Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

While we realize that not all of our friends are Christian, for those of you who are, we wholeheartedly say, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Art borrowed from DeviantArt

We hope that your day is filled with the blessings that matter - not gifts under the tree or a turkey on your table, but hugs from your kids, time spent with family, and laughing until you cry.  May all these blessings and more be yours this Christmas and throughout the coming year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mid Winter's Eve Blog Hop

Courtesy of I Am A Reader - Not A Writer, we've joined in the Mid-Winter's Blog Hop. And to celebrate (as well as to make your holiday season joyful) I'm giving away two signed copies of my YA urban fantasy thriller POLTERGEEKS! (This giveaway is US and Canada only.)

The rest of us at the Oasis will also be giving one winner the YA book of their choice from The Book Depository up to $14.  (This giveaway is open Internationally, just make sure they ship to your country!) 

Want in on it? All you need to do is comment on this post (feel free to wish everyone a joyous holiday season) and you're in. Easy-peezy! I'll be using Rafflecopter to select the winner. So are you in? GO! (And Happy Christmas!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Advice

Lately, I've been juggling writing my next book and working on blog posts to promote Broken's release in January. (It's coming up so fast!!) Lately, the blg posts are winning... I've had a few tough questions that really made me think--those are my favorite interviews. A couple guest posts are about music, one is about food--those were really fun. When doing intervies, a common question has been, "Do you have any advice for beginning/unpblished writers?"

Honestly, I feel like I'm still learning. It's odd for me to tell others what they should do. But, while it's on my mind, I figured I would leave my bits of advice here for you. I would love it if y'all would share your ideas too!
  • Let your characters speak. Don't get in the way of their story. But, don't let them railroad you into a corner, either. They are a charater, YOU are the author.
  • Find a good group of peers, betas, critique partners, a writing community you feel comfortable in sharing with, and helping each other. These are the people who lift you up when you're struggling, they are the people who celebrate your achievements.
  • Always strive to do better, to be a better writer. Hone your craft.
  • Prioritize. Make writing a priority, be serious about it. But don't let it be your main priorty. Love your family, talk with your friends, scratch your pets ears. The spark for myriad ideas exists outside ourselves.
  • Finish what you start. If you don't finish a story, you have nothing to share, nothing to revise, nothing to submit.
  • Surround yourself with positive people who understand and accept the writer in you.
  • Practice your ABCs. Apply Butt to Chair. However, don't let your hiney become part of your typing chair. Get some excerise, go for a walk. It increases oxygen in your blood and feeds your brain.
  • Eat good food. Yes, coffee and chocolate are to writers what catnip is to kitties. Like oxygen, good food feeds your body and thereby feeds your brain.
  • "Write what you know." My other told me this once. Sure it helps. Don't be afraid to be a rebel and write what your writer's soul knows. Not every paranormal author has met a vampire, faery, werewolf or Frankenstein-type monster *shameless plug*
  • Love what you do, do what you love, and no one will be able to pierce thourhg the tough skin you have to have in this industry.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Winter Writing Prompt

It's time for another Whoseywhatsit writing prompt, from yours truly. This week's topic ...


It's winter season and the holidays are upon us - time for spending times with loved ones, warming up by the fire, and watching the snow fall outside your window (well, at least for some of us).

You have up to 250 words to get your character in a winter state of mind - develop a flashback, write a poem, try something new, whatever you want. Post those words below and then comment on at least one other person's writing. (You don't need to necessarily critique it, this isn't polished writing people!)

Ready. Set. Go!

(And here's mine ...)

I leaned my forehead against the cool glass window, trying to hold my breath so it wouldn't cloud the view. The lake had frozen over. A group of children, the servants' obviously, toddled across the ice, their arms spread out to either side to help maintain their balance. Their faces were covered, scarves wrapped around necks and across mouths. Hats pulled down over ears and foreheads. I couldn't tell who was who.

But it didn't matter. I would never be able to join them. I was stuck in this tower. Sure, it was comfortable. Ostentatious really, what with the roaring fire, the bear skin rug, the down comforter spread across the ornate bed.

I was a spoiled prisoner, but a prisoner all the same.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Passing the Buck

I'm getting this in just under the wire--sorry about that. It's a busy time of year (like whoa).

That being said, I am not only posting late, but passing the buck on my post. But it's for a good reason, I promise.

Revisions and rewrites have kicked many a writer's behind.  We've even had more than one post on them here at the Oasis.

But I recently read a post on revising and rewriting that blew me away. If you haven't read Kristen Cashore's post on the writing and rewriting of BITTERBLUE, you need to go now: http://kristincashore.blogspot.com/2012/12/pictures-of-book-being-made.html

Have you ever done such an extensive revision? How did you approach it? How do you feel about revision?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

141697590X (ISBN13: 9781416975908)
edition language
original title
Clockwork Princess

The Infernal Devices is by far my favorite Shadowhunter Series. I love the world Cassandra Clare built, and I am very excited for this final installment. This is one series that kept me up into the wee hours of the night, because I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.

March just won't get here fast enough!

Information Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6131164-clockwork-princess

Thursday, December 06, 2012

TAGLINE Critique ... now!

It's the first Thursday of December and we've decided to offer up some tagline - a/k/a log line - critiques.  Do you have yours all polished and ready?  'Cause we're ready to help your tag lines really soar.
Photo by ismellsheep in WANA Commons

Leave your one-sentence tag line in the comments and we'll drop in through the day to leave you some feedback.  We can't wait to see what you've got for us!

Need more examples?  Here are a few:

Just before the outbreak of World War II, an adventuring archaeologist named Indiana Jones races around the globe to single-handedly prevent the Nazis from turning the greatest archaeological relic of all time into a weapon of world conquest.                                                                                                                                (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea. (Titanic)

Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in his life.
(An Abundance of Katherines)

Alright, now share yours!  Go!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Finding Balance Between Writing & Life

I have a day job.

I don’t know any published authors who've managed to completely break free from the job that pays their bills yet – I know they’re out there of course. Lots of them. But most who've either published a novel or those still trying to reach their dream of becoming published must find a balance between their day job and their passion. And make no mistake: while I love my day job, my passion is for writing books.

I suspect that most authors are a little bit crazy to try and carve out a method by which they balance the hat in each hand. Depending on how old you are can have an impact on your passion as well because if you’re younger than me (I’m 45) then you’ve probably got young children running around so there’s school and preparing lunches and parenting in general that has to be done. So now you’ve got three jobs: one that pays the bills, one that keeps your family running and one that is your dream.

How we manage to find this balance is a source of wonder to me because most people are dead dog tired by the time they get home from work each day. How someone can muster their reserves long enough to sit at their computer for a few hours each day and actually create something from absolutely nothing is an incredible feat. Why? Because writing a book is bloody hard work.

For me at least, I think what keeps me going is likely the same thing that keeps most writers going: the dream of being able to make enough money from your published works that you might somehow manage to write full time. I have an idea what it looks like in my head, but I’m not there yet.
And still I write. Still, we all write.

My day generally begins at around three in the morning. I get up, have a shower and shave. I grab a coffee and head into my office to pump out a thousand or so words before heading off to work. I do eight to ten hours at the office and then I’m back home for 5:00 PM. I have supper with my better half and then I retire downstairs to the family room to watch TV and do something mindless before heading off to bed at around 8:00 PM. I read for a good half an hour (or until I get tired of the book falling out of my hands because I’m nodding off) and then it’s up at 3:00 AM the next morning and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ve been doing this for years. Sometimes I want to just give it all up and resume a non-writerly life, but I simply can’t. I need to sit down and work on a novel – I’m compelled to do it, actually. I’m not special, there are jillions of others like me who are trying to find that balance. But it does wear away at you over time – sometimes I feel like a living shadow, if that makes any sense. I’m just going through the motions each day because my energy is at a ridiculously low level.  Then I draw on my rocket fuel: I close my eyes and try to visualize what my life will look like if I somehow manage to do this full time. It’s sort of the author equivalent to daydreaming about winning the lottery.

Along the way you have ups and downs. The downs are particularly severe, I think, when you’re unpublished and you’re trying to find an agent or you’re submitting to a publisher that doesn’t require agents. The reason for this is that you have to somehow manage being rejected and still find the courage to keep pressing on. I say courage because it takes courage to want to become published. You’re taking something you’ve poured your heart and soul into and throwing it out to the universe to be parsed, critiqued and more often than not, rejected.

This is a craft, folks, make no mistake. And those rejections can be absolutely brutal, particularly when your energy level is critically low. The good news, though, is that when you find an agent or you manage to get published, it’s instant affirmation that you might possibly make a go of this. That you have a measure of talent. That all those early morning or late night hours weren’t wasted away. And of course once you have reached this level, the very act of getting an email from your agent simply saying “hi, how are you holding up?” can do wonders to sustain you on those low days.

I’m unbelievably lucky to have already been published four times, to have found an agent who thinks I’m awesome and to have had that same agent land a book deal with a respectable publisher. I’m now making a little bit of money for the first time. The future looks brighter than it did yesterday. I have someone in my corner cheering me on and I’ve got an editor who challenges me to make that book even better. I’m still not in a position to write full time, but that dream no longer looks like a pipe dream.

So that’s a bit of my journey. I’m no better than any other author who struggles to find their balance between life and writing. In 2011, I managed to write two books which are now in my agent’s hands and finished revisions on my now published novel POLTERGEEKS. This year I wrote the sequel, completed revisions on a project my agent has just started sending to publishers and now I'm revising the great Canadian YA zombie novel. That’s an accomplishment that I’m immensely proud of. It’s sort of one of those benchmarks for my life because I've not been that productive in a twelve month period before.

I’m revising THE NORTH right now. I’m still plugging away at the day job and I’m dreaming big. I’m no longer afraid to dream big.

My advice to other writers who are still trying to find their balance? Just do it, you know? Just allow yourself to dream big because when you are feeling the lowest of the low, those dreams are often the only thing standing between you becoming published or giving it all up.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Shades of Earth, by Beth Revis

 The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


I inhaled the first book, Across the Universe, reached The End and turned right back to page one. The layers and comlexity of the contained world Revis created vice-gripped my imagination. Her storytelling kept me up late nights. I LOVED Across the Universe. The sequel, A Million Suns is possibly the best sequel I've read to date. My God, I even felt betrayed by one of the characters. Simpy put, Revis makes me want to be a better autor. I've been dying for Shades of Earth since I finsined AMS.

Info from Shades of Earth Goodread's page:

Hardcover, 369 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2013 by Razorbill
1595143998 (ISBN13: 9781595143990)
edition language

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: TAGLINES

Taglines are another alleyway authors utilize to attract the interest of agents, editors, publishers, and readers to their stories. They give a glimpse into storyworld and character, but just enough to tug at the heartstrings of intrigue and curiosity.

Here are a few examples from books and movies I'm sure you'll recognize:

  • A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England's daughter and reclaim his ship. (Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not human. (Twilight)
  • Having fallen for a human boy, a beautiful teenage werewolf must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom. (Of Blood and Chocolate)
Find these little puppies difficult to create? Need some insight into one of your taglines, or want help starting? Then mark your calendars for our next Whoseywhatsit Thursday, December 6th, where you can simply leave your tagline of one or two sentences in the comments and we'll give you a critique as a response. 

So, how does one condense an 80,000 word work into one to two sentences? I won't tell you it's easy. But if you adopted a simple view of the process, you will find success. Find the skeleton of your story:
  • Who is the main character?
  • What does he/she want? What is the goal?
  • What are the inner and outer obstacles blocking their way?
  • What makes this unique? 
There, that should at least give you a headstart. And don't forget to tell your friends about next Thursday!! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Taking a Break

I recently finished the first draft of yet another WIP.  The goal was to take a couple of weeks off and then do an edit. But I've already opened up the document a week into the break. 

I know, I know ... Many people say to throw your draft in a drawer for a month (or more) before digging it out again, but I just can't do that ... for a variety of reasons!
  1. My characters are still talking to me, sharing their story, and I want to add those pieces in before I forget.
  2. I know there are a couple of spots that need clean up (eye color that changed, home layout that somehow got altered halfway through!)
  3. It's not yet clean enough for me to hand to my critique partners. I'd like to clean up the spelling/grammar, and fix a couple of other errors I know I have.
This will be the first of several rounds of edits, so I'm not concerned about shelving it for a bit. Most likely that will happen when my CPs are editing and I'm anxiously awaiting their feedback.

But I'm curious to know ... what do you do when it comes to edits? Do you do a first edit as you write (going back over your writing from the previous session before moving forward)? Do you send your beta readers your first draft, knowing there will be problems but seeing what they come up with too? How long of a break do you take between drafts? 

Image Source: SXC

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TBR Tuesday: OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I LOVED the first two books in this series, and I am SO EXCITED that the third one comes out soon!

From Goodreads:

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

Jennifer L. Armentrout's website.

Also, I'm giving away a copy of our own J.A. Souders's debut RENEGADE on my personal blog, so stop by and enter!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday--Happy Thanksgiving

For those of you not in the know, today is Thanksgiving.

Time for being thankful, family and friends, turkey eating, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

On this day, I would like to share with you three things I'm thankful for. And if you would like, please share in the comments anything you are thankful for.

Top of my list is my loving family. I'm thankful for each and everyone of them, and for all of them being so supportive on my writing adventure.

I'm thankful for all my sisters at Oasis for YA. I love you all!

I'm thankful for all the awesome people at Spencer Hill Press and for my agent Lauren Hammond! They are all just super awesome!

I have so much more that I am thankful for, but I'd be here forever (or a good majority of the day), and I would rather join in the festivities.

So, from the Oasis for YA girls....


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: What's Your MC Thankful For?

Since we're coming up on Thanksgiving, I thought we might try a little exercise to force you to peer more closely inside your main character and ask: what is she thankful for?

I know my own list of blessings this year includes my family, my health, my job and my Oasis sisters.  But I imagine my teen characters would have quite a different sounding list.

For instance (and Nikki, you can correct me if I'm wrong), our main character in Beneath the Surface - Wren - would probably be thankful for these things:

* her BFF, Andi
* her iPhone
* being elected captain of the tennis team for her senior year
* speed boats
* her parents' extended vacation
* a hot new boyfriend, whose sweet personality makes up for his untamed Greek eyebrows and over-sensitive nose

What about your main character? Is she thankful to make it through a day without a ghost bothering her?  Is she thankful her dad survived a car accident?  Or is it something more shallow, like being thankful she was homecoming queen?

Whatever it is, knowing what sorts of things your character appreciates in life will help you understand her better.  Feel free to share your list below, or leave a list of things your thankful for this year.  Either way, we're thankful for YOU!!

Wishing you a blessed and abundant Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Writer Rollercoaster

It was many moons ago when I had first tried my hand at writing. Like on a roller coaster, I've been up; I've been down. But along the way I've learned so many things. One of the biggest things I've learned is writing is a never ending process of learning.

I would like to share with you three of the most beneficial things I do, or have done, which I feel has helped me along the journey.

1) Reading:

I'm sure you've heard, Read what you write. I'm going to agree with this but also disagree.

You should read what you write, but don't just read...study.

Study the way other authors write, their voice, the way they describe things, how they use dialogue tags, facial expressions, when a character really needs to be described and when one just needs a glossing over, their quirks, how they talk, the way they touch, their physical and emotional feelings, so forth and so on.

The same as above: You should read what you write but don't limit yourself there.

Read everything from adult to YA, from epic fantasy to urban fantasy and all the genres in-between, first person and third person. Read, read, read.

For you to truly study the techniques of writing, you must explore as many different writing styles out there as you possibly can, all the different voices, what captures your attention and took you for the ride to what bored the hell out of you.

Reading this way will help you to find your very own unique voice and give you ideas of how to express yourself in your own unique way.

Because bottom line, the job of an author is to capture the reader's interest and make them care!

2) Critique other people's work...

I'll be the first one to tell you that this is not only time consuming, and it's not always fun. On the flip side, I've read some gems--a couple from my sisters here on Oasis for YA.

Critiquing has helped me tremendously by letting me see first hand how others write, how they describe, if they are being repetitive, if one scene smoothly transfers to the next scene, is the timetable right, and so on. By finding these in others writing, it's helped me find them in my own writing.

Find yourself a small group or even just a single friend and pass around chapters or finished manuscripts. But don't just read it and tell them whether you like it or not.

Actually critique it.

Not only should you look for grammar and punctuation errors but rewrite clunky parts or maybe parts that didn't sit well with you.

This is a great writing exercise for you, and it helps the person that you're critiquing. It shows them specifically what you didn't like, how you might have reworded it differently, as well as open the idea box. Also, it will start conversations for you to discuss and brainstorm together.    

Just be sure when you do this not to be mean about it. It's supposed to be used for learning, not hurting.

3) Edit your own work...

Not just once or twice, but four or five times--or as many times as you see fit--before you send it off to your crit partners or your readers.

I can guarantee you that while you are editing your own work you will think of ways to better describe your scene or maybe see things that don't line up right or whatever.

Also, this will help you clean up your own manuscript a bit, which in turn makes the critiquing part a bit easier for your partner and the read more enjoyable. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Days of Blood and Starlight

It's Tuesday - time to talk about a book in our To Be Read stack.

I know this novel is out already, but I'm desperately trying to wrap up the first draft of my new WIP this week and THEN as a gift to myself, I get to read Days of Blood and Starlight by Lainey Taylor!

I'm beyond excited as I adored Daughter of Smoke and Bone - and I can't wait to immerse myself in Lainey's amazing world and learn the fate of Karou and Akiva.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: The Critique

Congrats and thank you to Rhiann for entering and sharing her first 250 words for critique.

Here is her first 250:

Sporadic blasts of the foghorn heralded our arrival at the lighthouse. The headlights illuminated the mist shrouding the island but couldn’t penetrate it. Once we were out of the car, fog clung to my skin like a veil. The air was thick with the smell of sea creatures, both living and dead.
Aunt Laura and I followed Uncle Ned into the lightkeeper’s cottage. He lumbered up the narrow staircase and carried my suitcase into one of the two bedrooms on the second floor. Laura began to unpack, setting my folded clothes on the narrow white bed.
“Darling, shouldn’t you start making dinner?” Ned asked. He was slightly out of breath.
“Yes, of course.” Laura scurried away.
Ned stepped towards me. I grabbed an armful of sweaters and held them to my chest as if their soft wool could protect me, like an armored breastplate.  
“When is Pearl’s funeral?” The words scraped past the clump of grief damming my throat.
“Tomorrow at ten thirty. Just a private service with the two of us, and your Aunt Laura. A friend of mine will officiate.” He went on to mention my father’s other siblings whom I’d never met. “Bartholomew is in Kiev with his circus and Rowena is somewhere in Africa doing God’s work. Neither can make the trip on such short notice. Needless to say, your father won’t be attending. It will be a difficult day, but we’ll be a great comfort to each other.”
“I’ll be fine,” I whispered, then gathered my quivering lip between my teeth.

And our thoughts:

Sporadic blasts of the a foghorn heralded our arrival at the lighthouse. The headlights illuminated the mist shrouding the island but couldn’t penetrate it. [THE WORD CHOICES HERE SIGNIFY A VERY FORMAL VOICE ... PERHAPS SOMETHING HISTORICAL. IF THAT'S YOUR INTENTION, GOOD! IF NOT, BE CAUTIOUS.] Once we were out of the car, fog clung to my skin like a veil. The air was thick with the smell of sea creatures, both living and dead.

Aunt Laura and I followed Uncle Ned into the lightkeeper’s cottage. He lumbered up the narrow staircase and carried my suitcase into one of the two bedrooms on the second floor. Laura began to unpack, setting my folded clothes on the narrow white bed. [This is all lovely, but I get no sense of your main character here. From the end of this sample, she’s clearly full of emotions. Show us some of them to help us connect to her right from the start.]
“Darling, shouldn’t you start making dinner?” Ned asked. He was slightly out of breath.
“Yes, of course.” Laura scurried away.
Ned stepped towards me. I grabbed an armful of sweaters and held them to my chest as if their soft wool could protect me, like an armored breastplate.  
“When is Pearl’s funeral?” The words scraped past the clump of grief damming my throat. [AT THIS POINT I'M WONDERING WHO PEARL IS TO HER? IS THERE A REASON YOU KEEP IT A SECRET?]

“Tomorrow at ten thirty. Just a private service with the two of us, and your Aunt Laura. A friend of mine will officiate.” He went on to mention my father’s other siblings whom I’d never met. “Bartholomew is in Kiev with his circus and Rowena is somewhere in Africa doing God’s work. Neither can make the trip on such short notice. Needless to say, your father won’t be attending. It will be a difficult day, but we’ll be a great comfort to each other.”
“I’ll be fine,” I whispered, then gathered my quivering lip between my teeth.
Ned is clearly a scary dude, and your main character (no sense of age or gender yet) clearly has reason to be afraid of him. I really love your last sentence about pulling the quivering lip between her teeth. I think you have a wonderful flair for describing. Just punch this up with some emotional connection for the reader, and I think you have a nice opening here.

How did we do? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Keeping Your Creative HEART In The Publishing Business

Here on the Oasis, Wednesdays are for sharing writerly wisdom. And what better wisdom to share then how to stay your creative course, protecting your heart from the business of publishing.

I've done just that, today, over on Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing. Take a hop over and tell me what you think.

For those who don't know, WOW Wednesday Posts are their regular author to writer feature. Authors share their most important pieces of advice from their writing journeys, how they made the leap from writer to author. Click HERE to check out what I had to share!! Psst....make sure to leave a comment and I'll comment back.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

TBR Tuesday: RENEGADE by our very own J.A. Souders

Can you believe it?  In one week - seven short days - our very own J.A. Souders will see her debut YA novel available in print in the US!  Cue the confetti!
 I'm sure Jess can hardly believe this dream is about be reality, but for anyone who has read RENEGADE, it's no mystery to us why her book got picked up by Tor Teen - it's freakin' awesome!  And look at that cover - amazing.
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

If you want to get in on the goodness too, add RENEGADE to your TBR list on Goodreads.  You won't be sorry!  But before you go, be sure to tell Jess congrats.  :)  AND WHILE WE'RE CELEBRATING, TODAY IS LARISSA'S BIRTHDAY!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE VERY SWEET AND TALENTED OASIS SISTER!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WRITER WEDNESDAY: the interview

(Picture take during 3rd photo shoot for the BROKEN trailer)

So, you're active in the YA world. You're a reader, a blogger, a writer. Heck, maybe an agent or editor out scoping the Net for info on an author you're considering. (I've heard they do that...) Someone posts a link to an interview. Do you go check it out? Do you even like interviews?

Having done two interviews for various sources in the past week, I'm curious how much play these things really get in our world. Are interviews just people talking about things you aren't interested in? Are they page-fillers people skim on their way down to the almost always coinciding giveaway? Do readers actually care enough about the authors/interviewees to read the interview? and, if so, what kind of questions do you like to see asked and answered? Do you prefer them short, or long? If you go to a blog and find a looong interview, do you stay to read it all?

This could help us tailor how we do interviews, and maybe give readers more of what they want to see. Let's talk about this!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Does FAKING IT Look Like To A YAer?

A special treat has arrived for all you Oasis Seekers. To honor our TBR Tuesday post, I'm highlighting a fabulous book by a dear cyber friend. Okay, yeah I'm cheating. I've read it. Yes and I loved it! But it's a story so different from what I normally read, I wanted to share it with all of you.

Anyone heard of Janet Gurtler, author of the YA contemporary novels I'm Not Her and If I Tell? Well, this book reminds me of those.

the Truth about Faking by Leigh T. Moore

Jason just wants a date with Harley. 
Harley just wants a date with Trent. 
Trent's still getting over Stephanie.

When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent's got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent. 

Worst of all, Harley's mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley's Reverend Dad can't fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?

Now available on Amazon, B&N Nook, Kobo, & Smashwords!

I'll be releasing my official review soon over on Writer's Alley. 

Seriously, if you're looking for a true contemporary novel, not over-played by too much of today's moral, political, or social issues, then this is your book.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First 250 Words Critique Contest

It's another Whoseywhatsit critique contest!! For you brave souls in search of pulls-no-punches feedback and willing and let us share your first 250 words on the blog, this is the contest for you. It can be the first 250 of a short story, novel, whatever you feel like.

Four of the Oasis Sisters - Judy, Larissa, Nikki and Jessie - are going to sit down with the winning entry and have a stab at it.  It will be like having ALL four of us as your bestest critique buddies.  We will be nice, I promise!!

  • Contest closes Monday, October 29th.  
  • We will email the winner, who needs to send us the first 250 words by Thursday, November 1st.
  • On November 8th all of the comments will be sent back to the winner, and a sampling will be posted here (so others can learn from the feedback).
Leave your name and e-mail address in the comments. Tell us if you follow us on the blog, Facebook or twitter and we'll give you an extra entry for each.  Winner will be selected using random.org.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, we will select a new winner (as you can see from the timeline, we're under a tight deadline).

In the meantime, good luck to all who enter and happy writing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Writer Wednesday: How Do You Do It? Part 2

After reading A.E.'s great post last Wednesday, I ran into a couple of nuggets in the blogosphere that sort of fit what she was talking about in a perfect way.

I was reading the lovely Nikki Loftin's blog on a presentation she did in Texas, and she mentioned the Save the Cat beat sheet, and linked to it here.  I'm in the middle of Save the Cat, so I was immediately intrigued and clicked around on @lizwritesbooks's site.

And that's where I found this gem:

Liz had linked to it in reference to a shorter version of the Save the Cat beat sheet involving 7-point plotting.  It's a 5-part video presentation by Dan Wells on plotting, and it's AMAZING.  It takes a little under an hour to view all 5 videos, but it is SO WORTH IT.

I think my favorite thing about it is what relates back to A.E.'s post last week.  Dan talks about how this plotting method works whether you do it before you write (like an outline), or do it after (if you're a pantser).  And he uses awesome examples. He's an entertaining presenter. :)

If you take the time to watch the videos, I'd love to hear what your favorite part was. (Believe me. YOU WANT TO TAKE THE TIME TO WATCH THEM.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's On Your Reading List

Oh! I'm so excited. My very first post!!!! 

And it gets to be something great! I get to talk about a book I want to read. YAY!

For my first To-Be-Read Tuesday, I've chosen a book that I can't wait till the release date.

From the first time I read the blurb and saw the cover, I knew this was something for me. It sounds great, and the cover is just creepy. I am a fan of creepy.

So, I would like to recommend DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM  by Mary Gray--expected publication Oct. 8, 2013 by Spencer Hill Press.

I know, a whole year from now. But, I'll wait, impatiently. 

See, it is a creepy cover!

And here's the blurb. 

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when seventeen-year-old Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they'll be safe. 
But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

What do you think? Does the blurb sound interesting to you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writer Wednesday: "How do you do it?"

That up there is my Note Card Outline of Doom for the book I'm working on now. It stretched from one end of my dining room table to the other. As I stood on the chair with my camera, trying to get the entire thing into frame, I had a wild thought that it kinda looks like a spine...granted, there's a few protrusions... But tell me you can see what I mean?

This plot = story spine equation dovetails into my post today. "How do you do it?" Since I've sold a book to a publisher, I've had this question from starting writers. It's related to everything from as general to writing a book, to plotting/outlining, to editing/revising.

The first thing I tell someone is it's all in the semantics of the word and the writer. How one relates to the other. There are as many right ways to write a book as there are writers to do it. What works for me now didn't work for me at the start, and I certainly can't say it will work for anyone else.

I used to be a pantser with plotitudinal tendencies. I had a general idea of where to start a book and where to end it, and some key scenes in-between, then I cobbled them together and pantsed from point to point. Somehow that all changed. Now I outline viciously, not every scene, but at least every chapter. I speak to writer friends who discovery write, and don't know what their next scene will be because their characters haven't decided yet. And I think, "That used to be me..."

It wasn't until a newbie author, sent to me for a recommendation by my agent, asked the type of question above that it really got me wondering. How do YOU do it? Are our Oasis visitors pantsers? Plotters? Do you write from a "What if" question? Do you know your endings? Have you changed your game like me?

Let's chat about this. Maybe we can help each other, and someone else, too. Put lots of "How I do it" answers or people to see, maybe give a test drive, even.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's On Your Reading List?

For today's To-Be-Read Tuesday, I've chosen a book that has recently come to my attention. I knew the moment I read the blurb I just had to have it.

Meet Jane.

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. 

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin. 

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. 

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey. 

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

Title: Ironskin
Author: Tina Connolly
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: October 9, 2012
Pages: 304

Purchase: Macmillian site, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Add to your Goodreads list.

What do you think is most intriguing about this blurb? Or what's missing?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Fall Writing Prompt

It's time for another Whoseywhatsit writing prompt, from yours truly. This week's topic ...


It's finally cooling off in southern Cali (although I fear it won't last) - so I'm all about wearing jeans and boots, watching our palm trees change color (just kidding!) and prepping for Halloween and all the fun fall activities.

You have up to 250 words to get your character in a fall state of mind - develop a flashback, write a poem, try something new, whatever you want. Post those words below and then comment on at least one other person's writing. (You don't need to necessarily critique it, this isn't polished writing people!)

Ready. Set. Go!

(And here's mine ...)

The candles flickered in the hallway, casting dancing shadows along the walls as we raced past. Maria grabbed my hand and pulled me along, both of us giggling behind our masks. My pulse still raced from the dance we'd completed mere minutes ago. A standing ovation had ushered us out of the room so we could change into our costumes and join the throng of people milling about the estate.

"Did you see him?" I asked, ducking my head toward hers so Bianca and the other girls wouldn't hear.

"Who?" Maria asked, leading me over to the table of sweets.

"The boy. Over by the fountain. With the dark hair?" How could she not have noticed him. It was all I could do not to stare and trip over my own feet.

She shook her head. "Is he still here?"

"I don't know." I grabbed a pastry and nibbled at a piece. "But I intend to find out."

Just then, the feather-soft touch of fingers raced up my bare arm and a voice spoke in my ear. "Care to dance?"

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