Internet with Friends! And Other Relevant Links…

Welcome to the summer of Pieces of the Puzzle!  This is a little update on what I’ve been up to and what I’ve been reading all summer long.

– I joined the July edition of CampNanoWriMo and managed to write twice my projected word count!  If you are looking to sign up for the next National Novel Writing Month, check it out, here.

– I have spoken my Urban Fantasy, Order of the Key, and my Romantic Comedy, Legally Insane, on this blog before.  The first drafts of both of these novels are now complete.  It’s time to start throwing myself into edits and start outlining my next novels!

– It’s been awhile, but I’ve written a review!  Check out my review of Man of Steel here.

– If you’re interested in following my life in picture format, follow me on Instagram. My username is @justine_manzano.

– My little sister, another writer, has started a blog.  Check it out here!

– Zoraida Cordova is a talented Young Adult writer who writes about merpeople.  She also just happens to be my friend and was once my college classmate in two writing classes.  I just finished the second book in her Vicious Deep trilogy, The Savage Blue, and it left me scrambling for more!  Check out my review for the first book of the series here.  And, seriously, READ THIS SERIES.  If you like fantasy and adventure, you’ll like this.

– Working on edits to your stories like I am?  Check out these great tips to get rid of repetitive statements.

– Here’s another great article about editing.  Check out novelist Patricia Gussin’s list of things to look for in each reread of your novel.

– One of my favorite fandom influences, Joss Whedon, discussed his top ten writing tips here.  They are mostly geared towards screenplay writing, but there is much information to be gleaned from the article.

– Getting together your fiction query letter?  I will be, very soon.  So here is a link to one that works, with a very nice analysis of why.

Okay, that’s all for this month.  Check out my next post in two weeks, where I discuss the debate of writing vs. income.  Take care all!

April Activities

I have had a very crazy month, and now that we have reached the end of it, I would love to catch you up on some of the things I have either been participating in, doing, reading or learning in the month of April.  While my March around the Web post last month was more random wanderings than anything else, this month’s is much more about what I, personally, have been up to.  Enjoy!

  • As of today’s word count, I have completed Camp NaNoWriMo, with 55,997 words, which is just insane.  This month was different than my first adventure with NaNo as there was also the battle of the illnesses going on at my house, family and friends in the hospital (all of whom are doing well and recovering, by the way) and life just getting in the way at every turn.  But I did it!  I won NaNoWriMo!  Again!   I’m contemplating whether or not I will participate in the next camp in July.  I’m not sure if I can handle doing it again so soon especially with my wedding anniversary falling in that month and my son Logan’s birthday on August 1st.  We will see.
  • Also contributing to this month’s “How the hell am I going to WriMo?” question has been the fact that I have a cool new side gig!  I’m working as a reader for Sucker Literary as they go through entries for the 3rd issue of their Young Adult Literary Magazine and I have been having a great time doing it.  If you want to learn more about Sucker Literary, you can either visit their page on WordPress (linked above), like their Facebook pagefollow their Tumblr blog, follow @SuckerLitMag on twitter, or, you know, do them all!
  • By the way, if you have a twitter and want to check out my account, which includes  quotes from my works in progress, writing information, fangirl things and everyday life stuff, you can follow my twitter account @justine_manzano.
  • As an unabashed feminist, this article brought up a bit of an odd feeling within me.  Can somebody learn to write in another gender by following these rules?  What do you think?  I feel like the idea that “Women tend to sympathize and share experiences rather than give advice,” seems like a ridiculous generalization to me, and statements like those abound in this Writer’s Digest article.
  • In this vein, check out my mini-rant entitled “On Daycare and Gender Roles” that can be found on the blog where I post the non-writing related stuff that I participate in (such as fandom things or political and social observations) on Tumblr.
  • Do you know how to write a synopsis of your novel for submission to agents and publishers?  This article at Writer Unboxed has some great tips that got me excited to start working on mine.
  • Ever read through a literary magazine and start to snore?  J. Robert Lennon thinks he knows why.

And finally,

  • Every day, the flow of a story dies due to word repetition.  Writer’s Digest tells you how you can help, here.

I hope you enjoyed my mixture of news and cool things from around the web.  I’ll be back in two weeks to discuss why it’s not so bad to be a little jealous of the success of others.  Until then, keep writing, keep reading and keep being!

March Around The Web

This blog post isn’t actually a blog post.  I’ve been considering doing something like this for awhile, but shied away from it, as it didn’t fit my general blog format.  However, with some thought, I decided that there were a ton of thoughts, ideas, and weblinks that I had that were not blog posts by themselves, but when collected could be worthy of sharing and may be helpful to some who were reading this blog.  Therefore, I have decided that I will pass these on as I create a large enough amalgam of them.  I hope you enjoy!

  • I just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo!  Starting in April, I will be, once again, participating in a challenge to crank out 50,000 words in one month!  Sign up with me at  And if you do, let me know in the comments below.
  • If you are a writer that submits work to magazines (like me), check out this very useful Writer’s Digest Article on what your cover letter should ideally look like.  And if you’re one of the people mentioned there who send their work without a name on it, SHAME ON YOU.  Seriously.
  • This quote came across my eyes sometime this month, and I wanted to share it:

    I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.

    This was uttered by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible’s Singalong Blog and THE AVENGERS fame.  Yeah, him.  Just my favorite writer saying that he writes for the exact same reason I do.  I’m not fangirl squeeing or anything.  Nothing to see here…

  • Another Writer’s Digest Goodie.  I’m currently editing the first draft of my novel and it’s driving me a little batty – which is likely why I found their 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing so on point.
  • In case submitting short stories to literary magazines didn’t already make me feel like I was never getting anywhere, here is an article that has the potential to make me feel worse.  Click here to understand why the slush pile is so slushy.

Well, that’s everything for this time around.  Stay tuned for next post where I teach you how to write like a fangirl…and believe me, you’ll want that more than you think.