Archive | November 2013

Can You Make Up Words in Your Novel? Yes… and No.

gobbleyI’m deep in the edits of THE HUNT FOR XANADU. My action adventure thriller about a girl on a mission to avenge her parent’s murder… and I’m finding that I’ve taken quite a bit of literary license with the English language that my editor is “calling me out on.”

What do I mean? Well, one of my characters has a cute affectation. His mouth quirks up at the corner so I made a comment that “his mouth is quirking.” In the edits my editor, Denise Vitola, replied “that’s not a word, delete.” I asked “why?” Her response? “Quirk–a person is quirky or he has quirks. Quirking is not a word and quirk doesn’t have anything to do with expressions unless you say, “He had a quirky expression.” Although, that doesn’t tell the reader anything so I wouldn’t use it.” (twerking is also not a word, by the way! 😉 )

Another time I had my character “scootching” up next to a boy. To “scootch” is a word I’ve used nearly forever in my family – it means to “sidle up next to someone.” Again, I was told: “scootching is not a word, delete.” Apparently “connectiveness” is not a word either (what am I thinking and where did I learn to speak?)

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t make up words in your stories. In fantasy, every other description seems to be a fantastical word. In my dark fantasy series I use the word “Semptor” for Wizards, “Manogs” for these wild dog-like beasts, etc… you get the idea. In XANADU I also have fantastical animals and had named all of them. My editor balked at this. “Why do you need a name for every single animal and insect? Just describe it.” I couldn’t understand why naming this one cute little creature a Timblit was a problem… but it actually was. I’m asking my readers to remember all these crazy names that might only be mentioned one time in the book. My editor said, “Describe the “cute little ferret-like creature with eight legs” rather than just give it a fantasy name.” She’s right – the reader will remember this description a lot better than a throw-a-way name.

So back to making up words. As writers, we need to be buttoned up. We need to use correct English. It’s one thing to talk about a vicuña coat (like my favorite authors have done) and not know what this is and need to look it up and discover “vicuña is a relative of a llama.” It’s another to make up words that are slang in the first place and will confuse our readers if they don’t understand what we’re trying to say. It’s all about credibility.

My two cents for the day.

Why You Should Publish a Short Story In-Between Novels

The winning cover on FB

The winning cover on FB

I was in a quandary. Book #1 in my fantasy series came out last year. Book #2 came out earlier this month and I’m deep in the edits for an adult thriller that I’m hopefully going to launch in January or February. But what do I do in the meantime?

Besides social media and promoting the heck out of the books, I was advised to publish a short story to Amazon. The results would do many things. It would boost the amount of titles I have on Amazon and boost my search statistics. In addition, I could use the short stories to promote the other books by including excerpts and links in the back of the file.

I hadn’t thought of that idea and jumped at the chance to try it out. I had a YA science fiction tale, THE SUN AND THE STAR, that had been published in an anthology that is now out of print and rights had been returned to me. So, that book had already been professionally edited. I simply updated the dates and changed some character names.Then I was going to pay for a professional cover, but I decided to try my hand at making one myself on Amazon’s Cover Creator. I made two and then appealed to Facebook by doing a poll, asking my followers which one they liked better. (thus increasing my activity on FB analytics, as well as engaging my readers). Then, rather than paying someone to format the short story for me, I learned to do it myself, uploaded it myself and priced it at $0.99. Lastly, since this is a YA tale about young love, I included an excerpt from THE WORLD OF KAROV, specifically highlighting a scene about two teenagers in love–and then included the link to buy the book.

This endeavor cost me nothing but time and now I have a great little short story up on Amazon with a very cool cover. Only advice? Make the short story meaty. I’ve heard readers feel short-changed if you give them a flash fiction piece and make them pay for it. I’d recommend a story over 4K at the least. (just my two cents) If you’d like to grab your copy to see how it came out, please see below:

THE SUN AND THE STAR:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/172kooL
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1bDY9Ff

I’d like to thank Dana Beth Weinberg for the great idea! She’s a social scientist whose newest project is exploring the experiences and careers of writers during this incredible digital revolution. She can be reached at http://www.danabethweinberg.com (don’t think I won’t be hitting her up for more awesome ideas! 😉 )

Putting Things Into Perspective…

Outside the skating rink at Bryant Park

Outside the skating rink at Bryant Park

I was going to do a writing post this week about how important it is to be in the right place at the right time. Imagine if you wrote a great book, sent it to an agent who just happened to be looking for that genre and wanted something fresh and new. Imagine if he picked it up, read it and got excited, then had lunch with an editor at a big house that day who happened to be looking for a new voice… and it morphed from there.

Imagine you tweet and post to Facebook and all your thousands of followers actually see it, not the small amount that ekes through. I imagine all sorts of things about my writing and then something happens that takes all this and reduces it to mere folly. Why? Because real life can crash through this dream-world and put all of it into perspective.

Fountain at Bryant Park

Fountain at Bryant Park

Last night I was in NYC with my husband and friends. We saw a show, had dinner and then walked around Bryant Park. It’s this beautiful park right behind the NYC Library. In the summer people lay out on the green lawn, musicians play and it’s just so nice. In the winter they set up vendor stalls and a huge skating rink. I sat out with my friends near the rink and the fountain and we had hot chocolate and hot apple cider. (Trivia: That is the same fountain in the opening credits of the TV Show Friends where they’re playing on a couch in the water)

At 10:30pm we left the park to get our car and then at 11:00pm someone opened fire on the skating rink. People got hurt. WHAT? It had been the most idyllic, lovely evening. Cops were everywhere. You felt safe. For us: Right place at the right time.

Then, we got our car and were trying to leave the lot when the crowds from the Broadway Shows converged to get their cars, too. It became absolute pandemonium in this very tight garage – there were hundreds of people, angry people, and no one could get out. But we already had our car and were in the queue to leave (if the people would just move, which most selfishly didn’t.) If we can’t get our cars out of the lot, there’s no room to bring their cars UP from the lower garage. Reason is lost on mob mentality. Still, we were ahead of the game. Had we been on that line trying to get our vehicle, we would have been waiting hours. Again: Right place at the right time.

We were very lucky last night. Fortunate we didn’t get involved in the sadness in Bryant Park, fortunate we didn’t get into the numerous fights I’m sure happened in that garage. Fortunate that while it still took us an additional nearly forty minutes to cross town (2 miles) to get on the bridge, we got home safely.

I need to remember things like this if I ever get frustrated in other areas of my life. I have to remember that life is fragile and while I want my writing career to explode, I’m a very lucky person. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, and I have another day to look forward to. Other people are not given that gift, simply because they are not on this earth any longer.

My perspective for the day.

THE RUBY AMULET is now Available on Amazon

The Ruby AmuletI know it’s not Monday, but I have great news! I was able to launch THE RUBY AMULET nearly three weeks early. Maybe this should be a blog post about patience, since I had scheduled the release for November 25th, but the edits were done, the cover was completed, the upload went seamlessly, so… why wait? So without further ado, if you’ve had the chance to read THE WORLD OF KAROV, Book #1 in the series, please feel free to check out THE RUBY AMULET, Book #2 in the Children of Demilee series.

Now, I do quite a recap in Book #2 for folks who haven’t read Book #1, so you shouldn’t get lost, but, I’m a purist. I’m one who always believes in reading a series in the order presented, but either way, you should be fine.

Links to THE RUBY AMULET
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/16H9rZl
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1hmlOB4

The World of Karov

The World of Karov

Links to THE WORLD OF KAROV (Book #1 is living at $0.99 on Amazon)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1aa2VuC
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1hPLZhb

And if anyone has time, a review would be most appreciated. Thank you so much for all your support and Happy Reading!

Book Trailer for THE RUBY AMULET, coming November 25th!

Later this month I’m releasing THE RUBY AMULET, Book #2 in my Dark Fantasy Series. I had a lot of great reviews for THE WORLD OF KAROV, Book #1 in the series, and I’m really excited to get the second book in market.

If you’d like to take a peek at what the novel is about, here’s the book trailer. It was created by the very talented Laura Wright LaRoche and I’d recommend her to anyone. She’s incredibly reasonable, friendly, fast and delightful to work with. I met her through BZhercules.com, who is having a special right now on book trailers for only $35.99. (yes, that’s what I said – I wasn’t kidding when I said reasonable). Here’s the link to check out their special: http://www.bzhercules.com/catalog/item/8475156/9382505.htm

So without further ado, please see the amazing job they did for me for THE RUBY AMULET: