Characters Conspiring

One of my favorite things about being a writer is the way I can fall into a story. The point where I stop seeing the scenes as if watching a movie and I start walking around on the set, able to see, feel, smell, taste, and touch the setting around me. The real world disappears in those moments.


Photo Credit: Lisa Hall-Wilson (Flickr)

Still, there are settings which I tend to avoid, out of fear or intimidation. My adult WiP, Dark Intent is set in early 1900s. Originally, it was set in the 1800s, but I’m not a history buff. I don’t read much historical fiction either, and therefore found working with that timeframe intimidating. There are so many things I don’t know. Would my main character be able to see her reflection in a window? Could she drink from a water hose? When exactly were blue jeans invented? Could she even wear pants? (Big NO on that one). The early 1900s are worked better, because it was easier to research and I was even able to find images of clothing my characters might wear. To  spend more time writing and less time researching, I found a few period details to sprinkle in to help set the scene.

As far as specific settings and fear is concerned, I will most likely never ever ever write a scene that takes place on a bridge. If my characters ever try to drag me onto one, they’ll have to do so with me kicking and screaming. Even as I type this, I hear them conspiring about a way to work one into a story.

Do you have a setting that you avoid writing out of intimidation or fear?

Want to know how my critique partners answered this question? See Dawn’s response here and Leatrice’s is answer coming soon.


IWSG – Socially Awkward


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG will be Lynda Young, Mark Koopmans, and Rachna Chhabria!


I mentioned last month that I’m attending the Romantic Times Convention this week and it starts today (well, technically tomorrow since I’m writing this post in advance). I’ve never been much of a social butterfly. I’m the bookworm sitting in the corner engrossed in reading and if I’m not, that’s where I want to be. However, when I go to conferences/conventions, I try to break free of my cocoon and mingle. Yet, in the back of my mind I worry about saying something silly or tripping over my feet while walking into a room or squeezing someone’s hand too hard during the ‘Hello, nice to meet you’ handshake.

How do you handle conference jitters?

Book Reviewers: To Thank or Not to Thank; What is the Etiquette?

I find myself in a peculiar place. I’m at that point in my writing career where I’m starting to get book reviews for my debut novel, which is exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. People are out there taking the time to read my book and write a review. I feel like I should thank them. But at the same time, I don’t want them to think I’m lurking around in the background.

So, I’m reaching out to you (readers, reviewers, writers) to get your opinions.

  1. True or False. If a reviewer thinks an author will read the review, it adds extra pressure and might intimidate the reviewer.
  2. True or False. A writer should never respond to a review.
  3. True or False. Responding to Amazon reviews is considered self-promotion or spam.

I’ve done my share of book reviews knowing the author would most likely read it, and hoping others would because how cool would it be to get a response from the author of a book I enjoyed. Though, I’m still not sure how to handle responses to Edge of Truth. So far, I’ve only thanked the reviewer, but have not left comments on the actual review. I don’t want to seem like I’m a shameless self-promoter (which to some extent writers need to be) nor do I want to come off as a suck up or tarred as a Badly Behaving Author.

These days, communication between author and readers/reviewers/authors is easier than ever. Sometimes, our In Box gets out of control, but I still believe common courtesy, even something as simple as saying ‘Thank You,’ is important. So, if I turn into that author lurking in the background, it’s most likely to show appreciation for another person’s time.

What are your thoughts? Readers and reviewers, does it bother you to think an author might read your review? Authors, do you comment on reviews and/or send a ‘Thank You’ note?

Who Tells The Story?


Photo Credit: Jenny Kaczorowski

Hey Everyone!

It’s my turn on the Novel Clique blog today. Please pop on over to read my post on Point of View.

Next Thursday, I’ll post about the reviewer/writer relationship and expectations. I hope to get tons of feedback from those of you who have written a book review(s) or thought about writing a review.

Thanks for your continued support! ~ Natasha

IWSG: The Sound of Writing


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are Annalisa Crawford, Elsie, and Julie Luek!


Now, on to my second IWSG post…

This May, I’m attending the RT Booklovers Convention and I’ve entered one of the contests called American ‘Idol’ – The Writer Edition Competition which is all about voice. This is one thing writers hear from the onset, you have to find your voice. I’d like to think I found mine. I LOVE the story I entered into the competition, but I worry that it isn’t ‘loud’ enough.

I’m not really an ‘in your face’ kind of writer, and I worry that might be what it takes in this industry. What if my work isn’t humorous, witty, shocking, dramatic, sexy enough? Do I have to be loud to be noticed?

Do you ever worry about your writer’s voice?

I Don’t Want To Name Names

Oh…but I do want to name. One of my favorite parts of being a writer is finding the perfect name for my characters. And they will protest if given them the wrong name (writer’s you know what I’m talking about). Once the right one is found, the reward is awesome. It helps bring the character to life, gives them attitude, helps define their overall disposition. For example, when you see the name “Milton” you don’t assume evil mastermind. You probably think of this guy from Office Space or the guy from The Walking Dead.

The main character in my debut novel, EDGE OF TRUTH (YA paranormal romance/dystopian), is Rena Moon. She’s named after her mother Laurena, whose name is symbolic of honor and victory. ‘Rena’ also means reborn. According to my research, people with her name have a deep inner desire for independence, are passionate, compassionate, romantic, and are sometimes quick-tempered. Fits my MC perfectly.

In my new manuscript, BLINK (YA Paranormal), the MC’s name is Alexandra Ripley, but she goes by Lexi (←she made me mention that addendum). Her first name means ‘protector of mankind’, and it’s not easy for her. She’s the only girl Called to Hunt since the Brotherhood swore to defend mankind centuries ago. Now, she struggles against the patriarchal traditions that deem her unworthy, while facing the evil that killed her predecessor. Oddly enough, I knew her name, before I discovered the challenges she’d face.

Baby name books and websites are wonderful places to find the perfect name. What I like about these resources is they go beyond giving names and dig deeper into the meaning, origin, year of popularity, and sometimes, the online ones, list celebrities with similar names.

In the past, I’ve found these sites helpful:

What are some of your favorite character names (either yours or someone else’s)? When reading a book, do you ever stop to research character names? When writing, do you research before naming characters?

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