Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blog Chain - Once Upon a Time, My Writing Was A Crime

Okay, this round was hard for me :) Shaun started us off and wanted to know:

What is the silliest thing from a book or short story you've written, and why? It can be a line or a paragraph or a whole page. Anything that you look back at and go, "Say what?"

Now, I thought this would be easy because I've written a LOT of really bad stuff in my time. But once I started digging for it, I realized that I didn't save most of my really bad stuff. I had written in on scrap pieces of paper and old diaries, etc....stuff that I either didn't save or has gotten lost over the years. 

I did find a piece I wrote for a creative non-fiction class I took in grad school, where I was having a conversation with myself about being a writer. That made me shudder a bit. But it's also 3 pages long, so I won't torture you with it :D 

And I wrote a poem once, that I thought was really sad and touching, about a woman who either lost a husband or a baby, and I named the lost loved one Dean, because it rhymed with whatever the line before it was. I gave it to my sister, thinking she'd be in tears after she read it. Instead, she was pretty much going into convulsions on the floor, she was laughing so hard. All because I named him Dean :D

But I can't find that'll post this one for you. It's not the worst thing I've ever written, though it certainly isn't the best. But I think it's fairly atrocious and had me chuckling when I read it again, you go :) It's a piece (for the same creative non-fiction class) where we had to write about something we owned, from that object's perspective :)

I am so full I’m nearly bursting. I’m in desperate need of a purge; but that will never happen. My owner holds on to everything. I’m an imitation Louis Vitton. But don’t let the “imitation” fool you. I’m nice and roomy. I have suede on the inside and I come all the way from New York. Of course her mom had to buy me because she would never buy a purse for herself. She likes to use the diaper bag. But I have just as much room for all the crap she stuffs me with.

You’d be amazed at what she crams me full of. I mean, who needs WalMart receipts from 1998? There are contact lenses (which she has worn exactly once), a hairbrush (why I don’t know because I don’t think she ever brushes her hair), two pens, a spare binkie for each of her kids (o.k. those might be necessary), infant finger nail clippers, a tube of her son’s toothpaste (who knows why that is in there; I’m in constant terror it will leak), a pack of double A batteries (again, I have no idea why those are there), a couple of hair ties, a doctor’s bill for her daughter (it’ll never get paid hidden away in me), some Weight Watcher’s information booklets (maybe she’ll actually lose a few pounds this time), two packs of gum (Extra – in watermelon for when she wants her mouth busy and Polar Ice for when she’s not so fresh; and believe me she needs it), and her wallet. Usually there are also a couple of diapers and a pack of wipes.

Her husband is looking over her shoulder as she digs through me.

“Did you steal those batteries?” he asked.
“Yeah I did. Don’t tell,” she answers.
“Why do you have Connor’s toothpaste?”
“I don’t know. Probably because it was in my hand, I wanted to put it away, and my purse was the nearest available spot to drop it.”

I can tell he is confused. I’ve seen his wallet. Nice. Great leather. Smells good. His wallet contains the necessities and little else. Although she teases him because he also has a few expired cards and several years worth of expired hunting licenses.

“Why don’t you throw those away?” she asks.
He just looks at her like she’s asked him to cut off an arm and walks away.

Her wallet matches me and is large, overstuffed, and irreplaceable. It contains the usual checkbook and pen. There is a picture of my owner and her husband, when she was skinny and cute. There are pictures of both of her kids at various ages, and a picture of her teenage step-kids with her son when he was three months old. Her driver’s license is one of those temporary paper things. We just moved and the “real” one hasn’t come yet. She thought the camera had already taken the picture so she stopped smiling and made some weird face. She is so embarrassing. There is also exactly $2.63. Wow, I feel rich. I’d like to carry some real money someday.

She went through the cards the other day. I’ve decided she has a problem letting go of things. There is an expired Costco card, a debit card to a bank account that no longer exists, a Qwest Visa gift card with about $0.47 on it, Blockbuster membership cards (two of them), the current debit card, her current library card, and the cards for the last two libraries we’ve lived near. Her reasoning for holding on to those? What if she is in one of those cities for some reason and needs to go to the library? I have to agree with her there. In one of the zipper compartments is a copy of the obituary for one of her high school friends. He was shot in a bad drug deal a few years after high school. I’d forgotten that was in there. How sad.

Oh, here she comes. Maybe she’ll unload some of this stuff. The toothpaste, take the toothpaste! Oh, just the chap stick. Well, her lips are awful chapped. She’s talking to herself again. Poor thing, I think she’s losing it.

“I know I should clean you out, but I know that as soon as I get rid of something, I’m going to need it. I’d better just leave everything where it is.”

You’ve gotta love her.

Annnnd there you have it :) I am the last link in this chain, so be sure to check out Bonny's post before mine if you haven't yet. And if you'd like to follow the chain from the beginning, go to Shaun's post Here :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Think It's Cold Out Here....

Hmmm, can you guess what I woke up to this morning? :D


I was hoping it would hold off another week until we got to PA, but *sigh* such is not my luck :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funnies

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books that other folks have leant me. 
~ Anatole France

I was reading a book...'the history of glue' - I couldn't put it down. 
~ Tim Vine

I cringe when critics say I'm a master of the popular novel. What's an unpopular novel?
~ Irwin Shaw

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twilight Book Contest!

Coolest Contest Ever! :D Well, if you like Twilight, that is, and you know I do :D

Shannon Messenger over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe is giving away a signed (yes I said SIGNED) copy of Twilight!

Head on over to her blog for all the details! Contest closes on Dec 10th and the winner will be announced on Dec 11th. She has a few ways to rack up some extra points so everyone go enter!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technical Issues

I have having problems moderating my comments at the moment. Several have come through, but Blogger isn't letting me post them for some reason. I'm working on it. So if you don't see your comment, I've probably received it but just can't post it yet. Hopefully this will get fixed soon :)

NANO's Over? But I'm Not Done Yet!!

Yeah, oops :D Well, I did get 2200 something words - so, not a total waste. Here's something I've learned from the last two years.....If you want to do NaNo, do NOT move in November :D

Last year, we moved into our new house on the night of Oct 31st. So unpacking took up all of my time until about the middle of November. Normally, I'd have the whole house unpacked the first day, but this time my children were older and somehow, things didn't go quite as smoothly with them under foot :)

This year, we get the news my husband is being transferred and a flurry of house hunting, school calling, early intervention education program phone calls, note writing, and faxing, shopping, organizing, trashing, and packing begins again.

Bottom line - if you are going to try and write around 2000 words a day for 30 days, I'd highly recommend not trying to move your family 2000 miles away while doing it :D

How did everyone else do?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to my mother :) And what does a broke writer give to her mother? Why, a poem of course! :) Hope your birthday is awesome, Mom. Can't wait to see you!

A Mother’s Pantoum

A mother’s job is never done,
Even when her kids are grown.
Her loves shines brighter than the sun,
Her children will never be alone.

Even when her kids are grown,
She’ll toil for each and every one.
Her children will never be alone.
She’ll be there whether they’ve lost or won.

She’ll toil for each and every one,
Despite all the chances they’ve blown.
She’ll be there whether they’ve lost or won.
Hers is the truest love they’ve known.

Despite all the chances they’ve blown,
Her love shines brighter than the sun.
Hers is the truest love they’ve known,
A mother’s job is never done.

Love you Mom!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

A friend emailed these to me. Too funny! :D

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blog Chain - Priorities

I've got a stack of boxes and a roll of bubble tape ready and waiting :D But am very thankful for the opportunity to procrasinate packing a little longer in order to do this round's blog chain. And it is such a great topic for my life right now :)

The awesome Amanda would like to know:

How do you prioritize? How do you balance paying attention to your writing, critiquing for friends, spending time with your family and earning a living?

Well, to be honest, sometimes I don't - the balance goes out the window and everything is a huge mess (like now). :D

But mostly, my priorities are simple - family first, everything else next, sleep - last.

I do try to schedule my time so I can make the most of what spare time I have. I am lucky enough that I don't work on top of being a mom. Frankly, I have no flippin' clue how people who have families and work full time do it. 

For the most part, I try to write when my kids are in school or asleep and my husband is at work or asleep (or veging out in front of the tv or otherwise occupied). Sometimes I attempt to do it all at once. I'll bring the kids downstairs (where most of their toys, the tv and the Wii are) and try to write while keeping an eye on them. I generally critique during the same quiet moments, or I'll print pages out and read while I eat or cook or keep an eye on the kids

This is also where writing by hand comes in handy (I'd use a laptop if I had one - it's on my list. I've been a good girl this year so hopefully Santa will be nice) :D For some reason, it doesn't bother my kids to see me sitting on the couch scribbling away. They ignore me and go on about their business. If I'm on the computer, no such luck. Suddenly their lives are in chaos and I'm the only one who can fix it.

One thing that has me very excited about our impending move is that kindergarten in PA is all day (it's half day in Utah). Which means, come September, both of my little ones will be in school all day :D Part of me is sad about that, which was a huge surprise. But the rest of me envisions long, quiet days...just me and my computer...the printer spitting out novel after novel after novel *happy sigh*

Yes, I know things aren't going to turn out quite so perfect :) But it will be nice to have a solid couple hours in a row to write instead of snatching moments here and there wherever I can :)

In any case, sorry about the huge long ramble to a very simple question :) I think, bottom line, if you want to do something badly enough, you'll find the time, find a way. You might have to sacrifice things like hygiene and sleep, but hey, it's worth it. Right?

:D  Be sure to stop by Sarah's blog and see what she had to say, and check out Shaun's repsonse tomorrow!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funnies

(packing or not, I've got to post the Friday Funnies :D Enjoy!)

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -Thomas Mann

"A writer should have another lifetime to see if he's appreciated."
-Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Need a Few Spare Hours In The Day :)

Well, as much as I've tried to avoid doing this, I may have to take a bit of a hiatus. I'll still post as often as I can, but trying to house hunt from 2000 miles away, get my house packed up and juggle my children on my own, and still keep up with everything else life likes to throw at me, has left me a bit on the frazzled side. I usually remember somewhere around midnight that I haven't posted anything yet :)

So - I will try and post at least once a week, but for the next several weeks, it might be a bit of a hit and miss or a few short and sweet Hi How Are Ya's :D While I am busy fiddling with boxes and tape, I hope you are all out there busily writing, editing, and querying away!!! Drop me a comment and let me know how you are doing. I'll try to do the same :)

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm a Little Late But I'm Still Thankful.....

Real life is rearing it's head all over the place lately :) Yours truly is getting ready to move. I will try to keep up over here, but I may have to take a few weeks off as we get ready to move across the country. Well, "we" isn't really correct LOL My poor husband is off in PA already working and trying to find us a house while I am back in Utah packing up the house and trying desperately to let the kids "help" while preventing them from doing too much damage. :D

In any case, today on the thankful list - something I couldn't do without and wouldn't have gotten as far as I have without...writer's forums, groups, and websites. Most especially, and

Every close writer friend I have, including all my critique buddies, I have met through one of these sites. I tried a lot of writer's sites and forums - many had a lot of good information. Many had nice people who were glad to help a new writer learn the ropes. But the writers I met on Querytracker, and then Rallystorm, were beyond supportive. They took me under their wing and have become another family. They share my successes and failures with me. They cheer for me and support me. They shred my work and help me rebuild it.

I don't know what I would do without them. This is always the one piece of advice I give new writers. Find some writer friends. They know what you are going through. They understand the journey and the wonderful madness. I am so grateful for each and every one of my writer friends, and without wonderful sites like QT and RS, I never would have met them. (In a weird twist of fate, my closest real life writer friends, the ones who live just down the street...I also met them through QT :) We didn't even know we lived in the same town until we got to chatting on the QT forum one day :D What a crazy, awesome thing to happen) :D

Not only can you meet amazing people on these sites, but there is a ton of really good information. Help for query letters, critiques on a few pages, info on agents, agencies, and publishers, help on research, and answers to just about any question about writing and publishing that you can think of. If you are a writer, no matter where you are in your journey, just starting out or publishing your 50th book, I highly suggest finding a good writer group, forum, or website.

How about everyone else? Do you have any favorite writer sites? Where did you meet your writer friends?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Funnies

"After being turned down by numerous publishers, he had decided to write for posterity." -George Ade

"The ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding."
-Francis Bacon

 (being an OCD picture straightener myself, the following picture had me rolling on the floor)

"Stories have a beginning, a midlle and an end. But not necessarily in that order."
-Robert Silverberg

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wanna Win a Kindle?

The fabulous Lisa and Laura are giving one away!! Head on over to their blog HERE and check out the deets. The contest ends tomorrow, so hurry and enter! Good Luck!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

Today I am thankful for our veterans. I know that doesn't really have anything to do with writing, but as it is Veteran's Day, I think I'd be horribly remiss if I failed to thank these incredible men and women for keeping our country and way of life safe.

I have a comic-a-day calendar with that crusty old Shoebox lady :) Today's comic said "You're free to thank a veteran today. And for that, you should thank a veteran today."

So I'd like to send out a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to all our veterans and active duty soldiers. Because of them, I have the freedom to sit at my computer and write whatever I want about whoever or whatever I want, be it boring, offending, or (hopefully) entertaining. :)

The spouses and families of our veterans and sevicemen and women also deserve a huge thanks for the numerous sacrifices they make so that their loved ones may serve our country. To those who hold down the fort at home - THANK YOU! (and thank you to Cole for reminding me how awesome these people truly are) :)

Happy Veteran's Day everyone :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today I'm Thankful For.....

My wonderful followers, readers, and commentors. 

Today on this brisk and clear Monday morning I'd like to express my thankfulness for all of you awesome folks. Without you guys, I'd be floating along in the blogosphere chattering away to myself with nary a friend to share with :) You guys are incredible and I feel a little thrill of glee every time I see a comment from someone or get to welcome a new follower.

To show my appreciation for all you fantastic folks, I'd like to pass along the One Lovely Blog Award that was given to me recently by the fabulous Natalie Murphy over at her blog The Sound of Rain. If you have a blog, post this award with pride.

And thank you all so much for all your comments and support and for taking the time out of your busy days to read what I have to say. You make posting on this blog every week worthwhile and sometimes are the only reason I keep going :)

Also want to send a special shout-out to Michelle Gregory - there is an interview with me over on her blog Beautiful Chaos and on her website Check it out! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

The F-Bomb by Jackson Pearce

Yet another awesome vlog by author Jackson Pearce:

Friday Funnies

"Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination."
-Louise Brooks

"I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter." -Blaise Pascal

"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
-Samuel Johnson

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blog Chain - Draaaaaama

This round's topic was chosen by the ever fabulous Christine. She would like to know:

How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propel the story forward?

You know, the first thing that came to mind when I read this question was something I learned from someone in this chain a while back (and I apologize because I can't remember for the life of me who brought this up, but it turned into an awesome discussion - I am pretty sure it was in the chain about the mean things we do to our characters :D ).

Anyways, the thing I took away from that discussion that I try to use as I write my stories in order to create drama and tension is - whatever your character wants, say no. 

I think that simple phrase is incredible. SAY NO!

They have a dream, a goal, a desire, a need? Take it away. Play hard to get. Make them work for it. Make them suffer. Make them grow and stretch themselves. Challenge them. Don't give in. Don't make it easy. SAY NO!!!! 

If you do this, then the journey toward the end of the story is full of drama and tension. If everything is easy for your character, just handed to them, there isn't any drama in the story. This is something I sometimes struggle with, especially in my lastest book (we won't go there - that one is sitting for a while so I can play with something new for NaNo :D ) But it is something I try to do in all my stories. 

Just say no. Simple. Sweet. Drama inducing. Tension maker. Just say no.

The wonderful Bonny answered this question before me, so be sure to go back and get her view on this if you missed it, and the awesome Shaun is up next so head over to his blog for his thoughts!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Today I Am Thankful For......

One of the most valuable groups of people in the writing world are agents. They are definitely worthy of a thankful post :) I am extremely thankful for my agent, Krista Goering. For non-fiction, many publishing houses will accept unagented submissions. However, while I could figure out how to send a query and proposal, after that, I'd be pretty clueless. I certainly wouldn't be able to negotiate better terms for my contracts or make sure I'm getting the biggest advance or royalty possible. I have no contacts in the non-fiction world and pretty much no idea who would be the best editor to contact or the best house to query. Krista handles all of that for me.

Not only does she handle all the paperwork, she also helps me with my projects, editing, coming up with new ideas, finding ways to get my name out there, be more marketable. She's always available if I have questions and quickly gets back to me no matter what the reason for my email.

I think agents are some of the hardest working people out there. I know writers often get frustrated, especially during the query and submission process, with non-responses or slow responses. But think about it from the agents' perspective. They get thousands of queries every year, hundreds of submissions - and that is on top of all the work they must do for their clients. And they don't get paid for most of the time and effort they put in. Agents are simply incredible and I, for one, am very grateful they are out there.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thankful Awards

The super sweet Mary Anne Gruen over at the Starlight Blog awarded me and the rest of her followers with the Icing on the Cake Award recently. And I tell ya, this is one of the things I am incredibly thankful for - awesome fellow bloggers who take the time to do things like this. I am grinning ear to ear and drooling over the yummy award LOL

Thanks so much Mary!!

So, I want to pass on the Icing love - if you are a follower, commenter, reader, or what have you - consider yourself Iced! :D Post this award on your blog and know how wonderful I think you are that you take the time to read my ramblings. Can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every person who stops by this blog. Thanks to all of you!!!

 On a down 3 of NaNo and I'm already behind :D How's everyone else doing?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today I'm Thankful For....

Since November is Thanksgiving month, I thought I'd focus this month's topics on the things in my writing world that I am thankful for. I am, of course, always grateful for my family and friends and the love and support they give me. But the world of writing and publishing is sort of it's own little...well, world :D

And it got me thinking about what things specific to my writing I am thankful for. First and foremost in my mind - crit buddies.

I don't know where I'd be without mine. My critique partners are quite simply some of the most awesome people I have ever met. Not only do they give up their time to go through my books, but they care about me enough to be brutally honest when necessary. They shred my manuscripts and then help me pick up the pieces.

They are always around to support me and brainstorm with me. They hold my hand while I query, console me when the going gets rough, and party with me when good things happen. They read revision after revision and are patient with me when I just don't get it. They don't give up on me and don't let me give up on myself.

They are sheer awesomeness and my life would be bleak without them.

So, my wonderful crit buddies, I just want to tell you how thankful I am for each and every one of you. I wouldn't be able to navigate through this crazy writing world without you :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Funnies

I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because 
I don't think it's finished yet.
~ Lawrence Welk

Once you've put one of his books down, you simply can't pick it up again.
(Mark Twain talking about Henry James)

I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it. 
~ John Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Very Lovely Surprise

The very sweet Tira at Runaway Moments presented me with this lovely award. Thank you so much, Tira. I really can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I've got an extra spring in my step today :) If you haven't visited Tira's blog yet, I highly recommend it. It is full of beautiful images and lyrical words. Just wonderful :)

Here are the rules for the award:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog along with the name of the person who awarded you, and their blog link.

2. Pass the award to fifteen other blogs and remember to contact the bloggers to let them know.

Here are my nominees, just a sampling of a few blogs I love to read, in no particular order:

Abby Annis at Evolution of My Neuroses
Suzanne at Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness
Lisa Amowitz at Why A?
Mary Anne Gruen at the Starlight Blog 
Bonny at B.J. Anderson 
Cole Gibsen at Hair Dye and Samurai  

Corey at Thing 1 and Thing 2  
Jody at Author, Jody Hedlund 
Stephanie at The Writer's Cocoon 
Natalie at Natalie Bahm 
Megan at Megan Rebekah Blogs...and Writes
Sheri at Diary of a Children's Book Writer  
Stephanie at Chronicles of a Novice Writer 
Carol Anne Strange at My Writing Journey 
Kate at The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Soooo....are we all ready for NaNo? :D I am cautiously optimistic. I have a fairly good synopsis for my new book and an outline of sorts. It's more of a "This happens then this happens then this happens" type thing, but hopefully it will help give me an idea of what to write :) I'm sure the story will mutate at some point, as it always does, but at least I've got a starting point.

I'm curious to see how this will work for me. I've never tried outlining before, at all. My stories always turn into something completely different than what they started out as. In fact, my first two books both started out as sort of "coming of age" stories about a girl and a few of her relationships. Somehow, that storyline turned into a historical romance with a treasure hunt and a YA paranormal with gods and cool powers. Go figure :)

But, I've never had this much of an idea of where I wanted the story to go. It was always a general "I want the story to be about this." This time, I actually have the whole story mapped out. Not specifics necessarily. I don't have any of the chapters fully outlined with minute details. It's more of a "Chapter 1 - The MC meets character one at the bookstore - he follows her home" "chapter 2- flashback to how she got where she is - meets up with character 3"...That sort of thing. But it's much more defined than anything I've ever done before. I am actually really excited to see if this method works well for me :)

My current novel is just about done. I've done all the major revisions it needs (I think). My main group only has about 30 pages left to go through, and my second group has about half the book, but as they've only been finding minor things here and there (commas and dialogue tags that could go, etc), I'm pretty confident that this book (which finally has a title!!!) is ready to fly the coop :)

How is everyone else doing? Present projects making progress? NaNo novels prepared to go?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Chain - What do I fear?

Okay, this is for the blog chain, though I am several days late. I was going to skip it altogether but as I'm feeling so much better and this round is still going, I thought I'd squeeze in :) Kat picked our topic this round. She wants to know:

What are the primary fears that drive your characters? Do they battle aliens or gangsters or monsters? Or do they battle unreconciled issues in their lives? Which do you prefer writing about? What do you fear?

Fears are funny, I think. When it comes right down to it, all fears are internal. You may have a very good reason to fear something, (see Cole's post if you haven't yet), but the fear you feel is based in your head.

I had a nightmare once, when I was in my mid teens. I was in my room and a blinding white light was shining through my window - like someone had focused a spotlight on it. There was a man standing in my room, but he was made of shadow - black and sort of hazy. No features, just a black outline though it was solid. And red eyes.

I've slept with a nightlight ever since. To this day.

I also fear spiders, ghosts, enclosed spaces, heights and losing my loved ones. All of those fears are totally irrational, justified but unfixable, or unavoidable. I'm huge compared to a spider. I step on it and it dies. But I'll run if one is big enough. I generally stay out of my basement at night and never EVER watch or read ghost stories...esp at night (not even Ghostbusters). I avoid enclosed spaces and heights if at all possible and go to my happy place and breath deeply if I can't (no amount of exposing myself to such places has cured these fears). And I'm going to lose people I love. I already have. And I will again. Yet I fear it.

I put these same fears into my characters. Sure I give them a real monster to fight- that's always fun. :) But those internal those are intense battles. I like to watch my characters conquer their fears. Sometimes it takes more than one try, but there is nothing more rewarding than beating a fear...even if it's only temporary.

Several of our members have posted some really awesome quotes. One of my faves is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that 
something else is more important than fear. 
~Ambrose Redmoon

I actually first heard that quote while watching The Princess Diaries :) But it's so true. I may fear a lot of things - but I can be courageous, no matter how bad my boots are shaking, when I need to be :)

The awesome Shaun is after me in the chain and check out Bonny's post before me!

A Heartfelt Award

Diana Paz over at Writing Roller Coasters very kindly awarded me with the Heartfelt Award last week. Thank you so much Diana! Receiving this award definitely put a smile on my face during a very difficult week :)

The description and rules for this award are:

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside. Rules: Put the logo on your blog/post. Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. Be sure to link your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I know this may seem like a total cop out, but every blog I read falls under this description. The writers whose blogs I follow are all incredible people who truly love this wacky business we are in. Their posts are insightful and heartfelt and warm my days. nominees are...all of my wonderful followers, readers, and those whose blogs I follow. I know I don't get around to commenting much, but every morning when I come downstairs and turn on my computer, it is with a little thrill of "ooo I wonder what everyone will have to say today" :) Each and every one of you deserve this award, so if you are reading this post, copy the award and post it proudly on your blog. And thank you again, Diana!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are You Having Fun?

I'm baaaack :D Still a bit loopey, as I have to stay on a few meds for the next several weeks, but doing much better. Thank you so much for all the kind comments and get well wishes. You guys rock :)

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, for the most part, editing and preparing for NaNo :) My current book is so, so close to being finished, and I think I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going for my new book. And I'm excited...EXCITED...about both of these things. And it got me thinking about why I do what I do.

I've come across people in crit groups or writers forums that seem so stressed out and disillusioned by the endless rounds of edits and revisions and harsh critiques and agent rejections and publisher rejections that they do nothing but complain and bash writing and the publishing industry in general. Yet, when asked, "If you hate it so much, why do you do it?" they invariably answer along the lines of "I've put so much work into it, I can't justify quitting" or "Because being a published author has been a dream of mine since I was little, I'm not going to quit."

While I admire being able to stick with something even when it gets difficult, it's the attitudes behind it that confuse me. This business can be hard. It is a roller coaster of emotions and successes and failures. But most writers I know still love what they do. LOVE it with a capital L. Despite all the hardships and ups and downs, writing just isn't something they could ever do without.

I came across a quote the other day that sums up how I feel about it.

Most people quit. If you don't quit, if you rewrite, if you keep publishing in fancier places, you will understand thta "What's the secret?" is not the question, which is "Are you having fun?"
~ Robert Lipsyte

I read that and thought, "Yes! That is the question!" Are you having fun? Even though you may be crying in your Cheerios over that rejection or at having to cut half your book and start over - are you having fun? Cause if you're not...then what's the point?

Life is too short to spend so much of it engrossed in something you don't enjoy. I write because I love it, because I enjoy it, and because I have fun doing it. Coming up with new storylines, reading the comments of people who are enjoying my stories, losing myself in new worlds and ideas, penning that perfect line, all these things make me dance around with joy. Polishing up that manuscript, sending out those queries...even with the rejections and the hard work and long's fun to me. Have you ever seen the look on a dog's face as he rolls around in the grass? That look of sheer and utter happiness?

Yeah, it's like that :D That's what writing does for me.

Writing, even with the downsides, is one of the great lights in my life. If it wasn't, I wouldn't bother.

So how about you? Are you having fun? :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Apologies

Sorry for the post flakeage this week. I am battling an allergic reaction to some new medication and the medication they put me on to get rid of all the hives and swollen limbs sort of knocks me out :D I'll be back next week!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

WIP Monday and a Reading List Update

Well, my turn for the blog chain falls on Friday, which pushes our Friday Funnies to Wednesday, which pushes WIP Wednesday to Monday....orrrr I suppose I could leave WIP Wednesday ON Wednesday and do funnies today...but since I've already started I think I'll leave well enough alone :D

This about sums up my week :D

Well, not totally true. I did finish going through my manuscript myself. My first crit group only has four more chapters to go through and the last crit group has 9.5 chapters left. I've been doing revisions as I go along, so, for the most part, I'm just about done.

Although...I may have run into a sort of major, but probably not as bad as I'm thinking plot thingy I may or may not need to fix. :D Confused yet? Yeah, me too :D So, I am holding off on any major rewrites until all groups are done critting. Then I'll see what the main concensus is :)

How is everyone else doing? Making more progress than me, I hope :)

Since I am waiting on crits, I got to read a little bit this week. I finally finished Echo in the Bone, the much anticipated new book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

Now, usually, I can polish off one of her 1000 or so page books in a day or two. This one took me a while. I'm not sure why. It may have something to do with the fact that all I've been reading lately are YA books. So I got used to the very quick pacing and the "only add what is necessary to the plot" type storylines of this genre. The Outlander series are much more involved than that.

It may also have to do with the fact that this book follows the perspective of four different characters or couples. Jamie (swoon!) and Claire, Roger and Brianna, Lord John, and Jamie's son William. Honestly, while all storylines were interesting, I think I would have preferred sticking to Jamie and Claire and Roger and Brianna.

I felt like every time I'd really get sucked into a storyline, it would stop and focus on another character. And when that happened, it was easier to put the book down for a few days as I wasn't totally swept up in the new storyline yet.

Having said all that, I did very much enjoy the book and will eagerly await the next (which will probably be several years in coming) as there were several occurrences in this book that desperately need to be resolved in the next.

I also spent the last two days reading Dan Brown's newest, The Lost Symbol. I am torn about this book as well. I enjoyed it, very much. But the pacing of the book kept getting slammed on hold by long passages of philosophical musings on Ancient Mysteries and Noetic Science. Don't get me wrong. I was fascinated. But it sort of felt like I was reading two different books: the intense story of Robert Langdon trying to solve the mystery before everyone dies, and a non-fiction book outlining the principles of noetic science, the Masons, Ancient Mysteries, the origins of our country, etc.

Now, those passages were interesting enough that I actually would like to go look up more information on all of it. But I think the story could have been more intense, or more consistently intense, without some of the "heavier" info dumps.

And *SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING!!!!*  I'll still try to be a bit cryptic :D I had the location of the hidden item figured out very early on in the book, and have a hard time believing that the Masonic brothers would go through as much trouble as they did to keep the secret that they did, even to the point of giving up their lives, considering the item involved...seeing as how it is readily available to anyone who wants it anyways and was available (though admittedly, not nearly as much as in present times) at the time it was hidden. But that's just me :D

But again, I did truly enjoy the story, had several "Holy crap, no way!" moments, was brought to tears a few times, and think anyone who likes Dan Brown's previous books will enjoy it as well.

All in all, two thumbs up on both of them :D

Also, though I was privileged enough to be able to read The Hollow, by the ever awesome Jessica Verday, several months ago, I can now add it to my list of new books read as it is actually out in stores now. Well, it has been since last month, but I forgot to add it to the list sooo I'm doing it now :D You can click on the picture of her cover on my sidebar to find a retailer :)

I started out the year going strong - but the end of the year is creeping up fast and I still have 18 books to go. I better get my butt in gear :) I have read a ton of other books, but they were all rereads, so I can't count them. Ooo, and I just realized the new House of Night book (P.C. and Kristin Cast) and the new Merry Gentry book (from Laurell K. Hamilton) are out this month! Yay!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Funnies

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
~ Flannery O'Connor

Never judge a book by its movie. 
~ J.W. Eagan

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.
~ Erasmus

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I don't really have a WIP anymore (not for a few more weeks). I am still editing, of course, and am about halfway done, I think. I've been trying to brainstorm ideas for another non-fiction book, but haven't really come up with much there. Well, I have one idea, but not sure about it. More stewage needed :D

So, I have moved on to researching (and outlining, as I mentioned on Monday) my new book. And I'm having a lot of fun with it, actually :)

But, until I actually start writing it, I just don't have much to report.

What has everyone else been up to? Projects going well? I didn't get to ask last week, so I expect much progress to have been made ;-D

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Outliners Got Me

(posting change up - in an effort to keep myself mildly sane :D I will be posting on this blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and on the new blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Also - HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! to my stepson Matt. May your day be spectacular :)

Well, since I mentioned in my Blog Chain post that a great way for a character, or person, to experience change and grow is to leave their comfort zones, I thought I'd share my recent "leaving the comfort zone" experience.

*ahem* I have decided to outline my next book  :D

I know I always said I hated to outline, that I would never do it, that I liked to just write by the seat of my pants. I still do.

However, I have decided to give outlining a try for a few reasons.

1. NaNoWriMo - I will be starting this book for NaNoWriMo - I am hoping that an outline will keep me on track, remind me where I need to go, and thus help me meet my word goal

2. Revision Problems - I am hoping to head off some revision problems. With both of my past novels, I've ended up cutting about half of the novel and completely rewriting those sections. Mainly because I get off track and write a bunch of stuff, that, while I love it, just doesn't help the plot any and bogs down the pacing. So again, maybe an outline will keep me on track and prevent major cuttage when the time comes

3. A Better Story - This time around, I want the main story fleshed out. I want to know who my characters are, what their motivations are, what they will be doing in the book, what their main conflict is and what they'll need to do to resolve it. I know things will still happen as I write that I don't plan. That's good. I love it when that happens. But I don't want to get halfway into my story and have no idea where to go. Or have to come up with some lame storyline at the last minute. I want to have a good story with an interesting plot with a lot of cool, well thought out stuff happening. I think an outline will help with that.

4. Better Characters - I would like my characters to be more thought out this time. I want a better idea of who they are. I had a bit of a problem with my main character with my last novel. I don't want that to happen this time

And you know, so far it hasn't been so bad :) I've mostly been focusing on research and fleshing out my plot. And I'm getting really excited about this story. I was struggling with my characters' motivations and their main conflict. I had an idea what I wanted it to be, but wasn't positive. Had I just started writing with the general idea that I had, I would have either gotten stuck, frustrated, and given up - or come up with something that wasn't the best idea in the interest of continuing the story.

This time, I have a really good idea of my story from start to finish. And I think I may reach all of my goals, simply by taking the time to really ponder my story and outline where I need to go. We'll see how it goes :)

How about everyone else? Do you guys outline? Ever? Have you tried it and hated it?