Tag Archives: authors

Yum, I’ll Take What That Character’s Having

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A to Z Writing Challenge

When we talk about writing stories we tend to chat about settings, plots, genres, climaxes and endings. How often do you think about the types of food mentioned in a story?
Yes, our characters have to take journeys and learn lessons, but they also need to eat. The types of food a character eats can tell a lot about them. The way they eat can tell even more. Do they cut their food into tiny pieces before taking a bite or do they shove large amounts of food into their mouths practically swallowing their food whole?

Have you ever read a story and found yourself desiring a dish the character ate or looked up a recipe that was mentioned in the book?

Maybe it’s because I have a deep love for food but I tend to remember the meals, snacks, or goodies that characters enjoy or hate in the books I read.

In Jodi Piccoult’s The Tenth Circle Trixie’s mother made Sorrow Pie. Many people were curious of what this recipe consisted of and how to make it that Jodi ran a contest for the best Sorrow Pie Recipe. There was ritual that came with making the pie and it was usually prepared after someone was struggling with an intense emotion. I know I was curious about it after reading the book that I too looked to see if there was a recipe.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Katniss ate the Lamb Stew. She spent her life hunting for food to survive. The stew was not the kind of food she was accustomed to eating. Maybe, that’s why she thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.

In Because of Wynn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo one of the characters (Miss Franny Block) has a drawer stuffed of Littmus Lozanges. They are candies that when eaten produce a feeling of happiness and sorrow at the same time. I wanted so badly to try one of these candies.

In Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa Lee, the girls looked forward to eating fried sugared taro prepared by Old Man Zuo. Lisa went into such great detail on how the sugared taro was prepared that I still find myself craving the food I never tasted.

These are just a few of the foods that stuck with me from books. What types of food do your characters eat? Is there a food from a story that stuck with you?

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Three for One – T U V

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Yes, I missed the last three days of the a to z writing challenge, but I refuse to give up. If I was smart (like a lot of a to z bloggers) I would have pre planned my posts, but I wasn’t and because of my lack of planning I had no choice but to let three days go by without posting anything new. I wasn’t being lazy or uninspired (although I have found that trying to think of writing related topics every day without repeating something previously written is challenging) I was suffering from an extreme lack of time. After three days and seven softball/baseball games, a night of cupcake making for a special girl’s birthday, work, housework and sleep somewhere in between I’m just now finding time to sit down.

Forgive me for wrapping all three posts into one but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

T is for TIME MANAGEMENT – As I explained, my time has been consumed with just about everything other than writing. This happens from time to time. Usually I make it a point to write everyday but once in a while my other responsibilities must take precedent. What tips do you have to offer to me? I’m somewhat of a scattered brain, organized in a disorganized way, self-admitted procrastinator whose dream of finding success is just as big as anyone’s. What are your rituals?

U is for Unwritten– There are so many ideas written down in my journals, prancing around in my mind, showing themselves in my dreams that beg to be written. I’m not an anxious person, but whenever I think about all of the stories I want to write and the little time I have to dedicate to writing them I feel my pulse race, my heart beat faster and my soul panic. All I want to do (professionally) is write stories for a living, but unless writing is my actual job, I may never get the chance to write down all of the stories I dream of writing.
I want to stare at a blank page every morning and a page filled of words every night!

V is for Vacation– After this month of blogging I may take a mini-vacation from posting to focus more on the edits of my current YA novel. As much as I loved doing this challenge, I have found that the extra time I normally would have spent doing edits or critiques was spent writing posts. I want my blog topics to be fresh so I will let my mind rest in hopes that new ideas surface. How often do you blog? Did you face any challenges with your other writing this month?

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A Prayer for Writers

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My faith is everything to me. I believe, I pray and I strive to be a better person every day. In honor of the letter P and the fact that today is Good Friday I’m posting a prayer for writers.

In the catholic faith, St.Francis de Sales, is the Patron Saint of Writers. The prayer I’m posting is from the book Saintly Support: A Prayer for Every Problem.

Sometimes a prayer is all we got.

praying angel

May the Lord guide me and all those who write for a living. Through your prayers, St. Frances de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.

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NATURE INSPIRED

letter n

N is for nature. I love nature! I tend to think clearer when I’m outside breathing in the fresh air looking at a landscape of trees and watching a variety of birds fly by. I enjoy reading poetry and have come across many poems that were inspired by nature. For today’s post, I will list some of my favorites. Do you have a favorite?

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Robert Frost – Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.


Emily Dickenson- “Nature” Is What We See

“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

E.E. Cummings- Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.

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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 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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Contest for YA fiction Writers

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Are you a young adult fiction author? If you are polish up the first two hundred words of your manuscript and enter the Writer’s “Dear Lucky Agent Contest.”
Writer’s Digest is holding its 15th free lucky agent contest. Three lucky winners (I’d love to be one of them wouldn’t you?) will get get 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

The agent this month is Andrea Somberg. Here is the description Writer’s Digest gives for Ms. Somberg:
A literary agent for close to fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects aimed at a young adult and middle grade audience. Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005. Andrea has also been a MediaBistro instructor, teaching courses on writing nonfiction and memoir book proposals.

Be sure to hurry because this contest will be closed to submissions as of Wednesday, April 9th. To check out the full details click here.

Contests are a great way to get discovered. If you are entering a contest be sure that the site holding the contest is reputable. Good Luck,
If you don’t write YA fiction, let me know what you do write. I’m always interested in the genre’s people choose to write.

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