Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 21, 2019

“Write” Start: Question


Today’s blog concludes the series, “Write” Start.

When opening a story with a question, the reader should feel the need to look for an answer, and the only way to discover the answer is to continue reading. 

Charlotte’s Web begins with the question, “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” Those six, gripping words have intrigued generations of readers. A good hook creates interest and also sets the tone, mood, and builds expectations for the reader. From the first sentence, the reader wants to know what is going to happen.

Using a question as an opening hook works for fiction and nonfiction. In my Rock It series, I used this as the beginning text:” Can one type of rock change into another?”

The question doesn’t have to be answered immediately. Unanswered questions keep the tension high and hold the readers’ interest. Plus, the initial hook buys the writer some time to use quality writing to keep the reader turning the pages.

Hooks can take the reader into a state of wonder and pique their inquisitiveness. Decide what your audience is interested in and write accordingly.  Consider what details or moments would spark their interests, and begin there.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

Cyberkids. Would you like to have a story, poem, article, picture or other creative work published in Cyberkids? To submit your work, email it to: editor@cyberkids.com. In the email, tell us your name, age and country. If you are sending artwork, save the art in JPEG or TIFF format if possible, and attach it to the email. We do not pay for submissions, but if we use your work, we will send you an email telling you when it will be published.

Submission Guidelines

Here are some guidelines our editors use to decide what to publish:

  • We especially like stories, articles and poems that are funny.
  • Art and written submissions can be on any topic that is appropriate for our audience (ages 7 to 12).
  • Stories which include an original illustration or photo are more likely to be published than stories without pictures.
  • Originality is very important--make sure the work you submit is your own and not copied from someone else.
  • In addition to art and writing, we also like to publish games, puzzles, brain teasers, jokes, and multimedia creations by kids.
 Submissions guidelines at http://www.cyberkids.com/he/html/submit.html

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Fun for Kidz. We are looking for lively writing that involves an activity that is both wholesome and unusual. The Ideal length of a FUN FOR KIDZ nonfiction piece is up to 300-325 words for a one-page magazine article or up to 600-650 words for a two-page magazine article. Articles that are accompanied by strong high-resolution photos are far more likely to be accepted than those requiring illustration.

Submissions guidelines at http://funforkidzmagazines.com/writers


Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Leave a message or check out my blog at www.nancykellyallen.com

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Guest Author Sandi Underwood


Nancy: Sandi Underwood, welcome back. Again, congratulations on Mountain Laurel, your latest book, as well as Blood Money and The Secret at One Belmont Lane. Is it true there may be a sequel in the works? 


Sandi: Thank you, Nancy. It’s great to be back, and thank you for asking about sequels. I often say I’m humbled when someone asks about my books and especially when they ask for more−and that is exactly what happened with all three. I have finished the sequel to Blood Money, my adult romantic-mystery, so I have my fingers crossed that it can find a home at a publisher.


I am interested in a sequel for my first book, The Secret at One Belmont Lane−a Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery−and have a plot in mind, but that one is still in plotting stage.


As for the last one, Mountain Laurel, I simply must write a sequel so folks will know which boy Laurel chooses. The story is about my parents’ first date and the main character (Laurel) is ‘struck’ on one boy but invites another to go on a church outing to Norris Dam. She finds herself in one pickle after another.  


A sweet side note happened after my first book signing for Mountain Laurel. A lady from my Church tracked me down to buy a book for her future granddaughter-in-law, whose name is Laurel. When the lady read the article in the local newspaper promoting my book, she decided she just had to present the future bride one of my books at her upcoming wedding shower. I thought my heart would burst right out of my chest!


And just last night, another friend from church called to ask if she could drop by to pick up a copy of Mountain Laurel. It seems her daughter works with a lady whose brother “thought the world of my dad.” Encouragement like that spurs me on and makes me want to be a better writer. That’s why I pour over your blog. I always find some little nugget that sticks, either with a WIP (work in progress) or I’ll file it away for when I slam up against that wall known as ‘writer’s block’.


Back to your question, yes, I do plan sequels for all three books. Apparently, in my case anyway, one book will just not work. There’s more to the stories that need to be told.


Nancy: Wow! You’ve got characters chasing characters in that brain of yours. I don’t know how you keep them all straight, but it sure sounds exciting. Were the characters in the first two books based on real people? How do you develop a character to make it seem so real?


Sandi: My first two books were not based on real characters. The last one, of course, was−my parents. 


For Blood Money, my adult romantic-mystery, I created character sketches. Most of that content never made it into the book, but the background work helped me develop their identity…helped me stay ‘in voice’ and aided me in fleshing out their total personality, down to the way he/she talked, carried themselves…even their taste in clothes. The exercise was daunting, but kept me on course when writing scenes. It kept me from portraying that specific character in conflicting ways that my readers might find false or hard to follow; or at least, that’s how it seemed to me.


I had several reviews for Blood Money and a few touched on how they felt they were right in the scene with the character. One lady said she couldn’t put the book down because she got so absorbed walking right alongside Alex−she felt as if she saw what Alex saw and felt what Alex felt. Talk about humbling! That’s sweet music to my ears.


As for developing the story, you know as well as I how those characters niggle your mind when you least expect it. I recently was at an art class and the instructor asked if I was okay. He said I was quiet−which is unlike me. I answered truthfully that I was on a moonlit beach in Miami working out the plot on Blood Moon (the sequel to Blood Money).


Nancy: Daydreaming for writers is considered work, right Sandi? On another note, my claim to fame: I created the title for the sequel to Blood Money, which is Blood Moon. (I’m stealing some of your credit, Sandi.) Thanks for writing books readers love to read, the writing tips, and visiting this blog. I hope you’ll come back when your next book is released. Tell the Followers where will you be signing books in the near future.


Sandi: I will be at Tusculum’s University Old Oaks Festival April 12-14, and I hope to join in a couple more this summer. My appearances will be posted on Facebook at Sandi Underwood @gcywriter, on Twitter @SandiGCY and my website at www.sandiunderwood.net.


If nothing else, you can email me at sandiu@comcast.net. Thank you, Nancy, for your wonderful direction and continuing guidance in your blogs.


Nancy: Sandi’s books can be purchased at— Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and other online bookstores. You can get a signed copy by emailing her at sandiu@comcast.net.

For more about Sandi, check out her blog: Sandiu.blogspot.com


Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

Cliché Teen Journal. Have something you would like to be shared to the Cliché Teen Journal? Why not submit it? We accept a broad range of submissions. If you are between the ages of 13 through 19, consider submitting to us. (If you don't fit in the age range, we may make an exception if you contact us first!) Whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, personal essays, art, photography, or anything else you have been working on, feel free to submit. All you have to do is follow the submission details and view the submission seasons in the submission guidelines tab!

Submissions guidelines at https://xn--clichteen-f4a.weebly.com/submit.html

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Fun for Kidz. We are looking for lively writing that involves an activity that is both wholesome and unusual. The Ideal length of a FUN FOR KIDZ nonfiction piece is up to 300-325 words for a one-page magazine article or up to 600-650 words for a two-page magazine article. Articles that are accompanied by strong high-resolution photos are far more likely to be accepted than those requiring illustration.

Submissions guidelines at http://funforkidzmagazines.com/ffk_guidelines

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 50+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Comment or check out the blog at https://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/