Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!



What a year it's been!

So many amazing things have happened, not just for me but the entire world! Likewise, where there is happiness and joy there's always darkness and despair. Millions of people lost their lives in the most tragic of ways--most recently the Sandy Cook Elementary School shooting. Our hearts and minds go out to all those familes and the countless other victims of tragedies around the world. It is in times like these we need to remind ourselves that evil will always try to ruin us, regardless of who we are, but through the essence of all that is good we have shown that we can band together and fight all odds. It is our love...our happiness...our sheer belief in a brighter tomorrow that makes us strong. So as we move into a new chapter on this the most holy of seasons, I want to wish everyone, near and far, a wonderful Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.

Thanks for the memories.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

When You're Not In The Mood


Do you ever wake up and know you have things to do but don't feel like it? Sometimes I just want to stay in bed all day and not go to work and other times I simply don't want to go and visit my relatives for thanksgiving. You feel meh?

Most days, however, I DO NOT feel like writing. Sometimes I'm  too tired or I feel like going outdoors and riding my bike or shooting hoops or something active instead of sitting in front a desk for hours. I do that enough during the day, in the afternoons and on the weekends I want a change of pace. But here's the thing: I feel guilty when I don't write when I should be. I'm a firm believer in deadlines, outlines and all things cohesive so when I fail to do what needs to be done, I question my integrity. What kind of writer am I if I don't feel like writing half the time? How can I be a successful writer if I don't write? It's a conundrum, of sorts, because when I put it off for the next day I end up doing so again and it may continue like a cycle for days on end. At the moment, I haven't done any work on my YA or MG for three days. Three whole days! That's forty eight hours, four thousand three hundred and twenty minutes and two hundred and fifty nine thousand two hundred seconds. Is this bad? Am I supposed to write every single day? And if I don't live, breath and eat writing every hour of every minute, am I truly a writer?

Do you sometimes neglect your writing because you don't feel like it? And how do you get in the mood if such a thing occurs?    

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

This Genre Is Oversaturated, Write Something Else

I am sick of hearing this and you know what? Kiss my ass whoever you are.

I spent a very long time dreaming up the idea for my current YA WIP and an even longer time actually writing it. A crit partner the other day told me that the market is oversaturated with the genre of my YA and agents aren't looking for that right now. Um...okay? What am I supposed to do? Stop writing the thing 'cause one agent doesn't like that? Honestly, I thought he had had more faith in my ability to know that this is something I'm aware of, and that it's kind of unnecessary to even bring up. I mean, give me some credit, I do read ya know. Geesh. I don't like it when people think you're a total noob who knows nothing about the industry, but that's possibly another post.

My YA, in it's truest form, is a Superhero (slash) Fantasy (slash) Romance. However, I can't call it that 'cause there is no "Superhero" genre. At least I don't think there is. My MC is a kickass Superheroine Mage who happens to draw her power from a five thousand year old angelic warrior--who happens to be a spirit, who happens to fall in love with her. Unfortunately, simply because there is a ghost involved (which doesn't encompass the whole story) I have to lable it a Paranormal and, unfortunetely for me, this is the genre everyone is scorning right now like someone with an STD.


Readers can't help fall in love with what they like; writers can't help love what they pen. If it happens to be Paranormal, then so be it. I understand why agents and editors might not want to see Paranormal right now (most will be clones or some silly idea) but I believe there are still a lot of really cool concepts in this genre that haven't been explored. And dare I be so bold to say that I have some really cool concepts in this genre that I have explored, and would like to share. Are you saying I should give up now because so and so very established so and so with this many clients and this many accolades said so? I don't think so baby.

I brought this up because I was really discouraged when my crit partner said what he said and then I got a second blow to the heart when I saw the same thing echoed on an industry blog. I actually did ponder giving up the book and writing something else. But you know what I realized? They don't get to decide what I write. There are hundreds of agents out there--maybe thousands?--, loads of editors and gazillions of readers who WILL like what I write. One or two prejudiced folks should not sway your writerly path. So for all you Paranormal writers out there, and those other authors who write in genres that people treat like a disease, let's all join hands and collectively say, FUCK YOU biased people!

The end. ^_^      

Monday, 12 November 2012

There Is No Need To Be A Bee

Boy do I have a story to tell you guys today. Get your popcorn and some Skinny Girl wine 'cause this is gonna be good.

I went to an event hosted by an agent last week and we were asked to bring some sample pages and a query. This agent was going to read the pages aloud and tell us right there and then if he or she will pass. Excited and overdressed for the occasion, I arrived early and took a seat in the third row ('cause I like to be close to the action but not too close). There was a chubby middle aged woman next to me--frizzy brown hair, oversized glasses, black watery eyes and an obvious hew of red fluster painted on her face. She was clutching three sheets of paper in her hand when she turned to me and said, "Hi." I returned the favor and shook her hand.

"It's nice to see someone young  pursue writing--good for you."

"Me? Nah, I'm old. I'll be twenty-three next month, so before you know it I'll be on crotches."  

With her head thrown back she cackles, and in three seconds flat simmers into silence as she reads her pages. By now the seats were beginning to fill up all around me; people were jostling chairs, chatting about the election and plain old having a jolly good time.

And then...

"Hello, Hello everyone," someone said importantly. A rather curvy woman in a black power suit sits beside the woman next to me, so that we're both on opposite sides of her. This lady opens her bedazzled clutch, tosses her silky black hair to the side and pulls out a single sheet of paper. It looked as though she had forgotten her query or sample pages and I peered around at the other people and saw that they were all reading/holding/fanning with or waving two or three sheets of paper. My spidey sense began to tingle.

Out of nowhere the woman next to me, Cheryl, said, "I always get nervous at things like this." At first I didn't know if she was addressing me or anyone who cared to listen, and after three seconds of silence I told her I do, too.

"It never gets easy, does it?"

"No," I said, "especially in a setting like this. Hearing the honest truth about your work--your baby--is never mild."

"I've been working on this (she waves her sheets) young adult for two years and I recently started querying but no bites yet."

"That's nothing, I've been working on a Middle Grade for seven years. It got rejected, accepted, chewd out, peed on, sexed on--you name it!" 

She laughed. "You're funny. You're very funny."

Ever the modest guy I said, "I'm not. What you call funny my girlfriend calls annoying."

Another moment of no talking ensued followed by a question from Cheryl, but this time it was directed to her pages. She was mumbling about the font and questioning if the agent would notice a spelling error in the first paragraph. Now, as nice as Mrs. Cheryl was, she seemed like a very introverted, nervous sort of person--always nitpicking and second guessing herself. Her chat with the paper ended when she asked me if I thought the agent would stop reading if he/she saw a spelling error. Well, some agents do, some agents don't but I didn't want to cause her any more unrest so I told her agents focus on the story and don't pay much attention to grammar 'cause it's easily fixed. This brought her little comfort because she turned to the woman next to her (the one with the bedazzled clutch) and asked if she could look it over, and in return she'd offer the same. Why she didn't ask me I'd never know, but back to the story: as it turned out the woman didn't swap and graciously agreed to read Cheryl's pages. At this time, I thought it wise to double check my own and I was later disrupted by a bunch of huffs, like someone eating a prime rib and critquing the taste as they chewed.

"Is it bad?" Cheryl asked.

After a few more huffs the woman (who shall be named Sasha) sighed, like literally sighed, and handed Cheryl the pages. "Did you revise this?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

By now poor Cheryl was shrinking into a watery mess of self loath. "Oh my god, it's that bad?"

"Can I be honest?" Sahsa said, facing Cheryl directly. "I think you should write something else. The pacing is too slow, you start with a dream, there are eight spelling errors in the first two sentences and the dialogue of the MC sounds like a fifty year old woman. I'm a reader for the [redacted] agency here in [redacted] and I would never let something this horrible touch the agent's desk."

OUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

If I could describe Cheryl's face it would be a cross between this:



And this:




 As much as I wanted to speak up, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut because Cheryl did ask this woman for her opinion. And she got it... Tenfold! However, what came next stunned the shit out of me.

"I take this business very seriously," Sasha said to a bewildered Cheryl who just nodded automatically. "Every idiot off the street thinks they can write a book and I'm of the opinion that some people should never do that! I don't know if you're taking writing seriously--and if you are I think you should take a writing class, if not I think you should maybe dabble in something else."


I kid you the fuck not that's what she said. Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about something like this where an aspiring author told another to stop writing, and now this? What is it with people? Don't they know that some things are better left unsaid? Well, this time I wasn't gonna keep quiet. IT WAS ON BITCH! LIKE DONKEY KONG!

"Excuse me," I said as politely as I could. "You don't have the right to tell this woman--or anyone--they shouldn't be writing. That is out of line!"

She tilted her head from behind Cheryl's and said, curling her lip, "Excuse me?"

"You heard what I said, don't pretend you didn't hear me."

"I don't know who you think you are but I don't like your tone."

"I don't like your face, how 'bout that?"

 By now Cheryl was trying to keep the peace, insisting she asked for Sasha's opinion and got what she deserved, but I was hearing none of it!

"She asked for my opinion, okay. I didn't approach her or beg her--she asked! So take that attitude to the playground little boy and mind your business!"


When someone disses me like this I begin to laugh, but in reality it's a defense mechanism I employ when I'm about to go ghetto on a bitch. However, people was beginning to stare and I was at an agent's event, afterall, so this was not the time or place to do that. To show her I had more class than she had in her whole face full of python poison, I said, quite affectionately, "You know, I pitty you. No joy can ever be found in belittling another person's dreams. It speaks volumes of what little esteem you have in your own aspirations that you have to fell someone in order to prop your self worth. Shame. On. You."

I was expecting a stinging retort, but she just gathered herself and took a seat in the back.

In closing, I want to say this: We all share the same dream. We all have the same goal. We might write certain genres and seek different paths but we're all aiming for that same star. When you tell another dreamer they shouldn't dream, you're telling that star it shouldn't shine. It needs us to dazzle ever so brightly and without us dreamers...without it's light...there can be no dreams now can there?

Friday, 2 November 2012

How Do You Decide Which Novel Will Be Your Debut?

This is something not many writers talk about but it's a very hard decision for some. By the end of the year I will have completed 2 novels, the first is a MG and the other is a YA. I had always wanted my MG to be my debut but my YA is really breathtaking and I have a strong feeling it will strike a chord with readers. On the otherhand, my MG has that "it" factor boy readers love (magic, cool pets, intense battles, a fun card game, world tournaments...) and the fact that the MC is a mobster who becomes a powerful superhero isn't too shabby either. However, my YA is a Romantic Fantasy that features an MC who rises from poverty and despair to become an immensley powerful hero. I haven't seen this type of hero in YA as of late; most of the heroines deal with conflicts centered around their own little universe, as opposed to defeating an immense evil and saving the world--like male MCs usually do. Double standard, anyone? Or perhaps the female writers of these books have a different perspective on what a female heroine is and should do? Ack, I dunno... The point is, I have two great novels and no idea which I should query first.

Some of you might say query them both and see which sticks, but what if I get representation by two seperate agents for two seperate projects? What if they both sell to two different houses? Then what? I don't think that's right, or doable. Besides, I'm pretty sure the houses will not let that happen, 'cause they like to brand authors under their imprint, so that's out of the question. I know some people look at the financial aspect of a debut: in some cases you get a bigger advance for YA, it's easier to catch on, no need for school visits, little to no marketing on your behalf, magazine coverage, blah blah blah... but I really don't care about that. I'm willing to put in the hard work it'll take to "push" my MG if it so happens it's my debut. For me, it's more about which one is going to give me the best shot at capturing an audience and building that fan base. It's a business--a very tough, dig out your eyes, business--and as much as my heart wants to say "be happy that you got published and just keep writing," eh... it doesn't work that way in the real world. If your debut flops you'll be blacklisted and probably won't sell anything else in this climate. You have to be smart, you have to be knowledgable, you must have timing and you simply must know the market and it's flow.

I had always thought the very first novel I wrote would be "the one", and I had an argument with a writer on a message board over this fact some years ago. He said the first novel you write isn't your first, I said it is. Boy was I ever wrong. Writers write so many books in so many different genres it can be hard to pick which one best represents you. I have a tough decision to make, so I need some advice on this.

How did/do you decide which novel will be your debut?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I'm Not Hemingway

It's so good to be back! And it's Halloween! And Frankenstorm just ravaged New York! And the elections are a mere week away! And the last Twilight is coming soon! And...and...my head is totally spinning. So many things have happened, and are going to happen, I'm awash with emotion. What they are, exactly, I can't say--it's just that frickin' much.

I haven't blogged in about a month and I have to do some major catching up, but for what it's worth I got to have some much needed "down time" and I also managed to make some major threads in my writing. I'm nearly finished with one and half way through the other. How's that for progress, huh? Last month I was unsure if I was even able to finish my WIP before next year and now I'm well on my way. Ah yes, I feel good.

And speaking of which: I have a little story to tell you that revolves around the whole premise of "good" and what it means to writing. Okay, so our tale starts last week on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon--birds chirping, bees buzzing and the fresh caress of wind kissing my cheeks... Well, not quite but it was a gorgeous day nonetheless. I was sitting on the porch at my grandma, penning Chapter 7, when Banquo, an old friend of the family, stopped by to see my grandfather. Now, Banquo is a man in his forties with a bald head, a wild, toothy smile and huge green globes that bore into your very flesh. I've known him for a while and he likes to ask questions and argue about things he knows little about. Ya, he's that kind of a gentleman.

"Basquil, here?" he asked (Basquil is my grandpa's nickname)

"Yeh," I said, and I called out to my grandma to tell her who was here, then I returned my attention to the page.

"So yuh busy busy with school?."

"Nah, this is my WIP."

"Yuh what?"

"Uh, my novel."

"Oh, oh right--a novel," he said shaking his head knowingly. "So yuh tryin' to be a writer, eh? Like Hemingway?"

(Like Hemingway?) "Yeah, I guess I am." and I put my head down, trying to concentrate.  

After a long pause he says, "Yuh thhink you good like Hemingway?"

"Um...I don't think...um--no. I don't think I am."

He laughs. "Well if you ain't good like one ah the greats what's the point?"

0_0

"I don't have--"

But I never got to tell him. My grandpa came out at that moment and they both left quite abrubtly.

I have always questioned my worth with regard to writing; half the time I think I suck and half the time I want to give up and never try again. When I read books like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, How to Kill a Mockinbird, Carrie, The Great Gatsby and all those other fantastic works out there, I ask myself, "Do you really think you can do that?" For as long as I can remember the question has always been "no".

Until that Tuesday afternoon.

Banquo made me realize that I am not like Hemingway, nor should I ever try to be. I am not a great writer; I can't spin beautiful prose at the drop of a hat, execute perfect grammar in a heartbeat or create characters that speak to millions without much thought. No. I am none of that because I am me. I am a good writer who can spin beautiful prose after countless revisions, execute perfect grammar after quite a few spell checks and create characters that speak to many after I've polished their dialogue, spoofed up their background and made them die, bleed, cry and die again. I don't have to write a fantastic novel that will win awards and sell millions, I just have to write a good book. That's all. You see, writing is like the paintings at an art exhibition: hundreds of people are gathered around The Scream absolutely in awe of it, but you walk by and all you see is a mess of colors and the vague image of this wobbly looking "man" holding his face. What's a gem to some isn't a gem to you; what fancies me doesn't fancy you. That's writing. And that's how it's always been and always will be.

No matter if I do write great prose not everyone will get it. Some will still call it shit. And that's okay. That's absolutely, positively okay! It took me so many years to realize this but I'm glad I have. Now I don't care (that much) if I write glowing stuff or not, 'cause who's to say it's not great? An aspiring writer? A NY Times Bestseller? Kirkus Reviews? Pfft, please. When all is said and done, the only one who can call you a bad writer is you.

Or Ernest Hemingway...

But he's dead, so...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! >:D

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Conundrum of Experience vs Quality

My vacation time started two weeks ago today. I've been saving them up for a while (since last year, at least) and I finally decided now is the time to take a month-long break and just do what I want to do, which is finish two novels before the year is up. I decided not to go partying or take a trip to some exotic locale but spend time in the country with my grandparents. They have this really old home in the hills where you can see the ocean and the distant islands from the bedroom window. It's a scenic place that invokes a sort of grim awe when you stay there. And by grim awe I mean you feel as though this is what eternity would be like if you died and didn't go to Heaven or Hell. Anyway, I didn't bring my laptop or any sort of device with an internet connection because I wanted to just let live, ya know? Plus, I've found it rather endearing writing longhand. Well, today I went to the "village" (which is basically a residential community with a supermarket, a pub and a gas station) to pick up some macaroni and potatoes for dinner and I happened upon an internet cafe. It occured to me I hadn't blogged in a while and left without any notice so I simply had to write something--it would've been terribly rude if I hadn't.    

I've had a lot of time to think lately and I came up with a theory on an everyday brain twister. In economics we are taught that the buying public's spending habits are driven by wants rather than needs, but beyond this, we have ascertained that they are far less complicated than most would beleive. In fact, they are quite simple spenders (hence why I call them sheep.) So when a group of folks I work with were trying to figure out why the poorly written Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular, it got me thinking... Why, indeed, is it so popular? Well, I'm sure there are many reasons for this conundrum but I have come to the conclusion that people are willing to forfeit, and unequivocally so, quality for an experience.

Think about it: there's a new roller coaster that just opened, it's been dubbed the fastest and highest ever created; there are saftey concerns that could put some at risk--it's not the safest or the most stable--but by golly it's the frickin' FASTEST and HIGHEST! How many people you think will ignore the risks (the ride's quality) and try it anyway? A lot, right? And that's just the thing... people don't really care about quality all that much (with certain things). They like it hard, they like it fast, they like it to take /do/shove them to places they've never been.

That is the biggest reason for Fifty Shades of Grey's success. You can argue it's the affiliation with Twilight, the word of mouth marketing, the characters, the sex, the pure and utter kinky disarray but if the book itself can't capture the reader's fancy, regardless, then it will fail. MISERABLY. When all is said and done, it doesn't matter how badly written something is, for it to truly be a good work it needs to offer the readers a mind blowing experience like no other.     

At least that's what I think. Feel free to dismiss it entirely. ^_^

See you soon. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cover Reveal: If I let You Go

I started blogging about a year ago today and I did it soley to get my thoughts and feelings out into the world. Along the way I've made some truly fantastic friends but there's one person who touched me more than anyone else. I don't know Kyra personally and I've never met her (yet!) but despite these things I can say without a doubt that she is kind, funny, extremely loving, full of ideas and voices, unorganized, forgetful and very supportive. No matter the day or occasion I can always count on Kyra to write something heartfelt that just makes my day darn better. So when she wanted help with her cover reveal I was more than honored to pitch in, as I would with any of my blogger friends--ahem!--I mean Frost Minions.

Congratulations on the reveal, Kyra, and here's to a bestseller and many more awesome novels to come. Cheers!<3



Kyra's new novel, If I let You Go, a New Adult Contemporary Romance, is set to be released on October 22nd.

Madison Connor is about to lose it. Her job, that is. For three years, she’s taken care of Dominic Hartley’s five year old daughter, Tilly, but her world is flipped on its head when Dominic tells her his latest promotion is taking him to New York. With Tilly having a meltdown over the move, Madison and Dominic get into a fight that changes the entire nature of their relationship, causing Madison to ask herself a big question. Can she let him go?

Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. Fiction writing has always been her passion, but she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites.

Kyra’s debut novel, Game On, was released in July 2012 and the second book in the series, Blindsided, is due for release in November 2012.

You can follow Kyra on Twitter, Goodreads, like her on Facebook or check out her ramblings on her Blog

Monday, 17 September 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

I'm sure you're all aware who Alex J. is. If you don't then you must be a hermit or a baby coco bear or a moose tail lemur or I dunno...dead? Alex is one of the most popular bloggers on the frickin' planet, uber powerful ninja lord and otherworldy science fiction author. Did I mention he's a ninja?

Today I'll be participating in one of his many blogfests and sharing with you my favorite genres in movies, music and books.

Favorite Movie Genre Is: 

Action

I live for action flicks, especially those involving martial arts. I constantly prowl the pages of this Hollywood movie blog searching for action flicks past, present and future. Some of my favorite movies are 300, Avengers (of course), Harry Potter movies, Ip Man, The Legend of Aang the Last Airbender (cartoon), Alice in Wonderland (loved her as a female warrior. So badass!), Ninja Assassin and Rush Hour.



Favoirte Music Genre Is: 

Pop Rock

Something about that bass guitar and those drums just incites my soul; a lead vocalist with a stunning voice (ala Amy Lee) makes me all giddy. Some of my favortite bands are Evenessence, Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne and Maroon Five.   




Favorite Book Genre Is:

Fantasy

And you all know which book in particular I worship. ^_^



Guilty Pleasure: 

Comedy

It can be chick flicks, RomComs, dark humor--you name it! As long as it makes me laugh I'm there!


On Wednesday I'll be doing something very special for a dear blogger friend of mine. Stay tuned for that!

Have a great week!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Gearing Up To Get An Agent Meet and Greet



I've been waiting for this day for over a month and I'm super stoked it's finally here. I participated in the first GTGAA Blogfest last year and it was incredibly fun and informative--this year is gearing up (you like that, huh?) to be even better!

As the title suggests, today is the first of the month long festivites and it begins with a Q&A followed by a cordial hop to and fro the blogosphere. Now, for those of you who don't know I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy. I try to find the bright side of every situation because I rather be hopeful than worried, depressed or angry. Not to mention, the strain those type of emotions can have on your overall health. I spend the majority of my day imaging how my life will turn out instead of actually working at my desk. Yeah, it's a habit I can't kick but picturing what you want is a big step in attaining it; just don't forget there's a real world outside of your head. I have two sisters who are incredibly smarter than I am and who, no doubt, will be very successful women; a single mom who works hard everyday to provide for them and a brown pitbull named Ginger (of course) who has the prettiest hazel eyes I have ever seen. All in all, I guess my life is pretty nice. 

All right then, onward to the questions:

Where do you write?

That depends on where I am at the moment. I can't really help where inspiration strikes so I have to be prepared at all times. I'll do a little somethin' somethin' at work, in a cafe or sprawled out on my bed full commando. But it's more the former than the latter. What? TMI? Pfft...as if I'm the only person in the world that writes in the buff? Please. How do you think J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter?


Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What's the first thing you see? 

A picture of Carmen Electra on the cover of Playboy.


Favorite time to write?

Definitely at night. Something about the dark and writing seems alluring. I can't quite describe it (considering I'm a writer that makes me a giant FAIL) but from ten to twelve is my sweet spot.


Drink of choice while writing? 

Never tried it but if liquor helps get the juices flowing then by all means I'm down. (Wait...combined with that first answer the word "juices" doesn't help me at all, does it?)


When writing do you need music, or complete silence?

Oh god, complete and utter silence. I cannot think in noise AT ALL. This is why I know I'll make a terrible general because I'll be flustered and all my plans will be furked up because of it. I don't want to be responsible for my poor soldiers running into battle on my faulty command. Same goes for my imaginary characters.


What was your inspiration for your last WIP and where did you find it? 

That would have to be my MG, which I've been working on, like, forever. The idea behind the Alterheroes came from a tragic loss in my family. It's one that hit home for me because I had never liked the person. But maybe if I were there...things would've turned out differently...

You never miss the water until the well has run dry.


What is your most valuable writing tip? 

After twelve years of doing this (amazing how the time flies, right?) I can say without a doubt that letting things simmer is better than acting in the moment. If you get a rejection, critique, bad news or anything of the sort that isn't to your liking, take a moment to let it sit before doing anything rash. You can't edit a SENT email nor can you redact a verbal bashing. "A still tongue keeps a wise head," my mom always says.


And that's it! Thanks to Deana for hosting this again. Thanks to the agents for taking the time to help out. And thank you for stopping by!

Much love. <3

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Celebrity Obsessed

I took a break from blogging to catch up on some work stuff. And catch some sun. I'm officially a member of the Jersey Shore now that I look like orange leather.

Well, things have been pretty nice this summer: I fell down a hill, I fell into a barrel while trying to do tricks, I fell into a deep sleep while watching the Expendables 2 (still crap in my book), I fell onto the back of goat I was trying to catch and I fell in love. Ah yes...don't you just love summer?

I'm not officially back yet, but I wanted to discuss this video I came upon yesterday. It's about this average guy who decided to prank the good folks of Time Square into thinking he's a celebrity by using what defines one: nice clothes, bodyguards, papparazzi and an entourage.

Be aware he's a complete nobody, but it's interesting to hear the responses of the "fans" when the cameraman asks them, "How do you know him?"



This is so incredibly sad and speaks volumes of our society. Not only did the people blatantly lie about knowing who he was, they also didn't even stop to ask who the furk is this dude?. They saw some cameras, a few guys in suits and they go crazy.


"Do you know Brett Cohen?" the camerman asks a young man.

"Uh, yeah...he was Spiderman. He's a very good actor."

The camerman then asks antother man: "Have you heard any of his music?"

"Um, I heard his first single, which is good. I don't know the name of it but I heard it on the radio."



LOL. I swear I didn't make that up.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Revealing Eden: Callous Or Throught-Provoking?



Here is the blurb found on Amazon:


"Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation—her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm—and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson."


Yup, you read that right.

“Save the Pearls” is a vanity published YA novel trying to bill itself as the next “The Hunger Games.” The publisher says that “‘Save the Pearls turns the tables on racism.’”

It uses blackface as a plot device.

In author Victoria Foyt’s futuristic world, no one wants to mate with white people--or “pearls”--considered to be the ugliest humans oppressed by people of color. In order to survive, they must put on blackface make up to be attractive to the ruling class of “coals.” Hoyt explains: “their stunningly dark skin that carries the greatest amount of melanin…makes them the strongest, most powerful race alive.” The protagonist is a white girl who must smear her face with “midnight luster” make up in order to protect herself from radiation and in order to look beautiful to the oppressive “coals” in hopes that they will mate with her.

The rule in Eden’s post-apocalyptic world is: the darker the skin, the higher the mate-rate. Other factors calculated into one’s mate-rate include wealth or employment status. For example, Ronson Bramford, a handsome Coal titan of industry, is at the top of the heap with a mate rate of 98%. At age twenty-two, he only has two years left in which to mate--or else he’d probably have a 100% mate-rate. Tiger’s-Eyes, or Latinos, usually rate above Ambers, or Asians, in the future race wars. White-skinned Pearls offer little resistance to The Heat, and therefore, are at the bottom. Only a Cotton, or Albino, would be lower.”

The author has since posted a lengthly article in defense of her book (particularly its cover) on the Huffingtonpost. In it she says:

"First, consider that the basis of all prejudice is judging a book by its cover. To condemn any book on the basis of its cover is hardly different than condemning a total stranger because of the color of his/her skin. How can you critique or damn a book if you haven't read it? This kind of blind attack is exactly what creates racism or condemned many progressives as communists in the Fifties."

"Revealing Eden is a sci-fi fantasy adventure romance. And while it is a work of fiction, the premise is all too believable in the face of extreme global warming. So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country."

You can read the rest here.

Personally, I find it interesting but the execution is terrible. First of all, implying that a woman, of any creed or race, MUST mate with a man for survival is poor plotting. The author is erasing fifty plus years of women's rights so many ladies have fought for in a single swish of her thumb. This would've been a literary knockout had the author taken the time to analyze racial hierarchy in a serious setting. But for what it's worth, I do give her kudos for attempting something like this. I'm pretty sure a few writers have thought of this sort of thing but dared not attempt it for fear of backlash. As we speak, the Amazon reviews for this Kindle e-book stand at 212, with 3/4 of that 1 star reviews.

What do you think of this book? Throught-provoking or racially insensitive? 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Women In Fiction: My Favorite Heroine

Isn't he purrrty?


Before I start, I want to say thank you to Hope Roberson and all the gorgeous gals over at Falling for Fiction for selecting me as one of their winners for their Hookers and Hangers Blogfest. You have no idea how much this means to me, so lots of love to you. <3

I've read a few YA this year: Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent, Paranormalcy, Crescendo, First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber...ya know, real "hard" stuff. (LOL) And one thing all these novels have in common are strong female characters, and that includes Justin Bieber. Ack, I'm kidding, I'm kidding--he's a boy not a lady, right? Okay, I'll stop now. ^_^

Anyway, my favorite female heroine is Her--bet you thought I was going to say Hermoine, huh? Well, I kinda was but I'm a lot more read than you think I am.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This brings back memories. I read this when I was fifteen and it was completely by choice. One of my best friends was doing a play about her and got me interested in the character and the book. I admired Jane because she overcame her horrible childhood (orphaned as a baby) to become a prominent figure in society--the governess of Thornfield. She maintained conviction throughout the novel, and always remained positive despite all her misfortunes. At a time when women's options were limited, Jane Eyre managed to independently establish a comfortable living for herself. She also rejected Mr. Rochester despite loving him when she believed that he had committed a misdeed, proving her courage and strength.

This is my pick for best female heroine in a novel. There are so many other magnificent women to choose from in the grand multiverse of literature. Who's your favorite?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Hookers And Hangers Blogfest Part 2



On Monday I shared the first four sentences from my YA Fantasy Portrayer. Today I'd like to show you guys the final sentences of those chapters. Once again, I'd like to thank the gals over at Falling for Fiction for this amazing blogfest.

Without further ado, the four Hangers of my first four chapters:

#

Chapter 1

The lifeless body gushing blood isn't a homeless person...it's Marc. 

Chapter 2

"Oh and Nora, dear," says Voltima as she curls her hair. "Do carry just a smudge of shoe polish. You'll need it."

Chapter 3

If I don't destroy the plane my brother and sisters will die, but if do I'll end hundreds of lives.

Chapter 4

I have one minute to reach the Hospital. Or else...

#

Thanks for allowing me to share. 


Monday, 16 July 2012

Hookers And Hangers Blogfest



Today I'm writing this with a broken thumb. Bummer, right? Well, it's my own fault: Saturday I had an accident while closing my door. I absentmindedly pushed it with my left thumb and I did so with too much force.  *Snap* is all I heard. Next thing you know I'm screaming in pain.

But the show must go on.

I'll be sharing four first lines from my YA Fantasy/Paranormal/ Romance novel, PORTRAYER.

Here are the rules:

We all know how important the first and last lines are in every chapter. This blogfest will hopefully get your HOOKERS and HANGERS polished making it impossible for readers to put down your book and leaving them begging for more!

On July 16th, post the first sentence from each chapter.

On July 18th, post the last sentence from each chapter.

Post as many as you like!
 
This amazing Blogfest is hosted by the gals at Falling for Fiction. Much love to them. <3

Now, without further ado, the first sentences of my novel.

#

Chapter 1: 

It's been five years since my mom took my life.

Chapter 2: 

Marc's blood spurts across my face but I won't dare let go. 

Chapter 3: 

Maximillion Draconst lives in a hot pink high heeled shoe.

Chapter 4: 

I raise my palm toward the sky and issue a bolt of lightning at the plane. 

 #

I hope you liked what I shared. Now I'm off to see what you have for me today.

Here I come!


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy Independance Day!



Today is all about lighting up the BBQ, popping back a few beers and laughing with your family and friends.

So from my family to yours, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. Outlining.

I just met a writer buddy around my age (WOOT!) and he's like my literary soul mate. We like the same books, deplore the same things, love the same authors and we even have a weird penchant for chocolate bars while writing. Ah yes, I think I'm in love. <3

But despite our frightening similarities, he is terribly introverted and dislikes blogging, facebook, sunshine and outlining. I understand the first two, considering they're addicting and time consuming--the sun I kinda get (to a degree. See what I did there?) and I definitely don't comprehend the last one. Why would anyone despise outlining? What's that? You say it's difficult and saps the enthusiasm out of actually writing the work? Nonsense!

Outlining is an art, and one that isn't difficult or a writing-juice-sapper; it's as easy as applying Covergirl makeup, especially when you know how. You'll be surprised how many women don't know how to apply makeup. First you have to use a base and lightly dust the cheeks, then you dip the brush and...how do I know this? Ahem! As I was saying: outlining is actually quite easy and through the years I've come up with an 8 step system to planning the main storyline while still leaving things open for the muse to show me some love while I write. I mean, who plots a course and doesn't change direction once a better opportunity arises? So I don't unerstand when folks claim there's no spontaneity in plotting--you don't diligently stick to the thing, infact, half of what you outline is either foregone or revamped, because you always get better ideas as you start writing.         

My eight simple rules for dating my teenage daughter outlining are:



1 Inciting Incident

What is the incident/problem which sets your story in motion?

What is your MC’s goal, quest, problem s/he needs to overcome?


**********************************************

2 Plot Point 1

What is the first obstacle, roadblock, conflict your MC must face en route to his/her goal?


**********************************************

3 Plot Point 2

What is the second obstacle, roadblock, conflict your MC must face en route to his/her goal? This shows your MC in increasing difficulty and displays the ramping up of tension.

**********************************************

4 Climax A

What sets things in motion for the big show-down?

**********************************************

5 Climax B

What conflict/tension/precariousness happens to make us wait and wonder? This is the point where things could go either way…

**********************************************


6 Climax C

This is where the excrement hits the ventilation device. The ‘final showdown’.

**********************************************

7 Denouement

Everything becomes clear. The world makes sense again. Story questions are resolved.

**********************************************

8 Resolution


Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. Covergirl. 


That wasn't so hard, right? Fill in the blanks for each point and watch your story unravel before your eyes. It's a very effective way to turn the tides when you're lost in the middle, or if you have no idea what to do next. It works for me, and J.K. Rowling, so trust that it will work for you. 


Happy plotting!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Write From The Hurt

So I was deep into plotting Portrayer, outlines, charatcter bios, first chapters and all that jazz, when I got this twisting feeling in my gut that this wasn't working. I hated the way the story started, the way the characters interacted, the setting, the motives, the flow--everything! It was just aweful. Immediately, I started to panic and a mild case of anxiety kicked in, along with the questions of doom: does this story suck? Am I a good writer? Is this worth it?

I spent a few days trying to figure out what to do and then it hit me: WRITE FROM THE HURT. Instead of writing based on trends and preconcieved notions, craft the story inspired by a tragic event in your life and translate that into the character. And that's what I was missing. Nora didn't have enough depth to carry the story and pull in the reader but her new circumstances are sure to tug at their heart strings.

The fact of the matter is, I'm good at writng stories where people in unfortunate circumstances rise up from their folly. Mansions, sports cars and millionairs, while fun to think about, really isn't my forte. I guess it's true what they say: when the going gets tough, write what you know.

And Touchdown goosling agrees.

WOOT!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Never Surrender 'Cause You Just Might Gain A Friend



Oh my gosh, thank you so much for the support! I'm happy to inform you that I'm feeling loads better about everything and I have my friends and family to thank for that. And you guys, of course.

Today is the final day of Elana Johnson's NEVER SURRENDER blogfest and I'm uncharastically late for the festivities. But regardless of my delay, I'm glad to be able to share a time in my life where I never surrendered.

And oddly enough, it regards my ex-wife.

Psych! Ha Ha!

But in all honesty, my story involves two boys: a lil' dude named Tyson and a cool cat named Oracle...

I grew up on a farm-like estate thirty minutes from the city. My house was medium sized and very run-down but we had chickens, a goat, birds, turtles, a fish pond, two dogs and a family of bats in the ceiling. All of this on a plot of land big enough to occupy three town houses. My back yard resembled a forest because just thirty feet from the house was a cluster of avacado, oak and mountain apple trees. You can imagine how fond I was of climbing them to pick the tasty delight that hanged from their branches. I remember having many pirate and Tarzan adventures with my best friend Whitney under, in and even atop them; ah yes, we had loads of fun with those trees but as thrilling as they were, the thing that truly held my fancy to no end was a mere hop and skip behind them: a river.

When I wasn't playing with my friends, climbing trees in my backyard, doing chores, watching TV or writing stories, you could often find me in the river. I loved it to death. I loved the sound of the water sloshing agianst the rocks, the fresh, fishy smell and, above all else, the peace and quiet. Even as a kid I enjoyed "me time" and I still do to this very day. I used to collect the rocks on the bank and put them on the shelf over my bed; the more colorful the rock, the better. When I wasn't doing that, I was catching black catfish half my size (oh yes I did!), red crabs, eels and even water snakes.

"Stop going down in that river," my mom used to say, "all kinds of wild animals live there. And get that blasted crab off your bed!"

As if. I'd been going there for a few years and I'd never seen anything scary, so I ignored my mom's words and went anyway--what did she know, right? There're no wild animals down there--none at all!

But how very wrong I was. 

One evening after school, I stripped off my clothes, ate some frosted flakes and hightailed it to the river for some "me time." As soon as I reached the little cliff that seperated the river from my back yard and jumped, I turned to the left and saw the biggest cat I'd ever seen. EVER! I didn't stay long enough to compute its features, I zipped back up that cliff as quick as it was possible to be. I must admit, I was pretty scared and I went crying to my mother, who forbade me from ever going back there. And, surprisingly enough, I listened. I didn't want to be eaten by that giant cat, but as the weeks went by I missed my river. One month later, thinking the cat had died or something, I gathered enough courage to see for myself. Unbeknownst to my mom, I sneaked out of the house and went to the river. In less than sixty seconds I was back inside, wide eyed and pale. Turned out the cat was still there. Only this time, it was in a tree.



For many days I thought of that cat keeping me from my river, and the more I thought of it the angrier I got. Who was he to stop me from playing in a place I'd been enjoying for years? Something had to be done! But what? Lucky for me, I had gotten a good look at it the last time I (very) briefly saw it, and I knew what it was: an Ocelot. I had seen one before in a book about animals, so I went to the school library and read about them. Well, as it turned out, Ocelots were scared of people and would quicker run away rather than stand and fight. This offered little comfort because the book said it was afraid of "people", as in folks who-were-not-four-feet-tall. And skinny. The cat was the same size I was and I doubt it would run from a free meal on legs. Regardless, a little voice in my head told me to try, and that's just what I did.

Later that day, around half past five, I went to the river to face it. I brought a bowl of sardines as a peace offering and a machete just in case he decided to eat me instead. I jumped over the little cliff, looked up into a nearby tree and there it was. I began to panic because he just sat there staring at me with those big black eyes. A part of me wanted to run for it but another piece of my being told me to put the bowl down and leave. And I did. I don't know what it was but I knew what to do after that. I returned everyday thereafter to take the empty bowl of sardines and leave a fresh one in its stead ten feet from the tree where he lounged, staring. After about three weeks of the same routine, I decided to take things to the next level. This time, instead of leaving the bowl by the tree and departing, I opted to stay and search for rocks. As I walked up and down the bank, I kept a watchful eye for the Ocelot in his perch. I could feel his stare boring into me, but after thirty minutes or so something remarkable happened: he came down.



Oh my god, you can imagine how fast my heart was racing as he inched ever slowly toward the bowl. I insticntively stopped my pacing (for fear of freaking him out) and watched. He was about three and a half feet tall (he reached my chest), five feet in length and weighed about one hundred pounds. He was beautiful. I got a rush of adrenaline and decided to try and pat him but as soon as I got near he hissed. Translation: "Easy there buddy, let's take this slow."

And so, as the days went by I tried to pat him, much to his disdain; until one day I didn't have to try anymore because he came to me! It felt so good caressing his smooth fur and feeling the vibrations of his purrs against my skin.     

Since that day, I was never alone when I went to the river to play. My "me time' turned into "we time."

They were the best moments of my life.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I'm Sorry

Forgive me for being away so long but I've been dealing with some things. It started last week Tuesday and it's still ongoing. One of my good friends was murdered so I'm dealing with that--I'm going around to his family and making sure everyone is okay. I don't think I'll be able to hold up at his funeral.

On the heels of that I found out my cousin passed away and soon after that my eighty year old grandmother was rushed to the hospital so it's really, really been tough and I'm depressed at the moment.

But I have to do the bloghop for Elana; I made a commitment and I'll do it Saturday.

Be safe and thanks for understanding. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Seventh Avenger: Em Dash --

So I saw The Avengers for the third time this weekend and it was as exciting as the first time around. Did I mention it was also funny? Not only did the director manage to capture the spark of the four main characters perfectly (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk) but he also made it so darn hilarious--that almost never happens with a serious superhero flick of this calibur. This was done with the help of the incredible em dash. I'm pretty sure you won't see the device in the script, because scripts tend to "tell" or explain the action to the reader, but if you were to convert that script into prose...(voila!) em dashes abound.

A prime example, and perhaps one of the most infamous, is when Loki shouts to Hulk:


"I am a god you dull creature and I will not be bullied by--"

Before getting his ass SMASHED! LOL. This would not have been half as epic if it weren't for the dialogue, the painful smashing and the em dash that jarred the viewer into the unexpected. And that's it, really: people like little surprises and that's what em dashes do--they incur the unexpected. When done right, of course.

Avengers is a prime example of the em dash done right for comedic effect. Concurrently, it is the only movie where the Hulk doesn't suck. And that's also a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

LEAP Into The Furture

New tech startup "Leap" is stirring the web with the introduction of their LEAP MOTION device which allows you to control your computer without the need for a mouse or keyboard.

 


"Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen.  For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements.

This isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements.  The Leap technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. Just about the size of a flash drive, the Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

This is like day one of the mouse.  Except, no one needs an instruction manual for their hands."



This is nothing original with regard to the technology (Microsoft has successfully used this technology for their Kinect gaming systems) but something like this has yet to be done soley for computers and the average consumer. As a writer, I'm excited by this because it opens up a whole new way for me to present (not necessarily write) my work to readers. I firmly believe that tech giants, Apple, Sony and Microsoft, have groomed the buying public to expect innovation and interaction with their products, regardless if it's something as archaic as books. With touchcreen devices, e-readers and all the other technologies out there, it seems backward not to take advantage of them. How? Well, that will be up to you.

As a gamer and pc user, this is absolutely AMAZING! It'll be fun to try my most favorite games and surf my favorite sites using nothing by my fingers.



You can find our more about LEAP MOTION technology by visiting their website. And you can check out the device in action:



Monday, 28 May 2012

The "That's Nice" Stigmata

I met a couple in their forties last week--beautiful, smart and impeccably dressed--at a NGO meeting I had to cover for the company. They were sitting next to me taking notes on their iPads (I use pen and paper--the old fashioned way) and we managed to strike up a conversation. They asked me who I worked for, how young I was, if I was related to the fast food family McDonalds, if I had a girlfriend and then they finally got around to asking what were my goals?

"I'm writing a novel."

"Oh, that's nice," she said flatly.

"Very good," he added.

And then they quickly changed the subject to something else.

Well, excuse me beautiful couple who's smart and impeccably dressed, but writing a novel is not nice...it's frickin' AWESOME! It takes sweat, tears, a little bit of blood and a few hours of facials just to get the thing done. I might not be working on the next great piece of modern literature but, darn it to hell, I'm writing something that matters! So take that beautiful couple who's smart, impeccably dressed and who I wanted to be like in ten years before you said "that's nice" and turned me off but whom I still kinda wanna be like...

IN YOUR FACE!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Genres Galore

After hopping from Middle Grade to YA and now to Women's Fiction (go figure!), I've had a fantastic time pushing the envelope on my ideas and writing. I recently had to look up what exactly Women's fiction is and was startled to discover that there are SO many different genres under the umbrella of Fiction.

Today I want to share those with you because it is truly fascinating just how many Genres there are.



Chick Lit: 

Chick lit describes its intended readership as much as its story’s content. Chick lit often has light-hearted, amusing tales of dating woes, career foibles, and personal antics as they relate to the problems of average female 20- & 30-somethings: finding the right career, the right man, and the right attitude. The stories are usually fun, down-to-earth, quirky, and entertaining—a good beach read.

Similar to romance, the central conflict of chick lit often includes love and relationships; however, unlike romance, it is rarely rooted in pure fantastical romantic gratification.




Commercial Fiction: 

Commercial fiction uses high-concept hooks and compelling plots to give it a wide, mainstream appeal. Commercial fiction often has the “ouuuh” factor: summarize what happens in your novel is a single, succinct sentence, and you invariably get, “ouhhh, that sounds interesting!” Plot (the events) and story (the overall tale) are first and foremost; characters’ choices and actions create heightened drama that propels the reader forward with urgency.

Like literary fiction, the writing style in commercial fiction is elevated beyond generic mainstream fiction. But unlike literary fiction, commercial fiction maintains a strong narrative storyline as its central goal, rather than the development of enviable prose or internal character conflicts. Commercial fiction often incorporates other genre types under its umbrella such as women’s fiction, thriller, suspense, adventure, family saga, chick lit, etc. Commercial fiction is not the same as "mainstream" or "mass market" fiction, which are both umbrella terms that refer to genre fiction like science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and some thrillers.




Crime Fiction: 

Crime fiction centers its plot on the perpetration of a crime. There are two main subgenres of crime fiction: detective fiction and true crime. True crime focuses its story on the crime scene and the criminal mind. Lurid crime scenes, graphic violence, con games, organized crime, and the criminal underworld are all familiar elements in true crime fiction. Detective fiction, on the other hand, focuses its narrative on the professional or amateur investigators seeking to solve the crime and bring the criminal to justice.



Fantasy: 

Fantasy uses imaginary worlds and mystical creatures within its storyline. Familiar characters of fables and mythology such as princes and princesses, knights, dragons, giants, faeries, goblins, gnomes, wizards, and witches often show up in this genre. Magic, spells, swords and sorcery, supernatural powers, talking animals, and fanciful kingdoms are welcomed stereotypes.



Historical Fiction: 

Historical fiction is often a work of literary fiction or commercial fiction in which the plot and story transpire during a distinct era in the past. True historical fiction portrays conflicts and characters that depended on a particular time period for their existence (Civil War battles and heroes, slave trade in colonial America, 18th-century British royalty, 1960s civil right leaders, etc.) These conflicts and characters are inseparable from the author’s decision to set the story in a non-contemporary era; the historical time and place influence the unfolding narrative and the characters' struggles within it.

Historical fiction is a careful balance between fact and fiction; and although characters and events may be exaggerated or completely made up for the sake of a good story, accurate historical facts and details lend credence and legitimacy to the overall tale. Although literary or commercial fiction often incorporates historical elements into their stories for atmospheric effect, this is not the same as historical fiction, which uses historical settings and time periods to establish its core conflicts.




Horror: 

Horror fiction has one inelucable goal: to scare its readers. Its chilling pendulum swings with a broad arc, and uses a wide range of techniques to terrify and titillate its audience. From extreme blood and guts, graphic violence, murder and mayhem to psychological suspense, criminal underworlds, supernatural folklore, erotica, and surrealism, horror often portrays the base, subversive side of its fictional world.


Literary Fiction: 

If you marvel at the quality of writing in your novel above all else, then you’ve probably written a work of literary fiction. Literary fiction explores inherent conflicts of the human condition through stellar writing. Pacing, plot, and commercial appeal are secondary to the development of story through first-class prose.

Multi-layered themes, descriptive narration, and three-dimensional characterization distinguish this genre from all others. Literary fiction often experiments with traditional structure, narrative voice, multi-POVs, and storylines to achieve an elevated sense of artistry. Although some literary fiction can become "commercial" by transcending its niche market and appealing to a broader audience, this is not the same as commercial fiction, which at its core has a commerical, marketable hook, plot, and storyline—all developed through literary prose. Literary fiction often merges with other fiction types to create hybrid genres such as literary thrillers, mysteries, historicals, epics, and family sagas.



Multi-Cultural 

Multi-cultural can be a tricky genre to simply pin down because it can mean different things to different literary agents and publishers. Most insiders will agree that multi-cultural fiction is a code word for books that possess racial and ethnic diversity within the depiction of its characters, cultures, and conflicts. This includes African-American and Latino fiction. In addition, books characterized as multi-cultural often fall under the broader genre umbrella of commercial fiction, romance, chick lit or literary fiction. Waiting to Exhale, House on Mango Street, and Joy Luck Club are all examples of multi-cultural fiction as well as commercial/literary fiction.



Mystery: 

Mysteries typically focus on the process of solving a crime, rather than the details of the crime itself. The puzzle behind the crime is central to the plot. Amateurs or professional investigators perform the sleuthing, and often a single protagonists or a whole host of characters recur in popular serial titles.

Unlike crime/true crime fiction which explores the world of the criminal mind, mystery focuses on the investigators or detectives determined to bring the criminal to justice.



Romance: 

Romance is a specific fiction genre in which the central conflict revolves around the love story between a man and a woman. The settings are often exotic. The characters are regal and glamorous. And the ensuing story is inevitably dramatic—even melodramatic. Furthermore, writing style aids the passion of the climactic conflicts and events, and catapults the reader through a gratifying romantic fantasy. And a happily ever-after ending is requisite.

If you didn’t intentionally set out to write a romance novel, it’s probably not a romance. There are specific publishing houses dedicated to the publication of this genre, as well as agents who specialize in the sale of these novels. Subgenres include contemporary, suspense, time-travel, futuristic, paranormal, Western, historical, regency, and gothic romance. Romance is also a member of the general grouping of “genre fiction,” “mainstream fiction,” “mass market fiction,” “category fiction,” and "mass market" fiction.


Science Fiction: 

Science fiction incorporates various types of science into its story, settings, characters and the challenges that they must overcome. Scientific details, facts, and rules are either adhered to or broken, but either way, they contribute to the contextual storyline as well as the world created within the novel. Science becomes a character itself.

Unlike its genre cousin, “fantasy,” science fiction utilizes scientific elements based in reality—not simply imaginary fables or mythology. However, it is true that science fiction often stretches the bounds of known scientific laws and discoveries, and thus, science fiction sometimes incorporates both science and fantasy into its fictional world. For this reason, they are often paired together as a single genre. Science fiction is also included in the general grouping of “genre fiction,” “category fiction,” “mainstream” fiction,” or “mass market fiction.”



Thriller/Suspense: 

The dramatic conflicts of thrillers/suspense are fraught with peril: a life-threatening danger that jeopardizes the protagonist, his or her loved ones, or even the whole world. The stakes are often large—death and destruction to lives, the downfall of an entire nation, an ecological disaster. However, thrillers can also simply portray riveting psychological tension between two opposing characters. Thrillers and suspense fiction are paired together because thrillers often utilize suspense elements in the development of the story—evil lurking just around the corner that motivates the protagonist to hunt down and capture the villain-at-large.

Although both thrillers and mysteries often involve the protagonist solving a crime and bringing bad guys to justice, the central conflict of thrillers/suspense focuses on developing an urgent sense of imminent jeopardy rather than solving a mystery or the detection of a crime. Thriller/suspense protagonists must win at all costs against a menacing, pernicious threat—or else things are going from bad to worse, and fast. Subgenres include psychological, supernatural, military, espionage, political, medical, legal, erotic and literary thrillers. Thriller/suspense is also included in the general grouping of “genre fiction,” “category fiction,” “mainstream” fiction,” or “mass market fiction.”


Women’s Fiction: 

Women’s fiction is just that: fiction about women’s issues for a female readership. However, it is not the same as chick lit or romance. While utilizing literary prose, women’s fiction is very commercial in its appeal. Its characters are often women attempting to overcome both personal and external adversity.

Although women’s fiction often incorporates grave situations such as abuse, poverty, divorce, familial breakdown, and other social struggles, it can also explore positive aspects within women’s lives. Romantic love stories are also part of women’s fiction, and although love stories are found in chick lit and romance, the mature depth and tone of their development within women’s fiction set them apart from other genre classifications.
 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Can Facebook Survive Going Public?

Yesterday, Friday 18th May 2012, Facebook (FB) went public on the stock market. The company had an evaluation of 100 billion going in and has since garnered much criticism for that number. Needless to say, Facebook's stock is worth more than that of Google and McDonalds, but despite all of the hype and fanfare, FB's stock has only risen by 0.23% a mere 0.61% change as of this write up.



This brings us to the matter at hand: Do you think Facebook will survive the next five years? or will it fizzle out like Myspace and Friendster?

I think only time will tell. I was actually expecting the social networking giant to command the DOW (it kinda is) but it's gains have fallen way short of expectation. There are reports that Mark Zukerberg's defiant and intrepid behavior is to blame for the lack of trading in the stock, evident by his lack of commitment to "dress up" for the occasion. But that's fodder.

The true question is, how will this affect us, the users of Facebook? The company has long been under fire with regard to privacy issues and, sad to say, that will not stop anytime soon. What does FB going public mean to the users? Well, for one thing, it means more ads; and more ads means a higher risk of spam and infringements on your private information.

Monday, 14 May 2012

First Loves Blogfest: A Wicked Love



First of all, I must give thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting this blogfest. Thanks Alex!

My "firsts" might seem a bit unconventional, but that's because I was a pretty weird child to begin with, and is in no way, shape or form, a reflection on my parents. Bless their simple hearts, 'cause they tried their best with me. 


First Movie: Jurassic Park



Aw man, I loved this movie. I remember going to see it with my buddies and getting freaked the fuk out when the dinosaurs started killing people left and right. It was awesome! I've seen every single one and I still think about them today. This movie further incited my love of dinosaurs and I probably collected every single dinosaur merchandise imaginable. 

Until I realized these extinct behemoths were nothing compared to the mystical creatures of Pokemon. Long live Pokemon! 


First Song: Going Under Evanescence. 


Love Evanescence! Love Amy Lee. I was a fan of this band since day one and I am still a fan of them to this very day! In my opinion, Amy Lee has THE best female pop rock voices of all time. 


First Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone



Seriously, you guys should know this. I sing this novel's praises almost all the time. No other novel in the history of books has left the impact on my life that this one did. I love the story, the characters and absolutely brilliant writing. If this novel were human we'd most definitely be married. 


First Love: Sarah.

What can I say about Sarah that hasn't already been said (I blogged about it). We knew each other since we were five and we became a couple when we were fifteen, but apparently I wasn't good enough for her so she cheated and now we're over. But, yeah, she was my first love--I won't lie. Sometimes I still think about her and, truth be told, I will never forget her. I mean, how can you forget the person you lost your virginity to? 


And those are my firsts. My first movie, my first song, my first book and, of course, my first and oh-so-tragic first love. 

Have a great day and I can't wait to check out your firsts.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Attachment Parenting: A Noob's Opinion



So this thing is blowing up right now. A pretty blonde woman in jeans and a tank top is breastfeeding her almost four year old son on the cover of Time Magazine. The headline reads: Are You Mom Enough? (which, to me, is irrelevant) with smaller words that describe how attatchment parenting drives women to extremes.

Now, this is a very interesting topic and could potentially lead to some big fallouts due to varying opinions clashing. I, however, will be honest in my opinion but will do so with a bit of rapport. Okay, here goes:

This. Is. Weird.

And has everything to do with the act itself. I have not been sensitized to this "movement" so I, of course, will find it immoral; however, just because I or the majority don't understand "the movement" need not mean you stop doing YOU.

My mother stopped breastfeeding me and my sisters when we were two but my aunt stopped breastfeeding her middle child, Bradley, when he was six. I distinctly remember playing firetrucks with my cousin at the feet of our parents and hearing my aunt say on the matter: "Sometimes when I'm lying down taking a five he'll come beside me and nurse." I don't remember what my mom said or what my reation was at the time, but looking back at that moment I am utterly shocked. A six year old boy still breastfeeding? Well, if word had spread to the playgroud he would've been made fun of to no end. But perhaps the bigger question is this: Can a woman still lactate five years after giving birth? And why would you breastfeed your child at that age?

To answer both questions: yes, a woman can lactate for long periods of time, and these women often feed their child well over the "normal" age because of nutritional values and a thing called attatchment theory. I won't go into great detail but this basically means that a mother purposefully allows her child to become emotionally and physically attached to her in order to foster good socio-emotional development later in life. So even more simply, the mom does this so the kid can have healthy relationships in their adult life. Not healthier, just healthy. Of course, this whole thing can backfire and the kid can basically become a pshycopath (learn about that here) but that is rare. Also, depriving your child of maternal love and care can cause a slew of problems in children, including hostility, depression and conflict issues. After learning all this, it makes you wonder what's the point? Moms have been raising their children normally for centuries and they turned out all right (save for a few bad parents) so why go to this extreme? Why feed your baby well into their toddler years? Why smother them every hour of everyday? One word, people: Love. It's as simple as that.  

So back to the debate over the Time cover. Some folks claim this is sexualizing something that isn't sexual, but I don't look at this image and think, she's hot let me get her naked. My first reaction was: What the fuck? But has since evolved into: Meh. It doesn't bother me anymore. And it shouldn't bother me because this woman loves her kid and she is not afraid to show it. This whole attachment parenting thing is mothers loving their children too much. And that's absolutely okay. I live in a community where mothers leave their children at home with their teen daughter in order to go clubbing; I know mothers who have not, and do not, breastfeed their babies at all! Sure, it's shocking to see a woman breastfeed a toddler (on the cover of Time, no less) but it's not the end of the world and it certainly isn't going to impact your life negatively.

Monday, 7 May 2012

What Keeps You Going?



There's a saying that goes: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But there must be some inspiration behind that.

It isn't always easy finding the strength to keep going, that's for sure; whether it be climbing that insurmountable mountain, reaching the finish line of the New York Marathon or simply getting out of bed to go to work everyday, finding the strength to keep going is, well, tough.

Lately, work has been beating my ass and I'm so tired and frustrated. Sometimes I feel like quitting and running off to a beach in the Bahamas for a week (month, year -- a millennia!) but, alas, I have bills to pay.  It sucks when you want a break and you can't get it, especially when your sanity is hanging by a flimsy, silky spider's thread.

But I keep going because I love what I do. It is as simply as that.

In truth,  I guess that's why we all do what we do? Virtue. Honesty, integrity, courage, compassion...they drive us, lift us, enfold us and carry us through the darkest of times. So do the people we care about. If virtue is the soul of our drive, then those we love the most are the flesh and blood. And it doesn't matter if it's you, your children or that special someone -- we keep going because we can -- because we must --; because when the world and everything around us seem lost in translation...we have the body and soul to tough it out.
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