My blog is moving! Update your links -- the RSS feed issue is still going on with this software, so I've decided to move my blog over to blogger. The new address is http://www.kristiknight.blogspot.com.
Come by and see me!
It’s FREE BOOK WEEK at Carina Press!!!
Every weekday, all week, Carina is offering a spectacular title for free download. And when they say free, they mean ACTUALLY free. Not “sorta free”, or “free with a $50 purchase” free, but actually, totally, no strings attached FREE! So, get thee to Carina press to download a free book every day! Here are the books being offered, and the links and promo codes for your free download:
Monday’s FREE BOOK is:
The Debutante’s Dilemma by Elyse Mady
Just type in the promo code DEBUTANTEFREE at checkout
(insert the following link: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/ContentDetails.htm?ID=50C0978A-DAC7-44E7-B627-C26A520471C0
Tuesday’s FREE BOOK is:
Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee
Just type in the promo code DEMONFREE at checkout
(insert following link: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/ContentDetails.htm?ID=1E5A3A07-9BC7-4449-9B8F-377C21E2F664
Wednesday’s FREE BOOK is:
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell
Just type in the promo code TWISTEDFREE at checkout
(insert following link: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/ContentDetails.htm?ID=D79D7CD6-1BAA-4D2E-AE65-FF0E42F79BE7
Thursday’s FREE BOOK is:
Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley
Just type in the promo code GALAXYFREE at checkout
(insert following link: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/ContentDetails.htm?ID=827CC21D-6F33-437A-977B-B0F291B70367
Friday’s FREE BOOK is:
Friendly Fire by Megan Hart
Just type in the promo code FRIENDLYFREE at checkout
(insert the following link: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/ContentDetails.htm?ID=E1466469-DB0C-404F-A0AA-3491BB9E9B14
Nope, not blogging about setting, I'm blogging about characterization in a different location! Today I'm over at WordWranglers, blogging about alpha men and archtypes (specifically swashbucklers, charmers and bad boys - oh, my!)...stop in!
P.S. -- the blog here may be a little slow for the next few weeks. My webmaster is updating things, fixing the RSS feeder and general maintenance, but until it's all copasetic again, I won't be blogging regularly.
Ask anyone who really, truly knows me, and they will tell you I'm a mess. Not in my personal or professional life, but in general. I've been known to forget about laundry that has actually gone through the washing machine for a couple days. I hate going through the mail. I have, currently in progress, seven books that I'm reading; all of them are stacked up on a side table. I grab what I fancy.
My desk is the same way. It's actually divided into two halves – one half with my sewing quilting stuff (it's a large desk!) and the other for my writing. The sewing side? Always put together and everything in its place. Cutters, thread and bobbins in cubbies, sewing machine folded under, cutting mats stacked neatly. It works for me. The writing side? Full on clutter-fixer's nightmare. I have a stack of magazines to one side, a marked-up calendar sideways over the top. File folders and notebooks standing between my funky-chicken pen holder and what is left of a set of bear bookends. Computer, iHome, coffee mug with yet more pens, a few pictures. Scared yet? And two special things (okay more than two, but two that I'm blogging about today): a Boyd's bear with a laptop and a stress ball with orange-feather-fly-away hair.
I keep the Boyd's bear on my desk to help me remember to BIC HOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard). I can be easily distracted from my plans. The DH lovingly calls it SBS (Squirrel Brain Syndrome): Oh, my plan is to submit an 80,000 word romantic comedy to Publisher X, oh, but that shiny new idea about Victorian vamps in gunfights with Western cowboys and gunfighters? That could be so much fun! So those shiny new ideas don't kill my plans and keep me from finishing anything ever again, I keep the bear on my desk…because the bear is always BIC HOKing.
The stress ball? Well, it's a stress reliever, but it's also an idea finder. I can't tell you the number of times I've picked through the fly-away feather hair searching for something…and found it. So it stays on my messy desk filled with random paperclips, eye drops and a weird white cord – a cord that attaches to nothing, that I don't know what it does and yet I can't get rid of it.
The thing is, my organized disorganization works for me. When my desk is perfectly clear and uncluttered, I find myself staring at the vast expanse as if the words will magically appear. In the clutter, I don't need to look around because the words are already coming. What about you?Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 5:19:56 PM
It's been two weeks longer than I proposed, but my blog holiday is over. Why the break? I was too busy. I know, shocker, and not a great way to build a social media platform. But for me it was the right thing to do.
I was stressing myself out about blogging, so much that I wasn't writing good non-fiction or fiction...which is really bad for a full-time writer like me.
What have I been doing? I did keep up with my once-per-week group blog (we've been interviewing published authors...check out the interviews here), catching up with non-fiction - and making more non-fiction contacts. In fact, I sold an article to a new-to-me magazine. Yay! I've also taken a hard look at my fiction writing, and I think I'm moving in the right direction there, too.
Agent Scott Eagan has a good post today about making changes as a writer - not changing your writing area or schedule, but making solid changes to your work post-rejection. It's a good post, check it out here. What I took from the post is what I mentioned above - I'm moving in the right direction.
During my self-imposed blog holiday I've still been writing, but I've also been editing the just-finished WIP. Through those edits, I've seen how my writing has improved over the past couple of years and I've also seen where it hasn't. So I made a list of comments I've gotten from contests and other submissions and made a conscious effort to change those problem areas.
The first two weeks were brutal. The last two? Not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but doable. I like what I'm seeing in my writing now, and I like the changes I've made.
What have you been doing these past few weeks to improve your writing, yourself or your circumstances?Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 5:22:51 PM
Nope, not going to do a mini-lit class on 'A Tale of Two Cities' today, just want an opinion or three. Does a good first line draw you into a book or does it take more than that?
For me, I like a good first line, but I'll read a page or more before making a buying decision. Why? Because I've found amazing first lines with horrible rest-of-the-books and I've found horrible first lines with amazing rest-of-the-books. That's where this blog headline comes from. A bad first line (at least in my opinion.
"It was the best of times." This is how the book opens. It doesn't lead me to read more. Perhaps that is just my oversimplification of things, but that first line? As a reader, makes me think, "Great! It was a great time, I'll look for a book that wasn't about a great time." and, Ping!, I'm off to buy a different book.
But the book is a classic? Yeah, it is. And, yes, I actually do love the book. But I hate the beginning. The beginning didn't draw me in to the book, my lit teacher did by requiring the reading (Thank you, Mrs. Rhodes). The middle is what got me really involved in the story. The middle is what really made me appreciate the writing, the themes and the story. It's a darn good story. That first line, though, is still a clunker. At least to me.
"It was a dark and stormy night." Cliche'd bad first line. I'd roll my eyes if this was the actual first line in any modern book, but it actually works in the atmospheric, gothicy mystery "Paul Clifford" written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in 1830. Heck, the phrase has even created an annual extremist fiction contest. And yet the actual book, despite that first line, is quite good. And in the right setting I could see another book using similar qualities in a bad-first-line-but- good-book experiment.
So I try not to judge a book by it's first line. I wait a bit - maybe a paragraph, maybe a page, maybe a chapter. If that first line is good, wonderful. If not, I do give it a little time. What about you? Does a great first line make you buy a book? Or does a bad first line make you toss it back in the stacks? What great first lines have you read lately?Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 12:56:37 PM
I'm a people watcher. Have been all my life. I like finding little quirks in people that maybe they don't realize they have. For a long time I just watched (I know, makes me sound like a stalker. I'm not) and filed the information away. Had no idea why.
And then I realized I was a writer. Not just a non-fiction journalist, but a real writer. All these character bumps and weird habits I'd filed away? Yep, in my subconscious, fictional characters were forming with these same habits. Now that I know what my brain was doing all along, I'm a little more descriptive in my people watching. I usually have a notebook handy and if something at the mall or a harvest festival or whatever catches my attention, I'll jot down a few notes. Not just 'lady picking nailpolish' but 'lady in a red dress, county fair, desperate for attention, looks bored but very aware'. To anyone else, my notes probably read like an investigator's report. And that's fine with me. I'll know how to use Ms. Red Dress one of these days.
In the meantime, thought I'd share poem with y'all, shared with me by a new writing friend....all about people watching.
I'll pilfer your grin, or the last place you've been,
We're potting training at the Knight Casa. A little early according to some, but bebe is ready at 2 1/2 so we figured why not?
First step? We bought a potty seat and put her in pull-ups rather than actual diapers. No change. She went, she told us after - or not at all. We'd change, reminding her that her 'job' was to keep her pull-ups - and the shapes that fade away when wet or dirty - dry. We started over like this for days on end with no actual 'training' going on. We would go on the potty about 20 minutes after eating/drinking/snacking.
We took action. No more pull-ups. Big girl pants. AND rewards for going on the potty.
I washed a lot of clothes. She went on the potty AND in her pants. Didn't matter.
Then I got a great idea: I reward myself for meeting my writing goals with chocolate, a big calendar where I mark up days, a nice meal out. She was already getting the sweets reward, but what about some other type of system.
I made a poopy chart. Divided into days and weeks. Every time she kept her pants dry and went in the potty, she would get a sticker. She loved it. So much more than just getting a few M&Ms. That was 4 weeks ago - we're still in pull-ups for the majority of our days. But she's going in the potty more regularly and she she's using the potty at school (a huge step for her)...and she's telling us at the point she has to go. Unfortunately that point is stil rightnextto the point when it actually comes out. But we're working on it.
Just like I'm still working on meeting my writing goals, she is working on meeting her 'big girl' goals. How about you? How are your writing (or life) goals coming in 2011?
My new podcast is all about goal-setting (or re-setting in some cases). Check it out on my front page. And let's start a little goal encouragement area in the comment section - share your goal and reward system...so we can all learn from each other!Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 3:44:01 PM
I've never been to Los Angeles. Actually I've never been farther west that Nevada, but this spring we're headed to Hollywood. The husband and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas and then a 2-day excursion to Hollywood/Los Angeles. I had my first taste of Hollywood this weekend, right here in Ohio.
This weekend we attended a murder-mystery night with some friends at the Mansfield Reformatory - the real-life prison where Shawshank Redemption, scenes from Tango & Cash and Air Force One were shot. We all joked about going to prison to have some fun before we actually drove through the gates...but driving through? Yeah, that made it a little more serious. Of course, we still joked about it.
Unlike many other prisons, the Mansfield Reformatory doesn't have cells facing one another; if you're in a cell, you're facing a rock wall. No windows. The exterior, barbed-wire-topped walls have been torn down, paint is peeling from the bars, and no prisoners have been inside the walls since the 1990s. And yet there is still a feeling of lonliness and loss inside. Solemnity that even the silliness of the murder-mystery (there were a lot of jokers in the crowd) just couldn't cut through. I can't imagine what it would be like for the actual prisoners. Which brings me to books and atmosphere, which is a part of setting. The part of setting that I usually don't get right right away. My books are mostly fun and a lot flirty, but there still needs to be an atmospheric undertone...just like the undertone of the prison was still there on our fun date night.
Another thing that really caught my attention - and had me reached for my notebook and pen often - were the non-prison events held there. They host weddings, receptions, ghost hunting, haunted houses...the list goes on. And I thought, what an interesting kind of place to set a romance novel - not my usual contemporary books, but something different. I've had about twenty ideas hit me since Saturday night, and I'm making notes. Most will probably remain ideas, but I'm hoping that one might be something more....
What about you? Where do you get your ideas?Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 3:51:43 PM
Today is President's Day. We had planned to change our schedule - go see friends, have some great BBQ and maybe shop a little. One of the joys of being self-employed is that we can make these decisions on the spur of the moment. Of course Mother Nature doesn't always work with us.
This morning we awoke to an ice storm, icy roads. Our change in the schedule is off. That got me thinking about how I've changed my writing schedule over the past three weeks.
I started taking a workshop with Candace Havens this year...I'm really trying to increase my writing output and I'm also trying to push myself to the next level - Contracted Writer Level. In the workshop we began a Fast Draft two weeks ago with the goal of writing and finishing a book in 2 weeks. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.
You know what I realized? This actually does work for me. It sounds impossible, but writing that first draft in a quick manner has helped me get the ideas on the page without stopping and mulling and tweaking constantly. I've had to write fast or fall behind, and I really wanted to stay on target. This draft is so far from perfect I won't get go into it. But the story bones are there. I can fix the problems though - add in more emotion, deepen the conflicts, edit, edit, edit. The point is that the story is written so what I have left is more manageable.
You know what else I realized? I still need to tweak this plan to fit my style, my way of doing things. I was about half-way through the book when I realized I had a major problem with the first three chapters. That problem would not leave me alone so I retreated, took off 2 days of new writing and fixed that problem. I ripped apart the first three chapters - which are still not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - and it made pushing forward on the last half of the book so much simpler to write.
Now, of course, revisions begin and I may learn that I hate this fast-drafted book with a passion, but right now I am basking in the fact that I wrote an entire book in two weeks just because I changed my schedule a little bit.
Do you ever change your schedule? How? And do you find those changes increase your decrease your productivity?Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 2:36:00 PM
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