Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden, plus tips and links

I'm writing from Antioch University, where we're halfway through the Antioch Writers' Workshop. I'll give you a full wrap-up later, but for now, I'd like to bring you Denise Jaden, who is celebrating the launch of her latest, NEVER ENOUGH.
Denise is another GCC sister. You'd never guess it now, but she spent her high school lunch hours trying to tame her curly hair in the bathroom, or playing freeze tag in the drama room. She attended the theatre program at college, and then enjoyed a variety of occupations, including stage production, mushroom farming, and Polynesian dancing. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith, was written in 21 days during National Novel Writing Month. This is her second novel. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband and son.


Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.
But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. And Loann is frightened she could lose the sister she’s always idolized.
As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?

"Intimate and enlightened...  harrowing and inspiring. ...dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out."
—Publishers Weekly

Denise's tip:
When asked for a tip about writing, I usually offer my usual advice about reading a lot and writing a lot, but I’d like to expand on that a little here. Something I learned while working on Never Enough (and my more recent manuscripts) is that I need to really push myself to get to the good stuff. Word counts may just seem like numbers for some, but I use them religiously to set goals for myself now. I find that often when I start, I will flail around with my words quite a bit. It would be easy to quit at this point, decide that I’d be better to come back another day when my brain is working properly. But if I don’t quit, if I push through, more often than not, I come up with a nugget of great writing, or even a new glimpse of something that solves a story problem.
You can find Denise online on her website, on twitter, and on her blog.
Also! Denise is running a contest on her blog, and you can win stuff! Check it out!

This week's link roundup:

For MG girls, Cassidy's LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY Charmed Summer Giveaway continues with quizzes, games, and winning!  (lightscameracassidy)

10 Traits That are More Important Than Talent (Jody Hedlund)

6 Things to Learn from Hemingway (RachelleGardner)

4 Lessons in Creativity from John Cleese (CoCreativity)

3 Tips for Writers: Revising, Formatting, Querying (One Word After Another)

YA Market Tips and Trends (Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing)

How Are You Going to Grab Readers' Attention on the First 5 Pages? (CarlyWatters)

Query: It's Not Who You Know, it's What You Write (Bent on Books)

Ellen Hopkins on Fearless Writing (Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing)

The Reader Must Want to Know What Happens Next (JaneFriedman)

Getting Bendy (Plotting Twists in Crime Fiction) (Finding Bliss)

Strategies for Overcoming Writer's Block (WriterUnboxed)

Boiling it Down (

Character Clamor  (Gail Carson Levine)

Interview with Literary Agent Gail Hochman (Barbara Rogan)

A Writer's Biggest Mistake (Yes, This Will Be On the Test)

Writers: Act Like a Professional (Writability)

Using Dialog Tags and Punctuation Correctly (Querytracker)

The Best Bad Writing Tips (Bookriot)

Fear of Failing as a Writer (The Writing Life. Simplified)

Productivity (Genreality)

Publishing Tips and YA Market Trends (Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing)

Thoughts on Reading (Read, Write, Reflect)

Look! It's an Idea! (Going from premise to plot) (The Other Side of the Story)

The Lie You're Listening To (Chance Scoggins) (Relevant to how we sometimes treat our writing selves.)

Now go push through and write!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Finding the Balance with Jessica Brody, 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER

Today's guest tip is from Jessica Brody, bestselling author of The Karma Club and My Life Undecided, as well as two books for adults: The Fidelity Files and Love Under Cover. Jessica's a TFC and GCC sister, and an amazing organizer, writer, and all-around positive force. Her latest book, 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER, is a story about a spoiled teen heiress, famous for her party-girl antics and tabloid headlines, is forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year, if she wants any hope of receiving her trust fund. To research for writing this one, she took on several minimum wage jobs, her favorite of which was working the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. She splits her time between California and Colorado.

Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

“The #1 reason you’ll love this book? Because it’s tons of fun.”
-Bestselling author Meg Cabot
“Famous and spoiled teenage heiress Lexington Larrabee could give the Kardashians a run for their money in this opulent and fast-paced story…sharp writing and over-the-top scenes will appeal to readers looking for a fun summer read.”
-Publisher’s Weekly
“This unusual riches-to-rags tale is fun and interesting…the mysteries layered throughout, as well as the depth of the main characters, draw you in. Lexi is an obnoxious but lovable character you’ll root for!”
-Romantic Times Book Review (4 Stars!)

You can find Jessica online on her website, on twitter, on facebook, and on her youtube channel.Also, check out her celebration of the release, a fun giveaway for an “heiress prize pack!

Jessica's Tip:
This novel changed so much as I was writing it. Characters came and went, plot points were created and dropped, and details were being constantly shifted around in the story to make it work. I always outline before I start a book but I like to say that I outline just so I can have something to deviate from. I think it’s important to know where you’re story is going before you start writing but I also think it’s important to remind yourself that things WILL change. You don’t have to know every single detail before you start writing. In fact, I think it might be impossible. Characters will reveal themselves to you as you write. Things that you love won’t end up working out. So if you’re a plotter like me, find the balance. Don’t stress out to much. Let go of what you think you want the book to be and embrace what the book becomes.

Link Roundup:
In sunny Spain with Cassidy this week in the LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY Charmed Summer Giveaway #games #winning!  (LightsCameraCassidy.Com)

Why You Should Choose Food You Don't Recognize (WritersButt)

15 Stock Characters and How to Restock Them (DailyWriteTip)

Top 10 Typography Crimes (Listography)

7 You-Know-What-I-Meant Mistakes (DailyTip)

5 Critical Things to Make a YA Story Stand Out (OutOfTheWordwork)

4 Keys to Writing an Unputdownable MG Adventure (WritersDigest)

Writing the Emotional Body Blow (RomanceUniversity)

Saving Your Sanity (LucienneDiver)

Write or Die - the APP (KarenWoodward)

The Escaping Character (LitReactor)

The Writers Guide to Twitter (InkyElbows)

Layers of Emotion (

Where is Your Character Going? (WriteYourScreenplay)

Very Pinteresting (SLJ)

Worse Than a Cliche (Writers in the Storm)

Find Your Talisman (DIYMFA)

Writing Suspense in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Bryan Thomas Schmidt)

Defining Conflict in a Romance Novel (WritersDigest)

The Inconvenient Truths of our Our Own Writing (BeyondTheMargins)

Now find your balance, and go write!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tips and Links: Don't Be Afraid with Diana Renn, author of TOKYO HEIST

I'm pleased to introduce to you all Diana Renn, author of the new YA mystery, TOKYO HEIST.  I "met" Diana online when her editor asked me if I would be willing read and blurb her book. I was not only willing, but honored. TOKYO HEIST is a beautifully-written, masterfully-woven tale with a rich backdrop of art and Japanese culture. I enjoyed the assignment.

As for Diana. she grew up in Seattle and now lives in Boston with her husband and son. After graduating from Hampshire College and then Brandeis University, where she earned an M.A. in English and American Literature, Diana taught ESL, writing, and literature, worked in educational publishing, and authored several ESL textbooks. She also traveled whenever possible, and taught English in South AmericaWhen she’s not writing, Diana enjoys bicycling and taiko drumming. TOKYO HEIST is her first novel.

When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she’s walking into. Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger -- including Violet's and her father's.

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery -- before it’s too late.

You can find Diana online at her website, on Twitter, or at her group blog for middle grade and young adult mystery fans, Sleuths Spies & Alibis.

Diana's Tip:
In the early drafts of TOKYO HEIST, I had many moments of near-paralysis, where I thought I could not proceed because I was entering foreign territory. First, I was afraid to write about Japan. It was a country I loved and had traveled through, but at one point I doubted my expertise, and I knew I could not travel back to do research. I was afraid to write a mystery because it would involve police procedures and the FBI, things I knew next to nothing about. Van Gogh? Japanese woodblock prints? Art conservation? Laws about stolen art in Japan? Japanese law enforcement? I knew none of that when I began. Now I know a lot. At some point I got over my fear and did the research. I'd write as far as I could, then read voraciously when I hit a wall. I contacted experts when needed, and picked up even more plot points along the way. I even shadowed an art conservator at work and volunteered in an art museum for research. Getting hard facts about unfamiliar fields empowered me to go forward with the story, even if I didn't use every nugget of information I picked up. I wrote more confidently, armed with knowledge and a team of experts at the ready. People love to talk about their work. Ask for help. Don't reinvent the wheel, don't go at it alone, and don't be afraid of what you don't know.

Link Roundup:

Note: With the 4th of July holiday tomorrow, and since I will be on the faculty at the Antioch Writers' Workshop next week (and I don't know what my Internet access will be), we'll have another tip and link roundup post on Thursday with Jessica Brody, and possibly no post next week. We'll see. Check back next week in case. If I am unable to post while at Antioch, I'll catch up with you all over that weekend. OK, we will now return you to your regularly-scheduled link roundup...

More winning going on with the LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY Charmed Summer Giveaway. If you know any young teens who love travel, adventure, mystery, and romance (and a chance to win great prizes), send them over! (LightsCameraCassidy)

16 Tips on How to Survive and Thrive as a Writer (LiveWriteThrive)

8 Publishing Landmines and 8 Ways to Deal with Them (NovelRocket)

7 Ways To Give Away Your Power - and How To Avoid It (RachelleGardener)

5 Tips and Prompts on How to be an Everyday Writer (BeyondTheMargins)

5 Ways to Get Readers to Beg For More (FindingBliss)

5 Mistakes of New Fiction Writers (CreativePenn)

The Myth of All-You-Can-Eat Sensory Details (WritingForward)

Evolution of the YA Genre (WastepaperProse)

Cohesion in Your Writing (SusanKayeQuinn)

Accomplish Your Goals - Make a Schedule to Meet Deadlines (WritersDigest)

Publishy Questions - an editorial director publishing Q&A (BehlerBlog)

Unusual Inspiration: Character Arcs Made Easy (WritersInTheStorm)

How To Polish Your Writing Until It Shines (QueryTracker)

Flip the Switch: Use Adverbs Fearlessly (WriterUnboxed)

Are You Telegraphing Your Plot? (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

The Yes-But Method for Deepening Plot (BuildingCharacter)

Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity (The Atlantic)

Visualizing Revisions (CrissaChappel)

A Study in Opposites - the power of the thesaurus (WriterUnboxed)

Making History Appealing to Teen Readers (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

Irreversible Plot Points (

Writing YA - Capturing the Teen Voice (DIYMFA)

What Makes Your Character Think That Will Work? (MoodyWriting)

Plotting With Layers (The Other Side of the Story)

So You Want To Read YA? (Stacked)

Literary Law - Using Real People in Fiction (WritersFunZone)

Only You Can Write It (Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing)

Learning Through Stories (AnnieMurphyPaul)

Going Both Ways - Character Outlines for Pantsers and Plotters (TheOtherSideOfTheStory)

Finding Themes in a Brainstorm (LiveWriteThrive)

Alliteration and Repetition (WriteAnything)

Now don't be afraid, and go write!