Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's a Happy Wednesday!!

For a few reasons.

1. I've been a contest junkie for as long as I can remember, but I've never won anything. Ever. So, I was so excited when I clicked over to YA Highway and realized I won the ARC of THE SHIFTER in their contest! I'm like a week late in noticing, but still--I WON! Yea! I've been interested in this one since I first read about it on agent Kristin Nelson's blog. Can't wait until I have in my hands. :)

2. Yesterday was the last day of triple digit temperatures here in Arizona--at least in our area. We're officially into Fall, even if it's still over 90. Baby steps.

3. Today was crazy hair day at my kids school. And though I'm a little annoyed that the colored "spiking" gel was pretty much useless for anything but color, I still think it turned out pretty good. I got some of that got2b spiking glue. That stuff is awesome, and just like glue. Weird. Now my oldest wants to put permanent blue or pink streaks in her hair. I'll have to think on that one. :) Here's a pic, if you're interested.

Hope you're all having a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Teaser - The Dreaded Opening

Yeah, yeah. I know what you're thinking. Sheesh! Is she posting about her flippin' opening again!? Sorry, kids. I had another post planned, but I didn't have time to write it, so maybe tomorrow? We'll see.

After my experience with the Secret Agent contest and a few more awesome critiques, I think my opening is a lot better, if not perfect yet. I've beefed it up quite a bit, making it twice as long but, hopefully, less confusing and telling than it was before.

All honest comments are welcome. I always have my seven stages to fall back on. :)

Thanks for reading! Happy Tuesday!



Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I Unplugged

Last week we took a little trip to Utah and Idaho to visit family. We also visited Yellowstone National Park while we were up that way, so we were in five different states over the course of six days. Pure craziness, but we had a blast.

I'm still recovering from the 16 1/2 hour overnight drive home and have nothing intelligent to say. My eyes are sliding closed as I type this. So, I will leave you with some photos I took of the landscape and hot springs in Yellowstone. They turned out a lot better than I thought they would, especially since I forgot my good camera at home.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Contest and a Question

A question? But it's Friday. I don't want to think on Friday.

Relax. Contest first, then comes the thinking. ;)

Check out this contest on YA Highway. They've got an awesome interview with new author Janice Hardy, and they're giving away an ARC of her soon to be released first novel, THE SHIFTER.

Before we get to the much anticipated question, just wanted to let you all know that I will be unplugging next week. So my blog will be post free. I shall return Monday, September 28th.

Now for the good stuff. :)

I was thinking yesterday, (If I have to think, then so do you. My blog. My rules.) and I started wondering why I write what I write. I've tried to write about normal people, but, somehow, it always evolves into the MC having superpowers or some special ability. This is what I've challenged myself with for my next novel--writing about a normal kid--but I'm afraid those sneaky superhuman abilities are going to creep in there somewhere. Even if the MC doesn't have any.

Maybe it's just that I want to have superpowers myself. Like the ability to snap my fingers and my house would be clean. That would be the best power ever. And I would totally abuse it.

So, I actually have a few questions. First, what do you write? Why do you write what you write? And is there some aspect you feel compelled to include in all your stories, or do you like to mix things up?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Hit Wonder

I’m a numbers girl. Yes, this a writing blog, but my first love was numbers. I love to make spreadsheets and have everything balance perfectly. When we switched to a different plan on our power service, I made a spreadsheet and checked our meter every day to compare numbers to make sure we were saving money. I’m cool. I know. Many people are jealous of my coolness.

If I had stayed in college and graduated, I probably would’ve been a math major. Then I would’ve gotten bored with it, and well, we’ll save that discussion for another time.

The point is I pay close attention to numbers. I always know how many followers I have, how many comments I have on my current blog post, and how many hits I have on Statcounter. I’m also always aware of my “high scores” on all of these. So, yesterday, when I beat all my high scores I was pretty excited. Until today.

Yesterday’s post was a bigger hit than I expected. Granted, it wasn’t like I doubled my numbers or anything, but I was happy with the response. Now I’m thinking, “Oh crap. How am I going to live up to that? Everyone will be coming here expecting me to be funny and interesting, and all they’re getting are lame, rambling posts about numbers. Ack! The pressure!” And with pressure comes a sudden inability to come up with anything interesting. I think my brain jumped out of my head and ran away. And I don’t think it’ll be returning anytime soon.

What’s a girl to do?

So, I’m wondering. Do you ever feel like this? Like there are expectations out there based on something you’ve done previously—or maybe something someone else has done—that you’ll never be able to meet? Even if the expectations are only a product of your own imagination? ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They’re Just Jealous of My Awesomeness

My participation in the Secret Agent contest over on Miss Snark’s First Victim last week was an educational experience to say the least. I think people are much more capable of giving truly honest feedback when they’re not emotionally invested in the person whose work they’re critiquing. I’m not saying we all don’t do our best to give honest critiques, but when the critiquee is a stranger, it’s much easier to say it without the sugar coating.

The comments on mine were generally not too bad, and they were very helpful in getting me a little closer to where I need to be on my opening. The Secret Agent’s comment, “I would not keep reading.” was like a punch in the gut, but I’m okay with it—it wasn’t quite there yet, and, obviously, not everyone is going to like my stuff. I’ve moved on. Really, I have. Totally over it.

The whole experience got me thinking about the rollercoaster of emotions involved in having other people critique your work. It reminded me of the seven stages of grief, and I thought this model was perfect for describing what a writer goes through. I might have taken a little creative license and changed things up a bit, but the basic idea is the same. And my examples might be just a tad more melodramatic than real life, but who doesn’t enjoy a little drama? If you don’t, you’re reading the wrong blog.

So, without further ado, I give you…


What?! But… but I’m AWESOME!!! How could they say such horrible things?

They’re wrong. It’s perfect the way it is. There’s nothing they can say that will make me believe it needs to be changed. I write beautiful words. Exquisite words!

How dare they?! How. Dare. They! Pssssh! They’re just jealous they can’t be as awesome as I am. Pathetic. *flips hair and rolls eyes* Just pathetic.

Wait. That comment kind of makes sense. And that one. Why didn’t I see that? It’s so obvious!! Oh, this is so humiliating. Now EVERYONE knows what a horrible writer I am. How will I ever show my face on the blogosphere again? I’m going to hide under my desk.

I suck! Big time. Nothing I write will ever be good enough. I should just give up now and save myself any more humiliation. Miss H.H. Writerlady is so much better than me, and she always leaves such encouraging comments about the contest entries. Why can’t I write like her? I’ll never get an agent. I’ll never get published. I’m just going to stay under my desk and listen to Evanescence’s My Immortal over and over on my iPod. Please just leave me alone and let me wallow in peace. Sniff. Don’t judge me. You have no idea how hard it is to be a writer! WAAAH!

Sniff. I really can’t live under here forever. I’m starting to get hungry. I need chocolate. And Dr. Pepper. I guess I can sit in the chair. It’s more comfortable than the floor. *wiggles the mouse* Hmm. Maybe this isn’t all crap. Maybe I don’t totally suck. Sniff.

I guess if I moved this section and tweaked that, it would all flow better. And that is kind of confusing, but I can fix that. No problem. Sorry, beloved scene. Looks like we’re all better without you. Don’t cry. I’ll miss you too. *wipes a tear* Huh. Wow. This is so much better than it was before. Thank you, critters! Without you, my work never could have been this great! I am a good writer. I will get an agent. I will get published. Because I’m AWESOME!! Of course. ;D

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patting Myself on the Back

Super busy today. Tuesday is the new Monday for me. :) I have a real post all planned for tomorrow. I was going to post it today, but my calm and peaceful Monday turned out to be not so calm and peaceful, so the post is still in my head. I promise to have it up tomorrow. It should be much more interesting than today's post.

Just a quick status report.

Today was my goal date to have my revisions done, but due to my life being totally out of my control, I'm not quite there yet. My new goal is next Tuesday. That should give me enough time to get all the loose ends wrapped up and get a few queries out the door. I'm feeling all giddy just thinking about it. :)

Even without accomplishing my goal, today is still pretty significant for me. It was one year ago today I sat down and wrote the very first words on my precious little novel. :) The thing that suprises me the most is that the very first scene I wrote is still in there. The original version is awful, and it's been heavily revised, but the heart of it is still there. 

And I'm still here. Not here on Blogger. Here, still writing. This is the only "hobby" I've ever followed through on. That sounds really sad, now that I've typed it, but it's true. (Now I have Metallica going through my head. Sad but Truuuuue! Complete with a little headbanging at my desk.) My enthusiasm for every other thing I've tried has fizzled out after only a few months. So, looks like this one's stickin'! Woohoo!

Guess you guys are stuck with me. Like it or not. ;D

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who ♥'s Monday? Raise your hand...

Why am I the only one with my hand up?

Okay, so maybe it's not normal for me to like Monday so much, but it's the one day of the week that I'm completely alone. All day. No work, no kids, and lots of quiet writing time. Woohoo! That's the main reason I got all screwed up last week. All you Monday workers had to have your holiday, and it threw my whole week off. Just kidding. About the blame, not about my week being a mess.

Anyway. With my goal date looming (tomorrow), I'm going to focus on my revisions today. I don't think I'm close enough to be done by tomorrow, but it's very, very close. Yeah, yeah. I know I said I was close before, but crazy week last week, remember? And is it ever really done? Really?

That is all, my friends. Here's a little brainless humor to make your Monday a little brighter! Enjoy! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review: From the Query to the Call

I know many of you are already readers and followers of Elana Johnson’s blog. If you’re not, why aren’t you? Go follow her now! Good stuff over there. Anyway, if you haven’t heard, she has a new ebook, From the Query to the Call, coming out next Monday, September 14th.

I’m very excited to be a Sneak Peek Reviewer! Now, I know I’ve talked about other books I’ve enjoyed, but never in an official book review. So please be nice, and keep your hysterical laughter to yourselves. ;) And please don’t let my inability to craft the most eloquent review ever, negatively affect your opinion of Elana’s ebook, because it is made of awesome!

When I first started thinking about querying, I spent hours online, researching how to craft my query letter and all the steps involved in getting published. There’s a lot of information out there, and just gathering a little here and little there, it was a couple of months before I felt like I had any idea what should be included. Even then, I was very overwhelmed.

If I could go back in time (though, using time travel to change the past is totally illogical for the perfectly sane reasons noted here, see #3), I would tell my fledgling writer self to buy this ebook and save myself a lot of time and a lot of headaches. Elana took all the information floating around out there in cyberspace, filtered out all the extraneous, contradictory, confusing tidbits and packed all the good stuff into a neat, concise little package.

In Elana’s always a pleasure to read, laid back style, she’s mapped out all the steps to crafting the most awesome query letter ever and everything leading up to that oh-so-exciting and totally nerve-wracking call from an agent. She’s also included examples and breakdowns of several successful queries and interviews with agented authors about their experiences in getting an agent. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one terrified by just the idea of that phone call.

It’s a quick read, only 63 pages, which is great, because then you can get back to the most important thing we do as writers--writing. (Or blogging. ;D) And you’ll walk away feeling totally prepared, maybe even excited to write your query letter. I know we all want every advantage and weapon available in this daunting process. So, if you're ready to submit your work to agents, I highly recommend adding From the Query to the Call to your arsenal.

For more information, check out the official website or Facebook page for From the Query to the Call.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday - Should be TWIP

For Train Wreck in Progress. Seriously, why do I do this to myself?

As I often like to do, just for kicks, I've taken on more than I have time for this week. So, a few things have slipped down on my priority list. Like blogging. Things should be back to normal by Monday, but my online presence may be a bit sporadic this week, in case you haven't noticed already.

Just a few things to report.

I entered the Secret Agent contest on Miss Snark's First Victim. It's basically the same 250ish word opening I posted here a while back with just a few minor changes. I'm entry #11, if you want to check it out. Just the idea is making me a little sick, but, at the same time, I'm so excited for the feedback. So, I'll be stressing about that all day.

Regarding my WIP--I was pretty sure my revisions were done, just needing one more sweep for typos and such. Then I got the brilliant idea to add a couple of short scenes to my last chapter and beef up one scene in the second to last chapter, adding almost 1800 words, and pushing my word count into the next tax bracket (no longer in the 80,000 range, now at the bottom of the 90,000 range). It's annoying me, but I think it wraps everything up a little better now.

I'll be back for sure on Friday with a review for Elana's new ebook that will be released next Monday. Be sure to swing by to check it out.

So, what's happening with all of you? Any news to report? Progress on your WIP?

I hope you all have a fabulous Wednesday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fun Arizona Stuff

My husband found this tailless whip scorpion while he was out working. Isn't he cool? He looks small in the photos, but his body is about as long as my pinky, not including his legs. I know he looks sinister, but he eats other bugs, like cockroaches and crickets, so he's a good guy. And he's harmless to humans. Don't you wish you had one now? ;D

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I know the title of this post implies I actually made progress this week, but I was very busy making badges, and um, um... Crap. Okay, okay. So, I've been a major procrastinator this week. It's been a bit frustrating, but I think I've figured out my problem. I'm going to have to sit down and write an actual outline for this one, hence, my procrastination.

I'm sure I could do an outline, but my desire to actually do it, is minimal, dropping it down on my priority list. I'm going to let that one simmer at the back of my mind for a while and focus on my first novel.

I sat down and wrote the first words of that one on Sept. 15th of last year. At that point, I was a tiny bit delusional about the publishing process, and I thought for sure I'd be published by now and making lots of money. Pretty funny, huh? Go ahead. I'll wait until the hysterical laughter subsides.

Are you done now, so I can continue? Anyway. So, the upcoming Sept. 15th marks the one year anniversary of me starting this whole process. Yes, I know. It was very smart of me to figure that out, so I could point it out to all of you. I'm feeling brilliant this morning. ;)

The point of this post is more to make me accountable than anything else, because I've set a goal. And if I don't share it with someone besides my husband, my chances of accomplishing it reduce significantly. My goal is to be done with the final round of revisions on Embrol and have a big batch of queries sent out by Sept. 15th. It will be difficult, but I don't think it's totally unreasonable.

So, how's it going for all of you? Making progress? Any goals you want to share? Any confessions about your delusions regarding publishing? :D

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

But... But... But...

A couple of years ago, I was shopping at Target, and I kept running into this woman whose son, maybe three or four years old, cried the whole time she was there. I remember smiling to myself, so happy to be alone in the store with no one pulling on me and begging for everything in sight. I love going to the store alone. It's like going to the spa for mothers of small children. I'm sure some of you can relate.

When I got in line, this woman and her wailing child got in line behind me. He was begging her for something, and I could tell, he really, really wanted it, but Mom remained steadfast and immovable, never giving in to his demands. Something that's very difficult to do when you just want your kid to shut up already. ;)

After another firm denial, the poor, picked on little guy looked to his mother with a beseeching expression and wailed, "But I'm AWESOME!!!"

Mom quietly reassured him that he was awesome, but he wasn't getting that toy he wanted.

Since then, this has been a bit of a joke between my husband and me. When we notice that someone is acting particularly picked on (usually one of our kids), one of us will whisper to the other, "But I'm awesome!" Then we'll have a little laugh, because we're so amused by ourselves.

Now, as much I enjoy using it to mock my children and all their preteen suffering, I think there's some wisdom in it. We're all pretty awesome in our own ways, even when we're feeling otherwise.

So, since I'm feeling pretty good this week, I think I'll aim to follow that little boy's example. When I'm feeling like everything I write is crap, and my life is just one giant rejection, I'll yell from the rooftops, "But I'm AWESOME!!!"

Okay, maybe not from the rooftops. I'm not good with heights. I'd probably get stuck up there. Maybe from my front door.

And since I should be revising my novel right now, I decided to make another badge. What can I say? I'm pretty awesome at procrastination. ;D Enjoy!