To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

Ramona DeFelice Long

write-here-every-dayNovember 1 is four weeks away. If you’re a writer, you know what that means: the clock is ticking toward NaNoWriMo.

For the past few years, I’ve offered workshops about prepping for National Novel Writing Month. This year, I have decided to post here each Wednesday in October on some aspect of NaNoWriMo. I’ll discuss taking the plunge and how to prepare. I’ll have a guest over to share her multiple experiences with NaNoWriMo, and I’ll host another writer who offers an alternative for those who find 50,000 words in a month an unrealistic goal.

Let’s begin with the decision to take the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMo is very simple—or can be. Writers sign up with the goal to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. There are no rules that you must write every day. You can work only on weekends, or work all week and skip…

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Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dusty Crabtree

If you’re a teacher or a student, you know that summer is the best time of year to catch up on your TBR list…or add some to it and read those instead.

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Either way, there’s more time to read, and I always love to read books that people have recommended to me. So here are a few recommendations from me to you (all Young Adult, btw, because that’s how I roll)! Many you’ve heard of and maybe already read, but a few others probably not. I didn’t include The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner, because, well, those are a given.

Click on the title to go to the Goodreads page of the first book of that series so you can read the synopsis and check out reviews.

  1. The UnwindSeries (Dystopian)- See my review here. You’ve probably already heard of this series too, but Neal Shusterman is probably my favorite author…

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Ruby Frost Excerpt

*taps the microphone* Is this thing still on? Testing…1,2,3….

Hi everyone!

I know I don’t blog as much as I used to and I apologize for that. I’ve been writing as fast as I can and working on Ruby Frost. I’m almost finished with the third draft of the novel and I really hope you enjoy Bianca’s next adventure in Everafter. There is so much more going on. You will meet a whole bunch of incredible characters and also a new villain. So I sincerely hope it’s worth the wait. I want to make sure I give you guys the best book possible.

 

Anyway here is an unedited sneak peek at Ruby Frost, featuring your favorite Wonderlandian, Maggie Hatter. 😉

 

“There are clocks everywhere,” Maggie said as she looked at her surroundings, with a mixture of awe and fear. She wrinkled her lightly freckled nose as though she had just smelled something foul. “I don’t like it. All this…tick-tocking. It’s unsettling.”

Bianca chuckled and shook her head. She knew that bringing Maggie with her to the real world was going to make things a bit complicated. Maggie Hatter, daughter of Alice and Maddox aka the Mad Hatter, had never been to school. Sure, she knew how to read and write (thanks to her mother) but other than that she had no interest in education whatsoever. But she was curious as to where Bianca went every morning. And it was that curiosity that got Maggie to wake up early and get dressed. She had to borrow some of Bianca’s clothes, which were a little big on her. Bianca was shorter and curvier than Maggie, who was tall and slim like her father, but she just shrugged and borrowed one of Bianca’s belts and that helped keep everything in place.

“Please behave. I only have a few months left to go and then I’ll graduate,” Bianca whispered as she guided Maggie through the busy hallways of her school.

“I promise. You don’t have to worry about me. Although that girl over there should worry about her teeth. Why does she have all that metal in her mouth?” Maggie whispered.

“They’re called braces and people use them to straighten their teeth.”

Maggie looked horrified. She covered her mouth to keep herself from crying. She composed herself and twirled a piece of her blond, curly (and sometimes matted) hair.

“Why? What did her teeth do? Do they put your teeth in prison for misbehaving? If so, then I want to know what sort of shenanigans the teeth around here like to do,” Maggie said.

Bianca rolled her eyes and tried not to laugh. “Just…shh. Okay?”

“Shh? Easy for you to say. You probably know where all the teeth go to have fun,” Maggie muttered.

They stopped in front of her locker. Bianca unlocked and opened it. She took out her math book and a few notebooks. She handed one to Maggie in case she wanted to take notes during class. Maggie arched an eyebrow and quirked her lip a tiny bit.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” Maggie asked, holding the notebook between her index finger and thumb as though it were a skunk.

“Take notes?” Bianca suggested.

Maggie tossed the notebook back inside the locker and slammed it shut. “I don’t think so. I’m here to observe and see what is so dangerous of about this high school. So far there is nothing here that is disconcerting. There are no jabberwockies, no Bandersnatch, no card soldiers. I’m starting to think you were exaggerating,” Maggie said.

“Trust me. I wasn’t exaggerating. Some of these people are horrible and vicious,” Bianca said.

Maggie crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

(c) Liz DeJesus 2017

 

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Spring Forward with these Events!

Ramona DeFelice Long

Delaware is small, but we have a mighty big and mighty active writing community. Ahead are a few local events scheduled in the coming few weeks.

 First, a reading of Irish poetry:

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 Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents     

James Keegan & Anne Colwell

reading Irish poetry

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 4:00p.m.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 276 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE

Free-will offering.

Co-sponsored by St. Thomas Parish And the University of Delaware Department of English

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Second, a workshop on writing for contests:

DE writers studioThird, a workshop day for writers and poets:

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WRITES OF SPRING

Poetry and Prose Writing Workshops
at the Judge Morris Estate, White Clay Creek State Park, Newark, Delaware.
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Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship recipients, author Ramona DeFelice Long and poet Maggie Rowe, will conduct day long workshops on Poetry or Prose.
 Registration includes lunch and snacks.
$15/person. Call for more details and to…

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake

liz dejesus

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chunk-Cake-1What better way to celebrate Autumn than by baking this delicious treat! My mom always makes some Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cake on Thanksgiving and seriously, it’s so yummy it doesn’t stay on the table very long because everyone has eaten a slice. 😀 So I figured I’d share the recipe with you guys. Enjoy!

*If you don’t have a food processor, use the canned pumpkin option.

Prep: 45 minutes Bake: 60 minutes Cool: 30 minutes Oven: 350 degrees F.

Nonstick spray for baking

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate, chopped into chunks (1 ½ cups)

1 1 ½-lb. pie pumpkin, shredded* or one 15-oz. can pumpkin

¾ cup butter, melted

6…

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Anime Day at The Art Studio

Now that I’ve had some time to process everything that has happened over the weekend I can now sit down and talk to you guys about Anime Day.

I’m honored, humbled and still in shock over the amazing turn out we had on Saturday. Almost 800 people attended! I still can’t believe it. I was hoping for somewhere between 300-400 but never that amount of people. That’s astronomical!

So here’s a little back story as to how this event came about. I’m in the committee for the Hockessin Art & Book Fair (along with The Art Studio, Hockessin Community Recreation Center, The Written Remains, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin Library, and Center of the Creative Arts), I’m listed as Unexpected Spark Studios. 7 months ago I spoke to my friend Carol Dougherty (who works at the Art Studio) about possibly putting together a small anime and manga convention. Something small, perhaps at one of the libraries in New Castle County. She turned to me with a small grin and said, “That’s a great idea. But how about we do it at the Art Studio?”

You didn’t have to tell me twice. I was just happy Anime Day was actually going to happen. I think it’s awesome that Delaware is starting to have so many events, but I felt that it was missing a little something. I felt like we needed something that was specifically for anime and manga. Mostly because I LOVE anime and manga! Some of my favorites are Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, Alice 19th, and Ceres. I was lucky that I had friends that I could share this with. I’m also a HUGE gamer girl. I grew up playing Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, Soulcalibur, Final Fantasy X & X-II and Kingdom Hearts. (Still play those games).

The following week we met at the Art Studio and talked about what we wanted to do. First thing we needed were artists and vendors for our mini artist alley. Luckily, thanks to all the years I’ve been running around the East Coast going to comic cons and conventions I had a great list of people I could invite. So that task fell on me. First and foremost, we wanted this to be a family friendly event, and we also wanted everyone to have a good time.

We also needed, workshops, panels, food vendors, etc.

So for 7 months Carol and I communicated mostly via email and planned Anime Day. I asked my dear BFF Kristen Corbett to design the logo for our event. And I’m so glad I did. I don’t think anyone else could’ve designed a more adorable little cat. It’s a little bento cat!

And slowly, things were falling into place. I also asked the Delaware Anime Society to lend a hand and I’m so glad I did. They helped us with so much stuff and I will be eternally grateful for their help.

I can honestly tell you guys that a few days before Anime Day was supposed to take place I was a giant bundle of nerves. I was so nervous. I kept wondering if I had forgotten something. Worried that no one would attend.

But all those worries vanished the moment they opened the doors at the Art Studio on Saturday at 11AM. I will never forget that WHOOSH! And seeing people literally pouring in through the double doors.

I cried. I did. I cried for a good 30 seconds from behind my table while Kristen consoled me and patted me on the shoulders. I was just so relieved that people had attended.

I want to thank my friend Carol Dougherty, for being kind and patient with me even though I sent her a million emails (and if you know me personally then you know that I can get chatty even via email). My husband, Kurt and my children. My BFF Kristen, for listening to me going on and on (and on) about this event). My family, my parents, and my in laws, for always being there for me and for taking care of my children when I had to go to a meeting.

I also want to thank all of the artist and vendors that took a chance on me and on Anime Day. I’m so glad they did. This event couldn’t have happened without their help and incredible talent. So many of you even volunteered to run workshops and panels! Seriously, THANK YOU!

I will be sure to keep you posted for next year’s Anime Day. 😉

 

Anime Day at The Art Studio

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A bento box sized, family-friendly, anime and manga convention! Meet local manga artists, learn about anime and manga resources at your NCC Libraries. There will be vendors, workshops, games, cosplay and more! This fun event will take place on August 27th 2016 from 11 AM ~ 4PM Be sure to stop by for a fun-filled day. More information coming soon! Find out more about The Art Studio by visiting their website http://www.nccde.org/259/Art-Studio
Anime Day Artists and Vendors

Mugshots Cover and Blurb

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Alice had recently been dumped by her boyfriend, Jack Hart. She’s not taking the breakup very well. She’s picked up a dangerous mushroom habit and has been taking frequent trips down the rabbit hole. Alice and her BFF Kat Cheshire go on a drug infused and sexually charged trip as they make their way toward Wonderland, a new dance club that Alice has been eager to visit. Will she make it out of the rabbit hole unscathed or will she forever be changed?

Holly is a good granddaughter and an antique store owner by day. But by night? She becomes a wolf determined to escape the nightly attentions of her ex-boyfriend, Pyotr.  The man that turned her into a monster. After she rejects his advances one time too many he threatens to kill the person she loves the most in the world. Her grandmother. Holly will do anything to keep her safe…even enlist the help of a woman with golden hair.

Winnie loves bears. Some people might say she’s obsessed but she calls it being an avid collector. She is searching for a particular set of bears. They are ‘The Three Wise Bears’ and each one is made out of solid gold. Winnie has two out of three. She’s close to finding the third one and completing her collection. She’ll do whatever it takes to find it…even breaking and entering.

 Snow is in a tough position at work….in more ways than one actually. Every night she puts on a show at The Poisoned Apple, her stepmother Cora owns the highly exclusive sex club. And every night Snow entertains the clients by performing sexual acts, but she’s tired of that life. She longs for the day she can quit her job and live with her boyfriend Jerry. But things get complicated when Cora becomes more and more unstable with every passing day. She grows obsessed with Snow’s beauty and popularity. Enough that Snow tries to run away from her controlling stepmother. Will she finally be free from Cora’s grasp? Or will she pay the ultimate price?

Fairy tales like you’ve never seen them before. These wickedly enchanting tales intersect in ways you couldn’t imagine. Enjoy finding out the story behind their Mugshots.

Coming soon….

 

 

The Laurel Excerpt

Note: Just got the edits for The Laurel. I’m so excited to share this new book with you guys. I really hope you enjoy it!

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PROLOGUE

In a dark cave filled with multicolored strings and golden cords that hummed with power sat The Moirae—three sisters—daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Themis: Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Allotter, and Atropos the Inexorable. Each one with her purpose, each one with a task that must never end.

Clotho, the youngest of the three, must forever spin the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle. She was called upon at the ninth month of pregnancy when life must come forth. Lachesis, the middle sister, was tasked to take the thread and measure it, for she decided how long a person would live. Atropos, the eldest of the three, was the cutter of the thread. She chose the way a person was destined to die. Her golden shears were always sharp and ready.

Lachesis watched Clotho out of the corner of her eye and frowned.

“What are you doing?” Lachesis asked while she continued to measure the cord.

“What I always do. I spin,” Clotho replied. Her brown eyes never leaving the task at hand.

“That’s not wool thread, nor is it the golden thread that belongs to the gods,” Lachesis pointed out.

“I know,” Clotho replied.

“Then what are you spinning?”

“I spin a tale that will be told long after the three of us are gone. I spin a tale that will teach a lesson to both god and man.”

“Who is this person?” Atropos asked. Her voice gravelly and rough as though she had spent her entire life drinking water filled with broken glass. “How long will she live so I may know when to cut the cord?” She chuckled as she cut the air with her golden shears, already eager to put them to good use.

“You won’t have to,” Clotho said as she kept spinning the cord.

“Don’t be silly. Of course I’ll have to cut it. It is my job, it’s what I do,” Atropos argued as she waved her shears from side to side.

“She will live on forever,” Clotho muttered as she continued to spin a dark green cloth.

Her sisters shook their heads, unable to understand their young sister’s strange behavior.

“You speak nonsense, Clotho. I will always have a cord to measure just as Atropos will always have something to cut,” Lachesis said.

“That’s quite all right, sisters, there is no need for you to understand.” Clotho smiled an innocent smile as she continued to spin the thread and feed it into the spinning wheel.

Their cavern looked more and more like an elaborately decorated and multicolored spider web with every passing day. Every day, Clotho created a new cord for each child born into the world. It was a cycle. It was the way the world worked. You are born, you live, and then you die.

But not you, sweet one. We have other plans for you. The world will remember your name, Clotho thought as she continued to work on the dark green thread.

© Liz DeJesus 2016

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