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Showing posts from February, 2011

A Genre Primer

I hear a lot of discussion about book genres and debate on what they mean or where a certain book belongs. With the Whitneys around the corner, I've heard even more discussion on it (why is this book in this category instead of that one?).
So here it is: a primer on some basic literary genres.
RomanceThis is by far one of the most misunderstood genres. If a story is romantic, it may or may not be a romance. A true romance must fit a specific formula (but, we hope, will find fresh, new ways of doing so): the bulk of the story revolves around the relationship, and by the end of the story, the hero and heroine are together in a committed relationship.
Sometimes it's boiled down to: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl for good.
But can't you write a story where they don't get together? Sure you can. But then you need a different label. Romeo and Juliet is romantic, but ultimately, it's a tragedy, not a romance.
Another example of a genre that requi…

Sample Sunday: At the Water's Edge, from Ch 1

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To learn more about Sample Sunday see this post on the Kindle Author blog. To find more samples of e-books, follow the Twitter hash tag #SampleSunday.From Chapter one of At the Water's Edge($2.99 on Kindle)A pebble skittered across the rock and landed on the white sheet of ice below her feet. She looked over her shoulder to find the source—a man with blond hair and a dark blue coat. For an instant she didn’t recognize him.“Hey,” he called. “Thought I’d find you here.”Tommi.Annela couldn’t decide whether she was glad to see him. I should be excited. I haven’t seen him for weeks. Usually she welcomed his smile, especially at emotional times, but today was different. “How’d you know I was here?”“When I got home and you weren’t there, I called your cell. When that didn’t work, I tried your parents. Your mom said you’d left ten minutes before. Since I could hear your dad yelling something in Swedish, I guessed something had happened between you two, and you’d come here to escape.” Anne…

Word Nerd Linkage

It's a day late for Word Nerd Wednesday, so I thought I'd do something a little different: show you some of my favorite nerdy places to hang out.
Oxford Dictionaries Online and their Word World blog brings me no end of joy. I follow their Twitter stream, and it always points me toward posts that cheer the nerd inside me. (Up today: Five Events that Shaped the History of English)
Check out this fun Michigan Today post about obscure words. (It even mentions mondegreens, which we talked about more than a year ago HERE. In related news, we bought Mad Gab for Christmas.)
Grammar Girl. I'm going to admit here that I first learned about Mignon Fogarty, known better as Grammar Girl, when she appeared on Oprah to clear up some grammar confusion. She has a great podcast and blog (and a book and regular vlogs on YouTube) where she addresses a wealth of grammar and usage issues. (I admit I've learned a few things from her.)
"The Alot" on Hyperbole and a Half. The writer here…

21st-Century Literacy: Or, Why Kids GOTTA Read

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I've had a lot of people ask how I managed to get my kids to be good readers. My experience won't be the same as any other parent's, because every child is different. Each of my four children had a different path toward reading, and we lucked out in that we don't have anyone with dyslexia or similar learning challenge. (Not that we didn't have our challenges, but I'll talk about that another time.)
Before sharing parts of our family's literacy journey, I want to establish why reading is so important to begin with, why I did a jig in the hall the first time I caught my son sneaking a book under his covers past bedtime.
I'm an avid reader, so of course as soon as I became a mom, I wanted to pass along my love of books to my children. That desire increased as I studied literacy statistics and learned just how important those skills are—far more important than they were even one generation ago.
Back then, the majority of jobs didn't even require a high sch…

Just in Time for Valentine's . . .

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Some fun news!
At the Water's Edge, my second novel, has long been out of print.
That is changing. Assuming we don't run into any snags, it will debut on the Kindle on Valentine's Day for a whopping $2.99.
With this book, unlike with Lost Without You, I did decide to get a new cover.
I love how it turned out. Behold:


On Monday, all seven of my novels will be available to readers again. Yippee!

Author Interview: Joanna Penn

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Some time ago I stumbled across a blog post (how and where I don't recall). I was immediately impressed and had a feeling I'd be smart to follow it. I promptly added the blog, The Creative Penn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing, to my Google reader.
I'm glad I did.The author, Joanna Penn, has written four books and seeks out all kinds of tips, sites, and helps about writing, publishing, and marketing. She's a great resource for all writers, whether they're doing freelance work, shooting for traditional publishing, or blazing their path on the indie route.(Is it just me, or does she look a little like Elaine on Seinfeld? And you know how I love me some Seinfeld.) I enjoy Joanna's posts, Skype interviews, and energetic personality. She's a great tweeter; if you follow me, you've probably seen me re-tweet her, many times.Her first novel, a thriller called Pentecost, is out now on Amazon.com in print and Kindle formats.Buy it TODAY, Mon…

Sample Sunday: Lost Without You, from Ch 2

An excerpt from chapter two of Lost Without You ($2.99 on Kindle):
“I know it’s best that I don’t see him anymore, but it still hurts.” Brooke found herself rubbing her upper arms as if they were cold. “And then I start thinking I must have been a total idiot to date him in the first place.”“But you didn’t see any red flags early on, right?” Pat said.“No, but—”“And you broke up with the freak the moment you realized he was bad news. Give yourself some credit.”Brooke shrugged. “I’ve never had a guy shove me before. The whole thing really rattled me—the only thing that could get me to calm down was pounding out Broadway show tunes and pretending I’m some big stage star.” She laughed at herself.“You were a pretty darn good Anna,” Pat said, referring to The King and I.“I wasn’t too bad, was I?” Brooke said with a half smile. “I’ve always wanted to do another play—but Anna was nearly half my life ago. It’s not like I could even get cast at the local theater if I tried.”Pat raised her sungla…

In Lieu of WNW . . .

I'm over at Precision Editing Group's blog today discussing TIME and the writer.
Come visit me at the Writing on the Wall blog!

Whitney Awards: Behind the Scenes

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The reading is done, and the ballots are in. I'm writing this the night before the finalists are announced, and by the time you're reading this, we should be within a couple of hours of knowing who the finalists are.
Being part of the awards has been a fascinating and rewarding experience, especially since I was able to part of the growth of the program from early on. Robison Wells, the founder of the awards, bounced the idea off me the day he came up with it (I consider myself lucky to have been in the right place at the right time). I landed on a name for the program that he liked. The second year of the awards I served on the committee, and I've been a judge for three years.
At the first gala, I felt overwhelmed with the potential for the program and where it was headed, and honored that I'd been part of something so amazing. (You can read more on that and my teary reaction HERE.)
Enough people ask about the Whitney Awards that I thought I'd explain a bit about how…