Category Archives: Fiction

Pitch Wars, Here I Come

motivation

I have a completed mg manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I have a completed YA manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I BELIEVE in both of these manuscripts. I LOVE both of these manuscripts. I poured blood, sweat and tears into these manuscripts.

I want to understand what’s wrong with them. I want to understand how to make them better.

So, I have decided that I’m going to participate in Pitch Wars again this year. I’m still deciding which one of my babies (manuscript) to enter.

Wish me luck. If you are participating in Pitch Wars and want to swap pages or bounce ideas off of each other, leave a comment or find me on the Pitch Wars forums. I posted the first 250 words of both for review.

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Filed under BLOG, Fiction, middle grade fiction, pitch wars, Uncategorized, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

DAY JOBS (A TO Z)

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In our corner of the world we are writers. We chat about are works in progress, our submissions, our insecurities and our high hopes. We share so much of ourselves with each other through our words but yet we rarely talk about our day jobs. Sure, we might mention wanting to one day quit them to write full time, but the conversation usually stops there.
Some of us have been reading each other’s blogs and leaving comments for years yet we have no idea what each other do for a paycheck during the hours we aren’t writing.
I like that here in cyber world we are solely writers, but for today’s a to z challenge I thought it would be fun if we share what our occupations are with each other.
Do you spend your day in a classroom teaching economics? Are you a teller at bank? A hairdresser? A doctor? A scientist?
My forty hours a week are spent inside a casino. It’s a fun job. I’m what they call a dual rate. I’m a dealer certain days and other days, I’m a supervisor. I work with numbers during the day and words at night. I find it to be a nice balance but I’d prefer to write full time and deal part time.

Do you hope to one day quit your day job to write full time or is writing your hobby?

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Filed under A to Z, Fiction, writer's life, writing, Writing

BRAINSTORMING EXERCISE

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In November I attended a writing conference where we met with some great authors, illustrators, agents and editors. It was a two day conference filled with writing tips, critiques, pitch fests and mini workshops. I had a workshop with Linda Oatman High, a successful children and young adult author. Linda was AWESOME. She shared stories of her road to success, offered advice and gave us a super cool writing exercise that I’m going to give to you today. At the end of this exercise, I will share the fiction story I wrote that day.
Grab a pen and get out a piece of paper (or your laptop). Are you ready?

Write down a symbol of hope.
Write down one or two difficult times in your life.
Write down something that recently made you laugh.

Now take everything you just wrote and write a short story. You might find yourself asking how they will possibly fit together but believe me you will come up with something. If you are willing, share with us your story. If you don’t feel comfortable or have time to comment with your story then maybe just comment with the answers you wrote for the prompts given above.

As promised, here is what I came up with.
*Symbol of hope-I chose a dove
*Two difficult times in my life
1. The death of my father
2. Being an overweight teenager
*Something that recently made me laugh – I wrote down “What If” scenarios and trying to apply makeup to my husband on Halloween (we had an idea that just wasn’t coming together, the more I tried to fix the make-up, the worse it became).

Here is the story I wrote.

Every dress I tried on made me look like an Orca. I succumbed to the fact that I was going to be the fat daughter standing at the casket. I don’t remember the drive to the funeral home but I do recall the half hour before the public came in to pay their respects. I stood above the simple wooden casket staring at my lifeless hero, stroking his cold forehead and kissing his cool cheeks trying to remember the warmth they once held.
Random memories surfaced as my face filled with tears. I don’t know how I could forget the car ride over but remember the fight we had one Halloween. My mother insisted he dressed up like the rest of us. “We are trick or treating as a family,” she yelled. As she scrambled about the house gathering our costumes my father sat patiently as my eight year old brother smudged my father’s face with paint from a kit purchased at a costume store. “You’re going to look scary but cool,” my brother said.
My oldest sister flew into my bedroom whining “I don’t want to go trick or treating. I’m a teenager for crying out loud,” she protested.
“Can I eat your candy?” I asked. All I was thinking about at that moment was chocolate, sugar and more chocolate. I followed her out the room continuing to beg for her candy (I knew regardless if she wanted to go, she was going to be forced to go). She ignored my pleading and headed down the steps. I raced behind her shouting “Erika can I eat your candy?” All I wanted was to hear her say yes. I skipped the last step to get to her sooner. When I hit the landing, I felt a crunch beneath my foot. My father still sitting on the floor getting his face done, looked up when he heard the sound. His face wasn’t cool or scary, it was ridiculous. I would have laughed at the blur of mish mash colors across his face if it wasn’t for the fury I saw swimming in his eyes. When I lifted my foot, I saw the remains of the shattered ceramic dove his mother painted for him when he was six years old, three years before she died.
It was usually on the mantle of our fireplace in its special spot but that day my father allowed my brother to take it in for show and tell. He didn’t put it back. “I’m sorry Daddy,” my brother mumbled before his eyes lowered. My father’s head shook. He looked at me “You should be giving away candy not trying to eat more,” he said. My heart crashed from his hurtful words. I knew at that moment that my father the only person in my world who never made a fat comment to me thought I was fat.
The memory faded as people from his life filled the small room. I took my spot next to my siblings and thanked the people offering condolences. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that as they were telling me they were sorry for my loss they were also thinking she’s the fat daughter.
When the night came to an end and the funeral parlor emptied. I kissed my father’s cheek and said goodbye once again.
I heard its call when I stepped outside. I stood paralyzed. Above my head on a telephone wire a dove cooed. I looked up at the bird. Its head nodded as if it was acknowledging me. It might have been nothing to someone else, but to me it was my father giving me a sign in the form of a dove. Perhaps he didn’t want that memory to occupy anymore space in my mind. I let the memory of the only hurtful word my father spoke to me during his life fly away with the bird.

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Filed under A to Z, brainstorm, Fiction, writers, Writing

THE STAGES OF A WRITER PART 1

DAYDREAMING
A STORY IS BEING BORN

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ENVISIONING THE CHARACTERS

IDEA

OUTLINING

FIGURING OUT A PLOT

THE BEGINNING

Writing

THE MIDDLE

WRITERS BLOCK

THE END

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Filed under Fiction, story writing, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

CONGRATULATIONS

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Congratulations Medeia you are the winner of the signed copy Road to Tater Hill! You have commented on many of my giveaways prior to this but this is your first win. I will be sending you the book asap. Please send me a comment after you read the book letting me know how you liked it.

Readers, if you are interested in me interviewing you for my blog leave a comment an I will arrange everything.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Filed under Author Interview, books, Fiction, Giveaway, middle grade fiction, writer's life, writers

Could You, Would You, Be Anonymous?

Back when I was a young girl in elementary school a teacher read a story to our class. I can’t tell you what the name of the story was or the title, but I never forgot the author. “The author of this story is Anonymous,” she said. “Does anyone know what anonymous means?” she asked as she wrote the word in big letters across the chalkboard.

I sat there trying to properly pronounce the word in my mind, curious of whom this Anonymous person was. It was a peculiar name, one I’d never heard, or could barely pronounce. “Anonymous, means unknown,” she explained.

My heart sunk as I tried to process the explanation. How can’t they know who wrote this? I wondered. I had so many questions that I didn’t ask. Like, how was the story found? Did the person regret not letting the world know their name? Why is their identity a secret?

I still find myself asking those same questions every time I see the author listed as Anonymous. This past summer, I read the book Go Ask Alice. I think the fact that the author was Anonymous had a lot to do with the purchase.
I always wanted to come across one of these anonymous authors and pick their brains. In an industry where most of us collect rejections, it seems impossible that a nameless, faceless author would become published, but yet they do. And what is their process? Do they submit just like us? Does someone stumble upon their work, and then take the time to query work that isn’t even theirs? Who gets paid?

I understand someone may choose to be listed as anonymous if a book they are writing may stir up controversy, but what about a poem or a quote? How do these become known and then published. We as writers list quotes everyday on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Is it possible that one day we will read a quote listed as Anonymous and know it was ours?
Having said all of that, I also want to make it known I always admired Anonymous writers and often asked myself this question, “Could you be Anonymous? Would you be Anonymous?” I never replied with a straight answer. I’d like to think I could but then I say nah probably not. But, I learned a long time ago never say never. Could you be anonymous? Would you be anonymous?

5 Famous Writings by Anonymous Authors
1. Beowulf
2. Arabian Nights: Tales From One Thousand and One Nights
3. (Quote) Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow
4. Go Ask Alice
5. The Book With No Name

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Filed under Fiction, story telling, writer's life, writing, Writing

Books at the Beach

When I was about eleven years old I went to Ocean City New Jersey with my family. We set our spots up and unpacked all of the beach essentials. As I was about to lay on my blanket and get some sun I noticed my aunt was reading. I recall looking around and becoming fascinated by so many people holding books. I wanted to be one of them. I begged my mother to take me to the boardwalk that night so I could select a book of my own. I wanted to read on the beach too.

My first beach read was Tigers Eye by Judy Blume. I, along with my aunt and the other beach readers stretched out a blanket, plopped down and read on the beach. I was part of a club and I couldn’t help but feel special.

Many years later, I am still part of the beach reading club. This past week as I sat with legs stretched along the sand reading my selection (Go Ask Alice), inspiration hit. There were so many people holding traditional books and kindles in front of their noses that I just had to know, what they were reading.

I started off by nonchalantly strolling past them sneaking a peak at the titles. When I couldn’t make out the titles, I had to muster up the courage to ask them what they were reading. No one seemed to think I was crazy which made me happy. Everyone I asked, was happy to tell me what they were reading.

Below is a list of the books I found being read on the beach.

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This book was the most popular book being read on the beach. At least three of the people I approached were reading the suspense novel. One lady advised me that she loved that the story fluctuated point of views, going from husband to wife. Prior to the beach, I was hearing a lot of buzz about this book. I think it might be one of my next reads.
  2. Velocity: Combining Lean, Six Sigma and The Theory of Constraints to Achieve Breakthrough Performance—A Business Novel
  3. Bared To You by Sylvia Day—Erotic Romance. Book reviews say that this book has an emotional feel similar to Fifty Shades of Grey.
  4. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Book 12) If you still are yearning for vampires this series of books might be a good beach read for you.
  5. Go Ask Alice-Anonymous–This book is a diary of a young fifteen year old girl who experiences drugs for the first time when giving a soda laced with LSD. She gets caught up in the drug scene and writes about her struggles in daily journal entries.
  6. Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry) by Simone Elkeles– Love, family secrets, gangs, this book has it all.

So, there we have it. Those are the books I spotted being read while vacationing. I know there are a few listed that I have already added to my TBR list. Did you vacation this year? What book did you bring along? Are any of these on your TBR list?

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Filed under books, Fiction, life, novel, random, reading, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

ACT IT OUT

ACT IT OUT

This blog post has been walking around my thoughts for a while. I’m glad it coincides with the first letter of the blog writing challenge from A to Z.

Have you ever got to the point in your story that is begging for an action scene? You stare stupidly at the screen in front of you. Your imagination presents to you a clear picture but the words you type out are bland. All you want to do is get your main character up the stairs (insert whatever scenario you are writing about here) quickly and down the hallway to the back bedroom where there is another hidden room that she can hide from the baseball bat carrying stranger. You feel her anxiety rush through your bones but yet you can’t convey it on paper.

There are a million action scenes that can be acted out right in the confines of your own home that will help make your scene stronger. I am forever jumping over obstacles, banging into things, pretending to shoot darts, stirring a pot just so I can experience the moment of the scene. What happens when I bump into something? Does pain shoot through my body? Do I bounce back? Do I bruise?

Please don’t think I like self mutilation because I promise I do not. But, I like to get down and dirty with my writing so I can help my readers experience the scene as if they are part of it.

If I was trying to get my character up the stairs, I’d probably find a flight and start racing up them. I’d pay attention to my movements. Do I stumble? Do I catch my fall with the palms of my hands slamming against the step above? Do I trip over clutter on the stair, causing my knee to smash into the step? Once I reach the top what happens? Do I turn back to see if the stranger is right behind? Or do I race down the hallway to the secret room only I (aka the character) knows about?

If this is not something you have done before, I suggest you give it a shot. It could be something as simple as making a pot of coffee. Act out the action and see what you come up with.

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Filed under character, constructing, Fiction, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

Writers, What’s Your Story?

 

Every time I walk into a book store or library a feeling consumes me. The feeling is a combination of excitement, inspiration and contentment. I always have the same thought, This is where I belong. I feel at home amongst the sea of books and authors. I envision what the covers of my books will look like. I picture myself sitting at a table with a line of people waiting for me to sign a book. I imagine my name splattered across the books. There is nothing in my life that I have ever been more certain of. I was born to write.

 I also think of all of the authors whose dreams have become reality. I often wonder what their stories are. How long did it take them? What inspired them to write their book? When did they know their book would become published? Did they ever want to give up?

I want to hear your story. When did you decide to write? Do you think writing is a calling? What would you do tomorrow if someone told you you could never write again?

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Filed under dreaming, Fiction, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Interview with author Rebecca Hamilton

 

 

Rebecca Hamilton is another author I met thanks to Twitter. I’m looking forward to today’s interview with her. Rebecca’s debut novel The Forever Girl (Book 1 of the Forever Girl Series) was recently released and I’m excited to say I won a free copy for my Kindle. Please join me in welcoming Rebecca and don’t forget to leave a comment for her. 

 

Hi Rebecca how are you?

I’m a bunch of things right now. I had a lot of mixed emotions over releasing my novel and right now I’m still a bit excited and a lot nervous. At the same time, it feels weird, like it hasn’t really happened yet. I’m also feeling quite honored to be interviewed on your blog. I can’t thank you enough for having me. Hope things have been well on your end.

Thank you for stopping by Writing Like Crazy

Okay Rebecca Let’s jump right into the interview.

First, I’d like to know what made you decide to become a writer. Did you have an aha moment or was it something you did ever since you can remember?

Honestly? Originally, it was a bucket list item. You know, something I wanted to do before I died. (I’m too much of a fraidy-cat to put skydiving on my list, but I guess it turns out this whole writing thing comes close.) Anyway, I was never able to really come up with an idea or finish anything. Then, about four years ago, I had an idea. Finally. And as I wrote that book, it turned into 3 ideas. And as I’ve revised the book, it’s turned into 7 ideas. And along the way, I came up with some other stories as well. So I guess once I started, it just sort of … took over.

Book 1 of The Forever Girl is about a girl named Sophia who is dealing with family skeletons. Can you tell us a little more about this book?

The novel is a bit of the paranormal and also a bit of the mundane. And by mundane, I hope I don’t mean boring. What I mean is, I explore a lot of issues in the novel. Normal day-to-day issues, like dealing with tough family members, being judged or not feeling at home in your home-town. Sophia’s cursed with a buzzing in her head and when she tries to get rid of it with a Wiccan spell, the buzzing turns to whispering voices. As she looks into that, she discovers a family secret about an ancestor hanged during the Salem witch trials. Solving the mystery might cure the noise, but it turns out that in order to find her answers she will have to fall into another life she never expected. There’s a lot of themes there, however, with the biggest one being acceptance—acceptance of yourself, acceptance of others, and acceptance of the way things are.

*Neat, I like the idea of the buzzing becoming whispers. It’s definitely nothing I have heard of before.

Besides Sophia, what other characters will we find in The Forever Girl?

The most memorable characters to my readers have been: Sophia’s mom, a woman with bipolar who maybe means well but is often harsh and out of touch with reality, and Charles, who brings up a lot of issues of trust … can he trust her, can she trust him, can either of them trust themselves or their future together? A lot of readers seem to either love or hate Sophia’s friend (Lauren)’s quirky attitude, which leads them to favor Sophia’s other friend (Ivory) who’s a bit jaded and tells it like it is. 

What inspired you to write this book?

Oh man. Now you’re making me think. It all started four years ago… Umm… 🙂 Okay, I’m going to be honest but it’s not gonna be pretty. I read a series of novels (I won’t say which ones, because that would be mean) and thought, “If this can get published, then so can I!” Ha! How little I knew. (Like the fact that the author was mega famous BEFORE any of her books were published) Anyway, I do feel like a butt for having thought that way. The story itself … IDK, it just came to me. What a freaking cliché, huh?

When did you know that this book would be part of a series?

About half way through the first book. One of the characters sort of … took over unexpectedly, which ended up changing the entire second half of how I thought the story would unfold. That part of the story will make it to book 4 though, I believe.

Can you tell us about your road to publication? Was it a long journey?

Oh, I could bore you with this story. Really I could. To keep it short, I started writing four years ago and I’m just now putting my first novel out there.

Do you have an agent?

I came close many times, even had some agent approach me after seeing my work online, but nothing ever came of it. I seemed to have better luck with editors believing in my work.

Did you spend a lot of time querying for this book? May I ask how many rejections you got?

I queried for about a year. Every agent that covers my genre rejected me. I lost count. Over a hundred, I think. Some were very nice and asked to see future works. One of them plans on buying a copy of my novel. Another said my work reminded her of another author she represented who had won awards, but that publishers wouldn’t pick up the novel so she had to pass on mine. It’s a tough market. I met some really cool agent-people along the way, though.

Rebecca do I understand you are a co-owner of a publishing company? I think that is super cool, can you tell us a little more about this?

 My partner and I were both looking into self publishing around the same time we were considering starting a small literary magazine. We decided to combine our idea to self publish with our idea of publishing others into one effort–at least for now. That’s how Immortal Ink Publishing was born. We used my first novel as a test pilot (and have learned a lot) and have since acquired a few more titles to be released in 2012. We want to stay small, and we want to put our all into the authors we do publish. That said, we also want to support other indie authors–whether they be self published or published through other small publishing houses–by reading their works and promoting them if we find the read enjoyable.

Can authors come to you to have their work published?

 Yes. We’ll be opening for submissions in May. We may open for a paid short story anthology sooner than that, too, where we will be paying those who submit (and are selected) $50 per story plus 5% of the profits each.

What was the reaction from your family when they found out Mommy’s book was going to be on shelves?

I don’t think they get it LOL. They knew immediately I’d spend any money I made on them, though.

I adore the cover for your book. What did you think when you first saw it?

When I saw the cover model, I about fell over at the likeness to my MC. That is EXACTLY how I envision my MC. (Except I know the model has blue eyes and Sophia does not. But otherwise…)

Her Sweetest Downfall and Come, the Dark are the next two books. What can we expect from these?

Her Sweetest Downfall is one of the novellas. It’s related to the series, but not explicitly part of the series. I guess what’s neat about all the books under the Forever Girl brand is that they all can stand alone. The Novellas (called “Journals”) will be put out between releases of The Forever Girl Series Books, as long as I have a story to tell. They are more loosely related to the main story line. Then, within the series itself, there is Sophia’s Trilogy (which consists of books 1, 4, and 7 in the series). Come, the Dark is the second book in the series itself, and this story is a bit more experimental in style. I think it might be my favorite in the series, to tell the truth. There will be romance, paranormal elements, more on the Salem witch trials, and a bit more of a historical flavor (as opposed to the contemporary style of The Forever Girl).

I love the titles of your books. How did you come up with them?

I honestly have no idea. The Forever Girl was actually named for me by my friend Gerry Johnston, an amazing up-and-coming horror novelist. 

How can readers find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook page?

Blog: http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/

Twitter: @InkMuse

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaHamiltonFanPage

 

How can they purchase your book? Can you tell us where it is available?

 Currently it’s available in several Amazon stores, including the US and UK. It’s also available on Smashwords and Barnes&Noble. It’s coming to iBookstore soon as well, and a print version will be available in the near future.

Some Links:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Girl-ebook/dp/B00729GQ0A/ref=sr_1_11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1327715594&sr=1-11

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forever-Girl-ebook/dp/B00729GQ0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327715654&sr=8-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-forever-girl-rebecca-hamilton/1038037801?ean=2940014060196&itm=2&usri=the+forever+girl

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/127100

I will say I mostly only use Smashwords to provide a discounted copy (via coupon, for giveaway participants). The regular listing price is the same as the other sites and I don’t the formatting is as nice, so I don’t recommend buying through them unless you’ve got the coupon 🙂

Okay, I love to end interviews with some fire questions I hope you don’t mind

*Do you have a thinking spot?

The bath. Not on purpose. It’s just where all my good ideas come to me. Unfortunately, then I have wet hands and can’t write those ideas down .

*What is your writing ritual?

I always write at night.

*Do you keep Journals?

Not really, but I recently started keeping a day planner! Sometimes I write poetry when I’m hurt or angry.

*What is your favorite word?

Tacos. Especially Moes.

*What are you reading right now?

The Grimoire: Lichgates by SM Boyce. (PEOPLE NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT!)

*Do you have a favorite author?

Nancy Pickard. I adore her stories. She’s brilliant. I can’t really put it into words. You’ll have to read her work to see what I mean. AND she’s just a really nice person. We’ve had a few email chats. She has been one of the few authors who inspires me to bend the rules a little for the sake of suspense.

Rebecca this was an awesome interview. I can’t wait to download The Forever Girl onto my Kindle. I wish you success, peace, and happiness. Thanks for stopping by

Thanks for having me!!

Is there a thought you would like to leave us with?

A quote, from George S. Patton: “If everyone is thinking alikethen somebody isn’t thinking.”

You are very interesting Rebecca, I hope nothing but success for you.

Thank you so much, Maribeth 🙂 My main goal is to bring books to readers that they will enjoy, and I’m finding there’s many ways to pull that off.

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Filed under Author Interview, books, Fiction, writer's life, writers, Writing, Young Adult