Monday, December 28, 2015

Style Guide to Yodify Your Language via Grammarly

In preparation for writing Book 3 of the H.A.L.F. series, I've been studying language creation (ConLang). It is at times a very dry topic. I'm not sure how much time I want to devote to learning linguistics in furtherance of world building.

I think the Star Wars universe is a good example of going just far enough with language creation to make it sound plausible without necessarily going full throttle.

While Yoda doesn't speak a different language, it is one of the more fun uses of language in the Star Wars world. Now thanks to the folks at  Grammarly, you can "Yodify" your own words.


Yodify your Grammar Infographic

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NaNoWriMo November: Happy ThanksNano by Laura Kirwan

NaNoWriMo'ers, you're in the home stretch. Only seven days left! How are you holding up?

Today I have a guest post by author Laura Kirwan that perfectly sums up this stage of the NaNo experience. And she has some great advice and cheerleading for all writers.

And only seven days left to enter the November NaNo Book Giveaway with loads of books from 5+ authors. Many chances to win - Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy ThanksNano!

by Laura Kirwan

Ready for Thanksgiving?

For many of us that answer isn't “No,” or even “Hell, no!”

It's NaNo!

A festive NaNoWriMo place setting brightens your holiday table!    
Along with being a sugar, caffeine, and adrenaline laced literary frenzy, NaNoWriMo is an excellent excuse for dodging Thanksgiving food assignments.

“Oh, Mom, I'd love to bring Great Aunt Edna's traditional marshmallow, sweet potato, fruitcake Jello salad with the maraschino cherry-pecan-coconut topping, but I'm at a crucial point in the story and I've only got six days to finish and WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE STOP STEPPING ON MY DREAMS?!?!?!”

Admit it. We've all had that conversation at some point, right?

But with only six days left, what if you have twenty five thousand words to go? You keep telling yourself--hyperventilatingly (how's that for an adverb?)--“I don't want to lose NaNoWriMo! I want to be a writer, not a failure!”

Shhh. Relax. It's okay . . .

I've done NaNoWriMo twice. The first time I didn't officially sign up and only managed fifteen thousand words. The second time, I registered and managed not quite twenty thousand words.

But here's the thing. That first NaNo “failure” grew into my first published novel.  The second “failure” will soon be my third published novel.

Don't get me wrong. NaNoWriMo is a great thing to do. I highly recommend it. But, what separates a NaNo participant from a published author is what you do the other eleven months.

So, if that arbitrary November 30 finish line seems unreachable, and you really want to throw in the towel and enjoy Thanksgiving?

Do it.

Remember, if you hit the finish line with only twenty thousand words, you still win. You have a solid start and you've accomplished what most people who claim they want to write never even attempt. YOU GO, YOU!!!

Only don't tell the family until you show up for dinner so you can dodge making that scary Jello salad. Instead, bring homemade cranberry sauce. Totally easy, better than the canned stuff, and everyone except the die hard traditionalists will enjoy it much more than Great Aunt Edna's festive pile of crap.  

Cranberry Sauce:

Rinse a bag of fresh (not frozen) cranberries. Drain and place in a saucepan with enough liquid to cover. (I use orange juice for the extra flavor.) Many recipes will tell you to add a cup of sugar, but I don't like it that sweet, so start with less and taste it as it cooks. Keep in mind that you can add more sugar later if you need it, but you can't take it out. Bring the pan to a boil and simmer until the berries have all popped and the sauce has thickened a bit (the longer you cook it the thicker it will get.) Add sugar if needed while still hot. Refrigerate before serving.

Then, pour yourself a tasty beverage, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate the words you've already written. You own NaNoWriMo, and you own Thanksgiving. GO, YOU!!!

Impervious (City of Eldrich-Book One)

Impervious by Laura Kirwan
Meaghan Keele faces menopause with no husband, no kids, and a job she hates. At her brother's request, she moves to Pennsylvania to help care for their dying father, taking over his job as lawyer for the town of Eldrich.

What Meaghan doesn't know is that law was her father's day job. Gateways to magic worlds riddle the nearby forest. Impervious to magic, he solved magical disputes and guarded the human world. Without him, old enemies are stirring.

Meaghan knows people are keeping secrets and soon finds out why. She's impervious too. Her office manager and her secretary are witches. Jamie, her handsome young assistant, isn't exactly human. And Meaghan is expected to take over both of her father's jobs.

Struggling to accept her destiny, Meaghan is soon drawn into a brutal struggle in another world and a budding romance with John Smith—exiled king, town drunk, and Jamie's estranged father.

Laura Kirwan, Author
Laura Kirwan is the author of Impervious and Crushed, the first two books in the seven-book City of Eldrich contemporary fantasy series. The third book in the series, Gods and Swindlers, will be published in December, 2015. A former municipal attorney, Laura grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives in Arizona. Learn more about Laura and her books at


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaNoWriMo November: 1667 Words a Day by Jessica Dall

My guest today is author Jessica Dall and her post is fabulous. Jessica's advice echoes what I often say to budding writers when I'm asked how to get the novel done. Just WRITE!! And that's the beauty of NaNoWriMo. So without further ado, Jessica's post AND don't forget the Mega November Book Giveaway (Rafflecopter at end of post):

1667 Words a Day

By Jessica Dall

To be an author is to question yourself. At least that is what I’ve always found. No matter how much I’ve written, there are still always moment where I go back and wonder just how I made writing my profession. My husband always likes to say that writers are their own worst critics—which might be true—but that is part of the brilliance that is NaNoWriMo. By focusing on writing 1667 words every single day, there isn’t enough time to go back and start second guessing the scene you just wrote.

This November marks my eighth year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I have long pointed to NaNo as the biggest single event that got me writing again after taking a long break between writing my first (rather awful) novel in high school and actually finishing a second project in college. Before NaNo, I had spent years either jumping ship in the middle of a novel when I grew bored (generally in what I now know is the “mid-story slump”) or getting frustrated that what I saw in my head wasn’t showing up properly on the page. By getting into the excitement that was NaNoWriMo—and getting into the habit of thinking “I’ll fix it in editing”—I was able to end up with a finished product, and learn what has more or less become my motto ever since: Editing can fix most things but not an empty page.

Perhaps there are some authors out there who are literary Mozarts and are able to type something that is a masterpiece on the first try, but most writers—even published ones—aren’t like that. What shows up in a rough draft may or may not look anything like when it’s placed on a bookstore shelf. If someone were to compare the draft of my most recently published book, Raining Embers, from when it was my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel to what has now been printed, the general plot and characters would be there, yes, but it has been reworked so much since then—both by me and my editors—that it would nearly seem they were two different books. With its sequel (2014’s NaNo novel) it is quite literally a different book, as I rewrote ninety-nine percent of it after November, using a few lines here and there to make the story flow better. Does the fact that I was able to keep so little from November make me question what many NaNoWriMo detractors point to as being NaNo’s push for “quantity over quality”? Not at all. If I hadn’t gotten the story down in the first place, I never would have learned what did and didn’t work—and would very likely still be struggling to get something finished at all since what I’d have wouldn’t have been “right.”

So, for anyone who is struggling to get past nerves or frustration that what is ending up on the page isn’t what’s in their head, NaNoWriMo can be a godsend. Do your best to turn off your own inner critic and just get the words down on the page. Even if you read them back and they are as bad as you thought—which I find is rare to start with—you are in a better place than you were staring at a blank page. All you have to do is give yourself permission to try without judging anything as a failure before its time.

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall
Palmer Tash always follows the path of least resistance. He has an unusual disability involving his hearing. But in theocratic Latysia, being different isn’t a good thing, so he conceals his problem.

Brier Chastain’s malady is even more debilitating, and she often must take to her bed for long periods. Her days are spent in meaningless pursuits as she awaits an arranged marriage.
When Palmer and Brier are kidnapped on the same night, they meet and discover that their so-called disabilities are actually budding powers. They are the incarnations of Order and Chaos. With their country on the brink of war, the two must step into their predestined roles and learn to take control of their own destinies.

Author Jessica Dall
Jessica Dall is the author of such novels as Off Book and The Copper Witch along with a number of short stories that have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as an editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @JessicaDall

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