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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Interview with Margay Justice Author of Nora's Soul

So the first interview on my blog will be with Margay an author published with a small press that has a novel out called 'Nora's soul'.
Firstly Margay,  can you tell us a little bit about your novel ‘Nora's Soul’?
Sure, here is the blurb from the book:
When angels of light and dark collide on earth…
Once he held a favored position in the heavens. But one moment of weakness casts Dante out and now he is cursed to walk the earth, collecting the souls of vulnerable women to buy his way into hell.
All hell breaks loose…
But standing in his way is Peter, an angel of light. Peter is everything Dante is not. Pure, above reproach. And determined to prevent Dante from achieving his goals. Peter will stop at nothing to protect the souls in his charge, even if it means achieving the impossible – leading Dante back onto the right path. And no one is safe from the fall-out. Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers – and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others. Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business – and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn’t certain that she’s the right person for the job. He also doesn’t want to reconnect with her and repeat history. But fate – and the machinations of two angels – has other ideas.
That sounds very interesting, what is your writing background up until now?
I have always pursued my writing dream, even as I worked through corporate America and have won some local contests for my writing along the way. Just before the publication of Nora's Soul, I entered the blogosphere with my own blog and have since expanded to writing for a few more, including Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem and Pop Syndicate. You can visit Margays blog here.
What inspired your idea for your currently published novel?
It actually came from two dreams I had in one night. The first was of this woman who was dancing the night away with a gorgeous man who, when she turned away to go to the bar for a drink, became quite...devilish. The second dream was of the same women, dressed in a more prim and proper way, moving into a garage apartment as she prepared to take on the duties of being nanny to a widower's twins. Separately, these dreams wouldn't have caused such a stir in me, but because they happened in the same night and with the same woman in them, I knew I had to explore them further. Who was she? And why did she present two such different sides to me? The result, of course, was Nora's Soul.
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
I wish I could say that I did, but I don't. I write whenever I can. No set time, no set word limit. Just whatever comes before the body says it's time to quit for the night.
So now that you have published ‘Nora’s Soul’ are you planning a next novel we should be looking forward to?
I have so many books in the works and/or in various stages of the submission process! There is one with an editor now that I am waiting to hear about, cross my fingers!
After you completed ‘Nora’s Soul’ how difficult was it for you to land an agent?
I actually am still on the hunt for an agent. This is challenging because it takes time and perseverance to find an agent that likes your work and wants to represent you. I was actually published by a small press.
The moment you got a positive reply with an offer for representation, what were your initial thoughts?
Since I haven't got an agent yet, I can't answer that, but I can tell you that it was thrilling to get that email from the small press publisher telling me that he wanted to publish my book. I think my first thought was, "Finally!" I had been trying, with varying degrees of success, for many years to get published/find an agent, so this was just thrilling for me to know that I'd finally see my words in print.
How many rejections did it take for you to finally land that agent?
I am still getting rejections! I never counted, but it's safe to say that they are pushing the double digits.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never stop honing your craft. Even when you think you know what you're doing, someone will come along and criticize your use of grammar, syntax, etc. So take those classes, rewrite those manuscripts, and get someone you trust to read them and give their input. And write.
Would you have done anything differently?
I think the one thing I would have done differently is to keep on going the first time I received a rejection, rather than not sending the book out to someone else. I let those first rejections get to me too much; I let them shake my confidence in my ability to write and it took awhile before I was brave enough to try again.

Thanks so much to Margay for doing this intreviw and sharing about her novel with us! You can check out her site at: and if you would like to know more about her and Noar's soul click here.

Spring Cleaning!!!

Time for a clean up on my blog and no more random blurby posting! Ok so I saw a couple blogs organizing I think one of them was Justine’s (go check it out) and I thought it was a great idea! So here goes my lovely new organized stuff. Mondays: Will be publishing day. So any types of tips re queries, synopsis' landing an agent and such. Tuesdays: I will leave blank for now because I am not starting a military regimen here people! Wednesdays: Will be interview day! Awesome right? Agents, authors and just us writers! I have lots of authors already interested and agents and interns and editors are on their way. If you are interested to be interviewed let me know or leave a comment. Thursdays: will be review days when I can make a review on a book on an agency that replied quickly or on whatever I please. Fridays: Well I am about to let loose my queries so when I do fridays will be my stat days with updated about how many rejections I got and with rejection letters posted for you guys to laugh at.. JK Saturdays and Sundays: I will give keep those freebie days to myself for now! so there you go and today I will be posting an intreview with an author of the novel called 'Nora's Soul' .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ok Guys I am not one to buy a book because of the "buzz" on it, but my sister was reading this book so I decided to give it a shot. First thing I noticed was that it is written in first person present, which was very unusual for me since I am not a great fan of present perspectives in novels. Eventually as I read the book I got more used to it but I still couldn't help thinking that I could have perceived it better if it were in third. Speaking of perspectives, that are for another blog post. Anyways despite that fact it made me start experimenting with present in my own writing though I still prefer past tense. Anyways back to the book and the plot. I thought the idea was interesting and well executed, but it really reminded me of this one old movie with Arnold S. in it called 'running men' or something like that. It was different of course but the film was about a group of people in the future that were sent to a reality TV show (an arena) where bidders bid on them and these men came in to try to kill them. It just linked to that in my mind. I wasn't a fan of the movie but those two just clicked together. So I did like the story of the Hunger Games except it was very predictable. I didn't see many twists. I liked Katniss as a main character for I think that she is strong-willed. Other than that I think the book was a great fast read. It was fun but it was a very quick read and I am reading the second one now "Catching Fire" So look out for the review on that one. After I will do a review on "The Mirador" Which I have been meaning to read. Anyways if you've read it, drop a comment and let everyone know if you like it or not! For me my ratings go as follows.

Writing Style:



Overall Rating:

Family Friends and your novel

We all need critique, but when we have no body else to look at our work who do we turn to and who do we share with? Friends and Family! Of course friends are great, they adore you as a friend. But they don't care for your book. Most likely because they have no idea about the publishing or the literary world. Maybe because they are a bit envious that you wrote a novel and they didn't. When I told my friend I am trying to publish a novel she just said "Gosh you are going to be so rich." Of course my answer was "No I won't be! I will consider myself lucky if I even get an agent." So she was off the list. The problem is that they simply don't understand the hardship and the competitive world of writing. so then it comes to family...

you see them often and lots of you even live with them so why not let them read your novel? To be honest I saw too much advice to never let your family critique your work, particularly your loving mother but from personal experience it really depends. For me, my mother helped me tons with my novel. I guess this is an exception though because she is in science (Bio-physics and brain research) and she has the most logical mind ever. If she reads something and it doesn't make logical sense she tells me, because she knows I want to be published and she knows you have to be tough on the manuscript for that. So what about you guys, do you let your family read your novel? How about friends? What do you think are the pros and cons?

Monday, March 29, 2010

6 Random things about me...

This has been going around blogs and though I haven't officially been tagged I am going to do it. So whoever is my follower and is reading this, I tag you!

• I prefer sour over salty and sweet.

• I have a big white polar-dog, 1 snapping turtle, a painted turtle, (I found both of them) a frog, crabs and a skink. (That's not a snake by the way :)

• I Never read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Twilight.

• I hate Wal-mart and I haven't been to it for nearly half a year.

• I play an acoustic guitar that is more than 20 years old. It plays very well though!

• I am Eco-Friendly. I use natural Skincare, Organic Food and I recycle.

Your turn! Leave me a comment.

The 10 Sins of Query Writing

As many, I have been working on my query letter for my YA Fantasy novel and I must admit that I am quite happy with it. I have tweaks and little changes that I need to make but it is almost there. From my old query which I was actually brave enough to send to 13 agents I love my new one. Since I was foolish with my first novel I rewrote it and it turned out completely different so thankfully I get to require those agents with my new query since the last time I queried was last summer. Anyways back to the topic of queries. They practically decide the faith of your manuscript, yes, and the one you have been slaving over for months or even years for some. So why send off a query that isn't as great as the manuscript only to come back to rejections?

When I was reading the 'Guide to Query letters' I discovered quite a bit of useful information. Now, there is nothing you won't find on the internet but it is all sort of condensed into one book so you don't have to search different sources. So here are the 10 Sins of Query writing...

1. Addressing the wrong agent. (You may think this is so hard to do but when you are sending off a lot of queries, you are tired, it's nearly 12 and you happen to mess up.)

2. Soliciting a manuscript idea that has been done to death or one that has already been covered. (Dear Agent, my novel is about a young wizard named Garry Blotter. Apparently this happens. Beats me how though, particularly with best sellers.)

3. Ignoring submission guidelines.

4. Spelling or Grammatical Errors.

5. Talking about how your friends and your mom loved your novel to death and told you that it is going to be a best seller.

6. Discussing money, contracts, TV and movie deals.

7. Threatening to take your book elsewhere.

8. Not enough info about your book.

9. The manuscript is incomplete but I though you would want to

10. My novel is better in quality than Lord of the Rings combined with Shakespeare. (That was random because that would be a very weird combination)

So there you go...The 10 Sins of Querying. If you have committed any of them or have more to add, comment! If not comment anyways!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some Q&A about me & my writing

I saw this survey on a few other blogs and I decided to do it! If you are reading this you are tagged to do it as well. comment and link to yours and I will comment and follow if I am not following you already!

1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The last thing I wrote was my chapter 27 for my awesome fantasy novel. The first thing I have ever written that I still have would be a picture book about some sort of prince and princess.

2) Write poetry?
Sometimes but not often enough. I should start writing it more often.

3) Angsty poetry?
Not really. Unless you consider the meaning of life angst.

4) Favorite genre of writing?
Fantasy. Period.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
It was a guy named Fidencio an don't ask about the unusual name.... He was simply very clueless and annoying and I ended up liking my villain more than him. So that was it for Fidencio.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?
The plot for my current novel. I have had great comments on it and I think it's the best out of all my other ideas. It's very intense and there is no chapter that is bland. Though it ended up a bit shorter than 90,00 I would rather have it condensed and intense than long and blah.

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?
My novel right now is very twisted. I am not sure I can say one of them is the best one though. It really depends on different opinions.

8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?
What is writers block? As soon as I turn on my music my fingers are flying.

9) Write fan fiction?
I actually never even tried.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

One novel which I was only 12,000 words into I wrote by hand. But that was when I didn't have access to a computer because I wrote it in class. Otherwise I don't write by hand. It's a pain.

11) Do you save everything you write?
I save every bit. You never know when it will come in handy.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?
I plan to link a few abandoned ideas for my next novel.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

My current WIP. Title is still being worked out though.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?
Gosh here is another question which I don't have much of an answer to. It's the current book I am revising. I have had great comments on it from betas and friends.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I have pretty intense romance in my novel but it's not only romance. Maybe some day I will give it another shot!

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?
I have one started but I am really focusing on finishing my YA Fantasy.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

No I never submitted it to any contests.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Anemone, technology, piranha, cryptology, tendrils

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Hard to say. I created my MC by my personal liking. But I can't say we are that alike. Maybe I could say his adversary or Tiya, but I personally try to focus on creating characters that I would like and not all of them are my clones. In fact none of them.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
Everywhere. In fact I have written up a post on this topic so check that out but to answer the question I take little pieces from unknown sources that I have encountered in my life and I link them together to create someone extraordinary.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

I was told that I should but I haven't given that a shot yet.

23) Do you favor happy endings?
Yes I do! But I don't like cheesy endings.  I like resolution in endings for sure.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

No I don't pay any attention to it, though I usually can tell if there is a red underline under a misspelled word.

25) Does music help you write?

YES! It helps me concentrate. I have an awesome playlist which I play to write. Once the music is on my fingers are typing until I am done. I love music and I love instruments.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.
This is from a new novel I just started...
“Hello” I answered the phone for the umpteenth time only to hear silence. I dropped the receiver in frustration, slinging my black bag over my shoulder. I walked towards the door ready to leave when the shrill ring of the phone froze me in my steps. Cold shivers ran up my spine as I slowly walked back to pick up the phone. The lights in my apartment were turned off making the scenery even more bloodcurdling.

Can't wait to see you guys do this!

The End

Lot's of us are anxious to get to the end, yet lots of us aren’t. I love to write about my characters so I guess I am neither anxious nor do I fear the end. Especially that I decided to make my book a trilogy. But anyways I came to so many posts about a great beginning but not too many on endings. Of course it really depends. I have read books that leave the ending...hmm....let’s just say not really an ending. There is no end. The strings are still loose and it makes me a bit frustrated because I spent time to read the novel and the end sucks. Many books I have come upon had a bad ending. There was this one book for example that had a great beginning. Intriguing, gripping and interesting but when I got to the end it turned so weird that I didn't even want to read it. Let's just say the whole beginning and middle of the book was very realistic and then at the end all of a sudden there are some kind of evil demons and angels.

Now, it really depends on whether you are writing a stand alone novel or a trilogy/saga etc. But still since you would be querying one novel you have to query as a stand alone so the difficulty for me was to tie the ends yet keep my options open for the next novel. Since my very first novel I have learnt allot about ending, beginnings, rules etc. Many of theses things from other people's informative blogs and many from books. I have also learnt that you can't have one of your major characters die at the end. Because that sucks!

So endings are very different but how do you reach yours? Are there any specific types of endings you enjoy or hate?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Giving your characters a life of their own

     Pretty much the topic header sums up what this post is about today, but what I am really looking into talking about is whether you control your characters at all. Funny thing is lots of writers that are my friends like to just make up a character and stick them into an uncomfortable situation. From then on the character sort of controls the story, depending on their traits and who they are as a person etc. For me this does not work fully. Of course I let my character have his personality and I have him make the choices that he would but I actually just recently started working on outline and it made my life so much easier. My very first novel that I finished writing last year, sucked. I let the characters lead the way and the plot got very messed up. My main character was clueless about everything and the ending is for a different post completely. I am not saying that writing by pure instinct is at all bad by the way, it may work great for your guys and many other writers but for me it’s a no no I guess.

     So when I decided to rewrite the book to make it perfect I ended up taking my lovely antagonist, placing him as the main character, removing most of the rest and outlining. I outlined every chapter in detail until the ending, even estimating the word count of every chapter and calculating it so that it would fit below 90,000 with a good ending. Because a bad ending will make agents scowl. Any ways this worked like magic for me. It made my life so much easier and I managed to follow the storyline perfectly (well I have 2 chapters to go to the end still…). Don’t get me wrong though, I add, I take away and it doesn’t turn out exactly like the outline, but the outline gave me a path to follow so that I don’t get lost. How about you? Do you like to give your characters the lead or take the lead yourself and plan their path out?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

@#$#@ in novels

We all swear at times right? But let's admit it. Most of us here don't cuss every other word otherwise I would be swearing now right? So how do we all take in swearing in novels? Would you like it if your kids, siblings (in my case) that are younger read books with tons of swearing in it? My personal opinion is that swearing is absolutely fine. Like I said we all swear at times. Whether some of us swear at each other and others simply swear when something goes wrong. I think that if it is used swearing sparingly and at the right times it sort of just blends in with the scene. But if a character or characters swear completely for no reason it sort of slows the story down. At least for me. But swearing is completely a different case in fantasy novels. Particularly if you are writing an older made up world. For me personally I haven't yet used swearing other than damn and bastard. But to me those aren't really swearwords. What is your opinion on swearing and how often do you tend to use it or see it in your novels?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Damn hardship of writing.....

Ok. I am frustrated. Officially. Well at least I was yesterday, and I am thinking to myself "What are you frustrated about it's sunny and there is no snow?" but just as so many of us, I can't get my plot to shine through my query. I am literally four chapters of revisions away from the end and I can't write a proper query. So I do many query critiques and I can really see where the query is weak and where it can be improved but staring at my own query is like staring at a whiteboard. I can't notice any issues because I know what my story is about! But I am not giving up hope. What I am trying to do is simply to erase all my thoughts and ask myself the three questions that are supposed to help...

Who is your MC?

What is his (in my case it's a guy) goal?

and how will he achieve his goal?

As of today I am still struggling with the perfect query particularly because I have so much sub-plot and twists. I have no problems with the manuscript..I have betas that love it and love the story and are rooting for me but...The dreaded Query. Oh and did I mention that I still haven't started the synopsis and that I planned of sending out queries back in January. Was I that crazy? I guess the new year was keaping my mind very fuzzy lol. So how do you write the perfect query? What strategy do you use?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Killing off characters...

If you follow my blog you probably know that I am in the process of finishing my revision. A complete rewrite of my original novel which changed so much that it really turned out to be a different novel. Well the real topic of today's post is killing of our characters! Yes we writers are murderers. Some faiths that we create for our characters are pure evil... (snickers and laughs evilly) Some are just necessary for the story to go on. for example I had my main character almost drink out of a goblet of juice when a knock was heard on the door and he out of the kindness of his heart gave the juice to a guard. The guard drank the juice and died a horrid and gruesome death after the poison slowly dissolved his internal organs and capillaries! I mean it was just a guard right? I had to do that so that my character doesn't die and so that he discovers that somebody is secretly trying to kill him, I mean poison. For this character I admit not to even care killing him off. I didn't even give him a name.

But what about characters that are there with your MC from the very start? The characters that you named and made up a past for. Sacrifices have to be made. That's probably the conclusion I came to. But hey in my very first novel the MC died at the end. That's how amateur I was back then. In fact it also had a cliché beginning! Thank god that I started reading these blogs and learning. lol. I guess it's true that first novels really do suck! And even if you disagree there are writers that wrote a first novel without experience but believe me they revised countless times before getting it to where they wanted it so technically it's not the first anymore. So what is your opinion on killing characters off? Is it easy for you? Hard perhaps? Perhaps impossible because you are such a kind person or perhaps you make up the most treacherous deaths for them to face? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I forget who it was that said that to really be a writer you need to write 1 million words. This just now popped into my mind and I thought it would be a great topic for a little debate. I personally have to say that I disagree completely. You could bang off 1 million words and they could suck. So does this mean that after you did you can really write? I know I am far from off writing 1 million words. In fact in my whole very short life of writing I probably only have written 250,000 words, which for some of you is a full novel. Let's just say that I started a novel two years ago and didn't get past the first fifty pages. Scrap.

Then I started and ended a novel last year and now I am 20,000 words away from rewriting it. Though the story completely changed it it turned out a new novel by itself. So I am very new to writing, but that does not mean that someone who has written one million words could produce something better. To me it really depends. For example if I compare my first writing to my writing now you could think that the manuscripts were written by two different pieces. There is so much valuable information out there on blogs, forums and sites that you don't have to write 1 million words to learn. It is all a matter of how fast you catch on and how fast you improve. What is your take on the 1 million word theory and if you agree with it have you hit 1 million yet?