Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

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The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

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Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

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Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

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Hope's Rebellion

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Writing 101: Choosing a Title

Choosing a title can be one of the hardest parts of writing a book, and I should know. I had finished a book almost in entirety before I managed to figure out what the title was supposed to be. I struggle with it every time, but not all authors do. Today's guest author has found a creative way to avoid titling her own book, in fact: she's turned it into a promotional tool.

Book Titles and You

Guest author Roselyn Jewell is staging a unique contest to figure out her book's title. See my thoughts on writing book titles, and maybe you can help Roselyn come up with hers. Now here's Roselyn:

Hi everyone,

My name is Roselyn Jewell and I have recently made my first foray into the YA genre! Previously I’ve written almost entirely romance novels, but I came up with what I think is a great idea for a YA series and I’ve finished the first book in the series, which will be offered as an e-book in early March. In preparation for this, from now till March 1st, I’m running a contest where you get to submit suggestions for the title for the book! The prizes are:

A) The book will have the title you selected + one of the characters’ names will be changed to your name

B) You’ll win a free copy of either the final version of the YA book or a free copy of any other book that I have out

C) Your name will appear in the acknowledgements section of the book

You can read the full details, which include a synopsis of the book, at http://www.roselynjewell.com/1/post/2015/02/name-my-next-novel-contest.html.

Please feel free to send any submissions, suggestions, feedback, questions, etc. to me at Roselyn@roselynjewell.com. I'm also on social media as jewellromance on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck everyone!

 Roselyn Jewell


Hilary lives in a world that is supposed to be "perfect." The government provides all of the basic necessities and if you want "luxury" items you can take on non-governmental work or odd jobs to earn luxury dollars to buy pretty much anything you could desire. The downside? She's assigned a career she hates, a place to live that she's never even been to before, and a guy she's supposed to marry that she's not even sure she likes. In fact, she's not sure she can ever feel that way about any guy, period. Oh yeah, and this all happens to everyone when they turn 17. Hilary tries to make the best of it but goes through a series of events that make her question who she is as a person and whether or not "perfect" can ever really exist, no matter what they want her to believe. 

About the Author

I'm an author, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and so much more! I've always loved reading and found myself wanting to continue the stories I loved so much, which is how I started writing. Now I've finally reached my dream of being published. My novels are mainly romance, though there are a lot of other elements as well. My books prove that you can have the romance and the passion without having to sacrifice great plot lines or strong character personalities.

Writing 101: How to Use Dashes

The dash is one of the most under-valued pieces of punctuation, and one of the most improperly-used. Learn to master the art of the dash, and you can avoid all your complicated punctuation problems. Ignore this lesson, and you'll find yourself mired in a morass of commas from which there is no escape.

Dashing off Good Punctuation

A dash functions as a super comma, and that's why all writers should love it. When you already have a lot of punctuation to deal with in a sentence, the dash can be employed to break up the sentence to make it readable (and grammatically correct) again. Learn how to use the dash, and it will be your friend.

Writing 101: The Fall of Books

When was the last time you cracked open an epic poem and began to read it? Do you casually browse through "Beowulf" when the mood strikes, or thumb through "The Canterbury Tales?" Probably no, because that stuff is way old. And it's got me wondering whether or not anyone will even be reading books  100 yeas from now. 

Who's Actually Read Virginia Woolf?

In the year 1915, Virginia Woolf published "The Voyage Out." Have you ever read it? She's a well-known author, or she was, and enjoyed a highly successful career before she walked into the ocean one day. The point is, she was a successful working writer in her own time and you recognize her name. But have you read her books? Did you read this one, published 100 years ago? Did you read any of them ever? Would it make a difference if I told you that you can read her books for free?

Writing 101: Are You Inspired, or Are You Avoiding It?

I always say -- correction, I used to always say -- that you should give in to inspiration when it strikes. I did, after all. But now I'm wondering if I was really inspired, or if I was trying to avoid writing something else.

Avoiding It

It all started when I finished my book "Hope's Rebellion." I had known for some time that I was going to start working on a project called "What Happened to Mary Celeste?" I roughed out the first few chapters, and then I got stuck. I started working on buying a cover for the book. After all, I knew the title already, and I would need a cover. But then I started to work on the trailer, too. I would need a trailer, right? Sure I would. Soon enough, however, that was finished as well. I was still in the exact same place with the manuscript. That's when I started writing a different book altogether. I was inspired. Correction. I thought I was inspired.

Guest Post: Using Wattpad to Promote Your Book

Today we're joined by author M.J. Austin for a guest post on using Wattpad for marketing.

You have published your book and it is online, but you aren’t getting any sales. What’s wrong here? Most likely, it is simply because nobody knows your book is "out there." It can be extremely difficult to get your book out there, especially if you are being self-published.

That’s not to say that when you have a traditional publisher that it is super easy. Many publishers today require you to do your own marketing.  There is a multitude of options when it comes to marketing your book. You could do a blog tour or focus on social media, but those aren’t the only options.

What is Wattpad?

Wattpad is a critiquing style platform that allows authors to upload either portions or the full copy of their books for others in the community to read and comment on. Amanda Hocking, a very successful YA author has used this platform to uploaded samples of her books for users to read and purchase on sites like Amazon. 

Writing 101: What Writing Used To Be

During the Middle Ages, storytellers were members of the royal court. They knew all the juiciest gossip, they were present at all the big events, and they traveled around telling their tales to large audiences. Today's storytellers sit somewhere with a laptop, typing quietly. Which sounds more fun?

A Troubadour's Life for Me

The storyteller was always a welcome sight in medieval Europe. You may have found them in a market place, but you were sure to find them at court. Every king and queen of note had storytellers at court, a place where the royals granted various favors to their favorites and everyone danced, dined and drank for almost any reason whatsoever. 

Writing 101: How Do You Know You're Obsessed?

The minute I started thinking of one of my books as "my masterpiece," I should have known I was in serious trouble. Not just because it's arrogant, which clearly it is, but because it's the start of an unhealthy obsession. It's something that happens to lots of artists and storytellers, and I'm here to warn you that it could happen to you.


As an artist, it's very easy to become obsessed. So easy, in fact, you may not even realize that it's happening to you. There's a way to find out.Obsessed artists generally have a single trait in common. If you have it, too, then you might be obsessed.

Writing 101: Rewrite it Already

If you can't make the history work, if things feel off, if the timeline you envisioned just isn't working out, quit trying to make it work and rewrite it already. If it isn't working right now, it isn't going to start working five chapters from now. And I should know. I found this out the hard way.

Writing, Again

Rewrites are really the worst. No freelance writer wants to rewrite something they already wrote, and no author ever wants to go back and change a story that's already down on paper. But sometimes, what you've written just isn't working with the rest of what you still need to write. Stories can be tricky like that. And before they trick you into writing 100 pages too many, go back and rewrite.

Writing 101 Redux: Using Pen Names

Many writers are using pen names to develop a dedicated author personality and presence online. But how careful are you being about the name you're selecting?

Read my Writing 101 post for more info about using pen names this Throwback Thursday, and remember why it's so important to choose a great one.

Writing 101: Stand By Your Guns

Being a writer means making a lot of decisions, hard ones. You're going to have kill people, traumatize others. Someone is going to have to lose. You're going to write things that people don't like, sometimes. When it comes to making decisions as a writer, you have to be firm. You have to stand by your guns. 

Ready, Aim, Fire

I like to make all my decisions right at the beginning of a book. This is why I create an outline. Once you decide who's going to die and who's going to fail and which heart is going to get broken, you need to stick with those decisions. It gets harder to do that if you're writing a series and you begin to develop attachments to the characters. It gets more difficult as readers form attachments to those characters. But as a writer, you stick to your guns.

Writing 101: Going it Alone

I didn't tell a single member of my family, nor any of my friends, that I was writing a book. I didn't say a word about it to anyone, in fact, until it was published. Now I self-publish, and I still find it difficult to talk about my current projects. I'm used to going it alone, but I've learned that it's the absolute worst way to go about writing.


Writing anything is difficult. Writing a book is an exercise in self-torture. And writing a good book takes more than what you currently have inside of you. If you're going to write something great, you're going to need other people in your life to help you get through it. At the very lest, you're going to need someone who can remind you to eat something every once in a while.

Writing 101: Writing About Writing

Here's how you know you're watching a movie that was adapted from a Stephen King book: a) something weird is going on; b) the people in the story don't know that weirdness is going on; and c) --and this is most important-- one of the characters, probably the main one, is a writer. Stephen King writes about writers all the time, because that's what he knows. But here's what I learned in my time of writing about writers: mostly, it's only writers who are interested. Writing about writing is all well and good, but it's even better if you don't do that at all. I'll tell you why. 

On Writing...

People are always interested when they find out that I'm a writer...at first. Once they understand that writing is me sitting on my couch and staring at my screen, they realize that writing is actually pretty boring. It is tedious, hard work. And it isn't interesting. This is why you shouldn't write about writing.

Singing of Jade's 'Song'

"It's a tale of mermen, selkies, and adolescent youth trying to determine their place in this newly discovered strange world."

"Varden puts together this beautifully colorful and vividly imaginative world that immediately draws you in. I was entranced from the first chapter and enjoyed every twist and turn."

"Song of the Sea" has been reviewed by Ann Livi Andrews at her blog. Go check it out to learn which underwater species I would rather be, what you can expect in the next installment of the Saltwater Secrets trilogy, and who my favorite author is!

After you read the review, get your copy of Song of the Sea.

Writing 101 Redux: Naming Characters

Today's Throwback Thursday covers a fundamental storytelling tool that all writers need to know: how to name a character.

Get all the tricks for naming characters, and find out where to go to make it easier, in this TBT Writing 101.

Writing 101: By the Way, No One Gets It

As a writer, part of your job is to describe new settings, scenarios and ways of life to readers. I personally will never know what it's like to be an ER nurse who is helping the police investigate a series of hospital murders, but I can go find that book and read all about it. You can put your readers anywhere and make them feel anything...with one exception. When you try to tell ordinary civilians what you're personally going through as a writer, they won't ever really get it.


Screaming at the Wind

Have you ever stood outside and screamed into the wind? It rips your voice away and swallows your syllables, until there's nothing left but you, standing there with a red face. This exercise is actually more effective than trying to explain what it's like to be a writer to all your friends and family.

Writing 101: Backups of My Backups

I took it upon myself to start counting the other day, and found no less than 7 different files across my devices that were named "manuscript." It's the title I use when I really have no title at all (which I change once I finally figure it out). And here's the twist to the story: those 7 files are not a mistake I made. They're all the same book. When I write, I make backups of my backups. This is a post about why you should, too.


When it comes to your books, it pays to be just a little obsessive-compulsive. It's a good idea to be just a little bit -- I said a little bit! -- crazy. Like me. And seriously, I'm a lunatic about backing stuff up. I'll tell you how you can be, too.

Writing 101: Are You Too Emotionally Attached?

It takes a writer to create a horror story, because writers know horror. If your computer has ever imploded and erased your files, if you've ever lost that chapter and don't know where it went, if you've ever been held hostage by a crazy woman and was forced to burn a manuscript, then you know how to answer this question: are you too emotionally attached?

$&!/ Happens

I really don't care who you are or what your process is. If you write long enough, at some point something is going to happen. There will be a random bolt of lightning, a system wide crash, a cat that jumps on the keyboard and somehow manages to reset the hard drive in 10 seconds when you couldn't figure out how to do it in three hours while reading the user's manual. You will, no matter what, lose some of your writing. You may lose a few pages, an entire chapter, or even a whole manuscript. It's going to happen no matter how careful you are. And when it does, you'll find out pretty quickly whether or not you're too emotionally attached. Since you're a writer, you probably are. But you can't be, because the world is full of cats and lightning.