Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Cleaning and a New Website!

Image courtesy of James Barker /

Spring is here (FINALLY!) and it has me thinking about lots of things, and how I have too much of them. One of the things I have, that I desperately need to tidy up, is my website, which has been, up to this point: This Blog.

But, my friends, I'm getting fancy, and creating a website that will (hopefully) be better for us to keep up with one another and move forward, getting all the cobwebs off those old posts, updating the look and feel of things, and, in general, giving myself an electronic make-over. Doesn't that sound great? 

Once my website ( goes live, I must forewarn you all that this blog's days will be numbered. Not on day one, but soon thereafter. Don't worry, there will be reminders and hopefully I'll see every single one of you at my new home.

Happy Spring, Everyone!


Monday, April 7, 2014

#MyWritingProcess -- Blog Tour!

Lovin' the writing process from start to finish!

Hey-yo! Today is my turn to post on the Writing Process Blog Hop! I have been tagged by  A. G. Henley, bestselling YA author, when she posted about her writing process. Not to get off topic, but her Brilliant Darkness series (#1 The Scourge, #2 The Defiance-both available now, and #3 The Fire Sisters-coming soon,) are A-may-zing if you love a good YA dystopian, which I do!

This hop is all about exploring various authors' writing process and will answer four questions:
1)     What am I working on?
2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3)     Why do I write what I do?
4)     How does your writing process work?

Then, I'll let you know where you can read more authors' posts next week!

Let's get started, shall we?

1) What am I working on?
Well, as you may know, my first novel, Bewildered, recently released. It is the first in a series. Naturally, I'm working on book 2 (yet-to-be-named). Aside from the second Bewilderness Tale, there are other projects stewing and brewing including a YA dystopian, which was my first novel idea and refuses to be ditched (though I've tried!), another middle-grade series set in a cursed circus, and a YA novel that revolves around a race of humanoids who exist in shadows. I'm also toying with a story inspired by the "old lady who lived in a shoe" nursery rhyme--think creepy magic and crazy orphanage lady.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well... I think we all bring something different to the table. Though there it seems there is no such thing as new idea, I like to put a spin on things to set it apart. For example, Bewildered is very like Alice in Wonderland. However, unlike Alice, who becomes more mature through her adventure, Prudence must learn to appreciate whimsy and friendships to get home. 

Having fun with Missouri fans!
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write middle-grade (MG) and young-adult (YA) fantasy, mostly. I write in the fantasy genre because fantasy is one of my favorite things to read, and because it's where most of my book ideas fit in. I write for children and teens because growing up is simultaneously suffocating and liberating, terrifying and exciting, simple and complicated. It's a time of highs and lows, of adventures, and of finding one's place in the world, so there's always plenty of conflict and wonder. Though it helps to have focus, I am always a fan of switching things up, so an adult novel is not out of the question. If there is a story that begs to be written, I will oblige. 

4) How does your writing process work?
When an idea hits me, I record it. Maybe it's just a sentence that comes to me, or a few lines to remind me later what I was thinking. Occasionally, I'll have an idea that really gnaws at me and I'll take a day off my project-at-hand and use my writing time for brainstorming or writing a scene or the first few pages--whatever it is I have. Lots of these ideas won't be strong enough to support a full novel, but sometimes they are.

I have tried various approaches to writing: the "pantser" and "plotter" alike. A pantser, in case you're wondering, has nothing to do with jeans. It's a term that refers to someone who writes "by the seat of their pants," no outlining, no plotting out scenes--just sitting down and hacking away at the keyboard letting the story go where it will.

Then there's the other approach: the plotter. The plotter can be someone who creates a simple outline of how the story goes, what happens at the turning points of each act, or even someone who plots out their story page-by-page. There's no rules and no formulas. Writers learn by doing.

I fall somewhere in between being a pantser and a plotter. The rough draft is an act of impulse. The story unfolds one page at a time. Normally, my ideas start with the setting and circumstances. Next come conflict, and characters. I don't know what is going to happen, I just write until the story ends. Easy enough, right? Sure. Then, during the editing phase, the panster-done rough draft is put into plotter-mode. The scenes are adjusted for the right pace, layers and themes that revealed themselves are built upon and enhanced, and everything is re-written.

Editing is what makes the story whole. The rough draft is just there to get the loose sketch of the story down. I begin mentally editing as soon as the first pages are written, but I don't go back to change anything until I get all the way to the end. I will make notes on what I think needs to be changed, but I always put one foot in front of the other until the rough draft is done first.

Setting up at my 1st Signing Event!
Once the rough draft is done, and the edits I have mentally saved up are made, it's time to let the manuscript the dark...for a couple of months. During that time, I will work on other things, take some time off, and try to forget about the story (nearly impossible but I try). When the time is right, the manuscript is bought back into the light, re-read and another round of edits are done. Then it's ready for others to read and offer feedback. The editing continues until it's as good as I can make it, then it goes to a professional editor. Honestly, getting the manuscript back from the editor is one of my very favorite things. I love that line-by-line feedback! Working with the cover-artist is my other favorite thing.

I don't feel like my process is very efficient really, but it's what works for now. Each time I write a book, the process gets refined, story structure becomes more ingrained and second nature. Hopefully that means future manuscripts will be cleaner and require less invasive editing. A girl can dream :-)

That's about it, as soon as one is nearing completion, another is in the works. I don't like being without a writing or knitting project. It makes me antsy. :-)

Thanks for visiting my site for this blog hop! To keep it going, I've invited a few of my fellow YA/MG writers to expound upon the same questions I answered today in their own posts next week!

Steven Whibley, MG author of the Dean Curse Chronicles (#1 Glimpse, #2 Relic, and the soon-to-be-released #3 Impact) Steve believes in pixies and fairy dust, and the healing power of unicorns. When he’s not writing epic tales of horned beasties, he’s working as a look-a-like for Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron, and Seal. He spends his free time training hairless mole rats to be service animals for the colorblind, and dreams of one day inventing a Thanksgiving dish that will rival the infamous turducken.

Michelle Lowery Combs is the award-winning author of Heir to the Lamp from World Weaver Press.  She loves children and magic, but especially books about both. Check out her post next week on her blog!

Beth Barany is based in Oakland, California, and writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible. She's the award-winning author of the YA Fantasy novels: HENRIETTA THE DRAGON SLAYER (Book 1 of the Five Kingdom series) and HENRIETTA AND THE DRAGON STONE, (Book 2 of the Five Kingdom series.) In her off hours, Beth enjoys capoeira -- a Brazilian martial art/dance --, traveling, and watching movies with her husband, bestselling author Ezra Barany, and playing with their two cats, Kitty and Leo. 

Lisa Fender, YA/NA author of the Lorn Prophesy series (#1 Fable, now available) Lisa traveled the world as a child, and lived in Greece and other parts of Europe. She was born in Louisville Ky and moved to Colorado where she lives now. She's married to the most supportive man on the planet and has two grown kids and two grand kids. Not that she's old, she was in her 40's when they were born. In fact she's still a teen at heart! She writes a fantasy fiction series with her sister, Toni, and loves it. She wanted to write her whole life, and finally did it!

Thanks and have fun hopping on!