Monday, April 30, 2012

Defy Promotional Package, Quote Wars, and Contest

As part of the Defy book tour I'm excited to promote the book on my blog with a summary, trailer, quotes from the book, and a link to a contest where you can enter to win a book or some cool "swag!" 

Defy summary: 
Seventeen-year-old Tate is about to make her parents’ dreams come true. Unfortunately for her, their dreams foretell her death.

Eager to explore more of the Estilorian plane and prove her abilities, Tate goes against her parents’ wishes and leaves the area of protection surrounding her home. Her choice puts her on a deadly path…one that leaves her alone, severely injured and battling for her life.

Her possible savior arrives in the form of Zachariah, a male who has removed himself from Estilorian society for more than fifty years. Fighting an unexpected connection to Tate, he must decide whether saving her life is worth destroying his.

As Tate struggles to find a way home, she ends up drawn into a dark Mercesti plot involving multiple murders and a powerful ancient artifact. With the unpredictable Zachariah as her only source for aid, she’ll soon find out if her abilities are strong enough to help her defy her Fate.

Click on this link to watch the amazing trailerDefy trailer

Quote Wars: 


Quote Battle for Defy

Tate VS Zachariah


Tate: “You probably think I’m an idiot for getting myself into this mess.”

Zachariah: “You have a highly developed sense of the dramatic.”


Tate: “Drama? Oh, you want drama? I have no idea where I am. I have no clothes besides the ones I’m wearing, which are filthy and essentially rags. I have no food, no map, no healing supplies…and to top it all off, I’ve lost my mind and I’m now communicating with a hallucination.”

Zachariah: “You really must learn to control your emotions.”


Tate: “Oh, great. Not only do I have a breakdown, but I have some uncaring stranger around to witness it. Could this possibly be any worse?”

Zachariah: “Having a rough time of it, are you?”


Tate: “It’s called sarcasm, Sparky. Haven’t you ever heard of it?”

Zachariah: “I know very well what sarcasm is, Beautiful.”


Tate: “You’re funny, Sparky. Heaven knows why I like you, but I sure do… I trusted you to do what you said you would.”

Zachariah: “Trust me when I say that you should never trust me, Beautiful.”

Brief bio: Raine Thomas is the author of a bestselling series of YA fantasy romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the upcoming Firstborn trilogy. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer's Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Now for the contest! To enter go to: Good luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Plots, Subplots, and Foreshadowing

Here are, yet, more of my notes from LTUE. These are from a panel on plotting, subplotting, and foreshadowing. I tend to have too many subplots so this was helpful in figuring out how to narrow it down for me. Hopefully some aspect of it will help you with plotting too. The authors on the panel were Bree Despain, James Owen, Scott Savage, Brandon Sanderson, and Stacy Whitman.

Stacy Whitman and Karen Sandler
Brandon Sanderson

Bree Despain

Minor subplots—need to be pulled together and relate to the large plot. All characters should have lives before the story. They need to have passions unrelated to the real plot. Having them care about other things rounds out and makes characters real.

Things to juggle—You don't just want filler chapters. You want multiple plotlines in between.
Scott Savage

How do you have subplots to support your main plot? They are running threads throughout that make your character stronger. Look for integration and complexity of plot and character.

Plot (Epic fantasy)—End of an era. Survive.

How many subplots is too many and how do you know? Read, read, read in the genre to which you aspire to write to get an idea of how many subplots are usual for that genre. Keep an eye out for adding anything new in the last quarter of your book, which undermines the focus of the last quarter of your book.

Layer subplots—so the book can be read at different levels. (e.g., use references alluding to other books.)

Don't have so many characters that your story becomes diluted.

Subjects—just like main plots have to have a beginning, middle, and end, if you start something, you have to follow it through, especially in a series. You have to tie it all up.

YA watchword—When pitching a book or series to an editor, say it's a stand alone with a series potential.

Start outlining books 2 and 3 and think of things you may need to outline.

Writing process—do a 1 page outline (1 sheet/yellow legal pad) of the character's trip or journey. Stops along the way are plot points. For side trips you have to come back to the main destination. You can use pictures or images for each chapter.

Where do subplots come from? They come from the character's dreams or passions. They cast people in roles. Write the first chapter. Throw it away and rewrite it. For the over arching plot have a strict outline.

Foreshadowing—drop something in here and there and have someone mention something. Make the reader accept the story along the way. You need to lay the groundwork and have enough clues, but not make it obvious, so that it's surprising, yet inevitable. Get the reader really interested in something that's coming up. Be a story magician and distract them. Surprising the reader in a way that makes them say, "Oh, I should have seen that coming," is tricky. Give them little bread crumbs.

Difference between idea and plot—plot is the main character's major goal and obstacles and consequences for failure.

How do you keep from giving away too much? Use a red herring that never pans out, another thing that pans out, and something that has a twist. With 1st person it's easy to keep secrets with an unreliable narrator. In 3rd person, stay out of the head of the person with a secret. Just have them not think about it because it's too traumatic.

So what are some your plotting tips or things that have helped you with plotting?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The 7-7-7 Challenge

3. Pat Esden tagged me in the 7-7-7 Challenge. Here's how it works:
The 7-7-7 Challenge:
Flip to page 77 or page 7 of your current WIP. 
Find line 7.
Post the 7 sentences that follow.
Tag 7 more writers.
Here are the seven sentences of my Paranormal Romance novel, Mystic Mound. The main character, Mindy, has just graduated from high school. She performed with her band and the show choir at her graduation (she plays the electric guitar) and her best friend, Krista, sang the solo. Brady, the class president, who she's had a crush on since junior high, gives a speech and Mindy almost trips walking down the ramp from the stage after receiving her diploma. 
            Ha! That would’ve been a stunning entrance to my new life as an adult.
Afterwards, I stood in the packed hallway next to Krista waiting for my mom to find me. Classmates squished by, slapping our shoulders and congratulating us on our graduation and on our performance.

Brady sauntered past. I tried not to stare at his sun-bleached hair and electric blue eyes, but he caught my gaze. “Nice job, Cooper,” he said, doing a pretend riff on an air guitar.
            He’d hardly ever said a word to me before. I didn’t even know he knew my name. 

The 7 other author/bloggers I've chosen to tag for this contest are: 

Have fun with this!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writing Multicultural Novels

Stacy and me at LTUE
Stacylwhitman, editorial director of Tu books, an imprint of Lee and Low, gave a very enlightening presentation on writing multicultural novels at LTUE in February. Here are some highlights of her presentation:

  • Who gets to write what? 
  • Who actually reads multicultural books?
Recommendations of books to read:
Liar, Justine Larbalestier
Magic Under Glass
Wolf Mark

  • CCB Children's Book Council
  • Alvina Ling, Little Brown
  • Diversity committee
  • This American Life (radio show)

Different types of multicultural writer's:
  • Invador—Arrive without warning. Take what ever they want. destroy. Stay. 
  • Tourist: Nusance, pay way, can be accommodated. May be intelligent but ignorant, but can learn.
  • Guest—relationships can become long term and reciprocal. 
  • Native—Someone who is part of that culture
Examples of what not to do:
The Dear America Series: My Heart is on the Ground
The Wizard of Earthsea, "Whitewashing"

Cultural institutions

Questions to ask yourself as you're writing:
Surface—food, clothing,
Deep culture—family interaction
       Whom are people loyal to? individualists or collectivists?
       Who are people responsible for?
       Who gets respects? (chief status? scribe status? Being vs. doing? Best player at sports? or age that  gives you status?
       How do we ensure fairness?
       Converstation vs. emotions? emotions nuetral or expressive?
       Who is in control? Outer vs. inner? You, fate, God?
       What time is it? Time is absolute verses flexible
       Guilt vs. shame?
       Men and women (separate or similar?)
       Am I in your space? (work, personal life, space)
       Shall we look forward or back?

I had a wonderful sushi lunch with Stacy and other writers, and she is considering one of my novels. I decided after talking with her and listening to her presentation that rather than setting my novel in a real historical place in Africa, I would simply base it on a certain culture and time period and make it an imaginary place. If you've written a YA or MG multicultural fantasy novel, Stacy would be a great editor to send it to.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writer's On Writing

This was one of my favorite, most inspiring panels from LTUE with panelists Brandon Sanderson, Tracy Hickman, David Farland, and  L.E Modesitt Jr. I especially appreciated what Tracy Hickman had to say.

Brandon Sanderson (in the middle with the black jacket and hat) talking to a group of writers at LTUE 
Tracy Hickman and me at LTUE
1. What is the most important (useful) writing lesson you've learned lately?

David Farland—Write for the love of writing. Write better, longer, get more done. Accomplish your goal for the year. Everyday sit down before you write for a few minutes and meditate. Tell yourself, "I am writing and I am excited about it."

Don't write around it. Write it. Write a story from a painting.

Brandon—Write short fiction. My first love is big fat fantasy novels. They're the most profitable, but as a writer I had a lot of ideas jumping out at me. I could put them in a 15,000 word novella and be done with them. This is a way to keep myself from worrying about the novels I'm not writing. (He calls 15,000 word novels short stories?)

Tracy Hickman—It takes 3 elements to make a writer. 1) talent 2) craft 3) discipline. Talent without discipline is a waste of air. There are a lot of people who are talented but not disciplined. They are "unwept, unhonored, and unsigned."

L.E. Modesitt—You have not yet written your best work, that story you must write and love will crash and burn and you'll have to pick yourself up and start over on page one.

Brandon—Do things more intentionally. I learned to start looking for the things that work well. I started looking at fiction as more of a performance, like a baseball pitcher. Writing is not totally conscious. It's partly subconscious. Train your subconscious by reading a lot.

Tracy—A story is structure. A story is meaning. It's craft. Craft is understanding method. Method is Character, plot, etc. . . . Recommended reading: Stephen Kings Book On Writing and The Black Swan.

Dave—Structure stories with characters, conflict, and people caught in the middle. I started looking at story as an argument. What is this story saying about society, etc. . . ?

2. How is publishing and writing changing? What is a time when writing was really hard for you?

Brandon—Just before (1 year) I published my first book. I wrote 12 novels and none of them sold. It took too long. I tried to chase the market and wrote mediocre novels. It's okay to look at trends, but I had a hard long look at why I was writing. I was writing to get published, but if not, would I keep writing? Yes, 1-2 books per year. Writing was more important than publishing.

Tracy—I'm in the most difficult part of my writing career, the worst thing that's ever happened. I can't talk about it. My way of dealing with it is my belief that I'm supposed to write for a living. What I do matters after all this apparent success you still have obstacles that you have to overcome and just have to rely on faith to get through.

Dave—We're at a tough time in the market and the rules are changing. The playing field has been leveled. What used to work doesn't anymore, but I'm going to keep trying to find a way. At another hard time in my life was when my teachers were pushing me toward a literary market—writing short stories to try to define myself as a writer. I decided to write what I would want  to read—genre ficion, SciFi, weird. I was not going to be untrue to myself. It was not the literary mainstream. Once I started writing to an audience, doors kicked open.

L.E. Modesitt—It was hard as hell when I first started. I sold the first Scifi story I ever wrote. I wrote 26 (18 before selling my 2nd and 3rd). I finally got a letter from my first buyer saying, "Don't send anymore stories. I won't buy them. You are a novelist. Write novels." I was trying to cram novels into short stories. I never tried to chase the market. I just kept trying to do what I do. More readers like what I write than editors. I stuck with it. This is what I know how to do/like and there are enough people out there who like it.

You're only as good as the last thing you write.

Dave—Every book I write, I set the bar higher. Each new novel is the hardest.

3. What do you see as the future of writing?

Tracy—1950's motion picture industry in trouble because of TV. 1960's individual producers came in and started making strange counter culture films. They weren't in the business of making movies but in the business of financing movies. Publishers today are in the same place. New distribution technologies are not in the business of making books, they're in the business of arbitrary quality. It's all going to come down to quality. Someone may read you once, but will they read you again? Provide them with a solid story.

Dave—Stories are everywhere. Your stories are your intellectual property. Fans are the future of book publishing: Facebook, Twitter, Webpage views. Your "following" sells books

I hope you've enjoyed these excellent thoughts from these amazing writers and maybe even learned a thing or two or at least felt inspired to keep writing or start writing or to write more! Happy writing and much success!