Monthly Archives: May 2012

Reading: May 2012

I don’t review books, but I rate them on my GoodReads profile.

It had been a while since I last read a craft book, so I decided to start the month reading one.


The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass


The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross


All I Want For Christmas by Ros Clarke


No Dress Required by Cari Quinn


The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter


Traitor by Rachel Morgan


Switched by Amanda Hocking



Links about Writing – part 3

Here are more links of posts (old and recent) about writing that I found pretty helpful or/and good or/and interesting.

You can see my other posts like this one: Part 1, Part 2, and also the Links About Inspiration.


Twelve writers woes and the books to cure them. 

Developmental and Structural editing.

Writing toward your midpoint.

Save the Snyder: The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet.

Making depressing character likable.

Ten things you should know about endings.

Reasons agents stop.

25 Reasons I hate your main character.

Writing advice from C.S. Lewis.

Stress Less, Write More.

Man up! Writing male POV.

What about characters who don’t match stereotypical male and female qualities.

Women are from Venus, Men are annoying.

Male POV.

What if our story idea has already been done.

What’s my motivation tips on showing. 

Re-write Wednesday: First look at first.

Basics dorky dialogue.

Show don’t tell, what the hell!

Why show don’t tell.

Standing on my skyscraper. 

Editing Tips on Tightening.

That’s so annoying: Adding small problems to the plot.

What’s at stake? Who do you make readers care for your story?

Using 12 stages of physical intimacy to build tension. 

12 steps of Intimacy.

How to wow the editor with your first 3 chapters.

Common query problem, also Kung Fu Panda.

Before fingers touch Keyboard, my 6 pre-writing steps. 

Save the cat!

Screenplay structure.

4 ways to hook your readers and keep them.

5 ways novelists can benefit from watching movies and tv-shows.

Does every scene need a goal?

Delete, delete, delete!

Oh, what now? Fixing a stalled scene.

How to dish out backstory in digestible bites.

How to write a perfect first draft.

9 squares to plotting fiction.

How to write a 1 page synopsis.

The hero’s journey.

Katy’s Upperman writing process.

On passive voice.

Secret trick. 

4 tips on plotting your novel.

25 things to know about writing the first chapter.

Query Series: April Tucholke and Joanna Volpe. 


Hope they are useful to you too!


Holy Cauldron-bats, is it the caped crusader…Merlin? by Priya Ardis

Today I have Priya Ardis on the blog talking about her new book MY MERLIN AWAKENING.

A young Merlin has woken and must manipulate a high school girl so he can wield Excalibur to stop a devastating natural disaster, but then falls in love with her.

Take it away, Priya:

Holy Cauldron-bats, is it the caped crusader…Merlin?

You’ve heard the legends. His name pops up everywhere. Merlin. He’s some old dude with a long white beard, pointy hat, and robes. But does the most powerful wizard in the world really have to be a cartoon character? Well, I thought, why not trade in the robe for…tights?

While the Legend of Arthur is a classic story and the underlying themes of brotherhood, nobility, and the infamous love triangle still appeal today, when was the last time you looked at them through a more modern lens? If you think about it, Merlin has always been the Arthurian superhero. In the My Merlin Series, I sharpened the focus on this idea.

So, how to modernize Merlin as a superhero?

First, every superhero needs an alter-ego. Okay, no tights I promise. Actually I prefer jeans and a biker jacket. That’s what Clark Kent wore when he was being badass—under the influence of red kryptonite, of course. The classic struggle for the superhero is his dual identity. Is he really Clark Kent/Peter Parker/BruceWayne? Or is he really the superhero? Which one does he want to be? In My Merlin, Merlin’s alter-ego is Matt. This is a huge struggle in the book for Merlin…does he want to be the “Most Powerful Wizard in the World” or does he want to be plain-old Matt?

Second, every superhero needs an equally powerful super-villain. Yeah, there are minion bad guys but there is only one we truly love to hate. Batman had the Joker. Superman vs. Lex Luthor. When you think about the legends, Merlin didn’t really have one. The legends say that Merlin was tricked into defeat by a witch/nymph/girl called Viviane/Nimue. In My Merlin, Merlin has one very powerful and contentious relationship—his brother Vivane, aka Vane. After all, brothers can make the best friends but as archenemies they can be truly devastating.

Third, every superhero needs a super-power. Well, this was a no brainer. Merlin is the most powerful wizard in the world and all that. But his true super-power lies in being able to tell the future. (Not that he can necessarily stop the visions from happening!)

Fourth, every superhero needs to obsess over—the girl. Calling Lois Lane. In My Merlin, Arriane, aka Ryan, gives our hero a run for his magic. Since the story is told from her point of view, it’s interesting to see what our hero looks like from her perspective. Also she’s the tipping point…leading us into the last superhero modernization of Merlin…

Fifth, every superhero needs a cause in the here and now. Batman saves the city. Superman saves the world. I think Thor saved the galaxy. In My Merlin, the sword and stone crashes out of nowhere into the middle of London. Why is it here? What does it mean?  It can’t be good. Turn on the Merlin-signal, commissioner. We need a hero!

Want more Merlin? Watch the “If you can’t trust your boyfriend, who can you trust?” trailer:


My Boyfriend Merlin, Book 1, is available through most major book retailers. My Merlin Awakening, Book 2, is now available in limited release at Barnes and Noble. It will be out in full release in mid-June 2012.  Ever My Merlin, Book 3, will be available in late 2012. Add it to-read on Goodreads (

Read Reviews and Excerpts at: Author WebsiteAmazonB&N and Goodreads.


About the Author: I love stories of all kinds–but especially the gooey ones that make your nose leak and let your latte go cold. I started my first novel at sixteen, writing in notebooks on a long train ride in India during a hot summer vacation. My favorite Arthurian piece is the poem The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson and a gorgeous song by Loreena McKennitt. A hopeless romantic, I’m a longtime member of the Romance Writer’s of America.

Connect with Priya Ardis at: Website, Blog,  Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.


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#ROW80 and NTS Check-in 05/27

If you’re here for my entry for the Curiosity Quills contest, click here.

Hello friends!

Here are my goals and how I’m doing:

  • Organize my new home and my new schedule. Done.
  • Once my life is normal again (or almost), find a gym and exercise 3 times per week. Done.
  • Participate on Crafting the Sensual Novella Workshop from April 9th to May 6th. Done.
  • Finish revising my novel, DESTINY GIFT. Done. BUT IT’LL COME BACK NEXT WEEK!
  • Start a new novel or novella and get as far as I can with it. I finished the novelette, revised it, sent it off to betas and CPs (got back from one already). This week I plotted, outlined, revised and revised again, and also wrote a total of 4800 words toward a new novella. I had planned writing another 2k to 3k on Friday, but I was assaulted by a migraine late morning, and, when I went to bed, it was still going strong. It was a terrible day … it had been a while since I last had a  migraine like that. Hope it stays away for a long while this time too lol
  • In June, participate of the JuNoWriMo. Waiting for June.
  • Read 5 books each month (year total = 60). On track.
  • Social network: blog at least once a week (not counting #ROW80 checkins), comment on blogs every other day, and tweet a little everyday. Done.

And the revisions of DESTINY GIFT are back, yes. Next week, you’ll see me tackling into it ;)

Peeps from the afternoon #ROW80 sprints: I’ll try to continue participating, but I’ll be leading sprints through the JuNoWriMo twitter account from 1pm to 4pm on weekdays (EST) during the month of June … so, I’ll be online in 2 accounts and try to do sprints on both lol Let’s see if I can … if I can’t, I’ll drop our sprints, because I compromised with the JuNoWriMo event and I won’t start by doing something wrong with it ;)

And that’s it for now.

Don’t forget to check out the other members of ROW80 here.

Happy Holiday!


Being Opposites, by Jacqueline Gardner

If you’re here for my entry for the Curiosity Quills contest, click here.


Today I have Jacqueline Gardner here on the blog talking about her new book, MUTINY, book 1 of the M.E.R. series.

Eric’s life aboard a top secret stealth submarine as a member of the government’s M.E.R. program has been about discipline, cunning and survival. As both a soldier and a natural born regenerator, he can heal from any wound, but to stay alive he must accept a vein-burning serum that prevents his DNA from over-mutating.  In exchange Eric must follow his Chief Commander’s every order.  And never ask questions, no matter the assignment. 

When he goes ashore on his first solo mission he runs into a complication he didn’t expect; Mariella, the target’s daughter.  She’s about to change everything.


Being Opposites

My husband and I are opposites.  He has blond hair and blue eyes, and I have black hair and brown eyes.  He can have hour long conversations with complete strangers, and I have a hard time opening up to people.  He’s a total early bird, and I’m a die-hard night owl.  And the list goes on and on.

When the two of us first started dating, I would always come home thinking the same thing.  I really like him but we have absolutely nothing in common!  But after getting to know him better, I realized I was wrong.  Though opposites at first glance, we were actually a lot more alike than either of us had ever thought.  So much in fact that it didn’t take long for us to start thinking the same things at the same time.

In my book MUTINY, Eric and Mariella (the two main characters) are complete opposites.  Eric is a soldier who thinks a lot like a computer.  He calculates probabilities and scenarios before making a choice, and he has been brought up to always follow orders.  Mariella is a rule-breaker.  She usually acts before she thinks, and she lets her emotions guide her decision making.

By the end of the book, Eric and Mariella discover that they are tied together in a way they never could have imagined.  Their personalities actually complement each other and they end up learning something new about themselves.  First impressions usually aren’t correct.

About the author:

Jacqueline Gardner works as a Story Editor for the production company, Labragirl Pictures.  Her love of storytelling began at an early age when she would make up stories with her grandmother before bedtime.  In early 2010, she completed her first novel and has been stuck on writing ever since.  She resides in Colorado and loves hiking, writing, fantasy fiction, and all things cupcake.

Find her on her website, Facebook and Twitter.


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Entry for Destiny Gift

The lovely  is hosting a great contest with Krystal Wade, one of the editors from Curiosity Quills.

And this is my entry for the contest:



Nadine Sterling’s world is covered in darkness.

Natural catastrophes, disorder, and crime run wild. Humanity believes God has abandoned them.

Even in this chaotic world, Nadine’s life is normal—NYU student, barista in a coffee shop, talented singer, and dutiful daughter—except for her visions of Victor Gianni, her imaginary boyfriend.

She has excuses for her visions: exhaustion, daydreaming, and hallucinations, but is forced to confront them when she bumps into a real Victor, one who doesn’t know her and shuns her away. After the encounter, Nadine’s visions change to those of eerie fates, gods she’s never heard of, demons with sharp claws they are not timid to use … and instructions.

To discover whether she’s losing her mind or involved in a larger, obscure scheme, Nadine must follow the instructions—with the real, rude Victor—before the evil behind the darkness catches up with them.

DESTINY GIFT is new adult paranormal romance complete at 70,000. It would be perfect as a stand alone, but I do have plans to create a trilogy called EVERLAST.


First 500 words:

If telepathy or soul-seeing existed, Dr. Larsen was using her powers and performing one of those, if not all, on me. Behind her cat like glasses, her eyes were uncanny and cold. She was analyzing me. My posture, my gestures, my eyes.

I averted my gaze from hers and sat on top of my hands, hoping they would stop shaking.

“Nadine Sterling,” she began, her tone almost caring. “What brings you to me today?”

The insanity of mind, I could say. Or that my regular psychologist was busy, and since I had to follow the university policy and have my weekly session today, I had no choice but to meet with her. However, there were no rules specifying I should open up to her, so I didn’t say anything.

“Nadine?” Her tone became more pressing.

I glanced back at her. Her knuckles were white around her pen, her foot swung rapidly from her crossed legs, and her hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail which gave me the impression she would freak if any strand fell loose. I didn’t like her. I didn’t feel at ease with her.

She sighed, leaning back on her chair. “I know it is difficult to trust someone you don’t know, but I’m here to help you.”

True, though that didn’t make confessing my sins any easier.

Should I try? I barely spoke about the insane things lurking in my mind to Cheryl and she was the psychologist assigned to me. She was more than that. Since I was accepted into NYU almost one year ago, when she became my therapist, Cheryl also became my friend.

More than once, an idea popped in my mind: our friendship hindered my chances of opening up to her. What if I told her about my problems and she pushed me away? I couldn’t afford losing her friendship.

My luck shone a little brighter when I thought about opening up to someone I didn’t know well. How could I lose a friend I didn’t have?

I let myself relax.

My mind took off to the place I most loved and, at the same time, most feared. “I have dreams.”

One of Dr. Larsen’s delicate brows cocked up. “Dreams? About?”

My eyes focused on the darkness coming through the large window behind her. It was afternoon and the sky was dark grey. In the distance, I could see the streetlights forming shadows over the tall decaying buildings that once formed famous Manhattan. A bat or two flew around. If I stood up and peeked down, over the university walls, there would be hookers and junkies and muggers milling the streets, and litter tossed through the lanes. If I were on the sidewalk outside the school, reek would invade my nose, making me gag.

“In my dreams, New York isn’t like that. The world isn’t like that.” I pointed toward the dark outside. “The world isn’t in chaos, the huge bats aren’t attacking people right on the streets, the agriculture isn’t in crises. In my dreams, the world is safe. The sun shines high up in the blue sky.”


And, because I love pics (who doesn’t?), here is Nadine:

Image by Suzanne van Pelt.


What do you think of my entry? Any suggestions to improve it?


Cast for the Destiny Series, by Laura DeLuca

I have Laura DeLuca today on the blog, talking about her new book, DESTINY UNVEILED, book 2 of the Destiny Series.

Gabriella and Darron thought their magickal battle was over when they defeated the evil warlock, Richard. When her Aunt Donna seeks Gabriella’s help in rescuing her catatonic daughter from the Dark Coven, Gabriella discovers that her cousin holds a power within her that would be catastrophic in the hands of the evil witches. 

Gabriella’s coven sets out on a journey that may be their last. Along the way, they meet new allies, face devastating treachery, and battle not only the Dark Coven, but the darkness within themselves.  When Gabriella finally comes face to face with the cousin she never knew existed, her true destiny is unveiled, and the fate of the mortal world is in her hands.

Read an except of Destiny Unveiled. Buy it on Smashwords or Amazon.


Take it away, Laura: 

Cast for The Destiny Series

I think every writer dreams of the day they’ll see their books on the big screen.  Even if that did happen with Destiny, I doubt I would have much say over the casting. But it’s still fun to dream, and to pick out the cast!  I have been working on my cast for Destiny since I first started writing the books back in the 90’s. I’ve made changes as new faces have emerged, but there are a few that have stayed the same all these years. Today I thought I’d share by current picks for the main characters in Destiny & Destiny Unveiled. Some of these folks may already be too old to play teenagers, but it’s all in good fun.

Gabrielle DiPaola – Nina Dorbrev

I have been struggling with my pick for the lead of Gabriella for years. But finally, thanks to my husband’s love of the Sci Fi channel, I have made my decision. He was watching some movie about a werewolf and she was the star. Nina is exactly the way I envisioned Gabriella. She will need some colored contacts for the violet eyes, but I think Hollywood can pull it off.

Darron Zukawski-Evan Williams

Having a tween in the house has really helped with this task. I saw this guy in an episode of “Victorious” and I knew I had finally found my Darron. Looks like he has only had a few small roles, but I want to give him his big break as the male lead in Destiny.


Monte Holden – Andrew DiPalma

Believe it or not, this handsome young man is my baby cousin. He has been doing pretty well on the acting scene with some small roles in movies like “We are Marshall” and most recently, a hilarious part in an episode of “Cougar Town”. He just turned thirty, so we always joke that they need to hurry up and make Destiny into a movie before he’s too old to be in it.  You can check out my cousin on his website. Wow, an actor and a writer! Aren’t we one seriously talented family?! LOL

Flora Zarfati-Heather Matarazzo

My daughter definitely had a hand in finding Heather.  She loves the Princess Diaries, and Heather played Mia’s best friend. While I had to stereotype such a great actress into the dorky best friend role, she is definitely fitting for that part.


Richard Hodge-David Bowie

I always knew I wanted David Bowie to play Richard. He was the right look, and even the sexy British accent. And we all know he has that dark side to him after his amazing portrayal of the Goblin King in “The Labyrinth”. On a side note, Richard name was originally Gunther, but I decided to change his name after meeting one of the insurance underwriters I worked with from Lloyds of London. He wasn’t an evil warlock or anything, but he did have a hot British accent.

Adelaide DiPaola – Laura Bonariggo

I grew up watching “One Life to Live” with my grandmother, and Laura played one of my favorite characters, Cassie Carpenter. I always thought she was so beautiful when I was a little girl, so of course she would be my first pick to play the role of Gabby’s mom.


Hugh DiPaola-Kevin Sorbo

I have always been a huge fan of Kevin Sorbo ever since he was on Hercules (I know my dorkiness is showing again), so I had to squeeze him into the cast somewhere. He’s definitely too old play a teen, but I decided he’d be perfect for Gabby’s dad. But maybe that’s just because I want to see him in his underwear…

Linda Holden – Cassie DePaiva

Cassie is another “One Life to Live” star (I am so sad that they cancelled it). She is not only a fabulous actress and amazing singer; she’s also a really nice lady. I have an aunt with Downs Syndrome who adores Cassie, and she sent her a personal letter in her own handwriting , as well as a bunch of signed photos. It will also be really cool to reunite Cassie and Laura because they played cousins on “One Life To Live”.

Donna Brown-Sarah Alexander

If you’ve seen “Stardust”, you might recognize Sarah Alexander as one of the three witches. I chose her to play Donna because she actually has similar features to the real Donna, and the same small, pixie like stature. I would want her to darken up her hair for the role, but aside from that, she’s perfect. Donna is one of my best friends and coven sisters. She is also the one who encouraged me to make Destiny a series, so it only seemed fitting to make her a character.

Miranda Brown-Elizabeth Gillies

Miranda has an attitude from the second she comes on the scene, and Elizabeth Gillies has experience with attitude.  She plays one of the characters in “Victorious” and I don’t think I ever saw her smile.


Of course, there are other characters who I’d like to cast, but I didn’t want to make this post go on forever. These are the main characters. Most of them are in both books, except for Donna and Miranda who make their first appearance in Destiny Unveiled.  I really don’t watch much television or movies, so finding suitable actors is harder than you might think.

Did you read the books? Do you like my casting choices, or do you know of someone who might be a better fit? I’d love for others to share their casting choices for the Destiny series.

***Photos as seen on***

About the author:

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children.

She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama.

She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.

Find her at her Blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


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Cover Love: Succubus Lost

Today I have the honor of revealing the cover for SUCCUBUS LOST by Tiffany Allee, book 2 in the series From The Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, coming from Entangled Publishing.

First, let me present to you book 1, BANSHEE CHARMER, which I read last month and loved:

When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count…


Now, for the cover of SUCCUBUS LOST:

Someone is kidnapping and incinerating otherworlders beyond recognition, and Detective Marisol Whitman, a succubus, races to find the murderer before he claims another victim. But her pursuit is derailed when her responsible younger sister vanishes. Marisol suspects foul play and enlists support from an unlikely source: an agent from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, Valerio Costa.

When the trail pointing to everyone from vampires to witches dries up, Agent Costa admits to knowing more than he’s shared. Marisol’s sister’s kidnapper harnesses more magic than she can imagine—and they’re running out of time. To find her sister before her powers are drained and twisted beyond recognition, Marisol must connect the dots between cases and put her trust in Costa, a salamander who may burn her before she can solve either case.  


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Doesn’t it look great?


Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

Author of New Adult fiction.

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