Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tunes: A Hip House Writing Prompt

**HUNTRESS ARC winner was #7. CONGRATULATIONS Kelly M !!!!**

We can't deny it anymore. The Christmas carols playing 24/7 since Thanksgiving ended leave no doubt that the holiday season is upon us. I thought I'd take a moment on today's Tuesday Tunes to share my girls' FAVORITE holiday video. As they like to say: "This house is rockin'!"

Which brings me to the writing prompt. What are the first three words that come to mind after viewing this video?

Now use them in a sentence and share it with us in the comments.

Monday, November 29, 2010

SANCTUARY and ARC giveaway!!

The rabble and rash of the Holidays are upon us. Shopping, decorating, cooking, wrapping, partying... The next month is going to be crazy. It's easy to forget ourselves in this month of giving and thinking of others.

But I say, Nay! Do not neglect yourself, your needs. Find yourself a little Sanctuary.

I know I do. I have a designated Sanctuary... The bathroom.

That's right. the one room you're allowed to spend a little time alone. Who says you need to use the bathroom while you're in there?? My daughter and I share novels, with dueling bookmarks. My husband has hunting magazines. On Thansgiving, I snuck in there, locked the door and read a few pages of THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff. Later that evening, my daughter soaked and read.

So... to give one of our Oasis Seekers a little Santucary, I'm giving away my ARC of HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo.
What do you have to do to win??
Random.org will pick a winner and the winner will be posted on the top of Tuesday's blog post. Easy Peasy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's Thankful Thursday conveniently falls on Thanksgiving, so we'd like to extend a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to all of our fans who celebrate.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Heart

Sometime in October during one of our Writer Wednesday's, I'd written a technical post about writing: the usage of Diction and Syntax. I'd mentioned that the next time I was up for a Wednesday that we'd discuss Mood and Tone.

We will ~ just the next time I'm up for Writer's Wednesday...Pinky Promise.
credit for image
Instead, I'd like to take this opportunity to give some HEART and a little slice about the four amazing writer ladies I'm blessed to team blog with. (and in no particular order...)

Jessie ~

She was the other mastermind in starting this team blog. We met on YAlitchat--our amazing online writing community. We chatted, visited each other's blog posts, and started following. One day I read a snippet of a short story she'd posted on her blog. It was wonderful. But what struck me most was the road her creativity took the two characters. It reminded me of my own writing. Thus, I deduced we might have more in common.

I approached her about working together and Oasis for YA was born. We figured more writers would mean a richer blog oasis for you, so she mentioned our idea to the other three lovelies and they hopped on board.

Jessie, thanks for not flicking the off switch on your laptop and for listening to my idea. I'm so grateful you did.

Nikki ~ 

She's also an awesome writer I met while surfing the online community of YAlitchat. We've been able to share ups and downs in writing, the publishing challenge, and grow as mutual friends. She has an amazing spunk and is wicked bright. (Had to use wicked...I am a Mainer, you know. Look at it as I'm honoring Stephen King.) You RAWK, Nik! Thanks for hopping on board.

JA (aka Jessica) ~

She has more energy and encouragement wrapped up in her tiny emails than anyone I know. She's always there, for any of us, when we forget a post--um--our laptop crashes, or we just need to vent. A creative writer in her own right, she adds vibrancy and depth to our Oasis. Thanks Jessica for sharing this slice of the blogosphere with me.

And lastly, AE (aka Ann) ~

I also met AE on YAlitchat. I'll be totally honest; I was way intimidated by her. She is well-versed in writing and in life, and knows the publishing world quite well. (Give yourself more credit, girl.) She has been a major inspiration to me and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart. When I had no hope, she found me on Facebook--hah!!--and we'd chat and chat.

Please visit these wonderful ladies at their private sites and support them. They have so much knowledge and verve to offer the writing community. Heart you, girls.

Lastly, and most wondrously, I'd like to personally thank each of you for following us and joining us on our team journey through the endless and exciting highway of the publishing world. So much awaits each of us together and individually. And so much awaits each of YOU.


Do you have writerly friends who you blog with? How have they affected your writing?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Tunes: Songs on our WIP playlist

I'm cheating today.  Since it's the holidays and I've been visited by the cold fairy, I'm taking the cheaters way and posting a song from each of our playlists.  Hope you enjoy.

AE:  My latest auditory addiction is Bring Me Down by Throwing Gravity. :) Very good for fast-paced action oriented stuff.

JESSIE:  Joshua Radin, "The Fear You Won't Fall."  Love it so much I actually wrote it into a scene in Beneath the Surface.  Even if it has to come out eventually, I'll always know it was there once upon a time.

NIKKI:  "Untouched" by the Veronicas. I don't know why, but this song has always been my go to song for those emotions when you're crushing on someone (perfect for YA!)

SHERI: Currently I'm moved by "Something Beautiful" by Need To Breathe. The song has strength yet a vulnerability. I'm also constantly listening to "Everything" by Lifehouse while I revise.

And me?  I'm the Gleek.  :)  I LOVED this version of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream.  It fits into the playlist of almost all of my stories, so I'd be silly not to list it.

Happy Turkey Day, Everyone!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Sanctuary: Too Many Irons in the Fire

This past week left me feeling a little overwhelmed.  In addition to the house "flood" on Sunday night, we had nightly appointments with the clean-up people, I had to drive to about half the pharmacies in Jacksonville before I found someone who had the prescription I needed in stock, and I realized I was trying to accomplish too much in my literary life.

I was beta reading for a friend, reading one book on my computer, another on my Kindle (both of which I feel pressure to finish and post reviews about on my blog), and trying to do edits on Beneath the Surface.  With everything going on last week, I didn't get to exercise at all. Not once. So really, I shouldn't be surprised that despite medication, my blood pressure is still up.

And this next week doesn't look to be much better, frankly.  I'll have grandparents in for grandparents' chapel on Tuesday.  The kids have no school on Wednesday, of course, which isn't conducive to cooking.  Then, we're going to my mother-in-law's for Thanksgiving and the next day driving to my mom's for the rest of the weekend.


And I suspect I'm not alone in this -  especially at this time of year.  My advice to myself -- and to all of you -- is to narrow your reach as much as possible.  Instead of allowing myself to have 4 literary projects, I'm picking one.  And yes, Nikki, it's Beneath the Surface.

I'm also going to try to roll with the holidays and recognize that I will not be able to do as much as I'd like during this season.  It's a fact.  There's simply too much to do (shopping, decorating, etc.) and not enough hours.  I cannot expect to be as productive as I have been in the past.  AND THAT'S OKAY!

It really is.  That should be our new mantra.  It's OKAY not to finish that book you're reading.  It's OKAY if you don't finish your beta read.  It's OKAY if you don't meet your NaNoWriMo goals.

What's NOT OKAY is stressing yourself out unnecessarily.  Figure out which deadlines you've arbitrarily imposed upon yourself, and lift them.  Having goals is good.  Having peace of mind is better.  Take a deep breath.  Relax.  Enjoy your family & friends.

Easier said than done?  Perhaps.  But I'm going to try and I hope all of you do as well.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Freestyle: Crescent Moon Press is Having a YA Contest

Okay, Oasis Seekers, remember back in May when we introduced you to Heather Howland, the acquiring editor at Crescent Moon Press? (If not, here’s the link so you can go study up.) Well, we’ve asked Heather to join us again and share some VERY EXCITING NEWS FOR ALL YOU DEBUT YA AUTHORS OUT THERE.
Heather, I don’t want to steal your thunder, so take it away...

Thanks, Jessie! And thanks to all the Oasis ladies for inviting me to stop by and share our fabulous news!

Crescent Moon Press, an award-winning boutique publisher of fantasy, futuristic,
and paranormal romance, is hosting its annual Ides of March writing contest.
This year, we've added a new twist...

Would you like YOUR manuscript to launch our brand new YA imprint?

That's right, CMP is branching out! If you write paranormal or fantasy YA with
strong romantic elements, we'd love to take a look at your work. Enter our Ides
of March contest for a chance to win a cash prize and a publishing contract!

Contest info can be found here: http://www.crescentmoonpress.com/contest.html

Being a YA writer and book-devourer, I’m thrilled to be opening CMP’s proverbial doors to the genre I love. With how fast the industry is embracing ebooks, and half the teens on the planet asking for Nooks, Kindles, and iPhones for Christmas, the demand for YA in electronic format will grow exponentially.

And it all starts with the Ides of March Contest.

Wow - pretty awesome, right? Assuming some anonymous blog reader out there *cough, cough* were interested in the contest, he or she might want a few follow up details about what it really means to win the Ides of March contest. So, inquiring minds want to know...

Can you tell us more about CMP and how it works with its authors. For example, are your authors placed in retailers as well as on Amazon? How has CMP been supporting its authors in marketing and publicity?

Crescent Moon Press titles are distributed through Ingrams and Baker & Taylor – two of the largest print distributors out there. Currently, print books are available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, and Target, to name a few. Our titles can be bought in electronic format through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance Ebooks. Booksellers are also able to order directly from Crescent Moon Press. A number of our books are carried in smaller book chains and in specialty shops.

We have a very active marketing community, and an equally active marketing manager. CMP places ads in magazines (such as Romantic Times), helps locate and/or provides promotional opportunities, and supplies ARCs for reviews. Our authors are incredible when it comes to networking and drawing new authors into the fold. They organize blog tours and cross-promote each other’s work regularly.

I have to confess, I’m in lust with most of the CMP-produced covers. Who does the artwork and how is it born? Can you tell us about that process and do the authors have any say?

All authors fill out a cover art sheet, which is sent through their editor and onto the cover artist assigned to the project. We definitely take the author’s vision into consideration!

Check out these awesome covers from among CMP's new releases --
What can an author expect if he or she signs a contract with CMP? Like, how quickly will the book go to print? Will there be ARCs? We want to know all the fun, squee-worthy details.

Our books are typically released within four to six months of acquisition, during which time you’ll work on edits and cover design, prepare your press kit, and schedule reviews/ interviews/appearances. With how much work needs to get done, those months fly by!

I know you love what you do. Tell us why we’ll love working with you and CMP.

My favorite thing about working for CMP tends to be the same reason authors sign with us instead of the larger houses—our extremely supportive atmosphere. From the marketing manager to the editors to the authors who are all very active on our email loop, you’ll never feel like you’re “in it” alone. Because we’re a smaller press, you can count on more time spent with your editor. I’m always available to brainstorm and answer questions.

Okay, okay. Enough about the day job. Give us a peak into Heather Howland’s “night life” as an author represented by the fabulous Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency.

Becca is fabulous. She has this innate ability to take what I’ve written and tease out seemingly unimportant plot threads that, when expanded on, add the exact layers my books need. We have successfully achieved agent-author mind meld, as she says, which is the most important aspect of our relationship.

We’re about to go on submission with FLAWED, my dark, gut-wrenching YA thriller, and I’m working on two additional projects on the side—one of which is a super top secret YA paranormal romance. Only a couple people know about that last one per agent’s orders, but man… I can’t wait to share that book with the world!

To stay current on Heather's latest news, check out her website/blog.
We want to read your books. We want you to read our books. There’s just a lot of shared book loving going on right now. :) So, BONUS QUESTION: You’re stranded on a desert oasis with your most-loved book and your favorite food. What are they?

Hmmm… I have to say, I’ve been blessed with the most talented CPs on the planet. The books I love most? Theirs. So I’d probably cheat and paste Katy Upperman’s LOVING MAX HOLDEN, Jus Accardo’s TOUCH, AE Rought’s RESONANCE, and Liz Pelletier’s DARK SURRENDER into one document, send it off to Kinkos for printing, and take that with me. As for food, gallons and gallons of raspberry limeade. This is a desert, right? :)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your fun news, Heather! This is an exciting opportunity, guys. Good luck to all who decide to enter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


And, Man am I thankful! After months of writing, after another story popping its head up, taking care of my mom after surgery, and despite being bereft of my own computer for over a month, I finished RESONANCE!

This has me thinking of all the people, things, and events that touch us when writing a novel:
books, pen and paper, computer, electricity to run the computer, chair and desk/table/lap, coffee pot, lamps, chocolate, water, soda (or pop), tea, cereal for those days you don't want to cook dinner, grocery store, publishers, TV for babysitting, fuzzy socks, pajama pants or sweat pants that make our butts comfortable, pets for reminding us not to spend ALL of our time sitting on our butts, the junk food joint in town, supportive spouse/significant other, kids, friends, beta readers, CPs, Tide/Surf/Gain/All for clean clothes, social networking sites, English teachers, editors (if you're like me and you've had one,) the friend that never let's you quit, website gurus for making the social networking possible, Office Max, etc for paper and ink to print the book, icanhascheeseburger for giggles, bookstores, facebook and twitter for distractions, Nickelback for rock n roll, our parents for raising us to be creative and think for ourselves, or those people who picked us up after a difficult start and helped us learn who we were, Hollywood for flash bits of pretty to look at, scented candles, pot purri, our witchy friend who said a charm, our Christian friend who prays, that friend that always listens to our hairbrained ideas even if they aren't a writer, Ryan Reynolds for visual inspiration, Doritos for yummy chips, the wherewithal within to start a book in the first place, the wherewithal within to finish the book, the moon for its romance, the sun for making the world go 'aroun, MMA for helping us write kickass fight scenes, agents, breweries, Hostess for the snacks, and Tempurpedic for the bed I'm going to crash in tonight...

I'm sure I'm missing a crapton. What are you thankful for when it comes to your writing?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I love a first sentence hook. I love writing them and I love reading them. We all know how important the first five pages are - to get your reader into the book and relating to the character. But there's something magical about that first sentence and what it foretells.

I decided to grab some of the YA books off my shelf and share their first sentences with you! (And this will give you an idea of the kind of books I read!) These are the first sentences of the book - whether it be a prologue or first chapter.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling)
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Hush Hush (Becca Fitzpatrick)
Chauncey was with a farmer's daughter on the grassy banks of the Loire River when the storm rolled in, and having let his gelding wander in the meadow, was left to his own two feet to carry him back to the chateau.

Fallen (Lauren Kate)
Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape.

Paranormalcy (Kiersten White)
"Wait - did you - You just yawned!"

Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare)
The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Incarceron (Catherine Fisher)
Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.

The Scorch Trials (James Dashner)
She spoke to him before the world fell apart.

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

And (just for the heck of it) here's my first sentence for Shoreline:
Jocelyn stared at the guy sitting across the table from her, wondering how he’d react later – when he was drowning.

So which of these first sentences want to make you read more? And feel free to share your first sentence below!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Links with Music

Me thinkist it be time to do some mixing-n-mingling on our Oasis Tuesday Tunes segment. So, I'm giving you my latest greatest new tune that gets me in the mood to write. Honestly, listening to this song is almost like a warm up from some Zumba video. (Yeah, I'm a major Latin dance fan. Anyone else do Zumba??)

Anyway, while you listen to the song take a gander at the links I've collected below. Some awesome contests, giveaways, and blogfests to be had Oasis Seekers! Enjoy.

The Siren Song is giving away the entire Immortals Series. Um...yummy!

The Alliterative Allomorph, Jessica, is having an amazing 400+ Followers Giveaway!

Candyland is having another amazing fundraiser!

Christine is hosting a wonderful holiday blogfest. Easy peasy.

The Journey, aka Colene, is having a Worse One-Liner Idea for a Book Contest! It's really crazy.

The Book Butterfly - um...yeah, Kim is giving away 2 major awesome mashup books: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and also Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls.

Oasis for YA--yeah, right here--is giving away Rachel Vincent's new book My Soul to Take.

AND a don't forget about our book drive for the month of November. ENTER to win prizes, too!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Author Interview and Giveaway: Rachel Vincent

Author bio and photograph courtesy of her website.

Okay, so...I completely screwed up on Friday.  This interview was supposed to go up then, but my computer crashed and...well, it didn't get posted.  I apologize.  So...in apology I'm giving away a book.  A REALLY, really good book.

Okay, without further ado I'm pleased--THRILLED really--to present Rachel Vincent.  Author of The Soul Screamers Series from Harlequin Teen.

Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series, about a werecat named Faythe Sanders, who is learning to define her own role in her family and fighting to claim a place in her Pride.
Rachel’s young adult urban fantasy series, Soul Screamers, is about a teenage bean sidhe (banshee) trying to balance a normal high school experience with the terrifying, hidden world she’s just discovered. My Soul To Take and My Soul To Save are available now. Look for My Soul To Keep on June 1, 2010.

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her office with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks—seriously—and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

1.    Where did the idea for the Soul Screamers books come from?

From a lot of brainstorming, sifting through folklore for something that seemed to want to be written.

2.   Why bean sidhes?

Because I haven’t read much about them in urban fantasy, and there was little enough explained in the original lore to leave plenty of room for me to establish some pretty cool world building.

3.   When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t know that I ever really had that epiphany. I just kind of always wanted to write. I started when I was five. ;)

4.   Why did you first start writing Young Adult books when you had a successful career writing adult books?

Because writing for teenagers lets me re-experience a time of my life when everything that happened seemed so vital and important. There were so many firsts, and the whole world was in front of me. That lends an excitement and enthusiasm to everything. Also…it’s fun. ;)

5.    Why did you opt not to use a pen name when you started writing Young Adult?

I decided to use the same name because there’s decent crossover potential for adults who read my Shifters series.

6.   Do you find it hard to write both young adult and adult books? 

Writing is hard. Period. It’s more work than I could ever explain, and none of it is mindless. You have to concentrate and be thoroughly focused on every single step of the process. None of that changes depending on genre or target audience.

7.   Can you tell us how long it takes for you to write a book and what your work schedule is while writing?

Unfortunately, that’s not a simple question to answer. I write full time, and I’m always working on a minimum of three books at a time, in various stages of the process.

For rough drafts, I try to write a chapter every day. But that schedule has to have a lot of flexibility, because at this point (releasing 3-4 novels per year, plus short fiction), revisions and edits are always landing on my desk in the middle of a rough draft, and they’re always needed ASAP. So…it’s kind of chaotic. A lot of late nights and very long days.

8.   What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The most surprising thing I learned was that I could write a book at all. ;)

9.   As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

As a child, I never gave it much thought. But by high school, I wanted to be an English teacher or a journalist.

10.  Which of your books is your favorite?

Whichever I’ve written most recently.

11.  Which of your characters is your favorite?

I have several favorites. Jace and Ethan, from the Shifters series. Sabine and Tod from the Soul Screamers books. But that’s assuming that I love Faythe and Kaylee, my viewpoint characters, the most. Which I do.

12.  Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Yes, I read reviews. I can’t help it. When I was starting out, a few years ago, negative reviews just killed me. But since then, I’ve come to realize a couple of things that help me deal with them. Here they are:

A.   No one book can please everyone. It’s not possible. What one person loves, another will hate, and vice versa.
B.   It’s really hard to take a negative review seriously if it’s poorly written, misspells the names of the characters, novel, or author, or references events that never happened in the book. All of which I’ve seen in reviews of my own books.
C.   It’s impossible to take a review seriously when it contains criticism of the author, rather than of his/her book, or when the reviewer is obviously using his/her reviews as a forum to express personal views, pet peeves, or prejudices which may have nothing to do with the text itself.

Beyond that, someone wise once told me that, regarding reviews, you’re never as bad as the negative reviews say you are, and you’re never as good as the glowing reviews say you are. Remember that, and you’ll be fine. ;)

13.  Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

“Tell us a little about yourself.” That, and, “Where do you get your ideas.” Oh, and “Tell us a little about your book.”

The reason I’m kinda sick of those questions is that the first and last are answered on my website FAQ page, and ad naseum on my blog. And the second one is impossible to answer. Ideas come from everywhere and from nowhere.

However, I answer those questions over and over because I know how hard it can be to come up with original questions for an author who’s done fifty interviews in the last month. ;)

           Ha!  No kidding!  Not to mention I was a nervous wreck writing these questions!  So I appreciate you taking the time!  :D (And I think I over did the exclamation points : ) )

And our most important question, if you were trapped on a deserted island which author would you most like to be trapped with? 

None. I’d want to be trapped with a survivalist. ;)

And here's the first book in the series--not to mention the book I'm giving away--My Soul To Take.


She doesn't see dead people, but...
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

 So, now onto the contest details.

All you have to do is comment below and tell me a secret. 

Since Kaylee, the heroine of the book,  is hiding a secret, I think it's only fair we share ours.  Don't ya think?  ;) I'll give extra points for tweeting/blogging about this contest.  And another for tweeting/blogging about our #givebooks campaign (just make sure to use the #givebooks hashtag).  When you comment, let me know how many points you've got, then I'll randomly pick a winner from the top points people.  Make sense?  I hope so.  LOL. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Charity Begins at Home

I'm amazed at how much my children both understand and remember.  I'm blessed to be able to send my girls (ages 4 & 5) to a private school.  Not that I'm religious myself, but the school is Christian and it emphasizes charity and giving back to the community.  I LOVE that!

Last week my girls came home with a paper sack and were asked to add either a can of soup, a jar of peanut butter, or a jar of jelly to give to the needy.  Rather than grabbing something myself out of the cabinet, I let the girls pick what they wanted to donate.  Surprisingly, they choose to give away their own favorite foods.  (Now, come on moms, if it'd been you, you'd have grabbed that can of soup that no one's touched in a year, right?)  And as we carried the bags in on Monday morning, my five year old asked if the food was for the people whose houses fell down.

She was remembering how we brought in donations for the victims in Haiti.  Amazing!  They do remember giving -- start your kids young and you'll make a life-long impression on them about the importance of sharing your blessings, no matter how small the contribution.

If you need some ideas, here are some suggestions for getting your kids involved in the spirit of giving and thankfulness:

*  pick a gift from a giving tree and let your child select the presents to give (within reason, of course)

* let your kids select food to give to a local food drive

* sign up for wegivebooks.org and read to your kids online. For every book you read, a book is donated to charity.  It's a free way for you to contribute.  How cool is that?

* gets your kids involved in our Give Thanks, Give Books contest.  Let them pick out some books from their collection that they don't read anymore and want to give to less fortunate children.  I assure you that are many LOCAL charities out there who will gladly accept your gently used books.  Think homeless shelters, family shelters for abuse victims, boys or girls homes, children's hospitals, your local Guardian ad Litem program.  As long as you commit to donating a book or books (up to 10), you can enter our contest to win books or tunes yourself.

(And please, tweet about our book drive with the hashtag #givebooks !)

Any other ideas for sharing your blessings this November and teaching your children the value of giving back?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WRITER WEDNESDAY: writing a fight scene

I've spent two brain-melting evenings sprinting in a chat room with other writers. I'd gotten out of the habit of writing any amount in the past month that I've been without my own computer. However, I churned out nearly 5-K words in the past two afternoons. Not much else has gotten done, though. As I get ready for bed tonight, a niggling thought takes hold... Blog post tomorrow. I sigh, leave the jammies in the bathroom, and trudge back out here thinking, what am I going to write about?

Then I thought about an article some writer peeps are encouraging me to write because I seem to have some expertise, or at least a gift, in writing violence and realistic fight scenes. Has does tips on writing fight scenes help create an Oasis of calm? No clue. But I never clip a gift tip in the mouth. (see what I did there? worked in a couple fighting terms)

First, you ned to know what you want to get out of your fight scene. If it's violence for violence's sake, for the shock factor? Then ax it. Don't write anything that doesn't move your plot forward.

So, this fight has to happen, huh? Okay, then. Next we need to consider there is always a winner and a loser in a street fight, unless someone stops it artificially. Who's winning this fight of yours, and why? And please don't just make it so the hero looks like a tough guy, and proves to his girlfriend he can kick butt. A reader may have that "Yeah!" feeling, but the scene will be hollow of impact. Do you intend to show a certain trait? Show a certain flaw? Think about it and jot it down.

If your hero throws the first punch, he's automatically cast as an aggressor, and that may be a negative to your character construction. However, having your character 'reel from a punch' or 'take a hit to the jaw and drop in a jumble of bones' is not necessarily showing weakness. Figure out the 'why' to the fight and you'll know better how much hurting to let your character dish out and take.

My best advice? WATCH MMA. It's a fantastic mix of different martial arts styles and disciplines, and the closest to a true fisticuffs, street fight. My hubby is a martial artist and now an MMA instructor. Most of my knowledge comes from years of watching his classes. And we are big UFC fans.

Basically, you're going to have an aggressor throw the first punch. The opponent will be hit, or dodge. If the fighters are inexperienced, there will be back and forth, awkward punches, maybe hair pulling if they're girls, probably some cussing, maybe a trip and some ground scuffling. Give it balance, let them dance a bite, but skew it toward your winner. Let them land the bigger hits, but show it in the opponent's reactions don't tell us how hard they flung that punch. Eventually, one will get the better of the other. If the fighters are experienced, the real fun begins. Same basic rules apply, give and take with the winner giving the better strikes and kicks, though he should take some damage too--unless he's a roboninjasuperfighter. Best part about experienced fighters? You can show more aggression, more intent and more damage, and use fancier fight terms! ^_^

How about some fight terms to give your scene more realism? I can do that:
Punch: closed fist strike, very generic term, great for a bar fight or a straight-shooter type of character.
Jab: more definied term, more of a straight punch driven forward.
Upper cut: kind of an upward hooking motion to a punch, the fighter usually turns slightly down and into the strike giving it more power, but also slightly telegraphing the move. An upper cut is very effective when hitting the corner of the jaw for a knockout.
Hook: a punch thrown with more of a curve to it. Great for more of a sneaky character to throw.
Inside kick: hits the inner thigh, great for damaging a fighters stability, also risky in a sanctioned fight due to the close proximity of certain delicate parts.
Ax kick: used by more trained fighters, usually MMA, tae kwon do, etc. it originates above the target and chops down into.
Heel kick: a turning motion used to drive the heel in, instead of the ball of the foot, or side.
Guillotine choke: most often used applied from behind, cuts off a fighter's blood flow to the brain and air in take.
Arm bar: often seen in MMA/cage fighting, usually applied on the ground during grappling when one fighter pins the other's arm in their legs over the waist and applies torque with hands and hips. Can strain, sparin, or break the elbow.
Clinch: When two fighters tie up close, usually one has an advantageous position, or they will struggle to get it. Some fighters tie up their opponent in a clinch as a way to steal a little breather from hits.
Grapple: involves the clinch, is tight body to body action often on the ground and ends in a submission movie like a pin or joint lock/bar.
TKO: Technical Knock Out. Means the fighter would have gotten a Knock Out if the hits had continued. TKOs come by way of referee stoppage.

Some common MMA/Cagefighting slang: throwing leather (throwing a punch with a gloved fist), dropping bombs (throwing punches from above), ground and pound (utilized often in a ground fight when one fighter gets the advantageous top position, straddles their opponents chest and punches relentlessly).

If you want more, please comment and let me know. The lessons can continue!

Don't forget about our DRIVE for BOOKS Giveaway being held this month. Enter & Grab our badge in support!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

TUESDAY TUNES: Creating a Playlist

Many MANY author sites seem to have some sort of playlist for their novels (whether they are published or not!) There's just something about music that immediately sets the tone for reading and understanding what the novel is about. But how do you create one?

One of the easiest sites is iLike.com ... First you need to register (super easy to do) and then select "Create a Playlist".

You'll title your playlist and then search for songs by title or artist. You can even search by generic terms related to your novel. Click on the arrow button to hear the song, and if you want to use it for your playlist, click on the plus sign.

After your playlist is complete, copy the URL or grab the embed code and add it to your site!

It took me less than five minutes to sign up and create this playlist for Shoreline (mostly based on songs I listened to while writing the manuscript!)

Have you used iLike? Are there other applications that work better?

Monday, November 08, 2010


The way I see it, a commitment to writing is a life-altering change. One can be a part-time poet or columnist for one's own satisfaction. There's nothing wrong with that. People paint for leisure; some dabble in photography. But if you're intending to dive in hook, line, and sinker and make your mark in the writing world, then you need a schedule.
I've come up with a few demographics describing different writing schedules. See if you fit one of these.

The Closet Writer's Schedule: after all other life's need, then I write - in the bathroom during girl's night out, mental notes etching on palm during pool night with the guys, during Church services--'Nuf said.

The Erratic, Freakoid Writer's Schedule: got to write right now! Must or convulsions will start: eyes bulging, throat is dry. The need must be met. "Where is my inhaler!! or a glass of wine would work."

The After-My-Paying-Job Writer's Schedule: supper's done, kid's to bed, said three words to spouse, done. Now, I'm off. Candle burning, office door left just ajar, & typing light so not to wake the normal humans in the house.  

The Nestea-Plunge Writer's Schedule: I'll write whatever, whenever, and how-muchever! Challenge me - I dare you.

The Scrappy Writer's Schedule: sticky notes wallpaper the house, tiny notebooks lay on the back of each toilet, napkin swatches are stuffed inside satchels, purses, and wallets.

The Pile-er Writer's Schedule: endless notes in scattered yet strategically aligned stacks, pillared on the desk, bedroom bureau, and kitchen countertop.

On-The-Go Writer's Schedule: scribbles while at red light or stop sign, flips open notepad while supposedly listening to boss yak about something, has a major idea during...an inopportune moment with the significant other.

*Winky* So, how'd you fare???

Don't forget about our DRIVE for BOOKS Giveaway being held this month. Enter & Grab our badge in support!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Give Thanks, Give Books!! DRIVE & Giveaway

The month of November brings with it the shedding of leaves and cooler air. It's the period of time during our calender year where creation seems to take a break--fade into a stage of dormancy. But in that hibernation, lots of growth can be found.

I'm a true believer in 'When it feels like nothing is happening, everything is happening.' And in these moments, reflection is a great exercise.   

So today, I'm here to announce the official Oasis kick-off of

 'Give Thanks, Give Books' DRIVE & Giveaway!! 

I'm sure each of you have tons to be thankful for in your own lives. We as a community of writers also have lots to be grateful for. One way to show gratitude is to give back.

So here's how it's going to work:
- you choose a book or books (up to ten) to giveaway.
- site the organization(s) you are donating to
- put our giveaway badge on your site (Please make sure to link it back to this post. Thanks!! Promotion would be greatly appreciated! We want to get as many in our amazing community involved and spread the importance of literacy all around.)
- tweet using hashtag #givebooks, blog sidebar, blog post, Facebook, or any other medium - out of the goodness of your heart 
- comment on this post & fill out our form below with your info to officially enter 
- the giveaway will run through November 28th. Four WINNERS will be randomly chosen and announced on December 2nd.
**We're going on the honor system. We trust you do donate what you pledge.** 

- a new copy of Untamed by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
- a $15 iTunes gift card
- SIGNED copy of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
- a paperback copy of The Hollow

NOW, let's see if we can get 100 books donated to promote literacy, support some wonderful pubbed-up authors, and tell the world that we are thankful for being writers. 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Remember to be grateful, even when we don't think we can be.

Today I’m going to do something a bit different.  I wasn’t sure what to write today and so I just put my fingers to the keyboard and came up with this.  I hope that’s okay.

This Thankful Thursday is the first in a month set aside to be thankful.  For us to remember to be thankful for the things that have happened to make us who we are.  Whether they are good things.  Or bad things. 

And it’s the start of a season that is set aside for us to be more giving.  Granted we should be that way all year, but no matter your religion November and December are those months that we spend a few extra minutes each day trying to harder to be the best people we can be.  Or at least I hope so.  J

Sometimes that’s hard.  Especially when so many things around us are going wrong and we see someone who’s doing so much better than us.  Which face it, it happens all the time in writing.

Three years ago, we were struggling with the onset of my daughter’s illness and no one knew what was going on.  I was frustrated, exhausted and fighting with my frustrated and exhausted husband.  Every where we’d turn, new parents were happily playing with their seemingly well-behaved children, while we were struggling to maintain our sanity with a child who seemed to hate sleep and loathe being in anyone’s arms, but mine.

Then came the worst days of our lives, the day we learned my daughter’s heart was enlarged and possibly failing.  We spent the next several months in and out of hospitals, until we found out she had systemic JRA. 

Now every day is a struggle.  Is it going to be a good day, or a bad one? But through it all I’ve tried to remain grateful.  Some days are easier than others, but every night before bed I try to think of one thing I'm grateful for.  Even if that one thing is I'm grateful for the day to be over with.  

But here's a list of the things I'm most grateful for because of this.  I'm grateful for the fact that I was observant enough to know there was something wrong with my daughter, besides being cranky, and insisted the Dr’s run more tests to find out what was wrong.  For the doctor who finally listened to me and saw the enlarged heart.  For the countless Doctors and nurses since then. 

For my family, who’s stood by me and her, through it all.  For my husband, for helping me make sure the Drs listened, for my daughter, who despite her illness is the sweetest child ever, and for my writing, which has helped me keep my sanity through it all.

So let’s hear it.  What event in your life was awful and what are you thankful for because of it?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Ready to Query

On today's Writer's Wednesday, I wanted to talk to you about the nuts and bolts of getting ready to submit to agents.  As many of us have learned first hand, you do yourself a disservice if you're not 100% prepared.  I know, you've written the perfect, unique novel, proofed it once or twice, and your neighbor's kid loves it.  No -- you're still not ready.
Here are some things you'll want to do BEFORE you send that first query e-mail (and this assumes you've fully proofed your novel, sent it through a round of critiques, and written a bang-up query):

1.  RESEARCH:  Find out which agents actually want your genre (see our Industry Terms page if you need help with this).  Follow the agents on twitter, follow their blogs, or at the very least read their bio on the agency web page.  Why take the time to personalize a query and hit send if the agent isn't looking for what you wrote?

 2.  ORGANIZE: I found the easiest way to organize my research was by creating a chart in a word processing document (or Excel if you have this knowledge).  I had categories for agent name, agency name, what they're looking for, submission guidelines, submission date, response/date.  Having the agency name is important because many agencies only allow you to submit to one agent, but it's possible multiple agents within the agency represent the same genre.  You'll want to search to be sure you're not hitting up the same agency more than once.  Organization in the beginning will save you loads of time at the end.

3.  SYNOPSIS:  Have a 2-page, single-spaced synopsis ready to go.  You don't want to have the perfect query and not be able to promptly respond to a request for a synopsis.  Even though most agencies won't request a synopsis upfront, you need to have this ready anyway.   

That's my advice anyway.  Anyone else have other must-do tips you want to share when getting ready to query?

Monday, November 01, 2010


Normally, we talk about the tunes we listen to when we write, drives one of our scenes, etc. Then recently we at the Oasis started talking about industry terms, and trying to help make sense of the often muddy water of the publishing industry.

So today, I'm taking on music in modern literature. Maybe there's a song haunting you that you'd just love to fit in. Maybe you want to have a character to quote a line, or sing a phrase. Best advice I've gleaned and my CP Heather Howland helped dig up... Don't.

Do yourself a big a favorite and avoid the coming drama. Your editor may possibly growl, and will definitely take them out. Songs are not public domain, and therefore not legally yours to use. UNLESS they are truly public domain due to date released before 1921. I've heard news that you can use a minute percentage of the total word count per song... half a line, maybe a teeny bit more.

You can mention a title, especially if it has some impact to your character or the story. BUT using a title can seriously date a book. Say you sold your book--would the title, or band, even be relevent in a year or two when it's released? Think about how important it into use a title from a real song/real band. What about creating your own band, like Maggie Stiefvater did in LINGER?

Using lyrics?
Risky, like putting you hand in the cookie jar knowing you're going to get your patties slapped.
Using a song title?
Okay, but makes it a 2010, 11, etc book. Do you want your readers to look at it and think you're a fossil?

I say avoid the drama. You're creative enough to write a book, then you're creative enough to make up your own band, song title or lyric. Less stress, more kudos for you.

Anyone have anything to add?

MONDAY SANCTUARY: Mulling Over Advice

Having your manuscript critiqued is an important part of the process to publication. And it will be critiqued several times over. By your CPs. By your beta readers. By potential agents. By potential editors.

So how do you handle the critiques? I used to dread them. I used to start shaking when I'd stare at the comments section and see over one hundred line items. My heart would race as I'd see things like "I don't like this character" or "This really slowed down for me."

And, then I turned my thought process around. Now I love a good critique. Because, ultimately, a critique is helpful advice. It isn't putting down your work, it's helping you to improve it. It's helping you catch things that you didn't notice when you were in the thick of writing and buried in your own words.

Does that mean you have to take every piece of advice you receive? Absolutely not. In fact, I highly urge you to read the advice, and then walk away for a bit. Don't open your manuscript and start making changes. Mull over the advice for a bit. Take a few deep breaths. And think it all through. The good and the bad! You may have seen some advice and thought "Yes! That's it! That's a great way to rewrite that paragraph." But, ask yourself if it fits with your overall theme and voice. Ask yourself what other changes this will result in.

After you've contemplated the advice, then open your document and revise. Take the parts that work, and ignore the parts that don't. And always remember ...

It's your manuscript.
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