Okay I have a bit of a confession to make. Yesterday when I said my weekend was “rough”, I was in a big bad hurry, and I didn’t really think through what “rough” actually meant to people who didn’t know what I really meant.
Hello, my name is Michelle Dennis Evans and I have friendship challenges…
The topic of friendship has challenged me over and over throughout my life. So what does every writer do when they are challenged by a topic? Explore it through their characters.
While writing you can rewrite a scene to get it right, but in real life we only get one go at each scene, each moment, each conversation.
I am continually checking myself on how I treat friends. I don’t call enough, I don’t email, snail mail, communicate enough. I rely too heavily on social media. When I meet someone new, do I lean in and get to know who they are under the surface? How do I celebrate the friends who are in my life now? Could I celebrate them and honour them more?
One reason I stopped phoning people was because it became too hard while my kids were little, now I find my youngest is six and can cope with me closing a door while on the phone but I’m out of the habit. I home school so going out with a friend mid week just never really happens because I have my kids with me nearly twenty-four-seven. At times I avoid going out at night because that’s my writing time. Sometimes it seems like a casual meet up at the park of surface chatter is as good as it gets.
I see a new season coming. After spending nearly fourteen years breading, growing, educating and celebrating our delightful kiddies, I’m coming to a new stage of life. I’m ready to take friendships back and invest into them like I once did. But if for some reason that season doesn’t come quick enough, I’ll continue to explore friendship through my characters.
Where are you in the friendship cycle?
Friendship is one of the main themes in my YA Contemporary Spiralling books. In Spiralling Out of Control, Stephanie moves away from her best friend but continues to lean on her for support. In book two, Spiralling Out of the Shadow, we see the parallel story of Stephanie’s best friend, Tabbie and what it was like for her to be so loyal and relied up so heavily.
Set for paperback release July 19th
For you chance to win an kindle copy of either Spiralling Out of Control or Spiralling Out of the Shadow please leave a comment.
Ebooks of Spiralling Out of Control and Spiralling Out of the Shadow available now here- http://www.michelledennisevans.com/p/books.html
Connect with Michelle here – http://www.michelledennisevans.com/p/contact_4.html
Hi all! Sorry for my very long absence! The good news is that that lucky break I’ve been hoping for seems to have come. But of course, that means that I’m putting in some long hours. (As in I’ve been putting in 18 hour days since Monday.)
Thank you for having me, Misha. I see we’re starting with the tough questions…Let’s see…I live in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley where I work in retail by day and write by night. I’m a semi-avid hiker and biker. I’m starting to become more of a runner, too. (Of course, I was so much NOT a runner before that any amount of running now would make me more of a runner.) I watch too much television and eat too much junk food. I’m also addicted to buying pens, spiral-bound notebooks, and books. So many books. Oh, and swords and daggers. I do have a lot of those, too. I’m also prone to rambling, but that’s probably obvious right now, huh?
When I was probably twelve (maybe thirteen) years old, my mother bought me a trio of books she found in our local bookstore. They were the first three books in a series called The Secret of the Unicorn Queen, about an ordinary teenage girl who’s accidentally transported into a parallel universe filled with magic, swords, and women warriors riding unicorns. It was totally my thing. It still is my thing. Anyway, I loved the premise so much that, in high school, I decided to write my own story about an ordinary teenage girl who’s accidentally transported into a parallel universe filled with magic, swords, and rebels riding unicorns. Many, many moons and many, many incarnations later,Effigy was born. Thanks, mom!
Effigy is the first book in the Coileáin Chronicles, a fantasy series which ultimately will tell the story of the three Coileáin sisters and the role each will play in an epic struggle between good and evil. I set out to write a more character-driven fantasy because for me and the books I like to read, character is king. So in addition to the more traditional fantasy elements—magic, sword fights, unicorns (yes, there are unicorns in my novel. Some of them even talk.), etc.—there’s also a good amount of human drama. Effigy’s main character is a young woman named Haleine. She starts off leading this very charmed and happy life, but after one of those cruel twists of which fate is so often fond, she ends up on a much darker path that really leaves her raw by the end of things. And did I mention the sarcastic pegasus?
Reading and writing walk hand in hand in every storyteller’s imagination. The art of story and the heart of story dwell within each of us; I think the love of “story” draws all of humanity together. A story lifts us out of our everyday existence or adds meaning and depth to our lives. As I write this, my brother-in-law who is unable to move from the neck down (MS) and my dad who has dealt with lifelong disabilities are swapping stories in the other room – stories of plane flights, fast cars, farm work, and animal antics. We all love to hear stories and tell stories. Reading and writing flow from that mutual love of story.
I grew up surrounded by stories. My grandmother told stories when I spent the night at her house. My mom read to me every night. My dad tells stories in every conversation. My first favorite books and movies expanded my horizons. I became an avid reader and started daydreaming alternative endings or further adventures for my favorite books. From there, writing became a way of getting those ideas and my own, new stories on the page so I could keep them close or share them.
As a writer and a reader, I find myself enjoying books more than once. I love to read. I love to write. Books hold countless treasures for me as a reader and as a writer. I love to study the way that a writer has structured their book in plot, pacing, character, and setting. It helps my writing to grow. Sometimes, I go back and take notes on a book, studying the structure and characterization. As Stephen King famously stated in his book On Writing, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Now, I know that some writers find King’s quote to be a stressful “command” statement that requires us to read massive amounts of books each year. I don’t think that’s what King meant. Even as a voracious reader, I try to slow down in my reading to let the words breathe, to study the structure and characterization, and to uncover the nuances of the words. I get more out of books that I re-read multiple times because I’m less concerned with “what happens next” and I’m reading for the enjoyment of each part of the story.
How do you read? Do you think it’s necessary to the act of writing or just a natural part of it? Are there other ways to be surrounded by the world of “story” that work just as well like verbal storytelling, listening to music, or watching movies?
And here’s one last quote:
“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.” Cassandra Clare
Tyrean Martinson lives and writes near the waters of the Puget Sound (Washington State, USA) and daydreams daily. Currently, she is hard at work on a writing curriculum book and the last book in The Champion Trilogy. Her blog is: http://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/
Sigh. Just once in this damned year, I’d like to catch a break. Just once.
Just. Freaking. Once.
Ahem. Sorry peeps. This is again me saying that my blogging will be sporadic. I will keep track of guest posts so they go live at the right time. But I have to prioritize my writing, and with all the shit going on, my writing is slowing to more and more of a crawl.
I will try to visit you guys, though.
In the mean time, please keep praying.
For me it boils down to four elements:
TITLE: In YA, one word titles are especially potent, but I’ve read that titles should be no longer than 4 words, or you start losing readers. If the title is set on fire by the background images, you’ve got gold.
THE ART: A professionally designed cover says, “I’ve got class, and what’s inside was professionally edited and has class too.” I think we can’t measure how powerfully this is believed on a subconscious level. I’ve heard it said (and I believe it,) that the cover should communicate the genre or mood by way of color scheme, and the images on the cover should help us interpret the age group the book is intended for.
THE HUMAN TOUCH: It’s proven that people are drawn to images of people. (Imagine that.) I’m no exception and it’s my personal opinion that portraying some kind of human element–a hand, a face, a body–adds a level of connection with readers.
You can get into all kinds of other elements like motion, topography, focal point, and a dozen others, but I think the key is just to get someone interested enough to crack open the book. You can NEVER undo a first impression, so it has to count.
How about you? What aspects of a cover really draw you to a book?
Her second novel, SOULLESS (book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy), hits the worldOctober 13, 2014!
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
Hey all! Today’s my last day at Unicorn Bell, and since I took a break yesterday (thanks, migraine), I thought I’d write about the necessity of breaks.
How are you all doing?
Just want to let you know I’m still at Unicorn Bell, sharing my non-traditional tips to surviving Camp NaNo.
Today’s tip: Psychological Tricks, AKA Mini-Goals
How are you doing with your goals?
So… uh… I didn’t know until last night that I’m supposed to be manning the stations for Unicorn Bell this week.
Because I’m pretty much stuck in my writer cave, I thought I’d use the opportunity to share tips that help me get through writing marathons like NaNo and Camp NaNo.
Today’s topic: Multitasking.
You read that right, and no, it’s not wrong.
A short update on my progress: I’ve written 21k words and am now about 500 words away from being two days ahead. The real bragging point here: 12k of those words are written by hand.
How’s your Camp NaNo going?
Hey all! I was supposed to do this update on Friday, but see, I was writing. So I just want to let you know that yes, I have managed to work through my issues. At least enough so that I’m still on course to complete my Camp NaNo goal.
Also, I hope all my American friends had a wonderful 4th of July.
Anyway, today I’m welcoming spec fic writer extraordinaire and Untethered Realms co-writer, Ellie Garratt. She’s here to share her love of mash-ups with us.
Thank you for having me here today, Misha. I’m **waving** hello to you and all your followers.
Time for a confession. I have a weakness for literary mash-ups, where normally polar opposite genres are mixed together. There’s something refreshing about taking an old classic such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and adding zombies into the mix. I’m not sure how Austen would have felt about her novel being re-written in such a way, but I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
There are more mash-ups – Android Karenina, Sense and Sensibility, and Jane Slayre are just a few examples. Then there are mash-ups involving characters from books, such as Mr. Darcy,Vampyre.
Another style of literary mash up is taking a famous historical figure and giving them an alternative speculative fiction story. One of the most well known examples of this is Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. A genius idea of re-writing the history of the iconic President Lincoln to include vampires. Or how about Henry VIII: Wolfman or Queen Victoria Demon Hunter? I wonder if their Majesties would have been amused?
Then there are mash-ups which involve an iconic film or television series such as Star Trek. Night of the Living Trekkies is a favourite of mine. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is – a gory and funny mixing of the Trek Universe and zombies. It’s also a great read, though I should warn you quite a few Star Wars fans meet with a grisly fate.
There are many more I haven’t read, such as The Undead World of Oz or Wuthering Bites. The number of literary mash-ups has grown significantly since the publication of the first, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. There are many to choose from, should they appeal to you.
Have you read any mash-ups? How do you feel about them, especially those re-working a classic book or character? Have you ever considered writing one yourself? I’d love to know your thoughts.