Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why writing is like skiing

So, you know when you ride a lift up to the TOP OF THE WORLD?
You look around at the sky and the valley and the snow all around you?
Then you realize you have to ski down?
Make that your writing day today.
Take a breath and ride up to the sky of your imagination.
Put your fingers on the keyboard.
Now, get yourself down!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Meet THE DICKENS MIRROR author Ilsa J. Bick - from Egmont's Last YA List

As a serious Anglophile, I was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate the amazing Ilsa J. Bick's latest YA horror, THE DICKENS MIRROR. The novel follows Emma Lindsay from the snowy chaos of WHITE SPACE to an an alternate Victorian London featuring not only the notorious Bedlam, but a very creepy version of one of my very favorite authors, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle. Events complex and terrifying continue Emma's journey to the heart of an incredible question: Are we real?

I'm not giving away any spoilers, or answers. That said,  today, I have the pleasure of sharing this interview with a very real Ilsa right here at the blog!

1. After the post-apocalyptic setting of the Ashes trilogy, what inspired you to take the second Dark Passages novel to an alternate Victorian London? 

Well, because that’s where the story led me.  A very wise writer once told me never to do the same thing twice; to always try something new and push myself with every book.  It’s good advice because I find that writers who tend to stick to the same subject matter get kind of stale.  It would be a little stultifying for me, as a writer, to revisit old territory unless I truly had something new to say. 

Now, that’s not the same as saying that sequels are bad.  Obviously, they’re not, or I wouldn’t have written several ;-).  But after WHITE SPACE, I wanted to change things up.  We’d already been to a very creepy valley; people had died; we’d seen monsters; and so I decided that we now needed to go someplace both weird and somehow familiar for a different kind of monstrosity/monstrous experience. 

Plus, to be utterly truthful, I’d never done an historical before, and I wanted to try my hand.  The genre’s quite intimidating, actually.  I mean, you have to keep it real and not turn you book into a travelogue.  The characters have to think in their own language according to where they are in history.  So much historical fiction becomes exposition, where you’ve got some character or narrator giving you a mini-history lesson, and that’s just boring (and silly, too; it’s not as if you reflect on the nature of electricity every time you flip a switch).  I remember that my editor wanted me to explain what a retort was, and I refused because, not only does it become self-evident on the next pag, you can figure it out from context.  (Or, honestly, look it up: this is why God invented Wikipedia.)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

So, who's going...?


This is my absolute favorite conference of the year. 
I never miss it! Come and join me - you can sign up here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Book Birthday to THE THIRD TWIN!

A YA thriller of awesome from, C. J. Omololu,
 a writer and person of awesome!
Go and get it...if you dare!
You know the places!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life and Writing

I spent Wednesday on the slopes with my husband and two youngest boys. The snow conditions were only so-so but our happiness level was through the roof. Sun and skis and smiles all around.

I spent today - eight long hours - wrestling with my current w-i-p. This one has been a rough journey. I wrote this story beginning to end last year, only to realize that, despite some good stuff, I only had half a novel. I was missing an entire POV. The shape was, well, a little bit bland. The piece simply wasn't as good as I needed it to be. I panicked, procrastinated, sought pity, ate too much and, finally, fought my way through another draft. And another.

I'm at that point where I'm really not sure if I'm "there" or in the midst of another icy, imperfect slide down the slope that is writing a novel. But at least I'm moving forward. At least I'm on this hill.

Monday, February 9, 2015


The two top titles on my TBR this month both, intriguingly, involve the word BREAK in some form. With my own preferences clearly showing, both are contemporary, stand-alone YAs that involve words--in one case, poetry, in the other, rock song lyrics--and the ways they can affect identity, the ways they can sometimes even heal.

Want to learn more? Both CINDY L. RODRIGUEZ and KEVIN EMERSON have cool websites!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Writing in the found hours...

My assistant wearing glasses.
No particular correlation to the text.
But, yes, he's adorable
as is the teen boy holding him!
A sudden change of plans opens up three extra hours in your afternoon. You sit down at your computer...and you write.

Sometimes I find that I am more creative, more innovative when I write in these unplanned hours versus the ones where I sit doggedly at my desk because this is my "writing time."

It may be the case that the found hours would not be as productive if I hadn't spent those many pre-planned hours muscling through the pages to meet my word count goal. In my heart, I see it as no different than ballet--the perfect pirouette in performance is a result of the many, many imperfect turns done before the mirror when you're tired, blue, simply punching the clock.

Putting in the work makes you appreciate those fleeting gift moments all the more.