Morgen Bailey’s Writing Prompts

Typewriter - Once upon a timeIf you want to jump start your writing or give your creativity a little cross training, you might want to check out Morgen Bailey’s Online Novel Writing Group website. Every weekday, she posts four writing prompts. Sometimes it’s a group of words to be used in one piece of writing. Or sentence openers, concepts to explore, or maybe even a picture. Set your timers for fifteen minutes and try one of them. You don’t even have to be a novelist. Use them as a warm-up exercise for other writing, or to shake the cobwebs out of your brain if you have a problem you can’t solve. Continue reading


What’s Up With That Title?

431px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-C1015-0001-012,_Tokio,_XVIII._Olympiade,_Ingrid_KrämerSometimes a book, like a character, will name itself. You’ll be chugging along on the first draft and the perfect name or title pops into your head and nothing, no matter how long you brainstorm, poll your friends, read the baby-naming books, or draft pro-con lists, will ever work as well.

Drawing Breath was like that.

In a way, Sliding Past Vertical was as well.

The title came from a term used in diving competitions. I’m a huge fan. Obsessed, you could call it. When the Summer Olympics air, I will troll the cable channels and Internet footage for all of the qualifying rounds, not just the finals. Mainly I watch because it’s so beautiful. These daredevils leap and spin and twirl and land perfectly, knifing through water with such quick precision that they become negative space, leaving a tiny hole where they cut through. I want to know why. I want to know how they position their hands and feet to create barely a teaspoon of splash. I want to know what’s going through their heads as their toes leave the board. I want to know what those little towels they dry their hair off are made from. I want one. I want to know why someone would think of jumping off such a ginormously high platform in the first place.

I’m also fascinated because I have always been terrified of diving. No matter how much my father egged me on, no matter how many times he offered me a quarter to simply put my arms out and roll head first off the edge of the pool, I couldn’t make myself do it. I still can’t, and I’m okay with that, so I live vicariously through Olympic diving.

I forget which Olympic games I was watching while I worked on the first draft of this novel. During the commentary, one of the announcers, a former champion herself, kept talking about one competitor’s unfortunate habit of “sliding past vertical” during her dives. In the ideal dive, no matter how many times you spin and flip and twirl, you need to straighten out your body at a certain point so that you break the water as perpendicular to the surface as possible. That’s part of what results in the tiny splash, which is the last impression a diver leaves with the judges. The Chinese divers seem particularly good at it. Slide past that vertical ideal, however, and it’s not the prettiest of pictures. If you don’t get a good jump, or if your spins go out of control, often you don’t have enough time to get your body in the right position for the entry. Hence, that sliding thing.

Even before I started writing the book, I knew that Sarah, my female lead, had been a diver. I knew she was having problems with getting her life on track, especially when it came to certain ill-considered decisions going terribly awry. Learning about “sliding past vertical” brought it all together for me. I knew that had to be my title, because the affliction not only ended Sarah’s diving aspirations, but also had bled into her everyday life and the lives of the other characters.

What are some of your favorite “odd” book titles? Do you think they fit the stories?

Celebrate Teen Reading Week, Indie Style

3327179Launched in the US in 1998 by YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), Teen Reading Week is, you guessed it, an initiative to encourage adolescent literacy.

This is an excellent program and I’m all for getting more kids to read. As a child and a teen, I spent hours disappearing into my favorite books. Without these literary friends, my life might have turned out very differently. I still enjoy reading, editing, and celebrating young adult books.

With that goal in mind, a couple of my indie author friends, Greta Burroughs and Vickie Johnstone, have organized an “Inspiring Teens” blog hop. See below for a list of all the authors you can meet this coming week. You might also win some books or an Amazon gift card.


Monday, Oct. 14

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge
Author – Vickie Johnstone

 Blogger – Sharon Ledwith
Author – Jennifer Loiske

 Blogger – Armen Pogharian
Author – Ey Wade

 Blogger – Candice Conway Simpson
Author – Sharon Rose Mayes

Blogger-Cedar Sanderson
Author – Kim Mutch Emerson

Blogger – Maria Savva – 
Author – Ed Drury

Tuesday, Oct. 15

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge
Author – Greta Burroughs

Blogger – Jennifer Loiske
Author – Cedar Sanderson

Blogger – Lisa Cresswell
Author – Tim Flanagan

Blogger –Debra J Jameson Smith
Author – Sharon Ledwith

Blogger –David Lowbridge
Author – Amanda Haulk Taylor
Blogger –Wendy Strain –
Author – Greta Burroughs 7:45-8:45 PM CST 
This is a five minute fiction contest open for all participants to write a short piece using a prompt provided by Greta Burroughs.  A prize will be awarded to the winner.  It’s a lot of fun and an exciting way to show off your skills at writing.
Wednesday, Oct. 16

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge
Author – Debbie Manber Kupfer
Blogger –Maria Saava 
Author –Linda Deane

Blogger – Debbie Manber Kupfer –
Author – Randy Attwood

Blogger – Ey Wade
Author – Armen Pogharian

Blogger – David Lowbridge
Author –Helen Daly

Blogger – Robert DeBurgh
Author – Christine Hughes

Thursday, Oct. 17

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge
Author – Hugo Jackson 

Blogger – Vickie Johnstone (Vixie’s Stories) –
Author  – Paul Plunkett

Blogger – Kim Mutch Emerson
Author – Donna Dillon

Blogger – Karen Pokraz Toz
Author – JR Simmons

Blogger – David Lowbridge
Author –Saoirse O’Mara

Blogger – Brenda Perlin
Author – Charlotte Blackwell

Friday, Oct. 18

Blogger – Kate Bainbridge  –
Author – Tianna Scott

Blogger –Tim Flanagan
Author – Catherine Stovall

Blogger – Sharon Rose Mayes –
Author – Wendy Siefken

Blogger –  Cassie McCown
Author – Alan Tucker

Blogger –David Lowbridge
Author –Michael Chulsky

 Blogger – Wendy Siefken
Author – Juli Caldwell

Saturday, Oct. 19

Blogger – Robbie Cox
Author – Patrick Robbins

Blogger – Jonathan Gould
Author – Sibel Hodge

Blogger – Donna Dillon
Author – Debra J Jameson Smith

Blogger – Greta Burroughs
Author – Chris Baker

Blogger – Cassy Wood
Author – Vicki Kinnaird

Blogger – Vickie Johnstone –
Author – Lisa Cresswell

Win a Copy of Sliding Past Vertical

Sliding Past Vertical coverA giant box of pretty, pretty books arrived on my doorstep this morning. And a good thing, too, because I’m giving a few away. If you hop over to Goodreads, you could enter to win a signed copy of Sliding Past Vertical. The giveaway is for folks in the US and Canada and goes until October 25.

Thank you for listening, and now back to your regularly scheduled Internet fun, like this quiz to see how well you can read people’s emotions from only their eyes. (Thank you to Lynne Cantwell for the tip.)

Have a great weekend.

Brenda Perlin: Home Wrecker is Back!

1371357_461994010581040_604390448_nToday I’m letting Brenda Perlin take over my blog. She’s just about to release Home Wrecker II: The Brooklyn Chronicles. This contemporary romance sounds really interesting and has been getting a lot of good reviews. If you’d like to meet Brenda online, she’ll be having a Facebook party on October 11th at 1:00 pm (PST) where there will be fun, games, and prizes. If you’d like to hop on that link now, she’ll have random e-book giveaways leading up to the event.

A bit about the book that started it all:

Brooklyn Rosen had high moral principles and was raised properly. Married for over fifteen years, those standards went out the window along with her fidelity when she met Bo. After becoming a self-proclaimed “Home Wrecker,” Brooklyn left behind her marital home, along with the damage caused by her emotional wrecking ball. But the whispered remarks followed. In Home Wrecker: The Brooklyn Chronicles we learn what shaped Brooklyn, the trials of an unhappy marriage and a deep abiding love that would not be denied. We meet a troubled, spiteful wife, who does not want to become an “ex.” Will Brooklyn and Bo survive, or will all be lost to a bitter woman?

Here’s what one reviewer had to say about the first book:

Home Wrecker: The Brooklyn Chronicles provides a look into the heart and mind of a woman who cheated on her marriage and the reasons why it happened. It is honest. It is real. It is the story of what made Brooklyn the woman she is today, the decisions made that put her on the path she walks today, and it does it with an openness and honesty not found in many such stories. The book is well written and grabbed me from the beginning and held my attention until the very end.” – Crystal Schall, The Book Rack

According to Master Koda Select Publishing,  Home Wrecker II: The Brooklyn Chronicles puts the reader on a journey through the eyes of the main character, Brooklyn Rosen. Her story, at times, is excruciatingly honest and evokes one’s own self-reflection throughout the reading experience. However, through the devastation and tribulations, the reader will also gain an insight to the inspiring strength of the heroine as she struggles toward personal happiness.

Learn more about Brenda here:


One Crazy Week

SlidingPastVerticalCoverOctober is my favorite month—Indian summer, apples, beautiful leaves, that lovely crisp feeling in the air. After a completely insane September culminating with the release of Sliding Past Vertical, I had been looking forward to kicking back a teensy bit. Okay, I know that’s not really possible, since once the book comes out, the work really starts. At least I hoped to get outside once in a while before my schedule heated up again.

Not so, it seems, but it’s all good. I woke on Monday to find that Don’t Tell Anyone had been chosen the category winner for literary fiction in The Kindle Book Review 2013 Best Indie Books Awards.  (see shiny badge to the right). Snoopy dancing! As my entry progressed from semi-finalist to finalist in September, I was happy to see enough editing work and book promotions on my calendar to keep me from thinking about October 1.

One great thing about indies is their generosity and eagerness to support other authors. I entered the contest along with a bunch of talented author friends and did little happy dances when Nicole Storey, DV Berkom, Julie Frayn, Rosanne Dingli, and Carol Wyer made it to the semi-finals, then again when Nickie and I were in the finals (with Hugh Howey in a different category!) When I got the “you’re a winner” email from Jeff Bennington at The Kindle Book Awards, it had also been sent to the other category winners. We immediately began contacting each other with congratulations and requests for Twitter handles.

SPVPrint1After a bit of flutter, I forced myself back to earth, because Husband and I needed to get the print version of Sliding Past Vertical done. And here she is! I was so excited to get the proof in my hands. Four books in, and the feeling of holding the finished copy hasn’t yet gotten old. I hope it never does.

Have a great week!