Monday, February 24, 2014

FALLEN ANGEL by Lisa Swinton Interview and GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to Lisa and her new book baby!

Give us your pitch for FALLEN ANGEL

Antonio falls in love at first sight with rising opera star, Renatta, but most overcome her memory loss, family and fiancée in order to gain her heart and happily ever after.

Do you snack or listen to music while writing?

I  rarely snack at all and even less when I'm writing. I do sometimes listen to music. I don't have anything particular. I just stick Itunes on shuffle. I also write in utter silence.

 What is your most memorable high school experience?

That's tough. I could say graduation, prom, homecoming, awards night, summer dates, but really when I think of my high school experience, I think of the 6 great girls I hung out with and made memories with. They were the best part of high school for me.

 Is there one book or author who changed your life/viewpoint/writing?

Well, I'm a big Jane Austen fan. I'm not exactly sure when that happened. Sometime after college. I love to read her books and watch the films, mostly because it's all about the people, their relationships and feelings. They are timeless and universal.

 Are you a night owl or early bird?

I'm more of a night owl. I don't like to be up before 7 am.

 What is your favorite meal?

Pasta, especially with alfredo sauce. I'm a huge mac and cheese fan. I think that's where the pasta obsession started.

 What do you never leave home without?

Chapstick, phone, wallet, keys, and a tissue. If I have that, I'm good.

Do you have pets?

My daughter currently has 2 fish, prior to that it was hermit crabs. I'd like to get the saltwater tank up and running again. My kids lobby for furry animals and birds. I'm not up for being the caregiver to the pets, although we all agree on a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel if we got a dog. I did have a cat growing up, Fifi, from age 8 to 22. I'd get a cat again, if the rest of the family would agree.

 What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?

Do it. Write it for you and no one else. Get educated in your craft. Oops. Guess that was two.

 What are your goals for 2014?

Publish Ring on Her Finger in the fall. Attend LDStoymakers Midwest. Perform in another musical or play. Finish painting my house. Get the family photo albums up to date. Clean out my closet. Play with my kids. Plan 15th anniversary trip. Go to the beach.

Fallen Angel
Antonio does not believe in love at first sight until he sees her fall into a street in Milan and get hit by a motorcycle. Compelled to know if she can return his affection, he becomes Renatta’s hospital volunteer only to learn that the accident erased her memory. Together they must discover her past, present and future. In the way of happily ever after stand her opera career, tyrannical mother, and fiancé.  Antonio must win Renatta’s heart before she bends to the will of her mother and marries Marcello.  Failure means a lifetime of loneliness, for love at first sight never happens twice.  
About the Author
Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and mother of two, she occasionally puts her B.A. in Musical Theater to good use via community theater, church choir and teaching the art of singing. In her elusive spare time she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves to travel, Jane Austen, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

LDStorymakers 2014! Learn Write Publish

So what's the LDStorymakers 2014 Contest? Here's a brief summary, but you can find out more details on their website. The 2014 LDStormaker writers conference will be in Layton, UT, on April 25-26, with Bootcamp and the Publication Primer on April 24. This is the writing conference you can't afford to miss.

Keynote: Orson Scott Card

Melissa Frain, editor at Tor
Eddie Schneider, VP of JABberwocky Literary Agency
Daniel Lazar, senior agent at Writer's House
Josh Adams of Adams Literary
Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary

Other noteable guests: Brandon Sanderson, Brodi Ashton, Carla Kelly, Janette Rallison, Matthew J. Kirby, Elana Johnson, J. Scott Savage, Sara B. Larson, Kristen Chandler, Renee Collins, Tess Hilmo, Peggy Eddleman, Kimberly Griffiths Little, Natalie Whipple, Julieanne Donaldson, Sarah Eden, Chad Morris, Robison Wells and more

So much awesomeness in one weekend! My writing brain is already overloading!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2013 Whitney Finalists ~ how many have you read?

2013 Finalists

Purchase tickets to the Whitney Awards, which will be held on April 26th, 2014, here.
Love Letters of the
Angels of Death
Mile 21 Road to Bountiful Ruby’s Secret The House at Rose Creek
Jennifer Quist Sarah Dunster Donald Smurthwaite Heather B. Moore Jenny Proctor*


Belonging to Heaven Esther the Queen Safe Passage The Mounds Anomaly Where the River Once Flowed
Gale Sears Heather B. Moore Carla Kelly Phyllis Gunderson Jennie Hansen


Blackmoore Hearth Fires Longing for Home Second Chances The Orchard
Julianne Donaldson Dorothy Keddington Sarah M. Eden Melanie Jacobson Krista Lynne Jensen


Rocky Road Deep Cover I, Spy Finding Sheba Spy for a Spy
Josi S. Kilpack Traci Hunter Abramson Jordan McCollum* Heather B. Moore Jordan McCollum


Dark Memories Echo in Time Heart of the Ocean The Witnesses Winter Queen
Jeffrey S. Savage C. J. Hill Heather B. Moore Stephanie Black Amber Argyle

Young Adult—Speculative

Friends and Traitors:
Slayers 2
Insomnia Pivot Point Steelheart Blackout
C. J. Hill J. R. Johansson* Kasie West* Brandon Sanderson Robison Wells

Young Adult—General

All the Truth That’s
in Me
Chasing June Dead Girls Don’t Lie Going Vintage The Distance Between Us
Julie Berry Shannen Crane Camp Jennifer Shaw Wolf Lindsey Leavitt Kasie West

Middle Grade

Cragbridge Hall:
The Inventor’s Secret
RUMP: The True Story
of Rumplestilskin
Sky Jumpers Wednesdays in the
The Runaway King
Chad Morris* Liesel Shurtliff* Peggy Eddleman* Jessica Day George Jennifer A. Nielsen
*Of these finalists, the following titles are also eligible for Best Novel by a New Author 2013:
The House at Rose Creek by Jenny Proctor
I, Spy by Jordan McCollum
Insomnia by J.R. Johansson
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Cragbridge Hall: The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris
RUMP: The True Story of Rumplestilskin by Liesel Shurtliff
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman
New last year: All finalists in the Adult categories (Mystery, Historical, General, Romance, Speculative) are eligible for Best Novel of the Year.
New last year: All finalists in the Youth categories (Middle Grade, YA General, YA Speculative) are eligible for Best Novel in Youth Fiction.
Academy Members have until April 13th, 2014, to read the finalists in whatever categories they want to vote in. To vote for Best Novel of the Year you must read all of the adult category finalists. To vote for Best Novel in Youth Fiction, you must read all of the youth category finalists. For information on how to join the Academy, click HERE

I'm going! Are you?


Monday, February 3, 2014

Star Trek and Conflict

Not too long ago my dad had a quadruple bypass. I took my laptop to write while I waited for him to come out of surgery. Silly me. I talked with his wife (and my very good friend) off and on for six hours. I edited one page.

A few days later, my hubby drove our family to see Grandpa. He was doing remarkably well as he moved from bed to wheelchair, laughing at his tubes and scars. It did this daughter's heart good to see him recovering so well.

On the way to and from the hospital the kids watched Star Trek: Into Darkness. We randomly commented on our favorite scenes or said one-liners ("Are you out of your cornfed mind? "). My daughter hates the scene where Captain Kirk is trying to beat up Khan. Kirk punches Khan over and over again as Khan stands seemingly unfazed and Kirk tires out. I told her it was an important scene to show us Kirk reacting out of emotion. Hubby joined in and pointed out it also showed there was more to Khan than what the admiral told us.

That discussion got me thinking about the storyline and gave me some AH HA! moments.

There are constant obstacles, shift of goals and a deeper look inside characters.

It all starts when Kirk's goal is to save a planet and race of primitive people. He steals something, is chased, stuns his ride and has to cliff dive to safety. Meanwhile, Spook is having his own issues with being inside a live volcano.

The rest of the story goes downhill from there, obstacle-wise. Or maybe uphill because the obstacles are winning?
Kirk gets demoted; Captain Pike dies; Scotty resigns; people in torpedos; helmet cracks; etcetcetc
After watching a movie like Star Trek, I always want to go back to my edits and rachet up the tension and throw in more obstacles.

There are so many ways to add conflict and obstacles to a story. What is the one thing your character is afraid of? Threw it at them. Does the character see a clear path to the goal? Send boulders tumbling down. Is their ife perfect and/or are they climbing the corporate ladder successfully? How about a car accident or surprise pregnancy.

These ideas can take the story into so many different directions. The characters reactions and actions will show us their inner and outer struggles and draw us into the story. The characters have to win  too for a couple of reasons:

1. We need to see the contrast between what's important to them and how hard they want to accomplish their goals. We root for characters who have to work hard to get to the top.
2. The reader needs to be brought back from the edge of intensity and given a breather (like in Catching Fire! I almost had to leave the theater because the intensity was so high it stressed me out.).

Usually these scenes are the "talking" scenes as my youngest calls the "boring" parts. But they give us a break so we don't get overwhelmed and shut the book. Writers want the readers to keep turning pages and reading, right?

So: add obstacles and conflict to heighten tension, keep the story moving and help readers to understand characters.
Let the characters win.
Is there a book or movie that keeps you on edge? Why?

Have a great week and just. keep. writing.

Favorite quote from movie: "I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I only know what I can do."

A few of my favorite things I'm doing

I'm reading: Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban ...