Who doesn’t love free books?

IMG_1246Today, BumblesBooks is bringing one of you lucky readers a FREE BOOK! We’re giving away one signed copy of ERUPTION by Adrienne Quintana! Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Jace Vega has finally landed her dream job—working for Omnibus, an up-and-coming tech firm. But a mysterious message from her future self sets Jace and her old friend Corey racing to piece together clues before Omnibus destroys their future—and their past. This fast-paced thriller will keep you guessing till the very last page.

To enter, follow Adrienne on Facebook or on Twitter, then leave me a comment letting me know you’ve done it. You have one week! I’ll choose the winner next Monday, 27 July 2015.

And because it’s Monday and we must have our writing challenge, let’s make it Eruption-themed:


Your character gets a message from his or her future self. What form does it take? What does it say?


Okay, go enter for your chance to win a free book!


Shoring up weak spots

Description is Written Enemy Number 1 in my world.

Part of the problem is that I don’t like to read books that are heavy on description. I loved the plot of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, but when she was describing everything in Corlath’s tent down to the etching on the handle of the tea cup . . . get me to the fighting, please!

I know not everyone is that way. I have two fabulous writing buddies in particular who write gorgeous descriptions, and they’re always great at encouraging more description on my part. It’s not something that comes easily to me, and I need all the help I can get.

Description is a necessary part of writing well, though the depth of description depends greatly on your patience with it. If you need a little practice with it, take up this week’s writing challenge:


Take a look around you and write a description of what’s there–not just what you see with your eyes, but what you smell, hear, feel. Get into what it makes you think of, too–memories, hopes, people, etc.


How do you feel about description? Are you into reading pages and pages of it? Do you tend to over-describe or under-describe in your writing?

What? June?

Hey there, guys. Remember me? It’s been a few weeks, but I’m still here. Since we last met, I wen to California, turned a quarter of a century old, killed my old cell phone, caved in and got a smart phone, finally met one of my amazing critique buddies face-to-face, and ran across an entertaining children’s book series about a quirky British family of artists by Hilary McKay.

I suppose writing is in there somewhere, too. And mapping. My fabulous map-making brother sat me down and talked through some details of the map for Demon’s Heart and the two following books, which made a huge difference in how the books run. It never ceases to amaze me how completely a pair of fresh eyes can impact a story. I’m so grateful for my critique partners and beta readers who hammer my stories into better shape.

I’m excited to get back into blogging regularly again, as I now have a backlog of ideas, but for now, take up the Monday Writing Challenge for this week:


Draw a map for a place in your story, be it a country, a city, or a house. Let someone else have a look at it and ask all the questions that you never thought about.



Have you seen the Hamlet with David Tenant and Patrick Stewart? One of my favorite performances ever. I watched it again with my cousin last week, and while I was basking in the glorious soliloquies, I started to wonder . . .

What would my characters say, given a moment to face the camera and speak their mind?

So this is my challenge to you this week, my friends:


Pick a character at a certain point in your novel, and soliloquize.


Cast from Fiction!

Okay, maybe it’s 9:00pm, but I’m going to get this writing challenge out on Monday this week. Story behind this week’s writing challenge: ever since I got a contract to publish Demon’s Heart, I’ve had people asking me if it’s going to be a movie. My inner response to that question is a subject for another day. But one of the things that has come up in this relentless drive to push another novel to Hollywood screenwriters is who would be cast in various roles. I’m totally clueless when it comes to actors, so I came up with my own casting call that I thought I’d extend to you and your works in progress:


Cast fictional characters as actors in the “movie” of your book.


Make sense? Here’s my example:

Rustav: Jonas (The Giver by Lois Lowry)
Dantzel: Skye Penderwick (The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall)
Cabel: Fink (The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen)
Anton: Abbe Faria (The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas)
Ayre: Loki (Norse mythology–although I must say that Tom Hiddleston is the only actor I’ve ever thought of as portraying one of my characters)
Tay: Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien)

Okay, give me your casts!

Boggarting your character

Remember meeting boggarts way back in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? A creature that shapes itself into whatever you fear the most. How terrifying is that?

But what a brilliant creation! Forcing the characters to face their fears and showing their reactions not only developed the characters better, it humanized them, brought them a little closer to our hearts. Fear is a universal emotion, but everyone deals with it differently. Therefore, fear is a great way to make your character more relatable, but also to give your character more distinct traits.

So for this week’s challenge, ponder:


Put your character up against what he/she fears most. What is it? How does your character respond? What does fear feel like to your character?


Happy writing!

Stories within your story: Creation

It was a beautiful Easter weekend! I spent time with family, listened to leaders of my church speak at a general conference, and ate a lot of food. Scout wasn’t super into the egg hunt, but she was more than happy to eat the candy Daddy found for her.

I was explaining to someone this weekend that, although Easter is now widely viewed as a religious holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many of the widespread Easter traditions (e.g. Easter eggs, Easter bunny) come from its origins as a pagan festival.

It took me back to my days at Intercultural Outreach, where I read and researched about all kinds of cultural traditions, both modern and ancient. The most common cultural tradition touched on was the creation myth. We all came from somewhere, and every culture has its own explanation of where that somewhere was.

The same should hold true in the worlds that you create in your writing. So as you create your own cultures and worlds within your stories, consider this:


What is the prevailing creation myth in your novel’s culture? What does your character believe regarding this creation myth?


Hearing voices everywhere . . .

Last week, I talked about the importance of giving your characters distinct voices. It takes a lot of work to find your character’s voice without completely overdoing it, so here’s another challenge to help you develop distinct voices:


Rewrite part of a scene several times in first person, each time narrating the scene from a different character’s point of view.


Finding whose voice?

When I started to get more serious about my writing, one piece of advice I frequently heard was, “Find your voice.” Like most advice, it’s nebulous and somewhat misleading.

Writing is not just about finding your voice, because books are about so much more than the author. Beyond finding your “authorial” voice (whatever that is), you have to find the voice of your narrator and each of your characters.

It’s amazing how much characterization can be done solely through the way your character talks—the words, the tone, the speed, the volume, and so forth. Good voice characterization makes each character distinct and memorable.

So here is my writing challenge for you this week:


Write an exchange between two (or more) of your characters with no dialogue markers whatsoever. Make it clear from the voice alone who is talking.


Give me your three words!

I went to the dentist today.

And then I took Scout to the doctor for her shots.

I’m tired.

So today’s writing challenge is a simple one, and I’d love to see some of your responses in the comments section:


In three words, express a prominent theme in your novel.


See? So simple that I can even manage it in my current state of mind.

For my current project: potentially moral lies.

For Demon’s Heart: internalizing external perceptions.

What are your three words?

PS Be excited for Wednesday’s post—there’s a super awesome guest author coming to visit BumblesBooks!