Monday, October 21, 2013

Don’t Miss The Writers Helping Writers AMAZING RACE!

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers (formerly The Bookshelf Muse) have added two more books to their Descriptive Thesaurus Collection: The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws. To celebrate, they are hosting a race, and not just any old race, either. It's the...

Writing is hard, isn't it? Create the perfect hook. Make your first page compelling. Craft an amazing 25 word pitch. Knock out a query that will blow an agent's mind. On and on it goes. And sometimes, well, you just wish someone would help.


From October 21st until October 27th, Writers Helping Writers is posting an OPEN CALL for writers. You can fill out a form, requesting help with critiques, book visibility, social media sharing, blog diagnostics, advice and more.

An army of Amazing Racers are standing by (ME INCLUDED!) waiting to help with your submissions. How many people can we help in a week? Let's find out! Did I mention there are Celebrity Racers too--amazing authors and editors who know their way around a first page. Maybe one of them will pick your submission to help with!

Each day this week, there's an AMAZING giveaway, too. So stop in at Angela & Becca's new Writers Helping Writers website and find out how to take advantage of this unique, pay-it-forward event for writers. I'll see you there! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

No Nos!

There are a lot of rules for any job and for any creative outlet. In reality, probably none of them are universal, but they are good guidelines.

But there are always times to rebel!

I think if you know WHY a rule exists and you truly understand it, you're in a position to break it. With discretion.

My favourite rule to break is Thou must write in complete sentences.


I like sentence fragments both in dialogue (where it's more acceptable) and out of it. I try not to overdo it, but I love the effect of fragments - especially when my characters are stressed or scared or ticked off. To me it adds to the authenticity.

What's your favourite rule to break?

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about Query No Nos - I hope you'll pop over and join the discussion!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gina Conkle & Viking Thralls

Please welcome Gina Conkle to the blog today! I've never read a book about Vikings before and this one is a lot of fun!


The Curious Case of Melkorka
The word slave carries dark meaning, doesn’t it?  History’s rife with harsh examples of stolen freedom. Viking marauders were no different in taking thralls (slaves in Viking speak). Yet, I hear occasional reader comments: “No thrall/slave would act like that and survive.”

Oh really?
Dig deeper. Go beyond your preconceived ideas, because history paints an interesting picture of Vikings and their thralls.

Consider Melkorka’s story found in the Laxdoela Saga.
Vikings raided the land of Eire, taking the beautiful high born princess. Crafty Melkorka decided to play mute as soon as she was taken captive to Norway.  There a Rus merchant sold her to Hoskuldr, an Icelandic Viking. 

Hoskuldr travelled on his own merchant business, and he paid a hefty price for Melkorka. He “knew” her in the Biblical sense, but then headed home to Iceland.
Once home, Hoskuldr stayed faithful to his wife, Jorunn Bjarnadottir, and Melkorka was required to do household chores.

The following winter, Melkorka gave birth to a son from Hoskuldr. The boy, Olafr, developed quickly, talking profusely by age two.  Melkorka still played mute and hatched her own plans.
She secretly taught her young son Gaelic.  She treated Jorunn with disdain. Yet, there’s no record of cruel treatment for her bad attitude --- quite the opposite.

One day, Hoskuldr discovered his haughty thrall talking to her son.  She told him everything: who she was, where she was from, and about her Irish king father.  And she didn’t stop the insolence either.  Peace in the Hoskuldr long house disintegrated.
You know what Hoskuldr did?

He built Melkorka her own long house on the other side of the river. She lived independently and grew her wealth.
When Olafr was older, she wanted him to visit the family back in Eire.  Hoskuldr opposed the trip, refusing to provide trade goods to help with expenses.  Melkorka took matters into her own hands.  She married a farmer who had helped manage her lands in the past.  Her wealth increased even more.
To this day, Melkorkustadir is the site where her 10th century farm was established.

The more you explore Viking history, you find thralls --- men and women--- woven into the fabric of everyday life.  Their lives played into Norse families, Norse communities as valued members of society.

And sometimes the girl with an attitude gets what she wants.

Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer.  Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations.  Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll.  When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.
Connect with Gina on the web:

Norse Jewel

A stolen woman of rare qualities…

Seized by marauders and taken to the icy northlands by the wolf-eyed Viking warrior, Helena will do whatever it takes to earn her freedom and return to France.

A mighty Viking Chieftain…

Betrayal has turned Hakan’s heart to ice, but the spirited Frankish maid warms him in a way he’s never known. The spell she weaves leaves them both breathless, but can he keep his promise to return her home even if it means he’ll lose his precious jewel forever?

Read Reviews
Buy Links:     Amazon     iTunes    B&N      Kobo Books 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
I didn't know that about Viking thralls! Research sure leads you down interesting pathways!

What's one of the most interesting pieces of research you've come across?

Friday, October 4, 2013


One of my critique buddies said something the other day that's been bouncing around in my brain ever since.

I'd said something about how much there is to learn, and how slow I feel at learning some of it.

Her response was...

There's knowing something intellectually, and then there's knowing it in your bones as a storyteller, and I continue to be blown away by how long it takes me to actually "get" this stuff.


Now, she's way ahead of me on the learning curve of getting this stuff, so it was really encouraging to hear her say this. There are days I wonder how dense my brain really is and what those neurons are doing in there instead of firing the way I wish they would!

How about you? Does it take you a while to internalize the 'rules' of good writing or are you one of those lucky writers who has it come to you naturally?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jenny Brigalow - Saddles and Skateboards

Please welcome Jenny Brigalow back to the blog today! She's just released her latest book - a YA paranormal.

Saddles and skateboards.

Sometimes people express surprize when I tell them that my latest release is a young adult /paranormal. To me it seems perfectly natural. After all, I've been writing YA for almost as long as I've been writing romance. In fact my first milestone was to win a place on a residency co run by the Queensland Writers Centre and Allen&Unwin in 2010 with my teen, fantasy novel The Overlander. Since then, along with several rural romances, I have written The Overlander Trilogy, a literary novel; The Silent Ticking and another YA fantasy; In The Beginning. Occasionally I even have a dabble at poetry.

So, how do I skip from saddles to skateboards?  From outback to urban? And why. Perhaps the answer lies with my reading. For decades I have read voraciously. I love to read. I didn't start writing until I was in my forties and so my reading experience was way ahead of my writing. When I went to school (in the Dark Ages) I understood genre as falling into five "types". These being prose, fiction, poetry, drama and lyric. But in my young mind I conveniently refined them into two. Fiction and nonfiction. I guess it was a mindset that I never grew out of. I have read acres of books utterly oblivious to classification. And so, when I write,  I have no problem travelling from one genre to the next. Indeed, it is only very recently that I have been forced to deal with the whole genre concept.

When I get an idea for a book I just go with it. For instance, The Children Of The Mist came to me after a conversation with my paranormal crazy daughter. It started with a question. "How would you feel if you woke up on your 16th birthday and discovered you had become a vampire?" And so, Morven Smith was born. When I'd finished, I had to sit down and work out which genre it was a fit for. Not a smart way to write I know, but that's just how it is.

So, as I loved to roam and read in an uninhibited style, so too I like to write without boundaries. Some people ask "why change genres?" and I say "why not?".

Born in Britain, I arrived in Australia as a young woman in 1985 for an impromptu holiday and never left. I fell in love with the Australian bush, its unique flora and fauna and the colourful personalities that inhabit the country. I live on a small acreage close to Toowoomba with my family, dogs, cats and ponies.
I love to write. I write rural romance, young adult and, more recently, literary fiction. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, walking or riding my Connemara pony, Romeo. Rural romance is a natural extension of my passion for all things country. I believe that romance is the universal language of love. And besides, I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Jenny around the web:      Facebook      Twitter       Website     Author Page

The Children Of The Mist

An original paranormal YA about an unconventional girl, an unconventional boy, their extraordinary
transformations, and the secrets of the Scottish Highlands.

When skater girl Morven Smith turns sixteen, she develops boobs, acute appendicitis...and a pair of pointy teeth. While she is stunned by her metamorphosis into vampire, her best mate, the enigmatic Zest, is not. For the young werewolf, Morven’s transformation is an answer to his lonely prayers.

But they are unable to celebrate their mutual paranormalcy for long — there are too many dangers, too much suspicion, and too many questions. It’s only in Scotland that Morven can learn the truth about her past. But she discovers more than she bargained for when she meets her birth family — an ancient feud between vampires and werewolves. They may both be Children of the Mist, but only one species can survive.

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Buy Links:    Escape      Amazon      Amazon UK      B&N

A Kindle copy giveaway of THE CHILDREN OF THE MIST for one commenter.
Why not indeed? Jenny you're a woman after my own heart! I read a wide variety of genres too. For now I'm sticking with one writing genre, but I don't know what the future will hold.
How about you? Do you like reading and writing widely or do you prefer to stick with one?