Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, April 12, 2014

@JR_Tague on Writing Isn't A Hobby & More Things She Had Known #AmWriting #WriteTip #YA

1) You always re-write the beginning pages.
Before I even had a plot for Leveling Up, I wrote the first two pages. They were basically Max introducing himself and telling the reader what he was about. When I finally had a story to go with those pages, I got a lot of positive feedback on them.
Then I went to a writer’s conference and learned in one of my first workshops that the first pages always get scrapped or re-written. I thought I’d be the exception. I’m a painfully slow, careful writer, which certainly has its drawbacks. But the positive of that is that I usually have a lot less editing to do later.
When I finished my first draft, I hired a developmental editor to help me get my story in shape for querying. And guess where we focused the majority of our efforts? ON THE OPENING. It was hard to admit that I wasn’t special. But it made sense. When you write the first few pages of your novel, you’re just starting to feel out your characters and settings. You’re just finding the story’s narrative voice. That makes those pages very important. And very special. But, as my editor pointed out, they were just for me. Once I had my narrator’s voice, I had it. I could use it to craft an opening that set up the proper expectations for the novel, and the work would be stronger for it.
2) Writing the middle is the hardest part and you’ll feel like giving up.
I was at about 30k words when I ran out of outline for my first novel. I knew from the beginning that Leveling Up was going to be a series, so I’d envisioned the first book as an introduction to my character and the issues he’d be struggling with throughout the series. Thing is, that’s not enough plot for an entire novel—even a shorter YA novel. I only had half a book and felt completely lost and discouraged. It was such a relief later when I learned that it’s a common problem amongst writers. Middles are just hard. But once you get past them, it gets easier again.
3) Trust your characters
I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about my characters and getting a vague, misty idea of what their stories are, before I ever start writing. So by the time I’m into the plot, I expect to have a good idea of who they are and what they’re all about. But often they surprise me. They want to do things I don’t expect from them. They have reactions and emotions I didn’t think they would. It almost feels like a betrayal at first. But I think it’s actually a great sign. It means they’re realistic.
4) Nobody wants to hear about your book while you’re writing it. But everyone wants to hear about how it’s doing once you’ve published it.
Hearing about another person’s work in progress, unless you’re an extremely good friend (which I’m fortunate enough to have), is super painful. Maybe not as bad as listening to someone’s weird-ass dream, but similar. Even once we’ve completed a draft, it’s difficult for most of us to come up with tag lines and an “elevator pitch” (one-sentence summation of the book). When we’re in the middle of a novel, it’s very hard to narrow it down. We’re too embroiled in the intricacies of the plot. Therefore I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to hear me yammer on about it.
It’s just that for me, that’s the exciting part—getting the story down. But once it’s published, it’s a real thing to other people. They are excited for you, and proud, and happy, and so supportive. And that’s when they want to know how it’s doing. Are sales good? Is feedback positive? What are you doing to promote it? Those are all extremely valid questions and they are coming from a good place. Buuuuut, I always want to answer that the book is done. I finished it years ago, in fact. I still love it and care about it and yes, of course I am trying to make sure it does well. But my head’s already in book two.
5) That it’s like having homework. Forever.
Writing isn’t a hobby; it’s a job. It was easier to lie about that when I was writing my first novel. Because any aspirations I had for it were kept secret, even from myself, for a long time. It was just something I was kind of working on, and I’d just see how it went.
But once I got serious about it, once I started thinking about the sequels and signing book deals, and coming up with other, unrelated series to write as well, that’s when I knew it had me. I was committed. There wouldn’t be just this one trilogy, there’d be other stories. There’d be other multi-book sagas to write. And before I knew it, it wasn’t a choice anymore. The stories had found me and I had to write them.
Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with J R Tague on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Belinda Vasquez's Mind is Cluttered With Creativity and ... @MagicProse #Mystery #Romance

My mind is like my office, cluttered with creativity. On one wall are two sets of book shelves sweeping the ceiling. A few of the shelves are filled with papers scribbled with writing for various books that will one day be written. There is one shelf reserved for notebooks where each notebook contains notes or writing for a particular book. I have piles of notes on the table next to me. These piles are for my current book I’m working on and for my next book.
I believe the mind has more than one subconscious. My theory is that the brain has a layer of them and I have a subconscious for each book I plan to write or have partially written. For me, writer’s block doesn’t exist. If I get stuck, I simply forget about it, knowing that the next morning, the writing will be there. My subconscious has written it while I was sleeping.
There are two times my mind likes to write. One, of course, is when I’m sitting in front of the computer deliberately writing but never forcing the words. The second time is, sometimes, when I’m relaxed. I’ll be at my Zumba class exercising and suddenly my subconscious will start writing. Dialogue or narration comes spilling out. Sentences, paragraphs, or plot will disappear if not put on paper as soon as possible. My mind only comes up with it once and then moves onto another part of the book.
When I go out to eat, I often have to write on napkins because my mind decides to become creative in the middle of a chicken salad sandwich.
I have piles of scribbling. I try to get organized and write in a notebook. I’ve got two notebooks laying around with writing for my current book. I have ten notebooks dedicated to future books with scribbling that came out as fully-written prose.
When I begin a new book, I go through the scribbling to find what’s already been written. Sometimes it’s dialogue or prose, or plot, or character development, or a sketchy outline of the story. Often it’s the ending of the book or the beginning.
My brain, also, likes to write when I’m driving. I’ve had to pull into parking lots to scribble on pads of paper. This doesn’t happen often any more since I no longer have to commute to a job but write full time. I once tried a tape recorder, but a different part of the brain does speech. As soon as I open my mouth, the writing vanishes from my subconscious, and I can’t remember a word or what it was even about. But if I write with my subconscious, the words flow.
When I’m trying to go to sleep, my mind will start writing occasionally. I have to keep getting up and scribbling on the notebook I keep on my nightstand. I sometimes finally tell my brain to shut up so I can sleep.
If I’m beginning a new book, my brain will go nuts and the words and voices spill out like a fountain.

The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother's ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It's bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents' deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it's no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it's his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother's past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Facebook & Twitter

Seasons' End by Will North @WillNorthAuthor #AmReading #Women #Fiction

“Can I just ask you a question?” Colin said.
He and Tyler were sitting at a corner table at their local London pub, the Cross Keys, having just celebrated Thanksgiving with steak and kidney pie and a bottle of “claret,” as Tyler insisted on calling the Bordeaux they’d ordered. Tyler was in one of his expansive moods.
“I believe you meant ‘May I,’ and you just did,” he replied, grinning. He was well into his second after dinner double whisky, a pricey 25-year old single malt from the island of Islay, in the Scottish Hebrides.
“Are you in love with Pete?”
“Oh, ho! Jealousy rears its ugly green head!”
“Stop being an idiot.”
“Being an idiot is one of my many charms.”
“Help me out here. What would the other ones be?”
“Ooh, testy tonight are we?”
“Look, it’s a simple question.”
“One thing I’ve learned about my roomie is that nothing’s ever simple with you. You see layers in any incident, multiple meanings in every otherwise declarative statement. You’re an analyst; must be your medical training: the diagnostician.”
“Would that be in the manner of a compliment?”
“Oh, I shouldn’t think so…”
“Good, because that would be so out of character.”
“Impossible. I have far too many characters to ever be out of one.”
“Well, how about you see if any one of them can answer the question at hand.”
“Why do you wish to know, if not out of rampant jealousy?”
“You’re answering a question with a question.”
“I’ve always found that an effective mechanism by which to keep the interrogator off balance.”
“Didn’t work this time, pal. I’m not unbalanced.”
“Well, that’s one of us, then.”
“Answer the question or I’m sticking you with the entire tab for dinner.”
“Okay what?”
“Okay stick me with it.”
“You’re right. You are an idiot.”
“Ah, but only sometimes; one never can tell.”
“Actually, one can. You’re an idiot for pretending to love Pete and shagging every other woman who comes across your path.”
“Am I getting only every other? That’s only a fifty percent success rate. Damn! I’m slipping. Get me another whisky, will you?”
“No way.”
“How about if I answer your question?”
“I’ll take that into consideration.”
“Big of you. Yes.”
“Yes, what?”
“Yes, I love her.”
By which you mean…what?”
Tyler heaved a theatrical sigh and stared off into the dim light of the saloon bar. The soft light from rose-shaded sconces and table lamps made warm pools on the patterned, predominantly red, mock-Sarouk carpeting.
“By which I mean I can’t imagine not being with her, not having her be a part of me. I suppose these days one would say we’re ‘soul mates.’ ”
“‘Soul mates,’ or just old mates?”
Tyler shot him a look. “We’re not just friends, you know.”
“Yes, yes; you’re lovers, too. Big deal. You have lots of other lovers. Where’s the distinction? Where’s the fidelity?”
“Goodness, I had no idea they had Puritans in the New York Mafia…”
“I’m serious; I don’t get that part.”
Tyler smiled, leaned back on the rear legs of his chair, and made a grand slice through the smoky pub air, as if dividing the Red Sea.
“One bifurcates,” he said. Then he winked, as if he’d just lured a naïf out of innocence.
“As in divide and compartmentalize.”
“So all these other women—the ones who call you from Oxford, the ones you bring home from the pub here, the matron at the Grapes…?”
“One box, as it were.”
“And Pete?”
“Quite another. One box holds trash, the other treasure.”
“I just hope you remember which box is which,” Colin said.
Every summer for generations, three families intertwined by history, marriage, and career have spent “the season” at their beach cottage compounds on an island in Puget Sound. Today, Martha “Pete” Petersen, married to Tyler Strong, is the lynchpin of the “summer people.” In childhood, she was the tomboy every girl wanted to emulate and is now the mother everyone admires.
Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.
But this summer, currents strong as the tides roil: jealousies grow, tempers flare, passions clash. Then, on the last day of the season, a series of betrayals alters the combined histories of these families forever.
As in previous novels, The Long Walk Home and Water, Stone, Heart, with Seasons’ End, Will North weaves vivid settings and memorable characters into a compelling tale of romance and suspense.
Buy Now@ Amazon
Genre – Women's Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Will North on Facebook & Twitter