Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Writer Group Etiquette

You’ve written a novel, now what? For me the answer to that question was to learn more about the process of writing for teens and what it would take to develop my story into something others would want to read. To do this I joined a critique group.

By the time I wrote Embrace, I had the basic steps for writing a novel down. I had a beginning, middle and end. There was mystery, various plot threads each of which were important to the story, and my protagonist grew and changed during the course of the novel. But I’d been writing long enough to know the importance of sharing my work with my critique partners. I knew their comments would allow me to see my story in a new light.

I value the opinion of my critique partners. I learn as much from listening to their critique of my work as I do from participating in critiquing their pages. For any group to work there has to be a give and take.  

Below are a few tips to get the most from any critique.

Tips on giving critiques:
Sandwich your comments
   - Begin with positive thoughts.
   - Offer constructive criticism in a helpful and respective manner.
   - End with positive comments of encouragement.
When offering suggestion, be specific.
    - Provide examples.
    - Ask what if.
    - Would the character…
Don’t rewrite the story to your personal taste.

Tips on receiving critiques:
Listen and takes notes.
Ask questions whenever you’re unclear as to what was said.
Avoid being defensive. Remember your critique partners are critiquing your story, not you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prologues--to keep or to cut

I’ve had aspiring authors ask me how many pages a prologue should be. My answer is simple: zero.

The problem with prologues is they are often info dumps. The writer is using a prologue to explain the rules of his or her world or to provide back story. It’s a technique used by writers newer to the craft and, if done wrong, it will turn readers off instead of pulling them into the story.

The rule I recommend writers follow is this: If the information provided in a prologue is done in a way that gives readers insight into what’s to come AND draws them into the story then keep the prologue. If the information can be woven into the story as it unfolds, cut the prologue. Over ninety percent of books fall into the latter category.

If you’re still not sure if you need a prologue, write it. Then as you write the rest of the book watch for places where you can weave the details from the prologue into the story. Most of the time, this is possible.

There are times when a prologue works. For example, in Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr, we meet the winter king and learn how dangerous it is for a human to fall in love with him. The prologue is two pages and grabs the reader.

Gena Showalter includes a note from Alice in her novel, Alice in Zombieland. Her prologue is also two pages and gives the reader a hint of things to come.  

Another example of a book with a prologue that works is Fallen, by Lauren Kate. She starts with a prologue "In the Beginning" and through the eyes of one of the characters we are able to get a taste of his world and his pain. This prologue is longer, seven or eight pages, but it works because the information doesn’t read like back story or an info dump. It’s intriguing and gets readers to turn the page.

For those writers who insist a prologue is needed because the back story can’t be woven into the novel or that the reader will never understand the unique rules of the world without one, consider this--the subject of prologues often comes up at conferences. Editors and agents give the same response each time: cut the prologue. If you keep the guidelines above in mind while writing your novel, you will discover if you should keep the prologue or cut it. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Omnific is giving away THREE KINDLES 

But before we get to that, Madison from my young adult romance/thriller EMBRACE would like to say a few words...

Hi guys! Madison Riley here. While Isaac and I haven’t shared a Valentine’s day, yet, I suspect ours would be spent at the lighthouse. It’s become the place we go to escape the world. I’d prefer a magical light show much like the one atChristmas to chocolate—once Hold Tight is out, you’ll understand why.
Hope your someone specials sends a spark into your life!
                                        Best, Madison

Kindle #1 will feature all of Omnific's 2010 titles! 
Passion Fish
Three Daves
Seers of Light
Boycotts & Barflies
A Valentine Anthology
The Unidentified Redhead
Stitches and Scars
Eve of Samhain
Life, Liberty, and Pursuit
With Good Behavior
Trust in Advertising
Take the Cake
Immortal Awakening
The Redhead Revealed
Whisper of Light
Shades of Atlantis
Breaking Point

Kindle #2 will feature all of Omnific's 2011 titles!
Pleasures Untold
Bad Behavior
Pieces of Us
Becoming sage
Crushed Seraphim
The Way That You Play It
Big Guns
It's Only Kinky the First Time
New Flame
Swim Recruit
Full Speed Ahead
The Second Sunrise
The Summer Prince
Whatever it Takes
Cat O' Nine Tails
The Guardian's Wildchild
Small Town Girl

Kindle #3 will feature all of Omnific's 2012/2013 titles!
Destiny's Fire
Grave Refrain
Burning Embers
Saving sunni
Cocktails and Dreams
The Winemaker's Dinner: No Reservations
The Winemaker's Dinner: RSVP
The Winemaker's Dinner: Appetizers
Recaptured Dreams
Glimpse of Light
Circle of Light
Between the Lies
Reaping Me Softly
Once Upon a Second Chance
Bittersweet Seraphim
The Winemaker's Dinner: Entree
A Christmas Wish
Blood Vine

To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below or visit Omnific Publishing Blog between February 14 -16, 2013.

In addition, Omnific Debut Collection is on sale between February 14-16 for only 99 cents each! Click here for a list of titles.

[Giveaway over]

Good luck, and THANK YOU for your support of Omnific Publishing! Here's to many more years of smart, sexy, rule-breaking romance!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feature: Alex Lidell, author of The Cadet of Tildor

With me today is Alex Lidell, author of The Cadet of Tildor, a young adult fantasy sure to please anyone who enjoys gritty, grimdark fantasy.

The Cadet of Tildor
by: Alex Lidell

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

Please help me welcome Alex Lidell.

Cherie: Tell us about your novel, The Cadet of Tildor, in your own words.

Alex: 16 year old Renee struggles to keep up with her male classmates at an elite military academy while dealing with her mentor's shadowy past and a friend's forbidden magic.

Cherie: Sounds intriguing! What was your favorite (or most difficult) chapter to write?

Alex: The Rock Lake conversation between Renee and Savoy.  The chapter was originally in Savoy's POV and changing it to Renee's took some work.  It's still one of my fav scenes though.  

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Korish that we don’t learn about her from reading the book?

Alex: This is a fun question!  Let's see...

When Savoy first came to the academy as a little boy, Seaborn (who is an awesome soccer player, btw) kicked a ball right into him.  On purpose.  

One of the things Savoy and Seaborn got in trouble for as little kids was ripping pages from a library book. 

Savoy enjoys drawing - he's actually very good

Cherie: I love finding these things out about characters.
J What are you working on now?

Alex: CADET II :)

Cherie: Yay for a book two! Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less:

Favorite color?


Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy?

good guy

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be?

Somewhere where I could pet all sorts of cool animals (tiger cubs!  Dolphins!  Elephants!) and ride really cool horses 

rite place to write?

Coffee shop 

Thanks, Alex, for stopping by my blog to chat! 

For more information about Alex and her books, stop by her Website or find her on Facebook

About the author:
Alex is a YA fantasy author, a Tamora Pierce addict, a horse rider, and paramedic.  The latter two tend to hand in hand a bit more often than one would like. Alex started writing at 2 am.

Keep in touch with  Alex Lidell

The Cadet of Tildor

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Keeping a Positive Mind: an IWSG post

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time to talk about insecurities. Before I do that, I’d like to thank Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this wonderful meme. If you'd like to learn more about it, just click on his name.

I’ve decided that my motto this year is going to be you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind. This goes right along with the goal I set for myself in January to try to put a positive spin on my insecurities.  So far, it’s working.

January turned out to be a great month when it came to my writing. First, I’d like to share some good news. Omnific Publishing has picked up the sequel to my young adult paranormal romance/thriller Embrace. I’m very excited to be working with them on book two and can’t wait to receive my first round of edits. More updates coming on that.

I’m a keynote speaker at the SPC Literary Conference in April. Plus, I’ll be judging the short fiction category and hosting a breakout session on plot. I can’t wait to read their entries and to be a part of this event.

My newest young adult novel is now out on submissions, as is my middle grade ghost story. My agent and I are patiently (cough cough, anxiously) waiting to hear updates on both.

Plus I’ve made great strides on my current work-in-progress. I had finished the first draft to this one in December and set it aside for a month. Now, with fresh eyes and a clear mind, I’ve rewritten the first chapters and have gone through over 130-pages. My goal is to have it ready for a beta read by March. I’m sure I’ll be revising again, but with new focus.

As far as insecurities, they’re there, but I’m not letting them get the best of me. 

As a thank you to my Followers, I'm giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card in the Followers Love Giveaway Hop. There are lots of blogs participating, which means lots of chances to win. Click here or page down to my previous post to enter.

Hope you have a wonderful and productive February.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Followers Love Giveaway Hop

Congratulation to Levina G, winner of the $10 Gift card!

Welcome to my stop on the Follower Love Giveaway Hop host by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Reader's Antidote. Since this is a Follower Hop, you must follow me in order to enter. I'm giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card for you to use for the purchase of a book or three of your choice.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other stops!