January 30, 2015

Writing Young Adult Characters: The Writing Life

It's Friday!

I just sent Chasing Forgiveness, my Tala Prophecy novella, to my betas. EEP!

Recently, my middle sister and I were talking about my choice to write young adult characters. She was wondering how I connected to being a teenager, and wrote them so beautifully (thanks, sis!), because she she felt removed from that time in her life.

My first thought... am I just refusing to accept my age (42)? No, I've never been one to freak out about birthdays or lie about my age.

In part, I write from a teenage/young adult point of view because it's rich with drama, insecurity, indecision, naiveté, heartbreak, ego, disappointment... the list goes on and on.

But many would say these apply to adults as well.

Yes. However, teenagers and young adults are at a crossroads. They have one foot in the innocence of youth and one in the responsibility of adulthood. It's such a delicate balance, and it creates an environment ripe for mistakes and learning. What's most terrifying is that the consequences can be very adult without the benefit of adult knowledge in the decision-making process.

Can adults still screw things up royally? Of course! And I don't write my teenagers/young adults in a void... they are surrounded by adults who are still trying to figure things out, while also counseling the younger ones. See, an environment loaded with possibilities.

While I was thinking about this, I also realized personal reasons why I write this age group, but I'm going to save those reflections for next week's post. Please stop back by.

Please share why you love (or don't love) reading young adult characters? If you do love more adult books, why?

Plus, I do have the advantage of having two teenage girls in my house (well, my middle will turn 13 on 2/7). Plus, my youngest acts like a teenager thanks to her older sisters. They keep me firmly connected to the way a young adult's mind works. Not that I ever felt disconnected.

So, the three beauties (pictures sprinkled throughout this post) are part of my inspiration.

January 29, 2015

Fractured Darkness by Morgan Wylie Release Day



It's RELEASE DAY for Fractured Darkness (The Age of Alandria: Book Three) by Morgan Wylie. It's an upper YA fantasy series with Elves, warrior Faeries, Shifters, and a girl trying to discover who she is along the journey as she and her band of companions battle to save the realm of Alandria.

Check out book 3 in the series!


About Fractured Darkness

The darkness in Elnye is growing.
There is screaming in Exhile.

The mysterious woman, known only as “She”, is in a rage. Her pawn, Maleina has made a dangerous move and severed her communications with the dark mistress. Now as dueling dark forces, master and willing initiate, they begin to jockey for power as the stage is set for the coming war. 

Kaeleigh and her small band of loyal companions have escaped the dungeons of Elnye and found their way to the secret home of the Ehsmia. After breaking the vicious bond that enslaved Daegan to Maleina’s will, the walls between Kaeleigh and her Ferrishyn warrior begin to fall, as their feelings for each other begin to give way to passion.

The darkness is fractured, but its relentless quest for power goes unabated. A war is coming. However, the power of the Sol-lumieth has finally come together and found its light. A blinding light of freedom, that may be the salvation for all of Alandria.

Available Jan 29th!!
One Click
 AMAZON   BN   iBOOKS   KOBO

Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf:  Goodreads

*****

Personal Note: I've followed Morgan Wylie for quite a while online and my high school daughter LOVES this series. In an it's-a-small-world moment, I realized I knew a member of Morgan's family. Now I am even more excited to see Morgan at UtopYA in Nasvhille in June. Oh, and to finally start reading this series for myself.

January 28, 2015

Top 10 Writing Pet Peeves: Grammar & Writing Tips

For today's grammar focus, I'm recycling a post from June 2012. Enjoy!

*****

No writer is perfect, and perfection would be boring anyway. 

I'm a big believer in keeping a reader engaged. Some mistakes, at least for me, bring me out of the story and back into my own head.

My Top 10 Writing Pet Peeves

Lose/Loose
This one annoys me, because I don't get it. The words are just so different. Chose/choose bugs me, but I can understand why people confuse them. Although I guess you can lose something that gets too loose. Hmmmm.

Similar Sounding Words
Examples: there/they're/their, its/it's, you're/your, two/to/too

The spell check function fails this test. I get it. When you are typing fast, you might accidentally use the wrong one. If you know you make these mistakes often, do a Search and Find as part of your editing process and make sure these words are used correctly. 

Mark Twain (from Wikipedia)
Overuse of Very
Using very gets old very quickly. I love the Mark Twain quote, "Substitue damn every time you're inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."  Rarely is "very" needed (with the exception of dialogue).

Irregardless
I. Hate. This. Word. Why? It is not a word. It's a double negative, and actually means not having no regard. So irregardless would technically mean having regard. Are you confused? Me, too. To me, it would be like saying irrelevantless.

Too Many Ellipses in Dialogue
I like an ellipsis for dramatic effect within story (or a blog post). However, I don't like line after line of dialogue with ellipses. Yes, it is a good indicator of someone being interrupted, but if someone is interrupted line by line, I think the conversation should be over. I know I would clam up by then. 

Also, some writers use it to show pauses when a simple comma will do.

Unnatural Dialogue
Speaking of dialogue, I want it to sound like two people talking. Good dialogue should read fast and true. It shouldn't read like prose. And rules that apply to good writing, do not apply to good dialogue. People speak with words writers are told to avoid: just, that, very. Even irregardless. Furthermore, if you craft a teenager, don't have them speaking like an adult. 

Read dialogue out loud to catch awkwardness.

Using the Word Believe Too Often
If a writer is using first person point of view, "I believe" is obvious. If the narrator is telling you about other characters and using believe, the reader doesn't know for sure what the narrator really knows. Do we just take the narrator's word for it?

Example: "I believe ghosts haunt the house up the street. My friend believes they don't."

If I is the narrator, we know he/she believes it simply by stating it. And we can't know for sure that the friend doesn't believe in ghosts, unless the friend character says it or the narrator shows why they don't think the friend believes it.

Am I making any sense?

Using Spell Checker as Editor
The spell check feature is awesome, and it will save you from typos and misspelled words. It will not save you from #1 or #2 above. Or some typos, like typing form for from. Use it, but don't let it be your editor.

Too Many Characters with Similar Initials
Maybe it's because I read at night, or maybe it's because I have three kids, but I can't keep it straight when Molly loves Max who was once wed to Mindy who fights constantly with her sister, Melissa. Oh, and Mike is falling fast for Molly, but Mindy is jealous. 


Update: Funny aside to this. In my Tala Prophecy series, I have Reagan falling for Rowan but fighting against Rafe. Oops! I fell in love with the names. Rowan and Rafe are brothers, so that helps my case, right? I know many families who keep with an initial theme. 

Inconsistency
This is the worst. I'd rather an author own a mistake throughout, or own a style that I might consider wrong, than to switch back and forth. Confused as to whether to use the oxford comma or not. No problem, pick a way and run with it. 

Example: I recently read a book where a main character was Molly for half the novel and Mollie for the other half.


What is your biggest writing pet peeve? Or, what mistakes make you cringe when you're reading?

Note: I edited and edited this piece, terrified I'd make a mistake. There's nothing like writing a post about mistakes that contains mistakes. I hope it's as error free as possible.

January 26, 2015

Indie Highlights: A Master Class and Crazy For Love

Mondays are for sharing some of my favorite Indie News.

Janet Wallace, the creator of the awesome UtopYA conference, is heading up a class for Indie Writers on how to break through to the next level. StandUP. StandOUT. Rake it In will start February 2. From the website:

Then join me, Janet Wallace, and other fellow writers for a six week course that can set the tone for a positive, healthy and results-driven 2015 for you and your writing career.
Let go of the “backup plan.” It’s time to burn the boats and stop looking behind you. It’s time to forge ahead with your talents and share them with the right people so that you can inspire, share and grow. It’s time for you to put all the missing pieces together FOR GOOD, so that you can make the income you need and have the confidence and knowledge to know that you can do so again and again.
I’ll be hosting two live calls per week — one focused solely on the business of being an author and how to increase your fans and sales though inspired marketing and brand influence; the second call of the week will be focused entirely on mindset — we will examine your relationship with money, time, yourself, your environment, your community and how you can turn fear into fuel to set your life ablaze. Because, the bottom line is, if your mind isn’t in the right place, none of the marketing stuff will stick. #Truth

For more information, click here.

Also, my awesome pal, Casey L Bond, has a new release coming out on Valentine's Day. But it's available for Pre-order now for only $2.99.

About Crazy Love
(from Goodreads)

Shelby Case avoids town and all the people in it. She can't stand the whispers behind covered lips, the judgmental stares. People say she's crazy, that she lost her mind when she lost her husband. 

The Second U.S. Civil War has left widows and widowers scattered across the land. Shelby's just learned to cope. She's taught herself the fine art of self-preservation along with the skills to survive. 

When the figment of her imagination, the man who's haunted her days and nights for the past two years, shows up on her doorstep, Shelby wonders if all of the whispers are true.


New Adult Romance with a Dystopian vibe...
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SM2U12A
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00SM2U12A
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00SM2U12A
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00SM2U12A
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crazy-love-case…/1121102802…
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id960462153
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/crazy-love-27


Again, if you have Indie news to share, please let me know. I'd love to feature it on my Indie News posts on Mondays.

January 23, 2015

Capturing My Ideas: The Writing Life

Ah, it's Friday. Time for the weekend.

In case you missed Monday's post, I've recommitted to this blog and have theme days. On Fridays, I'll share the ups and downs of the writing life.

I've had many people ask me how I plan out my books. Although I'm a pantser and proud of it, I do organize my plot thoughts. Well, organize might be stretching it...


Yes, that's it. A bunch of scribbled-on pieces of paper. When a plot development pops into my head, and this often happens when I'm nowhere near my computer, I grab the closest piece of paper and jot it down. I keep them all in a folder. 

I've written on receipts, napkins, and my hand. If I'm driving, I have one of my daughter's type my thoughts into the Notes section of my phone. If I'm alone, I'll pull over as soon as I can and start typing. A couple of times, when I couldn't pull over, I called my voicemail at home (since I have hands-free) and left myself a message about my ideas.

Do you ever have an idea that consumes your thoughts unless you get it out? Please share the oddest way you've ever left yourself a reminder.

January 21, 2015

Clench vs. Clinch: Grammar & Writing Tips

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesdays are now my days to share a writing or editing tip.

Without further ado...


Source
Clench versus Clinch

For simplicity, clench is to grasp or hold firmly (clench something in your hand or clench your teeth--see picture to the right) and clinch is to settle decisively (clinch a win).

However, like most things related to our beautiful language, there is an exception:

Boxing. an act or instance of one or both boxers holding the other about the arms or 
body in order to prevent or hinder the opponent's punches. (from Dictionary.com)

As I began to further research what I thought would be a simple post, I also found that Dictionary.com listed "a passionate embrace" as a slang definition of clinch. I'm guessing that came from the boxing clinch above. Too funny... that's not very romantic at all.

Furthermore, Grammarist.com stated:
Some dictionaries list clench and clinch as variants of each other, but this is just because the words have been confused so often for so long. Edited publications and careful writers keep them separate.

So, I guess these Wednesday Grammar Tips won't always be simple. When in doubt, I look something up via a trusted source. I like Grammarist and Grammar Girl, and The Chicago Manual of Style is my editing bible.

Most often, I see the mistake of an author saying a character clinched his/her teeth or clinched a spell book. In those cases, it should be clenched. 

Is there an editing/grammar issue that's always caused you trouble? If so, share it in the comments so I can feature it on a future post. 

Whether you are editing, writing, or reading today, I hope you enjoy every single word!

January 19, 2015

A New Look

My last post, Defining Me, was about defining who I am, especially as an author.

To that end, I want to freshen up this blog.

I have been blogging consistently for over four years now. Throughout that time, I've had moments where I loved it and others where I wondered if anyone was listening or if I had anything else to say.

Too often I sit and stare at a blank post page and my mind goes blank.

So, what's a blogger to do...

Thanks to some amazing encouragement from the Ginny Gallagher of Gin's Book Notes and Jo Michaels, I have a plan.

Going forward, my blog schedule will be:

Mondays: Sharing My Favorite Indie News & Reviews
Wednesdays: Grammar and/or Writing Tips
Fridays: Reflections on the Writing Life

Of course, there will be some special events or extra goodies from time to time, including my monthly Insecure Writer's Post on the first Wednesday of the month.

If you are an indie author and would like to be featured on this blog or have some indie publishing news to share, please send it to me at tiasbach@gmail.com.

For some Monday fun, I thought I'd share one of the first pictures I shared on this blog. 


My sweet girls are now 14, 12, and 9--my oldest is a freshman in high school. By May, they will be 15, 13, and 10. Crazy!