Posted in new release, someone wicked this way comes

#WickedRevenge: It’s DONE!

Wicked fans have been waiting a while…a long while…for the final installment of the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series.

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Book 3 (Wicked Glory) was supposed to be the last book. There was too much to fit everything in, wrap up all the questions, and not give readers whiplash.

So, a book 4 was needed. Unfortunately, so was the time to write it. Not only was 2015 super busy, I overloaded my writing schedule and got behind on just about everything. Add it the fact that I always go into panic mode about finishing a series, and there’s a reason this book is coming out more than a year and a half after book 3.

SORRY!

Wicked Revenge is going into editing mode, but I’ll have it up for pre-order while that’s happening…which will be soon. But just in case you’re having Ketchup withdrawals, here’s a peek a what’s coming up in the fourth and FINAL (for real this time) installment of this wicked series.

And in advance, yes I know I’m so mean for sharing this excerpt, but I had to…

~*~

“Van,” he says slowly, “we need to go, now.”

“What?” I ask a split second before the glass of both passenger side windows explodes.

Wicked Revenge GOLD FRONTLunging for Ketchup, I drag him down to the wheel wells and throw my body on top of him. Bullets continue to slam into the car, jerking it back and forth as I bite back a terrified scream. Heat sears across my shoulder, and at least one bullet is lodged in my left thigh. It’s only seconds, maybe five, but it feels like a lifetime before the report of gunfire stops and squealing tires replaces it.

As soon as it does, I lift myself off Ketchup and ask, “Are you okay? Ketchup?”

I’m stuck trying to get out from under the steering wheel when a strange choking noise freezes me. Warm fluid bursts against my forearm and suddenly I can’t breathe. “Ketchup? Ketchup? Answer me!” Panicked scrambling gets me out from under the steering wheel and I reach for his half-turned body. Terror and my own pain kept me from recognizing anything else until I saw the blood seeping from his chest.

Tears blur my vision as I start babbling, “No, no, no, no,” over and over again. His pains overwhelms me and my hunger screams at me to lap it up, but I can’t. This is my fault. My doing. I knew how dangerous it was to leave without protection. I didn’t care when I sped away from the house, didn’t put his safety above my own delusional self-importance.

Find out what happens next in Wicked Revenge!!!

Find the rest of the series HERE

 

Posted in creative writing, writing

Time for Some Homework

Recently (this week, in fact) I’ve officially gone back to college!

2016-03-29 18.34.38.jpgOriginally, I intended to get my bachelor’s degree in English, but there were some issues with that plan and now I’m working on a degree in Communication-Media Studies with a minor in English. Getting my degree will allow me to teach more classes at our local community college, so here I go!

This summer I’m taking a Technical Writing class that is way more intense than I was expecting, and a Travel Writing class which is awesome.

Why am I sharing this?

Both classes understandably have homework, and since it’s writing related and I like sharing things I learn about writing with my readers, I’ll be posting some of my homework pieces here on my blog. Some for feedback, some for fun. So when you see posts about how to sew a French seam or why the Spruce Tree House is closed at Mesa Verde National Park, that’s why.

If you feel prompted to offer feedback, please do! There’s always room to learn more, and comments from readers are just as valuable to me as comments from classmates and instructors.

Have a great summer!

Posted in writing, writing thoughts

Reading as a Writer: Looking for the Good

Whatever you do for a living, if you’ve ever watched a show that portrays someone in your profession and they get it all wrong, or half wrong, or even just a tiny bit wrong, don’t you find yourself rolling your eyes or commenting to the person next to you on how it really works?

This is why my hubby and I couldn’t watch that TV show Numb3rs together. Or that lousy movie with Jenna Fischer as a dental hygienist.

beautiful burnSometimes, reading is like this for me. It’s not always easy to turn off the writer part of my brain and just read to enjoy. All my writing pet peeves poke at me while I read, and make the experience less fun. Then I have to remind myself that some other writer is reading my books having the same thoughts!

So, instead of critiquing as I read, I try to learn from it instead. I just finished reading “Beautiful Burn” by Jamie McGuire and loved all the work she put into researching how the Hotshot firefighting teams in Colorado live and work. Having lived near or in Colorado for most of my life, I appreciated the level of detail she put into her writing, and it pushed me to dig a little deeper into some of the research I’ve been working on for “Wicked Revenge.”

jm barrieI’ve also been reading JM Barrie’s “Peter Pan” (the original book) which, let me tell you, is far removed from the Disney version, or any other version I’ve ever seen. It’s bizarre and really not something a kid would understand or probably be interested by. I have a pretty good vocabulary and love British fiction, but I’m still looking up words and trying to figure out what Barrie is trying to get at half the time.

BUT, I love the honesty of his characters. Peter has this moment of intense jealousy as Wendy decides to go home to her mother and the Lost Boys say they’ll go with her because they want a mother too, and Peter mentions a saying in The Neverland that every time you breathe, a grownup dies, so he starts breathing really hard and fast. It’s dark, but completely honest for a young boy who’s losing his only family and is too proud to admit he wants them to stay. I want to be able to write that sort of frank honesty in my characters, even if I’ll leave the archaic words and style to Barrie.

So, whether you’re watching a TV show that’s totally misrepresenting what you do every day at work, or reading about cars driving 55 miles per hour down a windy, two-lane mountain pass in a blizzard (which, trust me, would NEVER happen), there’s almost definitely something else that’s going to be wonderfully inspiring. Don’t forget to look for it.

Posted in books

Let’s talk #Podcasts

I do realize that many of my readers have no clue what podcasts are, which is just not okay. I am a podcast addict, and I think everyone should love podcasts as well.

What are they?

Podcast are like radio shows, but they’re prerecorded. They may be recorded live (caller-based shows) and edited later, or they may be completely scripted and prepared, or something in between. The nice thing about podcasts is that they’re archived and downloadable, so you can subscribe to a channel on your podcast app (iTunes, or I use Podcast Addict on Android) and download an episode when you want to listen absolutely FREE.

So, what podcast are awesome? I have a list 🙂

This American Life: Stories from all over the country on all kinds of topics

this american life

The Moth: Live storytelling sessions shared on a theme by theme basis

the moth

Beautiful/Anonymous: Beautiful stories from anonymous people with Chris Gethard

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The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe: Science, superheroes, dumbest stuff, etc.

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Serial: One story told week by week for the whole season

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Kobo Writing Life: Tons of writing topics and interviews

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The Author Hangout: Mainly focused toward indie authors with marketing tips

author hangout

If you’re a podcast listener, tell me what you’re listening to, and if you’re not, try some of these out!

Posted in creative writing, writing, writing advice, writing tips

Open Doors and Plot Holes

Death_to_stock_Dinner_damo_8.jpgMaybe this only happens in my house, but unlike the picture above with nicely closed cabinet doors, I can walk into a room and, no kidding, there is almost always at least one drawer, cupboard door, or package of something or other left open. Usually, more than one. There have been times when I’ve walked into the kitchen and literally every cupboard door is standing open because someone was looking for something and, after finding it, walked away.

What does this have to do with plot holes?

Your readers are like one of my kids looking for the bag of chocolate chips they want to add to their spoon of peanut butter. They keep looking for the answers you’ve promised them, scouring every page, rereading when they think they might have missed something, or silently working out all possible endings when they’re forced to put down a book and pay attention to real life for a few hours.

Those times when all the cupboard doors are left open because they have to search that hard, it often results from one of two things:

1: They’ve opened every other door in the kitchen and are reaching for the last one, opening it slowly, only to find, the cupboard is bare and the answers you promised aren’t actually in the kitchen, or anywhere…and they walk away, annoyed and vowing to never read anything of yours again because, dang it, when you want a snack and can only find celery sticks that make your mouth itch, your definitely not going to take the time to clean up your mess.

OR

2: They reach for that last cupboard door, pull it open and – because you’ve done an impeccable job of filling in holes and stretching out your reveals – all those awesome answers come flooding out at the very end for your reader to gobble up as hungrily as my kids might those cookies I tried to hide from them, and abandon the kitchen in complete satisfaction…forgetting to close all the cupboard doors.

The point?

Little Blond GirlJust like when my kids (my daughter specifically) stomps away, annoyed I haven’t purchased sufficient snack-worthy foods, your readers will walk away when they finish a book unsatisfied because of questions you never answered if your book leaves them with option #1.

I’ve been teaching a self-editing class this semester, and one of the best tips for avoiding plot holes is to re-outline your novel or story as you do your first major edit.

Why?

Editing sucks, right? 90% of writers will agree with me on that, I’m pretty sure.

Outlines suck even more. Okay, maybe only other pansters will agree with me on that, but that’s got to be at least 50%, right?

You know what sucks more, though? Having a reader leave a nasty review…one that’s legit and calls you out on shortcuts you took or hints you failed to live up to.

During your first major outline, take the time to outline your book, taking note of all the hints you added in, the questions you posed, and the bits of backstory you teased your readers with.

Did you follow up on each and every one?

If not, you have two choices:

1: Nix it. If you never followed up because that particular tidbit simply didn’t pan out, remove it.

Questions2: Fill in where you neglected to follow through. Any questions you posed that pertain to that particular book (notice I’m not talking series-length questions) make sure you have an answer, or make it apparent that question will be answered in a subsequent book, if you’re working on a series.

Most readers have a Love/Hate relationship with valid cliffhangers.

ALL readers have a Hate/Hate relationship with lazy writing that leaves them questioning why they purchased a book.

Don’t let your readers down. Answer every question you ask, even the ones you might have forgotten about from those first few chapters when the concept of your story was still in flux. You’ll thank yourself later, and so will your readers. Nobody wants to end a book like Lost Season 6, trust me. Rants are still happening about that finale six years after the fact.

Posted in agents, query letter

Here I go again…

DeathtoStock_Desk5So, about 7 years ago, I started looking for an agent or publisher. I had two finished manuscripts I was ready to send out. I also had a toddler and a kindergartener and a very supportive husband. What else did I have going for me that would entice and agent or publisher to pick me up?

Nada.

Had no clue about social media (wasn’t even on Facebook), no website, no publishing cred, no writing degree, nothing.

Guess how it went?

Nobody was interested. I had a tiny handful of agents or publishers requests a few chapters, then nothing. Admittedly, the publishing climate at that time wasn’t terribly open and no one wanted to take on a newbie. So, I decided to self-publish. I started figuring out the whole social media and marketing thing. I kept writing. I got picked up by several publishers along the way, having good and bad experiences, and now have 20+ books published either traditionally or indie, and even made the USA Today Bestsellers list as part of an awesome box set.

Now what?

I’ve got it into my head that I want to try the agent route again. I don’t know how it will go, but I’m going to do it anyway. That’s a big cliff to jump off of because it involves a lot of research, waiting, heartache, and more waiting.

To anyone else who is thinking about joining the agent hunt, I thought I’d share a few resources that can make it a little easier.

TIPS FOR THE AGENT HUNT

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_1https://querytracker.net/ — Great for finding agents accepting submissions and what genres they want, and keeping track of your queries and responses.

Twitter and Facebook — great for seeing what the agents you’re interested in are doing and looking for “right now” and also for getting to know their personality and if it’s someone you’d be comfortable working with.

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ — Great for seeing what agents have been up to lately, when they’re last sale was and what publishing house the sale was with.

http://www.agentquery.com/ — database of literary agents, who’s taking what, and how to submit.

Comparable titles — know what your book is up against and be ready to tell and agent why yours will fit right in with other popular books readers are currently gobbling up.

QUERY HELP

If you need help writing a strong query letter, I recently did a podcast on the topic. Just click the Write. Publish. Repeat. logo below.

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Posted in writing

MIA…sorry about that!

I don’t think I’ve written a blog post that wasn’t a pre-prepared promo of some kind since the beginning of the year. It’s been a hectic start to 2016, and now that we’re beginning month 4, I finally found some time to sit down to blog.

What has been keeping us so busy lately?

iStock_000024086772LargeThere have been some health issues in our family, we’ve had a huge shift in our spiritual and religious beliefs-which has affected a lot, and I managed to seriously over schedule myself when it came to my writing and teaching schedule. Add in track and soccer, taxes, regular every day family, house, and work stuff, and a few panic attacks thrown in there, and yeah… I feel like we’ve been running since January and haven’t really had a chance to breathe until recently.

My hubby shouldn’t have to travel again until summer, we have less than a month left of sports events and practices, health issues are under control for the most part, major deadlines were met, we’ve got a plan for fixing up the backyard (yay!), and I’ve decided to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree-which will be tough, but will also help improve my work situation. Things are getting back on track.

2016-03-29 08.02.02I’m still writing, which is a huge stress reliever for me. Running keeps me grounded as well-not to mention keeps my back and shoulders from killing me. Writing-wise, I’m working on finishing Wicked Revenge. Personally, I’m looking forward to spending the summer camping and working in the yard with my family as soon as the always volatile spring weather of New Mexico figures its crap out and decides to warm up.

If you have tips on keeping the crazy under control, I’d love to hear them 🙂

Posted in someone wicked this way comes

And so it begins…#NaNoWriMo, to be specific

nanowrimoI’ll preface this by saying, there’s a very good chance I won’t complete my 50k words for NaNo this year. I can’t seem to focus on writing Wicked Revenge and we’re taking a real live vacation that doesn’t not involve work this month as well.

Having said that, I’m going to to my best. Here’s what I’ve got to far 🙂

Sneak Peek of WICKED REVENGE, book 4 (the final book) in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes series!

***SPOILER ALERT***

There are some spoilers in this short first chapter, so if you haven’t read the first three books, you may want to skip this post!

Also, I haven’t edited this much, so please excuse any typos 😉

Wicked Revenge

Someone Wicked This Way Comes

Book 4

iStock_000016323229Large1: True Purpose

(Oscar)

“This place sucks,” I mutter under my breath. The dust is irritating, aggravating. Grime, everywhere. Dirt. Trash scattered around like my thoughts often are. It’s not like the hospital. I don’t want to be at the hospital, refuse to go back to that place, but it was clean, orderly, pristine. It smelled of chemicals, though. I don’t hate the smell of chemicals, but I don’t like it either. I can’t decide if it’s better than the mildewed, dusty smell of this place. Maybe it’s worse.

It’s not a good place for a baby, either way.

Thoughts snap like twigs, warning me not to think about him. Not yet. It’s too…frightening. Yes, too scary to think about him…my son. He’s safe for now. Because I’m not with him. Because he doesn’t know me. What I am. What I’ve done. He is still pure. I want him to remain that way as long as possible. Not be infected by the hunger, the power it promises so falsely, the addiction it breeds. No, he must stay safe from all of this.

“Oscar,” Zander says.

He doesn’t touch me. Because he knows I’m still angry with him. He was supposed to protect our sister and he failed. That will take time to forgive. Maybe too much time. It’s difficult to gauge time sometimes. Like right now. How long has it been since I killed David? It happened soon after he tried and possibly succeeded in breaking Van. Almost immediately after foolish, stupid Zander tried to kill him in my place. He thought he knew the secrets I had discovered years ago. A baby bird with no feathers trying to fly. He was an idiot to think he held enough pain. No one holds as much pain as I do. Not after killing my own parents, after being locked up with the insane, after being forced to abandon the only woman I knew how to love…and with her, our son.

Days. It had only been days since I twisted the consumed pain I held and turned it into a weapon. So much pain and suffering swallowed over the years, all unleashed on the man who tried to use my little sister, snap her mind and heart, crush her into subservience so he could use her…use her power. David has been dead two days and the rest of the Godlings are floundering without a leader.

No. They have a leader. Stupid lemmings. Power doesn’t equal leadership skills. They are too blind to see, or maybe care. I should not be leading anyone. My mind is too broken to lead. But they chose me. Because I killed David. I saved them. Or so they think. David was not the real enemy. A small one, yes. But not who they should truly fear. That is reserved for the soul-sucking power-whore known as Isolde Zara.

“Oscar,” Zander says again. “What do you think? Will this work for now?”

Scraping my thoughts back under control, I scowl. “It stinks in here. It’s a filthy place.”

Zander sighs. “Yeah, I know. We’ll clean it up. Will it work, though?”

Why is he asking me? What do I know about real estate? It will work as well as any other run down, abandoned building. I suppose it helps that it was once a school. The Godling infants running around pretending to be adults and have knowledge on things need a school. What else are they supposed to do with the real children bumbling around now? They can’t stay at the compound.

All those loyal to David ran as soon as I burned away his life and ended his reign. Those not completely twisted into sadistic, amoral, power-hungry lunatics, are trying to pick up the pieces. Get the students to safety before David’s cronies return and kill them all. Or take the children. I’m not sure what they plan. The compound is unsafe, regardless of what idiot plan the sheep of now-dead David intend to execute.

“It is not sufficient,” I say, possibly in answer to Zander’s question, “but it will work.”

Zander closes his eyes and breathes out slowly, as if I’m the one to blame for all of this. Am I? It’s hard to tell sometimes. My lips press together as I force my thoughts into order and ponder the question. No. This isn’t my fault. I may have helped escalate the madness, but I did not begin it. The true beginning is too far back to comprehend. The more recent beginning, that is less complex. David and Isolde are responsible. They are more mad than I will ever be. Were, in David’s case. His mind is now ash and no danger to anyone.

Isolde, however…

She is more clever than most. More evil, as well. Intelligent and vile is a bad combination. One of the worst. She will never stop until she has what she wants. Eradication. Every Godling life snuffed out like a spent candle. Most of these imbeciles running around, I couldn’t care less about. Even Zander, with him I am on the fence, but leaning toward the idea that he will one day be the man he is capable of becoming. The rest could rot and I wouldn’t be troubled much.

Van is different. Emily is different, though she’s not Godling. Joshua…he is most different of all. He is Godling and perfectly pure. People like Isolde have not yet had the opportunity to corrupt my son, and she will die before she has the chance.

The other Godlings, they all think I am the One. The person meant to save them and restore the balance. They are wrong. Killing David doesn’t make me a savior. It makes me a weapon. The pain must be twisted and bent to become a tool of destruction. That was not its original purpose. A handy thing, but not natural. Not meant. I am not the leader they need. But I am who they want…for now. Until someone else discovers the true purpose of the power and ends the killing for good.

After I destroy Isolde, that is. It would not do for the truth to be discovered too soon.

If you want to make sure I finish this project, join me on the NaNoWriMo site and be my writing buddy so you can prod me along. My user name is Yomamamma (I couldn’t spell when I set this up apparently, because I meant to put Yogamamma, but oh well, lol!)

Posted in write publish repeat

Write. Publish. Repeat. is branching out to iTunes and Stitcher!

 WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. Podcast is branching out to iTunes and Stitcher!

WPR Header ImageThis podcast is aimed sat helping writers with a wide variety of topics in writing, publishing, and marketing. It’s a mix of lecture-style podcasts using information taken from the curriculum of the classes I teach and conversations with other authors willing to share their advice and experiences.

So, if you’re interested in writing, the publishing industry, or learning how to market your books better, you’ve found the right place!

Either click on the WPR Logo to subscribe to the RSS feed or click the episode link to download the file to your device.

Subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking on the WPR image below or check out the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher:

Podcast LogoWPR iTunes WPR Stitcher

Episode 1: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

Episode 2: Query Letters and Social Media with guest SeriouslyGina

Episode 3: Creating a Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable – Part One

Episode 4: Creating a Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable – Part Two

Episode 5: Author Collaboration with Guest Melissa Eskue Ousley

Creative Commons License
WritePublishRepeat by DelSheree Gladden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://delshereegladden.com/writepublishrepeat/.

Posted in writers block, writing

The Myth That Is Writers Block

Yes, I called writers block a myth. Why? It doesn’t exist. Not in the sense of it being some magical, unstoppable force that keeps writers from being productive.

What IS going on then when a writer sits down to write and can’t seem to get a single word down on paper? It’s usually one of several things we all experience at one time or another.

FEAR

bb5f5-clock2balarm2bclockThis happens to me every time I start a new series or have to end a series. Doubts of “will it be good enough?” or “what if this fails miserably?” stall out my desire to write. I’ve gotten a little better about this over the years, but it’s still a tough thing for me.

How do I combat this? Deadlines. I don’t have time for self-doubt if I’ve already set up blog tours or paid for promotions on a certain date, or even just publicly announced the release date. Deadlines get me moving like nothing else.

BURN OUT

Beach SceneDoes the well of inspiration feel like it’s dried up? It probably has, but not in the form of writers block. Creative work isn’t easy. You need a break every once in a while. If you’ve been pushing and pushing, yeah it will definitely tax your mind until it simply refuses to produce anything of quality.

Best way to combat this one? TAKE A BREAK! Go read a book or watch a movie. Get out of the house and go for a walk. Get some fro-yo. Do anything BUT write for a while. A day. A week. A month. Whatever it takes to get your head space cleared out and ready to be creative again.

OVERLOADED

Most writers have more than writing to worry about. They’ve got bills, family, day jobs, health issues, etc. Stress is not conducive to creativity. It’s draining. I only work part time right now, but my husband also loves writing but has been super stressed out at work lately and he can attest to the fact that a lot of days he just doesn’t have the mental energy to write in the evenings. It happens.

While it’s impossible to completely clear away all your stress, taking some time for yourself can help. Yoga, meditation, horseback riding, whatever it is that relaxes you. Give yourself time to get away from everything. Maybe this just isn’t a time of your life where writing fits in. While we were selling our house and buying our new one, I didn’t write for six months. There wasn’t any time and my head just wasn’t in it. That’s okay.

OUT OF PRACTICE

Open Blue BookWriting is a skill, but so is creativity. You have to exercise that part of your mind by doing it regularly. There have been studies about how your brain can be trained to be creative at certain times based on routine.

What does that mean? Write often and if possible, write on a routine basis so your brain power is ready to be focused toward creating at a certain time. If that’s not feasible for your life, try a pre-writing routine to get yourself ready, like deep breathing exercises and stretches prior to a yoga class.

While I don’t believe in writers block, there are certainly factors of life that can make writing difficult. It IS possible to work around these problems and get back to creating.