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Tribute to a Master Storyteller

Posted by Rachel on September 3, 2014 in characters, current event, dialogue, emotion, idols, inspiration, voice |

I’ve been struggling to write this blog post ever since the news broke. Robin Williams might not have been a writer, but he was a master storyteller. He had perfected the art of character and voice and played such an influential part in my childhood and path towards writing that I felt it was only right to pay tribute to what he meant to me.

His Characters: Robin played some of the most dazzling characters during his time with us. They stretched your imagination and helped explore parts you maybe you didn’t even know you had.

Genie- He’s lovable, hilarious and blue! The Genie showed us what it means to be not only a good friend, but a great friend.

Mr. Keating- As a word nerd, I only wished I had a teacher like Mr. Keating and some of mine came very close! This character inspired me to look further into books at all the gorgeous meanings behind simple words.

Peter Banning- A grown up Peter Pan trying to be young again? What could be better??

Alan Parish- I’m always a sucker for the kid in adult body trope, so Robin’s portrayal of long lost Alan in Jumanji was nothing short of perfection.

Sean Maguire- While the Good Will Hunting role might have been his most serious, it also showed us a mature, jaded, cathartic side to Robin that really hit home in recent days.

Mrs Doubtfire- Anyone who is anyone has seen Mrs. Doubtfire and it was a beautiful role that demonstrated what a dad’s love really means.

In stories, your characters have to grow and change, just like all of Robin’s did but most of all they need to teach you something without ever saying it.

There are many more I loved and I regret to say many more I haven’t yet experienced, but in a way that will help keep him alive for me– always discovering new characters of his :)

 

His Voice:

Just like writers hope to achieve different voices from their varied characters, Robin had a way of making each of his personas unique. Every character he played had a different way of speaking whether it was their tone, the inflection of their voice to certain questions, the cadence, or even unique phrases and words.

He put on a clinic in each of his films about how to create and execute voice. I would go so far as to say he is one of the few blessed with the ability to create the perfect voice each time and sometimes on the spot. If you ever get confused about how to differentiate your character’s voices or what makes a voice stand out, check out any of his movies. Seriously. That’ll clear it up right quick for you.

 

His Humor:

This one goes without saying, but I’ll talk about it a bit anyway. Robin knew how to make people laugh. Plain and simple. A lot of the foundation of his humor came from the characters and voices he created. I would list some of his best lines but then I’d have a whole new blog post on my hands. Everything he said was funny in some way or another and I try my best to include humor in fiction, but none can do it quite as well as the master.

Do you have a favorite character he acted or voiced? What’re you favorite memories of the late, great Robin Williams?

 

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Cover Reval: CATCH ME WHEN I FALL

Posted by Rachel on June 9, 2014 in current event, marketing, review, writing |

Cover Reveal Banner

It’s cover reveal day for the most awesome and spectacular Vicki Leigh’s CATCH ME WHEN I FALL! Lots of greatstuff going on that you’ll want a piece of, including a giveaway! But first, here’s a special message from Vicki:

http://youtu.be/vc59e3yLhOs

And here’s what CATCH ME WHEN I FALL is all about:

WHEN I FALL_Front CoverRecruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

CATCH ME WHEN I FALL will be available on October 23, 2014 in both paperback and e-book formats from Curiosity Quills Press. For more information, visit the book’s Goodreads page.

Now, there can’t be a cover reveal without a giveaway, right? Lots of authors stopped by and donated some fantastic books to help Vicki celebrate. You don’t want to miss out on these! Here’s what you can win:

  • An e-copy of CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Vicki Leigh
  • A submission package critique (query+synopsis+first chap) from Vicki Leigh
  • An e-copy of HEIRS OF WAR by Mara Valderran
  • Two query+first chapter critiques from YA author Emily Stanford
  • A full manuscript critique from YA author Emily Stanford
  • An e-copy of WITHOUT BLOODSHED by Matthew Graybosch
  • A paperback of DESTRUCTION by Sharon Bayliss
  • An e-copy of KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH by Katie Teller
  • One query+first chapter critique from YA author Katie Teller
  • An e-copy of DARKNESS WATCHING by Emma Adams
  • A copy of DESCENDANT by Nichole Giles
  • Two signed copies of DIVIDE by Jessa Russo
  • An e-copy set of EVER and EVADE by Jessa Russo
  • A copy of UNHINGED by A.G. Howard

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win! All prizes will be accompanied by a Dreamcatcher swag package from Vicki Leigh.

Thanks for stopping by!

Enter the giveaway here–>>: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0de5901/

About Vicki:

Vicki Leigh_Author Portrait copyAdopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.

Vicki is an editor for Curiosity Quills Press, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

You can find Vicki at her website and blog and on TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+YouTube, and Goodreads.

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The BEAst

Posted by Rachel on June 3, 2014 in agent, current event, travel, writing |

A year ago I was staring at twitter with ginormous envy at all the people attending BEA. Envy so large that I, as a Bostonian, fondly named it my Green Monstah. The Green Monstah in my belly thought it sounded like such a great experience. Meeting industry peeps, other writers, getting books!! And I wasn’t there. Living through the tweets of others wasn’t enough. So, Green Monstah started poking at my brain. “Go next year,” it said. “Promise yourself you will go next year!”

And so I did. I promised myself.

I bought my flights and got a room with some of my favorite writerly people.

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Together we planned such great adventures such as touring the convention, hanging around the city and best places to eat. As I arrived I was filled with excitement and joy and….TERRIFYING FEAR. In a matter of moments, BEA had gone from the best….to the BEAst!!

Did I bring the right clothes to wear?

What if no one recognized me?

What if I made a fool of myself?

How could I speak words to people I idolized?

Could I locate the nearest table to hide beneath?

But as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something everyday that scares you.” BEA was definitely intimidating and so was the thought of meeting different agents, editors and writers. But I am SO glad that I took a deep breath (read: one hundred hyperventilating breaths) and put myself out there. 076

075The convention floor was super busy and packed with all sorts of people. I bumped into several awesome writers from twitter, picked up a ton of great ARCs and put actual human faces to the names of several publishing rockstars. For a writing conference noob, it was all about networking and meeting people. So, as fun as the exhibit hall was, my fondest memories take place outside the convention walls.

I ate meals with twitter friends (who are now OMFG BEST FRIENDS FOREVER)

and wandered around the city seeing the sights while we discussed publishing trends, industry news, our querying processes and our current works in progress. We also ocassionally stuffed ourselves into a cab

cabThe entire event felt like twitter came to life Pinohico style groupand all the tweeting faces I had once seen still on my feed turned to LIFE– or as if twitter was the animated world in Enchanted and we all awoke to be REAL WRITERS. I can’t even express how attending BEA made everything in the writing that much more REAL. I mean, honestly…..look at all these amazing faces!!

By the end of the weekend, I knew 100% that I had made the right decision. BEA was an amazing, stressful, eye-opening event and was probably the best weekend of my life. Without a doubt, you can count me in for next year!

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Diversity in Books

Posted by Rachel on May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Taking a minute to get back onto my blog. I’ve been super busy, guys! The days fly by and I’ve used every minute of free time I can get to write. So, these few precious moments will be devoted to something near and dear to my heart. I thought it would be good to discuss the #WeNeedDiverseBooks feed on twitter. This movement is super important for the industry at all levels:

For Readers- Everyone deserves to feel like they can be the hero of a story. They shouldn’t have to only read about straight, white men all the time. By having the option to read about diverse settings and characters, people can not only feel empowered to be who they are but also empowered to learn about people different from themselves.

For Writers- No writer should worry they can’t write a certain story or a specific character. When writers feel free to write something they are passionate about because of the plot, the characters or theme, that passion will translate to the page. Books won’t just be books. They’ll be living stories. And a writer that can contribute something real and meaningful to the pantheon of novels is a happy writer.

For Publishers- The world is filled with unique people with differing lives. Any hesitation about publishing diverse topics or characters will negatively affect everyone involved. Agents, editors, writers, and readers. Society won’t grow by reading the same stuff. And there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to supporting something that’s viewed as different. Different is good. Without different, there are no stories. Just one story. And frankly, that’s boring.

I think we can all agree divserity is a great thing for books. Something we need. Something we should support from every level of publishing. And I believe we do. With that said, I also believe we should be cautious in this pursuit.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have diverse books, we should. But why can’t they just be books? Not diverse books. Black books. Gay books. Disabled books. Why not just books? I’ve never been a fan of labels and while this campaign brings a great deal of attention to the necessity for diverse stories, I worry it puts too much emphasis on our differences and not our similarities.

As a reader and a writer I want to enjoy a good story. I don’t care who the main characters are or where they’re from. I just don’t. If its good, its good.

I want to pick up a book and be amazed at the story. The twists and turns. How the world-building drew me in. In awe of how everything came together, regardless of the fact that the main character is a deaf, black lesbian or an asian male in Tokyo. The story should be what inspires me. I should see some part of me, even if small, in the character, no matter how similar or different they are from me.

I want to write a book and have people enjoy the journey of my characters. To relate to them as people, laugh and cry with them, and root for them to succeed. I want readers to be happy with the love story and maybe a little unhappy, too. Not focus on the fact that my main character was bipolar, or that she was in a F-F-F love triangle, or born without lower legs.

My latest story features a cast of people of color. But I didn’t say that in the query. I honestly never thought of saying it. Maybe that was wrong of me. Maybe I should have pointed that out. But that was never my intention. Their story was about who they were as people, the struggles they faced and how they overcame them. It wasn’t about them being latino, or black or mixed race.

Yes, I know people seek out specific storylines with specific characters. And I believe that’s why no writer should be afraid to write them–so that no reader is afraid to read them. But I also want books to be about the story. The character’s journey. Their growth as a person and what they do to shape the world around them. Not what labels society chooses to define them by.

#WeNeedDiverseBook is certainly something I can get behind. I hope it encourages writers to write these stories and for more readers to pick up something new. What’s more important to me is the fact that we need to ask for them at all.

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