Friday, December 18, 2015

Seasons Greetings!

Have a safe and happy holiday season
and may all your dreams come true!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Interview with R.P. Channing, author of Thirst, Blood of my Blood

Hi everyone!

I'm excited to have R.P. Channing here with me today. His book, Thirst, Blood of my Blood, is now available on Amazon.

Thirst, Blood of my Blood
by R.P. Channing
Genres: Young Adult Romance, Paranormal Romance, High School, Vampires, Demons, Witches, Dark Fantasy, Horror

About the book:
~ Kira Sutherland ~

After a near fatal accident (and getting cheated on by her 'boyfriend'), and beating up the lead cheerleader (with whom the boyfriend cheated...), and being labeled as having 'issues' in her school because she, uhm, sees ghosts, Kira is left with two choices:

1. Continue her 'therapy' (where she's told the ghost is a hallucination and also gets her legs ogled too often...)


2. Go to Starkfield Academy, a boarding school for "Crazies and Convicts" (as the social media sites call them.)

She chooses the latter...

~ Cory Rand ~

Cory Rand has not had an easy life. His mother died in a car accident when he was twelve, and so did his mother's best friend...sort of. You see, Janice made a promise to take care of Cory just before she died, and so she lingers. Undead. A ghost that watches out for him.

Brought up in an abusive home, Cory quickly falls into a life of disreputable behavior. After his third offense (which was prompted by a girl, as usual - he has a weakness) he's left with two choices:

1. Be tried as an adult and share a cell with a guy named Bubba (he thinks...)


2. Go to Starkfield Academy, which Cory is pretty sure is run by vampires. But, hey, at least he'll get an education.

He chooses the latter...

It's at Starkfield that Kira meets Cory Rand, a boy with an insatiable Rage who sees ghosts, too. As well as other things, other things from his past, things that confuse him, things like fire and witches and demons.

Things he's always ignored.

Until now.

Please help me welcome R.P. Channing.

Cherie: Where did you get the idea for your novel?
R.P. Channing: Honestly? It came out of nowhere. I just started writing one day and it grew. The story as it is now bears little resemblance to the one I started writing initially. The ideas came to me as I wrote and developed the characters. 

Cherie: Funny how much an idea can change once an author starts to write the story. What was the most difficult chapter to write?
R.P. Channing: The entire second half of the book was absolute murder to write. I lost count of the number of times I rewrote the thing and touched it up. 

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Kira and Cory that we don’t learn about them from reading the book?
R.P. Channing: Kira lives in New York State (either in Nassau or Suffolk County). I decided not to mention this so she could be from "Any Town USA" as her hometown has little bearing on the story.  Cory's mother was drinking and driving when she had the car accident. This is not mentioned in the book.

The other thing I didn't reveal is the true source of Cory's internal power... ;)

Cherie: Interesting insight into both of your characters. So tell us, what are you working on now? 
R.P. Channing: Book Two. There will be several in this series, but each book will stand on its own, with no cliffhangers, and no need to read the earlier books to understand the later ones.

I am also working on another story (mostly in my head) that I've picked up and dropped three times already, a dystopian novel that really excites me - but there is no time for it now. The Starkfield Academy series will take precedence for now. 

Cherie: Good to know there will be more books! Thanks for being with us today.


Kindle Unlimited

Author Bio
R P Channing started writing three years ago, but never published anything even after churning out over a million words of fiction. Thirst: Blood of my Blood is the first book he dared to publish. When asked why, he said, “Because I wouldn’t feel bad telling my mother about it...” When not hammering away (most literally) at his keyboard, he can be found buried in a book, reading anything from romance to horror to young adult to non-fiction to comedy. If it has words in it, I’ll take it.

Find R.P. Channing:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Writing in an Active Voice

Michael Abayomi's IWSG post reminded me of a guest post I did for Uncommon YA earlier this year that I thought was worth repeating here since it's a subject that comes up often in my critique groups and in workshops. If you haven't visited Michael's blog, you should check it out. He always shares insightful posts.

So, here I go again, talking about voice. But voice in a novel is so important and it's not always about dialogue and inner monologue. Today I'm talking about writing with an active voice and using strong verbs.

An active voice will help your prose come alive and have readers devouring the words in front of them, But what exactly is an active voice? Simply put: in a sentence written in an active voice the subject of the sentence performs an action.

It's the difference between saying:

She was walking.
She walked.


I have been sleeping
I slept. 

An active voice conveys a clear, concise image of what the characters are doing, and this helps readers form a picture of the scene in their mind. It tightens the writing and makes the story stronger. 

TIP: Search your work-in-progress for auxiliary verbs and replace them with active verbs.
Examples of auxiliary verbs: am, are, is, was, were, will be, has been, had been.

Now let's take our writing one step further and add strong, more expressive verbs and a little more detail to the use of an active voice to help readers paint a vivid picture of the scene in their mind and have them feeling as if they are in the middle of the action.

You could say, He pressed the button.”

But “He jabbed the button with new purpose” paints a better picture of the character's emotion and actions.

Strong verbs do a better job of captivating readers.

There's nothing wrong with He looked my way.”

But “His sapphire gaze burned through me” not only shows us what the character is doing, it conveys a sense of intensity and intimacy.

It's the difference in saying, She sat, tired.” and ”She flopped down on the threadbare sofa, exhausted.”

Strong verbs pull readers into the story and keeps them turning the pages.

TIP:  Use verbs that convey the clearest message. Examples: ate or devoured; hit or pummel.

Take the challenge: watch for places in your work-in-progress where you can turn a passive passage into an active one and where you can chop weak verbs and replace them with strong verbs. I promise you'll be happy with the results.

I'm always on the lookout for tips and advice on writing, so please feel free to share your tips in the comment section!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

From the beginning, #IWSG

Hi everyone!

You might remember from a few months ago that I mentioned things here have been hectic. The good news is life is starting to level out again, thank goodness. My insecurity now is that it might not last. Or maybe that's more of a fear. Either way, I'm trying very hard to focus on positive things and one of those things is my writing. 

I started three projects: a MG fantasy, a realistic YA, and an adult paranormal. It's not uncommon for me to work on a couple projects at one time, but this is the first time I have three first drafts going. I tried outlining, but that wasn't helping me figure out what I want to happen. So for now I'm writing the scenes I know and will worry about filling in the rest later. I am hoping to fall into a good flow with one of these stories. Fingers crossed that's soon. 

Are you an outliner or a pantser? Do you work on more than one story at a time? How do you pick which project you're going to focus on? 

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group. 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#IWSG Be Inspired

Hi everyone! 

Life in general has been a bit hectic these past few month, which has left me little time to fret over writing. So this month, for IWSG, I'm keeping things simple and sharing a few inspirational quotes that keep me going. I hope you enjoy them.

Found on

And one more for fun (and because I truly hope it's true) ...

Do any of these quotes resonate with you? How's life in your neck of the woods? 

Thanks to Alex and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's All About the Dialogue - 10 Tips for Writing Realistic Dialogue

I love writing dialogue. Done well, dialogue brings a scene alive, builds characters, and advances the plot. But just as great dialogue can pull a reader into a story, bad dialogue can snap a reader out of the scene and have them putting the book down. Below are ten tips to help you create realistic dialogue no matter what genre you write.
  1. Writing realistic dialogue starts with knowing your characters and their world. Sex, age, social status, location and genre have to be considered. Once you know who your characters are, you’re ready to begin.
  2. I like to start by eavesdropping on conversations around me, but I don’t just listen to what’s being said and neither should you. Pay attention to the cadence of the speaker’s voice, word choice, facial expressions, and gestures. Study these same things when you watch your favorite TV series and movies. Stop to think about what you like and dislike about the dialogue in the books you read.
  3. Keep sentences short and succinct. People talk in clipped sentences. Reflect this in your writing.
  4. Break up dialogue with action that helps to convey emotion, mood, or grounds the reader in the scene.  This is where paying attention to people’s actions comes in handy.
  5. Avoid info dumps. Dialogue that’s used as a tool to provide long blocks of back story or exposition doesn’t ring true. It comes across as forced or as the writer stepping in to provide important detail that should have been woven into the story in other ways.
  6. Only include what is important to the story. Take out boring and unnecessary dialogue.
  7. Keep tags simple. Said is overlooked, whereas words such as demanded and interjected can pull a reader out of the action. Good dialogue will convey these things.
  8. Avoid slang and too much swearing. These can date your book or alienate readers.
  9. Keep your dialogue clean. Avoid words like um, uh and oh. While realistic, it reads over the top and doesn’t look well on the page.
  10. And last but definitely not least, read your dialogue out loud. The places you stumble are the places you need to revise.
There you have it, ten tips for writing realistic dialogue. If you have any you'd like to add, please leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#IWSG Social Media Dos and Don'ts

Hi everyone! 

Don't forget to stop by Alex's blog for a special announcement. (I'm not sure what it is (since I'm typing this the day before), but I'm excited to find out!

I'll be co-hosting SCBWI Food for Thought this month with my good friends, authors Kym Brunner and Katie Sparks. Our topic is Social Media for Scaredy Cats, and my section is on Twitter. So, to have a little fun with this, I created my very first You Tube video. I'd love to get your thoughts, suggestions are welcome.

Twitter Dos and Don'ts for Writers

Are you active on Twitter, Instagram or another social media site? Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to social media? What's your favorite platform? Any suggestions for writers?

If you have a Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook account, I'd love to connect (if we haven't already)! Just leave your links in the comments, and I'll find you. Or follow my links on the side bar.

This post is part of IWSG. A big thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for keeping this group going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

WHO R U REALLY? by Margo Kelly in Paperback!

Nearly a year has passed since WHO R U REALLY? by Margo Kelly came out in hardback, and now, Merit Press (the YA imprint of F+W Media) is publishing a paperback version of the young adult thriller! Its official release date is September 4, 2015, and to celebrate, we’re giving away FIVE signed paperback copies! For a chance to win one, simply follow the steps below in the Rafflecopter.

About the book:

When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends. Ripped from a true-life story, Who R U Really? will scare you as Thea’s life spins out of her control.

Read Who R U Really?

Here are a few of the exciting things that have happened since WHO R U REALLY? debuted as a hardback:

Won 1st Place in the YA Category for the Idaho Author Award

The Department of Homeland Security took notice:
DHS invited Margo to partner with the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, which is the global cyber security awareness campaign to help people stay safer and more secure online.

Librarians have applauded the story:

“This book is sure to spark a dialogue between parents and teens as well as tell an appealing cautionary tale to a younger audience and would be a good addition to any middle school, high school, or public library.” The Idaho Librarian

“With all the different trending social media out there, this book is intriguing because the story centers around a naive yet strong-willed girl who falls into the trap of an internet predator. … You will definitely want to read this book to find out what happens!” The Dallas Public Library

Praise for Who R U Really?:

"This tense thriller offers useful lessons." --The Horn Book Guide

"Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine

"Kelly shows us just how terrifying, dangerous and unknown the world of online gaming can be--especially for a young teen.... The book is well-written and the story believable and engaging...I strongly recommend this book." --The Idaho Statesman

Now time for the give away!

About the author:

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her debut novel, published by Merit Press. The Department of Homeland Security has partnered with Margo to promote online safety. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs. For more information, visit her website:
Find Margo Kelly