Big Announcement Post…

I won’t hold you all in suspense for any longer. Last year, I put together “Sing We Now of Christmas” and was very pleased at the end result of raising over $1000 for charity. This year, I wanted to do something to up the ante.

So, this year, not only am I going to release volume II, but I am going to hold a charity concert with Utah’s very own…

They will be headlining the concert I’m putting together for the first Saturday in December, with all proceeds going to charity. If you’d like a taste of what to expect, please go visit them on April 20th for their Spring Concert. I went last year, and it was a blast, with a huge variety of music and excellent guest artists. 
More details to come. Stop by next Friday when I reveal the cover for Volume II…
Any guesses about what it will look like? 

David Farland on Outlining and Resonance

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David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times Bestselling Author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for “Best Novel in the English Language” for his science fiction novel On My Way to Paradise, the Whitney Award for “Best Novel of the Year” for his historical novel In the Company of Angels, and the International Book Award for “Best Young Adult Novel of the Year” for his fantasy thriller Nightingale—among many  others.
Recently Dave released a book geared toward writing titled Million Dollar Outlines. In it he discusses how to write a novel or screenplay that has a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller.
Some of his past writing students that have gone on to success include #1 New York Times Bestsellers such as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).
Along with providing writers with outline and audience analysis methods, Dave also offers 28 “plotting tools” in Million Dollar Outlines. A plotting tool is basically a technique that can make your story more exciting, interesting, satisfying, or complete.
Today, Dave is going to share one with us:
Crucibles
When we talk about writing, there are three kinds of crucibles—crucibles of setting, relationship, or condition. We’ll talk about those in a moment, but first we need to define, “What is a crucible?”
In metal-smithing, a crucible is a container used to hold metal or liquid as it boils. For example, to melt gold, one takes a heavy bowl made from steel and sets it in a fire. The steel, which can withstand higher temperatures than gold, doesn’t melt. But the small container quickly becomes super-heated, so that the gold liquefies in moments.
In fiction, a crucible is any setting, condition, or relationship that keeps characters (such as a protagonist and an antagonist) from splitting apart.
By forcing these characters to remain together, we may sometimes create an almost intolerable atmosphere. It allows us to super-charge the relationships, raise the heat.
For example, imagine that John and Mary have been married for years, but have grown apart. They decide that they don’t love each other anymore. The logical thing for them to do would be to divorce and split up, right?
But there’s no story in that! The characters could easily resolve the situation by leaving—so as a writer you need them to stay together.
So imagine that John and Mary have grown apart, but both love their six-month-old daughter. Neither is willing to end the relationship so long as they risk losing the child. Now you have a crucible, a binding force that keeps the two together.
But there are different kinds of crucibles. Maybe it is a child. But maybe you could do the same by putting them both in a car and having them get stuck in a snowstorm. The car is a different kind of container from the relationship, but both work to keep the couple together.
So here are the three different types of crucibles.
Crucibles of Setting
A setting may act as a crucible. You’ve all seen comedies where several people are stuck in a cabin in a snowstorm, and each of them is at the other’s throat. You will also quickly remember the movie “Snakes on a Plane,” even if you’ve never seen it. A crucible of setting might be a story set in your characters’ workplace, on a ship, or in a small town. The important point is to keep the characters together as much as possible, and to let personalities rub against one another until their tempers boil.
Crucibles of Relationship
You can never escape your family. You might try, but often the family relationship is a crucible. A child wanting to leave home is in a crucible in the same way that a father who must pay child-support is in a crucible. Any two people who are married are in a crucible, as are any two people who happen to just be in love.
I recall a fine western when I was young about two heroic cowboys who are both in love with the same woman. They are forced to band together to rescue her from a kidnapper. The men hate each other, and as the audience gets to know each man better, they both come to vie for our affections.
Soldiers in a squadron will find themselves in a crucible. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, those who had joined the Fellowship were thrust into a crucible—a small band of men forced to band together for their own protection.  It may be that your character finds himself fighting beside someone he detests—a murderer or a rapist—and yet he is unable to walk away from the conflict.
A crucible may also be your conflict with your culture. We’ve probably all known various folks—Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc., who try to leave their religion behind but can never stop talking about it. But it doesn’t have to be your religious culture. My father ran away from the Blue Ridge Mountains to escape the hillbilly lifestyle. I had a girlfriend who left her fine home in Southern California because she despised her family’s wealth. In the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, we have a girl whose main conflict comes about when she is embarrassed by her ethnic roots.
Crucibles of Condition
An intolerable condition may also be a crucible—such as an illness that two very different characters may join forces to beat. We see this type of crucible used every week as Doctor House tries to solve the latest medical mystery. But you can also set your characters up to fight an economic or political condition—the hunger in India, the tribalism of North Africa.
The condition might be something as mundane as crime in the streets. Policemen who despise one another are often found joining forces to fight drug lords, rapists, and other types of crime.
So as you form your story, consider how you might strengthen your conflicts by developing one or more crucibles.
To learn about the rest of Dave’s plotting tools, or how to write for a wide audience, you’ll have to check out his book: http://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Outlines-ebook/dp/B00B9JYJ6W/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Here are some of the reviews it’s received so far:
“Mr Farland didn’t write a book about outlines; at least not only outlines. This book shows you how to write a book, story, and screenplay from blank page to your first million. I can only imagine better instruction from Mr Farland in person, and plan to take one of his workshops based on the strength of this work alone.”
—Big Nate, Amazon
Actually, I have a book on novel outlining which has like 5 stars ratings. It is way boring. I just couldn’t get through it. So when I learned David had written a book on outlining, I knew he could do the topic justice…and make it interesting. . . . Since David wrote this, I KNEW he had something UNIQUE to teach, that is, his viewpoint, his experience and his SYSTEM. Plus, I knew his conversational, no fluff way of writing/teaching would drive me, compelling me to devour it. And it does.”
—C. Jack
Can you think of any more examples of crucibles? Can you see a way to strengthen your own story by adding a crucible? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The Canticle Prelude Kickoff Contest

How would you like to read the complete compilation of The Canticle Prelude? It includes all the serial chapters from the series “Canticle of Night”, “Canticle of Dawn” and “Canticle of Twilight”. It is a great read to start before you read “The Canticle Kingdom” or even after you have. This compilation includes a bonus chapter linking the serial stories and the novel previously unreleased, as well as the sheet music for piano of the song that the music box plays, which I also wrote.

Head over to the BigWorldNetwork.com site for more details:
http://bigworldnetwork.com/site/contests/

The Grimm Chronicles Book Blast

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The Grimm Chronicles

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm unleashed their stories upon the world. Literally. Now the characters of the Grimms’ stories walk among us. With every day that passes, they grow more evil. They are the Corrupted, and only a hero can stop them.

For 18-year-old Alice Goodenough, that means taking precious time off from her summer vacation. In addition to volunteering at the local library, Alice must stop the Corrupted who are now actively hunting her down. With the help of her magic pen and her trusty rabbit friend, the world has suddenly gotten a lot more complex. The Corrupted are everywhere, and only Alice can see them for what they truly are.

This book contains the first 3 episodes of the critically acclaimed series
Episode 1: Prince Charming Must Die!
Episode 2: Happily Never After
Episode 3: Revenge of the Castle Cats

Additional features for this special edition:
– An introduction
– Two special “Lost Diaries”
– A behind-the-scenes interview
– A collection of original Grimms’ Fairy Tales

The Grimm Chronicles is intended for Young Adults aged 13 and up. The goal is to provide Young Adult readers with a strong, charismatic young woman in the role of the hero and provide readers with a positive protagonist who uses her brain to overcome obstacles life throws in her way.

Also Available Volume 2 of the Grimm Chronicles

Book 4: The Orphanage of Doom
Book 5: Blood and Thunder
Book 6: The Order of the Golden Dragon

Praise

“5 stars!” ~ Bookies Book Blog

“Highly recommended for all who love fairy tales and the YA genre.” ~ My Cozie Corner

“All in all the books were excellent.” ~ LilyElement

“If you love fairy tales and them being turned into modern day stories you will love these short stories.” ~ Mom With a Kindle

5 stars (out of 5) ~ I Am, Indeed

“Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky’s incredible talent for storytelling takes the reader on an amazing action-packed ride fueled by endless creativity and limitless imagination. TGC is like a high-stakes version of Harold and the Purple Crayon meets a contemporary, above ground Alice in Wonderland. “ ~ Bookfetish

“I absolutely loved this book! No, let me rephrase that, I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK! Nope, that doesn’t even do it justice. Vol. 1 has the first three stories from the 12 that will ultimately make up the chronicles.” ~ Jesse Kimmel-Freeman

Purchase:

About the Authors
Ken Brosky received his MFA in fiction writing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He also teaches English at Madison College. This is his first Young Adult series.

Isabella Fontaine owns a farm in Wisconsin and enjoys reading weird books like House of Leaves. This is her first Young Adult series.

Tour Giveaway
5 Kindle ebook copies of The Grimm Chronicles Volume 1
Ends 3/15/13

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Guardians Inc Book Blast

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER

A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.

Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.

Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we’ve driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future
they need a Cypher.


Book Trailer
Guardians Inc.: The Cypher is FREE on Kindle, Nook & iBooks

Praise
USA Book News 2012 Finalist -Young Adult Fiction

“Rosado-Machain brings a light, humorous touch to themes of teenage love, loss and betrayal wrapped up in a tasty package of magical coming-of-age.”
~Kirkus Reviews

“It’s like Julian Rosado-Machain took everything that I love about middle grade children’s fiction and slammed it into one awesome, well-paced fantasy”
~Emi London Oktopusink.blogspot.com

“The Cypher hooked me from the beginning. And kept my attention right through to the very end.”
– Heidi Roth reviewthebook.com

Get Your Copy for FREE

Author Julian Rosado-Machain

Julian has enjoyed pizza in three continents, holds a degree in graphic design, built armored vehicles and computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears has seen at least one ghost.

He is the Co-owner of Hacienda de Vega Restaurant in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.


Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Elysium Book Blast

Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan

How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly’s life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.

Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.

PRAISE

“The novel’s take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I expected a good love story with a paranormal twist. I got so much more. I think you should take the chance and read it. Let this book take you on the adventure, fall in love.” – Young Adult and Teen Readers

“Fields of Elysium is a fabulous read. … Whelan paints her faith into the fabric of her story with deft, light brushstrokes, making her work accessible to all, no matter their spiritual beliefs or background.” – Readers Favorite

“I escaped into this fantasy world, author, A.B.Whelan, created and I didn’t want Molly to go. From detailed descriptions, to sweet romance, and to all the twist and turns in the story, it had me captivated from page one.” – Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga

“Whelan’s writing is very vivid and descriptive. It’s more formal than the average YA novel, but I enjoyed the lyrical and mesmerizing quality to it. I thought the overall story read like a fairy tale–very sweet.” – Megan Thomason, author of Daynight

Author A.B. Whelan

A.B.Whelan is a Hungarian born, American writer. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California.
While growing up in a wealthy Eastern European family, she had a chance to travel Europe. Later as an adult, she visited Africa and the Middle East and lived in Ecuador and in Crete.

Tour Schedule

$50 Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a gift bag of one signed copy of Fields of Elysium, a scrabble-tile pendant with a butterfly image on a chain necklace, and a fridge magnet.

Ends 3/11/13

Gift Bag open to US only.  If winner is international they will receive only the gift card or paypal cash.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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LTUE Followup

Okay, so maybe the photographer cut off half my face. It’s still proof that I was there. This was one of my favorite panels, with a couple other great authors, a NYT bestselling author and a literary agent. Oh, and they proved that they cannot only write well, but speak well too. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time.

In addition to panels on topics from Young Adult literature to avoiding mistakes first-time authors make, I interviewed with several podcasts and shows, including Residual Hauntings, talking about “The Last Archangel”.  You can listen here:

http://residualhauntings.podomatic.com/entry/2013-02-17T21_55_15-08_00

I even won a free shirt from Epic Puzzles and Games in Lehi, UT because I correctly answered a question about zombies. I surprised even myself when I came up with the name “revanant”.

I’ve also taken up the cause of the Author’s Think Tank and their awesome new podcast “by authors, for authors” called Forever Writers. I wrote the lyrics at the beginning of the podcast, and will hopefully be a host on future installments. They will be posted soon here:

http://www.foreverwriters.com/

If you didn’t go this year, I would definitely check it out next year. Visit http://www.ltue.org for more information. It usually happens in February and is a wonderful value for your money. If you are an author and present, you can even get in for free.

I will appear next at Write Here in Ephraim on March 4th at Snow College in Utah, and then at the LDStorymaker’s Conference in mid May. See you there!

You Wrote…a Love Story?

Okay, just hear me out. I know romance isn’t my typical fare. It is Valentine’s Day and even though I don’t write a lot of love stories, love is pretty great when you find it. “The Last Time” is being featured as the Valentine’s Day special for BigWorldNetwork.com, which is a great digital content distributor of ebooks and audio books. You can listen to an audio version done by myself, or read it digitally. It is a modern fantasy tale, which I promise involves no sparkly vampires or werewolves.

Check in next week for my first contest with “The Canticle Prelude”. Five books up for grabs!

A happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May you find love, or grow the love you have already found.

https://bigworldnetwork.com/site/series/lasttime/

Printed Books Blog Hop

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Don’t get me wrong–I love my Kindle and my iPhone, but there’s still something about a real book. All of the prizes in this blog hop are actual books, so enter away! This time, a copy of my first novel, “The Canticle Kingdom” is up for grabs. Remember, there’s just one month left to submit for the second Advent Anthology, with the proceeds this time going to Autism Speaks. For more details, click “Current Projects” above.

Enjoy!

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New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year, everyone! 
I’m feeling very blessed and glad to have a fresh start at life. The end of 2012 was not the brightest point in recent memory. However, in 2013, things are already looking up.
 In 2012, I achieved my goal of writing 600,000 words in a year. This was a growing experience. This year, I do want to focus on revision. I produced a lot of content, and I want to make sure that all that effort gets seen by actual people sometime. So most of 2013 will be dedicated to both revising current projects, and mapping out future projects. But that’s not to say that I won’t be producing some new material.
Last year, I experimented with the idea of putting together a self-published anthology. This was a wonderful experience in which I got to interact with a host of wonderful authors, editors, and artists. We are all very pleased with the finished product and so I’ve decided that we need to create other such projects. Our first anthology has already raised over $1000 for charity alone. I think that is an excellent first step. I foresee doing two other anthologies in the series to make it a trilogy. All of the stories will be based on Christmas carols, and hopefully some that are new and interesting to all of you.
I’ve also come up with two additional ideas for anthologies for which I would like to collect over the long run.
The first of these will be called “Silver Linings”. This is an anthology that collects true stories of people who experienced trials that turned out to be blessings. Hence the name.  I’ve already had some submissions and they have been excellent. Please keep them coming!
The other anthology for which I would like to collect is a collection of modern fairy tales similar to the style of the Brothers Grimm. If the brothers went out today and asked people for their stories , what would they tell them? I am coming up with a few stories of my own for this anthology, but I would love to hear what the rest of you have in mind!
If you would like information on any of these projects, simply click on “current projects” above.
As I will be doing a lot of revising this year, I’m also interested in people who would like to be beta readers for my manuscripts. Many of my manuscripts are either fantasy or science fiction, so I would like you to be well-versed in that genre if you would like to become one of my beta readers. If you are interested, please just send me an e-mail. I could use quite a few. I have a lot of projects on various stages of completion and really would like to see some of them out on the shelves.
For those of you who are fans of The Canticle Kingdom or The Last Archangel, I have good news for you. Not only will I be continuing my audio series with Big World Network that links to both of these franchises, but I have developed two more books for each of the series, full-length novels that bring the stories started in the first books to a satisfying conclusion. I’m working on revising them now, and hope to get them out soon, possibly through Big World Network. I will post more information as it becomes available.
I’m also hoping this coming holiday season to put together a concert for charity in conjunction with my two anthology releases. I am still looking for people with which to collaborate on this. I’m hoping to partner with at least one high school choir or any other musical group out of the community. They will perform carols based on the carols that are highlighted in the anthologies.
Please contact me if you know anyone who might be interested.
That’s all I have for now, folks! I’d love to hear from you now. What are your writing goals this year? What do you hope to accomplish? All the best in all your endeavors, and please let me know if there is anything that I can do.