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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Return of the Save the Cat Novel Workshop!

Attention, writers!!! Back by popular demand (I've always wanted to say that!), I'm doing another SAVE THE CAT Novel-Writing Beat Sheet Workshop!

I was thrilled when the kind people over at Blake Snyder Enterprises (publishers of the SAVE THE CAT books and software) asked me to teach another class. And of course, I said yes!

The workshop is two-days in Los Angeles, CA and takes place over the weekend of March 3rd and 4th.

All the details, including price and what you will learn can be found here:

And if you have absolutely NO idea what I'm talking about and are thinking to yourself, "Save the WHAT?", then let me fill you in:

I owe my entire novel-writing career to Save the Cat! A book series by the genius Blake Snyder about how to outline any story in the world. He calls his trusty "formula," the "Blake Snyder Beat Sheet", and it consists of 15 "beats" (or story points) that fit into pretty much any movie ever made. And I've adapted them to novels to help me outline all my books. Since starting to use the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, I've sold nine novels. Yep...NINE! I don't think that's a coincidence! Now, I never start writing another book until I've got my trusted 15 beats in place. 

And during this two-day workshop, I'm going to teach you exactly how I do it!

Basically it works like this: you come to the workshop with an idea for your next novel (all genres welcome!), the group  spends the next two days working through the 15 beats of each of your ideas, and by the end of the weekend, you have a sturdy (unbeatable!) outline to start writing your book with! 

Space is extremely limited. There are only SIX spots open for this class. So ACT FAST! 

Oh, and if you want to read the beat sheet for THE KARMA CLUB that I published on Blake Snyder's blog, click here!

Hope to see you there! Happy writing, writers!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Guest Star: Laurie Stolarz

It's time for another Guest Star! Our guest this week is Laurie Stolarz, author of the brand new release, Deadly Little Voices!


Camelia Hammond thought her powers of psychometry gave her only the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she’s started to hear voices. Cruel voices. Berating her, telling her how ugly she is, that she has no talent, and that she'd be better off dead. Camelia is terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history, has just moved into the house. As if all of that weren't torturing enough, Camelia's ex-boyfriend, Ben, for whom she still harbors feelings and who has similar psychometric abilities, has started seeing someone else. Even her closest friends, Kimmie and Wes, are unsure how to handle her erratic behavior.

With the line between reality and dream consistently blurred, Camelia turns to pottery to get a grip on her emotions. She begins sculpting a figure skater, only to receive frightening premonitions that someone's in danger. But who is the intended victim? And how can Camelia help that person when she’s on the brink of losing her own sanity?


“You’re just one big fat joke,” the voice hisses.

I cover my ears, but the insults keep coming.

“Just do it,” a voice whispers.  It’s followed by more voices, of different people.  They talk over each other and mingle together, producing one clear cut message – that I’m a waste of a life.  

I rock back and forth, trying to remain in control.  I smother my ears with the sheet.  Press my forehead against my knees.  Pound my heels into the floor, bracing myself for what comes next.

Meanwhile, there’s a drilling sensation inside my head; it pushes through the bones of my skull, and makes me think that I’m going crazy.

“Please,” I whisper.  More tears sting my eyes.  I shake my head, wondering if maybe I’m already dead, if maybe the voices are part of hell.
Check out the book trailers



From the author: “In keeping with Touch series tradition, in celebration of the release of DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, I’m launching my annual “winner-gets-to-have-a-minor-character-named-after-him/her” contest!  The grand prize winner will get to have a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE LESSONS, the fifth and final book in the TOUCH series named after him or her.  Other prizes include autographed book copies and the opportunity to have original work appear on my web site, Facebook, and Twitter pages.  OFFICIAL RULES and GUIDELINES for this contest are on my website, under NEWS.  ALL ENTRANTS MUST SIGN A RELEASE FORM, DOWNLOADABLE FROM WWW.LAURIESTOLARZ.COM/NEWS.html. Sign up for my e-Newsletter for updates on contest, book, and appearance info:

Praise for the TOUCH series

Texas Tayshas List, 2010 (DLS)

Children’s Book Council’s 2010 & 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year Nominee

Reluctant Reader Quick Pick Nominees, 2010 & 2011, American Library Association

Teens@Random, Favorite Book of 2009 (DLS)

Gold Star Award,, 2009 (DLL)

"...lively first-person narrative.... CW-worthy dialogue, quirky secondary characters, romance and suspense: a winning combination" - Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging, eerie tale about the darker side of relationships - when it becomes a matter of life and death to know who your friends are." - KLIATT

“The book was full of shocking surprises and revelations, earning the book five stars. This is a must-read for fans of romance, suspense, and mystery because it won't disappoint.” – Teens Read Too (DLL)

"Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master creator of suspense and romance. Her words cause the heart to pound, the palms to sweat, the spine to shiver, and the stomach to flutter. The trepidation born from the anonymous threats will make the pages fly, and the palpable tension between Camelia and Ben as they attempt to ignore their hearts causes the fire to burn hotter." -

Laurie’s Guilty Pleasures

Favorite snack: Popcorn with soy butter and lemon/pepper seasoning.
Touristy Trip: Paris.
Fashion addiction (at the moment): artfully torn jeans, tall boots, pretty scarves, and Michael Stars tees.
Dessert: Dark chocolate in almost any form - the darker the better.
Fast food: French fries at least once every few months (with lots of ketchup).
Beauty Binge: Aveda haircare products, which includes indulging in high-and/or-low-lights every eight weeks. Also, Caudalie skincare, Ineke perfume (Field Notes from Paris), Revitalash mascara, and Buxom Lips from Bare Escentuals.
Late-Night TV: Real Housewives of (wherever), Mad Fashion, Fashion Hunters.
Chick Flick: Never Been Kissed, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Juno, Green Card, Once, The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones Diary, Thelma & Louise, Mean Girls, Moonstruck, Clueless, Under the Tuscan Sun, and anything with John Cusack.
Nightlife: Pilates in front of the TV (a regular occurrence), answering e-mail (also regular), and dinner and/or a movie out with friends (happens far too rarely).
Cheap Thrill: Window-shopping, tabloid magazines, buying a new lip gloss, a tall cup of coffee from Peet's or Starbucks.
Ultimate Splurge: G2O Day Spa for a massage.

Other Random Info

Favorite Quote: Perseverance is key.
Favorite cuisine: Indian food – onion chutney, curried vegetables, and kashmir bread. I also love cheeseless pizza from Bertucci's.
Interests: Vegetarian cooking, holistic nutrition, aromatherapy.
Favorite Music: Adele, Fergie, James Blunt, Gavin Rossdale, Tori Amos, Sting, Sarah MacLachlin, Gwen Stefani, Black-eyed Peas.
Hobbies: Walking, napping, cooking, shopping, interior decorating.

How to bring your psychometric senses to fruition

By Camelia Hammond, main character, TOUCH series by Laurie Faria Stolarz

1. Make yourself comfortable in a place that feels “sacred” to you. For some it’s outside, surrounded by nature; for others it’s a favorite chair or surrounded by candles; for me, it’s wherever I’m doing pottery.
2. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, letting go of any stray or nervous thoughts.
3. Now, take an object in your hand. A good idea is to have someone give you something they’ve owned for a long time, i.e. a favorite bracelet or a set of keys.
4. Close your eyes again and concentrate on this object. Be aware of any thoughts or feelings that come about as a result of holding this object. Talk those ideas through, even if they seem silly or insignificant, but never make information up.

Remember, this takes practice and a bit of experimenting. The goal is to begin tuning in to your own inner awareness and your ability of perception. What often works for me is asking a question aloud, and then sculpting out the answer, using my power of touch in a creative and organic way.

Good Luck!

About the author: 

 Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series.  Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Revisions and Cruises and Holidays!

Hey all! Sorry for the LONG gap between blog posts. Things have been quite busy over here. I FINALLY finished the second draft of UNREMEMBERED, the first book in my upcoming sci-fi trilogy! I'm really excited about how the revision came out and now my fingers are TIGHTLY crossed that my editor is just as excited!

The hubby and I celebrated the completion of the manuscript by taking a quick last-minute cruise to the Caribbean. It was so amazing and JUST what I needed.

Here are few of my favorite pics from the cruise!

Hanging with our new friend, "Mickey" at the Roatan Marine Sciences Institute in Honduras!

Very excited to have my lovely SeaPass card!

Saying goodbye to Miami.

My "Statue of Liberty" pose, complete with napkin hat provided by Angel, our  kick-ass waiter!

Showing off my SUPER stylish motion sickness pressure point wristbands!

So, now I'm relaxing at the in-laws house in Dallas, getting ready for a BIG Texas Christmas! I hope everyone has a very happy holidays!

Peace on Earth,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Star: Kristina Springer

It's time for another Guest Star! Our guest this week is Kristina Springer, author of the brand new release, Just Your Average Princess!


Jamie Edwards has loved everything about growing up on a pumpkin patch, but ever since her cousin Milan Woods arrived, things have really stunk. Jamie can’t imagine it was easy for Milan to leave her life back in Los Angeles and move to Average, Illinois, population one thousand. But it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for her since (a) Milan’s drop-dead gorgeous; (b) she’s the daughter of two of Hollywood’s hottest film stars; (c) she’s captured the attention of everyone in town, including Danny, Jamie’s crush since forever; and (d) she’s about to steal the title of Pumpkin Princess right out from underneath Jamie!

Praise for Just Your Average Princess:
“This cheerful and heartwarming novel set in a small town will appeal to teens who enjoy YA chick lit.” 

“It was such a quick and cute read! The dialogue contained a generous amount of wit and snark. As a fan of both, it heightened my enjoyment  of Just Your Average Princess even more. I really enjoyed Kristina Springer’s style of writing as well as the cast of characters she created in Just Your Average Princess.”
--The Fiction Enthusiast

And here's my interview with the author, Kristina Springer 

Just Your Average Princess sounds like such a great concept. How did you come up with the idea?

I love pumpkin anything—candles, bread, you name it. I was staring at my pumpkin colored kitchen walls and the idea of a pumpkin patch setting popped into my mind. Then I thought what if you were a teen girl who grew up on an awesome touristy pumpkin patch. And I was off from there.

What kind of research did you have to do to bring Jamie’s story to life on the page?

I researched the heck out of pumpkin patches! I read everything I could on life as a pumpkin farmer (and family), what goes in to running a big patch and fall festival every year, and I went to visit pumpkin patches. I even went through my kids’ books on the different types of pumpkins for added details.

The Danny character in your book is very dreamy. I fell just a little bit in love when I read it. Is he inspired by anyone you know?

Yeah, pretty much every guy I ever had a crush on but was too afraid to tell. The more in love from afar I was with them the more perfect I thought they were. They could never do any wrong. Danny is sorta like that.

If there was one thing about Jamie’s life that you’d like to have in your own life, what would it be? What about the one thing about his life that you’d NEVER want to have?

I’d love to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere with lots of land. But I wouldn’t want to do all of the farm work that Jamie has to do! 

What are you working on next?

Right now my newest YA book, THE PAPARAZZI PROJECT, is on submission. This was a super fun book to write and I think any tabloid loving teen will love it.

About the author: 

Kristina Springer is also the author of The Espressologist, a Society of School Librarians International Book Award Honor Book, and My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours, which Meg Cabot calls, “Irresistible as a fluffy kitten. I laughed out loud and so will you!” You can visit her online at Kristina Springer, follow her on Twitter @TinaSpringer, or friend her on Facebook at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Star: Jeri Smith-Ready

It's time for another Guest Star! Our guest this week is Jeri Smith Ready, contributor to the brand new anthology, Enthralled


This collection of original paranormal YA short stories grew out of the 2010 Smart Chicks Kick It Tour, a multiauthor, multicity, author-organized tour of the US and Canada.  With it, these 16 authors hoped to bring a little taste of the Smart Chicks experience to readers everywhere.

About the story "BRIDGE"

In the world of the SHADE novels, everyone seventeen and under can see and hear ghosts, but no one else can.  So when Logan Keeley dies and his eighteen-year-old brother Mickey blames himself, they can’t ease each other’s pain or reconcile their rage.  Over the course of SHADE and SHIFT, Mickey sinks into a near-suicidal depression over Logan’s death. 

“Bridge” is the story, told in free verse, of how two brothers, with the help of a stranger, forge the chasm between them to find a lasting peace.

“A solid collection of stories...Sarah Rees Brennan's ‘Let's Get This Undead Show on the Road’ follows a vampire in a boy-band and stands out with its perfect blend of snark and sincerity. It's followed in a one-two punch by Jeri Smith-Ready's intense and earnest ‘Bridge.’...This collection is ideal as a sampler tray for paranormal readers looking to pick up new authors to follow or to further explore the fictional worlds they already know. 
Kirkus Reviews

A standout among the many paranormal-themed anthologies. 
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (Recommended review)

And here's my interview with the author, Jeri Smith-Ready

What was your favorite part of writing this book? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part was trying something different-writing in free verse. I've always loved reading it, in books by authors like Ellen Hopkins, Lisa Schroeder, and Jame Richards.  It drills down to bare emotions and forces the writer to choose precise words to express their meaning.  I loved creating rhythms and sounds to reinforce the feelings and thoughts Logan was trying to get across.

My least favorite part is my fear that I did it wrong.

As writers, we all love to procrastinate. What's your favorite procrastination activity?

Hands down: Twitter.  I've never been addicted to anything-food, video games, drugs-but I'm addicted to Twitter.  It's like my lifelife to other people.  I have this fear that if I leave it for a day, everyone will forget about me.  So it's more than an addiction, it's a full-blown existential crisis! ;-)

If your main character, Logan, could give one piece of advice to teenage girls, what would it be?

Since he died from a mixture of drugs and alcohol (not an overdose, but a deadly combination), he would definitely warn teens to stay away from that stuff.  Especially alcohol, because it makes you do stupid things (like take drugs).

As a guy talking to girls, he would say to watch out for "bad boys." They're so popular in YA literature, but in real life, they're not secretly good on the inside, waiting for the right girl to come along and redeem them.  They're just bad. Except Logan would use a harsher word than "bad."

If there was one thing about Logan's life that you'd like to have in your own life, what would it be? What about the one thing about his life that you'd NEVER want to have?

I would love to be a musician!  I've always dreamed of performing in a band-I guess that's why I love reading aloud so much.  And to have the close relationship he has with his siblings, both the ones in the band (Siobhan and Mickey) and his younger brother Dylan.  My brother and sister are eight and ten years older, and while we're close now, when I was growing up it was like having four parents.

I wouldn't want to live in a world with ghosts everywhere, even if I wasn't young enough to see them.  That would be really creepy.

What are you working on next?

I'm still revising/perfecting SHINE, the third part of the SHADE trilogy, which comes out May 1.  Then I'll write the final book in my adult vampire series, LUST FOR LIFE, which comes out next October.

Then I start my first YA contemporary, slated for a Fall 2013 release. We'll be announcing more details next month, but I can tell you this much: 1) it's about a boy and 2) I am very, very excited about it!

About the author:

JERI SMITH-READY has been writing fiction since the night she had her first double espresso. Her nine published books include two series for adults and the SHADE trilogy for teens, about a world of ghosts only the young can see, which concludes May 2012 with SHINE.  Like many of her characters, Jeri enjoys music, movies, and staying up very, very late.  Visit her at, or on Facebook ( or Twitter (, where she spends way too much time.  Logan himself can be found on Twitter @keeley_logan, as can his rival/”brother-in-pulp,” Zachary Moore (@moore_zachary).  The boys love to chat with each other and with their real-life fans.

Blog Description

Jessica Brody, author of the forthcoming novel, The Fidelity Files, explores the thorny topic of infidelity in modern-day society