Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 31-10-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

NaNo!  I get to start writing tomorrow and I can't wait to start writing my new book.  I really love my MC, and I can feel her best friend and love interest just burning to come to life on the page.  By next week I'll probably be tearing my hair out, but right now, I'm excited about the project. It feels like a long time since I sat down to write something new.

I've had the chance to watch quite a few of the films that will be coming out over the holidays in the past few weeks.  Most of them have been okay, but not spectacular, so when I saw one that totally reignited my belief in the movie business' ability to make something wholly original and exciting, it really made my week.  BIRDMAN guys.  Just go see it.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Interview with Dahlia Adler

Last week I was lucky enough to be part of Dahlia's cover reveal for Last Will and Testament.  This week she's been kind enough to stop by and answer a few interview questions.

So, welcome to Fiction and Film, Dahlia!

  • If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?
Probably Josh Chester, from my Daylight Falls duology. I'd go full-on Party Like a Rock Star, which for him is, like, a Tuesday. He pretty much gets away with everything, and has everything thrown at him. I wouldn't want his life forever, but for 24 hours? Yeah, I'd take that.

  • In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?
Last Will and Testament is a Contemporary New Adult Romance, and it's definitely sexy, but I think it places a more unique emphasis on other relationships, too. Connor's also far more of a beta male than you usually see in NA, and Lizzie far more of an alpha female. Sexual experience has nothing to do with anything in this book; he's not her first (by a long shot), and he hasn't ruined her for other men. They're just people who shouldn't like each other at all but really, really do. Nobody has a tragic secret, nobody punches one even has a tattoo. Yet. 

  • What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?
I love writing romance and I love writing fights, so a lot of this book went verrrrry smoothly for me! The scene in which Connor and Lizzie have sex for the first time was probably my favorite to write, even if I was more than a little paranoid people were reading over my shoulder on the subway. 
The most challenging for me, as it was in Behind the Scenes, was writing scenes between the siblings. I don't know how I always end up writing these big sisters, since I'm the baby of my family, but I always struggle with them. 

  • Which of your characters is most like you?
Ally from Behind the Scenes, hands-down. She's intellectually curious, emotional, often irrational, sarcastic, and so badly wants to be okay with things she isn't. I've seen reviews where people attribute a lot of the conflict in BtS to miscommunication, but it isn't that; it's that she genuinely wants to feel the way she says she does. That's very much me. I've been trying to make it less me since publishing it. Now I'll actually e-mail or text friends and say "I hate that I feel this way, but."

  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
The ability to read/write/understand any language, and I would travel the world with no limits on communication, read my friends' books in foreign languages, read great works in the original... I love languages so much. My characters tend to also, as a result!

  • If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?
There's a scene in my critique partner Gina Ciocca's upcoming YA Romance, Last Year's Mistake, that involves saltwater taffy. I'd take that scene with Ian Harding, please.

  • Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.
I have a lot of fears - closed-in spaces, heights (if they're steep; I don't mind actually being on the billionth floor of a building, but I get so nauseated looking down), driving, getting old, that I'll be a sucky parent someday, that I'll publish a book I regret... In some ways I'm a confident person, and in some ways, I'm a train wreck. It's amazing what occupies my mind in a normal day.

  • What other interests do you have outside of writing?
Back before alllll my time was taken by writing, reading, and blogging (plus my actual dayjob), I used to do a lot more traveling, which I loved. I'm really hoping to return to Europe next year for my first time since my honeymoon. I also used to do a lot more cooking, but my husband's really picked that one up hardcore since law school, so he does most of ours now.

  • Do you have a nervous habit when writing?  A guilty pleasure when writing?  (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write)
This is so gross, but I can chew through packs of gum while writing, and by the time I get up, there are just notepapers full of chewed-up gum everywhere. It's usually my "I'll do this instead of eating something really bad for me" thing, but I go through it so fast I usually end up eating something else anyway. I also love Gushers when I write, but those I eat like a normal person. And I'm a compulsive note-taker. My desks are always covered in post-its or turned-over business cards with ideas or names all over them. Basically, I'm a mess.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekly Goals 27-10-14

It's a short week for us this week because today is Labour Day and a holiday.  Which of course means cramming all the regular work into one less day...  Although I am working both weekend days next weekend, so that may be an opportunity to catch up if need be.  Unless it rains...

This week is all about NaNo.  I need to get myself very well prepared because I am working both those weekend days and won't get any writing time in.  Which means I'll need to catch up on the Monday and Tuesday.  So I need to know how my book starts.  Which I do.  But I still haven't decided if it will work better as the diary entries I initially thought the book would be made up of, or more conventional narrative.  I may try a few hundred words each way during the week to see which feels more comfortable.

So basically my only goals this week are to make it through my day job and to feel ready to write a lot of words fast by next Monday.

What are your goals for the week?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 24-10-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's a long weekend!  Yes, I do still have to work tomorrow, but then I get 2 days in a row off.  That doesn't happen very often, so I'm definitely celebrating.

I caught up with a good friend last night for the first time in ages.  It was fantastic to talk to her again.  I really must make more of an effort to see my friends.  It's so easy to get sucked up in work and kids and writing and just not make the time for the people you really enjoy spending time with.

I've been a mentor for the Nightmare on Query Street contest that's coming up.  It's been really fun seeing how the two writers I was assigned have taken my critique on board and made their entries sing.  I can't wait to see how they fare in the contest. 

NaNo is only a week away and I still haven't done anything useful to prepare for it.  I definitely need to get on that one, don't I?  Or then again, maybe not...  I'm not a planner at all.  But perhaps I need to figure out my main character's name, at least.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

It doesn't feel that long since I was here introducing you to Dahlia's book, Behind The Scenes, but she's back already with a new NA romance, Last Will And Testament.  And I'm thrilled to be able to reveal the cover here today.  Isn't it pretty?  And because it's by Dahlia, you can guarantee what's behind the cover is worth a look too.

Title: Last Will and Testament
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publication date: December 9, 2014
Goodreads link:


Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA/NA author and blogger at every spare moment in between. More often than not, you can find her on Twitter as @MissDahlELama, and if you tweet her pictures of macarons, she just might fall in love with you. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spooky Halloween read... On Sale!

My amazing CP's book is on sale for Halloween!  Until October 18th, you can get this fantastic YA Horror for just .99 cents!  I really can't endorse this book enough.  It's creepy and imaginative and so fast paced it will leave you breathless at times.  Plus it's set in Egypt which makes it that little bit different to so many other horror novels.

So, if you like a good, scary read to get your heart pumping, for less than a dollar, you can pick it up now.  What are you waiting for?

Buy links: 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 17-10-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Writing!  I've dug out an old project and am re-working it with the help of my critique group.  As a result of my CP's first chapter crit, I've written a whole new opening to the book - one that works much better.  So I'm excited to keep going with this story now.

I read a fantastic book this week, one of those books that just stays with you after you've read it.  If you haven't already read OCD LOVE STORY, I really can't recommend it any more highly.  It delves deeply into the mind of a girl with OCD and being there is often painfully uncomfortable.  But it's also totally compelling.  When I got to the last third of the book, I really didn't want to stop reading.  It was like a car crash you see coming but can't do anything to stop.

The kids went back to school after a two weeks off.  I'm celebrating not having to find things for them to do every day, but definitely not celebrating the whole getting-them-off in the morning.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Adventure on Nemesis Mountain

I'm really excited to be able to introduce you to this new book by Annie McMahon.  I met Annie in my first critique group, and this book was the first of hers I read.  So it's a huge thrill to see it finally in print, and to help her out with her blog tour.

When nature-loving Emilio and athletic Hans get lost in the forest during a fifth grade field trip, they have no choice but to put their differences aside to survive the harsh wilderness.

Emilio would rather eat a slimy worm than miss the fifth grade field trip. Nemesis Mountain must be full of rare leaf specimens and bugs for his collection. Besides, he needs a break from the playground and Hans’s nonstop teasing. His excitement is squashed when he gets lost in the woods with his worst enemy.
Alone in the forest, the two boys battle to survive the harsh wilderness, facing challenges that will change their lives forever.

About the Author

Annie McMahon is originally from Canada but now lives in New Jersey. She has a degree in computer programming, but her life took an unexpected turn and she ended up writing stories and articles instead of computer programs. Now she uses every spare minute to write children’s novels and to help other writers succeed.

Her three children have been the inspiration behind many of her short stories, over forty in total. Her flash fiction story, Paradoxical Neighbor, has been published by Nelson Education in a book for 10th graders, Nelson Literacy 10.

Annie has a certificate in copyediting, moderates a critique group for children's writers, and is the editor at UK Children's Publishing.

Twitter: @anniemcmahon20
Goodreads: Annie McMahon
Author page on Amazon:  Annie’s author page

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why we need CPs.

I've been working on an older story of mine this week.  Just pottering around with it, trying to make it work.  And because I'm not sure it is working, I started posting the chapters I've finished tinkering with up for my critique group to tear apart.

I got my first piece of feedback on my first chapter yesterday, and it was 100% spot on.

My CP pointed out that I was opening my story too soon.  That by starting my book with someone sitting in front of a computer, bored by his homework, I was going to start the book by boring the reader.  Even though the inciting incident happens in this chapter, that first scene wasn't going to compel anyone to read on.

She then said that while the inciting incident is good, it happens too soon for the reader to care.  That she needed to know the character a little better before he had his world rocked.

I agree.

I'm usually accused of having opening chapters in which nothing much happens because I always like to let the reader meet the characters and get a feeling for their world before throwing the crap at them.  With this story I'd decided forego that and jump right into the action.  I should have trusted my usual storytelling instincts.

So I went back and wrote a new chapter one last night.  Not an enormous amount happens in it, but I think by the end of it you know Tony a lot better, and have some idea of the struggles he's going to face  as the book goes on.

Having good critique partners is essential.  I can't stress that more.  You need readers you trust, readers who aren't going to be afraid of hurting your feelings if they think your work stinks.  You also need to be ready for critique, ready to accept that your work isn't as flawless as you'd like to think.

But more on that next time...

Do you have critique partners you trust?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Goals 13-10-14

It's been a while since I did this, so I may be a little rusty...

I'm still sort of on a writing break.  I figure there's not a lot of point in starting something new now, when I want to do NaNo, so I'm just doodling around with an older project while I try to figure out what my NaNo book is going to be.

I have several ideas for NaNo.  Two are things I've already started and not finished, and four are all new ideas.  I know I'm going to be under pressure at work in November because my assistant manager is leaving.  So I need to make sure whatever project I choose to go with is one I'm going to be able to write reasonably easily (as if writing a book is ever easy).

I think I've pretty much narrowed it down to two choices: a story I've been trying to write for years and never managed to get quite right, and something new, based on an experience my boss had late last year.  If I can't decide between them, I may work on both through November.  I always like to have two projects on the go because if I get stuck on one, I can work on the other until I get un-stuck.

Are you doing NaNo this year?  Do you know what you're going to write?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 10-10-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I've enjoyed my little blogging break, but I'm glad to be back.  It's amazing how a couple of weeks away can revitalize you.  I have lots of ideas of things to blog about now, and I'm looking forward to getting started on my NaNo project... Assuming I can decide which of my 5 ideas to go with.

My kids have been on vacation for a couple of weeks, and it's been nice to spend some time with them.  I've had a few extra days off work to do this, and you'd better believe I've appreciated them.

I've been doing a lot of reading the past couple of weeks (amazing how much more time to read I have when I'm not trying to write 2K a day).  I'm also guilty of watching far more television than is probably healthy... 

What are you celebrating this week?