series for the five-thousandth time. The others are getting great amusement by trying to "confiscate" my books at group meetings and teasing me if I say something too British in an email. It's all in good fun, of course. I'm not offended or annoyed by it, not the least because they're not the only ones to pick on me over my nerdiness. But it has gotten me thinking.

I have a collection of books that I can re-read any number of times and never grow tired of them. It's a habit of mine that seems to baffle some people in my life (namely, my parents). I have been asked on numerous occasions how on earth I can read books so many times--doesn't it get boring? I already know what's going to happen. Some of the books, I can practically recite verbatim. When I re-read these books, I'm just as invested and I walk around with my nose stuck in them like it's the first time I'm reading them.

When these questions come up, I always think of a quote from one of these books that I love. It's from The Sweet Far Thing, by Libba Bray: "We sit and listen and are enthralled anew, for good stories, it seems, never lose their magic."

I think there's something magical about any book that holds that kind of intrigue over its readers. There's something to be said for a story that you can read over and over again and it never gets old. When I pick up Harry Potter, I read it like I've never read it before--I still stay up until the early hours of the morning because I can't put it down; I still want to know what will happen. I hope that the books and stories I write will one day hold that same magic over people.

Some of the books that hold this magic over me are:

1. Harry Potter (obviously)
2. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
3. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
5. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
6. The Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy by Michelle Zink
7. The Hollow trilogy by Jessica Verday
8. The Dawn Rochelle Novels by Lurlene McDaniel
9. On Writing by Stephen King
10. Grania by Morgan Llywelyn

Are you one of the people who can read the same story over and over again and never get bored? What books hold this magic over you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Romance Novels

Today I'd like to discuss the finer points of the romance novel.
1. Romance
2. Conflict
3. Romantic Interlude
4. Misunderstanding
5. Romantic Interlude
6. Resolution and forgiveness
7. Romantic Interlude
8. Happily Ever After

That about sums up every romance I've ever read, regardless of genre. So, here is my question. What is your favorite part of a romance novel? I have a few favorite authors that I go to for certain types of entertainment to accompany my Romance.
Stephanie Laurens - 1st Lady of Drama & Suspense
Sabrina Jefferies - Mistress of Intrigue and Hilarity
Nora Roberts - Queen of Mystery

I could go on but think I've made my point. Notice a pattern yet? My favorite romance writers all have a sub-plot. As a reader I need a bit more entertainment than the 'he loves me, he loves me not' merry-go-round. Anyone else share my complexity out there?

Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I want to put on the swimsuit, pick up a book, then lounge in my backyard carefree for an hour or so before I'm thrown back into the chaos of my life. Those times, though few and far in between, I do want a quick read. But, by and large, I prefer to be invested in the main characters of any novel I read. I want to feel their need for each other grow as much as I want to solve the mystery.

This is a personal preference, of that I am aware. I'm just wondering if I'm as much in the minority as I feel. I'm not saying I don't love reading through the sensual scenes, but I don't always want an entire book of them. See list of favorite authors above as proof.

So, sound off. What is your favorite part of a Romance? Pet peeves??? General thoughts?

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Line Winner Is......

FictionFlurry would like to thank everyone who participated in our first line contest. We had a hard time picking just one. That being said, we would like to congratulate Miranda Hardy. Your first line made us want to read more....keep up the good work. Miranda, please email your snail mail address to, and we'll send out your gift card.
Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

FictionFlurry First Line Contest!

I love first lines. Some novels start with such a great first line, it's embedded in my memory. "Sisters are overrated." From A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. In honor of great first lines, FictionFlurry is going to sponsor our first ever first line contest.

Here's the rules: * You must be a follower of FictionFlurry.

* In the comments, leave the first line from your WIP.

* Contest starts today (6/9/11) through (6/11/11).

What do you win? Well....bragging rights, and a $10.00 gift card to Starbucks. After all, what writer doesn't love his or her coffee? The winner will be announced on 6/12/11.

Have fun....hope to see lots of comments.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paranormal Book Review - First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, Book 1)
by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson has a gift - she sees dead people. They are drawn to her - because as the Grim Reaper she is bright and shiny - and her job is to point them to the light. However, those who have been murdered want her to make sure their killers are caught first. Which is why her police-officer father and uncle began consulting her for help in solving murders when she was five-years-old.  Charley's latest recently departed clients are three personable lawyers, all murdered by the same person on the same day. Charley must use all of her beyond-the-grave resources to solve their murders - before she becomes the next victim.

And when she's not helping ghosts with their ultimate closure, Charley is trying to figure out who her sizzling-hot dream lover is.

This novel won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance - and I can see why. A friend of mine gave me this book to read, saying "It sounds like something you'd like." She was right. (Thanks Annie!)  If you like paranormal or romance or detective stories - or some combination of those, you are going to love this book!

 Charley Davidson is Mary-Janice Davidson's, Betsy meets Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita with a dash of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mixed in for good measure. Sassy and sarcastic, Charley takes crap from no one - which is why this is a fun, flirty, grab-you-by-the-throat read.

As with all good books, there's a cast of support characters who are worth getting to know: Uncle Bob, who doesn't want to know how Charley does what she does, just as long as she solves the case; Garrett Swopes, who is by turns funny and irritating - but is there to back her up when the shit hits the fan; and Cookie, her "neighbor-slash-best friend-slash-receptionist" who is equally snarky and has an unhealthy obsession with coffee. And let's not forget Mr. Wong, the uncrossed soul who lives in the corner of her living room.

Despite being a quick read (anyone looking for a book for the beach this summer?), this is a well thought out plot, that leaves you both satisfied and wanting more (more Reyes, please!). The good news is that the next in the series, Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, Book 2), will be out in August - so we don't have to wait long.

For those of you, like me, who like to know a little more about the characters you read about, check out Darynda Jones' blog. She talks about how some charaters came to be - plus there is a smokin-hot picture of the actor she based Reyes on. One word....Wow!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace: The Insomniac's Cure

The Pale King  So perhaps it was my morbid curiosity.  I  decided to read a posthumously published novel of a celebrated, intelligent, literary fiction writer and essayist.  David Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008, but his editor pieced together a "novel" from the boxes and computer files full of Wallace's latest work-in-progress.  I shouldn't really say it's a novel.  It seems to be more a string of vignettes, some with recurring characters, some not.  The setting of some of the scenes, but not all, is an IRS processing center.  Yawn.

I think that was Wallace's point...yawn.  Life can be monotonous, boring, seemingly pointless at times. Get up, eat, go to work, think about what you'd rather be doing than working, go home, eat, watch a little TV, go to bed, start the process over again the next day. The author successfully captured the inane, self absorbed, neurotic little worlds we create for ourselves.  

Perhaps, though, Wallace was holding up a mirror, begging us to take a look at our pathetic selves.  A character in The Pale King describes a play he's written.  A man sits at a table writing, writing, writing, sitting, sitting, sitting.  Nothing happens.  Only when the audience gets bored and leaves does something happen, though the playwright doesn't know quite what.  The Pale King is like that play, only in novel form.  I readily admit that I didn't make it to the end.  I got bored and walked out.  Maybe Wallace wanted his readers to get over themselves and go do something.

The irony of Wallace's book is that we escape the barrage of minutiae that life tosses our way by reading, but his book purposefully leads us right back to the boredom we were trying to run from in the first place.  Don't get me wrong, there are some brief portions that are amusing in a neurotic kind of way.  But I think I would actually have rather been reading the IRS code than most of The Pale King.  At least by reading the IRS code I might have discovered some underutilized loophole to save myself a few bucks on next year's returns. 

I couldn't shake the feeling that perhaps I'm not intelligent enough or deep enough to "get" Wallace's book, which the turned-up-nose literary types have praised.  I guess "stupid is as stupid does," in the immortal words of Forrest there's a guy who got up and did something.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writing for the Ear

I recently submitted a piece to the group for critique. As the comments came back, they contained much of the standard fare:

“This is a run-on sentence.”
“Fragment, delete.”
“Consider rewording.”

And that is when it dawned on me for the very first time in my entire writing life: I do not write for the eye. I write for the ear. Whenever I read – or write – a story, in the back of my head I am constantly hearing the hum of the words as they lift from the paper and zing between my ears. I can hear my characters speak; I can feel their frustration, their angst, their undiluted joy held within the pauses, the stops, the crescendos of the words. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Because it exists in a place beyond the eye. The world is not shaded merely by black and white, and neither should our writing be.

This got me into considerable trouble when I was younger. No, Mom, I actually didn’t hear you calling me to dinner. You see, I was lost in the mist with Carl Sandburg as he ominously informs me:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Can’t you hear that delicious alliteration? Can’t you feel the darkness deepening around you as it silently overtakes you, as it settles down around you, before you’ve even taken note?

Sure, you can write: “Mary ran outside to play.” That’s a fine sentence. Nothing wrong with it. Our gal Mary just wants to head on out and get some fresh air and sunshine. But if you write: “Mary ran outside. To play.” Hmm, now we’ve got ourselves a whole new situation. Was there another choice besides playing? Don’t you wonder: what was she doing before she ran outside? Why does the author feel he must inform us that she went out to play? There’s an implication in breaking the Rules for Writers contained in this sentence. There is more here than a sweet little girl and a dreamy day. There are things unsaid.

Conversely, run on sentences can be used to show enthusiasm, breathlessness, an overabundance of anxiety or anticipation. It’s called poetic license, and I utilize it liberally. I think Encyclopedia Britannica has captured the essence of it quite succinctly:

…The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, and the sounds and modulations of the words themselves all affect the subtle meanings and feelings that the poet may be trying to convey or evoke. Poets may distort normal prose patterns for the sake of form and therefore assume poetic license…

Writing is about more than what meets the eye. Writing should encourage all of the senses to join in. When you read about a field of lavender, you should see the royal purple tide swell before you, smell the subtly spicy fragrance as the tender leaves succumb underfoot, feel your boot solidly moving amongst the stalks. And yes, hear the words as they fall down upon you, a sudden, unexpected but oh-so-sweet spring shower.

Writing for the ear may not be pretty on the page. But then again, it shouldn’t be.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Critique Partners: A Love and Hate Relationship

I don't know about you but a critique partner is a must in my world. I love and loath these meetings with my writing girlfriend. We both work so diligently to put our imaginary worlds down on paper. We agonize over all the details and are so invested in our characters, we become emotionally tied to their struggles as our own. Then, we give them over for that trusted friend to critique, caress, question, and annihilate. We lay our souls bare and hope we don't have to "kill any of our darlings".

I look forward to my meetings with my girlfriend with nervous anticipation. I know for a fact she's going to poke the sore spots, divulge the obvious glares and call me out on the contradictions and fabrications. I know these things need to be done to make my story better. But anticipation of the pain tends to exponentially increase the awaited outcome. When you don't know about the rock from the mower that is going to hit you in the back, as you lay comfortably on your lawn chair reading a book, it is less painful than the one you see flying at you from the spinning tire of the car, passing you on a walk.

Thankfully, my friend always follows her criticisms quickly with words of praise and appreciations of my plot twists. And, I know my turn for roasting her work will come soon. Mind you, that doesn't mean I take any pleasure out of pointing out the short comings in her work. In fact, there are times when I'm more energetic about the possible plots twists she could work into the story line than she is. Those instances she must talk me back to the path she intends to meander along.

If you don't have a critique partner to bounce ideas off of, you should. Having a creative sounding board is priceless. There have been numerous times we have spent hours hashing out story lines only to discover they don't work with the over-riding purpose of the novel. Had I spent the days writing, weeks waiting for my work to be reviewed by my writing group and agonizing sessions of editing the errors out of the story I would have been truly down trodden and desolate. However, in the space of coffee and doughnuts she and I have built and torn down several possibilities before settling on the most viable scenario.

But, be forewarned, the position of Critic is not for the the light of heart. Do not choose the love of your life, best friend or family member. Nor should you choose a candidate based on convenience sake. You don't want to wake up to blue Kool-aid Powder in the shower head due to retaliation from a loved one who didn't win the word war the night before. Similarly, you don't want that treasured friend to give you negligent feed back for fear of 'crushing your dream'. You want a true Critic, who will give you the good, the bad and the un-print-worthy. This must be a person of strong fortitude, willing to do battle over purpose and plausibility. They must be able to see the weakness in your writing AND help to make your story better.

It is easy to find fault in others, it is difficult to choose the path you intend to trod.

So I would like to say Thank You!
Not only to my friend Michele D. for the late evenings at my house with thing 1 and thing 2. But also, to my Sister for having the patience to put up with my neurotic schedule and delays between submissions. I know you're dying for the end of the story!
And lastly, to my writer friends here on Fiction Flurry for letting me in on the club. Without all of your input my story wouldn't be anywhere near what it has become.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: Don't Breathe a Word

I recently had the opportunity to read Jennifer McMahon's new novel Don't Breathe a Word, which was released today.

"On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all."

I found this book to be incredibly captivating. I enjoy mysteries and I enjoy fairy tales, so this is an interesting mash-up of the two. Told in alternating chapters, there are essentially two storylines--what exactly happened the summer Lisa went missing, and the adventures of Phoebe and Sam fifteen years later.

This is certainly a dark book and things are never what they seem. There are so many twists and turns in the plot that it's impossible to get bored or, frankly, to put the book down at all. The characters are vivid and the mystery itself is well thought-out and complex. The story harkens back to the age of fairy tales and playing make believe, but the dark twist to it gives it a wonderfully unnerving quality.

I'm always drawn to covers, and this cover is absolutely gorgeous. It definitely sets the tone for the whole novel in the both innocent and haunted qualities of the girl. Another feature of the book I enjoy is the passages from the "Book of Fairies" at the beginning of each part. These passages offer an intimate look at the world Lisa believes in.

I truly enjoyed Don't Breathe a Word. If you're looking for a good mystery to read this summer, I would suggest you check out this one!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Attracts You To a Book?

What are you reading right now and why? 

As a group of writers, we here at Fiction Flurry are always interested in what attracts readers to books.  If you read a book that's outside your favorite genre, what makes you select that book?  How do you go about picking your next read from the genre you like best?

For me, I'm first drawn to new works of authors whom I've already read.  I just purchased a hardcover, full priced Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks because she's one of my favorite authors.  I have a Nook e-reader and could have purchased the e-book for half the price, but since Brooks is tops on my list, I splurged.

Next in my hierarchy of book-purchasing selection criteria is genre:  historical fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction.  If I'm not familiar with the author, the cover better draw me in.  When I purchase an e-book, I've usually seen it in the bookstore first.  Otherwise, a recommendation from a friend who has similar taste in books usually is a good way to go.  When I'm in the mood to buy a book, I go to Good Reads to see what my friends recommend.

I would like to purchase more books by self published authors on my Nook.  What's the best way that you've found to search for titles by self published authors?  What kind of luck have you had with the quality of self published books that you've purchased? 

We'd love to hear from you about your book selection process.  What websites to you use to help search for the next perfect book?  What attracts you to a book?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Congratulations Spring Blog Hop Winners!

We are so pleased with the response to our giveaway.  THANK YOU for following Fiction Flurry.  Here are our winners:

Laura H. of Kansas, you win the Romance Bundle
Latishajean of Wisconsin, you win the Paranormal Bundle
Jessicas-Bookshelf of Utah, you win the Lovely Cover Bundle
Sarah the Hobbit of Pennsylvania, you win the Jodi Picoult Bundle
Kimmel Tippets, you win the Heavy Reading Bundle
Laurie Carlson, you win the Commercial Bundle
Rachel of Alberta, Canada, you win the Writers Bundle
Rebecca Shaw, you win the Non Fiction Bundle

Please check your e-mail for a message from Fiction Flurry so that we can get your snail mail address. 

If you didn't win, keep checking back with Fiction Flurry for more giveaways.  Better yet, sign up for new posts to be delivered to your e-mail address through our RSS feed. 

Thanks to all!

Spring Blog Hop Carnival is now Closed. Check back later today for winners!

Thank you all so much for participating in our giveaway.  To those of you who are new, welecome!  For those of you who have been with us a while, we're thankful for your loyalty.  Check back later today for the list of winners of the book bundle giveaways!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Welcome readers and writers, one and all, to Fiction Flurry!  Our blog contributors are members of a writing critique group in Marysville, Ohio.  The Fiction Flurry writers come from a variety of genres:  romance, paranormal, YA, historical, literary, and inspirational fiction.

We here at Fiction Flurry are so excited to participate in the Spring Blog Carnival that we have assembled for our readers not one, not two, but EIGHT separate giveaways.  Each bundle of books we have to offer comes from a different genre, just like the writers here at Fiction Flurry.

Here's a list of our Book Bundle Giveaways to eight lucky winners, to be announced May 9, 2011:

1.  Romance Book BundleMistress by Mistake and Damsel in Disguise by our very own Susan Gee Heino; His Expectant Ex by Catherine Mann; A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action by LuAn McLane; Heartbreakers by Lori Foster.

2.  Jodi Picoult Book BundleVanishing Acts and The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult, both hard cover.

3. Heavy Reading Book BundleLight on Snow by Anita Shreve; The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (both hard cover).

4. Paranormal Book BundleShadow Bound and Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison; Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes; Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead.

5. The Writers Book BundleThe Wealthy Writer by Michael Meanwell; Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg.

6.  Commercial Fiction Book Bundle:  Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik and The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.

7.  Non-Fiction Book Bundle:  Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why our Decisions Don't Matter, edited by Simon Van Booy; Everything Is Going To Be Great by Rachel Skukert.

8.  The Lovely Cover Book Bundle:  The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (both hard cover).

Here's how to enter for a chance to win one of our bundles:

1.  Be a Follower of Fiction Flurry 
2.  Leave a comment including your e-mail address and tell us your favorite fiction genre.

Though not a requirement to enter for the giveaway, we would be so happy if you would subscribe to receive our posts via e-mail, become our friend on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

A limit of two bundle winners can be outside the US/Canada.

Good Luck, and here's a listing of the other Spring Blog Carnival participating blogs...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Author Interview: Michelle Muto



When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before – that her father, who left when she was seven – was involved with the darkest of magic.

Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers. Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school’s resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick’s offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book – he’s offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end.

Hunks, hexes, and magical mayhem!

Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Smashwords for eBook
Coming soon to iBook, Sony, Kobo, and more!

INTERVIEW With Michelle
FF: Let's start with a little bit about your back ground.
Michelle: I'm married, with dogs. Yes, one of them really IS a Beezlepup. Kidding. But, he is the inspiration for Devlin, the Beezlepup in the book. By day, I'm a freelance tech writer when the work is there, and a fiction writer when it's not. As a kid, my favorite past time was spending hours at the library or entire rainy afternoons reading. I guess I've always wanted to be surrounded by the written word.

FF: We love the fresh spin on the supernatural world! How did you come up with the idea for Book of Lost Souls?
Michelle: I've always loved stories about witches. Who wouldn't want to be magic? And, I've always loved humorous stories. There's just not enough of them, in my opinion. One day, this small town teen witch came to mind. All she wanted was a normal, verycontrollable life. Despite her best efforts, she discovers her life is as far from normal as it gets and at times, it's total chaos

FF: What can readers expect out of this story?
Michelle: I hope some good laughs, some palm-sweating, swoon-worthy romance, and loyal friendship. Oh, and a cast of eclectic, memorable characters along with some fast-paced action.

FF: What forms of research did you do for this novel? Anything unique?
Michelle: I did some research on Vlad the Impaler and Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Creepy.

FF: Can you tell us more about your current projects?
Michelle: I'm editing a darker, more emotional tale, set in a different world than Souls and writing a new book.

FF: Any teasers about what you’ll be publishing next?
Michelle: It's a heart-rendering, haunting tale of a girl who discovers death isn't at all what she thought it'd be. In places, I think it's a guaranteed tear jerker. In others, it's downright horror. And the ending is well, you'll have to wait until this summer to read it. Think a darker, more supernatural novel in the vein of The Lovely Bones.

FF: Any advice for aspiring author's on the publication process?
Michelle: Write. Always keep writing. Keep digging into your work and find areas where you need improvement. And always let your imagination run wild.

FF: Lastly I’d like to blast a few personal tidbits out to our readers
A must when you are writing...
Complete solitude and quiet. No music, no interruptions.

Book you are currently reading...
The Rite, by Matt Baglo. I meant to read the book before
I saw the movie,
but it didn't work out that way.

Favorite Quote...
If you think you can, or think you can't, you're right. ~Henry Ford

Thank you for the opportunity to pick your brain Michelle. I thoroughly enjoyed Lost Souls and
am eagerly anticipating your next project.

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