New Post at Writers Helping Writers on Using Real-World Locations In Your Stories

Writers Helping Writers

Oh, am I EXCITED about my new Writers Helping Writers post. ūüėÄ

This week, as part of the site’s Resident Writing Coach Program, I share some insights about using real-world locations¬†in our stories, either faithfully for historical or contemporary genres or as inspiration for fictional worlds. And since one of the reasons why I attended¬†the Iceland Writers Retreat was to do hands-on research for my story’s setting, guess which country I used as an example? ūüėČ Continue reading

New #5onFri Article at DIY MFA, Plus Final Reminder for the GoFundMe Campaign


What’s this? Another DIY MFA¬†article already? ūüėČ

It’s been a while since I last took part in DIY MFA’s¬†weekly #5onFri series; and with Maria V. Snyder’s guest post on Tuesday, I wasn’t able to promote it here until now. So, here’s last Friday’s #5onFri post, where I shared a little more of my “beta-reading preparation” stage by sharing five of the questions I posed to my beta-readers to get specific feedback on aspects of my novel.

Continue reading

GoFundMe Campaign for Iceland Writers Retreat Begins Today


I’m sharing some AMAZING news with you today – and asking for your help in making a dream come true, and an incredible learning experience be within reach.

(*takes a deep breath*)

Today I’m starting a GoFundMe¬†campaign to fund¬†a trip to the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat, with the hopes of raising $3,500 USD¬†by February 4, 2017. After the jump, I’ll share links to the retreat and the campaign page so you can see the cost breakdown, perk levels (yes, PERKS!), and so on. But first, let me explain why I want to go and why I need financial assistance to do¬†so.

Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: Six Writing Lessons I Learned While Working On My WIP


Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing¬†tips. Today we finish our celebration of the end of Draft #3 with a¬†tips-oriented post.

Working on a novel is a learning experience in and of itself. You’ll make right and wrong decisions, figure things out, and find ways of improving the story. You’ll also absorb tips away from the WIP via blog articles, workshops, and literary conferences. That “self-teaching” can double – or even triple – your knowledge about writing between Day 1 of Draft #1 and The End of Draft #3. And after wrapping up my WIP’s third draft, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned about the craft of writing and about myself as a writer.

So, the last Chronicle for Draft #3 isn’t exactly a tips-oriented post. Instead, it’s a retrospect of discoveries I’ve made since I started working on The Keeper’s Curse (or TKC). Perhaps these lessons might¬†help you on your own writing journey (or maybe you’ve already embraced them). Then, at the end, I’d love to know what¬†you¬†have learned about yourself or your process from any of your writing projects. ūüôā
Continue reading

Who Were the First Five Authors You Read in Your Favorite Genre?


Looking back on the books and authors that introduced us¬†to our¬†favorite literary genres can be a fun trip down memory lane. That nostalgia can¬†bear even more meaning for writers. Sure,¬†those authors built the foundation for our¬†reading tastes. But if we¬†consider our “relationship” with their work closely, we can also¬†discover how their stories or writing have influenced ours.

Today, let’s discuss¬†the first five authors we read in our favorite literary genre, or the genre we prefer to write in. I’ll go first with¬†my first¬†five fantasy authors (since fantasy is more than just my great literary love), as well as one takeaway from each that has impacted my writing. Then, you¬†can respond by either commenting on this post or writing about it at your¬†own blogs. This isn’t just for fantasy writers, by the way.¬†Book bloggers and avid readers of all genres are welcome to jump in – so, please do!

Continue reading

Interview with Roshani Chokshi, Author of “The Star-Touched Queen”


I love it when authors write a story that veers away from trends yet works¬†in every way. Roshani Chokshi’s debut YA fantasy¬†The Star-Touched Queen¬†is exactly that.¬†With gorgeously vivid writing and unbridled imagination, this Hindu-inspired tale¬†brings readers to a world of mythical creatures, surreal settings, and love intertwined with destiny. (Check out my review of¬†The Star-Touched Queen¬†here if you haven’t yet.) The book has been an instant¬†hit with readers, too, debuting in the New York Times’ YA Hardcover Bestsellers List in its first week of sales. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.

Today I’m thrilled to have Roshani stop by and chat about¬†The Star-Touched Queen. If you’re curious about her world-building approach,¬†writing influences, her journey to becoming a published author, and flesh-eating demon horses (yes, you read that correctly), then this interview is for you. Enjoy!

Continue reading

Field Trip: Writer’s Digest Conference 2016

WDC2016 Banner

Now that all of the late-summer¬†busyness¬†has passed, I finally have some time to tell you about this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference! And what an amazing four days it was. In fact, I think¬†it topped the 2015 edition!

With this post, I’ll give a general overview of WDC 2016, including¬†which sessions I enjoyed most and what I learned. Last year I¬†did a trio of posts for DIY MFA;¬†and while I would have liked to have covered the conference¬†for the site¬†again this year, it wasn’t possible with my friend’s wedding 2 weeks later. The good thing is,¬†waiting to do this post has given me time to digest (no pun intended) everything I absorbed that weekend and feel grateful for continuing to invest¬†in my writing career.
Continue reading

Beautiful People, Vol. 18: What Does Nomaro (Future Novella Protagonist) Look Like?

Beautiful People 1

Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury¬†and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.

This month’s Beautiful People topic (describing a character’s appearance)¬†threw me off a little. I was hoping to cover another supporting character from my WIP¬†The Keeper’s Curse, but when Cait and Sky revealed their questions,¬†I couldn’t think of anyone right away.¬†But there’s always a certain protagonist from the novella I’m planning to write when TKC’s with beta-readers…

So, if you liked learning about Nomaro during last year’s Beautiful Books post or his first BP post back in March, you’ll be pleased with this month’s subject again. ūüėČ Ready?

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

Continue reading

Why Creativity is Essential For All Genres (A Guest Post by Leanne Sowul)


Leanne Sowul Creativity banner

Today I’m thrilled to have one of my DIY MFA¬†colleagues here for a guest post!¬†Leanne Sowul is a historical fiction writer, music teacher, and the insightful mind behind DIY MFA’s “Be Well, Write Well,” which offers tips and wisdom for writers on maintaining a healthy well-being. She’s also an advocate for cultivating¬†creativity in our lives and recently launched her new project, The Creativity Perspective, to explore this further. I invited Leanne to write about the importance of creativity in writing, and this is what she had to say.

When I first decided to write a novel, I wasn‚Äôt sure what genre I wanted to specialize in. I read widely, so I had interest in writing many different things, but I was intimidated by working in the sci-fi, fantasy, or mystery genres because I thought they required a higher level of creativity. Building a world from scratch, or crafting a suspenseful crime, felt beyond me. I wanted to choose a genre that had some rules I could follow; a creativity ‚Äúsupport,‚ÄĚ if you will.

I have a longtime love for history, so I decided to write historical fiction. I figured I could use historical facts to hang my story on, and felt comforted by the element of nonfiction in my fiction to keep me on track with my story. I thought it was the perfect solution. Oh, how little I knew back then! I didn’t understand I was making the enormous decision of my novel’s genre based partly on fear and partly on an incorrect assumption.

Continue reading

Beautiful People, Vol. 17: Drasten Kolsteg from “The Keeper’s Curse”

Beautiful People 1

Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury¬†and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.

Drasten’s name might sound familiar if you’ve been following my Beautiful People posts for a while. He was featured in¬†last year’s Siblings Edition¬†with his brother Aurek, and was mentioned quite a bit in¬†Aurek’s character interview this past March. But he hasn’t had a solo post yet;¬†and now that I’m focusing on the¬†supporting characters¬†for my WIP¬†The Keeper’s Curse for this series, this month seems like a good time to give him one.

Some quick facts about Drasten:¬†He’s¬†a 19-year-old Mountain Man, with dark brown eyes, long dirty blond hair, and a short beard. He also shares the title of Lord of the Mountain Folk’s Sumanhi Clan with Aurek, and has joined his brother in a mission to retrieve lost relics that once belonged to their people. (The mission serves as TKC’s external plot.) So, let’s see what kind of dirt we can dig up on Drasten.

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

Continue reading