Monday, October 29, 2018

Hot Genres - #Horror Mashups

Tis the season for Horror. But Horror is not my genre--I don't like to be scared. Thrilled--yes. Grossed out or freaked out--no. Mashups put a new twist on the classics. With agents looking for "new & exciting," a great mashup might be the way to go. I can do mashups. Horror/Comedy, like SCREAM. And sometimes I like Horror/Sci Fi, like ALIEN. Horror/Fantasy might be interesting too, does VAN HELSING count for that?

Since I'm not the best at Horror, I'm giving you all over to my Shout Out of the Week...

For me, good horror is always about the unexpected. Taking the mundane and turning it into a horror fest has always been Stephen King's claim to fame. And yes, he's my go-to guy for horror. I'd recommend just about anything he's written! I say just about because I think some of his most recent work is lacking a good editor, but once you've achieved his status...

Halloween with Jamie Curtis, is my all time favorite horror movie. (No remakes please!)

As far as a tip for writing horror or any genre, it's all about the questions.

For instance, I took three pictures for Halloween this month and then spent some time studying them. Then I started asking questions. What is happening in this desolate dark forest... What happens at this cabin in the woods... And how does an individual become a ghost... If you check my posts for October, you'll see the results. Although, I have no rhyme or reason for why the answers came as poetry. Writing just happens that way. Ask your muse (the unconscious mind) the question you need answered, and just be ready for the answer, no matter what that is. Honestly, it's how I work.

About Yolanda Renée...
While living in Alaska, Renée learned to sleep under the midnight sun, fly fish, cross-country ski, and survive the bitter cold. She hiked the Brooks Range and traveled the state from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The tough terrain sent her onto her next adventure--writing. The beautiful state of Alaska is like another character in her mystery trilogy. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska fill each novel, as well as murder and mayhem.

The Detective Quaid mysteries weave a rich tapestry of love, obsession, and murder. She's about to finish and publish, the 5th book in the Detective Quaid Series: Murder, Just Because.

She now lives in Myrtle Beach, SC--a far cry from frigid Alaska--but she's still inspired to write as she researches a noir mystery with Murder Beach in mind (the nickname for Myrtle Beach).

In the end, agents and publishers are looking for a combination of a great story, but more importantly, a great storyteller. You be you. It's a scary business, but worth it!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 15, 2018

7 Fun Ways to Do Research

Ever take your characters to a foreign land? Go back in time for some historical fiction? Want to create new gadgets but want them to sound plausible?


I love researching for my stories, so it's always fun! And research isn't just for big stuff, it's for little stuff too--like names (Carrie-Anne is a pro at all things Russian history, especially names!), accurate time zones, the speed of things, proper slang terms, etc. Not to mention how long it takes a body to decompose in certain conditions...

So here are 7 Fun Ways to do Research...
  1. Online - everyone looks online these days. But be careful. No Wikis where people can mess with the data entry. Use trustworthy sites.
  2. Ask a professional - many people would love to talk about their work, especially if it means they'll get a shout out in a book!
  3. Survey your friends - it's always fun and useful to hear what your friends on social media think of a topic or situation, or to have them vote on a name
  4. Phone a friend - friends are also useful if they are actual pros on the subject, a lawyer, a foreign national, a pilot.
  5. Read! - Read non-fiction and fiction on the topic. Read magazine articles and get the latest info.
  6. Take a class - cooking, self-defense, tap-dancing, learning another language, so much to discover!
  7. Take a walk - Go outside, go to a mall, a park, a ball game, an airport... Observe, watch, listen, learn. Research is fun!
How do you research?


C. Lee is a strong, intelligent woman--I want to be like her when I grow up! She's lived all over the globe, from California to Hong Kong to Laos, Cambodia to New York and back.

Besides reading and writing, she loves two things: hiking and Yoga. Well, three things if you count eating, and that’s why she loves to hike. These are also besides spending time with family and friends. Oh, and growing her own salad. And cats—can't forget the cats!

Lee writes amazing Young Adult novels and wonderful, fun Middle Grade. Plus, she gives awesome writing advice and encouragement. Such a primo example of everything a great author should be. And I'm honored to call her my friend.

Check her out!

And a final PS: Honorable mention is validation in my book!

I recently entered a challenge at Janet Reid's blog (she's a very famous NYC agent who gives advice to writers in her own special, snarky way, in case you didn't know)
And she enjoyed it!

Here it is.

So, go do some research, enter a contest, and check out C. Lee!

And here's the link to my STREET TEAM form, if you're interested--thanks!

Yay for Fall!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It's your party and you can cry if you want to!

Tears are cleansing. Don't let anyone tell you there's no crying in writing. Whoever says that isn't doing it right.

Welcome to October’s Insecure Writers Support Group - we share because we care (Name that Movie, but the share is ‘scare’ in the actual quote)

There’s a time to be strong, but there’s also a time to cry. It’s okay to let it all out. A good cry is cathartic and stress-relieving. I'd say I cry about once a week or so. That might sound like a lot, but I'm going through some major changes lately (2 sons flying the coop and the sweet one turned into a teenage monster overnight, WAH! plus we're trying to sell our house--talk about stressful!) But please do not feel sorry for me! I'm okay with crying a little then I move on. I have tons of high moments too, lots of inspiration and hope. The low times make the high times feel even better, am I right?

So when those rejections hit, and I know they hit hard! go ahead and cry about it. Just don't give up. Keep working and improving. You will connect with the right publishing option at the right time.

Now, for my SHOUT OUT of the Week!

Juneta is super sweet and supportive. She's a big proponent of short stories and the quarterly writing challenge, the Storytime Blog Hop (founded by Holly Lisle) Check it out and give it a try sometime!

More about Juneta - she's Texas born and raised, living in Central Florida--hanging out with pirates and playing with the dolphins. And in her spare time, she makes Magic! A Story Spinner, Tale Weaver, Fate-maker, World Creator, Mythology Bender, Star Mapper, Journey Planner, Fortune Teller.

Fun Fact: Juneta used to be a police/fire/EMT-911 communications dispatch. 

She writes half speculative fiction and half Gothic. She's also a moderator for the Insecure Writer's Support Group Goodreads Book Club. Right now, Juneta is working on her novel in a Ninja Write-Along with Shaunta Grimes founder of Ninja Writers Club. This will be Juneta's first finished novel. She has also written several flash fiction/short stories that you can find on her website.

And here are a couple of quotes by Juneta... (I love quotes!)

"The best thing about being a writer is you don’t have to make excuses for pretending. It’s part of the job." -- Juneta Key

"Life is the mythology of living that creates the stories of our lives and imaginations." -- Juneta Key

How to catch up with Juneta:

And lastly, I'd love to have you join me on my adventures. Sign up for my street team--anyone who volunteers will get early info, freebies, and more!

Thanks for your support and for stopping by! Happy October!

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