Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

What a fantastic year it's been!  My debut novel, YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, was finally published on Amazon.com, and Kindle, WIND made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (so exciting!), and as an added bonus, I've made many great new writer/reader/blogger/Twitter/Facebook friends.

I look forward to more fun, and new challenges and goals, as well as the publication of book two in The Eternal Symmetry Saga, SAND, in 2012.

I'd like to wish everyone a fun, but safe New Year's Eve, a great New Year's Day, and a wonderfully rewarding 2012.

See ya next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I would like to thank all my loyal followers for a very exciting year.  I truly appreciate everyone's support (readers and bloggers alike) for my debut novel, YA Paranormal Romance, WIND.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 9, 2011

WIND IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON PRIME!

I'm excited to announce that WIND (Kindle edition) is now free on Amazon Prime, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that US Amazon Prime members can borrow for free, once a month, with no due dates!

If you own a Kindle, check out Amazon Prime!

Friday, December 2, 2011

WIND IS NOW AVAILABLE IN ITALY & SPAIN!

I'm excited to announce that WIND (Kindle edition) is now available in the new Amazon Kindle store on Amazon.es and Amazon.it.

Readers in Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Spain and Andorra can now purchase WIND for Kindle.

Friday, November 25, 2011

WIND - Kindle Edition: $0.99 Black Friday - Cyber Monday Only!

I'm pleased to share the savings of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by announcing that the Kindle edition of WIND is only $0.99 on Amazon.com from Friday, November 25 - Monday, November 28, 2011.

I hope you enjoy WIND, and don't forget to let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

4 Star Review on goodreads.com for WIND!

I'm so happy and proud that fellow YA writer, Medeia Sharif, (Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.) gave WIND a 4 star review on goodreads.com.

"I felt sympathetic towards the main character, Flynn.  Her alcoholic father passes away, her mother suffers from the depression that goes along with grief, and her sister transforms into a dark, moody Goth.  When Flynn meets Dante, a delicious romance ensues amid angel warfare.  Dante is not an ordinary young man and Flynn's sister, Kevan, enters the dark side in more ways than her outer appearance suggests.  This was a suspenseful read and my favorite part was the dark, haunting atmosphere."


Thank you so much, Medeia!

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 Star Review for WIND!

I'm so thrilled that someone left a wonderful review of my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, on Amazon.com:


"I loved this book.  The characters are very well developed.  I did not want it to end.......especially the way it did (don't want to give anything away).  I am looking forward to the next in the series.  The angel theme is refreshing and a new slant on the "paranormal".  There was a lot of detail and the book appeared well researched, especially in the biblical and art references."


Thank you, kind reader!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Well, Halloween is already here, and I'm still wondering when the summer ended.  And, what happened to "Indian Summer" (is it politically correct to still call it that?).  Anyway, as we are expecting snow this week in Ontario, Canada, I guess I can't fight it, and I'll just have to accept the fact that November is peeking around the corner.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween, and don't forget to check those apples!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WIND Is Now Available!

I'm pleased to announced that my Young Adult Paranormal Romance, WIND, is now available on my CreateSpace eStore, and will be on Amazon.com very shortly.

I hope you enjoy WIND!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

WIND - Available on Amazon Soon!

WIND will be available on Amazon soon!

WIND is the first book in my Young Adult Paranormal Romance ETERNAL SYMMETRY SAGA.

I am currently writing the second book, SAND.

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes

With all this hurricane talk on Twitter, I'm reminded of an excellent novel - A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes, published in 1929.

The Bas-Thornton children, John, Emily, Edward, Rachel, and Laura, enjoy a carefree, privileged life on their family sugar cane plantation in late nineteenth century Jamaica.  A massive hurricane desimates their home, and their parents decide to send them back to their original home in England via merchant ship.  The ship is seized by pirates, and the children are kidnapped. 

The children quickly learn to appease their captors in order to survive, but soon find themselves adapting to their new life too well, and they begin committing primal, uncharacteristiclly dark deeds (al la Lord of the Flies by William Golding).

A High Wind In Jamaica is a classic of twentieth-century literature; a beautifully written story about seduction, duplicity, and unexpected violence. However, the real treat is Hughes' delving into the ingenious minds of children adapting to a crisis.

Note:  This is a book about children; not for children.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is Writing Like A Long Bout of Some Painful Illness?

All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
- George Orwell
 
Do you find that writing is like a "long bout of some painful illness?"
 
What drives you to write?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Women Writers, Women Books

I just wanted to thank the lovely Anora from Women Writers, Women Books for inviting me to blog about my experience in The 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

Please check out this dynamic website - it highlights contemporary women writers and contemporary women readers of all genres.  Find a category, and a blog post that interests you, and don't forget to comment!

Here's the link to my post:

http://booksbywomen.org/making-it-into-the-2011-amazon-breakthrough-novel-contest-by-cynthia-watson/

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Most Beautiful Blog!

"French Sampler" is the most beautiful blog I've ever seen!  I came upon it accidentally, while searching for photos of Lily of the Valley (my fav flower).  As I began to look around the blog, I was stunned by the gorgeous photos, appealing writing, and overall beauty.
Blogger, "Dash," is an English woman, living in South West France with her half English, half French lover (how cool is that?) and their smooth haired Fox Terrier, Crusoe (the adorable pooch is in some of her photos).
The posts range from stunning photos taken while showing friends around the French countryside, to purchasing leopard print shoes, to Dash's favourite books, food and clothes (my three favourite things!). 
Also, there are lovely little side-bar photos, illustrations, and paintings (I love, "Woods In The Mist") - every picture is just to drool over!

If you are a lover of all things French (like me), or if you just need a well-earned injection of culture, check out this beautiful blog!
French Sampler - Sampling A Rainbow of Life:   http://thefrenchsampler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Southern Gothic - Tennessee Williams

All this hot weather makes my mind meander to books set in the South with extreme heat, long cool drinks, men in white suits wiping their brows with large linen handkerchiefs, delicate southern laidies swooning. I’m not talking Gone With The Wind; I was thinking more along the lines of Tennessee Williams – Southern Gothic.

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He immortalized The South in such works as The Glass Menagerie, A Street Car Named Desire, and my personal favourites, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and, Suddenly Last Summer.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is set on a large cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta in the summer – and it’s hot. The patriarch and tycoon, Big Daddy, so brilliantly portrayed by the late Burl Ives in the 1955 Broadway production, as well as the 1958 big-screen version, is huffing and puffing in the heat and at one point, Maggie, played by the great Elizabeth Taylor, holds her glass up to her brow to cool down. Ceiling fans slowly twirl over white wicker furniture, and shuttered windows are flung wide open, in anticipation of catching the smallest breeze. During the climax, the heavens open and torrential rains descend upon the plantation.

In Suddenly Last Summer, Catherine (again played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1959 film version) has a breakdown after witnessing her cousin’s death in Spain. We see Sebastian in an immaculate white suit and Panama hat, running from the pack of boys who will soon devour him (quite literally), Catherine with a deep brown tan, in a swim suit under the white hot skies and bleached white sand.

Other Southern Gothic writers I admire are: Charlaine Harris, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, and, of course, William Faulkner.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

With all the "Kate Mania" sweeping Canada this weekend, I thought it appropriate to talk about Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Why, you ask?  What does Anne of Green Gables have to do with the Royal Tour of Canada?  Well, according to all the reports on the news, the Duchess of Cambridge has specifically asked to visit Prince Edward Island, childhood home of Montgomery, and the setting of her charming novel.  It has been reported that Anne of Green Gables was a childhood fav of Her Royal Highness.

Without giving too much of the plot away to those who have not yet read AOGG, the story goes as follows:

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are brother and sister, living at Green Gables, a farm in Avonlea, P.E.I.  They decide to adopt a young boy to help the aging Matthew on their farm.  But, instead, the "orphan asylum" in Nova Scotia sends them the red-haired Anne Shirley.  Anne, while being a dramatic chatter-box, is imaginative and extremely sharp-minded, worming her way into the Cuthberts' hearts.

Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908, and has sold over 50 million copies; it continues to delight readers around the world!

Have you read Anne of Green Gables?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writing Can Be Painful

All week, I've been in brutal pain from have a wisdom tooth removed.  And I'm talking only one tooth!  I can't imagine the pain of having all four removed, as many people do.  This extreme pain (I'd rather be in labour - LOL) led me to the thought, "Writing can be painful."

Don't get me wrong, I love writing.  I treasure the whole creative process; I feel at home working with words.  I adore creating new worlds, characters, and stories.  However, there are certain aspects of writing a novel that are painful.  Like childbirth, you are giving life to brand new characters, settings, and plots, which is exciting, but it can be a struggle.  Getting it just right is a process in itself, and we all want to get it just right.

We all want to see our writing published, and surviving the whole query process - from crafting the perfect query letter, to the nail-biting agony of waiting for replies - can be stressful, and yes, even painful.  The "blood, sweat and tears" put into crafting our letter - devising the perfect pitch, cutting words, keeping it humble, formatting professionally - can be frustrating, aggravating, and downright headache-generating!

Having said all that, like childbirth, all the pain is worth it.  There is joy in writing a graceful sentence, pride in "delivering" an exciting chapter, and an unbelievable sense of accomplishment when you type, "The End."  Then, there is the hope that you will give birth to a brilliant, new career, with the great expectation of sharing your all your hard work, and talent with many readers. 

Through all this, try to keep in mind that if you’re suffering over your manuscript, it likely means that you care deeply about your readers, and your reputation.  Embrace the pain as a rite of passage, from unformed thought to clear expression, and hopefully, the fruits of your labor will become a published book.

"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

— C.S. Lewis

Has there been a time when you found writing painful?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Great YA Summer Beach Books

Looking for a great Young Adult beach book or two?  Here's a few I highly recommend if you're looking for dark excitement, sweltering romance, and stellar writing (in no particular order):

  • Possession by Elana Johnson
  • The Liar Society by Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker
  • Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Passion by Lauren Kate
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
  • Hourglass by Myra McEntire
  • Across The Universe by Beth Revis
  • Clarity by Kim Harrington 
  • Timeless by Alexandra Monir
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum
Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pink Resurrects the Name "Willow!"

June 2/11 Tweet from singer, Pink:

"We are ecstatic to welcome our new beautiful healthy happy baby girl, Willow Sage Hart. She's gorgeous, just like her daddy. #beyondblessed"

How great to hear the name, "Willow" resurrected in pop culture.  It brings to mind the last famous "Willow," created by American screenwriter, director, exexutive producer, and all-around genius, Joss Whedon.

If you're a Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan, like me, you know who I am talking about - brainy, shy, computer nerd, teenage witch, and fellow redhead - Willow Rosenberg, Buffy's loyal, best friend, so amazingly brought to life by the beautiful actress, Alyson Hannigan.

Great choice, Pink & Carey!

Do you like Buffy The Vampire Slayer?  What do you think of the name, "Willow?"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SAND - The Saga Continues!

As I 'm deep into the second book in my YA Paranormal Romance Saga, SAND, I can’t help but ponder the advantages and disadvantages of writing “the second book”.

There is a certain straightforwardness to continuing the saga:  For one thing, main characters are established; their physical descriptions, personalities, quirks, speech patterns, humour, values, relationships. Hopefully, readers will already care enough about your characters to be excited to see them resurrected, so to speak, to stick with them through the long haul.

Then there’s the settings; initil settings have been established and described in the first book, but this will likely expand, and transform. New sights, sounds and smells will have to be imagined and described.

The theme is usually carried on – theme is soul; it permeates the entire saga; it’s your very reason for writing (at the risk of sounding dramatic!).

The challenges arise when faced with “topping” the first MS; giving your readers a reason to carry on reading, to say, "I can't wait until the second books comes out!"

New and improved plot, characters’ newborn hopes and dreams, imaginative rising action and climax. Just like real life, things never stay the same.

The real challenge is the conflict. Conflict will have to be original, and exciting enough to make a continuing story worth reading, of course. Without fresh conflict, there is no fresh story; without fresh story, there is no second book.

It’s a huge commitment, a second book, but it’s an exciting challenge, and a chance to bring your beloved characters - your friends, so to speak - back to life!

And so I say, Flynn, Dante, Kevan, Shiobhan, Dylan, Pippa, and yes, even Lix, welcome back!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fierce Dawn by Amber Scott

Snarling teeth, glowing eyes.  Someone - something - is after Sadie Graves.

Elijah Stokes, the man who haunts her dreams, enters her reality claiming she’s transforming into a changeling - not quite immortal but no longer human.

Battle lines are drawn and blood spills as the two fight not only for Sadie’s life, but for all of mankind's as well.

Fierce Dawn is a fabulous Adult Paranormal Romance that has it all:  Seekers, Vampires, Elementals and Feeders, and is punctuated with steamy romance scenes between the main characters, Sadie and Elijah (the man of her dreams - literally - she dreams of a man with wings).

I loved the skilled writing, and the characters were full and well-developed.  I loved that Sadie was so complex, instead of the usual one dimensional protagonists we so often read about.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fierce Dawn, and highly recommend this original and polished novel!


Fierce Dawn Excerpt:
He stepped closer, so close he could see thin gold flecks in her sky blue eyes. “Do you remember the night something chased you past the park?” Her eyes widened. She perceptibly swallowed. “A werewolf?” “No,” Elijah said, not wanting to correct the mortal term and create even more confusion. “I thought she was a shapeshifter, but she claimed to be a changeling. And that you are, too.” “It doesn’t sound like you’re sure I am.” “I wasn’t. Until now. The changeling has been following you. I can’t get a strong enough trace to hunt her again.” “She wants me dead?” “I don’t think so, but she wants something. She’s waiting, watching.” Her hand went to her throat but her gaze hardened. “That’s why you want me to come with you?” “Yes,” Elijah said. “There are immortals who would kill you just to keep the realms pure. Half-breeds aren’t tolerated in the immortal realm. They’re seen as inferior, tainted perfection by many. A changeling would be far worse. Right or wrong, your existence threatens both realms. The fact that I’m not the only one who knows you are transforming puts you in higher danger.” She threw her hands up and started yanking drawers open, tossing clothes aside. Impatient but not angry. He took in her every move, listened to the even keel of her vibration. She sounded resolved. Elijah’s worries subsided. She was far sturdier than he’d first assumed. She paused but didn’t face him. “And?” “And there is a faction—The Illeautians—who consider humankind parasitic. They want the human realm destroyed. If humans start evolving….” She pulled off her tee. The smooth bare skin on her back, two crescent shaped scars at her shoulders, filled his vision. Elijah couldn’t look away as she strapped a bra around her slender ribcage and put her arms through the straps. His gaze caressed the slope of her back. Two hollows above her ass peaked out from her bottoms. His imagination filled in what he could not see. His body tightened against his will. He had no business wanting a mortal. Even a changeling one. Because a part of her might always be human. Humans died. Immortals lived. “If you’re right and I’m not going to be human anymore, why would anyone care what I am?” She brought a snug blue shirt over her head then glanced meaningfully over her shoulder. He should turn around, give her privacy. “Because, what are realm lines for if humans are evolving? Mortals live, they die, they do not become immortal. In human terms, it could be seen as the first stages of Armageddon. Only this wouldn’t be a war between Heaven and Hell.”

What people are saying about Fierce Dawn:

“X-MEN action meets True Blood heat.”
-Ann Charles
Nearly Departed In Deadwood, 2010 Daphne Winner

“Intensely satisfying!”
-Carolyn McCray
Kindle Bestselling author, 30 Pieces of Silver

"I loved that Sadie was so complex, instead of the usual one dimensional protagonists we so often read about."
-Cynthia Watson
Young Adult Paranormal Romance Writer, WIND

About Amber Scott:
In between nap times and dishes, Amber Scott escapes into her characters’ addictive lives. She often burns dinner, is a sucker for chocolate and still believes in happily ever after. She makes her home in hot Arizona with her two children, husband, and one day, two cats.
 
Contact info: amberscottbooks@gmail.com  (for readers)
 amberromances@yahoo.com  (for main contact)
Twitter: @amberscottbooks
Weblog: http://amberscottbooks.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmberScottBooks


Fierce Dawn Giveaways:
Amber Scott will be giving away an Amazon Kindle to one lucky winner who purchases Fierce Dawn during the promotion on May 18th and fills out the form located on the http://bestsellerforaday.com site. Signing up the for event newsletter earns readers extra entries toward the Kindle, too!

Additionally, any reader who purchases Fierce Dawn through May 18th can request a signed ebook copy of it after submitting proof of purchase in the form of a five word phrase from the middle of the book sent by email to amberscottbooks@gmail.com

About Bestseller For a Day:
Making authors dreams come true one promotion at a time.

Each month, for one day, readers, friends, family and peers rally together to drive an ebook up the Amazon Kindle rankings with a goal to pierce the top 100. The aim of the program is to help indie authors get a foothold in the traditionally published dominated market. Authors coordinate with book review sponsors to show readers that the 99 cent promotional price is worth every penny.

As thanks, each author creates give aways for participants and drives traffic to participating review sites. Additionally, readers are offered Bonus Buy reads discounted to 99 cents for the event with that price offered to be rebated back by the participating authors when readers fill out the relevant form.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy "Marmee's" Day!

This morning I started thinking about my own Mother's favorite childhood book, and remembered it was "Little Women."  How perfect to write about it today, Mother's Day, because Little Women had one of the best "mother characters" ever!

Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott, and published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.  The setting is Concord, Massachusetts, during the Civil War, and follows the lives of four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March - and their mother, whom they call "Marmee".  Marmee is head of the household, as Mr. March is a chaplain in the Union Army, and rarely at home.

Little Women is a coming-of-age story about family love, loss, and struggle. The young woman at its center, Josephine, or "Jo" March, is outspoken, brave, and a tomboy at heart.  She is a dreamer and a writer (sound familiar?), and happiest in the attic, reading or writing stories and plays. She loves to write, direct and star in flamboyant dramas.  To use a modern-day term, she's a teenage drama queen!

Margaret "Meg" March is sixteen and the oldest sister. She is the beauty of the March family, and she is genteel and well-mannered.  Meg runs the household when her mother is absent.

Elizabeth "Beth" March is thirteen years old when the novel opens.  Beth is a sensitive, quiet, and kind girl, but her health is precarious, and the other girls protect and nurse her when she becomes seriously ill.

Amy, the youngest sister, is twelve when the story begins.  Amy is the artist in the family.  She is somewhat spoiled, and more than a little vain (she sleeps with a close peg clamped on her nose!).

My favorite character is Abigail March, the girls' mother, whom they all call Marmee.  She fills her time with charity work, but her main occupation is guiding her girls' morals, and shaping their characters.  Marmee is kind, wise, graceful and dignified (she never loses her temper), but she is also warm, loving and gracious.  But, what I really love about Marmee is how she gives her unconditional love and support to her girls.  She is deeply spiritual, and teaches her girls how to survive in a particularly harsh time for their family.

I highly recommend this lovely, beautifully written book.  When you read Little Women, whether it's for the first time, or if you are re-visiting it, pay particular attention to the character of Marmee.  She is a mother to whom we can all aspire!

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

William & Kate

I'm going to my sister, Marianne's, glam cottage tonight.  My other two sisters, Claudia and Rosemary, will be there as well.  Joining us will be Claudia's daughter, Theresa, who is bringing her wee son, C.J. 

I'm getting up at 4:00 a.m. (hopefully!) to watch the pre-wedding festivities.  Later, we will be enjoying a "high tea" (tea sandwiches, cake and other goodies), while watching the wedding on TV.   I can't wait to see "The Dress!"

Best of luck to William & Kate on Friday, April 29, 2011!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bits of You & Pieces of Me by Kimberly Kinrade

"I’ve always believed that I have ink, rather than blood, running through my veins," says writer Kimberly Kinrade, and I believe her!

BITS OF YOU & PIECES OF ME is Kimberly's literary collection of short stories, essays and poetry on life and love, including the dark side.  While each piece can stand alone, together the chapters tell the story of an idealistic girl in love with love, who discovers the demons of a splintered heart when that love turns violent.

Kimberly writes in moving language that seems, at times, happily optimistic, then dives into sudden, unexpected, dark emotional realities.  Every woman should read this stunning debut!

Read more about Kimberly Kinrade at kimberlykinrade.com.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Controlling The Weather in Your Manuscript

Who says you can’t control the weather? You can in your manuscript, and what’s more, you can use it to enhance the mood, guide the plot, or boost the climax.

The weather plays a part in our daily lives: what we wear, how we plan events. The same can be said for your characters. They, too, can notice the temperature outside, what the sky looks like, how the air feels. Your characters’ observations ground them (and the reader!) in the setting, and add a layer of realism to your story.

The weather can also be symbolic of an underlying theme: Rain can symbolize sadness, despair, or new life; a blanket of snow may represent a feeling of stagnation, or hibernation; wind and storms often denote foreshadow a violent event; fog or mist are often the prelude to a revelation or another important event; moving clouds often represent change; thunder, the voice of God or gods, and so on.

For example, in “Dracula”, Bram Stoker chose London’s rainy, foggy climate to enhance his Gothic novel. Count Dracula can control the weather, creating mists to hide his presence. When he arrives in England, one of the worst storms ever recorded takes place, which, incidentally, he created for his grand entrance.

In “The Great Gatsby”, F. Scott Fitzgerald used the weather to chart his character’s moods—rain for tension, sun for laughter. Daisy ultimately has to choose between going away with Gatsby, or staying with Tom—on the hottest day of the year. The weather perfectly connects with the conflict.

On a more contemporary note, Stephenie Myer successfully created an eerie atmosphere when she chose Forks, Washington for the setting of “Twilight”. The rain (even of the freezing variety) is a backdrop in the story, providing a feeling of chilly foreboding. Bella moves from her comfort zone in sunny, hot Arizona to the constant cloud cover and rain of Forks, symbolizing her progression to a much more mysterious world.

In science fiction and fantasy, the sky is the limit (so to speak) when it comes to adding weather to your manuscript. When you are world building, the weather becomes a crucial element, and you are in control. Volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, wind, rainbows, and lightning are magically yours to command, and vividly express to your readers.

On a much grander scale, many writers use weather as an “event”.  In “State of Fear”, Michael Critchton used global warming as the backdrop for the story, wherein the main villains are environmentalists. In Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne”, the tension of the story mounts as a total eclipse of the sun looms. Of course, this type of writing can be tricky; research is key.

In my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, I use wind (naturally!) to signify the strength and awesome power of the angel, Dante, who arrives in Flynn Flood's life just when she needs him.  The story takes place in the fall and winter, so, at first, the wind is a subtle foe, swirling leaves and bringing colder air.  As the story progresses, the wind and snow is a catalyst for the evil which soon arrives in the form of the evil Lix Tetrax. 

In WIND, Dante explains the meaning of the name Lix Tetrax:

“The name Lix is Greek, referring to the Earth, and Tetrax refers to the four seasons.  Technically, he’s called the Demon of the Wind.  He’s definitely full of hot air.”

Whatever the weather, don’t forget to add a splash of rain, a mysterious fog, or a perfect, sunny day. Used appropriately and imaginatively, weather will have a huge impact on your story.

How’s the weather in your manuscript?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Writer Interrupted

We've probably all experienced writer's block at one time or another.  You know the feeling - when you just can't drag yourself to open MS, and you have absolutely no plot/character ideas in your usually over-crowded mind.

I've been experiencing writer's block for a couple of months - actually since January, if truth be told - and it's scaring me to no end!  A little voice in my vacant head keeps niggling me, "Will I ever get back to my current WIP?"

In December, 2010, I was happily working on SAND, the second book in my YA Paranormal Romance Saga, while querying agents for the first book, WIND.  Then, of course, Christmas arrived, as it always does, and sucked up a great amount of my time and energy.  I told myself it's normal not to be writing during the holidays, what with all the shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, parties, family time, etc.

As 2011 rolled around, I was struck down by a horrible flu (I was sure it was pnemonia, but the doctor insisted it wasn't, and he should know!), which I'm still battling to some extent as it slowly dwindles down.  To add to this, I have a very demanding daytime gig (I'm an Admin. Assistant at a large Paramedic Service).  Then, just as I was starting to feel better, my kids got sick too.  They're both young adults, but still, I'm their mom, and my natural instinct is to take care of them, which of course, I did.

All this sounds like I'm whining a bit, and maybe I am, but the point is, I can't seem to get back on track with my writing.

So, lately I've been asking myself questions like, "Am I meant to be a writer?", "Should I carry on writing?", and "Will I ever find an agent?"   Of course, deep down inside, I already know the answers to these questions (yes, yes, and yes!)  In my heart of hearts, I know I'm just going through a funk, and I'll get back on track soon. 

I miss writing.  I miss the joy of creating a well-written, richly descriptive paragraph, or realistic, moving dialogue.  But most of all, I miss my wonderful friends who come alive when I open my MS; WIND and SAND's cool protangonist, Flynn, her emotional little sister, Kevan, and their goofy, but loveable, brother, Dylan.  I even miss the evil, Lix.

I miss connecting with my wonderful writer friends.  I miss the comraderie; sharing the agonies and ecstacies of navigating the publishing world.

Then I began to wonder:  Has this happened to you?  Have you, for whatever reason(s), experienced writer's block?  I'd love to hear your story!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor Dies

Rest in peace, and thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with the world.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oasis for YA: Win A Critique!

Oasis for YA is giving away a critique from all FIVE blog team members!  That means, yes, you will actually win FIVE critiques of your query letter or first chapter!

So, follow the link and join in:

http://oasisforya.blogspot.com/2011/03/win-critique-from-all-of-us-at-oasis.html

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

I'm so thrilled, my Young Adult Paranormal Novel, WIND, has moved to the second round of the fabulous Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest!

The contest started with 10,000 entrants, then it was broken down to 2,000 entrants; 1,000 General Fiction and 1,000 Young Adult Fiction (of which I am one!).  The next round of 500 quarter finalists will be announced on March 22, 2011.

Even if WIND doesn't make it any further, I totally honored to have made it this far!

http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lisbeth Salander - As Cool As It Gets!

I just finished watching the final movie of the Millennium Triology, "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest."  I watched the first and second movies, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," and, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," last week. 

As for the "unputdownable" books, written by the late Stieg Larsson, I've read "The Girl With Dragon Tattoo," and I am half-way through "The Girl Who Play with Fire."  I have to admit, I wish I had read all three books, then watched the videos, but I just couldn't wait.  The books are great, but so are the movies - an unusual thing.  As we all know, most books are usually superior to the movie version, but in this case, while the books are fantastic, so are the movies, and what made them so fantastic is the best protagonist I've seen in a long time - Lisbeth Salander.

Lisbeth, played so perfectly in the film by Swedish actress, Noomi Rapace, is a natural redhead, who dyes her hair black, she has multiple piercings, and dresses in black - black leather that is, and on her feet are black Converse sneakers or hip, black boots (just like 16-year-old Kevan Flood, one of the characters in my story, WIND).  Lisbeth is physically strong, but tiny; she's the size of a child, and as thin as a whip, the books say.  She rides a motorcycle, she boxes, wields a tazer, and is as agile as a cat.

Lisbeth is a 28-year-old computer hacker, employed by a security firm in Stockholm, Sweden.  She is a survivor of horrific abuse as a child, and adult, and has a severe distrust of people, mainly men.  She's an introvert; she's more of a listener, than a talker, which is probably why she is so intuitive.  She has a eidetic(photographic) memory; she can recall memories, images and sounds with stunning clarity.  She's the best there is at hacking into other people's computers and laptops, and uncovering covert information that would otherwise never have seen the light of day.

However, I think the trait I love most about Lisbeth is her comfort in her own skin.  She's angry yes, but her anger is justified, and aimed in the right direction - punishing the bad guys, when conventional law enforcement is stymied.  Lisbeth Salander knows who she is, and if you don't like her, that's just too bad.

Move over, Xena, Cat Woman, Batgirl, Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Laura Croft, and even Buffy Summers - Lisbeth Salander is as cool as it gets!

What do you think of Lisbeth?



Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Great White North . . . Writes Great Books!

Canada has been nicknamed The Great White North for the substantial blanket of snow that covers the ground for half the year, but as an aspiring writer, I see its greatness in the talent of our past and present literary community:


Lucy Maud Montgomery

Born in 1874, Montgomery is best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. The charming series was an immediate, international success featuring the beloved character, Anne Shirley, who goes to live with an elderly rural couple who are expecting a boy orphan, but are mistakenly sent a girl, yet decided to keep her.


Maza de la Roche

Mazo de la Roche (1879 – 1961) was born in Newmarket, Ontario (very close to where I presently live). Her third novel, Jalna, was submitted to the American magazine Atlantic Monthly in 1927, winning a $10,000 award, a small fortune in the 20’s! Its publication brought de la Roche fame and fortune at the age of 48 (yes, there’s still hope for me at 50!). The series tells the story of one hundred years of the Whiteoak family covering from 1854 to 1954. The novels were not written in sequential order, however, and each can be read as an independent story. The Jalna series has sold more than eleven million copies in 193 English and 92 foreign editions.


Margaret Laurence

Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) is one of Canada’s most loved and respected writers. She is the author of sixteen books, including a travel memoir, five novels and two collections of short stories, a translation of Somali tales and poems, a collection of essays and an important study of Nigerian dramatists. Laurence was born in 1926 and lived in Lakefield, Ontario (the northern town where Prince Andrew went to college). In perhaps her best-know work, The Stone Angel, Laurence tells the story of a 90-year old woman struggling to come to grips with a life of intransigence and loss. "Pride was my wilderness, the demon that led me there was fear." Although Stone Angel has been banned from some schools, it is studied at the grade 12 university level in other schools.
The Diviners, published in 1974 was Laurence’s final novel. Although on the surface, The Diviners depicts very different roles for women than her earlier novels do, there is a recurring theme of the female perspective on contemporary life. Margaret Laurence wrote fifteen books and a memoir that was published posthumously. She as also well-known for her work as a peace activist and as one of the founders of the Writers’ Union of Canada. Her encouragement of fellow writers is legendary.

Mordecai Richler

Mordecai Richler (1931 – 2001) was a Canadian author, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and essayist. He was born in Montreal, Quebec. Richler wrote movingly of his working class neighbourhood and its people, chronicling the hardships and disabilities they faced as a Jewish minority:

“To a middle-class stranger, it is true, one street would have seemed as squalid as the next. On each corner a cigar store, a grocery, and a fruit man. Outside staircases everywhere. Winding ones, wooden ones, rusty and risky ones. Here a prized lot of grass splendidly barbered, there a spitefully weedy patch. An endless repetition of precious peeling balconies and waste lots making the occasional gap here and there.”

His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and the Jacob Two-Two children's stories. A leading critic called him "the great shining star of his Canadian literary generation.”


Margaret Atwood

Ms. Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1939 and began writing at the age of six. She graduated from Harvard’s Radcliffe College in 1962 and went on to write The Edible Woman, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Atwood writes Dystopian Science Fiction, but prefers to label it “Speculative Fiction”, and "Adventure Romance" because it does not deal with “things that have not been invented yet” and goes beyond the realism she associates with the novel form.

You can follow Ms. Atwood on Twitter at:  @MargaretAtwood


Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje was born 1943 in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and moved to England with his mother in 1954. After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen. His style of fiction was introduced in Coming Through Slaughter and mastered in one of my favorite books, The English Patient. He creates a narrative by exploring many interconnected snapshots in minute detail.


Canada is known for many national treasures—Wayne Gretzky, Christopher Plummer, Ellen Page, Mike Myers, Niagara Falls, The Canadian Rocky Mountains, Hockey, Maple Syrup, Canadian Bacon, French Canadian Pea Soup, Butter Tarts, The Northern Lights, Canada Geese, Tim Horton’s (much-coveted coffee and donuts), Poutine (French Fries drizzled with melted cheese curds and gravy - my kids love it!), The Hudson Bay Company (which once owned 1/11th of the Earth's surface), Molson’s beer, great Health Care and Halloween costumes for kids that fit over snow suits—but, check out these great Canadian writers.

Have you read any these great Canadian authors lately?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

YA Highway: 62nd Road Trip Wednesday

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

They'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

http://www.yahighway.com/2011/01/road-trip-wednesday-62-best-line.html

ONe of my favorite lines from my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, is:

"She had shed her sweet, little girl chrysalis and become a dark, brooding butterfly—black leather jacket, black skinny jeans, T-shirts with skulls, crosses and other Goth symbols, the two spider bite piercings in her lower lip, and under the sweep of hair over her eyes, two half-moons of inky-black eye shadow."

Symon Francis


This is my beautiful American Cocker Spaniel, Symon Francis (Francis is for St. Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of Animals).

Symon came to me late in life (both our lives). I've only had him for three years - he'll be 11 years old in April, and I'll be . . . never mind.

Symon is featured in my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND; he's also the pet of my main character, Mary Flynn Flood. I'm pleased to share him with Flynn, just as long as she remembers, I knew him first!

Isn't he gorgeous?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Personal Encounters with Angels


Ever since I completed my Young Adult Paranormal Romance, WIND, I’ve been asked by many people, “Have you had encounters with angels?” This question always gets me thinking about what I believe are my personal encounters with those spiritual messengers.

As far back as I can remember, whenever I’ve been in a tight spot, a stranger would appear, seemingly out of the blue (so to speak), and assist me in my time of need. Then, just as quickly, they’d leave; vanish from my sight.

I recall the time when my car was stuck in my extensive, uphill driveway during a blizzard. My son—a baby at the time—was in his car seat in the back; my husband was not yet home from work. After several futile attempts at gunning my way up the drive, I realized the more I tried, the deeper the tires spun and dug into the overwhelming amount of packing snow already accumulated on the drive. I gave up. Yet, I was terrified the car would start to slide down the drive, and into the street. I took my small son out of the car, and we stood silently in the snow. I said a short prayer. Then, suddenly, a young man appeared out of the eddy of swirling snow. He walked toward me, and asked me if I needed any help. I hesitated, and then asked him if he could possibly get the car to the top of the drive. He smiled, jumped in the car without hesitation, and immediately drove it straight up the slippery slope to the top. He turned off the engine, leaped out of the car, and, still smiling, gently placed keys in my hand. Relieved, I began to thank him profusely, but he just kept walking, until he finally disappeared into the swirling flurry of white. How do I know he was an angel? There was something about him—a divine aura—that told me he wasn’t any ordinary good Samaritan.

Many years ago, I had locked my keys in my car (just like my main character, Mary-Flynn Flood does in WIND). After several futile attempts at trying to unhook the door lock with the end of a hanger, a man tapped me on the shoulder. I spun around, and he asked if he could give it a try. I immediately handed him the untwined hanger. He leaned into the cracked window, jiggled the extended wire hanger, and unlocked the door at once. I was stunned. I opened the car door, and then turned to thank him. Of course, he was gone.

I have experienced many more incidents such as these; too many to recount here. You may wonder, what did these heavenly helpers look like? Unlike many angel encounters I have read about, they weren’t especially tall, nor were they blond, with icy blue eyes. Both of these strangers looked like “regular” guys, dressed in an unexceptional fashion. They both appeared unexpectedly, quietly assisted, then disappeared, without warning.

Have you ever had an encounter with an angel?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Guest Post - Julie Anne Lindsey Muses About Twitter

The Angel-Faced Julie Anne Lindsey,

It wasn’t long ago I realized I needed a REAL web presence. I was at my computer all day, silently stalking my favorite agent blogs hoping to glean the information I needed, but I wasn’t moving forward. I was writing manuscript after manuscript and getting nowhere. Was it the topic they rejected? Was the query too pathetic? Was it the writing??? Looking back, it was sad.

Then, I discovered Twitter.

Twitter, while intimidating at first tweet, is a brilliant hodgepodge of amazingness. I am now on a one woman quest to promote and encourage the use of twitter throughout the writing community! In case you don’t tweet, let me tell you why you should.

First, you chose who to follow. That means those people’s comments will appear on your screen when you log in. I started by following a favorite agent of mine, then I followed who she was following. That made sense right? If they interest her, then I need to know them too. I followed writers, publishers, agents, everyone in the industry I could find, and now I am enjoying it every day.

I log in to twitter to promote my blog, or talk about my writing hits and misses, and people respond! Using the #amwriting hashtag connects me with everyone else who’s writing and I’m not alone anymore. I frequently respond or comment on things agents or editors say and I’m making a little place for myself.

Twitter allows me to find writing contests, hot blog topics, and hear what agents and editor are saying about the industry. No more trolling the internet for hours. I have one stop shopping on twitter. I can network, get the scoop, and make friends who know the challenges I’m up against. I’ve found beta readers, guest bloggers and won my share of free books all thanks to the twitterverse.

I love the camaraderie. I can’t meet enough aspiring writers. We’re made up of the same stuff. I also love that agents will begin to recognize my name. I can’t imagine how tedious query reading can become, but I can imagine sifting restlessly through hundreds of emails and losing focus. Then, I picture myself preparing to pass on a query until I see a familiar name. I’m hoping that building a recognizable name will get my query one more read, through fresh eyes. After all, it only takes one yes, right?

So, if you’re still reading this, I hope it means you already have a twitter account. If not, please stop over, check it out and consider joining twitter. I’ve met my closest of writer friends that way (and two of them don’t even live on this continent). I joined a critique group and I have a sounding board. Twitter is a fabulous tool for every aspiring writer and every author looking to build a platform of readers.

You can find me @JulieALindsey and follow those I’m following to help you get started, or wing it, but definitely look me up!

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Julie Anne Lindsey is a Midwestern wife, a homeschooling mother of three, and an all around caffeine addict. She’s also an unpublished author, blogging her journey to publication at Musings from the Slush Pile, where she shares writing tips, author interviews, personal experience, and opening chapters from her works.