Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Funnies

Eye dew knot kneed two proof reed.
Spell check works just fine.
If eye right the wrong thing down,
It gets a bright read line.

Eye no know madder what I due
My a sine mint will bee great.
I don’t halve thyme two reed it threw
Bee cause its all most late!

Sew pleas don’t worn me any moor.
I’ve totally got it maid.
I even checked out awl my fax
Sow aisle get an awesome grayed! 

If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know? 
~ Steve Wright

There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together. 
~ Josh Billings

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday

"The mark of a really great writer is that he or she gives expression to what the masses of mankind 
think or feel without knowing it."

G.C. Lichtenberg, 1799

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Off to the Editor

Monday was a momentous day in the McLean household. My very first soon-to-be-published book was packed up and sent on its way to my editor. I thought you might like to know how the whole "getting the manuscript ready for publication" process least for Non-fiction (in my short experience, in any case).

First of all, after my agent had worked her magic, my contract arrived in the mail. I had a very big SQUEE moment (which repeats every so often as I realize how real this whole thing actually is) :D

Along with my signed contract came a welcome packet from my publisher. This included a welcome letter, an author questionnaire, and information letters from the marketing, production, foreign rights, and editorial departments, with a contact sheet for everyone in the company I may need to get a hold of.

The author questionnaire is a big packet of questions about my book, my intended market, and little old me. I got to write the blurb for the book, a bio for me, some interview questions should anyone need to refer to them, and there were spots for things like publications/companies/reviewers I felt should be made aware of my book, any endorsements I may have received, and any avenues I might have access to (such as radio/tv interviews, conventions or conferences I might be speaking at, that sort of thing).

Basically, they wanted to know about me, my book, and how I might be able to help market my book.

Then, I got down to some serious editing. Before signing the contract, my publisher had mentioned a few changes and additions they wanted made to the manuscript and we agreed upon a deadline for the final manuscript to be sent in. (I am very happy to report that my manuscript is complete early - woohooo!)

So I set about getting my lovely little book all ready. And last week, it happened. The final "i" was dotted, the final "t" was crossed - I had printed the book out, let it sit, and gone through it again, slowly, with a red marker, and made it as good (not perfect, because that will never happen *snort*) as I could get it.

I printed out a nice, clean, and oh-so-pretty copy for my editor's shredding pleasure. Also, I sent a CD that contains each of my chapters and material as separate files. And she's all ready to go:

Once my editor goes through it, I'll get edits. From what I've heard from my writer buddies' experience, these usually appear in the form of a letter (and I suppose the edits necessary will dictate the length of that letter LOL) Another deadline will be set for the new revisions to be completed by, and then, once my manuscript has been approved by everyone, it will go to production.

I'm actually sort of surprised by how quickly the last half of this will take place. My book will be released in Jan. Which means, it will be printed by Dec (at the latest, I am assuming, since my publisher will ship the book to stores 2 weeks before its actual release). My deadline for this first round isn't until Sept 1 (so I'm a month early). Which means, any other revisions necessary will take place between Sept and Nov....which doesn't seem like much time *eep!*  Here's hoping they won't need many changes :D

Anyhow, that is my pre-production experience up to this point. Really, I just wanted to show you the oh so pretty picture of my manuscript LOL I just *heart* it :D

How is everyone's projects going? I am having a blast focusing on fiction again. Juggling two novels and fielding my family's "but I thought you just finished" comments.....poor little darlings.....stuck with a writer as a wife and mom. I think I'll go get them some chocolate :D

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

And the Deathday Winners Are....

Again, a huge thanks to Shaun for spending last week with us and for putting his lovely signature on our prize books. The winners are.....

1. Chosen by the ever handy

Matt Rush!!!!

and winner 2, chosen by my wonderful son who loves the "pick a number" game :D.......


Congrats guys!!! Send me your addresses (my email is on the sidebar there) and we'll get your autographed books out to you.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Funnies - Deathday Letter Style

In honor of Shaun Hutchinson and his awesome book, today's Friday Funnies will feature a "Deathday Letter" postcard, a video and links to wicked awesome photos, and a couple of lines from the book that had me laughing so hard I cried. Enjoy :) And today is the last day to enter our contest so be sure to leave comments!!! Winners will be announce on Monday! Thanks so much for joining us this week, Shaun!! And congrats on the release of your book!

"Shane looks at me like I've shoved a handful of poo in his face and he's taken a huge whiff. And seen some corn. There's always corn."

(well, the captions are hilarious, the pics are cool) :D

"I can't help laughing at Shane. There's really nothing he's afraid of except for heights. I've seen him pick up a rattlesnake with a pair of kitchen tongs. Hell, I've even seen the kid brave the Porta Potties at Moroso Raceway on chili dog day. But put the kid on anything taller than he is and he turns into a big blubbery mess. He's actually holding it together far better than I expected, but I suspect that has more to do with my impending date with death than increased intestinal fortitude."

My First Skydive from Shaun Hutchinson on Vimeo.


The Deathday Letter Site

Shaun's Site and Blog

Shaun on Twitter



Barnes and Noble



Simon and Schuster

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Deathday Letter - Exerpt #2

"The sun's bright, the water's warm, and I'm alive. Really alive. And I realize the truth: I was dead yesterday, and I'll be dead tomorrow, but today I'm alive."

~ Shaun David Hutchinson, The Deathday Letter 

*happy sigh* I heart this book, seriously - go read it!!!! And be sure to enter the contest to win a signed copy! Just leave a comment below and on any of the other posts this week for extra entries :D



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Post with Shaun David Hutchinson!

So I'm really happy to be here on Michelle's blog. So as you know, I was supposed to do this last week but I ended up having to have surgery to remove my gallbladder. How's that for a book debut gift? The day before my book came out, I jumped out of a plane, then less than a month after the release, I end up in the hospital. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time thinking about my own mortality.

Here are the top ten things I want to do in the next couple of years:

1. Go to Germany for Oktoberfest. I'm not even a big beer drinker, but how much fun would it be to get completely sloshed with a bunch of other drunk Germans?

2. Go to Comic-Con. I was supposed to go this year, but my plans to stalk Joss Whedon were derailed by that tiny little organ called my gallbladder. Gallbladders are stupid anyway. They store bile. Who needs bile? I bet Joss Whedon doesn't need bile.

3. Complete the Accelerated Free fall classes and get my sky diving license. From the first time I jumped, I was hooked. Okay, I was nauseated first, then I was hooked. They make pills for nausea but not for the awesomeness I felt sky diving.

4. Write a graphic novel. I know graphic novels are "in" right now, but I have a couple of ideas that I think would make great graphic novels. Sadly, I can't draw for crap, so I have to find an artist for help.

5. Learn to mountain climb. I live in Florida...which is as far from mountains as possible, but I still want to learn. There's something about the idea of hanging from a rock face by my hands.

6. Run a marathon. I know it sounds boring but I look at it as an opportunity to eat a butt-load of pasta the night before. Pasta....drool.

7. Write a book for adults. I'm not sure that I have anything to say to adults but I'd love to give it a try. But between you and me, I think most adults are a little closed minded. But not you guys. I'm talking about the other adults.

8. Visit the pyramids. I'm not sure they wouldn't be boring as heck but I'd love to stand in front of those massive structures and feel tiny.

9. Spend the night in a haunted house. I've actually done this before. I stayed in a haunted bed and breakfast on a Friday the 13th. There was also a storm and the power went out. But the truth is that it's hard to be scared in a B&B. I want to stay in a really cool, abandoned haunted house.

10. I want to work on a television show. I'm not even sure how to go about doing that, but I've always wanted to work in a writer's room. I'm not sure I'd like writing for TV but I think I'd be an amazing, fun experience. Also, it might get me closer to Joss Whedon.

Some people call this a bucket list, but I'm not waiting until I get close to death. That's what I wanted people to take from The Deathday Letter. There's no point waiting for the end of your life, because you never know when that might come. So I'm doing my stuff now. I'm going to try to live every day as if it's my last. Anyone care to join me?

Thanks for having me!


The Deathday Letter Site

Shaun's Site and Blog

Shaun on Twitter



Barnes and Noble



Simon and Schuster

and don't forget to enter our contest! Just leave a comment and you're entered!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Deathday Letter - An Exerpt

 "Still, I want to know whose awesomely idiotic idea it was to cram a whole bunch of teenagers into one giant, hermetically sealed bubble and expect us not to kill and devour each other. There's a reason caterpillars go into cocoons to turn into butterflies. Because teenagers are monsters."

~Shaun David Hutchinson, The Deathday Letter 

If you think that's awesome, you should read the rest of the book! Don't forget to enter our contest for a chance at a signed copy of The Deathday Letter! Just leave a comment below. Comment on every post this week and get one entry per comment for a total of 6!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Interview with Mr. Awesome, Shaun David Hutchinson

Welcome to Spotlight Week and welcome to our spotlighted author, Shaun David Hutchinson! I met Mr. Shaun through another awesome writer friend, Cole Gibsen, who nominated her agent buddy for our Blog Chain group. It has been a true pleasure getting to know this funny and insanely talented writer. If you haven't checked out his site yet, be sure to do so. There is a truly awesome set of photos and video of Shaun celebrating his book release. You've gotta go see :D

Now on to our interview!

MM: Your book, The Deathday Letter, was recently published. Congratulations!! Can you tell us a little about the book?

SDH: Thanks! The Deathday Letter is about a fifteen-year-old boy who gets a letter telling him he's got twenty-four hours to live. The story follows him through the entire day. There's humor and pizza and hippies and pudding and a little smooching.

MM: You celebrated your book release in a fun/crazy/unusual way – by jumping out of a plane!!! I know that was a first for you. Has anything else about you or your life changed now that your book is out?

SDH: Sadly, no. I mean, I've gotten to connect with some really amazing people, but I still go to my day job and hit the gym and try to think up ideas for more books. Okay, strike that. One thing has changed, but it changed around the time I was writing the book. I spend more time enjoying the little moments in life.

MM: I know as writers we often have all these expectations about how things will be once we reach that huge goal of publication. Did you have any expectations? Have they been realized or not?  

SDH: Ahhhh, the dreaded expectations. I used to think I'd sell a book and life would be cake. I'd make enough money to live on comfortably and spend my days writing. The truth is less glamorous but still loads of fun. Writing is not the path to riches. If you want to be rich, go become a lawyer. But I have to say that it's the things I didn't expect that made all of this so worthwhile.

MM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

SDH: That people think I'm funny. I never considered myself funny. Now that people have read my book they're always like, "Say something funny," and all I can do is stare at my shoes and try not to drool.

MM: LOL I think you are much funnier than you give yourself credit for - have you read your blog?? :D Well, what about you? Who is Shaun David Hutchinson ? What do you love to do, besides writing? 

SDH: I'm a total geek. A lazy geek. I'm really passionate about music. I always loved singing but I suck at it so I make due by listening to more music than I have a right to. I also love movies and TV. I'm a junkie for British television. Following up with the skydiving, my next step is to take the classes to get certified.

MM: Tell us a little about finding your agent and your road to publication

SDH: Finding Chris at Upstart Crow was an awesome experience. I admit to being really naive about the whole situation. I wrote Deathday in about six weeks. I was heading out on a trip to London and Paris and I decided I'd send out queries before I left. Most agents had a 3-6 week lead time so I thought I'd be safe. I hadn't even finished revising yet! I got my first response two hours after sending out my query. I got a lot of requests. Chris was a new agent then and his boss at the time handed my query to him. Chris emailed me while I was in London and we traded emails and phone calls back and forth. I was actually in a Starbucks in London when he made the offer. Of course I had to wait a little bit to talk to other agents, but Chris was (and is) such a great guy that I knew he was the agent for me. I've never regretted that decision.
As for publication, well we submitted to a bunch of houses after doing a couple rounds of revision. It was Anica Mrose Rissi over at Simon Pulse who said she had some really great ideas for this story if I was willing to do some major revisions. We talked and I knew she was the editor for me. I ended up rewriting about half of the book, but she helped me find the true focus of Ollie's story, and again, I've never regretted my decision.

MM: What was the hardest part of this journey for you? The easiest, or most fun?

SDH: The hardest part was definitely making the big changes. While I know now that they made my book a thousand times better, at the time they were a little hard to swallow. Luckily I had a great agent and amazing friends who helped me keep everything in perspective.

The easiest AND most fun has been connecting to readers and writers and bloggers. The book community is so vast but so welcoming. I'm not a social person by nature...I'm a bit of a recluse, but I've found great friends throughout all this.

MM: Quick 5: 

Dark or milk chocolate? Dark chocolate, definitely!
Even numbers or odd? Hmmm. Odd.
Swimming pool or ocean? I live on the beach, so definitely ocean.
Movie theater or DVD? DVD.
Sandals – with or without socks? Wow, okay, well my high school self would have said with socks but I know better now. Definitely without.

Thanks so much, Shaun!

Don't forget to enter our contest, everyone! We will be giving away two copies of Shaun's book, The Deathday Letter, with the added awesomeness of Shaun's shiny new autograph! All you have to do is leave a comment :D

For more information on Shaun and to order a copy of his book, see the links below.


The Deathday Letter Site

Shaun's Site and Blog

Shaun on Twitter



Barnes and Noble



Simon and Schuster

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Author Spotlight Week with Shaun David Hutchinson

Welcome to Author Spotlight Week!! This week I am very excited to be spotlighting the amazing Shaun David Hutchinson. His book, The Deathday Letter, was released last month and should definitely be on your must read list.

To kick off our Week, we are going to open with a contest. The prize = a signed copy of The Deathday Letter!!

And we will have TWO winners! That's right, you heard me - T.W.O. Two lucky people will be walking away with a freshly autographed copy of this awesome book.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on any one of the posts for this week, starting with today and going through Friday. 6 posts = 6 total possible entries. Simple!

Winners will be announced on Monday the 26th.

A huge thanks to Shaun for agreeing to hang out with us all week!


The Deathday Letter Site

Shaun's Site and Blog

Shaun on Twitter



Barnes and Noble



Simon and Schuster

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blog Chain: Revision Decisions

This blog chain topic was chosen by the lovely Sarah Bromley who wants to know:

How do you handle revisions? Do you revise as you're writing, or do you wait until you've gone through beta readers and crit partners to revise? How soon after you finish do you begin your revisions?

For me, it sort of depends on the project. Poetry, I revise immediately after finishing, sometimes before I've finished. Non-fiction, I only have one, sometimes two, crit partners read that stuff, and I usually revise as soon as they've read each chapter, while writing the next. But non-fiction is much easier for me to deal with, in general. It's not as personal, there aren't any plot holes or character developments, or "hard" stuff to fix. Revisions mostly consist of adding more or less explanations, rewording or reorganizing....stuff that isn't too difficult to do.

Fiction, ahhh yes, fiction. That's an entirely different story. Honestly, I'm still trying to find the revision technique that works best for me. I always go through something several times before I send it out to my crit partners. I'll generally go through a chapter the day after writing it and then let it sit for a day or so more before going through it again. And then I'll send it off, when it's as good as I can get it.

Once my crit partners have marked it up, I tend to want to fix something as soon as I know there's something wrong. However, I've discovered this doesn't always work well. Because my crit partners might mark up stuff in chapter three that I'll spend days revising only to find out that I need to cut the entire scene a couple weeks later because a revision in chapter seven changed the whole plotline.

So, for my new WIP, I am going to try and let the revisions wait until the whole book has been edited by my crit partners. And then, I'll go through chapter by chapter and see what needs to be done. It'll be hard to keep my OC tendencies in check, but dangit, I'm gonna try! :)

Be sure to check out Laura's answer from yesterday and swing by Shaun's tomorrow to see how he deals with revisions.

And speaking of Shaun, stay tuned next week for our Author Spotlight Week featuring him!! We'll be giving away signed copies of his book as well, so don't miss it!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Funnies

"The wastebasket is a writer's best friend."

Isaac Bashevis Singer

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."

Peter De Vries

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday

(first off, happy birthday to my baby! My little Ryanna turns 5 today :) Such a big girl now!)

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time...You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile."

Robert Cormier

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Writer's Block with Jackson Pearce

Hmmm, having a few problems with my left hand lately, so for today, since typing one-handed is sloooow going :) I'll leave you with this incredibly awesome video by the amazing Jackson Pearce :D

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Postponment and Some Mondayness

Due to some uncontrollable events, we are going to postpone our Author Spotlight Week with the awesome Shaun David Hutchinson while he recuperates from some unexpected events. But, I urge any and all of you to head out and get his book, The Deathday Letter without delay! I loved this book, read it in a day, laughed, cried, and laughed some more. Serious excellence :D You can find links to buy it in my Must Read Books tab above. Please stay tuned for our spotlight week with Shaun. We will be discussing his book and even giving away a signed copy!

So, for this week we will stick to our regularly scheduled program :)

Hope all is well with everyone and hope you are all busily writing away! I'm working on it, to varying degrees of success LOL But, I figure as long as I'm getting SOMETHING down, I can give myself a pat or two on the back :)

Real life stuff getting in the way right now:

No air conditioning - hard to type when your fingers are dripping sweat. No joke.
Middle finger on left hand non-functioning - not sure what is going on with it, though I have discovered I'm pretty good at typing even though I can barely move my fingers on my left hand. Gotta love a silver lining ;-)
Kids are hot and bored and hot - but, the youngest starts summer school this week (she has a speech delay so this is just to get her up to speed before she dives into kindergarten, and she's super excited!) and we got our little pool up which my son now lives in; so this week may go better.

Goal for this week - get some writing done no matter what awesome excuses I may have! I will type one handed sitting on a block of ice if I have to!! :)

So, how is life and writing going for everyone else? I hope you are being more productive than I am ;D

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shout Out for Christine Fonseca

Just wanted to spread some cover love for my awesome friend and agent-sista, Christine, who got her cover today!!!! Her book will be coming out on Oct 15th and should be available for pre-order soon. Check back in my Must Read tab (above) for links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble (they'll work as soon as the book is listed). But for now, here is a peek at her beautiful cover. Congrats Christine!!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Unplugged Week

Hey all - I hope everyone had a spectacular 4th of July! Due to a rather long weekend and a self-imposed deadline, I'm going to take an unplugged week. But be sure to come back next week for an Author Spotlight Week with the fabulous and newly published Shaun David Hutchinson! There might just be a fun giveaway to go with it! :D

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Funnies

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum
~Graycie Harmon

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. 

~E.L. Doctorow

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday

Love letters and poems [and novels] aren't the least bit difficult to write, if you write directly from your heart into the ink and don't channel through your brain first. 

~Graycie Harmon (with a small addition from me) :D