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So without further ado…here is mine :)
Jocelyn slept longer than Taggert expected.
What a thing to escape into a dream, where nightmares are
faceless and in the peripheral of thought. They never stand before you and
demand resolution. In dreams you can run, delay, postpone, but rarely confront.
Is this why she slept? Maybe her fantasy nightmares were easier than her waking
ones. Was she peacefully lying there fleeing her existence?
she opened her eyes, Taggert looked away. He wanted to give her some time to
remember where she was and what had happened, without his gaze.
to find 7 people who haven’t done this yet…Hmmm. If you have already been tagged…sorry for the
Alrighty people do I have a surprise
for you! The always kind, never grouchy, eternally helpful, superwoman ChanteleSedgwick is here today! Do you feel lucky? I do. So welcome Chantele...
Chantele: Wow! Thanks
for the warm welcome! I totally wish I were superwoman! Ha ha!
Angie: You are superwoman! You can juggle babies, write books, and
leap over laundry in a single bound! Okay, I'll stop embarrassing you :)
question...It's really a double question...What is your favorite thing about
yourself (don't be modest)? And what would you change about yourself if you
Chantele: So ... My favorite thing about myself? Oh, crap. Um ... I think my
determination is one thing I like. If I want something bad enough, I won't give
up. (I guess there comes a point when I should, but ... you know.) And
something I'd change would be how critical I am about my writing. I'll never
ever think I'm good enough, and I wish I could be more positive about it. :)
Angie: I think most people
can't look at their own writing objectively. We either love it or hate it. I go
back and forth too. Sometimes I think it's total crap and
consider destroying it (but I don't). Have you ever done that?
Chantele: ALL the time.
I don't really throw anything away though. I just move on to something else. Or
let the "crap" settle for a while and then go back to it later and
figure out what's wrong with it. It's usually not as bad as I thought it was.
Surprisingly. But sometimes it's ten times WORSE than I thought it was! Ha ha.
Angie: Hehehe :) That is NEVER a good realization.
Next question...I know
you will yell at me and tell me this is impossible to answer, but give it your
best shot. What fiction book has taught you the most about writing? I will be a
little lenient and let you pick one author if you must :)
Chantele: Oh, freak. Seriously? I really want to pick two. And they aren't really
books, more of the authors that taught me the most. Sorry, I'm cheating. ;)
The first one, and you guys will roll your eyes at me for saying this, but
the author who made me realize I could write while raising my kids, was
Stephenie Meyer. I'm not saying she's the best writer, I just admire her for
putting herself out there and making me realize I could do the same.
The other one is J.K. Rowling. She was able to create such an amazing
world out of nothing. Reading her books are like magic. They pull you in, keep
you there and it feels like you're part of Harry's world. It takes an AMAZING
author to do that. I'm still in awe of her writing. And I can read her books
again and again and again and still find new things in them.
There are so many things we can create as writers. A whole world of
possibilities, which is what makes writing so much fun and rewarding. Hopefully
that made sense... my pregnant brain isn't working lately
Angie: You are such a
cheater...but I will let it slide. I love J.K. too! I can read anything she
writes. I am also with you on Stephanie Meyer. I've had a few complaints about
the last books, but I still love her. I never realized until reading her that
you didn't need a writing degree to become a published author (I'm slow I
know). I felt like an entire world opened up to me when I realized that.
Chantele: We were slow
together, because I thought you needed a writing degree too! Ha ha. Great minds
think alike. ;)
Angie: You said it!
I'm feeling like a fun
question...If you had to lose one of your five senses, which one would you
pick and why?
Chantele: My sense of smell. I couldn't stand not hearing my kids sweet voices. Or
seeing them. And I could do without smelling certain things. ;)
Angie: I think I
could do without hearing my sweet children :) I have a VERY chatty seven year
Chantele: Ha! I already
have selective hearing. ;)
Angie: What did you say? Ha! Me too :)
So you've had a big
year already. You split with your agent, found a publisher who loves your books
and now you are on your way to having a real live book in your hands.
* Squeal* I'm so excited. Other than the time it has taken to get here,
what has been the hardest thing and the easiest for you?
Chantele: That's a tough question, but I think the hardest thing so far was
splitting with my agent. I mean, I had an AGENT. There are so many writers who
would have loved to be in my position. But it all came down to what was best
for me and my books. It was really the hardest decision I've ever had to make
in my writing journey. But, I don't regret it. Not one bit.
The easiest thing for me, has been not giving up. If that makes any sense.
I want to be an author so bad and I've worked so hard to get this far.
Surprisingly I haven't wanted to give up. Which is weird. Usually I give up on
lots of stuff. LOL! But I knew writing was something I couldn't stop. I have
too many stories in my head to throw it all away. It's a part of me now. And a
part of me that I'm proud of. :)
And SQUEE for having a real live book in my hands! I still can't believe
Angie: It is so cool!
How long have you been writing? And what made you start?
Chantele: I've been
writing seriously since 2007 ... so about 5 years. I've had stories in my head
for MUCH longer though. Since high school. I remember typing stories on my
parents computer and making sure no one knew what I was doing. I don't know why
I was embarrassed about it, but I was. I stopped writing for a while after
that, but still had stories floating around.
After I had my second baby, I realized I needed to write them down.
Seriously write instead of toy around with the idea. I had one particular
character that wouldn't leave me alone, so I sat down and ended up
writing 60,000 words in two months. It became my first YA novel. Which I
still want to go back and re-write. Once I finished that one I started another
one. And another. Now I'm on my 6th and still loving every minute of it. :)
Angie: Six! Wow!
Sometimes I think it is easier to write one than to write more. Are
you still a writer if you only write one?
Chantele: Of course! I
think writing one book is a big accomplishment! Seriously. And each time I
start a new book, I think, "There is no way I can write another
book." But if you do it once, you can do it again.
Angie: There is a moment
when you think, "I can't duplicate that." But I think you are right.
Tons of people say they are writing a book but never finish.
Alright, time for
the pageant question :) Pretend you are on a stage with millions of
people watching you (no pressure)...What is one thing the world would be better
with more of? (You can't say reality T.V. or Vampire Diaries or chocolate ;)
Chantele: I was gonna pick chocolate, but that's a no go... Um ... I think one thing
the world would be better with more of, is optimism. Everyone is so negative
all the time. If we were all more optimistic, people would be happier more
often. :) And there can never be a shortage of awesome books in the world,
Angie: I give you a ten for that answer :) And a standing ovation!
My hubby is excessively optimistic. I think I can count on both hands the times
I've seen him really down.
And more great books?
One last fast
question...Will you give us all a little hint of what new book you are
currently working on. Give us a premise or fun character detail or even better
a hook sentence :)
Chantele: The new book I'm working on, is actually the sequel to my Fairy Tale
book. So, I won't spoil any of that. ;) I'm also working on a YA sci fi (I
think ... ) about a girl who's dad is the FBI director and uses her gift of
hypnosis to put criminals away. She isn't sure if the criminals are innocent or
not and has to decide who the bad guys really are. That's the best way I can
explain it. Haha. :)
Angie: I'm so excited for your first book and the sequel! And how
cool does the FBI book sound? Awesomeness!!!
Thanks so much for
answering my insane questions :) You were brilliant!!!
Chantele: Thanks SO much for having me, Angie!! You are the best!
This is possibly my
favorite quote from Psych, but it is SO hard to pick!
Shawn Spencer: If we end up catching the Devil,
and he starts acting all... devil-y, I know what to do. First I'll buy a fiddle.
Play a quick tune, so he underestimates my abilities. Then I'll challenge him
to a wager. If he wins, he gets my soul. I win, we get his cooperation—
love Psych! It is my 12 year old son’s favorite show. If you have never seen
it…shame on you. If you have then you know how deliciously funny it is.
was thinking about all the ways they add humor to the show and how writers
could use the same principles to “funny up” their stories and today’s post was
Lessons on adding humor
to your story complements of Psych
Have a “strait”
not “not gay”… you know what I mean :) A funny character needs a strait
character. You need someone serious to bounce all that crazy off of. Example:
'Gus' Guster: Great. Now you've gotten me kicked out
of a funeral. Just add it to the list. Kicked out of Petsmart, kicked out of
Santa's Village, kicked out of the Salvation Army... Shawn
Spencer: Dishonorably discharged!
Trifle with words—My hubby always tells my kids not to do
this! LOL :) Jane Austen uses this technique a lot and it still works today.
Find something funny in a word and use it. Example:
O'Hara: Detective Lassiter is literally on fire
Spencer: "Literally on fire" as in
Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial, or as in a misuse of the word
Character chemistry—Shawn and Gus can
banter with the best of them. You can really get a sense of their relationship.
This works amazingly well in stories: Example:
Mocking—Who doesn’t love a little well placed mockery? It always
comes off best when the person doesn’t realize they are being mocked: Examples:
O'Hara: I had no idea you were so serious about
Spencer: Quite serious, quite serious. Matter of
fact, Lego wants to sponsor me this year. Juliet
O'Hara: Oh, that's great. Shawn
Spencer: They also want me to wear shoes made
out of Legos... So I'm torn...
Funny nicknames—This won’t work for all
story types or characters, but it is a fun way to add quirks. This is one of my
favorite reoccurring parts of the show—when Shawn introduces Gus using a
ridiculous name. Examples:
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Ghee Buttersnaps…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my associate MC
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn and this is my partner Dequan “Smallpox” Randal…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Lavender Gooms…
Shawn Spencer: This is my Vice President Longbranch Penny Whistle…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Control Alt
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my friend Ovaltine Jenkins…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Squirts
my goodness, I have to stop! I could go on all day.
is so important. I don’t think you need to be a standup comic to write it :) So
add a little funny into your story.
Got a favorite Psych
episode? I want to hear about it!
been thinking about this lately and I want to get some other opinions.
always been a bit of a book snob. I LOVE hardbacks. If I can find a book in
hardback I always buy it. Sometimes I won’t buy books if they only come in paperback.
And e-books are they really books?
was all before I started trying to get published.
now I’m in a bit of a conundrum. I’ve read some FANTASIC books in paperback—some
of my favorites in fact. And since getting a Kindle, I’m loving all the books I
can ONLY get in e-book.
think hardbacks will always be my favorite. I love how they look on my shelves
and they hold up so nice to multiple readings. But now I’m starting to change
my questions to you are…What book format is your favorite? Would you sign with
a publisher that only printed paperbacks? Or e-books?
try and learn as much as I can from the books I read—even the terrible ones.
One thing I’ve noticed about the bad published books I’ve read lately is there is a lack
is an ABSOLUTE must!!! I think the more the better. So what can you do to add more
or fix the tension you have?
What to do:
Big tension. Have overarching
tension, a problem that starts at the beginning of the books and follows the
characters around like a black cloud. This tension will only be resolved at the
end of the book.
Small tension. Tension should peak and
resolve over and over. Small bits of changing tension will push people to read
Use setting. The emotion of a place
can really increase the emotion in your character. Cut off escape routes and narrow options.
Add potential threats. Potential sometimes has
more power than actuality. What could go wrong? Play that up!
Put your characters in
Physical danger. Emotional danger. Psychological danger. But don’t forget to
have them react!
Choices. Force your characters
to make impossible choices. Choices between people. Choices that are all
What NOT to do:
rely on the overarching tension to carry the story. It will always be there,
but it is usually not enough.
undermine your tension. If the situation is scary don’t have your characters
making out :) Character reactions add to the tension. Use them.
lyrical sentences and paragraphs don’t really add tension. They take
time to read and understand. Keep it short and simple. Faster reads speed up
I hope that helps a
little. Tell me what has helped you to add more tension to your stories.
Hey everybody, welcome to this week’s Won't You Be My Neighbor!
This will be awesome, because I have the delightful Melissa Sarno. I've
been following Melissa for a while now and I can't wait
to interview her.
Melissa lives in New York City, and so in honor of
her sophistication I'll forgo the Mr. Rogers get up and wear black.
That is the New Yorker's uniform, right? Or have I been watching too much TV?
Melissa: Thank you so much for having me, Angie :)
Yes, yes. Black
is still the new black here. But the best thing about living in a place like
New York City is that anything goes.
For example, a
man who wanders the streets where I work likes to wear lace dresses and a
petticoat. He also likes to tie dye his dog to look like a rainbow.
So, rock that
sweater, Angie. You'll fit right in with the Brooklyn hipsters...
Angie: That is hilarious! Not
many people dress crazy like that in Utah, unless you hit Walmart at 2 am :)
Then all bets are off.
Melissa: I'd like to troll around a Walmart at 2am with you. Actually, I've
never been to a Walmart.
Angie: Trust me you aren't missing anything. I only go as a last
Alright I’ve got a
great first question...If you had to pick one article of clothing and never
wear it again what would you pick and why?
Melissa: Do high heels
count? I would abandon high heels in a millisecond. To be
honest, I've pretty much abandoned them already. Too bad I wasn't a feminist
back in the day. I could easily jump on the bra burning wagon.
Angie: Oh my
goodness, yes high heels count! I can understand the appeal that they make legs
look nice, but no one can convince me they are comfortable. I do have to keep
the bra though. If I didn't I could knock out small children if I moved to
fast! TMI? Probably.
Melissa: Oh my goodness,
that made me literally laugh out loud, Angie! I am definitely not
as blessed. When I made it to a B-cup, I think I cheered.
Angie: Ha :) I think blessed is in the eye of the beholder. Okay,
I'm going to stop now. No more boob jokes.
love your blog. I LOVE the way you write. It is so poignant, lyrical, and
thoughtful. I always feel relaxed when I read your posts, like I just got a
deep breath of fresh air. I've always wondered what is your favorite thing to
write? Characters? Description? Dialogue? Setting?
Melissa: That's really
nice of you to say. I am so grateful that you read it and get
something from it because I'm never sure what on earth I'm doing with my
Oh wow. This is difficult to say. I guess my
answer would be that I love to write it all. I write
character-driven stories so characters mean everything to me.
Dialogue is the most fun. But also the most difficult to get
right. I can get much too carried away with description. I am
always working to make my stories leaner. But my first instinct was
to say setting. I love real and imagined places. So, after that
tangent... Setting. Setting is my favorite.
Angie: I love great settings. I love when it feels like a
character in the story. You didn't even know it, but that is the perfect tie in
for my next question (seriously, I had this planned before your answer).
New York City is a
character just by its self. Pick your favorite spot in the city and tell me how
it inspires you.
View FROM Valentino Pier
Melissa: You can't possibly do this to me.
A *favorite* spot! I love this city too much. And
there are far too many places. I am inspired everywhere I go.
After much internal debate, I have decided on Valentino Pier Park in Red
Hook Brooklyn, which sticks out into the New York Harbor. It is always
hazy there near the water. So quiet and still. I cannot
express how difficult that is to find in New York. I cling to that quiet
because it lets me think clearly. It makes me feel peaceful.
And peaceful, quiet things inspire me.
Angie: It sounds
amazing! I love peaceful places. When everything is quiet, it is like I can
finally hear all the things the characters in my head have been trying to tell
me. That sounds a little crazy. Hey I might fit into NYC after all :) I could
totally rock petty coats.
Melissa: I am with you.
Characters always in the head, babbling away. What color would
your petticoat be? (Mine would be purple)
Angie: Oh, I LOVE
purple! I pick salmon. I've been digging that color lately :)
Here is a good question...What is the last book
you read that you LOVED? What did learn from it?
Melissa: Right now I am
reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and I am in love because I'm laughing to a
point where I'm near tears.
But, the last book I really, truly loved and this is so unoriginal
given how people are fawning and falling all over it (as they should) is
John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. I learned that funny,
real, intelligent characters with tremendous heart are still in demand.
Angie: I've wanted to
read that! I love when a book is so great it turns off my writer brain and I
become a reader again :)
Oh, I forgot to ask
you what genre you write, and what you are working on right now?
Melissa: I write
Contemporary YA. I'm querying one novel and at the very early stages of
Angie: No wonder you love Green :) Well done Contemporary is some
of my favorite stuff to read!
Last question...pageant question! I was thinking
how lucky you are that you get time to think about this and don't have to
answer on the spot like most 17 year olds I've interviewed.
Okay, to the question...If you could pick one cliché
that sums up your life what would it be? (Example--I would pick "when it
rains it pours" for good and bad :)
Melissa: I love the
pageant question. I've been waiting for it. I do not know how
anyone would answer in seconds. I decided on 'a watched pot never
boils'. I am a very impatient person, constantly looking ahead, pushing
too far forward. I've seen that when you're looking away, that's when the good
stuff happens. :) But Ill never learn.
Angie: 9.5 and TONS of clapping!!! I'm impatient myself so I
understand :) What a great answer. I love it!
Melissa: This was such a super fun interview. Can we do it every week? Hehe.
Angie: Thanks so much
Melissa! I would like to do this every week. If I ever make it to NY you can
show me your favorite spot on the pier and the NY public library!
Everybody drop over to Melissa's blog and give her a shout out :) Happy Tuesday!
Me, Sister Bug, and Pluto
It rained our last day...yes those are ponchos
back from Disneyland!
big thanks to all of you who live by me—for not robbing my house :) I do have shelves
and shelves of books a lot of you want.
was so much fun. There is something that lights up in my kids faces there that
can’t be duplicated. I just love it!
wanted to take today and give a small tribute to Walt Disney. What a great storyteller! Here are a few quotes by the
Dreamer himself—I think they work wonderfully for writers :)
learning the art of storytelling by animation, I have discovered that language
has an anatomy."
just make what I like - warm and human stories, ones about historic characters
and events, and about animals. If there is a secret, I guess it's that I never
make the pictures too childish, but always try to get in a little satire of
can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with
my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination."
a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work it until it's done and done
"My fun is working on a project and solving
good ending is vital to a picture, the single most important element, because
it is what the audience takes with them out of the theater."
"You don't build it for yourself. You know
what the people want and you build it for them."
Total side note—I missed you guys :) I hope you
all had a great week last week, no computer viruses, unexplained deaths, or
missing puppies. Happy Monday!
P.S. - Shelly Brown :) I don't remember when you said this, but you are so right...the Ferris Wheel at California Adventure is by far the scariest ride!!!
pictures of the actors you would like to play characters from your book (how
many is up to you). And post a song that best describes a character or your
story as a whole. Fun, right!!!
was so much harder than I thought it would be! Holy cow, Taggert was difficult for
me. I looked forever!!! I think it’s because no actor was a perfect fit with how I
see him. I also don't love Glee so that ruined things a bit, but Chord Overstreet is a good fit.
I picked 5 characters—the ones
I love and hate the most :)
circumstances have left her broken,
but she has an inner strength that will
ultimately win out.
to see his weaknesses, he hopes charm and intelligence will make up for them.
always there to fix Taggert’s mistakes. Now, if he would just fix his own.
She can be your best friend or worst
advice—stay away. No one lives to cross Prince Zven.
had an easier time picking a song, even though I don’t really use music as inspiration.
The Reason by Hoobastank perfectly captures the twist in my story. I won’t tell
you who it’s about, but my beta readers know. You’ll have to take their word
for it :) I don't love the video, but I love the song!
again Kyra and Rachel. This was so much fun.