April 27, 2017

April #InkRipples Workshop - Revision

Welcome to the last week of the #InkRipples revision workshop. I hope you’ve found the revision tips and exercises fun and enlightening. If you missed the last three week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here. 

Revision Tip #7

Double check the end of each chapter to make sure it lures the reader to continue. Then double check the beginning of each chapter to make sure it stands on it’s own.

As often as possible, you want the end of each chapter to be a mini cliff hanger. There are times where the actions slows to a logical end and a cliff hanger would feel wrong, but in order to keep your reader turning pages you want them to think, “Crud! What happens next?” Or, “Oh my gosh, what is he going to do when he finds out she did that?” Keep them turning pages until the wee hours of the morning. ;)

However the beginning of the chapter shouldn't start in the middle of action and should establish who is in the scene. Even if the chapter before ended with her pulling a gun on her boyfriend, the beginning of the chapter has to state, Leslie’s hand didn’t even shake as she pointed the gun at Trevor’s heart. Because what if your reader did finally close the book and go to sleep at the end of the previous chapter and then the next day they had to take their cat to the vet after it got a reed stuck up its nose and their left rear blinker went out on the way to school, so they had to stop at the auto parts store after work, and then their mom made them go to the fundraiser dinner, so they didn’t get back to the book for two days. You don’t want them to pick up the book and read Her hand didn't even shake as she pointed the gun at his heart and think, “Wait. What? Is this Leslie or Courtney? Trevor or Kyle?” And then have to page back to catch up again. Instead, they pick it up and see that Leslie is holding a gun on Trevor. They smile and think, Oh yeah. Awesome.

Revision Tip #8

Have fun. Seriously. You will experience a myriad of feelings about yourself and your writing as you go through revisions. You’ll alternate between, “I suck – why do I do this?” and “This paragraph is the most brilliant arrangement of words – ever!” But don’t lose sight of the reason you write. Because you love it. If you feel like the manuscript is a crap ton of trash, then stop revising and just read. You’ll find the story you’re trying to tell again and you’ll be positively inspired to dive back in to revisions and chip away at the caked on mud.

Now let's get to work. But instead of an exercise, share with us your favorite revision tip. Which tip do you feel helps you bring the best out of your work?

Thanks for joining me this month!

Join us for #InkRipples in May when we talk about fairy tales!

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 17, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

Welcome back for another week of #InkRipples revision workshop. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but to also stage some revision exercises. If you missed the last two week’s tips and exercises, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here.

Revision Tip #5

Read backward. Start at the last chapter, revise it. Go to second last, revise it…etc. Don’t actually start at the last word and work your way to the first. Too hard. However, by reading backward you will avoid getting caught up in the story making it easier to spot mistakes.

Revision Tip #6

During one of your revision passes: make a timeline. It is so distracting for a reader when your calendar doesn’t add up. If you mention that two weeks has passed and then the character refers to an event as having just happened yesterday, you lose your reader. If you have a pregnant character who is sporting a full belly after only a few months – problem. Timeline inconsistencies are easy for the author to lose track of, but really easy for the reader to spot. We get distracted by things like character consistency, not missing an ‘and’ or a ‘the,’ and trying to remember what season it is. But a reader doesn’t get buried in our story the sane way we do. The story unfolds for them as they go through. Of course they will spot inconsistencies easier – they didn’t see the previous six versions of the manuscript. They’ve only seen the one version and if you have a person training for the Olympics and they are in top form in six months – readers are gonna cry foul.

Okay let’s get to work.

I’m currently revising the blurb for my time travel romance, Again for Love, which is set to publish under my other pseudonym, LA Dragoni, later this year. I know my weakness is writing a tight blurb. So, how would you tighten this bad boy up?
A life must be lost. Who will make the ultimate sacrifice?

Lawson lives a simple life; a job at a brewery, basketball and hockey leagues, and an eccentric lifelong friend and roommate intent on discovering time travel.

Then life becomes complicated when Jory enters it. Lawson feels an immediate attraction to her from the first day she starts work at the brewery. Yet their first couple attempts at dating end with him thinking it just isn’t meant to be. Jory however, has a different opinion and continues to pursue him.

When one date ends tragically Lawson turns to his best friend to use the experimental time travel program he’s invented. Except when Lawson relives that fateful night it ends just as horrifically. Each time he resets time, it ends with a loss.

It’s clear a life must be lost and Lawson is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. But he isn’t the only one playing with time. Will he save Jory by giving his own life or will someone beat him to it?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

Cover Reveal - Pirate Island by Katie L. Carroll

I'm super excited to share my good writing buddies new book cover for her upcoming middle grade novel, Pirate Island. I met Katie through MuseItUp Publishing. She edited my middle grade, Beware of the White. I LOVED working with her. Then her book, Elixir Bound came out and I loved it too. I've had the privilege of critiquing a version of another young adult novel she currently has out on submission - that I STILL think about more than a year later. She's that good. In other words, put Pirate Island high up on your to-read list. I am!

by Katie L. Carroll (katielcarroll.com)
Cover Illustration by Susan Tait Porcaro (susantaitporcaro.com)
Coming October 2017!

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A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?

For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.

About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll always says she began writing at a very sad time her life after her sister Kylene unexpectedly passed away. The truth is Katie has been writing her whole life, and it was only after Kylene’s death that she realized she wanted to pursue writing for kids and teens as a career. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She has had many jobs in her lifetime, including newspaper deliverer, hardware store cashier, physical therapy assistant, and puzzle magazine editor. She works from her home in Connecticut that is filled with the love and laughter of her sons and husband.

In addition to PIRATE ISLAND, Katie is the author of the YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND. Find Katie on her websiteTwitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

April 10, 2017

April #InkRipples Workshop - Murder and Mayhem

This month’s #InkRipples topic is revision. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but to also stage some revision exercises. So, I’m hosting the first ever #InkRipples Workshop! If you missed last week’s tips and exercise, be sure to hop on over when you’re done here.

I promised murder and mayhem, didn’t I?

Revision Tip #3 (Murder)

Kill your darlings. I don’t mean Dumbledore. Somewhere along the way this saying became misinterpreted as killing off characters. What it really means is to cut the excess. Authors tend to love their words. Too much. Part of a good revision is to know when you have too many words in a section.

The first novel I wrote was my middle grade novel Beware of the White (currently unpublished, but stay tuned for a re-release and series expansion – finally!) This novel was all passive voice all the time and required a heck of a lot of revision. My first draft was over 85,000 words. The published version was just over 70k, I believe. I killed a LOT of my darlings. For example:

The [K1] you see at the end is a note from a kind person who critiqued an early version of the book. She said she worried that the scene was moving along too slowly. I agreed and cut all of these words from the scene (as well as others) to pick up the pace. This information was important for me, the author, to know, but not as important for the reader to know. By cutting this segment I took out 72 unnecessary words. 

Revision Tip #4 (Mayhem)

Read aloud. This is an essential way to learn how your dialogue plays out. Is it natural? Does your character tend to say the same thing two different ways or repeat what you say in the text? Are your transitions choppy? Is there any awkward phrasing? Are you missing words? Do you use too many pronouns or the character’s name too often? All of this becomes more obvious in a read aloud.

I record myself reading so I can go back and read along as part of the editing process. If any of my kids are around – and have the time – I read to them at the same time so I can gauge their reactions. Do they laugh when I want them too? Are they begging me to continue when my voice gives out? I also pause to ask questions along the way. I try not to ask leading questions. I.e.; What do you expect the character to do next? How do you feel about the decisions he/she has made up to now?
Okay let’s get to work. I’ve plucked a segment from my short story, Lake Effect, a prequel to a super fun YA fantasy series I’m working on. I’ve intentionally screwed up these paragraphs (It was hard to do, btw) with run-on or choppy sentences, pronoun abuse or neglect, missing words, etc. Your assignment is to pick one or more or all of the following tasks. Post your work in comments if you want. There are no wrong answers!
They were so wrapped up in each other, their passion alive with smacking lips and breathy moans of pleasure that at first Kira didn’t realize they weren’t alone any longer on the dark lakeside beach. The lap of waves on sand was replaced by the sound of rain dripping from a rooftop.  Reluctantly, Kira pulled her lips from Jayden’s and glanced toward the sound. Was Kira sleeping? But heated trail Jayden’s lips burned along Kira’s neck was too real to be a dream.

“What the hell?” she whispered. She was confused by what she saw. She leaned forward to get a better look. Her action drew Jayden’s attention away from her.

Water burbled and flowed upward out of the surface of the lake like a fountain you might find in front of a fancy hotel. But instead of falling back into the lake, it drew together into a humanoid form. The sight was unrealistic. Kira expected it to be accompanied by a horror movie soundtrack. Roars and growls, not the pleasant patter of water droplets of a waning summer storm. She stared with dread as the liquid man emerged from the lake. Too long of arms and eerily elongated fingers, already reaching forward even as they formed, curling and grabbing at the air. Oversized feet took shape at the bottom of thick legs as the creature rolled across the sand like a tidal wave.

The ceiling of stars reflected on the creature’s domed head and wide shoulders and Kira screamed, but fright stole the force behind her voice and only a squeak escaped from her lips. Jayden clutched her arms and stared shocked awe at the reformed water that stalked toward them. Within seconds the creature was upon them. Slipping between them. Pushing them apart until Jayden’s hands slipped away as the creature forced him backward, toward the lake.
1)      Pick one paragraph and edit it.
2)      Rewrite paragraph 3 to say roughly the same thing in only 75 words or less (currently 123 words)
3)      Draw the creature and share the drawing on your FB and/or Twitter along with a link to this post. Share a link to the drawing in comments so we can visit you and tell you how amazing you are!

Come back next week for more clever tips and another assignment.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

April 3, 2017

April #InkRipples - Workshop on Revision

This month’s topic of revision comes at a perfect time for me because I am getting ready to start revisions myself. I thought it would be fun to not only offer revision tips throughout the month, but also stage some revision exercises. So loosen up those revision fingers ladies and gents, because you are participating in the first ever #InkRipples Workshop. Free of charge no less. You lucky little devils!

Revision Tip #1

The first thing you need before you start your revisions is a completed first draft. That might sound obvious, but there are people who revise while drafting. Don’t. It’s a waste of time. For your revisions to be good and useful you need to know the full story arc and how each character contributes to it. My advice is to put that time to better use by continuing that draft!

Revision Tip #2

Second tip to productive revisions: Time away. Rapacious readers demand faster publications from their favorite authors, so it’s easy to get swept up in their fury and draft, revise, edit, publish. But do your readers a favor and take time away from your manuscript before you revise. If you aren’t a voracious writer, then go out and live life. Do your spring cleaning, see the school play, have coffee with friends. If you are a productive writer, write something else. NOT the next book in the series. Get away from that plot, that setting, those characters. However you do it, get them out of your head completely. Your fresh eyes combined with your intimate knowledge of the plot, characters, pacing, etc, do more to take your story to the next level than any other writing trick.
Okay, let’s do some work. I’m about to start revisions on Guardian’s Touch, the second book in the Touched by Afterlife series I’m writing under my other pen name, LA Dragoni. (I publish books for the grown ups among us under that name.) I’ve got a bad guy in the story named Churl. Here is a sound bite from one of his appearances.

(1st example)

The problem here is you can’t tell that he’s a bad guy. The reader doesn’t get a feel for his uneducated, street tough, bullying character in the example above. Plus his speech should be more distinct so that even without a dialogue tag a reader would know who is speaking. So I might revise like so:

Now it’s your turn. Take the first example and decide what kind of character Churl is in YOUR story. Is he southern? The professor type? Female? Post your rewrite of the passage in comments letting us know what character type you’re shooting for. If you have any questions about revision, ask. I'll try to answer them as April continues. Come back next Monday for murder and mayhem.

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

March 15, 2017

Book Spotlight on Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Proof of Lies (Anastasia Phoenix, #1)
by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Published by Entangled Teen
 Published on March 7th, 2017 
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28143051-proof-of-lies?ac=1&from_search=true
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/index.php/proof-of-lies.html Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Proof-Lies-Diana-Rodriguez-Wallach/dp/1633756084
 B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/proof-of-lies-diana-rodriguez-wallach/1124230937?type=eBook 

Some secrets are best kept hidden… Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages. And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead. She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true. Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility. She will find her sister.

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is not the child of super spies, as far as she knows. But she is an avid traveler, and every scene in her books comes from a place she has lived or visited—from her senior year apartment in Boston, MA to the hotel where she stayed in Cortona, Italy. In addition to the Anastasia Phoenix series, Diana is also the author of the award-winning Amor and Summer Secrets series; the Mirror, Mirror short story collection; and essays in both Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories and Latina Authors and Their Muses. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two kids. But of course, this all could be a masterly crafted piece of disinformation… Website: http://www.dianarodriguezwallach.com/ Twitter: @dianarwallach Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianarwallach   Playlist: Check out the Proof of Lies playlist here: http://dianarodriguezwallach.com/wp/proof-of-lies-playlist/

March 8, 2017

Spotlight on the Going Down in Flames Series by Chris Cannon

Going Down in Flames (Going Down in Flames #1)
by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen
Published on June 30th, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22591993-going-down-in-flames https://entangledpublishing.com/going-down-in-flames.html

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution. Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on. Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention. Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules. At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

Bridges Burned (Going Down in Flames #2)
by Chris Cannon Published
by Entangled Teen
Published on January 19th, 2015 
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23867175-bridges-burned https://entangledpublishing.com/bridges-burned.html

Don’t just fight the system…burn it. Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking… But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally. Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.

Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames #3)
Published by Entangled Teen
Published on April 4th, 2016
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29562317-trial-by-fire https://entangledpublishing.com/trial-by-fire.html

 Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon. The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life. She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames #4)
by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen
Published March, 2017
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33811916-fanning-the-flames
Entanged: https://entangledpublishing.com/fanning-the-flames.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fanning-Flames-Chris-Cannon/dp/1682814459
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fanning-the-flames-chris-cannon/1125780913

Bryn McKenna has it all. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting in the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparent’s want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire. If she doesn’t say “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance. Website: http://www.chriscannonauthor.com Twitter: ccannonauthor Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8285334.Chris_Cannon

March 6, 2017

March #InkRipples - Tropes

This month #InkRipples is exploring the topic of literary tropes.

For my post I’m going to use the Wikipedia definition of the word trope which has come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.

It’s interesting to me that agents, publishers, other authors, and even readers call out for originality, yet tropes – like a story formula – are popular. Yes, walking that line between originality and familiarity can be very difficult.

I asked a few of my super smart author friends what some of their favorite tropes are for both reading and writing.

Editor and author coach and YA author, Trish Wilkinson likes the trope of the victorious underdog. She uses the trope in both fiction and nonfiction.

Marie Harte – who knows her way around a spicy love story – loves the enemies to lovers trope. I admit, I do too. I discovered it in my late teens/early twenties when I picked up my first Harlequin Romance. To this day my heart starts to beat faster when a girl has a negative reaction to a drop dead gorgeous guy – ‘cause you know where that’s gonna lead.

Mystery and western romance author, Paty Jager, seconded the underdog trope and added the ugly duckling-to-swan theme, which I explored in my middle grade book, The Lumpy Duckling. Paty also mentioned a trope I hadn’t previously heard of, the librarian to lion. You can find an example of it in the movie The Mummy – love that movie! But since reading is your thing, you’ll find it in Paty’s book, Davis: Letters of Fate.

Generally when I’m planning a book, I like to take a trope that appeals to me and then twist it to provide an unexpected viewpoint. In TheLumpy Duckling, the unattractive character does become handsome, but I explore how that impacts the relationship with his best friend. In King of Bad I took the outcast/coming of age theme but applied to it the villain and how he finds his place in the world. I believe readers like the familiarity and comfort of a literary trope, but are also pleased when the story takes an unexpected turn.

What are a couple of your favorite tropes? Or which tropes are you just plain over!?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

February 15, 2017

Three Times A Charm with Patricia Josephine

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. Where readers get to discover new books and learn a little about the authors who wrote them. Today we welcome Patricia Josephine. I recently 'met' Patricia when she participated in our January #InkRipples meme by sharing her book cover for the book she's here to talk about today! Let me first tell you a little about Patricia.

Patricia Josephine was an art geek in high school, and never gave writing much thought. On a whim, she wrote down a story. It snowballed from there, and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She lives in Michigan with her hubby, likes to dye her hair the colors of the rainbows, and one day hopes to have what resembles a small petting zoo. She writes young adult under the pen name Patricia Lynne.

So glad you could join us today, Patricia. Can you tell us about your newly released book, Abducted Life?

My latest novel is a New Adult Sci-Fi Romance aka Sci-Fi-Rom (I’m so making that a thing if it’s not already. =P) Savannah and Evan were adbucted by aliens and altered. When they’re returned to Earth, they both struggle to resume their lives. But danger is lurking closer to home and it’s not what’s hidden among the stars the only thing they need to fear.

I recommend my book to readers who like:
Yeah, I gotta be honest, I’m utter crap at figuring out what books mine are like. Usually Goodreads tells me. LOL!

I have the same problem! Okay, now let’s move onto the 3’s. Give us your top three responses to the following:

  • Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.
1)Editing makes writing harder. I swear once I learned the rules, they started stressing me out because I’d worry about them while writing.
2)Which relates to number 1, learn to turn that inner editor off. Writing goes much faster when you don’t constantly stop to edit (or in my case worry if I’m not breaking a rule I don’t want to intentionally.)
3)It’s perfectly fine for someone to hate your book. Before I even hit publish, I made peace with the fact someone would hate my writing. I reminded myself that even JK Rowling has people who thinks she can’t write her way out of a paper bag. And that’s okay.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy knitting, making jewelry, and watching people play video games on YouTube.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.
In kintergarden I remember wanting to be a ballerina. In middle school, it changed to art and stayed that way for a long time. Also, I recall wanting to be an adult when I grew up, but now I realize that comes with a lot of work and I’d like to take that one back. ;)

Oh my gosh, I totally feel that last one! I want a giant do-over because I did it all wrong - took it waaayyyyy too seriously. Where can our readers find you on social media?

You can find me on
Twitter @plynne_writes https://twitter.com/plynne_writes

Thanks for stopping in today Patricia. Readers, her book is only a day old. Show it some love and pick up your copy today!


February 13, 2017

February #InkRipples - Genre To YA or not to YA

This month we are exploring the topic of genre. Last week I shared a varied list of favored go-to genres of many of my Facebook friends and fans (yeah, I hate that that term too!). Today I want to talk about Young Adult.

 It’s NOT a genre.

I know. I know. BUT…?! ß I’m with you on that.

See, young adult is a target audience. When you write young adult (as I do) you are writing for readers between the ages of 12 and 18 or those who like to read books written for that target audience. Middle grade is a target audience. Adult is a target audience.

Fiction is a genre. A genre I write, as a matter of fact.

Wait – did you just fall asleep on me? Yep, bet you did. Fiction is a stupidly big category that tells a potential reader nothing about your work. So instead I respond that I write fantasy and contemporary fiction. But you know what? I usually qualify it by saying YOUNG ADULT fantasy and contemporary fiction. As do many readers, as referenced in the extremely informal survey, which I published last week:

Young Adult Fantasy 2
Young Adult Romance1
YA Paranormal Romance1
Young Adult 4
Coming of Age 1

So in this example,
what exactly does Fiction mean
that Young Adults doesn't?
 I also find it interesting that even publishers ask for submissions in the young adult genre. Do they know it isn’t officially a genre? Absolutely. But as evidenced by the varied responses to my question, “What is your go-to genre?” readers consider young adult an entire category unto itself. They don’t necessarily care if it's an issues book or an urban fantasy as long as it is young adult. They want the young adult interpretation of drug abuse or fairies. They want the YA telling. Because YA has a different feel to it than its adult or middle grade counterparts. Read a paranormal book from those three different target audiences and you’ll find differences beyond the heat level of the relationships within. Middle grade will likely have a single story line. Maybe a sub plot or two, but nothing too complex. Young adult will likely have a faster pace than its adult counter part, which in my personal opinion is where YA shines. Relationships are equally complex, but the stakes are usually higher in YA (and mg, for that matter) The entire world or humanity is often threatened instead of just your family, position, personal world. So –to me, at least - identifying YA as a genre points more to the writing style of the book than the audience the book is targeting.

I’ve already admitted to being a genre dope, so please take my personal interpretations as just that – personal opinions, not official educational materials. Anyway, this is why I feel young adult is often considered a genre by readers and publishers. For those of you who are sticklers for the rules, please try to accept that in this the rules are blurred simply to define the writing style of the book in question.

What say you? Does it make you growl aloud whenever you see young adult listed as a genre or do you get it? Or perhaps you don’t even care? Let’s hear your personal opinions on the blurring of genre definitions.

If you missed them last week, please visit Katie Carroll's post on YA in genre and Kristine Hall's post on exploding genres. Both GREAT posts directly related to my meandering thoughts.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

February 10, 2017

GHOST TOUCH by LA Dragoni (aka - me)

I'm super excited to share the brand new cover for my new adult paranormal romance, GHOST TOUCH. I published this under the name LA Dragoni - the persona I write new adult and adult under. The book is also now available in PRINT, since my informal survey told me 1/2 of my readers either prefer or only read print. Without further ado:

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. She and Dex work together to find a way to help Cal and the thousands of spirits stuck in the void to cross over. When she learns she has the ghost touch—the ability to touch the ghosts as if they were corporeal—and she accidentally helps a little boy cross, she believes it might be possible. But not all the spirits play nice and when they learn they can sip energy from her ghost touch, they become greedy putting her life at risk.

Each time Cal has to pull her from the mass of ghosts, her touch restores him more and more until he is at danger of being stuck on earth—forever, which is very enticing to Tamara the better she knows him. Will she and Dex figure out how to help the spirits cross and if they do, will she be able to let Cal go?

This new adult paranormal romance is available in ebook, and audiobook from Amazon, and now available in print!
Also available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other e-tailers.


The newest face in Tamara’s latest nightmare was about to be revealed when a loud SLAM woke her. Still anxious from the events of the night before, Tamara had slept lightly all night. She pulled the shotgun from where she’d tucked it under her bed, slipped into a pair of sneakers and headed out to the barn. The hairs on the back of her neck rose when she found Ruff cowering and whimpering in front of the doors where he’d sat menacingly the night before. She hesitated as she drew up next to him. A faint blue light seeped through the crack between the large doors. There were no windows on the front of the building, so there was no way she could know who was in there or where they were. Even though it would be embarrassing, she decided to call the police again.
As she turned toward the house, the large barn doors swung open. Her heart kicked into high gear. She leveled the shotgun, pointing it straight at the doors as they glided open on their own accord, hoping the sight of the gun would be enough to scare the intruder away.
An unnatural blue-white light spilled outward, making her squint. Blinding bright in the center, it faded to murky shadows in the corners. Tamara’s heart all but stopped when shapes developed within the bright center. A crowd of people surged forward, scattering in all directions across her yard.
There were so many. Panic filled Tamara while she tried to figure out what to do, how to defend herself against so many. Who were all these people? Why had they been in her barn? Why is that man digging?
“Hey, stop!” she yelled.
A woman in a torn red dress stumbled up the hill reminding Tamara of herself in last night’s dream. The woman’s long blond hair streamed behind her in the windless night. She continually glanced over her shoulder, a terrified expression gnarling her beautiful face, though no one pursued her.
Then a single man sauntered forward, his attention intent on Tamara. The bright light behind him made it impossible for her to make out any detail, but his manner seemed equal parts commanding and relaxed. Her heart fluttered madly, and she felt the muzzle of the rifle dip toward the ground as she considered fleeing. A flat, wide-brimmed cowboy hat sat straight on his head. Well-worn leather chaps covered his bowed legs. Strange clicking noises accompanied him across the lawn. As he drew closer his image sharpened. When Tamara saw his face, she lowered the gun barrel. “Sheesh, I am dreaming.”
She looked into the skinless face of her latest nightmare.
“Ma’am, I can assure you, this is no dream.”


LA Dragoni weaves several interesting and unique premises about the afterlife into this story -- and the love triangle is only two parts living! The story has eerie, vivid descriptions of the ghosts, and the emotional turmoil of all three of the main characters is very well defined. Dragoni provides an awesome villain to hate and then masterfully manages to change the reader's opinion of the villain.

There are several twists and surprises in the plot, and the ending is satisfying but absolutely leaves questions that hopefully will be answered in a subsequent novel.

-Hall Ways blog

About the author: LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. She simply considers it her job to capture the story about their love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA will be there to divine their story for you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries up and down the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Follow LA on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her mailing list and learn more about LA and her work at www.ladragoni.com

February 6, 2017

February #InkRipples - Genre

The irony of this month’s #InkRipples topic, GENRE, is that I picked it and I don’t know anything about it. Not really. To me, genre is like the math of the literary world. You can explain it to me again and again and I think I understand until I actually try to apply the knowledge and then it all gets mixed up. Because of that, I cannot promise the most educational blog posts this month, but I will endeavor to provide some enlightenment. Or perhaps simply some entertainment.

Each time I set out to compose a post, my mind ended up in a twist. Since I know other bloggers will provide far more reliable information this month than I can, I decided to find out what genres YOU read. So I posted the question on Facebook: “Okay, be honest. Go-to genre when you want to escape.” Holy cow I absolutely LOVE how diverse the responses were! If ever I worry that there isn’t enough room in the writing world for me, I’m going to revisit this post!

Anyway, here is a compilation of the responses - as accurately as I could manage - followed by the number of people who responded with the same answer.

Fiction  (1)
Historical Fiction (3)
Speculative Fiction (1)
Magical Realism (1)
Science Fiction (3)
Humorous Fiction (1)
Dystopian (2)
Fantasy (10)
Urban Fantasy (3)
Young Adult Fantasy (2)
Children’s Fantasy (1)
Paranormal (1)
Ghost Story (1)
Horror (2)
Romance (6)
LGBT Romance (1)
Romantic Suspense (1)
Regency Romance (1)
Young Adult Romance (1)
Historical Romance (3)
Paranormal Romance (2)
YA Paranormal Romance (1)
Contemporary Romance (1)
Mystery (5)
Mystery Set in Britain  (1)
Murder Mystery (4)
Thrillers (1)
Psychological Thriller (1)
Detective (2)
Suspense (1)
Domestic Noir (1)
Classic Novels (1)
Board Books (1)
Picture Books (1)
Children’s Literature (1)
Middle Grade (1)
Humorous Middle Grade (1)
Young Adult (4)
Coming of Age (1)
Literary (1)
Chick Lit (1)
Travel Writing (2)
Biographies (1)
Self Help (2)
Humorous Non Fiction (1)
Gardening Books (1)
Religious (1)
And my all time favorite genre ;)
Harry Potter (1)

I do realize that some of these are not official genre categories, but if a reader considers it a genre…who am I to argue? I will attempt to explore genre categories later this month. Until then, isn’t it absolutely great how many different categories and sub-categories are identified here? You’ll notice that fantasy had the most responders, yet others specified their go-to sub-category; urban, young adult, children’s.

Thank you to those who responded. It really opened my eyes to the enormity of storytelling potential.

What is your go-to genre when you want to escape?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

February 1, 2017

Nominate The Dragon's Cave on Kindle Scout

NOMINATE ON KINDLE SCOUT:   https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/354R8PJ38H5D5

Attention middle grade readers! Here is an opportunity to get directly involved in the publication of your next middle grade read. But hurry, voting ends SOON!

The Dragon’s Cave  by ROSE-MARIE LYTTLE

Only one boy can decode the dragon’s magic…


Seamus’s day couldn’t get any worse. His best friend stops speaking to him, his cross-country coach benches him, and lightning strikes him down, right in front of his middle school. But it does get worse.  When he wakes up from the lightning, he finds himself trapped in the body of a young squire in medieval Scotland. At the base of a haunting mountain, a tyrannical king leads Seamus and a group of soldiers to face off with a dragon. When a knight who seems eerily familiar is wounded, Seamus is the only one who can find the cure deep within the dragon’s lair.

As he approaches the cure, the terrifying dragon traps Seamus and has a chance to end his life. But the dragon spares him, saying that the young squire is on a quest that could change the world forever. Seamus learns he must make a dangerous pact with new allies in order to save his friends’ life and secure one last chance to get home.

If you like Eragon and How to Train your Dragon  then you’ll love Rose-Marie Lyttle’s incredible adventure for kids ages 9-14. Nominate The Dragon’s Cave on Kindle Scout today.


Seamus opened his eyes, blinking to make out the picture in front of him. Treetops. Filtered sunlight. The air smelled woodsy.
“Seamus, what are you doing, boy? Taking a nap?” a man’s voice said, his English—or was it Scottish?—accent unfamiliar.
Seamus scrambled to his feet and dusted himself off. And then froze.
What was he wearing? Tights? Leather lace-up boots? And where on earth was he? It appeared to be some sort of meadow, not…his mind grew fuzzy trying to remember where he had just come from. All he remembered was the brightest flash of light he’d ever seen.
“Seamus!” the man snapped.
His head jerked up, and he realized the older man was speaking to him. “Yeah?”
The man frowned. “You mean, yes, sir.
Bewildered, he peered around for some clue to help him understand where he was and what was happening. A flicker of panic bubbled up in his chest. Realizing the man waited for a response, he said, “Yes, sir?”
“Come. Supper is ready.” The man wore strange clothing—a cream-colored tunic with the emblem of a crimson dragon embroidered on the front, like a knight from the Medieval Dinner Theatre where his mom once dragged him. Something about the knight seemed familiar, although he had never seen his face before.
He glanced down and realized he, too, wore a tunic with a crimson dragon. Was this some crazy dream? He touched his face. Who was he? Did he appear different? Had he somehow fallen into another boy’s body? Some kid in medieval Scotland? A tickle on his neck made him bring his hand back to find shoulder-length hair. He pulled it out to see the color—a darker brown than his sandy-blond mop back home.
The knight’s eyebrows drew together. “Come on, boy, what is the matter with you tonight?” He didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and walked away while Seamus trotted to keep up. They entered a clearing where many other knights milled about, some sitting on logs and rocks eating, some standing and talking. A large tent on one side bore the same dragon emblem they wore on their tunics. A fire burned in the middle of the clearing, and a large kettle hung over it, suspended by a chain and a tripod of sticks.
The sight of a boy his age made goose bumps prick his skin. Andy. The memory of their parting scene came back in a rush—Lacey falling in the wash, Andy’s joy that he couldn’t race, the bolt of lightning… Had it struck him? Had he died and come here, to this place? It sure didn’t seem like any version of heaven he’d ever imagined. Nor did it appear to be hell or even purgatory. What was this—medieval times?
Rose-Marie Lyttle is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author under another penname. As Rose-Marie, she writes middle grade and young adult fantasy novels. She is also a contemporary dance teacher, Feldenkrais Practitioner(R), energy worker and mom to two lights who shine up her world. She splits her time between Tucson, AZ and Taos, NM.

You can connect with her on:
Blog:  https://rosielight.wordpress.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MiddleGradeMunch/

January 30, 2017

January #InkRipples - 5 Star Books & Their Covers

The last Monday in January. It's been a long month! Is it because there were 5 Mondays? Because we got tons of snow, had a gymnasium collapse and missed lots of school while they shoveled rooftops? Perhaps its the vitriolic political climate that threatens to decimate our country. Idk. But I wasn't sure the month was going to end. Ever. But speaking of ending, there's a giveaway of King of Bad on Goodreads that ends on the 31st. Hop on over after you've devoured this post. Link is in my sidebar -->

All month long #InkRipples has been exploring all things book covers. I explored the making of a book cover by sharing different incarnations of my covers during the design process and sharing my collaboration experiences. Other Ripplers have shared new covers, talked about why certain covers attract their attention, etc. It's quite fun. Search #InkRipples on Twitter and find the plethora of book cover goodness. 

Today I'm wrapping up the month by becoming a reader. Well, I'm always a reader, but for the purpose of this post, I'm a Reader Not a Writer (One of my favorite blogs, btw's). I'm examining the covers of my 2016 5 star reads to give my personal opinion on if the cover matches the awesomeness of the story within.

This is a short story cross of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty (sort of). The cover has a great fairy tale feel but the stark colors aren't my fave. I did not read the illustrated version of this book. My opinion of the cover might be different if I luxuriated in illustrations. Hmmm, I might have to check that out now that I think of it. 

I've spent a lot of time with this lovely young adult story by my critique partner, Beverly Stowe McClure. And because of that, I think it bears more weight that I also love the cover. When you spend a lot of time crafting a story, refining the characters, choosing the right words, a first look at the cover can be stressful. What if it just doesn't make the grade? But this cover caught my attention immediately. Made me suck in breath and say, "Oooo." I love purple covers. 

This talking head illustration did get my attention. Enough to read the blurb and decide to read this young adult book. Is it my favorite cover ever? No. But it did it's job. I really, really loved this book, so I'm glad this cover made me think, "Now what's that all about?"

I listened to this middle grade gem on audiobook. I tend to pick my audiobook more from title than cover - not really sure why, maybe because of the audio aspect of the book. So that means the cover didn't get my attention, but I admit that adorable expression doesn't lose my attention either. I do love that the cover sets the mood and mind set of the story. 

This wonderful middle grade orphan train novel (also by my critique partner, Beverly. Hey, what can I say? She's a great author) is well covered. The sunrise gives us a hopeful feeling, which we need throughout Leona's emotional journey. The only criticism I can offer is that Leona is a bit hard to see. Especially in thumbnail. I wish she had a bit of an outline to stand out more. But I really love the color scheme of this cover and the font of the title. 

I love everything about this entire upper middle grade series. This cover is fantastically creepy. Another great color scheme. I'm currently listening to The Creeping Shadow and love, love, love it and it's cover too. Stroud is a favorite author of mine and not because I'd be shelved next to him if Barnes and Noble would stock my middle grade books. (Grumbles in the general direction of B&N)

I can't say that either the cover or the title would have inspired me to read this young adult book. I picked it up after seeing it included on several 'favorites' posts by bloggers. The book is worthy of the favorites, even if the cover isn't. 

For the sake of saving space, let me just say this entire adult series (very adult, btw) was fantastic - all three books got 5 stars from me. Couldn't read fast enough. And I rarely read adult, so that's saying something. I guess. The covers? Yeah. Simple, simple, simple. Definitely not what drew me in (another blogger raved and I trust her opinion. She was right again.) I believe the books were published ages ago, if I remember correctly. With the trend of recovering, I'm surprised to still see these simple covers. These stories could most definitely have oiled, bare chested men on the covers. *fans self*

Oh yeah! I love this creepy middle grade cover so, so much. It has so many elements of the story (except the humor, there's a lot of that) in a simple picture. It really sets the mood, while making us ask, "What the heck is that coming through the door?" Great cover for a great story. 

I put off reading this because I didn't want the series to end. I didn't want to leave Gansey. I didn't want to leave Blue. I didn't want to leave the covers! Isn't this stunning? Stiefvater is one of my all time favorite young adult authors and she gets some of the most beautifully illustrated covers for her fine work. Well deserved.

That's the long list of my 2016 5 star reads. I had a good reading year! I don't usually love so many of the books I read. As you can see sometimes I can judge a book by it's cover and other times, I can't. If there was a sixth Monday in January (thank God there isn't!) I'd share the books with fantastic covers whose contents fall short. We've all read them. 

Do the covers of your 5 star reads stand up to the story inside? Share the titles and authors in the comments so I can check them out - and maybe add them to my tbr list. 

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.