M IS FOR…

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I’m always interested in learning new words. When I’m reading a story and come across a word that is unfamiliar I get excited. Expanding our vocabulary is one of the best gifts that come from reading.

For today’s post, I’m listing ten unusual words that begin with M which I found from a site called The Phrontistery.

1. Mantology- Fortune Telling

2. Mandament-Command or order

3. Martext- Ignorant Preacher

4. Molochize- To sacrifice

5. Multipotent- Having the power to do many things

6. Mabsoot-Happy

7. Mow- To make a grimace

8. Muchity- Great size or bulk

9. Mulism- obstinate quirk or habit

10. Medius- The middle finger

To view more unusual M words click on the link above. Can you use one of these words in a sentence?

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LIPSTICK KISSES

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Yesterday I was busy going to softball and baseball games. I (like many of you) have very little extra time during the day (especially given the fact I work the grave shift) so when a day like yesterday occurs (two back to back games) I find it difficult to write. I missed the L post for A to Z but decided I will post something I wrote four years ago. The topic is still relevant and it happens to be an L so I thought why not. Later today, I will put up my “M” post.

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I have random pieces of paper with lipstick kisses scattered wherever I frequent. There are lipstick kisses on the back of envelopes and napkins in the console of my car. My dresser has a few receipts painted with my lip impressions. Toilet paper sheets with my pucker stamp lie amongst the junk and waste in my garbage can.

How does lipstick kisses relate to writing? I’m not sure I would have connected the two myself if it wasn’t for a comment made by a friend the other day.

“I like you without eye shadow,” says friend.

“I like eye shadow. I like make-up,” says me.

The words left my mouth and then it hit me. Editing your work is like kissing an envelope. You need to get rid of the excess in order to look your best.
I tend to overwrite. I love to overwrite. But, I am aware that to become the best writer that I can be, I need to smudge out some of the words that flood my paper. If I don’t blot out the wordiness I risk looking like I tried too hard or not hard enough.

Can wordiness be the kiss of death? Do you have editing tips that you would like to share?

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KEEP TRUE TO YOURSELF

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It’s so easy to want to get caught up in today’s writing trends. The vampire stories made a few people rich, Harry Potter and his gang put the wizards back on the map and the dystopian novels made for great reads that turned into epic movies.

All of this doesn’t mean that you should try to come up with your own versions of these stories.
Be the person that tries to think of something that hasn’t been thought of before (I know sometimes this feels impossible). Write your own unique stories. Stay true to yourself.

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JOIN A COMMUNITY

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JOIN A COMMUNITY

If you’re a writer then consider joining a writing group. Writing groups offer support, provide information, alert you to writing events such as conferences, meet and greets etc.
You can find a writing group whether you write picture books, science fiction, poetry or romance novels. There are groups for every type of writer. Below are a few that may interest you.
Do you belong to a writing group or organization?

SCBWI- (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) One of the largest international organization for children writers. The SCBWI provides valuable information for writers, organizes two annual international conferences and has over seventy regional chapters which host their own conferences. Members of the SCBWI can apply for scholarships and grants. Click here to read more about the SCBWI.

Writers Café-An online community that allows writers to post their work, receive reviews, meet other writers, enter contests and enroll in writing courses.

SFWA (SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS OF AMERICA)-An organization dedicated to science fiction and fantasy writers. You can participate in the discussion boards and get acquainted with other sci-fi/fantasy writers. Ray Bradbury is just one of the popular sci-fi authors who was a member of this organization.

AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS-An organization for Christian fiction writers. You can find critique groups and online workshops,blogs, and conference information on their website

MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA- An organization dedicated to crime writers. They give out Edgar Awards each spring. If you are interested in writing crime this is the organization to join.

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA (RWA)-Do you write romance novels or hope to one day? If you do then you want to check out this growing organization. Each year it holds a “Reader’s for Life,” Literacy Autographing. The money collected is used for literacy organizations.

I’d love to hear more about the communities you are a part of. How did you hear about your organization and how has it benefited you?

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INTERVIEW WITH INDIE AUTHOR DEREK MILLER

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Allow me to introduce you to Derek Miller. Derek is a good friend of mine who also happens to be one of my critique partners. His debut novel Divinity was released two days ago. Derek decided to self-publish his novel instead of going the traditional route and is excited for others to read his work. He is a talented writer who I predict will go far in the writing world.

This is one of my favorite author interviews I’ve done. Not only because Derek is *ahem* one of my critique partners and complimented me in one of the questions but because Derek provides such well-thought out answers.

Divinity Cover Ibook (1)

Divinity is the first book of many that will follow the lost years of Jesus Christ. Please feel free to leave Derek a comment at the end of the interview wishing him luck and success. (Anyone who comments will be entered into a giveaway).

Hi Derek, thanks for stopping by Writing Like Crazy.
Thanks for having me.

Okay, let’s jump right into the interview.

Can you please describe in greater detail what Divinity is about?

Divinity is the first installment of The Lost Years of Jesus Christ, which is story of Jesus’ life between his twelfth and thirtieth years. This entire span is not covered at all in the Bible. The final story of Jesus in the Bible shows him preaching to the Pharisees and Sadducees outside the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Divinity picks up shortly after that. I don’t want to give away too much, but here is the description that will accompany the book when I release it.
Joshua of Nazareth, better known today as Jesus Christ, is about to celebrate his thirteenth birthday and become a man in the eyes of his people. After witnessing young Joshua’s charisma and speaking ability at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a power hungry Sadducee priest named Moloch journeys to Nazareth hoping to recruit the boy for his own purposes. Unaware of the priest’s impending visit, Joseph prepares to divulge secrets that have been kept from Joshua since his birth, secrets that will change the course of his life forever.

What inspired you to write this novel?

I’d love to say that it was divine inspiration, but sadly that’s not the case. I’ve always been curious about the missing years of Jesus’ life. Even as a young child in Catholic school I couldn’t understand why so much was known about his birth and death, but nothing was known about the majority of the time in between. How could eighteen years of his life be completely unaccounted for? What was he doing? Who was he with? The answers just weren’t out there, so I decided to come up with my own ideas.

Do you try and stay true to the facts the bible has provided us with. Are all of your characters ones that have been mentioned in the bible?

I did try my best to stay true to the Bible whenever possible. The problem is that the Gospels are littered with inconsistencies.
For example, in the Gospel of Matthew it is claimed that Joseph is a descendant of King David. In the Gospel of Luke it is said that Mary is descended from David. I couldn’t keep true to both, so in that case I went with Matthew. Joseph being a descendant of David is a central theme in the story.
Another good example is Elizabeth, Miriam’s (Mary’s) aunt. If you look in the English translated Bible you will see that Elizabeth is referred to as Mary’s cousin. However, if you look at the Greek text the word is suggenes, which is a vague term that means relative. So I took the liberty of making Elizabeth her aunt in this story.
Luckily, most of the story deals with a time that the Bible gives us little information about, so I didn’t have to worry about it too much.
Many of my characters in my story are mentioned in the Bible as well as in the chronicles of history, these include: Jesus (Joshua), Miriam (Mary), Joseph, Elizabeth (Mary’s aunt), Yohan (John the Baptist and Jesus’ cousin), Joseph of Arimathea, Annas (High Priest during this time), Caesar Augustus (Emperor of Rome), Cleopatra (Last Pharaoh of Egypt), Herod the Great (Last King of Israel), and the list goes on.
However, there are several characters that I made up as well, these include: Moloch (Sadducee priest and brother of Annas), Amara (Lethal archer with a sordid past), Thea (Female bounty hunter).

You and I have discussed the possibility of controversy (readers may not have the same thoughts on what Jesus did or the situations he encountered in the eighteen years that are not mentioned much in the bible) how do you plan on handling this if it occurs?

First, I’ll remind everyone that this is fiction. I welcome a little controversy, and fully expect there to be some. I don’t mind if people disagree with me, in fact I welcome it. All I want to do is make people think.
This is the first book of many, do you have an idea of how many additional books there will be?
At this point I’d guess a minimum of five. When I first began writing Divinity I intended it to cover 1-2 years, but once I started writing I realized that would be impossible unless I wanted it to be as long as the Bible. Divinity only covers a few months, leaving over seventeen years to go. I’ll be taking a small break from The Lost Years of Jesus Christ to work on another story I have been itching to write. My plan is to write a piece of The Lost Years in between every other story I write. Since this one took me about a year and a half, you can expect a new piece of the story every 2-3 years.

Can you share with us the research you did while writing this book?

There was a lot of it. I read a few books on the history of Judaism because that is probably the most important aspect of this book. Jesus was Jewish. I had to be very careful to make sure my characters followed the proper customs. I’m sure I overlooked something, sorry about that. I also had to read up on the Pharisees and Sadducees, two major factions of Judaism. These two groups had wildly different belief structures, which I explain in the book. Most of the names for Roman officials and Hebrew leaders are real. Some of it I found online, some through traditional books.
What made you decide to self-publish rather than going the traditional route for publication?
It might be silly, but the thought of dealing with agents and publishers fills me with dread. The book is finished, and I’m working a new project. I found it impossible to concentrate on the new story while this one remained in limbo, so I decided to self-publish. Many people have questioned my decision and said that I might not make as much money doing it this way or it won’t reach as many people. The money doesn’t matter much to me, and I think if it’s good it will get recognition. I just want my story out there for people to, hopefully, enjoy. If I make a few bucks in the process, woohoo!

What is your writing process? Some of us need coffee in order to write, others do it with a glass of wine. Do you have any necessities you need in order to sit down to write?

I have no rituals for when I write. No special foods, drinks, or places. I hate writing in coffee shops, but other than that anything is fair game. I’ve written in cars, on airplanes, at home, and even on my tablet while out for a walk. I do tend to get a lot done when I write on my lunch hour at work because my brain is already in work mode. One thing I do is I try to write an entire chapter whenever I write. It doesn’t matter how long it is, it just has to be a full chapter.

There are many writers out there struggling with the idea of self-publishing, can you offer any advice or tell them some of the steps that need to be taken when deciding to self-publish (eg. Is it expensive? How do you get your book out there? Do you get to choose your cover?)

Deciding whether or not to self-publish is a big deal. I can’t say yet whether or not I have made the right decision, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the process.
Self-publishing is more for people who like to do things themselves. I’ve run a few small internet businesses over the years, and always did everything from accounting to marketing to manual labor myself.

Here’s a small list of the things I had to do on the road to self-publishing:

1. Design a cover – I purchased a custom cover from an online service. I won’t use the name, but most of them are more or less the same. They created the cover, but I had to tell them what to create. Not as easy as it seems.
2. Learn e-book formatting and conversion – I wrote the book in Word for the most part, and there are many features of Word that don’t convert properly to e-book formats .epub (Nook and I-books format) and .mobi (Kindle format). I had to watch several tutorials and practice to get it right.
3. Editing – I had to rely on friends and family when deciding what edits needed to be made to strengthen my book. I was lucky. I had some really good editors helping me out, people who didn’t sugar coat the truth to make me feel good, including you Maribeth. Be very careful about who you allow to edit for you.
4. Marketing – See below
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Since I don’t have a publisher, I will be relying mainly on social media and word of mouth to promote my book. I have a Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that I will be maintaining for the book. I’ll also be going around to popular religious message boards and posting descriptions and links to my book. My mom has probably done a better job of marketing it than I have thus far. She’s already talked about 20-30 of her friends into buying it when it comes out. Thanks Mommy!

Do you plan on offering this book as a hard copy as well as an e-book?

It’s a possibility, but it really depends on the demand. If the book is successful I will certainly try my best to also offer a printed version so that people who don’t have access to or, as in the case of my grandparents, have no idea how to use a kindle. I hope eventually I can make it available to anyone who wants to read it.

Okay Derek, it’s time for some rapid fire questions. Are you ready?

Shoot

What book are you reading right now?

Little house on the Prairie. I bought the first five novels as one leather bound book at Barnes and I’m working on that right now. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt the show was better than the book.

Do you have a thinking spot?

The shower. My poor landlord has to pay the water bill too.

Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King, but if not for George R.R. Martin I never would have become a writer. I got so annoyed waiting for him to come out with the next Game of Thrones book that I decided to write my own story!

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

Not until two years ago. I always enjoyed writing, but I wrote a really bad short horror story in eighth grade, and my teacher crushed my hoped and dreams by telling me it was garbage. I’ve always had ideas that I wanted to develop into stories, but the truth is I never gave it a shot until I met you Maribeth. You encouraged my ideas and gave me the strength to give it another try. So any success I have is thanks to you and George.(AAh, I’m blushing over here.)

Do you have a favorite genre?

Fantasy in general, specifically anything dealing with medieval or magical elements.
Finally, I always end my interviews by asking what your favorite word is and why? Mine is Believe.
Balance. It is something I strive for in every aspect of my life. Whether it means trying to keep an even temperament, not drinking too much (or too little), or trying to stand on one leg for prolonged periods of time (I take Kung Fu).

Can you please share with my readers where they can find you? Twitter, Facebook, Website etc.
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr

https://twitter.com/DivinityTLY

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek-Miller/511696372274078?ref=hl

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/divinitytly

Where can we purchase Divinity?
Divinity will isavailable for purchase right now on the Kindle, Nook, and Ibooks.

I mentioned above there would be a giveaway for one commenter. If you leave Derek a comment you will be entered into a secret giveaway (Okay, secret sounds fun but the truth is I haven’t decided what the surprise will be yet, but I promise it will be well-thought out).

An extra added bonus, Anyone who comes back and tells me they purchased Derek’s book will also be entered into another giveaway. Come on guys, let’s rally together and help Derek sell some books.

Derek, thank you for giving such detailed answers. I wish you nothing but luck and success.

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The Poet

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April is not only the month bloggers participate in the A to Z challenge, it’s also National Poetry month. I adore poets and love to read poetry. I have dabbled in poetry writing since I was a teenager but I don’t think I’m good enough to be considered a true poet.

Today, I’m sharing a Haiku I wrote in honor of Spring and today’s letter-H.

The Poet

Resurrecting Sun
Fresh air twirls through sprouting blooms
The poet observes

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THE GRAPEVINE STORY (A CHARACTER BUILDING GAME)

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Do you remember playing the grapevine game when you were a small child? You know, the game where one person whispers a phrase into the ear of another person and then that person does the same to another and then another until there are no more people to whisper it to? More times than not the participants discover the original phrase has changed by the time it gets to the end of the line of people playing the game. You played this right?
That game inspired me to write today’s a to z challenge for the letter G.

Our character’s name for this game is Shay. Shay’s a twenty year old college student taking the day off from school to go to the giant street fair that only comes around once a year. The festival is a cross between a giant flea market and a big craft fair with bands playing music too. There are vendors, musicians, food stands and artist galore at this event. Shay brought lots of money to shop and eat.

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Leave a comment letting us know what you think Shay will get or do at this festival. What stands will she stop at? Is she interested in the art work from local vendors? Does she want a piece of artisan jewelry? Is she hungry for a portabella mushroom sandwich or would she be more likely to grab a hotdog? What type of music will Shay stop to listen to? Is Shay alone or did she bring others with her? Feel free to leave a physical description of Shay.
At the end of the day, I’m going to go through the comments and update this blog with an in depth character description of Shay based on the details everyone provides. You can get a good feel for a person based on the foods they like, the items they buy for themselves or the music they listen to. Shay will evolve based on your comments. Currently, I have a vision for her in my mind but I’m certain by the time I read through the comments I will see her differently.
Happy Writing!

UPDATE: I WILL POST THE CHARACTER DESCRIPTION BY WEEKS END. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED BUILD SHAY.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION OF SHAY

Thanks for helping me build Shay. I believe we created a hippie which is fine with me because I always wished I was born in the era of the hippie. Shay reminds me of a lyric of a grateful dead song. She wore rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes. I imagine Shay was wearing a dark red bandanna skirt with a white halter top and strappy sandals. Her hair is swept up into a messy bun and her face is covered with over sized sunglasses.

Medeia mentioned she bought beaded bracelets (which I totally imagine her to be wearing) and elephant ears. I think (however I may be wrong), Medeia meant the flaky pastry and not actual elephant ears. So we have Shay stopping for a pastry. Her arm is filled with her newly purchased multicolored beads. She is the type of girl others watch from afar.

She’s confident too. Confident enough to purchase a pair of floppy elephant ears from a novelty vendor next to the bandstand. She slips the grey ears over her head and bops over to the band where she listens to the bluegrass band. She sways slow, her head moves with the jazzy beat of the instruments. She smiles before taking another bite from the fluffy pastry. Flakes of crust flutter down her shirt which she brushes off.

Shay strolls out of the band area and heads back to the vendors. She’s filled from the pastry but not stuffed. She can’t resist the fried Avocado with the crispy corn dog coating. She chooses the ranch dipping sauce. Today is a day to splurge.

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