Curiosity Quills Kindle Giveaway

For those of you who love free stuff, here's a great contest from Curiosity Quills.  Visit their site for more details, but here is their post with the details.

"In case you haven’t heard, Amazon has recently announced their new Amazon Kindle Fire - a 7″, color, Android-powered successor to the respected and ubiquitous Kindle family.
As someone who bought two third-generation Kindles for my family, two more as gifts, and use the Android Kindle application extensively, I can safely say that the electronic reading experience is getting better and better with every iteration.
Needless to say, the whole Curiosity Quills Press team is excited. And to celebrate, we’re throwing a GIVEAWAY! Yes, one lucky winner will be receiving their very own bundle of fiery book-loving joy. Drawing will take place on December 1, 2011, so hurry and get your entries in! We hope you’ll participate and win!"
Why not take a chance.  Enter and win!

NaNoWriMo Synopsis

I am excited to get started on NaNoWriMo tomorrow!  I have nailed down the synopsis and done a rough (very, very rough) outline.  Hopefully that will be enough to get me through the next 30 days.  Here is the story synopsis as I have posted on the NaNoWriMo site.
When magic wanes, technology flourishes; when technology fails, magic flows back into the world. It is only in balance that both can truly coexist. But now the Alkai, users of magic, are being hunted and destroyed in the name of technological progress. Jor Craven, dedicated to killing the Alkai for his masters, instead finds himself tricked into honoring an age old oath which binds him to the protection of a young Alkai. A boy whose potential for magic may rival that of any Alkai of the last hundred years. A young woman, whose duty it is to protect the balance between magic and technology, becomes entwined in their fate. Together they must make the long journey to find the last Alkai haven. Now they are hunted by Jor’s brethren who would kill the boy because of his gift, as well as charlatan Alkai who wish to take the boy’s power as their own.
Well that's the rough synopsis right now. It is definitely Fantasy with flavors of Steampunk, I guess we'll just stick with Speculative as the genre until I figure it out. :)  I know I am the worst procrastinator, but if anyone is still looking for writing buddies to commiserate with on the bad days and to cheer each other on the good days hit me up on my NaNoWriMo profile.  I'll take whoever will have me.


Tools For NaNoWriMo

With NaNoWriMo approaching I seem to be receiving a large amount of traffic and downloads for all the writer's tools I've covered.  To make it easier to find I decided to post a list of the tools with the appropriate links.  If there are any others you love or would like to see listed just leave me a comment and I'll add it as soon as I can.


How to Write Cliffhangers

The secret to writing novels that readers can't put
down is simple -- in theory.

All you have to do is making the ending of each chapter
so exciting that your reader can't help but turn the

That's a nice theory. How do you do it in practice?
The answer depends on the kind of novel you're writing.
The purpose of a novel is to give your reader a
Powerful Emotional Experience.

Each category of fiction creates its own mix of emotional experiences. Each category makes a promise to
deliver a certain kind of emotion at the end of the novel. A romance promises to deliver love. A suspense
novel promises to deliver safety. A mystery promises to deliver justice.As your story progresses, your reader tracks how close you are to delivering the final emotional payoff for your story. If the payoff looks like it's getting closer, your reader's tension eases. If it looks like the payoff is getting further away, your reader's tension tightens.

When something happens at the very end of a chapter to make the payoff suddenly look dramatically less likely, that's a cliffhanger.

Lee Child is a master of writing cliffhangers. Child is the author of a series of thrillers starring Jack
Reacher, a drifter who left the Army after 13 years as a military cop. Now Reacher hitchhikes around the
country, running into one set of bad guys after another and reluctantly puttings right.

Reacher is a skilled street fighter who knows every dirty fighting trick in the book


Novel Writing Tool

Cameron Matthews, intrigued by the amazing plot breakdown in a recent article, decided to make a "play with your wordcount" spreadsheet to see just how much you should theoretically be writing in each section of your novel.  You pick a "target word count" and then tell the spreadsheet how much of your novel (in a percentage) is waste material that will get slashed by editing, and voila!  It figures out how much you should target for each of the four traditional "acts" of the story.  Useful also as a diagnostic tool when editing and you realize your denouement is nine words long, or your intro fails to answer needed questions.  You'll have to pop over to his site for the download.  Check out his other great tools while you're there.


Character Profile Tool

Looking for a way to scetch out your characters for your story.  Here is a basic character profile sheet you can use to jot down your ideas.  It's important to know where our characters come from and what they stand for.  Strengths and weaknesses, age, physical traits, family, friends, profession, wealth and their stance on various matters are all important to know.  It allows us to better understand their journey through our story.  Here's the download link. Feel free to add more detail to this sheet or simply add notes to the bottom.

Cameron's Character Profile (Cameron Mathews) / CC BY-SA 3.0


Will you post daily updates on your NaNoWriMo progress?

How many of you will keep us updated daily as to your NaNoWriMo progress?  This is the format I used last year.  Any ideas of other things to include?  Do you plan on posting daily updates to your blog, G+, twitter, ect?

  • Current Word Count: Words to Go: 

  • Cups of Coffee: Hours Spent Writing Today: 

  • Number of Breaks Taken:

  • Number of Characters Killed: 

  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 

  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up:

  • Number of Chapters:

  • Favorite Character of the Day: 

  • My Morality Level:


Writer's Rooms

Where do you write?  Do you have an office, den, writer's cave that you call your own?  Most of us have our favorite place we like to write, or maybe a couple of favorite places.  I have a small office (and by small I mean maybe 8x9, the size of many walk in closets).  Most of the furniture is other family members leftovers that were destined to be thrown out. Almost half the books on the bookcase are research from one story or another.  Most of the fiction is on the living room bookcases.  When not writing in the office I have a laptop I use when outside on the deck.  I would love to see where you all write.  If anyone wants to send me a pic or two I will post a new writer's space every Wednesday.  You can send them to seanmworth at gmail dot com.  Enjoy the pictures of my tiny writing space below.



NaNoWriMo Comics

I figured that we'd warm up for a NaNoWriMo with some of last years comics for writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  You can find her great artwork and writing here.  Watch the NaNoWriMo site for the 2011 comics.


NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here are three NaNoWriMo Wallpapers from paperpages.  Follow this link to many more of her creations for NaNoWriMo. Enjoy!

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

imaginepageant posted 9 great wallpapers over on her Livejournal.  She did ask that they not be reposted so you'll have to follow the link to take a look at them all and grab a copy. The colors are listed below. Enjoy!


  • Red
  • Orange
  • Gold
  • Green
  • Teal
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Brown

This spooky forest wallpaper is by EchoLynnetteB

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here's a new entry from .Ali.  You can find the links for 50k, 75, 100k, and 150k words depending on how ambitious you are!

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here's a new one from Kiriska.  The original can be found at DeviantArt.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

All of the wallpapers in this post were created by lastglitter.  The originals can be found on DeviantArt. Enjoy!


Book Giveaway at Reading Fairy Tales

I just won the first book, Flesh and Fire, in Laura Anne Gilman's Vineart series.  Looking forward to getting my copy and giving it a read through.  Here's the book blurb:

From acclaimed bestselling author Laura Anne Gilman comes a unique and enthralling new story of fantasy and adventure, wine and magic, danger and hope....
Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.
But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft offers a hint of greater magics within — magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed.
In Flesh and Fire, first in a spellbinding new trilogy, Laura Anne Gilman conjures a story as powerful as magic itself, as intoxicating as the finest of wines, and as timeless as the greatest legends ever told.

I have enjoyed Gilman's short works, one of which I linked here, and I see no reason her novels won't be just as enjoyable.  Make sure you shoot on over to Reading Fairy Tales for a chance to win the second book in the series.


Curiosity Quills Now Open For Submissions

Curiosity Quills is now accepting submissions.  The following announcement is taken from their website:

Curiosity Quills Press is the publishing arm of Curiosity Quills, a boutique publisher of hard-hitting dark sci-fi, speculative fiction, and paranormal works aimed at adults, young adults, and new adults. We are also a purveyor of anthologies thereof. We provide our authors with a flexible array of quality premium services, marketing support, and technical know-how, while ensuring that these literary marauders are truly the cream of the crop through a highly selective acquisition process.

Curiosity Quills is now taking submissions.  The following announcement is taken from their site:

We’re Looking For
Thought-provoking, mind-twisting rollercoasters – challenge our mind, turn our world upside down, and make us question. Those are the makings of a true literary marauder.
Serialization Potential - If your work was made with serialization in mind, we want to hear from you. If not – that’s okay! We still want to hear from you.
Agented submission are not required, but will receive precedence over unagented ones.
Length Guidelines: Keep in mind, these are just guidelines – we DO make exceptions.
Novellas: 15k-45k words
Young Adult: 45k to 75k words
New Adult / Upper YA Novels: 60k-100k words
Adult Novels: 70k-120k words

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please send an email to with the following:

A one-page query letter containing your genre, title, wordcount, and a brief blurb about the book.
The first five (5) double-spaced pages
For serialized works, please include information about update frequency, update length, and projected series duration.
Established authors are welcome to query with a standard proposal package of three chapters, a synopsis, and a query.

Format Requirements
If your manuscript is requested, please make sure to format it according to the following:

RTF files only
12 pt Times New Roman font
.5″ indents
Note: Unless we request a revise and resubmit, full manuscript rejections are final.

Note: In addition to published works, we are also interested in blogger contributions to our literary portal.

Good Luck!


The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Checklist

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is closing in fast.  The thought of writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a great challenge to most of us. So, with fear and anticipation, I thought I’d create a checklist of things you may want to start thinking about.  Do you need all of these things?  No.  Hopefully, they will get you thinking so that you aren't caught by surprise when November 1st hits.

Getting started
  • Register and familiarize yourself with the rules for NaNoWriMo.
  • Do you have notes on key elements of your story? (outline, plot, characters)
  • Have you told others in your house about what you’re doing?
  • Have you found a partner? You can get writing buddies on NaNoWriMo's site.  You can find a local friend to keep you honest and accountable for your progress. You could schedule Google+ hangouts to discuss problems and progress.
  • Notebooks - The back to school rush is over.  Many stores are now selling off their surplus. Grab your favorite: One, three, or five subject, journal, legal pads, pocket sized, ect.  Find a small one for your pocket when on the go.
  • Pencils - I use these for outlining with a legal pad initially.  Beyond that I wouldn't use them, but having some handy won't hurt. 
  • Pens - I have a love of pens, especially when I find one I really like.  Ball point, felt tip, whatever your poison.  Black ink, blue ink, save red for when you actually have time to edit in December or January.
"This is my pen. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My pen is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my pen is useless. Without my pen, I am useless. I must write true with my pen. I must write faster than my writing buddy, who is trying to beat me. I must reach my daily goal before they reach theirs.  I am the master of my WIP.  I will win NaNoWriMo!"
          Sorry I couldn't resist.
  • Highlighters (optional) - Highlighters are an valuable tool. I like to use them to remind me of something I may need to review later.  I also use them in editing, but NaNoWriMo isn't about editing, it's about writing.
  • Smart Phone (optional) - You must leave the house at some point in November, yes you will run out of coffee, peanut M&M's, and toilet me.  Use your phone to jot down plot changes, snippets of dialogue or character ideas.  I know you have a good memory, but you will forget.
  • Timer - If you will be participating in any word wars, write-ins, or Google+ hangouts one of these will come in handy.  You can buy one, use a phone app, or use a computer program to keep time.
  • Your muse/totem - Come on you know you have one!  A stuffed animal, toy, token, mascot, stress ball, cape, lucky thinking cap, whatever!  Get one, name it, talk to it when you're stuck. Your new friend will be the only one in your house that will put up with you in November.
  • A writing space - Living room, office, bedroom, Starbucks, B&N, Panara..where will you write. Don't feel boxed into one.  Sometimes just a change of scenery can revitalize your creativity.
  • Music (optional) - I usually write in silence, but like anything else a change can be good.  So, if you use music while writing, make sure you have a month of it ready.  If you don't, have something you like handy just in case.
Food and drink
  • Drink - Make sure you have a good supply of your favorite soda, water, coffee, tea, alcohol or energy drink.  My downfall is coffee.  I always have a cup handy on the desk.
  • Food - Mostly snacks, try to still eat your meals with your family or friends - they miss you. So stock up on fruits, veggies, chips, crackers and cheese, candy, or whatever else will keep you in your chair while you write!
Computer stuff
  • Your Computer - I use a PC, both a laptop and a desktop.  I am not familiar with Macs, so feel free to chime in with your favorites.  I'll give you what I use (I like free).
  • Virus protection - Microsoft Security Essentials (free)
  • Spyware protection - For adware/spyware/malware I use Malwarebytes (free)
  • Firewall - I have the Windows default Firewall turned on (free)
  • Writing software - If you have a computer it came with something that will get you through NaNoWriMo without a problem.  Microsoft Word is just fine, even Notepad or Word Pad would work if it had to.  Beyond that there are a number of great alternatives.  Scrivener (Windows beta), yWriter, and Open Office are all free.  The trick is to write, not what program you are writing in.  Use something you are familiar and comfortable with.
  • Backups - I tend to back up too much (if there is such a thing).  First of all make sure your writing software is set to auto-save at regular intervals.  Set it to however much work you are comfortable with losing (5-10-15 minutes).  After that you have a couple options when you end your writing for the day.  You can back up to a second hard drive or thumb drive.  You can set up a Gmail account and email it as attachment. You could copy and paste into Google Docs, rename it every day as title - date. Or you can use a cloud service like DropBox or SugarSync (I've used both with no complaints).  The idea is to pick one and use it religiously.  There is nothing worse than writing for hours and then losing all your work.  Worse yet, having a computer crash with no backup of your manuscript that you've worked on for months.
Your sanity

Stay healthy.  Spend some time on yourself.  Take the time to go for a walk or a run.  Go to the gym.  Plan time with your family.  Many of your best ideas will come at random times and when you are being stimulated in other ways.  It will make you look forward to your writing time.  Sitting in a chair for hours on end isn't good for anyone.  Schedule some breaks so the world knows you're still alive.

What else is on your list?  What is your muse/totem? What is your must have item?  Or just tell me what I missed!


Outline Like J.K. Rowlings

Old news, but with NaNoWriMo starting I thought I'd share this.  A copy of J.K. Rowlings handwritten outline for Order of the Phoenix has been floating around the net.  You can click the image for a full size version.  Anywho, so I played around with a spreadsheet and tried to mimic her method.  If you are interested you can download, use or alter the excel spreadsheet to your heart's content.

Click here to download

It seems to be a very rough outline, listing Chapter numbers, names, dates, plot, and numerous subplots.  Whether this method works for you, only you will know.  It will be here if you need it, enjoy.
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