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Showing posts from November, 2013

Interview with Melanie Ting

Today I'm very happy to plug a fellow writer—and friend—Melanie Ting. She's authored some of my favorite hockey stories, including Fresh Air and How the Cookie Crumbles. Mel's climbing up the Amazon sales charts; if you haven't read her work yet, do yourself a favor and check her out!


Mel took the time to talk to me about her writing and latest novel, her love of hockey, and of course, cats:


The Game On Chronicles: The Plot Thickens

I know I haven't said much about this new story that I'm working on. I'm afraid to reveal too much in case I change my mind and have to play with the details. But I've told you about Audrey and Nate. You've probably inferred that Nate plays on the Columbus Blue Jackets once I mentioned the setting.

The first few chapters of any of my stories are usually spent introducing the characters. To me, my characters are the most important part of my stories. That's just part of who I am; I love people's stories, so naturally I love imagining up people and giving them stories. When I write, that it what I want to convey: the characters, and their stories.

The plot is important because characters reveals their traits and personality through their reactions to what happens around them or, maybe more truthfully, their actions and deeds.

Once the characters are established, that's when the plot starts to develop.

All that being said, the plot is what dictates how the…

The Game On Chronicles: Distractions

I'm usually pretty good at time management. When I have a lot on my plate, I have to buckle down and stay focused, which I can do. If the pressure's on, that helps me stay motivated.

But sometimes, no matter what I seem to want to do, I keep getting pulled away from the task at hand.

My social schedule varies a lot. Sometimes, it feels like I have all the time in the world; yet other times, I'm so busy I'm lucky to get a decent night's sleep.

I'm pretty busy right now. Work is pretty crazy, and I'm stage managing for the local theatre, which takes up 2-3 nights during the week. I captain a trivia team, which is how I spend my Tuesday nights. On top of that, I have Christmas projects to work on, and I'm trying to make new curtains to help block the cold from coming in as winter descends on Pittsburgh. And my apartment desperately needs to be cleaned. Oh, and I can't forget that my typically antisocial cats, for some reason, are following me around li…

The Game On Chronicles: Setting and Perspective

When a plot line is universal and the characters are true to human nature, a story can take place anywhere on Earth and it will still ring true to its readers.

One of the reasons that Shakespeare is still relative today is because his characters are timeless. His plays are adapted to take place in current or modern settings, and they still make just as much as sense as they do to Elizabethan audiences.

The place and time of a story doesn't usually affect much about a plot. In fact, I think the plot dictates the setting, and not the other way around. That being said, however, the setting can affect how the story is told.

I'm no Shakespeare, but I understand that much.


As I've mentioned in a previous blog entry, I had originally started writing Game On in 2011. Since picking it back up, I decided to update the story. It's amazing how many things have changed in the past two years that affect the story. Realignment, the lockout, technology, and the presence of social medi…

The Game On Chronicles: What's in a Name?

Hands down, one of the most difficult parts of writing for me is picking out character names. It's like naming a child: the kid has to live with this name, and I have to call the kid by this name for the rest of my life. So I don't want to pick a name that I'm going to get sick of.

That's happened before. I've changed some characters' names umpteen times before finally settling on something that satisfies me. And it can't be a name of someone I know, either, because the character can't resemble someone who already exists.

I like to pick first names that are somewhere in the middle between common and unique.
For example, in Play the Man, I picked Jenna, Ryan, and Nick.
In Shots on Net, I picked Shannon/Shay and Kevin.

Last names can be just as difficult. If a character is a hockey player from a particular foreign country, say Russia or Sweden, then it's easy to pick a last name. But American and Canadian names are tougher, because so many last names …

The Game On Chronicles: Cover Design

Creative people tend to steer toward other creative people. A few years ago, there were a bunch of us, some relatively fresh out of college and some still taking classes, who hung out about twice a week. Well, you might as well call it coexisting in the same room. See, we used the time to pursue our relative interests, whatever they may be. I, of course, was writing fiction. But there was a person who wrote poetry, another crocheted, sometimes someone was playing the guitar or banjo. There was also a budding graphic designer. We said that I'd write a book and he'd create the cover.

It took three years, but when I made up my mind to e-publish, I turned to Casey to help me with the cover. I tell him what I'm thinking, and he makes it even better. We talk about what I'm looking for or anything I'd like to incorporate into the cover, and he expounds on that. In Play the Man, I wanted Jenna's ring to play some kind of part, and it was Casey's idea to have the me…

The Game On Chronicles: The Early Chapters

I decided to chronicle my process for working on publishing my third book.

As much as I wanted to take a break after publishing Shots on Net, I was feeling, well, empty. I had been spending so much time writing, editing, deleting, rewriting, etc., that I didn't know what to do with myself when I wasn't writing anymore. Even though I swore I needed a break from writing, I needed to get right back on track with the next story.

I had started a manuscript back in 2011 for a story I called Game On. I remember the premise for it, but I can't tell you where I left off. So I decided to start reading through it, reacquaint myself with the characters and the plot, and then figure out where to go from there. When I left off years ago, the story had twenty-six chapters, which is pretty long for my novels.

As soon as I started to reread it, I got pulled right back into that world. On Monday, I read through and edited the first six chapters. Yesterday, I went through chapters seven thro…

In the Top 100!

Thanks to everyone who's purchased a copy of Shots on Net during this first week of publication.

As of today, Shots on Net broke into the Top 100 of sports genre fiction on Amazon. I'm mixed in with the likes of Stephen King and James Patterson, which is pretty awesome if you ask me!