Thursday, 7 December 2017

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of COLOR ME GRAY.

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Color Me Gray by Rose Phillips

Color Me Gray

by Rose Phillips

Giveaway ends January 07, 2018.

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today. ~James Dean

I successfully reached the fifty-thousand-word goal for National Novel Writing Month. More importantly, I trudged past that line and completed the novel. It is a skeleton but the bones are solid. I will now distance myself from it and leave it on the cyber shelf for a month or two.

When I go at it again, I will be looking to tighten up some places and expand on others, as well as ensure that the story flows. Continuity issues often get caught during the second run. The third run will be for technical aspects of grammar and word choice. The fourth run is usually an auditory listen. It’s amazing the mistakes you hear, errors that your eyes have flown past. Then my amazing husband focusses solely on the story. After that he edits for grammar. I take it back for a final go-through. So it’s a long way from being a novel that moves from my eyes to anyone else’s except my husband’s…and even he doesn’t see it until it’s in decent shape.

Still, I spewed out a novel in a month. Not a shabby achievement. I’ve done it before. Would I do it again? No. This time it consumed me. When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about it. I was lying awake plotting. It haunted my sleep, when I managed to get some. Invitations felt like intrusions. Actually going out into the world was stressful. How would I get my words down?

As I get older, the one thing that is becoming abundantly clear is life is finite. And, unlike NaNo, we don’t know the finish line. On December first I asked myself, if November were to be my last month on this planet, would I feel as though I had lived it fully? Definitely not. I was anxious the entire time. I ignored friends and missed out on social occasions. I neglected my puppies and my husband. I was absent in my own life.

I love writing. I love that I have a shiny new story. But I love my life more. The beauty is that I don’t have to give up one to have the other. I just need to slow the pace down so that life doesn’t slide by me while I’m engaged in a fictional world. I will live a few hours each day in the pages of my imagination, but from here on in, I will readily step out into the real world and relish every vibrant flesh-and-blood person and every single moment.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

National Novel Writing Month

I am participating in what is affectionately known by writers as NaNo. The idea is to spew words out every day during the month of November. There is no expectation that at the end of the month you will have a polished novel. The goal is to have a finished one, and that's half the battle. It's a format that works well for me. I hate competing with people. That is not why I participate. I compete with myself. Can I hit the minimum needed, 50,000 words? Can I get more down today than I did yesterday? Can I write in both the morning and the evening? (I am typically a morning-only writer.)

Cutting to the Chase was written during NaNo. It underwent many revisions afterward but the basic story remained intact. It's amazing what your mind shares with you when you have no time to censor it or to nitpick about what you've put down on the page. It's a freeing experience.

You can see my actual wordcount progress on the widget at the right of the page. Below is a gadget that should track percentage, although I'm not sure it works when embedded in a post. If it still says 11% after tomorrow, know that it is a static icon and it's not tracking anything. Check out the widget instead.

To all my writer friends participating, happy words to you! To all my non-writing friends, have a terrific November!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

We’re In This Together: Celebrating Writers Who Persevere

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

Because Angela and Becca have spent the last year exploring painful human struggles, they wanted to highlight a very important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: it can make us stronger. I promised to let Angela hijack my blog today, so please read on!


Hi everyone! When you set out to find examples of inner strength, you don’t have to go very far. Right here in the writing community we see it every day. Writers more than anyone understand the swirl of emotions as we work toward publication. We dream of making it and seeing our books in the hands of readers…yet doubt and frustration can be a constant companion. For us, there is a lot to learn, much to steel our nerves for, and unfortunately, a host of real-world problems that can try to derail us. And, even as we slowly move forward and grow, we can sometimes feel like impostors. This is a tough road.

But the fact that writers face this battle, day after day, and KEEP GOING…this should be celebrated! We need to be reminded that we are much stronger than we sometimes believe. We dream, create, and force ourselves to keep striving. Through the ups and downs, we persevere!

Have you encountered something on the writing road that made you question yourself? Have you faced an obstacle that required a force of will to get past?

If so, we want to hear about it! Join Becca and me at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell us about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, join this event by writing a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.


We also have a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost, so stop by Writers Helping Writers. I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!

If you struggle, remember to reach out to others. We are in this together, and by supporting one another, we cross the finish line together (and then keep going!).

Happy writing!

Angela & Becca

Saturday, 30 September 2017

There's no writer's block; there's only distraction. —Carolyn Chute

I am writing, although I have not mastered my daily schedule. I'm optimistic that I will return to a solid routine this coming week. With my second YA novel launching in two weeks, I have been distracted by aspects of promotion. It is this writer's bane, as I far prefer sitting in self-enforced solitary confinement and babbling through my fingers onto the page.

Here is my latest promo effort, a short trailer for Color Me Gray. I'm hoping its simplicity is appealing. I may play in Movie Maker to create a longer one, but when you stray from images owned into the plethora online, you risk infringing on copyright. Hunting down free-use images or permission is another rabbit hole that I've been trying to avoid. We'll see. I may tumble down it yet.

In the meantime...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Saving the cat, one story at a time.

I’m finally dipping into Save the Cat this weekend. Written by Blake Snyder, it’s a craft book for screenwriters that is highly recommended for writers of fiction. Basically, the concept is that if you want people to invest themselves in your novel, your protagonist needs to do something fairly early in your story that makes your reader feel sympathetic or empathetic towards him or her. It has to be meaningful enough to provide some insight into why a reader should hang out with your character for a few hundred pages.

We watched St. Vincent the other night, starring Bill Murray as an alcoholic curmudgeon. The writer starts Save the Cat moments very quickly tapping into Murray’s grumpy quirkiness as he feeds the neighbour’s son sardines, insists the kid buckle up in the car, and funds a hooker’s ultrasound. As a result, you’re rooting for this loser to find his way out of the quagmire of his life.

In Cutting to the Chase, Lizzy is not a likeable protagonist. She’s not meant to be. Told through her point of view, she is an angry teen submerged in pain. Yet she has a Save the Cat moment fairly early in the story. We get a glimpse of Lizzy’s core when her father bails on her brother’s basketball tournament. She steps up and goes to the tournament in place of their father. Interesting that it’s there even though I did not consciously choose to insert a Save the Cat moment. Of course, as Lizzy’s life unravels, we get more and more insight into what is going on, but the tournament is where we first see clearly that there are layers to this unhappy girl.

There is much more to the book and I look forward to exploring Snyder’s concept of beats. For now, my husband is thrilled because I actually want to watch another movie this weekend. He loves movies and I’m just not a big fan of sitting and watching television. So he will be getting his fix, while I get to apply and analyze the craft of scriptwriting. It’s a win-win!