Thursday, October 22, 2015

Denise Jaden's Top Tips for Winning #NaNoWriMo! #FastFiction

With NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I'm hearing many writers talk about how they are planning to try it this year, give it a shot, write a first draft novel in a month. Last year, I gave my top five tips on the NaNoWriMo Blog, but the more I hear from real writers, the more I'm tweaking those tips.

So here are a few of my best tips to win NaNoWriMo as I see them today...

1. Believe you can do it! You know how sometimes you'll be reading a great book, but then something happens in the plot that seems way off base? You have a choice at that point. If you're enjoying the book enough, you'll likely choose to suspend your disbelief on that one plot point. You'll give the author the benefit of the doubt, keep reading, and likely really love the book and forget about that small point that had stopped you up for a brief time along the way. Or you can get angry at the author, feel a glaring sense of disappointment, and throw the book in the garbage.

I liken these attitudes to authors as they approach NaNoWriMo. There is a suspension of disbelief that you have to CHOOSE when entering into a challenge like this. The truth is, it's a ridiculous challenge. It doesn't actually fit into most REAL LIVES. We should, by rights, feel a glaring sense of disappointment that this challenge even exists, let alone that there are hundreds of thousands of super-humans that somehow leap close-to or even past the finish line. And we have every right to say, "No, it's stupid. I'm not going to waste my time on it." Or even, "I'll try it..." followed silently by, "...but it won't work." And to be honest, those are the unspoken statements I hear when I chat with most writers about NaNo. It's sad, but I'm quite sure from the cadence in their voices and the words they don't say that they probably won't succeed with writing a first draft in a month.

The first thing I believe writers need to succeed with the NaNoWriMo challenge is a conscious decision to suspend their disbelief. Making a choice to say, "Yes, it's a dumb idea, but just for thirty days, I am going to believe it is possible. Not only that, but I am going to believe that I am the writer who is quite capable of achieving it."

You don't have to believe in yourself for ever and ever, amen...only for the next thirty days.

2. Gather lots of ideas and keep them all in one place. This is the bit of advice I give most often for people who want to fast draft. Writing a novel over a period of months or years is a little different, because you can wait for inspiration, or take the time to stumble upon the sticky note that held that great idea you jotted down six months ago. With fast drafting, you don't have time to stop. When you feel stuck, you need to be able to flip open your moleskin notebook or click onto your iPhone app and pull up a list of ideas to pick and choose from. I keep my ideas in my phone notes program, because I always have my phone with me--when I discover a supermarket clerk's name that I really love, or when I overhear an interesting line of dialogue in a coffee shop.

Figure out the storage system that works best for you, and then build your idea bank.

3. Break your goal down and put it in your own handwriting. 50,000 words seems like a lot to accomplish in a month. 1667 words per day doesn't seem quite as impossible. But at the same time, it's important to realize that if you skip a day, even just ONE day, that means you either have to write 3334 words the next day, or up your count to 1724 each day for the rest of the month...every single day. Plus, missing a day makes you lose your sense of momentum.

Writing every day, even if it's just a paragraph, helps you keep your story in the forefront of your mind. You'll think about your characters when you're driving. You'll dream about new and crazy plot points at night. Plus, I believe in writing your goal down in your own handwriting, even if you've signed up on the NaNo website and tweeted to all of your friends that you're doing it. There's a certain sense of integrity that comes with taking the time to hand write your goal. Obviously no one has pushed you into it. You wrote it, and so you will accomplish it.

4. Don't jump in without a plan. You don't necessarily have to stick to your plan, but it's great to have something to come back to if you're feeling stuck. This next part is going to sound like a pitch, like I've only brought you here to sell you something, but I don't mean it to be. You see, I wrote FAST FICTION because I believe in my methods of planning for NaNoWriMo. I believe they can help any writer, whether they are a plotter or a panster. I believe my methods will help any writer who is trying to push through and needs a nudge to make him/her-self get to the end. My Story Plan is a very loose plan that will encourage you to think ahead of time about your characters' greatest strengths, desires, and flaws, about the settings that will inspire more words and detailed descriptions from you, about the themes you're passionate about and you'd like to see emerge from your work.There are other guides out there as well, of course. I encourage you to find one that inspires you and encourages your belief in your abilities.

5. Don't do it alone! Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org (I'm denisej over there if you'd like to become my "buddy"), follow Twitter hashtags #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoWriMo2015, "NaNosprints, #FastFiction, #amwriting, #WIPMadness... to name a few. Make some friends and keep each other accountable. Track other writers down and ask them about their progress...and they'll likely do the same for you if you disappear from the Interwebs for a few days. Just that little nudge from someone else can make all of the difference!

This is not, of course, an exhaustive list about what will help you write 50,000 words this November. These are simply my best tips as I see them today, and as I've sensed from those I've been chatting with lately.

Please share your best tips in the comments. Do you write twice a day? Get 500 words down before breakfast? Gnaw on carrot sticks when you're stuck for inspiration? What helps you reach toward the finish line?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On Sale Now! A Christmas Kerril!

On Sale Now - A Christmas Kerril by Denise Jaden!

I'm thrilled to share my latest book with the world...

In this modern take on a holiday classic, high school junior, Kerril, faces her past, present, and future to be reminded of the good in others, and in herself. 


Haunted by the memory of the worst of her divorced parents’ public Christmas blowouts, Kerril, will do almost anything to avoid the upcoming tinsel-filled season. Unfortunately, a teacher with a grudge casts Kerril as the lead in the school’s holiday production. To add to the misery, she will star alongside ultra-awkward Adam as her love interest. Wanting to ditch the play, Adam, her parents, and Christmas altogether, Kerril accepts an invitation to take off to a cabin with her ultimate dream crush, Perry – only Perry may not be the guy she hoped he was, and it’s not until she’s left Adam behind to fend for himself onstage that she realizes he might just be the guy of her dreams.


Get my newest novel before October 15th at the special release price of only 99 cents!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt Welcomes B. Kristin McMichael!


Hello, and welcome to my blog! I'm Denise Jaden, author of critically-acclaimed fiction for teens and nonfiction for writers, and I'm excited to be a part of TEAM PINK this year! 

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE RULES

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM PINK, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)
HINT: THE SECRET NUMBER IS HIGHLIGHTED IN RED!
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4TH, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, October 4th!
There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM, but there is also a RED TEAM,  GOLD TEAM,ORANGE TEAMPINK TEAM, PURPLE TEAM, TEAL TEAM,  & GREEN TEAM! Check out each team for a chance to win eight different sets of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.



I'm super-excited to welcome B. Kristin McMichael to the blog for the YA Scavenger Hunt, Team Pink! Her new book Carnelian sounds fantastic, and Kristin was good enough to share a little unpublished scene of more than 7 paragraphs for your eyes only! 

(PS...if you read to the end, I have a special "extra" giveaway along this Scavenger Hunt!)

Synopsis:

Carnelian
Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t so far in the past as Seth Sangre. His past is literally from thousands of years ago. Seth’s past led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now, and he just found exactly what he has been looking for. Mari had dreams of college being a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself not fall for the handsome Seth Sangre. But he doesn’t plan to make it easy for her. Seth has already marked her as his next conquest. 

As the semester progresses, Mari learns that Seth might just have a past of his own that’s literally in the past. Suddenly, Mari finds her future along with her past put into question. She’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be, and maybe he isn’t the player who she thought he was. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime-and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.


Carnelian is available for $0.99 at the following retailers:


Bonus Material
At the end of Aventurine, I included the first part of Chrysocolla as a bonus. It’s kind of a cliffhanger that left people wondering what was going to happen next in the story. For my bonus content, I’m including the rest of the section that immediately follows the cliffhanger. Chrysocolla will be available October 13th.

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That made no sense. “What?” I asked, standing and joining him.
Was he serious? We had just executed a plan that he’d made. Would he really plan something that would result in his disappearing? That wasn’t right. Kye was my friend now. He was part of my life. How could putting the past together make it so that he wouldn’t exist? I didn’t want him to go anywhere else.
“I’m the mistake in the future that changes everything,” Kye answered, placing his face in his hands. “I failed you again. Somehow, Logan still wins.” He turned his eyes back to me. I could almost make out faint tears. “I’m still here.”
I stood in shock and stared at him. I didn’t understand, but the tears that looked like they wanted to spill over his eyes told me that this was very serious. I moved to join him, but he quickly stood and walked to the other side of the room. He paced around a bit with his back to me. Turning abruptly he left through a doorway that I assumed went to the river. I was alone.
What did it mean? We just risked everything and won, at least I thought we won. If Kye was sure it wasn’t over, then we had to prepare for Logan to return. I didn’t want to get stuck again. I didn’t want to lose my ability to travel. One thing was certain: I wasn’t going to trust Logan ever again. If I’d learned one thing, it was that behind his charm, Logan wasn’t the guy I ever thought he was. I wasn’t going to fall again for his smile and kind ways. Logan wasn’t that man. I knew that much now.
Kye walked back into the room and directly over to me.
“It looks safe from the river,” Kye replied. “But I’m still going to ask your father to move you to another room. There are guards out there, but I doubt a few men would stop Logan if he showed up and decided to take you by force.”
All the emotion from only moments before was gone. He was back to being his soldier self.
“You think he’s going to take me by force?” That thought scared me a bit. If he came for me, I doubted he would take Kye with him this time.
“He has no choice now. To get his future, he is going to have to trick you or force you. I’m betting on force. He isn’t a very patient person, at least when it comes to you, and I think you might not be trickable this time either. He has to know that by now.” Kye shrugged and began looking around the edges of the room. His tears were completely gone.
My stomach turned at the thought of being Logan’s prisoner. It could be a really long time since I was a time traveler. If Logan chose to not return me to the time I was born, I wouldn’t ever die, and essentially I would live forever as his prisoner. Living forever with someone you loved sounded nice, but this did not. A long life didn’t sound too inviting now.
Kye was satisfied with the first wall he checked and moved on to the next. I had no clue what he was looking for, but he was very thorough in examining the walls. His face was set in concentration as I approached him to watch.
“How do you know this isn’t over?” I still didn’t understand that much. I needed an explanation.
Kye paused where he was looking but then went back to examining the wall. He didn’t reply as he looked it over. When he was satisfied with that wall too, he finally turned to me.
“You won’t be safe until Seti makes it back here. I hope he isn’t too far away,” Kye answered, but it wasn’t the answer to the question I’d asked.
I grabbed Kye’s arm and stopped him from moving to the next wall. I felt the warm tingles I had felt before with him. There was something with Kye that was different than Logan. Was I able to tell who the good guys were? I felt the same warm tingles before. It wasn’t the same as with Seth, but more like how it was with my mother or with my father. My heart stopped a second as I looked closer at him, and realization set it.
“Kye, how are you related to Logan?” I asked. I thought back through every conversation I had with Kye about his family. Kye had never denied being related to Logan, but he never confirmed what I assumed was that he was Logan’s brother.
Kye didn’t move but stared right back at me as I worked through my memories.
“Are you his brother?” I asked already knowing that he wasn’t.
“No,” Kye replied as he watched me.
Logan’s same purple eyes stared at me, but it was different to look at Kye's eyes. They were the exact same color, but so unlike. I saw the compassion in them. I saw his goodness. For the first time, I saw myself in him.
“Are you…?” I couldn’t even ask.
I already knew, but I needed him to confirm it to make it true. I held my breath and stared at him. The words couldn’t come out. Kye saw that much.
“I am your son. Logan is my father,” Kye finally replied, still watching me with his purple eyes. He was waiting for me to react.
“You’re my…” I couldn’t say it. It was too improbable. I was looking at the face of a grown man who technically was just as old as I was. How could he be my son? I had no children, and there were no plans in the immediate future, yet here I was looking at the face of the child I had yet to conceive. It was too surreal. How was it even possible? I wanted him to say he was joking, but he wouldn’t. He wasn’t lying. I felt it. He was family. I just didn’t expect him to be my son. I hadn’t even considered having children yet. That was for a time long away from now. I was just a college student in her freshman year. This was meant to be a year of exploring, not of life-changing events such as children. This was too much. I felt my legs giving out before I could even think another thought.
Kye’s arm snaked around me as my world blackened. The warm tingles followed his touch. It was just too much to understand. My head was on overload and shutting down.


Author B. Kristin McMichael

B. Kristin McMichael is the author of YA and clean NA paranormal fiction. Her vampiric "Night Human World" includes the YA coming of age series "The Blue Eyes Trilogy" and the spin-off adventure series "The Day Human Trilogy". She's also the author of the NA time travel romance series "The Chalcedony Chronicles".

B. Kristin graduated with her Ph.D in biology at Ohio State where she worked as a scientist before taking her passion for writing full-time. Besides writing, she enjoys chasing her kids, playing outside, and baking cookies. B. Kristin McMichael lives in Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information on all of her books, visit http://www.bkristinmcmichael.com Subscribe to her mailing list for new release notifications and deals: http://www.bkristinmcmichael.com/list

The Chalcedony Chronicles

 Chrysocolla [October 13, 2015]

The Night Human Series
The Blue Eyes Trilogy (series 1)


The Day Human Trilogy (series 2)



Standalone Books




Thanks so much for visiting, B. Kristin McMichael! 

To continue The Hunt, stop by Caroline T. Patti's Blog.

As promised, I have a special giveaway for all those Scavenger Hunters who have read to the end! I'd love to give one lucky winner a digital copy of my upcoming YA novel, A Christmas Kerril! All you have to do to enter is tell me in the comments one of your favorite Christmas stories (book or movie) and a way to contact you if you win. Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!