Friday, September 30, 2011

Krissi Dallas: Pep Rally!

Go Team!

Welcome to the official kick-off of the Phantom Island Pep Rally September 30 – October 15, 2011. I am excited to introduce you to Author Krissi Dallas, and share with you her continued success in publication. Teacher, author, and all around great person— Krissi is touching the lives of many.  

Her books, Windchaser and Windfall will release nationally through a commercial publisher in December. But pre-released autographed copies are available on October 1st through The White Island Shoppe  - They will be on special sale at first.

Krissi has touched the lives of her students and what better way than to allow her students to tell us about Krissi and her books.

Please meet Amelia...

"Hey, Karlene! Thanks for letting me come on here to kick off the Phantom Island Pep Rally! For those that don’t know, I am the REAL Amelia, on which Krissi Dallas claims she based her fictional bratty, preteen character in the Phantom Island books. (When I say REAL, I mean the COMPLETE opposite of everything Krissi wrote. Gotta love all those brat jokes she makes...) Anyways, I'm a senior in high school and have known Krissi since my 7th grade year. I first met her as my Sunday School teacher. Sunday school teachers always have this knack for helping you through any situation in life. This has been true of my relationship with Krissi from that time on, and if anyone can tell you about Krissi, it's me! I've been with her to multiple book events and traveled all over the world with her. We've been to Argentina, Florida, Washington D.C., and even China this past summer!

Amelia and Krissi at The Hot Pot restaurant in China this summer
 One thing you’ll find out in chapter one of Windchaser is that the main character, Whitnee, has a fish phobia. This is actually a real Krissi-ism and reminds me of the “fish incident” we had this summer in China. We went out with our Chinese friends to their favorite restaurant called "Hot Pot." You basically put all kinds of raw food into a central pot in the table and cook it. Clueless about Krissi’s phobia, one of our Chinese friends offered Krissi a tray full of WHOLE RAW FISH – eyeballs, gills, mouths attached. Krissi turned green when the tray was thrust in front of her and I thought she was going to puke! I had to jump in and tell the girl we were fine without the fish. But that's what's so cool about the books - Krissi puts her own quirkiness into Whitnee's character so you get to experience a new world not only with Whitnee, but with Krissi as well! That spunky personality of hers transfers straight into her books.

Amelia and Krissi at the White House last Spring Break, 
Acting as "news correspondents"
The Phantom Island books are magical. The characters and their story grip you and keep you from page one. You won't be able to put them down. I am an avid reader and I have never read books that can be compared to Windchaser and Windfall. They’re unique and you'll be on the edge of your seat until the last page and then want more! As you travel to the Island you'll feel like you belong. Whether it's in the Earth, Wind, Water, or Fire tribe is up to you and your personality. Phantom Island allows you to be yourself and fit in with people from another world. Like the character of Amelia, I'm a Pyradorian (Fire is CLEARLY the best of the four!) and I have so much fun reading about people who think, react, and feel as I do. This book is an experience for anyone who ventures to open to the first page. Don't miss out on ordering your pre-release copies TOMORROW and definitely follow the pep rally as it continues with Courtney and Sarah over at the Fuzzy Coffee Books blog tomorrow!"   

Thank you Amelia, for a great review and a special look into this amazing Author—Krissi.  Before you go, Amelia, I would like to award you your official Pep Rally button, thanks to Courtney over at Fuzzy Coffee Books. For anyone who wants to take the quiz and learn what tribe you belong to, click HERE

I am definitely looking forward to reading the series, and we appreciate your candid review. Keep reading Amelia!

More about the Wind…

“One fateful summer night, when one rule is broken, five teenagers will discover an unexpected adventure full of magic, romance, and true friendship.”


High school senior Whitnee has spent six years rebuilding her identity after her father’s mysterious disappearance left her with more questions than answers. With her two best friends, Morgan and Caleb, she returns as a mentor to the summer camp of her childhood. Nestled in the Texas hill country, Camp Fusion is everything Whitnee remembers—except for the haunting visions that only she can see. One fateful night, Whitnee and her friends embark on a magical voyage where unexpected adventure and heart-stopping romance collide—a journey that might unlock the dark, complicated mysteries of Whitnee’s family history.
But will she find the answers she is looking for?

WINDFALL: BOOK 2 ... Transported along with four friends onto a mysterious and magical Island, Whitnee Terradora wants nothing more than to return home safely—until she starts performing supernatural feats such as cyclones, healing, and communicating with the plant she accidentally set on Fire. Suddenly, finding the Island seems like more than just a coincidence. When an ancient prophecy causes a controversy among the leaders of the White Island, Whitnee questions who is looking out for her interests, and who is interested only in gaining power. Even Gabriel, her one ally on the Island, has secrets that both confuse and allure her. Who can Whitnee really trust to find out the truth about herself and her missing father? Could Whitnee really be the answer to the White Island’s problems and if so, is it worth the danger of never returning home?

Krissi, I wish you continued success. You’re an inspiration to all writers.

The Pep Rally will continue until October 14 and you can enter to win free books and customized tribal goodies by clicking HERE 

Tomorrow… Saturday, October 1… is a special day!

Jump on over and visit Courtney Ussery at Fuzzy Coffee Books for the continuation of the Pep Rally.  But just as important, click HERE to purchase your copies of Windchaser and Windfall.  

Follow Krissy on her blog by clicking HERE and join the fun. And definitely check out her official Website

Enjoy the Journey ~ and the Pep Rally 

XOX Karlene 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Getting Your Book In Stores

Whether you're with a small press, or have independently published, getting your book in smaller bookstores is something you will likely have to take an active role in. If you have a small/indie bookstore in your neighborhood chances are this might be something you want to do. The best way to start is to establish a customer relationship with them beforehand. Visit the store often, talk to the clerks, the manager, learn their names, make it personal.

When you're ready to approach the store about carrying your book here some tips that will help.

#1. Have a short pitch/blurb in regards to what your book is about ready. It should be something you can say in less than thirty seconds, short and to the point. A one-sentence tagline is great for this kind of thing.

#2. Bring bookmarks and/or business cards with you to leave with the store so they can hand them out to their customers.

#3. Bring a copy of your book to give to the store's book buyer or manager (in small, independent bookstores they are often the same person).

#4. Let them know if you're available for author signings, readings, or appearances and what you're willing to do publicity-wise for such events (i.e., advertising in the newspaper, web, etc.).

Hint: It never hurts to buy a book as you're dropping off your bookmarks and the copy of your novel for the manager. Don't forget to follow up with the book buyer/manager a short while after you've given them your book. Drop in and see what they thought!


Monday, September 26, 2011

A Great Annual Event: Northwest BookFest, and a Great Organization: The Women's National Book Association

Every year there's a great book lovers/book industry confab called Northwest BookFest in the Seattle area. This year it's on October 1 and 2. Up to ten thousand people are expected to attend, and Karlene and I will be two of them! Heather would come, too, but she lives too far away :-(

There will be hundreds of best-selling and local authors at BookFest, with over fifty author panels, book signings,writing and publishing workshops, award-winning journalist and artist presentations, and programs for all ages. In addition, several large publishers, literacy groups, writers associations and Seattle newspaper groups will have booths at BookFest. And, of course, there will be food and wine.

If you live anywhere near Seattle, try to make it to BookFest (10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day). Click here for the program. Karlene and I will not only be there to check out all the good stuff, but we're going to be among those who represent the Seattle Chapter of a great organization called the Women's National Book Association (WNBA--no relation to basketball--this WNBA was formed in 1917!). WNBA Seattle will have a table at BookFest, so if you can come to the event, stop by and say hello! Even though Heather won't be able to make it, she's a member of WNBA, too, and I'm taking a copy of her book to show off.

So, a little more about the WNBA, in case you'd like to join a chapter near you. Founded in New York City before women had the right to vote, the purpose of the national organization is to promote reading and support the role of women (and men) in the community of the book. Libraries have always been at the core of the WNBA, and over time, the organization's embrace expanded to include everything from literacy initiatives to reading groups and hands-on support for the creation, development and promotion of books . Each chapter develops its own mission statement, as well as honoring the national purpose. In Seattle, ours is: Connecting book lovers with professionals in the book industry, and promoting women's careers in book publishing.

There are opportunities for writers who are WNBA members to be involved with educational efforts regarding these goals, meet authors and others involved in various aspects of the book industry, and also get support for their own efforts to publicize their books (more about that below).

There are now ten WNBA chapters across the U.S., including Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., in addition to New York. You can be a member whether you live in one of those cities or not. (The national website, below, explains how.)

The WNBA maintains a presence at the United Nations as an NGO (non-governmental organization); is the sponsor of National Reading Group Month across the country (each chapter holds an event with author panels and other literary discussions to "celebrate the joy of shared reading"); and each chapter participates in Great Group Reads—a program through which major publishers select books they want to promote and send copies to the chapters each summer, then the members who read them report their evaluations, and the national WNBA committee announces its selections for that year.

National WNBA also publishes a magazine called The Bookwoman, where these and other activities are reported, and news from each chapter is presented. If you, as a member, have done something publicly notable with your writing, like winning a contest for aspiring authors, or publishing a book etc., your chapter can submit an article about that to be published in the magazine. Bookwoman goes to libraries and bookstores across the country, as well as to each member. And finally, the national WNBA website is a goldmine of information and opportunity. Chapters can submit up to three book cover photos to be included on a featured books page of the website, where the photos will rotate (one of these could be your published book). And, there are opportunities for members to have their book-related blogs listed on the national website, too.

Here's the link for the national website:  Check it out.
And if you're interested in  the Seattle Chapter, go to for information about upcoming events and how to join. Karlene is the Seattle Chapter Membership Chair and will help you out!

How exciting to think about getting to meet some of you in person through a fun, productive book organization. That would be wonderful!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Secrets to Success

"Let me let go of my
failures of the past
- so I may be free to look
forward to the success
that lies ahead."

~ by Eleesha,
Author of - The Soul Whisperer

Don’t allow someone who doesn’t know you or your work, and what you’re capable of, to steal your power with simple piece of paper called a rejection. Besides, they aren’t rejecting you. They’re rejecting an opportunity that they’re not ready to accept. It’s not their time. 

Everything happens in the perfect time, and your time is coming.

The fact is—there will be many rejections in your life. It’s your choice how you deal with them. My advice is to drop the weight of your perceived failures then pick up the experiences and lessons learned, and carry those forward instead. Take those lessons and use them— they are your tools for your success.

Success will be yours.

All you have to do is work on your craft, continue to learn, and know that your time is coming. Stay focused, stay positive, and stay determined. I have faith you can do it.

Will success be yours? Can you leave the past behind and work toward your future? Do you believe in yourself? I do! 

Enjoy the Journey.

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Upcoming Blogfest And Tagging

Next month I'm going to be one of the hosts (over on my author blog) of a fantastic blogfest that I hope you'll all enjoy and take part in. It's called I Love Dark YA blogfest in honor of dark young adult novels and of course in the spirit of October! One of my wonderful co-hosts, Christa Desir of Christa Writes And Rambles, has tagged me to tell you all 10 non-writerly things about myself. I'm going to cheat a bit and just do five since I couldn't come up with 10.

#1. I love snowboarding. I'm no Shawn White but I can hold my own going down the hill and stay upright for the most part. ;)
Yeah, that's Shawn in the picture, not me. He looks SO much cooler on a board than I do and you won't find me within 10 feet of the edge of a half-pipe! I'd love to, I'm just not that coordinated.

#2. Though I've had many accidents, some of them pretty terrible, I love horseback riding and still do it every day that I can. That's me on my big paint, the one who caused a few of the accidents. He's as clumsy as I am, a bad combination I must admit. And why yes, since you mentioned it, my hair is red in that picture. ;) I loved the color but since I'm a natural blond it was WAY too hard to maintain.

#3. My favorite angsty vampire was and always will be Louie. I'm sorry but Edward just can't hold a candle to that. ->
By the way, if you don't know who Louie is, for the love of literature click on this link.
#4. Though I love all kinds of music from Loreena McKennit to Heavy Metal, my favorite group will always be the Dropkick Murphy's out of Boston. It's a bucket list item of mine to someday see them in Boston on St. Patrick's day.

#5. I'm not a fanatic by any means but I care deeply about conservation and protection of endangered species. It breaks my heart to know that we're using up our planets resources and devastating it's forests and jungles to the point of no longer having enough places to live and driving animals into extinction. I give whenever I can and do my best to make a difference.

Now I get to pass it on to three of my blogging friends. I'm going to pick a few of our new Write Campaign buddies. Tag, you're it!

Angela Hansen
Heidi Windmiller
Shelley Koon


Monday, September 19, 2011

First Paragraphs: Final Critiques

Thank you to the talented writers who offered their first paragraphs for critique, and to everyone who took part in helping with the critiques in the comments section. Now it's the critique sisters' turn. Here we go:

first paragraph 1
Author: Lin Wash  
Story Description: YA medieval fantasy. I follow the perspectives of three characters, one of whom will later be accused of witchcraft.

First Paragraph:
From the cottage doorway, she looked like a doll left on the bed: small and fragile. Even the hill of the child she carried seemed dwarfed by the faded patchwork quilt.

Karlene: I like this a lot!! Creative. Fresh, and puts me in the room looking at the woman on the bed. I’m first wondering if the colon is needed after "bed?" And second, I stumbled a bit on the “hill” because I immediately had the visual of huge, and yet she’s dwarfed. "Carried" and "seemed dwarfed" also threw me a bit. What if it was mound? I’m seeing someone standing in the doorway looking in. So… I want it more present. What about…
“Even the mound of the child she carries is dwarfed by the faded patchwork quilt.”

Heather: This is beautiful Lin! The imagery is excellent. I wouldn't change a thing about the first sentence. I got a little confused reading the second sentence though. With the first sentence it felt as though we were standing at a door looking in, then the second sentence had us moving it felt like. Again, I love the imagery in the second sentence too though. The child being dwarfed by the patchwork quilt is a lovely picture. With a little tightening/clarifying this will be fantastic!

Linda: The images are vivid and evocative in these sentences, nicely done. I did have to read the second sentence a couple of times—the word, 'hill' stopped me. It might need a couple more words to make it clearer.  One other thought: since this is the opening paragraph, it would be good to give readers a bit more grounding. Is it possible to identify who's talking? Even if you were to just identify the speaker as "I" that would help. (e.g. "From where I stood in the cottage doorway, she looked like a doll on the bed . . .) 

first paragraph 2
Author: Myne Whitman   
Story Description: My book is a romance where a 30years old lady vacationing in Nigeria from the US is seduced by the local hottie.

First Paragraph: 
“Dunni, when are we going to come and cook for your wedding?” In the dull light of dawn, Dunni glanced at the inquisitive eyes of the woman slicing onions beside her mother and looked away.

Karlene: First… Fun! Fun! Fun! I want to be that woman! ;) Okay… back to work.

I’m not sure who is talking here. Is the woman slicing onions beside mother speaking, or the mother? I’m guessing the mother. But I think we need a little clarity of who’s doing what. I like the feeling of what’s happening, but feels a bit awkward.

How about… (and I’m just playing a bit here)…

“When are we going to come and cook for your wedding?” Dunni’s mother asked her for the umpteenth time. In the dull light of dawn, Dunni glanced at the inquisitive eyes of the woman slicing onions beside her mother then looked away.

Does “then” work better than “and” looked away?

I hope this helps and I’m looking forward to reading both of these stories!!! Thank you ladies!

XOX Karlene

Heather: What a fun concept! I love stories that take place somewhere that feels exotic to me, and this definitely does! I like the opening sentence because it immediately tells me what's going to be happening soon. There is the anticipation of a wedding and all the fun/chaos that comes with it, that draws me in. The second sentence may have more power if you added something to the end of it like this: "and was forced to look away from the impatience within them". Of course it doesn't have to be that exactly, especially since I'm not sure what the woman is saying comes from impatience. All that I'm looking for in that second sentence is the reason Dunni looks away when she was the one who looked at the woman in the first place. Great job, you have a good beginning here!

Linda: I'm totally drawn in to this story by this opening. We all know what it's like for someone to be questioned or teased about why they're not married yet, and that's a plus for hooking the reader. Also, in this case, I'm aware that 'coming to cook for the wedding' is a cultural custom, and I'm excited that I'll be reading a story that incorporates this type of information about a culture that is different from my own. So you've got both universality and unusual information going for you. Nice. One caution: it can be disconcerting to open a chapter, let alone the first chapter, with dialogue, because the reader has no idea who the person talking is, or how they figure into the story, until you tell them. If your immediate next sentences make these things clear by providing a context, then it's probably not an issue.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

A huge shout, and many hugs, to Lissa Clouser! Lissa honored the critique sisters to be the recipients of the versatile blogger award. I happened to get lucky to share the thanks on behalf of my sisters. And an exciting post it is. Secrets that not many know about me will follow. 

Thank you Lissa!  

Check out Lissa’s blog—A Quid for the Quill

Bloggers who accept this award should:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

Seven things. Hmmm….  I’m thinking we should go deep and personal here. Fact is sometimes scarier and or funnier than fiction. Now it’s your choice—to laugh or cry.

1.     I worked 16 days in a row and last night slept 14 hours.
2.     I had dinner in Bangkok, Narita, Singapore and Shanghai last week.
3.     I have six grandkids: 3 ½ , 19 mo, 12 mo, 2 mo, due Dec 10 and March 3rd.
4.     My Dad has never read a book! OMG.... but true.
5.     My husband is 21 years older than me, our first daughter 21 years younger, and we’ve been married 30 years.
6.     Every Monday I write a motivation on my Flight To Success Blog.
7.     I got called into the Chief Pilot’s office, and written up, for violating the chain of command by asking the CEO for a crew room to give a Christmas party for all the crews working on Christmas last year.

And the blogs I’m giving this award to are:

Enjoy the journey!

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone Blog Party

To celebrate the release of my good friend~and fabulous author~Talli Rolland's latest book, Watching Willow Watts, the Critique Sisters are participating in it's launch party. This isn't just any launch party though. In Watching Willow Watts one country girl is about to discover fame can cost a fortune. If you love witty writing that propels you along a fantastic ride then Talli's books are for you. The eBook is out now and the paperback will be releasing this November.

Talli's launch party is as unique and fun as she is. She's calling it the "If I could be anyone, I'd be... party". So now I have to tell you who I'd like to be, anyone living, dead, or even from a story, and why. When you read WWW you'll know why!

That's an easy one for me, I'd be Rogue from the X-Men. Though the movie was decent I'm talking about the one from the comic books. The one who could fly, had super strength, and could sap the life energy out of anything she touched. Now come on, how awesome would that be?! Oh gosh, I just revealed that I was a bit of a comic book junkie didn't I? Oops. But hey, it was worth it to support the lovely Talli and her awesome new book. So before you run off and order your copy of Watching Willow Watts, tell me, who would you be?


Monday, September 12, 2011

First Paragraphs for Critique

Some great women sent us their first paragraphs for our critique feature this month (no men this month or last . . . hmmm, c'mon guys, we don't bite!). I've run the names through to select two for critique, shown below.

Please join us in providing these authors with your insights and thoughts about their opening paragraphs in the comments section (constructive crits only, please). We all love getting the kind of feedback we can use to hone our work for publication, so honesty is essential, and so is identifying what is working well, in addition to areas for improvement. Thanks in advance to everyone who comments with their thoughts–feel free to critique one or both entries, but if you see that someone hasn't received critiques yet, it would be great if you would provide one there.

first paragraph 1
Author: Lyn Wash  
Story Description: YA medieval fantasy. I follow the perspectives of three characters, one of whom will later be accused of witchcraft.

First ParagraphFrom the cottage doorway, she looked like a doll left on the bed: small and fragile. Even the hill of the child she carried seemed dwarfed by the faded patchwork quilt.

first paragraph 2
Author: Myne Whitman   
Story Description: My book is a romance where a 30years old lady vacationing in Nigeria from the US is seduced by the local hottie.

First Paragraph: “Dunni, when are we going to come and cook for your wedding?” In the dull light of dawn, Dunni glanced at the inquisitive eyes of the woman slicing onions beside her mother and looked away.

Each of the critique sisters will work on her comments for both paragraphs this week, too, and I'll post them here next Monday.

If your paragraph didn't get chosen this time, please try again next time. We do this feature with manuscripts' key paragraphs or sentences each month, and may be doing first pages and queries soon, as well.


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Secret of Spruce Knoll... Heather!

Today is a very special day for me. I have the great opportunity to interview our friend and Critique Sister, Heather McCorkle. After her incredible tour of secrets, we all learned so much. But I’m always fascinated what makes people tick—The reason behind their success. 

 As we all know, Heather wrote the Secret of Spruce Knoll. The most promising YA novel of the year—And the first of many novels you’ll see coming from Heather.

I suspect we’ll learn a few more things from Heather today. Thank you for joining us.

Heather, one thing (of many) that amazes and inspires me is how dedicated you are to your writing, as well as your willingness to support and help everyone. All that takes time... and I'm wondering how you balance family, work, and writing, and still make time for your helping activities. More accurately, where does your motivation and drive come from?

Balance, what's that? LOL! Seriously, I'm very lucky to have an understanding other half who treats my writing as a career and respects the time I have to spend doing it. Much of my drive and motivation comes from him. :)

I know what you mean about balance and the understanding other half. The support from those around us comes out in the respect they share for our passion. Respect is the key. So back to you. What do you think the readers of Secret of Spruce Knoll will love most about your story?

I hope they'll love the characters the most. I know I do!

A character driven story is essential, and your characters are a gift to everyone. I, too, know the readers will love them. I do too! In addition to characters, and people in general, you have compassion for the earth, the love animals, and live quite the interesting life at work. How much of your personal life, if any, seeps into your writing?

When you put it that way, a lot. The underlying tones of The Secret of Spruce Knoll are environmental. But that doesn't come from me so much as it does from what I see around me. More and more I see kids who care about the earth and who are working hard to conserve and care for it. That inspired me!

Isn’t that the truth—inspiration comes “from” the kids. I know that mine have inspired me in so many ways. We can all learn so much from those around us, and the young are no exception. Speaking of which, if you could share one thing you've learned through your publishing process, what would that be?

Research thoroughly, ask questions of others who have been there, and trust your instincts. 

Instinct—that little voice on our shoulder that gives us direction—is something we should all listen to. There are other voices that come through experience that spark creativity and growth we should listen to, too. So… I heard that you're branching out into something new and creative within the book publishing industry. Would you like to share with our readers what that is?

Trying to get a secret out of me are you?! Alright, I'll give you a taste. I'm working on a special edition of Spruce Knoll for a publisher that came with an offer I just couldn't refuse. And that's all you're getting for now. ;)

Yeah… another secret! I knew we could wrap up your tour of secrets with one more. Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us!

For those of you who haven’t purchased The Secret of Spruce Knoll, yet, click HERE to do so. I bought six hardbacks and will purchase a few more when I return home. I’m giving them as Christmas gifts! Sharing the gift of reading, and supporting such a wonderful lady. What could be better than that?

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Helping Libraries In Need

Though hurricane Irene was more bark than bite for most, it unfortunately didn't leave everyone in the hub of the literary world unscathed. A massive amount of rain caused flooding that came so fast it didn't give many a chance to prepare. Among those affected was a small town library that sadly lost most of it's children's and young adult books. Author Kate Messner brought this story to light after a recent trip through the area. Please click here to read her story.

It is a terribly sad sight the Kate drove upon in this small town. Books were piled high on the lawn of the library, the majority of them too wet to save. The children's book inventory was almost entirely ruined because they were on the bottom shelf where the children could reach them.

As an author and a book lover I couldn't sit by and do nothing. Chances are this isn't the only library whose inventory has been devastated, but it is the one for which I first heard the call for help so I'm answering. I've already donated a copy of my young adult novel The Secret of Spruce Knoll and I'm going through my book collection to see what else I can give. If you would like to help check out Kate's post. If you know of any other libraries that have been impacted by this incident, or are in need for whatever reason, feel free to leave a comment.

Also, don't forget to stop by Linda's post and throw your name in for our first paragraph critiques! It can be anonymous if you like and no worries, our site is copy protected so no one can right click and copy your work.


Monday, September 5, 2011

First Paragraph Critiques


Rachael Harrie is doing an incredible job over at her blog, Rach Writes, where she has launched her third annual Platform Building Campaign. I just joined in the nick of time on August 30, and am so excited by the generous and valuable efforts Rachael is making to help writers who blog connect with each other in genre or other groups. I'm really looking forward to getting to know the other bloggers in my groups (adult fiction, cozy mystery, suspense and thriller, and historical). Since Heather and Karlene and I all write different genres, we cover a lot of Rachael's territory!  I'm looking forward to participating in the challenges, too. Unfortunately I'm MIA for the one starting today :-( due to family priorities this week. But I'll be there for the next one.  Thank you so much, Rachael. This is fabulous.

Now, on to First Paragraph Critiques:

Here at CSC, we're doing critiques once a month. In August Heather set up a first sentence critique, which concluded August 24 with these critiques. In September, we're focusing on first paragraphs.

What makes an excellent first paragraph? Like a first sentence, it must hook the reader's attention. It must also set the frame of mind for entering the narrative, and pull the reader in to an intriguing set up. We are all so close to our own writing it's hard to be objective, no matter how good we are at offering critiques to others. Getting insightful perspectives from experienced outside readers is invaluable, and that's what we hope to provide you here.

With first sentences, we were able to include three great entries from blog readers who wanted to participate. Given the length of paragraphs vs. sentences, we'll have to limit it to two this month, but everyone who's interested, please leave us a comment that includes:
1) a little about your story (one or two sentences max, and they don't have to be lyrical), and
2) follow that with your first paragraph.
You are welcome to send your entry signed 'anonymous' if you prefer that to attaching your name. (Also, this blog site is copy protected, so no one can right-click and copy and paste your work.)

We'll use to randomly select two of the entries, and next Monday I'll post them here, and open the comments up for feedback (constructive criticism only, please). The Monday after that I'll post the two paragraphs with feedback from each critique sister.

Come join us, and let's dig in to some good, enjoyable and worthwhile critiques.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Mixing up the Genres

Earlier this week Heather wrote a great post on Reading Your Genre. Heather say’s, “You don't have to write what sells, you can still write what's in your heart, but you must know what is selling. Knowledge is power.” She couldn’t be more right.

And then there are those of us—I can’t be the only one—that read many different genres.

The reasons are many why we should read our genre, and Heather validates them all in her post. But there are benefits of delving into other genres, too... besides being fun.


I’ve realized that when I read one author, one style, one genre, I can’t help it… but sometimes their favorite words and the tempo sneaks into my writing. Mixing it up, helps me to find my own voice, or a unique voice. YA, comedy, romance, thrillers, memoirs, etc., all together create a unique flavor. If I pick up something I love in a YA, or romance novel, and then sneak it into my thriller, the thriller reader says, “Wow, how fresh. I haven’t read that before!”

I attribute my diverse way of thinking to the core meaning of diversity— Taking the best from all cultures, and coming up with something unique and fresh. It’s all about thinking outside the box. And yes, you need to know the “rules” of your genre. But then I say… break them just a little, you might be surprised at the results.

But when the agents want comparables…read what Heather has to say by clicking here.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene