Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why All Writers Should Attend a Writing Conference (click this link)

Why All Writers Should Attend a Writing Conference (click this link)

Friday, February 21st and Saturday, February 22nd are WANACon Online Writing Conference (you can sharpen your craft from the comfort of your couch!).

The amazing Kristen Lamb gives us all the reasons why attending conferences are so important.

Check out her blog and hurry! She is giving away a chance to attend for free until the end of January (that closes tomorrow folks!).

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tools of the Trade: Post 2 of 6 Blog Hop for Writers

This post is the second of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. Once you read my post you should “HOP” on over to see what the other writers have to say.


The second topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “Writing Tools I Use.”

When I think of tools, my mind automatically goes to the boxes filled with hammers and wrenches and screwdrivers my dad used to have mounted on the sides of his truck. Because he drove everywhere, there was never a time he was without something he needed. My dad could be counted on to be prepared, sort of like a Boy Scout.

This week I’m supposed to write about the tools I use in helping me create a better story.  They aren’t stored in my truck (I don’t even have a truck), but I like to think that they keep me prepared for wherever my characters turn.

The most important tool I have is my love of reading. When there are a few minutes that I can do absolutely anything, you’ll be able to track me down beside my stack of books. Usually I’m in the process of reading two or three novels at a time. Today I have Longbourn by Jo Baker, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Defy by Sara B. Larson on my bedside table.  The first is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice from the point of view of the house servants. The second is a young Adult contemporary love story. The last book is the brand, spanking new fantasy adventure novel by a debut author.  From that bit of a description they don’t appear to have much in common, but they all feature teenage female protagonists with love interests. This is my niche; what I love to read and write.

Reading certainly makes me a better writer. When I look back at the stories I created years ago I am so surprised at how much my voice and style has changed. You could attribute this to the fact that I’ve had a lot more practice, but that’s only a bit of the story. The bulk lies in the fact that I’ve devoured some truly wonderful writing in the mean time. It was bound to rub off on me.

Another tool in my arsenal is plain and simply the internet.  It is not just a tool for research (though, I love being able to look up things like the meaning of character names), it is also a place for community. Until I began writing this blog and lately joined twitter, writing was a completely solitary experience. Now I have those authors I have been thinking of as rock stars at my fingertips. Also, some of the blogs I follow about writing have moved me in ways I never saw coming.

A few of my “go-to” blogs for writing technique and the realms of publishing are: The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy, Anne R. Allen’s Blog….with Ruth Harris, and CommuniCATE Resources for Writers (where I learned about this blog hop). That doesn’t even take into account the multitudes of other writing blogs I pour over each and every day sharing the thoughts from other writers.

The last tool I want to mention is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is November for those not in the know – enough with all the N words!). I hadn’t even heard of it before this summer and by the time October rolled around, I wasn’t convinced it was for me. The truth is I didn’t know if I could pull it off. I mean, it took me an entire year to write the rough draft of my last novel.  How was cramming that much writing into a 30 day period supposed to help me?

Well, I’m happy to report that I did survive those crazy 30 days. Plus after reading that 78,000 pile of words that I wrote, I think I’m a better writer than I knew. What NaNoWriMo did for me was force me not to over think every word I put down. When I couldn’t self edit, my story had a better flow.  The story is just better, period.  I plan to incorporate this free-flowing, willy nilly, get the words down sort of writing for all my future rough drafts. I can fix the words later. I can’t add spontaneity after the fact.

None of the things I mention above are tools in the traditional sense of the word. I didn’t talk about any special software or a laptop (I don’t use either). What I mentioned are things that I feel have made me a better writer. With this list I feel like I am better prepared to create the stories my mind wants me to tell. I hope that something here will help you.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

HarperCollins, 2012

Under the Never Sky_coverI read this book a while ago, but since the last installment of the Under The Never Sky Trilogy launches January 28, I thought it was a good time to get this recommendation out there.

It’s no secret that I love a romance in my YA fiction. When the two would be young lovers REALLY dislike each other at the beginning, all the better. It’s sort of an Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy thing with me. I eat it up and can’t put it down. Friction, friction, friction. That’s exactly what we get from Veronica Rossi’s debut novel Under The Never Sky.

In a future Earth where the environment has become so hostile, people have to survive deadly aether storms by either hiding in rock structures or man-made pods. Aria is a pod dweller living a life of technological luxury. She’s forced to leave the safety of her home after she was involved in a pod breach scenario with the Head of Security’s son. Peregrine, or Perry, is an outsider known for his survival skills and unusual gifts. In desperation he breaks into one of the pods and inadvertently ends up saving Aria’s life. The two unlikely partners are forced to rely on one another because the other holds the key to what they each need.

Veronica Rossi tells this engaging adventure story in alternating voices. One chapter is from Aria’s point of view and the next will be from Perry’s. This gives us the readers a chance to see how each character’s feeling and personalities grow throughout. The author does an amazing job of pulling off this difficult task.

It’s definitely a book I would recommend you read. Please know that it is the beginning of a series, but this title stands on its own. Once you’ve entered this world I’m sure you’ll want to stick around for the encores.

Find out more about this book, the others in the series and the author Veronica Rossi on her website:

Categories: Book Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

All I Want for 2014: Post 1 of 6 Blog Hop for Writers

This post is the first of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. You can join too by clicking the image below, adding your name to the list, writing about the topics referenced and linking your blog to the listings. It sounds like a good way to share the writing bug and meet others who have the same infection inclination.


The first topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “My Personal Writing Goals for 2014.”

Hmmm. That one is sort of tricky for me. At the end of 2013 I promised myself (and you lot out there) that I wasn’t going to set any resolutions for the New Year. It only ever leads to disappointment when I fall short of my aspirations.

That being said, I do of course have long-term writing goals that I likely will not be able to finish by the twelve month mark (especially since this first month is almost toast). In my grand dream of writing I want to become an agent represented published young adult novel author.  Oh, I should throw in best-selling too. That’s not much to ask, is it? I mean, that sounds doable. Piece of cake, right?


Sarcasm aside, I know that I am not going to have a publishing genie come around and “POUF” me into being where I want to be by the time 2015 rolls around. I have to keep doing the work just like everyone else (no matter that my neighbor’s son works for the uncle of the boyfriend whose sister is an honest to goodness New York Publishing House editor’s assistant-in-training. I’m not one who’d exploit my connections *wink*).

What I feel I can accomplish this year is to get a handle on the two MS that I have in rough draft right now. I would also like to find some critique partners who I can really trust. There is also another novel swimming furiously around in my brain, so I’ll have to write that soon or it’s likely to give me whiplash. Finally, when I know that the first of those two previously mentioned MS is truly ready, I want to start querying. Not one minute before.

I hope those goals aren’t so lofty that I will feel like a failure if something gets muddled. I will say it again, I don’t like resolutions. The word even sounds pretentious (so does the word pretentious). This is not a race to December 31. This is a leisurely stroll through the wonders of writing a book. So just sit back and watch me saunter all over those goals!

Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Critique Partner Twitter Matchmaking Party!

CPMatch-daisies-BBThis is one of the best ideas ever. Well, it isn’t as good an idea as say the  smart phone or even a tossed salad, but it’s way up there.

Megan Grimit is hosting a Twitter Critique Partner Matchmaking Party on Monday January 20. (Begins singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match” from Fiddler On The Roof).

If you don’t have a Writing Critique Partner or would like another, this seems like a great chance to rub internet elbows with other folks who may be just perfect for you.

Here is what Megan has to say about the Party:


(Dramatic, no?)

Ok, so here’s what’s up:

(I’m going grade school party invite for this one)

What: A chance to pitch your book to a bunch of like minded writers

Where: Twitter, of course!

When: January 20th from 10am-10pm EST

Why: Because it’s going to be so much fun!

But you’re going to need a few things first.

1. A twitter pitch (140 characters or less to include the #CPMatch hashtag)

2. A blog button, should you choose to spread the word and get more people involved. (See below)

3. And a few labels:

For the purpose of easy identification, please include (abbreviated for your convenience) a little about your critiquing style.

(Note: These are for how you critique others work, not what you need for your own.)

Do you get straight to the point- STTP

Fan of the compliment sandwich- CS

Are you brutally honest- BH

How about a good copy editor- GCE

Or are you more of an attention to detail type: ATD

Maybe a critique partner beginner: CPB

Plot hole hunter: PHH

Do you give great big picture notes: BP

Are you a few of these things? Go ahead and list as many as will fit in your pitch.

Need an example of a #CPMatch pitch?

Trapped among bleeding walls, psychotic passengers, and manifested fears,

can Olivia escape with her life? YA #CPMatch CS ATD

And come the 20th, simply search through the feed. If something looks interesting, DM the person and get to know each other a little better. See what you have to offer each other.

And I can’t stress this enough: SWAP A SAMPLE CHAPTER

You’ll never know if you really mesh well unless you see some feedback first hand.

DISCLAIMER: CP Matchmaker is a baby. Not just a baby, a wrinkly, screaming newborn. If there’s something you’re unclear about, email me, and I’ll try to answer your questions. Have a few extra label ideas? Lemme have em! I am totally up for any suggestions here. I want this thing to be helpful to as many people as possible.

And on that note. SPREAD THE WORD. Please. Pretty please, with sugar on top and ice-cream in the middle.

Tweet about it. Blog about it. Tell your neighbor.

I can only help match the people who attend.

So again, please. Help me to help other writers find their CP soul mates like I have.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Twitter and A Short Story

I have stepped out of the bubble where I’ve been living and gotten a Twitter account. You can follow my tweets here: @LeanneRossRF

This step was a long time coming. I resisted as hard as I could. Then something snapped. I decided I wanted to see what was on the other side of that little bird icon.

What I found was highly unusual, yet satisfying. Random people say random things that have no bearing on what the other random people are saying. You can eavesdrop all you want to these mostly one-sided conversations.

I was sitting there quietly listening (reading)) for three days before I even said a thing. During that silent time I got four followers. They must have just sensed that I was going to say something completely profound.

This was my first tweet:

Right away one of my followers jumped ship.   ; )

Being on Twitter has been more than the satisfying I mentioned above. I began by following authors I really admire (Jeez, I wish Jane Austen and Harper Lee had Twitter Accounts). Reading the grocery list of things they talk about made me feel like I know them. Almost like we are really friends. That in itself could be considered creepy, but I don’t mean that I think they are going to invite me over to their house. I just mean that I feel like I am one of them. We are comrades. I am a writer just like they are (minus the book deals of course).

———————  ♥  ———————-

Now I want to take a moment to promote a short story currently available as a limited FREE pre-release from one of my IWSG buddies.  The FREE offer is only good through Saturday, January 18. It would be great if you lovely people out there would all rush to grab a copy for your Kindle. Her name is Chrys Fey and the short story is Hurricane Crimes.

The details, an excerpt and links follow. Enjoy!


Title: Hurricane Crimes

Author: Chrys Fey

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Format: eBook

Page Count: 51 (short story)

Official Release Date: March 5th 2014

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Book Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon Canada:


*Hurricane Crimes is a short story.*

After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he’s trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?


On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.

She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.

“The name of the—”

The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.

“Donovan Goldwyn.”

Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.

She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.

“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!

Chrys Fey’s debut, Hurricane Crimes, was published by The Wild Rose Press. Mid 2014, she will be coming out with her second romantic-suspense eBook, 30 Seconds. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

Author Links:
Google +:

Please leave a comment so I can share them with Chrys!

Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fortune Cookies & IWSG

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group is being hosted as always by Alex J. Cavanaugh. His co-hosts this month are Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster!  Thank you all for your effort.

Once you’ve read my post, please Click here  to “hop” to another blog on the list to support and share with others.

After a recent dinner at our favorite Chinese food restaurant, I got the following message in a fortune cookie.

Being told to keep true to the dreams of my youth got me thinking about the aspirations I had when I was younger. I can distinctly remember wanting to grow up to be three things: a teacher, a mom and Miss America.

Most of my adult life has been spent as a teacher, first in Environmental Education and then in a public school classroom. For me, teaching is one of the greatest things I have ever done. I am proud of what I accomplished there.

I have been a mom for more than a decade now. A moment ago I wrote that teaching is one of my greats…well, motherhood is my greatest. The person I am raising makes me delighted, worn out and in awe every day. Plus I get to marry the role of teacher with mom as I homeschool my girl.

As for Miss America…like Meatloaf says, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” I can’t remember exactly what put that notion into my head. I don’t even remembering watching the pageants on TV. I think it had something to do with a Miss America doll I was given once. I’ll just say I have never regretted not wearing that crown and sash.

Wanting to be a published writer came later than my childhood. The love of reading bloomed the year my mom bought me a boxed set of Judy Blume books for Christmas. For months you could find me holed up in my room poring over those stories. I was sure Mom had no idea what was in the books she had so innocently handed me. They spoke on subjects that I didn’t know people besides me were feeling. Blubber and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret changed my life. They made me see that the written word has power.

Writing followed the reading (isn’t that always the way?). In my youth I just didn’t think I had the patience, the ability or the intelligence to even hope I could be a “real” writer. I let life lead me in other directions. And the truth is that I may never be published (keeping my fingers crossed), but I am a “real” writer. Now I can’t image having another dream.

Because it is the new year and you lot at the IWSG have been so nice to me, my RESOLUTION is to visit every single blog on the the linky list. I know others do this each month. Alex J. Cavanaugh himself is so diligent I have no idea how he finds time to write his books.

Since joining the group this past  October I only seem to make it to a handful or so other blogs. But not this time. This time I will visit and comment on every blog that posts (still have my fingers crossed from earlier). Today that is 317 blogs. Please know that I will not be able to finish in one day (geez, I have a dentist appointment this Wednesday), but I will get it done.

Thanks for stopping by and your comments!


Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

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