Thursday, April 28, 2011

Writing the Next Line

So, I'm going to M. I. A. for about a week. Hubs is off so family time. I decided to bring Writing the Next Line back. This will be up for about a week. I will put it all together when I return. Here is the one of the past Writing the Next Line sessions. Click here. It's funny. One of the last sessions, which I made a blogfest, turned into a story for me.

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 week 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:

My heart thumped in my chest and sweat stung my eyes. Footsteps pounded the pavement above, scrambling. I gasped for air. They couldn't find me. If they did, I would be dead. I not a thief, I'm saving someone. Someone I love. I lifted the lid to the sachel, the orb glowed red. It would save him, I know it would.

"Over here." A voice yelled from above. I flung the bag over my shoulder and inched into the long, brick tunnel, dragging my fingers over the gritty brick.  The two pillars came into view. I ran my finger along a grout joint till it bumped. After pushing it in, the hidden door opened. I pulled it open and stepped in. It slammed shut, grazing the side of my foot. I turned around.

Crystal blue eyes, high cheek bones, and tempting lips stopped me, leaving a slight tingle. "Aria Ray. You need to come with me." The red hat completely sizzled the fire that enflamed my lower belly. "You're under arrest."

Now it's your turn. I have a little outline to this one already, but it will interesting to see what you guys come up with. I think that's the shortest Writing the Next Line I've come up with. Please excuse any tense issues. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is all I got

Well, not much. I did get some writing done and I've been cleaning. I also had my credit card number stolen which was a blast. Thanks to whoever did this. At least, the company the thieves tried to buy from caught on and called me. So far not much damage has been done. Jerks.

I managed to get about 2K typed. I'm trying to keep typing and not look back, but can't help it. I keep going over chapters making sure it makes sense. The impatient side of me says keep going and fix it all in edits. I'll see how I feel about that.I'm anxious to start querying. As scared as I am about this, I just want to get it out there. Patience, right?

I did watch Tangled with my kids. Darn you Disney, making me cry. Yeah, I cried at the lantern scene. I've become such a sap. Great movie, and let me tell you, Rapunzel is my new favorite princess. She is awesome. I love Flynn too. It was great.

Tomorrow, I'm posting Writing the Next Line. I have to come up with something--yikes.

So, how are you goals coming?

Have you seen Tangled?

Have a great day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't forget to Live

The weekend was good. Lots of time spent with friends and family. Plus, we had great weather yesterday. A couple of things happened last week that got me to think about a lot. I hear you, "Uh oh, she's thinking." Before you snooze, I promise I'll try and make this short (especially because the list I have is way long).

I get caught up in a lot of things. The worlds I create, the characters, critiques, blog, facebook, writer friends, you know. Then I look at my house you know how that is--there's laundry which takes days to do and then when you finish, it starts all over, dust piled up about an inch thick, cat litter (not discussing), dinners, attention, toys r us throwing up all over your family room (so much cleaning up is required to walk), broken glasses that need to get fixed, birthday parties, showers, doctors appointments, yeah everyday life gets crazy.

But then all of it stops when your 5 year old asks you this, "Mommy, why do things die?" Yeah. I think I stopped breathing. Now, I know questions like this are coming and I try to answer them in the best five year old way that I can while being honest. I explained, in a brief sort of way, an answer. Then she hit me with this--"Mommy, will you die?" Which my heart broke especially because she started crying. Again, I answered as honest and as easy as I could.

My point--Get out and live when you can. Yes, I like to curl up in my cave and write, revise, live in my worlds and talk to my characters, but there is a point where I have to shut it off and get out. Clense the mind and soak in  a little bit of real (I know scary). I want all of it--the agent, the book deal and I want people to say hey she's a great author or have someone come up to me at a book signing and say, "I love your characters." I dream big. I'm determined, like really determined, plus, I have a lot of proving to myself and to others that I can. This is not a hobby, I know it. I have to prove to others it's not.

As much as I want all of it now, yes, like today, I'm willing to work my butt off for it. It may take years, but I have to stop and breathe. To soak in life. Hey, you never know what may spark a story.

How was your weekend?

Do you stop and soak life in?

Any goals this week?

My goals--Small for writing, hopefully to write 1k. Small compared to the past few weeks, but the hubs is off next week so I have to get things in order.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun Facts Friday

Wow. What a week. I got closer to my goal, and the weather here--crazy. One day 80 and sunny and today 50 and rain. Oh yeah totally fun.

1. My kids amaze me. It's funny how you can see yourself in them. It also scary. My daughter wants to write a chapter book. She started to come up with a story, and designed her own cover. Like I said on facebook, if she writes a query, I'm might be a little jealoous.

2. My son is totally into Star Wars (he's only seen the pod race scene in Episode I), but he loves it. Brings a little tear to my eye.

3. These lovelies came in the mail on Wednesday:

I can't wait to read them. I have to get through the other 20 books I have waiting for me. Book addict, um, yeah. Give me your thoughts if you read any of them.

4. I hope to make it to the next Philly Lit night on May 14th. Can't wait.

5. I'm excited for the Royal Wedding. Yes, you may think I'm nuts, but I like the whole tradition of it. Maybe it's the princess in me. I'm actually excited to see it, and watch it with my daughter. I got to see Princess Diana and Prince Charles wedding via TV and loved seeing the whole procession. I'm curious what my daughter will say since she wants to be a princess when she grows up.

6. Still debating on what tense to write my current WiP in. If you write in first person present tense, do you  have any pointers.

7. 30 Rock totally cracks me up.

8. I plan to post a clip for Writing the Next Line on Thursday. I'm going to be M.I.A. for a week so I thought it might be fun.

Alright, so there you have it. Not much due to my writing like a maniac, and reading through an MS for a CP. Plus, Easter is this weekend so I'm baking a lot of stuff. Oh and I'm taking my kids to see Elmo Live. Should be interesting.

Any weekend plans?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random Thoughts

Yeah, I don't got much today. Probably because there's a lot going on. I did hit 29K yesterday and I'm excited because this story is now flowing again. Whether it makes sense or not is yet to be seen. I know I talk a lot about my writing progress, but right now, that's what's consuming me. I'm also reading through a CPs MS and I'm reading this:
I'm about halfway through and I'm enjoying it. Has anyone read this? Did you enjoy it?

I also plan to start up Writing the Next Line. I know I said I would do this like over a month ago, but you know how life is. I plan to post something in about two weeks so stay tuned. Here is one to check out.That's all I got today except this tid bit:
Don't do a bleach load of laundry when wearing your favorite dark purple shirt. No matter how careful you are you will get bleach on it. Not fun.

How's your writing?

Have a great day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The weekend.

The weekend was pretty good. There was some consumption of this:
and some of this happened:
Not in that order. Well, yes, in that order, but on different days. One on Friday night and one on Saturday. I'm done explaining myself. Although, I didn't meet my goal of 30,000 words, I did make it to 26,000. Be happy for what you get done, right?

And this morning my brain feels like this:
photo removed.

House and all. There's a lot going on in there and it's torn between writing the new one and revising the old. I know, focus Christine, but lately I'm having a hard time. I have real life, writing, revisions, wanting to write a query, cleaning, laundry, all of it swirling around and not stopping on one thought. It's quite frustrating. The one thing that did help is I set time aside to write and that has made this new WiP seem to go a little faster than the last one. I'm sure I'll have a lot of revisions, but the story is there. The problem: I'm stuck again. My cure to that is to skip to the next chapter. I'm an out of order gal so that shouldn't be a problem, but my want to start querying keeps putting my brain back to revise the other MS and get it out there. I guess my brain is not only in a tornado, but this:
photo removed.
A full on war between two stories. Their fighting for attention. That could be a story itself.

Oh and I got TV time in. I watched part of this:
I should read the book first, but let's be realistic, that's not happening right now. So far it's good. Me likes.

So there you have it, my weekend and strange brain process.

My goals this week:
-To write at least 5,000 more words.
-Keep focused.

How was your weekend?

What are your goals?

How do you stay focused?

Have a great day!

Friday, April 15, 2011


So, yeah, I'm behind with this, like way behind. Thank you to all these lovely folks for thinking of me. I am so grateful for the support from this blogging community. It is so awesome.

Thanks to Beth for the 7 facts award. Beth is such a sweetheart. Thanks Beth. I will list 7 facts about myself see below.

Thanks to Michelle Gregory for this award. If you haven't checked out her blog or her book Eldala, go do it. She one of the nicest bloggers I know. Thanks Michelle.

Thanks to Alison Miller for the Stylish Blogger Award. She is so sweet. Thanks, Alison. Also, to Anne from Piedmont Writer. She also blessed me with this award. Anne is awesome. She has given me the best pep talks and advice. Thanks Anne.

Thanks to Misha for this lovely award. What a sweetie. Thanks Misha.

Go check out all the wonderful and amazingly talented writers above. Go give some love.

So as you can see, I'm a rule breaker so I'm not following all the rules. Yes, I'm lame. I will list 7 facts about myself, though, then if any of you wish to take one of these lovelies feel free. I can't narrow down the list of wonderful people to give these to. You all deserve every one of these awards.

1. I will eat pretty much anything with chocolate. Except weird stuff like bugs. *shivers*

2. My mind is in constant motion. I have a hard time shutting it off to sleep.

3. I wish I could stop babbling when I write a post, because they would be so much shorter.

4. I'm my toughest critic. I wish I could give myself a break.

5. I love adorable shoes.

6. I think of my MCs everyday, sometimes all day. Usually, it's trying to figure out what they will do next. When something comes to mind, I'm running like a mad woman to my laptop or one of my many journals.

7. I'm hoping to be in the query wars later this year. We will see how that goes. **fingers crossed**

There you go. Some simple boring facts about me.

Any weekend plans?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do you have a song for your MCs?

So, I'm writing away. In fact, I don't want to stop. I even want to start revising the other WIP. I must concentrate on one at a time, right? As with everything I write, I have soundtracks that inspire me, and help me see my characters. You all know this. Since I write a lot of romance, okay, who am I kidding, pretty much everything I write has romance in it, my couples seem to have their song.

You  know when you're in a relationship and there's that one song that seems to define you as a couple. After you're married, you still have that one song too. You know "that" song, the song that made the stars glow extra bright, and made the world stand still as you and your love stare at each other in a dreamy state.

Sorry, I got away from myself. Anyway, my MCs, yeah, those couples have songs too. Okay, maybe it's just me, but I do have songs for them. No, I'm not crazy. At least, I don't think so. :) But I do have songs that put my sweet little couples in that dreamy state when they look at each other.

For my WiP #1 Ian and Anna's song --I will follow you into the dark by Death Cab for Cutie. You can check it out here. I'm not sure if it will work you tube was a pain this morning. Yeah, it's a little morbid, but it fits them, perfectly. Since this has been the longest story I've been working on, these two have two songs. The other-- Letters from the Sky by Civil Twilight.

It totally gives me the chills and makes the characters appear to me in a very real, and I mean real, visual.

For my WiP #3 Will and Livie's song--The Cave by Mumford and Sons. This fits them perfectly, and it fits the feel of the story.

For my WiP #4 Graham and Sadie's Song--Modern Love by Bloc Party. I'm such a sucker for british rock, especially indie. Since I'm working on this one right now, I've been groovin' to a lot of punk rock and indie british rock. I've been a fan of Bloc Party for a while and love them to pieces. This totally fits the feel of this story, and, boy, do they rock.

All my soundtracks are in my music tab above. If you've been following me for a while, you know music is a huge, really humongous, inspiration to my writing. That's probably why I like to talk about it so much.

Do you have any songs that totally fit your MCs, making it their song?

I hope to have an awards post Friday. I've been on a roll with writing so that seems to take up a lot of my time, when I have it.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Possession by Elana Johnson

That's right, I got a copy. My very first ARC. I was a little giddy when I opened up the package. Okay, a lot of giddy danced across me. Isn't the cover beautiful? Alright, I'll get on with it.

Title: Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Pages: 416
Publisher Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
To be released: June 7, 2011

The blurb:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

My take:
Possession mesmerized me from beginning to end, and then, the end hit me with a wow. A what if situation that takes you on a wild ride of good vs. bad and what that really means. It made you think about how the perception of words is really left up to opinion and how that opinion could change the world. Would you give in to the control or would you fight it? What makes you good or bad in the first place?

The characters have a way of getting into your head and you can't get them out. I really enjoyed the strength of Vi and her snarky attitude. She did have a soft side that pulled at my heart. Jag and Zenn surprised me. Just when I thought I knew the character, new information about them would be revealed, making me turn the page. All three of them created an interesting love triangle that made it hard for me to decide which guy I would rather her with.

I am glad the author used simple words for the technology. It made it easier to understand the weapons and "rulers." The description of the world was excellent. I could  visualize it clearly. The pace never slowed for me. It kept going, revealing information at the right time.

Now, I'm not going to spoil the end. Let me just say, it's not a traditional ending which I really liked. It left me wanting the next book in the series. According to her fansite, a series. There better be another one. :)

Overall, I enjoyed this book. This book contains strong characters, is fast paced, and had action with twists and turns that kept me guessing till the end.

Where can you go to get info:

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Teenage betas?

Okay, so I did promise you a review this week, and well, I haven't delivered. **cheeks red** **holds head in shame** Yes, I'm still writing. I did do some brainstorming this week too. I think I have a way I want the story to go down, I just have to write it. This got me thinking. I have CPs and I'm lining up beta readers, but they are all about my age. I write Young Adult, you know that 12-18 age group, and I know a bunch of people who are out of this age group that read this lovely candy. I won't mention names or ages. :) But in the end, I'm targeting the 12-18 age group. Now, my baby must sound teenager when I write it so that's up to me in revisions. But what about finding a teenager to read it before I query?

So, I'm wondering if any of you have teenage beta readers. My kids are not teens and I don't have close contact with anyone in this bracket so where do I find one? I've seen a forum on YA Lit Chat. Has anyone tried this?

I'm not quite near needing one yet, but wondered if anyone has used a teen reader and how it's helped your MS.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but when I'm not writing I'm thinking of what I need to do to help it after (fingers crossed) it's finished.

I promise a review next week, and most likely I'll be on more of a hiatus. I need to get this baby done, and then head into revision prison for WiP #1. That baby needs lots and lots of work. Wow. Then if that all gets done, its on to query time. So scared.

Any weekend plans?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Out of Order

So, I don't got much today. My brain seems to be in overdrive. With lots going on in my life, and my determination spark constantly igniting, heating my creativity, and pushing me to sit in front of a computer screen, not much else goes on. My surroundings swirl, and when I look at what I wrote, well, sometimes a smile spreads, and sometimes, weird foreign sounding curse words are whispered. All and all work is getting done, but not quickly.

When writing a first draft, I can't seem to write in order. I've been trying, but it's not happening. I write totally out of order. I wrote up to the middle, and I wrote the end, and now, I'm writing the 3/4 mark. Now, when I think out of order, I think broken, and sometimes a toilet comes to mind. So, does that mean I'm broken? Yikes. I'm trying not to relate to the toilet. Unless, that means everything I write out of order goes 'down the toilet.' In that case, I should just hang the sign up on this WiP or my head.

I know some of the scenes will change, but I think it's my way of figuring out the story. I know people have their own methods of writing and there are a lot of them. I'm just curious because I'm beginning to feel that my method is on the odd side.

So, tell me peeps, What is your method?

Do you write out of order?

You know my brain is distracted when I have a post that short. Have a great day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Loglines or hooks

The weekend was good. I got some writing in and finished that ARC. So, yeah, a review will be posted this week. :)

Loglines or hooks. You know those one or two line pitches that basically sum up your entire story. Those simple, little things that you're supposed to throw out there when someone asks, "What's your novel about?" You see them on book jackets and on movie posters. Easy, right?

Do you have one?

I know some of you are totally prepared and have one made up for every manuscript you've written. Some of you, I see your blank faces. I'm not writing this to scare you or put pressure on you, but it may help you be more prepared if someone asks that dreaded question, along with getting that request for a full, which will lead to getting that agent who will sell your amazing manuscript to that big time publisher, then... Okay, I'm probably going overboard, but you never know.

Another benefit--to help write your novel. If you can sum it up in one or two lines, then I think it may keep you focused on the main idea. Some say you should come up with one before you pound your novel out on the keys. Simple. (I'm being sarcastic.)

I've been trying to come up with loglines, mainly to see if I can. I haven't been super successful, but I'm working on it.

Let's break it down:
What's the point?

Basically, what I said before--
1. To help push someone to read the rest of that query letter you worked so hard on.
2. Conveys the main plot of your novel.

How do you do this?
Let me just say, "It's not easy." I've yet to come up with one that even makes sense.  A logline or hook is basically made up of these elements.
1. Main character-A little something about your hero. Who are they?
2. The villian- A little something about this guy or gal and the conflict they create. What is the conflict? Who are they?
3. What makes your book shine? Basically, what makes it unique? What makes it different from the rest?
4. Where does your story take place? Some brief words on the setting.
5. A little action.

Here are some examples (None of these are mine, obviously):

Sixteen year old Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a brutal future reality TV show where twenty-four participants compete, but only one survives. THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins.

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away. THE DARK DIVINE by Bree Despain. Yes, this is more than two lines, but fine.

Seventeen year old Bella Swan falls in love with vampire Edward Cullen only to find out he might want to kill her more than love her.  TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer.

I have links, people. These awesome links explain this little topic so much better than me. So, go there. Like now.

The Guardian Writer (Melissa Dean) --Loglines

Words, Etc. Kat O'Keeffe-- Loglines

Author Michelle McLean--How to write a hook line or logline.

YA author Elana Johnson-Writing the Query Letter --Part One : The Hook You know she rocks.

Books that might help:
Elana Johnson's From Query to Call

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Anything to add?

Have you written a logline or would like to share one?

How was your weekend?

Let me just say, this post too so long to write. The kiddos were on fire this morning. I don't mean that literally. You know. Okay, it's morning. I must go wake up now.

Have a great day!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Research the agent.

I think mother nature is playing a cruel April Fools joke on us today. It's snowing. Funny, mother nature, jokes over, right? I'm also not feeling my best. It seems whatever my kids had this week has now hit me. So I will keep this short.

I hit 15 K yesterday and I'm thrilled. I really hope to finish the first draft by May. This story is just rolling along. I will have some things to change around and revisions, okay, a lot of revisions, but that's the whole process. I'm finally at the point that I'm comfortable with the way I write. Out of order. To this point, I've been writing it in order, but today I must write the end. It keeps bugging me and I know it might change, but it may help the middle.

I've been thinking about the whole query process, and yeah, it scares me. Part of me is excited, the other half, shaking like crazy. I may be premature in thinking about it, but it will come one day. As with anything, I will have to do research to see what agent is good for me, and everything that goes along with it. Of course, I have to be 100% that my manuscript is to the best of my ability, along with the query letter. Yikes. But research takes time, so in the down time, or when I'm stuck, I start to look at this stuff.

Of course, you have to research what each agent is looking for--don't just send your baby to anyone. Make sure they are interested in your genre. Also, submissions guidelines. Make sure you follow these or you're not going to get an answer. Don't forget, never give any money up front. Agents are working for you, so if someone asks for it, let's just say, decline. Would you pay someone to take away your child or pet? Don't answer that unless it's the same answer as me. No. I wouldn't get rid of them, but I hope you see my point. That may be a weird analogy.

Anyway, I think we get so caught up in the writing process we tend to forget that we should know the business too. This will help you understand what goes on, and not leave you in the dark. Plus, don't you want to know what happens to your baby. It is like another child (At least to me. Okay, don't look at me like that). It should be in the best care as possible.

I've been guided to some sites., Association of Author's Representatives, Absolute Write, and AgentQuery.

Do you have any others to add?

Any advice when I start my research?

I know my comments have been limited, and, well, they still will be limited. Sorry. I'm writing, folks. I also need to do a big awards post. Thanks to all of you who have given me an award. You're so sweet.

Have a great weekend!