Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Chain - What Do You Remember?

This round, the fabulous Shannon hit us with a great question:

Imagine this: when you're gone, readers will remember your writing most for just one of these things: your characters, your plots, your settings, or your style. Which one (only one!) would you prefer over the rest? Why?

I read this question and thought "heck, if people just read me, I'm thrilled" :D And if they remembered me for any of the above, then every second of every minute I spent writing would be worth it.

In order to answer this question, I thought back over the authors I love and what it is about their stories that stick with me. And it's the characters. The settings are in there in some cases (Diana Gabaldon created AMAZING settings in her Outlander series...I can close my eyes even years later and still see every setting in her books. Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games and Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth series are also both series where the settings really stuck with me.)

But's the characters, and as Christine said, their relationships with each other. Jaime and Claire in the Outlander series, Trent and Jocelyn in The Braeswood Tapestry (one of my all time fave historical romances), the characters in Victoria Holt's gothic romances, Katniss, Min (my character :D ), and yes, even Bella, Edward and Jacob. Those characters are who I think about long after I've closed the book. They are what make me feel a little depressed when I've finished a good book. I miss them. I want to know what happens to them AFTER the story.

And that is what I'd love for people to take away from my stories. I'd love for them to be thinking about Min long after they've left her story behind. I'd love for them to wonder about Kesi and Ronan, think back to Cilla and Brynne and Lucy and daydream new stories for them. I want to create characters that my readers can't forget :)

What about you? What do you want people to remember about your writing?

Don't forget to go back and see what Laura wants you to remember and stop by Shaun's to read his response tomorrow :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Mean I'm Not Normal?

Okay, it doesn't look like my word count has changed at all, but I've actually been working quite steadily all week. I just, uh, switched WIPs for a teeny tiny second :D I couldn't help it. One of my finished novels was screaming at me for another revision and I just couldn't ignore it. But, if all goes well, I'll be finished in another week or two and then it's back to work on the new WIP - I pinky promise :D

In the meantime, I have a question for everyone - do you ever wish you WEREN'T a writer?

I've read enough blogs and talked to enough writers that I think I can safely say that most of us don't really feel a choice in the matter. Oh sure, we might have chosen to try and get published. But many of us were writing long before that decision was made and would continue to write even if publication would never be an option.

So, do you ever wish your crazy Muse had just left you the heck alone?

I had a moment yesterday where I did feel this way. It surprised me, to be honest. I've had stressful moments and moments where I've literally been in tears for some reason or the other. But I've never really wished things were any different than they were.

But for a split second, I thought "It would be nice if I wasn't a writer." My house would be clean. I'd spend more time with my kids. My spare moments would be spent relaxing, my nights wouldn't be filled with sleepless hours while my crazy brain spun out a million ideas. I'd just be a normal mom.

LOL It was also the first time I realized I truly don't consider myself "normal." Oh, I've joked about it before. But to really, truly, deep down to the marrow of my soul think I was NOT normal. I think this was the first time.

I have friends who are normal. Their houses are clean, their laundry is always done, their kids never watch more than an hour of t.v. a day, and I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure their minds are occasionally quiet enough for them to just BE. They live life without feeling the compulsion to write about it. They see the dishes as a chore, not a brainstorming session. I see people like this every day and it's a weird concept. Like the idea of a billion dollars. I know that much money exists. But I've never seen it. It's hard to fathom. Being "normal" is hard to fathom.

My moment passed very quickly (shoved away by my MC demanding that I sit and work on her story some more, which I was literally giddy to do). I really wouldn't want to be anything else. I love being a writer. Every crazy, roller coaster second of it. But every now and then.....yeah.....

Do you ever have a "what if" moment?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tutor Tuesday - Looking at Characters

First of all, happy 7th birthday to my little boy!!!! Can't believe how old he's getting :) 

Second, welcome to Tutor Tuesdays :D With the release of my non-fiction book fast approaching, (and since I closed down my other blog) I decided I'd devote one day a week to non-fiction matters, including writing tips for essays, papers and other NF things (memoirs, narratives, and anything else you can think of). Just a little non-fiction info to spice up the place :D

Our recent awesome Blogging Experiment topic (on Writing Compelling Characters) reminded me of a post I did on my other blog about focusing on characters when writing analysis essays.

If you have to write a book report or an essay analyzing a work of literature (or even a film), looking at the characters in the piece is an excellent way to start.

Characters are one of the most important, if not THE most important, element in any work of literature. Without a character, there is no story. Even if the story is about a frog...that frog is your main character. So, characters are a great element to look at when analyzing a work of literature for a paper or essay. Here are some questions you could ask about the characters in the story:

  • Who are the characters?
  • Who is the main character?
  • Who is the main villain?
  • What qualities/vices/characteristics/quirks/mannerisms do these characters have?
  • What do these characteristics do for a particular character?
  • What is the author trying to show with a certain character? For example, is the extreme evilness of the main villain supposed to symbolize the evil side of mankind? Does it work? Why or why not? 
  • Do the characters personify anything? Qualities/characteristics/feelings? For example, if you were analyzing a story about a girl named Hope who went up against a villain named Dr. Evil, do these characters exhibit the qualities of hope and evil? Is Hope an optimistic person, etc?
  • What flaws do the characters have? Or are they too perfect?
  • Are the characters believable? Can you relate to them? Are they likable, intriguing, mysterious? How do these qualities affect the story?
Look at the characters from every possible angle and analyze what each character brings to the story. Think about why they are a part of the story, what their presence does, or does not, do for the story.

This also applies to fiction - take a look at your own stories and ask yourself the questions above. Analyzing your characters the way an English student writing an essay would is a great way to make sure they are fleshed out, well-rounded, unique, and doing the job you need them to do.

Have you ever given your characters a good analysis?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Welcome to a Fabulous Few Weeks!

Happy Monday All!!

We've got lots of fun stuff coming up so I thought I'd give you a little heads up of what's ahead in the next couple weeks.

Starting tomorrow, I'm starting a new feature, Tutor Tuesdays - adding a little non-fiction flavor to the old blog.

Friday - the awesome Christine Fonseca's book, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, releases and I have the incredible honor (along with our CP and all around fabulous friend Elana Johnson) to be the first stop on her blog tour. Please join us!! There may just be an opportunity to win a free copy of her book ;-D

Next week, I am very excited to be hosting the amazing K.M. Weiland. She has a brand new CD for writers coming out, Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration. She'll be here on Monday the 4th with an interview, Wednesday the 6th with a guest post, and Tuesday and Thursday she has a few words of awesome advice for us. Friday's Funnies will be centered around the theme of inspiration and writer's block. Don't miss this amazing spotlight week!!

And on Friday October 15th, I'll be posting a review of Christine's book - and you really don't want to miss this day because Christine will be giving away some spectacular swag!

Be sure to join me for all the upcoming fantasticness!!!!

Did anyone do anything fun this weekend? Get some amazing wordage out? I....did nothing LOL Well, not entirely true. I did a few edits on the non-fiction. But mostly, yeah, I did nothing. It was lovely :D

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters

Huge blogging experiment day!!!! If you haven't checked out the incredible list of people participating in this yet, head to Elana's blog - just truly WOW. do I write compelling characters? My first drafts I really just sit down and write. My characters come out, start developing little quirks and foibles, and in revisions, I take a look at those and exploit them to the best of my ability :D

For instance, my very first main character, Min, was a clutz...if there was a puddle, she'd fall in it, if there was a table to run into, she'd be yelling ow, if there was some way to make a fool of herself, she did so. I love this about her. It makes her funny and gives the reader a reason to root for her. But I didn't want her to ONLY be a clutz.

So here is where my layering begins. I look at the other aspects of her personality and try to beef up other parts of her. She's highly intelligent, brave, curious - so I went through the story and made sure those aspects of her character were apparent.

One thing I learned from my CPs was to be consistent with my characters - the MC of my last book is a boxer. She's feisty. But I had a lot of sections in the book where that aspect of her character got lost. She wasn't reacting to certain situations the way a feisty boxer chick should react. So I had to go through and make sure she was being consistent to who she was.

Bottom line - I try to write characters that people will want to read about. Characters that are flawed and real, who do things and say things the way real people would. The character's main quirks and personality traits generally come through in the first draft. And then during my layering process I go back through and beef up other aspects of his or her personality to make sure they aren't one dimensional, so one trait doesn't overshadow who they are as a whole. And I make sure they are true to who they are.

Be sure to head to Elana's blog and check out all the other fabulous posts on this topic!!!

LAYERS - (for Vicki) :D

Friday Funnies

Any fool can take a bad line out of a poem; it takes a real pro to throw out a good line.
— Theodore Roethke

English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education — sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street.
— EB White

Nobody wants to see the village of the happy people.
— Lew Hunter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thirty-three Word Thursday

An artist must approach his work consciously, but you are confusing two concepts: the solution of a problem and the correct formulation of a problem. Only the second is required of the artist. 
— Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Did You Expect?

First of all, nope, no new Potato Man says it all....

Buuuuut that will hopefully be changing today :D

Right now, I actually have a question for everyone out your writer's life what you thought it would be? I know before I began this journey, before I decided to really start doing this "for real", for publication, I had this vision of what my life as a writer would be like.

And boy was I wrong LOL

I imagined myself putting my kids down for a nap or for bed, or sending them off for school, and sitting down at my computer and immediately pounding out pristine prose that only needed a quick proofread and a few minor tweaks. Everyone else would love it (okay, I knew not EVERYONE would love it), and I'd have offers pouring in the moment I sent queries out....

Well, I was a little more realistic than that :D but seriously, the way it really is and the way I thought it would be are very far apart. I honestly had NO idea how much work goes into writing a book. Didn't understand that I would agonize over the perfect word...that I would be WAITING forever for everything...that the rejections would sting as much as they do (and that there would be so many of them LOL).

I also never imagined how incredible it would feel to have someone read my book and LOVE exciting it would be to sign with my agent, or the complete euphoria (followed and forever after mixed in with terror :D ) that would accompany my very first sale to a publisher, or the happy obsession I'd feel staring at my brand new cover :)

Everything about this crazy world of writing is just so much MORE than I ever expected, both the good and the bad.

So I'm wondering, is it everything you expected?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten Word Tuesday

Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
— Daphne Du Maurier 

(makes me wonder what she'd think about all the social networking and platform building 
that goes along with being a writer today :D  )

Monday, September 20, 2010

When Jumping the Gun Is Helpful

If you haven't checked out yesterday's post yet, make sure you do before you leave here! Michelle Davidson Argyle is celebrating the release of her novella Cinders with awesome style :) Scroll down to yesterday's post to check out our interview and enter to win some fabulous prizes!

So, how is everyone doing this fine Monday morning? I wasn't able to work on my book this weekend (I was too busy getting my butt handed to me by my mother during a few tense rounds of Bananagrams) - but I spent a lot of time going over things in my head. Plot points, pivotal moments, action, romance, do I need more emotion, more fighting, more this more than and the other.....and since I was playing around with things anyway, I sat down and worked up a preliminary query.

Now, I'm at least two months from needing one, but I've found in the past that working on a query is a great way to get things hammered out. It forces me to look at the main plot points of my book. And it really is great at showing if my story arc is strong enough. It shows me if it's exciting enough, if it's unique enough, and it helps me see where I need to focus my creative energies.

Which led me to thinking of other activities that help with this. Here are my top five:

1. Writing a query

2. Writing a hookline/logline

3. Making a book trailer

4. Creating an elevator pitch (which for me is similar to a hook line but can be slightly long as I can get everything out in about 10 seconds)

5. Writing the back cover blurb (sort of like the query letter but I can be slightly more vague/mysterious)

Each one of these activities forces me to look at the bare bones of my story, to get out the ESSENCE of it with as few words as possible. Each item on this list forces me to focus on the most exciting, most unique, most important aspects of my story in just a few delicious sentences.

It's hard. Sometimes frustratingly so. But it's also great at helping me really focus on the true meat of my story.

Do any of you do stuff like this to help focus things?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cinders - An Interview with Author Michelle Davidson Argyle

Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected.

With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

I am very pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of the recently released novella, Cinders. I was intrigued by this book. It looks at the story of Cinderella from a point of view that I had never thought of before, and answers a question I've had since I first read the fairy tale...what happens after Cinderella marries her Prince Charming? You'll have to read it to find out :D

Michelle joins us today to answer a few questions about her book.

MM: Your book is a darker twist on Cinderella than the usual “mice friends, fairy godmother, and happily ever after” versions that we normally see. What inspired your version of the tale?

MDA: I’m a big sucker for turning things over to look at them from a different angle. That, and the regular Disney princess stories have always bothered me. I’ve never been a big believer of true love at first sight, nor have I believed that things ever end happily-ever-after, and if they do, much sacrifice and work is probably behind it. I wanted to tell a story that showed these things, and I think I accomplished what I set out to do. I’ve also wanted to write a darker tragedy-type story for a very long time, and this one seemed to fit the bill so I ran with it!

MM: While this book is more fantasy than historical, it is set in a realistic-feeling past. Did this story require a lot of research?

MDA: Technically, Cinders isn’t set in any specific time period. It may feel that way, but I never intended a specific time-period to be attached to it. I do mention France, though, and imply that Cinderella lives in an English or Scottish countryside. It did take a lot of research to get the feel of this just right. I researched everything from castle life to clothing to politics to food. It was a lot of fun, and I think that part of writing is often my favorite part!

MM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?

MDA: This was the first book I’ve ever written that was a longer piece where I sustained my more lyrical, poetic voice. It was also the first book I completely outlined before writing, and I was amazed at how quickly I flew through the writing. I will try this again with future books, but I do know that every book tends to be different, so we’ll see what happens.

MM: Your book is self-published and you’ve had several interesting blog posts on the subject lately. Why did you decide to self-publish?

MDA: I wrote Cinders specifically to self-publish it. At first it was going to be a novella I wrote for a project Scott and Domey and I were thinking of doing on The Literary Lab, but then I decided the book would sell better on its own and I went in that direction. We have a lot of readers on The Literary Lab who have asked about self-publishing, as well, and I thought actually self-publishing something would be a good way to share information about the subject. Also, Cinders is a novella, and I was afraid no publishers would be interested in it because of the length or they would want me to change too much. It really has been a project where I wanted complete control over everything. It has been a lot of fun!

MM: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you may be working on?

MDA: Sure! I’m currently working on my suspense novel, Monarch to submit to a small press publisher. I think it may be a good fit there. I’m also planning to publish two more fairy-tale themed novellas. I’ve begun the second one titled Thirds. It’s based on a little-known Grimm’s fairy-tale about three sisters, a goat, and a magic tree. It also may end much more happily than Cinders, but I haven’t completed the outline yet so I don’t know for sure. The third novella will be based on a fairy-tale I create out of my own head. That should be interesting. Thanks so much for the interview! These were some fun questions!

Thanks so much for sharing part of your journey with us Michelle, and congratulations on the release of Cinders! Scroll down for a chance to enter some incredible Cinders prizes!!

View the book trailer - 

Click HERE to purchase Cinders

You can find Michelle:

On her website
On her blog
On The Literary Lab blog
On Facebook
On the Cinders Fan page

PRIZES!!!!! This is SO easy! Just fill out the form below for each time you comment on one of the blogs involved in the tour. Each entry is a chance to win one of the prizes. Only one entry per blog, thanks!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Funnies

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do 
them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. 
The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy. 
— Dorothy Parker 

It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. 
— Audre Lord 

Some American writers who have known each other for years have never met in the
daytime or when both were sober. 
— James Thurber (ha! or in "real life") ;-D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday x 2

Dialogue isn’t just quotation. It’s grimaces, pauses, adjustments of…buttons, doodles on napkins…crossings of legs…People communicate…with their faces, their bodies, their timing…the objects around them. Makes this a full conversation. Not just the words part.Conversations are like icebergs…Most of their weight, their mass, their meanings are under the surface. Make your readers feel…what’s above and…below, and you’ll have a story. 
— Jerry Stern 

 (image found HERE)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weird Facts Wednesday

While researching for my books, I come across a lot of weird and interesting facts. I have a file full of these little tidbits, kept forever in the slight chance I might find one useful in a story. I thought I'd share a few of them with you :)

- Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of killing her parents with an ax (after only an hour of deliberation)

- the black box of an airplane is really bright orange

- ship captains (unless specifically ordained) can't legally perform marriages

- porcupines float in water

- the electric chair was invented by a dentist (like I needed more reasons to be afraid of the dentist!)

- there are no clocks in Las Vegas casinos

- bats always turn left when leaving a cave

- electric eels are really fish, head cheese is actually a meat, Douglas firs are really pine trees, koala bears aren't bears but marsupials, a titmouse is really a bird, english horns aren't horns but are closer to an oboe, catgut is actually made out of sheep, and Welsh rabbit is actually melted cheese on toast (let's hear it for confusing names)

*disclaimer - I did not verify these statements, merely stumbled across them in my various searches, found them interesting, and jotted them down.*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's Up?

So, I was sitting here at my computer this morning thinking "Hmmm, no comments on my post yet this morning. I usually wake up to at least one or two." And then I realized that I had completely forgotten to write something.



Yeah, I really am just that spacey sometimes LOL

So, I thought I'd give you a little heads up on what will be coming up on the old blog in the coming weeks.

1. I found this cute cartoon word count tracker, courtesy of Writertopia - however, it's too big to fit in my layout here, so I'll just post it once a week on WIP Wednesday. But seriously, how cute is it!?

And the best thing about it - I can make the little potato guy do different things - right now he's sleeping (because I'm not going to be able to work on my WIP for a couple days). But I can make him write, scream at the computer, act like he's shocked at what's on the screen - seriously LOVING this little guy. And as my word count grows, so will the stack of papers in the "NOVEL" box :D How cool is that? :D

2. There are so many good books coming out in the next several weeks. I am very honored to be kicking off Michelle Davidson Argyle's blog tour for Cinders on the 19th. And I will be kicking off my sweet friend/crit partner/agent sista Christine Fonseca's blog tour for her book Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students on Oct 1st (also it's release date - Embrace the Crazy! (love that catch phrase lol)) :D And I will be posting a review of this awesome book on Oct 15th as well.

And there just might be some fun giveaways involved, so make sure you join us on those dates :D

3. Things are clipping along with my Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers book. I am now deep into line edits with my fabulous editor and I think things are going very well. We had one revision turn into a whole new chapter and I am doing a semi-major revision on another chapter now. But, we aren't anticipating any other major revisions (just several minor ones :D ) so things are looking good. I believe I will have my author galleys in November for my final approval before it goes to print in Dec. Woohooo!

4. Things are going great with my new fiction WIP. I am loving the new outline process I've got going. This time it is really working well for me. As you can see by my little potato guy above, I'm a third of the way through my book and still going strong. Made several notes for the book last night and can't wait to get back to work on it....just as soon as I finish these non-fiction revisions :D

5. I made a meatloaf last night and it was GOOD! You may find this a strange item to be on my list but considering the fact that I set off the smoke alarm boiling water the day before (my husband is still rolling his eyes at me) then a meatloaf that is not only edible but actually enjoyable is seriously the highlight of my week LOL

6. I totally redid my website and am LOVING it - check it out! (CLICK HERE)

How are things going for everyone out there? Progress being made? Ideas being formulated? Taking any well deserved and long overdue regenerating breaks?

Oh! and if you haven't checked out the WriteOnCon site lately, head over there now! They are going to start having monthly events - and giveaways!!!! Too awesome :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Funnies

When the Lord finished the world, He pronounced it good. That is what I said about my first work, too. But Time, I tell you, Time takes the confidence out of these incautious early opinions. 
— Mark Twain

(why it's a bad idea to post everything you are doing on Facebook)

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. 
— Lawrence Kasdan

I wrote a few children's books ... not on purpose. 
— Steven Wright

You don't write a novel out of sheer pity any more than you blow a safe out of a vague longing to be rich. A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society is as essential to creative 
writing as it is to armed robbery. 
— Nelson Algren

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday

Name names. Make your writing physical. Use lots of exact nouns. "Food" is an idea; "black-bean soup" is a thing. Naming…makes the writing more visceral… makes the reader trust you. 
— David Long

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WIP Wednesday - What Kind of a Writer are You?

Non-fiction update: Edits with my developmental editor are complete and I am now working with a fabulous line editor. A few revisions led to a much needed new Chapter 1 :D Things are looking good!

As to my question for the day, we talk a lot about being a pantser or outliner, but I've been thinking about another kind of writer lately.

My crit group started up again recently, and this time, I didn't have a finished project to post. So I've been writing as I go along, sometimes finishing my required pages the day I'm supposed to post.

Now, I knew this about myself before, but it's really been driven home lately - I am a layer writer.

My first draft is generally nothing but getting the actual blow by blow scene down. She did this, he said that, they went here, she said something else. It's flat but it gets the basic scene done. Then I go back and add some emotion to it. Give the characters reactions, feelings. Then I'll usually go back and add more action or motivation or anything else that's missing.

I try to do all this on the first try, of course. But invariably, I usually end up with a flat, bare bones scene that needs a few more layers to really make it work.

I can tell when I've had the time to go back over my weekly post several times, because the comments I get from my awesome crit partners on the emotions and tension and action in the scene are generally better than when I posted at the last second.

And when I post for my second crit group, after I've revised several times incorporating awesome main CPs' corrections and suggestions and added layer upon layer, I can really tell a difference.

I have improved a bit over the years. And if I go slowly and think about every line before I write it, I can get some of those layers in there the first time around. But when I do this, my projects have a tendency to fizzle out. I lose interest in them. Because I'm spending too much time trying to get them perfect the first time around.

If I just word vomit the scene and worry about adding the layers once I have the basic structure set, I have a much better completion rate. And I enjoy writing the story more as well.

How about you? Do you layer with each revision or can you get it all out with the first draft? (and I envy you if you can!) :D

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blog Chain - The Grass is Always Greener in That Other Genre...

Happy Monday Everyone! I get to start off the week with another entry for the ol' Blog Chain. This topic was chosen by the fabulous Margie, who wants to know:

How did you come to write your YA genre (e.g. contemp, fantasy, etc.)? AND (yep, it’s a 2 parter), if you weren’t writing that, what genre would you be interested in exploring?

Answer Part 1:

It just sort of happened LOL Okay, I started out writing adult historical romances. They are what I grew up on, what I love, just about all I read. I got my first degree in History. I love it, I soak it up. And romance - it's just part of who I am. I very seriously doubt I could write fiction without a tinge of romance :)

Then one day, I finally gave into several friends' urgings to try reading YA. And I totally fell in love with it. I love the pacing, the sweetness of the romance involved, the fun story lines. I was hooked. And ideas for YA's started popping up in my head.

I tried revising my first historical romance into YA. Then I wrote a YA Urban Fantasy. And after several false starts and despite a file of ideas for more Urban Fantasies, I've decided I'm going to stick with my first love, history. The majority of my ideas are historical. It's what feels natural and what I think I'm good at. And combined with YA, I've got a genre I absolutely love to write.

I still read more paranormal/urban fantasies than historicals - but for writing purposes, I am a YA historical writer.

Answer Part 2:

Well, I've sort of explored other genres already. As I said, I didn't start out in the genre I'm in now. And I have a few unfinished straight contemporary manuscripts as well. I just lose interest in them quickly.

However, I am lucky because I already write other genres; namely picture books and non-fiction. Both of which I love, and one of which (so far) I've found success in.

So, that's me - writer of YA historicals, picture books, and non-fiction (writing help books at the moment). Oh, and I dabble in that poetry thing on the side ;-)

Head back to Laura's blog to see her writerly tendencies, and don't miss Shaun's answers tomorrow!

How about you? What do you write? Have you tried on other genres? Or would you like to?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Haunted Contest Winner

And our Haunted winner, chosen by the handy, is.......

Carolyn V.!!!

Congrats Carolyn! Shoot me an email (authormichellemclean(at)yahoo(dot)com) and tell me which book you'd like (The Hollow or The Haunted), whether you'd like to have it signed (realize this may take several weeks as Jess is traveling), and of course, where to send it :D

Thanks for playing everyone! We have several fun book and CD releases coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Funnies

Last day to enter for chance to win The Haunted!!!! Click HERE to enter if you haven't already!

Weird Book Titles:
(from Stupid History by Leland Gregory and

- 101 Super Uses for Tampon Applicators by Lori Katz and Barbara Meyer (High Stress Press)
- The Making of a Moron by Neil Brennan (Sheed & Ward)
- Living With Crazy Buttocks by Kaz Cooke (Penguin USA)
- Cold Meat and How to Disguise It (M.E. Rattray, 1904)
- Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe (William Rossi, 1977)
- Fish Who Answer the Phone (Professor Y.P. Frolov, 1937)
- A Pictorial Book of Tongue Coating (Anonymous, 1981)

I always do the first line well, but I have trouble doing the others. 
— Molière

Homer: "Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?"
Marge: "It's an ending. That's enough." 
— The Simpsons

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday

You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analagous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination. 
— Larry McMurtry 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back To School Pros and Cons

Well, my baby started kindergarten yesterday, and my son just started first grade. Which means for the first time in seven years, I will be ALONE for the majority of the day. I think it's Pro and Con time.

PRO: I'm alone!!!! I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. Wooohooo!

CON: So far my alone time has consisted of sitting at the kitchen table basking in the silence. Wonderful, sure, but not very productive.

CON: Alone Time seems to move a lot faster than Regular Time - I sense a hostile conspiracy

PRO: I can crank my iPod up full blast and dance around the house, singing at the top of my lungs while I clean. (my husband and most likely my neighbors think this is a CON...but this is my list, they can make their own) ;-P

CON: Having to put the phone in my pocket on vibrate so I know if it rings....and having it go off in the middle of killing the big spider behind the toilet, scaring me half to death *note to self - forget the phone, let voicemail get it*

CON: I sorta miss their little faces (my kids', not the spiders')

PRO: I actually MISS their little faces - a nice change from those adorable countenances making me want to tear my hair out

CON: I can no longer blame the destroyed house on the least from 8-3

PRO: I can, however, blame it on the big spider behind the toilet

PRO: Having time to both clean, run errands, and write - all before the sun goes down

CON: (See CON #1 - me and productivity...not so much. Though to be fair, we are only on day 2....things may improve in that department) (I said MAY, don't laugh)

PRO: I can watch all my DVR'd shows during the day instead of staying up all night

PRO: The house (theoretically) gets clean and stays that least until 3:00 - but still a vast improvement

CON: The speed with which the house gets demolished after 3:00 - holy cow, my kids are talented

PRO: The sweet hugs and "Mommy I missed you!"s from my kids when I pick them up

CON: Worrying about them being scared, lonely, picked on, confused, homesick, hungry, or in any other way in need of a mommy while they battle the terrors of the elementary school yard

PRO: Hearing "Mommy we LOVE school, it's awesome!"

CON: Knowing THAT particular sentiment won't last long

CON: Realizing my babies are growing so quickly

PRO: Witnessing the awesome people they are growing into

PRO: Having the time, energy, and desire to contemplate all this because I'M ALONE! :D

What are your Back to School Pros and Cons?