Monday, February 3, 2014

New Beginnings

This is an emotional post for me because I've been blogging here at Paranormal Point of View for quite some time now. And it's not sad exactly, because I'm moving on to bigger and better things. I'll be taking an official post on Adventures in YA Publishing as the Agent Wrangler/Contest Coordinator, which means I'll be able to give back even more to the writing community, starting with this huge contest you should definitely check out. 

I will miss visiting with everyone, but I sure would love it if you kept in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too. Plus I have some serious writing and reading to do! 

"True education is a kind of never ending story -- a matter of continual beginnings, of habitual fresh starts, of persistent newness." -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, January 27, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway with Author Julie Musil!!

Boy have I got a treat for you!!! Today I have with us, Manny from THE BOY WHO LOVED FIRE by Julie Musil which releases TOMORROW. He's here to tell us a little about the book and even give us a tantalizing sneak peek! And one lucky, random commenter gets an ebook!! So comment and leave us a way to contact you below. One more thing - Julie has generously decided to donate proceeds from the first two days of sales to charity, so let's help support her and others by buying copies of this amazing book tomorrow. Thanks, Julie, for letting Manny come over...

Have you ever done or said something you regretted, and wondered how it affected other people? Have you ever wished you could have a “do over” in life?

I haven’t always done or said the right things, and boy, did I have an impact on the lives of others. Ever heard of Scrooge? Well, what happened to him happened to me. When three ghosts appeared in my room, I did the normal thing: I freaked. But as the past, present, and future unfurled before my eyes, I realized I’d been given a second chance to make things right.

I fell hard for a girl—Abigail—a burn victim whose face is light pink and burled with scars. But she’s beautiful to me. I won’t tell you how our story ends, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at one of our moments together. We’re in a barn, preparing to evacuate her beloved horse.

Living in the country, Manny had passed many ranches where fences bordered the roads. He’d seen horses grazing at these property lines, with cloth shades covering their eyes. He saw one folded on the shelf and carried it to Abby. “What should I do now?”
She took it from him and faced the horse. “It’s okay, girl,” she soothed, deftly covering the mare’s eyes.
Once she’d secured the blindfold, Abby rested her forehead against the animal’s neck. “Georgie named her Isabel because of my mom.”
Manny’s body swayed. He leaned against the stall. “Your mom?”
Her voice muffled against Isabel’s neck. “Yeah, she died in that fire seven years ago.” She kept the tip of her head on the horse, and swiveled her face toward him. “You remember that fire, don’t you?”
Her eyes haunted him and raised so many questions. Did she know it was his fault? Had her dad spilled Manny’s ugly secret? Did she blame him now, and she was messing with his head?
“Yes,” he whispered. “I remember.”
She turned her face back toward the horse. “It was my fault, you know.”
“The fire? Why would you say that?”
“Not the fire, but Mom’s death. She’d still be here if I wasn’t so stubborn.” She chuckled and said, “Why did I just tell you that?”
Manny opened the stall door and stepped inside. Hay crunched under his feet, but the horse didn’t budge. He stroked Isabel’s velvety body and admired the animal’s quiet strength. “You aren’t to blame for any of this, Abby. You’ll drive yourself crazy thinking that way.”
She tilted her head toward him. “Do you ever blame yourself?”
His hand stilled and his head buzzed. “What do you mean?”
She averted her gaze and mumbled, “Forget it.”
Manny’s neck burned. Every nerve in his body tingled. He calculated the distance between this stall and the barn door. He could dash across the floor in thirty seconds flat, push those doors open, and never see this girl again.

That’s all for now—I don’t want to give too much away. I truly hope you’ll read my story, The Boy Who Loved Fire. And if you do, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Julie Musil writes Young Adult novels from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her novel The Boy Who Loved Fire is available now. For more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Story Sprouts

I'd like to welcome some very special guests to my blog today. Nutschell and Alana have put together an awesome anthology for writers. Here's the blurb:

What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic.
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing.
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children's book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.

You can find more info including links beneath the post below. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for hosting the Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles on our Story Sprouts: Writing Day Exercises and Anthology 2013 worldwide blog tour here at Paranormal POV. Since Lisa loves a list, and we love to share why we write for kids, we wanted to share with you a Kid Lit Top 10 Countdown. 

Ten Reasons to Write for Kids

10. Eternal Youth. YA Authors actually get to say things like "totes cray-cray" and "OMG - BFFs 4eva," listen to teen pop, dish about the latest Miley Cyrus video, and call it research. The rest of us run the risk of looking like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused - past our prime, still hanging on to teendom for dear life. (Wait, that movie reference ages me, doesn't it? Oh well...)
9. Angst, Angst Baby. Speaking of teens, YA Authors also get to tap into all the drama and angst that we're supposed to grow out of post-high school. Let's face it, sometimes it's fun (therapeutic?) to throw a temper tantrum in our head and carry on and on about how unfair life can be, and how we'll just shrivel up and die if our best friend all of a sudden disses us or we wake up with the worst hair day ever. 
8. Willing Suspension of Disbelief be Damned. In high school, we were told to consciously turn our thoughts away from real world limitations that would change literature - think Frankenstein or Lord of the Flies. Pretty unbelievable. As adults, we read fantasy and know exactly what is made-up. Young kids? They just believe it all. If you write about fairies or leprechauns, they believe you and are able to create, in their minds, a new world even more magical than you could have imagined. And they will believe they can go there!
7. Illustrators Rock. How often do writers get artists to draw their stories? Picture book authors get to see how their verbal dreams are interpreted with pen and paper. Such a cool way to connect and see your story through someone else's eyes!
6. Character Loyalists. Kids are nothing if not a little bit one-track-minded when it comes to life. They are fiercely loyal. And that is a good thing for kid lit writers, all the way from early reader through YA. If you can create a character that resonates with your audience, you're golden. Think Ramona Quimby, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Ivy and Bean, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harry Potter. These particularly persuasive petite readers will convince their parents to buy every book (in the name of education, of course), watch every movie, pick up the merchandise, and chat, chat, chat with friends about how great your characters are.
5. Bigger Calling. As a writer, you are not just making up a story. You are helping kids appreciate reading, writing and literature. You are turning on their imaginations where they can travel and dream and get excited about history and science. You are bringing stories to life. You are helping them turn off the electronics and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And that is huge.
4. Raise Awareness. As a kid lit writer, you can subtly fit an important theme into your book, and engage a child's mind to think about how to handle the really tough stuff. Think kindness, or standing up to bullies, or accepting every person, or keeping the earth clean, or letting kids know they can make a difference. You can even help them work through loss, new siblings, cross-country moves, divorce - anything a kid might need to process. 
3. Build Confidence. Ever notice how parents disappear in most children's books? Kids in books aren't told how to lead their lives, they just get to lead them. Kids are the heroes and the leaders in their stories. Books build up a child's confidence to take risks, try new things and dream big.
2. It's FUN! Kid lit authors get to play every day, from creating new worlds and characters to dressing up in silly costumes to attend school readings. There is nothing better than the chance to play in a kid's world forever!
1. You are a Hero. Do you remember when you were a kid and an author came to your school to read his/her story and autograph your book? Do you remember that sense of admiration and mystery? That wonder and creative spirit? You are now that hero. Embrace it!


Learn more about Story Sprouts at
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at 

Find Nutschell at:

Find Alana at:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Change It Up!

Going with my recent theme of changes, I want to encourage you all to shake it up a bit in your writing. Sometimes we get in a rut. Or at least feel that way, right? So what do you do? I'm a huge advocate of BIC (butt in chair). Also I've heard taking a stroll and clearing your mind is a good thing. But beyond that, when it's a day to day thing, my suggestion is to do something crazy. Something you wouldn't normally do. Something you want to hide from your internal editor. 

*rubs hands together like mad scientist*

Sit down. Think of the genre you are least likely to write. Now take a character from your WIP and plop them in a plot they have no business being in. It can be your MC or another character. You don't have to write a whole book, just a page or two. Maybe a chapter. Keep throwing in weird things that don't belong. See what your character does. Hopefully you'll have fun and be reinvigorated. 

Ever done this before? Have other suggestions to change it up?

Come back on Thursday for a special post about Story Sprouts and reasons to write for kids. Don't know what Story Sprouts is? Thursday you will!! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's Different?

Last week I mentioned that social media was changing for writers and I realized that I've now been doing this long enough to see several changes in the industry. Let's take a look:

  • Format
    • When I started writing, ebooks were just emerging as major competition. There was a lot of controversy over whether paper books would survive. I think we all know now that ebooks are in fact a big deal and that it's a GOOD thing. That ebooks have made reading easier and "cooler" for many so that reaching new readers is possible. It also saves trees! I still have stacks of paper books everywhere you look, but I LOVE/ADORE/ENJOY my Kindle Paperwhite. 
    • Who would win the ebook wars? Kindle? Nook? Kobe? Would Amazon destroy traditional publishing? We see that there are still issues and there's still debate, but I think we can safely say that for now traditional publishing is still alive and Amazon (and others) grow as well. it's a win win in my glass-half-full eyes. More books! More books! How can that ever be bad?
  • Submissions
    • When I started (am I dating myself?) about half the time I still had to go to the post office with manilla envelopes and SASEs. If you don't know what that stands for, congratulations! Email is soooo much easier and I believe most editors and agents agree. 
  • Trends
    • I guess this is obvious. I mean trends change, right? That's why they're TRENDS. ;D I've seen vampires become taboo, and expect that before long they will make a reappearance. Dystopians, etc. It's been interesting to see. Does it change what I write? Yes and no. I don't write to trends. I write what I love. BUT I stay aware of what's out there. It's important. 
  • Social Interaction
    • Yes, I already spoke about social media. But I want to point out again how lonely writing used to be! SCBWI and other great organizations have given us opportunities to be with others in our "tribe" for years. But I for one think it's AMAZING how many friends I've made online. Real friends. And the extent to which I connect with people on a day to day basis. Which brings me to...
  • Quality
    • I believe we've gotten better as a group. I think all the availability of information at our fingertips has opened a world of learning, practice, and craft to us as writers that didn't exist before. Between informational blogposts and critiquing, etc. the quality of what I've seen (and I imagine agents and editors) has risen. There have always been fabulous writers. But now there are just that many more out there. Again - not a bad thing! MORE BOOKS!! Of good quality. 
What about you? What have you seen change since you started? And what's next?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Has Social Media Changed For Writers?

When I started this blog about five years ago or so, writers were already being encouraged to have a social media platform. The truth is that I quickly found I enjoyed interacting with other writers and all the amazing information out there that I was able to slurp up. It really is wonderful and amazing the resources available these days that weren't there before. Even if that means simply reaching out and interacting with like minds from your home. 

I found Twitter and blogging to be my primary interactive sites, both places that I enjoyed the conversations and information being shared with other writers. I had tons of fun on Twitter chats. It's something I'd still love to do, but find my time less now that I have another kid. 

I still enjoy these platforms, but have heard whispers (or maybe a few shouts) about blogging not being what it used to. I've added FB, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr to the social media mix, managing all of the above with IFTTT so that I can simultaneously post to more than one medium in case there are people out there who interact with me only on one and not another. 

But something else has changed as well. I'm now a published author. Well, I was before, but I mean I've published a novel and have more in the works. So now I want to not only continue interacting with other writers, but my time has decreased AND I want to find potential readers to interact with. 

So what does all this mean?

I enjoy this blog and the group blogs I post on (scene 13, Enchanted Inkpot, First Five Pages Workshop, etc.) but I haven't been as interactive as I like lately. I've had to prioritize. I love finding new posts about craft, but I don't seek them out quite the same as I used to. That's the honest truth. I want to. But I am only one person and I need to make writing my first priority (aside from family obviously). 

Here's the bottom line: And I believe this will NEVER change. 

Participate in the social media that means something to you. If you are genuinely interested in participating and communicating with others then it shows. If all you want is to do it because you think you will get people to buy your material, forget it. It's like writing, you shouldn't write something because you think it's trendy if it isn't what you're passionate about. You can tell. And let's face it, if you're writing, you have to LOVE what you do or you'll never make it for the long haul. 

It's the same with social media. Do it because you care.

What do you think?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Shiny New Ideas For a Shiny New Year

It's almost time to start the year! So what better time to pay attention to some of those shiny new ideas that have been floating around in your head like willow the wisps? You know the ones. The ones that you brush away like flies because you're trying to focus on revisions. 

Once in a while one of those lovely little wisps grows bright and shiny and demands your focus, despite your attempts otherwise. It might even wake you in the middle of the night because it's so bright. 

My advice? Pay attention. Get up and write what demands to be written. Jot down those characters and problems and first pages (that probably won't be first pages forever) and whatever else you need to. Start a file for it. Give in. Because there's nothing like that joy in discovering something new that was inside of you all along. 

Do you have to let it take over? No. You can - and probably should - finish what you need to. But you might as well take a break on occasion when the muse strikes. Because it'll refresh you and remind you what you love about this work. Yes, even if you enjoy revisions. :D 

So happy new ideas to you all!!!