Saturday, May 29, 2010

Guest Post and Contest by Marilee Brothers!!!!

Today we are thrilled to have an amazing writer of both YA and Women's Fiction as our guest blogger. Here is the fabulous Marilee Brothers!!!

I wasted a lot of good years writing depressing poetry about life’s gloomiest and/or wackiest topics. Teenagers meandering down the highway of life searching for answers. My fear of spiders. Lonely old women who drink too much beer. Seriously. Some of it even got published. When I started my first book, a historical romance, I learned something important about myself and, in the process, found my true, authentic voice.

In the beginning, Castle Ladyslipper had the most dreadful, dark and dreary plot one could imagine. Sir Garrick of Hawkwood, my hero, was emotionally damaged, thanks to all the conniving women in his life, starting with his mother. (Why is it always the mother who screws up the son?) The opening scene was an epic downer. As my heroine, Emma, scurried across the bailey, she heard William, her brother, calling to her from an upstairs window. She looked up to see the poor lad plunge to his death, a victim of over-enthusiastic waving. Is it any wonder I could barely drag myself to the computer each day? When my output dwindled to nada, I finally realized I was fighting my nature and consequently hated what I was doing. I ditched the first scene and came up with a new recipe.

Step 1. A dash of magic in the form of a crystal, a curse and a ghost.

Step 2. A castle full of strong, opinionated woman.

Step 3. A hunky, chauvinistic knight who believed women were basically large children and should be treated as such.

Step 4. Mix thoroughly and see what rises to the top. I started to have fun, found my voice and completed my first book.

What does this have to do with YA fiction? Only everything. Kids can spot a phony faster than the time it took William to go splat after his plunge from castle window to cobblestone. I try to remind myself of that fact each time I sit down at the computer. As writers, as human beings, we all have to be true to our natures. When we aren’t, we’re fighting a losing battle that manifests itself in stress-related illness and depression as well as incredibly bad writing.


Because I believe in keeping it real, I often use the names of people I know in my books. Long-time friends appeared in Moon Rise as a fabulously wealthy couple who built their own planetarium for Star Seekers. In the same book, my Canadian friend became an American citizen and a FBI agent. Would you like to see your name immortalized in print? I’ve just begun writing book 4 in the Unbidden Magic series.
All you have to do is leave a comment. If I draw your name, it’s possible your 30 seconds of fame may be right around the corner. Your name will not only appear in my book, I’ll send you a signed copy when it comes out in 2011. Don’t know what to say? I’ll make it easy for you. You can choose: (A) I want my character to be good (B) I want my character to be baaad (C) Surprise me!


Bee said...

Oh my, this is so cool!
Thanks for sharing your writing journey. Oh, and I wrote lots of depressing poems, too. Still do. Lol.

And, um..surprise me!

Jill Wheeler said...

YES. When I bring my teacher/mom/adult self to the computer, crap comes out. But when I think like how I did when I was a teen or even just as a human, without any self-censoring, it's so much better!!

Debra Driza said...

Bwahahaa---but I LOVE that the guy died from over-enthusiastic waving! (does that make me a phoney-lover? HA!)

Great post! And definitely surprise me! :D

Pam Harris said...

Great post! As frustrating as it can be, I love working with pre-teens and teens because they kind of "keep me in the loop" for my writing. My characters start sounding more authentic. And if I win this contest, I would LOVE for my character to be bad. :) I'm too much of a goodie-goodie in real life.

Dragons Muse said...

Suprise me.

This is totally cool by the way.

J.S. Wood said...

Oh wow! I think it would be awesome to be the bad person!! And I would loooove a book :)

Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Amanda said...

OOoo, fun!!

I'm all about surprises!

Dan Krokos said...

Cool idea!

Jamie B said...

Woohoo!! I love this series! And the story of finding your true self in your writing is a great reminder for all of us to keep it real and not fight who we are, but to let it shine through in our words.

If I'm picked - surprise me!

Angela Ackerman said...

Okay, this is just plain coolness. I LOVE this idea!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Josin L. McQuein said...

What does this have to do with YA fiction? Only everything. Kids can spot a phony faster than the time it took William to go splat after his plunge from castle window to cobblestone.

This should be branded onto/into anyone who ever utters the words "Kid's will buy anything." as though munchkins are morons.

(Newsflash, sweetie KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU!)

A kid can cut through all the trappings meant to distract/misdirect an adult and get right to the truth.

I'll go with surprise me.


Leah said...

Such a just a fantastic post and contest!!

Just for the record, I'd totally be evil >:D

Regan Leigh said...

Very cool. :)

I totally want my name in a book. And surprise me. :)

(Though, my name did come from my parents watching The Exorcist, so Regan isn't exactly known for a GOOD character. :D)

Dawn said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing with us! You are a wonderful author.

be well...

Krista Ashe said...

Since I'm such a goody two shoes in real life, I think I'll go for baaaaad to the bone in the book series. Then people can wonder, "Man, Krista must have this Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personna if some author named a heinous bad ass after her!!"


Great post. If you haven't read Marilee's books, you're doing yourself a great disservice. I read Moonstone on the beach last year, and I could NOT put it down. Allie's voice is wonderful, and the story is made of a heapin' helpin of awesomesauce!!

Becca said...

I would love to be a bad character. One who is truly, truly evil.

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic idea.

I'd want to be bad bad bad to the bone!

Annie McElfresh said...

MOONSTONE Is AMAZING!!!!!!! From the first chap one, I was hooked! You guys have to read this book!!!

throuthehaze said...

Fun! Surprise me :)

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Jaleesa said...

I would love it!!!!!! You already know I'm your biggest fan but I'll say it! I love these books more than any other book in the world!!!!

Lily Kaufman said...

Fantastic post, wise and hilarious words (he died, waving? I love it!). I'd love to be good, if you draw my name - my namesake should be, if I can't manage it myself!

Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops said...

Aw, sweet contest! I'd never heard of this series before, so will have to check them out! :D

If I'm drawn, surprise away :D

Roh Morgon said...

Kids can spot phonies. My writers group urged me to insert more in-your-face conflict (ie, MC is invited to join gang and declines), but teens and teachers both said that was too contrived and too overdone. I was told to leave it alone - that the MC's internal conflicts were enough and truly mirrored the struggles of today's teens.

I agree - gotta listen to your characters and your own instincts as a writer.

And as for using names in our works? I have a fan of my urban fantasy who begged me to put him in the story. He said he both loved the female MC and wanted to work for the male MC. I included him a scene that fit his request, and he's stoked.

Great post - thanks!

Marilee said...

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for commenting on my guest blog. I'm really looking forward to making one of you famous. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I really hope I pick somebody who wants to be "baaad." So much more fun to write!

Becca Cooper said...

A) This is awesome!
B) A castle full of strong opinionated women sounds like a recipe for more awesome.
C) Surprise me! :D
D) Did I mention this was AWESOME?

Spav said...

This is a really awesome contest. I'm going to check out this series, since I've never heard of them before.

Hmath said...

*raises hand* can I have a good guy cameo along the lines of Clive Cussler's cameos?


Thanks for sharing!

WriterChick said...

I enjoyed reading your post!

Wendy Gilmore
(make me bad)


Jwb52z said...

I'd like my character to be mysterious with a code-name that I use around the net for doing things. Maybe it could be that I am found out by the star seekers to be one of the evil Tridents so they have to figure out my real identity to kill me. On the other hand, maybe I could be a part of another prophecy and they have to find me through that same code-name to help save the Star Seekers due to some knowlege I have perhaps. In this day and age of computers and the internet, I think it would fit in with the modern fantasy themes you have going on with the setting. I'll give my real name for use in the book if I am chosen, but the "name" I use for this comment would be the one I'd want for the code name if possible and you could make up your own reasoning behind it being used for the character of course.

Jessica Swenson said...

Such a great idea! Very fun! Surprise me, I love surprises!

Use my name any way you want to to fit the character:
Jessica Rochelle (Gillette) Swenson

(Maiden name)

erica_henry said...

I'd love to be a bad character :)

Awesome idea BTW.

Kathryn said...

Oh, great post & contest!

I think I'd want to be a good character - I'd get too frustrated with "myself" otherwise. :)

Sandra said...

I love these books they r so amazing I can't get enough of them I can't wait to get the new one I'm so excited!!

Beth Lidiak said...

Thanks for the great opportunity. I really love your books. Your writing is funny and very exciting....Once you start reading one of your books its impossible to put down!

Surprise Me!

Vie said...

Wow I just found out about you 2 days ago and have already read both books and can't wait for the 3rd.
My ideal character would be a French fairy called "Vie", who is very cheerful and optimistic. She is an artist who paints with her mind.
But of course if my name is chosen, I can be anything!