Guest posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Seasons best wishes...

I always take time off during December and early January = being the mom of a large family is a full time job that I fit in around work and writing most of the year, but for the Christmas and New Year seasons they get all of me. Not that they particularly want me - the older ones have their own lives and families and interests and the younger ones are at an age where I am little more than a walking wallet - but they all like what I provide at this time of the year - and I don't just mean the wallet part - they like the baking days that I organize, and the late night gift wrapping sessions that the teens help with - and they like the calm that comes when the usual sport activities are suspended and we can go to movies on a weeknight evening or maybe even just go for an extra long walk with the dogs. This year we will also head to Victoria after Christmas so the younger 5 can shop till they drop and maybe we'll book a couple of nights in a hotel and ring in the New Year in that fair city.

There will also be some drama because you just can't have 14 kids + plus their families and not have someone experiencing some kind of drama - but I can provide a calm to that - the only bonus to aging is that "been there done that" is very true and so I can easily and lovingly provide hugs and strong shoulders as needed.

I won't get any writing time. I'm 2/3 through the sequel to Cleah: The Lost Fury Chronicles - but that will have to wait till after I get back to the office in January. I know the ending, of course, but I can't quite figure out how to get there from where I am so I'll at least make some thinking time and hope that my brain can work it out in the next couple of weeks.

Well fellow writers and fellow wanna be successful writers - I wish you all the best of the season - and may  you enjoy health, success, and happiness in the coming year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest post by Mya Kay author of A Song For Jordan

Title: A Song for Jordan
Author: Mya Kay
Genre: Contemporary YA
Mya Kay’s A SONG FOR JORDAN (Amazon/Mya Kay Publishing; December 15, 2012; $15.00 Print, Kindle $7.99) is a story that will take you along an emotional and mental journey with Jordan Crystal Myers as she searches for a father that her family hates. Everything fifteen-year-old Jordan Crystal Myers knows about music comes from her father, from arranging notes to playing several different instruments. One day, she’d love to meet him.
A musician who left her mother, Melissa, when she was born, Jordan longs to have a relationship with the man that gave her the gift of music. Even knowing that her grandparent’s wanted her mother to abort her and that her mother doesn’t want her to find him doesn’t stop Jordan from asking questions.
A bi-racial teen already facing the pain of being mixed in an image driven society puts her search on hold when she lands a competitive music internship in Atlanta with SyncDeep Music Group, a label run by one of her favorite musicians. For the next six weeks, Jordan gets to arrange music, play and network with some of the music industry’s biggest artists. Two weeks before the internship is over, she’s abruptly fired and finding out her mother is the reason behind her termination causes Jordan to lose all hope – until she realizes she may have just found what she’s been looking for all along.
All the lies she’s heard come to light in this gripping tale that will leave your heart wrenching for Jordan as she searches for the one thing she longs for most. A SONG FOR JORDAN will leave bitter mothers who keep their children away from their fathers feeling sorry for the pain they’ve caused.

Author Bio

Mya Kay is the author or Speechless: Short Stories and a screenwriter. She is currently a teacher in South Korea teaching English as a Second Language. You can follow her on twitter, facebook or learn more about her at her website

Guest Post

Building a Strong “Weak” Protagonist

When I first created Jordan (my protagonist in my newest novel, A Song for Jordan), I knew that I wanted her to be weak. But even weak characters have to have character. Nobody wants to root for an underdog that doesn’t make people sympathize with them. With Jordan, there were three things I wanted to focus on most:

1)    I wanted her to shine even through her weakness.
2)    I wanted her to be compelling.
3)    I wanted readers to be able to see her alter ego (the new her that would eventually shine through)

I think building a strong protagonist is hard enough. But when you have a character that naturally doesn’t put up a fight for the things they want in life, you have to give them another dynamic so that readers will want to know what’s going to happen next with this person.

Jordan actually ended up being stronger than I even I gave her credit for. Whenever she played the piano or wrote a new song, her strength shined through. It was just a silent strength. And it didn’t come packaged the way most people would think.

I believe writers should understand that even when you have a character that is supposed to be “weak” and ends up transforming in the end, there still needs to be a strength that your readers can see, even if it’s subliminal. Here are some key ways to make sure your “weak” character has a poise that your readers still find fascinating:

1.)  Make sure you give your character something they have to gain before the end of the story. Your character shouldn’t just have an outside end goal, but an internal end goal. A lot of How-To books say this, but I think people have to remember that this is especially important with weak characters.
2.)  Make sure your character’s internal goal is realistic. For me, I had to make sure Jordan didn’t get too “strong” too fast. She had a long way to go from being timid to boisterous when it came to relationships in her life. If she had just gone off on someone early in the book, readers would’ve felt like they didn’t know who she was. Even with weak characters, readers want to feel like they know how the person is going to react. The pattern of behavior should only break at some point after the climax.
3.)  Give your antagonist some power. In a book like A Song for Jordan, there was more than one antagonist. Everybody wasn’t a bully, but I definitely needed for my antagonists to have some power. They all were able to control Jordan some way, somehow, even if it was just mentally. It made Jordan’s weakness seem more believable. It was understood that “maybe Jordan acts this way because so-and-so is this way”.
4.)  Finally, make sure your character’s weakness makes sense. Jordan didn’t have to be super weak for her weakness to be believable. It was a matter of making her weakness and the plot flow right together. Of course, the antagonists in the book made this easier. That’s why it’s important to know what and who your main character is going to have to face before you start. Map it out so that you can figure out which scenes you can use to show your protagonist’s weakness and eventually growth.

Just as I mentioned above, even a weak character has to grow. That’s the most important thing to remember when working with your main character. Show growth. Give your readers something to root for. Otherwise, you will lose them before your story even starts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Back again...

I had some trouble accessing my blog for a couple of months so it's looked pretty dead here. But, it's all fixed and I'll have more author guest posts coming soon.

I've been struggling with my own writing - not able to find the time and also stuck with some plotting on the sequel to Cleah. However, God/the Universe provides, and at a recent EFT training weekend I attended, the discussions about early abandonment managed to put me on the path toward my plot resolution.

Also at the training, I met a fellow writer, Fran Friel, a horror author. I've always loved reading horror, but didn't want to write it myself- I felt that it wasn't what I wanted to put out into the universe (aren't I special). Or, maybe I didn't know if I was talented enough to go to that kind of place. Fran, in her wisdom, said that if you want to get to know yourself as a writer, horror is the place to go. Well, Fran is a person whose opinion I value so maybe next time I will veer off my current path of YA fantasy and have a go at it. There's one more Cleah to write after this - it's always been a trilogy, so if I live long enough to finish it all - yup, horror - here I come.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest post Kristina Knight author of The Saint's Devlish Deal

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The Saint's Devilish Deal is a contemporary, reunion romance. Esmerelda Quinn has been looking for a place to belong since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was young. The closest thing to home has always been Aunt Constance's villa in Puerto Vallarta, so after a string of dead-end hotellier jobs, she's coming home to run the villa.
Santiago Cruz has called the villa home for as long as he can remember. In between surfing events, Constance has always had a room for him. Color him surprised when Constance decides to retire - and leaves a joint interest in the villa to both Santiago and Esme.
Esme isn't thrilled to share ownership of the villa with the the youngest Cruz brother - especially when she learns Santiago's brother has been after the villa for years. But Santiago has grown up while she's been away at school and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall.

Author Bio:
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on a beach in Northern Ohio with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after. Please visit" or follow her on Twitter @AuthorKristina to learn more.

Guest Post

Oh, Those Boys & Their Boards…

I've always been slightly more than obsessed by beaches. Not the muddy-sand beaches of my mid-western upbringing, but by those expanses of white-sand that go on for miles. By the big waves of Hawaii and Indonesia. It isn't that sand itself is sexy – have you ever had a tiny grain of sand stuck between your toes or…some other area? Yeah, so not sexy. There is just something different about those places and the people – okay, the guys! – who inhabit them. So, without further ado, here are four reasons I find beach-boy heros sexy.
Surfer boys - those wet suits don't hide anything - but also because surfers seen so apart from everyone and such a huge part of the water itself. When I was a kid visiting my great-grandmother on the Outer Banks of North Caroline I listened to them talk about protecting the beach, water and wildlife from pollution, encroachment and global warming before those things were buzzwords that everyone was supposed to care about.
They're passionate. You have to be passionate about a sport to take the chances these guys take. That also makes them a little bit dangerous – and it's that a little sexy all in itself? I've watched them slide through the waves as if they were a solid mass. I've seen them mystified that everyone else was leaving the beach when a storm raged into the area. They wore $5 flip-flops to $100 dinners and usually looked better doing it than the rich boys wearing Calvin Klein.
They're contemplative. They wait for hours for exactly the right wave. The watch the water carefully, as if it might hold the solution to world peace…or maybe they're just thinking about dinner and a movie with their favorite girl. The point is you don't know. And surfers are everywhere – they're doctors and lawyers and general lay-abouts. They're incredibly smart and intuitive and that makes me wonder, too…
They're a little bit crazy. A little bit difficult. A little bit dangerous. These are the boys whose eyes twinkle at the drop of a hat – and many of us have fallen for that charm in a heartbeat. If they're the lay-about sort we want to save them (or join them for a week or so), if they're the driven sort we want to help them save the world and if they're a little more quiet than the rest of the pack…well, that's a whole other level of sexiness, now isn't it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How to be a Writer – One Shuffly Step at a Time by Lani Wendt Young

 Title: Telesa – The Covenant Keeper

Author: Lani Wendt Young
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
When Leila moves to her new home, all she wants is a family, a place to belong. Instead she discovers the local ancient myths of the telesa spirit women are more than just scary stories. The more she finds out about her heritage, the more sinister her new home turns out to be. Embraced by a Covenant Sisterhood of earth's elemental guardians - what will Leila choose? Her fiery birthright as a telesa? Or will she choose the boy who offers her his heart? Daniel - stamped with the distinctive tattoo markings of a noble Pacific warrior and willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper?                              

A thriller-romance with a difference. If you enjoyed Twilight, then you will be enthralled by Telesa as it blends the richness of Pacific mythology into a contemporary young adult love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

About the Telesa Trilogy

Lani self-published her second book Telesa: The Covenant Keeper’  as an electronic book in October 2011 – a first for a Samoan author. Telesa is the first book in a Young Adult contemporary Fantasy series set in Samoa and within two months, it had reached number one on the Top Rated Fantasy Romance List on Amazon, the worlds largest e-book distributor.  On June 10th 2012, the second book in the series, When Water Burns  was launched on Amazon, making it to Amazons Hot New Releases listing within the first 48 hours. Both books 1 and 2 are also available in print books. 

Lani uses a variety of social media to market, distribute and promote her writing, taking it to a global audience.  The multi-visual marketing campaign for  Telesa showcased a wide variety of Pacific talent  as Lani collaborated with up and coming innovators  in the fields of photography, film, dance, art design, sports, modeling, bone carving, music, and fashion.

Author Bio
Lani is a Samoan-NZ writer who blogs as a (slightly Demented) Domestic Goddess at Sleepless in Samoa. Her award-winning short fiction has been published in collections in NZ, Australia and the UK.  In 2009, Lani was commissioned to research and write her first book, the narrative non-fiction account of the disaster which devastated the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Northern Tonga.  The printing of Pacific Tsunami  Galu Afi’  was funded by the Australian government and all proceeds from the book go to survivors who shared their stories for the project.

Lani is married to Darren Young (who is probably the most patient man alive) and when she’s not writing blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, getting depressed about a two star book rating on Goodreads, and ecstatic about a rave review on Amazon - she’s the full-time mother to her five fabulous children. (Who are also very patient people)

She won the following awards:
·          2011 USP Press Fiction Award, Sleepless in Samoa.’ Short story collection.

·          2010 Commendation Award, Commonwealth Short Story Competition. The Beast that Came from the Sea.’
·          Winner of the 2002 Telecom/National Univ of Samoa Short Story Competition. A Sister’s Story.

Book Excerpts


Author Fan Page:

Telesa Trilogy Fan Page:


As a writer who writes too many different things all the time – I am often asked: “Where do you find the time and the drive to write? How do you overcome writer’s ‘block’?”  Such questions are a puzzle to me and so my answer is 105km and 14 hrs long…

Two years ago, I had a crazy idea.  I wanted to put together a women’s team and run in a 105km relay that went around the main island of Samoa. It was crazy because at the time I couldn’t even run around the car park without stopping to gasp for breath. But I was determined. I convinced some other moms  to be crazy with me and we started training.

For 5 days a week over three months, we would meet at the crack of dawn to go for a 5k run. I use the term ‘run’ very loosely since, at first, I did more of a shuffle, which then accelerated to become a waddle, which then after a few weeks, became a jiggly, joggly sort of jog. Did I enjoy it? Hell no. I hated every minute of it. Many times, I only went because it was my turn to drive and pick the team up. Other times, I only went because the rest of the team was honking their car horn outside, waiting to pick me up.
But after 6 weeks, something strange happened. (No, I didn’t transform into a stunning athletic muscle machine. I wish.) I found myself waking up early on Saturday mornings…wanting to go for a run, itching and edgy for a run. Huh? By Wk 9, I was going for a run TWICE A DAY.  And when I got the flu and couldn’t train for a week? I was raving mad. As if someone had bought all the Diet Coke on the island, leaving me with nothing but coconuts to drink. By the time the Perimeter Relay came around, I was running twice a day, sometimes 6 days a week. But more significantly, the running had become as essential to me as eating. Sleeping. Brushing my teeth. I wouldn’t dream of going a work-day without it.  It took our team 14 hours to complete the relay, running from 2am to 5pm the next afternoon. Many times during that relay, I wanted to puke and die. But many times, I was also running on an exhilarating high as I gloried in feeling like  – I could run forever and never stop. My Perimeter relay experience showed me that crazy, impossible dreams can become a reality. One shuffly step at a time.

Writing is just like that. If you want to BE a writer, you don’t ‘find time’ in your busy schedule to write. You make time. You start with a goal. A crazy dream. ‘I want to write a romance. A best-selling thriller. A children’s book. A memoir about my grandmother...’ You set aside a time and a place every day that you are going to write. You start off small. Shuffling, waddling baby steps to get you building the consistent writing habit. You write anything and everything. Start a journal. A family newsletter. Write down those bedtime stories you tell your kids. Record your family history. Write long, chatty letters to friends. Start a blog AND THEN STICK TO IT.  

The best thing I ever did for my writing career was to start a blog – it forced me to assert and accept responsibility for my writing. Your blog readers can be like that relay team of runners who force you to stick to your crazy dream by bugging you every day for your latest piece of writing. The team mates who will encourage and support you every step of the way. Even when it’s your turn to run up the final peak of Le Mafa Pass and all you want to do is sit down on the road and cry.

At first, it will be hard. You will probably hate it. Complain. Whinge and whine looking for excuses NOT to write. But if you keep at it, doggedly, persistently - you will hit that point where you can’t imagine a day, a moment, without writing. When you’re not writing, you will be thinking about it. If you have an unruly mob of children like me, you will dread the weekends because it means less writing time. ( And don’t even get me started on the horror of school holidays…aaargh!) You will write because you feel like you will die if you don’t. You will write because you are a writer. 

And that’s what writers do.