Writing MG and YA at (almost) the same time!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversOne of my favorite authors Robin LaFevers is wearing two hats these days. Up to now, she’s most well known for the middle grade Theodosia series and Nathanial Fludd, Beastologist series. These are great books for the middle of the middle grade readers.

But in April her latest book, a YA, will be released. His Fair Assassin, Book 1: Grave Mercy, is a story about assassin nuns, no less!

I’ve always thought that MG and YA are totally different beasts, even though they are often lumped together in that infinitely amorphous MG/YA category. The readers in each age group are so completely different that it takes two different head-spaces to write for them.

I’m so impressed how Robin can switch hats. She talks a bit about writing GRAVE MERCY here:

http://www.rubysreads.com/2011/11/hfj-interview-giveaway-with-robin.html

Grave Mercy debuts in April and I can’t wait!

The other thing I should mention is that Robin does collage as part of her process (I love collage). You can see her collage for GRAVE MERCY here.

Great Kindle Service from Amazon

I just wanted to shout out a thanks to Amazon for some great customer service when it came to my Kindle. Basically, the thing imploded. I didn’t get the blue screen of doom but I did get “Boot Error:200 Please Call Amazon for Service” and a phone number.

I have to say, I dreaded making that call. When I phoned, I fully expected the runaround. Long wait times, repeating my story over and over to five different levels of technician.

What happened was just the opposite. The first CSA passed me on to a technician (Josh). I told him the boot error. He took a moment to look it up. He came back and said, “Yup its hosed. We’ll send you a new one” (free of charge).

Two days later, it arrived by courier. I couldn’t believe it! I have spent hours on the phone with the likes of Dell trying to get faulty hardware addressed.

Thanks Josh and Amazon!

Almost Here! Evolve Two, Vampire Stories of the Future Undead

Evolve Two Vampire Stories of the Future Undead

I’d almost forgotten.

Okay…no, not really, but when my editor Nancy Kilpatrick emailed me this week to say that my copy of Evolve Two should be arriving in the mail soon, I did a double-take. Whoa! Is it almost August already? Yay!!!!

My story in Evolve Two anthology is my first sale, and when I got the news in January, I was over-the-moon excited. But of course, August seemed a million miles (make that km), away.

I’ve been keeping busy with my middle grade novel and in the very back of my mind, basking in the success of getting into Evolve. What a boost for my confidence!

But now the moment has arrived! The book is available for preorder on Amazon and Chapters. The official release date is August 1st. The anthology has already had a pretty good review on Publisher’s weekly.

There are some great writers in this collection, headlined by Kelley Armstrong and including my very own writer buds Sandra Wickham, Ryan McFadden, and Erika Holt.

Yay us!

Get inspiration from collage

All you cut and paste glue stick junkies out there, get ready!

susan wiggsSeveral years ago at the Surrey International Writer’s conference, I took a master class with  Susan Wiggs on creative collage. Talk about fun! She is awesome, hilarious and wicked smart, AND she brought her own collages with her from past projects. We got to get our hands dirty (er, sticky) and cut, stick and collage to our heart’s content for like THREE hours.

Basically the idea is that you take the germ of an idea (or maybe start with a completely blank slate), and just start flipping through magazines, flyers, anything you can cut up, and start clipping images, colors banner ads, blocks of text. Anything that is visually interesting to you, cut it out. Don’t sit and ponder or fuss about it. Just go with your gut instincts (hmmmm, sounds like writing  a first draft, doesn’t it!). Maybe your clippings fit with the idea you had in mind, maybe not. But after awhile, what happens is amazing.

For me, I found myself swerving towards different ideas, and taking different directions that I had never even contemplated when I started. Without thinking consciously about it, you begin to make connections between totally unrelated things. And as authors that’s often what makes our work the juiciest. Think of it as visual brainstorming.

A few years later (again and Surrey International) I listed to  Jennifer Crusie talk about the same thing.  Her collages are epic–I mean really incredible three dimensional works of art. I think she actually has a degree in it or something!!

Robin LeFever has also posted on this technique on her blog which is what got me thinking about showing off some of my own. Robin’s collage is more structured, with groups of tarot cards arranged  with characters and story elements in mind.

As for my fairly humble mishmash, not very pretty I admit, but they work for me!

Here’s the one I did in class:

And here’s a couple if inspriation boards I keep taped to my wall for my current WIP.

Anybody else have some to share?

What’s in a name? Everything!

My totally cool critique partner Sandra Wickham posted today on the Inkpunks about the importance of naming characters with care. I’m a bit of a nitpicker about names (I often change my mind loads of times before I settle) so I totally get her point about knowing your character first, and taking the time to find a name that really resonates.

One the best things she provides is a list of helpful resources for researching names. I didn’t know about half of these (hmmmm holding out on me Sandra?).

To add to Sandra’s list, here’s some of my own:

Seventh Sanctum name generators

Fantasy name generator

Fantasy Land Names

So, bookmark these and file away under writer resources.