Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More places to purchase CROSSED OUT!

I just found out CROSSED OUT is available for the Kindle!


Also at these places:



Plus, next month I'll be giving away a signed copy at Anne Marie Write's Live Journal:


Check out the contest and the other fab YA prizes you can win!

Sew Needy

I'm going to do it. Yep. I'm going to get me a new sewing machine. Now, while this might not sound like a huge deal to most of you, let me tell you that for me, it is a very huge deal.

You see, I don't like to sew. Let me clarify that. I HATE to sew. I despise it. So much that I GAVE my other sewing machine away. In fact, I paid to have it shipped clear across the USA to the east coast. That's how much I hate sewing.

So, why am I getting another machine? Because I have been forced to admit that I cannot do some of this repair work on clothes by hand. I need help. Mechanical help. Another mocking monster in the backroom.

Sometimes my writing is like that. I need help. Something to make me realize that I can't do this alone. I need input, someone to spur me on. A cheering squad of a kind. Not that they always have to be positive - nothing was ever gained by just having everyone clap and nod and smile and say "it's perfect". Nothing is ever perfect. There is always something we can improve on. Especially with writing.

I need a critique group. A real, face-to-face group of people who can coax me in the right direction. A group who can get me excited about creating once again. And that is not an easy task, really.

There are several groups that meet around me. But one meets at a local restaurant. I just can't think about writing when I'm listening to the clitter-clatter of silverware on plate, of slurping and sipping, of kids little high-pitched voices asking for more juice or complaining about why they have to eat their veggies.

Another group met in the library, where I was afraid to speak up, lest the librarian rush over and shush me. And the content of my WIP was such that I was a little worried about just whom might be listening in the next aisle over.

Years back, I was with a group that met in a writing instructors home. It wasn't a huge group, but it worked out wonderfully. We read aloud from our WIP, which is a tremendous help to me. I need to hear my words. It helps me see where I might need to clarify, which words I used too much, which ones I use wrong, etc. And, because it was in a home, with no outside distractions, I could be at ease with my words.

Most of the groups that I've looked into now are more electronic than I want to be. They send in their chapters, everyone reads and they get together to discuss the WIP, not to hear it. For some reason, that doesn't work for me. I need to hear it, mine and the others. Sure, reading along is ok, but I still like to hear the words.

So, I wait. For that elusive grouping of people of like mind. Face to face. Speaking. Reading. Offering help.

Much like my little sewing machine. I have to make peace with the silly thing in order to move forward. Just as I have to make peace with the way things are done now in critique groups in order to move forward. Buying a sewing machine is so much easier. I think. Or it might find its way to the east coast, too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How I Coaxed the Caterpillar Out of Its Cocoon

From February 2001, through December 2005, I wrote a monthly column, Advice from a Caterpillar at Writing World.com. The original column, which was geared for children’s writers, was my idea. It was based on the notion that, even though I’m one of those “authors you’ve never heard of”, I had been (in 2001) working as a professional writer and editor for 25 years, and knew a lot about the business. I also knew my way around the internet, so it was easy for me to access information. I took questions from writers (usually 3 per month) and found the answers.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love writing the column. I did. But after 4 years, the questions all seemed the same – “Can you help me get published?” I started repeating myself. During fall 2005, I discussed my feelings with Editor/Publisher Moira Allen. We both agreed it was time for me to move on.

I was a restless soul back then. I had just finished a major rewrite of my YA manuscript, “PFC Liberty Styrker", about the Iraq War, for my ‘then” agent. I thought I was headed in a completely different direction. But I’ll go into that whole story next time (9/20).

The point is, I let the Caterpillar slip into its cocoon.

I started my From the Styx blog about 6 weeks after I ended my Caterpillar columns. I also began work on a new YA manuscript, “Hurricane Katrina”, which I had discussed with my agent and he’d said, “I love it. Get to work on that right away.”

In the meantime my friend, Olgy Gary asked if she could publish my columns on her website, Children Come First.

“Of course,” I said.

For the next 18 months I immersed myself in my blog and the manuscript. During those months I received emails from dozens of writers who said they missed my Caterpillar column and my input in the writing world. This touched me deeply. I didn’t realize I had made a difference in people’s lives until they told me so. My frumpy, old Caterpillar had fans.

Was it time to bring it back?

If I hoped to coax the Caterpillar out of its cocoon there had to be some changes made. Writing a blog and writing a column are similar. With a blog format, I knew I would have to post weekly, not monthly like the column. Doing a blog also gave me the freedom to expand on the original column. I decided to use some of the questions from the old column but update my answers with more current information. I also take new questions. Just email me at: peggyt@siltnet.net

Along with advice, I added reviews, markets, contests, and interviews, geared toward children’s writers but not exclusively children’s writers. Many of my column readers were young writers looking for advice and markets, so the blog contains a list of links to markets and websites for young writers.

The new and improved Advice from a Caterpillar emerged in October 2007. The Caterpillar’s fans found it again. And new readers have discovered my work.

My From the Styx blog appeals to different readers than my Advice from a Caterpillar blog. Likewise this YAAYNHO blog appeals to an even wider audience. Which brings me back to my original point about why I blog – to build readership.

Peggy Tibbetts

My books

My blogs:
Advice from a Caterpillar
From the Styx

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hey, Could You Talk a Little Louder?

Here's my biggest dirty secret as a writer: I eavesdrop.

Eavesdropping is something I have done my entire life, and I'll bet a signed copy of my novel (see cover photo in side margin!!!), as well as an almost heart-felt apology, that all writers do the same thing. How else can we learn people's mannerisms and quirks when they speak? I know that the reason I listen in is the better to enrich my own characters. My husband tells me I am rationalizing, but don't listen to him. He eavesdrops as much as I do - and he's an engineer.

I like the waiting rooms in doctors' or dentists' offices. To be fair to those who have no clue they are being, well, spied on, I will consciously tune out any conversation that is far too painful and personal for a complete stranger to absorb. But anything having to do with neighbor complaints, kid behaviors, husband behaviors, or the ongoing argument with a public utility company? Hey, I'm there.

A family in my dentist's waiting room gave me all kinds of ideas for a novel I was writing at the time. My main character came from a family of nine kids, and listening to these siblings pick on, tease, ridicule, and laugh at each other was a joy. I wonder if any of them noticed I never once turned a page of the magazine I was supposed to be reading.

Airports, trains, buses, and elevators are also good places for catching a conversation or two. Except with elevators, sometimes you never get to hear the outcome of the story. I guess I can't really run after someone and say, "Excuse me, Miss, but did your co-worker's sister-in-law turn out to be pregnant after all?" On the other hand, that leaves me free to write my own ending!

I also practice this skill in restaurants. When I'm really in the zone, I can keep track of three to four conversations at once. The fire at the neighbor's house across the street was started by visiting cousin Jerome? Do tell! Mrs. Crumphorn's husband moved out in the middle of the night? Please, elaborate! The PTA president's daughter was nabbed for shoplifting? I love it!

So all you other writers out there tell me: am I really the only novelist delighting in other people's conversations? Or is it possible that you just happened to overhear something really tasty the last time you were stuck in the line at the grocery store?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cartoon Fun

(Sorry I'm late folks! Should have posted yesterday. Doh!)

I've always loved cartoons. Old as I am now, I still watch them. Big into Japanese Anime too. And there's several good ones on TV right now. They may be made for kids, but there's always bits hidden inside that can be enjoyed by all ages. Recently, I found a new one I would like to share with you.

Phineas and Ferb

Staring: Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Dan Povenmire, Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh, Dee Bradley Baker, Caroline Rhea, Alyson Stoner, Mitchell Musso, Maulik Pancholy, and more!

Premise: It's summer and Phineas and Ferb are trying to make the most of it and entertain themselves and their friends, while their older sister Candace is involved in teenage angst, pursuing her one true love, and also trying to bust her brothers and getting her parents to see that they're always up to incredible antics. Beneath all this are the adventures of their pet, Perry the Platipus (or Agent P), who is working with a secret organization to protect the Tri State Area from the evil machinations of Dr. Doofenschmirtz! Let the fun begin!

Review: Back when Disney first advertised this show it didn't grab me. Bad marketing perhaps? For this show is just too much fun to be missed! And it must be watched more than once before you see the evil genius behind it. Kid shows can be formulaic and these guys grabbed that fact and took it to the far edges of the universe then ran wild with it! Its very formulaic format is its greatest charm and you learn to anticipate certain bits and have even more fun when the creators then turn them upside down. It's also a multi layered show with two to three plots running and always somehow intersecting. Let me try to explain...

Everyday Phineas and Ferb come up with something to do that day (building rockets, running a rodeo, helping a friend with a science project). Each day their older sister Candace finds out about what they're working on and tries to get their Mom to come see it so they can be "busted". Perry, the pet platypus, has a secret identity. As Agent P, he daily gets a call from his superior Major Monogram and sent after Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz to stop whatever evil plot the doctor is concocting that day. And somehow, by the end of the episode, Doofenschmirtz is thwarted and all evidence of what the brothers were up to disappears before Candace can get a parental unit to see it. (Mind you, Phineas and Ferb are aware of how their efforts seem to just disappear once they're done, but they don't worry about it as it keeps them from having to do cleanup. (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) Heh heh).

The creators bust buns. Imagine having to be fresh with the same formula time after time? But they are. Better yet, they are SF fans too. So all sorts of SF/Fantasy bits from movies and shows will make appearances. Fantastic Journey, Star Wars, Lords of the Ring, The Time Machine, Godzilla, and more. (Being a big geek of the genres this is AWESOME as far as I am concerned!)

The music is fantastic on this show as well. Kids get exposed to a huge variation of music genres in the show: Disco, Country, Musicals, Jazz, Rap, Jamaican, Blues, JPop, Indian, Alternative, and more. It's a great way to expose kids to the different music styles so they don't get in a rut. The lyrics on these songs are a hoot too! My favorites are Agent P's theme (including the one that goes 'Perry, Perry the Teenage Girl' - you have to see the episode to understand. Heh heh. Body Swap) and "BUSTED" followed closely by "There's a Squirrel in My Pants" (Don't ask! Must be seen to be believed! lol).

Even better, several of the characters have theme music. Candace's is a variation on the Wicked Witch theme from Wizard of Oz. Perry's (Agent P's) is very reminiscent of 60's Spy themes (think Secret Agent Man) (and one bit they do which is totally awesome is every once in a while when Agent P is slowed by a ray or is shown old or who knows what, the theme slows or speeds up to keep pace with that reality (love it!)). Phineas and Ferb have a 'we're building' theme. And Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a very preppy, upbeat theme (almost bubbly!) which will change with his location. Normally it is "Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated" for his main building, but the vocals will change if he's in a dirigible, suburban home, warehouse, underwater hideout, etc. Too cute!

Oh, and the end credits must always be watched! They will either expand on a song, recap it, have a new song (Perry the Teenage Girl!), or actually have added scenes/story for the episode.

Everything about this show screams 'labor of love'. Which just makes me love it all the more.

Phrases or recurring items to look for in each episode:

"What are we going to do today?"
"Where's Perry?" (Near beginning)
"There you are Perry." (Towards the end)
"Whatcha doing?" (Isabela can get very testy if anyone but her gets to say this! Heh)
"Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"
"Aren't you a little young to be ____?" "Why, yes, yes I am."
"-inator" (All of Dr D's inventions have 'inator' in the name. Everything sounds more evil with 'inator' as part of the name, right? Hubby wants a N8TR license plate like the Evil Invention Prize Belt.
"Take over/destroy/change the whole of the Tri-State Area!" Doofenshmirtz is very local in his thinking regarding his evil plots. :P
Floating Baby Head (No, I have NO idea what that's about. But it keeps showing up!)
Talking Zebra who calls Candace Kevin when she thinks she's dreaming.
Wife complaining to Husband about a failed venture or not doing something, then plop, invention of the day solves his issue and makes her look stupid. heh.

And yes! They have a soundtrack out! And it is the BOMB! (I want more! I want the themes for the others! (They do give us Agent P! Yes!) Come on Disney, give me!) Heh.

If you love fun, if you love summer, songs, wit, invention, adventure, you will love this show! (I'm hoping they will one day tell us Ferb's full first name (I am voting for Ferbisher - very British and what not.):P

Rating: 5 out of 5! Check it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is There Music In Your Writing?

One day I was working on my current young adult story when one of the major characters surprised me by saying he had learned to play the guitar. Now this was not in my original plans, but I went with him¾who am I to question my characters? In one scene, so far, he and a friend play their guitars. We will see where this new thought leads.

I started thinking about my other stories and whether they contained musical elements. To my surprise, music is part of four out of five of my books. In Listen to the Ghost Matt, one of the major characters plays the saxophone and piano. Jennifer, the pov character in Secrets I Have Kept, plays classical music on the piano, and Casey, the other pov character writes country ballads and strums the guitar. Then Rebel’s mother runs away with the drummer in a rock band in the novel Rebel in Blue Jeans, and Lizzie, from Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines plays the guitar. Though the music isn’t the main point of each story, it’s there, adding to the details of the characters’ lives, telling us a little more about their likes and dislikes.

So music does play a part in most of my work. And I believe it goes back to my early years when I took piano lessons. Twice a week I spent 30 minutes in Mrs. Patton’s home, sitting at her piano. At the time, of course, I’d rather have been outside playing with my friends. My parents wanted me to play the piano, and I did my best. Today, I’m so glad I did. When I’m tense and my world is going in ten different directions at the same time, I can sit at the piano, play some of my favorite tunes from the 50’s or my favorite hymns from today, and I relax and soon I’m ready to face the day with an improved attitude and sometimes ideas for new scenes or lines that popped into my head from the songs.

In addition to the piano, I once played the clarinet in the junior high and high school bands. At the time I enjoyed the music but never considered how it might affect my future life. From my experiences, however, I believe that writing is much like playing a musical instrument. I started from the beginning, learning the basics. With music, on the piano for instance, it’s treble clef, base clef, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, rests, sharps, flats, and all the parts that go together to make a song. Then I advanced in my knowledge of music and put the parts together with words and lyrics and melodies. Soon my music was telling a story. Yes, someone else wrote the words, but when I was on the stage, playing for my recitals, I still relayed the message to my listeners.

With writing, I began with words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, commas, periods, and question marks. As my skills grew and developed, I put the parts together, introduced the characters, and added a plot and theme. Soon I was telling a story to my readers.

Sometimes, what we do as adults reflects back to things we enjoyed in our childhood. Is there music in your writing?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Character Building

Years and years ago (no, don't ask), I spent two weeks each summer at a camp quite literally on the Mason Dixon line - it ran through a cornfield at the back of the camp; you could run from Pennsylvania to Maryland in about ten seconds. Like all camps, it had rules. Breaking the rules got you time "Character Building". Which usually meant scrubbing out pots in the kitchen or hauling big stones around in wheelbarrows. It was, in short, punishment meant to make you think about what it was you had done and how not to get caught the next time why you shouldn't do it again.

For the record, I never spent any time Character Building.

But I do now, when I come up with characters I write about. Some writers say that their characters just appear, fully formed, into their heads, like some weird cabbage-patch mythical offspring. Physically I guess that's true for me, that I can see what a character looks like sometimes right away. Otherwise I need to build my characters, put them together like Frankenstein in his lab (insert mad scientist laughter here). Okay, maybe not.

What does that mean? Well, when I do school visits, I explain it this way: If you were going to write a story about your best friend, you'd already know everything about them - what their parents are like, if they have any brothers and sisters (and how they get along), their favorite color, their favorite ice cream flavor, the fact that they are allergic to peanut butter, that their greatest ambition is to farm alpacas when they grow up. You'd remember that the scar on their chin is from when they fell out of your tree fort in second grade. You would know it all without having to work at it, and writing a story about your best friend would be easy.

I do the same thing. I get to know a character, make up all that stuff from nothing. I have a handy character worksheet that I use, that I got from another writer somewhere along the way, a fill-in-the blanks kind. It's dead useful. Some of the items I might never ever use in the story, but knowing them makes it easier to write the character in whatever situation I put them in, because I understand them, I've spent time with them, as it were, and learned all about them. If we went out to lunch, I know what we'd talk about.

Take for example, a character's bedroom. The story I write might never show the character's bedroom, but knowing what their bedroom looks like can be very useful, because a person's most personal space says something about them - whether they are messy or neat, for example. What color are the walls and why? Is the bed made or not? I might know what kinds of music they like (from the posters on the walls), do they have a desk and what is on it? What kinds of books are on their shelves- romances or horror novels (or reference books)?

This does NOT mean, however, that there are no surprises. Like best friends, characters (and everyone) have secrets, and you might discover something new about a character that you just hadn't considered. This recently happened to me- I was just sitting there, thinking about the book I'm working on, and something popped into my head about a secondary character, something important. I knew at once it was right and perfect, wondered why I hadn't realized it before. But I don't know if it will ever make it into the book. Or the next one. But I know, and that's enough.

I never used to do the character worksheets, used to learn about my characters as we went along. But for my last  WIP (out on submission to agents and editors) I did write them, at least for the two main characters, and I found that I loved it. It made certain aspects of story writing so much easier, the story so much richer and deeper. I wondered why I'd never done it before. It's like cool, secret dossier like they have in spy stories, and you feel like some super secret spy, knowing everything about people you made up in your head! (okay, that sounds weird...)

Worksheets are much easier than hauling stones in a wheelbarrow or scrubbing pots. Given the choice, I'll take my version of character building over the summer camp version any day. Happy Writing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beware Excusitis – the Failure Disease

Earlier this year, I caught a dangerous virus. Not one of those computer ones, mind, but something just as scary. This disease is easy to catch and hard to shake off. Symptoms include sapping of morale, veritable plagues of self-doubt, and in extreme cases, death of ambition.

I’m talking about Excusitis – the failure disease, and if you don’t take positive steps to cure yourself, you risk losing not only your dream, but the desire to even pursue it.

We all have that little voice in the back of our mind that can justify any failure. This would never have happened if it hadn’t been for… If I’d only known about this two weeks ago… etc.

Nobody likes to lose, so we learn to tell ourselves whatever half-truth (or downright lie) we need to hear that will take the sting out of failure and put responsibility on something (or someone) else.

Of course, that’s not to say we should always blame ourselves. There are plenty of times when events really do conspire against us, but the trouble is, every time we lay the blame elsewhere we open the door to Excusitis and believe you me, once that little rotter gets its size sixteen boot across the threshold, you’re in trouble.

Take writing for example. Ever had to cancel your writing time because of a last-minute crisis at work kept you out late, or the traffic was bad? Maybe one of the kids got sick, or family came to visit. Perfectly acceptable reasons one and all, but have you ever noticed how one valid excuse always seems to lead into another? Before you know it the week’s gone by and you’ve done no new writing at all. But that’s okay. You’ll catch up over the weekend, right?

Only you don’t.

Something else comes up, then something else after that, and with every new obstacle the decision to put off writing gets easier. You stop going to your local writing group. After all, there’s no harm in missing a meeting or two. Besides, it’s not like you’ve got anything new to show them, right?

A few months back, Excusitis took such a hold on me that I virtually stopped writing altogether. Sure, I was busy with the book launch, my blog, and trying to keep on top of everything else in my life, but that's my point. Valid excuses are all well and good, but they don't get the job done.

Once Excusitis burrows its way into your brain, it sits there, poisoning your dream by providing you with perfect-sounding reasons for why it was okay to miss that goal you set yourself. And without you ever realizing what's happening, it wraps itself around your ambition and slowly, gently squeezes the life out of it.

Some people never recover. They become bitter, angry even. Where they once gave fellowship and support to fellow writers, they offer discouragement. "Publishing's a lottery...Who needs an agent anyway..." They tear people down instead of building them up. They mock the work of other, more successful writers, relishing in the faults in that bestselling book, rather than studying it to see what the author did right.

Luckily for me, my old gran had a cure. It has a 100% success rate too (though repeat prescriptions are advised), and being the nice chap that I am, I’m going to share it here. My old gran called it the “Don’t just stand there, do something, you great dozy twannock!’ remedy, but a more regular term for it would be:

‘Take immediate action.’

The ‘immediate’ part is the key. It’s no good telling yourself you’ll write later. Just stop whatever you’re doing, grab some paper and jot down some words. They could be potential titles, a few ‘What ifs?’ or even some character notes. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you do some writing, right then and there. Think of it as jump-starting your dream.

Is this a one-dose cures all deal? Absolutely not. You need to take repeated immediate action several times a day, for as long as it takes, but just as putting off writing gets easier the more you do it, so does the cure, and if you keep at it you’ll soon be back in the swing of things.

I'm back on track now, but you never fully recover from Excusitis, so I'm keeping a sharp eye out for signs of a relapse.

Now you know the danger signs, the next time that little voice in your head tells you it can’t hurt to skip your planned writing time once in a while, or that you needn’t bother sending out that story or query letter because… just think of my old gran’s encouraging words, reach for that notepad and start writing.

One day, your dream will thank you.

My name's Jon. I have Excusitis, but I'm not going to let it stop me writing today.

How about you?

Born in England, Jon Gibbs, now lives in New Jersey, where he’s a member of several writers' groups, including the New Jersey chapter of SCBWI and The Garden State Horror Writers. He is the founder of The New Jersey Authors’ Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon's debut novel,
Fur-Face (a Middle Grade fantasy about unusual friendships, unlikely alliances, and wanting to fit in), was published in eBook form by Echelon Press in 2010 (click here to see the trailer).

His presentation/workshop, The Fine Art of Self Promotion is based on entries from his popular online journal, An Englishman in New Jersey.

Jon can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Next week's virtual tour stops!

Monday, August 23

Book reviewed at Books R Us  http://www.booksrusonline.com/

Tuesday, August 24

Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz  http://bookmarketingbuzz.com

Wednesday, August 25

Interviewed on A Book and a Chat Radio Show   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/across-the-pond

Book reviewed at Mom’s Not All    http://raynadeatren.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 26

Book reviewed at Minding Spot    http://www.mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report   http://www.thehotauthorreport.com/

Guest blogging at A Fanatic’s Book Blog  http://www.afanaticbookblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 27

Interview:  http://lifeinthefirstdraft.blogspot.com/2010/08/author-kim-baccellia-on-life-in-first.html

Book reviewed at A Fanatic’s Book Blog  http://www.afanaticbookblog.blogspot.com/

Make sure you stop by and comment!  At the end of the tour I'll be putting the names in a Dr. Anthony worthy jar and drawing winners!

On Saturday August 28th I'll draw the winners and post them! 

First prize- A signed copy of CROSSED OUT and a $10 gift card to Starbucks
Second prize- An ebook of CROSSED OUT and a $10 gift card to iTunes
Third prize- A $10 gift card to iTunes and some CROSSED OUT swag
Fourth prize- Some CROSSED OUT swag

The Guardians of Glede

So, who wants to read a fantasy series filled with action, adventure, and humor? Full of swords, magic, dragons, elves, nymphs, trolls, dwarves and an assortment of other mystical and mythical creatures?

The Guardians of Glede is such a series. I had the most amazing review from a reader this past weekend. He mentioned Eddings and then went on to say that my characters had more depth! I was flabbergasted. Me? Mine? Wow!

Often when I need to explain my series I tell people they are a mix of LOTR, Little House on the Prairie and Star Trek, all rolled into one. Why? Well, the LOTR reference is obvious - lots of fantasy, magic, magic talismans, swords, fighting, etc. The Little House on the Prairie (LHP) and Star Trek (ST) references might not be so obvious at the onset, so let me explain.

Both LHP and ST deal with family. Both deal with conquering the unknown - ST in space, LHP in the wild west. Adventure and uncertainty at every turn. Family and love of family (in the case of ST, the family is the crew and their concern and support of each other) provide the steadying foundation to allow the characters to go out and experience new, dangerous and exciting frontiers.

The Glede series deals with six men, their magics and their families and their undying loyalty to each other. They grow, marry, mature, have children, just as LHP. Yet, the adventures and crises never end. Magic has been released into the land and the elves and others must learn how to use it. Of course, there are those who will abuse any power. That has been a constant throughout history, in all parts of the world, in every race. And that is what makes plots - conflicts, good versus evil, threats against humanity.

You can read excerpts from all of the books (10 so far released, 26 written) on my website, where you can also order the books. All of the books are available in elecronic format as well as print (Amazon.com). So, come on over, read and buy. I hope you enjoy your time with The Guardians of Glede as much as I do.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Huzzah! or A Writer's Life at Ren

Dusty and sweaty is not my best look. It's hard to be engaging, polite, positive and outgoing when you have sweat trickling down your back and dust up your nose. That's my life right now at the Ren Faire, where I sell my books. Or try to. It's a tough crowd. They don't seem much interested in books. Now, toss them a sword or a leather gauntlet or one of those cinced up medieval bodices and they get a wicked gleam in their eyes.

Still, I keep trying. I set up my tent, reset it and reset it yet again, attempting to make it appealing to the masses strolling by. And my booth must be attractive. It's been used repeatedly for a backdrop for photographers capturing other actors and costumed guests. I even offer celtic jewelry, most of it handmade. I get customers for the jewelry, but only a glance at the books. And ALL of my books are fantasy genre. Cool covers with swords and dragons and whips and vials of poison. Still, they get only a glance, before the eye is off wandering to that booth with the fairy wings and fox tails.

I have been doing this for a number of years now, and only just realized why the books perhaps aren't selling like, well, chain mail headpieces. The books aren't instant gratification - you can't fork over the money, plunk it on your head, arm, leg, body and dissolve into a fantasy. No, you have to actually take the time to sit down, open the book and read it. That's when you dissolve into the fantasy. And that's the problem. My creation of fantasy takes place in one's mind, not on one's physical body.

It isn't all for naught, however. I have gained a few regular customers, returning to get the next book, or books, in the series. Customers who stop by to chat about the books and characters. Customers who actually come to the Faire looking for me. And one who was star-struck by my writing partner when she realized that she'd bought my partner's book in a different city months earlier. That revelation entailed an autographed business card. That was unexpected and gratifying. It's these readers that make it all worthwhile.

And I learn new things each year I do this. I hear lines, listen to people, interact with people and reap fodder for future ideas. Everyone has a story inside them. Some share with me, some tell me to use it in a book. Sometimes I can, and do. Sometimes it's just a memory that I hold onto.

So, if you attend a Ren Faire and see a writer, stop by and chat. Even if she does look sweaty and limp and has dust up her nose. Chances are, you'll get a pretty good chat. You might even discover a wonderful new book. HUZZAH!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Story Needs A Plot

Pretty obvious right. We all learned that in school. Plot is an essential element to a story. In fact without a plot you don't really have a story, you have a scene.

So, why does it seem that I have a hard time coming up with a plot?

I'm great at scenarios and back story:

1) Girl finds out that the old word processor her grandmother gave her is magic and whatever she types happens.

.... yeah, but then what? What happens? What's the main conflict of the story and how will the girl overcome it.

2) A "good girl" and a "bad girl" end up being step-sisters. The "good girl" does something "bad" and the "bad girl" gets blamed.

.... okay, but what does she do? And what are the consequences for everyone involved?

3) Historical fiction based on family history of German immigrant family living on a farm and the daughter has to find a way to get to go to high school.

---- and then what?

Although not all stories have to follow the same pattern, it is helpful if the main gist of a story can be fit into the following sentence:

Main Character is a [description here]. His/her life changes when important thing happens. He/She must accomplish this task or the consequences will be something unpleasant.

So, how does When Mike Kissed Emma fit into that description?

Emma is quite happy with her life and boyfriend, she's not looking for changes. But then she gets cast opposite Biker Mike in the school play and discovers there's more to him than meets the eye. Emma must decide if it's Mike or Trevor she wants to be with, and is she willing to lose her friends if she follows her heart?

And how about Emily's Song (yet unpublished time-travel story)?

Emily's biggest problems are getting her report on the Battle of Bull Run done on time and getting Aidan to ask her to the prom, until she slips through a time portal and ends up at the beginning of the Civil War. Now Emily has to figure out a way back home before she is trapped forever. But would going home spell doom for her friend's son - not even born yet? And what about Sam, the soldier who captures her heart.

Or Reality Ali (a story currently being revised, so things are subject to change)?

Fourteen-year-old Ali has always wished that her movie-star mother would pay more attention to her. Now she's getting the chance to be in her mother's reality show. But Reality TV and reality have little in common and Ali needs to find a way to reconcile the two before she ruins all her friendships and her father sends her off to an all-girl Swiss boarding school.

So what kind of trouble do you give your main character? And what will happen if the problem isn't overcome?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meet Me at the Fair

On Saturday, August 21st, I'm going to be at the 1st annual PAYA Festival. The purpose of the festival is to bring more YA books and authors to Pennsylvania. I'm all for that.

There will be 18 authors there for book signings, and I'm going to be one of them. There will also be workshops and prizes.

So, if you are anywhere near the West Chester, PA area on Saturday stop by - and by sure to say hi!

Monday, August 16, 2010

How to Get Noticed In a Traditional Published World

One of the great things about being with a small press is the attention you get. I know with both of my publishers, the publicists have done all they could to get word out on my book.

The bad thing has to be distribution. It’s been hard to get bookstores to carry either of my books. But then again I found that this is the case with some of my traditional published friends too.

What can we do?

One thing I’ve learned is to use the Internet and get word out on your books.

Here’s some suggestions:

1. Virtual Book Tours.

I love these! I ended up using PUMP UP YOUR BOOKS which has been great! Dorothy has put together my tour and made sure everything’s in place. If you can’t afford this, you can get together with other YA bloggers.

2. Blogger Tours

Right now my book is on two—Traveling ARC Tours http://travelingarc.bookblather.net/

Book It Forward Tours


What’s great about these tours is you send one copy of your book to the site. They post the blurb and ask what bloggers would like to read/review your book. They have one week to do this. Then they send it to the next person on the list.

3. Blog. Yes, that’s right. Have your own blog. Be your own cheerleader!

4. Join SCBWI

I found this professional organization has helped me with a number of things which include: opportunities to meet with other local YA authors, editor and agent day events, grant opportunities, and other things.

I was able to do a book signing/reading with other SCBWI authors due to being part of this group. It was great!

5. Go to conferences. Be active in your regional groups

I found this is helpful. You never know what connections you’ll make!

6. Volunteer

I’ve volunteered to be a panelist for the Cybil’s-Children and YA bloggers Literary Awards since they started. Through this I was able to make more connections and have more opportunities open up.
Also volunteer to help with on-line conferences. One I’ve done for the last third years is the Muse On line conference.

Finally, remember not to be afraid. Get out there. Network. Network. Network.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hi! from SherryT

Hi! My name is Sherry Thompson, and I am one of the newest members of YAAYNHO. Don’t you just love our acronym? It kind of encapsulates the two defining experiences of most of us here: 1. “Yaay! I’ve been published! and 2. Nho! Why is no one reading my book?
About myself:
I’ve been making up stories since I was in elementary school but I never wrote any of them down until 1979 when I was 33 years old. I wrote the first draft of “Seabird” in longhand. As soon as the draft was complete, I told my family that I had committed book-writing and took them all out to dinner, at which we celebrated the start of my new career. Yeah. Right. What did we know in those days.
In January 2008, almost 29 years later, Gryphonwood Press published the umpteenth revision of “Seabird”, a fantasy for older young adults. ( http://tinyurl.com/35xu8d ) The book introduces the planet of Narenta, which bears some resemblance to medieval Europe. However Narenta has three “peoples” and some fairly bizarre plants and animals. Magic exists in two forms—Alphesaic enchantment or “good” magic and sorcery or “bad” magic.
In times of crisis, young people are brought from their own planets to assist the Narentans with skills and talents that many of them do not know they possess. Recently, these young people have been found on Earth. Cara Marshall is the Outworlder in “Seabird”, and she is definitely not pleased at what’s happened to her, especially since she is in the middle of her summer vacation at the beach.
Back in 1980, while looking for a publisher, I began writing the sequel to “Seabird”, titled “Earthbow”, and followed that with additional material for the series. Gryphonwood published “Earthbow Vol.1” ( http://amzn.to/cTsAxM ) in March, and “Earthbow Vol.2” is due out in about a month. (I’m currently awaiting the proof.) Cara’s younger brother, Xander, is the Outworlder in “Earthbow”.
Dave Wood, my publisher, wants to know what I’m working on next so I guess that means he intends to publish it. ;)
So I have a publisher, and the first books have gotten some great reviews! Yaay! According to the sales stats, I just don’t have a reading public. Nho! As most of us know, that’s what happens when a small press chooses to publish our books. Small start-up presses just don’t have the money or the personnel to help publicize their books. In fact, increasingly, all publishers expect their non-A-list authors to shoulder that burden, pretty much unassisted. For me, publicizing is largely trying to maintain an online presence, sneaking my books into a couple of local book stores, and attending the occasional East Coast SF/Fantasy convention. Next up, by the way, will be PhilCon in November.
Right now, I am sorting through the humungous manuscript that I began writing as soon as the first draft of “Earthbow” was finished. Originally titled “The Gryphon and the Basilisk”, it too takes place on Narenta and will involve an Earth teen (Luisa) as the Outworlder sent for in the face of a terrible crisis. “G&B” is fated to become one of those fantasy trilogy thingies. Maybe even a tetralogy! I refer to it sometimes as “The Behemoth, or the book that intends to eat Delaware”.
I hope someone buys a copy of it some day.
SherryT KhivasMommy AT gmail DOT com

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Next Week's Virtual Tour Stops

Here's a list of my stops of my virtual book tour for the coming week!

Monday, August 16

Guest blogging at Beyond the Books  http://beyondthebooks.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, August 17

Book reviewed at Chaotic Book Obsession


Wednesday, August 18

Book reviewed at Marta’s Meanderings  http://www.martasmeanderings.blogspot.com/

Book reviewed at Marilyn’s Musings


Thursday, August 19

Interviewed at Personovelty


Book reviewed at YA Reads  http://www.yareads.com/

Friday, August 20

Interviewed at Examiner http://www.examiner.com/los-angeles

Stop by and comment for a chance to win a copy of CROSSED OUT and other swag!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Introduction - Kathi Wallace

My name is Kathi Wallace and I’m another YA author you’ve never heard of.

That sort of makes me sound like a member of a self-help group, doesn’t it? Like I need an intervention to help me beat an addiction. Well … if you ask my family they might say it’s true.

Writing is a bit like an addiction. Most mornings around 2:30, I slip out of bed, trying not to wake my husband, grab some coffee and sit down to write. Depending on where I am in the cycle of book creation, I fall into draft, puzzle over revisions, or send emails to book bloggers requesting reviews.

At work, I spend my lunch hour checking out the writing world via Twitter (I’m Kathi430, by the way) or reading a few of my writer friends’ blogs. My evenings are a blur of cooking, tidying up, goofing around with my family and mentally plotting my next scene.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t do something that relates to my writing.

“Oh my goodness!” My non-writing friends often exclaim. “Why would you subject yourself to that kind of schedule?”

It’s simple. I can’t help myself. There is a special kind of rush that comes from creating another world, a place that lives and breathes, slowly coming into existence as I think and type. It’s exciting beyond belief to hear someone say they enjoyed something you’ve written. And to hold a finished product in your hands … well, it ranks pretty high on the bliss scale.

I have always been a book lover. My earliest memories are of laying on my bed, enthralled, while my grandmother read to me. I learned to read at a very young age and devoured everything I could get my hands on. My mother took us to the library twice a week and to her credit, never complained about it or the stacks of books that threatened to overwhelm my room.

There were (and are) so many wonderful authors to choose from! Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Kathleen Winsor, Anya Seton … these are just a few of the authors I loved growing up. Today, I read Harry Connolly, Faye Kellerman, Suzanne Collins, Holly Black and a host of others, including the other contributors to this blog (I just finished Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia).

It only seemed natural for me that reading turn to writing. Thinking back, I can’t actually pinpoint a time at which I made a conscious decision to write, it just seems like something I’ve always done. Short stories for the school newspaper, personalized stories for family and friends as gifts and finally, as an adult, books.

My first book was accepted for publication by Drollerie Press, run by the wonderful Deena Fisher; DP released my Young Adult e-book, Assiniboin Girl last July and will soon release my third book, Summer’s End, also Young Adult. My second book, Keeper of Memories, was released by Swimming Kangaroo (owned by the fantastic Dindy Robinson); Keeper of Memories is available both in print and as an e-book. My books are available from Amazon and of course, from the publisher sites.

Now we’ve gotten the awkward introductions out of the way. You know a few of my secrets – feel free to respond back with some of your own. No, that’s not nosy - when a writer wants to know all about your personal business, it’s called RESEARCH.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Introduction - Kathryn Sullivan

As a YA author published with a small press, I'm yet another YA Author You've (probably) Never Heard Of.

I've been writing since I was 14 - right after I ran out of books to read in my Dad's collection of science fiction and fantasy and immediately after I finished reading a few that somehow made me decide that even I could write better. Skip forward many years and highlights (short stories finding homes, first book contract, second book contract) and somehow although I'm doing what I wanted, things aren't *quite* the way I expected (I expected space colonies as well as e-books, silly me).

I live in Winona, MN, where it is currently hot and humid and cicandas are singing from the treetops. I love that sound of summer.

My books currently in print include

The Crystal Throne (2003). Two twelve-year-old are pulled into a magical world and asked to break a curse. Witches, wizards, elves and talking horses.

Sample chapter

"But you, Jeanne Tucker," the voice continued, "we see great evil in this for you, daughter. But we cannot see beyond it, for another power blocks our sight. Peter is too different from us. We cannot hide him from the witch, but we could hide you. Do you still wish to continue?"

"I—" Jeanne felt the faint touch of the Council's concern and her own fear rose. What was she to say? Everything was happening so fast.

"Stay here, Jeanne," Peter whispered. "You'll be safer here."

Jeanne looked at him. "But you—"

"I'll be all right. You're a girl—this isn't for you."

Jeanne mentally sighed as she caught the same "protectiveness" radiating from Peter that she had often sensed from Mike. "Yeah, right," she replied, remembering his reaction to the witch hound. He's the one who needs protecting. She turned and faced the Council. "The Watcher picked us both. I'm going with Peter," she said firmly.

Talking to Trees (2006). Sequel to The Crystal Throne. Peter and Jeanne return to the Lands - along with Peter's sister, who would rather be at the mall. Talking horses, talking trees, elves and gryphons.


“What do you mean, ‘it’s found you’?” Jody asked. “That’s just smog!” It was odd that there was such a small patch of it, but there was no reason for Twyl and Rafi to act as if it was something serious. They had made her frightened of it, too, but that was only at first, before she realized what it was.

Twyl stared in horror at the swirling brownish gray mist. “The life-destroyer. This is what it used before.”

Jody looked from the small cloud to Twyl. Did she really think a cloud was going around looking for her?

“Run!” Rafi ordered. He sneezed, but continued to flap at the cloud with powerful strokes. Jody blinked. The cloud actually seemed to be held in place by the flapping. And it seemed to be shrinking as well.

Twyl tugged at Jody’s arm. “He said run!”

Jody pulled away. She was tired of being dragged all over the place. Anyone could see this wasn’t dangerous. It was just a patch of smoke. “Don’t be so worried. Rafi is blowing it away.”

The smoke thinned to mere wisps. Suddenly one wisp darted past Rafi straight at Jody.

Jody opened her mouth in surprise. The tendril of smoke clamped over her mouth and nose. Startled, she tried to take a breath, but couldn’t. She tried to pull whatever it was off, but her fingers slipped through the mist. There was nothing there, but she couldn’t breathe!

She could see Twyl and Rafi staring at her as, struggling to breathe, she fell to her knees. Rafi pushed Twyl behind him. He reared up and began fanning his wings at her. Her vision turned red, then black…

Looking forward to your questions and comments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Name by any other Moniker can still be a bad Cogomen

I was thinking about names the other day. Names in literature or movies. Some of my favs? Ford Prefect. Han Solo. Samwise Gamgee. (One of my latest favorites is Margherita Dolce Vita.) How do authors go about choosing the names of their children? And they ARE children. An author will live with them intimately for a while, watching them grow and learn and change. Then they will be sent off to fend for themselves- to survive in the Amazon (hopefully at a respectable three digit number or better) . They may end up retired (after a successful life of being read) on a dusty bookshelf or in a sparkling Kindle. Or they may be forever lost in a discount table or left to languish with the millions of never-to-be-known characters at the far end of the non-seller lists. Such is life.

I guess we all have our own methods for choosing names. My wife and I do not have any kids but we have always had cats. Our current fuzzy wonderboy is a four year old gray tabby named Cosmo. Cosmo: the all encompassing existence around and within us. Also a crazy, off the wall character from Seinfeld.
Yeah - that about describes him. But a name for a pet or a child or a villain in a novel needs to do more- I feel - than just describe them. The name itself should feel right. It should in itself be a character. So what methods do authors use to pick names? I hope some fellow writers will comment on this blog with their naming schemes. For me - well - I have no clue. Sort of. Let me examine a few of my own character names and see if I can figure out their origins.

My first novel (and so far my only one until 2011 when my first mid level/YA novel will be published by Zumaya) is called Milky Way Marmalade. It is dear to my heart. It won a Dream Realm Award and received great reviews but the poor bugger struggles at the very deep, tangled reaches of the Amazon. It will finds its way. It is too bloody funny and entertaining not to. Our hero in MWM is named Caffrey Quark.

Hmmm. Caffrey. Quark. I like the flow. If feels good to say it! Caffrey: a Scottish beer. Quark - nice, scifi feel- but funny- not pretentious. Viola. A name. Fits him to a T. The villain in MWM is called Nefarious Wretch. Ok- pretty damned obvious. Yet it was not random. It needed to sound BIG. Meglo-maniacal. Yet it also needed to show a lack of thought and depth. An immaturity. It had to wreak of a "my name is bigger than your name" machismo. And, of course, it had to be funny.

Other times names are born of the left brain. Take Ken "Mecca" Rennet- the psychedelic researcher in my latest feature film, Triptosane. He was inspired by the brilliant 20th century philosopher/enthnopharmacologist, Terrence McKenna. I wanted his personality to be different - but I needed to somehow give TM a nod. How? The magic anagram generator! Yep- take T-e-r-r-e-n-c-e M-c-k-e-n-n-a and rearrange the letters and you get (amongst other things) Ken "Mecca" Rennet. Came with its own nickname (which had to be explained in the screenplay). I use the online anagram generator (http://wordsmith.org/anagram/) often. It's a blast. (It can also be an ego tamer. I ran "Triptosane" through it and got: "A Rotten Pis". Yikes.)
There are other online tools. Databases of baby names. Mythology sites with endless lists of gods and demons. Use them! They are very helpful.

Bad names can ruin a work. Take the name "Rowsdower" from the inept film A Final Sacrifice (wonderfully lampooned by the wits of Mystery Science Theatre 3000). What is a Rowsdower?? A first name. A last? It sounds like a bad anagram.

But I think a bigger crime than a bad name is a lame name. A name that sounds made up. Like "Art Vanderlay" - a brilliant choice (from a brilliant TV Show) for a name that was supposed to sound made up. Imagine naming your child (or your dog) Peter Rundersmith (I literally just made that up) BARF-O-RAMA.

The naming of your character is its birth. Let their be a method to the madness! Have fun with it. I hope Rupert Starbright, of my soon to be published mid level/YA novel, Rupert Starbright: The Door to Far-Myst- will fair well in life!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today's stop on my virtual book tour!

Today I'm at  The Bookishtype blog  and talking about some haunted sites in Sacramento!  Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of CROSSED OUT and some other fun swag!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Do I Blog?

Hunter S. Thompson said, "So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?"

I am Peggy Tibbetts.

I live, therefore I write. I write, therefore I blog.

My arrival here marks my 4th blog – if you count MySpace blog – and nobody does anymore – and none of the content I post there is original – so technically this is my 3rd blog. You can have your MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, I still think blogging is the best way to gain readers.

I wanted a blog long before I started my first blog, From the Styx in February 2006. I believe a blog should have a theme. So I had to figure out what I wanted to say. I had just left my job at Writing World.com, where I was managing editor of the newsletter and wrote a monthly column, Advice from a Caterpillar. After 5 years, I was in the mood to stretch my wings.

My husband was a trustee on the Silt Town Board. We were both involved in local issues. After ten years in our small rural Colorado town, we were frustrated at the lack of public awareness or interest in local issues. At the same time we knew it was because people didn’t have access to information.

Hunter S. Thompson had died the previous year. Along with being a nationally known writer, Hunter S was quite popular – some might say notorious – locally (I live 50 miles from Aspen where he lived). He didn’t blog but he often wrote op-eds in the local newspaper. Everyone wanted to read what Hunter S had to say about anything. When I looked back on the Battle of Aspen and his colorful life in politics (he even ran for Sheriff in 1970), I saw how it influenced his career, made him a better writer, as well as a loved – and loathed – local celebrity. I realized that I could use subjective humor to develop my own style of gonzo journalism as it relates to small town life in Silt. That’s how From the Styx was hatched.

By the end of my first year, I had a major issue on my hands. Saving the dog park. I wrote an ordinance that designated a park we had already been using to walk our dogs as an off-leash dog park. I led a group of local citizens through the petition process to its final passage. I documented it all on my blog.

Since then I have covered a mayoral recall, chided the energy companies for polluting our air and water, helped local residents tell their stories, and scooped the local paper more than a few times. Two years ago I received recognition as a Sunshine Activist from WikiFOIA. I have also been running the Crazy Bitch series about my dog’s struggle with mental illness, our efforts to help her live a normal life, and the harassment we endure from neighbors because of it. Most important of all, I have gained hundreds of readers.

I even had to hire a lawyer to keep the Town Attorney from shutting down my blog because he didn’t like what I wrote. My blog is the dlisted of Silt. The blog nobody admits they read but everybody does. I’ve made friends, frenemies, and enemies. But who cares? As long as they read my blog. Aside from those nasty legal fees, braving the storm of small town life has never been so much fun.

A local newspaper reporter once asked, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get sued?”

“No. I write about public officials in their capacity as public officials,” I said. “I don’t write about their personal lives.”

“But you often mock them,” he said. “You could get sued for that.”

It’s true. A couple people have threatened to sue me. But I know my rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) publishes a Legal Guide for Bloggers, which spells out bloggers’ rights.

So anyway, my point is, blog about something you care about. Tell a story. Dare to voice your opinion. Offend someone. Controversy grabs people’s attention. Use humor and satire to engage your readers and keep them coming back. Above all, have fun with it.

I’ll be back on August 30. Next time I’ll tell you how I coaxed Advice from a Caterpillar out of its cocoon.

Peggy Tibbetts

My books

My blogs

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Sneaky Peek

I am so excited! This is the end of the YAAYNHO's second week and we have almost 20 followers- and not all of them are US! Which means we're not sitting here talking to ourselves!!! Woo Hoo!

Since its Super Promo Saturday, I thought I'd give a little sneaky peek at the upcoming Library of Athena book, The Mirror of Yu-Huang. For those that are playing along at home, this will be the third book in the series, and is scheduled to be published by Zumaya this fall. Since we haven't officially started editing, I can't give you a teaser, but I CAN post the blurb that I wrote for he back of the book. This may not be the final version, but it's the version I sent to the publisher. I'm just whetting your appetite a little bit...aren't I such a tease? Anyway, here we go....

Megan was expecting peace and quiet this Christmas. Unfortunately, the headmistress of her school has strong-armed her father into hosting a huge New Year’s ball in honor of the Chinese ambassador, whose daughter will be attending Megan's school. Which completely ruins any chance of an uneventful holiday. Megan’s been unlucky with houseguests in the past—like one of the guests died kind of unlucky. Of course, he also tried to steal one of the precious magical artifacts that are hidden in the Library of Athena, a cavernous room hidden beneath her home, so it wasn’t totally her fault.

Now not only will there be hundreds of people crawling all over the manor, but the ambassador’s family—and his staff—end up spending the holidays with Megan and her father. She tries to relax and enjoy the holidays despite her home being turned into Grand Central, but her worst fears are realized when Megan receives a mysterious Christmas gift, one that links her to the Library of Athena. Now she’s on her guard, hoping to identify the culprit and learn just how much he or she knows about the Library, before someone gets hurt, or worse, she winds up inside another enchanted book.

Confucius never said anything about this.
I am getting really excited for this book's release. It is such a fun book, and there is a twist that I didn't even see coming until I wrote it. I bought some cool beading supplies to make some neato, tied-to-the-book giveaways for contests. Now I just have to think of some good contests...
Happy Saturday!!!

Crossed Out Book Trailer

The Kind of Review That Makes My Day!

When Mike Kissed Emma has been out for almost a year now, but I still stumble upon reviews. This week, this one at Novel Reactions really made my day.

My favorite line is: "I loved reading this book and never wanted to put it down!"

Now, that's a great endorsement!

Head on over to Novel Reactions to read the whole review!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Introduction - Gloria Oliver

Greetings ya'll!

Good to see you. *wave* Figured as this is my first time here at 'YA Authors You've Never Heard Of' I'd introduce myself and give you a little info about my books.

I'm a speculative fiction author (this means I write fantasy, science fiction, horror), though all my novels so far are in the fantasy genre. I live in Texas (and is it so HOT here this week. Over 100 degrees! Wooowhee!) and I am top slave of my feline masters - Mr. Boots, Mythril, and Subaki. When I am not writing or petting the fur off the cats, I work in accounting for a small oil and gas company.

Now for some little teasers about my books currently in print.

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles
(2007) Young Adult - Fantasy - "Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern"

Sample Chapters

Excerpt:"Do you need any help?" she asked. "Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I'm sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand."

Kel slowly shook his head. "It's all right. Thanks anyway." His voice lowered to where she almost couldn't hear it. "This is all part of my punishment.'

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. "Punishment?"

Kel cocked his head in Clarence's direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

Willing Sacrifice
(2008) Young Adult - Fantasy - "The End of the World, warped prophecies, choices to be made and unmade"

Sample Chapters

Excerpt:Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.
Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room's cold air caress the Eye.
"You were right. She is the one."

In the Service of Samurai
(2002) Adult/YA - Japanese Fantasy Adventure -"The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean"

Sample Chapters

Excerpt: Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakazashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

Vassal of El
(2004) Adult/YA - Fantasy Mystery - "Winged men, murder, a past that comes back to haunt him"

Sample Chapters

Excerpt: Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he'd never left, as if the boy he'd been would be coming back-though the one who'd loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he'd watched his father's blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Hope you'll come visit me at www.gloriaoliver.com

See you next time!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic

Thursday, August 5, 2010


As I tell people, I've been writing since the dark ages. Those were the times of typewriters and carbon paper for copies. I've often been asked where I get my ideas. It's all in the imagination. As a child, I drove my parents, grandparents and just about everyone crazy with a question. "What if." My mind would take a simple situation like, and remember I was a child during WWII. What if the Germans come? My mind didn't stop there but I created a dozen different scenarios. My friends loved these little stories and I'm afraid we took them to heart, learning Morse Code and planting traps in the woods.

"What if? I think this is a writer's jumping off point for writing their stories. What if X happens instead of T. Incidents read in the newspaper, seen on TV, events around the house are turned into stories by asking "What if?"

During the writing of my YA fantasies, this is often the case. "What if Jewe;s enabled a person to do magical things. Thus the Jewels of Earda trilogy was born. The first two books went easily and then I came to the last book and a question popped into my head. "What is the secret of the Jewels? What if they aren't what they were thought to be during the first two books. I was off and running.

The question "What if" also figures in the Henge Betrayed series. What if someone could control the elements as water, fire, earth and air. I was off and running.

Asking yourself "What if?" can add twists and turns to your stories that even you as the writer don't even suspect will happen. Triggering the imagination. Isn't that what fiction writing is all about?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Me, An Author?

Hello, Everyone,

I'm in the middle of my Virtual Book Tour for my latest young adult historical novel and having a blast. Who would have thought it? If anyone had told me I'd be a writer one day, I'd have thought they were crazy. When I was younger, I didn't even like to read. Even though my eighth-grade teacher sent my poem "Stars" to a high anthology and it was published in Young America Sings,  I hated to write.

In spite of my rocky relationship with books, I graduated from high school and even gasp attended the university. Guess what I became? Yes, of all things, a teacher. Kids grow up and change. Even I did. An even greater miracle occurred. Reading great stories to my students and to my sons made me realize what I'd been missing. Reading was fun.

Now I read everything I can get my hands on. I also write. And I love every minute I'm lost in another world, time, and place. For the first time in ... um ... many years, I'm revealing the poem that started my writing career, although I had no idea it would when I wrote it, way back in junior high.

By Beverly Jean Stowe
Zundelowitz Jr. High

I often lie awake at night,
Watching stars that are so bright.
They sparkle and twinkle in the cool night air,
And look like ladies with lovely golden hair.
You see the little dipper and the big dipper too,
Away up in the deep dark blue.
But then come the morning rays of light
And all the stars are gone until tonight.

I'm enjoying reading and writing, and have been fortunate in having five books for children and teens published, with more under contract. I love this group and hearing about everyone else's work. And readers, leave your comments. Tell us about your reading or writing, hopes or dreams.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

YA Books Central Giveaway!

This month YA Books Central will be giving away 5 copies of Crossed Out:

Enter to Win one of 5 copies of Crossed Out!

Following the light can't be that hard, right? So why don't the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone? However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden 'gift' becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning into a liability. If she can't learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn't choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light. Because she's next on the list to be crossed out.

It's easy to enter, just answer this:

If you could see the dead, would you tell anyone?

Go to YA Books Central for a chance to win!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Being a Writer is Glamourous and Exciting (and other lies about publishing)

So now it's my turn. My first official post at the YA Authors You've Never Heard Of. I've been watching the statcounter, and it seems this place is beginning to take off. Welcome everyone!!!

I've been thinking what I should blog about, and the ladies who've already posted are a hard act to follow. Part of being one of the obscure kid lit authors of the world is that it's really a lot of hard work. I mean, being a writer of ANY kind is a lot of hard work, but if your name isn't Meyer or Rowling or (insert Famous YA Author here), you not only have to work hard at writing, but at telling people about your book while you write the NEXT book. The amount of work doubles when you are with a small press.

I've been writing for nine years come September. Nearly a decade. I have five contracted books. Unlike people who Play Writers on TV, I do not write for a living. I wish that I could, sort of (and other days am glad that I do not), and know very few writers, even with big publishers, that do. Long ago and faraway, in the land of Big Advances, writer were writers. They got advances against projected royalties and that was supposed to fund their lives while they wrote the next book.

Today there are still advances, but they are growing smaller by the minute. Personally I have gotten advances for two of the five books I have contracted, but they were small (very small). I earned them both out, which means that the publisher sends me money now!

It's still not enough to live on.

Once in awhile I get a nice manicure, though. Maybe a pedi too. That's about as glamorous as it gets for me. I'm a mom, a wife, a Graduate Student (all that stuff I talked about last time when I was looking for Time to Write). No book tours, wine and cheese parties, or meetings with editors in NYC restaurants. Instead I blog in my jammies while fielding questions about why the cat doesn't need to take a bath from Boy, do local events at the library, and meet with my editor online over a PB&J. I drive my son to football practice and clean my own bathroom. I know, such a rock star.

My publishers do not have a huge marketing budget, and you won't find my books on any bookstore shelf (if you do, PLEASE let me know.), or a review in the NY Times book section. I know being with a small press starts me off with a bit of a handicap, but I refuse to languish in obscurity. This is why I started the YAAYNHO. Because together we are louder than we are separately.

Just like the rest of our group, I am here, an I am proud of my books. If you've read one, THANKS! If you haven't - what the heck are you waiting for???

So what's gonna happen once everyone knows about us? Will I have to change the name to YA Authors You HAVE Heard Of????