Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ring Around the Rose: Question the Fourth

What Other Author Do You Write Most Like?

That's this week's question in our Ring Around the Rose blog hop extravaganza.

My honest answer is that I have no flipping idea.
I've never really thought about it before. I'm getting all self-analytically about my writing.

The thing is, I write very differently for each piece. My voice doesn't always stay the same. My non-fiction voice tends to be very laid back, not take itself too seriously, and be more like a conversation (a conversation where I do all the talking, I know) where I like to open up and have fun creating new vocabulary words like "self-analytically."

Maybe kind of like Dave Barry.

I might be reaching.

A lot.

He's a very successful comedic writer whereas I'm...not so much.

But, it's a start.

My fiction writing tends to be more formal. I try my best to use commas correctly, though I am certain that I am failing miserably.

I think if I were to compare my fiction writing voice to another author's it would have to be Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Messenger and a whole host of other books. Though the subject matter of her books is serious, she gives it a light touch and makes it accessible to both younger and older readers. I try to do that. Hopefully, I am. I really want to know YOUR opinion.
If you happen to have read any of my fiction and/or non-fiction and you had to answer this sentence, what would your answer be?...

Dorian Tsukioka's book _________________ is reminiscent of such authors as __________________ and _______________________ . 

Or how about this one...
If you love books by ________________ and __________________, then Dorian Tsukioka's book is what you're looking for.

I'd love your help in making my marketing more direct! Who knew that you'd be working in the marketing and advertising field today (unless of course that is your actual job, in which case -- you did)?!

But now for the really fun question for this week's blog hop...

Which Author Do You Want to Write Like?

This one is easy for me.

Without a doubt, I would love to write like Joss Whedon.

If you don't know who that is, I weep for you.

The truth is, I've never, ever read anything by Joss Whedon, but I know his voice well. It's funny, poignant, pithy, fast-paced and just simply amazing. That's how I aspire to write.


Until then, I'm happy to make up words.
So are you feeling self-analytically now, too?

Don't forget to check out Hayden's blog tomorrow to see her response.
Also check back to see what KayceeSavannah, and Janelle wrote, too!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ring Around the Rose: Question the Third

This week's question is a doozy!

How would you talk a hungry dragon out of eating you if you were face-to-face without any sort of weapon?

I'm going to just come out and say that I'd likely become a fricasseed dragon delicacy.

However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't try. Especially if it was a talking dragon. If it's a dragon out of Harry Potter, then I'm screwed.

But maybe, just maybe, a talking dragon that can be reasoned with would result in me escaping a charbroiled fate. Maybe.

If you've never read the book, My Lucky Day  by Keiko Kasza, you're missing out. It may just save you from a hungry dragon.

I'd totally use what I learned from this little picture book to save my butt.

In the story a little pig finds himself at the house of a hungry fox. Just as the fox is about to eat him, the little pig gives up and suggests that the fox give him a bath first because he is an awfully dirty pig.

The fox commences to build a fire and give the little pig a bath.

Just as the fox is about to eat the pig again, the pig tells the fox he's all skin and bones. He suggests that the fox fatten him up a little bit first. So, the fox makes spaghetti, meatballs and chocolate chip cookies from scratch. After a big meal, the pig says he's ready for the fox to eat him.

But, just as the fox is about to have the little pig as a snack, the pig mentions that his meat is all tough and suggests that the fox give him a massage.

Well, as you can guess, the little pig uses all these opportunities to tire out the fox and get away. The book has a surprise twist at the end. If you have kids, I'd suggest getting it for them and checking it out for yourself. I love using this story to help teach kids how stories go and twisted endings. They love it.

Anyway, I'd try to use what I've learned from the book to talk my way out of becoming a dragon's dinner.

Though I might as well sprinkle some parsley on myself now, because I doubt I'd be able to trick a dragon. I'd be a gonner.

But hopefully, I'd end up face-to-face with a friendly dragon.

Maybe Puff. I'll keep my fingers crossed in case that ever happens.

Don't forget to check out Hayden's blog tomorrow to see her response. Also check back to see what Kaycee, Savannah, and Janelle wrote, too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Writing Faster

If there's one thing a writer always wants to do - it's to write faster.


Because the faster a writer writes, the more stories can be published, and the more cha-ching ends up in the pocket.

But also because writing is hard.
It really is.
Creating anything takes effort.
It's so much easier to consume than to create.
It's easy to read a book - writing one is hard.
It's easy to sit and watch a movie - but writing a screenplay is not.
Consumption is easy.
Creation is very difficult.

So, even though I love writing, it is still difficult.

So, if I can figure out a way to write faster and get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time, I am all for it.

You may have heard of plotters vs. pantsers.
If not, I'll quickly explain.
A plotter is a writer who likes to do some sort of outlining before commencing with writing a story. The depth and breadth of the outline may vary, but at the very least, a plotter will have something down on paper to serve as a framework for the rest of their story.

A pantser is someone who writes "by the seat of their pants." They tend not to outline, but to let the story flow and take them wherever they want to go.

I used to be a pantser.
Then, I used to start out as a pantser who became a plotter when I got stuck and had to come up for some sort of synopsis for the rest of the story.

Now, I am a complete and absolute plotter.
And I love it.
I write so much faster this way.

It takes time to plot, that's true.
But, once I have created an outline for the story, I am able to write it out so much more quickly than I could when I left the story up to just happen on its own.

I'm sure there are pantsers who can write quickly.
I am just not one of them.

Over the last couple of days I tried something new to see if it would help me to write even more quickly.
I was well into the first chapter when I decided to stop writing all exposition, and write only dialogue. No "he said" or "she said"'s even. Just dialogue.

I have to tell you, this experiment was AWESOME.
I loved it!
In one afternoon I was able to write out all the dialogue I could foresee happening, and I was able to crank out several thousand words without a hitch. That's big news for me. I'm sometimes lucky to get several thousand words in a week.

I'll admit that I am very much a plot-driven author. Characterization is very difficult for me. In fact, it's not usually until I'm halfway through a story that I have a good sense of who the characters are. But, I always know what I want to have happen to the characters, and I have a good sense of how I want them to speak.

So, relying on just dialogue really helped me to flesh out my characters this afternoon and get to know them even more quickly as I wrote out their words.

Again, this was AWESOME.

I tried to imagine the story as a movie in my head, and in a movie there is nothing but dialogue. Screenplays are 95% dialogue because that's all there is. There are very few movies with voiceovers to get inside the character's heads (and those that have it probably shouldn't). Instead, it's what the character says and how they say it that helps the audience know who they are, what they want, what their problems are, and the type of people they become.

So, if you're looking to write a little faster, even if you're not a plotter like me, may I suggest this:
Sit back and imagine your story in your head just as if you're watching a movie.
Don't describe anything.
Don't worry about the setting.
Or the mood.
Or laying out the scene.
Just pay attention to what your characters say. Write that down. Only that.

Then, when you're done with a chapter, or even the whole story, go back and fill in. See if it helps you to get to know your characters faster, outline the plot of your story quicker, and ultimately - write a whole heck of a lot faster, too!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ring Around the Rose: Question the Second

If you haven't read the answer to last week's question about which fantasy world I would choose to live in, you can scroll down or click here to read that thrilling bit of blogging.

This week's question is closely linked to last week's. Get ready to dust off the best advice you learned from How to Win Friends and Influence People, because this week we're going to be shaking hands and kissing babies...

Question the Second: If you could meet your favorite literary character, who would it be?

I'm going to let you know right up front that I'm going to cheat on this one. 
You're just going to have to be okay with that.

First of all, I'm going to pick two characters.
No, no backtalk from you that I can only pick one.
I gave you fair warning.

And second, one of them isn't an actual literary character.
I know, I know.
Get your panties out of a wad. It'll be okay.

Let's start with the most inflammatory of the bunch: my non-literary, favorite literary character.

Look at those "Come hither" eyes!
I was going to say Captain Kirk.
Of the 60's.
Not movie Kirk - he's too Hollywood.
But Kirk of the ugly yellow shirt. That Kirk.
I totally had a crush on him. Well, re-run versions of him. He was way before my time. Way. Wayyyyyyyyyy before.

So, no, I didn't go with Kirk.
Either he'd love me and leave me as he seemed to do on...Every. Single. Episode. (Did you say it just like Kirk? If so, good for you.)
Or else, I'd end up on his crew doomed to be one of the redshirts that wouldn't live past the first 10 minutes of the show.
So, no Kirk for me. Meeting him is too dangerous.

Instead, I went with another non-literary favorite literary character: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

She could totally kick your butt. And look great, too.
I love Buffy. Do you love Buffy? You should.

I have stipulations, though.

I'd have to be part of the Scooby Gang if I met her.

Similarly to meeting Captain Kirk in his world, I would most likely be in grave peril if I met Buffy in hers and wasn't one of her peeps (the Scooby Gang - with whom I'd love to spend time with as well).

Xander, Willow, Giles, Buffy and Me. Sitting down to a nice cup of tea right before something dreadful happens and we're called on to save the world.


So, Buffy and pals are my first choice.

My actual LITERARY favorite literary character that I would love to meet is Evie from the Paranormalcy series. (Paranormalcy, Supernaturally, Endlessly)

I LOVED these books, and I loved the main protagonist, Evie.
Guess who she reminds me a lot of....

She's witty, spunky, funny, kicks some bad-guy ass, and has a huge preoccupation with the color pink.

What's not to love?

If you like YA (and this is pretty much squeaky-clean YA, by the way), you should totally check these books out. They've been out for a while now, but they're still a fun read.

I think Buffy would agree.

Don't forget to check out Hayden's blog tomorrow to see her favorite literary character that she'd like to meet.

Also, see what Kaycee, Savannah, and Jenelle said, too!

So...who would you like to meet?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ring Around The Rose - Question the First

For the next few weeks, the authors of the stories found in Five Enchanted Roses will be participating in a blog hop of sorts. Each week we will be answering a different question.

I invite you to join in the fun by reading the other authors' blogs to find their answers, and also make sure to share your own answer in the comments as well.

You can check out the other authors' blogs by going to Kaycee, Savannah, Jenelle, and Hayden's blogs! Kaycee will start us out on Monday, and Hayden finishes the question on Friday. 

I answer out of turn because I'm just special like that. 

(Actually, I had a complete brain fart, and will make a special effort to have my answers out on time for the next four consecutive Thursdays.)

So all this fanfare brings us to.....

Question the First: What Fantasy Land Would You Want to Live In?

And because I'm a teacher, and I'm never satisfied with a simple one sentence answer, I'll throw in the kicker


I'll admit, I've known about this question for a few weeks now, and I've really be struggling to come up with just one fantasy world to commit to. 

I  love all these amazing worlds:
The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter
The Last Unicorn
The Neverending Story

All of these had awesome settings, and I'd probably be content living in any of them. 

Then again, I even had a hard time committing to a FANTASY world.

What about Sci-Fi? I love Sci-Fi. And Sci-Fi loves me:
Star Wars
Star Trek (the original and the Next Generation)
Ender's Game
Under the Never Sky
These worlds might be awesome to live in, too. 

Much better than living in the world of:
The Hunger Games
The Giver
The Stand

I definitely don't want to wake up one of these days in those worlds. 

I've finally narrowed it down to two picks. 
This was difficult. 
I've been visiting one of my favorite universes since elementary school - long, long before David Tennant made the Doctor a hottie. 
I wouldn't mind being his traveling companion, though. 

But in the end, I had to go with a world full of silliness and comedy. 

There's not a lot of magic in it to make it fantasy.
But there is a six-fingered man, a giant, an albino, a miracle worker, a pirate, and a beautiful princess...

If I could live anywhere, I'd have to choose the land of the Princess Bride. 
Evidently, there's a shortage of perfect bosom's in that world. 
I might as well help out. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Five Enchanted Roses Author Spotlight: Savannah Jezowski

So other than me, this is the last of the Five Enchanted Roses authors that I had the privilege of interviewing for my blog. I'm so pleased to introduce to you Savannah Jezowski, author of Wither. Savannah is located in Michigan, and is currently working in banking.

Let's get to know her better...

Tell me about your Five Enchanted Roses story.

Wither is based closely on the original fairy tale. However, I took great liberties with the setting and characters to make it my own telling. For example, Beauty isn't the Merchant's youngest, most beautiful daughter. There isn't an Enchantress in my story either; although, I suppose there is a character who is responsible for the Beast's circumstances. There are also other differences which I can't share yet. You will have to wait until the release! In this telling, I also chose to tell the story as much from the Beast's perspective as Beauty's. Once I got into it, his story really captured my heart. I love Bet, too, but Corwin is my favorite character. 

What was your inspiration for your story? 

The story world was inspired by After, a story I wrote for the Five Glass Slippers competition the year before. I realized I had stumbled across an amazing story world that had many stories to tell. While Wither is technically a part of a series, it is a solid stand alone story. My Marmie also inspired a particular aspect of the story...but I can't tell you what aspect exactly. 

How long have you been writing?

I began writing when I was in elementary school. I wrote infamously long, meandering fantasy and science fiction novels that I will never attempt to publish. I began writing seriously in college when I had two short stories published in a student publication.

Have you written any other stories/novels?

I have several short stories published and am currently working on two novellas that will published as Ebooks later this year. Yes, After is one of them! It is technically the prequel to Wither and will be Book One in The Neverway Chronicles. The other story I will be publishing is another Beauty and the Beast novella called When Ravens Fall. It will be available in the autumn, with After following a couple of months later.

Can we find any of your other works for purchase online? 

Not yet...but very soon!

What is your process when you begin writing a story?

I usually start with a plot idea and then sit down with a notepad and brainstorm in circles for days and days. It is not uncommon to fill up an entire journal in the brainstorming stage. My husband makes an amazing sounding board. He has been actively involved in all of my recent stories. After I have the ideas fleshed out, I try to work out an outline. I am not much of an outline person. The end result is never like my outline, but I am trying to teach myself to plan ahead better so that I do not have as much rewriting to do.

What other writers/books inspire you?

J.R.R Tolkien, Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott were my favorite authors when I was growing up. I also enjoy Charles Dickens, Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander...and Louis L'Amour. I will admit I have a fondness for westerns. Marmie read L'Amour to us when we were kids, and I've never outgrown it. 

What advice would you give to other new writers?

Keep writing. The story you wrote today may not be right for this publisher or magazine . . . but something you write tomorrow could be! Don't be afraid or ashamed of rejections. Keep your chin up and keep writing. 

What's next for you? Anything else you're working on for the future?

I am planning to write several stories in The Neverway Chronicles and perhaps a sequel for When Ravens Fall. I also have a dystopian story I have been kicking around for a few years, but it is on the back burner for right now. I hope to get back to it one of these days, but I have hundreds of story ideas tucked away in my journals. Who knows which ones I will end up actually writing.

Where can we find you online?

My blog is
I also have a Facebook Author Page and you can also find me on Pinterest and Goodreads.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Get Your Pencils and Laptops Ready...It's Writing Contest Time!

Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their third fairy tale novella contest—

Five Magic Spindles

a collection of “Sleeping Beauty” stories 
The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Sleeping Beauty,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours! 
Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Magic Spindles collection, which will be packaged up with the phenomenal cover you see here. Maybe your name will be one of the five listed? 
All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page. 
Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers is available for purchase, and our second collection, Five Enchanted Roses is scheduled to launch on July 27, and is currently available for pre-order. Be certain to get a copy of each and see what previous winners did with their wonderful retellings.