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nina notl close2 Nina Munteanu Canadian Book TourNina Munteanu is currently touring Canada with her latest two books with Starfire World Syndicate:

1. The Last Summoner: Nina’s historical fantasy  is a medieval time travel tale that spans 600 years from Medieval Poland to present-day Paris. The story follows Baroness Vivianne Schoen, who discovers she can alter history–but not before she’s branded a witch and must flee through a time-space tear. Now in an alternate France ruled by Teutonic Knights, she must decide how to remake history.

2. Inner Diverse, the 2nd book in her space thriller trilogy The Splintered Universe. In Book Two of this SF space thriller trilogy, detective Rhea Hawke continues her quest for truth and justice in a world that is not what it seems. Rhea’s search takes her to the far reaches of the known universe from the Weeping Mountains of Horus to the blistering deserts of Upsilon 3. Amidst the turmoil of an imminent extra-galactic war, Rhea holds the key even as those she trusts betray her. No one is what they seem…

Costi Gurgu, the artist and designer of the cover is a finalist for the Aurora Award as Best Artist. As with Book 1 (Outer Diverse), this book will be shortly released as an audiobook with Iambik Audiobooks.

Tour Schedule:

Nina started in Toronto, ON (Yorkdale Mall and Woodside Centre Chapters-Indigo stores). She then moves to Vancouver, BC where she reads and discusses The Last Summoner at Chapters-Indigo Richport (in Richmond ). She is joined by voice artist Dawn Harvey in Calgary, AB where they will read from and discuss Inner Diverse, soon to be released in audiobook form by Iambik Audiobooks at Sentry Box and Chapters (Chinook Centre).

Tour Dates:

Toronto: Chapters Yorkdale Mall and Woodside Centre (The Last Summoner)

Vancouver: Chapters-Indigo Richport in Richmond on Ackroyd Rd., Friday July 26th, 5-8:30 pm (The Last Summoner)

Calgary: Sentry Box, 1835 10th Avenue in Calgary, Thursday  August 8th from 7 pm onward (The Splintered Universe Trilogy)

Calgary: Chapters Chinook Centre, Friday August 9th noon-4 pm (The Splintered Universe Trilogy)

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nina couch 02 241x300 Nina, The Writing Coach, Can Help You Get Published!

Nina, The Writing Coach

Nina, the writing coach, can help you!

Join her for a free webinar where she will share some of her best tips for getting published. She will also answer some frequently asked questions that came straight from Writer’s Digest!

See you there!

Welcome to Nina Munteanu’s Online Writing Courses! 

 To view courses offered in 2011 and to register for courses, go to the online courses page

Your instructor, Nina Munteanu, is an internationally published author of several novels, short stories and essays. She has taught science and writing courses for over twenty years and has coached many beginning and established writers over the years toward successful publication. Her textbook on writing, “The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!” is used by schools and universities throughout North America.

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Hi there!

nina coaching1 The Writing Life

Nina Munteanu - The Writing Life

You’ve landed on the website of Nina Munteanu, internationally published Canadian SF author and ecologist.  Nina is living her dream of the writing life!  She is currently putting the finishing touches on her next science fiction novel.  And if you’re lucky, you might catch her at one of her writing workshops where she coaches great fiction writing!

The Mentor: Nina is frequently sought after for one-on-one mentoring as well as personal coaching and group workshops on all aspects of writing and publishing.  Because she has published frequently in both fiction and non-fiction, she knows exactly how to help her clients succeed in getting their works published.

The Ecologist: Nina currently does research and gives talks in science and limnology (No! That isn’t the study of limbs! She studies freshwater) and is driven by a passion to help keep our planet’s environment healthy.  In April 2010 she participated in talks with the Dalai Lama as part of the Mind and Life XX Conference on Altruism and Compassion in Economics in Zurich, Switzerland, where she participated in discussions on the use of ecological relationships in economic policy. Nina is a passionate traveler, and has tasted her way around the world from Bangkok to Paris.

The Author: Nina has published award-nominated short stories all over the planet (with translations into Greek, Romanian, Polish, and Hebrew). Two of her several novels, “Angel of Chaos” and “Darwin’s Paradox” (science fiction ecological thrillers by Dragon Moon Press), explores humanity’s co-evolution with machine intelligence and Nature’s intelligence. She also writes critical essays and reviews, several of which have appeared in Strange Horizons, IROSF, and The New York Review of Science Fiction. Her personal heroes include Dr. Lynn Margulis and author Ray Bradbury. Nina’s guidebook on writing, The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now! is currently used in schools and universities across North America.

The Blogger: Nina is also  The Alien Next Door, author of the award-wining blog which hosts lively discussions on pop culture, travel, science, writing and philosophy. Nina co-authors an environmental blog on climate change, Climate of Our Future. She frequently guest-blogs on Toulouse LeTrek, her feline friend’s travel blog.

 


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author The Novelist  He said, She said: Using Dialogue

One of the most important devices to spice up narrative and increase pace is the use of dialogue. There’s a reason for this: we read dialogue more quickly; it’s written in more fluid, conversational English; it tends to create more white space on a page with less dense text, more pleasing to the reader’s eye. Dialogue is action. It gets readers involved.

Good dialogue neither exactly mimics actual speech (e.g., it’s not usually mundane, repetitive or broken with words like “uh”) nor on the other extreme does it proselytize or educate the reader through long discourse (unless the character is that kind of person). Good dialogue in a story should be somewhere in the middle. While it should read as fluid conversation, dialogue remains a device to propel the plot or enlighten us to the character of the speaker). No conversation follows a perfect linear progression. People interrupt one another, talk over one another, often don’t answer questions posed to them or avoid them by not answering them directly. These can all be used by the writer to establish character, tension, and relationship.

Below, I provide a few tips when using dialogue in your story.

  • Show, don’t tell: a common error of beginning writers is to use dialogue to explain something that both participants should already know but the reader doesn’t. It is both awkward and unrealistic and immediately exposes you as a novice. For instance, avoid the use of “As you know…” It’s better to keep the reader in the dark for a while than to use dialogue to explain something. Which brings us to the next point.
  • Have your characters talk to each other, not to the reader: for instance, “Hello, John, you loser drunk and wayward son of the most feared gangster in town!” could be improved to, “You stink like a distillery, John! Wait ‘til papa’s thugs find you!”
  • Avoid adverbs: e.g., he said dramatically, she said pleadingly; instead look for better ways to express the way they said it with actual dialogue. That’s not to say you can’t use adverbs (I believe J.K. Rowling is notorious for this), just use them sparingly and judiciously.
  • Avoid tag lines that repeat what the dialogue already tells the reader: e.g., “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “Do you have a dog?” she asked.
  • He said, she said: reduce tag lines where possible and keep them simple by using “said”; another sign of a novice is the overuse of words other than said (e.g., snarled, hissed, purred, etc.). While these can add spice, keep them for special places as they are noticed by the reader and will distract otherwise.
  • Pay consistent attention to a character’s “voice”: each character has a way of speaking that identifies them as a certain type of person. This can be used to identify class, education, culture, ethnicity, proclivities, etc. For instance one character might use Oxford English and another might swear every third word.
  • Use speech signatures: pick out particular word phrases for characters that can be their own and can be identified with them. If they have additional metaphoric meaning to the story, even better. For instance, I know a person who always adds “Don’t you think?” to almost everything they say. This says something about how that person… well, thinks… I knew another person who always added “Do you see?” at the end of their phrase. Again rather revealing.
  • Intersperse dialogue with good descriptive narrative: don’t forget to keep the reader plugged into the setting. Many beginning writers forget to “ground” the reader with sufficient cues as to where the characters are and what they’re doing while they are having this great conversation. This phenomenon is so common, it even has a name. It’s called “talking heads.”
  • Contradict dialogue with narrative: when dialogue contradicts body language or other narrative cues about the speaker, this adds an element of compelling tension and heightens reader excitement while telling them something important. Here are a few examples:

    “How’d it go?”
    “Great,” he lied.

    “I feel so much better now,” she said, jaw clenched.
    “It’s okay; I believe you.” His heart slammed.

    Well, you get the picture, anyway. Hope this helps. Keep writing!

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 Darwins Paradox: Book Signing at ChaptersYesterday’s book signing at Chapters in Richmond, B.C. was incredibly fun and truly a blast! A second only to that kraglet swimsuit competition on Rigel 9. Despite the fact that I’d sold and published two books prior to “Darwin’s Paradox”, this was my first big bookstore signing! And I was jazzed. I knew ahead of time, though, that many of my friends couldn’t make it; I’d informed them with too little notice. Likewise, my relatives are few and far away (well, being an alien…). Given that friends and relatives are–with the exception of J.K.Rowling, that is– customarily where an author gets her audience for a signing, I was prepared for a solitary experience, a sole journey. Instead, I got a soul journey…

Prior to going in I had entertained foolish notions of sitting behind a stack of books, bored, as strangers milled past without a glance in my direction. Well, the word bored isn’t in my vocabulary and, besides, that isn’t my style (as those of you who know me would certainly testify; though I’ve been also known to have my shy moments…no really! Especially when it comes to THAT….well, you know…I’m too embarrassed to say…) So, when I arrived, energized with a Starbucks cinnamon latte in Darwins Paradox: Book Signing at Chapters hand, I donned my sales robes and made a point of greeting my stranger friends. We all had something in common, after all: we all liked books. Determined to sign off all the books Chapters had been kind enough to get for this event, I hailed the merits of my book (“Look at this beautiful cover!) to one and all like a French market vendor…and soon–to my surprise–my off-key singing voice actually brought people flocking forward and I made friends with some wonderful people (who probably don’t sing). There was Mark, for instance, a young Vancouver student who studied evolution; there was Karyn, an avid science fiction fan and another Karin, also an avid reader; there was Jacek, an aspiring writer who is writing a very interesting YA novel, who came with his son; there was Craig Bowlsby, a local TV show producer (who I wangled an interview with…you’ll see my interview of him here live on this blog later!); there was Kuldip, who wanted to talk philosophy during the whole three hours I was t Darwins Paradox: Book Signing at Chaptershere; and Brenda Carr, another wonderful writer who is currently marketing her mythic fantasy novel (look for it soon!); and so many other wonderful people. My sole journey had become a soul journey. And I did manage to reduce that huge pile of books into a small rubble. It would have dwindled to nothing except that my husband and son wanted to celebrate and successfully lured me away with promises of wine and rich food.

Speaking of souls, Mel over at Monday Morning Power (see my last post), who bestowed upon me the badge for a “winning attitude”, would be proud of me. He recently gave me another gift: the gift of friendship (see below). This is how Mel explains it:

“I didn’t start blogging until May of this year. As you may know, the reason I started blogging was to have a vehicle to put out my “Empowerment Process,” which I have been posting in installments. However, what I got was a home for friendships that I feel are as real as the ones in my “real” life. For this I am more thankful than words can express.”

“There is something very special and unique about blogging friendships. In “real” life we all have to first get by the physical and superficial aspects of each other before we can get into who we are, really. In “real” life there is so much bull shit that we have to put up with, that sometimes developing true friends becomes very difficult. I feel that with blogging friendships there are no superficial aspects to it; the barriers do not exist. We open up in our writings as to who we really are. We bare ourselves and say “this is me.” For many of us this is the only way that we can truly express ourselves, our opinions, our strengths and our fears. I have also discovered a level of INTEGRITY amongst bloggers that I have not found in “real” life.”

blog friend Darwins Paradox: Book Signing at Chapters

Thank you, Mel! You are a wonderful friend. I, in turn bestow this gift to all my blogging friends on MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog, my blogging communities. You folks ALL rock! I’d like to specifically mention the following bloggers who have added so much to make this place a home for me:

Jean-Luc (The Federation)…for your loyalty…(and being so SEXY)
Karen (Nameless Grace)…for your impeccable grace (and for always correcting my spelling! But mostly for your love and faith in me)
Tricia (Modern Matriarch)…for your justice and diligence (and clever mind…you make me think)
WalksFarWoman (Kissing the Dogwood)…for your compassion (and wonderful sense of humor…you make me smile)
Bob (Somerset Bob’s Place)…for your honor and integrity (and all those drinks you sent me on Facebook!)
Deborah (Climate of our Future)…for your indomitable spirit (and ALL those MEMEs…geez! You know I love ‘em!icon smile Darwins Paradox: Book Signing at Chapters
Adria (In Cing)…for your joy and clarity (and endless enthusiasm)
Erik (AuthorsDen)…for your incredible sincerity (and stubbornness! I love our discussions! You keep me honest and I hope you keep doing so…)
Theresa Lucas (Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ Blog)…for your impeccable mind (and warped sense of humor!)
Mel (Monday Morning Power)…for your positive attitude (and rather twisted sense of humor!)
Jennifer (Random Synaptic Transfers)…for your kind friendship (and warped sense of humor…wait…there’s a wierd trend happening here…WARP NINE, MR. SPOCK!)
Virginia (Sumptuosity)…for your generosity (and all those beers we slugged back…and will slug back in the future! You slugger, you!)
Lynda (Reality Skimming)…for your sincere and down-to-earth goodness (and your crazy wonderful laugh)
Princess Haiku (Princess Haiku)…for your poetic wisdom (and astute calmness)
Melanie (A Quiet Symphony)…for your beautiful words (and REALLY twisted sense of humor!)
Jon (Chimeric Day Dreams)…for your gentle wisdom and beautiful mind (and beautiful everything.)
Heather (Heather Dugan)…for your kind spirit (and your incredible voice!…Hey, maybe we should do an audio book…oh, we ARE? GREAT!)
Margaret…(who doesn’t even have a blog!) for your incredible and steadfast loyalty and friendship for aeons (God knows how you could stand me that long!)

more to come…there are so many of you!…
And here they are! Bloggers who welcomed me so long ago, when I first began blogging. Bloggers who welcomed me with kind advice as my blog clunked along on its new wobbly legs. Bloggers who provided comments and words of encouragement, challenges and amazing humor on my posts. People like:
I’m so looking forward to meeting more bloggers out there and making friends with you.
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