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!