News and Updates

Award for the short story "Nowhere, Man," by Vicky Savage

Award for the short story “Nowhere, Man,” by Vicky Savage

Okay, okay, I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I’m feeling in the Christmas mood. The holiday season always inspires me to be hopeful and energized. That feeling of excitement arrived a bit early for me this year! free-clipart-christmas-4niBb89cA

This logo in the left corner is an award I was honored to receive in Writer’s Digest’s annual writing competition for my short story “Nowhere, Man.” One of the reasons I’ve neglected my blog for so many months is that I’ve been focused like a maniac on improving the quality of my writing by creating shorter works of fiction (and a bit of non-fiction and poetry). This award was like receiving an early Christmas present. It’s gratifying to have my work recognized, and I sincerely hope to see more of these darlings in the future!

Delving into the world of literary short fiction has been an eye opening, educational, and sometimes frustrating experience. On the positive side, the satisfaction derived from completing a project comes much more often than with novel writing. A novel can take me up to a year or more to complete. On the negative side, the rejections also arrive much more often. One of my workshop instructors noted that the odds of having a short story published in a literary magazine are lower than the odds of getting into Harvard. As daunting as that statistic sounds, the worst part for me is actually having to develop new project ideas at a dizzying pace. Finish one story and bam! gotta start another one. All my old characters and the worlds I created must be abandoned for new ones, and just when I was getting to know them. But the next tale is always waiting to be spun.

I learned something valuable about myself during this process: While I enjoy writing short stories, and will always have one or two in the works, my temperament is better suited to long term projects (novels and series). I like getting up each morning and knowing exactly what I’m going to write that day. It may not always come out precisely as I intended when I sat down, but at least I know what the chapter is supposed to be about. And I like making friends with my characters and having them in my life for more than a few weeks at a time.

Consequently, I’m working on getting back to my roots and developing ideas for a new series (Yay!). I’m also compiling a collection of some of my short stories, which I hope to publish around the first of the year, while continuing to submit my already completed stories to contests and publications.

I regret I’ve been so absorbed in other projects that I haven’t updated my blog more frequently and haven’t posted many (read: any) book reviews lately, but I intend to be more diligent about that. Two non-fiction books I’ve read recently and highly recommend are:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Can’t say enough about this wonderful book and its healthy approach to living the creative life. It’ll make you feel good about yourself and whatever creative outlet you choose to pursue. I listened to the audio book narrated by the author and found it absorbing and entertaining throughout.

How to Write Short, Word Craft for Fast Times, by Roy Peter Clark. Roy Clark is a real smart guy when it comes to the art of writing, and I love all of his books, but this one is my favorite. Not just for writers, it has practical advice for everyone on how to write shorter and crisper, whether posting a tweet, or undertaking the great American novel.

Hope to share more soon. In the meantime, have a Happy Halloween!
jack-o-lantern-630382_1920

 

*On my birthday my amazing daughter gave me Joni Mitchell The Complete Poems and Lyrics. I’d sleep with this awesome book under my pillow if I thought some of Joni’s creativity could transfer to me by osmosis! You may recognize the title of this post from one of her songs.

Jaden and Gabriel by Kat Gavin

Jaden and Gabriel by Kat Gavin

Greetings readers, authors, and aspiring writers. I wanted to share with you some more fabulous art from the amazing Kat Gavin, and to list a  few of the many reasons I love writing (and reading) young adult fiction. Also, scroll down for an awesome Transcender Trilogy countdown sale!

  1. YA IS NOT JUST FOR TEENS! Okay, we didn’t need studies to tell us that adults, young and old alike, read YA, but I was surprised to find that over half of YA readers are over the age of 18. It makes sense, though—some of the most courageous, edgy, and freshest stories today are being written under the YA mantle. I just read an article entitled Against YA that made me want to scream. It suggests adults should eschew the “satisfying endings” delivered by most YA novels in favor of the “complexity of great adult literature.” http://goo.gl/dl8fIW. Seriously? I write (and read) YA precisely to escape the complexities of life. I want to be entertained—to laugh and cry and fall in love with fictional characters, and to have a break from the stresses of everyday life. Bring on the satisfying ending—it’s why I persevere to the last page!
  2. YA CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE. Do you love sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia, adventure, and romance? So do I. That’s why I toss them all into my books. In YA, it’s no-holds-barred—from light comedy to dark techno-punk and more. There’s no set formula. Typically, the protagonist is a young adult. That’s it. No steadfast rules. I spent a lot of years practicing law and always thought I’d eventually write a legal thriller. In fact I have several half-written, cheesy legal thrillers tucked inside my desk, but I lost interest because they were boring. Good YA is rarely boring. It takes its own course, and if you give it free rein, you may be surprised where it will lead you.
  3. YA DOESN’T PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING IT’S NOT. Have you ever read a book and felt the author was more worried about impressing the audience (or the critics) with how erudite (read: pretentious and snobby) she is rather than telling a good story? Ugh! A big DNF. YA doesn’t pretend to be high literature. It’s designed to engage the emotions, introduce relatable characters, and speak in a distinctive, youthful voice. We’re all familiar with what it’s like to be young and struggling with first love, difficult friends, parental love/hate relationships, and all the other messy challenges of entering adulthood. These incredibly powerful, unadulterated emotions are what inspire me most. YA gives us a vehicle for understanding how others deal with these universal issues, and after all, isn’t that what story is all about? Seeing how other people clean up the everyday messes of life.
  4. THE YA STYLE IS FUN TO READ AND WRITE. Despite the fact that there are no hard and fast rules for writing YA, I admit that most YA novels seem to have a style of writing that is unique to the category. In general, YA is character driven and plot-heavy (as opposed to stream-of-consciousness or descriptive narration), and it’s faster-paced with large chunks of dialog. The crotchety old curmudgeons out there will say that’s the problem with literature today—it caters to the fast food, instant gratification junkies in our society. Actually, I believe it’s a more modern, engaging way of writing. If the author constructs scenes and shapes characters in an easy-to-visualize manner, snappy dialog can propel the story along like a well-made movie, sweeping up the reader as it goes.
  5. YA CREATES READERS OUT OF OTHERWISE DISINTERESTED YOUNG ADULTS. Have you seen high school summer reading lists lately? Okay, they’re still overloaded with dry, fossilized, dreary tomes from another era, but they seem to be getting a little better. The more enlightened librarians and teachers of today are sprinkling some YA selections in with the timeworn classics of yesteryear, and the results are not surprising—students are discovering the joy of reading! Kudos to those farsighted souls who realize that present day teens do not relate to Lord of the Flies (believe me, I had to listen to my son’s daily complaints).

What do you like most about YA literature?

TRANSCENDER TRILOGY BOX SET: BOOKS 1 AND 2 ONLY $0.99 for a limited time!

BUY HERE

Transcender 2 Box Set

It’s been an exciting few weeks! First, the Transcender Blog Tour and Giveaway was Awesome (with a capital A). Coordinated by my phenomenal friend, Christina Hickey at Ensconced in Lit, I had tons of fun and met some amazing bloggers. If you’re looking for great blogs like I always am, check out the blogs below for insightful reviews, thought-provoking posts, and lots of other fun and noteworthy content. I’m serious people—some of these sites are like works of art. What I’d give for the technical skills! And the Trilogy received some incredible reviews. Also, if you missed any of the tour—like the Dream Cast for the Transcender Movie or the interview with Ryder Blackthorn, you can find it all below! Congratulations to the winners of the Giveaway: Christine, Courtney, Kelly, and Lindsay, and a big Thanks to all who entered.

 

 

Gorgeous Transcender Charms from Julia at YA Book Nerd Reviews!

Gorgeous Transcender Charms from Julia at YA Book Nerd Reviews!

Ensconced in Lit – Review of  entire Trilogy plus Character interview with Jaden and some awesome fan art

Crystal in Bookland– Transcender Character Quiz (which character are you most like?)

Pandora’s Books– Transcender Movie Dream Cast w/ photos

YA Book Nerd Reviews – Review of Transcender: First-Timer

Wonderland of Reading – Review of Transcender: First-Timer

The Whimsical Mama – Guest Post

Fly to Fiction – Review of Transcender: First-Timer

Tea and Fangirling – Review

A Reading Nurse – Guest Post

I Heart YA Fiction – Review of entire Trilogy

Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Review of Transcender and Interview with Ryder Blackthorn

ILLUMINOSITY ThumbnialSecond, the ILLUMINOSITY book cover, designed by another extraordinary friend, Carrie Drazek, was chosen as a finalist in Sci-Fi for the Bookgoodies cover contest. I hope you will all take a few seconds to stop by the site and vote for the cover by leaving a comment, tweeting, and otherwise sharing the site. Each comment and share counts as a vote for the cover! Carrie did an outstanding job designing all three of the Transcender Trilogy covers and she deserves this honor! Vote for ILLUMINOSITY!

Finally, we have a number of fun things coming up in the near future, including a special $.99 promotion of the Transcender Trilogy Two Book Box Set featuring books one and two. The sale will run for no more than a week, after which this box set will be retired. I’m thrilled to announce that a Box Set featuring all three books will be released on Amazon sometime in the fall! More info on that to come.

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer, and check back often for more news and updates!

About


I’m the author of the Transcender Trilogy, TRANSCENDER: First-Timer, STREAMING STARS, and the upcoming ILLLUMINOSITY, which blends science-fiction, fantasy, and romance in an exciting cross-dimensional adventure.

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