Tag Archives: Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t accomplish in 2014

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This is a known fact in the universe, most writers are self-doubting humans who work their asses off hoping to get it right. I am very much among them.
On top of that, at the end of every year, I’d ask myself “what the hell have I been doing for the past 12 months?”
Well, I’ve learned how to answer that question.
I have been doing a lot.
I sat down and wrote, not every day, but most days. I may not have turned out as many books as James Patterson, but dammit, I did finish projects. I completed a novel, short stories and a screenplay, and started two more novels. I researched and outlined.
I wrote.
As we prepare to welcome the new year, it is time to remember what we have accomplished as writers in 2014 and not beat up ourselves for what we did not do.
Maybe we didn’t get as much done as we wanted, but we kept writing.
Maybe we didn’t get as much published as we wanted or hit the best seller list, but we kept writing.
The year 2015 is only a few days away. Don’t look back with regret. Instead, celebrate that you are a writer and look forward to what you will accomplish in the year ahead.
Tink. Tink.
That is the sound of my champagne glass saluting you.

Starting a new book is hell (and a bit of heaven)

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I can’t complain.
I recently signed a contract with a publisher for my new book and an agent is shopping another manuscript. My writing partner and I published a new children’s book of which we are proud and which won an award. Another publisher also released my YA paranormal novel a few months ago.
It has been a good writing year.
So after taking a few weeks off after finishing those books, I outlined my next one. Such excitement. Such promise. Such hope. But outlined is all I did for months.
Was it the usual writer’s block we all suffer that prevented me from charging on? Not at all. It was plain fear and dread.
What stopped me from moving forward was thinking about the time it would take to finish the manuscript. The sore hands and aching back. The hours in my office when I could be doing something else. The doubts I could write something worth reading. Just the thought of the number of months I would devote to such a work.
Sorry, now that sounded like complaining.
Then as I always do, I beat down the fear and dread long enough to start the book. I remember how much I love to write and tell stories, and when I don’t, I feel like a part of me has been voided out like a figure in a snow storm. That sounds corny, but any writer will tell you it’s damn true.
Once I am into the book, of course, I still worry whether I can carry it off and finish, and whether the result will be a good story and well written and say something about the human condition, as well as entertain. But it is the process and love of writing and the excitement of creating that make me keep typing away.
Yeah, writing is hard work and will leave you crazy and frustrated, but I hope, I will be proud of what I put on the page. That my characters and story will live, and as a writer, that I’ll feel alive, too.
I’m more than 17,000 words into my new book. It is a start.

Enter to win a free copy of THE GHOST SISTERS AND THE GIRL IN HALLWAY B

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Check out the book giveaway at GOODREADS of THE GHOST SISTERS AND THE GIRL IN HALLWAY B, my new YA paranormal novel.
The Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B by Patricia Santos Marcantonio

The Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B

by Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Giveaway ends October 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Declare war on clichés. Your writing and the world will be better for it

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I am a peace loving woman, but I do have a sworn enemy – clichés.
When I judged writing contests and edited copy for a newspaper, I cringed whenever I saw a cliché. I cringed a lot.
Sometimes, I would even be reading a first draft of my writing, and what do you know? I found a few clichés.
The definition of cliché says it all. A word or phrase that’s lost its power because of overuse.
Clichés are around for a reason. They are so easy to use and so available. But when you use them that means you’re taking it easy in your writing. You’re not pushing yourself creatively.
It is funny that they have changed over the years. When I taught a creative writing class to young people and gave them a list of clichés, they didn’t recognize them because we have developed some newer clichés like these.

No way
Enough said
Really? (as in you see something dumb or incredulous and your response is ‘really?’)
Whatever

Clive Whichelow and Hugh Murray have even written a book about the modern ones called “It’s Not Rocket Science: And Other Irritating Modern Cliches.”
However, there are still a lot of the old ones hanging around and finding their way into your writing.
Think about it this way. Clichés were written or said by someone else. You don’t want anybody else’s writing in yours, do you? Writing is about originality and if we want ours to be original, we must declare war on those pesty clichés.
How?
First locate and eradicate them in the editing process. In addition, have your critique partners read your writing because they may find ones that you don’t.
A fun way to work your brain is to break clichés and turn them into something new and in your own voice. Start with what I have dubbed the Cliché Challenge.
Come up with a list of clichés and then rework them to make them new and yours. For instance take the cliché “All that glitters is not gold.”
My take on it–Her golden life had the glitter of a brick.
You get the idea.
Lists of clichés are all over the Internet. Here is a good one.

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-cliches.html.

Do a few each time. It will be hard and your brain will be sweating.
Good luck and happy cliché hunting.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with ‘Red Ridin’ in the Hood’

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For a different view of Hispanic culture, check out, RED RIDIN’ IN THE HOOD AND OTHER CUENTOS.
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the book won an Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award, was a
Commended Title — Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, earned a Starred review — American Library Association, and was named one of the Best Collections to Share — Wilde Awards.
It takes familiar fairy tales and puts a Latino spin on them.
Renato Alarcão provides the wonderful illustrations.
I’m proud of this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Ridin-Hood-Other-Cuentos/dp/0374362416/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411748800&sr=1-1&keywords=red+riding+in+the+hood+and+other+cuentos

Meet the Ghost Sisters, new YA paranormal book

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Sunbury Press has released my new YA paranormal, THE GHOST SISTERS AND THE GIRL IN HALLWAY B.

Kat and Marie Bench love anything to do with the supernatural. They soon find their new school is haunted by the ghost of a girl in Hallway B.

Available now at Sunberrypress.com and Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Sisters-Girl-Hallway-ebook/dp/B00N70R1CA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409549673&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Ghost+sisters+and+the+girl+in+Hallway+B

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Ghost-Sisters-and-the-Girl-in-Hallway-B-9781620064733.htm

Why Mr. Spock is such a damn good character

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Yes, I am a Star Trek fan and proud to proclaim it. Although I liked Patrick Stewart’s run, my heart is with the original and my favorite character of all is Mr. Spock. I did like Kirk, tolerated Dr. McCoy and enjoyed the rest of the crew, but loved Spock.
When I was a younger, I thought Mr. Spock was cool because he was an alien with weird ears who threw up the first alien gang sign that meant live long and prosper. He was smart, strong and could put guys to sleep with the touch of two fingers on their shoulders instead of sitting through a math class.
When I grew a little older, I got a different view of Spock after reading the excellent adaptions of the original series by James Blish, which I highly recommend. Each episode was told in a short story form and you got more of a taste for the characters’ thoughts and actions. I’d estimate that at least ninety percent of the time, Spock directly or indirectly got the Enterprise out of trouble.
As one of my daughter’s observed, Spock was the go-to-guy for ideas that saved the day. It was always fun when the human side of him slipped out and let’s not forget that raised eyebrow, she said.
I began to realize Kirk was absolutely right when he eulogized Spock in “Wrath of Kahn” as the most human of all. Although Spock was half human, his appearance and adoption of the Vulcan way of life made him an outsider. He submerged his human half so there was always a battle within and with others. In other words, his character had conflict and backstory.
He lived by logic instead of emotion but when those emotions broke through because of some strange alien force, then watch out. He cried. He laughed. He made women crazy. He was unreachable, which made lots of females, from cloud dwellers to Romulan commanders, want him.
He tried not to show the human half, but did everything in his power to save those humans. And though Spock knew the value of science, he also knew the value of life. His humanity blazed like a photon torpedo.
Of course, Spock was brought brilliantly to life by Leonard Nimoy, who was nominated for three Emmys. TV Guide also named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters. And we can’t forget, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.
Not all of us may come up a Mr. Spock, but as writers, we should always be reaching to create such wonderful and memorable characters.
So Live Long and Prosper and don’t forget to write.

Below is a list of Mr. Spock’s top ten best quotes.
http://www.top10-best.com/m/top_10_best_mr_spock_quotes.html

Join Facebook launch of new kid’s book, ‘Billie Neville Takes a Leap’

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Join coauthor Bonnie Dodge and Patricia Santos Marcantonio as we launch “Billie Neville Takes a Leap” on Facebook.

Ten-year-old Billie Neville wants to be a daredevil, just like her hero Evel Knievel. She also wants a best friend. Riding “the best bike in the whole world” Billie’s desperate to enter a bike jumping contest with three boys named The Meanies and show them her cool bike skills. When Evel comes to town to jump the Snake River Canyon, Billie learns she has to be a friend to make friends and that not all heroes have to soar over canyons.

The Facebook launch will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. MST Monday, May 19.

We’ll talk about the book and answer your questions. There will also be giveaways. So join us.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=733771523341313&set=gm.665255330211462&type=1&theater

http://www.amazon.com/Billie-Neville-Takes-Bonnie-Dodge/dp/0692208844/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400191471&sr=1-1&keywords=billie+neville+takes+a+leap

New kid’s book ‘Billie Neville Takes a Leap’ has arrived

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Now on sale at Amazon is my new book co-authored with Bonnie Dodge.

Ten-year-old Billie Neville wants to be a daredevil, just like her hero Evel Knievel. She also wants a best friend. Riding “the best bike in the whole world” Billie’s desperate to enter a bike jumping contest with three boys named The Meanies and show them her cool bike skills. When Evel comes to town to jump the Snake River Canyon, Billie learns she has to be a friend to make friends and that not all heroes have to soar over canyons.

http://www.amazon.com/Billie-Neville-Takes-Bonnie-Dodge/dp/0692208844/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400099491&sr=1-1&keywords=Billie+Neville+Takes+a+Leap

Be Frankenstein. Grow your characters

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When starting a new story and working on characters to populate it, I sometimes think of Frankenstein.
Yes, Frankenstein.
That’s because as a writer I have to grow and develop my characters. Not sew them together out of a bunch of dead bodies, but develop creations with thoughts, dreams, fears, weaknesses and strengths. Quirks and qualities. How will they react to conflict, love, loneliness or whatever situation in which I place them.
I start with a character profile where I can list almost everything from their favorite music to their background to what they want and need. Not all details will end up in the story, but I will know where the characters came from, where they are going and how they changed getting there. You’ll find many good templates for character profiles online.
Writing 101 tells use that characters should have an external goal and internal one. Take Clarissa Starling from “Silence of the Lambs.” Her outside conflict is finding Buffalo Bill. Her internal one is stopping the nightmares and the screaming of the lambs from an earlier trauma. Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick” must kill the white whale, but also face his own demons.
I minored in psychology in college, so motivation of my character is very important to me. The protagonist in my novel, “The Weeping Woman” is a detective who is promiscuous not because she is a nymphomaniac. It is because sex is the only way she can maintain control after growing up in an environment where she had no control. Not all characters may have motivations and just be monsters, but they will probably be the villain and catalyst for the story, not the main character.
Like Dr. Victor Frankenstein, writers need to a spark to bring their creations alive. Victor used electricity and chemicals. You will use motivations, dialogue, backstory, conflict and more to start your character breathing. If you succeed, then you also can shout, “It’s alive! It’s alive.”