Sunday, June 2, 2019

And somehow it all came together...

The strangest hair cut of my life proved to be an amazing metaphor for how I write.

After recently moving to a new town, I went in search of a new hairstylist. I combed reviews, sought recommendations, and settled on a salon in a strip shopping center not far from my home.

I walked into a packed house. Good sign, I thought. I was called back to the chair of an elderly woman who asked me in broken English what I wanted. "Neaten it up. Just a trim," I said firmly.

"I understand." She picked up a pair of scissors, grabbed a lock of hair, and hacked off two inches. (I have short hair--so that's a lot.)

"Um, wow, what are you doing?"

"It's okay." She smiled and continued hacking with exuberance.

Within seconds, I had huge chunks of hair missing on three sides of my head. Still, I sat there silently, watching in fascinated horror as my hair rained down on the floor, hoping she would be able to pull off a miracle--because stopping where it was would be far worse.

She used four types of scissors. Three types of electric razors and eight different attachments. My hair looked like a complete disaster, and I was already wondering if I'd have enough for someone else to salvage.

Then she nodded with satisfaction, calmly flicked a brush through what was left on my head... and somehow it all came together. The spiky strands spiked no more. The bangs feathered smoothly. The sides and back held its shape perfectly. It was the most adorable hair cut I've ever had.

She grinned. "I give you something new. Not what you ask for."

That's how I write. I hate first drafts. It feels like I hack away at the story, wanting it to go somewhere, having a vision but not sure if I'm headed in the right direction.

Then I reach revisions. I stare at the mess before me and dive tentatively in. I analyze, rewrite, prune, shift around, and argue with characters who don't turn out the way I expected. Slowly, the real story--the story that was meant to be--emerges. And somehow, it all comes together. Different than what I envisioned. Better.

My new stylist has given me a gift (in addition to the cute cut). She's taught me to be bold and confident. To trust the mess. To believe in myself that the outcome will be amazing.

Friday, May 24, 2019

La Cascada Susurrante y 30 Deseos

Dos de mis libros en español--

La Cascada Susurrante

por Elizabeth Langston y Alexandra García Galván

Su relación a distancia abarca doscientos años...

Mark Lewis, estudiante de último año de preparatoria, se está preparando para una carrera de ciclismo de montaña cuando ve a una joven vestida de forma extraña a través de una cascada en el bosque cerca de su casa, en Carolina del Norte. Cuando ella le hace un comentario sobre la extraña máquina que monta, sospecha que algo no anda bien. Y cuando Susanna le dice que es una sirvienta de 1796, se pregunta si está loca. Sin embargo, está decidido a averiguar más.

Mark comienza una "relación a distancia" con Susanna gracias a la barrera misteriosa y temperamental que es la Cascada Susurrante. Intrigado por su mundo, Mark busca a través de la historia poder descubrir todo sobre la vida brutal en la que ella está atrapada. Pero el conocimiento puede ser peligroso. Pronto debe elegir entre el riesgo de cambiar la historia o de condenar a la chica, de la que no puede dejar de pensar, a una vida de miseria.



30 Deseos

por Elizabeth Langston (autor) y Jose M. Visbal (traductor)

Lo que ella necesita es un milagro. Lo que obtiene es un genio con reglas.

Lacey Linden se ha vuelto buena escondiendo la verdad sobre su vida: una madre deprimida, una casa en ruinas y facturas demasiado grandes para pagar. En la escuela, ella es una chica con una sonrisa permanente y buenas notas, pero por la noche, Lacey pasa su tiempo soñando con maneras de salvar a su familia. En un intento por dinero rápido en el mercado de pulgas, Lacey tropieza con una caja de música que aparentemente le suplica que se la lleve a casa. Ella lo hace, solo para descubrir que está habitada por un magnífico "genio". Él le ofrece un mes de deseos, uno por día, pero hay un problema. Cada deseo debe ser humanamente posible.

Grant pertenece a una liga de seres sobrenaturales, dedicada a servir a los humanos necesitados. Después de dos años de cumplir con los deseos convencionales, está a un paso de ser ascendido a un nuevo trabajo con casos más difíciles. Su mes con Lacey es exactamente lo que él espera y nada como lo imagina. Lacey y Grant pronto descubren que la tarea más difícil de todas podría ser decir adiós.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt 2019 with Julia Day

Hello, I’m Julia Day, your hostess for this stop on the YASH with TEAM PURPLE!

The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event, first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! So enjoy your stop here and at the other 19 stops on Team Purple. Then check out the other 4 teams (blue, gold, green, and red). But play fast! This contest only lasts until Sunday, April 7, 2019.

First, a little about me.
  • I am an autism mom. My autistic daughter graduates next month with her Master of Arts (and then it's job time, baby!) Since April is World Autism Awareness Month, I'm featuring my book Fade to Us, a sweet YA contemporary romance set during a summer musical theater camp. One of the main characters, Natalie, is an autistic teen.
  • I have my own giveaway. See the end of this post for details on how to enter.
  • Traveling the world is one of my favorite things to do--and I especially like to see mountains. (See is the important word here. I do not like to climb.) Some of my favorites are in Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand, and Antarctica.
  • I really hate cilantro. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Next, a reminder about the YA Scavenger Hunt.

For complete rules and instructions, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt - How to Hunt page. Directions: Somewhere below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on all the teams, add them up and enter (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).  Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally; anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by noon Pacific Time on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Basically, enjoy exclusive content on each stop on the hunt, collect clues, enter individual author giveaways, add up the clues (numbers), and return to the YASH site to enter for more prizes.

Here are all of the great books you could win from Team Purple.

Now, introducing my guest author, Carly Marino -- 

Carly loves writing and reading about love. Regardless the genre - paranormal, contemporary, fantasy--if there's romance--she wants to read it! 

She was born in Hawai'i but grew up most of her life in a small town in Michigan and the sunny beaches of Florida. After graduating high school, she returned to her island ohana for college where she wrote her thesis on how to write a young adult book. (Oddly enough)

Wife, mother, dog owner, and author, her hat constantly changes but she loves every minute of the hustle. Writing is her passion and the wonderful nagging voice in her head. She’s blessed to have amazing family and friends who've supported her from her first story, written in poor phonics and elementary chicken scratch, to her International best seller, Memory Walker. 

Now, let's learn more about her featured book  TARNISHED LIGHT.

Coy, daughter of an Angel and a Fallen, swore she would never submit to her darkness. Not like she has a choice. She has a big fat apocalyptic prophecy stamped on her soul. If she fails to keep her death-craving, evil blood in check, she’ll unleash a battle between Heaven and Hell. Alone in her struggle, she prowls the city streets, saving innocents and searching for a cure to change her fate.

When she loses control, the Nephilim drag her to their palace. Fearful for her life, Coy agrees to undergo demon-provoking tests to cleanse her blood. Her chances to escape seem slim. Until she meets Killian, who tempts her with his angelic looks and inner darkness. He offers a way out, but she’ll have to embrace the evil inside. Once she invokes the demon, though, she may never return.

Exclusive bonus content from Carly!

Buy this Book!

Thank you, Carly, for joining us!

Find and follow Carly on social media:

One last thing...

I'm giving away a print copy of Fade to Us (or any of the books I've written--winner's choice). Enter through the Rafflecopter giveaway below. You'll get your first point for knowing: What is my favorite team?

Hint: it's the color of my team on the YA scavenger hunt.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Privacy note: if you enter, your email address will be collected. I do not use use private data for any reason other than to notify the winner.)

P.S.  To enter for the grand prize, you need a clue from me. Mine is 26 (the number of letters in the English alphabet.)

For your next stop on the hunt for Team Purple, visit J. C. Welker.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

April is Autism Awareness Month!

April is Autism Awareness Month!

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day!

Thank you to Clipart-Library for the use of their free Autism clipart.

Friday, March 29, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt Spring 2019 runs Apr 2 - 7

It's almost here. The YA Scavenger Hunt begins Tuesday, April 2 and runs through Sunday, April 7.

There are 120 Young Adult authors for YASH Spring 2019 who will highlight our books, share bonus content, and give away prizes! The grand prize winner will walk away with 120 books.

There will be other join us. Read the rules. Enter for the grand prize and for individual prizes from the authors. Maybe you could be a winner!

There are 6 teams of 20 authors. I'm on Team Purple!

See you next week.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Triad Anime Con

My daughter loves anime, and now she's gotten me hooked, too. DD1 picks out shows that I would like (fun, sweet, with a happily- or hopefully-ever-after) and we watch together.

She goes to many anime conventions and works on crews--just so she can hang out, have fun, and speak on panels. When she suggested that I attend and contribute a panel about writing, I was happy to agree.

This will be my second year to lead a workshop  at Triad AnimeCon. My talk is Saturday night, March 16, from 6pm - 8pm at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC. In my "Moving Plot Forward" class (presenting as Julia Day), we'll be discovering ways to mine our characters' backstories in order to fix or create scenes.

Although the focus will be on plotting an anime script, the concepts work for any fictional story under development.

If you're there, come by and join us. The first hour will include discussion and hands-on exercises. The second will be totally focused on brainstorming new or enhanced scenes for your stories!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Choosing a copyrighted quote?

In Wishing for You, one of the main characters is terminally ill. The reader knows from chapter four that he will not survive. As he's telling the heroine about his illness, he says that he wants "to live hard, right up until the moment my body gives out."

The heroine reacts with empathy, and in the original manuscript, I had her speak a line from a poem by Dylan Thomas:"Do not go gentle into that good night." The hero responds with the poem's closing line.

Since that poem is still under copyright, I had to seek permission from the Dylan Thomas estate. They agreed to let me use it, but the cost surprised me—approximately a halfpenny per word for every book sold (in perpetuity.)

That works out to about 8% of the book's royalties (for 0.02% of the book's wordcount.) As perfect as the quote was, I decided against using it. While I appreciated the Estate's fast response and their willingness to work with me, I knew I had to find something with less cost.

Looking in the public domain

My editors and I brainstormed other poems that could work and avoid copyright restrictions. After a lot of discussion, we hit upon an amazing alternative: the final two lines of "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

As much as I would've loved to use the copyrighted quote, I'm glad we kept looking. Tennyson's words were in the public domain, and I was free to use them. They were equally meaningful, perhaps even more so for my hero. And toward the end of Wishing for You, when I needed another related quote, I returned to "Ulysses"--and was able to include a longer passage:

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dame Helen Mirren recently read this poem on The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert. I leave you with her glorious reading of the final stanza of Ulysses.