Friday, March 29

April Releases



Timespell by Diana Paz-- April 1st
Young Adult Time Travel Romance


The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn-- April 2nd
Regency Romance


Stung by Bethany Wiggins-- April 2nd
Young Adult Paranormal


Rush Me by Allison Parr-- April 8th
New Adult


Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting--April 16th
Young Adult Paranormal


Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath--April 29th
Regency Romance


Bare It All by Lori Foster--April 20th
Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Wednesday, March 27

Update: Week 12

Time for my weekly update!

Writing:

--I continued to help a CP with her story, which includes reading chapters and brainstorming. It has been lots of fun.

--I started critiquing a story for another CP.  It's wonderful so far =)

--I have read eighteen books so far this year. I'm pleased with my progress!

--I have been asked to be the Young Adult category coordinator for the Golden Claddagh contest held by my Celtic Hearts RWA chapter. So not only will I be a judge for the historical category, but I will also be in charge of coordinating the YA category. It's going to be a lot of work, but it'll be worth it =)

--I'm still slogging through CH4 of my work-in-progress. I wanted to be done by Sunday, but it has been slow going. I do, however, like what I've written. I just need to keep writing and eventually I'll be done.


Personal:

--I had to make 72 cookies for my cousin-in-law. She's in a play and the entire cast was having a party, so I made cookies as a treat.

--We also went to a birthday party on Saturday for the same cousin-in-law.

--My husband and I babysat Pawpaw on Saturday night. Everyone else went to the play, so we hung out with Pawpaw and had dinner with him =) We watched a lot of NCIS lol.

--On Monday we went to lunch with the mother-in-law, and then afterwards I had a terrible headache so I had to rest for most of the evening (the mother-in-law and the headache are completely unrelated, I assure you).

Friday, March 22

How to Format Your Document Using Document Map


Hello everyone!

A few of you have asked me how I keep my manuscript so tidy and organized, so I thought I would show you! I found this technique very helpful in university when I wrote my giant term papers, and of course, I use them with my stories!

Ever wonder how you can get to Chapter Sixteen without having to scroll through half of your manuscript? Well, with Word it’s possible!

Below is a screen capture of my WIP.














As you can see on the left-hand side, there is a bar that says Document Map and below it are my chapters. All I have to do is click on one of those and it brings me right to the beginning of that chapter. No need to scroll anywhere!

This is extremely helpful, especially if you are checking on something and need to flip between chapters quickly. I also include my chapter breaks, so I can get anywhere in my manuscript with a simple click.

So how do you it? It’s actually incredibly easy. The steps are below.

Note: These instructions are for Microsoft Office Word 2007. The same steps should apply to other versions, but you might need to search a bit.

Step One: Save your manuscript. Nothing should happen, but it never hurts to be safe.

Step Two: Go to your VIEW toolbar. You should see a box option for DOCUMENT MAP. Click the box so there’s a checkmark. The Document Map bar along the left-hand side of the screen should appear. If there are a lot of words filling it up, don’t worry, we will deal with that in a moment.

Step Three: Select everything in your manuscript and right click. I can do this quickly by going back to my HOME and using the button on the far right that says SELECT and then SELECT ALL. Once everything is highlighted, right click. A box will appear—click on PARAGRAPH. In my version of Word, it’s the 5th option down. This box will appear:















Step Four: The second dropdown menu should say OUTLINE LEVEL. Click on that and select BODY TEXT then click OK. Now your Document Map sidebar should be completely blank.

Step Five: Go to your Chapter One heading in your document. Highlight the words you want to use and right click. Select PARAGRAPH again. The same box should appear. Click on OUTLINE LEVEL again, but this time select LEVEL 1 and click OK. Now you should have Chapter One in the sidebar under Document Map like I do in the picture above. Now when you click on Chapter One in your Document Map, it should go right there, no matter where you are in the manuscript. Scroll somewhere else in your manuscript and test it out. If something isn't working, go back and see if you missed something =)

Step Six: Let’s say you have a chapter break in the middle of Chapter One like I do. Go to your break and highlight the symbols you use to indicate a break. I use three stars: ***. Highlight those, right click, and select PARAGRAPH. Click on OUTLINE LEVEL again, but this time, select LEVEL 2 and hit OK. Now you should have a document map that looks like the picture below.















As well, if you have three chapter breaks in chapter one, you can include all of them in your Document Map. It will look like this:














So there you have it! I keep my Document Map checked all the time, even when I'm critiquing or beta reading for friends. Some of them use Document Map, so it makes it easy to go anywhere in the manuscript.

I hope you guys found this helpful! If you have any questions, you can ask me in the comments or you can email me: nataliemurphy[at]live[dot]ca

=)



Wednesday, March 20

This is a bit late...

Okay, okay, apparently I'm awful at keeping up with my blog. I completely forgot about a Monday post and today I forgot it was Wednesday, so...yeah. I wish I could say that is going to change, but my workload is picking up again, and I'm not sure I can make that promise.

Writing:

-- I'm now reading and helping brainstorm for a CP who is still in the rough draft stage of her novel.

--I will also start to receive chapters from another CP. Her book is due in May, so I have to get cracking!

--I beta'd for a friend and sent her my notes.

--I read over pitches for another writer friend.

--I critiqued an essay for a friend from HS who is now in university.

--I officially became a judge for Celtic Hearts' Golden Claddagh contest. So excited! I had a lot of fun judging last year, so I can't wait to do it again! It was a huge time commitment, but it was worth it.

--My own writing is going well. I'm still working through chapters four and five, but I'm pleased with what's coming out of it. I'm not really rewriting the chapters, but I'm cutting here and adding there, so it's taking a little while. I wasn't able to work this weekend because I injured my arm picking up Powell, but I'm feeling better now =)

--I am reading my sixteenth book of the year. My goal is fifty.

Personal:

--Decorated for Easter

--The husband and I went out on a date on Friday, which was lovely. We went to Panera and then he surprised me by bringing me to a Celtic band =)

--Saturday we spent at the in-laws. My brother-in-law was home from university for the week, so we had dinner together.

--On Sunday we celebrated St. Patrick's Day by eating corned beef sandwiches for lunch and beef stew for dinner. We also watched The Boondock Saints and Leap Year.

--Unfortunately, the husband is on a business trip for a few days, so it's just me and the puppy.* On the plus side, I should technically get a lot of writing in, LOL.

What have you been up to this past week?

*Stalkers and other creepy people: Don't get any ideas, now. My puppy is a wonderful guard dog, and even if he can be bought with belly rubs, my in-laws are two minutes away and check on me all the time.*

Sunday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

~Irish Blessing

I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day! The picture above is of a four-leaf clover I framed and keep on my desk. My front yard growing up was full of them, so I kept one for luck when I left =)



Friday, March 15

Links to Check Out

Hello everyone!

It seems I forgot to write a blog post for today. Oopsie! Instead of writing one in a rush, I thought I'd direct you to a few notable things I stumbled across this week:

1). Roni Loren on how writing faster has helped her writing.
--I found this very interesting. Although I am the type of writer who needs to go back and fix something, I do agree that the faster I write, the more I like what comes out.

2). Liza Palmer on the 9 best pieces of advice she's ever received
--I especially love number one. I figured that one out quite early on.

3). A medieval knight has been found in an Edinburgh car park dig! 
--First King Richard III and now a medieval knight? SO COOL.

4). Violin found from the Titanic!
--This is just so neat. Apparently they've found the bandleader's violin from the Titanic!!!




Wednesday, March 13

Update on Life!

Hello everyone!

I thought I'd give an update today on how everything has been going!


Writing:

--I have fixed chapter three and am now working on chapter four! I am very pleased with how everything is going =) I lost a lot of words with the edit, but oh well. It's for the best in the end. I also have two of my CPs kicking my butt now, so hopefully I can get this story written!

--I finished my articles for the Celtic Hearts newsletter and sent them in, finally.

--I am beta reading a book for Amalia Dillin. It is very good so far. =)

--I have now read thirteen books this year. I'm working on my fourteenth with Amalia's book, then I have two more books I need to read for friends.

Personal:

--I did some deep cleaning of the townhouse. I will also be decorating for Easter soon.

--I have also come up with a plan to lose some weight, thanks to my CP Tina Lynn Sandoval. I'd like to be healthier, so the change starts today!

--The husband and I spent the weekend at Granny and Pawpaw's this past weekend, which was lovely. It is always nice to get away from it all and relax.

--Powell had his six month "birthday" on Monday, so that was exciting. I can't believe he's this old already!

** I forgot to mention this earlier, but I also gave myself second degree burns on my hand! I was carrying a pot to the sink and my left arm gave out. My right tried to compensate, but I ended up pouring boiling water all over my hand. The husband and I did as much as we could, but we were told by my doctor that next time we should go to the emergency room. Still, it is healing well now, so I'm happy with that.**

I think that about covers the majority of big things going on for me. How are you guys? Anything exciting going on at your end??

Wednesday, March 6

Interview with TIMESPELL Author Diana Paz!






Hello Diana!

Thank you so much for agreeing to stop by here today! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be interviewing one of my very own critique partners on her debut novel! I remember when you first got the news about Rhemalda. I ran around screaming like a crazy person! It has been a whirlwind ever since!

Okay, now that I have bombarded you all with exclamation points, I think it’s time to get to the fun stuff!

1). To begin, can you tell us a bit about TIMESPELL? 

Hi Nat, thanks so much for having me on your blog! And yes, TIMESPELL! It's about best friends Julia and Angie, who are excitedly learning to use the magic they share, as descendents of the first priestesses of the Fates. Their duties include traveling through time to prevent demons from wreaking havoc on the world timeline, but they can only keep their magic if they find and seal themselves for all time to the third Daughter of Fate. When they find out the final Daughter is Kaitlyn, the bullying bad girl who tried stealing Angie's boyfriend, suddenly a world ruled by demons doesn't sound so bad.

2). The book focuses on three different girls—did you find this difficult to write? Do you have a favorite between the three?

Writing from three different point of views  was a challenge, but a lot of fun! It gave me a chance to explore personalities very different from my own, and see the world through new perspectives. I think if I had to choose a favorite... that's so difficult! I love them all, from Angie's sweetness to Julia's silliness to Kaitlyn's fearlessness, so I really can't pick!

3). Why did you decide to focus part of the novel in Paris during the French Revolution? Did you find it difficult to research? Have you ever been to Paris before?

I've always loved history, so when I came up with the idea for TIMESPELL and realized I would have teenage girls traveling through time, I thought it would be interesting to put them in a world where the Queen was their own age. Marie Antoinette, with all the turmoil that comes with the French Revolution, seemed ideal, and it was a lot of fun to write. Sadly, I have never been to Paris, but research is one of my guilty pleasures; it was a great way to get to visit France in my mind, at least!

4). As your debut novel, did you find one aspect of publishing difficult and/or surprising?

I think no matter what I read or what anyone prepared me for, there would have been surprises. I'm lucky in having friends who are published and who were kind enough to talk to me about expectations on everything from the editing process to marketing expectations. I think the most difficult part of having my book published so far has been managing my time for promoting my current book while still writing future works.

5). Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Never give up! It's cliched, but it's truly the only way you'll fulfill your dreams.

6). What books and/or authors have influenced your life the most? Are you reading anything right now?

I think books as a whole have influenced my life more than specific books or authors. I constantly wanted to read growing up and no matter what else I was doing, my mind was always lost in whichever book I was in the middle of. I'm not much of a re-reader, but a very few of the books that left the biggest impressions are THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING by T. H. White, DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende, The Coldfire Trilogy by C. S. Friedman, THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker, and THE JOY LUCK CLUB by Amy Tan. I could fill pages and pages with books I love and that have influenced me, but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. 

I'm re-reading CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel. I love Ayla's story, the descriptions, and the entire world.

7). Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Music, definitely. I used to be obsessed with playing violin, and now I still love learning a new piano piece, or re-learning an old favorite. I'm not good at it, but I enjoy the process of losing myself to music, and I love finding music that matches the stories I write.

8). What are you working on right now?

Right now I'm working on the next book in the TIMESPELL series, which is currently untitled. So far it looks like the girls will be traveling back in time to Caribbean during the golden age of piracy. Fun stuff!

9). And finally, can you share a snippet of TIMESPELL with us? Pretty please??

Of course! Here's an excerpt from the first time Julia sees Ethan...who turns out to be involved with the magic in more ways than she realizes:

Those eyes, surrounded by rows of thick, black lashes, flashed with recognition. Julia didn’t know what to make of that, because she had never seen him before. She definitely would have remembered those eyes.

The thought made her blush. She tried to control it, as well as her heart, which was beating like crazy. How long was she going to keep staring? She was making it obvious that she thought the guy was hot to the power of hotness, and she had a boyfriend.

Excuse me,” he said softly.

Right.” She moved out of the way.

He hesitated at her side before walking on.

Do you know him?” Angie whispered.

Julia had forgotten Angie was there behind her. She shook her
head.

He seemed to know you.”

Angie swept past her and stepped into the tent. Julia held open the tent flap, unable to move forward. Was she really going to look back at the guy? She squeezed her eyes shut. Yeah, she really was.

He wove in and out of the crowd, stopping to brace himself against a palm tree. His chest heaved. Before she could decide if something was wrong, his head swung up and their gazes locked.

Julia’s heart slammed against her chest as he began to vanish into thin air.

His hands melted away, then his legs and torso, and finally his desperate face. If she hadn’t spent the past few months in training to become a Daughter of Fate, she would have questioned her sanity before believing her eyes.

Come in, Julia,” Indira said in an airy voice.

Thank you so much for joining us here today! I am so proud of you and I know you’re going to be a huge hit ;)
            It's been a pleasure, thanks for having me, Natalie! I'm so proud to have you as my critique partner and friend.

TIMESPELL is now available for pre-order from Rhemalda Publishing and from Amazon. Although, I do have it on the best authority that TIMESPELL is already available for Kindle from Amazon *wink-wink, nudge-nudge* Its official release is April 1st, so make sure you order your copy today!

Author Bio:
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee. Find her at her blog: dianapazwrites.blogspot.com or on Twitter @dianapazwrites

For more fun facts about Diana, you can check out her “About Me” page here where she has answered questions from her blog readers.

Tuesday, March 5

FORGED BY FATE by Amalia Dillin



Hello friends!

I don't normally post on Tuesday's, but today is a super special day! My friend Amalia Dillin's debut novel comes out today from World Weaver Press! *cheers all 'round*  Isn't it a gorgeous cover??

Book Blurb:


After Adam fell, God made Eve to protect the world. — Adam has pursued Eve since the dawn of creation, intent on using her power to create a new world and make himself its God. Throughout history, Eve has thwarted him, determined to protect the world and all of creation. Unknown to her, the Norse god Thor has been sent by the Council of Gods to keep her from Adam’s influence, and more, to protect the interests of the gods themselves. But this time, Adam is after something more than just Eve’s power — he desires her too, body and soul, even if it means the destruction of the world. Eve cannot allow it, but as one generation melds into the next, she begins to wonder if Adam might be a man she could love.

Every god, from each of the world’s pantheons, mythologies, and religions — they’re all real in this enthralling fantasy romance that spans centuries.


About the Author:

Amalia Dillin began as a Biology major before taking Latin and falling in love with old heroes and older gods. After that, she couldn't stop writing about them, with the occasional break for more contemporary subjects. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, and dreams of the day when she will own goats--to pull her chariot through the sky, of course.

*Snippets from both Goodreads and Amalia's blog*

Book available for purchase here.

As well, Amalia is hosting a huge party in celebration of her book birthday, so go check it out! She's giving away tons of free stuff =)

Friday, March 1

March Releases


Forged by Fate by Amalia Dillin-- March 5th
Contemporary Fantasy/Mythological Fantasy


Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger-- March 5th
Young Adult Paranormal


Lady of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle-- March 15th
Regency Romance


Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare-- March 19th
Young Adult Victorian Urban Fantasy (Steampunk)


The Handbook to Handling His Lordship by Suzanne Enoch-- March 26th
Regency Romance
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