Thursday, February 23, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

     I've been loving getting to know new bloggers and followers and reading all your blogs. The first campaigner challenge was harder than I thought it would be at first and then fun once I figured out what I was going to write about.
     Now- I'm taking a break. Not really, but I'm going to Vegas tomorrow- Vegas, Baby! (sorry, had to do it)- until next Wednesday and I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing. But I'll still try to find time to check out your blogs and make comments. Know why? Cuz I think you guys are awesome. There, I said it. Now I'm gonna go away.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Celebrate Black History Month

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:

February is Black History Month and it's also the month of Valentine's Day. So let's show some writerly love by answering the following question: Who is your favorite African American author or fictional character?

     The first thing that came to mind was a character, or rather two characters. Most people have read Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Wintergirls. But have you picked up her historical YA novels Chains and Forge?
     I loved these books (and there's a third on the way). The main character in Chains is Isabel, a thirteen-year-old slave during the American Revolution. Here's the blurb from Anderson's website:

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight… for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off chains, both physical and spiritual.

Forge is a sequel, but it follows Curzon's story. Here's the blurb:

In this compelling sequel to Chains, the perspective shifts from Isabel to Curzon and we learn what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in the midst of the chaos of the American Revolution.
In the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter, Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of being discovered as an escaped slave passing for free. Isabel is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

     These books were both really good. Laurie Halse Anderson is an amazing writer and she makes reading historical easy and fascinating. If you haven't read these yet, you should.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crap Writers Say

     *Disclaimer: I don't swear, so I'm using the word "crap".*
     It started with Crap My Dad Says. Then those videos of that guy dressed as a girl doing, Crap Girls Say. Then there was Crap Agents Say.
     What about Crap Writers Say?
     Since I've got no acting or video-ing skills, I'm going to write this all down. But someone should make a video.
     Have you said any of these before? (I know I have.)

What do you mean, show don't tell?
Is this showing?
I've got too many adverbs.
This book is awesome, I wish I could write like this.
This book sucks, mine is way better.
If he can get published then so can I.
I'll never get published.
She's my dream agent.
I've checked my email like twenty times today.
My query sucks.
My synopsis sucks.
What do you mean I can't do a prologue?
What genre is this?
Can I say paranormal urban fantasy with a romantic twist?
I got another rejection.
Why did I get rejected?
Is my word count too long?
I can't think of a title.
My title sucks.
I got a full request!
Please let the agent love me.
Why doesn't this agent love me?
I swear I'm not stalking this agent of twitter.
Hold on, I've just gotta check twitter.
Hold on, I've gotta check my email.
What's the difference between a critique partner and a beta reader?
I need a beta reader.
Will you be my beta reader?
I've gotta stop playing spider solitaire and write.
I've gotta stop watching tv and write.
I never have enough time to write.
I wrote like, two thousand words today!
I wrote like, one sentence, and that's it.
Do I have too many dialogue tags?
My character rocks.
My description here is lame.
Does this make sense?
Can you read this and tell me if it makes sense?
Should I have a comma here?
I'm tired of revising.
I need to revise again.
I'm so excited about my new WIP!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Campaigner Challenge

     It's here, the first Campaigner Challenge hosted by Rach at Rach Writes. Here's what we have to do:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
 I did it! And I can check off every one of those things- I ended with everything faded, I used orange, it's 200 words exactly, and it's in my genre! Go me, go me.
     So for my flash fiction, this is like an added scene to my MS Daze and Knights (this doesn't actually appear in the MS). Or it could be like a dream scene. Anyway, here it is...

Shadows crept across the wall. Flickering light from the torches looked like orange flames licking the stone walls. I bent down and patted my boot, checking for my dagger. Lord Purvis was still out there, still bent on revenge. I wouldn’t let him corner me again.

Rounding the corner, I came to a sudden stop. A figure was hiding in the shadows.

I took a slow step back. The figure shifted. Then lunged.

The dagger was in my hand in a flash, the engraved ‘A’ pressing against my palm. My arm swung forward, the dagger reaching for my attacker.

A gloved hand caught my wrist. A man loomed over me. I pounded on his chest with my free hand.

“Easy.” Lord Alric’s face appeared out of the shadows.

I sighed, the air loosening my body. I looked up at Lord Alric to see his lips twitching. I stiffened.

“Let me go.”

He raised his eyebrows but dropped my wrists from his grip.

My hands balled into fists. “You. Scared. The. Crap. Out. Of. Me.” I punctuated each word with a pound on his chest.

He smiled. “Allow me to apologize.”

He leaned forward. His lips joined with mine.

Everything faded.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crush of the Week

     It's been a while since I've picked a Crush of the Week, but after seeing this movie, I just couldn't help it.

I mean, come on.
     There's not one, but two swoon-worthy males going on in this movie. What's funny is I went in thinking, Chris Pine is hot but I don't really go for the other guy. But the other guy- one Tom Hardy- totally grew on me to the point that I couldn't care less about Chris Pine and his baby blues. I just wanted more of Tom Hardy and those lush lips of his.

     Oh, and the movie was pretty good too. Seriously, it was so funny, we were still giggling over it afterward. I have one pet peeve- the end- but I won't share cuz I don't want to give anything away. It's not that the end was crappy, I just didn't agree. See it and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tag Part 2

     Colin Smith over at Colin D Smith tagged me for the third time. Since I'm just a girl who cain't say no, I'm going to answer these questions too. Aren't you so happy you're getting to know me so well? I know are. Did you notice I threw in a song title there? Bonus points if you know what musical it's from.

1. Which fictional character would you love to invite over for dinner?

If I wasn't married, I could probably make a looong list of fictional hotties to have over. Edward, Jace, St. Clair, Will, Damen, Daniel, Capt. Wentworth, Mr. Darcy... you get the idea.
Since I am married, I'll go with Becky Bloomwood (Shopaholic series) cuz I think we'd have a great time.

2. Think of one person you aren’t able to see for whatever reason (distance, availability, etc.) you would love to meet up with. Who is this person? This can be a famous person, a relative, a literary agent–anyone, as long as they are alive.

I'd really like to meet Stephenie Meyer. I don't know what I'd say, but just to have a conversation with her would be cool.

3. Which “classic” novel do you think least deserves that title?

Yesterday, I proclaimed my disgust with Wuthering Heights. But I can tell you I'd rather read that than Lord of the Flies. Why why why do they make kids read that in school? It's AWFUL.

4. If you could be any historical figure, who would that be and why?

Hmm, that's a tough one. I would love to visit many historical time periods, but to be a certain person? I'll have to go with Jane Austen- again, it would be nice to see how she really lived and what it was really like for women during that time.

5. Where in the world would you most like to visit, and why?

Italy and Paris. I've been to France, a small town called Perigueux (sp?). But I'd love to see Paris and I'd love to go to Rome, Venice... anywhere in Italy. Someday.

6. If you were a crayon, what colo(u)r would you be, and why?

Red. I love red. It's fiery and bright and passionate- everything I wish I was.

7. Let’s pretend you have J. K. Rowling’s bank account. What’s for dinner tonight?

Um, everything? I read in a magazine lately that someone had this 50-course meal somewhere. Can I go for that? Actually, I'd probably just hop on a place and take that trip to Paris and eat somewhere there.

8. Coke or Pepsi?

Diet Pepsi. Or... I REALLY love Schwepps Raspberry Ginger Ale. If I'm gonna drink pop, that's my weapon of choice.

9. Tea or Coffee?

Neither- chocolate milk. I think I answered this one already...

10. Think of your favo(u)rite band or song from the 1960s or 1970s. What/who is it?

Since I was born in the year 1980, I don't really listen to music from before. I did go through a Beatles phase when I was a teenager though.

11. When you get (or got) “the call” from an agent, who will be (or was) the first person you will tell (or you told)?

Ahhh, "the call". Did you check out Miss Cole's answers? She posted a GIF of Will Ferrell from Elf running around and around those spinny-doors (what the heck are those called?). That's probably what I'd do first. Then I'd call my husband. Then I'd keep it a secret until I was absolutely sure it's for sure, because I'm untrusting like that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tag, You're It!

     I've been tagged, twice! I think we all know what this means... questions, questions, and more questions. So here we go...
     From JEFritz at Still Writing... here are her questions.

1. What’s your favorite book genre?
YA YA YA. It can be historical, paranormal, contemporary, fantasy... it doesn't matter. I love YA.

2. Are there any beloved books that you don’t really enjoy?

Hate to admit it but... Wuthering Heights. Ugh. Just ugh. The only good thing about that book is the "I can't live without my life" line.

3. What was your favorite class in school?

History. Ancient, modern, you name it, I love it.

4. Do you write under a pseudonym or use your real name?

My real name. Cuz it's awesome. Okay kidding. I've never liked Melanie that much and considered going with M.M. Stanford but finally decided to be proud of what I've been given.

5. Do you prefer reading first person or third person?

It doesn't really matter to me. But I prefer writing first person.

6. An old question, but e-books or paper?

You know those people who pull out their gadgets and wave them around like they want everyone to see? Like, ooh look at my new iPhone, I'm so special... I'm not knocking those people, because that is how I am with books. I know nobody cares, but I always have a book with me and I actually like to pull it out and read in public places. Even though it shows my nerdtastic-ness, there I am thinking, ooh, look what I'm reading, I'm so special...  

7. You’re stranded on an island that has plenty of food and water, but no electricity or way to contact the outside world. But you have one object of your choice with you. What is it?

My iPod. I can't live without music.

8. Which do you like more, Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook, only because I'm not on Twitter. I've considered it but haven't made the plunge.

9. Coffee or tea?

Can I go with Chocolate Milk?

10. Pick one word to describe yourself with.

Daydreamer (but then, that should be pretty obvious)

11. If you had one wish, what would it be? (PS: no fair wishing for more wishes)
I have to go with this one... to be published!!!
And from Jess over at Write. Skate. Dream. ...
1. What's your favorite song?
Ahhh, I can't pick! Don't make me! Okay... I'll go with Your Guardian Angel by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Check this song out, it is HAWESOME (that's hot and awesome, btw).

2. How old were you when you started writing?

Grade 2. If you want to know the story, check out my origins post from Monday (in which I overuse superhero analogies).
3. What's your favorite movie/book?
Book- easy peasy- all Harry Potter's. I could read those again and again and again. Oh wait, I have.
Movie- ??? I can't pick. I love period movies. I love chick flicks. I love movies about war. Pearl Harbor has always been a fave because it melds war and romance quite beautifully.

4. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be? Why?
A leopard. I've always wanted to be a wild cat. They're both beautiful and dangerous.
5. If you were the main character of a book, what genre would it be?
YA. Because I'd really like to be sixteen again. Seriously. As long as I get to be cooler this time around. Haha.
6. What is the coolest thing you've ever done?
I've done weird things in my life and I've done stupid things, but cool? I can't think of One. Single. Thing. Sigh.
7. If you could be a character from any book, who would you be? Why?
I'd be Jessica from my own MS Daze and Knights. She's awesome and she gets to time-travel. Since I can't be her, I write her.
If picking my own character is cheating, I'd go with Hermione. I'm still holding out hope that I'm not a Muggle.
8. What genre do you write in?
Daze and Knights and it's mostly finished sequel are YA, time-travel. I've also written Sway, which is adult contemporary. Really, it's chick lit, but that genre is taboo now so...
9. What's your favorite thing to do, other than write?
Dance. Read. Watch movies.
10. If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?
Jane Austen. I want to settle that whole debate on whether her books have deeper themes or not. (I think not.)
11. Is there anything else we should know about you?
This is my favorite picture (c'mon, I needed some sort of image in this post):
I'm going to tag the one-and-only Emily at Write About Nothing. She's my sister-in-law and the best critique partner a girl could ask for. Because this post took so long, I'm going to be lazy and not make up my own questions, so she can answer any of the above she wants.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


     Words are weird. Have you ever noticed? Sometimes, it'll just hit me. I'll say some word in a sentence or use it in my writing and stop for a second and think, fork is a weird word.
     This week's Road Trip Wednesday is all about the words we love and hate.

117th Road Trip Wednesday!
Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:
I have it on good authority that Kody hates the word "panties," and Steph can't stand "supper."
What words do you absolutely hate? Which ones do you adore?
     Okay, I've been sitting here for way too many minutes trying to think of words I hate. The only ones I could come up with are... yep, swear words. It's true. I hear them, read them, and I cringe. They bug me. They annoy me. They anger me when people are spewing them in front of my kids.
     Before you try to pull me off of my high-and-mighty horse, I'll admit that I went through a potty-mouth phase in my teen years. I got over it, but still used the occasional word when I felt particularly angry or whatever. Then I had this roommate in college who said something to me that I will never forget. She said that using swear words shows a lack of intelligence. I haven't used one since.
     Ooh, I thought of another word I don't like- eagerly. Don't know why. But it bugs me. Eager is okay. Eagerly? Not so much.
     As to words I love... I don't know if there's any one word I love. Words combined to make a beautiful song, or story, or scene, that's what I love. Later today I'll probably think up some words I really love or hate, but for now, that's the best I can do.
     What words do you love or hate?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feel the Luuuurve

     I'm going to be honest and say Valentine's Day has never been my favorite thing. It's true. But I'm not going to rant about it. My husband and I won't be doing anything to celebrate today but before you feel sorry for me, it's because we're heading to Vegas next weekend for a few kid-free days.
     But for those of you who want to feel the luuuurve, I decided to share an excerpt from Sway, my most recently finished MS. Therefore this is only the second draft. Just so you know. So don't expect perfection. Got it? Okay then.
     Some backstory: Sway is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Through the book I show flashbacks of Eric and Ava's (Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot) relationship before they broke up. This scene is one of those flashbacks and is very non-spoiler related, not that it matters since if you've read Persuasion, you know what happens.
     And to go along with this post, I just HAVE to have a picture, right? Well, what's better than a pic of the actor who did such an awesome job playing Captain Wentworth that I was inspired to write this story in the first place.
     Enjoy! And I hope you feel the luuuurve. (I don't know why I like saying luuuurve so much.)

     “Get over here, babe,” Eric said to me one afternoon, the summer before our senior year. I was lounging on a chair reading a book while Eric swam laps. He surfaced from the water, running his hand over his face and then through his hair, spiking the front off his forehead.

            “Come swim with me,” he said.

I held up my book and shook my head.

“Come swim with me,” he insisted, “or I’ll splash you.”

            I shot him a dirty look. “If you get my book wet, I’ll kill you.”

            “Why don't you come over here and try?" Eric straightened his arms and raised them out of the water, his palms together. Then he looked at me, grinning like a fool.

            “You better not,” I said, my voice rising.

            He swung his arms to the side. I jumped from the chair and ran. Eric’s arms sprayed water right where I’d been sitting.

            I put my book inside the house. “You’re lucky my book didn’t get wet,” I said, stalking to the edge of the pool. He swam to the edge where I was standing and grinned up at me.

            “You’re lucky you didn’t get wet.” Eric reached his arms around my legs and stroked my calves with his hands.

            I stared down at him, distracted by the tingling going through my legs from his touch.

            Suddenly, he reached higher, grabbed me behind the knees and threw himself backward. I toppled forward into the water, screaming, my hands slapping painfully onto the surface. Eric let go of my legs and swam away from me. When I popped my head out of the water and saw him, I swam after him.

            “Get back here,” I shouted while he laughed. I cornered him at the edge of the pool, not because I was that fast of a swimmer, but because he wanted to be cornered.

            “Did I say I wanted to swim?” I asked crossly.

            He reached for me, grabbing my waist with his hands and pulling me to him. “No, but I wanted you to swim.” He nuzzled his face in my neck, melting what teeny bit of anger I had.

            I ran a hand through his wet hair, causing it to stick up in all directions. He looked up at me, his face serious.

            “Ava…” His hands tightened on my waist.

            I put my hands on his neck, stroking my thumbs under his ears. “What?”

            His eyes stared into mine, a deeper blue than the water around us. His face flushed nervously. “I love you,” he whispered. “You know that right?”

            I searched his face. “No,” I said breathlessly. “I didn’t know that.”

            His lips curled up into a smile. “Now you do.”

            I wrapped my legs around his waist as he brought his lips to mine. My hands clutched his hair. His tongue explored my mouth, hot and wet while I shivered around him.

            I pulled away. “I love you too. But I think you already knew that.”

            He smiled at me, wide and triumphant. “I did know that. But it’s good to hear anyway.” And then his mouth was on mine again.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Daydreamer to Writer: Origins

     I wanted this post title to sound as cool as X-Men: Origins. Didn't really work, did it?

     Sadly, I'm no Superhero, and my Origin isn't nearly as exciting. I didn't get bitten by a radioactive writing bug, I wasn't born on an alien planet called Authoron, I wasn't sequestered into a lab and had pencils grafted onto my bones that shoot out of my knuckles when I'm threatened by a great story idea.

     The first story I ever wrote was called Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Bloody Mary. I was in Grade 2. It was more than 100 pages. Someone, I don't remember who, made the comment- probably very offhandedly and solely due to the vast length of the work- "hey, you should be a writer."
     And so I was suddenly gifted with the power of words, plotting, grammar, descriptive settings and memorable characters.

     HA! You didn't believe me, did you?

     Unfortunately, I didn't magically receive any such gifts. Instead, its been an uphill battle against the forces of evil: namely, myself. AKA: laziness, ineptitude, discouragement, waiting for the "right" time, lack of inspiration, lack of motivation, distractions, and a myriad of feelings: stupidity, worthlessness, and overall suckage, to name a few.

     They ain't called the forces of evil for nothing!

     Even though I've waged this battle since the tender age of seven, it wasn't until the ripe- not old but fearfully late- age of twenty-nine that the odds turned more in my favor. Yep, I channeled my inner Katniss (even though I didn't know who that was at the time) and decided if I was going to win, then I had to pick up my bow, pencil, put my fingers on the friggin' keyboard, and actually write an entire novel.

     The battle still isn't over. I'm still in the arena, fighting those awful forces of evil to the death. But now I'm armed with three novels under my belt, my discouragement is more easily squashed, those
all-powerful beings- AKA: agents- have shown interest, I've got fabulous writer friends as allies, and you know what they say- the more you battle, the more you win (someone says that, I swear!).
     And most importantly, I want nothing else but to write write write, no matter how hard the battle might become, because it's what I'm meant to do. Because it is my destiny.

PS- I really wanted to put a superhero cartoon with my head stuck on it right here, but while I may have superhero writing skills, that evil nemesis Picture Editing has defeated me once again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

     If you've written a book, then guaranteed you've considered, even for a second, the thought of self-publishing. We all know how hard it is to crack into the publishing world. Occasionally, I've got to squash that little devil in the back of my head that says it may never happen for me (curse you, tiny devil!).
     A friend of mine sent me an article that really lauds self-publishing. While it's more aimed at writers of non-fiction, the author still has some very valid points. You can (and should) read it here.
     While I found the article both interesting and informative, it didn't really change my mind about going the traditional route. I'm a traditional girl. Heck, I don't even have the desire to get a Kindle because I love to hold a book in my hands. For me, traditional publishing is the way to go. Yes, it may never happen (I said shut it, you stupid little devil!), but it's the way I feel I need to do this.
     What about you? Traditional vs. Self-Publishing? Let's have a vote...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thought Thursday

1. My love for period movies brought me to Daniel Deronda starring Hugh Dancy (swoon) and Romola Garai. It's a gooder- take a peek.

2. Speaking of my love for period movies, I really really really want to wear one of those dresses Romola Garai wears with the big bustle at the butt, the elaborate hair and the cute little hats.

3. I LOVE being a part of this whole writer community going on. Even though I feel like I've only got a toe in, or maybe a foot, I still feel like I'm part of this great thing and lucky to get to know great writers/bloggers.

4. I am a TOTAL toilet paper snob. Even though everyone else I know insists on buying Kirkland Brand (Costco's brand) toilet paper (ugh), I will only buy Charmin Extra Strong double rolls.

5. Speaking of toilet paper... potty training is my NEMESIS.

6. The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And it has F-words every two seconds. Seriously. Awful.

The Grey Poster

7. I have a huge distaste for LOL. I never use it. Ever. When I see it, I read it like a word- lol (loll). Which is why I always use Haha. Because it looks like it sounds.

8. Why why why is there always that one person who is so AWFUL on The Bachelor? I'm looking at you Courtney.

9. There's a concert coming up with Simple Plan, Marianas Trench, and These Kids Wear Crowns- all bands I love. Am I going? No. Sigh.

10. I like change. As is evidenced by my constant blog background changes.

11. My love for Cadbury Cream Eggs known no bounds. Soon, my thighs will know no bounds with all the cream eggs I'm eating. Haha.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What the heck is an SNI???

     Today's Road Trip Wednesday leaves me stumped. Here's the topic:

What SNI were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?

     So my question, before I answer this question, what the heck is an SNI?
     Thank goodness for people smarter (or more initial savvy) than me. Someone in the comments also wondered what SNI meant but took a stab at it: Super New Idea. (Yeah, I never would have come up with that. It took me ages to figure out what ROFL meant and I had to ask someone about IMHO.)
     So, if this commenter is correct, did I start working on any Super New Ideas only to find out they've already been done?
     Actually, no. Haha.
     Okay, that's not altogether true. When I decided to modernize Jane Austen's Persuasion, it felt like a Super New Idea to me. But I also figured that at least one other person would have beat me to the punch. I know for a fact that at least three have, since I read their versions. The only real big disappointment was discovering that in one of the versions- a fourth version that I couldn't get a copy of- the author had used the name Rick Wentworth, the name I was going to use for my modern day Frederick Wentworth. (Big surprise- there's only so many ways you can spin off the name Frederick). Anyway, I went with Eric, which I like a lot better anyway. Other than that, their versions felt so different from mine that I feel like my version Sway is fresh in its own way.
     With my other MS- Daze and Knights, and the one I'm brainstorming right now but haven't started, luckily I haven't found anything like them. Not that they're super original or really really different or even ingenious in any way. But from what I've seen, there's nothing like them out there. Yet.
     Of course that doesn't stop me from being afraid that something really similar will come out and then I'm SCREWED. But what can a writer do? Nothing, except make their own MS as good as it can be so that hopefully it will be the first one of its kind out there.
     And speaking of, I'm entering a pitch contest over at Forever Rewrighting. The agent, Tricia from Erin Murphy Literary Agency, is taking pitches next week which is exciting because that agency is closed to submissions. Head over there to check it out.
     Or actually don't- so I can get my idea out there first! :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Campaigns and Teasers

     I've signed up for the fourth Writer's Building Platform Campaign. You can find it over at Rach Writes. This will be the second campaign for me, although I hope to do better than last time. Word of warning in case you've never done one before: Don't sign up for too many groups! That's what I did last time and I just couldn't keep up. So this time it'll just be one group for me. I'm excited to join up- I love discovering new writing blogs and getting to know other writers.
     On to Teaser Tuesday, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

     From Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld:
     Rope hissed through the carabiners like an angry viper, and Deryn let herself fall fast. The first moments of descent were glorious, her worries about Tesla, his iron football, and barking Prince Aleksandar of Hohenberg all left behind. But soon Deryn twisted in midair, tightening the grip of the carabiners, and came to a long and skidding halt. Momentum swung her inward toward the airship's underbelly, where she reached out and grabbed the ratlines with one gloved hand. (page 182)
     FYI: I loved this book and the whole trilogy. While Steampunk wouldn't be my favorite genre (there's a lot of technical jargon going on that makes my eyes glaze over), these books were entertaining, fun, and my first foray into Steampunk itself so totally different from what I'm used to. I loved loved loved Deryn/Dylan Sharp. If you want to read about a kick-butt girl- she's the kick-buttiest girl out there. Alek was everything I wanted him to be. All the characters are really full and well-developed and you can't help but like them. I also loved the time-period the books take place in (hello World War I). The end to the trilogy didn't disappoint either. If you want to give Steampunk a try, definitely pick up these books. Barking spiders, they're awesome!

Monday, February 6, 2012


     In my last post I talked about the guilt that comes with being a Mom and finding the time to write. No matter what, what I say and how I try to convince myself that it's okay, that guilt never goes away.
     Then I found a video. Actually, I was sent this video as part of a church newsletter. I don't talk about religion much on this blog but I have to share this video because it really really helps with that whole guilt thing. It talks about how we need to find our talents and then CREATE something- something wonderful, beautiful, worthwhile. It talks about how we're meant to create things, how we have the wish and the power to do it. This video is so inspiring.

     "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul."

Friday, February 3, 2012

To Mommy's Who Write

     I just read this interview in Writer's Digest with Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander books. ( I read and really liked the historical aspect of Outlander, it was just a little too va-va-voom for me.) One thing she said really stood out to me and I had to share:
     ...a lot of beginning writers- and not just women, but particularly women- have a tremendous amount of guilt over doing it because they do realize that it's not a sure thing, and they're risking a lot of time and energy and so forth, and they have a tremendous amount of demands on that time and energy.
     You know, everybody wants a piece of you if you're a Mommy. And they want it all the time- everybody wants all of you all the time. And therefore to see you doing something like this, I can say they feel threatened- they don't like it, and they will let you know in no uncertain terms. And so you are constantly having not only to fight off your family, but also your own feelings and guilt. What I do say to people who come up and tell me this, I say, "How much television do you watch?" I say, "Do you feel like you're depriving your family if you're watching TV? Okay, write during that time. Don't watch TV and don't feel guilty."
     I had to share this because I totally relate. There's an immense feeling of guilt when you're spending your time in front of a computer screen and not with your children, even if it's just an hour or two a day. I liked her approach on it: don't watch TV. About a year ago I told my husband that I wasn't going to watch TV or movies that I really didn't care to see anymore. (Okay, I still do sometimes. Sometimes it can't be helped.) Instead of watching some stupid comedy or action movie that I never wanted to see in the first place, or sitting down and channel surfing, I was going to do something that I wanted to do.
     When I said this to him, it sounded totally selfish. Like- I'm going to do what I want to do. But what I meant was, I'm not going to waste my time. I'd rather read a good book. I'd rather work on my writing. I have so few hours in the day, why waste them watching reality TV when I could be doing something that is not only enjoyable, but might actually further my writing career? And why feel guilt over it? Why feel guilt over that as opposed to staring mindlessly at the idiot box (my Dad's name for it)?
     So, take Gabaldon's advice. Don't want TV, or cut out some other mindless activity like surfing the Internet or playing Spider Solitaire. Write instead, and don't feel guilty.
***PS- I still watch TV. Just the shows I love though.***

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What I've Learned From Goodreads

     And here it is, from me and all my infinite wisdom (haha):

     Not everyone will like your book.

     I know, I'm such a genius, right? But it's something us both as readers and writers need to remember. I've been on Goodreads only a handful of times, usually to see if others agree with what I thought of a book. (I never read the reviews before I've read a book because I don't want them to ruin it for me. I want to start the book opinionless.) Each time, the reviews have run anywhere from one-star to five stars. Reviews of, I hated this book, it was horrendous! to the reviews we all want, this book was so awesome, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!
     We don't all agree. We don't all like the same things. But we as people want others to like us. We want them to think we're smart, funny, pretty. Whatever it is, we want to be valued by others. And with the work we do, the time and effort and LOVE we put into our manuscripts, we can't help but want everyone to love them as much as we do.
     The fact is, we're not going to all like the same book. If we have written a book and manage to get it out there, not everyone will like it. Heck, look at Twilight. Those books are insanely popular. Stephenie Meyer has made millions. But look at all the Twi-haters out there.
    Not everyone will like what you do. Take the review, learn from it if you can, and move on. This is something I think about when I hated a book others loved or vice versa. And this is something I hope to remember (I better remember!) if my books ever end up on Goodreads.  
     PS, I'm joining the Origins blogfest. Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Best Book of January

     This week's Road Trip Wednesday Topic (I so called it in my head):

What was the best book you read in January?
     I read some great books in January, and a lot of different genres:

     Adult contemp, YA mystery, YA historical, YA dystopian, YA, YA, YA... I think my favorite book this month was Hourglass. Out of all the books, that story had me captivated the most and the characters were the awesomest- I wanted to be Emerson and I wanted to date Michael. The book didn't go as I thought it would, but that only made it more interesting, less predictable. I'm excited to see where the sequel will go.
     If you like historical, or you want to try something different, I highly recommend Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, although it's a sequel so start with Chains. Anderson is one of my favorite writers and I'd read anything she writes!
     I finished Crossed last night and really enjoyed it. The ending was a little disappointing but that's because it just sort of... ended- at a nowhere point. I know there's another book still coming out but still. I think Ally Condie is a great writer, very lyrical, and even though Dystopian isn't my cup-o-tea, there's something about her books that keeps me involved.
     And I just have to give a nod to Uncommon Criminals (love Ally Carter- love, love, love her) and The Liar Society. Both fun books!