Z is for Zo Long




Yes…I’m cheating. Sue me! This is my A to Z goodbye post and here I am...stumbling across the finish line. I must say I have mixed feeling about this year’s wonderful ride.

A LOT of things tried to pile on me in April, doing everything they could to keep me from fulfilling my commitment. The ramp up for this year’s WRiTE CLUB coincided with A-Z, and between that and posting everyday…completely off-the-cuff…and oh yeah, trying to write...I was kept hopping. But I did it, although I wasn’t able to visit and read many other blogs taking part, and that saddens me because it makes me feel like a cheat. Oh well, it is what it is, and considering I only averaged 8 comments per post I guess I ended up with what I deserved.  I enrolled in the Challenge as a way to jump start my blog...but maybe I ended up taking a step backwards.  Live and learn.

To those of you who found me during the challenge, thank you…I sure hope you’ll continue to drop by and become a regular. Now that the posting every day has ended, I promise I’ll swing by your blogs real soon to close the loop.  :)

For my fellow A-Z participants...you now have my permission to go take a long nap! It has been well earned!

Y is for Yellow Snow




We’ve all heard the phrase…”Don’t eat yellow snow!” For those of you unfamiliar with it, the warning is meant to discourage people from accidentally consuming snow that has been contaminated with urine – either animal or otherwise. It’s also the title of a 1974 classic song by Frank Zappa. I’ve never actually heard of anybody who’s eaten contaminated snow, which is kind of weird because the phrase is one of the more recognized sayings around.

This is a great example of a simple expression that…on its surface is says one thing…but upon closer examination communicates much much more. As writers we strive for that, creating multi-layered passages that give the reader pause. I would venture to say that it’s almost the holy grail of writing…increasing the word meaning without increasing the word count. 

:)

X is for X-eyed






This is day 28 of the Challenge...and how many of you are feeling like this -- either from the grind of posting 24 times in 28 days -- or from reading my nonsensical post during that time?

At least this picture might give you a smile today.  It did me.

:)

W is for Write-Up (SCHISM Book Release)

I realize that today's doesn't exactly match the designated letter...in fact I had to work really hard to come up with something that came close...but the fact is I committed to interviewing a friend, who is one of my critique partners and a fellow blogger, on this date long before I knew I was going to participate in A-Z.  Why is this day so special...well, take a look at the banner below and you'll understand.



Author Interview

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been drawn to stories and to making up my own or acting them out with my stuffed animals. As for actually writing them down, I blame my parents for naming me after an author—Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s like being named after an author gave me this bug in my ear. I would write lots of short stories or beginnings of novels, and after enough “starts” I finally began to finish them.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I was in college and watching a lot of anime at the time. I’ve always liked the “magical girl” shows where a normal girl is transported to another world. I took that key idea and tried to warp it, to find a different angle. So, I came up with the fourth-spatial dimension for my world Illirin. From there I created Gabe and Lea, and all of the conflicts rose organically from a combination of the setting and their personal goals/problems.

Tell us about your main character.

Gabriel Jones (Gabe) is the primary character, although Lea is a main character too. In the beginning, He’d think not much to say because he’s lost his memory. In fact, he’s obsessive about trying to recover it. The funny thing is that his true personality shows through regardless of remembering his past. He’s got a kind heart, he’s passionate, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and he’s got a real impulsive streak. His passion has a bad side though, and he’s quick to anger. He’s basically a recipe for conflict.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on the sequel to SCHISM called UNITY as well as a short novelette prequel. I’m also drafting a geeky YA romance that has lots of awkward nerd love in it. I can’t wait to share all these projects!

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Twitter: @MaisanoLaura


SCHISM (Illirin Book One)

By Laura Maisano

Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.
Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.
While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.


Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t need to find data, now she needed proof.
She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.
Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.
Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on patrol.
“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get mugged, you know.”
“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”
He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out here at night.”
Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”
“I know that. Neither am I.”
“Good.”
They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and the humidity only made it worse.
Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes. “This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”
“How long?”
“Roughly ten minutes.”
Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers scuffing the gritty pavement.
Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.
She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.
“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.
This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.
“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.
“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”
They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

About the Author
Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.


Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.



Twitter: @MaisanoLaura
Google + https://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano

V is for Voice




What is it -- a writing voice – and how do you establish one that is uniquely your own?

Voice makes your work pop, and if perfected, helps readers recognize the familiarity. You would be able to identify the difference between Tolkien and Hemingway, wouldn’t you? It’s the way they write; their voice, in writing, is as natural as everyone’s speaking voice. Your voice should be authentic, even if you borrow a sense of style from your favorite author.

That’s all still really nebulous you say…what is an actual writing voice made of? Well, it’s a combination of common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). One author may have a voice that is light and fast paced while another may have a dark voice. We all experiment with different literary styles and techniques in order to help us better develop our "voice".

If you read many agent submission guidelines, you’ll notice that a “unique voice” is sought after above all else. Is that right or wrong? Forget theme…disregard plot…toss aside fascinating characters…if you have a voice that stands out, you got a shot. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not too far from the truth. In this era where almost anyone can publish a book, and popular trends (i.e. vampires, zombies, angels, etc.) become inundated with new material at a much faster pace, it’s a distinctive voice that will help you be successful.

You know what the really hard part is? It’s making sure your voice comes across in something as artificially constraining as a query letter. I’ve said this many times before…the skillset needed to write a brilliant query letter is totally different than the one to write a book – that’s why so many times our voice gets lost when attempting to compose one. And no, I don’t have the secret for ensuring your voice stands out in a query letter, and if I did it would be a post much longer than could be tolerated during A-Z.

All I can tell you for now…is trust yourself. It may be easier said than done…but that’s all you need sometimes.
 

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