Friday, January 29, 2016

Contest & Cover Reveal: THE WINTER’S SPITE

Today I’m pleased to help showcase the beautiful cover of a YA fantasy novel by my blogger-author friend, Rebekah Purdy. This is the third and final book in her series that began with THE WINTER PEOPLE and continued with THE SUMMER MARKED.

On the eve of the winter solstice, Salome receives word of a family tragedy in the human world, and an urgent request to return home. But after a failed attack on Winter, and the whereabouts of the Winter Court unknown, Nevin forbids her to go, declaring it too dangerous. However, Salome knows she needs to be with her family and can’t sit by to wait for the inevitable.

Gwenn has been a royal guard most of her life, and although she’s not a fan of humans, she has to admit Salome’s growing on her. So when Salome begs her to cover for her for a few days so she can be with her family, Gwenn can’t refuse. Gwenn soon finds herself creating diversions to keep Nevin from discovering Salome’s disappearance. Problem is the Council is growing suspicious of Salome’s absence, and has started making threats about Nevin’s removal as king. With her lie on the brink of discovery, Gwenn needs to find out what’s taking her brother and Salome so long to return. When she discovers the portals are closed, and someone within the Council has betrayed Summer, Gwenn knows the kingdom’s in jeopardy. But before she can confide in Nevin about helping Salome leave Faerie, Gwenn finds herself at the enemy’s mercy, fighting for her life.

When Salome arrives in the human world, she finds everything in chaos. Grisselle, the Winter Queen, has done the impossible and brought war to Salome’s world. And Kadie is acting as her right hand. Monsters born of man’s worst nightmares roam the streets—dark faeries and ghosts bring terror and destruction. And to her horror she discovers an old enemy is back from the dead, while a new one lurks in the shadows—watching her, hunting her—preparing to make its move. And this time they mean to finish what they started.

ADD The Winter’s Spite to your Goodreads page: HERE.

Without further ado, here is the cover for this book. Isn’t it lovely??!

Get ready! THE WINTER’S SPITE will release this summer, June 27, 2016.

Author Bio:
Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. She’s lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Phoenix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids) she likes to consider her family as the modern day Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.

Follow Rebekah on: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST for a $20.00 Amazon gift Card/Swag Pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you like to read books in a series vs standalone books? Why or why not?
What do you think of Rebekah’s new cover?
Did you race out and add this book or the whole series to your reading list?!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Worst Line For A Worst Book Contest

Sometimes it’s refreshing to change things up from the normal things you write as a writer. Especially if you usually write novels, it’s fun to fiddle on a flashfiction piece, craft a short story, jot down some stream of consciousness thoughts, or pen a Haiku or poem. Yesterday I wrote some one-sentence lines that were really fun (even though I should’ve been writing on my new fairy tale retelling novel).

What I did was enter a contest I saw mentioned in the Publisher’s Weekly newsletter. Here are the details:

WHERE: Publisher’s Weekly ShelfTalker article HERE. Just comment to enter!
WHAT: Write not necessarily the world’s worst sentence, but according to the Bulwer-Lytton award description, “…compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.” Examples are listed in the article, and there is a link to the Bulwer-Lytton site to peruse past winners’ lines.
WHEN: Deadline is Sunday, January 17. Winners announced January 18, 2016.
DETAILS: You can enter in different categories, from picture book to horror to science fiction. I entered more than once, although it did NOT say you could in this article…it said you could on the 2015 Bulwer-Lytton site, though.
PRIZES: ARC books and “rare prizes.” And the thrill of having won, of course.

(Misc./Romance): The minute Kacy’s eyes landed on him like a pair of bottleflies to a cow pie, she pegged him for the kind of bad boy her mother had always warned her about—she saw it in his bedroom-lidded eyes, his dangerous Walmart jeans, and the disdainful haircut that simply screamed “Edward Scissorhands.”

Fantasy: Little known amongst the troubled villagers of Wunce-Upon-a-Thyme, a certain glass-half-empty nerd on the edge of town named Clod the Hopper was at that very moment watering the plants in his master’s recreational herb shop, destined to be The One.

Young Adult: Heart pounding, I stare at the mess that used to be my locker—the lipsticked magnetic mirror, the spilled Skittles, and the books tossed face-down with no regard to their spines—right as Lacey Wunderbar, head cheerleader, struts by with her trio of minions in a sweep of smug, popular-scented air.

(Misc.): The cat knew by the slam of the car door in the driveway that her carnage would soon be discovered, so, scattering litter gravel from between her toes, she leaped to the window seat in order to lounge far from the incriminating (now empty) package of silently thawing lamb chops that had met their untimely demise just a few minutes prior.

Have you ever entered a writing contest before?
Do you think you might give this contest a whirl, if you have time before Sunday?
Have you ever switched up your writing routine, and thrown in some Haiku, a short story, some journaling, or a flashfiction?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Announcing: MY SECOND BOOK!

Ta-dah! Here is the official announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace about my latest book deal from Entangled Teen. What a great Christmas present!

In case you can’t see it, read the paragraph below the image or click to enlarge:

Author of THE BODY INSTITUTE Carol Riggs’s SAFE ZONE, set in a future where one teen boy discovers all the parents have been replaced with aliens, to Stacy Cantor Abrams at Entangled Teen, for publication in Fall 2016 (World). 

I’m excited about working with my excellent editor, Stacy, again. The announcement mentions one of my plot reveals, about the aliens—but luckily that discovery happens close to the beginning of the book. The novel is also on Goodreads already, although without a “real” cover yet. Add it HERE or wait for a more complete summary before deciding if you want to read it.

How did I end up writing another sci-fi novel when I usually write light or contemporary fantasy? Well, Entangled wanted to follow up THE BODY INSTITUTE with another sci-fi, which is wise for second-book marketing purposes. I blew the dust off an old manuscript, sci-fi-ized it, and submitted that; it was accepted. Still, SAFE ZONE is light sci-fi rather than hard, even though it’s set on another planet.

2016: I will be busy this next year, revising SAFE ZONE. Plus, I’ve started writing a fairy tale retelling for a light fantasy novel. I’m still exploring, feeling my way into the voice and characters—it’s awesome to start a totally new project after doing revisions for so long!

What’s on your 2016 agenda? What are your writing or life goals for the new year?
How long has it been since YOU started a brand new project, rather than revising old ones?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

SCBWI Book Launch Party!

Photo art courtesy of the SCBWI
Today is the launch of something brand new and exciting! The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is presenting a book launch for its authors’ books—picture books through young adult novels. Now that’s reason to celebrate!

Come browse the books! There are contests featured, book trailers to watch, guest books to sign, pages to Like, and books to buy for holiday presents. Can’t lose with all that! Check the titles out HERE.

My young adult sci-fi debut book, THE BODY INSTITUTE, released September 1 and is also featured in this launch party. Have you read it yet? This is an easy opportunity to sign up to be entered to win a paperback copy in a free giveaway that ends January 15. Come visit me HERE, sign the guest book to say “Hi,” and enter!

Have you visited the SCBWI launch party page yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!
Happy holidays! See ya in 2016! Do you have special plans for December?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Makes You Not Finish a Book?

I’m a writer, so I totally get the months and even years of absolute WORK that goes into making a novel. All the plotting, revising, shaping, and polishing. Not to mention the arduous process of becoming published. Therefore, I try to give books a chance…to read through the sometimes slower parts, to forgive inconsistencies and shrug off odd plot tangents.

I read for pleasure as well as for research in my genre. Yet my time is finite. As benevolent and lenient as I try to be, there are still some books that I find myself giving up on. I relegate them to the “DNF” (did not finish) realms. Why do people give up on books?

1. Slow-paced, uninteresting. This is certainly in the eye of the beholder, as what is fascinating to one person may be highly entertaining to another. But some novels are more inherently gripping than others, with more tension, conflict, and quicker pacing.
2. Violence. I recently read half of an adult novel before giving up on it for its constant and graphic violence. It’s just not my thing. I’m (old and) impressionable, and images stick with me forever. I don’t really want to get desensitized, either.
3. Sex or extreme sensuality. Not my thing, either. I prefer fade to black, where the action and details occur off-scene. That’s partly why I read mostly YA rather than adult novels.
4. Character actions/motivations. If the main character is constantly doing stupid things, it gets old fast. Sure, he or she can make mistakes, but I want the character to learn from those mistakes and not do them over and over. I also don’t want the whole plot to be able to be cleared up by one conversation or act, but the MC won’t do it for flimsy reasons.
5. Love triangles. Some people hate these to the point of loathing. I don’t mind so much if the characters aren’t shallow, and if they are attracted to each other more than by appearance (the “oh-he’s-so-HOT” syndrome).
6. Cliché plots, no surprises. I don’t want to feel I’ve read something before. Like it’s the same plot as another book or movie, except with interchangeable characters. And who doesn’t like a good twist, where you think, “Whoa! I never saw that coming.”
7. Too much description. Some people adore description, particularly lovers of high fantasy. For me, I want a quick snapshot, a pertinent paragraph at most of something to set a scene or mood. My mind wanders otherwise, or else I start skimming.

Have you ever NOT finished a book? 
Which of these things above made you not finish a book? Were there other reasons?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Are Style Sheets?

BEE organized--use a style sheet!
I like to be organized, but to be honest, I don’t always have a full-blown style sheet for my novels. However, with my latest sci-fi I’m writing, I found it helpful to make one for consistency’s sake.

A style sheet is basically a glossary of terms used for a piece of writing, usually a novel. Open up a document, type in the words (in categories if you like), and save them. It’s that simple. Or use an Excel spreadsheet to have columns to keep track of things pertinent to each character or geographic location.

1. It often makes a copyeditor’s job easier; he or she will love you if you have everything organized into one document.
2. It helps you keep track of your worldbuilding—especially if you write speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, etc). Majorly helpful if your world is complex or extensive.
3. It helps you be CONSISTENT. After you nail down the spelling and words/expressions you want, you can do a search in the manuscript to check for consistency. Did you hyphenate a certain word—or use it as a compound word?
4. To make sure all your characters don’t sound alike, so they speak uniquely. Some characters may not use contractions. Others may say “gonna” instead of “going to.”

1. Coined words unique to your setting
2. Slang particular to the book, setting, or each character
3. Unique spellings appearing in the manuscript, or ones not familiar to the reader.
4. Expressions one character says repeatedly that no other character says
5. Nicknames for certain characters and who uses those nicknames
6. Names or titles of geographic locations
7. Distinct vocabulary for each character, depending on their education or background
8. Historical backgrounds and settings if you’re writing historical fiction
9. Magical incantations, spells, and rules
10. Your manuscript's particular symbolism and what each instance means. 

Do you use style sheets, and if so, do you find them helpful?
Do you think a style sheet would be good to use even for non-speculative fiction?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Words Characters Choose

What words do your characters use to express themselves? Their choices say something about their personalities, age, culture, education, outlook on life, etc. Every character should say things that reflect his or her individuality. Your characters should not all sound the same.

CASUAL TALK or NOT: Do they say Yeah, Yes, or Yep? Gonna or Going to? Don’tcha or Don’t you?

EDUCATION and PROPER GRAMMAR: Do they never split their infinitives? (to really sound educated vs. to sound really educated). Do they say "I’ve got to get some breakfast" rather than "I have to get some breakfast"?

EMOTIONS: When they’re impressed, do they say "Awesome!" or "Fan-freaking-tastic!" or do they use a made up word from their culture, genre, and times—like Firefly’s “SHINY!”

SWEARING: Do they curse like a sailor and throw out F-bombs, or do they erupt with a mild "Oh, for Pete’s sake!" when they’re peeved? In my near-future sci-fi novel, The Body Institute, Morgan’s exclamation of irritation is: “What the haze?” Some characters might not even wait until an annoying moment to pepper their speech; like people in real life, their swearing is a part of their everyday sentences.

EXPRESSIONS, etc: Do they throw out silly words like Zoinks and Yikes and Yoo-hoo? Do they make up words like yummers, nerdify, germ-ful—or brillig and slithy toves (thanks, Lewis Carroll)?

VOCABULARY:  When speaking, do these people choose complex words or simpler ones? Such as compulsory vs. required, insubordinate vs. naughty, docile vs. quiet, hullabaloo vs. commotion—or even simpler, fuss?

CULTURE or ETHNIC INFLUENCES: What your characters have grown up with, such as You guys or Ya’ll. Or Crikey. Whether the third meal of the day is labeled Supper or Dinner. Whether you’re referring to a British Biscuit as opposed to a U.S. Cookie.  

AGE and SLANG: Words come and go, so be careful if you’re older and writing for tweens or tweens. Especially when it comes to slang. "What a drag" and "bummer" and "lame" are apparently not used much anymore, but if you have an older character—perfect! Use those phrases for them. Expressions like "Are you pulling my leg?" and "That’s SICK!" may fast become obsolete and change meaning by the time your book is published. 


I’ve heard it said—and I’m not sure how successful I am about this in my own writing—but you should be able to read a scene in your writing without using the dialogue tags (those things that indicate who’s saying each line, e.g. he said), and be able to tell who each character is. They should sound THAT different.

How do YOUR characters express themselves? Casually, oh-so-proper grammar, or what?
What do you use for slang in teen novels—do you try to stay updated, or do you steer clear?
Have you ever tried reading your scenes with dialogue ONLY, to see if your characters have distinct voices or ways of talking?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mac Wheeler: 28 Novels & Going Strong

I'm happy to feature my blogger friend, Mac Wheeler, today. He's celebrating the release of his 28th novel--that's right, TWENTY-EIGHT novels! Now there's a staggering achievement. His newest is 6 WAYS TO WHERE, Book 3 in his latest series. I've read Book 1 and it was awesome!

Book 3 of the 6 Ways Series

At eighteen it’s tough to decide a life path when the threat of pandemic hangs over the world, your brother is the genius who engineered the plague, and you’re repeatedly drawn into the fight against the terrorists spreading it. Plenty of people would kill an Abernathy on sight so it would be wise for Mar to visit the dojo, otherwise play invisible, but her brother is manipulating her into another adventure.

Purchase: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

If you haven't read Book 1 or 2, and like to start at the beginning...

Alcoholic parents treated Margarite as an unwelcome stranger, then left her at fourteen with her thirty year old autistic brother. At sixteen, things really sour, thanks to her brother. A medical researcher, Reggie engineers the ultimate plague. Fanatics seek to control him. The government pursues them as terrorists. Margarite witnesses ruthlessness, compassion, and competence she couldn't imagine from her brother, but the world needs a miracle. The best she and Reggie can do is wing it.

Nightmares. Panic attacks. Depression. Margarite is hammered by the typical issues of a seventeen year old loner, whose parents sympathized with insane people intending to collapse civilization. The few who care about Mar have more concerns. Her drinking. Fighting. Jumping out of airplanes.
Her brother engineered the plague that’s breaking out across the globe and she holds a little guilt for not stopping it. Or being one of the first to die. Still, conspirators behind what they call The Correction are not done with her.

Purchase: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  

The Author
R. Mac Wheeler writes about characters with a lot of baggage, men who make many men look like wimps, tough chicks that can whip most men...puts them in situations that push them to the worlds that don’t overly stretch the imagination.

A former IT professional,  he now focuses full time on suspense, paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy  that leverages the quirkiness and baggage of real life more often than the far fetched.

Visit his Home Page: WWW.RMACWHEELER.COM

Have you read any of Mac's novels? I've read two!
How many novels have you written total? (it's not a contest of course) I think I've written 16...or maybe 17. I lose track. Only one is published though!