Monday, December 29, 2014 | By: Taffy

I'm favorite reads of 2014

I read over 140 books in 2014. One hundred and forty! That's an all time high for me. And will probably be the record forever. Out of those books, I've picked my top ten favorite reads (in no particular order). 
What were your favorite reads of this year?



UNRAVELED: A TALE OF TRUE LOVE by Julie Daines
Folklore, romance and magical shoes. What girl can pass up magical shoes? Oh! And a prince!



ELEVATED by Elana Johnson
I loved this book and not just because my daughter is on the cover. I wish I could write in verse in a way that grabbed readers and pulled them into a story that made them think about it long after they shut the book.




LEGEND by Marie Lu
Why did it take me so long to read this series? Why? Fast paced, intriguing, suspenseful, I had a hard time putting this book down and getting back to reality.


THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West
I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the romance.





CLICKOLOGIE: Elevating Your Photography From Beginning to Pro by Erin Summerill
Awesome book on bettering your photography. From how to pose, to using light to equipment. Loved it.


NOAH'S RAINY DAY by Sandra Brannan
I have not read any books by this author, but I might start now. Here is the opening line:
"The good news is I think I broke my leg. The bad news is I don't know if anyone at school would ever believe how it happened. Or worse, I'm not sure it anyone will ever figure out how I got here."





THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
It's been a while since I've read a book with such a unique world and history.





OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K. M. Weiland
I'm a total pantser and editing is hard! I wanted to try outlining and this book helped see that I can outline.




THE LANGUAGE OF RECOVERY by Gordon Bruin
This is a great, short, informative book for anyone who knows someone with an addiction.






THE ORCHARD by Krista Lynne Jensen
I love PERSUASION by Jane Austen. So I couldn't help but love this book.
Friday, December 19, 2014 | By: Taffy

California Raisins Christmas Special

We loved watching this when the kids were younger. Then my oldest (AKA College Student) looked it up and we laughed and laughed. Here's to a simpler and fun Christmas!


Saturday, December 13, 2014 | By: Taffy

Christmas Gifts for Writers and Readers TAKE TWO

Need some more ideas for your favorite reader or writer? Try some of these!


Audible subscription. 
For that reader that is too hard to pick a book out for because they read YA (gasp!). JK But with a subscription to audible, they can choose whatever book they want to listen to.




Bananagrams
Our family LOVES this game. I just leave the tiles out and someone inevitably sits down and starts forming crossword grids. It's fast and fun and perfect for anyone. 








Food
Sometimes your favorite writer needs to get out of the house. And something more than chocolate. Gift cards are perfect for this situation!

Saturday, December 6, 2014 | By: Taffy

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers and Readers



I have spent hours looking for the perfect gifts for you to give your favorite reader or writer. PHEW! What a list! I hope you enjoy the descriptions as well as the gift ideas. ;)




Paper Passion Perfume

This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book.



Old Books--Book Lovers' Scented Soy Candle

Part of our Book Lovers' Series, this candle is a completely original scent inspired by the smell of old books! Ideal for bibliophiles of all sorts. The scent is a sweet, earthy smell with a hint of must. (Not mildewy, rotten old books!) 
Scents:
Timber, White Tea, Newsprint, Must



Wicked Witch Bookmark

Red slippers for her, for all hostess.




Red Liquid Bookmark

The liquid bookmark by japanese designer kouichi okamoto of kyouei design is a fun way to keep your page marked when your nose isn’t buried in a book. each piece is handmade by the designer and comes in a set of three colors: red, white and black.




Fully Booked Tent

Are you the biggest bookworm around? A big fan of books? A really big fan of books? Well here is the big book tent for the big book fan! It looks like a giant has dropped his favourite best seller just for you to find shelter in, perhaps you can even hold book groups in your tent to discuss the true meaning of The Natural World: The Complete Guide to Life On Earth.

Hunger Games Inspired Earring and Cuff

Inspired by the Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, this antiqued bronze Quiver and Arrow Ear Cuff connects with a chain to the Mocking Jay earring to create this unique "Bajoran" style ear cuff. The Quiver and Arrow Ear Cuff is 1 1/4" long and the Mocking Jay has a wing span of 1 1/2". Shoot straight and "May the odds be ever in your favor!" 


Monday, December 1, 2014 | By: Taffy

PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel Blog Tour!! And Giveaway!


I am so excited to Host 2 amazing ladies on my blog today, along with the fabulous program they have put together to help authors get their book published and to learn how to revise their own novels in a manner that will make manuscripts shine.

I'm always on the look out for some fresh ideas to get my manuscript polished.
(Don't forget the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post).

Let's Introduce you first to this program:



VIDEO SERIES

We offer writers two video series with more in production:


1) PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
http://apathtopublishing.com

8 videos, 5.5 hours + 3- hands-on exercises

Congratulations! You have written a draft of a novel. You’ve accomplished what many
writers merely talk about and dream of doing – you have written an entire story from
beginning to end. When you finish celebrating, it is time to revise: to re-envision and
rewrite what you’ve written into a novel that agents, editors and readers will devour.
Writing a great plot involves craft and skill and know-how. Before you undertake a major
rewrite, first consider your story from all angles with the help of step-by-step instruction
and daily exercises. You know you’re ready to rewrite when you’ve checked all the
essentials elements for creating an exciting story with compelling characters and a
meaningful plot.





-----//-----

2) How to Write and Sell a Picture Book with a Plot
http://apathtopublishing.com/how-to-write-and-sell-a-picture-book/

7 videos explain how to plot, write and sell picture books + provide exercises how to
immediately integrate the concepts into your own unique story. Learn about all the
different kinds of picture books, examples of character-driven and action-driven picture
books, how to develop winning picture book concepts, what are the major turning points
in every great picture book with a plot, writing, voice, character goals and motivation,
how to revise, testing your theme and take-away, who to submit to and so much more…








Here’s How the Video Series Work

Each video includes an in-depth look at the specific elements promised and how to
consider these essential story principles as you write, revise, rewrite, sell your story.
Writing assignment(s) guide you with step-by-step instruction.
Whether you decide to watch all the videos in a row and then go back and do the
exercises or jump right in to the 1st video’s exercise, work at your own pace and take
more or less time on the step-by-step exercises. The series are designed to fit into even
the busiest of schedules. Sign-in and watch video lectures, complete homework
assignments, and ask questions in a public forum on a timetable that fits your needs.



Shout Outs:

**The 1st draft you let yourself write any old way. Now revise your story from every angle

**Can't seem to #finish your #novel? Ready to give up? Before you do, revise!

**I’m finding the revision process FUN! Did I actually say that? Loving this process, thank you!

**Friends don't let friends #revise alone



Let's introduce you to Jill and Martha now!!



Jill Corcoran bio
Jill Corcoran is the founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency and co-founder of A Path A Publishing

 
Martha Alderson bio

Martha Alderson, author of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, is known as “The Plot Whisperer” for the help she offers writers worldwide. She is the founder of PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month and the award-winning blog The Plot Whisperer


These ladies not only brought us these amazing author tools, but also offer another service with 2 levels of Participation (Participants and Observers):


Office Hours
2nd Thursday of every month
9:30-11:30am Pacific
on-line
http://apathtopublishing.com/office-hours/


Active Participants and Observers

ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS: 8 authors each have 15 minutes to work with The Plot
Whisperer Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran on whatever you want help
with. Read part of your manuscript, query, discuss energetic markers, concept, brainstorm
plot, characters, etc and receive feedback you can immediately apply to your work.
Active participants must watch either Plotwrimo: Revise Your Novel in a Month or How
to Write & Sell a Picture Book Videos. This gives us a common language and baseline
understanding of underlying plot and story concepts for better communication.
Receive a critique of your First Pages, Query, Concept, or get help with your Characters,
Where to Start your Story, Crisis, Climax, etc. It is your time...your choice

***OBSERVERS: 15 observer spots. As an observer, you do not participate/read your
work, but listen and learn from others during these sessions.



SO MUCH HARD WORK FROM THESE LADIES! LET'S SEE WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THESE VIDEOS AND SERVICES:

Reviews of the series:

"The amount of time, heartache, frustration, and hell that these videos are saving me from
is immeasurable."

"Don't wait until you have a first draft to get the video series. If you have an inkling of a
concept, get the video series. The videos will show you how to define your energetic
markers. You'll learn the difference between crisis and climax. The 8 videos constitute a
'top to toe' writing course. 
Jill Corcoran & Martha Alderson, thank you for giving me
the opportunity to call myself a writer with pride." Dolly D Napal

"I have been writing, writing, writing, and reading about writing, but I knew I was still
missing the mark. How I write and rewrite books will be forever changed for the better. "
Wendy McLeon MacKnight

"I felt overwhelmed with my latest revision. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I'm
just on day one."


Last, but not least, these ladies offer a fantastic workship to help people actively learn from the
A PATH TO PUBLISHING services.


A Path to Publishing Workshops:
http://apathtopublishing.com

We often tailor-make an advanced workshop for writers who have watched the series to
ask questions and receive feedback on your own individual story.
A Path to Publishing Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/apathtopublishing/

Everyone is welcome to join A Path to Publishing Facebook group created by Literary
Agent Jill Corcoran and Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson as safe, smart, fun alcove for
writers and illustrators to share and learn about the craft of writing and the book biz. This
is NOT a place to sell your books but a wonderful forum for us all to advance our skills,
our creativity, and our dreams plus learn about what Jill and Martha are up to at A PATH
TO PUBLISHING.



Be sure to follow along and see what others are saying about these services and how they have helped them! Read individual reviews and more information about how this video series can help you!

December 1https://www.facebook.com/nordlinger
December 1http://writingclassesforkids.com
December 1http://inkandangst.com/
December 1taffyscandy.blogspot.com
December 1Rebeccalacko.wordpress.com
December 2http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
December 2http://1st10pages.com
December 2http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com
December 2www.katherine-hajer.com
December 3http://www.jordanrosenfeld.net
December 3http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/
December 3http://aditebanerjie.com
December 4lje1.wordpress.com
December 4http://writtenbymikey.blogspot.com/
December 4www.PenInHerHand.com
December 5www.ChristineSang.com
December 5Susan P
December 5www.ChristineSang.com

AND NOW, JILL AND MARTHA ARE OFFERING SOME AMAZING PRIZES TONIGHT. SO BE SURE TO ENTER AND SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS EVENT AND THEIR WONDERFUL VIDEO SERIES!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICKOLOGIE ~ Elevating Your Photography From Beginner To Pro by Erin Summerill

Clickologie: Elevating Your Photography from Beginner to ProClickologie: Elevating Your Photography from Beginner to Pro by Erin Summerill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked up this book and looked at all the pictures first, then started at the beginning to read the words. I couldn't stop reading. I don't remember the last time I wanted to read an instructional book from cover to cover. Erin hooked me from the very beginning. How could I put down this book with a definition like this:

Clickologie
2. The study of capturing life in photographic images that are so beautiful they could make the burliest grown man cry.

Excellent and FUN book about photography from the fundamentals to pro. Filled with vivid pictures, clear instructions and clever words, this book will teach anyone about shooting, posing and becoming the photographer they want to be.

I highly recommend this book if you want to take your photography to the next level.

View all my reviews
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | By: Taffy

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Jim Butcher


Beware, sweet, innocent, aspiring writer. People aren’t telling you this, and they should be. NaNoWriMo participants are being deceived into thinking that being an author is a good thing. But you don’t know. You don’t know the horrors you might face as a professional, published, full-time author.
I could tell you. I could go on for hours about all the things that threaten my peace of mind. I could for you a tale unfold that would harrow up your carpal tunnels and chill the very marrow of your finger bones: tales of the constant questions, the unending deadlines, the mind-bending task of deciding each and every day which hours you will spend writing.
But never mind all of that. Best not to dwell on the worst. Instead, let us concentrate on what you must do to avoid this horrible fate, and save yourself agonies untold.
First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough: do not sit down at the keyboard and write on a regular basis. This is a trap. You can tell yourself that you’re only doing it to scratch an itch, that you only need to get a few hundred words written and then you can set it aside—but the siren clickclickabulation of the dancing keys will do more than merely produce words on a page. It will condition you to want, nay, to need to do it each and every day.
And if that happens, there is simply no way, in the long run, to avoid the most lamentable and horrible fate of finishing a novel.
Whatever you do, do not seek feedback from readers and other writers. Bad enough that you work in a vacuum, allowing the authoric energies to work their demonic way on your thoughts—if you add to that the feedback of the work’s intended audience, you will only establish the primary mechanism of making your writing more effective for those for whom it is meant.
This is a doubly pernicious practice! Not only does it seduce you to create more material for your audience, but it creates more audience for your material in an infernal feedback loop. I cannot stress to you enough how much you need to avoid this part of the process! Save yourself!
A further horrible mistake I can recognize only in retrospect: do not inform yourself about the publishing industry and the demons who labor therein. Oh, certainly, those people, those editors, may seem to be witty and charming and friendly at writing conventions and on workshop panels, but make no mistake. Their only purpose in life is to draw you into their evil plans, and force you to labor for them while they help you hone your writing craft.
Many aspiring writers are intimidated by editors, and I cannot help but emphasize how much credit you should give to these instincts, placed there for the protection of your sanity and whole mind. If you allow yourself to overcome this natural inclination, it may be too late for you to escape your fate.
Finally, I can only encourage each and every aspiring author out there to quit writing at the first opportunity and never look back. This seemingly harmless activity is anything but, and if you cannot break its hold on you, if you continue to make up one excuse after another to keep typing, if you find yourself promising yourself “just one more novel” and never draw away from it, you will inevitably be drawn into published perdition.
All you need do is quit! Just say no! And you will be saved! But if you continue, and continue, and continue despite all the sane voices trying to sway you, you will be drawn into the maelstrom of madness that is the life of a professional writer.
Dear NaNoWriMo participant, I beg of you, listen to me! You cannot know the horrors you will face! Run! Flee! Turn aside from this dark road!
For if you do not, I fear that one day, you will find yourself writing with other damned souls like me.

Jim Butcher is the author of the The Dresden FilesThe Codex Alera, and the upcoming Cinder Spires series.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | By: Taffy

NaNoWriMo pep talk from Brandon Sanderson

I LOVED this writerly pep talk from Brandon Sanderson! I totally needed this today. Now go flame the spark...


Pep Talk from Brandon Sanderson (2014)

The toughest moment in my writing career came in 2002. I had just finished my 12th novel, but so far hadn’t been able to sell a single one of the things. Earlier that year, I had been rejected by all 13 MFA programs I’d submitted to.
I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs since—including books that topped the bestseller list and others that crashed and burned—but no moment in my life has been more poignant than sitting with the latest in what seemed like an endless stack of unsold novels, wondering what I was doing with my life.
What I didn’t know was that the process had already begun—the spark had dropped onto the grass, and a fire was smoldering that would change my life forever. A year earlier, in 2001, I’d submitted my sixth book to an editor. Eight months had passed with no communication, other than a short follow-up I’d sent about three months after the submission. (The editor replied that he’d gotten the manuscript, but said nothing else.)
That book, Elantris, was still sitting on the editor’s desk. He hadn’t looked at it. He wouldn’t until April 2003, after which he’d call me in a frenzy after reading all night, demanding to know if the manuscript was still available. He made an offer on the spot.
But in 2002, I sat there, contemplating my future with despair, completely unaware that within months I’d have a major book deal. Ultimately, I shook off the discouragement and started work on my thirteenth novel. But I do sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I’d given up, moved on, then gotten that phone call eight months later with an offer from an editor.
You could be writing the book that changes your life. You could have already submitted it, or self-published it. The spark could be starting a fire for you as well. You don’t know, and you can’t know. That is the thrill of being an artist, of working for yourself, and of telling the stories you want to tell.
Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on the project you’re working on right now, and make it the best that it can be. More importantly, love that process. In the end, that’s what made me stand up and get back to work on book thirteen: the realization that I loved telling stories. No stack of unpublished novels, no matter how high, would change my enjoyment of this process—no more than a finished set of dives would make a scuba enthusiast feel discouraged about diving again.
Maybe that fire has been sparked for you, and you don’t know it. But even if it hasn’t been, you should write as if it has. Because this thing you’re doing isn’t about publication, bestseller lists, or reviews. It’s about you, your story, and the victory inherent in completion.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | By: Taffy

Christmas in Snow Valley REVIEW

I. Love. Christmas. All things Christmas make me happy. I love the food, smells and lights. And I love a good Christmas book. And when there is romance involved, my holiday happiness is complete. This fun, romantic box set is worth the read. Put on your slippers, grab a mug of cocoa and enjoy reading each story!
(At the end of the post, I've included an excerpt from one of my favorites.)




Christmas in Snow Valley
Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season.
Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there’s something for every wonder-filled  child—and every couple who’s in love—or about to be.

An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson
Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?

Feels Like Love by Jeanette Lewis
Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancé, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.

Full Court Devotion by Cami Checketts
Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn’t pursue him or even seem interested. Ty’s career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.
The Christmas Eve Kiss by Taylor Hart
When Molly O’Hare gets a prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve, she thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. But when she gets teamed up with Kevin Snow, aka her ex-boyfriend, to decorate a Christmas tree, things start to change. Too bad getting over the past is hard and seeing him kiss another girl is even harder. Now Molly is left with a choice—run away from home and heartbreak or let Christmas work out a miracle all of its own.

Risking it all for Love by Award-Winning author, Kimberley Montpetit
Succumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend’s death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael’s grave, she’s surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John’s nephew, who’s studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?

Blue Christmas by Lucy McConnell:
As head of Snow Valley hospital’s fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn’t have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She’s been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.


An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson
Unlocking her door, Lucy opened it and slid in behind the wheel. She closed the door, knowing Cole probably wondered what was wrong with her. Just as she started the car, a knock on the driver’s side window made her jump.
Cole stood there watching her, his face reflecting both a mixture of confusion and amusement. Lucy lowered the window, and he leaned down so they were eye level.
“Are you running away from me?”
Why did he have to be so direct?
“Yes.”
He grinned. “That’s the second time you’ve done this. I’m beginning to think you don’t like me.”
She snorted an unladylike laugh. “Right.”
“Don’t laugh. I’m getting a complex.”“
If it’s any consolation, it’s me not you.”
That earned her another perplexed look. “That’s a little cliché. I’m sure you can do better than that.”
Yeah, she could, but she didn’t dare blurt out how much she liked kissing him, and admit that that was what scared her.
Inadvertently, her gaze dropped to his mouth. She noticed the faint shadow of dark whiskers along his jaw, and she suddenly wanted to kiss him again.
 “Aren’t you freezing?” she asked, hoping to distract him as much as herself.
“Yes.” He unexpectedly rounded the car, opened the door and took the passenger seat. “That’s better.” He held out his bare hands in front of the vent, which blew mildly warm air.
The scent of his cologne permeated the air, and having him so close started a slow burn inside Lucy’s belly. Who needed heating systems with this man around?
“What are you doing?”
“Trying to get warm.” He looked her way, that smile back on his face. “And trying to get a straight answer out of you about why you keep running away from me.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Is it about that kiss we just shared?” His blue eyes twinkled. “Or about the ones in the airport?”
Both. “I said I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay. What do you want to talk about?”
She laughed. “I never said I wanted to talk about anything.”
Cole studied her silently, like he was really trying to figure her out. Lucy felt the intensity of his gaze, and was unable to pull her eyes away. The interior of the car seemed to shrink, and the air pulsed with an electrical energy that prickled her skin with goose flesh.
As if a giant gravitational force was at work between them, she felt herself leaning toward him. Cole slanted closer until she felt his warm breath mingle with hers. She should move away, make some wisecrack…anything to stop this crazy attraction.
Instead, her eyes fluttered closed as their lips connected. Slowly, he moved his mouth against hers, and like a beautifully choreographed dance, she returned the kiss. Heat infused every part of her, leaving her limbs languid.
Her heart thumped wildly, and a sigh escaped as he deepened the kiss. Barley cognizant of her surroundings, Lucy was both relieved and frustrated when Cole ended the kiss and edged slightly back.
“Lucy, I’m coming to pick you up tomorrow.” His voice was rough with emotion, his eyes serious.

She swallowed, and knew it was pointless to argue. “Okay.”
Monday, November 3, 2014 | By: Taffy

Good Monday morning!

Good, morning! Where the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!

Today, I present 6 tips on writing from John Steinbeck.


  1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

  2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

  3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

  4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

  5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

  6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.
If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that make a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | By: Taffy

AS YOU WISH: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Joe Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.


Intriguing look into the making of The Princess Bride from inception to finish told by Cary Elwes, or Wesley, with memories from the actors sprinkled throughout the book as well as the director and author. I was fascinated with the stories and had a hard time putting the book down, though at times I rolled my eyes at the overly sweetness and goodness of Elwes view of each actor. But I understand that this was a big part of Elwes life, a jumping off point for his career and it will always have a special place in his heart. And really, the movie has a special place in many, many hearts. While reading this book, I wanted to watch the movie but I found I didn't own a copy! I aim to fix this oversight immediately!

Fans of The Princess Bride will enjoy the behind-the-scenes stories from the making of the iconic movie.

Thanks to netgalley for the chance to read it!

4 1/2 STARS


Monday, October 20, 2014 | By: Taffy

Good Monday Morning

I'm not sure why, but this advice hit home today.



Hilary Mantel, winner in 2012 for Bring Up the Bodies and in 2009 for Wolf Hall.











“Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change. This is especially important for historical fiction. When your character is new to a place, or things alter around them, that’s the point to step back and fill in the details of their world. People don’t notice their everyday surroundings and daily routine, so when writers describe them it can sound as if they’re trying too hard to instruct the reader.”
Monday, October 13, 2014 | By: Taffy

Good Monday morning!

Ah! Monday. When the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!


Today I present 10 rules on writing from Teju Cole. Follow the link for more!
  1. There are few things more resistant to tutoring than the creative arts. All artists are after that thing that resists expression.
  2. Keep it simple. There are many who use big words to mask the poverty of their ideas. A straightforward vocabulary, using mostly ordinary words, spiced every now and again with an unusual one, persuades the reader that you’re in control of your language.
  3. Remove all clichés from your writing. Spare not a single one. The cliché is an element of herd thinking, and writers should be solitary animals. We do our work always in the shadow of herd thinking. Be expansive in your descriptions. Dare to bore.
  4. Avoid adverbs. Let the nouns, adjectives and verbs carry the action of the story.
  5. When reporting speech, it is enough to say “she said” or “he said.” You must leave “he chortled,” “she muttered,” “I shouted,” and other such phrases to writers of genre fiction.
  6. Aim for a transparent style so that the story you’re telling is that much more forceful.
  7. Read more than you write. In expressing the ambition to be a writer, you are committing yourself to the community of other writers.
  8. Your originality will mean nothing unless you can understand the originality of others. What we call originality is little more than the fine blending of influences.
  9. Be ruthless in your use of what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced. Add your imagination, so that where invention ends and reality begins is undetectable.
  10. Be courageous. Nothing human should be far from you.
Monday, October 6, 2014 | By: Taffy

Good Monday morning!

Ah! Monday. Where the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!


Today, I present 8 Tips on how to write a great story from Kurt Vonnegut.

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”


  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Saturday, September 6, 2014 | By: Taffy

SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE ~COVER REVEAL for Elana Johnson! GIVEAWAY

(Isn't that a cute cover??)


About SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE: High school senior Olivia Winging gave up her love of photography when she gave up her boyfriend, Trevor Youngblood, a year and a half ago. She broke things off with Trevor because her mom married his dad, and dating your step-brother? Creepy.

Livvy hasn’t been on good terms with her mother since, and one of her stipulations for staying at the Youngblood’s every other weekend is that Trevor can’t be there. When she gets nominated for the Junior Photography in Excellence award, Trevor insists she enter. She agrees—only if every photo in the portfolio can be of him. Knowing that Livvy can capture a person’s deepest secrets through her lens, Trevor hesitates before accepting the deal.

As Livvy gets behind the lens of her camera again, her love of photography is rekindled. Unfortunately, the time she spends with Trevor also re-ignites the old flame for him she’s kept smothered for so long.

In order for Livvy to finish her portfolio, she’ll have to face her feelings for Trevor as well as deal with the animosity between her and her mother. Livvy’s always been able to capture a person’s soul from behind the camera—but she’s not sure she likes it when the lens is suddenly focused on her. If she can’t find a way to forgive her mother and admit how she feels about Trevor, Livvy may end up losing more than just the photography contest. She could lose her heart. 


Buy Links:

Special Promo: Elevated, Elana’s first verse novel, will be FREE for five days in September as SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE releases! So get your copy of Elevated for free from Monday, September, 15 – Friday, September 19. (Elevated buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IGINRFI)


Praise for Elana’s first verse novel, Elevated:
“The taut poetry keeps tension high. The plot is deftly paced, as past intrudes on present, like a photograph emerging in developing fluid.” ~San Francisco Book Review

“Every word Johnson writes carries an emotional heft that lifts readers up to the highest happiness and then sends them crashing down to the depths of despair. It is easy to flow from the first word to the last without ever putting down the book. Johnson shows outstanding talent in this form, and her words are beautiful, important and deeply felt.” ~The Deseret News


GIVEAWAY: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for free download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist

Her self-published novels include two YA contemporary novels-in-verse, Elevated and Something About Love, as well as a YA/NA futuristic fantasy series, which includes Elemental Rush, Elemental Hunger, and Elemental Release.

School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.


Social Media Links:
League of Extraordinary Writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/