Thursday, November 26, 2015

#NaNo Blah Blah Blah

NaNoWriMo or bust!  That was my mantra all of October. I plotted...I outlined...I scribbled on my little note cards like a pro.

It started off so well. I was on fire. I was going to crush it. What really happened was I realized I was not as prepared as I thought. Actually, I was completely prepared to write a book that no longer went in the direction of what I was writing. Gaaah!

Though my story was going at good clip and #NaNoWriMo had totally jump started me out of my slump, I was quickly going off of my carefully constructed rails. Normally this is not a big deal. I can totally be a Pantser like the best of them.

The problem was that this was book three in a series...and it really needed not to suck. Like, seriously. Which led to an epiphany of sorts. I devised a solid plan for dealing with the situation...

I had to decided if I should soldier on and take the advice of my friends to keep writing and 'see what happens' or give in to my inner control freak and stop. I decided to stop. I know...I KNOW...that is totally against the spirit of #NaNoWriMo. You shelf your inner editor and just go with the flow, right?

Well I am a rebel, I guess. I didn't write for a few days and worked on my synopsis. I wrote a fourth...yes a 4th draft of the synopsis for book three. And you know what? I am so happy that I did. I may not win my t-shirt, which thank goodness I procrastinated on ordering, but I will 'win' this book challenge. 

Now I am back at a steady pace. I am no longer having nightmares about reams of paper that need to be pared back and edited. My Type A twitches have ceased.  Hallelujah! 

Anyway, that is an update on me.  Hope you all found your way, whatever that is, during this crazy adventure called, National Novel Writing Month.

+Raquel Byrnes 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG, You Can Do the Thing!

Welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group conceived by illustrious Ninja Captain, Alex J. CavanaughOur Twitter hashtag is #IWSG. 

The co-hosts for November are:
Denise Covey  

So this month I am all about encouraging my fellow authors. Whether you're taking part in this year's NaNoWriMo challenge or facing a personal writing struggle, I want you to know that its okay to stumble. 

Its okay to feel overwhelmed or lost in your story. Its fine if you don't have the end worked out. Not too big of a deal if life throws you a curve ball and you don't meet your writing goal...


I've met goals and jumped for joy...and failed to even come close and dove into some comfort food. Just sayin' it happens to all of us.

So I'm here to be a cheerleader, an "I believe in you-er," and overall good vibe sender.

I am going to be doing NaNoWriMo again this year so if you need a writing buddy, just look me up by name.  

Otherwise, my best wishes and warmest virtual hugs are coming your way...YOU CAN DO THE THING!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A NaNoWriMo Cure?

So I had a really rough year so far. My mother-in-law- passed away and then my own mother not three weeks later. With my husband and children reeling it was all I could do to keep our home functioning at a reasonably normal level...and that was ALL I could do.

I managed to get my second novel in to the publisher in by the deadline, but only just. It was LITERALLY the actual deadline date.  That is so unusual for my Type-A self and let me tell you, it was a miracle.

But something happened to me. I don't know if it was the stress or sorrow or the way I just stuffed everything down to get through the days...whatever it was that I did to survive until sort of fritzed me out.

So I am floundering. I have an outline that I've really, really, REALLY, fought to get done. I have an encouraging spouse and critique partner rooting for me. 

I have the scenes in my head. I CAN SEE THEM. 

Feel them. Hear them. I can practically TASTE them!

And yet I sit at my laptop and wrestle through doubt and critical thoughts and insecurity. I write and delete and repeat.  I am getting nowhere.

Then my NaNoWriMo buddies started emailing. I started to get pumped. I started to feel excited and engaged and even...ambitious again.

So I am going to do NaNo this year with a vengeance. I usually join for the kids in my writing class and spend most of my time on forums and encouraging others. This time I am doing NaNo for me.

I am committing to me time. To my story.  To the idea that digging in and believing in myself will bust me out of this funk.  

If you all are doing NaNo add me as a writing buddy. We can do this crazy thing together.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group conceived by illustrious Ninja Captain, Alex J. CavanaughOur Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

Also, for the IWSG members, don't forget about the Anthology Contest -- Open now until November 1st 2015.

So this month finds me grappling with the reality that writing a synopsis for book three before even writing book one was a MAJOR waste of time.  *sigh*

Yes, it was required as part of the submission process. And I knew going into writing the synopses for the trilogy that I would most likely go off script...but wow!  The end of book two sort of--happened. I love it compared to what I had originally planned, but now the beginning of the third book doesn't make sense. all. *rolls eyes at self*

So now I have to go back and strip down my plot blocks to what I know I can keep. The think is I don't want to make the same mistake again and overthink it.

Anyway, this is a new one for me and could really use some help from you guys. How do you all deal with a book that kind of goes its own way on you?

+Raquel Byrnes

Friday, October 2, 2015

7 Ladies Who Became Unexpected Legends

You know those people that hide in the background of parties or classrooms or life? The quiet ones that out of nowhere end up being a total hellion right when its needed? For me, it began with THE TREMBLERS heroine Charlotte. The path to stop a terrible disaster takes her from quiet debutante to treasonous rebel and for her, there’s no turning back - and she’s just getting started. Here are 6 ladies that stepped up when in mattered most!

1. Hermione from Harry Potter


By the end of the series she was known as The Witch of Her Age, but we knew her back when she was an awkward, frizzy-haired, bookworm. Here’s to brains over brawn!

2. Agent Carter from Captain America


When she first walked into our lives, Peggy Carter was all victory rolls, red nails, and impeccable uniform. Yet when it came down to it, she could certainly hold her own.

3. Charlotte Blackburn from The Tremblers


When those your world falls apart and you lose the ones you love, you get to the point where you have to embrace the monsters inside yourself to survive. Charlotte tears a swath of destruction throughout the Peaceful Union but we ABSOLUTELY get why. You cant help hoping she survives the TREMBLERS and makes it out of it alive...she totally deserves it at this point.

4. Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones


Daenerys moved from girl sold into marriage to Mother of Dragons intent on claiming her rightful place on the Iron Throne. Beautiful, smart, and strong. We can’t help but cheer her on.

5. Arwen from The Lord of The Rings


She first galloped into our hearts as she rode ahead of the Black Riders with Frodo in tow. Who can forget her bravery and poise in the face of those terrible beasts? “If you want him, come and claim him.” What nerves of steel.

6. Buffy Summers


No self respecting list of legendary ladies is complete without Sunnydale’s own Buffy Summers. Cheerleader to vampire slayer, this heroine doesn’t run and hide.

Fired up to cheer for the next unexpected legend? Check out this GOODREADS list of Books with Fabulous Female Leads and be on the lookout for my upcoming YA Steampunk, THE TREMBLERS coming soon!

Friday, September 18, 2015

6 Things We Love About Steampunk

There’s something about the glint of brass in the light of a filament bulb or maybe the ghostly miasma of steam in the glow of gas lamps that sets our imagination thrumming. Tinkerers and air ships , mechanica and magic, the world of alternative history is rife with danger, mystery, and adventure. It all began for me with THE TREMBLERS, a book set in a post catastrophic north america where technology rules and terrifying monsters lurk in the shadows of the floating city. Take a peek at our favorite things about the age of steam!

1. Strange Devices


Steampunk technology pushes the limits of what is possible in both weaponry and humans. From gear work guns that surge with power to mechanical appendages and sensory enhancing mechanica...this realm is all about the tech.

2. Air Ships


Nothing like an air ship battle miles above the scorched earth to get your pulse pounding. Cannons blazing, impossible maneuvers, and the strength of will to remain airborne -- dirigibles rule the skies!

3. Swoon-worthy Heroes


Gentlemen spies, wild west lawmen, and dangerous sky marauders all exist in within this speculative fiction realm. Ashton Wells, a spy for The Order of the Sword and Scroll in THE TREMBLERS fits the bill of ruthless, noble, and heartbreakingly handsome.

4. Mechanica


Automatons, mech men, gear work guards-- Of all the fantastic ways steampunk joins engineering and imagination the most endearing and terrifying of creations is all up to the Tinkerer who made them.

5. Mystery and Wonder


Whether its the magic of alchemy, technology capable of power beyond imagining, or the ability to harness the mystery of the aether, the world of alternate history has every kind of wondrous workings you could hope for.

6. One Of A Kind Villains


Mad men bent on mechanical armies, debonair killers wielding the power of nature, scientists on the cusp of a terrifying discovery that will change mankind...These are the men and women of mayhem in the steampunk universe.

Willing to leap into a realm of danger and intrigue? Check out some of the incredible offerings on GOODREADS and be on the lookout for my upcoming release, THE TREMBLERS coming soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

5 Fictional Worlds In Which I Would Immediately Die

In my writing life, I create worlds with their own weather and governments and even magic systems. It got me wondering what worlds in my favorite stories I really loved, but would actually NEVER, EVER survive in.

Here are FIVE fictional worlds I would totally die in.

Number One...The Terra-forming Colony, LV-426 in Aliens.

Okay, so I love the dark, gritty, industrial feel of this world. The steam and biological growth on the walls...even the desolate landscape. The thing is I would die in like the first five minutes of being there. I am claustrophobic so I would not do well in the crawlspaces that Newt used to stay alive. I would freak out while hiding in an air shaft and become some alien's lunch in no time.

Number Two...The Gunslinger's Territory in The Dark Tower Series.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King is both fascinating and terrifying to me. The world is by its design incongruous and unpredictable. This is great as a setting for a novel, but not knowing if a village is going to be there when I arrive or may have simply vanished is unsettling to say the least.

Number Three...The Phantom Tollbooth...anywhere in that book, actually.

You may think I'm being a baby, but really, nothing in the world Norton Juster imagined feels safe. From the dangerously numbing Doldrums, where thinking and laughing are not allowed, to Digitopolis where you are served Subtraction Stew and the more you eat the hungrier you get. Let alone the fact that they banished both Rhyme and Reason from the land. You get the idea.

Number Four...The Matrix...all of them.

Don't get me wrong. I would LOVE to be able to download the ability to fly attack helicopters or perform that amazing scorpion kick of Trinity's without tearing something, but I think my lack of focus would get me killed.  Neo notices glitches because he's paying attention to his surroundings despite going into battle. I would just be sweating and trying to figure out how to download invisibility powers. I'd die in a heartbeat...dumb de ja vu cat!

Number Five...Scadrial of the Mistborn Series written by Brandon Sanderson.

The entire Final Empire, actually is scary and dangerous, but Scadrial specifically makes me nervous just thinking about it. This amazing series has so many things that frighten the heck out of me, the Inquisitors, for instance are menacing and horrifying. I just know I would not have any powers in that world and would no doubt die while simply crossing the road.

What about your favorite fantasy, scifi, or paranormal worlds? Which do you love, but would take a pass if offered a tour?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG, Will I Rally?

Welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group conceived by illustrious Ninja Captain, Alex J. CavanaughOur Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

This blog post really is all I can do today. I am thoroughly exhausted and worried, actually, that I won't rally...won't keep writing.

What if I devolve into a Netflix watching, sweat pants wearing, Pirate Booty eating mess of a former writer out of sheer exhaustion? I mean, those Psych episodes are looking pretty hilarious about now. How about I watch all 300?

I've just finished and sent off the second book in my Steampunk Thriller series and I have to say, I really need a break. The pace I had to take on was punishing and wore me out thoroughly.

My worry is that I will not come back. Striving to hit the deadline amid the tragedies rolling in this past six months has really tested my love for writing. Maybe even bruised it a bit?

Hubby asked me to take some time off of writing. Two weeks to repair my brain, he said. Here's to hoping it works.

What do you all do to keep your writing pace sane? Do life events slow you down or do you find solace in writing?

I'd love to know if anyone else has struggled with post manuscript blues. That's a thing...right?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aurelious Forty, Book Blitz and Giveaway!

So excited to introduce this cool book from author, Dianna Beirne that I'm taking part in her book blitz and GIVEAWAY!

Don't forget to sign up on the RAFFLECOPTER link BELOW ---->

Summary from Goodreads:
Aurelious Forty has led a lonely, troubled life. He stays disconnected from the world around him with no family and no friends. He lives merely to exist…to survive.

Aurelious’ life changes in an instant when an impulsive decision forces him to abandon everything he has ever known. Choosing to follow strangers into a new world, he discovers he was born with a gift so strong, so unique; it could give him the power to change humanity.

But the shadows of his childhood are long and dark and run through every fiber of his soul. Can Aurelious break the chains of his past and use his gift for good? Or will the nightmare of his tormentors set him on a path of revenge so fierce it could destroy us all?

A Deeper Look at a Main Character: Aurelious Forty
Aurelious is, at times, a bit of an enigma. He is a very emotional character and while he shares his emotional experiences with the reader, he tries desperately to hide them from the characters that he interacts with on the page. He is typically unsuccessful in masking his own emotions from those around him though he’s generally unaware of how unsuccessful he is because he’s fairly self-absorbed, at least in the beginning of the book. Enigma.

There is a lot to love in Aurelious but he makes you work at loving him, he doesn’t give it right away. There are times when you might think it’s easier to dislike him but then he draws you in and you’re reminded of what he endured as a child and you’re proud of how far he’s come.

Although he is the main character and the one telling us his story, he isn’t the hero. He is really more of a sidekick who has to learn from the hero and finds himself fumbling along the way, a lot. He fumbles so much that he makes the hero a little less heroic for a minute. But, when he starts to look outside of himself, when he starts to connect with and care for the people around him, when he shows us how much he changes and overcomes, then he does become a little bit more of a hero himself. Or at least makes us question how a hero could be defined. 

Aurelious Forty struggles. He learns. He grows. He changes. He is an imperfect character, just like the rest of us. And, in his imperfection, he is worthy of being loved, just like the rest of us. As the person who created him, I must confess, I hope people will embrace his flaws and love him.

About the Author
Dianna Beirne lives in a fantasy world. Okay not really, but part of her wishes she did and, since that’s technically impossible, she writes about fantasy worlds instead. Her first Young Adult novel entitled Aurelious Forty; Volume One quickly turned into her first Young Adult series with the addition of Aurelious Forty; Volume Two and, Aurelious Forty; Volume Three.

When not writing, she’s generally daydreaming which morphs into wondering if that last daydream could turn into a book. She has also recently discovered podcasts but doesn’t exactly understand what they are or why they’re different from regular radio shows. So it’s safe to assume that her next book won’t be about a podcast. Instead she’ll just keep listening to the ones that she finds that hilarious because laughing is one of her favorite pastimes and she finds way too many things funny!

Prior to dedicating her time to writing, Dianna taught undergraduate and graduate courses about using literacy in the elementary, middle, and high school classroom. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Literacy and a Doctorate in Education specializing in Curriculum and Teaching.

Dianna lives in New York and is the grateful mother of a son whom she misses terribly when he is away at college.

Author Links:

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Writing Helps Series: Podcasts

WELCOME the 2ND installment of a series I'm doing on different types of tools that authors can use to hone their craft, better their writing, ease their frustrations, or are just cool.

The first in the series covered books and you can find it here, Writing Helps: BOOKS

This time I want to highlight podcasts. Not just ones by authors, either.

I have recently really gotten into listening to podcast on my phone while cooking, cleaning, etc. I find the discussions extremely helpful especially since I have been unable to attend a writer's group.

Starting with my favorite, Mythcreantshas an awesome podcast that tackles everything from Best and Worst Endings to Crafting a Climax. Great insight from the participants who are game masters, authors, and roleplay creators. Rife with witty banter and plenty of sci-fi and fantasy movie and television references, this is entertaining as well as informative.

Writing Excuses is a great podcast for the time impaired. At 15 minutes per episode, authors, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler  go in depth on technical issues such as Controlling a Reader's Sense of Progress, Can You TELL Me How To SHOW, as well as listener Q&A's and scholarships to writer's retreats. Short, informative, and often quite funny, I encourage you to check it out.

The Nerdist Writers Panel is also in the chat format, HOWEVER, the site boasts videos, written posts, and links as well. Topics covered are not only books, but television, movies, comics...pretty much any sort of writing you could think of. Check out the episode with author Brad MeltzerBonus that the moderator writes for one of my favorite shows, Supernatural!

Finally, for a podcast that is dramatized and voice acted, the offerings of the dubiously named, Damn Interesting, are a gold mine for research. I personally found the Absolute Zero Is OK episode on criogenic research in the Victorian age to be so helpful. I loved the English accents and laboratory explosion sound effects.

If you have any favorite podcasts or suggestions for my list, please drop a comment and let us all know. 

Until next time...Go Write!
By +Raquel Byrnes

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Blitz: The Thought Readers

The Thought Readers
(Mind Dimensions #1)
Release Date: 3/5/14
Mozaika Publications

Summary from Goodreads:
A new series about mind readers from USA Today bestselling authors... 

Everyone thinks I’m a genius. 

Everyone is wrong. 

Sure, I finished Harvard at eighteen and now make crazy money at a hedge fund. But that’s not because I’m unusually smart or hard-working. 

It’s because I cheat. 

You see, I have a unique ability. I can go outside time into my own personal version of reality—the place I call “the Quiet”—where I can explore my surroundings while the rest of the world stands still. 

I thought I was the only one who could do this—until I met her. 

My name is Darren, and this is how I became entangled with all the Russians and learned that I’m a Reader.

Buy Links:

About the Author
Dima Zales is a full-time science fiction and fantasy author residing in Palm Coast, Florida. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked in the software development industry in New York as both a programmer and an executive. From high-frequency trading software for big banks to mobile apps for popular magazines, Dima has done it all. In 2013, he left the software industry in order to concentrate on his writing career.

Dima holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from NYU and a dual undergraduate degree in Computer Science / Psychology from Brooklyn College. He also has a number of hobbies and interests, the most unusual of which might be professional-level mentalism. He simulates mind-reading on stage and close-up, and has done shows for corporations, wealthy individuals, and friends.

He is also into healthy eating and fitness, so he should live long enough to finish all the book projects he starts. In fact, he very much hopes to catch the technological advancements that might let him live forever (biologically or otherwise). Aside from that, he also enjoys learning about current and future technologies that might enhance our lives, including artificial intelligence, biofeedback, brain-to-computer interfaces, and brain-enhancing implants.

Anna Zaires is the love of his life and a huge inspiration in every aspect of his writing. She definitely adds her magic touch to anything Dima creates, and the books would not be the same without her. Dima’s fans are strongly encouraged to learn more about Anna and her work at

Author Links:
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