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:

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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

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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.

Posted in writing

Deadlines, Summer, and Catching Up

I like having a routine, a schedule. I don’t get things done without one.

Summer usually decreases my productivity significantly. Not just writing, but cleaning, weeding, organizing, etc. The kids are home, projects around the house and yard on going on, trips are taken, a million random things need done and distract you from your original tasks, and on and on.

79420-calendardeadlineI need deadlines.

Some people don’t work well under pressure. For me, it’s the only way I get anything done sometimes. Those deadlines might be more vague like, the kids get home by 3 o’clock. I need to finish this chapter by then and get the dishes in the dishwasher. Or they might be more concrete, like when my publisher wants edits back by a certain date.

The first half of this year we were selling and buying a house and moving. That pretty much takes up all your time. I didn’t get much writing done and release dates I had a vague imagining of drifted past unnoticed. Then summer hit. We’ve been out of town more then we’ve been in town it feels like. I had extra classes I was teaching and the kids had activities and my husband was super busy at work.

The writing I did was sandwiched in between other things and done late at night when my husband was out of town and I was too chicken to go to bed by myself. I worked on half-finished projects from last year that had been abandoned or never started, but I was scattered and distracted easily.

Blogfest Banner 28 DaysOne of the projects I wanted to get back to was The Ghost Host, but I was having a hard time focusing on it. When my good friend Apryl Baker put out the call for her annual YA/NA Blogfest this August/September (GOING ON NOW!!) my first thought was to feature something already finished. Less stress on me, right? Sure, but also a heck of a lot less projects getting wrapped up.

Even though I still had about 25% of The Ghost Host to write, not to mention revisions and editing, I signed up the Ghost Host as my featured story and told myself that whatever day Apryl gave me, that would be the pre-order release date. With as hectic as things have been lately, I knew I was taking a risk, but guess what? IT WORKED.

Echo The Ghost Host NEWAfter getting the date of Sept 2nd from Apryl, I got to work and finished the last quarter of the book in about two weeks. It’s off to beta readers now and it looks like I’ll make my pre-order date of Sept 2nd and release date of October 6th, 2015. Thanks to my awesomely talented photographer sister Kassondra Sturtevant (Mystereah Photogrpahy), I also have a new cover model and was able to finish the cover art. You can get a sneak peek of THE GHOST HOST on the YA/NA Blogfest Sept 2nd.

I’ve always known that I work better under deadlines, but I guess I’ve just been lazy about actually setting them and making myself stick to them. I have a lot to catch up on, so that’s going to change. In the hopes of being more productive, I’m going to push myself a little harder. Readers have been asking me when on earth I’m planning to release Wicked Revenge and even though I’m not going to make an October release because I already have two other books releasing that month (The Ghost Host and The Only Shark In The Sea), I am now determined to have Wicked Revenge out before Christmas.

The third Escaping Fate (Oracle Lost) has also been requested and I’m setting a firm time to have it ready by March 2016.

Somewhere in there the fourth Date Shark book (Shark In Troubled Waters) will also come out, but that one’s up to my publisher.

Torino Dreams Coming SoonSince Torino Dreams is a standalone and I only need to make a few small revisions to that one, I’m going to start prepping for an early February 2016 release.

Memory’s Edge needs a sequel and I want to release them close together, so my plan is to set a deadline of having the first draft of the sequel to beta readers by the beginning of March and to release these two in April and May 2016.

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do, but setting deadlines is going to force me to stop wasting time on Facebook and get some writing done. Wish me luck!

Posted in query letter, writing tips

Writing a Query Letter: Part 3

To find the first part of this series, Click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE. To listen to the full discussion on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast, click HERE.

Paragraph Two of the Query Letter

9e9dd-largestackofbooksMini-Synopsis
Similar to the back cover summary
100-250 words

Expand on your hook
Explain more about your Main characters…
Problems/conflicts…
How adversity changes them…

Read back covers of other books for examples!

Paragraph Three: Bio

Brand new Author?
(You may want to skip this)

  • What to include?
    Is it meaningful to the query?
    Does it show personality?
  • Keep it short
  • Keep it writing related
  • Education
  • Work
  • Personal experience
  • Research

Publishing Credits/Awards

  • Awards
    • If you’ve won them…INCLUDE THEM
      Don’t be modest, but don’t go overboard

Publishing credits (BE SPECIFIC)
Journals
Online/trade magazines

Unpublished?
You don’t need to say

Academic or Nonfiction?
Shows you know the process

DON’T INCLUDE:
Church news letter, credits unrelated to professional writing

Self-Published: Include or Not Include?

  • Timing
    • It will be discussed eventually
  • Doesn’t hurt your chances
  • Be confident
  • Be ready discuss success/failure
  • Do you consider it a Mistake/Irrelevant
    • Leave it out
  • Does it make you a more desirable client?
    • Depends on success – mention sales numbers, length of time on sale
      • Success to some agents/pub = 5000 sales (per month…)

Open Blue BookWhat NOT to Mention

  • Social media presence/platform
    • UNLESS you have A LOT of followers
    • Agents will Google you anyway
  • Marketing Plan
  • Years of effort and dedication
  • Family/friends opinions
  • Past rejections/near misses
  • Apologize
  • Compliment your work
  • Discuss $$ your book will make

Thank You/Closing

  • Thank the agent/pub
  • Time & consideration
  • Alert agent/pub full manuscript is available upon request
  • Mention if your book is being considered by another agency
  • Series potential/written
  • Include contact information basics
  • Only offer exclusives for a short time period
  • Only compare your book to another in terms of style, voice, theme (Not $$)

Join me next week for a discussion on writing a great blurb for your query.


Listen to the full discussion now on my new podcast!

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

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Posted in writing

Things You Learn While Teaching Writing to Teens

For the last week I’ve been teaching a creative writing class for our local community college’s Kids Kollege program. This is the second writing class I’ve taught this summer and I’ve learned some interesting things.

ghosts hand Kids are dark!

Aside from George R. R. Martin, you’ll rarely find a group of writers so willing to kill off every single character. Whether this is a Diana Barry issue where she just didn’t know what to do with her characters after a while and simply killed them all off, or these kids are simply venting their frustrations with life…there’s lots of death, and revenge, and suffering!

Kids are silly 🙂

Right after killing off all, or the majority of, the characters, Mickey Mouse will make an appearance, or a gruesomely bloody scene will turn out to be Ketchup, or Miley Cyrus in drag has become the main character. You really have no warning of who might make a cameo with young writers and I think that’s awesome.

Kids find it tough to share.

The first class I taught, it was a race to share what they’d written for their daily writing prompts. In the class I just finished, it was like pulling teeth the first few days. Why the difference? The first class was smaller and the group immediately clicked and found a lot of camaraderie. It boosted their self-confidence to be in a class with like-minded kids who loved to be crazy (and loud). The second class was almost twice the size, so making those connections was more difficult. They were also a quieter group overall, so feeling comfortable sharing something so personal was tough for them. It took a lot of encouragement and positive reactions from their classmates and a few outgoing students who took the first leap and shared before some of the others felt confident that they were in a safe and positive environment.

Boy posing with arms crossed

Kids are observant, more than you might think.

We had a great discussion about what makes either a good or bad ending. My students may have still struggled here and there with writing endings to their stories, but they do know exactly why they DO or DON’T like the ending of books they’ve read. They hit on everything from pacing to excitement level, confusion vs. over-explaining, and whether or not the twists and conclusions make sense.

Kids are drawn to first person narrative.

Any time I talked to the students about point of view the majority said they preferred to read and write in first person. Why? Because you got to be in the character’s head more and experience their emotions better. If I asked them about why they like to write in general, most said it was to express themselves, their emotions and thoughts particularly. Notice a pattern? I happen to feel the same way, but it definitely showed why first person narrative has been on the rise.

Kids are eclectic readers.

When trying to find examples to discuss for characters, setting, or plot, it was tough to find a common book to use because their reading tastes are all over the map! In both classes there was a huge variety of books being read, everything from the Chronicles of Nick to the Mistborn Trilogy to The Mazerunner to Lemony Snicket. They love variety and they seem to love having the freedom to bounce between genres and themes. They’ll eat up anything with a solid and interesting story!

Even though I was the one teaching the class, it was so neat to learn from them!

Posted in write publish repeat

Write Publish Repeat has arrived!

It’s taken me way longer than planned (June was a busy month!) but I finally have the first episode of my new podcast published. Yay!!

Give it a listen and see what you think. I’d love your comments and feedback and suggestions on topics you’d like to see next.

Listen Here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/writepublishrepeat/WPR_Podcast_Episode_One_Query_Letter_Tips_Final.mp3

Download Here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/writepublishrepeat/WPR_Podcast_Episode_One_Query_Letter_Tips_Final.mp3

Subscribe Here: http://writepublishrepeat.libsyn.com/rss

(Coming Soon to iTunes!! As soon as I figure it out 😛 )
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Click on the link below to open the player.
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