Monday, January 31, 2011

Drawing a Blank

 I have no idea who these children are (too cute). But they seem to mirror my current facial expression quite well. You can't tell whether they're watching a train wreck, me talking to myself in public (it happens), or mating season at the gorilla exhibit. The possibilities are endless. Just like our writing. Which leads me to my current, well, BLANK. The subject of age crossing came up in a recent conversation with a friend. What if you had a series you'd been working on, and maybe, the first book or so in that series was on the middle grade level, but the rest of the series was young adult? I read mostly YA with the exception of the occasional historical romance or a good suspense novel. I used to read political non-fiction but my children held a family meeting and I'm no longer allowed to do that. Something about me being moody (whatever). But I'm sure books that follow along throughout the whole coming of age process are out there. In fact, during this post I thought about Harry Potter, and how it started as a children's book but then grew as Harry grew. So what comes to your mind when you think of the coming of age novel? And how difficult is this to sell to an agent? More so than usual? I'd love to know what you think.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Found It Friday's

It's been a great week but I'm still trying to catch up. After Coop's illness last week and having to spend a few days out of the blogosphere, I feel like I'm just watching everyone go by while I stumble around saying, "wait what'd I miss." I have been able to blog hop a little, work on some revisions, and we were blessed to have our two BFF's over for dinner last night. Awesome time. Nothing like taking a few hours to unwind and laugh with some great friends. I also started my first official beta reading project. I've done a page here and there for a few friends but nothing quite like this. I have to say, I'm a little nervous. Not to mention that I'll be sending the same person my WIP shortly so that she can beta me back. Eek! No fear (right). This will be the first time that anyone other than my editing guru and friend (Rob) has read my entire WIP.  Lydia Sharp read the first 500 words during her critique contest and everything she said was wonderful. But now I'm going to put it out there. I feel like I'm sending the little one off to school for the first time, and as a mother, I'm not sure if I put the little guys underwear on over his pants or under. Ack! But this is what I need. This is what I want. I love constructive criticism. I'm not afraid of it. It doesn't hurt my feelings. And I know that it will make my story better. This is the polishing process and it is so important. So why am I freaking out a little? Hum? How did you feel when you sent your work off to that first beta reader? Am I normal? Don't answer that.

Lastly, here are a few things I found for Found it Friday's.

This is helping me beta.
This is what Jessica Faust of BookEnds Lit is looking for. Wish I was ready.
This is Michelle Mclean awesome revising tip.
This Dear Agent mad lib on Elena Solodow's blog was so much fun and you should check out her $100 bucks for 100 words blog-fest. Super cool. Love her blog.
And This is not a hairstyle. And it made me feel really stupid. But thanks to Casey, I stand enlightened.

Hope you enjoyed and maybe even learned something new. Happy Weekend people!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Award!

I'm so thrilled! A few of my wonderful followers have been kind enough to give me this award. Thanks guys. I've been blogging since last October, and yet, I'm still so amazed by the blogging community everyday. Or maybe its just the writing community. I don't know for sure, but I've never been graced with such an astounding presence of kindness, encouragement, and genuine friendship.
When I first started this blog, I was nervous. Putting ourselves out there is not the easiest thing to do for some of us. We worry about criticism, fitting in, saying something stupid (there's a shocker). But instead of getting any of those things, I got a warm virtual embrace. And in return for that embrace, I try to pay it forward and I always will. So without further ado:

I'm supposed to list the blogger or bloggers who gave me this award. They are:
Alexis Bass
Thank You.
And I'm supposed to give this thingy away to like fifteen other people. So....
Jamie-I'm a guy BTW
Tracy-Forever Endeavor
Abby Minard
Mary Jensen
Plamena Schmidt
Stephany at Stuck between the pages.
Melissa Dean
Michelle Arkon
Lindsay at Tiptoe Kisses

Okay, so I tried to give this away to fifteen other people. And everyone I know seems to already have it. But I tried. Promise. Swear. So here's what you've truly been waiting for, or not. The stuff about me that you probably didn't know.

1. I love to play Eighties Trivia or Monopoly with my husband (even though he's a Slum-Lord while playing Monopoly; nobody should have to pay rent like that when there is no house, just saying). 

2. I'm always freezing so I look like a bag lady when I walk the dog...REALLY.

3.I'm only 5'4 and a half (yes, it counts).

4. I'm honest to a fault (I'm in the market for a filter).

5. I cannot walk or move in heels, so I don't wear them....EVER.

6. I absolutely love chicken and could eat it everyday. Well I do actually. Thank God the whole bird thingys over with. I was going down without a doubt.

7. I walk on our treadmill at least every other day, and if nothings on TV, I watch my Pride and Prejudice DVD over and over again ( I know, completely pump you up kind of stuff. I'm hard core).

And I'll give you one extra since I got this award from four people.

8. I used to be a Truck Driver (13 years, 26 states).Yep, the big ones. I hauled steel. Forty eight thousand pounds of it daily, which gave my truck and trailer a gross weight of around 78,000 pounds. I was a closet sleeper writer/reader. They kicked me out because I refused to wear a cowboy hat, boots, or carry a chain wallet ( kidding). Most truck drivers really don't do that anyway. It is an experience I will be proud of forever. It taught me so much about overcoming obstacles. Funny how the things you think would never apply, always do somehow.

That's it. Please go and check out the blogs I've mentioned. They're pretty awesome. And while you're here, tell me something about you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back From the Icky's.

I'm back from nursing the pup and he seems to be much better. I actually did a happy dance in the yard this morning over a solid doo. And yes, both Cooper and the neighbors looked at me funny when I did this. But then Cooper decided to join in the celebration anyway, with a, "mommy's dancing cause I made a doo and I don't get it, but I'm going to dance with her anyway sort of moment."( Am I supposed to put my dog's translated thoughts into quotation marks? Much to ponder.) I will say that it was quite the bonding experience between dog and master. I encourage you to try it. But I'm sure that none of you have tuned into my blog to check on the status of my puppy's bum. Well, maybe some of you have (Hey Rob). For those of you who want a little more out of life. I got nothing. The weekend has been a blur and I feel completely out of the loop. I did however notice that I had won an award in my absence. Totally stoked! I will be posting on that tomorrow and you can learn seven new things about me that won't include my dog's bum...I promise (I'm sure you're feeling complete already).
I was able to poke at my WIP during a cup of coffee on one of the mornings I barely remember (What's wrong with pooing during the day...hum?).  And when I don't have the time to write or revise, it's a longing that can't be satisfied no matter what. But, in one of my sleep deprived moments, I toyed with two areas in my story where I switch narrators. This is not always the easiest thing to do, but as I work with it more, I'm liking the way it's working out. Personally, I love books that do this. It's almost like having a sneak peak at things to come when you're getting more than one point of view. But for some, it's viewed as a spoiler. What do you think? Do you use one narrator in your story or more? And please tell me what you've been up to this weekend? I would like the opportunity to feel as though I've lived vicariously through one of you. After all, it's been all poo around here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Found It Friday's

Today's post is going to be short. I had originally planned to have a great post up for today, but Cooper (our puppy) has been sick for two days and I've been up to my eyeballs in the ickys. Apparently he ate something that didn't like him very much. And I'm not liking it. So I've been washing comforters and cleaning his crate (my wonderful husband has been so helpful) and in between all of that, I've been doing the most important thing. Cuddling with the pooch. I even warmed his blankey in the microwave when he seemed chilled. I think it's official. I have the worlds most spoiled rotten puppy. So I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes instead. I'll be visiting you all as soon as I can.

In regards to my query letter failures.
1. I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.  Thomas Alva Edison

For those of us who dream and those of us who don't.
2. You see things; and you say, "why"? But I dream things that never were; and I say, "why not?"  George Bernard Shaw

We must say this to ourselves as we travel along the volatile path to publication or wherever our hearts may be leading us.
3. The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.  Ayn Rand  

Hope you all enjoyed. Happy weekend!! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How I Write Blogfest

I wanted to have this up earlier. Sorry. Ya know time and all that.  One of my blogging friends found the What's your process blogfest And I thought it was such a great idea that I decided to follow along. We all do things differently, but you never know when someone might throw something out there that makes everything come together. I've learned so much from my blogger/writer friends. And to me, anytime you help out a fellow writer or learn something for your own writing is time well spent. So here is how I write.

1. An idea pops into my head. No idea where it comes from but I'm instantly like a cat whose just spotted a faery wearing a glamour (after reading Wicked Lovely, I'm not so sure about cats and their erratic behavior anymore). When this happens I grab a notebook and I jot down the initial plot.

2. Then I research (I actually love this part. I know- masochist). I usually like to throw in some history or something factual into the mix. Then I search databases for the best possible names for my characters ( am I masking my geekedness well?) And ones that aren't being used too much. Nothing like having the name Addie locked in for your main character then find some agent threatening to hire a contractor to build gallows for the next person that queries her with the name Addie as their protagonist( this happened to me). No need to get violent. Say no more.

3. Then I Google everything imaginable that might fall under my story idea. Who wants to spend all that time and energy writing something only to discover that it's been done before. I nearly did this once. With so much talent out there and so many books its an easy thing to do. 

4. Then I think of a tentative title. I know, I know, this is weird but it helps me to focus. And I like watching how often the name will change. And sometimes, it even helps the story to evolve.

5. Then I write about five or six chapters to get the general flow of the story going. I go back and reread. Then I take off again. I have this need to get it all out from start to finish as quickly as possible.

6. Then I take a break and work on something else. I read as much as I can. It helps to stay grounded with your target audience. And because I'm like a cat. I have a lot of notebooks and too many docs on my computer to count. So moving on for brief periods is easily done.

7. Then when the story speaks to me and tells me its time (kidding, I don't really hear voices, at least not all the time). I go back and spend the rest of my life (it seems) revising and proofreading. But now the story is in need of a lot of repair. I moved too fast. And that's not something I truly love about my writing. I wish I could slow down and take more time the first time. Then maybe revisions would be easier. But then again, it's only through revisions that the story truly begins to come together for me. My story has changed so much from a year ago. It's nearly unrecognizable. And that's a good thing. I hope.

8. In between all of this I try to compose the perfect query letter which is hilarious to say the least. Which then turns into researching the what to dos and what not to do with a query letter. I usually alternate this research with glasses of wine (total crutch, hiccup) and visits to You've got to be kidding for a good laugh in between the tears.

9. I spend as much time as I can listening to teenagers talk, reading blogs, books, stalking agents and all that just to learn as much as possible.

10. And I write.

How do you do what you do?

BTW, I just received this award from my friend  Margo Kelly. And I would like to pass it on to Christina Lucas. She does so much on her blog to promote all of us and that is super...

All you have to do is link back to me and pass it on to one or more of your favorite people. That's it. But they must be- Electropositive. Enjoy!     

Monday, January 17, 2011


Aspiring Author backed her silver SUV into the garage. She had much to do on that particular evening. What, with groceries to put away, characters to round out, a puppy to walk, and proofreading over her manuscript to be done. With so much to do, she could hardly relish in the sweetness of her gum, nor in the satisfaction of nearly stealing chicken at less than two bucks per pound, but it was perfectly legal. She rounded the stairs and there he was. That entrancing specimen she called her husband. The one man who could lull her away with those enticing little whispers meant to provoke mischief in the middle of the afternoon.
"What's the matter." He said.
"Nothing, why?" She asked.
"Well, you look angry. Is something wrong?"
"No, I'm fine. I was just thinking about one of the characters in my manuscript." She replied.
He smirked. "Did this character do something to you to make you angry? You know they're not real people."
She glared "Cute. I know they're not real. I'm not mad at my character, I was simply thinking about him."
He raised an eyebrow."So now you're thinking about another man?"
She folder her arms across her chest. "Seriously?"
"Well, he is a guy, fantasy or not. And you look angry so-"
She gritted her teeth "That's because"
"Well, all I'm saying is you shouldn't allow characters to affect your mood so much." He shrugged.
She stalked off.
"Where are you going?" he asked
"To the bedroom." she mumbled over her shoulder.
She closed the door to their room and crossed the floor to the chest of drawers standing at the far end of the room. She found his favorite pair of socks, the ones with the lose ends she's been dying to throw away forever. She opened the frayed end and discarded her gum, ensuring that it would reach the toe. She folded the pair together, closed the drawer, and left the room.
She bounded around the corner to the kitchen smiling.
"There's my girl." He said, embracing her. " Guess somebody needed a minute to get their mood in check?"
"Yes." She smiled, staring up at him. "I just had to take a moment to channel my feelings in the right direction."
"So you gave this character of yours the once over for ruining your mood huh?" he said
"Yes." she patted his back. "That character really got what was coming to him."

The End.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The First Ever Probly Not the Best Ever Found It Friday.

Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming that I found any of these things first. You may have already found them. If not, please enjoy and you must read on to find out what this picture is all about.

Well, Found it Friday's was a little more of a challenge than I thought. Have any idea how much awesome information is out there? I do. The problem was trying to pick just a few. It's not like you guys have all day to read this post. Right? So here's a few things I thought I'd share with you that I found to be noteworthy.

1. The absolutely amazing and generous Lydia Sharp is holding a first chapter critique contest over here. The coolest part about this contest is how everyone's a winner but I actually found it through fellow blogger extraordinaire Pk Hrezo.

2. I found this great post on the ten commandments of social networking over at The Waxman Literary Agency.

3. Should you use the names of real famous people or not when referring to songs and such in your book? The answer is here.

4. Now for the breathtaking dress in the picture. Let me introduce you to Olesya Grabovskaya. She's a student at The Art Institute in Seattle and she's working towards her degree in fashion design. How cool is that? Well, authors sometimes tend to be glued to their computers writing and such, and for some of us, staying trendy can be umm...well...difficult. Did I mention Olesya will work with you to make whatever you might need. How amazing is that? Just think people, what if you buy that dress off the sales rack in Bloomingdale's, ya know, the one you'll need for that release day party. And you end up having to fire your agent because she shows up wearing the same freaking dress (tragic) after all those queries and all that work, she's gone just like that. Note: If this happens to you, please send her my way while she's vulnerable. I don't mind being a rebound client and personally I could care less if she shows up at my release day party naked and holding my book in her bum. That's dedication if you ask me. So check out Olesya's blog. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more form her in the future.

5. And lastly, I'll leave you with a quote from Melissa Marr (Ink Exchange) that I found both touching and inspiring:
" To all the people who've been in the abyss and found (or are finding) a way to reach solid ground-you're proof that the seemingly impossible can happen."

Happy Weekend! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Go away Ole' man Winter!

My sky is the color of milk at the moment and the ground outside my door is covered with random splotches of snow and mud. Much like my kitchen floor after Cooper has his morning walk. Yay for me and Mr. Swiffer. So I have rebelled against the drab of winter. My canvas ( picture window) needs warmth and color. So does my skin. How much lotion does it take to hydrate a human being in the dead of winter anyway? This is getting ridiculous. So I have borrowed my own spring by decorating the blog. Take that ole' man winter! I hope you like the new look. I also wanted to tell you about a new idea for the blog. Every Friday, in addition to my random posts about writing, books, or my life (I'm sure everyone loves those), I'm going to be hosting a little info session called: "Found it Friday's". It may be another blog, a new book, a new author, a writing tip (from an expert, definitely not from me) a contest, a conference, a new agent, a new blogger, group, quote, whatever. Who knows, I may even want to feature you. There are just so many awesome things out there in the info-net and if you're like me, sometimes it's hard to get to them all. I can't say I'll find everything, but I'll certainly try to and if you should hear about anything that ranks up there with so awesome it must be shared, be sure to stop by on "Found it Friday's" and let us know about it. For now, let me know what you think about "Found it Friday's" and tell me what you've been up to. For me, I'm going to be spending the next few days visiting all of you and searching for something amazing to tell you on Friday. No stress....really. Happy hopping, reading, and writing guys;) I would have said revising too, but we all know that's not possible.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Grace is elegance. A beauty of form, manner, motion, or action (completely eludes me if I'm wearing heels). A pleasing or attractive quality or endowment. But its also a favor or an act of good will. Ah, but is it an attribute easily obtained? More often than not our Grace can be forgotten, lost behind the fog of our self esteem and self doubt. When we are criticized and rejected we seem to react before we remember our Grace. The first time I experienced criticism in regards to my work, I felt as though I'd just been kicked in the throat. I felt defeated and small, insignificant, foolish, and unintelligent. My knee jerk reaction was just be a jerk. Later on, I realized that I am a human being. Nothing more and nothing less. I make mistakes. I bleed. I am no genius, no revolutionary figure the world would be lost without, no overnight sensation, and I don't sparkle in the sunlight (I'm still relatively disappointed about that last part. It's so not fair). But why is any of that so bad. To me it's just... normal (shrugs). So, the moment I accepted all of these things about myself was the day my writing career became a little less stressful. I need criticism. If I never got any, I'd never be able to improve on my writing, and I'd know someone was lying to me. Can you honestly name an absolutely perfect book? The story might be wonderful, plot driven, a real page turner. An inspirational masterpiece-whatever. But there's a typo in there somewhere. Maybe the cover could have been better. You wouldn't have chosen that word that sentence, the repeats, the back-story, or lack there of. And there's a cliche right there on page twenty two (shudder) like out in the open and everything. Then heaven forbid you're supposed to love the protagonist but you can't stop day dreaming about slapping her. It happens. Because books are written by human beings, edited by them, published and printed by them. Happens everyday (less these days but still). We are going to face rejection. The same rejection you may have faced back in the day on the playground when no one wanted to play with you and you had no idea why. No one had the Grace to tell you that snot had frozen to your cheek. Wouldn't you want to know that? Criticism is the same thing. We are all going to have embarrassing moments, much like the time you forgot that school got out two hours early and the kids caught the hubby brandishing a sword and wearing a kilt while you sashayed through the house wearing a peasants dress( kids are resilient, they'll be okay). We've all been there. But do you want to be an author who takes an ounce of criticism with equal parts of bitterness or would you rather be an author that accepts all of it with an ounce of Grace? I'll take Grace.