Wednesday 27 July 2011

Perfect Pitch Contest Mini Announcement

Guess who's got a birthday coming up. Okay, it's not until next month, but I thought I'd give you guys a heads-up, because I'm going to be holding a contest. A Perfect Pitch contest. This is a shout out to all unpublished YA and/or MG writers with completed manuscripts. The contest will be in Twitter Pitch style, meaning it can only consist of 140 characters in the comments of the official entry post (not this one), and will be judged by a spectacular literary agent, who will request the full manuscript from the winner. Who is the agent, you're asking? I'll keep that a secret a little bit longer and make the announcement closer to the contest date. But believe me—spectacular!

The contest's official entry post will go up August 18th (two days before my birthday), so get those Twitter pitches perfected and those manuscripts polished. You must be a follower of this blog and tweet or blog the contest, which you can do anytime between now and contest date.

(Just a suggestion: Practice your pitches on your blog or Facebook or wherever, then ask for critiques through Twitter with the hashtag #perfectpitch. Not necessary, but why not get help making your pitches as perfect as they can be?)

You've got three weeks. Go!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Happy Book Birthday

Today is the release day for two book sequels: SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White and WOLFSBANE by Andrea Cremer. I've read the first installments of both these books and loved them. Be sure to check them out if you haven't already!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Interview with Nathan Carriker

I usually include a question in my interviews where I ask authors what superpower they would like to have. The most popular answer so far has been the ability to fly. Apropos, I have an interview today with a writer who can actually do that! With the help of a plane, that is. And in the practice of writing what you know, Nathan Carriker has written a novel about aviation. Let's chat with him and learn more.

Hi, Nate! Welcome. Tell us a little about yourself?

When I was pitching agents, I’d tell them, “I’m a pilot. You could say I eat, drink, sleep, dream, and breathe Aviation, but that doesn’t quite cover it. If they could gather enough of it up in one place I’d actually jump into and roll around in the pile." I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, and it's the main reason I wrote A Silver Ring.

Tell us about A SILVER RING. What’s it about?

For their own in-house advertising, a friend at the Experimental Aviation Association slapped on a fantastic, simple subtitle that perfectly describes it: an aviation love story. I’m an absolute drooling fool for a good double entendre like that. Is it an aviation story about love, or a story about a love for aviation? Well, it's both. But not to be so coy, my elevator pitch is, “A family estranged by war discovers its legacy and the secrets that bind them forever.” It's a binary story - two settings and two parallel plots develop, and resolve, together.

My first protagonist is a young man in World War Two named Wes who wants to be a pilot but is disqualified for being too tall. That actually happened to quite a few men back then. He has a sister who’s in love with their volatile town miscreant, and their father has Wes help keep that guy away from his sister.

Wes and his sister's sweetheart go to war, and Wes falls in love with a lovely English girl he intends to marry if he survives. But just after she gives him a certain silver ring and steels herself to tell him she's pregnant, he gets called out for what becomes his final mission.

Forty years later, my other two protagonists are a forty-something father and twenty-something son in the late 1980’s who share a love and talent for flying they can’t explain because the dad was adopted. On the same fateful day, the father's birth mother enters his life, and his son meets a girl with whom he has an instant rapport. Leading separate, busy lives, the father learns more about his long-lost parents and the son becomes engaged to his new sweetheart. No one has any chance to compare notes until the wedding, where the bride’s dress is far from the biggest secret to be revealed.

Aha, sounds interesting! How did the idea for the story occur to you?

I had an Uncle who wanted to be a pilot but was killed in action April 1, 1944. He was a flight engineer and by all accounts a rather good one. I can’t remember my dad telling me about him, nor can I remember not being obsessed with his story and flying. When my own son was born, I couldn't help but wonder about whether he would inherit the flying bug my uncle, my father, and I share, and that was the beginning.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written for fun since having a tyrannical (but fantastic) English teacher in eighth grade. I've always been lazy and found longhand tedious, so I didn’t even try to write anything for public consumption until I got my first computer in 1994. When I did, I thought I might get Greenpeace after me for the number of trees I was going to get knocked down with all the ideas I had. Unfortunately, before I really got “settled in” with my computer, I had a small plane accident that changed my life, and I didn’t get back to my plan for years. In the process, I married my wife (who came with two boys), and writing was once again relegated to Someday. But when 9/11 decimated my career as an airline pilot, I began to make time for it in hopes of making some extra money. So far, it’s going well—I’ve almost made enough to pay for all the electricity my computers have used!

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The chaotic disjointedness of my lifestyle, by far. It seems I never get more than a few minutes of mental peace at a time. Occupational hazard of my day job as an airline pilot. I get most of my writing done on layovers, but even there, I have to stay healthy and get a lot of rest so I don’t get fatigued for flying, so eating and sleeping are major time-wasters as far as writing’s concerned. I can’t write well when I’m tired or very hungry, but sometimes even when I'm neither I still have trouble getting into “the zone” when I have ample time. It seems like I really do the most good only when I’m neglecting something else.

What do you absolutely need to have nearby when writing?

Nothing, really. I’ve written (bad) poetry on a napkin, and lots of other stuff on whatever was available (no, not tp, at least not yet), but my inner editor will NOT be marginalized, so I definitely do my best with my laptop. A well-stocked fridge, bar, and cigars, and frequent, silent check-in kisses from the wife don’t hurt, either.

And the ever popular question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Aside from the obvious (flying), I’d have to say invisibility. I’m a paranoid with an inferiority complex and that would really help validate my fears about how rarely anyone's talking about me. But then again it could turn me into a voyeur, too—although then I’d still need to have the flying thing to hover outside people’s windows or x-ray vision (although seeing people like those scanners at the airport doesn’t really sound that hot) or the ability to pass through walls or doors or something, so maybe not so much. I’d probably just stick with just flying.

Quick writing test: Use clergy, weapon, and pudding in a sentence?

“Finding a priest dead on the street’s one thing, but finding a member of the clergy carrying a concealed weapon, with a valid permit, is definitely a new wrinkle,” Mike mumbled as he surveyed the scarlet pudding congealed beneath the savagely beaten body.

Sounds like a mystery in the making! Shoutouts…who’s helped you along?

Without my friend, editor, and cover designer (the chronological order of the roles she’s played) Cassandra Marshall, A Silver Ring never could have fully evolved from a good but obviously self-published effort into what I proudly consider a book that can hold its own in every aspect against any competing title published by a New York house. Because of that one great teacher - Marion, Ohio’s Bob Webb - she didn’t have to waste much time finding and fixing technique, so she could really focus on the story. When I first got her markup, my hackles went up on a few things, but after I gave myself some time to calm down, remember I'd paid for a good critique, and resolve to accommodate her ideas without selling out my story or voice, I found myself improving lots of other things she’d left alone but with which I myself was no longer happy. I honestly couldn’t believe the transformation.

And don’t even get me started on the cover she did for me. It’s one of a very few truly magical things I've had in my life, and I’d laugh in the face of anyone who ever tries to critique it. It’s simply not-of-this-Earth perfect for this story.

Without the layout/formatting help of Jennette Green, from Diamond Press Publishing (, I’d be curled in a fetal position mumbling to myself right now instead of publicizing my book. I’m not technophobic, but I simply didn’t have time to learn what some swear to be an easy process and still get A Silver Ring out in time to debut at AirVenture. Jennette had my book perfectly formatted for Lightning Source’s printers, Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords in days for less money than a single one of the visits to a mental health professional I'd have needed without her help.

Literally more people than I can name or even remember have played a part in shaping this novel, my effort to see it published, or my writing in general, but about a dozen Tweeps like you have been all-weather friends to me since I joined Twitter in ‘09, and I've learned a lot from your friendships. The other biggies are @KarlenePetitt, @DocumentDriven, @vdemetros, @lit_gal, @Taildragger1, @SentinelChicken, @juliewillfly, and pretty much everyone who regularly contributes to #amwriting and I’m indebted to lots of people whose names I just can’t recall because of the fleeting nature of social media, but their contribution absolutely can't be overlooked. It really is a great time to be a writer, if only because it’s so easy to get so much support from such great people. You all make it hard to remain an introvert!

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Nate. And I hope the success of your book takes you to new heights. ;)

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Interview with Tricia Merritt and Brad Gallaway

Today I'm going to double your fun by doing a double interview. Earlier this year, I was asked to take a look at a novel called REMEMBER TOMORROW by Tricia Merritt and Brad Gallaway. The story has a great voice, and the time-travel element kept me turning the page to find out what was going to happen next. There's also a steamy scene for those who enjoy a little schmexy in a novel. It's definitely a book for those looking for a fantasy-edged thriller.

I had the honor of talking with the authors, so let's see what they have to say.

Welcome to We Do Write, Brad and Tricia! Great to have you here. How long have you each been writing?

TM: I’ve been writing since childhood. My first professional success came about 14 years ago, when I sold my first short story.

BG: I also been writing since I was a kid. I won a “young writers” contest in third grade, and I've been chipping away at it ever since. However, getting into fiction is fairly recent for me... most of my writing efforts have been in reviewing video games and editing the work of my writing staff.

Tell our readers about REMEMBER TOMORROW.

TM: I’d call it a sexy, smart time-travel thriller. It’s meant to be a fun read but there’s also some substance to it: the universe we created has rules. This isn’t a case of time travel being an all-purpose deus ex machina. We set the story in Hong Kong and Seattle, which are cities we know very well.

BG: I agree with that, but for me, it was also about tackling time-travel in a way that a "normal person" would. Rather than the main character having all the pat answers, or being able to breeze through the challenges before her, it was really important to me to have her be human and relatable.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

TM: I think the idea came from a number of sources. I was walking across a snowy field in Korea, listening to Nine Inch Nails on my iPod. The song “Beside You in Time” came on, and it occurred to me that it would be fun to write a book like this. Brad and I decided to use the Tricia Merritt pen name because I am already something of a known quantity in a certain genre. I wanted people to come to the book with absolutely no preconceptions.

BG: Tricia had the original concept and the idea to write it as a team, and I was happy to jump aboard. Although I don't want to say that I came up with a certain thing, or that Tricia came up with a certain thing, I think our styles were a good balance for each other and hopefully they will blend together in a way that's enjoyable to the reader.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

TM: Finding the time to do it. I have a day job and I also run a small business on the side. With so much on my plate, getting into the right frame of mind has become exceedingly tough. I have a hard time calming my monkey-mind down enough for the words to come. It’s not that I lack ideas—I don’t—but creating a space for them is the hard part these days.

BG: My answer is the same. I have a regular day job that pays my bills (in theory, anyway) and I do my work with games writing at night. Despite this, I used to be able to work in an hour or two of fiction a night with no problem, but now that I've got kids in the house, it's a real challenge.

Let’s get to know you each on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

TM: Nothing talismanic, if that’s what you mean. I need my laptop, of course. My cat likes to hang out nearby while I’m working, to keep an eye on me. That works two ways, because if he’s in sight it means he’s not in another room destroying something! Sometimes a glass (or two) of wine helps.

BG: The only things I need are a quiet room and a headset. I tend to do most of my writing through a verbal dictation program in order to save my hands the wear and tear of pounding away on a keyboard, so give me some silence and a place to talk to myself, and I'm happy.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

TM: Telekinesis, absolutely. Think of the X-men’s Jean Grey.

BG: For me, it would probably be something a little more pedestrian... something like the ability to summon piles of cash out of thin air, or the power to eat hyper-fatty food without destroying my cardiovascular system.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

TM: I’d just like to thank the people who’ve already taken a chance on this book, as well as Brad, for taking a chance on writing it with me.

BG: I'd like to thank Tricia for being a constant encouragement when it was needed, and I'd especially like to thank my wife Gina for being as supportive as anyone could possibly be.

And finally, where can people find you online?

BG: My next book is still in the works all that is due to be published soon, but in the meantime, anyone who wants to read more of my other writings can find me talking video games at, or at my personal blog,

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Brad and Tricia. Good luck with your book, and be sure to let us know when the next one is out.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Book Release: Laura A H Elliott

Winnemucca is a young-adult small-town fairy tale about a teenage girl's enchanted road trip to her true self no matter who or what tries to stop her.

One mistake changes her life forever. One answer will set her free. Once upon a time Ginny’s road blood ripened, the day she got wise to love. Engaged to the high school quarterback, his quarter-carat ring and enchanting smile should have been enough for her. But, she stands him up and takes a walk where every step questions her happily ever after gone-bad and the fate of the mother she never knew. The mother her father refuses to talk about. Ginny fights to untangle her big, fat, lie-of-a-life on an enchanted road trip to Winnemucca, where she believes all her answers lie, no matter who or what tries to stop her.

And here's a book trailer to wet your whistle:

Laura A. H. Elliott's novel is available now. One edition is digitally signed by the author with a 70 cent donation to The Wounded Warrior Project, in honor of Laura's nephew.

What are you working on now, Laura?

My next book is THIIRTEEN ON HALLOWEEN and you can see the beginnings of the cover on my website:!books
It's about an unlucky girl who travels to Planet Popular where she gets everything she wants except her old life back.

Where can readers find you?

Readers can find me at :

Thursday 14 July 2011

Author Update: Denise Grover Swank

In May of last year, I interviewed up-and-coming author Denise Grover Swank. Well, time has flown by, and now Denise is successfully launching her novel TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES. I watched the book trailer, and now I really want to get my hands on this book. Let's take the opportunity to catch up with her.

Welcome back, Denise! Congratulations on your launch. Tell us about your new book.

Thanks for having me back, Dorothy! Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is the first book of the Rose Gardner Mysteries. It's part mystery, part romance, part chick-lit, and part humor that all combines to make a fun read. The synopsis is below:

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

Sounds amazing! How did the idea for the book come to you?

I took my son to the DMV to get license plates for his car. It was a hot, humid June day and the room was stuffy and full of cranky customers. I told him "It would be awesome to have a character work at the DMV. You could get some interesting stories." He just rolled his eyes and gave me his "whatever Mom, you're acting weird again" look. But the wheels were spinning. I started the book four days later.

Muses work in mysterious ways. What was the easiest part about writing this book, and what was the hardest?

The easiest part about about writing this book was that the story literally fell out of my fingers. Rose started talking and didn't stop until the story was done. She's such a fun character that it was a thrilling, magical ride. I wrote the first draft in 30 days.

The hardest part was cutting it down. When I finished, the first draft the manuscript was 102,000 words. It took MANY passes during edits to get it down to it's current 93,000 words. And that wasn't even revising. The story is pretty much as a I wrote it with only very minor revisions. It was cutting down the side thoughts Rose tended to throw in. While many were entertaining, they sometimes slowed down the story. It took me awhile to clean some out. (Kill your darlings. LOL)

Sounds like Rose had a lot to say. Quick Writing Test! Use these words in a sentence: power drill, equilibrium, and symphony.

Awesome word choices! One of my characters, Joe, actually uses a drill in Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes to fix Rose's busted door. I'll write the sentence from Rose's POV. I've set it up with a few other sentences. I also cheated. To make it all make sense, I used a semi-colon. *hangs head in shame*

A mechanical whine drifted from the kitchen, irritating my already aching head. But when I turned the corner to investigate, I froze. Joe hunched in my doorway, working on the doorjamb. The blood rushed from my head, upsetting my equilibrium; the noise of the power drill in his hand had become a symphony.

That was brilliant! So well done that I forgive your cheating. ;) So now that your book is out, are there any shout outs you'd like to throw out there?

This book wouldn't be possible without the help of my critique partners, Trisha Leigh, Eisley Jacobs and Kathy Collins. They believed in this story as much as I did and encouraged me every step of the way. I love you guys!

And finally, let our readers know where they can find your book.

You can find Twenty-Eight and a Half WIshes as a ebook and paperback at, ebook at Barnes & Noble and paperback my Createspace store page:

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is also listed on Goodreads and has a book trailer:

Thanks so much, Denise. I wish you continued success with your book. And be sure to let us know when your next book comes out!

Saturday 2 July 2011


Thanks for all your comments on the WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION FOR DUMMIES giveaway post. I used to pick two winners, and now I extend heartfelt congratulations to:


Yay! If the winners would email me your addresses at dorothyanndreyer [at] gmail [dot] com, your copies will soon be on their way to you.

Also, my dear Blogosprites, I'll be on vacation for a week and a half, so the blog won't be updated until my return. I'm sure you'll all be out in the sun enjoying summer anyway, right? ;) Not to worry though, I already have something lined up for when I get back. Until then, Hasta Luego!