February 27, 2015

Character Connection: The Writing Life

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had an amazing week full of uplifting experiences and building memories.

Last Friday, I shared a line I cut from my latest piece, Chasing Forgiveness. If you missed out, check it out here.

Chasing Forgiveness is told in first person from two different points of view--Madeleine and Amelie. Thanks to beta comments, I realized I needed to flesh out one of the characters a bit more, as she was lagging behind her story partner.

In the process, I discovered something: the character who needed more details was the one I identified with the most. I found it more fascinating to dive into the mind of Madeleine, because she's less like me. Amelie, on the other hand, is very much like me. 

Madeleine embodies many traits I admire but don't always emulate. She's eager to embrace change and power, she follows gut instincts and enjoys spontaneity, and she doesn't let fear rule.

Amelie is the older sister and more level-headed. She wants to be needed, trusts her heart, and is more guarded.

I love both characters, but I found Madeleine more exciting to write, because I want to incorporate more of her qualities--ones I have but are more dormant--into my life. Still, Amelie is the voice of reason and the nurturer, which we all need to be in touch with as well.

Do you find yourself more drawn to characters who are like you or different?

Next week, I will share which actresses would play Madeleine and Amelie in a movie adaption. Until then, have an awesome weekend and beginning to March.

February 25, 2015

Pronouns: Grammar & Editing Tips

Ah, the pronoun. Such a nifty way to avoid repetition. Thanks to she (and others like he, I, you, it, we, they), authors don't have to constantly reuse character names or bog down story with repeating nouns. 

Sometimes, pronouns cause confusion because they take ownership of the closest, preceding noun (antecedent), and the last thing a reader wants to do is go hunting for that noun or be utterly confused.

So, a writer should make sure the pronoun is clear.


David and Bill went to the store, and he enjoyed his newly purchased candy bar and cherry pie. It was the best thing he ever tasted.

He = Bill
It = Cherry Pie

If that is the meaning the author intends, the sentence works. However, if he is meant to be David and/or it refers to the candy bar, then some reworking is needed. The his and he subsequently used refer to Bill as well. 

Okay, so just remember... the pronoun refers to the closest, preceding noun

Sometimes, the pronoun is used correctly, but the sentence is still suspect.


Several Miami strippers donated boxes of clothing, and they can be viewed at the church bazaar next Saturday.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Yes, they = boxes of clothing, but a reader might do a double take and think the strippers can be viewed at a church. That's a whole different story. *snickers*

Better to rework the sentence for clarity...

Several Miami strippers donated boxes of clothing, and these items can be viewed at the church bazaar next Saturday. 

Also, if it's been a while since the noun the pronoun refers to was used, clarify by repeating the noun. You don't want to make a reader search back a couple of paragraphs to figure out who he/she/it is. 

Furthermore, pronouns should not refer to something that hasn't been mentioned yet.


If it's cheaper, then definitely buy the red blouse. 


If the red blouse is cheaper, then definitely buy it.

I could go on forever about pronouns, but the examples above cover a lot of material. 

An exception (because there's always one, right?)...

Dialog is independent of prose. A noun mentioned in dialog, would not be the closest, preceding noun for the sake of a pronoun in prose.

For example, if a main character (Kevin) is highlighted in prose but mentions a Gary in dialog, Kevin is still the he when prose begins again.

For more information, visit this great post by Grammar Girl: Pronouns and Antecedents

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

February 23, 2015

UtopYA Sale & The Beast of Ravenston : Indie News & Highlights

Good Monday morning!

It's time for another installment of Indie News & Highlights, and I've got some good stuff today. 

Let's get it started (feel free to sing along)...

Early Bird Ticket Prices for UtopYA 2015 end on 2/28/151

Please don't miss the opportunity to come to this inspirational, empowering, creative, cutting edge, and uplifting conference. If you love the written word--whether an author, a reader, a blogger, an editor, and so on--please come. It's an amazing community and atmosphere.

heart emoticon I went last year, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I make lifelong friends, I came away a better person/writer/word lover. 

heart emoticon

Keynote speakers: Denise Grover Swank, Kim Holden, and Lauren Miller. In addition there will be many exhibitors (including me/IBGW!). Find the complete list here

If you have any questions, please let me know. I love talking UtopYA! Buy your tickets here


The awesome Kelly Martin is at it again. The Beast of Ravenston (A Shattered Fairy Tale #2) debuts March 3, 2015, and she's hosting an awesome Facebook party to celebrate. Click here to RSVP and find out more.

About The Beast of Ravenston

Elizabeth Adams, a former maid of the evil sin collector Frederick Dodsworth, is sent to the isolated town of Ravenston to be the servant of notorious duke Nicholas Wellington -- nicknamed "The Beast" because of his bad temper and scars that have disfigured him from a fire. Nicholas makes a deal with Mr. Dodsworth: the name of the person who set the fire in exchange for making Elizabeth's time at Ravenston a living hell.

After seeing what he's capable of, Nicholas fears he has truly become the beast he is rumored to be and tries to make the consequences of his horrible actions up to Elizabeth somehow. Spending time with her causes feelings he'd long forgotten, and he finds himself falling for the gently beauty. He can't let that happen, however, because he has to know who set the fire. He has to know who to punish. And he has to atone for his part in his wife's death.

Years old lies are revealed.
Secrets are uncovered.
And one man has to choose between the family he desires and the revenge he's waited so long for.

After all, a beast is always a beast.

Add it on Goodreads


If you have any Indie news to share, please let me know. I hope everyone has an amazing week full of great new finds.

February 20, 2015

Let it Go: The Writing Life

I just sent Chasing Forgiveness, a Tala Propehcy novella, to my editor (the amazing Jo Michaels). I spent over a week editing based on my beta reader comments (even added a chapter).

I love editing, but sometimes it means letting go of lines, scenes, or chapters you love.

So, I thought... why not share one I really hated letting go.

This one was tough to let go, because it means so much to me personally. 

It's a wonderful reminder to be careful what we say. If someone thinks you hate them, it's easier than knowing it. Trust me. I'm all about hope.

Chasing Forgiveness is written in first person, past tense with alternating point of views. It taught me a lot about my writing. Tune in next week to see what.

Have you ever had someone confirm something you wished they hadn't, something that forever changed your relationship?

February 18, 2015

Apostrophes: Grammar & Editing Tips

Isn’t it amazing how important the smallest of punctuation marks can be? 

Consider the apostrophe--small in stature, a simple ’, but huge in importance. After all, an apostrophe either takes the place of missing letters or assigns ownership. It is also used to show multiple letters, such as the student received many A’s on her report card. More on that in a moment.

If Charlie has a dog, it’s Charlie’s dog. The only somewhat confusing aspect to making names possessive… names that end in s. According to AP Style, the newest consensus is to leave off the additional ’s. So it would be Charles’ dog and not Charles’s. However, it is not incorrect to say Charles’s, and that style is favored by Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, although to me it is quite clunky.

In the case of biblical references, everyone seems to agree—Jesus’ and Moses’ is the way to go.

Interestingly, this was a debated enough issue that the Arkansas House of Representatives introduced a bill to clarify the state’s possessive, known as the Arkansas’s Apostrophe Act.

And of course there is the exception of it’s. Since it’s is it is, the possessive of it is its, no apostrophe.

Back to the student that received many A’s on her report card. The A is not A is and it’s not possessive, so why the apostrophe? Because otherwise it is the word As (same problem for the letters I and U which would become Is and Us without an apostrophe).

How big of a deal can a misplaced or missed apostrophe really be?

Let me give you a quick example…

The girls decision meant life would never be the same.

In a story, it’s important for the reader to know if that sentence should read girl’s or girls’ (one girl or multiple girls). Writers don’t want their readers scratching their head for too long, because then readers disconnect from the story. Never a good thing.

How can anybody remember all these rules, especially ones that the grammar experts disagree on? 

That’s just one of the reasons a good editor is important. They do the research and give you their advice. Just as importantly, they make sure it is consistent throughout your work. Your readers will thank you for it.


I originally published this post on the Indie Books Gone Wild website here.  

Another great graphic...

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

February 16, 2015

Magic & Romance: Indie News & Highlights

Time for another edition of Indie News & Highlights. 

My friend, Devyn Dawson, has an exciting re-release coming up this week with a gorgeous new cover and a Facebook party (2/19 & 20).

Find out more on her website.


NL Greene, who I worked with on Fractured Glass, will debut the final book in the Mystic series, Secrets Revealed, on April 30, 2015. I'm SO excited for this one. Here's a peek at the cover...

You can pre-order it on Amazon now! If you aren't familiar with the series, check out my reviews of the first two books, Magic Unfolds and Illusions Begin, here.

For more information, check out her website.

Looking for romance...

In addition to Casey L Bond's Crazy Love, which debuted on Valentine's Day, Kelly Martin has a new Valentine's release Trouble Enough: A Collection, which also includes stories from Wendy Knight and Leah Sanders.

Kelly's piece is Unforgettable. For more information and individual story descriptions, check it out on Goodreads here. Or, for 99 cents, order a copy on Amazon


If you have any Indie news to share, please let me know. I hope everyone has an amazing week full of great new finds.

February 13, 2015

Back it Up: The Writing Life

Consider this a public service announcement...

After multiple PC crashes and viruses, I finally decided to go Mac and got one for Christmas. 

It took a little adjustment, but I loved it. 

Then, six weeks later, the spinning color wheel started and wouldn't stop. This lead to my system shutting down. 

After two hours at the Apple store, a technician figured out it was a factory-installed software issue. Not my fault. He restored everything to factory settings, but all the work I'd saved since January 1 was lost.

"No problem," he said. "We can reinstall it from you backup."

Can you imagine the horror on my face? It registered right away with him, and he shook his head and said, "I'm sorry."

I'm usually good at backing up, but it didn't seem as important with a new computer.

It's been a week, and I'm still re-doing work. 

So, please... BACK IT UP! I know it's a pain, but it's more of a pain to redo things.

February 11, 2015

Lay & Lie: Grammar & Writing Tips

It's Wednesday--time for another grammar tip.

Today's Topic: Lay and Lie

At least we can get one thing straight right away. If you don't tell the truth, you tell a lie (past tense: lied). 

Now things start to get more complicated, but here's a simple trick...

A person/animal will lie down, but an object needs someone to lay it down. That's pretty easy. Note: when I grew up, I was taught only humans lie down (animals lay down). That's no longer the case. Animals also lie, unless a chicken needs to lay an egg. *chuckle*

But, as is true of most things in Grammar World, there is a complication.

The past tense of lie is lay. What? Again, the deciders of all things grammar love to mock us. 

So, for a handy resource, I put it in a graphic*.

Just in case I haven't emphasized it enough, Grammar Girl is an excellent resource for your grammar questions. Everything is laid out (see how I did that) in a simple to understand and comprehensive manner.

Thanks to Susan for commenting about covering lay and lie.

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. 

* I'm just starting to play around with PicMonkey, so no graphic masterpieces yet.

February 10, 2015

Hunted by Liz Long Cover Reveal

I'm sharing an intriguing cover today. Hope you enjoy...


Hi everyone! Thanks so much to those special authors and bloggers helping me with today's cover reveal. I'm so excited to show off the new cover. It always makes the upcoming release a little more real for me, you know? Anyway, I hope you love it as much as I do. HUNTED is Book 3 of the Donovan Circus Series, with more adventure, romance, and chaos that will lead to murder. 

In case you haven't read it, you can run away to the supernatural circus and start with Gifted for just 99 cents on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks

You can visit this page to learn more about the 3rd book in the series and what to expect - or worry about!

  HUNTED Donovan Circus Cover

About Hunted

Lucy Sullivan finally belongs with the gifted Donovan Circus. Members are finding their rhythm, even the new folks from the Grayson Circus who joined after the last attack. Lucy feels like a trusted leader who can win the gifted battles and prevent humans from discovering their existence. When tragedy strikes camp, a distraught Sheffield sends Lucy and her gifted team to hunt down the enemy – Alex, a Chameleon with a wicked ability for war. He’s out for blood and won’t stop until Lucy and her friends are dead. This time, it won’t be Lucy’s gift that is tested – it will be her morality. To save her circus, the price will be greater than she ever expected. This time, she will lose someone she loves. And it will change everything.

About the Author

Liz Long, indie author
Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media strategist includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.

All titles, including the Donovan Circus Series, A Reaper Made, and Witch Hearts, are available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

February 9, 2015

Crazy Love by Casey L Bond: Indie News & Highlights

I'm so excited to share Crazy Love by Casey L Bond with all of you today!

cl banner blog tour

Crazy Love is a new adult romance with a dystopian vibe.

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.


 Book Trailer

CL Coyote Teaser


Crazy Love isn’t erotica. There’s no mention of a red room of pain anywhere within its pages, but….there’s romance, a lil hotness, a pinch of crazy and a lot of love.

A young couple touching hands at a table

Author Bio
Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband Elton and their two beautiful daughters, Juliet and Eris. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. Bond graduated from Hurricane High School in 1999. In 2003, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University in the field of Criminal Justice.


Available or Soon-To-Be Released Books:
Winter Shadows 
Pariah, Book 1 in The New Covenant Series  
Paradox, Book 2, The New Covenant Series
Devil Creek
Shady Bay 
Reap, Book 1 in The Harvest Saga
Resist, Book 2 in The Harvest Saga  
Reclaim, Book 3 in The Harvest Saga
Sin (Serial Series)
Light in the Darkness (YA Anthology)
Fractured Glass (Novel Anthology)
Crazy Love  
Water Witch Dark Bishop (Serial Series)

February 6, 2015

Writing YA Characters Part II: The Writing Life

Happy Friday!

Me at HS graduation
Last week, I shared some reflections on Writing Young Adult Characters.

From that post:

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.

Upon further reflection, I realized another reason I love to write about young adult females and why I can relate to it: I'm still finding myself. As silly as it sounds, I still have one foot in childhood/naiveté and one in adult responsibility. 

As life helps me open my eyes and formulate who I want to be, I wonder how someone younger would handle the same situations. My sister is one of those people who decided who she wanted to be and never strayed. I admire her for that, but it's so not me. I love the fluidity of learning, even if it scares the crap out of me.

Also, since I continue to move every two to three years, I have the opportunity to leave behind people's opinions of me and change things. That can be both a blessing and a curse--it leaves me good at inventing, but not so good at finding the true definition of self. I've been able to play the part of many characters over my lifetime. However, since I have been able to start over, I'm still playing around with the real me.

I'm fascinated with what molds us and makes us who we are, so writing young adult paranormal opens up some amazing topics. Now, I can explore how a teenager would handle normal coming-of-age issues like body image, love, parental relationships, etc., while also dealing with the challenges of becoming a vampire, werewolf, fairy, zombie, and so on.

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

February 4, 2015

Goals & Renewed Focus: #IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring.

I've rescheduled my normal Wednesday programming -- Grammar & Writing Tips -- to bring you my #IWSG post. Reading others' pieces and reflecting on my own writing dilemmas and insecurities has been an invaluable experience for me.

Oh, and I totally missed that we were supposed to introduce ourselves in January, so I'm doing it here.

I write young adult and women's fiction. My fourth novel, Fractured Glass (which is one story written by five authors), came out December 24, 2014, and I have a novella in my young adult paranormal series coming out next month. In addition, I'm an editor for Indie Books Gone Wild. I love everything about words, even when my teenagers are hurling them at me. All kidding aside, I have three amazing girls (14, 13 & 9) and my husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage next month.

Last month, I talked about the importance of Defining Me. To accelerate my progress, I signed up for a course by the amazing Janet Wallace, she of UtopYA awesomeness: StandUP. StandOUT. Rake It In. More information can be found here. We just had our first class on February 2, and it was amazing!

There's something I've realized on this journey... before I can define myself, I have to first let go of the things holding me back. I've discovered two major things get in my way:
Comparing Myself to Others
Focusing on the Negative

These should be simple to stop, right? Yet, not so much. I love seeing my fellow Indies succeed, but then the insecurity monster creeps in. Why am I not reaching that level of success? Why am I not selling as many books?

In addition, I spend more time worrying about the few negative comments about my books than focusing on all the wonderful compliments I've received. 

I have no doubt writing is part of who I am. Now, I need to put the time and energy into...

Defining My Own Success
Focusing on the Positive and Striving for More

How to do this? Oh, that's the part I'm still figuring out. Janet's course is a huge step in the right direction, but it's going to take a lot of soul searching and setting attainable, but challenging, goals. I'm pushing fear back--knowing I'll still have days where it takes over--and moving forward.

Do you set goals for the year? What do you base them on (e.g., sales, production, reader enthusiasm, etc.)?

I look forward to catching up with this awesome community (although I admit to just getting around to January's #IWSG posts in the last few days).

February 3, 2015

10 Years by Bethany Lopez Release Day, Excerpt & Giveaway

I'm so excited to share a new release by the lovely Bethany Lopez today...

We're celebrating the release of 10 Years by Bethany Lopez! Check out the excerpt below!

Title: 10 Years (Time for Love #5)
Author: Bethany Lopez
Age Group: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy Links

Gwen and Craig met through their older siblings when they were ten years old. The shy girl who loved to take pictures, and the focused baseball playing boy were fast friends, whose relationship grew strong as they grew older.

When Gwen's innocence is stolen at a high school party, she turns to her best friend, Craig. Always her rock, Craig does what he can to defend Gwen's honor, while still abiding by her wishes.

After a night of passion leads to a morning of pain, Gwen fears that the person she loves the most, is the person that is destined to destroy her, so she pushes Craig away.

Ten years after their friendship began, Gwen and Craig are both at college excelling in their respective passions, but there's a void in both of their lives, where their bond used to be.When both finally admit their love for each other, and agree to give romance a shot, will they finally become the couple that everyone knows they're destined to be, or will Gwen's unresolved issues from her past, tear them apart forever?

“I’ve loved you forever,” she gushed. “I don’t know how you never saw it. I think everyone knew except you. I didn’t date initially, because I didn’t want to date anyone but you. After that stuff with Brad, I didn’t want to date anyone at all for a while, but by our senior year? I definitely would have said yes if you’d asked.” She smiled sadly and shook her head.

“What?” I inquired, bringing my hand up to wipe away her tears.

“We wasted so much time,” she replied.

I thought about everything that had happened so far, and although I knew there was still a lot to work out, I didn’t want to lose the momentum we had going now. I couldn’t take the chance that Gwen would change her mind, or allow fear to take over again.

“Are you ready for me now?” I asked, searching her face for the answer. “I don’t want to waste anymore time. I want to see what we will be like together now. After a few years of only scattered conversations, most of them fights. I need the chance for you to know me now, and to get caught up on your life.”

“I’d like that.”

I looked at the clock on the dash and swore under my breath.

“I have to get back and head to the field. Coach is expecting me.”

“That’s okay, I have some work I need to do for my showcase.”

“Gwen,” I asked softly with a grin, mentally calculating how long it would be before I could be with her again. “Will you come over tonight after you’re done with what you have to do? I want to make you dinner.”

Her smile blinded me, it was so bright, and I felt my heart surge as she replied, “I thought you’d never ask.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This story is meant for readers 18 and older.
Series Reading Order
8 Weeks
21 Days
42 Hours
15 Minutes
10 Years ~ Releasing, Feb 3, 2015

***8WEEKS is $.99 for a limited time!

Click on covers for more information.

About the Author:
Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethany-Lopez/214630865247702