Thursday, December 9, 2010

Contest Information

You must rush out and sign up for Beth Revis' Epic Contest of Epic. I don't know if you have followed her story on the path to publication, but it is inspirational. She never gave up, which is a great thing because the first chapter of Across the Universe is awesome. This is a must read as soon as humanly possible book. The day I get my hands on a copy (I'm hoping I'll somehow score an ARC since I don't want to wait until release day) nothing will get done in my house. The kids will eat take out and I will be happy.

So go sign up. There are a hundred Awesome prizes available. Go now!

PS I'm planning on renewing my blogging after the holidays. Not only do I get busy with Christmas, but lots of birthdays too. Once my crazy is over I plan on getting back on the blogging band wagon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

YA Agent Contest

I know I've had a huge blog silence The summer was rough when it came to writing, and I just let myself disappear. Now I'm getting back into the swing of things with the kids being in school. So I should start posting again. Currently I'm torn between revisions and a new novel.

I also wanted to let you know about the contest going on over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog. It''s a great contest, and you should definitely think about submitting!

Have a great week, and look for a real post next week sometime!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not the Friday Five

I keep thinking that I'm going to do better at posting, and then Friday rolls around, and I just get so caught up in other things. It's crazy, and I should be working on the post more regularly. But I decided to go ahead and do a post today. It may ramble a bit, but I've been thinking about writing a lot lately, and reading.

We recently moved and there is this beautiful flower garden growing next to my front step. It was done by the person who lived here previously. We moved in the winter, and so I had no idea it was there, but then one day in March yellow tulips grew overnight and blossomed. They made me smile every time I'd go in and out of the door. Next all of these plants started growing in the same little plot. And I thought to myself I should really go ahead and weed. Not all of these plants are likely to be flowers, but I didn't. Because quite honestly I've never gardened, really never given it much thought, and I didn't know which ones to pull. So I let everything grow.

And I'm glad I did. I think a few of the plants are a bit overgrown, and could have used some weeding back earlier in the year. I don't know what most of the flowers are, but they are gorgeous. Pinky purples, yellows, and whites that blend together perfectly. Not to mention that they are arranged heighth wise so that the tallest plants are in the back, and the fronts ones are much shorter. It's like a staircase of flowers. Whoever planted the garden knew what they were doing, because it is beautiful and slightly wild looking, and it's okay that I didn't go back and weed out all the plants when I first did. I keep watching and waiting for new plants to bloom.

Now I do have an analogy to this when it comes to writing. I don't write entirely by the seat of my pants. I have the end in mind, just like the person who planted the lovely flowers out by my front step, but I'm not always sure which parts of my stories are the weeds, and which parts are the flowers. I'm a big believer in getting my story out and letting it grow before taking it apart and pulling the weeds. But it's got to grow a little bit out of control, and a little bit wild until it becomes the beautiful book that can put sunshine and a moment of happiness in someone's life.

I read a lot. On average I'm about a book every one or two days. And while sometimes I get so tired with what I'm reading, so discontent every now and then I find a book that speaks to me in the same way that those flowers make me smile. Sometimes it is a happy book that lets me totally escape the moment, or a book that makes me sit back and really think and consider my life. This week the book that stood out the most was Hold Still by Nina LaCour. This was a very moving story about a girl who is recovering from the suicide of her best friend. It was honest, it was raw, but it was not without hope. It was perfect in the balance of being truthful, but showing that there is hope and a chance to move forward.

I want to write books that give people that kind of hope. I may write a lot of fantasy, paranormal or dystopian books, but ultimately I want hope to be the message in the book. I've had times in my life where it felt like I ran out of hope, and looking for any way to get it back. I've also had times when I've been surrounded by it and grateful to be surrounded by people who care.

This spring that flower garden has been something that has given me hope. It's reminded me that things that we do now can help others later on. So here is to hope and passing it on.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Friday Five: Late or Early

1. There are weeks when things start piling up, and time that was set aside for writing just doesn't happen. Sometimes those are things you can really put aside for later ( you don't really need to be able to see the floor anyway--right? And really no one cares that my kids have worn the same clothes for three days straight), but some things require your immediate attention. A very broken arm by a child who believes that he can fly--well not really he just likes to jump off of high surfaces. He's been doing it since he could walk and climb, and I think I convinced myself that he wasn't capable of breaking himself. Sure he's had stitches, and he's bitten through his lip, but an actual cast for at least a month, possibly two never would happen. But it did and an entire afternoon I had set aside particularly for accomplishing something was eaten up by x-rays and setting and casts. Poor little guy. He was very brave.

2. Bedtimes are definitely getting later and later at my house. My oldest insists that she can't fall asleep without reading first. I'm glad that she reads, but once she's done she gets up and wanders the house. The boys just don't like to go to sleep, and they can be very cranky the next morning. I think it's time to get out the dark curtains again and put them up. It's the only way I've been able to survive summers since I've had kids. Why does it stay light until 9:00? Why?

3. Zombies and werewolves--doesn't that just sound exciting. It does to me. And I love the characters more than any other characters I've written. So it is awesome. I can't wait to share that awesome with you. It's funny how excited I get about things. It really is true. Frankly my husband is tired of me talking about Jason. Jason's been on my mind a lot because he is the most difficult character I've ever attempted to write, and the story I'm telling is in first person, but Jason is not the narrator. So I know all this stuff about him that Lexy doesn't know and it's getting difficult. But progress is being made.

4. Somewhere in my life I switched from being a morning person to so not being a morning person. I don't know when it fully started, but honestly I think I can trace it back to my husband. Until we started dating I went to bed at 10:00 on weeknights--weekends have always been another story, and got up at 6:00. And now I'm up until at least 12 and if I didn't have kids in school, I think I'd get up at 9:00. But at least all three kids are sleeping through the night finally. That truly makes me happy.

5. Today i sorted laundry so I caught up on my T.V. I don't watch many shows. I have three Biggest Loser, Office and Glee. And then my husband watches LOST so I'll occasionally sit next to him and try to write while it is on. I gave up on it, but since the finale is Sunday I'll watch it. I've been so so on Glee lately. I don't know how I feel about a lot aspects of the show since they started back up. And The Office gotta love that.

Happy Writing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five: Looking for the Positive

1. This week has been full of ups and downs. It involved a car repair, walking in the rain and just general back and forth. Isn't it funny how things can swing from one side to another depending on what you hear. Fortunately this week I've had a positive attitude the entire week.Walking my son to preschool was a chance for exercise, not a burden. And we were blessed that though it rained throughout the day, the times I had to be out walking it was sunny. It was just that kind of week. We got a bit of bad news, but then good news would show up a little bit later to make up for it. So this week my glass was a little more than half full.

2. On the writer front, I still just don't know Jason very well. I don't know what scares me so much about writing him. Maybe it's the name. I've actually been friends with a few different Jasons. All nice guys. This Jason is a nice guy as well, but something isn't working. I may need to change the name. So I'm up for suggestions--seriously if you have any that'd be great. The other main character names are Lexy, and Kaden if that helps. On the other hand I've been able to work out some major information surrounding Jason and Lexy and their relationship to make it much more believable. Really neat stuff--still I can't seem to get inside of Jason's head enough.

3. I've already begun planning on how to entertain my kids over the summer. The goal is to wear them out as quickly as I can at the beginning of each and every day. I really want them to have a fun summer, soI'm going to schedule play dates, and take them to the parks. But we have to go out early, and be done by 11:00 or the heat will kill us. It should be a good summer.

4. When we moved a few months ago we went ahead and got T.V when we had the Internet hooked up. This was to save us money, since we would get rebates back that would pay for the t.v. portion of the bill for a few months. I grew up in a cable free home. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal. Most of my friends didn't have cable when I was young, so I didn't realize that I had missed out on so much until I was in college and people would talk about that show or this show. But I didn't really feel like I'd missed out on anything. So I'm torn on the whole T.V. thing now. I like having a DVR, but I was using Hulu to do that. Basically now we are trying to decide whether or not to cancel the cable. The kids like it, but I think they watch too much T.V. Rob is torn as well--since he is very media obsessed, but he's not positive it's worth the money, which is actually really something coming from him. We'll have to see what to do.

5. Strangely enough I started this post in the morning, and now it's midnight. So I guess I'm slow or something. But that's okay, as least it got written today. That's better than most things I've managed to try to do today.

Happy Writing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Five: Finally!

1. So I almost didn't do another Friday five this week. Shameful I know, but today has been one of THOSE days. I haven't showered yet, and it's 10:30. I didn't do it this morning because I was going to exercise, but things kept coming up, again, and again and again. The biggest of which was running Caleb, my five year old, in for a breathing treatment. He should be fine, and it's not the first time I've taken him in--though it has been three years. We are stocked up on Albuterol for awhile, and hopefully he won't need it. Talk about hyper!

2. Last week I gave myself the week off--completely off from my writing. The reason I was feeling a little burned out, a bit stuck and just frustrated in general. Was my plot not the awesome I thought it was? Was I overextending my current writing capabilities? That is still up for debate, but I came back, and I flew through some of my best first draft writing ever! So it felt good. I used to be afraid of breaks, but now I think they are good every now and then.

3. One of the best things about critique groups is how much you learn. I learn from reading and other people's work, and recognizing weaknesses and strengths. Sometimes it's easier to find a problem in someone else's writing, and then look to see if you have it in yours. I don't know if that makes sense, but I learn just as much from the critiques I give to others as I do from the critiques people give to me. It's great to stretch and work, and grow as a writer.

4. So there has been some crazy news this week. The fireball that flew over the midwest (you've got to watch the footage), the ash cloud shutting down travel in a large part of Europe, another earthquake, (well two actually, though one was quite small in comparison.) And I can come up with three to four plot ideas for each one of them. Wow! Awesome stories too. The thing i like to remember that these events aren't much except for the way that they affect the people. Choose a few, throw them into the scenario and bam the perfect story plot.

5. And now I'm off to get to know my zombie. His name is Jason, he is seventeen years old. He likes the color blue, and his favorite sport is football. He works out on a regular basis and he is madly in love with Lexy. But he is also infected. Let's see what I can come up with.

Happy Writing!

Monday, April 12, 2010


I know I've been missing in action. I gave myself some time off to get refocused. So expect a good post from me on Friday. In the meantime, here's a great contest that you may want to enter. It invovles critiques of queries and pages, twizzlers and books. Should be fun! Go check it out at Sarah Wylie's blog.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contest and Bojangles

First I wanted to share a great contest over at Moonrat's blog Editorial Ass, which is a 20 page crit. Her blog is great, if you don't already follow it, you should. I'm sure that her critique would be a huge help to anyone in the midst of submitting/writing a novel.

And I wanted to explain Bojangles to my non-Southern readers. It's a fried chicken store, that specializes in Southern style food. Like sweet potato pie, sausage biscuits, gravy and biscuits, and other stuff. They have dirty rice, which is spicy rice. As adventurous as it all sounds, all I get is the Chicken Strip snack pack. The chicken strips are a bit spicier than any I've ever had, and the honey mustard sauce is the best that I've had. Plus the biscuits are good--really good and I don't normally like biscuits.

Anyway go enter the contest!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Six

1. Since I missed posting yesterday, I'm going to give you six wonderfully random bits of information. Well I don't know about wonderful. I missed posting yesterday because my daughter missed her bus, and then I ran, and ran, and ran. And then we ended up visiting family. Basically yesterday was a no computer day and I didn't get much done. I did catch up on sleep while we were on the road.

2. In order to motivate myself to write my Zombie/Werewolf novel super fast, I'm mailing one chapter at a time to my darling sister. She's not a writer, and is wonderful at telling me good job, and I want the next chapter, and telling me that I'm being a slacker when I don't get a chapter to her. Sometimes it helps to just have someone to be accountable to, but I feel like by letting her read it, I'm not ruining writing the whole first draft without anyone seeing it, because she's not sending me comments back. Does that make sense? I hope so, because it does to me.

3. I really enjoyed Elana Johnson's posts on how to get more traffic to your blog. Anyway, you should totally read the series. I enjoyed them, and I think she had a lot of really good points. I blog and write for another site that is not related to writing, and I some of what she says over there. I know I need to do it here, but I really need to figure out a way to find the focus. Sometime soon it will start.

4. This week I've learned about swords, fences, guns and other things I never once thought that I'd ever need to know about. I was fascinated as I watched my nephew load a Nerf shotgun, and the way the bullet casings would fly out on to the ground, and pulling the muzzle (if that is even the right part of the gun) up before shooting. It made me picture things differently, and also think about how I describe certain things in person. It also made me decide I need to go pick up a real sword somewhere and hold it. And maybe pretend to fight someone. I've done it with a plastic sword with my boys, but I think a heavy sword would make a difference in the fighting.

5. Looking back at what I've written this week, I'm still so excited about this story. I'm still in love with the story idea, and the entire plot, and the whole triangle, and all of the little things that I'm uncovering, but even more exciting I feel like that I'm a much better writer than I was. It makes me want to rethink everything I've written. So that is exciting. Of course I don't have any feedback, but it's okay to love my story at the beginning. I'm sure that I will hate it several times along the way.

6. I'm going to go and eat me some Bojangles. The first time my husband brought me out to North Carolina, he made me eat some Bojangles. This was a time when I was eating hardly any meat, but man it was good. I'm getting ready to go more vegetarian, and I really think that Bojangles is something that I'm going to miss. I could eat it every week, just like pizza, but fortunately I don't have one close to my house. I love their chicken strips and honey mustard sauce!

Happy Writing!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Five: Spring is Almost Here!

1. The weather this last week has been beautiful. Unfortunately we haven't enjoyed it. My two little boys had an awful cold all week long! And they are still worn out and barely making it through the day. I feel so sad for them. They didn't even ask to go anywhere the whole week. That's how sick they were. Hopefully by Monday we will be able to get out and enjoy the weather.

2. I had a wonderful birthday this week. My husband made me dinner, mopped the floor, got me a gift card to Barnes and Noble and a new crock pot. I love crock pots, but my last one nearly started a fire after being on for only four hours. It had been shutting off randomly (which I was wondering if the kids were messing with it), but anyway this doesn't need to be a crock pot post. Needless to say the crock pot is my friend, because I often have the most energy in the morning, and I love making dinner then and just eating it in the evening. I'm looking for good vegetarian crock pot recipes if you have any ideas.

3. Last night I had a major breakthrough idea on my zombie plot so I'm very excited. The plot is a love triangle, and I know who I'm rooting for, and of course I know who ultimately wins, but I was worried that I was introducing one of the two guys too late in the novel. Yeah, totally fixed that last night. Well not it's not technically written yet, but it should be before I go to bed tonight.

4. I went to Barnes and Noble tonight and wandered through the store with my youngest looking for books. I couldn't find anything that spoke to me. One of the reasons is that I really wanted to get a writing book--but I hate to buy those books without reading reviews and everything. I had a specific one in mind, but they didn't have it. So then I just looked at them all. Ones that seemed interesting were writing your novel in a month--since I am attempting this first draft in a month. Revising your novel in a month--which I just don't know if it is possible. And The Idiot's Guide to Writing a Young Adult Novel. Actually that didn't look interesting--honestly I'm put off by the Idiot and Dummie books. Frankly I don't consider myself either, and I think it is kind of demeaning, even though I've looked through a few on topics besides writing and learned stuff. I like the title Everything You Need to Know type books, but frankly I wouldn't buy those on writing either. I want a book written by someone that has consistently published and been successful or that comes to me highly recommended or that Rob buys for me because he does his research. So if you have any recommendations let me know. I did see the Portable MFA book and considered it for a short time, and might still be considering it. My favorites are On Writing by Stephen King, Plot and Structure, Hooked and The First Five Pages.

5. I've been thinking about craft lately. I take my writing seriously. I think that there things that I can specifically work on to become better. I think you can learn about craft from reading both books on writing and just books in general. Sometimes it takes attending a specific workshop or hearing a specific critique that can really solve everything for you. The thing is that as a writer it's a continuous evolution. Every day, every chapter, every word I write helps me to come a little bit better and I can incorporate it into the next novel I write. How do you improve your craft?

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wonderful Contest and News

So on Monday night I was very excited to read Beth Revis's news that she had a book deal (and what a book deal I might add). congrats to her! I've been reading Beth's blog for more than a year, and I really have enjoyed. She's from Western NC, and I lived out that way for a few years (we've never met or anything), but when she'd talk about the Biltmore House, I could think I've been there--stuff like that. And her student comment blogs never failed to make me laugh. I was excited and felt I must share.

Me: Rob, that blog I follow, you know the one where she's a teacher in Western NC, she just got a really good book deal.

Rob: Huh?

Me: I've talked about the blog a lot. You know funny things happen in her class. She lives out in Western NC. I've talked about this to you.

Rob: Huh?

Me: Point is that she got an awesome book deal.

Rob: Well that's great.

Shows how much he really listens when I talk writing.

Anyway Beth's having an awesome contest to celebrate, and if you don't already follow her blog you really should. Every post is worth reading.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Five: Getting Old

1. It's my birthday on Monday, and I'm starting to feel frustrated and old. I wanted to be published by now, but really I'm not that old, and I did things backwards from all of my friends. Family first, and then career. Since my ultimate goal is to be a career novelist. I think it will happen. I know it will, I just need to put in the hard work. And in case you're wondering I'm turning 32. Not ancient, and plenty of time to have a long prolific career. I've been telling people I'm 32 for awhile, since I can't really remember my age when asked. I was stuck at 28 for a while, but it's a little ridiculous to say I'm 28 no wait actually I'm 31. Yeah, babies sucked my brains out.

2. I was writing a chapter in my dystopian novel and just plugging away--I felt like the tension was pretty high. it was a chase scene through the woods, and then I started worrying about geography. Why did I have to set the story in a specific geographic location? Why? A lot of stuff has changed due to a war, but things like rivers, and mountains wouldn't change, so I'd interrupt my tension building scene to see if they should go north or east. Nope south and east. is there a river, because we need a river? Yes there were several rivers. Anyway from now on, I'm going to be geographically vague. Saves me time. Right? I hope so. But I'd still have to make sure everything matches and draw my own map. Maybe it is easier to have an already existing one.

3. Could you please give me an opinion as to which query you prefer and why?

Query 1 (which I've been sending out)

Seventeen-year-old Isis didn’t believe in magic until she accidentally uses it to save her life. Dane, a classmate, witnesses the display and pulls her into a battle between two ancient societies. Isis learns that the strange things that happen around her and her crazy dreams aren’t signs of impending insanity. Isis’ dreams actually mean that she is the dreamer with a power more potent than any other. She has the ability to control people by altering their subconscious while they sleep and the ability to see the future.

As Dane teaches Isis to control her powers the feelings between them grow. Isis is finally finding a place in the world where she never quite fit in—until Kalli, her cousin, shows up to convince her that she’s joined the wrong side of the battle. As Isis pieces together the clues from her dreams she learns of an impending disaster planned by Kalli’s group.

Isis’ powers give her the ability to end the conflict and stop the killing once and for all, but she must choose between fighting for the good of all mankind and saving her cousin, a choice no ordinary girl should make. Good thing Isis is anything but ordinary.

DREAMING ISIS, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 65,000 words. It will appeal to readers who loved the intrigue of THE AWAKENING by Kelley Armstrong and to those who enjoyed the paranormal romance elements of NEED by Carrie Jones

Query 2 (which I'm thinking of using, but not so sure)

Seventeen-year-old Isis is tired. Tired of hiding the dreams that predict future events, and the strange things that happen around her. Tired of surviving her mom’s psychotic episodes anytime she hears about something strange Isis did. And she’s tired of her sanity being questioned at every family gathering. So she hides her headaches, which are steadily getting worse and hopes that insanity doesn’t really run in the family.

All that changes the day Isis accidentally uses her powers to save herself from an exploding car and all of her secrets start coming out. Dane, a classmate, pulls her into a battle between two ancient societies. Dane seems to have the answers that Isis has always wanted. He can help her control her powers, stop her headaches and hang onto her sanity. She finds herself drawn to his charms until her cousin Kalli shows up to convince her she’s joined the wrong side. Isis realizes that she’s not the only one who’s been hiding things.

As Isis pieces together the warnings from her dreams she learns of an impending disaster planned by Kalli’s group. Isis has the power to stop it from happening and ending the conflict for good, but she has to choose between fighting for the good of mankind or to keep the love of her family by continuing to hide. A choice no ordinary girl should make. Good thing Isis is anything but ordinary.

DREAMING ISIS, a young adult contemporary fantasy novel, is complete at 65,000 words. It will appeal to readers who loved the intrigue of THE AWAKENING by Kelley Armstrong and to those who enjoyed the paranormal romance elements of NEED by Carrie Jones

4. I've gotten feedback that my query just isn't making my novel stand out from the pack. So I need to do something to it. I'm tempted to post my query for my zombie werewolf book, but I won't. I think the premise is so cool, that I don't want the pressure of sharing it with anyone until it is finished. But it is so cool, and the query is in good shape, and I think it would get agents to answer me. It's better than the above two queries, and I wish that I'd already finished writing it.

5. A writerly question: I have a friend who is attending the most awesome MFA program up in Vermont. She told me about several discussions that they had about the spareness of writing--without a lot of detail--which I tend to write that way. Anyway she thinks that the trend will swing back the other way. And I've been reading some spare books lately, that just make me tired. I like the first book in the series, but I tire of them before I get through them. I'm wondering if I'm the only one who finds this? Do you find writing can be too spare? What about overdone? And which style do you prefer? (I guess that is more a reading question)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Contests!

Elana Johnson is doing another great contest at her blog.She is giving you the opportunity win one of seven great books. They all look great!

Shooting Stars by Suzette and Bethany are doing a great contest as well. There five prizes. A 40 page critique by the wonderful agent Suzie Townsend, three possible books and toffee. All you have to do is become a follower of the blog.

On a writing note--I hope that you are setting good realistic writing goals and reaching them. I can tell how well my writing is going and how well my thoughts are flowing by the number of words I misspell. The worse I'm doing, the worse I'm spelling. How do you tell you're having a bad writing day? Or what's a clue that it is going great?

Happy writing!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Contest for Lots of Stuff

Weronica Janczuk is holding a contest on her blog to celebrate reaching 500 followers on Twitter. She is giving away four fifty page critiques, plus books. So you should totally check it--best yet it doesn't have to be for a completed manuscript. So go and enter!

Friday Five: Spring!

1. March is one of my favorite months of the year. There are lots of reasons--it finally really starts to warm up. I always get new clothes, and it's my birthday month. Silly I know and probably a little juvenile, but March makes me happy. I'm glad that it is finally here. This year February was way too snowy. It's funny, because it wasn't any worse than any of the February's I had growing up--in fact it was most likely better weather wise, but I guess being in the South for ten years kind of changes your perspective on things.

2. Speaking of birthday months, and the thought of ten years since I graduated college, and I'm feeling old. I know I'm not old. I really know it, but ten years sounds like a long time, and to be somewhere for ten years is a long time. At least I don't have a ten year old yet.

3. I have been thinking that I should talk more about writing on the blog, and possibly post more than once a week. I've also been thinking about doing some sort of contest. I will let you know what I decide as soon as I do. The simple truth is I'm still recovering from moving. Drawing it out over the entire month of February was exhausting. I think I like quick moves better, but we did manage to get rid of a lot of stuff. It is amazing the amount of stuff you can accumulate in a few years time. Silly really--I mean what do possessions matter? All I need is a nice bed to sleep on and my laptop with access to the Internet and I'm good to go. Oh and I forgot my five shelves of books that my husband was pointing out the entire time we were moving.

4. It makes me want to get an e-reader, because then I'll have the books and one small device instead of huge book stacks. But then I'm thinking about all the books I have on the shelves so my kids will read them when they are older. Would I be willing to let my middle schooler take over my kindle no, I would not. But that is how I read a lot of my books was browsing my parents shelves when I was bored. I read nearly every book they had--except for my mom's nursing textbooks, though I did look at the pictures. The skin disease photos absolutely fascinated me--gross!

5. I had a strange dream last night. It was one of those dreams that you think now what is my subconscious trying to tell me? I'm afraid of heights in real life, and in this dream it was taken to new extremes, and I kept backing up from the edge of things, and then watching people I used to be close to (from old parts of my life) fall off of the edge. Totally and completely wacky. So what does it mean? And during the dream I said to myself, look this up when you wake up. So I will.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Lucky Agent Contest

Just wanted to let you all know that the third Dear Lucky Agent Contest is going on over at the Guide to Literary Agents site. The focus this time is Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. The agent is Joanna Stampfel-Volpe. Everything I've heard about her has been fantastic. You can win a critique of the first 20 pages of your work.

Go and enter!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Five: Write, Write, Write

1. Sadly most of my time this week, and really the whole month, has been spent on moving, not on writing. But I'm anxious and ready to go. Lexy is calling out to me, she wants her story written. So sadly, I've read like three books this week with the name Alexia as one of the main characters. But that's her name, dang it! What's a writer to do?

2. I've done lots of reading this week as well. We sold off a bunch of stuff on Craigslist which meant sitting in parking lots waiting for people to show up. And so I read. It was quite enjoyable. Truly.

3. I've been toying with the idea of taking an online writing class. Do any of you have any recommendations? Or I could take something local over the summer. I'm thinking of doing this instead of a major writer's conference this year. That way I can really get deeper into my writing, and still hit the Charlotte conference in NC.

4. I just love our new place. I've got more energy, and I'm a lot happier. It's so nice to start with something fresh and new and bold.

5. I've been thinking a lot about the objective correlative. And trying to work it into my writing. That's where you take emotions of someone and instead of stating them you demonstrate by the way they act towards certain objects. It's a great way to deepen your writing.

Happy Writing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Five: Beautiful Weather

1. This weekend beautiful weather is on the table. We went ahead and moved despite the snow last weekend. Unfortunately for me that meant we didn't have anyone come and help. I've always considered myself strong and tough, but now I can prove it. I lifted and loaded and helped move all of the big, heavy furniture in our house. We're not quite done, but mostly we just have to haul stuff away. It's so nice to purge.

2. With moving, and organizing, it is hard for me to admit that I've not gotten much writing done this week. Hopefully next week will be better. Seriously, it's driving me nuts. Poor Lexy is stuck in limbo just waiting for the next big thing to happen to her. Don't worry Lexy--you've got great adventures (and scary things) ahead of you. Just be patient.

3. I just read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book to my five year old. It was hilarious. Seriously I had a hard time reading parts of it to my son because I was laughing so hard. Now he wants me to read whatever I'm reading out loud to him. I was reading Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen--great book--but there are some romantic scenes in it. Guess where I was--so I'd start a sentence, and then trail off as I edited whole paragraphs out of the story. Finally he lost interest.

4. Moving is like a fresh start or a new draft. I get to figure out new routines, new places to put things, and new ways to organize things. I can also get rid of stuff that has been cluttering up my life for years. It makes me so happy. I wish I could feel the same way about a revision. Maybe someday I will be that good of a writer--where it doesn't pain me to revise, but it makes me happy. I'm getting there.

5. Zombies, you've got to love them--at least my zombies. And werewolves. I definitely like werewolves.

Happy Writing!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Five: Snowing Again

1. It's snowing again. We are supposed to be moving this weekend, and while I might attempt it if we lived elsewhere, it's a no go here in the south. My house is a mess and driving me nuts and now we are stuck, stuck, stuck for one more week. I simply can't deal anymore. This storm snuck up on everyone, but every news report as the time drew closer kept adding more inches of snow. I just want it to go away.

2. Critique groups are great. I love that someone can see something that you know is wrong, but you have no idea how to fix, and with one or two random ideas you totally know how to fix the entire thing. Whew! What a wonderful thing. Very wonderful.

3. My kids are asleep, and I should be working, but I want to sneak off and read somewhere. I am not currently tired, though I ought to be. I'm the only one awake, Rob's snoring. And it is so quiet. I hardly ever get that.

4. This week is one where I feel like I haven't accomplished much of anything, but I've been super busy. My dryer broke (and is now repaired, but at our new place) and so I had to go to the laundromat, which ate up a few hours, I had to volunteer at school for a Valentine's Day party. I packed stuff and moved stuff and unpacked stuff. Plus I had to go to a science fair to set up the exhibit with my daughter--she scored quite well, and then to the science fair open house at the end. I could keep going, but it makes me tired to think about it.

5. I just want it to stop snowing so we can move. That's all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Contest and Other Information

First I want to mention a first pages contest over at Guide to Literary Agents. It's a chance for a query critique as well as a first 25 pages critique. It sounds like an awesome prize to me, so you should go check it out.

Next I started writing, ooh it's so scary. I kind of creeped myself out as I wrote the first few pages. Yeah. I'm such a wimp though, that I'm sure most people wouldn't find it remotely frightening. My husband walked in while I was typing and I mentioned that I was scared, and he laughed, "You're such a wimp Mim, it couldn't even be slightly scary."

The thing is that my imagination runs so wild, that I think I can come up with some pretty scary stuff. But don't worry this isn't a horror book (I don't think).

Today I got a great suggestion on my dystopian novel idea, that would help me really set the tone and fix back story issues in the first chapter. That's why I love people to critique my work. It was one of those "Well, duh, why didn't I think of that" moments.

Anyway I'm off to creep myself out again. It's totally dark right now, no lights on in the house. Spooky!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Five: Starting Fresh

1. This has been a week! That's all I can say about it. School was canceled for three days, and today they were calling for slick roads in the morning. The kids are already have snow day make ups during Spring Break. But I think the hardest part was that everyone was going absolutely stir crazy. Wednesday was just one fight after another with my kids, and my nearly cleaned house turned into an utter disaster. Yikes!

2. On top of all of that we're moving this week and next week. But if the weather doesn't clear up, my supposedly easy move is going to turn into the nightmare move. So I don't know how much acutal writing I'll get done. But it helps to keep me sane, so I won't abandon the process entirely.

3. I decided last week that I was going to slow down my dystopian novel (just write a chapter a month for my critique group) and move on to my Zombie/Werewolf book. It was a big decision, and one that I'm super excited about, but I haven't started writing it yet. First I spent a day working on the tagline, and the query letter, which was good because I realized that I needed to figure out a third of my story. So I thought about it and wrote some ideas down. Then I sat down to write, and I just couldn't. Right now the story, the characters and the setting are so real to me and perfect (in my mind) that putting that first word down on paper and getting the story going is intimidating. No matter how hard I try I know that first draft isn't going to live up to this awesome story, but at the same time I just need to do it. I plan on doing that tonight.

4. I am finally completely alone thanks to school, preschool, and a play date and quite frankly I'm in heaven. I should be working hard, but all I want to do is curl up and take a nice nap and maybe visit the library or the bookstore. I also want some chocolate. Cold rainy days do this to me. I can't wait for the sun to come out and Spring to come.

5. Today is my brother's birthday. That is a totally random thing to share, but I'm super proud of him. He wants to be a writer for a living as well, and while he is still in school, he ended up majoring in the same major as me. This came as a total shocker to me, because we were totally different as kids. Very opposite, but it's funny how we ended up going in a similar direction as adults. I've got a great family with awesome brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Query Contest

If you'd like to have your query critiqued by an actual agent (and honestly who wouldn't?), then you need to pop over and check out Kathleen Ortiz's Query Contest. It's not hard to enter--just read the rules and make a comment!

Good luck!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snowed In!

I remember as a kid being in love with the idea of being snowed in. Growing up it never happened. I lived in a part of the country where snow was a regular occurrence. I remember my junior year going to school in the morning at 6:00 (early school activities) with it snowing and leaving that not after six because of more activities with it still snowing. On my way out I overheard the principal talking saying that we had gotten close to eight inches during the day. It was difficult to drive home, I slipped a little bit, but I made it. The snow was falling so fast that the plows couldn't keep up with it.

This weekend we got snowed in with just four inches of snow. Technically if we had to get out we could have, but fortunately we didn't have to. School is canceled today and tomorrow. This afternoon we ventured out because we were stir crazy and quite honestly the roads were clear. It was over 40 degrees, just jacket weather and we are still "technically" snowed in.

Somehow the romantic idea of being snowed in has worn off. Something about three kids driving you crazy for four days. And you don't get the advantage of curling up with a good book or your laptop and losing yourself in a good story. Maybe being snowed in isn't all that it's cracked up to be. So many times the things that sound so great and so easy become harder when you are actually experiencing it. Writing a novel sounds like a fun, creative thing to do. And while it is that, it's also a lot of work, hard work and frustration. But in the end it's always worth it.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I feel as though I've been neglectful of my writing blog. Maybe I have, maybe I haven't. Birthday parties, video premieres and family have just gotten in the way of doing everything that I want to do. But I'm still managing to write--but not on this blog.

I've had some awesome plot twists for my zombie werewolf book. I mean amazing and it's mapped into a trilogy. All of my novels have series potential, but this one is the first one where I know what's going to happen in each book. Each book has its own mini arc that fits into the overall arc of the series. I'm so excited to write it, and I feel like my dystopian novel is just standing in my way.

Onward and upward. In my search for the perfect agent (think the dream I mentioned last week), I've managed to find a few new agents that I must query. Really cool blogs and interviews. I'm super excited, but I'm putting my query letter through the ringer yet again. Maybe someday I'll get it right.

I often wonder why I didn't go into publishing. I always wanted to write, but I decided to be an English teacher since it was more stable and would work well if I had to work once I had kids. I taught for a very short amount of time, and don't ever want to teach again. Nope! I admire all the teachers that have stuck with it, but I'm one of those that burned out in the first five years. When I go to conferences and listen to the editors and the agents talk, i wonder to myself why I didn't even put that option on the table. I love to read, I can pinpoint what's good and bad in a story, and yeah i'd need some practice, and definitely industry contacts, but I feel like I'd fit in. Basically all I think about are books.

Anyway enough of my random musing. I hope you all have happy writing and sunshine this week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five: Smooth Sailing? Yeah Right!

1. Tonight hubby and I are going to see Avatar together at the iMax. While the movie looks AMAZING, I'm a little bit worried. Rob loves 3-D. I don't. Really I've not seen movies that I've wanted to (okay kind of wanted to) because they are in 3-D. My eyes are funny and about fifteen minutes in they stop seeing a 3-D image and I get a blurred double image and a massive headache. Rob convinced me that the technology had improved, told me that we'd sit at the perfect point in the theater (which involves getting there more than an hour early) and to just relax and it will work. Then he bought the tickets. Two days later he told me that you can watch it in 2-D because that's how Leo LaPorte (Rob listens to TWIT a lot) watched it since he doesn't like 3-D either. Nice--thanks for letting me know. So I'm hoping that it won't go wonky on me this time. I mean the film looks amazing, I just don't want the headache that I'm almost certain is coming.

2. Writing makes me happy. Writing and making money makes me happy, but it doesn't stop me from burn out. Right now I'm totally suffering from burnout when it comes to my job writing. I wish that I din't have to do it, while I'm extremely grateful that I can do it at home with my kiddies around me (who also make it extremely difficult to get things done). It's not easy being a Work at Home Mom. Nope.

3. Last night I had a dream about finding an agent. It was truly bizarre and involved massive amounts of sweets, hiding from the police and secret interviews. I woke up with the distinct feeling that there is the perfect agent out there for me (in the dream it was a he) and that he would totally get where I want my work to go and everything like that. Totally bizarre, but I keep thinking that I've got do searches and figure out who this person is. I've got random clues, but I'm almost positive it is a just a mishmash of all the agents that I've been researching lately.

4. This weekend is the last birthday party for all the craziness that happens in our family. Then it is smooth sailing until next December. I love that. It makes me happy that I don't have to do that normally.

5. There was a beautiful day on Wednesday. So nice I turned the heat off. But now it is just icky out and gray and so I'm just dragging around the house. But things will look up. Next week should be sunny!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Five: Tripping Up

1. Okay in the last few days I've tripped more times than I can count on both of my hands. The funny thing is that the house is actually fairly clean. Yesterday my boys laughed at me hysterically as I overcompensated and went down backwards. I landed in a laundry basket and hurt my back. I go through these ultra klutzy phases in my life. The worst was my freshman year of college, truly bad, so the past few days are nothing compared to that, but I do wonder why I do that. Why do I trip so much in one period of time and then not at all for years at a time.

2. The charlie horse of all charlie horses. So I never had a charlie horse until I was pregnant (and no I'm not pregnant--nor planning on being any time soon) and they got worse with each pregnancy. The sudden pain would wake me up screaming in the middle of the night, and poor Rob would look startled and hit my leg for me. (That really did help.) Last night I got the worst one I've ever had. It was so bad I woke up screaming and slid out of bed, jumping up and down. I seriously couldn't move my leg. Rob slept through it, but I did wake up both of my boys. The thing is it is still killing me. That's not normal for me. I've done everything I can think of, including massage, a hot bath, and ibuprofen and nothing is working. It hurts to walk, and the wrong movement will set off another round of spasms, but since I'm awake, I manage not to scream.

3. We are off on another round of birthdays for my kids. The two boys are in the next week. They are six days apart. I was starting to worry that they might share the same birthday when Jacob was late. But every one of my kids were late, and I managed to talk the doctor not to set my inducement date for Caleb's birthday. Fortunately Jacob came even earlier than that. But the birthday party fun is on!

4. Potty training is no fun. Not for mom. Jacob has decided he is too big for diapers, but doesn't seem to care when he is wet. I know he can do it, since I can take him on errands that take several hours and he stays dry. But at home it's a crapshoot if he will be dry in the thirty minutes between times that I make him try. I just don't get it.

5. I need to get on schedule, I need to get motivated. This week is the week. Or maybe it will be next week.

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Found My Pages

Today I found my missing notebook. I was so very excited, but I didn't have a chance to read what I had written, so it may not be as wonderful as I thought it was. My main point is though I found the pages, and so I haven't lost the voice that woke me up in the middle of the night. I really, really, really want to write this story, but Selena needs me to finish her amazing adventure first.

Self doubt is such a killer. I really range back and forth wildly between extreme self confidence ( I am an awesome writer, and I know it) to extreme self doubt (I totally suck, and when I don't acknowledge that I'm being completely self delusional). Fortunately for most people I keep all of this to myself. Poor Rob sometimes hears my complaints, but I can tell he is just putting up with me or he thinks I'm fishing for compliments and reassurance.

Ultimately though, writing is something that I've decided I want to do. And not just freelance writing. I want to be a novelist, and so I'm going to swing back and forth between confidence and lack of confidence. I honestly don't know if that will ever go away, even after I'm published. All i can do is write, and work hard at revisions and then write some more.

How do you deal with your lack of self confidence on your tough days?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Five: The Snow that Never Was!

1. Today schools started two hours late due to a snow forecast that didn't materialize. When I went to bed last night I didn't expect it to, but I was disappointed. I'm not going to lie, one good snowfall would be nice. I'm not missing snow the way I used to, but I figure if it's going to be cold, there might as well be white stuff on the ground. Next week it should get back up to the the fifties, normal for this time of year.

2. This morning my daughter wanted to take her iPod to school. She's in second grade (and it's a shuffle), and the school says not to take it to school. She got it for Christmas from Santa. The school says she shouldn't have it, and she promised she wouldn't listen to it on the bus, but she doesn't have a locker to put it in, and I just don't think it's a good idea. Today was a battle of wills. She refused to get on the bus without it. And so she lost her iPod for two weeks, the t.v. for two weeks, and computer privileges for two weeks. She kept telling me to ground her from reading, but I don't think so.

3. I love finding great books to read. New ones that make me happy, and I'm equally disappointed when one doesn't quite live up to my expectations. That's why I like reading books that I find rather than seeing all of the hype and excitement and then not liking a book. A book I read last night was one with a lot of hype, and I went into it expecting a bit too much. It was a good book, and I would have come out of reading it happy, except it had all the hype and so I was expecting more. It's kind of disappointing.

4. I killed my character yesterday. It made me sad. Not crying sad, but sad. I may have to invent a new world to put him into. Maybe he'll be reincarnated in another book series. It's sad, but he had to die, and now my novel is going to pick up pace and hopefully gallop onto the end.

5. Separately this week each of my three children have come to me and mentioned their current career choice. My daughter often fluctuates between singer, artist, teacher and doctor. This week it's a doctor, because she wants to make more money. My four year old son decided on being a dentist, because they make a lot of money. My two year old asked for a rocket ship and told me that he wanted to fly in them when he's grown up, and so he wants to be an astronaut. Maybe they'll be able to take care of me someday, either way I'd better start really saving for college. They've all got long roads ahead of them!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Contest for Critiques and Signed Book

The Shooting Stars blog is offering you the chance to win a query critique, first five pages critique or a signed copy of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. (A werewolf book, which I do own due to my current werewolf kick, and I enjoyed.)

Anyway the contest is great, because who couldn't use another set of eyes on their work.

Check out the contest here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why I Don't Write on Paper

So I had an inspiration in the middle of the night while I was staying at my in-laws. So I got up and jotted it down in my brand new notebook. I think it was yellow. It may not have been. It was actually the beginning of the werewolf/zombie novel and I woke up with the MC voice just going through my head. I got it down, wrote for about fifteen minutes, and then put it back in my bag.

So I decide I want to read it today. Can I find it? No. The answer is no. I have no idea where the notebook is. i've looked everywhere and did a massive cleaning of my house yesterday and so I know it isn't hiding somewhere mysteriously and it's gone.

I emailed my hsuband and his response:
I don't ever use letter-sized notebooks. Sorry. I haven't seen it. I didn't know you wrote in notebooks as opposed to typing (with auto backups, etc.)

I hope you find it.


Yeah, that's why. I've got auto back up of my writing to the cloud and to time machine (which wouldn't have worked at home). But now I'm just so frustrated. Granted it's not much, and I can slightly remember what I wrote, but I'm worried I'm going to lose that voice. Yikes!

And I'm feeling stuck in my current WIP because I have to kill a character I like. It's a big deal to the plot. Huge, it helps to make my character move forward. It needs to be someone she likes, but I'd rather kill the little brother than the big one, because I like him better. Unfortunately it just doesn't work for the plot. So I'm very, very sad, but he's going to die tonight.

Happy Writing!