Monday, November 29, 2010

If you own a passionate writer--a guide.

Here is a small guide for the owner of a passionate writer.

1. If your passionate writer zones out in the middle of a conversation, don't be alarmed or offended, simply allow them to run to their journal or laptop. When they return, they will be more coherent and may be able to contribute to the conversation in an intelligent manner.

2. Same goes for when they zone out during a song. Please allow your passionate writer to do the steps above.

3. If you do not allow the passionate writer to have "writing time", they may do one or all of the following:
cry, pout, squint, cheeks may turn red, they may throw things, have a fit, just act frustrated--really, just allow them to have their time.

4. Do not, I repeat, do not call their passion a hobby. This only furthers the frustrated fit that is described above.

5. Do not tell them to be aware of their priorities. Again, see the frustrated fit characteristics above.

6. When they are writing, do not ask questions, interrupt, tell them to "not be long", or hog their laptop. This may lead to more drastic behavior. Things definitely will fly.

7. Do not point out what needs to be cleaned. The passionate writer is aware of what is going on, just allow the space. These chores will get done.

8. Be aware that the passionate writer has enough feeling of guilt (of not spending time with their loved ones)when they take time for themselves. Be happy for them, and show that you support them. If they want to talk about their passion, at least look interested. They harbor a ton of self doubt, looking interested may boost their self esteem.

9. If the passionate writer speaks to themselves, do not call the local mental institution. They are working out scenes. It sounds better to them when they speak aloud.

10.  Love your passionate writer. They love you. They just have a lot going on in their head.

Did I miss anything?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving/weekend. I ate too much, but that's okay. How was your weekend?

If you missed Writing the Next Line go here. I will post the final draft next week. BTW--great job guys.

Also, on Wednesday--Talli Roland's Take over Amazon Blogsplash. I will be posting about it on December 1st. December--yikes.

Picture has nothing to do with the rest of the post. It's just cute. Plus, winter is coming.
Artwork by Kaitlyn McCane
Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Writing the Next Line

This post will be up for a few days. It will be Thanksgiving here, and I will be spending time with the family. I've also decided to try something different with this session. Thanks to Jen's suggestion--I decided to continue the last session. Everyone was left hanging, and I thought it might be neat to see where this would go. Plus, my head couldn't come up with something new (I was sick, but I'm better now. Medicine makes my brain a little foggy). So I'm starting where the last authors left off (you may want to read it from the beginning to get what has happened). Here's the last session--click here. Here's the recap--click here.

The rules:In your comment you must continue the story, so whoever is first to comment must continue from where I left off, and the next person to comment must pick up from where the last comment left off, and so on. Please keep each comment 1-2 lines, but come back as often as you like. This post will be up for a couple of days so keep the story going. When I return, I will put the whole thing together and post it. Should be fun! The story starts below:

Behind me I heard a whuff of breath and I spun around, but there was nothing. The scratching started again, this time to my right. I suppressed the urge to look when something grabbed me and covered my mouth. The hand reeked of petrol and smoke, and I chocked as I tried to breathe. I felt hot breath curl its way around my ear and leave it cold in the frosty air. i tried to scream, but only muffled sounds came from my deep in my throat. I gathered all my strength and with all my might, I broke the person's hold around me. I turned sharply to see who this was.
"Oh my God!" I shouted. "I thought you were dead!"

"Jesus Abby, chill for a minute," he said "I'm not trying to hurt you."

Hurting me was no longer my concern, why I was seeing & talking to my dead boyfriend was.

"I'll explain in a minute," he said, his voice low and tight with panic, "but first we need to get out of here."

If you are in the states, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend everyone!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Candor by Pam Bachorz

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today I'm reviewing Candor by Pam Bachorz. I won this lovely book from that super talented/fabulous author, Elana Johnson. You may have heard of her. (BTW-her book, Possession, is to be released June 7, 2011. If you are smart you will go and get it.) I knew nothing about this book, but I'm so glad I've been introduced to it.

Title: Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 250

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

My Review:
Where do I begin? First, the cover. It fits the whole story and if Oscar Banks looks like that--Heellloo. I loved the pace of this book. It was quick which for me is good (mainly because I like a lot of things that are fast--cars, shortcuts, movies, etc.). I wanted to keep turning the pages, wanting to know more and more. The sentence structure was interesting, too. Short and to the point= perfect. It didn't lack in visual description. I could totally visualize everything even though the sentences were lacking length (excess adverbs and adjectives--it can be done.) There was a little telling which didn't slow it down at all.

The story itself was fantastic. A 'what if'scenario that could possibly happen (you never know.) Written from a male POV (done brilliantly) and first person perspective (always a plus in my book, because that is what I like to write).This story will keep you guessing and wanting to just read on (really, I couldn't put it down). Also, the end will leave you speechless (I hope she comes out with a sequel. I'm just sayin'--yes that's a hint, hint). The YA stuff isn't in your face either. It's not typical YA (at least in my mind, you may have a different opinion).If you are looking for a great, fast, entertaining book, look no further (guys, you might like it too). 

So a must read. Go and take a peek (I'm not responsible if my little messages are considered brainwashing, totally not my intention. He he). :)

Pam Bachorz has another book, Drought, to be released on January 25, 2011. I will be checking it out.

How was your weekend?

Have a great day and don't forget Wednesday, November 24th, Writing the Next Line.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

This week was a blur. The crazy holiday season is in full bloom and, well, writing is the only thing that keeps me sane. So here is how this week went--

1. I did start my shopping, but I'm trying to ease into it. Why do we have black friday when all the "best sales" are going on now? Does anyone go to the stores at midnight?

2. My daughter brought her Lego catalog with her to see Santa. Way too funny.

3. My son didn't want to talk to Santa. So we had a repeat of last year. Lots of tears.

4. Did some critiquing for a CP this week, and  started another critique for another. It felt good.

5. If you are looking for some cool gifts, check out these websites. See below.

Happy Cakes Creations--cool stuff for little girls. Yes, I'm best friends with the owner/creative genius. :)

Kaitlyn McCane Illustration--adorable cards and artwork. Yes, I also put her work on my blog. A lot.

6. Hi to all my new blogging buddies. I hope to visit you soon.

7. Got this in the mail yesterday
I can't wait to read it. Sigh.

8. Despite my cold, I did finally do a little revising and brainstorming which is good. Thanks for all your comments. You guys always know how to rock it. I also want to thank my inspiration songs (yeah you--silversun pickups, civil twilight, muse). They woke my MCs up.

9. I watched more TV than usual this week. I don't like too because most of it may be shrinking some brain cells, hey it's possible. Anyway, I watched 19 Kids and Counting (don't ask) and Little Couple (yeah, I know I have issues.) I swear I couldn't stop watching it, but yet I kept wanting to shut it off. Some sort of mind control...maybe.

10. I finally made my first button for Writing the Next Line November 24th--right here on this blog. See it up there. I need to work on it though. Hey, it's my first button and I'm technically challenged.

11. I found these links this week:
Querytracker --The lovely Stina Lindenblatt did a great post on edgy YA. 

Kelly's Compositions-This post made me think about keepin' it real for teens in YA.

Wish me luck--my daughter's birthday party is this weekend. Lots of cake, candy, toys and kids. Yikes.

Any weekend plans?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sticking to my gut

Well, with the holidays approaching 'sticking to my gut' could mean a number of things. I'm sure a lot will be sticking to my gut, along with my hips, from now until the new year, but I'm talking about another meaning. Lately, I've been sort of lost and scared. My creativity has gone through spurts. It will flow one minute, and be totally dry the next. This is uncommon for me, but I guess it can happen. I think that with all that goes on in our daily lives, our mind gets distracted, and in my case, creativity takes a back seat. 

I did get to do some revising yesterday, and I thought I was going to cut a whole bunch of stuff, when I realized, I wanted it that way. It's hard especially being a newcomer to really, truly stick to your vision. You want to learn, grow, be accepted, and ultimately win the hearts of agents and publishers, along with readers. This can distract you from your original vision. Things may need to change sentence structure, those gosh darn adjectives, dreaded -ing words, wacky 'was' and so on, but the story-- how do we stay true? 

I have to admit my original vision did need tweaking/tightening, but no matter how much I change it, certain things stay the same. They have to, otherwise it's not my work. In a world full of opportunities for advice and suggestion, it's hard not to get caught up in a tizzy. I know when I started, I craved to know how my story was-- Does it have a chance, how could it improve, and so on.  I got great advice, but also got overwhelmed and confused. I never went through one full revision because I kept changing things to the advice I was given. Now don't get me wrong, advice is priceless, and for me it's my classroom, but too much can make you feel like you're drowning. Never moving forward. You watch others complete manuscripts in record time, land agents, and get published while you're still deciding where to go. How to change it to make it shine while your two year old keeps repeating the word mustang till you say mustang, can bring you down-- make you feel that you'll never be able to be 'in the game', wondering why you started this in the first place. 

I have felt this way, but I have moved on. Everyone's path is different, and things will come to us at different times when we least expect it. Keeping our eye on our prize can fuel the fire, making it hard not to give up. It's hard to 'stick to our gut', but just remember it's yours, it's a part of you that the world may get to see. If you give yourself a chance, you may be surprised. I have a long way to go, but as my one year blogoversary approaches, I realize how far I've come. I know what I want, and how I want my story to be. The awesome advice I get now, I use with a twist of my vision. I take it, and apply it to help my story, not change it. I try not to get caught up in the frenzy, and keep my own pace. It's been a struggle, but I'm getting there.

How do you handle advice?

How do you 'stick to your gut'?

Has your creativity ever taken a back seat?

 Have a great day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's hear from you.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I didn't get much done, but I'm also fighting a cold so that's slowing me down. I've also realized my trouble--too much going on and my brain doesn't have time to just think. So everything gets jumbled. I will get there. I decided today to try something. Let's hear from you. I talk to much about my WiP. Let's hear about your works in progress. You can post on your blog and give us the link below or just post your answers in the comments.

For your current work in progress:

What inspired you to write it?

What stage are you at (developing, research, outline, first draft, revisions, etc.)?

How long have you been working on it?

Any word counts you would like to share?

Are you having fun with it?

Anything else you would like to add?

So there. A little questionaire about your work in progress. I thought it might be nice to maybe encourage each other if we need it. You guys sure encourage me so I would love to encourage you.

How was your weekend?

Have a great day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

Wow, I posted a lot this week. Whew! Here was my week.

1. The store was out of the normal brand of chicken nuggets I normally buy for my kids so I found another brand. After heating them up, and giving them to my kiddos, my daughter made one of her priceless comments. I asked, "How are the nuggets?" My daughter said, "They taste like chicken." I had nothing to say after that.

2. I have been battling with my WiP this week. I wrote some new chapters for it, and one of my CPs said the new chapters set the pace for my story. I agree. The problem is, I keep looking at all the other stuff I wrote before, and I'm trying to figure out how to proceed. If I keep what I have, it drags so I now have to re-write a lot. Bleh.

3. My daughter actually had homework, yes, homework. She's in preschool.

4. When will the hubs understand that I love him dearly and I want to spend time with him, but I need some mommy time to do my own thing (writing).

5. My other ideas are pounding on my door, screaming to be written, but when I sit at the computer I can only think about my current WiP.

6. I need advice on shutting one WiP off, and writing another.

7. Don't forget about my blogfest (December 13th). See the awesome button up there on my sidebar. There are a whole bunch of other blogfests, too.

8. Don't forget about Writing the Next Line--November 24th.  Jen, I need a button for that. :)

9. I'm reading Candor by Pam Bachorz, and it's awesome. It's giving me a few ideas on how to up the pace in my book. Giving the reader just enough information, but not too much.

10. I'm trying to keep my cats from throwing up hairballs on my dining room floor (it's hardwood). Two more steps they would be on vinyl, seriously. I know, gross, but it comes with cat ownership.

11. You have to love family. My schedule has been crazy so my productive writing time has been limited. My aunt and uncle came over yesterday, and took the kids for a couple of hours. So awesome.

Any weekend plans?

How was your week?

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner

I am honored to be part of Tamara Hart Heiner's blog tour. I'm also a little nervous. How do I do this again? What if I mess it up? Keeps running through my head.  Anyway, here it is. My review.
Here is the information:

Title: Perilous
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Release date: November 16th (the e book is already available).

Brief summary:
Jaci Rivera has plans for her sophomore year: go to regionals with the track team, make the honor roll, and eat too much pizza with her best friends, Callie and Sara. Her biggest concern is Amanda, the pushy girl who moved in a few months ago.
What she doesn't plan for is catching a robber red-handed, or being kidnapped. The desperate thief drags her and her friends 2,000 miles across the Canadian border. They escape from his lair, only to find that he has spies and agents watching their path home, waiting to intercept them and take them back.
Then Jaci finds something out about her family. Something which irrevocably connects her to their kidnapper, and makes her question their chances of escape.

My take:
Perilous is a Young Adult thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It made my heart pound, and my breath seize. A fast paced page turner that will keep you guessing till the end. This book is written in third person, which usually takes me a while to get into, but Heiner's writing made the transition easy for me. I enjoyed the view not only from the teenage girls, but also from the cop that was on their case. Also, don't be scared with the mention of teenage girls/young adult genre. Even if you don't normally read young adult, it's not a book that screams it.

There were some parts towards the end where I got confused, and I also wanted to know a little more about Jaci. Especially, her thoughts after these horrible events happened to her, but these little things did not slow me down. They were minor.

Summing up:
If you are looking for a fast paced thriller, then this is a book for you. It is a must read. I couldn't put it down.

Tamara is also holding some awesome contests (the information below is directly from Tamara's blog):

1) There will be two book giveaways. Signed copies of Perilous, of course. All you have to do to get in on that action is make a comment anywhere in the blog tour. The drawing will be completely random. Of course, the more comments you make, the more chances you have of winning.

2) There will be a Kindle giveaway. This WON'T be random. Kindles are kind of a big thing, so I'm going to make you work for it. The giveaway will be point based, in other words, whoever has the most points at the end of the blog tour wins the Kindle. The contest will run until Dec. 15, at which point all hopeful winners will email me at tamara at tamarahartheiner dot com with their points and their proofs.
Here's how you get points:

+1 for each comment on the blog tour

+1 be a follower on my blog (old or new)

+1 retweet

+2 blog about the blog tour

(You prove all of those by emailing Tamara the links.)

+5 purchase the book; ebook or paperback, doesn't matter

(Email Tamara the confirmation number of your purchase.)

Don't forget the e book is out now, and the release date for paperback is November 16th. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Tamara's website.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Crazy Holiday Blogfest.

I've been itching for a blogfest, and,well, I've decided to host one. That's right, my first time as hostess--yikes.
Since the holiday time is all around us, and it gets a little crazy, I thought I would host a blogfest about the holidays. Any holiday. It could take place in Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter. It could be a scene from a WiP, a new piece you may have started, something totally random, but it should include a holiday (any one holiday, remember).

Since this is my first blogfest as hostess, I'm not sure how long it should be --Let's keep it to 250 words or less if you can. I hope the linky thing works. **fingers crossed**

 So here's is your official invitation:

You're invited to a Crazy Holiday Blogfest.

When: December 13, 2010

Where: Your blog

Time: Anytime on December 13th

RSVP : See below and don't forget to tell your friends. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review 101

Go to Candyland's blog she is holding a great contest for a good cause because she rocks like that. ON Thanksgiving she will be drawing names of (3) winners (November 25th).

Reviews we love and hate them. I've given reviews in the past and this week I will be giving another. I will be reviewing the book, Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner and it got me thinkin' on how to write a review. I'm not expert at this, but I have some little ideas on what I like to do.

1. I introduce the book and author then the blurb. I like to read reviews with this info so I know what it's about.

2.  I don't like to give too much away (like spoilers), but just enough so the reader can get the point. I decided to read some reviews on for books I liked and didn't like. Now, I'm sure it's not the best place to learn how to write a review, but I did get some idea of what not to do. Some people are harsh.
3. When I write a review, I put myself in the author's shoes. How would you want your review to read? Obviously, we all want it to praise our novel, that our characters are awesome, five stars, and so on. But let's be real, we can't please everyone so someone will not be happy. So how would you want it to read if the person didn't really like your novel? For me, I would want honesty, crazy right? I'm sure I would cry maybe have a drink or two (wait that would be for a good review too) and it would hurt like hell, but I would want it to be professional vs. bashing. If someone didn't like the voice, or the style of writing--fine, but say it in a professional manner no need to say that the author has no business writing, they are ugly, characters suck, etc. Why? Well, the way I look at it, that person is published and I'm not. Most likely they had what it took to get there. Plus, it makes you the writer of the review look bad.

4. Another thing I try not to do is compare it to other novels (basically saying the book is just like___ or it's a rip off of___ with this twist). This is done enough when you go through the process of writing a book. Trust me with only so many plots, you will be compared to something and it sucks. You think about it constantly and strain your brain on how to get away from it. I'm sure you know of a few books off the top of your head and trust me those books were probably compared to something before them. If anything, suggest books that the reader may like or that compliment the book you're reviewing.

Like I said, I'm no expert at writing reviews. These are just a few points that I have learned and like to see when reading/writing a review.

Any other points you would like to add when you read /write a review?

How was your weekend? (Mine was good, but not much writing got done).

Don't forget Writing the Next Line November 24th.

I did decide to hold a blogfest The Crazy Holiday Blogfest. December 13th. I will write a post about it on Wednesday. Post a scene that takes place on any holiday (can happen in the spring, summer, fall, or winter).  Mark your calenders. :) I'm sure this has been done before, but with Christmas trees out in September well the holidays are all around us. Thought you may want to write about it.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

I have a couple of contests:
The lovely Jessica Bell has reached 400 followers and she is having an awesome contest. Go check it out Ends December 2nd.

The fab Kimberly Franklin is giving away a signed copy of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney. Ends December 1st.

1. My week did start out slow. I get scared when that happens because I'm afraid I've lost all creativity and it will not return. A common daymare of mine (instead of a nightmare). I think about it a lot and it scares me.

2. My daughter thinks Smarties (a hard candy) make you smarter if you eat them everyday. It really is her just using manipulating skills.
3. On the other hand, my son keeps mentioning a wheel store. I finally figured it out. A chain here, known as Target, their logo is a bullseye and apparently makes him think of a wheel. Boys only have cars on the brain.

4. To make my week better, I looked back at how much I have revised on WiP #1 since August-- 35,000 words. I did feel a little better. It shows me how far I've come in a year and a half. Trust me, it's much better than it was when I started. I know these 35,000 words will have to be revised again before line edits, but I'm heading in the right direction.
5. It made me feel so good that I wrote 2,000 words yesterday (a new chapter) and revised 1,000 more.

6. I plan to do Writing the Next Line on November 24th. Mark your calenders.

7. Tune in next Thursday November 11th. I'll be reviewing Perilous by Tamara Hart Heitner.

8. Even when you feel alone on this journey, you're not. Blogging buddies and CPs will always pick you up and make you feel awesome. Thanks guys.

9. I need to catch up on 30 Rock. I love DVR.

10. The worst chore for me is ironing. I really, really dislike it. I hold out as long as I can. Which is bad because the pile is huge.

11. Kids really do love boxes that the toys come in. They also tend to love catalogs. My kids have Lego catalogs from the Lego store in Munich. They continue to look through  them even though pages are missing and the edges are torn. We got them back in July. Why I think buying toys is silly.

Not much went on folks. How was your week? Any weekend plans?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To which I have nothing.

So my week has started slow. My intentions of revising/re-writing another four chapters is being sabotaged. I feel so grumpy. It's amazing how theraputic a good writing session is for me. I'm trying to think of ways to get a good two hours in, but the kiddos are not havin' it. The hubs is sick so we know how that goes. He turns into kid #3 needing a little comfort. I want to help make him better, but my mind is clogged. I had the best scene come to me as I was making dinner and as soon as I went to write it. Yeah, it was gone. Happens all the time. I just need time, I think. I think that will help me come out from the slump.

I was on fire last week, which burned out this week. Even though my characters keep showing me scenes and throwing me dialogue, other distractions get in the way. The writing has been a little hard. It happens. It's part of the journey. Even blogging has been slow for me. Maybe it's the time of year. Who knows? I would love to host a blogfest at some point. I just have to figure out what.

Anyway, I'm hoping to buy this soon:

I think I need me some Patch.

What are you reading now?

How are your goals going?

Any tips on getting out of writers blank (ideas are there, but when you go to write it somehow disappears).

Hope your day is better. Go write and have fun.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Welcome to my new blogger buddies. I will be visiting you soon.

Check out Lydia and Laura's blogs. Lydia (medical mondays) and Laura's (mental health mondays). They are discussing my research topic from last week.

Well, Halloween is over and I'm still full of sugar. It's pumping through my veins at a high rate of speed. This is when I think--I need to go on a diet. This thought is utterly insane because I still have bags of candy, (chocolate doesn't count because it's always in my house) cookies, and cupcakes. I still will torture myself with this thought till the New Year. I mean really, diet, now. Ha. I will be eating loads of turkey and mashed potatoes next month and then more cakes and cookies in December so who am I kidding.

So I decided to make my WiP go on a diet. It needs it. I still have a little too much telling and well it takes a little time to get to the action. How do I do it? It's not easy. WiP #1 loves to eat so I need to be careful or my MCs may not speak to me. They like to talk and if I don't do what they want, they get cranky. I love every scene I put them in, but to make their story fit into that tiny, attention grabbing, black dress,  I need to take some things out. I'm not talking adjectives and adverbs. I'm talking whole chapters. Kill your darlings comes to mind. I have a lot to explain (remember it's a paranormal, scifi romance) so I have to do it in a smaller pants size.

I've started to look at each chapter and ask--Does this move the story along? How does it relate to the story? Is it important? Can I do it differently- ie. dialogue, show more?

It's starting to help which is great, but I was curious how you trim your baby.

Do you have any other methods to get rid of excess baggage in your WiP?

How do you know what to keep? Gut feeling?

I'm trying to get through one revision without dwelling on certain areas. This is hard for me, but I need to get through it to really make it a decent draft.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween/weekend and good luck NaNoWriMo paticipants.