Monday, August 31, 2009

B.L.O.G. - What Does It Stand For?

Last week, on Elana Johnson's blog, there was a bit of discussion about what B.L.O.G. stands for. I thought Elana's son's guess was the funniest, but the most popular seemed to be Batman Looking Over Gotham, suggested by Eric. Elana made a request for a badge, and I don't know if she was serious or not, but I'm always up for Photoshop fun. :)

Keep in mind that this is just a hobby for me, and as much as I would love to own Adobe Illustrator and the full version of Photoshop, I don't have a spare $1200 lying around for software. So, no laughing at my limitations, at least not in print. ;) You don't have to say you like it, but I don't want to hear that it sucks. Even if it does. Cool? Cool.

Also, I thought Rebecca Knight's suggestion best captured the true essence of blogging, so I made a badge for that one, too. No one asked for it, but it's my blog, so I can make one if I want. So there. :P

Feel free to take them and post them on your blog, if you like. And credit, like a link to this post, is not required, but would be totally awesome. :D

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just Grow Up and Get Out, Already!

I vaguely remember posting something a while back about my first novel being ready to query. Seems so long ago…

My query was awful, resulting in several rejections. I revamped the query with the help of my awesome bloggy friend, Suzanne, and several suggestions from a critique session on Beth Revis’s blog. It still needs a little tweaking, but I think it’s pretty close. I’m itching to test it out, but I’ve hit another speed bump.

I rewrote my ending a couple of months ago and sent it off to one of my crit buddies. She sent it back with lots of very helpful red marks, prompting me to look at the rest with a more critical eye.
I hadn’t looked at the ms in almost two months, and we all know how much things can change in that amount of time. When I started going over it again, I realized it could still use some work. So, I think I’ve decided to do one last round of revisions. It makes me kind of grouchy every time I think about it. It’s never ending! Never. Ending.

So, I’m wondering. How do you know when you’re done and ready to submit? When is it time to say, I’ve done all I can, and set that baby free?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Contest

Jessjordan at Say What? is having another book giveaway. Pop on over, and check it out. She's got like a million ways to get extra entries. Okay, so it's more like thirteen, but that's still a lot. ;) The book up for grabs is 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Contest is over.

She's also been posting all of her notes from her recent adventures at the SCBWI conference. Tons of great info there. And, as always, she's hilarious. :D

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WIP Wednesday - I'm back...

No. I didn't actually go anywhere. Well, crazy is a possibility.

They're coming to take me away, ha ha... Ahem. Sorry.

For a while there, I was really cooking on my work in progress and got 24,000 words down over about a three week stretch. Then life got in the way, and the next scene needed some thinking before I could write it and blah, blah, blah. It's all just a bunch of lame excuses.

So, for the last four weeks I have written NOTHING new, except for a new opening for my my other novel. Until last night. Now, I didn't get a lot done, only about 700 words, but it's all new stuff and I actually wanted to write. I didn't have to force it. YEA!!

That's all I have to report. Any news for you? Making progress on your work in progress?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Cool to be a Nerd

I was given the Word Nerd award aka the Awesome Writer Friend award, by my super awesome crit buddy and friend, Rebecca Knight. Not to downplay the other awards I’ve gotten, but this is the COOLEST AWARD EVER!! She made it especially for me, so how could I not see it that way? Thanks so much, Becca! I would totally give it back, if I could. You're the absolute coolest! :D (BTW, Becca, I don’t think it’s ugly at all. Looks very retro. And retro is cool. Trust me. I know cool. ;) Plus, that chick looks just like me.)

Okay, so I’m kind of glad I can’t give it back, because then I would have to choose between my two best writer friends, and that would suck.

So, are you all curious who the recipient will be? Or did you skip ahead? Here goes. Are you ready? Huh, huh? Okay, I’m done being annoying. :)

I would like to bestow this lovely award upon Miss TereLiz of The Lesser Key. Thanks for all of your amazing help and for being such a great friend! My book wouldn’t be as close to perfect as it is, without your help. ;D

Now, there are no hard and fast rules attached to this award, but feel free to pass it on to the Word Nerd of your choice, and spread the nerdy love. :D

Monday, August 24, 2009


Apparently, I was due for a good, strong dose of perspective. I’ve been really stressed and whiny lately. I won’t go into detail, but we own our own business and with the wonderful economy, well, you know. Same crap a lot of people are going through right now. That stress seems awfully trivial after this past weekend.

As some of you already know, my 9-year-old daughter was in the hospital over the weekend with appendicitis. We were very blessed to catch it early, and it was removed without any complications. We only had to stay in the hospital two days and two nights, and she’ll be back to school tomorrow. It could have been so much worse.

It really helped me see my life from a much different angle. I’ll take financial stress any day over having one of my kids in the hospital. I am so grateful my kids are healthy. I have the utmost respect for parents who have kids who spend months and months in the hospital fighting terrible illnesses. I can’t imagine enduring that. I’m exhausted after only a couple of days.

A few things I learned (or was reminded of) this weekend:

*I have the BEST sisters in the world. They, along with my awesome friend Tori, stepped in and took my other two kids so my daughter could have both Mom and Dad at the hospital with her.

*I really, really like my bed. Really. =)

*I can look at blogs on my cell phone. I’ve had internet on my phone for over a year, but I’ve never taken the time to really see what it was capable of. Had some spare time this weekend and a whole new world of cell phone usage has opened up for me. Not sure if that’s a good thing. :-S

*Staying in the hospital is a lot like querying. There’s waiting for test results, wondering if the news will be good or bad. Waiting for the surgeon to come tell you what the plan of action is. Waiting for the surgery to be done, hoping it will all go perfectly. Waiting for the surgeon to release you from the hospital. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. And then more waiting. :D

Thank you, everyone, for your supportive comments and emails. You guys are the best!

So, anyone else have any enlightening or harrowing experiences recently? Any good news you want to share? I’m totally up for some good news. :D

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know... and More

I’m feeling pretty special today, having four nominations for this lovely award. Thanks so much to TereLiz at The Lesser Key, Jenna Alexander at Turn the Page, Mandy at The Keyboard, and ElanaJ at Elana Johnson, Author. You guys are all awesome!!

First off, the rules. You know how I love rules. ;) These rules apply to all those who receive this award.

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Now, all the incredibly interesting info you never wanted to know about me. :D

1. I love paper. Not so I can use it for anything. In fact, I feel a little sad if I have to cut it up. My favorite is plain white paper with no lines or holes. The thick stuff they use at the copy store that feels almost polished, that’s the best. And Bristol board. Love that stuff. I do use the white paper for drawing, as long as it’s not flawed. The other paper (i.e. scrapbook paper), I just like to have. Looney, I know.

2. I also love brand new markers. There’s just something about that clean line of ink. This goes for pens too. I only like to write with gel pens.

3. I like to collect the brown recluse spiders (photo here) and wind scorpions (aka camel spiders or sun spiders) I find around our house and property and keep them in jars. I don’t know. Science project? We’ve found over thirty brown recluses and six wind scorpions since we moved here.

4. I have over 800 fonts installed on my computer, and I’m always on the lookout for more. They’re fantastic for jazzing up my query letter. :D I’m kidding! Calm yourselves. I like to do word art.

5. Someday, I would love, love, love to learn blacksmithing and welding, so I can make awesome metal sculptures that have no other purpose than to look pretty. I’d also love to learn how to blow glass. Sometimes, I just like to know how to do things. Just because.

6. I met my husband, Jason, at a Beastie Boys concert. He had blue hair and an eyebrow ring. This may not seem that shocking, but for those of you who don’t really know me, this did not jive with my super good girl persona. And I almost ended up at the concert with another guy, Bob—some names have been changed to protect the innocent. :) When I found out Bob was going to ask me, I bought my own ticket so I wouldn’t have to be his date. I even got a ride to and from the concert with Bob. My best friend sat in the back seat with me, and we talked about Jason all the way home. Probably the cruelest thing I’ve ever done. Not my proudest moment. For some reason, Bob never called me again. Hmm. ;) It all worked out though. Jason and I were married five months later, yes five months, and have been very happy for almost fourteen years. Man, I feel old.

7. I don’t like change, unless it’s something I can control. Then I will most likely change it every few months. Like how my furniture is arranged in my living room or my blog background. And I’m not totally loving the new background, so that will probably be changing sooner rather than later.

If you’re dying for even more useless info about me, I did this once before. You can find it here.

And now for the nominations in no particular order:

1. Tricia J. O’Brien at Talespinning
2. Lazy Writer at A Walk in My Shoes
3. Lady Glamis at The Innocent Flower
4. Tabitha Bird at Books, Bubs and Writing Blabber
5. Megan Rebekah at Megan Rebekah Blogs.…and Writes
6. JosiahsMommy at Confessions of a First Time Mom
7. Rebecca at Sometimes Helpful Nonsense

Thank you all for being fabulous! Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Total Weirdness

I got this word verification this morning. Pretty cool, huh? It's really sad the things that excite me. :D

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Contests Galore

There's a contest going on over at Cindy's blog, Princess Bookie. She's giving away a boatload of books, including the latest from Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire. There are tons of ways to get extra entries, so check it out.

And the lovely jessjordan is doing a book giveaway on her blog, Say What?. She's having a contest to win Thalia Chalta's Because I Am Furniture. She also has several ways to get extra entries. We all love extra entries, right?
While you're there check out the rest of her blog. She's got lots of great posts and she's hilarious, so there's a lot to enjoy.

And author, Janice Hardy, is having a contest on her blog. Come up with the best chicken joke and she'll send you a signed ARC of her new book, The Shifter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is a Thinking Post

There are tons of articles out there about setting thoughts apart in third person and past tense narrative. You can use italics, thought tags, or both. Or you can just write everything in past tense, so it all just blends together. Some even recommend using quotation marks, which, to me, seems like it would only confuse the reader.

My problem is that I don’t write in third person. I like to write in first person, and my finished novel is in first person and past tense. If I’d decided to write it in present tense, I wouldn’t have an issue. Then all the direct thoughts would flow right into the narrative without any hiccups or bumps.

Since I started this process, I’ve wondered if the direct thoughts (written in first person and present tense) were too jarring intertwined with the narrative, but I haven’t been able to find any info on how to set thoughts apart in first person. Well, there’re always italics, but that would be a mess. Or I could write them all in past tense, but I think that would lessen the impact. There are certain scenes I think the reader needs to experience with the main character to really get the full effect.

I guess all of the things that work for third person would work for first person, but is it really necessary? We're living in the same head for the whole book anyway.

So, I’m wondering. If there is nothing to set them apart besides the tense change, do you find that thoughts in first person and present tense are distracting in a first person and past tense narrative? For those of you who write in first person, do you do anything to set your narrators direct thoughts apart from the rest of the narrative?

In case I’ve only confused you, I’ve included a snippet below as an example.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Still Slacking...

My husband and I recently discovered we can watch Netflix through the Xbox. Then we discovered that we can watch Lost on Netflix. Now, I'm totally addicted. It's seriously cutting into my time, but I just can't stop watching. Like I needed another time suck. Oh well. At least this one has a stopping point. :D

On top of that, I'm super busy this week, so I don't know how much I'll be on, but I wanted to say thank you to JosiahsMommy for the One Lovely Blog award she gave me a few weeks back. And apologize for being a total slacker and forgetting about it. Thanks for thinking of me! You're awesome!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Slacker Lady Central and a Friday Funny

I have to make a dress for my daughter for tomorrow. I've known about it for months, but I'm a huge procrastinator and haven't started it yet. So, that's what I'll be doing all day today. Um, yea, I think. I used to like sewing, but I added it to the discarded hobby pile quite a while back. That pile's getting kind of big. Anyway. I'll being trying to stay away from the computer today so I can get that done.

In my absence, I leave you this. It's kind of old, and I've posted it before, but it's so funny. So, so funny. Had to share again. Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dare To Be Great!

I was given this fabulous award last week by my lovely bloggy friend, Tami. If you haven't done so yet, head on over and check out her blog. She always has amusing and inspiring posts. Thanks, Tami, for all your incredible support! You're a sweetheart!

And since she didn't list any rules, I'm going to follow her usual example regarding awards and pass this on to all of you. You guys are all amazing, and I think it's great the way we all support each other. So, take it, if you like, and pass it on as you see fit.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Argh!: Episode 2 – The Bane of My Existence or Why Living Rural is So Much Fun

When we moved to our little patch of dirt almost six years ago, it was literally the middle of nowhere—undefined winding dirt road, very little concrete or asphalt, dark nights, ten miles to the nearest grocery store or gas station. Okay, so maybe not as middle of nowhere as some places, but still, it was more rural than anywhere I’ve ever lived, and the kids called it “our desert” because that’s all you could see from our front door. And we had an incredible view of the Superstition Mountains. I loved living out here, despite all the dirt. My only real gripe was we had frequent power and phone outages.

With the urbanization of our area, those outages have come less often. In exchange, we'll be losing our mountain view, we have a heat trap asphalt road running in front of our house (which, I have to admit, is kind of nice when it rains), a lot more traffic in front of our house, and we have street lights. No more clear, starry skies at night. :( So, with all I’ve had to give up, I get a little peeved when the power goes out.

Now, I know it’s expected once in a while, but ours just goes out for freak reasons now. There was the very frustrating incident last September, aka Argh! Episode 1, and then there was last night. At approximately 2 am, my world got very quiet, so of course, I woke up. I was dead asleep too. My husband said there was a pop and then the power went out. Great. This was sounding too familiar.

We looked outside and it appeared we were the only ones without power, and a/c—it had to be 90 degrees last night. Fortunately, due to the previous incident, I had the power company’s number programmed into my phone. After a quick call to them to report it and shutting down my computer, we went outside to investigate.

Just a little FYI: If you don’t have a battery backup for your computer, get one now. It will absorb the shock from a lightning strike and save your electronics. What? Lightning? Yeah. See Argh! Episode 1.

Anyway, everything looked okay on the power pole in front of our house, but upon closer inspection we discovered a barbecued critter lying in front of it. Though my morbid side is very tempted to post photos of the crispy critter, I know some of you are sensitive about that, so I will leave it off, along with the type of critter. But if you’re really interested, feel free to email me, abbyannis (at) earthlink (dot) net, and I’ll send them to you.

The power guy finally came out about 4 am, and we got our a/c back, so I could finally go back to sleep, only to get up again at 6 am to get the kids on the bus. Fun night. :)

Anyone else have a similar experience to share? Or anything else you want to share? Sorry, my question generator is still asleep. I’m going back to bed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Teaser

Writing a good opening is extremely difficult. Well, it has been for me, anyway. I've been struggling with mine for months now. Up to this point, I don't think my opening's been bad, but it's been lacking that compelling hook. I don't know if I've fixed it, but my experience last week on Beth Revis's blog helped me get to what I think is a better start.

Before, I thought I needed to move to a later point in the story, but I couldn't figure out where to start it without losing something important. Then one comment gave me an idea that required me to move backward in time a little bit--something I'd been resisting. So, I wrote a shiny, new opening that I'm hoping has a better hook. I had to make some changes to my original first scene because of it, but I think that's stronger now too.

So, here are my new first 250ish words of my YA SF novel, Embrol.


Removed. Check back for other Tuesday Teasers. :)


Are you hooked? Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please be brutal. I can take it. :)

Thanks for reading! Have a great Tuesday! :D

Monday, August 3, 2009

What's in a Name?

I recently read that names starting with vowels don’t work well for author names. Now, I don’t remember where I read it, and at first, I dismissed it, but it’s been gnawing at the back of my mind ever since.

I know the potential is great for mispronunciation of my name, and it’s produced some amusing situations, but I’m not really worried about that. It doesn’t offend me, and it’s actually kind of fun to give the mispronouncers (it’s Monday, I shouldn’t have to come up with a real word that works better here) grief about it, especially telemarketers. But to think an agent might reject me based on my name? Like I need anything else to obsess about.

The rational part of my brain tells me that if an agent rejects me based on that, I don’t really want to work with them. So, no worries, I’m not really that concerned about it. But I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this. Do you think that agents/editors care about this sort of thing? How important is an author’s name? And if you think I’m being totally neurotic, feel free to share that as well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Time Suck

So, I was thinking, "Hey, I don't have enough demands on my time. I really should find some more stuff to do, so I'm not so bored." And of course, Facebook and Twitter were the solution to my dilemma.

And now all my people can keep track of all the fascinating things happening in my life. Don't believe I have people? Yeah, well, Blogger says I do, so I must. Just check my profile. :)

Now, I know all of you are looking for things to keep you busy, so I felt it was only right to allow you the opportunity to join me. ;)

I don't know how much I'll be posting, and I haven't actually tweeted anything yet, but if you're interested, the links are below. Or you can click on the buttons in the side bar.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ack! Saturday? There's no blogging on Saturday!

Ha! Yeah, right. The addiction must be fed seven days a week. I'm not in denial, though I probably should be.

I know I don't usually post on the weekend, but I wanted to let you all know that my query and first 250 words are up for critique over on Beth Revis's blog. Pop over and check it out, if you'd like. Please don't feel like you have to comment, but all thoughts will be much appreciated. :D

For those of you who've read my opening before, I'm seriously considering chopping the first scene, so what's posted may not be what you except. And it's likely I'll change it again. As often as I rewrite the stupid thing, you'd think I was addicted to that too. I'm not. Seriously. Oh, no. Wait. What if I am? Okay. Enough rambling. ;)

Hope you're all having a fantabulous weekend!

*Some good news I received as I was writing this: Abby, You've Earned $5.00 in Borders Bucks! Woohoo! Looks like we're going to the bookstore today. :D