Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Young and the Hormonal Revisited

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!

Since this week was so crazy, I'm repurposing a photo and title I used last year when I was sharing snippets of Shades of Blue while it was still a WIP. This will be one of the last snippets before things get very real and you'll see that this book definitely ain't no Sweet Valley High.

The following Monday, Sam and I didn’t talk at all in the car while Daddy drove us to school, and Sam walked away without saying a word when we got there. I reminded myself of my decision to give him some time and resisted the urge to call him a rude butthead. Remarkable restraint, in my opinion.

We ignored each other all morning, but when I saw him at lunch, sitting at a different table from our regular one, I decided his time was up and he was gonna talk to me whether he wanted to or not. I started toward him but stopped after three steps because Melissa Caton and Cindy Rester sat down on either side of him in a gush-and-giggle duet.

I was glad to see that at least Sam still blushed the way he'd always done when confronted with any girl who wasn't me. When he looked up and met my gaze, I thought for sure he’d send me a silent message to rescue him and we’d be back to normal again, but all he did was look away and nod in response to something Melissa said. She and Cindy giggled some more, then I heard one of them say something about Sam playing quarterback. I turned to walk away in disgust and collided with Chip Wiley’s smirking face.

Remember Chip? He's the one who broke JoJo's bathing suit top at the creek and got punched by Sam for it. Tune in next week to see how he makes things a lot worse.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wait'll I Get My Hanes on You

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!

Continuing with my YA/coming-of-age/mystery Shades of Blue, this snippet takes place a short while after Sam leaves JoJo's house after last week's excerpt.

It almost seemed as if Sam had been about to kiss me or something when he was on top of me. Where had that come from? We were best friends, and that was the way I wanted it to stay.

At least I thought I did.

I went to my window and looked across at Sam’s house, but his shade was pulled all the way down and his window was dark. I don’t know how long I sat there hoping for some sign of him, but I fell asleep and was still there when Mama came in to tell me goodnight.

I dreamed about Sam that night, but the only thing I could remember in the morning was him standing on the creek bank yelling something at me, wearing nothing but his Hanes one-hundred-percent cotton, size 30-32 briefs.

And I had absolutely no idea how I knew anything about his underwear.

Poor JoJo is so confused, and things are about to get a lot worse. Tune in for another snippet next Sunday, or you can buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here. And please check out the other WWW and SS bloggers. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Why Didn't I Go Pee When I Had the Chance?

© Emmet and Edith Gowin, Etherton Gallery

Welcome back to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Here's another snippet from my coming-of-age/YA mystery, Shades of Blue. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here) Sam and JoJo have been best friends since they were kids, but puberty changes everything. This scene takes place while they're watching a movie together in JoJo's living room. Sam grabs her foot during a scary part and makes her squeal, then they start wrestling. He has her pinned down and is threatening to tickle her if she doesn't do what he says. She skipped her chance for a bathroom break and is afraid she'll wet her pants if he tickles her, so she has no choice but to agree to his demands. His first one is that she has to read The Lord of the Flies, no surprise since he's always trying to get her to read more books. But his second demand is a lot different.

“Say you hate Chip Wiley and that I’m your favorite football player.”

“Fine, I hate Chip Wiley, and Sam is my favorite football player.”

He smiled, then his expression slowly changed to one I’d never seen on his face before. It felt like his eyes had mine locked in some kind of tractor beam, and I could feel his heart pounding against my chest. Or maybe it was my own heart, because it sure seemed amplified a hundred times louder than normal, and it felt like a giant hand was squeezing my chest. Sam’s hipbone was sticking me in the side something fierce, and I truly thought I might pass out at any second.

“Let me up right now, Sam, I mean it.”

His expression changed again to something else I couldn’t read--like fear and embarrassment mixed with anger--but he let me up and scrambled to his feet.

Don't you hate it when your bladder betrays you like that? Tune in for another snippet next Sunday, or you can buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here. And please check out the other WWW and SS bloggers. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Friday, December 11, 2015

Carrie Dalby in The House!

I don't always have guests on my blog, but when I do they're AWESOME! :-)

Today my dear friend, critique partner, road trip buddy and fellow SCBWI member, Carrie Dalby (AKA Wonderwegian) stopped by on the blog tour for her new YA historical release, Fortitude. I don't usually like historicals, but this one is so beautifully written and has such a profound message that I fell in love with it immediately. Plus, the main character is a redhead, and we gingers gotta stick together, you know! ;-)

Carrie has written a wonderfully insightful post about the importance of a support system for writers, and I couldn't agree with her more. Here's a little bit about Carrie and her book.

Born and raised in California but a resident of Mobile, Alabama since 1996, Carrie Dalby is a homeschooling mom with a love of literature for young adults and children. Some of Carrie’s favorite volunteer hours are with Mobile Writers Guild, SCBWI, and Metro Mobile Reading Council’s Young Author workshops.

Growing up with a Creole best friend, sixteen-year-old Claire O’Farrell held little regard for the Jim Crow laws and the consequences of befriending those of a different color. But once she leaves the haven of her home on Dauphin Island, the reality of racial intolerance can no longer be ignored. Though she’s underage, Claire makes the bold decision to serve alongside Loretta, her best friend, in the “colored camp” hospital tents during the Spanish-American War, but her idealistic attitude and choice of working location immediately puts her in danger. Claire gives her heart to a soldier in the camp, only to find herself caught in the racial violence besieging the area. When the intolerant attitudes and stigma follow her home, she clings to her faith to navigate through her social isolation and find the path she was meant to travel.

(Buy Fortitude here)

Take it away, Carrie!

*hands over sparkly blue microphone*

Thank you, Joyce, for hosting me on your site today. As someone who’s seen Fortitude from before it was a complete first draft, you’re well aware of the long journey and my emotional rollercoaster over the past several years. You’re part of my “inner circle” (whether you like it or not.) Today I’d like to share a peek into my literary support system, which includes plenty of Blue Attitude, with your readers.

The act of writing is often done alone (or in the company of great music) but to be successful as a writer, a strong community is essential. I was blessed to meet Laurie Halse Anderson at a book signing in the fall of 2008. We’d been communicating on social media for a few years and at the book signing she asked if I was “Wonderwegian” then embraced this baby-wearing, wannabe writer. Laurie knew of my struggles to write and told me I needed to find my local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group to help me on my journey.

(Joyce, LHA, Wonderwegian and the Little Princess)

Being the dutiful fan, I looked up information and was put in touch with the local liaison. While the LL didn’t have an active group going at the time, she invited me to come to a Mobile Writers Guild meeting, which I did in early 2009. It was there I met then president of MWG, Joyce Scarbrough. At the time I didn’t join SCBWI but I joined MWG. At the guild, I was invited into my first critique group—by Joyce, of course. Since we were both working on young adult manuscripts, we splintered from the others, recruited a few more people, and started our own Write Club, but I can’t talk about that. It was with the new group, surrounded by people who also enjoyed YA literature, that I completed my first manuscript (Corroded, coming in the spring of 2016) and began Fortitude.

When I met up with Laurie two years later she asked if I’d joined SCBWI. I had to tell her “not yet.” She told me “YOU NEED TO JOIN!” So I finally did. (When The Queen of YA/YA Goddess tells you something, you do it!) Within the next half a year, I became the local liaison for Mobile in the Southern Breeze Region of SCBWI (I still am) and the acting president of Mobile Writers Guild (I served for two years, and am currently working as vice-president.)

Without this ever-expanding circle of literary connections, I wouldn’t be where I am today—blog hopping to promote my debut novel. I’d been writing, reading about writing, and studying the marketplace for MG/YA books since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until I joined a physical group that I took my writing completely serious. As a believer in holding yourself accountable, the best way I’ve found to do so is to surround yourself with people who will ask you how you’re doing with writing and get excited when you talk word count and query letters. You need people who understand the frustrations of form rejections and the excitement when an agent or editor requests a full. Whether you write, knit, paint, or volunteer at a shelter, surround yourself with likeminded people who will laugh and cry along with you on this rollercoaster of life. Your goals will thank you in the long run.

For more stops on Carrie's tour, click here.

You can also find her all over the Web (She's everywhere! She's everywhere!)


Twitter: @Wonderwegian



Google +:


Thanks so much for stopping by, Carrie!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Rivalry Weekend a Little Late

Welcome back to Snippet Sunday!

I'm continuing with snippets from Shades of Blue, my coming-of-age/YA/mystery. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here) This week you get to meet Sam's step-sister, affectionately known at school as "Backseat Britney." JoJo goes to Sam's house to get him and Britney answers the door.

“Is Sam here?” I said as politely as I could manage.

“He’s busy right now,” Britney replied, flipping her long black hair off her shoulder and leaning in the doorway to block my path.

“Just tell him I’m here, okay?” I felt my temper rising and started counting backward from a hundred--Sam’s latest anger-management suggestion.

“I said he’s busy, little girl,” Britney said. “Go play with your dolls or something.”

I stopped counting and said, “Hey, I heard Ford wants to hire you for their commercials to say their back seats are better than Chevy’s. Maybe they’ll pay you enough to buy yourself a brain.”

Wow, my heroines sure do have smart mouths, huh? Wonder where they get that from. ;-)

More next week, or you can buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Puberty Raises Its Ugly Head

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and didn't overindulge like some people (who shall remain nameless) seem to do every year. I had a pretty great week considering I finished the prequel to my first novel that I'm redoing as a trilogy. :-) I'm really excited about it because it's unique in that it features a middle grade novel, a young adult novel, and a new adult novel. More about it later.

This week's Snippet Sunday post from Shades of Blue takes place while Sam and JoJo are swimming at the creek with a bunch of kids from school during Spring Break. A loud-mouthed jerk named Chip Wiley snaps JoJo's bathing suit top and breaks it, so she's swimming in her T-shirt. Chip starts teasing her about putting some Band-Aids on the mosquito bites on her chest, and Sam is not amused.

Sam’s eyes turned a strange dark-green shade, and he walked over to the rope swing where Chip and his two moron friends were taking turns. Without another word, Sam hauled off and punched Chip right in the stomach. I almost swallowed a minnow when he did it.

Chip’s eyes got real big and his mouth kept moving the way it always did, but for once nothing was coming out. Danny and Freddy did what morons do best—laughed like a couple of hyenas. Sam said something to Chip I couldn’t hear, then he dove into the water. When he came up next to me a few seconds later, I was still gawking at him for punching Chip.

“Come on, JoJo. Let’s get outta here.”

Hmm... Sam and JoJo have only been best friends until now, but it looks like "the times they are a-changing" thanks to puberty. Wonder how JoJo will take it? Stay tuned to find out. Or you can just buy you own copy of Shades of Blue here.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Visit Joyce's Web site
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Snippets, Wishes and New Releases

Cover photo by Tieshka Smith/Mom of Three Photography

Yay, I finally made it back to participating in Snippet Sunday just in time to reintroduce my novel, Shades of Blue. This book was still just a WIP the last time I did a Snippet Sunday post, but I finally got my butt in gear and finished it! It's another one of my coming-of-age/YA/mystery/whatever-the-hell-Joyce-likes-to-write books that didn't fit neatly into any genre, but I love the story and refused to change it just to fit in (kinda like me and all my characters!) I decided to publish it myself and couldn't be happier about the decision.

My first snippet is from the opening of the book so that everyone can meet Sam and JoJo, the young couple so perfectly depicted by the photo on the cover.

The day I saw the bruises on Sam’s back, I knew his stepfather was beating him. I also knew somebody needed to kill the SOB for it. I just didn’t know who, when, or how.

Looking back on it now, I realize Sam had already been acting strange for a while that year. I thought it was just some kind of hormonal craziness he was going through from being fourteen. Then I saw the bruises.

Of course, I’d known Sam was different from other boys since the day he’d moved in next door, when he was just a little five-year-old blond kid staring at me through the fence. He always seemed older than me, even though our birthdays were only two days apart.

I hope you'll want to get to know these two precocious teens a lot better as they deal with some very adult issues, as if growing up and falling in love isn't hard enough.

And now is the perfect time to buy your own copy of the Kindle ebook! Not only is it on sale right now for 99 cents, when you use the link below, you can enter for a chance to win a $400 Amazon Shopping Spree! No purchase necessary to enter or win, but every purchase supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation via the Amazon Smile program!

Go here to purchase your copy of Shades of Blue. Just scroll down and click on my book cover, and don't forget to fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway. Buy a few more books while you're there since every purchase helps to make a sick child's wish come true! :-)

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Visit Joyce's Web site
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing Goals: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Since we're still within the time period I like to call the "Resolution Rubicon," I thought a post about writing goals would be quite apropos. Plus it would allow me to keep my resolution to have at least one new blog post a month. ;-)

I never used to set writing goals (other than to finish the book I was writing and then start another one!) but we started writing down monthly goals in my local writers' guild then reporting to the group the following month on whether or not we'd met them. I really liked having that accountability. Of course, I try to keep my goals easily within reach (write one chapter of my WIP and work on editing), but my intention is to challenge myself a little more each month.

So when my fellow Wild Rose Press author, Louise Lyndon, was looking for blogs to visit on her blog tour for Of Love and Vengeance, I thought this topic would make a great guest post.

Welcome, Louise. What say you?

When Joyce first approached me about writing a post on setting goals for the new year, I am not going to lie to you, it sent me into a tailspin. I am a PANTSTER. I do not plan. I started to hyperventilate—perhaps I could make something up (after all, I am a fiction author!) But, once I had a coffee with an obscene amount of sugar, I calmed down enough to realise that yes, even though I am a pantster, I also do plan. Kind of...

Let me start off by saying I personally think there is no right way or wrong way to set goals. Everyone is different, so it stands to reason that everyone will have different ways to plan their goals. What I do think is, it is important to have goals, because without goals how do you know where you’re going?

But what happens if the thought of trying to work out what you’re going to do for the next 365 days (a little less now, given today’s date!) sends you to the nearest darkened corner with your thumb in your mouth, rocking back and forth?

Well, don’t plan for the next three hundred and something days. For me, that is too far in advance and too big to comprehend. Break it down into manageable chunks. What is it you want to do? How will you achieve it? Can you measure whether or not you have achieved your goal? What small steps do you need to make that will get you closer to your end goal?

For me, I want to finish writing the follow up to Of Love and Vengeance. I want to be able to have that with my publisher by the end of March at the latest. So, in the next 60 days, I need to write about 42,700 words. How am I going to achieve that? It’s all very well saying that’s what I want to do, but doing it is a different story. Okay, so here goes.

I need to be realistic. I have a day job and I know I am not going to come home after a hard day in the office and write for eight hours. That’s not going to happen, so why set that as a goal? That would just be setting yourself up to fail. What I do know is that I reckon I can manage two hours of writing after work. I also know I am easily distracted (curse you, Dr. Phil—I have to get my daily fix!) but that is a wasted hour. So, I have set my daily goal to go to the library straight after work. I do not go home first, I do not just ‘have a rest’ or get distracted by Dr Phil and then go to the library—do not pass go, do not collect $200—I go straight to the library. Goal one achieved. Go to the library.

OK, so I am now at the library. I cannot stare at a blank screen for two hours. How much do I need to write in those two hours to reach my end goal of 42,700 words? 711.66 words to be exact. Give or take. Wow, I can actually do that! A little over 700 words in two hours—that’s only 350 words an hour! Hmm, me thinks this 42,700 is suddenly manageable, achievable, and measurable. Suddenly needing to write such a large chunk of words isn’t so daunting. Why? Because I’ve broken the end goal into smaller goals. The smaller goal is manageable (realistically speaking.) My goal to write 700 words is measurable because, well, we have word count to count the words!

So, this is how a pantster, scared to look too far into the year ahead, sets goals and plans how to achieve them.

Why not share your goal-setting stories? I would love to hear how you all not only set your goals, but how you achieve them as well!

You can contact Louise by e-mail at, or find her on her Web site, Facebook, or Twitter. And be sure to check out her book here and enter below to win a copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Joyce's Web site
Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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