Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS IS HERE!

Killing Darkness, the long awaited sequel to Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is finally here and I can’t wait to read it! *THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI!*

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Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

PURCHASE LINK: AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Kat Daemon grew up in New York where her imagination always seemed to get the best of her. When she’s not hanging with demons, she’s usually armed with a strong cup of coffee and dreaming up her next tormented character.

She is the author of the The Darkness Saga. Book one of the saga, Taming Darkness, the story of the world’s most infamous fallen angel and the one woman who was able to hold temptation over him, is available now.

You can find out more about Kat and her books at www.katdaemon.com

Finding Your Writing Routine.

With all the writing advice out there, how is one to know which advice is the best?

The truth is–there are no set rules to follow. Writing is not only a process of sharpening your skills, it’s about learning what kind of writer you are, what your process looks like, and what routine you need to be the most productive.

If you look back on the post How 12 Different Authors Write a First Draft, you’ll see how different the process is for everyone.

Technique aside, the one question I see asked a lot is: “How do I find the time to write?”

This is a tough one to answer because everyone’s needs are different. We hear often that writers should write every day. I used to believe this myself, but the more writing became a routine, the more I learned that writing every day doesn’t work for me.

By nature, I’m an all or nothing person. I have to force myself to be obsessive about projects, because if I step away for more than a few days, I’ve completely lost interest in working. I tend to write in bursts, and since I don’t have kids, I have a lot of freedom to set my schedule as it suites me. I’m sure this will change some day, but for now my writing routine is fairly simple. I treat writing like a full-time job. I wake up to an alarm, get dressed, and hopefully by 9am I’m sitting at my computer working. Once I get in the writing zone, I will usually work for 5-8 hour stretches of time, sometimes more, 7 days a week.

By the time I get through 8 hours of writing, I’m practically brain-dead and exhausted, so it’s not a pattern I can keep up for long periods. Once I reach a milestone–which is usually a finished draft–I take a break to recharge.

I usually read books the same way I write them–in bursts. So during my writing down-time I spend as much time as I can devouring as many books as I can squeeze in before I have to start working again.

When my novel is finally completed, edited and ready to go, I’ll take a month, even 2 months off to regroup. There might be days when the muse strikes and I’ll write out a quick chapter or start plotting, but I don’t force myself to write. It’s a nice break and it gives me time to develop ideas before I start putting them to paper.

Now, I know everyone doesn’t always have the flexibility to spend 8 hours a day writing. Back when I used to work a full-time job in advertising, I remember using the same pattern of burst writing, only I would do it at night. I would sit with a glass of wine (or four) in my apartment in Toronto and work from about 7-8pm to sometimes 2 in the morning. I love that I have more freedom with my time now, but I definitely miss those late nights of writing where all my best ideas were born (Mara, Corbin and Malcolm were created during those night writing sessions).

Finding the time to write, especially when you have a lot of other things demanding your attention, can be tricky. But you might find it easier to manage if you know what kind of writer you are. Are you a burst writer? Do you like to write one scene a day? Do you go back and read your work, editing as you go?

On twitter there’s a 5am Writers Club. They are the morning writers, and if you don’t have time at night, this is a great way to get an hour or two of writing in before work.

My writer/mom friends usually say the evening works best for them. They also say that the summer months are a toss up for writing. Most seem to wait until the kids are back in school before they really push themselves to get writing done.

The bottom line is, find out what KIND of writer you are, and then tailor a routine to meet your needs. If you’re okay with writing a chapter a week, GREAT! If you have to knock out half a book in a short stretch, FANTASTIC! But don’t give up. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time. There is ALWAYS time to be found for writing, if you want it bad enough. Apparently humans spend up to two years of their lifetimes sitting on a toilet. Imagine two full years of time dedicated it writing *wink wink*.

I think for my next book, I’m going to try and adjust my routine a bit and give myself weekends off. That way I don’t find myself procrastinating on a Sunday because all I want to do is eat candy and have a netflix marathon. I’m learning that time off is important. 🙂

Tell me what your writing routine is. How do you find the time and what kind of writer are you?

 

 

 

Sequel Writing Struggles

It’s starting to become clear to me just how complicated sequel writing can be. In my last sequel update, I said I was done with the first draft of The Embers of Light and was preparing to send it out for developmental edits. That was true. But the more I sat on the first draft, the more I realized that something was missing from the plot, and the ending wasn’t what I needed in order to round out the series as a whole.

When I initially wrote The Darkness of Light, I hadn’t planned on writing a series. I had a story to tell—Mara’s story—and I knew exactly how it would end. But here’s the problem. That last scene that I had pictured in my mind never happened.

Sure, Mara’s story was told, and the main conflict of the novel was resolved (which I think is VERY important when writing a series), but there was more I needed to write in order to get her to that final scene I’d envisioned. As I wrote The Darkness of Light, I began to realize that it wasn’t just Mara’s story I was telling, but Malcolm’s and Corbin’s as well. Like a traditional fantasy novel, I could have written a 1000+-page book with a part 1,2&3. But that’s a big commitment for readers, it might have alienated non-fantasy readers, and I wanted to give special attention to each individual story.

While I wrote the first novel with an ultimate ending in mind, I wasn’t always sure about how I’d get there. The rest came to me after the first novel was written, and so in the revision process, I was able to plant seeds of information that would continue through the series.

The Embers of Light follows the same format as the first novel (told from 3 POVs), but the main arc of the story is about Malcolm. I knew what I wanted to do with him, but tying it in with the first novel, while still planting seeds for the third is a lot harder than I’d imagined. The problem now is that readers know these characters, so I not only have to make sure Malcolm’s story furthers the plot, but that Mara and Corbin’s does as well. They’re all interconnected, and they always have been, which means I can’t forego one character’s development for another. Everyone needs my attention now.

The third book in the series will have a stronger focus on Corbin. Again, I already know where he’s going and how he’ll get there, but I have to let the reader get to know him better if they’re going to want to read an entire book about him. So while I take Malcolm on his journey, I have to make sure Corbin doesn’t get overlooked. His story will be the one that gets to me to that final scene I’d imagined so long ago.

I am STILL working on revisions for The Embers of Light. But the good news is now the third book is plotted out enough to help me understand what NEEDS to happen to get me there. I had to write 34 chapters of a first draft sequel before I figured this out, and now I’m going back over every chapter, word by word, and page by page, rewriting scenes, adding new ones and creating the stepping-stones to carry the story forward.

It’s a lot harder than simply sitting down and typing out a story. Now I’m creating a saga that won’t be finished until I get to that last scene, the one I see so clearly in my mind. At least now I can see the road ahead, but the struggle is walking it to the end.

How I Write a Second Draft

Whether you’re a veteran author or new to the writing game, getting to the end of that first draft is a major accomplishment. You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years toiling away in a caffeine fueled ocean of excitement, self-doubt, and determination to get a finished manuscript. But you did it! You have a completed, (possibly disorganized) first draft. Now is the time to break out the champagne and celebrate, because in the coming weeks, you’ll learn just how much more work lies ahead.

This is a follow up to the post: How Did You Write a Book?

How I Write a Second Draft

Before I Begin the Rewrites

“Put your work in a drawer and walk away.” You may have heard this tip before, but I’ve come to realize that setting your work aside for a while is VERY important. It’s always hard for me to do this, but I know that taking a step back from it, even for a couple of weeks, will give me some perspective on the story. Plus, it’s a good time to recharge my writing muscles. I read books, watch movies that inspire me and do some research if needed.

Revision Prep

The first read through – This is the part I dislike the most. It’s the part where I realize just how much work I still have to do. After I’ve had a little time away from my manuscript, the first read through can either surprise me or horrify me. I might love a chapter so much that if feels like I didn’t write it at all, and then others might make me cringe so bad that I wonder what the hell I was thinking. I’m sure this happens to a lot of authors, so I’m just gonna go ahead and assume I’m not alone here.

The mantra “Let it Go” – I prepare myself ahead of time to let things go. Nothing is written in stone at this stage and everything is subject to deletion. As a rule, I never write the last few chapters of a novel in a first draft for two reasons: 1. Even though I know how the story will end, I feel like ending it in the first draft is bad luck, and 2. I don’t want to have to cut and ending this early on. By not writing the ending, I am totally open to changing it if need be.

Revisions

Once my manuscript is all marked with red pen and looks like a crime scene, it’s time to start writing. At this point I know what I like and dislike about the story, and I have a good idea what needs to be cut, what needs more work and what needs to be added to round out the book.

Full rewrite – I’m not a fan of copy and paste and once I write a draft, I don’t continue working in the original document (*note – I write each chapter as a separate document). Instead I print off the pages and start a new folder called “2nd draft”. From this point I rearrange the printed chapters into a new order and begin the long process of typing. But this isn’t simply a copy job; this is an elaboration on the existing work. Sometimes I keep many paragraphs without adding much, other times I start from scratch, knowing exactly what’s going to happen in the scene. My favorite part of revisions is the completely new chapters I get to add. These are fun because I know the story well enough to create the chapter with subtle plot hints, more character development, and maybe even some new challenges for the characters. Ever wonder how an author makes so many things connect throughout a book? How they added so many hints? This happens in the rewrites.

For me, the second draft manuscript is still in the development stages. That’s important to remember. I am still “writing” the book, not editing. It is NOT finished yet.

Once I’ve rewritten the entire book to the point that most of it makes sense and most of the plot holes are closed up, I write the last chapters. At this stage I should feel confident enough to let someone else read it. But I also keep in mind that I may still need to cut and rewrite once fresh eyes have been on it. The purpose of a second draft (for me, anyway) is not to have a final product, but to make it readable to others.

 

Beta-readers and the Developmental Edit

This is the scary part. Other people are going to be reading your work. Some writers use beta-readers (other writers or friends who give feedback on your work) or they can also use a professional developmental editor (usually a published author, agent, or someone working in the publishing industry.)

For my sequel, Julie Hutchings will be doing my developmental edit. I will send the manuscript to her and wait. While this can be an anxious time for a writer, I try to use it as a break. I go back to reading or start writing something unrelated to my series. Once I get notes back from the developmental edit I will read through them, consider them carefully, make notes and then, after taking some time to think, I will rewrite for the last time, hopefully.

I hope this helps anyone stuck on a 2nd draft. Just keep in mind that it’s not over yet, but you’re so close you can’t give up now! You have all the pieces to the puzzle; you just have to keep rearranging them until they create a beautiful picture.

Stay tuned for a 3rd draft post, which will include details on the copy-editing stage.

How Did You Write A Book?

I get asked this question A LOT, so I figured it was time to write a post about it.

A Bit of Background

Well, first let me say that I’m not new to writing. I would say I’ve been a writer my entire life. I’ve always written short stories and attempted to write novels. When I was 25 I started writing under the pen name, Dahlia Knight. I had a website and wrote short erotic serials. I even had a few published on a Canadian sex therapy ezine :P. I also became a freelance writer and wrote various business reviews, web content, and ad copy for a few years.

Around the same time in 2008 I started to develop these characters that just wouldn’t leave me alone. They were Mara, Malcolm, and Corbin (the main characters in The Darkness of Light). I didn’t know their story at the time, but I knew who they were and I knew what I wanted them to be. I had no frikken clue how to write a book back then. Twitter and FB were just new and writers forums were sometimes a little sketchy, so getting information was hard. I’d write a chapter and feel like it was a complete uphill battle. I’d wonder how the hell I was going to create an entire novel when I couldn’t even make the chapters flow.

I ordered dozens of books on writing and read them over and over and over. Then, in 2010, while I was still toiling away at my manuscript, my mom passed away and I instantly lost my ability to write. I still can’t say why, exactly. A month after she passed I took down Dahlia’s website and completely abandoned my manuscript for 3 years.

The Reawakening.

For the 3 years I was in writer purgatory, I was back in school studying English Lit and History. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to be a writer and that maybe I’d get my PhD one day and become a professor.

That was the plan.

But then in early 2013 I was struck by a bolt of creativity. I woke up one morning and had such a strong urge to write that I didn’t even make a coffee, I just sat down at my computer and typed out a 7,000 word first chapter (*Note: a 7,000 word chapter is WAY too long). The funny thing is that while I was writing, I felt like I was in a trance and when I finally stopped and took a breath, I realized I’d just written the beginnings of a historical novel. I guess all those years of studying history paid off and I knew then that I’d not only gotten my creativity back, but I’d also found my niche.

How Did I Write a Book?

This is where the hard work comes in. It had been years since I’d written creatively and I’d forgotten a lot of what I’d learned from the many writing books sitting dusty on my shelves. So instead of reading about writing, this time I decided to just write and not care about what was right and wrong.

  1. I got a notebook and started plotting Mara, Malcolm, and Corbin’s story. I scribbled nonsense all through that notebook. I’d plan whole chapters and then scratch them out, I’d write several endings  that never came to be. I plotted and scribbled and plotted until I had enough to keep writing chapters.
  2. Then I researched. Being that I was writing a historical novel, I wanted to have some cold, hard facts to insert as I wrote. I knew I could go back later and perfect it, but for my own peace of mind, I needed SOME information to keep going. I think researching was definitely my favorite part.
  3. Then I wrote. With new ideas fresh in my mind, I started writing. Sometimes I followed the plan, sometimes I didn’t. It wasn’t always easy getting those chapters down, but every day I knew I was getting a few steps closer to a finished manuscript. Instead of thinking of the book as a whole, I thought of the chapters as scenes or mini stories. Every chapter needed a beginning, a middle or a conflict, and an end. Thinking that way helped A LOT!
  4. I took research breaks in between writing. I have a bad short term memory and would have to go back and re-research some of the information. This wasn’t really a bad thing, though, because a lot of the time I came across new info that inspired me.
  5. I wrote until my eyes were raw. Some days I almost went blind, really. But I was so obsessed with finishing the first draft, I couldn’t stop. It was really important for me to remember NOT TO REVISE during the writing process. If I changed things, I was NOT allowed to go back and fix earlier chapters. Sometimes I’d only put a few hundred words in a chapter. I knew what the scene was, but at the time I couldn’t get it out. So I’d write the plan and move on to the next chapter.

8 Weeks Later, I Had a Finished First Draft.

That’s right. It only took 8 weeks to write the very first draft of The Darkness of Light. But let me tell you, it was a complete MESS; virtually unreadable, but I was SO damn excited that I wasn’t about to just give up there.

I Took To Twitter and Googled My Ass Off!

Now, don’t forget that I’d basically forgotten all the ins and outs of publishing that I’d learned before, so I had to refresh. I started googling things like:

  • How many words should a novel be?
  • How long should a chapter be?
  • How to get published.
  • How to find an agent.
  • New author success stories.

I learned a lot from Writers Digest and various other writing websites. Then I took to twitter and started following other writers, agents, and publishers. THIS was probably the single best resource I could have ever found. I soon discovered that the twitter writing community is SO helpful. They tweet tips, articles, info, answer questions and are generally some of the nicest people in the world! Off the top of my head, the ones who have helped and inspired me the most are:

  • Ciar Cullen
  • Leigh Anne Kopans
  • Julie Hutchings
  • Kristen Strassel
  • Jamie Grey
  • Kat Ellis
  • Jessie Devine
  • Summer Wier
  • Caitlin Greer
  • Rayne Hall
  • Nat Russo

I suggest you follow these people if you want to learn a thing or two about writing.

Then I followed agents and assistant agents. My favorite agent tweets usually come from:

  • Eric Ruben
  • Juliet Mushens
  • Pam van Hylckama
  • Terrie Wolf
  • Lane Heymont

I suggest you follow them as well.  They offer a wealth of information when it comes to querying, agenting and publishing.

I Got Back to Writing.

After I nestled into the writing community, I got back to writing and plotting. I went through my manuscript and marked it up, jotted down notes and more ideas and then I wrote the entire thing again. This was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. I actually had a story to work with and the more I revised, the better it got.

When I’d finally smoothed it out enough so that it was actually readable, I started letting friends read it. I got feedback, made changes, and rewrote some more until it was actually a finished novel! It made sense, it had a beginning, middle, and end and every time I read it, I loved it!!!

Now, this is only part one of the writing process. I’ll write another post soon on my experience with querying agents, editing, and publishing. None of that is important now, because you can’t do any of that without first having a polished, finished manuscript!

So just write the damn thing!!! Who cares if it’s any good. First drafts WILL suck. They won’t make sense, they won’t flow. You HAVE to create the puzzle pieces in order to put them together. Just write and don’t stop until you have at least 150-200+ pages of SOMETHING! Worry about rules and all the rest later.

If you’ve already written a book, does your process differ from mine? Share your writing story.

GOOD LUCK!

1597401_10153715021560077_1070423782_oThe Darkness of Light ~ Available NOW through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony, and Select Retailers.

Follow me @TamzWrite

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Interview with YA Author Greg Wilkey on Writing, success with indie-publishing and the dreaded –Rules of Writing

I am really excited to bring to you an interview with indie-author, Greg Wilkey.

In 2011 Greg burst into the indie-publishing world with his debut novel, Growing Up Dead, and has had continued success with the sequels in what has become the Mortimer Drake series. Not only are Greg’s novels enjoyable to read, but they’ve been endorsed by the Queen of the Damned, herself – Anne Rice.

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Greg Wilkey is an educator and author of young adult fiction. Currently, he has written and published four books in his popular Mortimer Drake Series. He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1971. He developed a love of stories and adventure at an early age. He has always loved to read and write. He graduated from college with a degree in education and began a career in teaching world languages in 1993. He spent the next 15 years as a classroom teacher of Spanish until moving into school administration in 2007. He has been married for 20 years to his wife, Alicyn. He makes his home in Chattanooga where he and his wife are the proud pet parents of three spoiled cats. ​

Greg was kind enough to chat with me about his writing habits, hope for traditional publishing and the rules of writing.

You’ve published four novels in 2 years. That’s impressive. With a full-time job as an assistant principal, how do you find the time to write?

It’s not an easy task to find time to write, but I make myself write every night for at least an hour. Usually, that happens late at night before I head to bed. The majority of my writing time is on the weekends and during the breaks in the school year. I love waking up early on the weekends and heading to my home office. I can spend countless hours lost in my imagination.

 I remember the first time Anne Rice endorsed your novel. In fact, that’s how I found out about it in the first place, but I have to say that it wasn’t just the endorsement that got my attention—it was the name of your character, Mortimer Drake. I thought it was such a great, catchy name. How did you come up with it?

        The name came to me after I began researching and mapping out the first book. I wanted something to play on the word “dead.” I immediately thought of the word morbid. That got me to thinking about other words that were similar: morte, muerte, mortuary, etc. Suddenly, there it was: Mortimer. His last name was intended to be a reference to the most famous vampire of all, Dracula. I played with a few ideas before I decided on Drake. And there you have, the origin of my young hero’s name, Mortimer Drake.

Most writers identify themselves as either a story plotter or a fly by the seat of their pants writer. Which are you, a plotter or a pantser?

        I am actually somewhere in the middle (a “plontster” maybe?) I do outline and map out key scenes that I want to write. I spend a lot of time plotting out specific details of the beginning, middle, and end. Once I start writing, I let the characters and the mood of my story lead me and connect the dots. In fact, that’s how I know the story is working. Once the characters take over and guide me from scene to scene, I’m happy. I will admit, however, it does make more work for me. Every once and a while, the characters will go in a direction I never saw and I have to rethink the scenes. That’s the great thing about writing fiction. Anything can happen.

Do you have any unusual writing habits? Any funny quirks that happen only when you write?

        I have to have music or background noise. I cannot write in silence. In fact, as I work on a book, certain music will start to work its way into the story and I begin to develop this internal soundtrack. When that happens, I will download songs by artists in that genre or select that type of music on my Pandora Radio. It’s funny, because as I was writing the Mortimer Drake Series, I discovered that I loved alternative rock/heavy metal music. That’s the soundtrack of Mortimer’s world. Who knew?

While you’ve had success with the Mortimer Drake series, you’ve said in other interviews that you still hope to find a place in traditional publishing. Do you have other projects that you’ve set aside for this purpose?

Yes! I have mapped out three books in a new series I am writing. I already have two publishers that have expressed possible interest in seeing the first book. I am working to complete the manuscript by March so that I can submit it. I am hopeful, but I am truly enjoying my journey as an indie author. If I don’t land a traditional publisher, I will certainly self-publish again. I have a strong following now. It feels surreal.

 Can we talk about “The Rules of Writing” for a moment? These are the rules that agents, editors and self-appointed writing gurus constantly preach at aspiring authors, and yet, time and time again we see these rules broken.

        If I have learned anything from my life as a reader and a writer, it’s that there are no set rules. Every writer has his or her own guideline. In fact, I recently posted my “rules” on my author’s page on Facebook. Here are my very own 7 rules:

1. Read. Read a lot. I can’t imagine being a writer and not reading. I read everything from non-fiction to autobiographies to children’s picture books. I am always looking at how other authors use language.

2. Set aside time to think. I have to do this. Once I get an idea going, I need time to just sit and think about it. This looks differently depending on where I am. Sometimes I think in my office. Sometimes I sit on my patio in my favorite rocking chair. Sometimes I think while I’m watching an old movie. This step for me is crucial because this is when I let the idea marinate in my imagination. This is where the story starts to grow.

3. Research. I love to do research for a book, but I have to be careful not to get lost in this step. I can spend hours reading articles and following links that interest me. The research is important to me because I want my readers to have something real to connect with in my books. Good fiction must have a touch of reality to be believable.

4. Map out the story. I have to do this. I know that not all authors follow this step, but for me it is necessary. I don’t have to outline every detail, but I at least want a basic road map of the book. I like to have a sense of where I’m going before I start the journey.

5. Be ready to trash the map. Now, having stated rule #4, I have learned to let the map go and follow the lead of my characters. There is something wonderful about letting go of control and giving myself over to the world I’ve created. Sometimes, it’s better to let the characters dictate their actions to me. In fact, as a writer, I want this to happen. When it does, I know that my story is now a living organism with a life all its own.

6. Don’t revise while writing. I had a hard time with this one in the beginning. I was so worried about grammar and vocabulary that I’d spend all my energy on correcting and editing every line that I wrote. It took me a long time to figure out that was why I never finished a book. I was burning out before I really got started. Now when I write, I just write. I let the story flow onto the page. I just want to get the words out of my head. I want to paint those scenes before I lose them. I don’t worry about the language mechanics until the end.

7. Have fun. This is my favorite rule because writing is too hard and too painful not to enjoy. I love to write. I have to write. It’s who I am and I can’t imagine not doing it. I love to hide out in my home office with my favorite music playing while I slip into my imagination. As long as I’m having fun, that’s all that matters. I write for my own pleasure. If others read and enjoy my work, that’s just wonderful, but I can’t allow that to motivate me. No, I write because I love it.

What are your thoughts on:

Adverbs – I use them. I think that YA fiction, at least for me, needs a lot of action. I like to use active verbs, therefore, I like the adverbs.

Using anything other than “said” to carry dialog – I think “said” pretty much does the trick, but I do like to occasionally toss in a new verb, you know, just for fun.

Avoiding detailed descriptions of people, places or things – I try to avoid too much description. Again, for me, I want my readers to fill in some of the gaps for themselves. I use enough description to set the mood and create the picture. I truly hope that my readers will be able to insert themselves into the story and see everything through my eyes and through theirs. I like to leave a little of the story open for the reader’s imagination.

Character thought exposition “He knew”, “She thought” etc… – I am torn on this one. I use it some, but the more I develop my own style, I tend to use it less. I guess I’m evolving. I try to let the story and the actions relate the character’s thoughts. It’s not always easy.

What can we expect from you next?  Will you take your Mortimer Drake novels from the YA world into the New Adult category?

         I am actually mapping out a possible 5th book for Mortimer. I left a tiny little door open in the last book of the series just in case I wanted to come back to Mortimer’s world. I still miss him, but for now, I am fully dedicated to my new young adult hero and his adventures. I am having a blast creating this new universe. I am very optimistic about my future as an author. I will never stop trying. I promise you that!

You can find Greg on Facbook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Greg-Wilkey-Author-of-YA-Fiction/351753751608643

You can find his books in ebook and paperback through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Book 1 GROWING UP DEAD: Mortimer Drake discovers that he is the product of a supernatural mixed-marriage. His mother is human and his father is a 925 year old vampire. His life is completely turned upside down as he struggles with this knowledge and his emerging vampiric nature. The truth behind the myths and legends of the vampire are revealed as Mortimer enters into a centuries old war of the Undead.

Book 2 OUT OF THE UNDERWORLD:  Mortimer Drake and his family continue to work toward a new understanding of how to survive as a supernatural family living in the mortal world. Unexpected events have altered their close-knit family even more as Mortimer’s mother gives birth to a baby girl. Is she human, vampire or something entirely different? A new battle in the war among the Undead begins as the Mother and Queen of the vampire race is discovered.

Book 3 HOPE AGAINST HOPE: The world has changed for the living and the undead alike. Mortimer Drake and his family have been forced underground in the wake of the Dark Revelation. Humankind has learned of the existence of vampires and society has crumbled into chaos. The centuries old conflict between True-born vampires and Cross-blood vampires has taken a backseat to a new war that has spread across the globe. HOPE, an organization determined to wipe out the vampire race, has risen to power under the absolute authority of the Director. HOPE promises to restore peace, safety, and security, but that promise has a price. Vampires have been forced from the security of the shadows. They can no longer hide behind the myths and legends. If Mortimer wants to survive, he will have to learn to trust new friends with supernatural secrets of their own. If he fails, the world will never be the same again.

Book 4 STAR BLOOD: The Collapse of the HOPE movement brought a renewed sense of unity to the world. For the first time in recorded history, humans lived side by side with creatures of myths and legends to build a new life fueled by optimism. Vampires are joined by their preternatural kin – merfolk, fairies, and werewolves – to pave a new path for life on Earth. But this feeling of faith and hope is short-lived. Mortimer Drake and his friends must now a face a new enemy from somewhere beyond the stars that threatens to destroy all life on the planet.

Grammar: “Alright” is not a word…technically

I’m sorry to break the bad news but it’s true. “Alright” is not a word. The correct form is All Right. The funny thing is if you type ALRIGHT into Microsoft Word, the spell check doesn’t flag it. But if you spell it incorrectly “Alrigt” and you right-click for the correct word, you won’t find ALRIGHT as a substitute.

For informal writing, go ahead! Use ALRIGHT. No one is going to correct you. But for the purpose of formal writing and perhaps even your novel, stick with ALL RIGHT. I tried to sway my copy-editor on this issue, but she was unmoved. It was either ALL RIGHT or nothing.

Happy Writing 😀

How to Format Your Novel for Beta-readers and Agents

Having your novel properly formatted when sending it out to beta-readers or agents is important. Not only does it look professional, but it keeps your readers from being distracted by huge blocks of text.

If you are an indie author and planning to publish through Amazon, Smashwords etc…I HIGHLY recommend paying for a professional to format your novel. There’s a lot more to this kind of formatting and a professional will ensure your novel looks just right.

Spacing

From the moment you open your word document, go to the PAGE LAYOUT tab. Go to SPACING and in the AFTER box, change the spacing to 0pt. This will remove the large spaces between paragraphs.

You may want to also click on the PARAGRAPH tab and change your spacing to double. Agents will want it this way, but for my own use, and for beta-readers, I prefer to leave it as single.

FONT

The standard font to use is TIMES NEW ROMAN. This is the best font to use when sending to an agent. But there are other options. I prefer to use BOOK ANTIQUA, or you can use COURIER, or GARAMOND. Don’t choose fancy fonts. Stick with simple.

INDENTS

This is where people get confused.

First of all, don’t use the tab key unless you’ve reset the indent. Always indent 5 spaces. I’ve gotten into the habit of hitting the space bar 5 times. If you can reset your tab length, do that. But 5 spaces will give you the perfect indent.

Indenting the first line of a paragraph indicates a pause. It was drilled in our heads in high school and college to indent every line. DON’T do that with your manuscript.

The start of a chapter should NOT be indented, because there is no need for a pause. Check any novel on your shelf and you’ll see what I mean. This is a page from Philippa Gregory’s, Changeling. You can see there is no space at the start of the chapter.

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The next indent is up for debate. When you use an asterisks (*) or symbol within a chapter to indicate a scene break, do you need to indent? Well…yes and no. I’ve seen many novels that do indent after a scene break. But I’ve also seen many more that don’t. Technically, the indent is not needed after an asterisks or symbol because the pause is already indicated.

This page has a long, elaborate symbol, but it serves the same purpose as an asterisks. And as you can see, there is no indent.

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That’s about it for formatting.

If you want, you can also start your chapters half way down the page. Don’t forget to number your pages and if you’re querying, make sure to add your name and the title of the novel in the header.

Release day countdown

As the countdown to release day approaches (3 months), I find myself incredibly excited and incredibly terrified all at the same time.

My cover reveal, and the final edits have made this dream start to feel more like a reality. I can say this is probably the most exciting time in the process of writing. You’ve worked exceptionally hard, put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and now it’s a finished product on its way to publication.

This is also the most exciting part because you’ve hiked up the mountain of writing, and now you’re standing on a cliff. You don’t know if you’ll fly or fall when you jump, but the hope of flying is enough to make you smile every hour of the day. The fear of falling creeps in there from time to time as well, but you never know…you might just fly.

It’s scary to think that many people you know, and many people you don’t, will be reading something you’ve written. They could love it or hate it and there’s no way to know which it’s going to be. That is TERRIFYING.

But the good news is, the dream is bigger than the doubt.

These next three months will probably feel like they drag on AND fly by. I still have a lot to do in preparation for release day, but I’m ready to jump, I just hope my wings are strong enough.

Here’s the cover again…Just cause it’s AWESOME!

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Follow me on twitter @tamzwrite

The excitement of getting an agent “OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no)”

OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no).

I came across the above blog post by @LucasMight last night on twitter and immediately my interest was piqued.

My initial thought was He got offered representation and said no! Why? How? Why? What?

It’s no big secret that while writers write because it’s their passion (as it should be), they also tend to obsess about finding an agent, getting a book deal, and…gasp…seeing their book on the shelves one day.

It’s also no big secret that it was probably easier for Frodo to get to Mordor than it will be for many authors to get published.

If traditional publication is the path we wish to take, then we’ll likely need the help of an agent -the gatekeepers of publishing.

So when getting an agent is the first goal, the thought of rejecting one was almost unthinkable to me…until I read Lucas’s post, that is.

It’s not often that we see stories like this. I don’t think it’s because they don’t happen, but because they’re just not talked about.

Like talking about rejection while querying, publicly opening up about rejecting an agent has a certain stigma to it. And when I opened the blog, I was anxious for Lucas. I wondered what others might think of this revaluation. Would other agents read this and think less of an author because they shone a light on a bad offer?

But then I read the blog, and all of my concerns vanished. This story is candid and insightful. I also thought it was incredibly brave, not only because Lucas took the risk of putting the story out there, but because it shows that he had enough faith in his work to want only the  best for it. And incidentally, while getting an offer for representation was a great moment, Lucas was smart enough to know that all that glitters is not gold.

This is a valuable lesson for all aspiring authors to be wary when it comes to signing with an agent. Bad representation can be the death of your book. That’s not to say that the agent pursuing Lucas was a bad agent, but if an author isn’t careful, their book could end up in purgatory.

As for the blog’s reception, I can see that there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response. Writers (including me) are grateful to get a head shake, to know that it’s okay, and necessary to turn down an offer if it doesn’t feel right.

I also think that agents will commend Lucas for his honesty and  reiterate the message. It’s important to research an agent’s merit before querying them, but it’s even more important to use caution when representation is offered.

While landing an agent might be the dream, landing the wrong one could  be the nightmare.