Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Published! Overtaken

At last!  It's here!  I'm happy to finally announce that Overtaken is now in print, with a Kindle version soon to follow.  At the same time, I want to thank everyone of you for reading my blog, buying my books, and supporting me along the way with your helpful comments, Tweets, Facebook "Hello's" and all the other great social network sites we share.  You are as much a part of my writing journey as my Alphasmart and favorite fountain pens!  What would I do without you?

Although the book is for sale at Amazon.com, my "Look Inside the Book" feature isn't activated yet, but if you'd like to read the quick book description, it is: 

"Marry in haste, repent at leisure." Portrait painter Sara Elliott has never been afraid of risk. Moving to London, pawning her jewelry, taking difficult commissions, Sara lives life on the edge. But when she agrees to marry a stranger days before he is scheduled to leave the country, even Sara wonders if she has gone too far. Over the coming months, alone and uncertain of her future, Sara drifts into an uneasy routine waiting for her husband, Miles, to return. When an unexpected letter suddenly threatens her plans for a settled existence, Sara is forced to question everything she thought she once knew about Miles, her present situation, and her own mysterious past. Caught between her imagination and her desire for the truth, Sara worries she is losing her mind, or worse: has she been OVERTAKEN by a power beyond her control?

And here's the trailer--popcorn time!

Whew.  Looking back over the past year and more, Overtaken seems like one of the longest writing journeys I've ever traveled.  Some days I felt not only "overtaken" myself, but I also feared that I would never, ever reach the finishing line.  When I did get there, though, it was more than a relief, it was an epiphany.  I realized how very much I loved writing and all the many steps that go into making a book--even the frustrating, discouraging potholes and seeming deadends.  Sometimes I think those "bad days" have the most to offer as the best and most genuine learning-the-craft moments.  And it's still not over--the next and biggest step it to get the word out about the book so readers can start reading it.  So tell a friend!  Thanks again for being there for me--I appreciate it.

Tip of the Day:  The best way to stay on course with a WIP and see it through from idea to published manuscript is to absolutely love your characters, believe in your theme and core story, and most of all, believe in yourself.  And stay in touch with your writing buddies--they're some of the best friends you'll ever have.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Winners! And Stay Creative Every Day Tip #6: Collage Your Way Out of Anything

Hurray! We have our winners of the blog giveaway:

1st Prize Kate Spencer
3rd Prize Shawn Murray

Congratulations to these lovely people, and I hope you all go to visit their sites and get to know them better.  I'd also like to extend my thanks and best wishes to everyone who's following and/or recently joined up.  Nice to have you on board; keep looking out for the next giveaway! 

In the meantime, here's Tip #6 from Stay Creative Every Day:  Collage your way out of anything. 

I use collage for my novels, art journals, visual art projects, and as an art form on its own.  Collage has helped me to visualize my goals, dress my characters, decorate my story settings, and illustrate my plots.  Sometimes it’s just about the colors, putting together what speaks to my mood or emotions.  At other times a collage becomes a complete reference on its own, one that inspires me to write or paint it out fully.

To me creativity is all about problem solving, and collage is a great way to get the ball rolling.  It's easy, it's cheap, it's accessible--free magazines, junk mail, old manuscripts, photos, memorabilia, it's all there for the taking.

Although I've written extensively about how to use magazine cut-outs and other collage techniques to enhance your writing and creativity, there's still no end to what you can use collage for.  Here are 12 more ideas to help you in a pinch:

1.  Create your ideal story, artwork, or life in the form of a vision board.

2.  Try it as a medium to illustrate your poetry or children's book manuscript.

3.  Create a visual aid for a pitch when meeting with an editor or agent.

4.  Or to tell your bio in a whole new way--through pictures. 

5.  Along the same lines, instead of a boring list of credits, create a collage of your book covers or magazine bylines.  Put it all together with your bio into a "1-sheet." 

6.  What is your story ABOUT?  Find images when you can't articulate.

7.  Use collage on your website or blog to create more visual interest.

8.  Make your own greeting cards, gift bags, and tags.  Bookmarks, too.

9.  Make your office more interesting with collaged file folders and journal covers.

10.  Why stop at the paperwork?  How about collaging over your furniture items such as filing cabinets or end tables? Or even cushions?

11.  Keep your children occupied and creative while you're busy with your own writing or painting.  Collaborate!

12.  Use collage as the basis for your book trailer.

Tip of the Day:  Happy Valentine's Day!  And what better way to celebrate than with a handmade Valentine?  Collaged, of course.  Gotta keep those glue sticks busy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Now Write! Mysteries and My Blog Giveaway

It's here!  My big blog giveaway where 3 lucky followers will be chosen tonight at 7.00 PM Mountain Time through a random drawing to receive a variety of prizes, including the brand new Now Write! Mysteries; Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and Other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers published on December 29, 2011. 

And (drum roll, please...) I am so thrilled and honored to tell you that I have been included in this collection.  My article "Deep Motivation: Characters Have Feelings, Too" starts on Page 267.

Edited by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson, Now Write! Mysteries is the fourth volume in a series that includes Now Write! Fiction and Now Write! ScreenwritingRight now I'm totally enthralled with this book (and not just because I'm in it...) and I'm happy to report I'm also doing each and every one of the exercises as per my recent post on staying creative every day.  I'm up to page 20 and, people, I am inspired.  This is an amazing book full of great advice.  I think it's going to keep me happy and writing for the rest of the year and beyond.

If you'd like a free copy, there's still some time to follow my blog today and be included in the random drawing tonight via Random.org.  Note:  Anyone who has signed up to follow my blog through my page at JacketFlap.com is considered a "follower" too and will be included in the drawing.

Prizes in the drawing will include:

1st Prize: The Essential Guide for New Writers
Now Write! Mysteries
Unleashed, of Poltergeists and Murder
Better Than Perfect
The Great Scarab Scam
Tote Bag
And a Surprise Gift!

2nd Place:  The Essential Guide for New Writers
Now Write! Mysteries
Unleashed, of Poltergeists and Murder

3rd Place:  The Essential Guide for New Writers
Now Write! Mysteries

So is this fun, or what??  You don't even have to leave a comment (but it would be nice to hear from you if you'd like to leave one!)  Winners will have 1 week from the time I notify them of winning to get back with me with their mailing information, etc.  If I don't hear from a winner, the prize(s) will go to the next person in order of the random selection.  I'll announce all the winners after I've heard from each one.

And the best news of all is this won't be my only giveaway.  For every 50 new followers I get on this blog during the year, I'll be holding another drawing. 

Tip of the Day:  Sign up to follow, and who knows?  You just might win a prize!  Best of luck.  Happy writing.