Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Win A Copy of Faith's Friendship

Faith's Friendship by Nazarea Andrews will be released on January 5th, 2010 by Key Publication's Network. If you want to find out how to win a copy, go here:


Also, all of you guys should participate in ViNoWriMo by joining the Key Publications Network forums. It'll be lots of fun. It's based around a theme, and if you win, you have a chance at publication with Key Publications Network.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lying About Word Count

Don't. Do. It. Slush pile readers, editors, and agents aren't stupid. Soon as you send that Word document off to us with 1700 words stapled to your e-mail, and we realize the story seems longer, we're reviewing your word count only to discover it's 3,000 words longer than what your e-mail dictated (or perhaps 10,000 words longer if it's a novel and not a short story).

We're not stupid. Don't insult us.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I'm not published yet, but a lot of people have been doing dedications inspired by the Invincible Summer blog, and I totally want to jump on board and rattle everything and everyone who has helped me since I first began writing.

I would like to thank my second grade teacher, Mrs. Connor, for forcing us to sit down and write in little journals everyday for about thirty minutes. Without that, I don't think I would have fallen in love with writing.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Reimsneider, for constantly cheering me on, even though my writing was complete garbage. Without your superb faith in me, who knows if I would have stuck it out? I was only ten.

My fifth grade reading teacher, Mrs. Yancy, for really encouraging my love of reading, because finally falling in love with reading made me a better writer.

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Eterlie, for loving what I wrote, even though I knew it was trash still.

My eight grade teacher, Mrs. Moore, for just being plain awesome.

My freshman teacher, Mrs. Klose, for being plain awesome as well.

My senior AP Lit teacher, Mrs. Boatwright, for beta reading my first short story still on submission, and for being an amazing teacher who, believe it or not, really made me a much, much better writer.

My ENGL 1101 professor for encouraging me in my writing and for giving me a 92 on my expository paper, which just highlights my writerly name.

The Oddville Press for publishing Dead Poet's Pendulum, which is my first fiction publication and reminds me why I'm writing fiction in the first place.

Sarah Day Owens of The Xtreme section for giving me a chance to be a teen journalist and explore other forms of writing.

My fiance Jeff Ferreira for always supporting my writing and being a good proofreader for Witch Tourniquet.

My friends Laura Keating, Michelle Davignon, Laurel Swanson, and Stefanie Tauscher for always giving my writing a chance, even though I look back now on some of the stuff you guys read of mine and cringe.

My parents for having faith in me and realizing that writing is a serious passion of mine.

Steven Loos for, even though you couldn't really beta reader Witch Tourniquet, pointing out that Alice wasn't as developed as she could have been, and by saying that, you helped me drastically with Witch Tourniquet.

Nazarea Andrews, Elizabeth Prats, and Drittz Guen for being awesome beta readers, for being the first beta readers to actually stick it out with this novel and help me flesh it some more. Nazarea and Drittz, you will get your chapters soon. Nazarea, you need the break, and Drittz, I need more hours than 24.

And all the fabulous AWers who read my teasers and enjoy them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Being a Trendy Writer

Every time I meet someone new at college, he or she is always a writer. I'm a magnet for writers, but in any case...

I was speaking with a girl about the publishing industry, and she brought up that if you want to get published, it's often safe to stick with trends--while adding a new twist to that said trend. Basically, she said you can't really write what you want as a first time novelist. I suppose there is some truth to the trend thing, but when the vampire trend was rampant, all the vampire books I saw in the YA section were books from already established authors. I had yet to see a vampire book from a debut author--except maybe Kristen Cast, but she worked with PC Cast. I don't technically agree with not being able to write what you want as a first time novelist.

Plus, trends go by quickly. I'm not going to stop Witch Tourniquet so I can start a novel on angels that'll probably take me a month to finish. By then, the angel trend will be gone, and a new trend will be on the rise. I'm going to say up front that I wrote a novel that included an angel-like girl before angels became trendy, but Witch Tourniquet and its prequel are my top priorities right now. Said novel needs so much work, anyway.

Now I'm not shunning the power of the market. I'm just saying that I think writers can still write what they want while catering to the market in some way. A lot of debut young adult authors, I think, wrote what they wanted to write. I know Carrie Ryan did. She even said so.

What are your thoughts on this, bloggers?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Eight

Pastor Brandon narrowed his eyes. “I’m certain Amethelissa would appreciate it if you discussed personal matters.”
The way he drawled out those last two words suggested he knew something. “So you do know something about it?” she asked, trying to keep herself from sounding condescending.
Nathaniel grabbed her hand. “Alice.” His tone was firm. “Amethelissa wants you to talk about what happened at the moors, remember?”
Pastor Brandon leaned forward. “Yes, Alice, tell me what happened.”
“I don’t have anything to say about the moors. Pastor Brandon, can you please answer me?”
Pastor Brandon attempted to keep his demeanor calm, but Alice saw the infuriation threatening to break through his eyes. “We’ll discuss this later, Alice.”
“Why can’t we discuss it now?” Alice balled her fists to prevent her calm from ebbing away.
“Young lady, we are here to discuss personal matters. Now your dear friend Nathaniel wants you to talk about what happened at the moors. But if you wish to waste my time, Miss Sheraton, you may leave.” His demeanor remained calm the entire time, which irked Alice.
She knew what that response meant. He had information about the cross, information he was none too willing to presently share. In fact, he might never share the information with her, for she was a fifteen-year-old girl, and most adults would rather not waste their time explaining something of significant importance to a child. And since Pastor Brandon didn’t want to say anything about the cross, she also assumed he wouldn’t answer her question about her hand print. Since she had no further business, she rose from the pews.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

YA Highway Giveaway

So, to celebrate 100 followers (more now), YA Highway is giving away some pretty awesome books, which include:

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta

HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff

CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers


SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

WONDROUS STRANGE by Lesley Livingston

The first place winner gets a choice of fabulous bookcases to put four of these beauties in. The second place winner will receive the remaining three books.

How can you win? Just be a follower of YAHighway.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beta Readers

Right now, half of Witch Tourniquet has been revised. My beta readers may be at different parts in my novel, but they're all doing a wonderful job so far. These readings are actually going a lot smoother than I thought--but perhaps it's because I'm adjusting myself around what they look for, and I'm going ahead and editing future chapters around what they've pointed out in past chapters.

When I began this journey, I was so worried that the story would not be appealing enough, that Alice might not be round enough, that everything would be way too confusing for a beta reader to want to handle, and that everything was going to be so marked up in red that I'd have to question why Dead Poet's Pendulum got published.

But it's been going smooth so far, and I can say with much certainty that after chapter thirteen, I think it'll be relatively smooth from there (maybe a few tiny bumps, but not major re-writes like I had to do for chapter three).

I'd like to thank Nazarea Andrews, Drizzt Guen, and Elizabeth Prats for helping me with this. Though you guys may point out different things, you aren't that far off when it comes to agreeing what you feel should be changed.

Just half to go!

Teaser Teusday Seven

That's just sad. What happened?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Raising the Stakes

I think TWFT blogged about this, and a fellow follower, Elizabeth Prats, blogged about this, but I think it's my turn to blog about this because I didn't raise the stakes as much as I thought I had in Witch Tourniquet. But it's not a big deal for me because there are no major re-writes involved. I just have to drop a hint here and there, or just tweak some things or two.

Here was my dilemma: you guys have been reading teasers in Witch Tourniquet, and you may have read a teaser which mentioned a cross. If you have read this teaser, then you'll know it supposedly sent her demonic visions. But that's all my beta readers know. I reveal too late why exactly the cross is a danger, so I have to reveal it much earlier, which, again, isn't a big deal because I know of a perfect place to drop the info.

I have other stakes to raise as well, but those are no big deal either because I planned on re-writing two chapters of a certain character's POV where the stakes are going to have to be raised.

As a writer, it's hard to know where and when to raise the stakes in your novel, especially in YA where the pace is naturally faster. All I can say is that if your gut is telling you that there is too much information being revealed or too much information being revealed too late, sit down and think of all the major spoilers in your novel. Muse when you reveal them and in what abundance you reveal them. You don't want to reveal them too early, but you don't want to reveal them too late. I reveal the cross's true evils in chapter nine, which is about a hundred pages into the novel. Frankly, I was worried I revealed it too early. I was also worried I revealed later information too early, but after conversing with my beta reader, I realized that I think I revealed the information at just the perfect time.

It's complicated to know when you should raise the stakes (well, mostly for me because I've been stuck with Witch Tourniquet for years and this is the first time ever that it's actually getting some serious revisions). But I suppose if you stay away from your novel a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes, it will be easier to know to where to drop your 'raising the stakes' card.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Teusday Six

It's gone. So sad. So sad.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Two blogs two days in a row. I normally don't do this, but it's been rampant in the publishing world lately about Harlequin opening up a self-publishing sect in their company. Dismaying...

Rachelle Gardener sums it best:


And I agree with her 100%. People go around everyday claiming to be published when in fact they are self-publishing. The Augusta Chronicle, a major newspaper in my area, published a story about a girl who self-published, and it grated my nerves, because they kept lauding her as a teenage author when she in fact was not an author at all. Anyone can self-publish. Anyone can write a crappy book and go to lulu or some other vanity press and get published in no time. It doesn't take work, talent, or skill.

Calling oneself an author is a high title, in my opinion. Every published book right now had to go through a rigorous process to get on the shelves of your bookstores. Even if you think they're pure garbage, they had to go through the same exact process. Being an author will no longer be sacred if self-publishing takes over actual publishing.

I take pride in the fact that I worked hard to become a good writer. I take pride in that short story I published because it took me years to be able to write like that--plus, I never thought I'd be able to write literary fiction because of how complicated literature can be. Now some Joe Schmo who self-published a novel is going to overshadow me simply because he "published a novel."

I remembered when my professor first told the class I had a short story accepted at an e-zine. It was met with applause, and then my friend next to me told me some girl at her old high school published two novels already. I looked this girl up, and lo and behold she was not present on any internet database. Plus, if some teenager in Augusta had actually published, The Augusta Chronicle would have been all over it, or some teen member of the Xtreme (there were Xtreme paper writers at the school in which said published girl resided) would have wanted to interview this girl. Therefore, I concluded she was self-published, and the fact that she was receiving more praise rubbed by nerves raw.

Is publishing no longer sacred as it once was? What are your thoughts, bloggers?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Commercial Fiction Versus Literary Fiction

Let me first start by saying this isn't really an explanation on what commercial fiction is or what literary fiction is or which is better. In my Senior AP Lit class, we had to carry a thick book around for several weeks with different works of short stories and poems, and an explanation on what short stories and poems were. Because I am a writer, a reader, and a lover of words, I read the beginning of the book because it did provide some insights into how to write a good short story (and it worked, because if it didn't, I probably wouldn't have had a short story published). But I came across something that was pure literary snobbery, just made me angry.

This book stated that commercial fiction is often composed of flat or cliched characters, and that there isn't much depth in commercial fiction.

This is flat wrong. This may apply to some commercial books, but I've read a lot of commercial books with as much depth as a so-called literary novel.

The best way I can describe commercial fiction is that it's genre fiction, bestsellers, as it were, or books that appeal to the masses. Literary fiction is the stuff you're forced to read in school, the stuff hardly anyone reads outside of school because no one has time to sit down and tear it apart to figure out just what the fuck it's saying (I love some literary novels, of course, don't get me wrong. I've actually read a few literary novels outside of class, but it's usually literature with clear plots, like Of Mice and Men.

We definitely should not snub literary books. They have a place in the market too, and they have people who want to buy them. But literary snobs drive me nuts. There are bad books in commercial fiction as there are bad books in literary fiction.

But to say that commercial fiction is filled with flat or cliche characters--to generalize--is pure snobbery. Most people prefer characters over plot (especially readers of young adult novels). If the characters are cliche or flat, they aren't going to care about the plot, or the book in general. People want to relate to the characters, because if we can relate, the journey, or the plot, or whatever is happening to the character is a lot more insightful than if we couldn't relate. Most commercial fiction I have read contains amazing characters.

One series I love to cite constantly is The Gemma Doyle trilogy. They are the most amazing books I have ever read (along with Carrie Ryan), and though they are commercial fiction, if you actually think about the books, you realize the plot is more than just Gemma and these problems with the realms. You realize the main plot is the struggle between men and women in general. My AP Lit textbook proposed that no such depth can be found in commercial fiction. Well, if this is true, then how come I found plenty of depth in The Gemma Doyle trilogy? Did I make it up? No. In an interview Libba Bray did in A Great and Terrible Beauty, she provides answers to questions that suggest there is a lot more depth. So commercial fiction can have just as much depth as a literary novel. It's just called commercial because it appeals to the masses and not just a small sect of people. I mean, really, do you want to sell to the masses, or to a small lot of people who aren't going to do much for your career?

As an author, this is how I work: my short stories are literary fiction because short stories aren't as marketable as novels, and I like to write around the concept of themes and pure analysis when writing short stories. I love writing literary with short stories because they are short and won't take as long to analyze as it would take a person to analyze a literary novel. With my novels, they are commercial, because they are genre stories, stories that I don't think I could ever put into short stories, and I want to take the masses on a journey, not just a few people. True, The Oddville Press is literary and it's first issue apparently got 2,000 downloads (if I read the statistics correctly), so that is a lot of people for a first issue, but it's an exception. Plus, it's easy to figure out the plots with the type of fiction they produce--and they are short stories and don't take as long to analyze as a novel would.

Commercial fiction does not mean bad fiction. This is a misconception. It is possible to write a well-written book that appeals to the masses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton Style

This is really just a rant for a blog post I read by someone who attempted to beta read Witch Tourniquet but found him/herself too busy with college.

This person ranted about how Tim Burton's destroying what Alice in Wonderland is supposed to be about. He claims it's really a depressing story because of the monotonous routine of The Mad Hatter, the fact that Alice sees herself as the only sane one, and that madness may not really be madness, or that we are really all are mad in our own way.

What this person failed to realize is that Alice in Wonderland is targeted at children, not young adults or adults, though we all really enjoyed it. A child would not be able to dissect those messages from the novel let alone understand what the messages are talking about. What did this person think Disney's cartoon version was? Disney's cartoon version created Alice in Wonderland in the way a child would see it, something colorful, innocent, and fun. This is exactly what Tim Burton is doing. Since Disney is also representing this new Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton put himself in the viewpoint of the child and is creating it the way a child would see it. A child would not see all the underlying messages, themes, symbolisms, ect... So, if he claims Tim Burton is a hack director because of this, he needs to think again.

This isn't to say that Lewis Carroll did not create Alice in Wonderland with the intentions of conveying something bigger. This is what is so great about literature: we are allowed to see it in more than one way. But a child would not be able to see it at the depth this person proposes.

Also, knowing Tim Burton's dark sense of humor, I have a feeling the movie will try and correspond with the madness present in the book.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some Thoughts on Cover Letters

I in no way am claiming to be a professional, as I am just a slush pile reader, but I just noticed that I really don't read cover letters that much. The Oddville Press appreciates those who send cover letters (and I send them with my short story submissions as well), but I was just curious whether or not they get read. I only read the cover letter of the writer if I liked the short story and would like for it to be included in the e-zine. Sometimes I do read cover letters before reading the story, but most of the time, I do not.

I know some magazines want cover letters to pitch the story in one sentence, as a faux query letter I suppose. And I know they're necessary for agents who have requested partials or fulls. But, to me, they don't seem that relevant to magazines. The cover letter really just pitches the author's bio, and frankly, I'm only interested in an author's bio if I like the story. The credentials of the author don't matter to me either, especially if the story isn't up to par with the credentials they tout.

I'm not saying they're a waste, especially since a lot of magazines take on-line submissions now and you don't have to worry about wasting that one extra piece of paper, but I was jut curious over their relevancy. I know I don't read them that much. I have no clue about the rest of the staff though.

Thoughts anyone?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Better Decision

For the past couple of days I've been musing over whether or not to re-write the prequel to Witch Tourniquet. I had written a rough draft of it back in my junior year of high school (I didn't finish it, but I almost was done with it), and I think that in terms of marketing it would be better to go along with re-writing the prequel now instead of re-writing Kairos Angel.

Actually, I will hesitantly call it a prequel, as it really depends on what gets accepted by an agent first. For the prequel, you do not have to read Witch Tourniquet to read it, and you do not have to read it to read Witch Tourniquet. The prequel, which I will call Croix Infernal for now, just really establishes exactly how everything happened in Witch Tourniquet. It establishes the origins of the cross, Purgatory's origins, and pretty much every Shadowman's origins. It also helps establish Dervla's origins and just exactly how she got mixed up in Purgatory's mess.

In my opinion, it's still compelling just like Witch Tourniquet, but it'll be less confusing to write for me and hopefully if there are confusions, they will be easier to straighten out. Right now, I know Witch Tourniquet is going to confuse some readers (and those confusions will be fixed), and I want to see what gets done first. With Witch Tourniquet, I have three beta readers, and with Croix Infernal, I'm going to give the entire thing to one beta reader, as it will be less confusing to re-write.

I really want to establish the Witch Tourniquet trilogy in the publishing world before I establish anything else (I'll re-write Kairos Angel after I'm done with Croix Infernal, I promise).

It shouldn't take me too long to re-write Croix Infernal because the rough draft is a lot better than the rough draft of Kairos Angel. I just have to research nunneries now, because in Croix Infernal, I just made them up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is Success an Indicator of Skill?

I don't go on Gaia's Writing Forums much anymore because it's filled with arrogant, cynical elitists who bash Stephenie Meyer (I'm not fond of her either, but their bashing is pure snobbery, as they believe it's fact that Stephenie Meyer is pure trash)and who do everything they can to argue their points, to put the opinions of others down, and to add brutal snark in response to what someone says. Occasionally I go on here just to see if there is a topic worth commenting on, and I stumbled upon this one: refer to title.

Rather than telling my answer, I'm going to show it. Marketing plays a part in the success of books, but from what I recall, I never saw Harry Potter marketed anywhere. I simply heard it by word of mouth, which I suppose is in itself a form of marketing. However, there must be some reason that it's getting spread through word of mouth. Some person out there must have loved the story so much to recommend it. And so it spreads from there. Same with Twilight. I only knew about the book because one of my friends was reading it--that, and its catchy cover, but people really only recommend a book if they like it. I never saw Twilight marketed anywhere. Never saw huge banners advertising its next book or any book commercials or anything. After seeing it in the hands of my friend, I began to see questions about Twilight popping up on YahooAnswers. I began to see more topics about it and more recommendations. It eventually gained that commercial success to where I did see banners, and posters, and other means of advertising. But commercial success is a different kind of success. Twilight was still a success before it was mass marketed simply because Meyer was able to have just one person fall in love with the book enough to recommend it to a friend who then recommend it to another, and then a web of recommendations expanded. She did something right. What she did was craft a story that most consumers loves. Now, I'm going to admit I feel that Twilight's lacking in its story and writing, but I can argue that all I want. It doesn't change the fact that most consumers of this novel love her storytelling. Even if they're conscious of her flawed writing, they forgive it because they can't help but to enjoy her story.

But of course, the snobs of the Gaia community believed it was marketing that indicated Meyer's success. Marketing helps, but if I see a poster advertising a flashy book, buy that book, and throw it in the trash because it was so bad, I'm not going to open my mouth to gush about it to a friend. In fact, I might sell it to a used bookstore instead of throwing it away. I do want my money back for a book that wastes my time. I do not believe sales indicate success on the author's part either. I believe that the positive emotions Meyer's series has elicited is an indication of how successful she is.

So, yes, success is an indicator of skill.

So, bloggers, what do you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Teusday Five


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Slush Piling Experiences Thus Far

Since The Oddville Press is a small magazine, we are more lenient on what is acceptable. A lot of magazines will simply throw out a manuscript because of improper formatting. If The Oddville Press did this, we would only have four stories to choose from, which tells you just how many people have no clue about manuscript formatting. Some of these people use fonts that make you wonder what the crap they used in college--and some of these people include veteran and award-winning writers! Most professors want Times New Roman. But, alas, I read these stories anyway, because to reject them would mean throwing away 99.5% of stories, and we can't afford that. But your proper manuscript formatting should be this: one-inch margins, double spaced, either 12 point Times New Roman or Courier New, indent all paragraphs please (most of the manuscripts didn't do this), put a running header on each page (depends on guidelines), with your last name, manuscript title, and page number. It's that simple, and yet 99.5% of the people in Oddville's slush pile don't do this. But I digress. Despite some of the improper formatting, some of the stories turned out to be a good read.

The Oddville press also forgives a few mistakes with grammar, but I'm surprised any of these manuscripts have typos and obvious grammar errors at all! When I submitted Dead Poet's Pendulum for publication, I only had one typo (and it's a typo that most likely won't be noticed by readers: It was supposed to be phrase, but it was phase). Dead Poet's Pendulum did have a few flaws, but it seemed like they were flaws of subjectiveness, such as one editor may have thought it was a flaw, but another didn't. But some of the typos in these manuscripts were outright obvious, that you wonder if the writer proofread it at all after a re-write!

Other problems I've seen are sudden, abrupt endings, or, better yet, underdeveloped stories. They start out promising, but then all of a sudden, it's like the author scrambled to keep in his or her set word count and tacked down a sentence that seemed like it could be good closure. It's not. It makes me wonder if these writers got a second pair of eyes. More likely than not, a second pair of eyes WILL be able to tell you if your story is underdeveloped or not, that is if the second pair of eyes can be trusted. Not all beta readers are fabulous and will tell you what you need to hear. They'll tell you what you want to hear, and often times it doesn't help. I've had several beta readers that absolutely did not help at all, that praised my writing. But then again, these beta readers were young teenagers. Either they were too afraid to critique me, or they really saw nothing wrong with hit. Hmm...I'd like your opinions on this, followers.

One story I rejected couldn't suspend my disbelief at all. I'm not going to go into what story that was, but let's just say that although it was written for adults, it read a little too juvenile for anyone's tastes--except maybe for the few who don't mind unrealistic stories.

Other stories I rejected could be in the 10% range of the 90% garbage verses 10% not garbage. I rejected these ones simply because they didn't fit with Oddville. They'll fit somewhere else, but they won't fit with our e-zine.

On a final note, if you want to submit a manuscript anywhere, be it a novel or a short story, please get a beta reader(s). They are so invaluable and wonderful and amazing, that I'm so surprised that those who submit manuscripts have never heard of them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teaser Teusday Three

So I really teased most people with the last chapter by not even telling where Alice was going. Right now, she's at Gallows Hill, a safehouse for witches, as she was exiled from Belhame for being a witch. This chapter starts out with some introductory things, meeting the headmaster, Master Akilah, and now she's back in her room painting. Leave comments, criticism, what have you!

*gasp* What happened to it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drafting Involves Will Power

I had my Night Writers meeting last night (with only two other people. I suppose the advertisement I sent out mixed up quite a few, since the time on it was wrong), and we discussed one of the most important things writers need to have: will power. We didn't discuss the word will power exactly, but one of the two writers I was talking with told us how she had problems trying to finish a novel. Her problem is not an uncommon problem. People who are not new to the writing world know that first drafts outright suck, that they're terrible, that if anyone saw our rough drafts we would be embarrassed for life. And because rough drafts suck, we have a hard time trying to plod through them because we don't like to write bad. We like to write good, and we can't do that with rough drafts. If we tried, we would never get our foundations laid.

Many writers start a rough draft and become OCD with going back to previous pages and fixing something. They find themselves so obsessed with trying to perfect their first drafts that they ultimately abandon the project altogether. I've had this problem on occasion, but it was never the reason why I never finished a draft. I never finished a draft because Witch Tourniquet is my first project, always has been, always will be (until it's published), and I've always found myself going back to it because of lack of beta readership. In any case, it's difficult to fix this problem. The woman who told me this during the Night Writers meeting knows it's a problem, knows that she just needs to get through it, but she can't.

How can one fix this problem? All I can tell you is that drafting takes will power. You have to suck it up, suck all that air in, and just write. Ignore all the words flowing out behind your fingers and concentrate on the words that have not yet flowed from your fingers. By doing this, you are essentially forgetting that what you're writing is total garbage. You've already accepted that it's total garbage, but it's unnecessary for you to acknowledge that while you're writing.

But to be honest, there is no set way in which to fix what seems like an unsolvable problem. Perhaps you as the OCD writer need to set a word count for yourself that you plan to meet everyday, even if it's just a 100 words. Because of my light course load at college (probably won't be the case second semester), I'm able to do 2,000 words a day. I've been working on Kairos Angel for 13 days, and I've been able to meet my 2,000 word a day goal everyday, something I have not been able to do since Witch Tourniquet. Writing this draft makes me cringe because I hate writing rough drafts. I like to write well, and when I can't write well, I have the tendency to scrap my work--but I know that isn't going to do anything for me, as rough drafts are supposed to be bad. They're simply the foundations you lay, such as artists sketching out what they want to draw before they commence with a finished piece (it's not pretty, but you should see what these artists produce at the end. Hard to believe they started out with something so sketchy and unrecognizable).

For the OCD writer who can't finish a piece because he or she keeps going back and fixing things, just stop. Just keep writing. Take a day or two and remind yourself constantly that rough drafts suck. By pounding this in your brains, it might be easier to get through that rough draft. Realize that writing's a process, that there will be many re-writes following.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slush Pile Reader

After having Dead Poet's Pendulum published with The Oddville Press, I've decided to volunteer as a slush pile reader. I'm excited about the experience, and you think I'm naive for being excited about reading slush piles. I didn't say I was excited about reading slush piles. I said the experience. You can take this as the experience points you earn on an RPG in order to level up. I want to be an editor one day, so being a slush pile reader will be perfect experience for me, and won't look bad at all on a resume.

In my opinion, I think all writers need to volunteer for slush pile reading at one point or another in his or her writing lives. Tons of writers grumble about the process of submitting a piece and waiting on it, but they have no idea what goes on in that process. By being a slush pile reader, you pretty much get a firsthand account of what all happens and why it takes a bit. Sure, your eyes might bleed in the long run, but at least you'll learn to respect editors and garner a deeper appreciate for what they have to put up with.

I know I soon will.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dead Poet's Pendulum is Out!

So, after waiting for what seems like forever, Issue V of The Oddville Press is finally out! Here's the link to the e-zine, and I'm on pg. 63:


Send me any comments you have to skyejules@yahoo.com. I would love to hear from all of you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just a Brief Update

No, Dead Poet's Pendulum has not collapsed and disappeared from the face of the earth along with the e-zine, The Oddville Press, in which it is appearing in. I know I said September, but the editor had been experiencing computer problems, thus delaying its release. Now she assures me that the layout for the e-zine is being put together, so it'll hopefully be out by the end of this week or the next.

I will definitely post a link to Dead Poet's Pendulum once it's up.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kairos Angel

Several years ago I played two games called Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Both of these video games made me fall in love with the concept of time travel and dimensions, of time distortion, and anything involved with messing around with time. Chrono Trigger involved time travel, while Chrono Cross involved dimension travel. I loved these games so much that I wanted to know if there was going to be a sequel to Chrono Cross. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I found the trademark for Chrono Break (a game still totally up in the air). Since I knew that Chrono Trigger had an object called the Chrono Trigger in it and Chrono Cross the same, I knew Chrono Break had to have some sort of object in it or deal with something involving time. So when I translated Chrono into time, I came up with time break, which automatically made me think of breaks in time. Of course, I do not have any idea what Chrono Break would be about if it ever got made. There have been speculations, but strangely none of them ever involved breaks in time. (And typing in breaks in time in Google yields no results.)

So, where am I going with this breaks in time idea? Basically, I'm creating the concept of breaks happening in time during the present day, where at any moment something from the past or future can come into the present and cause disturbances. It sounds like time travel, but time travel is often choice, and usually involves present day people traveling to the past and future. With these breaks in time, there is no choice, and it doesn't pull anybody from the present and puts him/her into the past or future. Rather, these breaks pull from the past and/or future. These breaks in time are erratic. Now how do I the author make these breaks in time happen? Well, that would be a spoiler right there, so I can't say anything.

As for the title Kairos Angel, this took a bit of research. I originally wanted to make the title Chrono Angel, but I wasn't sure if Chrono was a made up word strictly for the Square Enix series. After researching it for a bit, I found the word Chronos, which means time. So I fashioned the name into Chronos Angel. But after further research, I discovered Kairos. Now, rather than giving my unintelligent spill over what this means, I'll have wikipedia do it for me.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature.

Why did I choose Kairos rather than Chronos? Well, as wikipedia states, chronos is in sequential order. Kairos Angel does take place in sequential order, but the novel puts less emphasis on the idea of chronological time and more emphasis on the time in between, a moment when something special happens at a random time. Since my novel deals with breaks in time and these breaks are random and don't occur at any particular time in any particular order, Kairos was only fitting for the title.

But why angel? That would be a spoiler as well, but I can tell you that one of my MCs, at no particular period in time, has to find a way to seal these breaks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Two

Here's an excerpt of chapter one. This is from a different point of view, not Dervla's. But it happens at the same time as Dervla's story happens. They connect later, I promise.

Magically Gone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Post One for Witch Tourniquet

Yes, I'm finally participating in Teaser Tuesday. So, here's the first teaser of Witch Tourniquet's Prologue. Every Tuesday, I'm going to post a teaser from each chapter (ensuring there are no spoilers, of course). Please, feel free to leave me any comments, criticisms, rants, raves, ect... I can handle it. Wouldn't still be here writing if I couldn't.

Magically gone!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Young Adult

We're finally starting one of our big essays in my English Comp class: Exposition. I've decided to exposit on young adult novels. There's a common misconception among adults who don't understand YA, and that's that YA needs to be dumbed down, or watered down. Not true, and that aggravates me.

I have several sources, and one source that really interests me is Vannessa Thorpe's article. You can read it here:


There's several things I find unsettling about this article. One: that parents think the content is unsuitable for [teenagers]. Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting to shelter your precious baby from the evils of the world, but those sheltered kids are often the ones who snap when they get out on their own. Parents can find the content unsuitable for their child, but from reading the article, I've deduced this: parents find this kind of content inappropriate for any age of teen, and that bothers me. It's my belief that teenagers have it tougher now than the teens of my parents time. We see more, hear more, experience more--and not necessarily good things. YA mirrors the realities teens face, and edgy content is trying to show teens that. But some adults obviously feel that YA novels need to be watered down kiddy books about what Jane wants to wear for prom, and the entire plot revolves around Jane's trials and tribulations of trying to find a dress.

Here's the second thing that bothers me: notice how I put teenagers in brackets. I put teenagers in brackets because throughout the entire article, they kept referring to young adult books as children's books. Though teenagers are technically considered children still, when novels refer to children, they mean children. To call teenagers children is ludicrous. You would not see a child reading a book about a rape victim or a girl trying to give herself an abortion because of an accidental pregnancy. No, children read middle grade books, young reader books, chapter books, or even picture books. They do not read YA. There's nothing stopping them from reading YA, but YA is not aimed at children.

Lastly, it drives me nuts that there are adults out there still ignorant of YA. There was a book on amazon (I wish I could recall the title), that one parent felt was inappropriate for children under 18. Hello! There are ages on YA novels for a reason. What one teen may be able to handle, another teen may not. Parents need to learn what their teens find inappropriate before deeming what they find inappropriate. I know I'm not a parent and shouldn't be directing parents how to parent, but it's unfair to a teen who knows so much more than their parents did when they were kids, and yet their parents still want to shelter them from reading books with content that probably isn't as disturbing as what the teen knows. Some teens can handle rape. Others cannot.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I've noticed that a lot of what I write revolves around Catholicism and making it seem like some evil religion that likes to murder people for not believing the way it wants them to believe.

To clarify, I do not believe that at all. In fact, it's my belief that if you're going to twist a religion, you need to respect it first. Not only do I respect Catholicism, but I enjoy its existence, and I would cry if I met the pope in Vatican City. I have heard many good things about him (plus, he praised the sixth Harry Potter movie).

It seems weird that I am so in tune with Catholicism, yet I am not Catholic myself. Anybody with religious roots can understand that some people need a spiritual journey to find their religious roots, and I suppose that's me. If I had a spiritual journey to Vatican City, a meeting with the pope or even a cardinal, maybe some praying at the Sistine Chapel with rosary beads, I would likely be Catholic by now. For now, I accept that I am on the fence of religion, that I take faith over a label any day.

But why choose Catholicism to twist? Well, back in the days of my good friends the Tudors, the Catholic Church dominated a lot of affairs. King Henry the VIII wasn't happy because he couldn't divorce Katharine. Somehow, he took over the Catholic Church and made himself a practical pope. Well, I wanted to bring the papal supremacy back, but show another side of religion, the ugly side that a lot of deeply religious people seem to forget. Catholicism at one point was like the pope in Dead Poet's Pendulum or even Witch Tourniquet. I want to remind people that religion isn't perfect, and I suppose I want those close-minded Bible thumpers to realize there are billions of people out there, all with unique, religious beliefs, and that they shouldn't shun those who believe differently from them. Plus, I just plain like Catholicism, and Catholicism makes more sense to me. While other religions are screaming for Harry Potter to be burned, the pope is praising the sixth movie for the way it handles the content. Catholics, to me, are more open-minded than other religions.

You have to read Angels and Demons. Dan Brown treats the Catholic Church with respect, and he does an amazing, sensitive job of portraying the pope and cardinals. It really makes you want to go to Vatican City and meet the pope.

Friday, September 18, 2009

ASU Creative Writing Club

Unlike high school, I'm in a writing club that actually does things. And to boot, I'm the president (which was totally spontaneous, by the way). It functions like a writing group as well, with our "writing group" meetings being held the third Wednesday of every month. Plus, we have meetings the first of every Thursday, and I, as the president, can hold additional meetings if necessary. We also do a bunch of other writing-related things, and we get in on events held off campus, like this Le Chat Noir (it's the name of a place in downtown Augusta) event that I'll likely be attending.

I'm mostly excited about the writer's conference. If you're taking the Sand Hills Creative Writing Class, you get in it for free, but, if you're like me, you have to fill out a scholarship form. But, Anthony Kellman, our faculty adviser, says about only one person has been turned away from it, and that's because of GPA. They want a minimum GPA of 2.5. Serious now. 2.5. Hopefully, I can attend it next semester. I believe you have had to take English 1101 (which I am this semester). Not sure, but I'll find out more info once it gets around that time.

We also do a Night of the Spoken Word thing, and I'm unsure when that's going to be held. But rest assured, you can bet your socks that I'm going to do some kind of reading in it. I remember I used to be really shy about my writing. Now I read without fear and read with confidence.

Also, we'll hopefully be having a field trip to Poets at Tech on December 4th. Fun stuffs...

OFFICIAL Acceptance!

Yes, I finally received my official acceptance. Well, I wouldn't say finally because I got it soon as I woke up this morning.

Patricia Hurst, the editor, isn't sure exactly when it's coming out because she's having to set up some things on her computer. But she assures me it will be sometime in September. In the meantime, I'm going to be finishing my short story called Sacrifice Ticket and proofreading Witch Tourniquet (of which I will have "polished" teasers of shortly. Teaser Tuesday anyone?).

Enjoy this teaser of Dead Poet's Pendulum. It might or might not be completely edited, as I didn't bother using The Oddville Press's edited version, since the changes were so minor. So, if you feel like you're seeing glaring mistakes, rest assured that the wonderful editors of The Oddville Press have fixed that.

Here you go!

The pendulum swung back and forth, back and forth, above the frightened poet tied to a rack, Rupert Eastlake. He lay on his back staring wide-eyed at the pendulum, hideous sounds issuing from his throat. The dark stone buildings behind the pendulum towered over Rupert, and the blooming crepe myrtles near the small church swayed in almost-mourning fashion. An executioner stood high on a platform using a lever attached to intricate machinery to lower the pendulum about every five minutes. There would be no headlines for him, for Moorshir Village was much too small for England.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Acceptance! (Well, Pre-Acceptance.)

Several months ago I wrote a short story titled Dead Poet's Pendulum. I procrastinated several more months in regards to finding a beta reader. But I finally found one that did a top-notch job, and her name's EFCollins. You can find her on absolutewrite.com. She's marvelous, but don't harass her. Because of her, Dead Poet's Pendulum has been accepted by The Oddville Press.

I don't know the official date, as I haven't received the "official" acceptance letter yet, but they thought it was a high-quality piece of writing, and they said they were "honored."

As for the pre-acceptance letter, they just wanted to know if I had accepted the minor changes they made, and I did. I'm just dying to receive the official one. I'm printing it out and framing it. This is the first time actually having a piece of fiction accepted, so you can imagine how giddy and anxious I'm feeling.

Soon as I get a date, I'll post a teaser. Then, once it's published, I'll post a link to it.