Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm still here!

I am still alive. Just haven't blogged in a while. :)



We had the best visit last weekend with my son at college for Parent and Family Weekend. We hadn't seen him in 2 months, and I was surprised that when I first hugged him, I started crying! (Outside, with other people nearby.) All the kids were laughing at me. And I was laughing and crying at the same time. Very embarrassing. LOL



We spent 3 nights there and had a great visit. We also got to go to church with him Sunday morning to see where he's attending now. It was hard to leave, but much easier than the last time we left him. This time, we know he has some friends and is doing much better. Oh, and we got to meet some of the friends. Very nice!


Have a great weekend! It's gorgeous here in Georgia. Sunny and 60 degrees. What about you?

Missy

Monday, October 20, 2008

Camy Tang on Distinct Character Voices

I'm thrilled to welcome my good friend and fellow Seekerville blogger Camy Tang today! One thing I've loved about Camy's books, Sushi for One, Only Uni, and now Single Sashimi, is that her characters have such distinct voices. Each of the cousins is very unique. So I asked her to tell us how she does it. After reading, be sure to check the link in her bio. She's having a huge website contest and book giveaway!

Now, here's Camy...



Hi there! Missy asked me to guest blog today about how to make character voices distinct.

1) First of all, the different characters in your story should sound VERY distinct to you in your own head.

If you “listen” to your own characters, and if you notice that two male characters sound alike or two female characters sound alike, you need to refine your characters more so that their personalities are more distinct.

Because here’s the key: Distinct personalities will naturally create distinct character voices.

For my Sushi series, Lex is an Amazon—headstrong, aggressive, athletic, blunt.

Venus is also aggressive and blunt, but she’s a sharper tool—she’s more refined than Lex, she’s organized and efficient, she’s very professional whereas Lex is more casual.

Their two voices sound very different to me in my head. Lex’s voice is more brash, a bit unconventional. Venus’s voice is more educated, elegant, but piercing.

2) Next is to try to convey those distinct voices down on paper.

Sometimes, that involves a bit of exaggeration when you write a character’s dialogue, because if the character voice differences are too subtle, it won’t come across well on the page.

Character voices differ in many aspects, which include:
Word choice
Cadence
Rhythm
Sentence length
Grammar
Pacing
Action beats

Word choice and cadence/rhythm are what most often distinguish character voices in a novel, but you can play with other aspects to make characters more distinct from each other.

In my Sushi series, Lex’s vocabulary is filled with sports cant, and her word choices are middle school or high school level. Her rhythm and cadence is loping and casual.

Venus’s vocabulary is highly educated, college level. Her word choices reflect her business and video game development background—technical and professional. Her rhythm tends to be more clipped and logical.

3) Observe different character voices.

My favorite exercise is to watch movies with the same actor in them, playing very different character roles. I listen to the actor’s speech, rhythm, and watch body language.

In doing this kind of “research,” I get ideas about how to make my own character voices more distinct.

4) Write your characters in the same situation.

This is an excellent exercise for helping you define the characters’ voices. Take each character and put him/her in the exact same situation. Then have the character retell the situation and their reaction in their own voices.

If two characters tell the same situation similarly, then you need to go back to the drawing board to further refine their personalities to make them more distinct.

But if you’ve done a good job deepening personalities, the different characters should recount the same situation in very different ways.

Thanks for having me guest blog, Missy!
Camy

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away ten boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, SINGLE SASHIMI.















Friday, October 17, 2008

Dangerous Recipe. :)

I got this recipe in an email from a friend. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds sooo yummy that I just had to share. Let me know if you make it! Also, note someone's comment at the end that you should watch it so as not to overcook it (if you have a higher powered microwave).

When I went to look for the photo of the cake, I actually found a blog with a similar recipe posted. And she has photos!
http://www.dizzy-dee.com/recipe/chocolate-cake-in-5-minutes

Missy

DANGEROUS CHOCOLATE CAKE-IN-A-MUG***
1 coffee mug
4 Tbsp. cake flour (plain, not self-rising)
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. oil
Small splash of vanilla
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips, optional

Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well with a fork.
Add egg, mix thoroughly.
Pour in milk and oil and vanilla, mix well.
Add chips, if using.
Put mug in microwave, and cook for three minutes on 1000 watts. Cake will rise over top of mug--do not be alarmed! Allow to cool a little; tip onto a plate if desired. Eat!
(This can serve two if you want to feel slightly more virtuous.)

***And WHY is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only five minutes away from chocolate cake any time of the day or night!!!*** ___________________________________________________________________________
This is GREAT!!! Got the recipe from a friend, and tried it out immediately. It works! I see multiple applications for this gem: With kids; grandkids; 4-H cooking classes; college dorm room when there's only a microwave; late-night cravings; just enough for one or two servings instead of an entire cake..........ha, ha! My kids added some drizzles of chocolate syrup and some Cool Whip (we didn't put in the chocolate chips). You could add canned frosting, too. The batter does rise up 'way over the top of the mug, but doesn't run down the side. Fun to watch! Be careful not to overcook--our microwave is higher than 1000 watts, and three minutes was a dab too long--dried the cakes out a little bit. Anyway, give it a try! And be sure to watch it the whole time it's baking in the microwave!!!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Bad Case of the "Plan-To's"

I'm blogging today (Thursday) on the F.A.I.T.H. blog about my long-term "disease," The Plan-To's. Come on over and join us to find out what you can do keep it from striking you. :)

www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com

Missy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meet Author Ronica Stromberg!


I'm pleased to welcome author Ronica Stromberg today. Ronica has a brand new children's book out, The Time-for-bed Angel. I've had a chance to look at a digital copy, and it's a gorgeous, fun book!



Here are some things I learned about Ronica:


Q: Ronica, I love your story! Can you tell me how you came up with the idea?

A: As a young child, my oldest son, Josiah, was a lot like Andrew in The Time-for-bed Angel. He never wanted to go to bed. After tucking him into bed for the umpteenth time one night, I was exhausted. I remember asking him, “Josiah, what about your guardian angel? Don’t you think he needs a little rest?” We ended up discussing guardian angels for the next few minutes, and I left his room, thinking that a bedtime story with a guardian angel might be reassuring to children who are reluctant to go to bed alone or who have a fear of the dark or “the monster in the closet.” Such a book might calm children by letting them know that guardian angels protect and watch over them at all times. When I couldn’t find anything on the market like this, I knew I should write the book.

Q: Great idea. How did you and the artist get together?

I’ve never met Kristina Stephenson or had any communication with her. My publisher chose her and handled the match of graphics with text. This is common with picture books. Historically, authors and illustrators have not always seen eye-to-eye, and most publishers today carefully manage the relationship between author and illustrator. I have to say, though, that I am delighted with Kristina’s artwork and think it really captured the spirit of the book.


Q: I see you’ve also written middle school and teen books. Could you tell us which will be out next, and give a description?

A: My “tween” (ages 10 to 14) book, The Glass Inheritance, was published in 2001. This is a mystery centered on the Depression Era glass a young girl inherits from her grandmother. I have three teen novels under contract and am expecting them out this next year. One, Wrappers, deals with abstinence from a boy’s point of view. The other two, A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down, are about a young teen, Kirsten Hart, and her struggles with living out her faith in her nonbelieving family and in her public middle school.

Q: What does a typical writing day look like for you?

A: Unfortunately, I have yet to become disciplined enough to write every day. I generally write in spurts—maybe spend one or two days per month writing from morning until night and then spend odd times throughout the month revising. If I’m writing a full-length novel, I often get “on a roll” in which I’ll write a few hours every day, but I like to have downtime, too, when ideas can stew in my mind.

Q: What’s something you enjoy in your free time?

A: Reading, travel, spending time with friends and family, and shopping for antiques. I can’t pick just one!

Q: What’s something that most people don’t know about you (and that you don’t mind sharing!). :)

A: As a child, I wanted to be a missionary, improving the lives of orphans and poor children overseas.

Q: Very in interesting! Thanks for sharing. How can readers buy a copy of “The Time-for-bed Angel”?

A: The book has distributors in both the inspirational and mainline markets, so any bookstore—whether it be one of the large chains like Barnes & Noble or a small, independent Christian bookstore—may stock it or at least be able to order it. And, of course, the book is available online at places like Amazon.com.

Thanks so much for being on my blog today, Ronica! I enjoyed our visit.
************

Ronica Stromberg is the author of a picture book, The Time-for-bed Angel, and a tween mystery, The Glass Inheritance. She also has three teen novels under contract and is working on an inspirational romance. Her short stories appear in 16 anthologies and numerous magazines.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cooking and Brainstorming. :)

I was watching the Food Network this morning while brainstorming ideas for my revised proposal. I know some people (my hubby included!) think I'm crazy for having the TV on while I'm working. But most of the time, I like to have background noise. Even if it's just music.

Today, though, I had cooking shows playing while I was going through external conflict in my head. I think I've come up with a pretty good idea. At the same time, I saw a yummy-looking recipe from Rachel Ray for a pasta dish. :) Later, after I've jumped into writing the new synopsis, I'll get online and find the recipe. (It was a crab pasta dish made with shell pasta and a bunch of herbs, in case you want to try to find it.) :)

So, do you like background noise while you're paying the bills or reading a book? Or are you someone who needs quiet to concentrate?

Missy

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another Book Sold!!!!!!!!

Well, I had my blog all set up to go through the weekend, but I couldn't resist posting my exciting news! My editor called today to offer a contract on a book for Christmas 2009!!! I'm ecstatic!!!!!

But now back to work... :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Upcoming Blog and Book Signing!

For writers! Thursday, October 2 (Where did September go??!!), I'll be blogging on the F.A.I.T.H. blog about episodic writing. So if you'd like to find out more, please stop by! www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com

Also, for writers attending the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, I'd love it if you'd come to the workshop Debby Giusti and I are presenting about being prepared for the first sale. So look for us on the schedule!

For readers! Coming up this weekend in the Atlanta area (I hope you'll stop by!!):

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference
Book Fair and Autographing
Hilton Atlanta Northeast
Norcross, GA
Saturday, Oct. 3
4:00-5:30 pm

At the book signing:
Teresa Medeiros (Keynote speaker and one of my favorite authors!)
Tanya Michaels (Featured GA author)
Suzanne Adair
Ana Aragon
Petrina Aubol
Christina Barber
Stephanie Bond
Jacquelyn Cook
Marcia Colette
Susan Crandall
Alyssa Day
Jacquie D'Alessandro
Anna DeStefano
Debby Giusti
Carmen Green
Raven Hart
Kimberly Killion
Cindy Kirk
Marianne LaCroix
Dana Lyons
Susan Lyons
Lynne Marshall
Susan May
Jess Michaels
Trish Milburn
Julie Miller
Joyce Moore
Jenna Petersen
L.W. Rogers
Loretta Rogers
Emilie Rose
Jan Scarbrough
Haywood Smith
Jennifer St. Giles
Gillian Summers
Missy Tippens
Karen White
CL Wilson