Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013, The Year of Structure

(Plotting the next novel using The Hero's Journey and the 3 act model.
Note the missing scenes so far. I'll fill them in later.)

I'm a big fan of structure and format (as opposed to formulaic, more of that later). We've been telling stories for centuries. These formats have stood the test of time.

I write first to please myself, but nothing pleases me more than knowing what I'm doing and where I'm going. I find The Hero's Journey structure to be really useful in laying the foundations of where a story is going.

BUT - my stories don't always 'conform' to this structure, now there's a 'new' archetype structure that author Kim Hudson has eloquently set out. It's called The Virgin's Promise, (link: and it fits the 'Coming of Age' archetype perfectly.

I'm going to be studying this (and probably nodding my head a great deal) as I recognise this structure in novels I've written and the ones I'm plotting out now.

Subconsciously, many writers use structure all the time. A beginning, a middle, an end. A problem that needs solving. Something in the way (whether it's 'the baddie' or it's a character fault that a heroine hasn't acknowledged and needs to overcome etc). A reward at the end. Or, in the case of a 'downer ending', the character staring into the abyss.

What doesn't always work for me is trying to shoehorn scenes into a structural format.
I look at the structure of The Hero's Journey and wondering where something fits in. Does a scene where characters enter a song contest qualify as "allies and enemies" or is it "begin passing trials?"
Where I have huge gaps (such as "time out, mask is revealed") what do I put there? Do I write a scene with this purposefully in mind?

This is where stories can get formulaic. A writer (i.e., ME) knows something has to go 'in this place marker' and so I force something in there. It doesn't feel organic or intuitive, it feels like the characters are serving the plot instead of driving it.

I'll be blogging about formula, structure and formats as the personal epiphanies keep coming. Luckily for us Aussies, Kim Hudson is bringing her Virgin's Promise to Australia for our RWA conference in Fremantle in August. I can't wait.

Over to you. Do you follow structure or do you write intuitively? Is structure too demanding or overwhelming, or is it your roadmap to stop you getting lost? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

~Ebony McKenna author of the Ondine series. The Ondine books are a sparkling combination of romance and magic – perfect for teen girls. Written with genuine humour and unique eccentricity, the series is an obvious choice for fans of The Princess Bride and Ella Enchanted.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Overcoming Writer's Block

I’m sitting in front of a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike.  Muse? Check. I’ve got Tori Amos playing on i-tunes.  I stare at the keys, imagining the letters rising out of the key board and forming themselves into words, but before I can begin my computer is covered in a slimy, dripping dog bone.  Steamy, stinky breath blows into my face as my German Shepherd eagerly anticipates a game of catch.  How can I resist those big brown eyes?

The truth is, he’s just watching out for my well being.  I’ve been sitting for far too long and it’s time to get up and move around.  My dog seems to know what I need more than I do so I gladly take him for a walk.  The potion of fresh air and exercise do their magic and my mind fills with creative ideas.  I realize my writer’s block was really lack of oxygen to the brain. Thank goodness for pets.

Whatever the distraction is, every writer gets interrupted.  In fact, I’m sure that I’ve never finished a writing session voluntarily, it’s always because I’m forced to.  The kids come home from school, it’s time to make supper, I need to go to work.  Even now, I’m scrambling to finish this before hockey practice.  I’ve learned to make the best of my time by birthing my best ideas while away from the computer.

It boils down to this.  Your brain works better when oxygen-rich blood is pumping through it. If you sit down all day it will make you fat and unfit. Keeping your body healthy keeps your writing healthy too. Don’t worry about needing to write things down right away.  If it’s a spectacular idea, you won’t forget it.
Here are a couple things that work for me.

-          Eat a kiwi.  There are lots of foods that supply you with energy and vitamins from spinach to avocados, but kiwis are my favorite.

-          Go barefoot.  There are so many nerve endings in the soles of your feet that never get stimulated because they are constantly covered.  You’ll be amazed at the things you can “feel” both physically and metaphorically when you allow those nerves to work.

-          Attend a conference.  Having an isolating career can get depressing.  Meeting and knowing other authors as well as refreshing tips on the craft of writing can be just the motivational boost you need.  For an online conference check out Indie ReCon at on Feb. 19-21.

-          Get a pet.  They will make you work, but they will also make you play.  The art of reading facial expression and behaviors enters a new depth. They will give you more appreciation for your efforts than even a human.
At the end of the day, every writer needs to figure out what makes their words sing.  So get interrupted every once in a while.  Enjoy being reminded there is whole community out there with similar issues ready to offer support and suggestions.  Let your pets or family beg for your attention.  Make these breaks from writing an adventurous experience so you can return with activated senses and revved-up creativity.  The words of Tori Amos ring loud: “I’ve dodged bullets and even poison arrows only to be felled by the blade of a vowel.”

~Halli Lilburn Author of Shifters.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Aloha from Hawaii!

One of my favorite things to do as a writer, besides write, is learn how to write better. But this week I dove into the pool of screenwriting. I'm at the Aloha Writers' retreat, studying with Diane Lake. Trust me when I say, “I know why the movie rarely, if ever, mirrors the book.” One might use the word ‘impossible’ to turn a 400-page novel into a 100-page screenplay. This is going to be a challenge. But I believe a challenge is nothing more than an opportunity.

We all know to show, don’t tell. But sometimes knowing what to do, and ‘how to’, are two different things. As I study the art of using perfect words to paint a picture for the big screen, I realize that I’m learning how to create pictures for my novel too. While we all love books and reading, I suggest you watch a movie and pay attention to how those pictures create feelings and emotions. See the action they show. And if you have an urge to read, pick up a screenplay book. You’ll find some useful tools within the pages. I did.

Remember, no matter how large the challenge is, it’s nothing but an opportunity to grow, learn, and become the best you can be.

Enjoy every moment!

~XO Karlene Petitt

Author of the thriller, Flight For Control.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A New Series? What?!

When readers fall in love with a series, they can’t wait for the next book and the next one and the one after that until the story finally ends. And then we’re sad it’s over and wish we could continue living with these beloved characters for the rest of our lives. Or maybe that’s just me, but anyway, the point is we can never wait for the next release because we’re dying to find out what happens next.

So what happens when the author of such a series pauses to write something else? Well, I certainly hope it’s not a death wish for the author, because that’s what I’ve done. I’m literally right in the middle of the Soul Savers Series, but have started something new as well.

Actually, I started last Spring, but put the new idea to the side to focus on the release of Power, the latest installment of the Soul Savers Series. I started the new idea all over again for NaNoWriMo and finally finished it last week. I love this story. I love the characters. I’m hoping my readers will, too. I really can’t wait to share it with the world.

Every time I mention something about it on the Interwebz, though, so many people say, “But what about the next Soul Savers book????? I can’t waaaaaiiiiit!!!” It’s coming, too! I promise! I’m working on it right now, writing it while also revising this new book. I won’t leave anyone hanging, I swear.

It’s just … for writers, when a story comes to us that has to be written, we can only put it off for so long. Otherwise, the characters will literally drive us to a breaking point where we either completely lose the bit of sanity we might have or say, “Okay, okay! I’m listening!” And we stop everything to pour out the story as it’s given to us.

Promise and Purpose were the first to grab my attention like this and I didn’t come up for air until that story was completely out of my head. Then came the rest of Alexis’s story that will make up the Soul Savers Series. Alexis has always been the loudest character in my head. Until now.

I’d put off working on this new book until I could no longer stand it because the characters’ voices were louder than Alexis’s. I couldn’t even hear her story anymore. So you see, I had to write this one. It was time. And the only way to be able to get back to Alexis.

So now begins the fun of working on two different series at once, with two different worlds and lots of different voices. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyway, I hope, if you’re a Soul Savers fan, that you don’t put out a bounty on my head for writing this new book before Soul Savers 5 or because it will be releasing first. Oh, release dates? Would you like to know about those? Well, I’ll be announcing those as well as other exciting news in my next newsletter coming out later this week. You can subscribe over on my blog (

~Kristie Cook

Friday, January 18, 2013

IE Reviews Blood Of Requiem

After scouring seemingly every shelf, I finally came across an epic fantasy novel that caught my attention and held it. I love epic fantasy but I'm picky about it. Some of my favorite authors were Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey, not easy standards to hold up to even now. But Blood of Requiem did that and then some. Here is my review:

From the first pulse-pounding page to the last, this book seized my attention and refused to let it go. While gritty and bold, it still manages to bestow a vulnerability that makes it's characters corporeal and sympathetic. This novels brings dragons back into the spotlight in a brilliant way. Mr. Arenson has made a fan out of me, which is no easy feat. I can hardly wait to read the next novel. I recommend this novel for those who enjoy rich descriptions, a lot of action, and of course, dragons. I don't recommend it for younger readers or the faint of heart. 

Here is a bit about it: 
Long ago stood the kingdom of Requiem, a land of men who could grow wings and scales, breathe fire, and take flight as dragons. Requiem ruled the sky.

But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem's people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.

In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem's last children perish in exile... or once more become dragons and fly to war?

At only .99 cents it's a steal. I will happily pay more for the sequel! You can find it at: 


Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), The Secret of Spruce KnollChanneler's ChoiceRise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and coming next month, The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

IE Reviews Shifting Pride

Amazon, Goodreads
Curiosity brings out the Kitty...

Sixteen-year-old Nickie Leone has proof her father is still alive. His watch arrives in the mail, with a note telling her to “keep it hidden,” and her curiosity is piqued. She obeys the request, even keeping it hidden from her mother. But when an email from her father disappears before her very eyes, she begins to question her own sanity.

And things get even more complicated when she meets Xavian Katz, the blue-eyed, blonde hottie whose contagious smile and ridiculous sense of humor make her want to tell him all her secrets. But there’s a current beneath his charm that she can’t quite read. He’s hiding something.

When Nickie grows pointed ears and whiskers…and then a tail!...Xavian (who always seems to knows the right time to be around) seems unsurprised. He’s a shapeshifter too, a coincidence that Nickie can’t deny or ignore. She needs his help to master her new abilities, because her father’s rival, Derek, wants her to join his tribe. The last thing she wants is to be under his rule, but Derek’s got something to do with her dad’s disappearance—she knows it. And maybe letting herself be captured is the best way to find out…

I enjoyed reading this novel. I had my few moments where I thought of taking Nick aside and having a personal one-on-one conversation with her. But that also came with realizing I'd built a special place in my heart for her :-)

To say Laura did a good job is an understatement. She did a great job in sustaining my disbelief, presenting a plot filled with tension and some kissing scenes to swoon behind.

If you enjoy YA Paranormal Romance, these shapeshifting kitties will give you a run for your reading money :-)

Review by Angela Brown
Wild Cherry Pepsi addict, chocolate lover and would definitely faint if Johnny Depp ever crosses her path
Author of Neverlove
Novella soon to come spring 2013, FRAILTIES OF THE BOND

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are You Entering ABNA?

Amazon Publishing is the sponsor of Amazon Breakout Novelist Awards(link) this year.

In case you haven't heard, here's their blurb:

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest is right around the corner. You won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to win a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing. Now in its sixth year, this international contest promises to be the best yet. Here’s what’s new:
One Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract with an advance of $50,000, and four First Prize winners will each receive a publishing contract with an advance of $15,000. Visit the Prizes page for the full list of prizes and details. 

We’ve expanded the categories to include five popular genres: General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. And we’re accepting entries from more countries than ever before. For complete eligibility details, view the official contest rules, or read details on how to enter.

Amazon Publishing is the official publishing sponsor for 2013 -- which means a faster publishing timeline, higher royalties, ability to launch the books in multiple formats (print, audio, ebook) and worldwide distribution. Visit CreateSpace to learn more. 

 As an Indie Author, I've had mixed feelings about entering this contest in the past, primarily because I'm not convinced a 15,000 advance from Penguin is a great deal (last year's prize). I still entered because I know of author indie authors who made it to the semi-finals and came away with great review quotes from other well-known authors: such blurbage would be nice. (alas I didn't make it to the semi-finals, so was also in no danger of getting an unwanted publishing deal with Penguin (ha)).

This year the bar is much higher. AMAZON is sponsoring. Why is this different? For one thing Amazon Publishers have a reputation of giving their authors better, fairer contracts that are current to the publishing world of today, rather than locked into to a world that worked 50 years ago (or 5 years ago.) Plus, they were champions for indie authors before it got trendy to be one.

(You do know we're the cool kids now, right?)

Last year I entered the YA category. YA covers so many genres, I personally feel it's too wide, so this year I'm going to enter the general fiction category even though it's more popular, and I may not make the cut. (Actually, General Fiction is also wide...)

And if I make the cut, I know changes of my winning are slim to none. There are a lot of very talented writers out there!

Why bother entering then? Well, like my grandmother used to say, you can't win if you don't enter. She entered contests as a hobby and over the years won a trip to Hawaii and a Winnebago among a lot of smaller prizes. She didn't win every contest she entered, but she entered often.

My best hope really, is to come away with a good review, but who knows?

How are about you? Are you entering?

~Elle Strauss

Elle Strauss writes fun, lower YA fiction (time-travel and fantasy). She is fond of Lindt’s sea salt dark chocolate and hiking in good weather. Elle is married with four children and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada, and Dresden, Germany. She also writes upper YA (historical and science fiction) as LEE Strauss. To find out more about Elle and her books check out her facebook page, and follow her on twitter. To find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at .

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inspiring a Reluctant Adolescent Writer

You know that saying about the mechanic’s car always in disrepair? I believe the same can be said about most children of authors. As an author, I love what I do and usually get excited about what is going on in my fictional world. But how on earth do I translate this excitement to my children who hate writing so much it brings them to tears? How do I help a said tear-stained struggling child with his writing? I’m sure most of us recognize the struggle early on, but until we find a way to encourage them, they will be floundering, staring at a wordless piece of paper forever.

So how do we, as authors, inspire and teach our children to write without bursting into uncontrollable fits?
Easy. You have fun.

WHAT?! That’s blasphemy! You can’t have FUN when… you… write. Oh. Wait, you can!

Yes. You really can. Here is a prime example. My son’s third grade writing assignment said he needed to write three sentences. You’d have thought it had asked him to write a three page paper on economics the way he threw himself to the table and moaned. But no, the assignment simply said, “Write three sentences about a make believe super hero/villain and draw a picture to represent it.”

He sat there, I kid you not, an hour, staring at the blank sheet of paper. And this was even after I gave him some examples. Superman. Batman. Spiderman. Gru, etc. I wanted to strangle him. It was three lousy sentences. THREE! Yet there he sat, with pencil resting on the paper, head on the table, looking very defeated. That is about the time I realized the reason he wasn’t writing was because he wasn’t having fun. So I said to him, “Tell you what, you should write three sentences about the most disgusting, gross, sickening super hero or villain you can think up.”

He then looks at me like I’m nuts.

“You know, Captain Fart and his Booger crew.”

And then it happened. He laughed and picked up his pencil. And I didn’t stop there. “Or what about the clumsiest super villain Doctor Trips-a-lot, who tripped over his remote control and blew up his house and the nosey neighbors?” More laughter. “Or what about the super villainous Professional Whosy-ma-whats-it who went into a volcano and burned his nubbies?”

Then the most amazing thing happened. He said, “Okay, what if…” and then he told me his villain/hero story and begin to draw.

All it took was the option of fun! Now, most teachers will probably turn their noses up at such a set of sentences, but the directions DID NOT state the three had to stick to some unseen guideline. And quite frankly, if your child is struggling as mine was, the teacher will be flabbergasted he turned in any sentences at all. And if she knows your child well enough, the sentences will even make her laugh.

Another good tip I received from Andrew Pudewa (Founder of Writing for Excellence) recently was this: You can never help a child too much. Now I know this goes against EVERY ideal of homework. I mean, it is after all the kid’s assignment, and how will they learn if you help them? I once was a firm believer in this principal. I mean, really how can they learn unless they just do it? However, my views have changed on this subject, and now my mind is blown because it works.

When I extend aid to my child more than usual, it often only takes a few more helps for them to gain the confidence they need to continue on their own. Andrew shared an example of a child in one of his workshops. Much like my third grader above, a boy sat there doing nothing, staring at his paper, unable to put his thoughts down. Andrew gave him a couple suggestions, and the child still stared at him like he was an alien. However, when Andrew told him what to write, the child did it. I know what you are thinking. I thought it too. That is cheating! You can’t tell the child what to write. But on the story went.

He came back to the child and found him in the same place, staring at the paper having written no new words. Andrew gave him a few more suggestions and then told him what to write. The teachers in the room about came unglued, he claimed. They couldn’t understand why he would do such a thing as to essentially complete the assignment for the child.
The fourth time around the room something amazing happened. Andrew approached the child and found him enthusiastically writing on his own, eager to show off his results.

Ponder this for a moment. Either you have a child with a blank sheet of paper or one who’s been given enough support to find a bit of inspiration.

If your child struggles with writing, the best thing you can do is help. There is no such thing as helping them too much. Encourage them. Give them plenty of praise, even for the small victories (a sentence written on an otherwise blank sheet of paper). And don’t give up, even if it means you have to sit through the entirety of the assignment. Because chances are, the next time they need to write, you will only be needed for half of it, and maybe just as a cheerleader. Then the following time, maybe just an idea starter. And then, maybe they’ll complete the whole thing before handing it proudly off to you to read.

Writing can be exciting for children. And if all it takes is a little help, a bit of fun, and a boost of confidence, I don’t know about you, but I’m all in.

~Eisley Jacobs

Eisley Jacobs lives in Shingle Springs, California with her three children and husband.

Eisley actively writes the characters that stroll through her head. The first YA Novel she completed was in high school, but some how got lost in the shuffle into real life. While studying at college, stories began to plague her mind and she tried her best to keep them at bay while she did more important things like... like... who are we kidding. Her grades suffered because the voices wouldn't stop. So instead of going insane, she wrote.

In 2010, a blue dragon named Deglan interfered in her attempts to finish the final book in the YA series and thus the series starter for DRAGONS FOREVER, BORN TO BE A DRAGON, was hatched and has found a home in the hearts of many children.

Eisley's first YA Sci-Fantasy, PIECES OF ME, is due out early spring 2013. To learn more about Eisley and her novels click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing a One-page Synopsis...Yes, it CAN be done!

I'm unusual amongst my writerly friends - you see, I LIKE writing the synopsis. In fact, I typically write a synopsis after my "zero" draft to help me find the plot holes and start the revision process. 
I know, I know - I am strange. But then, I warned you, right? What's even more strange? I like crafting SHORT synopses - ones that average 2 pages or less, no matter how long the novel.
Before you call the insane asylum, how about I share my tricks for writing me, follow these guidelines and you, too, may use the synopsis as a way of highlighting your story and finding the plot holes.
I am a dying hard believer in the structure used in screenwriting. This structure can be found in books like Save the Cat and others. Regardless of which of these basic structures you use, all stories can really be broken down into stages and turning points (or "beats" to use the lingo from Save the Cat). Nailing down these major stages and turns that transition from one stage to another gives a novel the structure it needs to effectively tell a story. And going through this process gives a writer a tool to see what may or may not be lacking within the story.
Here is a quick run down of the basic stages and turns - the terms are not really important, but what happens within each section and transition is:
  • Opening set up - The MC is introduced in the "normal world".
    • Catalyst  - This first turn introduces the problem or event that causes a change in the MC and his world.
  • Reaction or new scenario - A new scenario occurs for the MC as a direct result of the choice the MC makes regarding the catalyst
    • Mini Crisis - This is typically the end of the first part of a three-act plan structure and is typically an event that occurs and changes everything, resulting in a new goal for the MC
  • Edge of Adventure - also called "Fun and Games" in Save the Cat lingo - In this sec tion, the MC begins working towards his new goal. It carries in it the "promise of the premice" of the story. Subplots are typically woven into this section of the story
    • Point of no return - Typically the half-way mark of the story, this is the turn in which the MC experiences a false victory or defeat and can't ever turn back on his journey
  • Complications - Stakes are raised as the "bad guys" close in and the MCs resolve is increasingly tested
    • Despair - All is lost for the MC as it seems he will never achieve his goals
  • Dark Night of the Soul - The MC falls into a depression, believing there is no hope
    • Transformation  - This turns marks the end of the second act in the three-act structure and represents the "ah-ha" moment for the MC, as he figures out a way to face the final obstacles to his goal
  • Climax - The MC faces the final obstacle standing between him and his goal
    • Resolution - The final outcome of the final confrontation.
This type of structure has worked for me with plot-driven stories like Lacrimosa, my YA Gothic Romance, and character-driven stories like Transcend, my YA psychological thriller.
With this structure, you can easily craft a short synopsis by going through your story and writing a sentence or two for each of the stages and turns. Then link it all into paragraphs and before you know it, you have a basic synopsis to help guide your revisions, or to polish and use. 
What do you think? Not so bad, right??? For more information on synopsis writing, check out Jane Friedman's classic post and her links at the end. 
Christine Fonseca is a critically acclaimed author of edgy YA fiction, psychological thrillers and non-fiction self-help books. Her upcoming releases include DOMINUS, the final installment in the Requiem Series, and the highly anticipated GIRL GUIDE, a self-help book for teen girls. When she is not writing a book or working to develop programs for children with emotional and behavioral needs, she can be found hanging out at her favorite coffee house, drinking Skinny Vanilla Lattes. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Apps for Creative Types Part 1 - PHOTOGRAPHY

I’m a bit of a hodgepodge when it comes to technology. I love gadgets, software, and apps, and I use multiple devices. I have a PC for gaming, a MacBook Pro for writing, photo-manipulation and recording music, an Android phone because I prefer its slide-out keyboard, and an iPad for additional portability and entertainment value – with full Bluetooth keyboard / case.
I don’t buy into the, one operating system can do it all, mantra - just as a single plotting method won’t work for every single writer. Sometimes you need to utilize several methods to generate the best product possible.  As a creative person, I don’t limit myself to just writing fiction. I dabble in photography, tend to sketch, I sing and write music – I play. 

The iPad is my latest adventure and I’m having a blast figuring the thing out. Here are a few of the photography apps I’m obsessed with – note – they may not be free, but they’re worth every cent:

Never has taking a wicked photo been this fun. Much to my professional photographer brother’s chagrin, you don’t have to know what the hell you’re technically doing to generate a striking image – just scroll through the options and choose the style that matches the mood you’re going for. It’s art for the masses and I’m all for it.

I know what you’re thinking – just wait - there’s a writing connection here. I often take pictures during trips, or just of life / architecture / anything that catches my eye – and use them as story starter images or fodder for future tales. A picture, I figure, is worth at least about 1k of a WIP, or can help develop a character, or even inspire an entire manuscript.

So, my writer friends, let’s get snapping…

CameraBag: This product is easy to use and yet has many advanced features if you’re willing to spend a bit of time playing with the settings to get a handle on the possibilities. I enjoy this app so much - I purchased it for both my iPad and my MacBook Pro.

Below is a sample before and after image of my pup, Grimm. I wasn’t happy with the discoloration around his right eye in the original and decided black and white would add more drama. Thanks to adjustments with the settings in CameraBag – the discoloration is gonzo.

TiltShift: Choose the focus of your images with this flexible blur tool you control by pinching in or out, or even rotating. You can also adjust color saturation, contrast, and more. Great for portraits.

Below sample is a picture of the woods behind my house. I zooped up the saturation and focused on the morning sun, resulting in a soft blur around the edges.

PhotoToaster: Another cool app that rivals Instagram, enabling you to select various filters, boarders, effects, and more.

Paper: The uses of this app are endless, from taking notes, jotting down ideas, photo-manipulation, quick sketches, or creating masterpieces. I confess I still haven’t mastered all the various brush components - a bit more playtime is definitely needed. This was my first sketch, done in the car, with my finger. I’ve now progressed to using a stylus pen for greater control. I snagged this two-pack at Chapters.

 I should mention that the compilations I’ve made for this post are via the Photo Collage Free app by Li Teng Fei - great for blogging.

Next time, I’ll feature a few writing apps you might want to consider. It’s a brave new app world out there with newbies coming down the pipe every day. Please share - what are you using?

~+~+++~+~  Judith Graves 

 ...YA fiction to die for...

Friday, January 4, 2013

IE Reviews Whispers In Autumn

You'll be seeing a lot more reviews here from the IE (Indie Elite) authors, kind of our way of giving back. We aren't paid to do these reviews, and they are our honest opinions so when you get a recommendation here, you know it's going to be good. 

Today's book is Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh, reviewed by IE member Heather McCorkle.

My thoughts:

This book earned every single star and then some, and I'm not one to give out five stars lightly. From the very first page it grabs you with its originality and compelling writing then it simply refuses to let go. An intimate, original look at alien invasion told in a completely unexpected and captivating way. This is one of the best books I read in 2012 and one of my favorite all time books. 

Here is a bit about the book:

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

You can find Whispers in Autumn on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and more.


Heather is the author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), The Secret of Spruce KnollChanneler's ChoiceRise of a Rector, and the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca. She also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Call For Cover Reveal Participants

If you haven't heard the news, my first epic fantasy novel, The Dragon Empire, is releasing in Spring of Next year! To celebrate I'm doing a cover reveal in January and I'd love it if all of you would like to participate. It begins January 14th and goes through to whenever you have time to post. To be a part of it drop by Xpresso Reads Book Tours and sign up.

The Dragon Empire will still be appropriate for older YA, but isn't written with YA as the primary target audience. The beauty of it is, it isn't really written with any target audience in mind. This one just flowed from that wonderful creative place that demands a writer to write. To add it to your Goodreads list, and to read more about it, click here.

Here is a teaser: On Yacrana, dragons stand at the top of the evolutionary ladder instead of humans. Such an advanced species is not without its issues though.


Heather McCorkle is the author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), The Secret of Spruce KnollChanneler's ChoiceRise of a Rector, and the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders