Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rekindle the Fire and Happy New Year!

I'm back. Okay, I don't normally post on a Saturday, but I have good stuff coming up Monday and Tuesday so I thought I give a quick blurb today.

First, Happy New Year!

Now, I plan to be doing a lot more writerly posts this year and I thought this may be one others can relate to. I'm ready to say goodbye to 2011. I did learn a lot, but the one thing that is truely sticking out is that I need to re-light my love for writing. It seems my quest for getting an agent and book deal has become more of an obsession than a search. Not that I'm quitting the quest or writing. It just seems that the excited love I used to feel has smoldered a little, faded slightly. I know it's not easy when the others around you are getting agents and book deals or are in the position you want to be.

So, how do you fix it? That is something I've been trying to figure out all year. This past week I started reading things I've written a while back. Other stories that I started, thinking that they weren't good enough or I lost interest because my focus switched to getting an agent. The fact is--I love those stories, and those characters. I want to immerse myself back into them. I think taking a break, re-focusing on what is important in your writing, and reading some things you've hidden away clears the smoke that covers the love, making you see what made you write in the first place.

 What's next? I still plan to query, early in the year (after the betas read it). The thing is I'm looking at it differently. Not with the fiery eyes of obsession, but with the acceptance that it is a step in my journey. A step of learning and growing. I also can't wait to get back into writing my other stories.

What's coming up:

Monday, I will participating in Frankie's 3rd Annual No Kiss Blogfest. I better get writing. :)

Tuesday, Giveaway announcement for this lovely number.

I will also be doing a series on what I've learned with some great links so stay tuned. So that was short and quick cause the kids are fighting. Argh.

Happy New Year!! Any plans?
Stay Safe!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fun Facts Friday (Holiday Edition)

Yep, the season is in full swing. I haven't written much, but I'm filling up with a ton of ideas. I'm also "seeing" my sentence structure issues in certain spots of my manuscript. Exciting. So, that means I'm taking a hiatus. I'll be back after the new year. One, family time. Two, putting finishing touches on the manuscript (double checking things).

I decided to do a holiday edition. Feel free to answer these questions on your blog too.

Favorite ways to say Merry Christmas other than English-- Frohliche Weihnachten and Mele Kalikimaka.

Favorite Christmas song: Okay, other than the classics. Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon.

Favorite Christmas TV show: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer.

Favorite Christmas Movie: This is tough. I love the classics, but I have a thing for Elf.

How is your tree decorated? Eclectic. I have pretty ornaments, kid ornaments, and Star Wars ornaments. Yes, you heard me.

Best Christmas Memory: Six years ago. Even though I was a emotional mess of being a first time mom, I'll never forget my grandmother's eyes when she saw her new great granddaughter. I miss you mom-mom.

So there you have it. Short and sweet. A couple of things to mark on your calender.

1. Frankie's 3rd Annual No Kiss Blogfest January 2nd. Be there.

2. This little number (see below) by K.M. Walton will be released on January 3rd.
Pre-order it or go to local bookstore and get it. On January 3rd. CRACKED. January 3rd. CRACKED. Got it in your head. Mark it on your calenders. Don't forget. I will have some giveaways with this one. :)

Feel free to add your holiday favorites below. I wish everyone a happy holiday. Enjoy. I can't wait to return with a fresh brain ready to tackle 2012.

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Mumbles

Grab your favorite wake up beverage and kick back. Yep, I'm still here. I know I've been M.I.A. but I haven't forgotten about you. It's that time of year so things get a little more hectic than usual. I'm not only buying and wrapping up presents, I'm also wrapping up clients (not literally). I've been thinking about the blog and how to freshen it up. I realize that it seems to have strayed off the path I intended. Yes, I did intend to discuss my journey (hence the name), but I think I want to try to focus on being more helpful. Writing posts that inform more about writing than about my woes. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the support and will need it from time to time. It's just something I'm aiming for in the new year.

I usually discuss this closer to the new year, but I've decided to write about it today. What I've learned this year. That's easy lots and lots. I considered this year my sophomore year so here's what stuck out besides the usual show not tell.

1.The big thing--how to take a crit. I know I should've learned this last year but I'm getting better at sorting through feedback and knowing what needs to be fixed and what is opinion.

2. No matter how much you revise, you can do more. At least, that what it seems like. Amp it up is one of the many things. I will be discussing this in a future post.

3. I have the best support group in the world. Okay, I knew this last year, but it's even more evident this year.

4. I've learned more about queries than I ever thought possible and I'm not done yet. The darn thing will get there, I'm sure of it. The hope is to query early in the year.

5. Even though I feel like the oddball, the weird one or just the one who doesn't fit in, I will get there at my own pace. I'm a writer. It may be frustrating, but I know I will not stop till I get there.

6. Realize I still have a long way to go. I'm not that awesome (not that I thought I was awesome in the first place). I've learned how to be a better writer. I see how to write a novel differently. It doesn't mean I'm not giving up my panster style yet. It's just how I write. That probably makes no sense. I'd better go and grab some hot chocolate.

So what did you learn this year?

Stay tuned on my blog for some giveaways--yep they're coming. :)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Thanks to Alex for putting this all together. Go check out the other bloggers who participate.

I don't have much today other than my fear of empty brain. With all that is going on, I have no words. I feel like a shell just walking around. Someone who is screaming, but no one can hear. I don't know. It's weird. I want to move along continue with my usual schedule, but so many things are getting in the way. I'm trying to finish up (10 pages to go) the last round of revisions so I can have a clear head to write something else. Argh. I guess I'm just frustrated because I want to keep moving, and yet again, things keep getting in the way. *taking a deep breath* I'm keeping a positive outlook the best way I know how, but you know how things can be. I will get there I know. *goes and eats some chocolate*

How is your progress?

Any news?

Have a great day!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Multiple backups

Get on over to Frankie's blog and sign up for the 3rd annual No Kiss Blogfest. I'm such a sucker for no kiss scenes. Such a tease. It's on January 2nd. Now if I could get my brain to work to come up with something.

Photo removed.
This is how I felt when the virus hit and also how I feel trying to write something new. Funny how the looks go hand and hand.

Last week my computer got hit with a virus. Yeah, completely scary. It was a Malware thing. I'm no tech-head gal so my terms are not legit. It basically froze my computer, flashing a lot of red and saying it could only fix six things and if I want the other eight fixed I had to pay $84.95. Um, no. So I called a friend (who is a savior) to help me through it. We got the computer back up and running. I was saved or so I thought. Yes, my computer worked but when I went to cue up my doc files. Nothing. All  my files gone.

How do you think I felt? Yep, heart melted and an ache pulsed around my eyes traveling to my forehead. But wait, I have an external drive that I back everything up, but I was backing up my files when this virus hit so when I went to search on the external there was nothing. I hear your silence and maybe a gasp. Yeah, I was freaking out. All the pictures of my kids, other info, and all my writing files--gone. Poof. Like it never existed. (Oh story idea--sorry this sometimes happens to me when I encounter scary situations.)

After composing myself (it took a little bit of cursing and tears), I opened Word and went to my recent files. About 12 things showed up and I could open all of them. The hubs told me it's there, it has to be. So after we both did some research, it turned out the virus hid all my files, and since I was backing up at the time, it hid all those files too. Needless to say, I've found everything and lesson learned. Have more than one back up. It also made me realize how much work I've done and how much it means to me. Yes, I knew this before, but I felt so helpless when it was gone almost like a part of me was stolen. It amazes me how words can mean so much.

How many backups do you have?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mentally prepping

You that time when you are about to embark on something that scares the crap out of you. You mentally prepare yourself to take the next step. Some of you may just jump in and that's awesome. I sometimes do, but if it involves my stomach to churn and my mind has time to think about it, I mentally prepare for the worst. I know what a negative way to think, but if something good happens then it's a pleasant surprise. I do have a better mindset then I did a month ago. Instead of dwelling on things, I'm accepting. If I can't change it, then don't worry about it.

Here's my deal. I'm getting to the point that I'm learning to accept that this manuscript may not the one that will get me an agent. Why? I don't know. I feel it. I see all these horror stories and am told your first manuscript never gets it. You need to learn, grow, strengthen, and write more novels (that's what I've read). I'm not giving up. I'm accepting reality. Am I going to query this? Absolutely, I'm going to query it. I've been working on it for 3 years. After this last go around to the betas, it's going out. I have to give it closure. It's dying and I have to bury it, let it go. I can't write anything else until this one is at rest and I can't just put it away in a drawer, I have to literally let it go.

I love this story and these characters and part of me thinks I'm the only one who does. That I keep holding on to some delusion that it's awesome. So there it is. I'll wipe my hands free of it the end of January. Let it go and let the big "R's" roll in. Okay, I know what some of you are saying, "Wait, you never know what can happen." I know, anything is possible, but I'm being realistic. I'm happy where I am. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned on this manuscript. It's definitely improved a lot. I mean A LOT. I know what to apply to my future manuscripts. The next one is written it needs tweaking so maybe that one will be the one. I know I'm jumping the gun in my thoughts and I'm not sad or depressed, in fact, happy to know there will be closure. I will continue to grow and learn with another story.

I'm not giving up that would be crazy. I'm not giving in. I'm prepping my mind to move on. Get through this and keep going. I have so many other stories to tell, and until this one is gone, I can't continue. Now, if I can just stop worrying about what the betas will say. :)

Do you mentally prep for big leaps in your life?

Have a great day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving vacation.

I'm back. I took last week off to accomplish some revising, which didn't happen. Here are few things I learned while on vacation.

1. Nothing gets done when the kids are home (including writing). This does frustrate me, but I got to spend quality time. That means this week I will be using every minute of me time to write.

2. I need to lose 10 pounds. I have the weirdest desire to run. It's strange because I never liked to run before, but it's calling to me. Strange.

3. I saw Breaking Dawn Part 1. I liked some parts, the vamp make up was better and it did follow the book, but I wanted to red pen some parts. Some of it just dragged on and on. I wanted to punch something so something happened. Needless to say, I was a little frustrated with it.
I did enjoy seeing Jasper. :) Actually, I wanted more Jasper.

4. I went to my high school reunion. I'm not saying how many years. It's funny how some people change and some don't. It was fun though.

5. Every year at this time I wonder where I will be next year. So I wonder. . . . 

How was your Thanksgiving?

How was your week last week?

Have a great day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Facts Friday

Whew. What a week. I did finish my major revisions and have decided, after some tightening, I will send it to the betas, then query. I have to get this out of my hair. I'm following my gut. So thanks for your support and encouragement. On with the facts.

1. I'm ready to see Breaking Dawn Part 1, but will probably wait till the crowds die down. If you've seen it, let me know what your thoughts are. I really wish they would get the makeup right on the vampires. Just sayin'.

2. I can't wait to see The Hunger Games. I think I want that to be showing right now. Holy cow, that trailer is awesome. Total goose bumps.

3. Getting into Grimm and Once Upon a Time. I think I see a trend starting. I wonder how many YA fairy tale books will be coming out?Although, Once Upon a Time is sort of frustrating. I don't know why. I'm actually just frustrated when I watch it, but I want to keep watching. Strange.

4. After watching Once Upon a Time (on DVR), I actually started thinking of a story I started a while back. The funny thing is it's not a fairy tale, it takes place in space, but the interaction of the characters on the show is what triggered my brain to revisit this idea. Oh boy, SNI is at work.

5. Go to K.M. Walton's blog for a super huge contest. If you know a film maker, or dabble in film making, you won't want to miss this. HUGE.

Click button for complete contest details!

I'm taking next week off from blogging. I may be around to comment, but with Thanksgiving and going through my MS one last time, I need the time. Plus, let's face it, my posts have been less than stellar.

How was your week?

Have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The tunnel

First, Tomorrow go over to K.M. Walton's blog. Something big will be happening. I don't know what it is, but it's big. That's all I know because Kate won't tell anyone just that it's big. Sometimes she such a tease. She's killing me with this. :)

So, I feel like this tunnel I've been in forever is lasting forever. I do see a small light at the end, but it keeps getting farther and farther away. The tunnel keeps growing and the light is getting dimmer. I'm almost done a major overhaul and now I'm scared that there will be more. It's a big fear. I've been consumed in this manuscript for 2 years. Yes, it's my first, but I can't let it go until I'm satisfied. I've tried working on other stuff (even writing another novel), but I can't get my mind off of this one until it's complete. I don't know why.

I know the odds for this one are slim, especially because it's my first one. Everyone tells me your first novel is always the one that's practice. It seems like everyone tucks it away in a drawer for no one to ever see. Then why am I so determined? Why am I pushing this so hard? I should just chalk it up to this was my first.

I guess, I'm so close to being satisfied (until my betas read it and tell me no), that I can taste the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing sitting on a table at the end of this tunnel (I know that made no sense, but I love red velvet cupcakes). I have the query (needs to be tweaked), the synopsis, and this manuscript (need to finish tweaking), so why do I keep questioning?

I know I won't stop, but that feeling of this-will-be-a-long-road keeps poking my brain. That's my crazy story today. I'm pushing through, getting to that cupcake even if it takes me a while. I just hope it's not stale when I get there.

How's your progress?

How do you know when to give up on a project?

Have a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (total book love)

Title: Daugher of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The blurb:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My take:
Really, there isn't much to say. I have so much love for this book, I'm giddy, and I have writer envy--yep, totally. I'm so not worthy to be a writer. This book made me speechless. I'm sure my face looked like a deer in headlights that ate the best chocolate ever. I know, weird right? Yeah, it was that good. Parts of me didn't know what to feel but it felt so good at the same time. I can't even begin to tell you about this book. So, I'm not going into detail here. It's YA (but could cross genres to me) and dark and lovely and sexy and...
You have to read it for yourself. Yeah. Basically, what I'm telling you is to get out and get this, now, or if you have an e-reader turn it on and order it, clear your calender, and read this. You won't regret it.  I highly recommend this and hope to meet Laini Taylor one day (I'm not a stalker).

Have you read this book? Please share your thoughts?

Have a great day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fun Facts Friday and some Linkage

This week is another blur. My personal deadline is coming quick and I've learned I can't sit on the couch and try and work. Comfy couch= sleep not productivity.

1. I can't believe Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away.

2. My lunch yesterday didn't look as good as it did on the box.

3. I actually made my brain mushy with my revisions. It pretty much went on strike yesterday. I guess that means I needed to give it a rest. The rest of me is trying so hard to settle my brain's demands so it will start working again. Please brain work, we're almost there.

4. Celebrate the launch of BECOME by Ali Cross, BOUND by Christine Bryant and EXILED by RaShelle Workman. A virtual launch party takes place to day at 11:00 on Twitter #darkcarma and Facebook and on all their blogs.

5. Another great celebration for Jessica Bell-- STRING BRIDGE chart rush. Linkage below.
Amazon UK:

How was your week?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

String Bridge by Jessica Bell

Title: String Bridge
Author: Jessica Bell
Pages: 279
Publisher: Lucky Press

"Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits, and she realizes she's been seeking fulfilment in the wrong place."

My take:
I really enjoyed this book. It is adult, which I dabble in from time to time. Jessica's writing is beautiful. She paints vivid pictures with her words, and let me say, my emotional strings were pulled in every direction. I can relate to Melody. No, I'm not a musician, but it's her conflicted life that had me teary eyed and smiling. She gives up her one passion to live a 'proper' life. Something I think many of us can relate to. Many of us balance lots of things, and our paths are not always what we imagine, but our passion keeps calling us and sometimes we long for it (which hurts). This is one of those books that keeps you thinking about choices and how we are not alone with these challenges. I'm still thinking about this book and how Melody felt through each decision (I know I've felt them in real life). I would recommend checking out STRING BRIDGE, you'll keep this one in your heart.  

Purchase links:

Paperback: (Coming soon) 


String Bridge Website:

Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Laughing at challenges

I know, weird, right? Laughing at a challenge, me. I used to run or hide in a corner, complain and whine. Not anymore. I realize challenge is learning. I obviously learn slowly because many of you are probably saying, duh, we do this already. Hey, give me some credit here sometimes my brain is thick and stubborn. It's been a long road to this point, and as I look down the road ahead, it's longer, but I know (how, I don't know) that one day it can will happen. I just have to take the good with the bad and tackle those challenges head on with a smile. Oh and lots of chocolate helps.

Faces any challenges?

How do you tackle them?

Keepin' it short today. Go check out Joanne Fritz's giveaway's. A.S. King's EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and Richard Peck's SECRETS AT SEA. Both are hardback and signed. Ends November 9th.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Facts Friday

So I'm making this another quick one. Why? Many of you are doing NaNo so who wants to hear me, and that whole revision thing that I can't seem to finish.

1. Go and congratulate Kate Walton. She has sold her second book. Go give her hugs, hearts, maybe a happy dance. You go Kate!

2. I've eaten a ton of chocolate this week and still want more. Problem? maybe.

3. Go give Lydia Kang congrats. Her YA Sci-fi, THE FOUNTAIN, will be released in 2013. Go Lydia!

4. Watched GRIMM last week. I have to say I'm interested. Of course, David Greenwalt has something to with that (remember ANGEL?). I do think some things have to be worked out, but I'll keep watching. For now.

5. Totally in love with the new Blink-182 album (cd? I don't think they are called albums anymore). I so heart this band (okay, been in love with them for a long time--years). I just can't listen to it when the kids are around. :)

That's it. Any news? Any new shows you like? Any new music you are hearting?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insecure Writers Support Group and a Cold Kiss

So today is insecure day. Well, a lot of days are insecure days for me. Anyway, go on over to Alex's blog to see the participants. Thanks Alex for hosting this.

I'll make this short because you know my story and I need to get back to the dreaded "R" word. Revision. I feel like I've been doing that for over 2 years, but right now I'm feeling good. I've cut some scenes (I'm a little sad) and added more (that are awesome). I guess you could say I'm feeling pretty good about them until I get it beta read again and my readers tell me to do more. I have a direction and *fingers crossed* everything falls into place to query by the new year. See I have a happy face.

Isn't that a pretty cover? It shimmers too.
On a different note, I met Amy Garvey last night. Her book, COLD KISS, was released in September. It was loads of fun and she's quite the awesome. Check out Frankie's blog for photos. I always forget my camera. Another reason to get an iPhone.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNo. How's everyone's progress?

Have a great day!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Okay, I'm in this revision cave so this will be short. It's halloween. My kids are on a constant sugar high and my mind is just on one thing. You know what that is. I know you're bored of me talking about it. So, I will leave you with spooky halloween photos and one question. I'm going back into my little hole, taking some Reese's cups and Hershey bars.

 What's your favorite candy?
Stay spooky and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's amazing what music can do.

Music can set off a feeling, influence a mood or inspire an idea. You know it when you watch a movie, TV show, etc. If you turn down the music sometimes the whole scene can fall flat. It really doesn't feel the same. Music, as you know, is a huge inspiration to me. Almost all my ideas are sparked by a song. It just happens.

Music can also calm and heal. I believe it. Let me tell  you why. A good friend of mine believes that every time she's down, or she's discouraged the song "Lightning Crashes" by Live will play. She's convinced. At first, I was like, yeah right, but then I witnessed it. Something was bothering her and when we got in the car. The song played. Sure could be coincidence, but I witnessed it on a number of occasions over the course of years (long after the song was popular).

It also happens to me. Call it what you will, but every time I feel discouraged or defeated "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World comes on the radio. Every time. Serious. When it first started happening the song was popular, but it's still happening years later. Now, I know you are going to say it's all in my head, blah, blah. Maybe, I'm just reaching for anything, but it feels me with hope and I carry on.

Does this happen to you or am I the only one who might have some reaching-for-anything issues?

I'm going to be in my posh cave for a while. I may be back on Monday, but I need to go and focus. :) Happy weekend!!

FYI--If you click the link to the Jimmy Eat World video, um, I don't go to parties like that. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The query debate

Here is something I asked a while ago--When is the best time to query? What I got was mixed, but I did get don't do it around the holidays, which makes sense. Yes, the holidays are approaching fast, and, well, as much as I like them, I want them over. You heard me. They are joyous and all that, sorry for sounding like scrooge, but I need to move on. I want to get out there in the trenches good or bad. I still have work to do, I know, but if I get it to where I want it to be, I feel like I have to wait till next year due to the holidays. Blah. So do I wait till January? February? Don't tell me March.

 I know I shouldn't be pressuring myself with a deadline. Learn and strengthen, but life's circling around me like a tornado, making me dizzy. I want to go into a cave (with electricity, heat, and a bathroom) and shut the world out. I know what has to be done, I see it, it's finding the time to do it without interruption. It's like when you get towards the end of an awesome book. You have about 10-20 pages left and you're in the heat of the final scene and you keep getting interrupted, but you just want to finish. Yeah, that's how I'm feeling.  I guess I want to feel apart of the whole thing, a little validated. I also don't want to miss an opportunity. I know, stupid, right? Everyone goes through this and I will get there. Do it right. Don't compare yourself. I know. I know.  I guess this picture sums up my feeling.

I've got my mindset in check, just some natural feelings poke through now and again. So, my blog posts may be here or there. I'm going into that posh cave I was talking about. I need to shut myself out. I have a few posts that are scheduled, but I may be M.I.A. for a while. I know I said this before, but I need to focus.

So, my question out of all of that nonsense--If I finish in a rather soonish manner, should I wait till next year to query? If it's next year, which I'm pretty sure will be the case, how soon after the new year should I start?

Have a great day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making it work

First, thanks again to Matt (QQQE) for his great query critique. So helpful. Also, thanks to everyone who left me feedback and commented. I really appreciate it.

So, I watch Project Runway, yes, I do. I find it fascinating to see what the designers are going to come up with because I'm lucky if I can sew a button onto a shirt so to me these people are amazing. My method for watching the show is as follows: Watch the beginning to find out the challenge, then skip to the end to see the result. So what's wrong with that picture? The work in between. Actually, I tend to not watch the middle because of the drama factor and I will every so often stop in the middle to see Tim Gunn's critiques. It's interesting to listen to what he has to say to help, but leaves it up to the designer for their final decision and execution. Just like writing, right?

We come up with these ideas, which are beyond awesome, write till our fingers bleed, then send it out and wait to hear if it all makes sense. When we get it back there may be notes and lots of red. Don't panic. I used to panic beyond control, now, let's just say, I'm in a better mindset. We must take all the advice we are given and as Tim Gunn puts it 'Make it Work.' That's right. Whether we choose to listen to our betas/CPs is up to you. You must take the advice and make it work with your vision or you may not. Totally up to you. After doing this for 2+ years I've finally come up with a formula, which I'm sure a lot of you use. If two or more folks point out something then give it attention. If only one person does, then it's debatable. I have to weigh what I think will work for me and my story.

This is where I'm at--making it all work, improving, pushing myself beyond where I thought I would no longer go. It's refreshing and scary, but in the end, I will be a better writer for it and hopefully my novel will catch the attention of an agent. I've had eureka moments all weekend on what I need to do. At least, I have more time versus what the contestants have on the show except they don't have kids asking for something every five minutes. We all have out challenges. 
So, are you making it work?

Have a great day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's totally complicated

First, Matt (QQQE) is critiquing my query. Go and tear it apart check it out. Let me know what you think. *hides in corner*

Oh and go congratulate Shannon O'Donnell. She has an agent. Shannon is simply the best. That's right, she is. So don't forget to go and do a happy dance for her.

On with the post:
The word complicated is something we don't always like to hear, but for some reason I've heard it all my life. It's like a little cat toy that dangles over my head and doesn't go away when I bat at it. Just the other day, I was speaking with one of my CPs about a plot and how I make things complicated. She said,"You do." I thought about it. I do, but why? I always seem to come up with these complicated plots that are so out of my writing level, I don't know what I'm thinking. I over analyze, over think, over do. I'm not sure why. To be different? To stretch myself? Why can't I just make it easy? I do this in my daily life too, but that's a whole other bag of scary.

I notice when I just do things they flow. For example: As you all know my one manuscripts is being beta read/critted. Some of the things that have been pointed out are totally legit and need attention. First, I looked at it with complete horror (wanting to run away with arms flailing), and after a couple of days of holy crap-this is never going to happen-over thinking every possible thing-these readers think I'm a total amateur, I finally took a breath. I sat there and went through the comments and for once in my writing journey soaked it in and realized it's not that horrible. I can fix this. Last night, I decided to take out a couple of parts and wound up writing 1000 words to a new scene. It needs some work, but still. I need to realize to just let things go, breathe, think easy and take the challenge to fix it instead of over thinking, over analyzing, making it all complicated.

So how about you--do you make things complicated?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Artwork by Kaitlyn McCane.

Lately, things (like usual) are a little crazy. I did have another post ready, but it's all about patience, which is just plan boring. Maybe I'll post it Friday or next week. I wanted to discuss being thankful. I think in our crazy lives we tend to push this feeling a side or we let other feelings dominate. This week is no exception in the chaos of life. My daughter is going to be getting a simple dental procedure on Thursday. It's a simple cavity fill, but the past two times we went she had an all out freak out session (think exorcism). So, she now has to go under sedation to have it done. I'm sure everything will be fine, the medication is common, but that doesn't stop the all-too-real-nightmares that haunt me. Mix this with PMS (I know TMI) and my natural case of pessimism and you get formula for the black hole of self doubt and insecurity.

Here's where I'm going with this. With all that happens, we sometimes tend not to say we appreciate and are extremely thankful for what we have and what others have done for us. I am thankful for what I have, where I am in my life, and where I'm at on this wild, roller coaster journey. I'm extremely thankful for those who continue to advise and put up with me. I would not be here if it wasn't for them. I'm finally at the point where challenge is good. I'm not running from it or thinking it means I'm a complete failure. I'm now seeing it as a learning tool to push myself even harder than I ever have before.  So thank you. I hope these folks don't mind, but I need to mention them because they are awesome and they put up with my nonsense. Especially over the past couple of weeks.

We all have our days. There will be good and bad ones so having an amazing support team helps, just make sure you thank them.
Thanks guys!
Of course, there are a ton of other people who help me in so many ways. Thank you too!!
Oh and sorry, I didn't get to do the Third Campaigner challenge. My brain is too busy outlining and brainstorming another novel. Yeah, you heard me.

So what or who are you thankful for?

Have a great day!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Special Guest Elliot Grace

Today, I'm spotlighting a wonderful and talented writer, Elliot Grace. His book, SOUTH OF CHARM, was released a few months ago. Elliot's writing is beautiful. I would advise you to check out his blog and his book.

1. When did you start writing journey?

          -Back in the days when a "compact" computer was roughly the size of a small dump truck, and when one considered him/herself lucky to have all three channels available on the family Zenith...okay, perhaps not that long ago, but it feels as such.  When I was in the third grade, I entered a short story into a school writing contest during Right to Read Week.  "Terror Castle," took home first place, and was later read aloud to the entire student body by an actual published children's author who paid us a visit at week's end.  There are moments during everyone's life that one can look back upon and say, "That's when everything changed."  For me it was that day, listening to my words being read aloud by an actual writer.  And I knew...  
        2. What inspires your writing?

          -As writers, it's a necessity to be sensitive to the smallest of life's daily occurrences.  To be mentally prepared for an idea to spring from the mundane, for there's no warning before lightning strikes.  During my son's track meet last spring, under dreary skies and a steady drizzle that made for an otherwise forgettable afternoon, I watched a teenage girl run the two hundred meter dash with the grace of a gazelle, and thought to myself that if the challenge were to arise, she'd give the boys a run for their money.  She reminded me of a thoroughbred at the derby, with her measured strides, frigid air billowing through a set of clenched teeth.  And I thought, "A girl named Derby, with the talent for speed..."  And while those around me grumbled for something dry to ward off the cold, I was busy piecing together a story.  In a nutshell, that's how it most often works for me.

3.     3. Who is your favorite author?     

          -As a youngster, it was Terry Brooks, Robert Cormier, and C.S. Lewis.  I read every piece of their work that I could get my hands on.  Nowadays, I'm a fan of John Sandford, Cormac McCarthy, Neil Gaiman, and whatever bestsellers the King Family manages to churn out, (Stephen and his son, Joe Hill :)   

4.       4. What sparked the idea for South of Charm?

          -"South of Charm" is loosely based on events that shaped my childhood.  Back in the days of small town magic, when family's dealt with dysfunction together, rather than turning to a judge for direction.  My goal was to capture how it felt to be a ten year old boy once again.  A youngster forced into dealing with some very mature situations, and how his actions, the choices he makes, change the very foundation of the only type of lifestyle he's ever known. 
5.       5. Could you tell us a little bit about the journey of South of Charm? When you started it to release day.

          -Sometimes it feels as though "South of Charm" has been a part of me since childhood, waiting around until the time was right to jot it down.  In between the raising of two ornery boys, it took me three years to finish a manuscript worthy of sending out.  Following the usual list of rejections, I met David Wiesenberg by chance, at a local book fair while speaking to one of the featured writers on hand, not realizing that he was an editor for Wooster Books.  I pitched him my story, just a quick summary off the top of my head.  A few days later he emailed me, requesting a full read.  I was signed by the end of the month, and after nearly two years of editing and rewrites, "South of Charm" rests on many shelves in and around my home state of Ohio.

6.       6. Any advice for a beginner?

          -Stephenie Meyer's fast track to success should not frustrate those who are passionate about one day seeing their work on Wal-Mart shelves.  For some it takes years, for others, decades.  And everyone's story to publication is unique in its very own measure of success.  For all of us though, whether still collecting those rejection letters, or on the brink of signing that first contract, patience is a necessary evil for scaling the publication summit.  I liken the process to raising kids...if done in haste, and with little nurturing along the way, the end result will most likely never leave your doorstep ;)

      Thanks so much, Christine.  That was fun!    

      Thank you Elliot! You can purchase SOUTH OF CHARM here and check out Elliot's blog So Close, but... 
      So go check it out.
     Have a great day!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun Facts Friday

How was your week? Mine wasn't too bad. I guess.

1.  I went to A.S.King's book signing for her new release EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. She is awesome. If you get a chance to see her, go. I got there late so I don't have pics. I was there, I swear. Ask Kate Walton, and Joanne Fritz.

2. Check out this video on K.M. Walton's blog. Kate is the most positive person I know and such an inspiration. This is such a fun video and what all of us feel at some point.

3. I got my query done (for now). I have a couple of reviewers so we will see what they say. Scared to death.

4. I'm wanting to write something new, but my mind can't focus because it's worried about the one I want to query.

5. Can't wait till Bones and 30 Rock start up again.

6. Do little boys start kissing games in Kindergarten? My daughter keeps saying a boy wants to kiss her and I'm ready to home school.

7. I started to cry at a scene in How to Train Your Dragon. The cutest little flick. Love it. Yes, I'm behind in my movie watching. The crying is just the mommy in me. Something happens to you after you have kids.

8. I'm dying to read this:

and this:

But for some reason there are only so many hours in a day. I really need to become a vampire or some sort of immortal creature that doesn't need sleep to catch up on my TBR pile, write awesome manuscripts, be a great mom and wife and clean the house. I'm not asking for much, just a little immortal insomniac. Okay, the immortal part is probably unnecessary, but I like the whole living forever thing. Maybe I could just be able to control time. Oh and an idea sparks in my head.

So, any plans for the weekend?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yoga = Idea

Photo removed.
Totally not me. I did not look like this. I wish my class was on a beach.

I started to take yoga and last night was my first class. I really enjoyed it. I'm actually not as sore as I thought I would be, which is a good thing. It's very soothing once you get your brain to slow down. As you know, my brain is hard to shut off. I really don't have a moment of thinking of nothing, you know, totally blank. My brain always has something. Even when I get a massage, my brain is still pushing around thoughts, ideas, and what I need to do. So, I thought maybe yoga might make my mind go blank. It didn't. I did relax, which I need, but mind blankage, no.

Through most of the class, my brain did it's normal flash everything in my head, a whole bunch of jumbled thoughts mixing together,but towards the end something happened. We had to lay flat and do a breathing technique. As I stared at the ceiling fan, an idea popped in my head. I froze thinking, crap, I don't have my journal. The longer I laid there, the more the idea formed and next thing I knew I was outlining the novel in my head, and characters introduced themselves. They even gave me their names. I started to panic because I wanted to find a piece of paper, or something to write all of this down before my brain erased it. I kept repeating everything in my head so I wouldn't forget.

Once the class ended, I rushed home to write down my findings, but the kids needed bedtime stories. The story started to fade, but I did get some of it down. I did lose some details, but I hope to recover them. I guess yoga is not only good for relaxing, but brain storming. I have to remember not to have a panic attack while trying to do yoga breathing. It sort of counteracts what I was trying to do in the first place. Relax.

Have ideas come to you when you couldn't get to your journal or notebook?

Have a great day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kick A** Author Debut Spotlight

So the fabulous Christina Lee has gathered a bunch of folks to spotlight a debut author in 2011 (I think some folks may be doing some authors in 2010). I love supporting people and giving shout outs so here is my spotlight.
I'm spotlighting Amy Holder.

Here are the book specs:
Title: The Lipstick Laws
Author: Amy Holder
Pages: 240
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Graphia

At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.
For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.
But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?
This isn't something I would normally read. It's a Young Adult chick lit (I think that is what you could call it). I read a lot of dark and write a lot of dark, but something a little lighter (like this) with lots of great humor helps the mind take a break from heavy. So, here are some reasons I liked this book and spotlighted this author.
 1. This book has great voice. I love, love, love books with voice and April's voice is great. I could relate to this gal.
2. This book brought back many memories of how kids act in high school.  
3. The pace is awesome and I loved the writing (first person, present tense, my favorite). 
4. I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what happened. Good sign of a book full of awesome.
5. Did I mention voice? April's one liners are fantastic. I smiled the whole time I was reading this. Oh and the other characters are fabulous too.
6. Amy Holder (author) is super sweet, seriously, if you ever meet her, you would see what I mean.
There you have it. Short and sweet. Definitely check out Amy's website and her blog.
You can purchase her book on Amazon, Barnes and NobleIndie bookstores.
She is also on Good reads, Facebook, and Twitter.
Also,go check out the other bloggers who are spotlighting an author. Thanks to Christina for putting this together.
Any debut authors you would like to share?
Have you read The Lipstick Laws?
Have a great day!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

 This week has flown by. Not much in the fact department.

1. I'm working on a query. Scared, yes. In fact, don't even want to talk about it.

2. I love that we finally have sunshine.

3. Monday I will be part of a blog tour? I guess you can call it that. Organized by that talented lady, Christina Lee. I will feature a debut author. Am I going to tell who it is? No, you need to come back on Monday.

4. I'm finally channeling my guilt of not spending time with my kids and neglecting my house. It's like I lost 10 pounds. Guilt's a horrible feeling. I realize you need to communicate to the ones you love your goals and they will understand. You also need to figure out how to juggle things, spend time with them, do what you have to do, and once you figure that out, life is good. I did have a post written about this, but didn't want to bore you. I may post it next week.

5. Best inspirational quote I found all week. RIP Steve Jobs.
o    "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs
6. 6. Check out this site for adorable girls halloween costumes. Happy Cake Creations. 

7. 7. Christmas is coming and if you know a cook, consider this as a possibility for a gift. Kaitlyn McCane, the illustrator I feature on my blog now and again, has a piece published in a cookbook. So cute. Go check it out.

8.Has blogger given anyone else issues?

9.Check out the teen blog tour for K.M. Walton's book CRACKED.  


Any weekend plans?

Have a wonderful weekend!!