Friday, August 30, 2013

Finding Inspiration EVERYWHERE!

We’ve all heard the advice—once you get done with the first book write another one. It’s great advice. After all once you’ve finished a story, gotten through the editing, and sold it there will be people who will want to see more from you. Agents look for authors who have more than one story in them. Give enough stories or a good enough story and people remember your name and will pick up your next book based on your name alone. So even before selling your first novel writing another one is a fantastic idea.

But what happens when you just can’t think of another one? What if things aren’t sparking in your brain and you don’t know where to turn to get that next killer idea?

People say there are ideas all around. At the grocery store. In the way a spouse or child says something. Books. Movies. But how are you supposed to take those ideas and turn them into something you can actually use?

Sure we’re writers, we’re creative, we let things percolate, but sometimes those fleeting ideas just aren’t good enough for a real story.

At least, they aren’t the way they are now. But what if you added to them? Transformed them into something that stunning?

Let’s take an idea of someone walking into a grocery store, grabbing an armful of candy bars and cutting in line to get out. Is this a story?

Yes, though not a very interesting one at the moment. Other than it making you frustrated and perhaps even angry with them, no one cares that person cut in line or why they’re buying candy bars.

But let’s take that person and put them outside the store and then let’s jump in their head. They drive up, running late for a meeting with children.

Still not that interesting.

But what if those children were refugees? Possibly from another planet? What if this was the first time they’d ever been on Earth and this person had to keep them quiet and happy so the rest of the world didn’t find out about them?

That moment in the store may never get put into a book, but it can certainly spark the idea for one. All you have to do is start asking hypothetical questions. Answer them. Think about them. When you get an answer ask more questions. The story will start to take shape, whether it’s Sci-fi, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, etc. Every person will come up with different answers to the questions and form a different story. Just don’t let yourself stop asking the questions.

It’s all about seeing things in a different way.

Talking about seeing things in a different way, here’s something a friend of mine came up with the other day. They took an ordinary pepper and turned it into . . .
Little Babushka


Kermit the Frog

Oscar the Pepper


Teenage Mutant Ninja Pepper

The Grinch!
Hope you enjoyed. I know I did.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Want a leg up to get published? Attend Conferences. Here's a FREE one.

90% of people who write a book won’t ever get it published. A depressing fact but a fact all the same. The reason is simple. They don’t take the time to learn the craft. If you’re reading this you’re already ahead of most of those people.
If you want another leg up ATTEND CONFERENCE.
Of people who attend writing conferences 80% go on to be published. That’s a heck of a lot better odds than the 90% who don’t, wouldn’t you say.
Now I know conferences can be expensive, some ranging over a thousand dollars for a few days.
Luckily for you I know of one that’s FREE.
That’s right, free. There’s no fees, no booking hotel rooms, and no traveling.
Why? Because it’s completely online. It starts on Aug 13 and goes through the 14. There will be agents moving among the forums, helping polish work and possibly requesting manuscripts. It’s also a great place to learn about craft and to get help from people to hone your skills. This year they also have a $1000 cash prize for a first page contest. Come check it out. I guarantee it’s worth your time.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Liebster Blog Award Nominations!


I was nominated for this award by Crystal Collier, a great friend of mine. Apparently I'm supposed to tell everyone 11 random things about me and answer 11 random questions. So, here they are.

11 Random facts about me:

1.       I love chocolate but am allergic to it.

2.       I have 2 children who take turns driving me crazy (sometimes they gang up).

3.       I once had a swarm of bees so thick you couldn’t see through it fly over my head.

4.       I can fix just about anything (and if I don’t know how google does).

5.       I have weak ankles.

6.       I lose weight when I’m pregnant.

7.       I love surprising people with things they didn’t expect to get and watching their reaction.

8.      I work every day to make my mind sharper and learn something new.

9.       I love animals and can’t help caring for them when they’re injured.

10.   My best friends are people I can ask how to kill someone and they don’t look at me strangely. (Aw the world of writers. You have to love it.)

11.    I prefer silence to noise (though with 2 kids a husband, three cats, one dog, and a million neighborhood kids constantly in my 1000 square foot house silence doesn’t happen much).



 11 Random Questions:

1.       What is the best book you've ever read?
Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher: Mostly because this is the book I read a million times as a kid. It’s also the book that made me want to write.

2. What is your sport of choice? To play or watch?

Soccer! But only to play. I once took out a guy twice my size. I know, this isn’t football you’re saying. But we were both running toward the ball, I realized I couldn’t stop before hitting him so I turned sideways. He went down. I stayed up. (I once also hit the referee in the butt with the ball.)

3. What's the coolest place you've ever visited?
The worlds in my head. That counts, doesn’t it?

4. Favorite song or artists?
At the moment? Okay. Hmm . . . Well I really like Bruno Mars’s Just the Way You Are
5. What's your biggest pet peeve?
Tags! I hate them in books. Too many and I feel like I’m being slapped out of the story by a dead fish.

6. What is your brand of geek? (Or obsession?) 
If you’ve met me at all you know. I’m completely obsessed with stories.

7. What movie do you have memorized, word for word?

Pretty much anything I’ve watched more than once. My brother and I used to play a game where we’d see the movie and quote it the next time we watched it, each taking different characters.

8. If you could choose one myth to be true, which would it be: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy?

Santa Claus. Definitely Santa Claus. Who doesn’t want a jolly fat guy squeezing down their chimney to leave presents (plus it would mean I don’t have to buy so many for my kids)

9. What food is your nemesis? 

Chocolate. Oh, how I love the taste. Unfortunately I’m allergic.

10. Which army would you choose to defend your home? Ninjas, or Cowboys? 

Ninjas. Duh.

11. What is your favorite or most embarrassing nick name? 

I think I only have one and that hasn’t been used since sixth grade. It’s Raquel.


Now for my questions.


1.       Who is your favorite author? Why?

2.       Have you ever done anything you think is insane? Would you do it again?

3.       Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

4.       Who is your hero?

5.       Have you ever read something that changed your life?

6.       Did you ever believe you could fly?

7.       What is the strangest thing a child has ever asked you?

8.      Dogs or Cats?

9.       If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

10.   What is your dream vacation?

11.    Are you right or left handed?

And the people I've nominated (if you want to be nominated leave me a comment and I'll link to your blog):

M.R. Buttars
Julie Ann Bateman

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fantasy Editing's Spread the Word Giveaway

Everyone likes free things, right? Well from today until June 8th I'm holding a Free 50 page Edit Giveaway over at

Come on over and check it out under the Trapped in the Story tab. The entry form is in the sidebar on the right.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Open for Business!!!

For the last several months (okay, I'm lying, it's been years) I've been studying the craft of building a story and editing. Yes EDITING. I absolutely love taking someone else's story and finding ways to make it flow better, make sure the characters are the same in the way they look and speak, and ensure that the story is better for being in my hands. (I can't seem to stop myself as I do this with published stories too.)
So I finally decided to become a Freelance Editor and I am open for business!!!

So come over and take a look at my new website and all I offer (including a blog I'll be adding to once or twice a month with tips on how to make your story so good the reader literally becomes Trapped in the Story).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

LDStorymakers 2013 and the Show the Love contest

As always I'm getting ready to head off to the LDStorymakers conference in May. I love this conference as it has taught me so much from how to critique mine and others work to how magic systems are meant to work. It is worth every cent you pay for it. This year they also have Anne Perry as the Keynote speaker. I'm looking forward to hearing her speak.

Registration closes April 3 so if you don't have your tickets yet make sure to get them soon.

This month is also the SHOW THE LOVE contest for this wonderful contest. It includes great prizes. Make sure to check it out.