Thursday, April 27, 2017

Author Melinda Friesen shares writing advice + her latest release SUBVERSION + a chance to win a copy!

Today I'm excited to welcome author Melinda Friesen, who's here to chat writing and her latest release SUBVERSION. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win your own copy of Subversion, and check out it's predecessor Enslavement if you haven't already!

Thanks so much for coming to Thinking to Inking! We're so excited to have you here! Tell us a little bit about Subversion.

Subversion the sequel to Enslavement and book two in the One Bright Future series picks up a few months after the end of Enslavement when Rielle James, protagonist extraordinaire, is hell bent on rescuing her friends. She refuses to live free while her friends are still enslaved. She devises a plan to save one of them who has been sold to a logging camp in northern Montana where slaves are disappearing without a trace.

Who's your favorite character from Subversion?

I dearly love Rielle and Nathan, my two main characters, but I introduced a new character in Subversion named Dek. Dek is a rugged, crusty, crotchety old man. He’s got a hot temper and smokes a couple packs per day. Despite his tough and cranky exterior, he’s got tons of heart. He sprang to life in my head, fully formed from his nicotine-yellowed fingers to his dirty work pants to the way his truck floor is a dumping ground for jackets and plastic coffee mugs.

How did your writing process for Subversion differ from Enslavement, the first book in the One Bright Future series?

I wrote the entire series in nine months. The writing part wasn’t much different from book to book, however, I revised, edited, and rewrote huge portions of Enslavement, so those changes had to be reflected in Subversion. Bringing Subversion into line with Enslavement was a huge task. A book that had taken me a couple of months to write, took me nearly a year to edit.

The covers for both books in the One Bright Future Series are amazing! How much input did you get in the design of your cover and what was that process like?

I really love my covers too. I did get some input, mainly in the sense of the publisher showing me the cover and me giving it the go ahead. At first, I wasn’t sure about the bar code idea because the book uses microchips, not bar codes, but eventually it grew on me because it symbolized my protagonist as a product. In terms of conveying the subject and tone of the books, the designer nailed both covers.

What advice would you give writers still working to make their publishing dreams a reality?

Work at improving your writing. Never allow yourself to stagnate. Learn everything you can about writing and publishing. Get some writer friends for moral support and good advice. And keep going!

What advice do you have for authors working on writing book two in a series? Any tips or tricks you learned along the way that you can pass along to us?

Write book two, but don’t spend a ton of time revising it. You will make changes to book one in the editing process which will translate into changes to book two. The series may deviate from your original direction as you go, so it’s best to hold subsequent books loosely and be open to going in a different direction.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and Blood of the Dead by A.P. Fuchs.

If you could be one character from any book or movie, who would it be?

I had a hard time of this question, but I finally narrowed it down to Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean. She had an amazing adventure. Or maybe it was the drinking rum with Johnny Depp on a beach in the Caribbean that intrigued me.

Congrats on the launch of the second book in the One Bright Future series, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Thank you so much for having me!

About Subversion (One Bright Future #2) by Melinda Friesen 
Publication Date: August 31, 2016

“I surrender my days, my efforts, myself to the OneEarth Bank . . .”

After fleeing slavery, Rielle James burns with the desire to topple OneEarth Bank and end its enslavement of young people as Contracts. When she learns that her friend Nathan has been sold to a logging company where Contracts die or vanish without a trace, she assumes a false identity and becomes a slave again to help him escape.

Her act of subversion uncovers the horrific truth behind the OneEarth Bank’s role in Contract disappearances and its link to a global pandemic.

Can Rielle and Nathan escape and expose the truth before it’s too late?

About Melina Friesen:

Melinda Friesen writes novels for teens and short stories. Her contest winning short stories have appeared in various periodical and an anthology. Enslavement, book one in the One Bright Future series, is her first novel. 
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Giveaway Details:
·         Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (US/Canada) and  Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 24, 2017

So years ago, my boys and I were all in the grocery store waiting in the checkout line.  It was nearing Valentine's day and the store was decked out for the holiday.

My middle son (who at the time was probably in second grade) looks at me and says that he must be romantic.  We all looked at him and asked why.  He proclaimed that he was romantic because his favorite color was red and that he liked strawberries and chocolate.

  I told him that wasn't romance, so the boys then asked what romance was.  I'm ashamed that I gave them terrible advice.  I said limos, flowers, all the things a girl my age grew up watching on TV.

 My youngest set me straight right away.  He looked at me and said, "So you have to spend money to be romantic?"

I totally started back pedaling, but still my stale advice hung in the air like a deflated balloon.

The conversation and the idea of romance still haunts me to this day.  Everyone has a different idea of romance and it really doesn't even have anything to do with gender.  Everyone has different ideas.  Some people want small, daily affirmations, others want grand gestures, and then there are those that want both.  Romance is also further ever changing.  Sometimes romance flows naturally other times it must be hunted down.

 So what then is romance and why is it so hard to pin down?  I'm going to have shift my brainwashed ways and go with today's prevailing ideology that romance can be found in small and simple gestures, but the little girl in my who grew up with fairy tales, I'd still like the occasional grand gesture too.  So, I'm guessing today's YA lit.  must follow this pattern too.  And I guess if I had to tell my boys about romance, I'd say it is all about wanting to spend time with other person, share experiences with that special someone, and maybe even surprise that person.  Romance I would say is the moments that take your breath away and the gift of one's time.

So romance and love are not exactly the same thing, but closely entwined.  Romance implies flowers, candles, candy, red, pink, heat, gifts, love, longing, wanting, sharing, surprise, jewelry, and togetherness.  In the end, romance is about love and wanting to do something special and meaningful for the other person.  Romance is knowing the other person so well that you catch the person off guard.  Romance is smart!

So challenge . . . how do you define romance?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kickstart Your Writing

We've all been there. You're twenty five pages into writing your great novel and find yourself unable to move forward. You want to start a new project, but you've been staring at a blank page for hours, possibly days on end. So how do you get yourself out of a rut? Here are a few ideas to kickstart your writing again.

A table with a typewriter and papers 1) Short Stories

Whether your halfway through your epic novel or at the beginning piecing things together, sometimes you just need to let it go a bit and try your hand at something else. A short story is a great opportunity to stretch your brain and try something new without feeling like you're taking too much time away from your baby. 

2) Time Yourself

If you need added pressure, try entering a short story prompt competition like NYC Midnight. They provide prompts and you must complete the assignment within a specific amount of time to submit. 

3) Analyze A Book You Love

Take out that book you love (a copy you're not afraid to ruin) and a pencil. Now go to town on the book. What had the author done from a craft perspective that you love. What don't you love? How have they structured the story? What techniques do they use? Don't be skimpy with the notes, go to town in the margins!

How do you kickstart your writing?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Find Writer Friends

My family is moving across the country in a few weeks, and a few days ago, we got together with most of the writer friends we've made here to say goodbye. While we're planning to keep in touch with everyone online, it's tough that we won't be able to get together in person anymore. There's no substitute for face-to-face time to talk about the writing and publishing journey.

With that in mind, I'm already thinking about ways to connect with writers in my new city. Since everyone can benefit from finding writer friends, not just those who are moving, here are some of the first places I'm going to look:

As a MG/YA writer, I get to take advantage of the great resource that is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Although my current city doesn't have a very active chapter, my new city does—which means I'll definitely be checking out what they have to offer.

2. Conferences
Writing conferences are a fabulous way to connect with like-minded people. In fact, I met most of my local writer friends through a local conference (and if you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that we co-bloggers all met at a conference as well!). There are several large conferences every year in my new city, so I'm going to try to attend one as soon as possible.

3. Twitter/Other Social Media
I follow and am followed by lots of writers on Twitter, and I'm also a member of several writing-focused Facebook groups. I mentioned where I was moving in one of these groups and was thrilled to find that several of the people I'd been talking to for months lived right in my new neck of the woods! You may find that announcing your location on your favorite social media channels brings nearby people out of the woodwork.

4. NaNoWriMo
One of the fun things about signing up to participate officially in National Novel Writing Month each November is local meet ups. I'm nearly always revising in November, rather than drafting, but this year I'm going to try to be ready for a new project. My new locale is famous for its independent coffeeshops, and what better way to try them out than drafting parties?

Would you add anything to this list? How have you made writer friends?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Interview with Don't Kiss the Messenger author Katie Ray + Giveaway!

I'm excited to bring you another successful author chat, this time with Katie Ray who's here to chat writing and her newest release Don't Kiss the Messenger. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a copy!

Thanks so much for coming to Thinking to Inking! We're so excited to have you! Tell us a little bit about Don't Kiss the Messenger.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! I appreciate you’re hosting me. Don’t Kiss the Messenger is a YA modern day retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. I actually followed the movie version more closely (a 1987 romantic comedy called Roxanne). Except in my case, I made Cyrano’s character a girl. I thought it would be a fun twist.

Ooh I love retellings and I absolutely love the movie Roxanne! Don't Kiss the Messenger just jumped to the top of my to-read pile. :-) Which character do you relate most to?

I was really insecure in high school, and I spent most of my time feeling like an outsider, like I wasn’t “all in.” For that reason, I can relate to CeCe.

Was your writing process for Don't Kiss the Messenger different from your previously released books? If so how? Anything that surprised you along the way?

Yes, this book was a very different approach. Since it’s a retelling, the book was basically already outlined for me. I thought that having a blue print would make the writing process easier, but it was actually more challenging. I felt tied down to the story sometimes, which made it harder for me to sidetrack and go my own way. Eventually, I figured out my own story and pacing.

The cover design for Don't Kiss the Messenger is really fun! How much input did you get in the design of your cover and what was that process like?

I really didn’t give a lot of input. I only told the designers what I DID NOT want (like a glistening abdomen or an ‘almost kiss’ kind of cover). I’m a sucker for hearts on covers (three of my other books have hearts on the cover) so this one fit my style. I really like it.

Are you a write-one-thing-at-a-time author, or do you typically juggle multiple projects at once? How do you stay focused?

I’m a one-book-at-a-time kind of person. I feel like I’m in a relationship with my characters, so when I’m writing a book I’m committed to them 100 percent.

What advice would you give writers still working to make their publishing dreams a reality?

Practice, practice, practice. Write every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. If you back away from your story for too long, it’s really hard to get back into it.

What are you reading now?

I just read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I LOVED IT. I’m totally author crushing her right now.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?


Congrats on the launch of Don't Kiss the Messenger. I can't wait to get my hands on it! And thanks so much for stopping by Thinking to Inking!

Thanks so much for having me! I hope you enjoy my book. If you like music, and a slow-burn, old school romance, you will love it. :-) 

About Don't Kiss the Messenger (Edge Lake High School, #1)
by Katie Ray
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll fall in love. 

About Katie Ray
Katie Ray (also known by her previous author name, Katie Kacvinsky) writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her screenplay, A High Note, was a semifinalist in the Austin Screenplay Competition in 2015. She currently lives in Ashland, Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a slightly insane dog.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Let Your Inner Kid Out

So a couple of weeks ago, my baby brother had to write a persuasive paper and needed help.  My mom with her weird sense of humor assigned me the task.  I took one look at his paper and thought two things.  The first thing I noticed was that he didn't have an audience so after much debate on the subject we settled on President Trump.  The second thing I noticed was that he didn't have a clear thesis.  When I asked him about this, he just gave me a blank stare.  So I tried again and asked him what his point was.  After an even longer discussion, we finally neatened up his topic and knocked the paper out in record time.

This experience got me thinking of just how important it is to have an identified audience and point otherwise readers are like what the heck.

 So what's the point of my article?

Work with younger children on their writing because I kid you not it will help you with yours.

  Happy Writing.