New Post @ Almost an Author Writing Across Genres with Judy Christie

I managed to snag another interview with Judy Christie, co-author with Lisa Wingate of Before and After, the real life sequel to Before We Were Yours.

Click here to read the post @ Almost an Author, Writing Across Genres with Judy Christie.

Before and After released this week.

Judy talked about her new book on this blog a few weeks ago. You can read it here.

I posted an interview with Lisa about Before We Were Yours some time ago. You can read about it here.

Fifty Word Fiction Challenge

This month is, as you probably know, Inktober. When I saw an inktober writing challenge, I was in!

I am using the prompts by @hannahrobinson  and sticking with a fifty word limit, although there are many ways to respond to the prompts.

Here are a few of my attempts. At first, I simply responded to the prompt and didn’t try to make it fiction. IT took me a couple of tries, but I liked what I ended up with.

The prompt “swing” made me think of my main character who has a twin on the autism spectrum, because when they were young they would spin in their backyard swing.

“Snow” made me think of a Christmas scene in my Asperger romance/coming of age story.

And “dragon” made Aunt Linda, a character who always has your back.

 

Have you tried your hand at fifty word fiction (or nonfiction)?

 

Almost an Author Interview with Watty Winner Brian McBride

My newest blog post at Almost an Author is up. I interviewed Watty Award winner Brian McBride about using wattpad to build an audience. Click here to read.

In the first part of Brian’s interview, we talked more about his books and writing realistic Christian fiction. You can be find that post here.

Brian is already hard at work on another book. I’ll be watching to see what he comes up with next!

 

 

Induction into the Louisiana Writers Collection and Promo Giveaway

I live in Texas, but I’m in an anthology of mostly Louisiana writers.

I plan to attend this event.

Exciting!

 

My contemporary sweet romcom short story has shades of bittersweet moments and takes place on Kaitlyn’s wedding day. It tells of two couples in love, one just starting out and a devoted pair who are dealing with Alzheimer’s.

I’m doing a GIVEAWAY of this original watercolor painting of my character, Kaitlyn, to promote the release of the newest RWA NOLASTARS Anthology, Forever and Always A B & B Anthology.

Email me at donnastonem@gmail.com for further details.

Books will be discounted at $12 each for this promo. Contact me directly to take advantage of this giveaway and the discounted book price.

Please share!

Thank you, guys!

My Hero

I shared this as part of another IG challenge, this one a writing challenge with @simmeringmind. The prompt was: A real life hero or writer who inspires you. Photo from Unsplash.

Anytime I think of a hero, I think of my kids. My kids are the reason I write what I do. The snippet below is an excerpt from the speech I gave at my youngest son’s graduation.

Eddie Rickenbacker, the WW I Ace and Medal of Honor recipient said, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.”

There have been many things to be afraid of. When the world is loud and crowds you and it’s hard to tell up from down, in from out; terror doesn’t only stalk, it sidles up next to you and tries to claw its way into your back pocket.

When he was small, the invisible and seen were jumbled together and everything screamed danger. Fears were faced daily, but I remember one day in particular. We were at the church door, and he could not move.

He did not bury his face in my skirt, but edged closer to me. We waited. After a pause, his big brother opened the glass door. We all went in together.

Our place was in the back row. During the singing all the people stood, so we did, too, and he leaned into me. His little boy body trembled. I sat back down, but did not take him into my lap. Instead, with one arm I circled his thin shoulders and laid my other hand on his sticky-damp forehead.

A man stared at us. I joined in to sing the chorus with the congregation, my arms remaining around my child, the pressure firm and sure while he sat, solid and still.

He closed his eyes. We breathed in unison. In, out, in, out. His balled up fists became loose and lost their whiteness around the knuckles.

He has always been the bravest one. 

I’ve watched him square his shoulders more times than I can count.

“Courage doesn’t always roar.

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice

at the end of the day, saying,

‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Mary Anne Radmacher

There have been many, many tomorrows. There are Giants in the land. Everyday courage takes everyday perseverance. To see the persistence, the faith walked out in small, careful steps has grown in me a deep and steady strength I never knew was possible.

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

C.S. Lewis

To see him get up, try again, time after time is enough to produce a vision of what heroic truly means.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, leave a comment telling me about your biggest hero.

 

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Gritty Contemporary Christian YA: Interview with Author Brian McBride

 

Haunted by the last question their mother ever asked them, the Greyson brothers struggle to cope with their grief and adjust to life after tragedy.

Semi-popular sixteen-year-old Liam spends his nights performing as the lead singer of his high school indie alternative/rock band, Liam and the Landmarks. But something happened to Liam four years ago at his friend’s house – a secret Liam will take to his grave. But in small towns like Summit, Colorado, secrets always seem to find their way out.

Twenty-four-year-old Ezra thought that he could cure his grief when he left Summit behind for a prestigious art school in Chicago, but things only got worse. Now a college dropout working at a gas station mini mart, he turns to alcohol, prescription painkillers, and meaningless one-night stands. But Ezra can’t run forever – life always catches up with you.

With abrasively honest dual-perspective narratives, Every Bright and Broken Thing illustrates the unbreakable bond between brothers and the power in coming home.

*******************

Bookstagrammer, blogger, and author Sunny Huck shared about Brian’s work on her Instagram and peaked my interest so I had to talk with him.

DJS: Your novels are contemporary and gritty. What drives you to write about the issues you do?

BMcB: Some of it is personal experience; a lot of the issues I write about are things that myself or others I know have faced. Depression, self-harm, mental illness, sexual abuse and assault, domestic violence, addiction, etc… 

But some of it is also that there’s a severe lack in the YA market – specifically the Christian YA market – of stories that deal with these things. I can’t name even five Christian YA Contemporary novels that could be comparable to, say, the stories John Green, Amber Smith, or Stephen Chbosky write. The Christian Fiction industry seems to think YA Fantasy novels are the only kind worth publishing. I disagree. I doubt I can fill this gap completely by myself, but maybe I can encourage other Christian authors of YA Contemporary to share their stories, too – THEN we’ll fill the gap!

DJS: What has been the most gratifying about writing realistic Christian fiction for young people?

BMcB: Hearing the stories of how my books have given people a new view of themselves, of the value of life, of faith and hope, and most importantly of Jesus. Hearing all those stories has been the highlight of this experience. 

DJS: Liam and Ezra go through some pretty harrowing times before they begin their healing journey in Every Bright and Broken Thing. Will you write any more of their story?

BMcB: I don’t have any new stories simmering for Liam and Ezra right now. But I have a short story or novella I may or may not be planning to carry on Lincoln’s story. But anything is possible. If a good idea comes, I won’t say no to revisiting my boys in Summit. 

DJS: Every Bright and Broken Thing is the story of two brothers dealing with loss and how they react. In a few sentences, what would you say to those who want to support families going through grief?

BMcB: Hold onto them and don’t let go. I remember a time when I was far away from the Lord and was getting into some bad stuff, but my parents refused to let go. Some parents will kind of back off and say, “oh, well they’re adults now. They have to make their own choices.” But my parents weren’t about to let me go. They held on for months and months. I literally would not be alive today if it weren’t for the fierce, fighting kind of love my parents have for me.

In Every Bright, we see Mr. Greyson grapple with his own suffering and even come to realize how he allowed his grief to cause him to not hold onto his sons like he should. Mr. Greyson had to determine once again that he was going to hold onto his boys. In that, we see a father who was broken become strong again.

So, if you know someone who is suffering, hold on and don’t let go. Sometimes that means telling them the hard truth. Sometimes that just means listening and letting them cry on your shoulder. Whatever the case, hold on and don’t let go.

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with us today, Brian. Keep writing. I expect great things to come from your work.

A winner of the 2016 Wattys Award, Brian published the award-winning Young Adult Contemporary debut, Love and the Sea and Everything in Between, in 2018.
Born and raised in Oregon, Brian moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at 16-years-old. He’s been writing since he was thirteen-years-old and has been reading for longer. Brian is pursuing a degree in Social Work, which he hopes to use to help rescue children and families. Perhaps he’ll work to better the US’s foster care system? Or maybe he’ll join an organization that fights human trafficking? A fourth generation pastor, he is deeply passionate about the Church and is also pursuing his Minister’s License. It was this passion that compelled him to launch the Pioneer Mvmt, a social-media-based faith movement. Among other things, he is also passionate about iced tea, animals, adoption, and the arts.

Eight #PITMAD Tips

Are you participating in #PITMAD on the 6th?

I’m on the fence this time. I’ve done #PITMAD twice and #REVPIT once.

My first time jumping into #PITMAD I pitched all three finished books and I had a hard time keeping up, but it was great fun and I met many new writers. The excitement of tweets flying everywhere kept me glued to my screen. 

You don’t have to be great at twitter to participate. I’m still terrible at twitter. Don’t let inexperience stop you if you want to pitch.

Tips for PITMAD

Write a great tweet. 

Polish it until it shines. It takes quite a bit of skill to reduce your manuscript into a tweet. I asked around in various groups for help with getting mine up to snuff. A tweet to pitch is not the same as an elevator pitch. It’s acceptable to use shortcuts, giving comps to movies, television, and books.

This is one I used.

GEM & DIXIE x Netflix’s ATYPICAL. Nina has a lot on her plate. A twin brother with autism, an almost-boyfriend, and a terminally ill mom who wants to give up cancer treatments. Nina refuses to let her go without a fight. #PITMAD #YA #CON #MH #DIS #ND

The stand alone book I’m querying now follows some of the same characters as in Nina’s story. It could be described as “A teenage ADAM x GEM & DIXIE” but since the movie ADAM may not be well known and isn’t a recent release, I didn’t use that reference. 

Time your tweets.

Space your tweets apart. You can schedule them if you like. I simply spaced mine.

Vary the wording in your tweets.

Twitter doesn’t like it if you post the same tweet, so you have to change it up.

Pin your latest tweet.

Pin your latest tweet to the top of your feed so it is easy to find.

Use appropriate hashtags.

This is how editors and agent find you. Different pitch parties may have different hashtags, so check the organizer’s site.

Connect with other writers.

This is one of the greatest benefits of a twitter party. Try to find a group of writers to support. You can share each others tweets for greater visibility and make new friends in the bargain.

Read all the rules.

Go to the Pitch Wars site (or whoever is organizing the twitter party you want to join) and follow all the rules.

Have fun! 

Tell me about your Twitter party experiences! Comment below.

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Share. Like. Comment below.

Good luck tweeting!