Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

NEW YA ROM COM ON WATTPAD!   Leave a comment


Here is my young adult rom com on Wattpad!




Posted December 7, 2018 by kathleea in books, fiction, young adult

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Pitchwars is a writing contest put on by @brenda-drake for unagented writers to get their completed manuscripts in the hands of agented mentors who help them polish it before participating in the agent round in November.


This is my fourth year entering. I wrote a new manuscript this time and sent it in with the names of six mentors I might like to work with. Now the waiting begins. The mentors have three weeks to decide who they want to mentor and will announce on August 25th.


This is one of the mentors reading. Okay, it’s not but can I dream a little?

And this is most of the mentee hopefuls:


Some of the mentors are giving us teasers at the hashtag #PWTeaser. Of course they are vague and general but that doesn’t stop the mentees from thinking:THAT’S MY NOVEL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!


So for the next three weeks the mentee hopefuls will be waiting…


And waiting…

Bellatrix doens't like to wait

And waiting…


So what do we do while we wait?

Some suggest tackling your TBR pile of unread books.



Or binge watching your favorite TV shows.


Or better yet, starting a new novel!


But whatever you do to pass the time away, know this: YOU DID IT! You wrote a novel and submitted it and that’s a really big deal. Let me put that in big letters: THAT’S A REALLY BIG DEAL!


So be proud of what you’ve accomplished and maybe on August 25th you can announce you got a mentor. BUT even if you don’t get a mentor, you can get eyes on your manuscript by finding beta readers or critique partners who will help guide your book to be the best it can be.

MAY YOU SPILL THE INK! (my version of Break a Leg)


Happy waiting!


Posted August 8, 2016 by kathleea in writing

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FRIDAY MUSINGS   Leave a comment

If you follow me on social media you know what a rough year it’s been for me and my family. We lost my step-father in March after a brief, unexpected illness and his birthday is coming up on Father’s Day, so yeah…that will be a sad day for me. My mom (now gone) married him when I was fifteen so I always called him my dad. He was a kind, generous man who loved life and football, especially the University of Michigan Wolverines! He is sorely missed. IMG_0656

Dad 1928-2016

Then, we lost our 14 year-old cat, Zeus to cancer a few weeks ago and I still miss her.


ZEUS 2001-2016

We are struggling financially and are looking for ways to cut bills. We take the bus/Metro when we can (not always feasible in Los Angeles), have cancelled cable and eat meatless meals most of the time (pasta casseroles are our go-to meals).


We’ve had some good things too, both kids are graduating and looking for jobs. One has a part-time job and another one has a summer job but hasn’t been able to find housing (it’s 300 miles away from us) yet.

I’m still trying to make it as a full-time writer and am one step closer thanks to getting into the writing contest, Query Kombat with my historical, middle grade manuscript inspired by the British invasion of The Beatles. In the contest it’s called, THE BRITISH ARE COMING. I’ve already made friends and had a blast on the Twitter feed so it’s a win for me even if I don’t get any requests from agents.


I am trying to find editing clients (have extensive experience editing as a teacher/educator and editor) but it’s slow at the moment. I have a sale going on and will edit your manuscript for half-off, includes three passes of your query/logline too! See website and look under Editing Services tab at:

If you know any writer who is looking for a “big picture” editor, send them my way! I’d love to be able to pay bills and not get evicted this coming month. Yes, it’s a real possibility and not a joke. I wish it was.


If you can help me and my family out by engaging my editing services, we’d appreciate it. I’d love to be able to help my kid pay for their first month’s rent too.

And if you or a friend isn’t in the market for editing, maybe you’d enjoy a new book. Check out my Amazon page. Most of my books are in eBook and print. Many of my books are listed on my website with links to the actual books.

We made it so far and I’m sure we’ll make it again. It’s just difficult right now. But I never lose hope that something good is around the corner and that’s what keeps me going.



Thanks for listening.







On my to-do list this year was to get an agent (check) and to start earning monies using my writing/editing skills. I decided to start offering editing services for writers who write young adult or middle grade novels.  The details are on my website here: look under Editing Services there or up above on the header on here.


I like weird books!

For the holidays I am offering a quarter off the regular price of one cent a word! I will look at plot holes, characterization, anything that might be confusing or might not work and give you an editorial letter of what can be improved. There is no guarantee you will get your manuscript published but I do have a discerning eye and have edited many manuscripts for myself and for writer buddies.


There are online writing contests coming up and you want your manuscript to be in the best shape possible, don’t you? Yes, of course you do! Maybe you are getting ready to query and you need fresh eyes on your query. Email me!

I am a fast reader and editor and can get your work back to you in a timely manner!


And so is editing and it’s difficult to edit your own writing.


I’m a former college English instructor and a former high school teacher with a Master’s in English.


I can help!

I don’t do line edits on full manuscripts unless something stands out like a typo or misspelling.

I do have a third year law student who will line edit your manuscript for an additional flat fee of $25.00 USD only as an add-on to the content editing price. This service is not separate.

No first drafts! Please make sure your manuscript has been read by a beta reader or critique partner before you send it to me. My editing service should be the last step on your journey. No manuscripts over 100K unless it’s by special arrangement. Email me to ask!


I will edit most categories in YA or MG but I prefer fantasy (all subgenres), horror, science fiction or historical. If in doubt, email me to ask!

Please email me at: kathleensalleneditsATgmailDOTcom for information on pricing or to book a slot! My prices will go up after January 1st, 2016!

I look forward to reading your work!



Dean says You're Awesome

7x7x7x7 Challenge   2 comments

In this challenge you go to your seventh page of your WIP, go down seven lines and post the next seven lines and tag seven authors to do the same. I tagged mine on Twitter.  , , , , , ,

All right, here is mine:



Filled with recipes, old sepia photos of friends or relatives long dead, pressed nosegays tied with pale yellow ribbons, love poems to long-forgotten beau, intricate sketches of birds—mostly Ravens—in various poses—eating, flying, building a nest using human hair, feeding their babies, and one drawing that puzzled me. It was of a boy with the wings of a Raven, in all other aspects he was human. In the middle of the book was a large black Raven’s feather. This I took out and rubbed on my cheek. So soft. The scent reminded me of something. My eyes closed and the smell of darkness, of night, of blood and magic streamed into me and I squeaked dropping the feather.

Have fun!

Posted August 30, 2015 by kathleea in fiction, writers, writing, young adult

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Book Blurb and Cover: Feast your eyes!!!!

DIVIDED full digital


A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare.


Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world.


Yet, life starts to unravel when Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab, but she can’t ignore the strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.


Torn between love and obsession, Mishca must unite her divided heart and decide between the two men. But when the truth about her weird powers comes to light, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.


Praise for Divided


“DIVIDED is a fast-paced adventure filled with mystery, romance, action, and humor.

Mishca and Ryder rank up there with my favorite heroines and heroes ever!

Sharon M. Johnston is an author to watch out for.”  

  • WENDY HIGGINS, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author.


Preorder link:


Add it on Goodreads:


About the author


From sunny Queensland in Australia, Sharon writes weird stories and soulful contemporaries across a number of categories. Working as a PR specialist by day, in her spare time she writes, blogs, plays with her fur babies and plays computer games with her family. She’s also been stalked by women wanted to know where she buys her shoes. SHARON JOHNSON AUTHOR PIX


Find her on

Her website:





Posted August 28, 2015 by kathleea in books, fiction, writers

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My Pitchwars Mentee Bio   14 comments

Those writers entering Pitchwars ( writing contest want potential mentors to look at their bios too so here’s mine:


I”m Kathleen (@kathleea) and I write in different genres but young adult is my favorite. I read young adult and I write it. I write speculative fiction/fantasy. And a question the YA mentors were asked about what genre they’d bring back? Mine would be dystopian and vampires. Not together although that might be fun.

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil and probably before that too. I use a laptop to write on because I can’t write fast enough if I use pen/paper.

To go back to reading for a moment. I’m an avid reader and can read a novel in a day, sometimes two if the novel is shorter. The last book I read was:


not young adult but magical realism

My all time favorite books (in no particular order):


I can’t survive without coffee.


As a certified Anglophile (yes, there’s exams and everything!) tea is fine too.


I love BBC dramas and period pieces notably:

Endeavour_S1_DVDPERSUASION COVERpride_and_prejudiceINSPECTOR LYNLEY COVERsherlockBeing-Human-Wallpaper

Movies (there are more than this!):


More TV shows:


I love music of all kinds:

I’ve been published with two small presses, Muse It Up and Gypsy Shadow.

I have two cats:

Toffee at 5.5 monthsIMG_1673

This is what I think of Pitchwars:

Dean says You're Awesome

If you pick me as your mentee I promise to work hard and cut my darlings without whining. I like brutal edits, tell me what’s wrong and don’t sugarcoat it. I can’t fix what I don’t know is broken.

The book I’m pitching is a Victorian Gothic YA Frankenstein retelling with Jack the Ripper elements. Creepy? Yep. Horrorific? Uh-huh. Will make you want to leave the lights on at night? Yes. *smiles* And there isn’t much romance in it because I don’t do romance (well, maybe one little kiss but that’s it).

I love to write YA horror, fantasy and paranormal. Witches. Zombies. Vampires. Werewolves. Ghosts. I’m there.


And in case you want to read my free zombie short story that’s a retelling of the Grimm’s Brother’s fairytale, The Robber Bridegroom it’s  on Wattpad here:


Go here for more Pitchwars mentee bios:

Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment below!

And for your viewing pleasure!


Why I Write   3 comments

Today on his blog, the lovely and talented, Chuck Wendig (his blog is here: asked fellow writers to write a blog post about why they write. He usually does a flash fiction challenge on Fridays. Sometimes I participate, sometimes I don’t. Today I decided to weigh in on this very topic.


Who knows? Is it because I learned to read at the early age of three and devoured books like they were potato chips? (Although I do love potato chips but I digress). I remember writing poems and stories before I went to kindergarten. Was it to make sense of my chaotic home life? (I won’t go into details but let’s say it wasn’t your typical happy childhood but then I don’t think such a beast is real, it’s more like an urban myth everyone aspires to achieve but few can. If you did, kudos to you). Writing stories for me was a way to contain my feelings. As I got older my stories became a part of me, like breathing. It was part of my identity. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

For a time when I was in a not-so-great relationship (cue violins) my SO didn’t see the point of me writing. I followed my writing down a deep, dark hole only accessible in the middle of the night. Until one day I realized, my stories needed to see the light of day again.

Armed with a new pen (or keyboard in my case) I began to write in earnest (ouch, sorry, Ernest).

I lost track of my dream of being a full-time writer and got involved with Life (yes, I meant it to be caplitalized). But now I’m back on the right path.

  • Why do I write? I think my DNA was coded with ink.
  • Why do I write? Words make me happy.
  • Why do I write? If I don’t write, I get grumpy. And no one wants to see that, believe me.
  • Why do I write? I’m a storyteller.
  • Why do I write? Maybe I’m the reincarnation of a writer who dies under mysterious circumstances. Hmm…(story idea?)
  • Why do I write? I’m always asking, what if? What if the alien landed in your backyard? (X Files reboot has me all excited), What if the neighbor who looks like a vampire really is a vampire? (Okay, now I’m channeling Fright Night). But you get my drift. writing-is-hard

And the final answer as to why I write is: I DON’T KNOW.

If you figured it out, more power to you. Meanwhile, I’ve got a story to write.

Take Care,


Posted July 24, 2015 by kathleea in Uncategorized

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The Writing Process: LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING!   Leave a comment

So far I’ve talked about getting ideas, plotting or pantsing and let’s say you’re ready to start writing. You’ve pantsed your way here or plotted until you can’t plot anymore. You type or write: Chapter 1. What’s next?

What you need is a great hook. A first line that will blow your readers/agents/editors out of the water! Most agents will read your first page but if it’s not stellar they won’t read further. What do you need for a great hook/first page?

You need stakes. No, not the pointy ones Buffy uses or the ones you eat. The first page needs to set up a couple of things. It needs to let the readers know your setting/time period. Writing a contemporary adult romance is completely different than writing a young adult science fiction. If you’re writing historical the setting might be easier but if you’re writing a science fiction novel you better mention space, aliens or spaceships (or whatever) in the first page. A horror will not read the same as a fantasy.

Okay, setting/time period, what else do you need? You need to either foreshadow the main character’s conflict or state it. Readers need to know what’s at stake for your main character right away. And don’t forget VOICE. The first page should sing (well, not really sing) with your main character’s voice. You also need some sort of inciting event. Why now? What’s happening to your main character? Avoid backstory or information dumping. Put your main character into the story and show us what’s going on.

Here’s what you need:

A great first line/hook

Mention of main character in first page

Setting/time period to set the tone of the rest of the book

Inciting event-what happened and what’s your character’s motivation?



Here’s an example from one of my books (you knew I’d pick one of mine, didn’t you?). This is the first page of my YA book, WITCH HUNTER

Chapter 1

Molly O’Claire’s foot half skimmed the gravel before the car had stopped. “Here! Stop the car!”

The Atlantic Ocean in all its glory stretched out for miles in all directions. Foam tipped waves washed up onto sun-drenched sand and washed out again to leave imprints of bubbles behind. Blue skies interlaced with cirrus clouds spoke of fair weather in the days ahead. Molly sighed with the sheer beauty of it. She kicked off her shoes and waded into the cold water.

“Isn’t it beautiful, mom?” Molly’s red hair blew wildly about her face. She held it back with one hand as she laughed.

“Come on Molly, Sarah is waiting for us.” Her mom waited impatiently by the jeep.

Molly waved to show she heard her then smiled as she spotted a starfish on the beach. She picked it up and tossed it back in the water.

“Come on, let’s go.” Molly retrieved her shoes from where she had thrown them and walked barefoot up the slight hill to the Jeep. She brushed her sandy feet off before she climbed back into the passenger side.

“That was awesome, “she said as she buckled her seat belt. “I love the ocean. I hope you get the job so we can live on the beach. Maybe I can find a part-time job too, you know babysitting or working in a store.”

“I hope I get it too. I want us to be closer to Sarah, and you know how I feel about you working when you are in school.”

“I know. School is my job right now,” she grinned at her mom. “Hey, can I practice driving?”

“No, not right now. You don’t know these roads.”

“Neither do you,” Molly said under her breath. Her mom glared at her. Molly smiled back. “We haven’t seen Aunt Sarah since she moved back to Salem two years ago,” she said as her mom pulled off the shoulder and back onto the road.

“I do miss her even though I don’t always agree with her choices.”

Now let’s see if it meets all the criteria.

Hook: We can see Molly is excited about something and we are interested to know what.

Mention of Main Character: Yes, first line mentions her.

Setting/Time Period/Tone: It appears to be contemporary and present day.

Inciting Event: It sounds like Molly’s mother is going on a job interview and Molly is staying with her Aunt Sarah in Salem. We’re not sure what’s going to happen but we’re intrigued.

Motivation of Main Character: Since we haven’t gotten the conflict yet (although we know it’s coming) we aren’t sure of her motivation yet.

Conflict/Stakes: We’re not sure but it must have something to do with the visit to Aunt Sarah.

Voice: Yes, the voice of the main character comes through.

So, did it work? Most of it. In retrospect, stating the conflict sooner might’ve been helpful.

I didn’t talk about point-of-view and that’s another post

Tell me how you feel about the beginning of your story in the comments!

Now go forth and write your killer first page!

Posted June 4, 2015 by kathleea in Uncategorized

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Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?   4 comments

Writers typically fall into one of two camps, either they plot out every single detail of their soon-to-be novel, chapter by chapter, scene by scene, making copious notes about characters, interviewing characters, writing backstory on the characters, knowing the beginning, the middle and the end before they write a word. They are called: PLOTTERS.

There is nothing wrong with knowing where your story is going and who’s going along on their journey, many writers thrive with this method. There are plenty of worksheets out there to use, Blake Synder’s SAVE THE CAT

is a great resource for novelists even though it was written for screenwriters. Beatsheets are found on various websites for writer’s to use.

Some writers use a hybrid approach and only plot main points or events.

An interesting approach I’ve used is the Reverse Outline. This is where you write down the ending, what happened right before the ending, what happened right before THAT and so on until you get to the beginning. This approach can also be done after the novel is finished to make sure your scenes work.

Writers can use their laptop with Office Word, a special writing software such as Scrivener or ywriter or many others. You can write using apps like Evernote on your tablet or iPad, you can write with a pen and paper in your Moleskin or journal. You can write on napkins in your favorite coffee shop. There are many ways to get your words out into the real or virtual world. Plotters can write scenes out of order. They may write a beginning scene or one at the end or several in the middle and later in the editing phase they’ll put them together in a form that makes sense.

I am not a plotter. Oh, I’ve tried. Believe me. Many times. I’ve done the writing software stuff, the outline, the scene by scene even writing on index cards or on a virtual index card a list of my scenes. It took me a while to figure out all I need to start a story is an idea, a character or a situation. I usually know the beginning of the novel, maybe I know the end but not always. Sometimes I do bullet points on an index card.

I have to face the truth.


PANTSERS write by the seat of their pants–hence the term: Pants-er meaning they don’t always know the character’s arc or storyline until they are in the midst of the story and sometimes not even then.

In order to pants it properly (say that three times fast) you need to have your idea/plot/story/character and you start writing. It’s okay to not know but I have to warn you, this leads to many, many editing/revisions down the road.

For example, in the latest book I entered into The Writer’s Voice contest (THE HEARTSEASE DETECTIVE AGENCY) it’s a fantasy detective noir. I had the idea to write a cozy mystery but I wanted it to be different. So I came up with a human male detective who is in love with a female faerie who happens to be a lounge singer in a sleezy club downtown. In this world Fae are accepted as “real” and are subject to human laws. All right, I had the idea then I had to figure out the characters. I based both the detective and the lounge singer on Bogie and Bacall in the 1940s even though this is present day. I knew I wanted the opening to start with Ree (the main character) singing in the club and I knew there had to be a murder fairly soon. In cozy mysteries they usually happen in the first chapter “off stage”meaning not in front of the amateur sleuth and I knew the detective interviewing Ree would be the love interest. After that….???

I started writing and the story developed as I went along. The hardest part of writing a mystery is coming up with red herrings–suspects the reader thinks might be the killer but isn’t. For a mystery you have to include these in your plot sprinkled throughout the story. Yes, I had to do some plotting.

Once the book was written, I did a reverse outline to make sure all the scenes made sense. I edited it, sent it out to beta readers (readers who will tell you if something is confusing or if there are any plot holes) and edited it again. Rewrote the beginning three times and there you go. I edit as I go which some writers don’t do (NaNoWriMo writers, I’m looking at you!) and just put the words down and edit later. I have to do some light editing as I go. I don’t worry about word count because I’ll add more in the editing part if the word count is low or cut if the word count is too high. I’m also a linear writer meaning I go from the beginning to the end in a straight line. I tried writing out of sequence and couldn’t do it.

I don’t fall squarely into either side so I’m more of a hybrid but I still call myself a Pantser.

No one writing process works for everyone. The important point is to find your own style, own it and use it. Try out many methods until you find one that works for you then BIC (behind in chair) and write until you finish the book. Then comes the fun part. THE EDITING PHASE. More on that in my next post.

So there you have it. Plotting vs Pantsing. Which is your method? Tell me in the comments below and happy writing!

Posted May 31, 2015 by kathleea in Uncategorized

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