Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Psst...Is that a 100 follower contest I see?

Well, well, well, I hit the big one.  Wa-hoo! party time.  Turn up the music, dance and break out the martinis. I really wish we could all meet and celebrate. Why is reaching 100 followers so important? I don't know it just is. It may be because I still can't believe that 100 people think I'm that  interesting or think that I can call myself a writer.  When I first started, I thought no one would want to even look at my blog--except for Kelly (Kelly Compositions--who is awesome and told me to start this.) Thanks Kelly!

I guess I thought people might laugh at my work and tell me I have no business even trying to pursue publishing anything I wrote but you guys have told me differently. So I believe you and trust me I have a fire that is burning in my gut to keep going.

You want to know about the contest, right? Oh yeah, the contest. Since I'm so not qualified to host a writing contest (which I think are really cool), I'll be giving away some great stuff.

Before I tell you the prizes let me just say I want to change the word followers to something different.  I'm not sure to what yet and if you have suggestions please tell me.

Right prizes--it's killing you isn't it.

O.k. So I have never done this before so I tried to pick up ideas from other contests. 

Are you ready--

The winner will receive:

1. Your choice of one of these fine prints (8" x 10")  from Kaitlyn McCane (Check out her blog, website, and ETSY site).  She is a super cool illustrator and her work  is adorable. I thought one of these could decorate your favorite writing spot (I'm an interior designer hence the decoration).
Option 1

Option 2

2. To help get your reader "hooked"--You will receive a copy of Hooked by Les Edgerton.

3. I'm also including a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon (your choice).

4. To help cure your munchies --a bag of M & M's (dark or regular your choice).

Well, what do you think? You even get to choose some of your prizes.


1. Leave a comment (Let me know what inspires you to write). +1

2. If you are a old follower of the blog (Follower before March 31st)  +2

3. New follower +1

4. Bring a friend to this blog (they have to mention you in their comment) +1

5. Blog about this contest (leave a link in your comment) +2

6. Blab about this on other sites - Twitter, FB, etc. (leave a link in your comment) +1

7. Add to your sidebar +1

8. Total your score in your comment +1

Contest ends: April 7th at 11:59 pm and I'll use for the drawing.
Any questions just let me know. 
Thank you to Michelle McLean for taking my count to the big 100.
Thank you for all your thoughtful words yesterday.  I'm thankful for all of you.
Good luck! (Boy, that's a lot of thank yous).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life slapped me in the face.

Good morning! Thank you for all your support and feedback from my last post.  I had another post ready to go for yesterday but life got in the way.  I don't normally talk specifics about my personal life--maybe a dash here and there but this weekend life slapped me in the face.  I had to take my son to the emergency room.  He is fine now but it was a little scary. It turns out he has walking pneumonia and is now playing like a crazy man  so the medication is working. I was quite surprised when they admitted him into the hospital because I just thought I would bring him to just get checked out, get some medication and go home.  He had a high fever, and low oxygen levels so we stayed there. It was a heart wrenching experience and all I want to do is hug my kiddos.
Today I was supposed to take him to an ears, nose and throat specialist for other problems he has been having but I was lucky that the doctor came to us at the hospital. So on top of the pneumonia my little guy needs tubes (for his ears), along with the removal of his tonsils and atnoids (I don't think I spelled that right, sorry). That should happen in a few weeks. 
So if my posts fall short over the next few weeks you know why.
I hope to do some commenting today and check out the blogosphere to see what I missed. Don't forget go to Fiction Groupie for the open critique.  I know I have almost 100 followers so don't forget to check back for a contest. :)
I plan on catching up on revisions and critiques over the week and weekend.

Hug the ones you love folks --take the time to show it.

Have a great day! Happy writing!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Are you kidding me?

Well, I did it. I managed not to blog for one day.  I didn't get a whole lot done but I did do something. I managed to finish a critique and I figured out something new for my WiP. That's right something new. Before I signed off on Wednesday, I read an article about what agents and editors are looking for--what might catch their eye. Roni at Fiction Groupie posted what she found out at a recent conference.  It was interesting. 

Being that I've just started my revisions this type of information is helpful and it's forcing me to look at my WiP and find ways to make it different but I must keep in mind to stay true to the story I originally wanted to write. So the key is to find the balance between what it takes to get the novel noticed vs. what you believe in. Oh, how I love revisions. Sounds easy, right? Because anyone can do it.

This leads me to the second half of my post. Many non writers (I sometimes like to call spectators) think that writing a YA (any form) novel is easy.  I guess they think that since we are writing to a teenage audience that we stoop to a lower level in our writing abilities. I would like to share an odd experience I had at a bookstore. I may have embellished this alittle --I am a writer.

So I was looking in the YA paranormal romance section at a local bookstore drooling over what I should buy next and a lady strolls up next to me. She was about my age and dressed to the nines. I think she thought I worked there for a second but then realized that I was holding my son -- hello, obvious. The dialogue may not be exact but it went something like this.

"Are you looking for something for your daughter?" she asked.

"No," I continued to browse.  I don't like being interrupted when I'm in the zone.

"Oh, because I am.  I can't believe the books my daughter wants to read," She was a little to chatty for me.

I just stood there quietly.

"These books are written so poorly and contain such mindless entertainment," she waived her finger around.

So I picked up a book and threw it at her --this is the embellished part. To be quite honest when she made this statement, I felt like throwing a book at her but I was polite. I didn't want to give YA writers a bad name. So I asked her,"Have you read any of them?"

She sort of gave me a shocked look. "Well no, I don't like books in this genre."

"Well then, how do you know that they are mindless entertainment and are written poorly?"

She actually squinted a little, turned and left. I guess I embarrassed her, hehe. My son even giggled. I don't usually speak out and I don't think I was rude but seriously what kind of statement is that. It amazes me that people think this way.

So what would your reaction be if someone said this to you?

Has this ever happened to you?

Here is a question from the first half of my post--What do you concentrate on when writing your novel, what the editors want or what you want to write?

I received some more awards while I was away. You are too kind. There are way too many awards out there.  Thanks guys--I will have one heck of an award post next week.  I missed everyone yesterday and will be commenting like crazy today.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Catching up.

I didn't know that Easter was a week and a half away. I really thought there was another week in there. So today I'm keeping it simple because I really need to catch up.  I received a wonderful award from Nicole Ducleroir, and a cute award from Kimberly Franklin. You guys are too kind, I didn't know that there were so many awards out there. I'll post on the awards another day along with my boyfriend book. ;)

Nicole said I must have cloned myself to take care of my errands, house, kids, etc. No, I didn't and I think I'm starting to feel my craziness take hold. I think I'm starting to burnout. I've been running like a freight train and my mind is starting to loose focus. Even my posts are falling short as my tired brain tries to think.

I like to be busy constantly-- it keeps me going.  When my mind becomes bored then my characters take over which is fine but when I have to do other things it's distracting. It's very hard for me to relax so I tend to over extend myself.  Now, I need to focus. I tend to put my eggs in too many different baskets and that gets me into trouble. I must slow down.
I'm going to try and take tomorrow off--completely --no blogging except for The Beta Club. It's crazy and I'm not sure if I will be able to stay away.  I love reading your posts everyday so keep up the good work but
I need to catch up on house items, kids, critiques and my baby (she needs my full attention as I revise).

How about you--

Do you tend to over extend yourself?

How do you slow down?

What are your tricks to juggling all your demands?

I looked at all those cute little faces over in the follower box (I want to call this something else, not followers, but I will go with it for now) and I can't believe I am that interesting to so many people.  I am flattered.
That number keeps growing and that is fantastic so I will also be thinking of a great contest! Stay tuned.

I will only be gone one day so don't forget about me.

In the mean time, here is a preview of the boyfriend book:

Photos removed.

Don't worry they're not all pretty boys.  You'll have to wait and see ;)  Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Contests and awards.

Thanks for all your comments yesterday.  It made me feel a little less paranoid. Today, I will try and be brief. I have almost finished revising my first three chapters so I must go and finish that today and I have some critiquing to do.  Don't forget to get over to Roni at Fiction Groupie for the Beta Club--open critique.

First contests:
Frankie at Frankie Writes- Celebrating 400 followers --Go Frankie! Giving away cool stuff.  Go tell her I sent you. ends 3/30

Laurel at Laurel's Leaves- Eleventy one celebration--Go Laurel! Great prizes and an awesome writing contest ends 4/4

Karen-Novels During Naptime-101 Followers contest--Beautiful prizes--ends 4/17

Jen at Unedited- Birthday and 300 followers contest! Go Jen! She is giving away (3) Amazon gift cards. Ends 3/29.

Falen Forms Fiction-100 followers contest.  Writing contest.  Three winners will be picked for some great prizes.  Ends 3/29.

Next, I have questions from my blog post last week from Jennifer Shirk -Me, My Muse and I

How long have you been writing? 10 years

Do you belong to a critique group? Yes.  All of my CPs are awesome.

Are you agented, and if not, who is/are your dream agent/agents? I do not have an agent but would love one. I do not have any dream agent/agents at the moment.

What's the best YA book you've recently read? hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  ohhh Patch :)

Are you really sure you don't like coffee? :) Oh yes I do not like coffee.  I don't like the smell or the taste of it.  I am a wacky gal.  I do love tea and hot chocolate.

Thanks Jennifer for the questions:)

Melissa from Chasing Dreams asked : What will you be doing in five years? I hope to be writing and hopefully have an agent.

I received (2) awards last week so I am going to hand those out.

Thanks to Talli Roland (Who is super sweet) for the Sugar Doll Award.  I love sweet things that is for sure.

I have to give this to five people:

Thanks To Susan Fields for the Prolific Blogger Award. Its inscription, "By definition, a prolific blogger 'is one who is intellectually productive...keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.'" I didn't know I did this but I am glad you think I do.
I pass this on to four people.

 I also got tagged to make a boyfriend book by Jen at Uneditied.  I will do this on another post. I am taking my time on it. :)

Have a great day folks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Whom can you trust?

Thanks for all your comments on my snippit.  I love your feedback. I actually inspired Christine H at the Writers Hole for a Cute Fest.  Check out the details on her site.

Your manuscript.

Some consider it as one of their children.

You produce an idea, brought it to life, gave it breath, fed it,corrected it's mistakes to make it better, nurtured it, poured blood, sweat and tears into it-- even sacrificed some things for it. All to see it grow up and  make it in the world but what happens in between. 

What happens to it as it's growing? You try to keep it safe but you need feedback to help steer you in the right direction.
The main reason --I would not let anyone read what I wrote is because I thought they would laugh at me and tell me I had no chance in hell calling myself a writer. The other reason is-- I was afraid someone would steal my idea.  I know crazy but it can happen. I thought there could be a better and faster writer out there and they would claim my baby as their own.  My idea is nothing new and by far no Harry Potter but it is my idea.  It is personal and dear to my heart.

Along this journey, I have found honest people who are also dear to me. My CPs for one. They are the best and I trust them completely. I trust my followers who comment on the snippits that I post for feedback but what about those people I don't know-who take a quick glance, trying to piece it all together and get a story. I may be paranoid, gullible, naive and yes, I know I opened myself up to this by blogging like crazy but I like the feedback I am getting. It is helping me become a better writer.

I am also try to be careful with my snippits-- trying not to give too much away.  I do want you all to read it but I have to keep some mystery :) Should I erase these snippits when I am finished posting them?

I know I have become more trustworthy as I go along but am I too trustworthy now?

What are your thoughts on keeping your baby safe?

Have you taken any special precautions?

What if someone said they would critique your WIP but they need the whole manuscript would you send it to someone you don't know?even if you did a little research on their background?

Maybe I am paranoid, tell me if I am but this has been bothering me for a while. I want to hear your thoughts on this subject.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Tomorrow will be contests post, and awards--yeah awards. Thanks guys:).  Check out my contest bar to see the new contests.  I am also getting that much closer to 100--holy cow! Contest is brewing:0

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cute snippit.

O.k. so here is a quick snippit from my WIP.  I can't resist talking about these two.  It is really rough so please excuse any mistakes.  I just thought I would share. Thought you might want a cute little blurb for a smile. Anyway, Anna gets food poisioning and needs to stay home and this is what happens.

Sleeping on the bathroom floor was not fun and I don’t recommend it. I can’t believe how much you can throw up even when there is nothing left. I climbed back into bed about when I was supposed to get up for school. My mom came in, put a glass of water on my nightstand and told me she would call the school before work to let them know I needed to stay home today. I texted Ivy to let her know the same. I got a million apologies back from her and that she would call me later.

Amazingly, I fell asleep for a few hours and woke up about lunch time. I didn’t have quite an appetite yet but I needed something. I drug myself out of bed, brushed my teeth which felt awesome and went to the kitchen. Bread seemed to be the only thing that was appealing. I grabbed a roll and lounged on the couch. Daytime TV was a joke but it was mindless so I sat there staring at Judge whoever decide on whether Jim Bob gets money for the electric bill from his fifth ex –wife.

My phone began to buzz. I figured it would be Ivy since it was lunch time –but why was she texting me.

I opened the text message—How r u feeling?----Ian

I stopped breathing. Ian texting me—how did he get my number—wait –Ivy—thank you girlfriend.  A pit of nerves formed in my stomach.

I couldn’t type for a minute—what do I say? Duh?

My fingers started on the keys--- Better. Should be in school tomorrow---Anna

My smile just kept growing as I got an answer --Good. Class is so boring with out you.

I had a million emotions hit me at once and started to cry with joy. He was bored without me. That made any doubt about Ian liking me see a happy ending.

Gotta go—see you tomorrow.

Bye, see you tomorrow.

I wanted to add a smiley face but that would be pushing it.

I sat there in my glory soaking it up for a moment then my phone rang again. This time it was Ivy.

“Hello,” My voice was extremely chipper for someone who was sick.

“Hey there. Feeling better now?” Her voice was in a happy shrill.

“I figured you did it. That made my year. Where are you?”

“On my way to class. I had to call and listen to your happy tones,” I could feel her smile in the way she spoke. “He has your number now. See what he does with it.”

“Did you just give it to him or did he ask for it?”

She paused a moment to make me suffer. “He asked for it. Gotta go, I’m in class talk to you later. Bye.”

“Bye,” I wanted to dance around the room. I hope she didn’t tell him that I was puking my brains out. Then again, he still asked for my number so I guess it doesn’t matter—still embarrassing though.

What do you think? I feel bad because I don't wanna reveal too much.  So I seem to only post cutesy scenes.  Hopefully, I will post some darker ones soon. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Contest and such.

So today is just business. Contest, an award and I was tagged.  Yeah!

Check out --Writing it Out --Beth Revis is celebrating her book deal! Congrats Beth! I can't even start to tell you how awesome the prizes are.  There are (2) prize packs --one for writers and one for readers.  Just go and check it out!

I remembered hehe I remembered who tagged me. Sorry my mind has been on revising so it is not quite clear. Thanks for the tag Jackee!
Here is what I have to do I have to say a bunch of things about me then tag a few people. I actually kept a couple that Jackee had--I felt the same way:)  I also changed hate to dislike.  I just think hate is a strong word. Oh and some of the things I like I really love.

I like chocolate.
I like seeing my husband in the kitchen sooking homemade tomato sauce/gravy.  His gravy is the best.
I like walking on the beach early in the morning.
I like shopping without my kids.
I like to write new ideas and watch them grow.  I stare at them like a proud parent.
I like opening a new book.
I like the smell of a new book when you open it.
I like to plan things (following through is another story).
I like Italian food.
I like going to the spa.
I like running when I can do it but only with the Wii.
I like traveling to see new places and revisit old ones.
I like pretty boys. You know this already. ;)

I love the sounds of my children's laughter and watching them sleep.

I dislike when people invade my personal space (close talkers).
I dislike being judged unfairly.
I dislike when people say that YA books are not written well and are not hard to write. Trust me, I have a whole post on this one.
I dislike when people say that stay at home moms have it easy. Don't get me started.
I dislike coffee.  Yes, it's true.
I dislike facial hair. Women or men--though granted there are a few that look good with it. Men, that is.
I dislike fingernails on chalkboards.
I dislike being taken advantage of.

I (secretly) like being alone when it is quiet.

I love to write.

I tag (3) people for this:

Susan Fields

Crystal Cook

E. Elle

Thanks to Abby Annis for the
Stylish Blogger Award! Thanks Abby!

Rules to Accept the Award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
2. Pass the award to 5 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
6. Share 5 things about yourself.

I am going to bend the rules a little. I want you tell me what (5) things you want to know about me (keep it clean). I will post tomorrow or Monday on it.

I pass this on to:
Alexandra Shostak
Jennifer Shirk-Me, My Muse and I
Heather Kelly-Edited to Within an Inch of my life
Melissa at Chasing the Dream

Meg-The Way I See It

Crystal Cook

O.k. that's 6 people but I thought all six deserved it. Everyone really deserves it but I had to narrow it down. Boy, I bent the rules on that one. I guess all your inspiring comments on writing chapter 1 and bending the rules really took to my heart. Thanks for all your comments on writing a great Chapter 1.  They were very helpful.  I also want to let you know I have slowed down on my commenting.  I'm trying to keep up to visit all my favorite blogs and even find some new ones.  I just have a lot of revising and critiquing to do.  So I am taking the day off tomorrow--maybe.  If I come up with a brillant post I may have to put it out there.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chapter 1.

I am talking about the very start of your novel. The part where you grab the reader and suck them into the world you created in your head. The world that houses awesome characters, mighty conflicts and love interests galore.  What makes up a great beginning? Well, for me as a reader I want action.  I really like books that take me on a wild ride from the start. The first chapter is supposed to tell you basically what the whole book is about, right? That is what I am learning at least.

When I wrote my first draft, my first chapter was fantastic in my eyes. After learning more it was more backstory than anything else. This is not a bad thing in fact it was great for me as the writer. It helped me envision the scene more clearly and get to know my characters better-- especially my protagonist.  My CPs have helped in this department along with some open critiques. I also bought a book --Hooked by Les Edgerton.  I have only read a little of it and so far it is great. Most of the questions I have I am sure will be answered by this cute little blue book but I want to know from you.

The photo is not the best but there is a goldfish on it with a hook at the top --get it:) Anyway, I am on my fifth revision of my first chapter.  I keep going back to it. I think because I am stuck on my second chapter which is becoming trouble. Right now chapter 2 is a problem--not because of the content but there is so much to be done.  So I keep going back to chapter 1.

I have been reading first chapters of books that I have read. This has made me confused. Some books in my eyes still seem to have a lot of backstory but seem successful. Now I am not saying that my first draft would have been fine --no way it is really bad-- but what does the public like? I know what I like. The advice I have been given is to get to the action ASAP but some of these successful novels don't seem to do this --at least not to me.

Another thing I question --Is there a rule on how long your first chapter should be? I am guessing not.  I have read some that are thirty pages and some that are one. Would an editor or agent toss out a manuscript for length of the first chapter?

What do you like in your first chapter as a writer/reader?

How long do you feel a first chapter should be?

Any advice from your experience in writing a great first chapter?

Many questions I know but since I am constantly looking at this chapter it is what's on my mind. My normal lack of sleep doesn't help either. 

Since I spoke of beginnings, get over to Kelly's (Kelly's Compositions) and sign up for the First Page Blogfest takes place on April 2nd.

Happy writing and revising!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Contest post.

Thanks for all your comments yesterday.  I love SNIS thanks Frankie.
O.k. folks I know I am only posting M/W/F but I had to do a contest post.

Get over to Kelly's (Kelly Compositions) for her 100 follower contest. Prizes--Book (How to write the Breakout Novel, gift card and journal (really nice).  Tell her I sent you :) Go Kelly!

Get over to Chimera Critiques- Go to their site and enter to win a gift card and an in depth critique.

Twilight fans--get your butt over to Kimberly Franklin and Kristi from Random Daily Thoughts to enter for some Twilight lovlies. Ahhh... can't wait till Eclipse.

I will do my award and meme post later in the week. I have to go wrangle some kiddos.  My son is the next Evil Kinevil. I am not sure I spelled that right.  I also have to get crackin' on my revisions. Ian and Anna are getting upset again.  I know this is premature but I am thinking of a contest for 100 followers so when I get there I hope I make you folks happy:)

Have a great day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baby steps.

Another week has gone by and I can't believe it's the middle of March.  This journey is funny-- all of the ups and downs, and even loops.  I have had trouble balancing everything as everyone does.  This weekend though I had some distractions.

I started to get more scenes to form in my head for another idea I had months ago. The characters showed themselves to me and began to call for my attention.  I know what they look like, their names, and where they first kiss. I was drawn to them wanting to know more and they waived their finger dragging me in.  I wrote down some ideas in my journal and a familiar voice started to yell.

"What about us?" The two voices called out.

"Oh right?" I looked at the Chapter 2 word doc. illuminated at the bottom of my screen. My current WiP characters were upset. I think they thought I was cheating on them.

 "I was just...I had some ideas for something after you--after you are all polished and sent off to the big city to have the experts pick you apart.  I have a new baby brewing and she needs a little food now and again.  I promise not to stray again." My desperate words fumbled out.

"Get to work.  Your CPs need to see this and that deadline you set is creeping up." Their anger grew as they stared at the newly born characters.  These guys were ready to fight the newbies to win back attention.

Not wanting the newbies to get hurt, I told them to go back to bed and I would wake them when I am ready.  Smiles grew on Ian and Anna's face because they want me to finish their story and they won.

I know this happens to all of us and Frankie from Frankie Writes wrote an hysterical post on it. She calls it SNIS-Sexy New Idea Syndrome.  It is so true.  Thanks for putting a diagnosis on this Frankie :)

Other distractions did creep up as they always do.  The kids are still getting better from their colds and my son is up to taking an hour nap.  My daughter just wants to talk non stop from 7 am -8 pm.  I am trying to savor the moments but hey mom needs a break to produce one solid thought. 

I have two deadlines which are tenative.
 1. I want to get this baby in good condition by August for a critique in October.
2. I want to clean up what I have not to a perfect polish but first draft polish to send to someone for a critique on my actual story and characters.

Are these do able? Maybe. I'm trying to at least stick to them.  We will see.  I can't get frustrated and I must take baby steps.  I am learning as I go so when that second baby gains my attention this process will move much faster.

Do you suffer from SNIS? How do you cope with it?

In other news, I did receive an award from Abby Annis.  Thanks Abby, I will do a whole post on this later in the week.
I was also tagged and I am so embarrassed because I forgot who did so whoever tagged me please let me know so I can give you proper credit. I will post on that later in the week too!

There was also a blogfest today that I did not know about-- so sad.  Maybe I will post something related to it later in the week as well.  :)

There are also some contests going on that I will post about tomorrow :)

Have a great day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Book Club.

Well, I am one tired puppy. Like I said the other day the kids are not sleeping so not much is getting done. I want to thank you guys for all your advice on Twitter/ Web pages. I think I should concentrate on my MS and then decide.  I really want to get that baby in good shape.  I started revising chapter 2 yesterday so I will hopefully continue on that today. 

On Wednesday, I mentioned that I joined a book club--yes-- a book club.
Not like have a lot on my plate already but I am the type of person who needs to be busy constantly. I also thought it would give me a chance to read books I would not normally go for.

I am a YA girl heart and soul and if you add paranormal, sci fi, and romance into the picture it is so my cup of tea--so makes my day.  I thought maybe the book club would get me out of the house with some gals to have some fun.  So far it has and it is exposing me to books I would not take a second glance at.  Sure they are best sellers and most likely on Oprah's list and that is usually not me. I am not one to follow the mainstream despite my appearance. Plus, I have so many books on my Dining Room table and on my booklist --it is frightning (check out my goodreads or shelfari site and you will see).

Anyway, I read-- well --I almost finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  This book is good and written very well but not quite my cup of tea.  It is very interesting and --yes --I will say it again I liked it but I like a story that is a little more fast paced. It is set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. 

The main problem I had with this book is the dialogue.  It was written in southern slang so to speak and when I started to read this I was critiquing three other MS aside from revising mine so it was not easy to read right away.  I think that is what slowed it down for me.

Now to all my YA friends, I am not converting I promise. I have to have my books take me to an unknown place away from this reality and they may include a little hottie.  I thought this push would open me up to other ways of writing which may help my own.  I also like the getting together with the girls and discussing-- it was fun.  Between book club books, I am going to read Eldala by Michelle Gregory and I hope to get to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

My daughter even wants to come to a meeting. She said, "Mommy, I want to come to the book club and we can read a book about the Backyardigans (a kids cartoon).  We can discuss it too." She is 4 going on 14. Too funny.

Have you ever joined a book club? Have you read a book you would not normally read? Was it a good or bad experience?

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Other forms of media.

So who missed me yesterday? I was commenting but had to do some revisions to my baby and the kids are sick again so I have not been sleeping.  I also joined a book club, so I was trying to finish the book.  I talk more about that on Friday. I have made a decision that I am going to try and post three days a week.  If I post more--yeah-- but I need to really concentrate on my revisions plus I thought I would have more time to come up with some awesome posts.  I will try and comment everyday though.  So you haven't gotten rid of me yet :)

Some contest info:

Check out a cool contest on Elana Johnson's blog--great books will be given away.

Another contest on Shooting Stars (Bethany and Suzette)-lots of cool prizes.

The photo has nothing to do with this post but I liked it.

Here is something I have been wondering about and Jody Hedlund did an interesting post on this on Monday. She was so nice to respond to me. Thanks Jody!  The adventures of every form of media to get yourself out there.  Where to begin and what forms to choose? I was not a person to talk about myself what so ever and now--well-- I can't seem to shut up. I have e-mail, a Facebook page, joined Teen Fire and YALitChat but there is more. When and should I join Twitter and start a web page about myself? I see others have all of this but is it too much and when is the right time? So, I will focus on the two I don't have. The whole post is mainly questions because I would like to know about this stuff. Anyway, let me stop the babble and move on before you skip over this post entirely.

Twitter--When is the best time to join this group?

Do you think that it has helped you?

I guess I am wondering what is it?  Is it just another form of Facebook? (Not trying to sound naive or dare I say it ...old).

Should I consider getting involved in something like this?

Web page--Now is this something I should be looking into too?

I just finished my first draft and I am revising like crazy but should I consider a web page now?

I noticed many of you have one but I was not sure if there is a right time to do this?

I am looking for feedback on this so in advance --thanks. I am serious about my writing and hope to find an agent and get published (one day).  I am just looking to see what the masses thought of these forms of media and if I should wait on joining/starting these new ventures.

BTW- I will say it again, I do read all your comments and thank you for all your feedback from Monday's post.  It helps so much.  I think I may put up a little disclaimer in my sidebar to say-- I am sorry I may not get to answer your comments but I do read them.:)

Have a great day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Would you keep reading ?

Holy cow! my followers have grown.  Thank you guys! I guess I will have to start thinking about a 100 followers contest.  I hope everyone had a great weekend! I got a lot done.

1. Read my baby beginning to end and boy do I have a lot of revising.

2. Came up with a new twist that I will most likely put in Book 2.

3. Came up with some ideas for another idea I thought of a few months back that is totally unrealated to my current WiP.

4. I actually had a dream for a new idea which is weird for me because usually music guides me.

5. Finished a critique.

6. Revised my first chapter for the 3rd time.

7. Won a gift card on sarahjayne's blog.  Thank you again! Yeah! I hope I have luck like this when I start to query.

My brain was really working.  Before I start my post a couple of things --

1. Go to Kelly's Compositions and sign up for the first page blogfest.  It will take place on April 2nd.  This is the first blogfest I will be participating in--yeah!

2. Every Tuesday and Thursday --The Beta Club over at Roni (Fiction Groupie) posts a piece for an open critique.  Roni is so awesome. So go there and give your thoughts on the piece posted.  I will be posting but not until April.

Now on with my post.  I wrote this quickly and wanted feedback. I have been finding any sort of feedback extremely helpful so comment away but keep it in a nice tone.

 I am not going to tell you what it is for--it could be for my current WiP or something else I am thinking about.  After reading it, please review my questions below. Thanks!

Excruciating pain bled through my body as I hit the hard pavement. I landed on my back and I laid there looking up at the dark sky watching the stars wink at me.

What happened? Ran through my mind.

The heat began to slide down out of my body leaving it numb as it escaped. My throat constricted allowing limited air flow to my lungs. Faces of people began to crowd my view and their voices muffled as their mouths moved in slow motion. A metallic smell began to flood my nostrils as warm sticky liquid dripped into my ear.

My vision blurred then a curtain of black lowered in my sight.

So give me your thoughts.

Here are some questions too.

1. If you read this at the end of a first chapter would you want to continue reading?

2. What do you think is happening here?

3. Any pointers on what I could do to make it better?

Just some fun.  Thought I would put it out there.  My posts may be random this week so keep checking. As always I will be commenting, I can't seem to keep my mouth shut. :) Have a great day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dear friends...

Wow! Let me just tell you I was not going to post today--honest.  I needed a break to finish some things and spend some time with the kiddos to clear my head. I had another post ready to go and I was going to post it today instead of Friday and take Friday off but something blew me away.

As you know I was a complete downer on Monday.  I have had my moments as we all have and this journey will be no picnic but something happened this week something that should have not surprised me so much because deep down I felt it all along.

When I decided to pursue putting my work "out there" with the hopes of getting published I never knew I would meet the most inspirational and supportive group of people. Quite frankly, I didn't know what I would find. 

After posting on Monday and emailing one of my CP's in my desperate hour, I received the best feeling of inspiration and support I could ever ask for-- the comments that flooded in, the inspirational poems and quotes that were posted on blogs brought tears to my eyes. To be quite honest, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that so many people who have never met face to face could show so much compassion for someone they barely knew all because I posted my feelings. I will say it again --I was blown away.

Yesterday, I was quite honored to receive a new award developed by E. Elle. Go check out her site because she writes awesome posts.  The Sure Fire Winner Award.

Below is what is posted on E. Elle's blog:
The description: Sure Fire Winner Award: an award to be given to a fellow writer who is staring down the barrel of writer's misery. We all need a little bump once in a while, a reminder that we've been given this gift for a reason and we don't have deep-seeded desires to put ourselves through such torture without good cause.

The rules:
1) You can only bestow this honor on one fellow writer at a time.

2) You can only pass it on to someone who has shown signs of recent struggle.

3) You do not have to have received it to pass it on.

4) When you pass it on, you must provide a word or two of encouragement to the receiver.

5) As awesome as this award is, you can't write a post with the intention or hope of getting this award. I mean, we struggle, yes, but we aren't needy.

6) When you receive this award, you have to state one positive thing about your writing ability. After all, the best kind of encouragement is the kind that comes from within ourselves.

So E.Elle thank you for this.  It has made the sun shine on my journey and made me realize that I have not only have such amazing supporters but I having an amazing group of friends. I will not quit and I will support those who have 'one of those days' in the best way I can. So I promise not to be so down and if I do get this way I know you will listen, slap some sense into me and then I will look at this award to remind me of all you great people out there.

O.k. so I guess I have to pass this along to someone else. I really would love to pass it on to so many of you because as I floated around the blogging world on Monday it seemed everyone was in the same boat.  But I have to pick one so this award goes to Kelly from Kelly's Compositions. Kelly was having the same feelings as me last week.  She is always there when I need her and she has pushed me to keep going before the whole blogging thing started.  Kelly you are an amazingly talented writer and I know you will go far. You can do it Kelly!

The positive thing about my writing ability--I can express my feelings better when I write than when I talk. The post on Monday seems to prove that. It helps you guys understand me and-- well --writing just completes me.

I printed out my first draft and just staring at the stack of papers makes me smile. I actually completed it and  it can only get better --right? ;)     I think I just made this whole week --inspiration and support week!

Before I go I wanted everyone to know that I read all your comments.  I don't always get around to addressing them in the comment box.  So sorry about that --I'm trying to divide my time.  I do read each and every one. Thanks!

I will post again on Monday but look out because I will be commenting.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What sparks creativity?

After yesterday's post, I am assuming that most of you don't like the pretty boys.  Oh well, you know more about me now. I decided to do a another fun and not so serious post.  When I don't have much to say I usually wind up not talking or talking about random things. So here is a random post--I didn't have much to say today (believe it or not).

Quotes. I love quotes and many of you post so many inspirational ones. I not only love quotes from authors and poets but song lyrics --yes I said song lyrics.  As you may or may not know music is a huge part of my writing process.  There are some songs that make me see my characters so clearly I can almost feel what they  feel, and hear their voices--bascially see everything through their eyes (not sure if that is really weird or not).

I had a vision (as I call them and no I am not psychic) and chills when I heard this song a few months back.  I had to get the CD.  It is called "Letters from the Sky" by Civil Twilight.  I put the link there to their website but you just need to listen to the song. It may have been on a few teen dramas in the past but when I heard it and even when I listen to it now it gives me chills.

Why you ask?I can see a particular scene for my WIP play out so vividly, I am almost scared by it. I can even feel everything my Anna is going through.  I hope to write it out and put it on here so you can understand what I mean (I hope).  This song is also in my playlist on the right. I think my playlist is in shuffle mode so you may have to skip around.

If you have the time and are interested in my crazy thought process, you can listen to "Quiet in my Town" by Civil Twilight.  It is the first song in my playlist on the sidebar and read the first snippet I posted. Maybe you can see what I mean.

I am making you do so much work on this post but I hope it is still considered fun.

 Does music influence your writing? If not, what does?

What are you listening to right now? I am always looking for new music (and I usually listen to anything).

There will be no post tomorrow-- not that I don't want to.  I need to get a lot done like read my first draft cover to cover and finish a critique.  So don't forget about me.  I may do some commenting though and post something small on Friday.

I will end with one of my favorite song lyrics: 

"How I wish you could see the potential,the potential of you and me.
It's like a book elegantly bound but, in a language that you can't read. Just yet."
I will Possess your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie (yes, it is in the playlist too).

Have a fun day!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What do your main character(s) look like?

I want to thank Ann Foxlee-that's right go check out her site.  I won a cool --really cool-- piece of art by Naoshi .  I can't wait to get it in the mail.

Let me thank all of you again (I know I do a lot of this but I am grateful) for all your encouraging comments. I will keep them in my heart to fight off the scary cloud of doubt. I would thank each one of you in the comments but my son has a double ear infection  (ouch). I am typing with one hand right now.

This made me smile--I printed out my manuscript yesterday and it looked so nice. A pile of fresh paper waiting to be read.  Can't wait to do this.  Also, you will notice all the pictures in my post.  I am getting better at this blogging thing so I am now comfortable with finding and posting pictures.

I feel like there are contests everywhere I look. When I see them I feel like I have to make mention of them but I have decided I will post all contests I find once a week.   

Contest Guinevere at This is Not My Day Job Check out her cool site she has reached 101 followers (I think she has more now). Cool prizes. I posted this in my sidebar.

Contest--Nicole Ducleroir-One Significant Moment in Time--She has reached 100 followers and if you win you get a signed copy of the book Writer's Bump Anthology (Nicole's first published short story appears in this book) and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.  Drawing on March 15th.

Contest-Writing in the Wilderness-Sarahjayne--celebrating 50 followers--go check it out.  You win a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders (it's your choice). Ends 3/5

I will make this short--hopefully.  I wanted to post about my MC's and make it fun.  After yesterday's post, I think you need some smiles. Since I printed out my first draft I thought I would introduce you to who/what my MC's look like. 

My one MC, Ian, was the only character that I had a visual of when I started this book.  Now in my mind he does not look exactly like this and the hair is shorter but he still has the curls on top.  He is not that pale (I know Jackson Rathbone is playing a vampire) and his eyes are piercing blue. So cute:)

Sorry, photo removed.

My gal Anna well she is another one that has her own look in my head. She has short,dark auburn  hair with chunky blonde streaks and green eyes. Somewhat cutsy. Here is someone who has a similar look (actress Ginnifer Goodwin)

Sorry, photo removed.

Thought I would share.  See I told you I would make it short.  Who do your characters resemble?

Sorry, photo removed.

How did that get there? HEHE Just thought I would post this picture again too! Go ahead girls --swoon:)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Taking chances and second guessing.

I want to thank all of you for your amazing and generous comments on Friday.  I was actually a little embarrassed after posting my snippit.  I began to read other amazing snippits by other awesome bloggers and my little piece barely glimmers compared to all the talent that is out there.  So thank you. I also was very excited to see I have 60 followers-- boy, did that make me smile.

I am sure many of you have felt the rollercoaster of emotion in this world or writing.  Yes, I am new at this and have already been through a whole bunch of them and I know only more will follow. I am learning so everything takes time.   I have posted on crazy emotions before and will probably post on it again at some point.

This weekend I had to really look at myself and question.  I have been on many blogs who post this same dilemma and I respond with an encouraging comment from the bottom of my heart--I really do mean everything I say.  Did I mention you guys rock?

 Throughout my life, I was shy and lacked confidence. These flaws made me miss many opportunities.  I was never one to even talk about myself in great detail and here I am blogging my little heart out. Why? What changed me?

Well, I went to college and got a job in the field I wanted to be in.  Interior design is what I chose and I do love it--it has made me stronger, more confident, and more outgoing. I learned how to sell my talent and show confidence even if I wasn't.  But.....

When I discovered writing 10 years ago, I would have never let anyone read anything.  I was not good enough--would run through my thoughts. So I would secretly write when no one was around in a dark corner somewhere hiding my journal if anyone came into the room.  So why pursue this now?

I took a chance and let someone read my story and well that is how this all started and made me realize that I could not miss another opportunity. I didn't want to have a another regret--life is too short.

Since then, I have started this journey and it has made me take many chances.  Why? It is unlike me.  I am not a daredevil or even spontaneous. Is it because I have this fire burning inside me to push myself?  A drive like I never had before making me want something so bad it hurts, to show the world that I have a story to tell (and many more if I get the chance). I still get knots in my stomach everytime I post something I write but lately I feel I have to--to reassure myself that I might possibly be o.k. at this. 

On Friday I took another chance, I posted 1,000 words of my first draft  on Teen Fire (Writers Forum) to get feedback on what I should change (you should try it).   Maybe I jumped the gun-- getting ahead of myself as I always do.  I don't have the experience that the other writers have to show my work.  Do I?  Why am I so eager to take these chances?

I turned many different colors due to lack of breathing waiting to hear what the masses had to say and as the comments began to pop up -- I realized it wasn't so bad.  I got feedback that I needed to hear.  It was good to hear.  Even Lisa and Laura gave me awesome pointers--thanks gals ;) But this is not what bothered me this weekend--in fact it sparked new ideas to flow into my head for my WIP.  It made me want to jump back into my WIP, roll around in the words soaking them in and making them better.  This was a good thing.

The problem I had after all my new ideas rolled around was I started to look at all the books that I have read and that I want to read.  I  reminisced with the ones I loved, read the captions of the ones I have yet to lay my eyes on and this is when my heart began to sink and turn grey.

I have written a first draft which I am proud of but all weekend all I could think about were all the parts I thought resembled all those other books.  I know there are only a handful of plot lines to which all these wonderful novels spark from but those authors make it different.  Are they really that different from each other? Then my eyes wander down to the word doc icon --the one with my first draft file sitting...waiting ...for me to look at it. That's when I broke down.

Who would want to read this? Is it that different? Yes, I have a ton of revising to do and I am o.k. with that but how do I get away from possible similarities?  Will the reader be constantly comparing what I write to all those other books? All the parts that I think resemble everything else flashed through my brain. I seriously was ready to just delete it and start over with something new.

Sure I have had these thougths before as I am sure many of you have and it is part of the whole process. It is what makes us better writers.  I know this but it doesn't change the fact that I am human. I will have moments like this both euphoric and deeply depressed.  I dislike second guessing myself and I know this is not the first time and will not be the last.  I need to slow down and quit pushing myself too hard. I tend to speed up when I am excited about something and that usually gets me into trouble.   I just have to keep in mind why I started this in the first place.  I started this because deep down I love it--it is comfortable, it makes me happy (for the most part) and it makes I think in the end it makes me feel good about myself and I love the characters I create.

I know you all have felt this before so I am sorry if my blabbering is boring. I had to vent--you know --get it out there.  Like I said before I am learning.  I don't want people to think of me as a whiner or someone who is weak.  I just needed a little place to let the feelings fly and work them out. I  have to go now and eat a big box of chocolate that is accompanied by some hot chocolate --yikes. Then I need to critique and read my first draft cover to cover --I need to continue--I can't give up.  I need to make it the best it can be.

How do you get over feeling this way?

If you are feeling this way now feel free to vent too.

What made your weekend great? :)  Random questions I know --hey it's Monday cut me some slack.                          

BTW--I forgot to post my truth from Thursday's post. It was number 6 --I drove a Porsche 911 Turbo through the mountains of California--really fast.  My husband is a car lover and it trickles into me too. :)
 Oh and if Robert Pattison was one of my best friends --I am sorry -- but I am not so sure I would share ;) (maybe I know him in parallel universe--new thought for a story) :)  Enjoy the view;) There are way too many happy faces in that paragraph.

Sorry, photo removed.

Something to brighten your day after my downer of a post :) Have a great day!