Lisa Hall-Wilson

Deep POV – Using Your Pain to Become a Better Writer

I have another special guest post for you today. This time my good friend and writing partner Lisa Hall-Wilson is here to talk to you about deep POV and how you can channel your pain into becoming a better writer.

Lisa Hall-WilsonIn case you don’t know Lisa, let me introduce you a little bit. Lisa is a freelance journalist who works for the faith-based market. Here’s how she describes herself and why she writes:

Growing up, I was a small, shadow-of-a-girl who lived with the characters in my books and hid from the world. Life taught me that sometimes bad things happen, sometimes the bully wins, and no one hears you no matter how loud you scream. But through my stories I had a voice – and people listened. As an adult, the faith I discovered in my teens gave me the courage to face my fears, stomp on the pretenses, and use my writing to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,’ to find the authentic, the real, the heart-of-the-matter.

Take it away, Lisa!


Deep POV – Using Your Pain to Become a Better Writer

By Lisa Hall-Wilson

Deep POV is one of my favorite writing techniques. Also known as a limited or close point of view, your reader experiences the story right alongside the character telling the story.

Deep POV is emotive, creates a sense of immediacy, and can be written in either past or present tense. The reader is only privy to what the point of view character (POVC) knows, sees, senses, understands, and is aware of. The reader experiences the story through that character, including their worldview, opinions, prejudices, past experiences, education, social class, economic class, family status, hopes, and failures.

Actors have a lot to teach us about writing in this style. Method acting is a technique used by actors to recreate in themselves the thoughts and feelings of the characters they are portraying.

Some method actors take it further than others. Heath Ledger locked himself in an apartment for a month to play The Joker. Jack Nicholson reportedly underwent electroshock therapy for his role in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Viggo Mortensen was known to have lived in his Aragorn costume off set, carried around the sword, and personally cared for his character’s horse. Daniel Day-Lewis lived in the woods for six months hunting and shooting and trapping to prepare for his role in The Last of the Mohicans.

Do writers need to be this in-depth? I don’t know – but we can certainly learn a thing or two from the idea of method acting. I want my characters to leap off the page; be so real, you could imagine meeting this person in real life. One way to do that is make each character you.

Our characters are capable of the same kinds of emotional depth we are, so I search for some way to relate to each of my POV characters. What experience do I have in common with them? How did that make me feel?

Focus on that common experience or emotion you have with a character. Dig deep – go there – and let that pain, heartache, loss, resonate inside your character too. Whether or not you’ve personally experienced whatever extreme your character is living through, the base emotions you’re drawing from are the same across the human experience.

A teen being forced to choose between parents in a divorce. My parents are still married so I’ve never lived this, but I know what it’s like to desperately want to avoid hurting or disappointing someone I love. I know what it’s like to feel like I lose no matter what choice I make.

A firefighter who’s discovered his wife is in an adulterous relationship. Obviously, I’m not a man, nor have I faced this kind of situation. However, I understand being blindsided by betrayal. I understand the singular focus of just putting one foot in front of the other because I don’t know what else to do.

A battered mother finally makes a choice to leave an abusive husband. I understand what it’s like to talk yourself into and out of a decision a thousand times. I understand doing something for the sake of someone you love, because you don’t think enough of yourself to do it for your own sake. I understand what giving up on something really important feels like, something you love.

Write what you know. Don’t waste your pain!

Will writing in deep POV, method-writing, change you? It will absolutely make your writing better, and you’ll always learn something new about yourself. Whatever you learn about yourself in the process, you’ll carry with you into your next novel.

Interested in more ways to improve your writing? Deep Point of View is now available! (You might also want to check out Internal Dialogue or Showing and Telling in Fiction.)

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Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make on Facebook and How to Avoid Them

Lisa Hall-WilsonI have a very special guest to introduce to you today. My long-time friend, critique partner, and co-writer on my Amazon novel is here to talk to you about Facebook.

Lisa Hall-Wilson is passionate about making the world a better place one get-off-your-butt-and-do-something article at a time. She’s a call-it-as-she-sees-it truth teller and freelance writer, history nut, and dog-owning cat lover. She writes dark fantasy, makes Facebook a happy place for writers, and blogs Through The Fire because no experience is wasted when you share it to help others. She tweets, but Facebook is where she hangs out (

Take it away, Lisa…


I can’t believe I’ve never guest-posted here before. *waves* If you hang out with Marcy at all, you know she loves Twitter. Twitter is her happy place. If I need to get a message to Marcy fast, I send her a Tweet. Facebook is my happy place.

How are your Facebook manners?

There are a number of unwritten rules about using Facebook to build author platform that writers indiscriminately break and abuse all the time. And they’re not trying to be rude, they just don’t know–they’ve been listening to traditional marketers, but I want to suggest a different way. A lot of the methods authors use to sell their books on Facebook feel like spam, are annoying, and aren’t effective. Here are my top 5 Facebook etiquette rules writers break (and yes, these have all been done to me):

#5 – Sending out mass private messages to all of your friends to announce your new book. After all 300 of your friends have congratulated you on your book release, your ego is puffed up and I’m ready to hurt somebody because my message box has exploded. If people have notifications from Facebook sent to their email, you’ve also inundated their email as well. And the only thing they can do is leave the conversation, and that action is made visible to everyone. Seriously, this is what a status update is for.

But not all my friends will see that status update. No, but here’s the reality. Not all of your friends WANT to read your book. Hard to believe, I know. Spamming them won’t help your cause.

#4 – Posting the same link to your Amazon page over and over. The squeaky wheel does not get the grease–they get ignored. Create a custom tab, write blog posts that offer value, and mention your book at the bottom of post. Facebook is not a great place to sell books. For writers, Facebook offers the most value in driving traffic to a blog or website, in building brand awareness, and creating community/tribe.

#3 – Requesting to be added as a friend indiscriminately. Privacy is super important to Facebook users, and getting friend requests from people they’ve barely connected with online is akin to what happened to poor Bilbo in The Hobbit when he opened the door and dwarves kept falling uninvited into his quiet, ordered, everything-makes-sense life.

If you send a friend request to someone who doesn’t have any, or many, mutual friends, Facebook will ask if they know you. They’ll honestly say they don’t know you, and you’ll be reported for spam, because to everyone on Facebook who isn’t a writer, friends are people they’ve met face to face. And I get how extroverts see this as just being friendly, but consider Facebook your shy, has-five-locks-on-the-front-door neighbor. Build a relationship first in groups, on blogs, and on public status updates. Don’t be that first date who suddenly grows an extra pair of hands on the dance floor.

And you know what? No one wants to feel like they’ve been friended just so you can sell them something. They’re looking for genuine, authentic interactions.

#2 – Creating a fake event about your book, and then force-inviting all your friends. It doesn’t really matter how subtle or crafty you think you’re being. It’s transparent what’s actually going on, and it’s spam. Force-inviting all your friends to someone else’s fake book event is also spam (and yes, this has also happened to me).

But wait, it gets worse. Events with no end date are my personal pet peeve because the spam just keeps coming…forever. Keeping those who have declined visible isn’t cool. You can’t even sneak out the back door to avoid hurting feelings. Traditional marketing says this is how you promote an event. Facebook users call this intrusive, annoying, and report you for spam. I get force-invited to fake events weekly. WEEKLY!

#1 – Posting too often. Blitz posting on Facebook is like having dinner with friends and there’s that one guy who keeps interrupting everybody and monopolizing the conversation. Yeah, annoying, right? How long before you just ignore them? Or worse, you avoid gatherings where that guy will be. Don’t be that guy. Sharing photos seems to be the worst offender, but it happens with status updates too.

Sharing too frequently monopolizes newsfeeds and hurts your Edgerank. When you post a dozen photos in a short period of time and you get 3 likes on each photo, it is less effective than if you posted the best one and got two dozen likes and comments. You’re undercutting your Edgerank.

Posting too often is a one-way highway to Facebook hinterland. Once you’ve been hidden, how do you reach that person and let them know you’ve reformed your ways? You can’t.

What other annoying marketing ploys do writers use on Facebook?

I’m doing a Facebook blitz this week to help promote my six-week class, Using Facebook to Build Author Platform. Yesterday I was on Jenny Hansen’s More Cowbell blog posting about how to drive more traffic to your blog with Facebook, and tomorrow I’m over at Jami Gold’s blog talking about whether you should have a page or use your profile to build platform.

As thanks for hanging out, I’m giving away a free written critique of a Facebook author/writer page to one commenter on each blog. Leave a comment on each blog to triple your chances of winning! Winners will be selected on Friday.

Marcy here again: I hope you’ll check out the newly released mini-books in my Busy Writer’s Guides series–Strong Female Characters and How to Write Faster–both currently available for 99 cents.

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Sneak Peek at The Amazon Heir

Sneak Peek The Next Big ThingBack in August, Debra Kristi tagged me in The Next Big Thing, where authors are supposed to answer a series of interview questions on the book they’re currently working on. I made a strategic choice to hold off until now to share because I wanted to tell you about the book that Lisa Hall-Wilson and I are finally bringing to a close. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months.

What is the working title of your book?

The Amazon Heir

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the summer of 2010, Lisa approached me wanting to co-write a novel and hooked me with the question, “What if the Arthurian legends originated not in Britain but near the Black Sea from an Amazon warrior’s pursuit of respect and a barbarian Scythe’s spiritual quest?”

Historians C. Scott Littleton and Linda Malcor wrote a non-fiction book From Scythia to Camelot, in which they proposed that the core of the Arthurian and Holy Grail traditions didn’t actually come from Celtic mythology. They came from the folklore of the peoples of ancient Scythia (what is now the South Russian and Ukrainian steppes) known as the Sarmatians.

According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the Sarmatians rose out of the pairing of Amazon mothers and Scythian fathers. Hundreds of years later, when the Romans defeated the Sarmatian cavalry and forced them to serve at Hadrian’s Wall, the Sarmatians took their folklore to Britain with them. The evidence was quite compelling.

We’ve developed the idea from that kernel together.

What genre does your book fall under?

We’re calling it historical fantasy.

The Scythians were a real historical society, and we’ve done our best to render them accurately based on our research. The Amazons are myth. The theory is that the legends of the Amazons arose among the Greeks because Sarmatian women fought alongside the men (and there’s archeological evidence that bears this out).

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t thought about it. If Lisa stops by, perhaps she’ll chime in down in the comments for who she saw in the roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Our catchy logline is Xena warrior princess meets Game of Thrones.

Zerynthia is an Amazon princess with more man-kills than any other. Tradition says that to take her mother’s throne she needs a female heir from a prince of Scythia, a nation feared by even the Greeks. If she doesn’t take her mother’s throne, the law condemns her family to death.

Kaduis, heir to a king with too many sons, is ordered by his father not to come home without a son from Zerynthia, but Kaduis’ secret faith in a foreign god forbids him from bedding a woman who isn’t his wife and carries a death sentence if discovered. And Amazons don’t marry.

When Kaduis’ brother devises a plot to cast doubt on the paternity of their child, the existence of both their societies is threatened.

He needs a son, she needs a daughter, only one can succeed, and time is running out.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Stay tuned. We’ll be making an announcement soon.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

We finished the first draft in about five months. We’ve on revision number three.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

We’ve struggled with this question. We’re coming at the Arthurian legends from an entirely new angle, and there are very few novels on the market about Amazons. We’re also looking to push the fantasy genre a bit by keeping our book fast-paced.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Zerynthia is notoriously known as the Lady of the Lake for rising from the water after defeat in her first battle to kill the enemy king—earning her acclaim among men and disgrace among the Amazons. In the Arthurian legends, the Lady of the Lake is the one who is said to have given Arthur Excaliber and to have raised Lancelot when his parents died. She’s depicted as always wearing white and is associated with the goddess Artemis and the protection of virginity. We had a lot of fun in the book putting new twists on those elements.

Had you heard of the Amazons and Scythians before?

Image Credit: Martin Boulanger via Stock.Xchnge

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Zerynthia the Warrior My Little Pony

I know this isn’t a normal day for me to post, but I’m entering Rebecca Enzor’s PonyFest12 with a My Little Pony inspired by Zerynthia, the Amazon princess in The Amazon Heir, my co-written novel with Lisa Hall-Wilson.

I’m not an artist, so I had to use a pony creator and Paint to come up with this.

Zerynthia The Amazon Heir

Pony Zerynthia’s eyes are blue and her hair is a golden copper color like the character in our novel, and her mane is tied back in a warrior’s tail. The crimson markings represent the tattoos for each man she’s killed. Her unicorn’s horn stands in place of her spear, and I gave her the symbol of the bow and arrow the Amazons were so famous for. She might look fierce, but inside she feels an intense need to prove herself and to be loved.

The Amazon Heir is Xena Warrior Princess meets Game of Thrones.

As a special treat, here’s a sneak peak at Zerynthia’s grand entrance into The Amazon Heir.

A tattoo for each man she’d killed decorated Zerynthia’s back, left shoulder, and upper arm.

She pushed against the familiar red binding constricting her breasts and tightened the tie fastening her hair in a warrior’s tail down her back. One final achievement stood between her and the throne—a daughter born from Scythian seed. Everything rested on winning in this final round of bull-leaping and earning the right to have her daughter credited with the blood of their fiercest allies.

If you want to help me win a package of books along with an actual custom My Little Pony based on this design, please vote for Zerynthia from October 5th through 13th on Becca’s blog. (I’ll be reminding you because I really want to win.) You can also see the other entrants by clicking the link at the beginning of the post and scrolling down to the links in the comments.

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The Ending Debate: Make Mine Hopeful

Ending of FictionBilbo: What about helping me with my book, and making a start on the next? Have you thought of an ending?
Frodo: Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.
Bilbo: Oh, that won’t do! Books ought to have good endings. How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?
Frodo: It will do well, if it ever came to that.
Sam: Ah! And where will they live? That’s what I often wonder.”
—J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

How do you want the stories you read or the movies you watch to end? Should they always end happy? Is it alright if the end is sad? Is there something in between?

This week, I’m taking part in a cross-blog debate about endings.

On Monday, Lisa Hall-Wilson gave the reasons she wants her endings to be 100% realistic (even if that means they’re sad), and on Tuesday, Melinda VanLone explained why she doesn’t just think happy endings are the best way—she thinks they’re the only way. Today I’m picking up the debate.

I want my endings, both the ones I read and the ones I write, to be hopeful.

People don’t need to be shown more sadness and death and criminals escaping, never to be caught, “because that’s real life.” If I wanted that, I could watch the news, sit with a struggling friend, or volunteer at a food bank or cancer hospice. I don’t need a novel to tell me that sometimes things are dark and brutal. The world tells me that enough already.

When life seems to be falling to pieces, we need someone to tell us about how they’ve come through a rough time like this and things got better, or how they learned and grew through the experience, or how, in the end, their situation turned out to be for the best. We need them to remind us that even when we have no control over what’s going on around us, we still have control over ourselves, our reactions, and our emotions. We need them to remind us not to give up.

Because that’s just as real and much more powerful. People need hope.

Hopeful endings show life the way it is, but through them, we also make a choice about how we want to look at life. And about how we want to live it.

Rain is just rain. It’s all about what we do with it that counts.

When it rains on a day you had plans, the person who wants 100% realism tells you about how their plans were ruined. They talk about how damp, cold, and depressing things were. They leave you with tears in your eyes and a knot in your gut. It sucks. That’s life.

A person who only believes in happy endings pretends that the rain didn’t matter. Who cares that it rained? It didn’t really ruin anything. In fact, I didn’t really want to go anyway.

A hopeful ending acknowledges the disappointment in the ruined plans, it mourns for them, but then it grabs an umbrella and goes out and jumps in the puddles. It tosses the umbrella aside, turns a face up to the drops, and spins like a whirling dervish. And when it finishes, it goes inside to make a mug of hot chocolate, get some dry clothes, and create fresh plans for a new day. It moves forward.

You can focus on how sad it is that it rained. You can ignore the rain. Or you can hope for the rain to clear and find a way to make the best of it if it doesn’t.

Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly, is a movie with a hopeful ending. Real Steel takes place in the future where robot boxing has replaced human boxing. Jackman’s character Charlie is an absentee father who ends up taking care of his eleven-year-old son during the worst time of Charlie’s life, when his last robot has been destroyed and he’s in enough debt that people want to kill him. The woman he loves won’t have anything to do with him because he’s immature and irresponsible, and Charlie doesn’t want anything to do with his son.

Charlie and his son pull a “sparring bot” from the junk yard and restore it just to earn a few hundred dollars in throwaway matches. At least, that’s Charlie’s plan. His son has a different idea. By the end of the movie, they’re taking on the top robot fighter in the world. Even though they don’t win, they come close.

Things aren’t unrealistically perfect at the end of the movie. Charlie doesn’t get back the custody he already signed away to his son’s aunt. They didn’t win the match. There’s no wedding or even proposal between Charlie and the woman he loves.

But you know that everything is going to be okay. Charlie’s a better man than he was when the movie began. He and his son reconcile, and he ends up with the woman he loves. You know that with all the endorsements and other support they receive, their robot will succeed the next time.

We got to see the value in love and sacrifice. We got to see courage and determination, honor and duty. We got to learn about the consequences of actions both good and bad. And we got to do it in a way that made us feel like the fight was worth it.   

Because learning about love and courage and honor mean nothing if you walk away feeling sad and defeated and like there’s sometimes nothing we can do. Lessons of love and courage and honor aren’t enough on their own. We need to also be inspired to act on them because we believe that we have a chance of success. That’s what a hopeful ending does.

Hopeful endings make you think just as much as a “100% realistic ending” where the bad guy wins and the good guy loses it all. They’re no less honest and no less true. What makes us assume a sad ending is the only true and real one? In a story, we have the ultimate control. We choose. Why not show how hard life can be and then show a character triumphing over it? Why not show people how they can make their lives better if they refuse to give up? How bullies only win if we let them? How they can choose to be happier and choose to make a difference?

Those are the stories I want to tell because those are the stories I want to live.

Join the four of us for a special Twitter chat about endings on Friday, June 29, at 5:00 pm EDT using the hashtag #storyend. And make sure you stop by Diane Capri’s blog tomorrow for her post “The Ending Debate: Make Mine Multiple.”

What’s one ending (book or movie) that you’ve always wished you could change? What would you have changed about it?

Interested in more ways to improve your writing? Grammar for Fiction Writers is now available from Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords. (You might also be interested in checking out Showing and Telling in Fiction or Dialogue: A Busy Writer’s Guide.)

All three books are available in print and ebook forms.

Photo Credit: Renate Kalloch (obtained via

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Why I’m Changing Up My Blog

Marcy Kennedy's BlogI’ll be making some changes to my blogging schedule starting April 1, 2012.

As many of you already know, I think Kristen Lamb and her WANA (We Are Not Alone) methods are the smart road for writers to take when it comes to balancing the load of writing and platform building while still making time to live your life.

In her post Sacred Cow Tipping – More Common Blogging Misconceptions, Kristen points out two pitfalls we often fall into as new writer-bloggers. We feel we need to have separate blogs for separate topics and we give all our energy to a group blog at the expense of our own. I did both these things, and I was burning myself out, leaving little time for my novel or my life away from my computer.

Lisa Hall-Wilson and I have absolutely loved the year and a half we gave to Girls With Pens, and we don’t regret a moment of it. But it’s time for us to take the next step. We will no longer be blogging at Girls With Pens. (We’re also not getting rid of it entirely—read on.)

So with Girls With Pens shutting down, instead of posting here Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (which I have been), I’ll be posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Instead of having separate blogs for separate topics, I’ll be loosely grouping my topics into days. If you’re only interested in one of the topics, I won’t be offended if you ignore the others 🙂

Mondays will be where fantasy, science fiction, and real life collide in posts like Who’s Your Unicorn and The Lie of Helen of Troy.

Wednesdays will be devoted to posts on writing, editing, platform building, and blogging like 6 Grammar Mistakes that Will Cost You Readers and What Do We Mean By “Strong Female Characters?” If you’ve also been following Girls With Pens, you already know what to expect on these days. I’m simply moving locations.

Friday will be the new day for interviews with fantasy and science fiction authors to help you pick your next weekend read, behind the scenes looks at the worlds within the books (like my Bertie Botts posts), v-logs, and mash-ups.

I’ll still be bringing you excellent guest posters, but they won’t have a set day.

What about Girls With Pens? Even though we’re shutting down the blog, you can sign up for our monthly Girls With Pens newsletter where we’ll be bringing you interviews with industry professionals.

I hope that you’ll sign up for my blog here, and if you’d like to hangout online, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I’m also on Pinterest, and would love to have you follow my boards and get a chance to see your boards in return.

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Fighting Dirty, Forgiveness, and CPR for the Undead

Happy Saturday! I haven’t done a grab bag for a few weeks, so this one is bursting at the seams because I couldn’t throw away any of these treats. At least they’re all calorie free.

For Fantasy and Science Fiction Lovers

CPR for the Undead by Emmie Mears – Can vampires be saved or has all the sparkling made them a thing of the past?

Robin Hood: A Story Transcribed by Jessica O’Neal – This is the next installment in her great series on Robin Hood. This time she looks at the different ways Robin Hood (and other characters in his legends) have shown up in literature over the years.

Lady of the Lake by Lisa Hall-Wilson – The Lady of the Lake plays a central role in the novel Lisa and I are writing. In this post, Lisa looks at who the Lady of the Lake might have been.

Immortal Monday on the Epirus Bow and Mount Tartarus by Debra Kristi – What the movie got right . . . and what it didn’t.

For Writers

23 Techniques for Fighting Dirty by Jenny Hansen – Jenny’s posts on fighting dirty and fighting clean will help you put conflict into your novel and take it out of your marriage. Make sure you check out the Fighting Dirty Contest that starts after Valentine’s Day as well.

Why An Agent Rejects Your Query Letter – The answer might surprise you.

The Meaning of Life

3 Steps to Freedom – Grab Hold of Your Brilliant Future by Kristen Lamb – This post is one of my all-time favorites. It’s encouraging and practical and has me thinking carefully every time I say “I’m just tired.”

Forgiveness: It’s All About You by Natalie Hartford – Reasons to forgive someone who’s hurt you regardless of whether they apologize.

The Year to Slay Your Dragons by Ingrid Schaffenburg – Dreams come with dragons, but before we can slay them, we have to recognize them.

Have you read any of these posts? What did you love about them?

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December 10 Grab Bag

I used to love candy grab bags growing up. You never knew what goodies were going to be inside, but you knew they were going to be good. Like the posts you can find at these links . . .

For Writers

5 Types of Platform and Which Is Right for You? – Jeff Goins explains five different “voices” or “tones” your platform can take and what personality types are best suited for each.

When Grammar Elements Go Out Drinking – The ladies at Edittorent made me laugh out loud. If you don’t get the joke, make sure you hire an editor before trying to publish your book.

Is Your Novel a Spineless Weakling? – A story can succeed or fail based on the antagonist. Yet another great post from Kristen Lamb on how to make sure your novel has the backbone it needs to survive. 

For Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Lovers

Rules to Survive a Horror Movie – You’ll be chuckling and nodding your head over these tips by Liz Schulte on how to survive if you ever find yourself in a horror movie. Many thanks to Jessica O’Neal for hosting this guest post. And because no horror movie is complete without a sequel, go by Liz Schulte’s Bat Country for How to Survive a Horror Movie Part 2.

The Characters of Harry Potter: Neville – The latest instalment in Jessica O’Neal’s series on the characters of Harry Potter doesn’t disappoint as she tackles one of my favorites. Neville’s innate humility and surprising bravery immediately drew me to him. Find out why else Jess thinks he’s one of the most well-developed characters in the books.

The Hunger Games: Team Peeta vs. Team Gale – Jess Witkins’ Happiness Project pits the two men in Katniss Everdeen’s life against each other. While I didn’t care about Twilight and picking sides, I’m Team Peeta all the way in this one.

The Meaning of Life

Confessions of a Hoarder – On her blog Of Martians and Marshmallows, Lynette M. Burrows comes clean on her personal hoarding obsession. It’ll make you take a fresh look at your own house.

Learning to #EpicFail . . . with Style – Kristen Lamb shares how failure can actually be a good thing if we learn how to use it to our advantage.

The Grinch Is Pregnant -The never-disappointing Myndi Shafer makes an extraordinarily good case that The Grinch is actually pregnant. Yes, even though he’s a boy.

From My Co-Writer Lisa Hall-Wilson at Through the Fire

Why I Hate Christmas – Not everyone loves Christmas and sometimes that’s okay. What matters is what you do with it.

Mermaids Off the Port Bow – Could the myths about mermaids have originated from a real society?

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Come find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I’d love to hang out.

November 26 Grab Bag

Facing a back log of blogs to catch up on because of the holidays? Here are the ones from the last two weeks you won’t want to miss.

For Writers

Balancing the Scenes that Make Up Your Novel – This is the eighth installment in Kristen Lamb’s helpful series on novel structure. With this post, she moves from big picture plot issues to scene structure.

9 Astonishing Facts About Amazon – You probably realize that Amazon is big, but do you know just how big? Michael Hyatt shared an eye-opening infographic on his blog that puts it in perspective.

What You Need to Consider Before Signing on a Contract’s Dotted Line – Paranormal romance author Janelle Madigan brings a special guest post from “recovering lawyer” Diane Capri of Licensed to Thrill about what you need to considering if you’re going it without an agent.

For Science Fiction & Fantasy Lovers

Why Invisibility Cloaks May Be In Our Future – Alexia Reed (“Danger Begins With A Kiss”) brings together science and fantasy in her post about how physicists are bending light and capitalizing on the mirage phenomenon to create a functioning “invisibility cloak.”

Who Designed that Ship?! – Samantha Warren of Deadliest Catch gives a very insightful (and funny) look at why Boba Fett’s ship would never get off the ground in the real world.

The Meaning of Life

The Edge Jennifer L. Oliver of World Beneath the Evening Star writes a short but spectacular guest post for SJ Driscoll about how she’s tired of walking along the edge. Not quite prose and not quite poetry, it’ll strike straight to your heart.

An Attitude of Gratitude – In a special Thanksgiving post, Kristen Lamb gives practical examples of how to turn even the things we usually complain about into things we can be grateful for–and how it will change our lives.

From My Co-Writer Lisa Hall-Wilson at Through the Fire

Biking In Panties – Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way . . . just hopefully not this hard.

Why Twilight Let Me Down – A review of Breaking Dawn Part 1, the latest installment in the Twilight movie phenomenon.


Saturday Grab Bag

Because it’s tricky to keep up on all the great posts out there, I’ve collected some of my favorites in a Saturday mash-up. Enjoy 🙂

Links for Writers

Getting Primal and Staying Simple with Your Plot – Bestselling author Kristen Lamb gives priceless tips on how to get a visceral reaction from your readers with a plot that’s both complex yet simple.

Writing A Series: 7 Continuation Issues to Avoid – From covers to character histories, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn points out what you need to watch for when writing a series.

On Your Mark: Marketing Your Novel (Part 1) & (Part 2) – Angela Ackerman of The Bookshelf Muse hosts Janice Hardy, author of three novels, in this series of guest posts full of tested advice on how to market your novel. These tips are as valid for traditionally published authors as they are for indie authors.

Links for Speculative Fiction Lovers

The Immortals Are Coming – Debra Kristi of Sparks in the Fire asks, “Would you want to be immortal if it meant continuing to grow old and watching everyone you love pass away?”

Why Sliders May Be Possible: The Science of Multi-Universes – Alexia Reed of Danger Begins with a Kiss asks “what if” while looking at some interesting scientific studies.

Current Events

A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney – Coleen Patrick looks at the snippets of wisdom Andy Rooney gave to the world in his many essays on 60 Minutes.

Five Leadership Lessons from Steve Jobs – Michael Hyatt calls these leadership lessons, but they’re actually just good life lessons for all of us.

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Lessons from Steve Jobs – Diane Capri on her blog Licensed to Thrill gives a lovely summary of what Steve Jobs did right in his life, as well as links to the 60 Minutes special and his biography.

The Meaning of Life

Grumpy to Gracious – When you feel grumpy but you don’t know why (or even if you do), August McLaughlin’s blog Savor the Page gives some simple ways to practice gratitude. Her tips help chase the grumpies away.

Beer Can Barriers – Are your problems actually impossible to fix or are they only beer can barriers? Myndi Shafer’s Silly Soapbox takes a new look at our perspective about our problems.

This Week from My Co-Writer Lisa Hall-Wilson

Check out her tribute to Canadian veterans in I Am Not American.