Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

It's that special time of the year. That time we all look forward to. It's time to write a novel in a month. Yes. National Novel Writing Month (November), or familiarly known as NaNo is upon us once again.

NaNoWriMo is for everyone who thinks they have a book in them trying to get out. It doesn't matter if you write every day and have multiple series published, or are just thinking this is something you might like to try.

The main website give you a way to track your progress, to connect with other participants and it even has pep talks from other writers.

I like participating in NaNo because writing can so often be solitary, and when you check in every day with your word count and to see what others are up to, it feels like you are all in this together. And you are.

So, give it a try. Write that novel you've always wanted to write.

And if you sign up. Look me up. I'm there as ChristineKM.

Happy Writing.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Read Between the Lynes
A very great friend of mine has talked a bookstore owner she knows into letting me have a book signing. (Thank you, Eileen Millard!)
This is phenomenal for many reasons: 1) No one knows me from Adam. 2) I am not a NY Times best seller. 3) Because of the first two reasons, I am not necessarily going to draw a huge crowd or boost store sales.
On the other hand, because of my subject matter, having a book signing the weekend before Halloween probably makes sense. There is always the off chance that someone will buy a book, even if it's not one of mine. Also, the signing is dove-tailing with the town's Haunted House in the middle of the square, so people may come in looking for a scary story. That would be lovely.
I am excited about this because for the first time, I actually have more than one book to put on display. I actually have three, not even including the one that's out of print, so at least people have a choice. I'm also excited because both the book store owner and Eileen-who-facilitated-this are going to market this event! This is something amazing, because I am *clueless* when it comes to marketing. I don't think like marketing people do, which is unfortunate, since that is a good way to drive book sales. But it's a hard thing to learn.I saw the results of a personality inventory once that put "writer" and "marketer" at exact opposites of a spectrum of personality traits, and I believe it.
Have you ever been to an author fest? The kind where they have about twenty authors you probably have never heard of all together in one place for a mass book sale/signing? (Or in my case, mass hope/depression. If I sell one book at one of these events, it pretty much makes my day.) If you've ever gone to one of these things, you will see there are some authors who are very comfortable meeting and greeting passers-by. And there are other authors who will either have the heads stuck in books or will be writing something, basically ignoring anyone in the immediate vicinity. Obviously, the latter model is not the way to sell anything, but I assure you, it is also the comfort zone of the average writer. Think about it. We are people who like to hang out alone in a room and write. I mean, what normal person does that?
But I have been trying to get better about marketing, and about meeting and greeting the public, whether they want me to or not. To that end, I smile, engage in small talk, frequently put out a bowl of chocolate candy to entice people to drop by, AND, if someone buys a book, I do a freebie-quickie palm reading.This may not be the most efficient or successful way to close a sale, but hey, shy, reserved, writer/hermit me can live with it.
If you're in the vicinity, Read Between The Lynes book store in  Woodstock, Illinois, owned by Arlene Lynes, is hosting me for the signing on Friday, October 25, starting at 7 pm. Drop by! And I'll remember to bring the picture of Michael Penfield...

Friday, October 11, 2013

What If?

Writers often say that they use ‘What If’ to trigger a story. It can be used over several genres, starting with children’s books. What if animals could talk? What if a snowman came alive? What if the Vikings had continued settling North America? What if the dinosaurs hadn’t died out? The possibilities are limited only by a writer’s imagination. The triggers for the 'what if' can be in news stories, science papers, or even events that happen in everyday life.

I’ve done it myself. What if an alien decides to attend college on Earth? What if a wizard ended up in a garage sale? (that one went in a different direction than I had planned) What if a meteor shower hid something else? (Hmm, I tend to use that one a lot).

Science fiction tends to rely on a number of ‘what if’s as basic. What if faster than light travel existed? (And FTL communication is possible). What if psi powers do exist? (That ‘what if’ started off in science fiction when I first started reading it, but now it seems to have migrated into fantasy.) What if there are other lifeforms in the universe?

Not only is ‘what if’ a good way to start the idea behind a story, it’s also a good way to continue or add threats or twists. Lois McMaster Bujold, for example, has her "worst-possible-thing guideline" (Sidelines: Talks and Essays, 2013) - i.e., "what is the worst possible thing I could do to this character?" For some YA and children's stories, this could be rephrased as "what is the most embarrassing thing I could do to this character?"

What are some 'What if?' triggers that you have used as a writer or enjoyed as a reader?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Hi, Everyone. The Virtual Book Tour for my Tween Paranormal novel A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT started on Monday. If you have a chance, please stop by some of the awesome blogs that are hosting me and join in the fun. I enjoy reading your comments and will answer as best I can. The schedule is below. Thanks. See you there.

A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat VBT Schedule
October 7th
October 8th
Author interview at Blogcritics
October 9th
Author interview at As the Pages Turn
October 10th
Author interview at Between the Covers
October 11th
Author interview at The Dark Phantom Review
October 14th
Guest post at Authors and Appetizers
October 15th
Author interview at Broowaha
October 16th
October 17th
Author interview at Examiner
October 18th
Guest post at Literarily Speaking
October 21st
October 22nd
Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
October 23rd
Guest post at Penny’s Tales
October 24th
Book spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook
October 25th
Book spotlight at Review from Here
October 28th
Book review at This Kid Reviews Books 
October 29th
Book review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
October 31st
Book tour highlights at The Book Rack
Thanks for your visit.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October and Haunted Houses

It's October and that means at my daughter's high school thoughts in the choir room turn to Haunted Houses. That's because the big fundraiser for the choirs is the Haunted House they stage annually.

And what does this have to do with writing?

The kids team up in groups of about six and have to come up with the "story" for their room in the haunted house. Last year the overall them
e was Circus - so within that they needed to create and decorate and figure out a way to scare the customers.

This year the theme is "expect the unexpected". So each team is going to have to come up with something for their room based on that parameter.

But isn't that simply great story telling. Expect the unexpected.

What is going to happen next? What does the reader expect is going to happen next? Do something different. Keep them guessing, keep them wanting more, don't let the story telling become complacent.

Expect the Unexpected. And maybe throw in some creepy clowns to really get things going.