Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guest author: SHANNON DUFFY

Today I'd like to welcome Middle Grade author Shannon Duffy to my blog.

Shannon is a fellow Month9Books author and her MG novel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA released Feb 5th.

Gabriel Stone and the Divinity of Valta is a magical, fast-paced story that takes readers on a journey they won’t soon forget. It has enough mystery, intrigue and wonder to keep readers up, lamp lit, and reading into the night.

Month9Books, a new publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens, launches its inaugural list on January 1, 2013 with the release of GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA, a middle grade title from Canadian author, Shannon Duffy, whose first title, a young adult paranormal romance, SPECTRAL, was published in April 2012 from Tribute Books.

Gabriel Stone is a twelve-year-old boy still reeling from the unsolved disappearance of his mother. With a dad who’s hard to relate to, and mounting pressures at school, Gabriel lets off steam by hiking in the place where his mother was last seen. There, Gabe and friends find a crystal that proves not only beautiful, but magical beyond their wildest dreams. Only, magic and beauty come with a price: in order to return home, they must save the dying world of Valta.

GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is perfect for the classroom. Reading and Teacher Guides are availableContact Caroline Patty to request guides. GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA also makes a great gift for readers ages 9 and up who enjoy fantasy stories like THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and THE BRIDGE TO TARABITHIA.


Shannon Duffy grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and son, Gabriel. She’s mom to one boy, and several pets. Shannon loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions: shopping. Shannon Duffy is available for quotes, signings, video or podcast appearances, and all opportunities relative to GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA. 

GABRIEL STONE AND THE WRATH OF THE SOLARIAN, Book 2 in the Gabriel Stone series will be available from Month9Books in February 2014!

Month 9 Books is a publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens… where nothing is as it seems. Month9Books will donate proceeds from each of its annual charity anthologies to a deserving charity. Individually, authors may donate his or her advances and royalties to a charitable organization. Month9Books will also release 10-12 non-charitable titles annually. GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is Month9Books’s first Middle Grade release. Month9Books is distributed by Small Press United, a division of IPG. You may visit for more information.
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And now, over to Shannon:

Top ten editing tricks every writer should know:

Okay, so I’m always hesitant to give advice on these kinds of things cause it’s not like once you get a book published you’re suddenly an expert. So, with that in mind, I’ll share what works for me:

1. Read your writing aloud. I always do this to see if I stumble or if something isn't quite clear enough. Or sometimes a sentence is just way too long. If you can't finish it without gasping for breath, try cutting it into two sentences. Sometimes I'll get my husband to read my stuff aloud too, just to see if he stumbles or doesn't understand something etc. This really helps with clarity.
2. Be consistent. Make sure your characters are staying true to who they are. For example, if you say they hate chocolate mint ice cream in chapter one, don't have them eating it in chapter four--unless some evil wizard is bent on making them suffer and forcing them to eat their hated treat. Same goes for anything like character description etc.
3. Check your tense. Make sure you don't switch from past to present tense or vice versa. It happens, trust me.
4. Know when something isn't working and when to cut it. It's not always fun to cut a scene that you love, but if it's slowing down the plot or making the tension wan, cut it. You can always save a scene you love and use it in another book--maybe the sequel!
5 Have critique partners check out your writing too. Often, they pick up stuff you missed, whether a typo or a plot hole. A good CP is invaluable.
6. Change your writing to a different font while editing. Sometimes doing this will get you to notice errors more clearly. PDF works for me.
7. Watch out for bad habits that you use in your writing. The use of certain words like "just" or some favorite phrase that you like to use repeatedly. Maybe you use emdashes too much etc. I have my nemesis words too--we all do. You can do a search and find if you suspect overuse of a word, then replace some of them with another word.
8. Try to stay away from using passive voice. Example, you can change, "The house was burned down by the blazing fire," to the more active, "The blazing fire burned down the house."
9. Read from beginning to end without stopping except to scribble notes as you go. Look for any plot holes or areas that you could amp up the descriptions or tension. Look for a sagging middle. Are all loose ends tied up? etc.
10. Put that bad boy away. Wait. Repeat editing. Once you've done editing the first round, let your book sit for a while and take a break at least a couple of weeks or so. Then go back at it with fresh eyes. When querying agents, you get one shot. It's worth the wait and the added look with a clear mind.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog today!

Thanks for stopping by, Shannon.
I wish you many sales!


A. Lynden Rolland said...

Great tips! I am still laughing b/c Shannon mentions the emdashes, and they are so my weakness!!! I read aloud to get a fresh feel for my writing, too... especially when I'm editing at 2am :) Keeps me awake.

Nicola Marsh said...

The 'cutting' resonated with me. So hard to slash precious words we've created but when they've got to go, they've got to go! :)