Sunday, September 30, 2012

Uncontrollable Blog Tour

Today we have a very special guest with us. S.R. Johannes, award winning author of Untraceable and her latest release Uncontrollable. She took the time to give us a peek behind the scenes and talk about the essentials of plotting a novel.

Also...Shelli is giving away a free chapter or query critique to one lucky reader. (or maybe I should say writer)

~Thank you Shelli for joining me here on Words Escape Me. I'm a huge fan of your work and am thrilled to have you here today. 

~So I have to ask, are you a plotter or a panster?

I used to be a total pantser. But after it took me 3 years to do Untraceable, I changed my approach. So now I develop a query pitch first and then bullet out the story. This is my shell of an outline and that ends up expanding into my overall story.

So I guess I am both. I plot at a high level –I know the story and how it generally plays out - but as far as specifics – like clues and twists – it comes as I write.

~I love to read about how authors bring their creations to light. I know there are about a million different ways to flesh out a plot. Can you tell us what works for you and share a little bit about your technique?

After I write my pitch letter – I know the overall story. Then I start with a bulleted list of what happens in my head from A to Z (again at a high level – so for example
·      Grace loses father.
·      Grace finds evidence.
·      Grace takes it to police
·      They don’t believe her.
·      Etc etc.
I go as far as I can with what I have in mind.
Then, those bullets end up bunched into chapters.
I talk through the story with a couple of beta readers to see if I can explain it out loud. Out of those conversations – I end up figuring out some more details as I externally process. It gives my beta readers a chance to thro win ideas too. I add more bullets in and flush it out based on the conversation.

After that, I start writing the chapters and the details come into play as I write that chapter.  So for example I didn’t know that the evidence was a Cheetos bag. But it had to be something that could be mistaken for trash to someone but was a clue to Grace. Yet still crazy enough to make you question her sanity.

~Do you have any advice or resources that you can recommend to a writer to help them discover their own plotting technique? 

If you spend too much time reworking your plot and/or your book/idea over and over – that might be a sign that your process is not working. I’m not saying your first draft doesn’t change. But the general story/idea should be there and unfold at a high level. I’m not saying you don’t need to edit or revise, but if you are totally reworking your whole plot and characters every draft – then it might be a sign that you might need to plan out the story in some more detail before you write.

Try to research plotting books and try out different techniques. You will know when you find the right one for you.

Thanks again Shelli for taking the time to chat with us. 

To celebrate the release of Uncontrollable S.R. Johannes has agreed to offer something unique for our giveaway. A free chapter or query letter critique.

Helpful links~

S.R. Johannes blog   Untraceable on Amazon  Uncontrollable on Amazon
You can also click on the Uncontrollable banner on the right to link the rest of the blog tour and other chances to win prizes.

Enter here for a chance to win  a chapter or query critique from S.R. Johannes. This is a great opportunity for all you writer folks. We know  the more eyes to see our work the better.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cover Love....Release

Release by M.R. Merrick

Now just take a minute to look at it. Go ahead I'll wait.

I love the detail that went into this cover. We have a funnel cloud, cascading water, a whirlpool, lightning and ancient ruins. This cover packs a punch and I don't know about you, but I am very excited to see what it all means. Here is the synopsis...

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father.  Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna.
One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.
Release is part three in the Protecter series and we can get our hands on it December 10th, 2012.

For more on M.R. Merrick and the Protecter series you can visit his website and Goodreads

Book one is Exiled and book two is Shift

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book Breakups

Sometimes, as much as we hate to admit, we have to accept the fact that things just aren't working out.
Book Breakups is hosted by Lori at Pure Imagination.

Lets start with saying that I probably give up on books way too easy. I have very limited reading time, about thirty minutes a day. I give all books the 50 page test. If I'm hooked I continue. If not, hasta la vista, baby.

Endlessly~This was tough to let go. I wanted to love it more than anything. Evie is my number one book bff. I listened to books one and two on my ipod and absolutely loved both stories. But I fell in love the Endlessly's cover and wanted it on my shelf.

It took me about two weeks to read 150 pages. I like the direction the story was going, but it just wasn't keeping my attention. I really think it was because I loved the audible version so much and I missed the spunky narrator.

I will probably revisit this story in the future and give it one more try.

Not everyone feels this way. If this book is on your TBR list please read this glowing review from Mundie Moms.

Tithe~ This has been on my list for many years. I love faeries and love the idea of them being mystical and manipulative.

The writing in this book is solid. I got very clear images and the main character, Kaye, is definitely unique. She is edgy and is not afraid to be herself. Tithe is gritty, and I like that.

But there is a lot of set up. I read 50 pages and only got one little taste of what the story was going to be about. I'm sure this was all done for a reason that pays off in the end, but I got bored. The character has some great early development but I needed more of the story.

Not everyone feels this way. At the time of this post there are 139 five star reviews on Amazon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Writing Tip of the Week...Concrete or Cement?

As a writer, I know the importance of research and how important it is to be accurate. Being that I am such a helpful person I thought I would bring some clarification to something I read all the time.

How many times have you read in a book, for example, "She blah blah blah and hit her head on the cement." or "I dropped it on the cement floor." Get the idea? Well, the correct thing to say would be concrete.

To clarify, concrete and cement are not the same thing. Cement is a powder and an ingredient in concrete. You could say it is like adding flour to cookies.

Is this inaccuracy ever going to make or break a deal? No, but I see it all the time. It is a common misconception that many highly trained, top notch editors even miss.


This post is based on my own experience with the books I have read. I am not saying all editors miss this. But in my personal library the wrong term is used probably 80% of the time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Recommendations

Today I bring you not one, but three very enjoyable reads. I did not write in depth reviews for them, not that they do not deserve them, I've just been busy working on my manuscript and do not have the time. But these are three books I have recently read and I wanted to showcase them.

First up, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

flap copy~ Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.

This book has been reviewed and featured about a million times and now I know why. It's fabulous. The world building, character development and setting are superb. I read it on my Kindle and will be purchasing the hard back copy to add to my favorites shelf. I loved it.

Second, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

flap copy~ Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

Ahh true passion. Melina Marchetta knows how to make every word count. I was about 150 pages in and so much had gone on I felt like already read an entire novel. She really packed this book with action and delivered a unique and enjoyable story.

And last, but definitely not the least, Scent of a White Rose by Tish Thawer

from Amazon~ A vampire's love... An innocent's guilt... A secret no one could've imagined... 
What if vampires were the good guys and a human girl was the one to fear?
Scent of a White Rose is a paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire who's love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan who's Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change".
~ ROSE ~ I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident". Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl.... a "white Rose". But I have a secret that no one can imagine. I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks...
~ CHRISTIAN ~ I'm Christian and I'm in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time.I'm a vampire. No, she doesn't know...yet. But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her. Because truly, I can't live without her...
As I recover from my Eric Northman withdrawals and gear up for my Damon Salvator addiction, Christian was gentleman enough to step in to help fill the void. I love vampires and this book is great. Rose and Christian are very likable characters that I became very attached to. If you're looking for a vampire fix, check this out. It is the first in a series and I am definitely reading book two.
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