Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Underdog Moments

Hey all!

It's been a while since I blogged. Life's been...a little crazy. BUT HI I MISSED YOU!

So today I've been thinking. There are a couple big, huge, remember-it-forever moments in an author's life. You get an agent, you get a book deal, you publish your first book. Those are the days all of Twitter explodes and gives you huge congrats and life is wonderful and all unicorns and rainbows and YAYYYYY! And whenever we get those moments, we should totes celebrate them. Cause they are HUGE and IMPORTANT and you should revel in your day.

But, ya know, I have always been a fan of the underdog. Who (apart from Barney Stinson) didn't root for Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid? I'm Team Damon in TVD because (apart from being Ian Somerhalder) he's the underdog. (Somehow, Ian Somerhalder is the underdog. I know. What?) And seriously if this moment from Rudy:

doesn't make you cry, you have no soul.

So tonight, I wanna talk about those moments. The Underdog Moments. The moments that mean everything but go unnoticed by most everyone, that don't come with cake and confetti and parties. But they are the moments that mean the world.

For me, as a writer, here are mine. (In chronological order, not order of importance)

1) When I first decided I wanted to write a book.

I remember vividly walking out of The Hunger Games movie, and going O_O OMIGOSH I HAVE THE BEST IDEA EVAR. know what? I'm gonna freaking write it. Cause maybe it'll suck. But I CAN write a book and I am going to.

2) Finishing that book.

Yeah. Typing "The End" on that first book ever (or any book really) is huge. And so important. And it feels awesome. That, my friends, is a moment.

3) The first contest I ever made it into.

Sometimes, I miss entering contests. I mean, it's agonizing, but in a "Hurts So Good" kinda way. I've been rejected from contests, and that was lame. Really, just mustering up the courage to ENTER a contest is a moment. But this one is one I won't forget.

My first book was a YA cyberpunk called "Corrupted," and I entered into a couple contests, the first being Pitch Madness, held by the fabulous Brenda Drake. And Erica Chapman picked it out of the slush. And I will NEVER forget the feeling when I found I made it in. That someone liked my book. Erica, dude, thank you so much for making me believe in myself and giving me one of my best moments as a writer ever.

4) Giving my book to my first beta (now CP) ever...and she actually liked it

Ok peeps. I cannot stress the importance of CP's enough. For my first book, I didn't have any. So...gonna rewrite that sucker. But by my second, I had discovered them. And the lovely Nazarea Andrews offered to read my book. Never had anyone who wasn't A) related to me, or B)an agent I queried with Book #1 read anything I'd read. So that was freaking terrifying because she was awesome and OH NO WHAT IF I SUCK WHAT IF MY BOOK SUCKS WHAT IF SHE SAYS I SHOULD QUIT WRITING FOREVER

But, she said none of those things. Cause that's mean. In fact, she liked it. She had critiques, of course, but she really liked it. That. Meant. Something. Nazarea, I LURVE you.
 PSA: Get a CP. Get a beta, It's terrifying but worth every bit of the risk.

5) When I Tweavesdropped on someone who said I'd given them a book hangover

This was a huge one. Someone I hugely respect on Twitter beta'd my book, and talked about it to someone and used that phrase. And I died.

Summer, I can't even. Giant flying tackle hug cause you'll never know what that meant to me.

And last,

6) When someone wrote fanfic for my book

This one made me cry. Like real tears. Cause man. One of the best moments of my writing career. EVER.
Darci, -insert giant heart cause blogger won't let me write one-
Here's the thing.

It's easy sometimes to get caught up in someone else's published book, or deal, or agent news, or TV deal, or whatever. Or to read a bad review and wanna go drown in chocolate and wine. But sometimes, it's those little moments, those small things that meant EVERYTHING to you, that really matter. And sometimes, all you need is to remember that little tweet someone wrote about your book, or the fanfic or character sketch or...whatever those moments are for you, when you get into a funk, I hope you can remember them. Cause they mean something.

And keep giving, cause you never know when you might be giving someone one of their Underdog Moments.

I'd love to know what some of YOUR Underdog Moments are. Comment 'em below!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If Ever There Was A Totally Unlikable Antagonist, That Guy Is Cancer...

Hi guys. So. This is my dad.

Not the one in the wedding dress-that's me five years ago. (Look how adorable and young I was. 18. Dawww. Now, look back at my dad.) He is not a tiny guy. Note the broad shoulders and such. And if he wasn't wearing a jacket, you'd be like, "Woah. Look at those muscles." And they are Hard. As. Rocks. Basically, whenever I had boyfriends in high school, they would come in, and be like this: -_- Then they'd see my dad and be like this: O_O I think I have some exes who are actually STILL a little afraid of him, and I've been married for five years (tomorrow, actually, will be five years.)

Anyway, I'm super close to my dad. SUPER close. Probably because we're basically the same person. He's a tough, strong guy. Healthy, active, in his 40's. Never gets drunk. Doesn't smoke. No drugs. Nothing. And yesterday, we found out that he has cancer. So that sucked,

5 tumors on his liver. 5. One that's BIG. That's not good.Today he goes in for a biopsy and we'll find out if it's colon cancer that spread to the liver (HOPING that's not it. Cause that's no good. That would mean Stage 4.) or if it's primary liver cancer. Feels weird to be hoping that anything is any kind of cancer. But that's the one we're hoping for, cause it's easier to treat/cure. Stage IV colon is still possible to survive. Just, well, we'd very much like the higher odds, if possible.

So the thing is, yesterday freaking blew. It kind of felt like, not even real. My entire family is extremely close, and we're just sitting there blinking, like What? How is this possible? Are we gonna go, like, get one of those ribbons now? And start doing cancer walks and stuff? It doesn't feel real.

I very rarely have nightmares. But when I do, the one I've most frequently had throughout my life is about my dad dying, cause it's like one of my biggest fears. And those dreams are so awful because they feel real. And I went to bed thinking about cancer, and woke up thinking about it. (Strangely, I didn't have my recurring stress dream last night. I actually dreamt about this guy:

Which was certainly preferable. (I really did dream about Tudors-style Henry VIII. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers version. Which was kind of weird. *shrug*)

Anyway, I still woke up thinking about cancer. Cause my dad and I, we like the same movies, root for the same sports teams (except in baseball. I just can't make myself give a crap about baseball.), and whenever I tell him a book idea, he's like "That's awesome! You know what you should do with this scene?? And he's ALWAYS right. Seriously, in Never, Never, the one chapter that pretty much every single beta reader/CP I had commented on or said "This is so perfect! Whoa, I didn't see that coming!" was completely my dad's idea. (So, reader friends, pray about this if you plan on reading my stories. They're better when my dad is around. I promise.)

So yesterday we were basically all just freaking out and panicking and then researching allllll the things and alllllll the hospitals and allllll the doctors, and yeah. And all these possibilities start racing through your head. Like, what if he dies? What if they give him no time and he dies? He'd better be able to meet Elias when he comes at the end of November. And if he dies, what the crap am I gonna tell my 2 year old son, when he keeps asking "Where Poppy go?"

I can't handle that. I can't. I'm not ready to lose my dad. So screw that. None of us is ready for that. So we're gonna do everything we possibly can to beat this thing. Everything any doctor says to do. And beyond that, we're praying hard. We've got lots of people praying. That would be rather nice of you, dear reader, if you're the praying sort, by the way. We've seen impossible things happen because of prayer. Impossible things. And we're Christians. Ones who truly care about their faith, all of us. And it would be super awesome if God was like "Ok. You're right. Not his time yet." If He doesn't say that, well, it's not in His plan, and we will just figure out how to deal with it.

But right now, we are hoping and praying and gearing up to fight whatever we find. Cause SCREW. CANCER. Cancer is that kid who gave you swirlies every day at school and didn't even have, like, a screwed-up childhood to justify it. Cancer is that little fox-guy from Dora who swipes everything and then doesn't even take it; he just hides it to be mean. Cancer is the guy who shot a bunch of people in Aurora for no. freaking. reason. THAT'S cancer. The ultimate unlikable antagonist. The mustache-twirling, evil-for-the-sake-of-being-evil and ruining everyone's day butt hole. A likable antagonist can win, and we're cool with that. But NOT this guy. Screw that. They say every antagonist is the hero of his own story. Well, pray about everything if you would, and rec a doctor, or whatever. Cause Cancer does not get to be the hero of anyone's story. Nope.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Post by Rachel O'Laughlin- Coldness of Marek Blog Tour

Hello lovelies! I've missed you all in this little blogging hiatus I've had going. But what better way to return to cyberspace than to host the awesome Rachel O'Laughlin! A fantabulous author and all around great person. (Who decided to include some Damon gif's in this post, which should make all of us love her even more. Cause come on.) She's here to give some rockin stuff away AND talk about my all-time favorite thing: Anti-heroes. Sit down, people. Here. Have some popcorn.

Guest Post: Anti-Heroes: Good Guys With Issues

I’m uber thrilled to be guest-posting on Brianna’s blog today! She just happens to be a person I admire and love, and is also the author of a novel featuring THE BEST Young Adult anti-hero I have ever had the honor of reading. For real.

I love rogues. Not when I meet them in person, but when I see them in fiction? Instant love. Why do I love them so? Maybe because they’re all bad boyish and clothed in black and generally swoon-worthy? Um, it probably is the main reason, but then I would have to end this blog post right now, so I’m just gonna ignore that. I also love old movies. I could watch Jimmy Stewart forever and ever. At a young age I also discovered Errol Flynn — wait, does anyone else in my generation actually recognize that name? (Okay, I admit it, I’m a dinosaur in a mid-twenties body. Or I could be a Salvatore, in which case all of this should make complete sense.)

ANYHOW, Errol Flynn acted in a string of movies based on the adventure novels by a long-forgotten writer named Rafael Sabatini, best known for SCARAMOUCHE and CAPTAIN BLOOD. (The movies were not very true to the books, I might add.) Sabatini filled his pages with alpha-in-their-own-mind-sometimes-total-jerk lead characters, and frankly, that doesn’t sound appealing, does it? These dudes had issues. They had dark obsessions, anger management problems, control freak tendencies, struggles with addictions. They could be very hate-able, and sometimes very lovable, but they always had their dark side.

Agatha Christie, another writer whom I love, made use of the anti-hero every chance she got. Her typical setting is a murder mystery, but in some of her stories we’re actually hoping the sleuths do NOT uncover the murderer, because the suspect is a better person than the one who got offed. Her anti-hero is often someone quirky and damaged, but when it all shakes out, they were doing the best they could to fix a broken situation, and something went wrong. They were the hero of the moment, even if they hadn’t always been one.

Since I love them so much, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my main character hit the page as a completely misguided and selfish being. I really wanted to write a heroic character full of strength and morality. No lie, I truly did. I fought it for awhile, in revisions, trying to make Trzl lovable and dear. She just wasn’t. And DANG. I LIKED HER THAT WAY. That’s who she is, and that’s who she has to be in order to do the things she does.

As writers, though, why the rogues? Why the disrespectful, stubborn, chip-on-their-shoulder rebels? Why can’t all main characters be good-hearted and honest?

We all have baggage, experiences that make us who and what we are. Anti-heroes have various reasons for living the way they do, too. Their actions may be more violent or more cruel or more unsavory, but haven’t we all done little awful things that weren’t okay? Anti-heroes take that to the next level. They explore what inside of us could be horrible if we didn’t keep it in check. But they have one thing in common: they have integrity. Whatever their moral code, their brand of honor, their version of ethics — they set standards for themselves, and they uphold that standard as best they can, even if they slip now and then.

It’s that streak of selflessness, that moment of heroism, that line they will not cross no matter the circumstances that makes my heart beat fast. Therein lies a glimpse of redemption. It gives us a connection to people we might see as wrong, evil, or delusional. Their stories are different from the truly heroic sort, but they are a sampling of humanity, and I’m infatuated with them. Because they’re damaged. They’re hurt and haunted. They’re real.

And totally worthy of story.


Book Info:


Epic Fantasy
The First in the Serengard Series
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Serengard has been under Orion rule for centuries—centuries of insufferable adherence to laws and traditions that its people no longer believe in. Raised by her scholarly grandfather in the fiery southern city of Neroi, Trzl is dedicated to turning the monarchy into a free society where knowledge is king and no one has to be subject to the whims of an Orion.

As the rebellion escalates, her choices have an eerie impact on the revolution at large, elevating her to a position of influence she has only dreamed of attaining. But there are downsides to her new power that entangle her in a dangerous web of emotions, appearances and alliances. Even as she plays to the attractions of Hodran, a rich nobleman who wants to aid her cause, she is drawn to Mikel, a loyalist farmer who hates the rebellion but just might be winning her heart.

By the time Trzl realizes she is in too deep, she has an infant son and a dark mess of betrayal and lies. She runs to the furthest corner of the kingdom in hopes that she will be left alone with her child, but she has created too many demons. A figure she once trusted will take her captive in the chilling Cliffs of Marek, throw her back into the political upheaval she helped create, and leave her at the mercy of a man she never wanted for an enemy.

Author Bio:

Obsessed with all things history, Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories and only recently fell in love with fantasy as a genre. She lives in New England with her husband and children, grows roses and tweets often. She adores lattes, The Fray, long drives in the country, and any dark story with a good twist. Coldness of Marek is her first novel.


Rachel O'Laughlin
Writer of  some things epic and some things fantasy.
Where to Buy the Book:
And nowwwwwwww, a shiny giveaway!!!
Rachel is giving away a couple signed paperbacks of Coldness of Marek and some swag! This giveaway is open to U.S. and international residents, though if you live outside the U.S., the prize will be 3 ebooks  of Coldness instead. So, get entering, peeps!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sooooooooooooooo, to round this whole thing out. Buy it. Read it. Damon and I are.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cover Reveal for THIS LOVE!!!

Hey folks! So, I'm SUPER excited to get to reveal the cover for This Love, a great read by one of my amazing CP's. (And the cover is awesome, in case you were wondering ;-)

This Love


Nazarea Andrews

Mel Stevens of The Illustrated Author created the cover art.

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.
He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life has become.
They didn't know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket--her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for the wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.
Atticus Grimes needs help--the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he's got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.
When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she's thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can't happen--he's a professor and she's a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?


Coming JUNE 2013

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Enter to win an ARC of This Love

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On Writing and Integrity

HI BLOG FRIENDS!!! *waves frantically* I've missed you all terribly, but I've been SO SO sick that I just haven't written, well, anything, for a hundred years. I'm going to slowly crawl out of my infirm cave, however, because I've been wanting to write this forever. And it's worth it to me to risk death to do so! *coughs, sputters, dies from hacking up a lung*

So. Integrity. Writerly integrity means totally different things to different people. To some people, they don't want to use language in their books. To some, it might mean not writing about sex. To some, it might mean they don't believe in censorship, and authenticity matters most, therefore censoring anything in their writing would be wrong.

Here's the thing: we ALL have different lines. If it's your faith, your religion, your general moral compass that directs it, I don't know-it's different for everyone. But we all believe something. For me, and the way I make my faith coexist with my writing, it means I don't use swear words when I write. I also choose not to write graphic sex. Does this mean I'm judging anyone who does? Absolutely not. My line is different than your line, because likely, my beliefs at least somewhat differ from yours. I'm cool with writing non-graphic sex, whereas someone else may draw the line at kissing. And that's okay.

The fact of the matter is, whatever your beliefs are, whatever that line is for you, even if it's something someone else finds ridiculous, don't cross it. If you believe that writing about tuna fish is wrong, DON'T DO IT. If you believe that using language, or writing sex, or censoring writing in any way is get where I'm going with this.

At the end of the day, it's about you, and can you be proud of your work? If you can, awesome. But if you believe something strongly, selling a book isn't worth breaking that belief, whatever that belief may be. I have a book I want to write, and I have written some of it, and I strongly believe that because of the setting and characters, it would be a better book if I included swearing. But I'm not gonna write it that way, because that's my line. And if I believe the book sucks without it, I'd rather not write it. Or sell it.

Do I judge people who do swear in their books? NO. It doesn't phase me; most of my betas and CP's do; it's totally their choice. And I absolutely respect that everyone has different beliefs about what they personally will and won't right. But whatever it is you believe, if there are things you don't ever want to write about, or things you want to always stand for when you write, stick to that belief, no matter what people say. Cause ultimately, it's about you and YOUR story. And being proud of what you've written will feel a whole lot better than having a check in your pocket, if it comes down to that.

Keep calm, and write on, peeps.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pitch Madness!!!

Check it out! I'm a slush zombie for Pitch Madness and will be diving into the slush to pick out the most tasty pitches. We zombies like brains so hopefully your entry is smart. If you don't know what Pitch Madness is, it's a contest to showcase the top pitches to some fantabulous agents. You can get more details here:

Here's the Pitch Madness schedule:
March 1: Submission windows announced.

March 8: Introducing the slush readers

March 12: Introducing the blog hosts and their teams

March 13: Introducing the agents

March 15: Submission windows open

March 15-18: 1st round - slush readers

March 18-23: 2nd round - 60 winners chosen for the game

March 24: Rules of the Game

March 26-28: Pitch Madness Agent Games

March 28 @ noon: Agent bids released (all ties go to a sudden death round)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Which We Discuss "The Culture That Cried Misogyny"



This post is gonna piss some people off. Which is why I never post these kinds of things. I’m a peacemaker, as a rule. But I’m also a little obsessive. So, when an issue comes up that’s been bugging me forever and always and pushes it over the edge, I can’t NOT say something about it.

This might seem like a blog post about Taylor Swift. And at first, it’s gonna be. But that’s not what’s really been making me insane. We’re gonna talk about this Taylor Swift-Amy Poehler-Tina Fey nonsense for a bit, and then get to the heart of the issue, which has nothing to do with them. (I also wanna preface this by saying I am NOT a T. Swift hater, or a hater of women. I love her music; I rock out to it, sometimes for days on end, to the dismay of my husband. I like the girl. So. Not bashing here. But…critiquing in a snarky way.) But first, the thing that set me off.


So, basically, it went down like this. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do a hilariously fab job hosting the Golden Globes. They do kind of a roast, wherein they make amusing little jabs at bunches of celebs there. Examples: “When it comes to torture, we trust the woman who was married to James Cameron for 5 years.” *Burn* “Anne Hathaway, in Les Miserables! Wow! We haven’t seen someone so alone and abandoned since you hosted The Oscars with James Franco.” *Franco Burn* “Quentin Tarantino is here, the star of all my sexual nightmares.” *Burn* You get the picture. Then came the infamous joke: “Taylor Swift, you stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son. You need some “me” time.”

All the other celebrities’ responses to the burns they received? Bahahahahaha, polite chuckles, riotous laughter, etc. Taylor Swift’s response? ~paraphrased. But not loosely. Look it up~I’m not some insecure, clingy, needy, desperate insane girlfriend. There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.~ Yup, she wins this Zing battle. “Stay single.” “You guys are going to Hell.”

And whatev. Celebrities gonna celeb. I understand, all celebrities are crazy. What set me off was the response to this whole thing. Now everyone is all “Ermagersh why does everyone hate Taylor Swift? Why is everyone so SEXIST and MISOGYNIST?”

And I’m like:
1) No one is being “sexist” and slut shaming Taylor Swift.

Do we really think that people are always making fun of T. Swift just because she likes to play the field? No! We’re like “Get your date on, T! You have a good old time.” Taylor gets attention drawn to the fact that she’s dated every guy ever because SHE draws attention to it. Now, before you tune out, let me explain. Jennifer Aniston has dated a lot of guys. And nobody cares. Does anybody make fun of her for it? Nope. Why? Because she hasn’t made an entire freaking career out of bashing her exes. And not only does Taylor write bunches of music about her exes (which would be fine) she calls them out specifically in her songs. Dear John=John Mayer. Duh. When people weren’t sure who “Never Ever Getting Back Together” was about, she did a British accent so EVERYONE would know it was Harry Styles. Here’s the thing. When you date a bunch of guys, you don’t deserve to be identified by that or made fun of for it. BUT when you date a bunch of guys and make a career out of publicly shaming those guys specifically, you are asking to be made fun of for that. And it’s only fair, people. IT’S NOT SEXIST. Which brings me to the real point of this whole rant.


2) STOP declaring that everything is sexist and misogynist and that everything means that everyone hates women.

I hate sexism. I hate misogyny. It’s stupid and it sucks. But at this point, we throw around that word so often  that the word “sexist” now has about as much power as the word “popcorn.” For whatever reason, people have taken to declaring that all things are now misogynist. When a guy holds open the door for a girl? MISOGYNIST. I’ve heard a couple stories about women actually yelling at guys for holding open the door for them. ??? If a guy was holding open the door for you because he truly believed that you, as a woman, were too weak to do so herself, that would be sexist. But NEWSFLASH. Guys hold open the door for a girl because they want to be freaking nice. I, for one, happen to love that. When someone is considerate and respectful, it’s not freaking sexist; it’s a compliment! Someone makes fun of a girl for writing derogatory songs about all the guys she dates? SEXIST. Someone doesn’t support abortion? The only explanation as to why MUST be because they hate women. I drank orange juice this morning. Probably it’s because I hate women…Not everyone hates women. There are other motivations for doing things.

3) Last sexist thing: Women are always objectified, and that’s sexist! Frick guys, why do any of us watch The Vampire Diaries if not to objectify the guys on that show? Look.


When you see those pics, are you thinking “Dannnnng, he must have nice personality!” No. You’re thinking things I can’t post on this blog, just like I am. Every David Beckham commercial=Take your shirt off, David! Are women objectified on TV? Yup. Are men? Yup. Equal Opportunity Objectifiers. I objectify dudes. And frankly, unless someone is being gross or *only* thinks of me as a physical object, I really don’t care if someone thinks I’m hot and doesn’t immediately think of my winning personality. Whatever. I do the same thing to Hot Guy #2 walking down the street.

The point of all this: When you use “sexist” and “misogynist” to describe everything, the words lose their power. And they are important words. But if their meaning is gone, then important things that REALLY ARE misogynist, like women being unable to vote in Iran, or when people say women should not be allowed to work, or when men casually refer to women as "my b****es, go unnoticed, and piled into the “Guys holding open doors is sexist” pile. Let’s stop assuming everyone is sexist and hates women, and get back to the stuff that really matters.


END RANT. Hope I didn’t piss too many people off.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

~On Writing Villains: Part Two~

So, a little while back, I did a blog post on villains.(Here's the link the Part One And I promised a Part 2 because, well, I just couldn’t finish the whole thing in one non-tome-length blog post. So, here ‘tis. Writing Villains: Part Two. We last left off at villain sub-types…


C. The Villain Everyone Wants to Hang Out With, Cause They’re Charming or Hilarious

So, calling Snape a “villain” is kind of innacurate, and I bristle at anyone who calls him such, because I’ve had a love for Snape ever since book 1. Even when everyone hated him, I maintained my undying love for the man. But, no matter your Snapey persuasion, he was most definitely an antagonist to Harry. The thing about Snape is, he’s a jerkface. But he’s charming. And most of all, he’s hilarious. I’d say Scar falls into this category. The intellectual, witty villains who you’d kind of like to hang out with for an hour just to see what horribly hilarious things they’d say to. And then, you could go home and cry, but it would be worth your tears. Yeah, this is them. (My personal favorite type of villain, by the way.)


D. The Villain who’s such a Bad-A That You Love Them for Being Awesome (or Terrifying.)

When we first met Klaus, who wasn’t shaking in their seats? I know I was. (Though now, I'm kind of in love with him, despite the fact that he'd, well, the pinnacle of all evil.) This dude is crazy, and so COMPETENT and terrifying and awesome that you know, if he intends to kill someone, they’re dead. Period. I love a competent, terrifying villain. If that doesn’t raise the stakes, nothing will. A villain who can get the job done, always, and their job is ruining your MC’s life somehow? Scary times. (Also in this category, Malifecent, Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs)


E. The Baddie Who Gets Redeemed

(Do not imagine him pansily yelling NOOOOO in this picture. He didn't so it in the original.)
Okay, I admit, I love a crazy villain who gets redeemed. Good old Vader tops that list. The one who, in his final hour, shows that he is in fact, a compassionate human being. I was told once that in a story even your bad guys should get better by the end. Because everyone wants to see people become better people. Now, I don’t agree with this in all cases. BUT, it can be a powerful tool. And who doesn’t love a redemption story? This also serves to make your villain not just a villainous tool, but a human.


THERE ARE VILLAINS who do not fit these types. But usually they don’t get much screen time. Cause you hate them. If I had to see Dolores Freaking Umbridge one more time in Harry Potter, I was gonna flip my lid. Now, Voldemort, I can roll with, but look:

Just looking at her pisses me off. I don’t know how I survived looking for a gif of her. And for the love of all things bright and beautiful, if your villain is as freaking hateable as Dolores, LET YOUR FANS BE HAPPY AND DO SOMETHING AWFUL TO THEM. PREFERABLY DEATH. Otherwise, they will still be rage-y about it years later. *grumbles*


3. Final Point-Get Into Your Villain's Head.

Personally, I love villains so much that my favorite thing ever is not necessarily when people say “Awww, your MC!” I love it when people say “GAH. I HATE THAT VILLAIN SO MUCH.” Dunno why. I’m twisted, I suppose. But ultimately, your villain is a character too. He or she is a person, just like all your other characters, and your goal is to create a person.


Just as your main character is consistent in the way she thinks and why she does what she does, so should be your villain. Don’t have him burn down and orphanage unless that person would truly burn down an orphanage. And if that messes with your plot, well, fix your villain or fix your plot. But it’s all about consistency, getting into your villain’s head enough to make him real.


And that’s all she wrote.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How I Got My Agent!!!!!!

Guys, contests are cool. They're kind of my crack. Brenda Drake got me addicted back with Pitch Madness in August....when I was just a baby with my very first manuscript who didn't know a query from a synopsis, an MS from an MC, and I had no idea what the heck a CP forward a bit. 1 more contest later. On October 31st, I realized I had about 30,000 words written on my newest WIP. And  about 50,000 to go. So, I decided to be crazy and do NaNoWriMo. And, to my shock, I finished! I got in 50,000 words and finished my book (Never, Never) by the end of November.

Then came PitchWars a couple days later, where I got a fabulous mentor, known to some as Fizzygrrl and some as Summer, who helped me put all the finishing touches on Never, Never. I had a few requests from that, which was super exciting. Before the Pitch Wars pitches went live, since I was all high on contests, I happened to come across a twitter pitch event called Pitch Bree, and thought Hey! Why not? She requested (Another woooo) and I sent in my manuscript...Fast forward again, to about 2 weeks later...

So, it was a Monday like any other Monday...I was sittin at my laptop, obsessively refreshing my Yahoo email, like I do, and then, in came an email, the likes of which I hadn't seen. The subject line read..."Re: NEVER, NEVER." And it was from this super fantabulous agent. So, naturally, I assumed, Oh great, another rejection. When I clicked on it, I was all:

But thennnn, I read it. And, to my shock 'n awe, it DIDN'T say, "Hey, your book sucks." What it actually said was "I'd love to offer you representation." At this point, I went from this:

To this:

And finally, to this:

Yup. I cried a little bit. I'm emotional. When I called the hubs, he thought something was terribly, horribly wrong. But it TOTALLY WASN'T. So, we emailed back and forth, and she told me to call her THAT DAY cause she was all excited! After my child finalllly fell asleep, I called her up (after staring at the phone for like 5 minutes) and she said all these fantabulous amazing things about my book, and basically every thing she said was perfect. And I'm pretty sure that all I said during the entire conversation was "Awesome," several times. I mean, I asked her questions and stuff, but basically I forgot all the words. I'm sure after we hung up, she was like, 'Man. That girl used up her entire vocabulary in her book, and now she's forgotten English.' But she was nice enough to not say those things. So, you know, that was good.

Utilizing much more self-control than I usually possess, I coolly said, "Okay, well, I'll get back to you in a week. Awesome." Cause my mind kept telling me over and over:

This picture pretty much sums it up...
On the left: How I acted like I felt.      On the right: How I ACTUALLY felt.

But, about 15 seconds after I hung up the phone, I desperately wanted to call her back and be like:

I didn't though. I forced myself to wait until the next Monday. I got an offer from one other agent,from Pitch Wars actually, which I really appreciated, and several of the nicest, most encouraging rejections ever, i.e. "bowing out."
But ultimately, I couldn't get that first agent out of my head. She was just soooo enthusiastic and upfront about everything, and so cool. She really *got* my book. Everything about it. And she believed in Hook. At one point, she said, "I hope you sign with me, but even if you don't, I'll totally support you. No matter what you choose, I just wanna see this thing on the shelves." And that kind of awesome is tough to beat, folks. Sooooo, I signed with Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary.


Yup. You can just call us Bri-squared. That concludes that, readers. I have an agent.

The Stats, (cause it seems everyone loves stats)

Queries Sent: 15
Partial Requests: 4
Full Requests: 9
(Note: A lot of these requests were not from actual queries, so the ratio of queries to requests was a lot lower than the stats suggest.)
Offers: 2

GIANT thanks to my lovely CP's and betas: Nazarea, Rachel, Tabitha, Darci, Carol, Juliana, Stacey, and Chase (my brother, as well as writer/CP :-)) And a couple others who went out of their way to help me out or give referrals, or awesome things: Cat and Steph.
Lastly, HUGE thanks to my lovely and awesome Pitch Wars mentor: Summer Heacock, who has basically been one giant fizzy ball of encouragement and help!

Bye, all! I'm off to go frolick.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

~On Writing Villains: Part One~

Guys, I'm EXCITED about this post. I've got a thing for villains. (Obviously. I just wrote an entire book about Captain Hook.) But, seriously, I LOVE them. So, when a CP asked me if I had any good resources on writing villains and my answer was 'No," it only made sense that I blog about it. Thus, on to an evil start to the bloggy New Year....

For the record, most of this blog post will NOT be about my book, 'cause there are some other amazing villains I gotta use as examples. But, I do need to start there.

So, when I was writing Never, Never, I was tasked with turning James Hook into a sexy heartthrob hero and turning Peter Pan, one of the most beloved little guys of all time into a villain. And not a moustache-twirling, over-the-top evil, wicked baddie. A bone-chilling, believable, real villain. Tricksy, tricksy. Thus, I turned to the following techniques...

1) A Good Villain Must Have a Real Character Motivation

Here's the thing. We writers spend countless hours creating character worksheets, doing personality tests (yeah, I sometimes give my characters Myers-Briggs tests. Whaddup.), and obsessing over our MC's. Most importantly, what they want. But, oftentimes, the villain is thrown in just to be an obstacle to the MC. You can do that if the villain isn't a big deal in your story. BUT, if you want to write a truly great antagonist, they need to want something, too. That thing cannot be just to ruin the MC's life. Because in all honesty, no one is that much of a tool. No one is so loser-y that the only thing they want out of life is to ruin someone else's.

Take Loki, for example. I freaking love Loki. His main motivation in Thor was to prove to himself and to his father that he, too, was awesome, though he'd been constantly overshadowed by his all-powerful-golden-boy big brother. In essence, his motivation was overcoming some serious self-esteem problems and daddy issues. In The Avengers, he'd passed through a crazy, life-altering abyss-portal and had pretty much made the switch into ultimate B-A bent on world domination. Even then, that stemmed from the original Thor-Movie-Issue.

Note that never was his sole purpose in life to stand in the way of Thor. No, it just so happened that their goals were at odds with each others. Give your villain a goal. A real motivator. One just as good and fully fleshed out as that of your MC. That's step one.

2) Your Villain Needs to be Somewhat Likeable. (What??? Trust me. I promise.)

When I say your villain needs to be somewhat likeable, I don't necessarily mean that readers need to like your villain. What I mean is that if your villain is going to be a major part of your book, readers need to like it when they are on-screen. If every time your villain shows up, he's so freaking annoying that your readers roll their eyes and they're like "UGH THIS GUY AGAIN," what does that mean? Check it out. Villain is there in my book all the time + Readers can't stand when he's there=Readers don't enjoy parts of your book. That's no good! We don't want that! We want readers to devour every page of the book, even when Dolores Umbridge is there carving things into Harry Potter's hand.


A) The Sympathetic Villain

I picked Magneto for this one. To be fair, he's not really sympathetic until you watch X-Men: First Class, but whatever. When you watch that, he fits. This is one of my favorite villain archetypes because they're relatable. This is the villain who's bad, but darn it, he has a good reason for being so gosh-darn evil. His family got killed or he was dipped in acid or something.

B) The Villain Who's Horrible, Awfully Despicable But Some Oddity or Personality Quirk Makes You Kind of Like Them

Basically, this is EVERY SINGLE VILLAIN Quentin Tarantino has ever written. They're fabulous. They're disgusting, awful, unsympathetic human beings, but for whatever reason, you just enjoy when they're talking. (For the record, I think my Peter Pan was probably this one. Maybe with a sprinkle of sympathetic thrown in.)

Hans Landa (above) is just the worst. I mean, he's a freaking Nazi. And he's just horrible. BUT, he's so bizarre, and so unaware of social etiquette, so oblivious to real life, that when he talks and gestures, you can't help but like when he's on-screen. Same with Bill from Kill Bill. They guy's a contract killer. And he likes it. But he's smooth, he's funny, and scenes with the dirtbag are the best. (Which is why I like Kill Bill 2 better than Kill Bill 1.) Also, ALL the characters in Pulp Fiction.

The trick to writing one of these villains is to make them real. If their quirk is funny or sad or just bizarre, remember you are writing a person. This person happens to be bad. But show some humanity once in a while, and you've got yourself a Tarantino villain.

This blog post is getting really long, because apparently I can't talk about villains in a concise way. I love them too much to shortchange them like that. Thus, there will be a Part 2. (Maybe even a Part 3!) But, this concludes Part 1. Happy villaining.