Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Cats

I don't know the exact day my four cats were born, because they were born outside. I do know they were born at the end of July, so I am officially announcing today, July 31st, as their birthday. They are one year old!

I want to celebrate their birthday by sharing their cutest pictures from the past year. 


Cole and Milo

The twins, Milo and Otis.

All four sleeping under my table.

Clover playing on my book case.

Milo

Cole and Paper Towns by John Green

Taking up all the room on my couch!

They were helping me wrap Christmas presents.

Otis playing with garland.

I put up my Christmas tree on Christmas Eve for my families party. I had to lock my kittens in my bedroom and let them out afterward, which is when they did this.


That's Clover at the top.


They all like to sleep on my desk.


Otis sleeping in the witches cauldron on top of my bookcase.


Cole sleeping on my thick, winter blanket.


The shoe box before.


The shoe box after.


They tore apart the ear buds for my MP3 player. And put one in their water dish.


Cole sleeping upside down. You can see his grey armpit hair. haha


Clover sleeping with the Bible.


Milo sleeping among a chaos of papers. 

Clover and Otis hiding under my desk. 
I really need to get rid of all those computer cords.


I hope you enjoyed these pictures! :)

Stay tuned because on September 5th I'll be sharing a short story about the day I rescued them for the Charity Cat Anthology blog hop created by Kyra Lennon




QUESTIONS: Do you like cats? Do you have any pets? 
I love animals, so tell me about them! :)


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Writing About: A Character’s Past Life

In one of my unpublished works I tackled one of my heroine’s past lives and it was an amazing experience. I loved showing her in a different light and used her past life to explain things (such as relationships) in her current life.


There are many ways to go about writing a character’s past life (aka reincarnation), so I’m going to give you a list of things to keep in mind or to try.


1.    You should establish a current life for your character before you explore his/her past life (or lives). It’s the only way to make their past life significant.

2.    Your character’s past life should be different from their current life. My heroine was a foster child and widely hated, but in her past life she had a happy home with a biological parent and was loved by everyone.

3.    Use your character’s past life as a way to provide explanations to why his/her current life is the way it is.

4.    Introduce your other characters in different roles in your MC’s past life. This was fun for me to do because I got to change up the relationships and deviate from the norm awhile.

5.    Give your character a slightly different personality. A past life changes everything, including peoples' personalities, so try giving your character a quality they don’t possess in their current life.

In my book, my heroine is a tough crime fighter. In her past life, she’s more gentle. There’s even a moment when she confesses she could never be a kickass woman. 


6.    Change your character’s appearance. Even if you don’t want to drastically change his/her race or gender, even if you want him/her exactly the same, you could still mix things up. Maybe you can give your character a different hair color. If he/she is normally pale, give him/her a tan. The little things count.

7.    Let your character do things he/she would never do in their current life. This gives you the opportunity to have fun! My heroine wore jeans, t-shirts and boots religiously, but in her past life she was girly and wore short skirts.

8.    Add symbolism to your character’s past life. I had fun slipping clues into my story and couldn’t stop myself from wondering if readers would catch it and link it to my heroine’s current life. 

You can use the past life as the integral part of a story line or you can try one of these options:

9.    Use the past life as a prologue before start your character’s story in his/her current lifetime.

10.     Bring the past life into play half-way through the story. Doing this will let you use the past life to change your MC’s current life, which could influence the end of the story.

There are many ways you can introduce a past life into your book. You can do it as a dream, vision or have your character actually go back in time.

As I always say . . . “It’s your book, it’s up to you!”


QUESTIONS: Do you believe in past lives (reincarnation)?
If you do, what do you think you were in your past life (or lives)?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mesmerized by Elaine Kaye (Flash Fiction)

I don't usually post flash fiction on my blog, but this piece was written by my mom and she is the exception. ;) You may have come across a phrase or two on my blog about how story ideas can come from anywhere. I often refer to story ideas as sparks. See: Catching a Spark.




And since my mom's story demonstrates that you can get a story idea anywhere, I knew I had to share it here.

Background: My mom worked at a quilt shop for many years. They had fabrics of all kinds, with every design imaginable. Quilts and panels hung from the ceiling to show the quilters who came in to shop what their projects could look like. One of those quilts had a green and yellow pattern that looked like a star burst, and everyone who saw it said it looked like a shadow was in the center. And my mom, being the writer she is, thought of a story for it.


Mesmerized

by


In three hours, Bree would open the door of her art gallery to show a new collection to the elite. There was only one problem and Bree planned to solve it immediately as she grabbed her cell phone.

“Chad, my love. Where is the star of the show? It should have been here hours ago!”

“Hold on, Bree. Let me get another phone to locate Mike. It was his job to get it there well before the opening.”

Bree counted the seconds of silence as she paced the room. If the best piece of their opening was not displayed, she would be ruined and she’d hold Chad responsible.

“Bree, darling,” Chad said in a high-pitched voice. “Mike is about ten minutes away. I will be there well before the opening.”

The call disconnected and Bree heard silence again. Looking at her watch, she sighed, thankful that there was still plenty of time.

Hours later, Bree and Chad stood before their prize painting located in a private area of the gallery. It would always be the showstopper!

“Do you think it will work tonight?” Chad asked Bree.

“You should know it only happens to the right person. I have a strong feeling he will appear.”

“Come on, my love,” he said, and escorted her to the front door. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

After most of the first crowd left, Bree walked over to Chad. “I saw him. He’s here! His shadow appeared near the painting. I told you he would appear. “

“This will be one of our most successful nights ever. I can feel it. We owe ourselves a glass of champagne.”

“Bree!” someone called in distress. “I can’t find Linda. She wandered off and I’ve looked everywhere for her.”

“Don’t worry, John. She will turn up soon. With all these people here, I’m sure she is talking business with someone. You know how Linda is.”

“Chad,” she whispered. “He’s claimed Linda already.”

Chad smiled. “I just found out Harry can’t be found anywhere either. This is going to be one big event.”

Bree walked over to the star painting to find a man named Alex starring at it. “Hi, Alex. Isn’t this painting exquisite?”

“Extraordinary, Bree. I know you’ve had it here before, but this is the first time I’ve
been able to see it. You know, the more I look at it the more I feel like it is pulling me in.”

“That is just what the artist wanted; to make you feel hypnotized. Now if you will excuse me, I need to talk to Chad.”

“Wait! I see something in the center. It looks like some kind of shadow.”

 “That is exactly what the artist wanted. I’ll be back in a minute Alex.” She walked away smiling.

“I saw you with Alex,” Chad murmured under his breath. “It was a success, wasn’t it?”

“One of the best so far tonight.”

“Listen, I am about to close the door. I just saw Gail wandering to the painting. You might want to visit her.” He gave Bree a wink as he locked the door.

“Gail, it’s been ages!” Bree gave her a friendly hug. “I see you like our star painting.”

“I didn’t know it was here. I was about to leave when I saw a glow coming out of this room and it just drew me in. This painting is remarkable. To me, it looks like a star burst.”

“What a perfect diagnosis. What else do you see?” she asked. “I saw Alex earlier, and he mentioned he saw something in the middle of the painting.”

“Really?” Gail sounded intrigued. “Can I step forward? No alarms will go off, right?”

Bree laughed. “No, go ahead and get closer. The alarms will be set after we leave. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“No, wait! I do see a shadow.”
Chad entered the room then. “I see Gail is mesmerized by our painting. How are you, Gail? Anything exciting?”

Gail nodded. “Has anyone ever said they saw a shadow appear before them in the center of the painting? It looks so real, and I do feel a pulling sensation.”

“I have heard rumors, but nothing has happened to me.” Bree said as she took one of Gail’s arms.

“Look, there it is! Can you see the shadow?”

“Yes, we see it,” Chad answered as he took her other arm.

Together he and Bree moved Gail closer and closer to the painting until she disappeared into the center—sucked into the Shadow’s world.

The second she vanished, the Shadow appeared between Chad and Bree, who were helping him to populate his kingdom, a kingdom of human slaves to do his bidding.

With their quota finally reached, the three of them smiled as they glanced up to read the title of the painting—Into Another Dimension. Hand-in-hand, they stepped through the portal to their new home.

***

Months later, the new gallery owner stepped up to the single painting left on the walls from the previous owners. “Into Another Dimension,” she read and tilted her head at the image of three grinning shadows in the center of a vortex.
  

THE END


QUESTIONS: What do you think of my mom's flash fiction piece?
What is the weirdest thing that inspired one of your stories?

For me, the weirdest thing that inspired a series of books was a screw. 


You can find my mom's Facebook page HERE.

I'll be reading your comments to her as I they come in. :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passive Voice Misconception

Passive voice: when the subject of a sentence is acted upon. 

Passive: Ben was attacked by a swarm of bees. 

Active Voice: when the subject of a sentence is the doer of the action.

Active: A swarm of bees attacked Ben. 


We have all heard (from agents, editors, etc.) that passive voice is something every writer should learn to spot and should work to eliminate from their writing, but some people are unclear on what passive voice is and why they have to avoid it. 

For creative writing, it's better to write active sentences because they are more to-the-point. Passive voice is wordier and can be hard to understand. However, it's not totally wrong to use passive voice. For example: "My car was stolen!" is a correct sentence if your character doesn't know who stole their car. 

It’s very easy to make passive voice active if you need to. All you usually have to do is rearrange a few words.
TIP #1: Use the Search tool in Microsoft Word to find every single “was”, "were", and "had/have been" in your manuscript. If the subject is not doing the action, revise the sentence. Usually when "was" is followed by a verb ending in "ed" that is a sign of passive voice.
TIP #2: There are other signs of passive voice such as "being" and "will be". Doing a little research and keeping a list next to your computer will help you spot them easily.

Not literally.

There is one misconception about passive voice, though. A beta reader once told me I should change everything like “was sitting” and “was walking” because it was passive voice, but that's not correct. "He was sitting" and "She was walking" are past progressive tenses, not passive voice. And they are not wrong.


Past progressive: puts emphasis on an action that was in progress at some point in the past.

Example: May was walking home at dusk. 

The phrase "was walking" is active for a story written in the past tense. And the sentence is in active voice because May (the subject) was walking (the action).


PLEASE NOTE: Not every "was" is bad though, nor is it always a sign of passive voice (as I pointed out above). We need "was" in our writing because it's a common word, and it's pretty impossible to get rid of it all-together. 



QUESTIONS: Do you struggle with passive voice? 
Was it hard for you to learn?

Honestly, I still have a problem with passive voice. It sneaks into my writing when I'm not looking. Thank goodness for the Search tool and good betas! ;)


Friday, July 18, 2014

Soulless by Crystal Collier / Cover Reveal

I am thrilled to bring to you the cover of Crystal Collier's Soulless. I think it is breathtakingly gorgeous! 


Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy


Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and รข "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


COMING October 13, 2014



PREORDER your print copy
or 
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.



QUESTIONS: What do you think of the cover for Soulless? Are you as excited about this book as I am?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Writing About: A Wedding

I wrote a beautiful wedding scene in my unpublished series, one that I hope I’ll be able to share with you because the characters and the ceremony are so near and dear to my heart.

To write this scene, I basically pretended I was a wedding planner because I wanted to include every aspect that makes a wedding ceremony so great.

This post is going to provide tips on how to write the ceremony and reception, but if you want to, you can certainly write about the months and moments leading up to the wedding if you want. 

Note: Not all weddings have to be described in such detail, but if the wedding is important to the story, it would be a good idea to follow the steps below.
TIP #1: Let the genre and the kind of story you’re writing influence the wedding. If your story is set in the future, change up the traditions. If it’s a fantasy, add magic and fanciful creatures.
TIP #2: Keep to the culture and religion of your characters. For different cultures, you’ll have to alter these tips and do more research.
Now here are my 15 steps to help you write a wedding ceremony (American-style).


THE DETAILS:

1.    Know when and where.

Decide what month/season the wedding will take place, and the location. A summer wedding with vivid colors like red would be stunning on a beach with white sand and blue water.

2.    Pick the theme.

The theme could fit the story, such as an autumn wedding with pumpkins and fall leaves for a horror or supernatural story. You can also use the bride’s and groom’s personalities. If they are a fun couple, they could have a Vegas-themed wedding.

These details will help you greatly when you need to describe the surroundings.

3.    Say “yes” to your heroine’s dress!

Even if you’re a guy, like it or not, you’ll have to at least briefly describe the bride’s dress. You don’t need to report every stitch, but you should give a few details such as the color (not all dresses are white), the length, and perhaps what the neckline looks like.
TIP #3: Go wedding magazine crazy at your local library, or search online until you find your heroine’s perfect dress. I actually designed my heroine’s dress, so if you have a knack for design, give it a try!
4.    Bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Let your minor characters take part in the wedding. And yes, along with the heroine’s and hero’s attire, briefly give us a picture of what the bridesmaids and groomsmen are wearing.

5.    The bouquet.

When the bride is walking down the aisle, tell us what flowers she’s holding. This could be as simple as a bundle of Calla Lilies or as elaborate as a mixture of roses, carnations, and daisies.


THE CEREMONY:

6.    Emotions are high.

How does the bride feel as she walks down the aisle to the man she loves? How does the groom feel as he watches her come toward him? Scared, anxious, happier than ever before?

7.    Wedding march and escort.

Does the bride walk to a classic wedding song or a different instrumental piece? Does a father figure walk her down the aisle or does she take the walk alone?

Photo Courtesy of Aswin Rai
A Japanese Wedding Procession
8.    The vows.

What the bride and groom say to each other is extremely important. Do they exchange traditional vows or write their own? If they write their own, use their personality. Is one of your characters funny? Slip in a private joke.

For my book, I wrote the vows, including what my characters say to each other during the ring exchange and what the official says before announcing my characters as husband and wife.
TIP #4: Write a piece of poetry inspired by your character’s love for each other that can be used as their vows.
9.    Ring exchange.

When your characters exchange rings, let their fingers shake. I was once at a wedding where the groom put the ring on the bride’s wrong hand. Then when he tried to take it off to put it on her left hand, it wouldn’t budge. They had to pour water on her finger (at the altar) to slip it off. Can you remake something cute and funny like that?

10.    The kiss.

“You may now kiss the bride” is always the best part of the wedding ceremony. Do your characters share a sweet kiss, or does the groom sweep the bride around in his arms and lay a big one on her? Reveal their personality and their love for each other.

For more on this check out: How to Write Kissing Scenes


THE RECEPTION:

11.     Dances

The dances are the sweetest moment following the vows and the kiss. Don’t let the opportunity to describe your characters’ first dance as husband and wife. Share their happiness as they dance, and let them whisper in each other’s ears.

12.    Bouquet and garter toss.

This is possibly the funnest (Yes, funnest!) moment at a reception. I always enjoy seeing who catches the bouquet and garter, so in my book it’s no wonder that I paired two characters who had a lot of hidden sexual tension for each other.

13.    Food

Aside from the couple getting married, the next thing the guests care about is food. You don’t have to go into extraneous detail about every plate of food, but a short inventory of the kinds of foods your characters can eat is always a nice touch.

14.   Cake

What does the cake look like? Two tier? Three? What is on the top? After the description comes the cutting of the cake. If your characters are care-free, they can smear the icing across each other’s faces. I had fun with this part, letting my characters get playful.


15. The wedding night.

Once the wedding is over and the reception winds down, the couple deserves some time alone. To write this part of the wedding night, use this link: Writing About: Intimacy
TIP #5: If you’ve had your dream wedding, infuse your precious memories with your characters’ happy day. If you have not had your dream wedding, this gives you the chance to have it by giving it to your beloved characters.
Not all weddings are happy, though. Perhaps your groom is stood up at the altar. Or if you’re writing a mystery, maybe someone turns up dead.

It’s always important to keep with the theme of your story. However, a bit of happiness is a good idea. After everything I put my characters through in my series, I decided a beautiful, peaceful wedding was imperative.
TIP #6: Listen to your characters. How do they want to get married? What do they say needs to happen? Pay attention to what they tell you. After all, it’s their day.

SHARE: Memories from your wedding day.


QUESTIONS: Has any of your characters tied the knot? Did you write about their wedding?


Friday, July 11, 2014

Sidelined by Kyra Lennon / Guest Post + Giveaway!

I would like to welcome, Kyra Lennon, to Write with Fey! Take it away, Kyra!


Thank you SO much, Chrys, for letting me hijack your blog!

This is a small snippet from the mid-point of Sidelined, at the height of Bree’s confusion about her life, and her marriage – right before everything takes a dramatic, horrible turn!

 ***

Genie’s was my favourite place to hang out. Since it was close to Freya’s apartment, she and I often went there for drinks after work, or before going out to a club. The bar was casual, mostly filled with surfers and sun worshippers so it didn’t require any kind of dress code. In fact, if you wore more than a bikini in there during the day, people stared because you’d overdressed.

Taylor and I grabbed our drinks; coke for her, juice for me. I desperately wanted a cocktail but I wasn’t so good at handling my drink yet. Even though I was totally pissed with Jude for being so dismissive about my day, I’d dragged Taylor along. I figured I should show some level of responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol would have helped lessen my guilt about being with her.

 Genie’s wasn’t too busy and we easily found a place to sit. Right by the door so I could get away if I needed to.

Taylor stared at me across the table, turning her coke glass around in her hands. “Why the sudden change of heart about hanging out with me?”

I'd never seen her looking so unsure. Like I was the one to worry about. I'd always been kind to her, even slightly more than everyone else after what she did. I suppose when someone has an ulterior motive for every action it's easy to think everyone else does the same. Not me. I'm a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of girl and I assumed everyone else to be the same, which was the reason she'd found it so easy to play me in the first place.

“I haven't had a change of heart. I'm here because I had to get away from Jude and you hadn't left yet. Plus, doing something I shouldn't seemed like a really good idea.”

The tiniest smile showed on her face. “Good to know you haven't totally turned into a goody-goody without my influence.”

I poked out my tongue at her, crossing my eyes; the most immature gesture I'd used since the last time I'd seen her.

Taylor burst out laughing. “I missed you, Bree.”

“Let's not get too sentimental. I haven't decided how long I'm staying.”

Taylor reached across the table and touched my hand. “Bree, come on. I know what I did, okay? I messed up. How am I supposed to fix this if you don't give me a chance?”

She was doing that thing. The thing that made me forget how much of a monster she'd been. It must have been some kind of witchcraft because every time she did it – and I'd never even figured out what “it” was – I mellowed a little. I'd already established the puppy dog eyes didn't work but something about her always won me over, even if just a little bit.

“Let's see how things go, okay?”

Taylor nodded then took a sip of her drink. “So, why don't you start by telling me what's new with you?”

Before my brain had a chance to think, I launched into an explanation of my desire to be a make-up artist, and how Jude hated the idea and refused to let me explore the one thing I'd ever wanted to do. How could I stop myself? The argument was fresh in my mind, and Taylor had asked. Even if she wasn't being completely genuine, what was the worst she could do with this information? Tell him what I'd said? Tell our friends? Okay, well, that would suck. It sucked that I confided in her before confiding in Leah and Freya but they both had so many other things going on. They didn't need me bringing them down. Taylor thrived on other people’s unhappiness – she was the perfect solution.

“I'm just so tired,” I finished, heaving out a sigh. “When I told Jesse, he was so supportive, but my own husband? He-”

“Hold on.” Taylor held up her hands. “You mentioned Jesse a couple times. What's going on?”

My head dropped to one side, eyeing her with confusion. “What do you mean? He's a friend.”

“Right, but I didn't realise you were so close.”

“Well, it's only been since he's been off work. I've had more time than anyone else to go visit him.” I shrugged. “He's easy to talk to.”

Even as I said the words, they sounded false. Jesse meant more to me every time I saw him, every time he allowed me to be myself without questioning my every move. He’d been my lifeline in a way, and he probably didn’t even realise. And it wasn’t just him. I loved his parents and his sister, too. The Shaws had become the family I’d never really had. I’d started to suffocate and Jesse gave me a place where I could breathe.

“Bree,” Taylor said, gently. More gentle than she’d ever sounded before. “You don’t think I understand? Hello, I dated Jesse! If anyone can understand someone falling for him, it’s me.”

You didn’t fall for him. You used him.


Blurb: 

At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Buy Links: 

About the Author:


Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

Find Kyra online: 



Please leave a comment for Kyra! :)


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