The Secret Good News!

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Waiting around to hear back for that rejection you just know is coming can be one of the most painful things you will ever do as a writer.

You worked for this. You sweat for it. Hell, maybe you even bled for it.

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“Yes, paper cuts do count in this industry, thanks very much.”

And then there’s one day when the clouds part and pure, unadulterated Monty Python God-in-the-Heavens sunlight beams down on you… the planets align (literally, in my case), and that rejection… Becomes a yes.

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I’m stoked to announce that my soft sci-fi book has been accepted for publication!

I’m not gonna lie, I may have cried a little (Okay a lot, and my waste bin was full of tissues–don’t judge), after I read through the whole email three times just to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself. And then maybe my husband and I celebrated with a bottle of champagne because

YEAH! I’ve got a book coming out, baby!

I’ll have more updates later on, once I have a better idea of things, but look out for my book to hit shelves in 2017!

*Happy dances out of the room.*

 

The Editor’s Perspective: POV and you! …And you… and…

POV and You!

This week we’re exploring different POV styles and how to use them effectively.

Point of view mistakes in writing make up a bigger portion of my editing tasks than you would believe. Many burgeoning new writers may not take the actual method of different points of view into account when they’re working and trust me… it shows. Point of view is an insanely important part of writing; it can make or break a scene, a chapter, or even a book. It’s incredibly important to be aware of the different types and why you should recognize when to use them and how to remain consistent in that style. When I see a book come across my desk with bad POV mistakes, it makes me question the validity of said book being there.

This is NOT the impression you want to make on potential publishers, editors, or readers.

We’re going to take a look at the different types of point of view, or POV for short, and give you a brief break down of why and how to use them, and keep you from making a huge rookie mistake and switching your POV mid-sentence.

(Yes, I have seen this happen… more than you know.)

For the purpose of maintaining consistency in your writing, I am also going to show examples of head-hopping and tell you why you shouldn’t do it!

First, the different points of view:

First Person

Second Person

Third Person

     Limited

     Omniscient

First Person

First person is a cool way to literally have your writer ‘slip’ into the character’s brain and see the word from this perspective. The use of the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘me’ or ‘my’ are going to dominate this POV. Why? Because you are the protagonist. You experience the world with the immediacy of someone who’s there and witnessing it firsthand.

Example: I didn’t want to go to the mall, and shook my head curtly. I could already see tears welling up in her eyes, no doubt in an attempt to guilt me into going. I stomped my foot.

“Not again, Clarissa!” I shouted.

First person is used often in genre fiction like Y.A., autobiographical writing, or memoirs. It is never used in academic writing, so please never write your assignments this way!

Adult fiction can be written in first person, but I personally don’t see it done well very often. This POV can often be tricky, but we’ll cover that another week!

Second Person

Second person is unique in that it’s more informal and conversational with the reader. When you write on your blog (as I’m doing now), you are speaking directly to the reader and addressing them as though they are in the room with you. ‘You,’ ‘your,’ and ‘yours’ are going to be the words du jour with second person, since your ‘narrator’ is going to speak directly to them.

Example: Henry’s always getting fired up over nothing, but that’s the sort of thing you’ll come to understand about him. He’s probably just blowin’ off steam, so I wouldn’t take it too personal, if I were you.

Second person is often used in direction/instruction writing, advertisements, songs, blog writing, or occasionally in speaking. It’s not often used in fiction writing, unless your narrator/protagonist is attempting to directly speak to the reader, otherwise known as “breaking the fourth wall,” which pretty much means that your protagonist is expressing awareness of the fact that s/he is being observed by an outside source.

Think of Deadpool’s dialogue… even in a video game, he expresses plenty of awareness of his surroundings by addressing the player directly, and even grabbing health bars to beat other characters with. He is the epitome of a second person view, because he has no problem telling you right where you can shove those bars, either.

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Definitely one way to show sentience…

In fiction writing, you have to have a particular style and skill in order to switch successfully in and out of second person and any other POV, so this should be used sparingly.

Third Person

Third person is the most popular POV to use in American fiction. Most novels you will read in America (and probably some other English speaking countries!) will be written in third person limited or third person omniscient, which I’ll cover in a moment.

Third person limited is more preferable to omniscient, at least in my experience, and is most typically what you’ll come across in modern fiction. It gives your narrator’s voice the ability to describe the world from an outsider’s perspective (like if you’re watching it through a video camera), while still focusing on the main protagonist and relaying their thoughts and feelings. ‘She,’ ‘he,’ ‘it,’ ‘they,’ ‘them,’ ‘her,’ ‘him,’ ‘his,’ ‘hers,’ and ‘its’ are going to be common in this POV.

Example: Amy held her breath, back pressed against the wall. The cold seeped into her bones, but she couldn’t move. The tip of a broken floor tile jammed its way painfully into the underside of her boot, but she didn’t dare make a sound. He might hear it.

Third person omniscient means that your narrator is still looking at things from an outsider’s point of view, but instead of expressing just one character’s intentions, it can express all of them. Third person omniscient means that your narrator is essentially invisible and watching the characters do their thang. They are not a character in your story. They do not express personal thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Something that is important to remember is that in third person omniscient, your narrator is an outside observer, which means that they cannot understand the internal thoughts your character has, and therefore, cannot describe thoughts or feelings that the characters themselves have not already expressed.

Correct:

Harry ran down the sidewalk, his tie furiously flapping over his shoulder. He waved frantically to the bus as it pulled away from the curb. “Wait!” he screamed. “Wait!”

At the stop next to him, Francine flipped her arm over and frowned down nervously at the watch on her wrist. “Thirty minutes ‘til the next one,” she said with a sigh.

Incorrect:

Harry ran down the sidewalk, feeling his lungs almost burst inside of his chest. Ugh, he thought, if I keep this up, I’ll get a stitch in my side.

At the bus stop, Francine glared down at her watch. Thirty minutes, she told herself, biting her lip. I’m gonna be late on my first day!

Third person omniscient is a trickier style to use, because when some writers attempt this, it becomes third person limited with… HEAD-HOPPING. (You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?) The incorrect example is actually a perfect example of something you shouldn’t do.

Let me let you in on a secret: Most editors and publishers are going to hate head-hopping, and most newbie writers are going to do it. Why? Because they don’t know how to consistently write in a proper POV, or because they think they can tackle third person omniscient, and… they can’t. That’s not a dig. If you’re not quite there yet with your ability to write in third person omniscient, keep trying but don’t submit that work until you’ve been able to clean it up once or twice at least and make sure you’re not making us feel like  we’re hearing voices.

(Unless your character, is, in fact, schizophrenic, in which case, okay, cool!)

Don’t ever put two characters’ independent thoughts on the same page unless you’re writing in third person limited and putting page breaks in between them to signify a POV switch from one character to the next.

(A page break is easy: three or four pound keys or hashtags, as the kids call them nowadays (###), or three or four asterisks (***) mid-page will do the trick.)

By head-hopping, you will end up creating a muddled, confusing scene in which we are simultaneously reading different characters’ minds. It’s not pleasant, it’s not good writing, and as an editor, it’s literally one of the most frustrating things to fix because I basically have to reconfigure entire portions of story to best fit who I think is the main protagonist based off of your writing. Basically, it becomes character Jenga, which is not as fun as it sounds.

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Like this except more tears. My tears.

Whether you are writing in first, second, or third person, make absolutely certain that you don’t deviate into another style. How can you keep track of this? Double check the pronouns from each of the styles, and pay attention to what you’re writing.

Does your third person limited style end up head-hopping? Figure out which person is your main character, and then focus on them. Make sure your first person style focuses solely on one character, like you’re in Being John Malkovich staring through his head. If you go second person, make sure your style is addressing the reader as though the character is aware of their presence and doesn’t question their narration of important parts of their life to an invisible stranger.

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I said don’t question it!

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At any rate, it’s really easy to accidentally make your writing sloppy by skipping around these various points of view… and more people than you realize end up doing this by accident.

Remember: Pick ONE and stay with it. You’ll save yourself (and future publishers!) a lot of headaches in the end.

 

‘The Coffin Blind’ Excerpt

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“Is that Gaven?” Ingrid lifted a pale hand to shade her equally pale blue eyes and stared into the setting sun’s light.

Irritated, Elijah only nodded.

“He shouldn’t force the emissaries to act. They’ll just send him to the Farm,” Ingrid said.

Elijah squirmed uncomfortably. He couldn’t let Ingrid know how close he had come to crying. “Should we say something?”

She thought for a moment. “He lost his family today… leave him alone.”

Elijah was grateful for her empathy—a rare trait among a culture where deep emotions were deemed distasteful. The chastisement of Gaven’s actions was nothing more than rote; one of the strange laws they’d followed compliantly since the End nearly thirteen cycles prior.

Elijah often wondered what it had been like before the End, but he couldn’t picture it since he’d been born into the new world. Now, all he had to imagine the lives of his parents and siblings were pictures and remnants. He wondered if it was harder for the others who knew both, or for him not to have known it at all. The way they mentioned it was almost reverential; he was sad he would never understand.

In the village behind them, hushed whispers announced the coming of the emissaries.

At her hip, Ingrid’s hand tightened on the pommel of her short sword, and Elijah followed suit. Did someone already call them? He wondered. After a few minutes of fearful expectation, he forced his hand to unclench.

After all we’ve seen today, Elijah pondered as survivors turned and dissipated into the dark houses of the settlement, maybe they don’t want to cause more pain?

It wouldn’t last, though.

It never did.

Devil

Poetry

I’m like an urging in your blood
A rush of speed inside your head
And you’ll never win against it,
We’ll just decide when we’re both dead

I’m a beast inside your soul
A fiendish frenzy through your veins
A smile to cause your heart break,
With the hands to soothe the pain

Intrigue and delight,
A source of wonder and chagrin,
Remember dear, remember!
That I’m the devil you let in.

And remember that you chose
To love the animal in me
A vicarious atonement
for the pain you’ll always need

And father bless the wicked
But let the innocents prevail
Amidst your journey through the fire
And the sins that you exhale

Smile because you want it
(Cry because you’ll never win)
And if you’re saddened, just remember:

I’m the devil you let in,
Yeah, I’m the devil you let in…

Minimum wage? More Like Slave Labor

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On the Internet, you find a lot of people willing to spew hatred. It’s just a fact. Whether it’s an honest opinion or general trolling, you typically run into a bunch of people who are simply willing to go out of their way to put you down because

*GASP*

You disagreed with them.

The Internet has always been the home of porn addicts and compulsive spenders, but now thanks to social media, you have an outlet for people who say stupid crap when they’re by themselves to go online and say stupid crap for hundreds and hundreds of thousands to see.

Every. Day.

The problem with this is that, as a whole, the people who are willing to spew these kind of violent outbursts of righteous anger with their noses so high in the air they can’t even see the keyboard are almost always speaking purely from an opinionated point of view… or at least one that is purely decorated with other people’s voices who share the exact same opinion.

(If you get all of your news from a single channel and don’t change your mind about a topic when facts and evidence are presented in the contrary, you are not as well-rounded as you think.)

It’s like a crazy farm. For crazy people. Only, every single one of them thinks that they’re right. I was on Facebook when I came across this gem in my newsfeed:

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This lady, we’ll call her “J”… well, she starts off pretty strong. From the get-go, we know it’s a rant. That in and of itself is not bad. People rant on social media all the time, and it’s become a fairly accepted pastime for most people. Bad day at work? School? You’re sick? Post it to social media! I mean, hell, this blog is basically a giant tribute to my opinion, so clearly, the rant is something that I’m not only familiar with, but chill with pretty frequently.

By the first sentence, I already knew that I was in for a bad time. It’s one of those things that you can just tell by the vibe before you even read it. Someone’s about to blast you with an opinion, and you just. can’t. look. away. It’s like the friggin’ Ark in Raiders. You know it’s gonna be filled with bad shit, and you can either face it or close your eyes and pretend it’s not there.

J starts off immediately by demeaning fast food workers. Immediately. It was almost as if she had been personally offended by a McDonald’s employee who DARED to ask for more money. Was this a personal vendetta? Did she go to said restaurant only to be turned away by a picket line? Who knows? What we do know is that J is really, really, pissed at Johnny Fry-Boy, Baconator (That one’s not so creative, J), and Sally McBurgerFlipper. She is righteously indignant that a fast food worker would request a pay increase to a decent living wage.

I mean, I have no idea how someone could get so angry over someone asking for more when they don’t have enough…. Oh wait.

oliver

Not pictured: J standing off screen yelling at him.

Apparently, if a fast food worker was paid the same amount as someone in the military, it somehow lessens the amount of pay for said soldier. J’s got a bone to pick with those poor employees, and she’s not afraid to show it. Given her utter horror at the idea, and her in-depth knowledge of pay scales in the military, I’d venture a guess that J is married to a soldier and isn’t happy about the money. I can understand that. I actually have a few friends in the military, and I know that things can get tight trying to support their families. I know that there is the issue of them not being paid, being given less than they’re worth, and generally being screwed over if the government is wearing their “Dunce” caps that day (Hint: they are ALWAYS wearing them).

I get it, J. I totally understand that you are angry over the poor pay of men who are willing to sacrifice their lives for us and be apart from their families for long periods of time. I get that it’s unfair, but that’s why all minimum wage should change. Attacking a fast food worker who wants more isn’t the answer.

Dealing all of your fury against people who not only make up a large portion of our economy but also fill necessary jobs so you can feed your kids when you don’t feel like making dinner before a ball game is not going to help. Your rage is misplaced. You should be angry at the government: not at Johnny, Baconator, and Sally. They’re doing their jobs, just like anyone else. They might be putting themselves through school. Did you think of that? They might be trying to pay some increasingly high student debts so they can get a better job. They might be teens trying to work part-time, or even older people who can’t retire because they can’t live on social security. Designed for kids in high school? Honey, this is 2014. I see 60 year olds at Walmart and Subway and Burger King all the time. We have an increasingly pinched middle class and we’re recovering from a recession and the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression.

I think you need to redefine “jobs for high schoolers” because I can even name some people with fantastic degrees working in retail, in grocery stores, customer service, and yes, even fast food. Do they want to do those jobs? No, I’m sure they don’t. But they need to work to eat, and they deserve to be able to live on the wages that they’ve worked so hard for.

Never mind that a large portion of our fast food workers are on food stamps to support their families. Never mind that they are continually thought of as the scum of the earth, regardless of the fact that McDonald’s sells billions of burgers to people just like J. Never mind that they are given ridiculous tasks and can’t go over on their hours. Or that they are frequently victims of wage theft and being forced to work off the clock or threatened with termination. Never mind that they are people who are trying to support themselves on $7.25 an hour when the burgers that they are “flipping” almost cost more than they make.

Yeah J. You have clearly done your research on this topic.

Now, you may not know this, but today is actually a special day! It’s my anniversary!

ImageThe one month anniversary, in fact, of the day that I got rear-ended by a middle-aged soccer mom in her huge-ass van! What do I have to show for it, you might ask? Well, mainly a bigger butt (I’ve put on 5lbs because of inactivity and meds…), a dwindling bank account, oodles of doctor’s bills, and a bigger headache than ever before! I also have a busted up car, neck, arm, and back, but hey, those are the kinda gifts you get when a complete stranger gives your derriere that oh so special “getting to know you” love tap.

In the last month, I have done little to nothing of any major value, unless, of course, you count sitting on your ass, laying about, taking medicine and then sleeping too much as ‘something’.

(If you count that as something, then we need to talk because you might have a problem, and/or also be my new best friend.)

At any rate, I wasn’t at fault for the accident, but that didn’t stop it from putting a hold on literally EVERYTHING in my life. For those of you who don’t know, I recently turned 27 had a birthday and I spent it zonked out on meds and marathoning Netflix shows from my bed. I think I left the room maybe three times, and it was mostly because I had to pee.

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The song of the porcelain throne is a siren’s call.

In this interim of inaction, I’ve had the unfortunate position of having to speak with the insurance company for a length of time, which led to them trying to get me to sign my life over for little more than they probably make in 30 seconds. They also tried to avoid paying the medical bills that occurred as a result of their client’s negligence. They attempted to do all of this days after the accident before I even had knowledge of how bad my injuries really were.

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“Then I told her that we’d pay for the medical bills… for the first week!”

I’m going to let you in on a less than secret “secret”: Insurance companies are evil. I think they might work for Hitler, who is actually subcontracting for the Devil from the innermost circle of Hell in the office next to every serial murderer and across the hall from the room reserved for the Westboro Baptist Church.

Take everything you know about empathy, shred it, throw the bits in the air, have an orgy in the pile, and then shit all over whatever’s left, and you basically have what amounts to the insurance agency’s desire to help you solve your problems.

I’m not posting a picture for that. Use your imaginations. Sickos.

What I’m saying is that they genuinely don’t care one iota about you, your pain, or your problems.

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I couldn’t give less of a shit. I really, truly mean it.

I went into this with the attitude that hey, as long as my medical bills are paid, I’ll be okay and work with them… which promptly had to go straight out the window when they showed their hand. It was about a week after my accident when I realized that I might actually have to get an attorney to handle the travesty, because they were seriously, seriously uninterested in trying to help me.

In the meantime, while I’m waiting for all of this to get sorted, I haven’t been able to work, and my car still hasn’t been repaired because not only is the insurance company trying to wiggle out of it, but I also have the estimate writer at their repair place being downright nasty to me.

(Rodney… what a perfect name for you.)

Add on to this that I’m basically spending 3-5 days a week in a doctor’s office, and it’s literally the most Sisyphean task I’ve ever had to endure.

Now remember, the only reason that I’m in this endless cycle is because someone else was careless, and they have people on their side who are paid to make my road to recovery as difficult as humanly possible. They are paid to make us miserable and to make us accept less than we need to survive, and that, my friends, is not okay.

There are, of course, people in the world who whine a bit too loudly when something like this happens, and I totally get that. But then, there are also people who are just trying to get themselves back to status quo. The many will always suffer for the few, but it just really makes you hate the process that much more when you realize that someone literally has a job where they are told to screw you over as much as possible.

And to those people, I would gladly offer you this lovely double fingered salute, but you’ve seen it so much you’d probably just think of it as a term of endearment by now.

 

 

 

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Super Bowl-Sh*t

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I am not normally one to watch football and don’t watch any of the matches through the rest of the year, so it doesn’t matter to me which colored jersey wins, ya dig?

(My sister-in-law and brother-in-law and I just so happened to choose the winning side to root for, which was a psychic bonus, I suppose.)

That being said, as a family, we all sit down and watch the Super Bowl, and so I had a chance to spy the infamous ads which would later cause such an online flummox.

At any rate, watching the commercials during the breaks, I wasn’t ‘blown away’ by any, and some even made me smile a bit. I mean, I don’t even drink Budweiser, but I love their Clydesdale commercials—who doesn’t love puppies and horses?!

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 …I digress.

Never once did it occur to me that two ads would have made such an outrageous impact for ALL of the wrong reasons.

Now, I watched both of these ads. I watched them with my whole family, and none of us saw anything wrong with them. We just watched them and moved on, but the Internet was already abuzz with misplaced rage.

Why? Because in this day and age, ignorance can’t be contained. It must be spread online, typically over social media forums that allow for people to spew their idiot vomit in 140 characters or less.

So, in lieu of simply calling people on their backwoods bullshit, let’s break down all of the fun reasons that people who found these commercials offensive are racist, bigoted morons!

Coca Cola has people singing “America the Beautiful” in languages other than English.

1. “I didn’t like people singing the national anthem in another language.”

If you have made it to an age where you can go out into the world and type with any kind of clarity into social media a slightly literate sentence about your opinion… you should at least be able to understand that if you’re going to open your mouth about something, you should have some facts to back it up.

a)    America the Beautiful is NOT our national anthem. Our national anthem is The Star Spangled Banner.

b)   This song was written by Katherine Lee Bates (*gasp*, a WOMAN?!) who was also a lesbian (Double gasp!). She left the Republican party in 1924 over growing xenophobia.

c)    Xenophobia: the intense or irrational dislike and fear of people from other countries (sound familiar?)

2. “This is Uh-meri-cuh. We speak ENGLISH here.”

a)    America has no official national language. This is because we are a melting pot… Think of the Statue of Liberty’s inscription. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” The inscription didn’t say, “Give me people who speak American English and nothing else.”

b)   We have plenty of U.S. citizens (legit citizens, okay?) who speak a language other than English, but are still American. It happens, since, you know, immigration from other countries.

c)    American English is a hard language to learn, but you know what? Some foreign countries actually assign it as a language in their classrooms. There are foreigners all over the world who have mastered the English language better than a good portion of Americans in America.

d)   How many people in America can easily discern the difference between:

It’s and Its;

Two, To, and Too

Your and You’re

They’re, Their, and There

Where and We’re

Write and Right

EnglishGrammar

Believe it or not, this is foreign language to some Americans…

Cheerios shows an interracial couple with a child.

a)    Welcome to America, where your birthplace doesn’t matter, but the color of your skin does? If you can’t get it through your skull that people are people, and we’re all pink and meaty on the inside regardless of our exteriors, then you really should go back to high school biology class and retake that segment, because clearly, you missed a huge plot twist.

b)   People evolved and adapted over many years to develop different pigmentation in their skin based on their environments and what they required in order to survive. Us extra white white people lived in regions where it was cold, we didn’t stay in the sun all day, and in a lot of places, it snowed. Therefore, we developed lighter skin, because nature decided that was what we needed. The good portion of people with darker skin lived in hotter climates, where their darker skin protected them from a harsher sun, and ensured that they wouldn’t stick out like… well, like a white person on the Savannah.

c)    Science, bitches.

d)   Because we are able to migrate all over the world today, and people of any racial orientation can move wherever they want, there are tons of people from different places everywhere.

e)    Sometimes, those people fall in love with someone who doesn’t look like them. Imagine if there was a fallout because blonde people were marrying brunettes instead of other blondes. See how silly that is? Now apply that ideal to skin color. It’s pretty lame, isn’t it?

Before this totally blows your mind, I assure you, there is no rule where someone of one race can’t fall in love with someone of another race. Our parts all work the same in the end, and again, if you can’t figure out that we’re all just people, you should probably go and learn that so you can understand how someone could have a baby from such a union.

(Hint: It’s the regular way since they’re no different from you)

I would really love for people to stop letting hate-mongering idiots dictate their views.

Let’s drop that racist ‘Murica! mentality for 2014, okay?

Stories to Make Your Skin Crawl…

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Hey everyone!!

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d share with you two books that are definitely going on my fright list!

The Walking Dead, saison 1

Just ignore them, they wouldn’t know good literature if it bit them in the… Oh.

I recently had an article published with Spectacle PMG in regards to two books they will be releasing to horrify and thrill their audiences.

You can read that article here!

The books are entitled Disturbing and Eat, and they are for lovers of ghoulish things everywhere!

Got a thing for zombies? You can purchase the unique tales of Eat here.

If you’re wanting something truly Disturbing, then go purchase a copy here.

And don’t forget to go and read my article! ‘Cause, y’know, it’s amazing. Duh.

Happy Halloween… try not to be too frightened.

Alas

Poetry

Ocean-of-Fire-with-Moon-Wallpaper

a funeral pyre was set for me,

amidst the dark and briny sea

against the stormy background’s woes,
and listless wind’s enchanting throes-

I lost the bet and lost a life,
(sacrificed the stitch for strife)

it’s not if any death will do,
you must be thorough, through and through!

called a name amid the crowd,

but lost the spindle to the shroud,

smashed their smiles and ran along
the battlements adorned in song-

in every truth there lies a lie,
and hopelessness that ambles by,

when twinkles fail to glisten soft,

the flesh that bleeds in time forgot,

if ever there was love in sin,
(and ravagement to wander in)

it’s in the telling, not the tome,
if death should choose to come back home-