The Battle of Names and Titles

Covers aren’t usually a huge deciding factor for me. I care more about the words inside than the pictures outside. But there is one thing a cover can do that will instantly have me cringing, screeching, and hiding the offending cover behind other books:

Displaying the author’s name in a font ten times larger and bolder than the title.

Look, I appreciate that some authors are just plain awesome. But there is not a single author on earth whose book I would buy just because that author wrote it. Every book is something new, something different, something unique. Every book has its own identity. Every book has to make a name for itself.

And, for goodness’ sake, how can you expect a person to remember the title of the book when there’s a 1000-pt, extra-extra bold


blaring in your face and drowning it out?

Am I the only one who cares about the relative size of the title and author name? Are there any authors whose books you will buy without hesitation just because it’s written by that author?


Better Late than Never

It’s the last Monday of 2014! I spent most of it on the freeway, and I’m grateful to be out of the car now. As this is the last day of the year for my writing challenge, I thought I’d put up a list of the challenges I’ve done this year for you to pick from. Enjoy!

9/8 Take a minor character from your WIP and write a scene from their past, before your story takes place
9/15 Find a place that fills one of your characters with nostalgia. Write a brief scene showing why that place is so important to him or her.
9/22 Write a scene from your villain’s childhood.
9/29 What’s your character’s quirk? Write a scene where it’s prominent.
10/6 Take a scene and rewrite it from a different character’s point of view.
10/13 Take a prominent setting in your book and describe it in detail through the eyes of one of your characters.
10/20 Take a point in your story where a character is traveling, whether it’s a long or a short journey. Describe not only what your character sees, but also how it makes her feel, what it reminds him of, the emotions evoked.
10/27 How’s your character’s work ethic? Lazy, workaholic, sporadic, always starting and never completing . . . Write a scene where one character’s work ethic affects another’s life or routine.
11/4 What is the main source of income for your country/city/town/village? How does your character fit into that equation? A normal worker, or an outlier? Work your character’s relation to the main economy into a scene.
11/10 Write a bare-bones dialogue, with just enough markers to know who’s talking and what’s going on. Sit back and see if you can read it aloud like you’re having a conversation in a friend. In fact, go get a friend, strap her to a chair if necessary, and read it back and forth. Make necessary revisions until you don’t sound like a snooty Victorian. (Unless, of course, your character is a snooty Victorian.)
11/17 Write out the scene where your villain makes (or starts to make) the turn from good to evil.
11/24 What’s a long-standing tradition in your character’s life? Write a descriptive scene with your character’s thoughts and feelings as the tradition is happening–or during a time when the tradition has failed.
12/8 From a minor character’s point of view, write the moment that character meets your protagonist: feelings, first impressions, biases, etc.
12/15 Write a scene from a normal day for one of your characters, before your story throws a wrench in his or her life.

Writing Goals

They’re everywhere. There’s no escaping them. 500 words. 1000 words. 739 words. An hour. Five hours. Eight hours, with seven-minute breaks every 43 minutes.

Writing goals are a great thing for many authors, it seems. Unfortunately, when I sit down with a word-count goal in mind, I tend to sit and stare at the word count in the lower left-hand corner of the screen the entire time I’m writing. When I sit down with a time goal, I stare at the clock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

I’ve learned it’s better for me to just not go down that path.

But that doesn’t mean I’m without goals. There is one overarching goal that encompasses my entire writing philosophy:

Write every day.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 1000 words or 10. It doesn’t matter if it’s the manuscript I’m supposed to be working on, a flash of inspiration for a new story, or a project that’s been simmering on the back burner for a while. If I open a Word document and type something, I’ve filled my goal for the day.

It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. There are times that I don’t feel super inspired, but I’ll start working and the words come pouring out. Then again, there are times that I don’t feel super inspired and I get maybe two sentences on the page. But that’s still two sentences more than I had the day before.

The only way to finish writing a novel is to get the words onto the page one by one, and that’s never going to happen unless you are diligent about sitting down to work regularly. The effort of writing daily will not only get those words on the page, it will also make the words better, smoother, tighter. With practice, writing rises in quality and efficiency.

With all the goal-setting rage that comes with the new year, find the writing goal that works for you, be it simple or complex, lax or stringent. Then go forth and tackle your writing endeavors with spirit!

What are some of your writing goals? Do you stick to them strictly or give yourself some wiggle room?

We have a winner!

Whew, I’m a little behind here! My first giveaway ended a couple of days ago, and I didn’t time that very well, because I was trapped in a car with no internet and no way to get word to the winner. So without further ado, I would like congratulate KARLI for winning a free copy of Demon’s Heart!

If you would like another chance to get a free book, head over to I Am a Reader. The wonderful and inspiring Kathy is running a giveaway of Demon’s Heart until December 28. Oh, and I did a guest post there, too, all about stars and books.

Happy Wednesday!

It’s launched!

The launch party at Barnes and Noble was amazing! I talked with so many wonderful people. I love how books bring people together! A huge thank you to all who pitched in and made it a success!




20141212_164239Sadly, this was the only photo, blurry as it is, that I got with the wonderful Julia, who took good care of me and was a delight to talk to. Thank you, Julia!

Laughter from a Moribund Writer

The first time I heard the phrase “The author is dead” in an intro to literary theory class, I was completely puzzled. We wouldn’t have many sequels if all authors were dead, now, would we?

But it didn’t take long to realize that the words were figurative. (Figurative language in a literary theory class? Who’da thunk?) Once a book is out in the world, it doesn’t matter what the author meant it to say. The book is open to the interpretation of all who read it.

This was one of the things that I worried about leading up to Demon’s Heart‘s release. Once it was out in the world, in a way, it would no longer be mine. It would be whatever the readers made it out to be based on their own experiences, tastes, opinions, and so forth.

But the day after release, I’ve already had a good laugh over this very concept. I’ve had two very dear people place Demon’s Heart on opposite ends of the romance spectrum. Romance! Do you know where romance falls on my list of things I think about when categorizing Demon’s Heart? Somewhere on level five or six. Sure, there’s a boy and a girl and teenage hormones play a role, but to have romance brought out as a principle sub-genre and critiqued as such in two very different ways . . . it made me smile. I suppose everyone views it through their own eyes.

What do you think? Is the author truly dead? Have you ever had a reader give you a totally unexpected perspective on your book?

If you’re interested, here are a few reviews that have rolled in. Enjoy!

First impressions

I fell down on the writing challenge last Monday, but I’m back now with a good one. For any new followers, every Monday I post a writing challenge meant to help develop your story, characters, setting, world, etc.

I have a thing for minor characters. Some of my favorite characters in Demon’s Heart are the ones who play a brief role, the ones I know much more about than what comes out in the end product. I love exploring those characters, because sometimes they surprise you and have a huge effect on the course of the story.

So here’s today’s challenge:


From a minor character’s point of view, write the moment that character meets your protagonist: feelings, first impressions, biases, etc.


Also, the Demon’s Heart blog tour has started! If you’re interested in seeing reviews, interviews, crazy facts, and more, click here to see a list of the participating blogs.