People ask me if I've ever lost work...

...and what I do.

Well, first I make this face:

And then I make this face:

And then this happens.

And this...

And then I go offline for the next week at try to meet my deadline. And since I realized today that I've misplaced a couple of important chapters that I SWEAR I wrote, that's what's going to have to happen.

See you next week!

*dashes off*

Flash Fiction links and contest winners!

Wow, you guys are AWESOME. I loved all your stories and I'm definitely going to do this again. And I loved seeing which pictures you picked too.

For those of you who haven't read the entries yet, here's a list in no particular order.

A Drowning by TinCanGoat

Miss Matilda's Stair to Paradise by Jenni Noordhoek

Untitled by Becky Stewart

The Girl From the Sky by Katie Daniels

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again by Soumi Roy

The Wild Wood Tree by Maureen E.

A Tiny Tale by Irene

Untitled by Rachel

Untitled by Carina

Elegy by Joy Putney  (Some people may not have permission to view this entry)

And the winner of the City of a Thousand Dolls ARC is...


The winner of the Mind Games ARC is....

Becky Stewart! 

And finally the winner of an ARC of The Cloak Society is...

Soumi Roy! 

Congratulations all!  I'm going to have some kind of contest every month until the book releases, so if you didn't win this time, there will be more chances.

Thank you everyone for playing!

Holy crap, I cannot stop procrastinating!

I've been trying to work on my book all day, you guys. ALL DAY.  (Except when I was at work.) And I keep getting distracted and putting it off and I have a whole new scene to write and it's HARD and I just want to eat Ramen and read about stupid people on the Internet and hide from the world.

It's not going well.

What should I do?

PS. Almost forgot! I'm up on the Friday the Thirteeners blog doing a dare today! So if you want to see me do an interpretive dance to a passage from City of a Thousand Dolls, (yeah, I totally just typed that) then click here. 

Worldbuilding redux: Don't forget the details!

One of the best things about being in a debut group like the Lucky 13s, is that I get to read some really cool books in advance. I'm in the middle of Kit Grindstaff's awesome-creepy middle grade The Flame in the Mist, and I just finished Elsie Chapman's book Dualed


This book kicks all kinds of a$$. Short plot synopsis: In order to become a recognized adult, able to marry, get a job, etc, every person in the city of Kersh has to track down and kill their genetic alternate. Once you've been "activated" you have thirty days to do this or both of you die.

Again, I say. Whoa.

At this point you're probably thinking "Book reviews are cool but isn't this a worldbuilding post?"

Yes, yes it is. And you have Dualed to thank for it. See, reading this book reminded me of one of my favorite things about good worldbuilding.

The principle of Logical Outgrowth.

Logical Outgrowth means that you take the defining characteristics of your world and play them out in the details. It means that every small part of your world fits together, makes perfect sense

For example: What kind of culture grows around a system that means at any given moment, two teens may have a shootout in the street? How do the businesses and government systems adapt? How do those adaptations feed into the cat-and-mouse tactics these kids have to use?

If I were to pick something that Dualed does very well, it would be this attention to detail. Everything about the society and the everyday operations makes perfect sense.  But since most of you haven't read it yet, let me use another example:

In Holly Black's Curse Workers trilogy, there are certain people who have dangerous powers or curses. They can wipe your memory or make you feel things you don't really feel or change you into something else. But they have to touch your skin to do it. This leads to a world where everyone wears gloves and where a bare hand is considered as agressive as a knife.

Logical outgrowth. Natural consequences.

If you can take your story idea and follow it into the logical result, if you can take that logical result and weave it into your story, you can build a world that feels completely authentic.  

And you do that primarily with details. It's hard to get people to read pages of backstory and world explanation. But if you can use your details well, you won't have to. And the details can be anything, from traditions to architecture to language.

In Frank Herbert's book Dune, there is a phrase that perfectly captures the kind of detail I'm talking about.  Dune is a desert planet, home to group of people known as Freman. They live in the deep desert, with no natural sources of water and thier culture reflects that. Water is precious and should be conserved even when it comes to tears. To cry at someone's death is to give a great gift.  When one of the main characters cries at the death of another, the desert people are impressed and say "He gives water to the dead."

What a perfect way to demonstrate the priorities of this group of people.

I've had conversations with people who tried to make their books as generic as possible so no one could say they got anything wrong or so they could "appeal" to everyone.  Don't do this. That leads you and the reader down the road to Blandtown. And no one wants to live in Blandtown.

Have faith in your vision. Find what makes your world special, what makes it different, and then go as far as you can with it.  Give us the details. We, the readers, will thank you for it.

Can you think of any other books or stories that do this well?

I'm back! (and other various updates)

Hello lovely bloggy friends! I've missed you!

Feels like the week went by way too fast, one of those weeks where I did too much but didn't get enough done. So it goes...

Some updates!

1. Don't forget my flash fiction contest! Write 1000 words or less and win an ARC of City of a Thousand Dolls, or a couple other awesome prizes.

Just click HERE for more details!

2. Check out the new digs!  Aren't they swanky?

*deducts 40 cool points from self for use of the word 'swanky'*

Seriously though, I hope you like it. There's still a bit of header-tweaking and updating-of-lists to do, but that will have to wait for a while because....

3.  I'm going to a family reunion this weekend.

It will either be awesome fun or a festival of awkwardness. There's no way to know.  What can be known is that it is going to eat my entire weekend. Seriously. My to-do list in the next few days is outrageous.

But I can't bring myself to mind too much because it's in Seattle and the air will be CLEAN, which is more than I can say for Boise.

4. See this map? The little dots are big fires. And that nice valley in the lower left of Idaho, smack in the middle of all the smoke? That's where I live.

(Also, poor Nevada. Stay safe, Nevada!)

The air here is currently swinging between Bad-For-Children-And-Old-People-And-Cats-With-Respiratory-Issues, (otherwise known as level orange) and Bad-For-Freaking-Everyone-For-The-Love-Of-God-Stay-Inside. (That's level red)

5. I don't feel good. 

6. It's making it kind of hard to concentrate on my work.

7. Especially the second book. 

8. Which is due at the end of the month. 

9. This second book is a secret. It may not be a sequel. It may be something entirely different. But it will be set in the same world. And if it doesn't kill me, it should be kind of awesome.

10. Also awesome is that I was interviewed by Sabrii's wonderful Romanian book blog. The translated version made me giggle. I just hope I sounded more coherent in the original language!

The link is here. 

11. This list thing is kind of fun.

12. But I have to stop.

13. Because of the aforementioned deadline

14. And the reunion

15. And the seven hundred other things I have to get done before the end of the month.

16. So it goes....

How have you been? What did you do this week? I'm curious!

Or not....

EDIT: Omg, guys Writeoncon started today! How could I forget! It's a totally free online writing conference and you need to check it out. Lots of awesome authors giving awesome advice and awesome prizes of critiques and books and things. (I donated a critique too!)

Also, my cat made the intro video!

In which I freak out a little and have another contest

Guys, guys, City of a Thousand Dolls is officially out in SIX MONTHS.


(I might be freaking out just a bit.)

Anyway, to commemorate this terrifying occasion, I'm having another contest, this one specifically for the writers out there.

Here's what you do:

1. Go to this Pinterest board, the one dedicated to my love of roads, stairways, bridges and doors.

2. Pick a picture

3. Write a story about it. (No longer than 1000 words please.) Go up the stairs, or through the door, or down the road, or across the bridge, and then come back and tell us what's on the other side.

4. Post the story online and leave the link in the comments section. If you don't have a place to put up your story, you can email it to me at miriamforsterauthor (at) gmail (dot) com.

5. Go read other people's stories. This isn't required, but it would be fun and awesome if you did so.

Here's what you can win!

From the entries, I'll choose three random winners.

One person will win an ARC of City of a Thousand Dolls.

One person will win an ARC of Mind Games by Kiersten Whitte.

And one person will will an ARC of The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz.

Contest ends on Sunday, August 19th at midnight MST. International entries are welcome.

Go forth and explore!

(Also, I am taking my annual blogging break next week. I'll be back on Monday the 13th, though and I can't wait to see what you've come up with!)

Winner of Possession and Surrender!

Wow, you all sure like dystopia! Sadly, only one person can win the two Elana Johnson books, Possession and Surrender.

And that person is...


*wild applause*

Lianne, get in touch with me and we'll get those books to you. Everyone else, stay tuned. There's another amazing contest coming up this weekend.

Happy Thursday!

PS. Just so you all know, I will be taking my annual blogging break next week and working on blog tweaks and trying to get this stupid sequel/prequel/thing done. *scowls at book*

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.