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Viewing Blog: Writers' Ally aka S.A. Larsen, Most Recent at Top
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~A Realm of YA & MG urban fantasy & paranormal lit.~
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1. Susane Colasanti - Journal

Susane Colasanti - Journal


PAPERBACK RELEASE DAY!! Always a pleasure! Waiting for You, by YA writer Susane Colasanti is out on the bookshelves today. Love days like this. She's also the author of When It Happens (May 2006), Take Me There (May 2008), and her forth book, Something Like Fate, is due out May 4, 2010.

In honor of such a cool event, she's hosting a contest--Turn off your TV contest. Check it out!!

S~

3 Comments on Susane Colasanti - Journal, last added: 4/8/2010
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2. Lisa and Laura Write: LiLa's Totally Epic 500 Follower Contest

Lisa and Laura Write: LiLa's Totally Epic 500 Follower Contest


Hah! Got to love siblings.

What more could a community of writers want than easy entry to a contest, great prizes--soundtracks, pineapple pizza, a bike bell (dang, I love that one!), Starbucks (yup, I'm foaming...), books, books, books, oh...and a 10page critique!!

Could any of us seriously go wrong?

Take the plunge and enter. It's fun, plus you'll get to read some of the hilarious comments fellow writers have left. ";-)

Happy bike bell ringing!
S~

1 Comments on Lisa and Laura Write: LiLa's Totally Epic 500 Follower Contest, last added: 4/7/2010
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3. GRAFFITI WALL: Candace Ganger, Rockin' Writer with Heart

As most of you know, I opened up my Graffiti Wall last week. The place where any writer/illustrator can sprinkle the dankness of an alleyway with the color of their story and wisdom, sparking it with life. Well, we have our second guest. So exciting!


I'd like to introduce to you the voice behind Candyland, Candace Ganger.


Everyone welcome, Candace. Woots and applause echo the hall.


Candace, say hi. She graciously bows, taken by her audience.


Candace Ganger

10 Comments on GRAFFITI WALL: Candace Ganger, Rockin' Writer with Heart, last added: 4/6/2010
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4. http://blog.writersdigest.com/promptly/Get Your Flash Fiction Read On NPR And Win Signed Copies Of Ann Patchetts Books Plus A Weekend Writing Prompt.aspx

http://blog.writersdigest.com/promptly/Get Your Flash Fiction Read On NPR And Win Signed Copies Of Ann Patchetts Books Plus A Weekend Writing Prompt.aspx


Great exercise even if you're not interested in entering. Try this sometimes. Try it this morning and post in the comments!! I recently had a wonderful new friend, Elizabeth, ask me about info on writing short stories, flash fiction, or shorties. (Which info has still evaded my path; need to find that for her.)

I personally love writing shorties. My former writing instructor (here in the newly blossoming Pine Tree State)--Jean Ann Pollard, awesome author with five non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles to her name--told me once that shorties were the hardest for writers to write. Beginning, ploting, subploting, developing, and wrapping up the story with a nice even ending is very hard under the limit of 500 words. I've done a few under 700 and then 1,000. But I found it helped me cut down my--what's that--WORDINESS! Anyone else feel my pain with that?

Hungry to try it yet? You don't have to post it all; just a couple opening sentences, or come back and post whenever you've finished. It makes you get into *what's really important* about what you have to say.

Good Luck,
S~

8 Comments on http://blog.writersdigest.com/promptly/Get Your Flash Fiction Read On NPR And Win Signed Copies Of Ann Patchetts Books Plus A Weekend Writing Prompt.aspx, last added: 4/6/2010
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5. Shannon Whitney Messenger: Agent Signing Celebration Contest!

Shannon Whitney Messenger: Agent Signing Celebration Contest!

Wow! Another great contest by another wonderful writer. Recently agented-up with Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary, Shannon is celebrating by giving away six incredible books. Yup. Six. We have Tricks signed by Ellen Hopkins, The Body Finder signed by Kimberly Derting, The Emerald Tablet signed by P.J. Hoover, Fat Cat signed by Robin Brande, Thirteen Reasons Why signed by Jay Asher, & Shiver signed by Maggie Stiefvater.


     

Can you say Awesomeness!! Take a peek and enter

6 Comments on Shannon Whitney Messenger: Agent Signing Celebration Contest!, last added: 4/4/2010
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6. Sunshine Award!

Wow, when I first started blogging only two months ago I felt lost in the sea of multi-legged super peeps who I was sure all had superpowers. I was but a newbie, standing still. But since then, I've spread my wings a tad and welcomed new doors. It's been amazing. 


And here's another reason why: The awesome Carolyn V. of the fantabulous Checkerboard Squares blog has given me an award. ME. 


Ah...she's sent me the Sunshine Award!! (And God knows we could use some of that up in the lobstah state at the moment. Dang, it's been raining *shaking my head* no, pouring for four dank days. Brighter side, Sher. Okay, it's not snow.


So here's the deal. I need to pick five amazing followers, write something fake about each, and link back to her blog. Here goes:

Marcy - She invited me to share in her favorite pastime: fly fishing. Hah! High-water, rubber pants are not attractive on me. Ugh...


Candyland - We were in a Rock Band challenge and you should have seen us jamming. I was BAM! on the drums while she hovered over the stage, fingers blazen out a few riffs on the geetar.


Rhiannon -- Don't ever ask her to play you in a game of tennis. Yikes. I'm still recovering. She played in her point shoes.


Jessie -- The most amazing pancake maker ever! She shared her 'secret receipe' with me when we hosted a benefit breakfast for the local basketball team. Hey, don't ask. Can't tell you. Been sworn to secrecy. 


Ann Marie -- Ann's a tad far away from me--a few countries removed, actually--but we've got this chat thing going

10 Comments on Sunshine Award!, last added: 4/3/2010
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7. GRAFFITI WALL: Marcy Hatch, a Writer's Story


Welcome, Marcy. And thank you for being the first to brave the Graffiti Wall. Let's start by telling the readers something quirky about yourself.

When I was younger my sister and I used to tell each other stories at bedtime. The game was this: come up with three titles and let the other person pick the story she wanted to hear, and tell the story. I used to make one title sound more interesting than the others because it was the one I had an idea for. Usually, this worked; my sister would pick the correct title and get a half-way decent off-the-cuff story made up by a 12 year old. But sometimes she'd pick the wrong title, the one I had no clue what it was about. Then I'd have to exercise my imagination to work, which made it grow.
  
So I guess I've always wanted to tell stories.


What a nice childhood memory, plus a great writing exercise. 
What made you start writing? 


Reading was what got me started. I remember reading horse stories in 6th grade and then deciding I could write one. In high school I had some fabulous English teachers who complimented me on my writing, gave me tips, and told me not to stop. But I didn't get serious about writing, ie, sending stuff out, until the last 10 ye

7 Comments on GRAFFITI WALL: Marcy Hatch, a Writer's Story, last added: 4/2/2010
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8. The Amazing Jest of a Grocery List

Yup, another Monday. "Welcome Monday," the class dully replies, as the teacher instructs them to open their books to page 154. Feeling like them? Need some livening up? Some fuel in the tank? I'd recommend eating breakfast and of course a gigantic cup of joe. Hasn't helped yet? I bet your minds are stalled in the past weekend just like those students'. Man, can I relate. But...Dah, dah, dah!! I have just the cure: A grocery list. For all you moms out there, I know doing groceries puffs. Trust me. Doing it to keep the bellies of 4 grumbling kids is exhausting, not to mention brutally expensive. But what can we do? Add some fun to our lists, that's what. 


The challenge: write a wacky grocery list to get our minds going. 

Buck Monday morning's trudge by bringing the feist of the weekend in. Think out of the box. The wackier, the funnier, the better. Good Luck. Can't wait to see what you come up with. 
(Now, where in the grocery aisle  do they keep caster oil and lug nuts?)  

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9. The Elaine English Literary Agency Blog

The Elaine English Literary Agency Blog



What a great article. I recommend you read it. New, fresh, what's not been done before, new spin.... What exactly does that mean when an agent or editor says that? We hear it all the time, but no one ever really defines it. Click on the link. It will make you think.
(Even though I'm a dancer, rhyme is not my suit. Sorry.) ";-)

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10. Word Dressings

So, I'm looking in the mirror this morning and this is what I see: mangled bedhead from going to bed with wet hair, pale and drawn eyes from going to bed too late, chipping nail polish from, well who cares, and a pilled sweater the label swore wouldn't. Can anyone relate? 


My faded jeans fit me to the hips which are covered by a green camisole pulled taunt over. Then, atop that, there's my vintage AC/DC tee shirt--'k, it's not vintage but close enough people; it's not my fault my husband's parents let him stalk his concert-worthy van with a ton of friends back then and traipse carelessly to a rock-n-roll gig to hobnob with the semiconscious and my parents wouldn't. Sorry, minor regression. Oh, and my feet are bare. What does my dressing say about me? 


Tired, overly-worked mom with dated clothes in dire need of a break, who's home taking care of yet another sick child. Grr....



Now I'm looking at my new first paragraph to my current work--which seems to have been a WIP longer than it takes a student driver to finally make that turn kid! and I'm positive will eventually put me in the RIP section of the newspaper. 

I'm sure your eyebrows have raised a few times and maybe you've even developed a sense of humorous pity for me--bring it on, I'm a mom--but I wonder if you've seen what I was doing? 

Stimulating your thoughts and picking your brain: What words to you choose to dress the opening of your manuscript, and just as important how do you choose them? 

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11. Guide to Literary Agents - 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by James Dashner

Guide to Literary Agents - 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by James Dashner


This is great regardless of my additions, but as my lips rarely stop moving I do have something to add. *Brow folding, eyes squinting, hoping you'll keep reading.*

I encourage you to click on and read his entire interview but I'm highlight just his main points in bold & italics. My gibberish is the less flashy lettering.

1. Not every agent is right for you.
Kind of like not every ice cream gives back like dark, chocolate rippled fudge. (Did I just give something away?)

2. Networking is key.
Yup, just like high school. Good thing I write YA. ";-)

3. Differentiate your characters.
I.E., that would be different from high school. Yeah, I know there where clusters of groupies--jocks, beauty queens, nerds, ruffians--but basically the community looked at us and saw pale youth, dull in wisdom and lacking experience. Work up your characters, peeps!!

4. Immerse your reader in the story with depth.
Drama, drama, drama...but subtlety. Don't overpower or in your face like that kid in high school who stole into your space every time he/she spoke to you. *Cringe*

5. Don't make your hero or villian two-dimensional.
You remember the kid in high school who was quiet which made him/her seem weird. We all knew something was bubbling inside that kid, but were too self-interested to explore. Explore.

6. Set goals and work to achieve them.
This one is no joke for me. I've already blogged several times on goal-building. Just do it. Think about those kids in high school who skipped the party to study or workout. They already were developing this skill back then. Where are they now? Give it some thought. James Dashner has hit this one on the head.

12. New Followers

A drizzling morning to you all! Yup, it's raining here, and my son's going for his driving test today. Yikes. I'll let you know how it goes. But that's later. Right now I have something more exciting to disclose: NEW FOLLOWERS!! Yay! I can't tell you how excited I am to have new followers: 5 to be exact. Welcome to you and to my other loyals. I hope you find my blog informative, interactive, and well a tad wacky like me. 
(I have four kids. Wacky is what keeps me sane.)


Comment, Comment, Comment!! Fill my graffiti wall with tons to discuss and share. Come on. You know you want to. And I have a surprise. I'm finally opening up my GRAFFITI WALL with writer interviews. But not your ordinary chitchat garble. And I'm looking for you. Yes, you heard me correctly. Unpublished writers and those on their way!! Get your name out there. Don't hesitate. I don't bite. Well...only people I like. Interested? Dare to tread the paranormal waters that I wade in? Your brave. I can feel it. Email me HERE for the questions I'll ask. I'll highlight your interview as a post and your name will forever be on my GRAFFITI WALL!

  


In light of that fabulous news, I'm posting a poem about writing...and baseball. Although I live and breath ice hockey, I am also a baseball chick at heart. I love the language this poet uses and wanted to share it with all of you. (Make no mistake. Poetry is not my strong point, but my ear can appreciate someone who can write it. Enjoy!)


Baseball and Writing
13. New Community For Writers - Inkwell | Literary Rambles

New Community For Writers - Inkwell | Literary Rambles

Augh!! The fabulous Casey McCormick has featured our new writers community on her blog. How cool is that???? Fantabulous, I say. Check it out. We'd love to have you. Friend us there, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

From Inkwell:
All new writers and artists (including illustrators, web comic creators and graphic artists) have to start somewhere, and we hope you'll begin your journey here. We want to give you the resources and support you need to be successful. This is also a community for established writers and artists, a place for them to promote their work and help others. We hope that they, too, will continue to learn and grow their skills.

Inkwell belongs to you and every other member. Its success depends on each of us participating, spreading the word and growing the site through engaging groups and interactive features. We hope that you find not only the resources you need but a caring community of writers and artists who are dedicated and passionate about their craft.

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14. Crunching Words

Vocabulary is the stock of words used or known to a particular people or group of persons, according to Dictionary.com. As writers we know the importance of a broad vocabulary. How often do you test your range? Do you have goals to learn new words, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? 


Learning new words is a wonderful exercise, but we must keep in mind that they are to be used in the proper context and in the proper time. Just because we've become a rolling scroll of wordage doesn't mean we should use them all the time. 


In awe at how didactically my language flutters from my feckless lips or have you surmised I'm in need of some good 'ole fashion admonishing? I'm not going to bore you (or myself), with going into how lame that sentence is. The point being: we need to learn and re-learn words consistently and put them into the proper practice. 


Today, learn or re-learn three new words and find an appropriate place to use them. Could be a sentence, phrase, or constitute a paragraph. Also, try and use them verbally and picture the word in your head as you do. Finding a word and seeing it isn't enough. Commit yourself to using these three words today. Write them down a few times, using them in different ways in a sentence. Then read what you've written as the day goes on. Here's a great site to get you started: http://www.vintage-vocabulary.com/wordlist.html.


We must write them, speak, them, and see them in our heads for our vocabulary buttons to latch on to them permanently. Try and do this exercise on your own a few times a week. I have and it's amazing how quickly my vocabulary has grown. And not just my word bank, but my confidence in using them. Ironically, the more words I know and feel comfortable with, the less wordy I am. Go figure.
Lets love our words... 
15. YouTube - The Future of Publishing

YouTube
- The Future of Publishing

I was just visiting 'Writing It Out', Beth Revis' blog, and found her post so touching I had to share it. Some of you may already have viewed this, but take another gander at it. For those of you who haven't, listen to it all the way through. It's poetic and touches the heart of every writer.

Dot, dot, dot....endless writing.

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16. Terms To Live By

Hello Friday!! Yet another. You seem to creep up faster and faster every week. But this Friday is special. Well, for me at least. Heading out, packing the family for yet another hockey weekend. Packing for six is a load and it should come with abbreviations and special terms. (Actually, it'd be a ton easier if someone else just did it for me: packing, thinking, & remembering. Or better yet, wash the gargantuan loads of laundry I'll have when we get back.) *Sigh, sigh.*


So here's a snippet of the terms that have been rattling inside my head all week long:
Shirts, jeans, PJ's, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks/underwear, combs, brushes, makeup, hair gel, sweaters, bathing suits, keys, money...oh, you get the picture. Helps keep my head from rotating right off my shoulders. *Smile.*


In my travels surfing cyberspace I've crossed a few different lists. One in particular I feel is important is a list of terms every writer should now. Here's a wonderful link with 33 of those terms. You've got POV, MG, DL, and many more. Pretty cool!! 


Do you have any terms to add to the list? Share, share.... 


You can copy my packing list for future reference if needed. ";-)  

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17. writing it out: Book Deal Celebration!

writing it out: Book Deal Celebration!

What a wonderful way to help Beth celebrate her book deal! Enter and support. The writing community is amazing, yet again.

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18. Story Openers

What really is a story opener--action, quiet, dialog, inner thoughts, or a combination? The one thing we all know is that it has to hook the reader. Why bother reading if it's not interesting, right? Let me tell you where I am right now. I have this story and both my main protags, like most, have tons of baggage in their backgrounds. I swear I've written twenty different beginnings to this story. Because I know the story so well, I'm having a hard time pinpointing what the reader would most like to be introduced to first. I have, however, found two great articles that have helped me in my profound ponderings. (Good gosh, profound...sorry, I'm thinking I'm someone else today.) Check one out Here & There.


So, anyone else ever struggle with what to tell the reader at the beginning and what to leave for backstory? Fess-up and share. How do you handle it?


(Come back soon. Next article: Prologue vs. 1st Chapter.)

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19. The World According to Maggie: Ten Rules for Query Letters

The World According to Maggie: Ten Rules for Query Letters


Another member of YALitChat posted this reference on that site and I just had to share it with all of you. It's an insightful list, by wonderful author Maggie Stiefvater, of does and don'ts about the infamous query letter. I hope you enjoy it.

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20. Morning Munchies

I thought we'd start today out with something quirky. I'm full of surprises, spoken dully as I sigh.


You've heard of the eight ball, fortune telling, foreseeing the future, right? So I started thinking about when I was a kid, and how I loved to makeup alternative futures for my stuffed animals, myself, and even some of my most beloved book characters--loved Alice, in Alice in Wonderland, although I still think she should have kicked the crap out of the Queen. Just sayin'.


Come up with a few poignant Magic 8 Ball suggestions. Should be funny.


Example: If you will I will. Hell no. Can't touch. You wish. Denied. You get it, anyway.   

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21. Elana Johnson, Author: Fantabulous Followers Giveaway

Elana Johnson, Author: Fantabulous Followers Giveaway


Another great giveaway from a great writer and an awesome blog!! Check it out. Enjoy all.

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22. Day of Nothing

Have you ever had a day where you felt as though you'd accomplished nothing? Yeah, that would be me today. I've been from one edit to word cutting to flagging the kids out of the street and finally I resorted to doing the laundry. Blah...  But as I write this post--still avoiding the edit that is needling me worse than a pesky black fly (& man, we got us some black flies in Maine)--something occurred to me. I think it's some wisdom an aging nun at my Catholic School had told me. Must have stored it in some folder in that undefined filing cabinet at the back of my brain.


Of course her reference had been about God, but I'm going to take it and apply it here. When you feel like nothing is happening or everything is out of sync, that's when you're growing the most. Things are not always as they seem, as I'm sure we've all heard before. What a precious gem that all writers and mothers alike can take to heart. It helped me to remember. I hope it helps you, too.   

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23. Guide to Literary Agents - ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (For Both Teens and Adults)

Guide to Literary Agents - ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (For Both Teens and Adults)


Another great contest by Chuck!!

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24. Blog Huntress


It's official. I'm on the prowl.

Who's blogs will I choose to invest myself in today? Because in all actually that's what I'm doing. With one click of my finger I visit you, I leave you a comment, I introduce myself. Pretty neat system. You now know something about me, and I now know something about you. You expose me to ideas that maybe like mine or maybe brand new and to interesting peeps that otherwise I may never have met or had the pleasure of interacting with. The knowledge, and sometimes humor, is endless. It's really an education in real life studies, not to mention a kick in the pants at a real writing career.

I've met some incredible people thus far, and I'm ready to meet more. So where will my fingers surf today? Already found a few new blogs with interesting views. Do you have a view? A blog? Tell me about it and maybe I'll just pop over and check it out.

Bow. Clap, clap. Hiss, hiss.

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25. 10 Ways to be Mom & Writer

Over on YALitChat we've been discussing the struggles of being mommy and writing the next hit ms that's too hot to stay on the bookshelves. (Sounds good, doesn't it?) The more I thought about it, the more I realized there are things I do everyday that may help someone else. Share and share alike, right? 


Here's my take on the multi-coat of motherhood and ink-stained hands of a writer. (Yeah, I know. There's not a ton of real ink these days, but work with me.)


1. Believe in yourself. I know that sounds simple, but if we don't who will? Stand on your front lawn and... No. Just kidding. That could get you arrested. But do say it to yourself everyday. 
2. Seek advice from reliable sources. We all know that in every aspect of life there are people with opinions about everything and then there are the real think-tanks. Find one of those. The real think-tank has experience and has most probably lived out the advice they are offering. When we first bring that baby home, every person who has a voice tells us what to do, what we are doing wrong, and what we should change. Just like when you had caller ID installed to avoid those peeps, install your own homing system for the writing advice you receive. Picking the weeds can be tough, but true advice is priceless.
3. Knowledge is power. Once you've compiled that reliable advice, begin to use it each day. Write it down. Read it out loud. I've plastered it in my office, by my nightstand, and on the bathroom wall. Granted, when the kids use the bathroom...well, I've had to make a few replacement copies there but who's counting?
4. Everyone has an opinion. I'd elaborate and begin that phrase as my husband says it, but that may get me arrested. Hah! Got to love his bluntness.  
5. Set Goals!!! I can't tell you how important this is. Set them. Write them out. Print them out and put them in your purse, your iPod, by your bed, bathroom, kitchen, and wherever. Look at them often. Start with small ones and work up to the bigger ones. I have from learning a new word every day to buying a new laptop to writing the next bestseller. As each goal is reached, mark it off. 
6. Reward yourself. This one is as important as setting the goals. When you reach a goal, no matter how small or large, go to dinner or play an unexpected game of basketball or hockey in the driveway with

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