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!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The rollercoaster of emotion

Today is the Insecure Writers Support Group post. This little gathering was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please check out his blog and the others that are part of this. I also want to say, I'm trying to not ignore the blog, especially responding to your comments and comments, but folks I'm trying to get ready to query, at least I hope.

That's what has been on my mind. The query. Writing it sort of is, well let's face it, a pain, but that's not my full issue. It's getting the baby ready that's been quite the task. Between my two manuscripts, I decided to go back to the first one I wrote to query. I've been working on it for three years and the new one just needed to be away from me for a while (don't ask).

I went through changed the tense and did a comb through. Now it's out to betas and parts go to my CPs. Here's the thing. I feel like no matter what I do it will never be ready. I think for a second (in my gut), yes (fist pump), that was the last revision, but I get feedback and it's, well, it needs more of this and that and I totally agree. Now let me just say, I want the feedback and my CPs and betas are the best people on the planet because I don't want to send it out and it's not ready, but when will I know. When the comments to fix things end. Granted they are not major things (at least not yet), which is a blessing. They are minor, you know, simple and do able, but when will I know. Everyone keeps telling me gut feeling, but let me be honest, my gut doesn't always give me the right sign, at least I don't think so.

So, send me your thoughts. When do you decide a manuscript is ready for the big world of agents eyes?
Am I just being impatient?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Why am I smiling? This is coming out today. Even though I have a Kindle, I'm buying this baby in the flesh. I want it in my hands. Why do I have so many books to read? And why will I put them aside for this? Look at this cover, and the other reason, Nora and Patch. *Sigh and big smiles*
Yes, I'm drooling a little and staring.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick Blurb:
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

What book are you waiting for?

Have a great day!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Kiss

The weekend was good. Lots of activity. I did finish my tense conversion on manuscript #1 so you could say I'm super excited. I hope (fingers crossed), I finish my revisions this week so my betas can have it by the end of the week. Again, fingers crossed. Then it's onto the dreaded query (hope it will be painless). So none of this has anything to do with the title of this post. Sorry.

Here is what I wanted to get at. I like writing romance. In fact, pretty much everything I write has it in it. Somebody is kissing somebody, so you could say, I have have a soft spot for kissing scenes. I'm torn between wanting the tension to just get it over with. I know I don't like the tease of flirty through a whole book and nothing, such a let down, but I don't think I'm a big fan of the kiss in the second chapter. Depends, I guess. Here's the thing, I just cut my kissing scene that happens sort of early in the book (don't worry it wasn't the second chapter). I guess it just depends on the characters, but I was torn. I thought in the end it may add a little more tension. We will see what the betas say.

What's your take--

Do like the tension or the early kiss?

This is if you like romance in your novels, or even if you don't, let me know your thoughts on romance in YA.

How was your weekend? 

Have a great day!