Posts Tagged ‘guest author’
Today I am a guest on Sue Vincent’s blog where I talk about the value of critique groups.
Never underestimate the importance of a good critique group. Without one, a writer may simply flounder in a sea of words and ideas. A critique group can make the difference between a mediocre story and an excellent piece of writing worthy of publication. Without the support of groups I’ve belonged to over the years, I would not have six books and several short stories published.
If you are wondering if you should join a critique group, here are ten things about critique groups you should know.
- Not all critique groups are created equal. You may have to try out a few to find one that works for you. The members need not write in the same genre as you, in fact it helps if there is a variety of writing being critiqued.
- Park your ego at the door. Although it is nice to hear what the members like about your…
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Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve. Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. Suzanne taught music in Vancouver for many years where she learned she could spin a good tale that kept kids and teachers begging for more. She took up writing in earnest nine years ago and has never looked back. She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the loves of her life – her husband, two boys, and Buddy the dog.
Tell us about yourself and your books.
Well, I’ve just had a new book released entitled A Town Bewitched. Here’s the blurb:
It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere and bewitches the town with her mysterious Celtic music. Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it.
I also have a series called Shadow of the Unicorn. In the first one, The Legacy, a herd of unicorns barely survive the coming of an asteroid only to be exploited when the humans arrive. It takes place 12,000 years ago. In the second one, The Deception; sixty years later, the unicorns live hidden in the woods, controlled by a corrupt Great Stallion who invents a false god to control them and how they find the truth of their legacy. And I’m just finishing off the third of the series. It’s called The Revenge and it’s about a gifted unicorn who is born with something really wrong with him. Because he’s bullied, he turns his gift on the herd and no one can stop him.
When did you decide to become a writer? why?
I never had the intention of becoming a writer. It’s just something that happened to me along the way. I loved writing as a child and wrote my first novella at 12. Then, after my father died, when I was in my forties, I developed a need to write and never looked back.
What inspires your stories?
A Town Bewitched came from our experience attending a fiddling camp when my oldest son was nine. When we came back, we were absolutely on fire for fiddling. And I thought, “Suppose what happened to us happened to an entire town, except there was something really wrong with the fiddler.” I laughed it off at first thinking it was a really dumb idea, but it wouldn’t let me go. Finally, I had to write it. Glad I did because it won first prize in the Dante Rossetti competition for Best Coming of Age Novel.
Shadow of the Unicorn came from the novella I wrote when I was twelve. I intended it as an exercise just to learn how to write. Never did I dream it would actually be published and do as well as it has.
Why did you decide to write for children?
I was an elementary music teacher for twenty years. My favourite grades were grades 5 – 7, so it was only natural I’d write for that age group.
What did you read as a child?
I really loved anything by Lucy Maude Montgomery. And I loved books about dogs and horses.
Another Lucy Maude Montgomery fan!
What have you read lately that impressed you? Why?
Harry Potter. It was just so good I couldn’t stop reading it. I’d be reading it while cooking, while talking to my son’s doctor during an appointment, in bed, everywhere.
If you could have dinner with any author, who would you choose and what would you ask him or her?
JK Rowling, of course. I’m not sure what I’d ask her. I think I would just enjoying chatting with her.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
Definitely a pantser. It causes me no end of trouble because my characters take over and start doing all sorts of things I never wanted them to and I can’t stop them.
Great to meet another panster!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and how do you deal with it?
Never. I have a bazillion ideas. I just wish I could write faster.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished the third of the unicorn series, Shadow of the Unicorn: The Revenge and am about to start a historical romance about a young woman who immigrates to Canada to marry a French-Canadian after WWI.
Sounds great. I love stories about WWI. You are a very diverse writer.
Any advice to other authors?
Write what you feel.
Sound advice! Thanks so much Suzanne for being a guest on my blog. We look forward to more exciting books from you.
You can find Suzanne’s books here
Today I am a guest on Writer´s Treasure Chest where I talk about how I deal with writer´s block and other writerly things. Thanks for commenting and supporting those who support me. I have the best followers!!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Darlene Foster, a writer of children’s books, travel articles and short stories. I grew up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada where I dreamt of travelling the world and becoming a published writer. I call the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca of Spain my home these days. Dreams do come true!
When did you start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Putting words down on paper has always been a pleasure for me. I had a story published in a local newspaper when I was twelve. It was called Stretch Your Food Dollar. The crazy thing is that it is about an amusing experience two young girls have in a department store. Little did I know, all these years later, I would publish books about two girls having adventures and…
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First of all, I want to thank everyone for your support yesterday in helping me tie for First Prize in the Long and Short Review contest. The voting time was short so don’t worry if you got to the post too late. This prize will give me some free marketing for the next month. All my followers Rock!
If that wasn’t wonderful enough, today I am the featured author on Suzanne’s Thoughts For The Day This is what she had to say:
How Could A Girl Get Herself in so Much Trouble?
Suzanne is giving away an e-copy of one of my books to a lucky commenter.
Life is good for this children’s writer!
Today I am featuring guest author Kai Strand who has just launched a new book and is offering a wonderful give away as well. All you have to do is comment and you wil be included in the draw.
Holding the Reins Too Tight?
By Kai Strand
I realize it may seem counterproductive to tell you that giving up on my dream is what made it finally come true…but I promise there is a lesson to be learned.
I had been writing for over six years. It seemed like a long, long time to me. I’d been studying the craft, editing like crazy. As an active participant in critique groups, I saw so many things that were right and many things that were wrong in my writing and acted accordingly. I submitted, submitted, submitted. NOTHING. Occasionally I would receive what I thought was a personal rejection – some turned out to be nicely worded form rejections, but those were usually the carrot that kept me pulling the cart forward.
But one day I heard an acquaintance had sold a book to a publisher and it sent me spiraling into an ugly pit of jealousy and despair. I’d been writing so much longer than the other author. I was a better writer than the other author. (Told you it was ugly). That’s when I quit. I couldn’t bring myself to even open my computer. I concentrated on the kids, on my husband and on my job and decided I was no longer a writer.
However, prior to quitting I’d promised to attend a local author/illustrator event. Even though I no longer cared to become an author, I’d spent all those years studying the business and was excited to meet people from the industry (I live in the boonies.) So a few months after quitting, I went to the big Guardian Angel Publishing event. I met authors, artists, the publisher, publicists, and a few random spouses. Since I had nothing to pitch, I was relaxed and eager to ask the millions of questions I’d always wanted to ask. I spent a good deal of the evening talking with Lynda Burch, the publisher. She shared her forward thinking ideas and I loved to hear how she was implementing them. A couple of days later there was a big book signing at the local Barnes & Noble that my husband and kids attended with me. It was a lot of fun.
A couple months later (yes, months. I kid you NOT) a thought struck me out of the blue. The Weaver would be a really good fit for Guardian Angel Publishing. Crap. <– I thought that too. So I opened the computer, read the book aloud to the kids and made a few tweaks before submitting. While I waited for a response, I started writing again. Guardian Angel did publish The Weaver as well as my second novel, The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale.
That was three years ago. Now I’m here today to celebrate the publication of my fourth novel, BEWARE OF THE WHITE. I’m gobsmacked. How thrilling is that?
I know I just told you that I gave up – and I did. However I wouldn’t suggest anyone else do it that way. What I learned from my experience is that I needed to let go. I had the reins pulled back so tightly the poor horse couldn’t breath. When I loosened my grip a big huge breath of fresh air rushed in and I was able to sell my work and myself.
So, if you’re struggling to find your way into the industry, check the tautness on your reins to see if maybe it is time to let loose.
About the book:
As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.
The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.
With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?
About the author
Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!” She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.
To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: www.kaistrand.com. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author.