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WRITING FICTION: WHERE DO I START?

Checkered flag“I have an idea for a book, but where do I start?”

I have been getting this question a lot lately. My answer is always the same.

As to the key portion of this question, you start anywhere. When writing fiction, I always start with character. Other authors start with plot, and yet others with a concept or an idea. No starting point is wrong. Wait. Let me rephrase that. The only bad starting point is no starting point. In other words, there is no wrong place to start, but in order to write, you must start somewhere.

I have a tendency to write my way into story, often discovering who my characters are along the way. This means that sometimes, what I thought was chapter three ends up being chapter one and what I thought was chapter one ends up being pulled from the story. Continue reading

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TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS 2015 (TFOB)!

Booth Crew 2015Brick Cave Books rocked the TFOB (Tucson Festival of Books 2015) and the fans rocked my world!

I do wish I had been able to get around and see more of my fabu writing friends, but the Brick Cave Books booth was nearly nonstop selling and signing both days.

Special thanks to Jenn Labuz (Sith Lord of the book booth) as well as hearty thanks to those who managed to steal a moment out from their own busy book schedules to stop by, especially the lovely Maryelizabeth Hart?, talented YA author Natalie Wright?, the incredible Ann Chamberlin, and so many others my mind is a blur.

Fan high point: Meeting a reader who got the deep read on Healer’s Legacy. Jasmine, you set my writer’s heart aflutter!

Sunday’s high point? Meeting Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia’s fabulous daughter and her family, who after sharing some lovely stories about her father bought one of my books for their granddaughter. Life is just ah-mazing!

Next stop DEVCON! FREE EVENT, March 21-22 on the ASU West Campus, where I have the following panel schedule:

Continue reading

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AUTHOR APPEARANCES: RUNNING TWICE AS FAST AND UNICORNS!

MeWithPeterBeagleI am busy, busy, writing, traveling, appearing, selling and signing. In fact, I spent all day Saturday at Ann Chamberlin’s Book Shop at the AZ Renaissance Faire and once more sold out all my books well before the end of the day.

It’s times like this that I can’t help feeling like Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

But, speaking of quotable authors, I did take a little time out from my own very busy schedule to catch up to the spectacular Peter S. Beagle at his Mesa screening appearance of The Last Unicorn Tour. I waited in line to thank him personally for granting me permission to use some lines from A Fine and Private Place in my book, Mirabella and the Faded Phantom. And kind and wonderful author that he is, he spontaneously told me he had read my book  and “really liked it” and he called it “a good story.”

Be still my heart! I nearly swooned. Thank you Peter for your fabulous stories and for being such a generous supporting author to those of us still newly hatched. May you continue to receive and enjoy the rock star fame you so richly deserve!

Peter and his awesome Last Unicorn Tour staff have moved on to the next city. Check out the schedule here: http://lastunicorntour.com/

Next stop for me will be the spectacular Tucson Festival of Books event, March 14-15, 2015 from 9:30am-5:30pm at the University of Arizona Campus. Stop by and see me in booth #145

More info here: http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

Meanwhile, rather than leave you this week bereft of writing wisdom, I direct you to the highly-recommended Dear Editor blog: http://deareditor.com/2015/03/09/re-why-does-my-action-read-slow/

Find me at the Book Festival and say hello all you fabulous, magical readers and writers!

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WHERE IS SHARON? AUTHOR VISITS

It’s that time MVS2of year again when I’m getting very busy with plenty of author visits and appearances. Not as much time to write about writing. This morning I taught writing workshops for six graders out at Mountain View school in Phoenix and next weekend I will be spending all day Saturday  out at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. I will be selling and signing books at Ann Chamberlin’s Book Shop. Stop on by and pick up a good book.Or three.

 

 

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ELIMINATING OVERUSED AND WEAK WORDS

WordsI’m deep in revisions for The Matriarch’s Devise (the upcoming sequel to The Healer’s Legacy) and now that I have filled the plot holes, increased the conflict, and refined my characters, I am sifting through the manuscript in an effort to stamp out the overuse of my “favorite” words.

Don’t get me wrong, I love words. All kinds, shapes and sizes. BUT I find when I am writing a first draft, I have a tendency to over use certain words. Words like “look” and “head” and “away” often top the list, as do their related variations. And with every book, there comes a time in the revision process where these words must be made to pull their share of the load or be eliminated.

I appreciate “look” for its place-holding abilities and for allowing me to write without hesitation when in the creative stage of first drafting. But, let’s face it, not only is the poor thing generally overworked, he just doesn’t always have the right muscles for the job at hand. (And don’t tell him I said so, but he can be completely superfluous.) Continue reading

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