Category Archives: Q and A

Halloween Book Trail

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Welcome to the next stop on The Woods trail of Zoraida Córdova’s Halloween Book Trail! I got to answer some fun questions about Halloween and desert islands and fear and all sorts of things. Check it out here and then continue on your journey through The Woods!

201410-HBT14-The-WoodsIf your MC went trick or treating, what would they dress up as and why?

The last time Mariella went trick or treating it was in sixth grade. She and K.T. teamed up and they went as Antony (Mariella) and Cleopatra (K.T.). They made pretty much everyone treat them like royalty all week and everyone called them Tony and Cleo for the rest of the year.

Hudson didn’t go trick or treating much as a kid, but J.R. thought Halloween was amazing. The October before J.R. died, Hudson took him trick or treating for the first time. J.R. dressed up like Hulk—Hudson even painted the kid entirely green for the occasion—and he picked out Thor for Hudson. Since Hudson’s hair is so short, J.R. insisted on a wig. This insistence came in at the last minute so the only one Hudson could get was meant for young girls and was therefore too small for his head, too long, and had bangs. It looked ridiculous on him but it made J.R. happy and that was pretty much all that mattered anyway.


What scares the pants out of you?

Honestly, the intangible is more frightening to me than the tangible. And I’m not talking about ghosts. Spiders and heights and small, dark places are all less frightening to me than betrayal and abandonment. Those concepts and actions can do much longer lasting damage than a lot of other things worth being afraid of.


Do you legit believe in ghosts and things that bump in the night? (We won’t think you’re cray)

I’ve never seen anything, but yes! The universe is too vast and complex for there not to be things that we haven’t seen or can’t understand. What I don’t think is that any of it exists in the forms we have stories about. Vampires, werewolves, quasi-corporeal ghosts, etc. all may be based in something real, but most of that probably comes from the collective imaginations of humanity. Speaking of the human collective, the theory of universal consciousness is something I’m pretty much 100% sure is real.


If you were stranded on a deserted island or haunted house, what number are you to die and how?

Probably first. And it would be some stupid accident on my part or the fact that I exercise, like, never and am incapable of pulling myself up should I fall through broken floorboards or over a cliff or off a roof or something. Or, since I know nothing about shooting guns, I’ll misfire and hurt myself. Really, don’t trust me when things go to hell. I am not the person you want with you in a horror movie or zombie apocalypse or even on a deserted island.


What magical/supernatural creature do you secretly want to be?

I’ve never had an extremely strong desire to be a magical/supernatural/mythological creature (it seems like the cons really outweigh the pros most of the time; I would possibly make an exception for having the Gift out of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall world), but there are a few I would have loved to meet and/or have. Pegasus has always fascinated me as have fairies (the tiny, spritely ones, not the evil, manipulative ones). What I’ve really always wanted, though, is a dæmon out of The Golden Compass. I would jump on a chance to visit that world and meet my dæmon in a heartbeat!

 Want to continue on the trail? Next up is our fantastic hostess Zoraida Córdova! Visit her blog and study up! There will be a quiz. 😉

Q&A: So, about “stealing”…

Recently, I received a question about one of my previous posts Stealing: How to do it the Right Way. I thought that this question was a perfect example of the fine line between plagiarism and inspiration, so I asked her permission to post our Q&A as a continuation of that subject. Below you will find her question and my answer. I hope they help you out!

i wanted to ask you about your concept of stealing. see, i recently started writing a story/novel that was pretty much screaming at me to be written. however, i only got through the end of chapter one before i realized that it was shockingly similar to a short story i had read about a week beforehand. i stopped writing, but i think it was fairly good work. and since i REALLY don’t want to plagiarize against my favorite author, i have to ask: is the story of a half-angel who can feel when people need him and suddenly feels this suffocating need to help the new girl in school who has been damned to hell because she’s really a devil TOO similar to the story of a new boy in school who can feel emotions and notices an overwhelming pain coming from a girl whose heart has been shattered? (i’m sorry if that was confusing…) the former situation is in the short story by stephenie meyer in the book “prom nights from hell,” and the latter is my own plotline.

i ask you for your opinion because i’m sure you have MUCH more experience than me; also, i really do like the story — i felt a particular connection to the characters, which is a good thing, i assume — and i hope to continue it. i don’t think i can right now, though, knowing that it’s potentially infringing on somebody else’s work. i mean, i don’t suppose it matters, because i really doubt i’ll try to get this published, but all the same…

i really hope you can help me out a little. i don’t want to be stuck on fanfiction forever.

thank you so much!!!


Well, it depends. I do think that your story summary sounds incredibly similar to the Prom Nights From Hell story, but there is the possibility for it to be different. It all depends on HOW everything happens.

If you did research, I bet you will find numerous stories that could be summed up with that sentence: Boy feels girl who is immense pain and feels he has to help her. At the same time, each story is dramatically different. What you have to do is put your characters in a situation that brings out the differences rather than the similarities. For example, maybe the boy doesn’t want to help her at first. Maybe he never liked this girl and feels like she wouldn’t be worth the effort. Or, maybe this girl doesn’t want the boy to help her. Maybe, after whatever broke her heart, she is afraid of letting any guy get too close. Maybe the guy who broke her heart is the main character’s best friend, so he has to choose between believing whatever his best friend told him about the break-up and obeying his natural urge to help this girl who is in pain. Maybe that choice is even harder because he finds out the girl got drunk and cheated on his best friend.

There are hundreds of thousands of possibilities with a story like this. All you have to do is dress it up in a situation that makes it entirely your own. Get to know your characters; they’ll tell you where to go.