Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Be a Ghost

Today I am going to answer a very important question. What can Ghosts teach us about writing? Well, the answer is what NOT to do...

1. Selective Apparition
Ghosts are known for showing themselves only when they feel like it. And even then, most people are left with the question - did I really just see that? Don't do that if you want to succeed as a writer. Be seen. Be heard. Be more like a poltergeist. Use blogs and Twitter and other social media. Go to conferences. Do reviews for other authors. You don't have to sell yourself, just BE yourself. Get to know people. I've learned so much and I keep learning more all the time because I put myself out there as much as possible.

2. Monosyllabic Speech
Ghosts aren't notoriously good with verbalization. I'm sure there are exceptions, but as a whole they really ought to work on their grammar. Now, I know what you're all thinking, if you're a writer then you are probably pretty decent with words. But here's the thing, if you don't keep working on it, you will end up losing it. Writing evolves. You improve at your craft no matter what level you are at with practice and education. If you get to the point where you think you know it all, well, unless you're J.K. Rowling, that probably means you still have a ways to go.

3. One Dimensionality
This is a very simple one. Ghosts lack substance. Your characters should NOT.

4. No Spector Handbook
Ghosts are thrown in to their new state of being with little to no help. That's why most ghostly encounters are so different from each other. There's no general consensus on how to haunt properly. Luckily for us, there are industry standards. Rules (or as I like to think of them, guidelines) to help us behave in a professional manner. If you are querying for example, you ought to know what agents are looking for. If you don't, do some research. There's so much information available. That holds true for any stage of the game.

5. Predictability
Lets face it, ghosts are predictable. Scary perhaps, but if I had to choose between the dilapidated mansion that even the strays cross the street to avoid and the new hotel on the corner... My point being, never settle for common. Writing a vampire story? Shake it up! Make it something new. Put in a twist we've never seen. Our imaginations are unlimited. So don't put limits on them.

6. Ghosts don't scare themselves
We should. I think I've mentioned before that I heard Libba Bray speak at a local writer's conference and what she said really hit home for me. Write what scares you. If you aren't then you aren't growing as a writer. You can always go back and change things later, but don't get stuck in a rut. Scare yourself!

And there is one thing that ghosts get right.

That's right. Those buggers don't go anywhere. Dead? Pheh. That's not gonna stop me from hanging around. We should take a lesson in that. Stick it out - no matter what. Don't give up. Don't throw in the towel. No matter how tempting it seems sometimes. Keep plugging away and that's how you will succeed.

Don't forget to check back in on Monday for some HUGE Monday Madness...

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Monday Madness Celebrities

Due to overwhelming support, I am doing a second installment of Celebrity Monday Madness. So here goes:
1. Stephenie Meyer
Okay, in this case it isn't what she is but what she has because she obviously found a magic lamp somewhere and rubbed it... I wonder what else she wished for?
2. Justin Beiber
Aww. He's cute and young and annoying. So I'm going with GREMLIN. Those little guys can cause some serious mischief.
3. Miley Cyrus
Oh, Lordy. Someone out there ought to forewarn these kids that becoming a kid star with Disney is actually hazardous to your adult health. My theory? Disney is inadvertently (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) unleashed a contagious disease that slowly melts the brains of talented young girls in starring roles making them all into ZOMBIES. Very few seem to be immune. I'm crossing my fingers for you Selena Gomez!
4. IanSomerhalder
So what's the hottest creature there is? Whatever it is, he's it.
5. And as requested by Margo, Liv Tyler
She's too gorgeous for her own good. And I think she played her part a little too well in Lord of Rings if you know what I mean. So FAERY QUEEN can't be far off. Seriously, did they even have to add pointy ears?

Photos courtesy of,,,,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Want to read something I wrote really fast???

Just a note - I'm a finalist in the flash fiction contest here so go check it out!

Now go read the post below if you haven't already...

The Zombie Next Door

Is your neighbor's lawn an eyesore? Overgrown weeds and dead grass?
Do you hear strange noises coming from his house at night?
Does he stumble outside to retrieve the mail looking pale and stiff? Does he chew on the letters on the way to the door?
When you try to make small talk, is his only answer "waaaaaauuuuuuwwwwhaaaawooooo?"

If you answered YES to at least four of these questions your worst fears might be realized. Well, that is to say only if your worst fear is ZOMBIES!

So what do you do now? Barricade the windows and door and pull out that axe your spouse complained you'd never use?

Such drastic measures are probably not necessary. Particularly if it is a contained instance. Chances are the Zombie only wants to live in pieces. Oops, I mean peace. So what do you do? Well I recommend taking the following precautions:

1. If you haven't already invested in a pet go out and get yourself a nice Werewolf or Goblin. They enjoy chasing Zombies and he won't dare come around your property.

2. Leave a map with directions to the nearest graveyard on your door along with a party invitation. It's a little known fact that Zombies love a good soiree.

3. Play Barry Manilow CDs at top volume, repeatedly. No offense to Mr. Manilow, but for some unknown reason the frequency of your voice sends Zombies into panic mode.

And finally...

4. If he comes to call with a measuring cup saying "brains," you have two choices and whether you decide to slam the door or go get your spouse... well, I guess that depends on the quality of your relationship.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Madness - Alexandra Shostak

First of all - I won a couple of awards! Yeah me! Lacey on the Sisters in Scribe blog passed me the From Me To You award. And Creepy Query Girl (who despite all attempts to prove otherwise seems far from creepy) let me choose so I picked a Blogger Buddy Award. I have no clue what the rules involved are. Probably list a bunch of stuff about me, which I've done enough in the past. I'm an open book though so if you have any burning questions feel free to post them in the comments. And how's this for tricky? I pass Lacey's award to Creepy Query Girl and Creepy's award to Lacey! So there. NOW on to the blog..

Alexandra Shostak is a new find of mine. She's a writer of dark fantasy for adults and YA. Now, as you all know what I normally do on Monday Madness is decide what type of supernatural being someone is.

Well, at first I thought Alexandra was a siren. I mean according to her bio she is a music lover. But, after I saw her latest contest I changed my mind. You see she - among other fabulous prizes - is offering an ARC of Clockwork Angel. HELLO! It's like she knows me personally and likes all the same things. A kindred spirit. Which leads me to believe she may actually be


So, Alexandra... can you do your bibbity bobbity boo thing and get me a publishing contract?

Either way - you should all give her a visit and enter her fabulous contest. On the other hand, if you don't it increases my odds of winning...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dr. Writer and Mr. Hyde

First of all the winner of the contest is *drum roll* Marissa! You win a copy of WHITE CAT by Holly Black. Just email me your address at paranormalpov at gmail dot com and we'll take care of that. Now back to the blog:

Even writers have feelings. Yes, it's true. We can be a tough brood. 432 rejections and barely a tick. Right? But sometimes,
sometimes, under the light of a full moon, in the solitude of the computer room, our darker natures fight to free themselves. The beast wants out.

Many a writer has ruined a perfectly good career by failing to control her darker nature. Picture this: You get yet another rejection from an agent. She said she liked it. She wanted a full. But two agonizing months later, you get an email that states, "I liked the voice and the pacing was great, but I'm afraid I just didn't fall in love."

You stare at the screen until the words begin to dance like ants across the page. Your breathing grows shallow, uneven. The hair on your neck and arms stand up. A growl grows from deep in the pit of your stomach and before you know it your fingers are twitching over the keyboard. Mr. Hyde has come to play.

You type as fast as you think. You wouldn't know a great piece of literature if it bit you in the behind! You'll be sorry. Your finger hovers over send. Then you have a better idea. Post it in a public place! Trash her in front of everyone then she'll be sorry!

Uh-oh. Slow down. Give that monster a tranquilizer. Wait a day or two. Re-read. She LIKED it. She complimented it. If she had said yes and then didn't have her heart behind it, how would that do you any good? She did you a favor.

Lets look at a different scenerio:

You buy a book by another author who has been lucky enough to get a deal. You read it only to find *gasp* it isn't as good as you think it should be. Mr. Hyde whispers in your ear, "How did she get a book deal when you can't even get a request for a partial?" Your vision's tinted red. Your nostrils flare. You decide to write a review.

This book could have been written by a fifth grader! There are so many adverbs I thought I would drown in a sea of Ls and Ys! Where did she go to school? The thing was one giant cliche and I'm using it to line the bird cage!

Whoa there. Get a grip on that sly dude. Publishing may be a subjective business, but it doesn't take a degree in Psych to know that someone's a little frustrated. I'm betting it wasn't all that bad. And even if it was - do you really think you should post that review? Don't recommend it if you don't like it. But don't trash it either.

Everything you say, every word you write holds power. Use that power wisely my friend. Never say anything to "trash" anyone else. If you are giving constructive criticism, do it kindly and with balance. Nasty comments spread like wildfire. Plus, editors and agents google you know. You could have the best prose in the world, but no one will want you if you're a loose cannon. Negativity like that only reflects upon you.

Now, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir. But, I had to acknowledge that inner beast that lies within us all just waiting for the right moment to come out. Keep the creature locked up tight before he destroys you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Madness - Trying Something New

REMINDER you can still enter my contest until Wednesday evening. I will announce the winner on Thursday.

So, I do enjoy deciding who is what supernatural creature. However, I am noticing a definite dive in my Monday post readers/commenters. Hmm. SO, I'm going to experiment, Mwahahaha! You're all my test subjects.

Anywho, Here's today's experiment: Celebrities and what they REALLY are...

1. Robert Pattinson - you thought he was a vampire?? Ha! Have you seen that hair? The british accent? I say he's a MAD SCIENTIST and he's got millions of women (and men) under the power of some hypnotic hyper beam. Buy movie tickets and merchandise. I am hot.

2. Lindsey Lohan - she's the VAMPIRE. I mean she looks like the undead anyhow.. take a look at this.

3. Glenn Beck - well, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he isn't originally from this solar system.

4. Kristen Stewart - not to do too many Twilight people, but come on! She's a ZOMBIE.

Have I offended anyone yet?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pesky Pixies

Um, Okay. I give up on this one. I thought I had posted this - in fact, I know I did because I have comments and then it disappeared... Must have been the gremlins PESKY GREMLINS!!! Anyhow, the contest is still open, so feel free to enter...

Before I get to this, I have a thought. I'd like to do another contest. I blame all of you for getting me addicted to this.

So here's the deal... You leave a comment telling me your favorite type of post that I do. Interview w/mythical creature, Interview with MC of book, Pure fantasy/humor, Writing instruction through fantasy, guessing what someone really is, OR ???? You can suggest something new. I'd also like you to be a follower and tweet/blog about the contest. Capice? Great.

OH the prizes?? Details, details. How about I offer a critique on a full chapter of your WIP? Don't want my input? Then I send you a book. WHITE CAT by Holly Black. Make sure to mention your preference in the comments and leave me a way to contact you. I'll have my kiddies pick the winner from a hat again and announce it next Thursday on the blog.

NOW to the paid endorsement (I wish):

Pixie a little too bubbly? Is she shooting sparks when you try to sleep? Buzzing in your ear? Giggling incessantly when she sees Taylor Lautner's face and abs on a magazine?

Well, cheer up my friend! I have the perfect solution. Bet you didn't know that the Pixie's natural enemy is a Gremlin. Now hold up just a sec there. Don't go grab yourself a Gremlin. Replacing one mischievous pest with another isn't going to do you a lick of good. If you think Pixies are bad, just wait till the Gremlin slimes your shoes. Not fun. Not fun at all.

So what's the solution? RENT-A-GREMLIN! We'll bring the Gremlin, let him take care of your pesky Pixie and you can be Fairy sure we'll then take that Gremlin away. Let the professionals handle it.

*please note that Rent-a-Gremlin is not responsible for lost or damaged furniture, household pets, or nosy neighbors. Please rent responsibly.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Madness - Margo Berendsen

Before I get to Margo... I received this lovely Sunshine Award from Karen Strong. Thanks Karen! I am passing it along to Catherine Winn. Go check out both blogs! Oh and don't forget to register for Writeoncon if you haven't yet...


Margo Berendsen
lives at a very high altitude. She believes this helps her writing. She enjoys chocolate, has a big family and always seems to have her nose in a book. She takes many notes and loves to analyze things, often marking up whatever she can get her hands on. She's afraid of Demons and witches but loves mythology.

As you can see I have plenty of information about Margo. But what does it MEAN??

I believe Margo is really a GNOME. Not the red hatted garden variety. But the kind of intellectual Gnome that loves nothing more than to bury itself in a big library and study. Gnomes of all sorts are remarkably strong and clever. They have large famlies and mate for life.

So, considering they appear peace loving, the question then is this, Margo, is there really a great Gnome conspiracy to take over the world??

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Boring Vampires

Okay, so I mention Vampires a lot. In this case I'm using them as fodder for a lesson in writing. See, here's the thing - even vampires can be dull, boring and (dare I say it) cliche. You think: 'Gee, if I put some ultra cool stuff in my manuscript then I can't lose! It's a formula for best-seller.' Um, no. See, I've heard it said (quite a bit because I keep saying it too) that it isn't WHAT you write, but HOW you write it. Granted, you need a plot. Something that moves the action along and propels the characters forward. But - here, let me show you what I mean. The following are a few examples of a boring vampire story:

1. Cliche Description

His eyes held me in a way that took my breath away.

"You've been watching me," he said. My cheeks turned as red as a beet.

He smiled, showing perfect white teeth. My heart beat sped up. "Do you know what I am?"

"I don't care," I said. "You won't hurt me."

2. Useless Dialogue

I jumped in the passenger seat and he peeled out of the drive. Alone at last - just me and my vampire.

"Where to?" he asked.

"I haven't had dinner yet," I said.

"Do you like Italian food?" he asked.

"Too many carbs," I protested.

"Sushi it is then."

"No. I don't eat raw anything."


"Okay," I said, turning on the radio.

3. Telling Not Showing

We stopped at the doorway. It was late and the rest of the house was asleep. I felt nervous. He leaned forward and kissed me. It was amazing and when he pulled away I could see his fangs were extended. For the first time since I met him, I was afraid.

Now, lets take a look at the same scenes REVISED:

1. Try to say the same things in a slightly different way.
His eyes met mine and I froze, the air knocked from my body like when I was seven and fell off the swing in my backyard. I couldn't have moved if I'd wanted to.

"You've been watching me," he said. I fought the heat bubbling up my neck that threatened to incinerate me.

He smiled. Blood rushed behind my ears. "You know what I am."

"It doesn't matter," I said, finally finding my voice. Of course I knew. "You won't hurt me."

2. Replace with dialogue that is meaningful by showing us something about the characters' personalities.
I jumped in the passenger seat and he peeled out of the drive. Alone at last - just me and my vampire.

"Where are we going?" I asked, unable to stand the silence.

"Worried?" The corners of his mouth turned upward and he stole a taunting glance in my direction.

"No. Just curious where a vampire takes his date."

"I'm taking you back to my coffin so I can have a midnight snack."

"Very funny."

3. Show
We stopped at the doorway and he turned toward me. A thick slice of moonlight broke through the clouds bathing his face in soft blue light and reflecting off of his large, dark eyes. I sucked in my bottom lip as he stood motionless, silent, heartbreakingly beautiful. Crickets sang through the blanket of night. Then he moved, fast and smooth. One moment he was watching me, the next I felt his lips on mine, unexpectedly warm and soft. A shiver of pleasure trickled through my body and I pushed forward, eager for more.

He jerked back in a sudden movement and a gasp escaped my throat. His lips pulled back to reveal a row of elongated teeth, each as sharp and deadly as a steak knife. That wasn't what frightened me though. It was his eyes. His eyes filled with pain and a silent plea. Run.

See? I really didn't spend a whole lot of time on this and you can probably tell, but the second does read better, doesn't it?

Now, how about you? What are some boring vampires you've been wrestling with?