Thursday, March 27, 2014

Princess of the Light Book Trailer!!


Princess of the Light by N.N. Light
Release Date: August 26, 2014


Blurb:
Miriam Miller likes the simple things in life: a good book, close friends, and a healthy relationship with God. But, destiny comes calling, and her neat, little life turns upside down.

Ethanial, an angel of God, has been sent to reveal Miriam's true calling -– she is the Princess of the Light, the woman chosen by God Himself to vanquish the demons intent on infusing the world with evil. And her first assignment: restore the soul of a homeless man known only as The Walking Man.

Enter Joe Deacons, a man intent on stealing her heart. But as Miriam embarks on her journey to save the Walking Man and fulfill her calling, it becomes clear that Joe isn’t what he appears to be. Miriam must decide: Is she willing to risk her soul to save those she loves?


Author Bio:
N.N. Light was born in Minnesota, lived in Southern California only to move to chilly Ontario, Canada to marry her beloved husband, Mr. N. She is blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports and baking.
Website: princessofthelight.com
Blog: Princessofthelight.wordpress.com
Twitter: @NNP_W_Light
Links:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Breathless Book Reveal: Very Late...

My uncle passed away right before this cover reveal for my friend, Krista McLaughlin. I apologize so much! I'm catching up on the reveals and the book reviews I promised at the end of last month. Enjoy, and hopefully you all get a late boost in sales with these posting.


BREATHLESS Cover Reveal Information
BREATHLESS by Krista McLaughlin
Book Summary: Eighteen-year-old Lainey is the only witness to her best friend losing her life to the depths of the ocean. She stays close to the water, a small part of her hoping to surrender to the same fate. On her birthday the waters almost overtake her, but a mysterious young man rescues her and disappears.
Lainey can't stop thinking about the stranger from the beach, and one night she finds her rescuer naked and bleeding on the shore. Jon doesn’t know what pancakes taste like, how microwave popcorn cooks, or own shoes, but he seems to be just what Lainey needs. As the anniversary of her friend’s death looms, Lainey opens herself in ways she never thought possible. But when Jon’s identity comes to light, Lainey has to save him before she loses another love to the sea.
Publication Date:  April 1, 2014

About the Author:

Krista McLaughlin graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services, and a minor in English.  She was born and raised in the Midwest with her nose stuck in a book and her hand smeared in pencil lead.  When she is not cuddling with little ones she nannies, she is reading or cross-stitching.  She loves J.R.R. Tolkien and all things Star Trek.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guest Post by Editor Kisa Whipkey

Writing Characters With Great Backstories (Without the Backstory)
By Kisa Whipkey

As an editor, I get to bear witness to all kinds of writing pitfalls. (In fact, I have a post series dedicated to that planned for the near future.) But one of the most prevalent, by far, revolves around divulging exposition -- especially of the backstory variety. There are varying degrees of offense, but my personal favorite (and by "favorite", I really mean eye-roll inducing, hair-pulling, editing nightmare) is when writers feel the need to divulge a character's entire, complicated life story in the first chapter. Why is that bad? Well, think of it like this: your first chapter is the reader's introduction to your character. So in real life, it would be like meeting someone for the first time and having them word vomit their life story all over you. What kind of impression does that leave? Yeah, I bet you'd avoid that person like the plague after that.

I can already hear the murmurs of confusion and disagreement.

"But, we have to make sure our characters feel well-rounded and real," you say, "We don't want them to feel like cardboard cut-outs or Mary Sues."

You're 100% right. But you can do that without resorting to the word vomit introduction. How? Well, that's what I'm here to show you. ;)

Step 1: Creating Backstory

Before you can begin to write a well-rounded character, you have to actually make them well-rounded. You need to know that person intimately. They need to be real -- as real as your best friend from high school, or your quirky aunt with the 82 cats who lives in a motor home. The best way to do that is by making what's known as a character profile. (There are tons of templates available online, but this one is particularly thorough.) Document all those tiny little details and experiences that make your character who they are. Don't just stick to the superficial details, like eye color and body type, but really get to know them.

How'd they get that scar on their right knee?

Who was their first crush, and who broke their heart for the first time?

What's their strange nightly ritual? And why do they keep that weird nick-knack on their bookshelf?

In a separate document, flesh out your character from top to bottom. Until, like an actor, you can step into their skin and write with their voice. This process is as essential to your novel as plotting is, so don't skimp. You'll need to do this for every major character, and, to some extent, the supporting cast as well. You'll see why here shortly.

Step 2: Writing as Character X

By now, you should have pages and pages of notes. You've created all these exciting experiences and nuances that shape your character's personality, and you can't wait to share them all with the world. Right? Wrong. This is where pet peeve #208 (listed above) comes in. Writers assume that since they've created all this material, they need to use it. That it's a disservice to their character not to, and that stuffing every minute detail into their novel is the only way they'll be able to illustrate just how intricate this person's life is. But guess what? We're all intricate, complicated people. And we don't care that you've managed to create another one.

Your character spent 8 months backpacking through Europe three years before the events of chapter 1? Great. Who cares?

Your character has a great grandmother who can bake the world's best pot roast, but who died ten years before the events of the story? Okay. Sad, but so what?

Your character's favorite childhood dog only had three legs, but could run like a greyhound? Weird and slightly interesting, but what does it have to do with the story?

My point is, unless one of these anecdotes or facts has a direct affect on the current plot, it doesn't make it into the book. Why did you just waste hours writing all of that, then? Because, even though it'll never be stated outright, it will color the way your character reacts to any given situation. Essentially, by creating that profile, you built their "voice". Every experience we go through changes our fundamental outlook on life and will have a subtle affect on the way we behave, the things we say, and even our perception of a situation. That's the definition of personality. It's a reaction filtered through our individual set of traits and life experiences, and is what makes each of us unique.

For example, the character with the three-legged dog is likely to be compassionate toward animals as well as people who are differently-abled. While someone without that particular backstory may be callous and insensitive to the needs of others. The person with the grandma may have a certain affinity for pot roast, reacting to it much differently than someone who's, say, a vegetarian. And depending on how your character got the scar on their knee, they may have an ingrained fear of something that makes absolutely no sense to anyone else.
It's the history behind the character that makes them feel real. Even if we never hear the story of every experience, we'll respond to that feeling of depth, of fullness. It's not about creating a detailed biography of these fictional people, it's about making them feel human so readers can connect with them. So go ahead and create those elaborate backstories, but remember, 90% of it will never be used outright in your book. And that's okay. The authenticity you'll be able to create for having done this exercise will far outweigh the "wasted" time you put into it. Because, at the end of the day, fiction is nothing without its characters.

Step 3: Murder Your Exposition

(I make that sound so dramatic, don't I?)

Exposition has its place, but rarely is it needed as much as writers imagine. Storytelling is about conflict and emotion. And, as they say, "show, don't tell" whenever possible. Exposition is telling at its worst. It's that irritating person that walks into the room while you're trying to watch a movie and forces you to press pause in order to pay attention to them. It breaks whatever action you have happening and says, "look at this irrelevant bit of info" instead. Which is why your final mission for this lesson is to go through your manuscript, find any spot where you stuck a random memory or some other detail from their past, and ask yourself, "Does this really need to be here?" I guarantee, the majority of the time, the answer will be no.
You can convey a lot of backstory simply through subtext and the way the character reacts to the environment and situation around them. Sometimes it is necessary to supply the details, the history, but even then, exposition is rarely the key. Try to find some other way to divulge it whenever possible. Dialogue (although never use dialogue as a convenient vehicle for giving the reader information as it will instantly feel false and unnatural), inner monologues, passing comments, etc. Flashbacks are even preferable to straight info-dump exposition. But if you do have to resort to a flashback, make sure that your character is in an appropriate situation for one. Don't halt the middle of a battle to have them daydream about how they received a commendation for whatever umpteen years ago. If you do that, congratulations, your character is now dead. Because, while he was standing there daydreaming, the guy he was fighting lobbed his head off.

Once you've identified your exposition, strip it out wherever you can. Read the chapter, paragraph, sentence, without it. Does removing it in any way change the clarity of the message? If the answer is yes, then weave it back in, but only as much as necessary. If the answer's no, bravo! You successfully killed a bit of exposition. And if you just aren't sure, well, that's why editors exist. Be ready, though, because they'll be the first to go after your exposition with a butcher knife.

So, in summary, (since I seem to have rambled more than normal in this post) great characters require equally great backstories. But great writers know when and where to divulge that information, relying heavily on the subtleties of voice and subtext to convey the majority of it. Do they have journals full of notes and character profiles and unpublished material? You bet! How much of that creeps into their actual books? Maybe 10%. But you feel its existence. The work feels authentic, the characters real. Follow in the footsteps of those writers and show us your character without resorting to a word vomit introduction. Readers (and editors) will greatly appreciate it. ;)



Kisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She's also the Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animation, writing, video game design and demo teams until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant/uncommon analogies. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.

Her personal blog--featuring sarcastic commentary on all things storytelling--is located at www.kisawhipkey.com. Or connect with her via Twitter: @kisawhipkey. And, of course, to learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit www.reuts.com.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG March Post

Good Morning!
How is everyone this morning? I hope the cold weather is about over and warm spring breezes find their way to our house soon!

I'll be honest. This past month, I haven't been able to think about writing, much less work on it. I've had a lot of family emergencies, hospital stays, emergency room visits, and other sickness.

Last week, my uncle passed away. He was such a dear, sweet uncle. He was funny and silly. When you took a picture of him, he always had a photo he wanted to hold up with him. Once, we took a photo of him and my mom and a couple of years later, I took a photo of him, with him holding that photo of him and my mom. So silly! We put those photos on his CD for family.

Take the time to spend with your family. MAKE the time. Don't wait until a tragedy happens to visit and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them. Don't let death hold you in regret of what you wished you had said or done with those you love.

 No more regrets.

Do it today.
And every day.

Happy insecure writers day, you beautiful guys and dolls.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Thank you

Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, and condolences during my time of loss. The funeral was very hard. I was so thankful for my family and support of my friends.

During the viewing and wake at the church, my mommy had to go to the emergency room. I've never been more scared for her life. We all thought she had a heart attack, but the EKG showed nothing wrong. She is home now and feeling much better.

The one bright side of the funeral was seeing family and cousins I haven't seen since I was a child. Why do we always wait until a tragedy to get together with family? We've planned a family reunion for this summer and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

The one thing I learned this past weekend? Enjoy every minute of life and NEVER take your family and friends for granted. Tell them every day how much you love them because you never know when the last opportunity will pass.

Have a great week with your family, beautiful guys and dolls. See you Wednesday for ISWG.

I love you, Uncle Jimmy. Give granny and papa a hug for me when you meet them in heaven.