How AHA moments changed A Study of Ash & Smoke

We all have little aha moments while writing. Those moments come to us either through brainstorming, talking to others about our work, feedback from betas or editors–heck, even the most random of places–but those aha moments spark the changes in the story that pull everything together. You could probably guess I had plenty of aha […]

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Let’s Write – The Structural Edit (Continued)

In the last post, we talked about the first two elements we must revise during the structural edit–plot and setting, and characters. Today, we’ll wrap up the last three. Flow and pace Conflict and resolution Voice and style Let’s get right to it. Flow and Pace I’ve grouped these two elements together, because most of […]

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Let’s Write – The Structural Edit

Welcome back to the self-editing miniseries. 🙂 It’s good to have you. Last time, we summarised the self-edit. Feel free to check that out if you want to brush up first. In the next two posts, we’ll be looking in-depth at the first big part of the self-edit–structural editing. (Quick note. I thought to keep […]

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What’s Happening with A Trial of Sparks & Kindling?

As you all know, my summer was a whirlwind of writing. I wrote the first draft of A Trial of Sparks & Kindling (and then some) in 7 weeks. It was intense. I’m still not fully human after that sprint. Now that I have one book out, I have a teeny tiny itty bitty fanbase, […]

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Let’s Write – Basics of Self-Editing

Something about the editing process has always intrigued me, and I’ve wanted to take an editing course or two for ages. Yet, I’ve always had an excuse why not to take that course. I sent off A Trial of Sparks & Kindling to my editor at the end of September, which meant I had nothing […]

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On Writing Sequels

Somebody recently asked me how I found the process of writing the sequel to A Study of Ash & Smoke. I finished A Trial of Sparks & Kindling at the end of August, after one of the most intense writing sprints of my life. Of course, this isn’t the first sequel I’ve ever written. Cringe. […]

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Wake Me Up When September Ends

Well, I’m back. I’m happy to inform you the two blog-free weeks haven’t been spent in vain, as the first draft of A Trial of Sparks & Kindling is officially done. Did that read first draft? What I really mean is first complete draft. You see, it’s the fifth version of the document on my […]

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My Writing Process (Updated)

So, I’m a published author now. (Look, Ma, I’m famous.) A Study of Ash & Smoke was written, then edited and produced by Skolion, and they wrote an article on how the book was made. In that article, we linked to this post I wrote in 2017, all about my writing process. It’s been just […]

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Major Character Death

I’ve recently read a few books where major characters died–and I’m talking viewpoint or main cast characters–only to be resurrected. Then, you know, they all live happily ever after. When this dead-but-resurrected-thing happened the first time, I was annoyed but okay. My mood elevated to disgruntled by the second time, then shot into the orbit […]

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My Favourite Character Trope: The Lovable Rogue

The way to hook this reader is easy. Write a character who is always dressed to impress, has the wildest charm and self-confidence, flirts with everyone, says things the protagonist thinks but would never utter, and is willing to take the quickest route to get the job done–even if that means doing morally questionable things. […]

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Ideas For Writers of Instagram

I’ve been trying to up my Instagram game. I stumbled into the whole thing because the Dragon Writers group on Facebook ran an Insta challenge back in January, and my good friend Tallulah encouraged me to keep going when the challenge ended. So, since January, I’ve tried my hand at Bookstagram. I really enjoy taking […]

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So You Got a Bad Review

Or maybe your beta reader/s had some less than ideal feedback. You’re freaking out, and don’t know how to handle this negative take on your book baby. I wrote a post about writing a review the other day, and I’ve also written something about being a beta reader and how to give feedback. Then, last […]

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Books That Inspire Me – The Black Magician Trilogy

I’ve never really talked about those books that inspire me, which is sad since there’s a lot of them. The obvious answer is Lord of the Rings. Tolkien is king, and the worlds created by the master are incredible. But to say I read and write fantasy because of Tolkien is wrong. First, before anything […]

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No Time For Burnout

Folks, after all the effort it took to get the book written, edited, revised, edited again (and again, three more times) then prepared for print, proofread, revised, and finally ready to publish–my mind has gone blank. The words, it seems, have fled me. It’s probably an oh-boy-my-book-is-published phenomenon. The project is finally out of my […]

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Published!

People of the world, it’s finally here. After five (official) drafts, almost five years, two titles, all the sweat and tears, extreme keyboard bashing, lots of swearing, squeezing in moments to write while also being a mother, general anxiety, crying because none of it worked, celebrating because it wasn’t so bad, threatening to toss the […]

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How to Review a Book

This post exists just because so many of my close family and friends have been asking about reviewing a specific book *cough, wink*. I figured I’d write something about reviewing, since I’m part of the indie writer community and so many of my friends have books coming out soon too. Most people don’t believe me […]

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A Study of Ash & Smoke Book Trailer

Friends, I had something else planned for today, but then this happened. My incredibly epic best friend Liani and her husband Franco took some time out of their hectic schedules to make this little video montage for Ash & Smoke. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how fabulous they are? I could sit […]

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Meet the Characters

I don’t know if you know this, but A Study of Ash & Smoke is officially available for pre-order. Can you even? I can’t even. Everything is happening so quickly now, it’s almost unreal after all the time I’ve spent working on this book. And let me tell you, it’s looking good. I’ve been assisted […]

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Should Authors Step Away Once the Novel is Complete?

I’d never heard of death of the author until a few months ago. It blipped on my radar because of this phenomenon where some authors make us privy to facts about their worlds or characters after the novel came out, and this new knowledge somehow changes the way we read the book. What is Death […]

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Why I Love Steampunk

Magic is an epic thing. I was so young when I got into high fantasy and kept coming back because of magic. More than anything, levitation fascinated me. I didn’t want to be able to hurl fireballs or cast things in a foot of ice, I wanted to fly, just by thinking it. Still do. […]

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On Writing Advice

The internet. A place of abundance. You can learn almost anything on YouTube or blogs. Unfortunately, many of these instructional sites will just as easily help you fail as help you learn. Others won’t set you up for failure, sure, but your growth process can still be stunted by bad advice. Which brings us to […]

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How to Support Indie Authors

Another huge bomb has dropped on the world of indie authors. If you haven’t heard about the #copypastecris disaster, this is where it started. The TL;DR version of what happened is this: Cristiane Serruya copied sections from over 50 romance books by over 30 authors and hired ghostwriters to thread those copied scenes together, then […]

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Cover Reveal

I was supposed to do this tomorrow, but who can wait until tomorrow when today is still here? I’m out of my mind with excitement, if you couldn’t tell. The incredible Tallulah from Covers by Tallulah joined forces with Cat Hellisen, a magician of endless talents, to make this lovely work of art. I wanted […]

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On Tropes

Ah, tropes. The building blocks of all the stories ever crafted. What’s a trope? Well, those themes and elements we find over and over in novels, movies, games, series. For example, a princess with a mean stepmother. A cop who joined the force because their father was killed in the line of duty. A fairy […]

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Strong Female Characters

There’s this thing all around the internet. Advice paired with a general outcry–write strong female characters. I’ve had multiple conversations about this in the last few weeks, and I thought we could continue chatting about it here. People want Strong Female Characters (from here on SFC) to the point where they come down really hard […]

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A New Title

It’s no secret that I have no idea what I’m doing. I know zero about writing movements, picking a trendy title, or putting something on a novel’s cover that will attract the right audience. Luckily I know people who know these things. 🙂 I had a Skype session with my wonderful editor and mentor, Nerine […]

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Let’s Write Confidence

It’s so good to be back in the swing of things with a writing post, especially one that adds to the Let’s Write Series. Now, I see you doing a double take there. Didn’t this used to be called the writing emotions series? It did, but then I had so many ideas to add to […]

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What’s Up With Your Writing?

Cross-country move aside, this has been at the top of the FAQ pile in my life lately. So let’s talk about if and what I’ve been writing today. The Physician’s Apprentice is in the later stages of production. It had initially been scheduled for release somewhere around September, but life happens, and it’s been delayed […]

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My Novel Planning Journey

It’s Preptober! I’m not participating in Nanowrimo, but I figured this post was long overdue anyway and could be relevant to those of you preparing for Nano. If you’re wondering about my previous Nanowrimo experience, I wrote a little piece on the Sophie Melissa Blog. She also asked some other authors for their ideas and […]

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Travel in Writing

Quick fact – the average horse and the average person travel about the same distance per day. As in, giving your hero a horse may not actually bring them to the epic battle faster than they’d have gotten there on foot. No, I didn’t make that up. Hollywood, gaming houses, and other media tell us […]

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Let’s Write Joy

If you’re here for the first time, I’ve been writing a series of posts on the body language of various emotions, so authors have a quick reference when they get stuck writing diverse characters. It’s so easy to fall into the same old repetitive action tags. I can’t tell you how many times I used […]

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Let’s Write Fear

From a fright when the spider lands on your arm, to being scared of the weird guy on the blind date, to full-blown terror when a dragon sticks its head out of the cave and you left your sword at home, fear is one of the most complex emotions that we’ve all had to deal […]

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Book Talk – The Physician’s Apprentice

EDIT – This Book’s title has changed since I wrote this post. The story is still the same, but the swanky new title is A Study of Ash & Smoke. I’ve never done a post discussing what this book is actually about, and I honestly don’t know how that’s happened. So, considering I’ve completed the […]

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Let’s Write Excitement and Nerves

Welcome to part three of the Writing Emotions series! You can check out the others here, and come back in two weeks for the next part. Today we’re chatting about nervousness and excitement. Since these amount to the same thing in terms of body language, I figured I’d group them. Of course, there are some […]

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Let’s Write Sadness

Picking up from where we left off, we’re talking about sadness or grief today. The topic was suggested to me by someone in the writing group I belong to on Facebook. Love was also suggested and I’ll definitely delve into that one, but I think it might need to be spread over more than one […]

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Let’s Write Anger

Friends. Writing is difficult. Especially emotions, which are the slightest bit important to make your characters come alive. At first, you really try to have your cast do interesting things, show interesting body language and have interesting expressions. But then, you slip into that easy repetition. He gave a look. She nodded. They shrugged. Or […]

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Blog News

It’s been a hot minute, I know. I fully intended to blog at you last week, but then the plague struck again. I tell you, we’ve been sick at least once a month since we arrived in Canada, lucky us. More on this in another post, though. I used the time away from the blog […]

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Just Publish it Already

We’re back to reality today, after a week-long break (if it can be called that, considering we were so sick we could barely move). Kayla’s been dropped off at school, which means it’s back to work for me too after a mini-break from writing. Well, writing The Physician’s Apprentice anyway – I’ve been sporadically working […]

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The Writer’s Supply Network

Hang around writer’s forums long enough and you’ll soon see that there are many fake service providers out there. People who claim they’ll help you polish your manuscript before the world sees it, but then disappear with your cash. And since so many people are self-publishing these days, the demand for indie service providers is […]

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Inadequate

You know what I mean. That so-out-of-my-depth feeling that hits us all from time to time. Like you’ve brought a football to a ping pong match and you’re going to smash your paddle to smithereens with your first serve. (Where are these sports metaphors even coming from?) Lately, this has been my reality. You’ve seen the trend in […]

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December/January Writing Update

The last few weeks of my life have been intense. Not in the way you’d probably picture intense, because most of my time was spent in front of the screen, typing and reading aloud what I’ve typed, over and over and over. To my neighbour on the left, despite the number of times you’ve seen me […]

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Blank

Today is one of those days where blank pages intimidate me, but somehow, no matter how fervently my fingers slam against the keyboard, the words just aren’t up to standard. These are also the days where everything is more interesting than the screen, from the single leaf that managed to escape being covered with snow to […]

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Neekerbreekers

I love Tolkien. I’ve loved his work since I first discovered his stories when I was about fourteen. After that first time I broke the spine of The Fellowship of the Ring, I’ve read LOTR every year (sometimes more than once a year) until around 2013 when Kayla was born. Which reminds me, you know. […]

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To Say or Not to Say

So you’re a writer. Welcome to the club, please pick your t-shirt from the pile and have a seat. You’ve probably been around the interwebs and have no doubt found an article or two on the topic of said. You know, dialogue tags. There are two firm groups of thought here. Okay, okay – two […]

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August Writing Update

It’s already September, I know. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. 🙂 I certainly didn’t think I’d be doing this with all the insanity going on in my life right now, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been writing something amid the chaos! My good friend Tallulah and I just finished a […]

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Three Steps to Deep Point of View

I’m by no means an expert on the topic, just a noob who’s learned a thing or two from writers much more experienced than I, willing to share their knowledge. These are three little things any writer could use to hone their craft – some so obvious, it’s blinding. Who felt like an idiot after […]

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Writing Update

You were supposed to see this post at the end of July, I know. Apologies. I’m more scatterbrained than usual lately and I forgot. But better late than never, right? The writing has been going exceptionally well. After The Great Word Draught of 2017, I never imagined I’d be writing so much, especially now that The […]

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So You’re a Beta Reader

This post, born in the darkest corners of my mind, is probably a direct result of my own novel being in the hands of a group of beta readers. Right now, I’m in that I-can’t-write-at-all-and-I-totally-suck-phase. Let’s talk about giving good crit. As if I’m the expert here. Bah. But, having been on the receiving end […]

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Write by the Rules

I read an article this morning about why you should write romance novels only in third person point of view. In the past few weeks, a few people made comments on the writer’s groups I belong to about writing in a certain point of view and being criticised for their choice. I gag a little in […]

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My Writing Process

Writing about writing is tricky. People will often try to sell their way as the only way, but no art is as black and white as that. I’m not talking about the rules of grammar and style, I’ve seen firsthand how those will make or break a novel. Leave out the rules, and your story […]

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Writing, as Taught by Kids’ TV Shows

A year or so ago, I read a writing exercise idea on a blog that changed the way I view watching TV. The blogger in question would make notes of, then dissect the episode she was watching. She’d figure out which plot points worked, which didn’t, where the dialogue fell flat, where it rocked, and […]

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Noob Writers Unite

I had a conversation about writing with my cousin, as we often do. Afterwards, I kept thinking how great it would have been if I’d known which mistakes to avoid when I just started writing. Yes, I could have googled something stupid, like how to write a novel. Today, the ‘duh’ is weighty enough to […]

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Help a Blogger Out

Here’s an interesting turn of events. I don’t know what to blog about. At first, I couldn’t understand what the hell this caused this sluggishness. Sure, blogging is difficult sometimes. I’ve been doing this for six years and I know ideas dry up at some point. That’s why the blog changed its direction even before […]

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Uninspired

Some days, it’s difficult to get inspired. I’m having one of those days. I talked about this problem on Friday too, so you’ll know about my predicament if you’ve been around the blog. The recap version? Today, I have no idea what to blog about and I don’t have the drive to put in any real effort. […]

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How’s the Writing Going?

Everything is quiet again. Back to normal. It’s been a month since our visitors left (I can’t even) and, with the vacation posts out of the way, I can’t ignore the elephant in the room anymore. Too many people have been asking.

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Revising x 3 (Mini Q&A)

At this stage, I’m unable to think straight, but I’ve had some questions from friends and family and I want to answer them. Question 1 – How’s it going, Yolandie? *nervous laughter* Added to the fact that I’m revising like a madwoman, it’s been an icky week on the sleep scale. AKA, I’m not getting […]

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A Quick Update

Nothing feels real in my life anymore until I share it here. ◄ That’s healthy. 😛 I had some awesome news this week and I want to share it with you. You know, so it becomes real. I belong to a writer’s group and they’re releasing an anthology later this year. Submissions opened November 2016, […]

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Stuff for Writers

When you tell people you’re writing a novel, they’ll probably react in one of three ways. 1) You’re insane. 2) Ooh, that’s cool! 3) You know, I’ve always wanted to write a novel (this, by the way, is said with the greatest frequency). This post is for everyone in the third group. I’ve been following […]

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Hello February

Wel, lookie here. A brand new month. I’ve been gone for a week, I know. A mini-plague descended on my house and we’ve been recovering. Meanwhile, I’ve also been up to my eyebrows in edits. Even sick, obsessive nature won’t let me go. It’s a blessing and a curse. This is going to be a […]

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Soldier Through It

The thing is, it’s tough sometimes. Last year was a wild one, and not always in the good sense. Everybody I know struggled. We struggled. And I don’t just mean with little stuff, though there was some of that. People were sick, some died, some lost or quit their jobs, families split up and hearts […]

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Behind the Scenes

Hi there, folks! I’m not doing the Story Cube thing today, because I have some admin to share with you. Nothing serious! But some stuff has been going on behind the scenes, and I want to fill you in. Somewhere in the last few months, I mentioned on Facebook, Twitter and Google + that I’ve […]

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Late!

Hello there, folks. I’m honestly just popping in to say that today’s post will be delayed. I’m sorry about this, the past few days have gotten away from me. I’ll resume posting on Wednesday. Have a good one! Yolandie

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The Threes

My kid will turn three in under a week, can you believe it? I struggle to. Kayla is a happy, sweet little person. She loves to cuddle and kiss and say ‘I love you, Mama’, which obviously melts my heart. She and I have a blast together, and that’s a good thing, considering she’s home […]

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To Be Proud

When I first started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t, but I’m growing. If there’s one thing in life I hate, it’s stagnating. I’ve mentioned this before. Where writing is concerned, I really think I have grown and I try to learn more with every word squeezed out through […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 10

Hi there! I’m happy to report that I’ve broken the 10,000 word mark for this week. Coming up for air to type this post feels strange, as if I’m going to be struck by lightning for doing anything other than work on my book. This isn’t even really coming up for air, because I’M STILL […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 9

Hello there. You may have noticed that things look a little different here. This is due to a bout of website-altering creativity that took me by surprise during the week. I was never completely satisfied with the way things looked on the website, but I’m glad to report that I feel a lot better about […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 8

Hello there. So, this is week 8 of the #storycubechallenge. Once again, I left my story to the last possible moment. I don’t know why I do this to myself, but in my defence, it was a crazy week with a sick 2-year old. At least I wrote something. I’m also working on a short […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 7

Hello there, friends! So, this is week 7 of the #storycubechallenge already. This week, I actually wrote something. Yeehaw for schedules. The cubes for this story certainly made more sense to me than those ones did last week. 😛 If you’re new to this, here’s where it all started. I also have a Pinterest board […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 6

Hi there. So, this week I didn’t manage to get a story from week 5’s cubes. I tried, but I couldn’t connect the dots there. I think it was the alien. 🙂 I’ll try again next time. Here’s the hero for week 6 :

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NaNo – Here we go again

Yes, indeedy. It’s almost that time again. Last year, my Nanowrimo experience wasn’t so great (I seem to have misplaced the post where I updated you on that). To be fair, I had just gone through a bunch of stuff, including finding a new editor and living through one of the lowest points since moving […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 5

You’re not going to believe this. This week, I actually wrote the story cube story on Monday. No, not so late last night that I couldn’t focus on the keyboard anymore, on MONDAY. What’s happening? I feel like I don’t know myself anymore. I don’t want to jinx everything by saying that writing all of […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 4

Hello there. It’s that time of the week again! I seriously hope someone out there is doing this challenge with me, because I don’t have anyone to complain to. 😛 It’s challenging, that’s for sure. But it’s also kind of fun. It is getting easier to get the story going, once I have a basic […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 3

Why do weeks move so quickly when you’re supposed to be writing for a story challenge you created yourself? I find myself doing anything BUT working on the cubes, until the night before. I really need to time manage better and procrastinate less. In the words of my friend Charlie Brown. Good. Grief. Before I […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 2

Well, that was more interesting than I anticipated… Here we are in week two of the story cube challenge. I’ll just say that this thing lived up to it’s name. Making a story out of pictures was challenging, but heck, I did it! Woot woot! Did you? Please link me to your story, I’d love […]

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Story Cube Challenge – Week 1

This year for my birthday, I wanted something different. When Jan spotted Rory’s Story Cubes on Amazon, I was immediately sold. You think I’m mad, don’t you? What would a 31-year-old mom want with story cubes? Well, inspiration. I find, as a writer, that the writing prompts online are few and far between, and the […]

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Writing and Music

I find it kind of weird that the question I’m asked most often about writing is what I listen to when I write. Sure, this question leads to a variety of other questions, but a lot of the time, conversations about writing are started with this one. What do I listen to when I write? […]

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Approach With Caution…

You’re wondering where I am. I can hear you think it like a shout off a mountaintop. 🙂 This image below about sums it up. In my world, ‘lunch’ can be replaced by coffee. Because, you know, coffee has replaced blood in my veins.

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Sorry

Yes, I’ve been MIA this week. Lemme tell you something. Writer Yolandie is obsessive to a fault. I’ve been doing little else than write or work on stuff related to my novel (except for this fanfic that pulled me off course for a moment) and I’m more than a little anxious to get back to […]

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Write What You Know…

I’ve been following a lot of writing coaches, editors and authors via social media and blogs lately, and I’ve learned a TON about writing. The things to avoid, to embrace and habits to form to become a better writer have really impacted me. It also scares me. When I sit down to write now, I’m […]

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It’s Chaotic

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for their condolences and beautiful words concerning my grandmother. If you missed it, my gran passed away last week. It wasn’t a surprise, because she was sick for a long time before she passed. It still hurts though. I wrote a tribute to my grandma here. Since […]

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Current Chaos – The Editing Game

So, it’s finally happened. I got the notes back from my editor a while ago and since then, only writing has been on my mind. Let me first fill you in. I went through a bit of a bad patch last year with an editor. Not because of bad critique, but because of the complete […]

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Confessions of a Writing Addict

I’m obsessive. Very, very obsessive. It’s just the way I’m wired. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll probably recall other instances where I’ve admitted to this flaw in my personality. Maybe it isn’t always a flaw, but still. Just the other day, I told you that my new novel is done. I […]

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