Archive | May 2012

What do You do When you Feel like Life is Going to Fast?

As all of my regular readers know, I’ve had a lot of good things happen in a very short time; my husband got a new, better job, I signed a contract with a publisher for one of my novels, and I discovered I was pregnant for the second time. Now I have something else to add to that list: I just found out that the offer we put in on a new house was accepted. Soon, we’ll be moving to a new home, an hour and a half away from here, but closer to family and my husband’s job.

All of this is wonderful, great, spectacular, except… I suddenly feel like everything is changing too much, and too quickly. I feel like I’m standing still and the whole world is rushing past in a blur of color and movement. I can’t seem to get a hold on anything. My world is turned upside down, and I’m not turning with it very well.

I do know that all of these things are wonderful. I guess I’m just feeling lost, extremely stressed out, and maybe even a little scared. Everything is so very different from the way it was. What if, once I’m on this new path, I can’t handle it, or discover I don’t like it? What if I made a mistake choosing to go in this direction? (Not with the baby. I know that’s not a mistake, although I am a little scared about being able to handle a new-born and a 2-1/2-year-old.)

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Do you have any advice for me that might help be get my feet back where they belong? I sure would appreciate it!

I Have a Big Announcement!

So I said in a post last week that I had some big news to share. Hopefully this will explain my erratic posting schedule of the last few weeks; I’m pregnant!

This will be our second baby. It’s due December 25. That’s right, Christmas day! Anyway, I”ve been absolutely exhausted. I’ve barely been able to keep up with my son (who just turned two) and work on revisions for my novel, let alone manage posting on this blog, although I think I’ve done pretty well. I’ll be out of the first trimester in a few weeks here, and I’m hoping I’ll be a little less tired, and that things can get back to normal.

So anyway, that’s my big news! It was hard waiting to share it! I also received another full request for my YA contemporary novel from an agent last night, bringing the total to nine full requests. It’s been good news all around, although I really am exhausted…

Announcing: The Title and Back-Cover Blurb for My YA Fantasy Novel!!!

Both the title and blurb may be subject to change per the editor’s request, but I was told I could share these with you all! Hope you like them!



Drive Back the Darkness


Back-cover blurb:

On her sixteenth birthday, Ellie Lyons discovers her entire life has been a lie. She’s kidnapped from her home and left in Alladon, a kingdom controlled by an evil man named Morfan, a kingdom that she was born to rule.

Ellie reluctantly faces the impossible tasks confronting her; like learning to control the magic that now roars through her and burns everything she touches, training to become a lethal warrior, or dealing with the fact that Devin, the guy she is irresistibly attracted to, is actually one of the assassins sent by Morfan to kill her.

Devin has a troubled past; he has spent the last five years tracking the person who murdered his family. He is dark, dangerous, and deadly serious, but Ellie can see the core of kindness shining deep within him, as well as the fear of getting hurt again that makes him push people away. Though Ellie knows her life might be at stake, she can’t seem to stay away from him, even as her feelings become strong enough that they begin to scare her.

Vance, the second assassin and Devin’s best friend, is the opposite of Devin; blonde, charming, seductive. But his heart holds a kernel of darkness, one that makes him dangerously unstable, especially after he realizes that he has feelings for Ellie, feelings he knows Ellie doesn’t share.

Ellie can’t let her emotions for the two men cloud her focus, her quest to remove Morfan from power. When Ellie discovers that the children of Alladon have been imprisoned in a secret factory, Ellie knows she can’t fight her destiny any longer. She must claim her rightful place as princess and fight Morfan, or surrender and be slaughtered. Will she be able to survive long enough to save her people from the Darkness?

How do You Keep the Business of Writing Fun?

So for the last few weeks I’ve been slogging through forms, working on revisions, reading books on marketing, etc. After the excitement of the offer wore off, it’s definitely been work. So my question today is this; how do you keep the business part of writing fun?

I know I’ve talked about it before, but my favorite part of writing is getting an idea, fleshing out the characters, and writing the first draft. This, it turns out, is a very, very small part of the writing business. So how do you deal with the rest, which is clearly just as necessary as writing the book in the first place?

I think maybe after my book actually comes out, and I can hold all that hard work in my hands, that I might feel differently about this part in the process. While it will never be my favorite part, perhaps it will no longer seem like such work either. I also think that a large part of it is nerves, that I might enjoy it more if I wasn’t constantly thinking about my very first book coming out, and if people will like it our hate it.

What about you? What’s your favorite part of the writing process? And is there anything you do to make you least favorite part more fun?

Also, to my regular readers, I’m so sorry that I missed my Saturday poll this weekend. I have some other news I’ll be announcing shortly that will explain why I did, maybe at the end of this week, so stay tuned!

What Would You do if Someone Asked you to Write in a Different Genre?

So far in my writing career I’ve focused on YA  novels, with a few romances on the side. Recently however, I had an agent tell me that she felt I was meant to write serious women’s fiction. I have to admit, it floored me a little.

While I’ve dabbled with the idea (I even have a serious adult novel plotted out, with complete character biographies), I’ve never actually written in that genre. But this was a big time agent, one who’s made a lot of deals, and knows what she’s doing. If she thinks that is what I should be writing, perhaps there is something there.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I know I want to work on the YA series that I have coming out. It’s fun to write and I’ve enjoyed it. But now I have this little niggle of thought poking at me all the time. What if I’m meant to be writing something else? What if I haven’t found my true voice, my true genre yet? What if I AM meant to be writing serious adult fiction?

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? What did you do? What do you think I Should do? I’d love to know!

Conflict vs. Tension in Your Writing

Okay, everyone, The Literary Mom has been doing lots of “mom” stuff, and is exhausted. Please enjoy this article I wrote last year about conflict vs. tension in your writing, and have a nice Wednesday!

One of the most important elements in fiction writing is conflict. You can’t write a good story without it, period. But conflict has a counterpart that is equally important; tension. What’s that you say? Aren’t tension and conflict the same thing? No, they’re not, and here’s why: tension is what your readers experience when waiting for the conflict they know is coming.

As I get nearer and nearer the black moment (You don’t know what that is? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!) in my NaNo novel, I’ve been thinking more and more about tension and conflict. Today, I had a breakthrough. I realized I had my two final scenes in the wrong order. The way I had it originally had the most conflict. However, today I realized that if I reversed their order, it will actually increase the reader tension. Reader tension is what keeps the reader turning the page, even when it’s one in the morning and they know they have to get up at six for work.

Sometimes, you have to hint to your readers that a big conflict is on the way and then delay it. The delay is what creates the reader tension. They know it’s coming, but when? They continue reading, breathless and anxious, waiting for that ugly conflict to pop out from behind a bush and scream “BOO!!”

Character Viewpoints Within Your Writing

Most often, a novel is told from the viewpoint of one or two characters, although occasionally there may be more. If you’re switching between characters, you’ll have some hard decisions to make; i.e. when should you switch, how often should you switch, how long should you remain in a character’s viewpoint before switching to another, etc.

A common example of a genre the uses more than one character viewpoint is the romance novel, which often contains scenes from the hero’s viewpoint as well as the heroine’s. And actually, that’s where I’m having a little trouble.

Within in my YA novels, I never have a problem with changing character viewpoints. I almost never do it, and when I do, it’s a short scene or two, scattered sparsely throughout the novel. But romance novels are different. I love to be in the hero’s head as well, seeing how he feels about the heroine, how he thinks about her, imagines her, as they fall in love.

Because of this, I tend to change viewpoint too often, committing the deadly sin of “head-hopping.” This, of course makes tons of work for me when I have to edit, making sure I stay firmly with one character or the other for the entire scene.

But here’s my pet peeve; I feel like it’s okay to change viewpoints at the start of a new scene, but I know most editors require only one viewpoint per chapter. So what do you think? Do you mind if an author changes viewpoint at the start of a new scene? Or would you rather each viewpoint be a contained chapter, even if it’s a very short one? Let me know what you think!

Saturday Poll: What Books do You Consistently Re-read?

There are some books I own that I truly love. They are the books I find myself reading again and again, because they feel like coming home. Are there any books you feel that way about? I listed some of mine below, but please feel free to write in your answers!

How to Outline a Plot For Your Novel

Today is going to be very busy, as it is my son’s well-baby doctor visit and we have to drive an hour and a half to get there (and to come back). I’ve also been working on plotting out a rough outline for my second story in my YA fantasy series. Because of that, I thought I’d re-post my article on how to outline a plot.

Only three more days until NaNoWriMo starts! Have you outlined a plot for your novel? Here’s how!


There are lots of different ways to plot a novel. Some authors have extremely detailed outlines that are almost as long as their novels. Some authors don’t plot out a single thing, and just see where their writing leads. Then there is everything in between. I tried all the different methods before I finally settled on one I liked. I thought I would share my insights with you.


The first three novels I tried to write, I didn’t plot anything. All my story ideas start with a spark, as I call it, and then I build the characters. A “spark” is basically an opening scene, a nice piece of dialogue, or an interesting event. Those three novels never got beyond 10,000 words. I always got to a point where I had written myself into a corner and couldn’t figure out where to go from there.


The next novel I wrote was the first one I finished. For this one, I plotted out every single scene (around 50 I think) on note cards, shuffled them around until they were in the perfect order, and then wrote the whole novel, sticking faithfully to my outline. Yes, I finished it, but I hated every moment of it. There was no excitement, no joyous flash of inspiration that would lead you into a new direction. The writing was fine. You couldn’t tell I hated the process. But it was still a horrible eight months.


The method I use now, and the one that works for me the best, is in between those two extremes. I have my spark, I have my characters, and then I choose ten or so things I want to happen in the plot, including the last scene. The last scene is extremely important to keep you on track. As long as you know where you are going with the whole book, you’re free to explore as many interesting side trips as you want. I have never suffered from writer’s block since I happened across this method, and I still get to have the fun and excitement of having spontaneous flashes of plot delivered by my “Muse”. It’s the best of both worlds.