Monday, May 31, 2010


I have several HUGE projects I should be working on, but of course, this is what got done instead. :) Though I did write 900 shiny new words last night. First new writing I've done in over a month. Woohoo!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just A Reminder...

Tere Kirkland had a great post the other day that inspired me to make this badge. What? No. It was not just another way for me to procrastinate. I don't even know what that means. ;)

I've been drafting, and I hate how crappy it all sounds. I'm constantly obsessing over every word I put down. So I thought a little reminder that it's okay not to get it perfect on the first try would help. If not, it gave me something to do this morning besides stare at a blank screen. :)

And of course, I wanted to share it with all of you. I think we can all use that reminder once in a while.

Happy Friday! Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Loved You, But You Kinda Lost Me There At The End

Between the disappointing ending of a certain TV show and struggling to come up with the perfect ending for my story, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good ending.

Since I started writing, disappointment seems to be a regular part of my reading experience, especially when it comes to endings. Of the last ten books I’ve read, I’ve only been satisfied with two endings. Two. Is that number low?

It’s not like I go into reading intending to be critical and find all the things wrong with a book. I really want to get lost in a story to the point I can’t put it down. And when I’m done, I want to feel like I didn’t waste my time. I absolutely LOVE when I finish a book and I think, “Oh no. It’s over? I didn’t want it to end.” That’s the ultimate test for me. Am I left feeling like the main storyline was resolved (happy or sad) but still craving more?

Lately, though, my thoughts fall more in line with, “What? Really? That’s it? But what about this, this, and this?” (especially for the final episode of that one show) Or, “Really? That was way too easy. It would totally never happen that way.” Or the worst, “Nothing was resolved?! Argh! No, frustrating author, I will not be buying your sequel so I can be disappointed again.” I’m fine with a little bit of a cliffhanger, but just ending mid-story makes me batty.

What do you all think? What makes a good ending? Do you want absolute resolution? Or do you like an ending that leaves a little or even a lot open to interpretation? Any books you recommend with awesome endings?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Random Craziness

Somehow, I managed to reach 200 followers! I honestly never thought I'd get past 100, so this is awesome. And to show just how awesome I think all of you are, my lovely followers, a contest is coming. I just have to get a few things squared away first. So be sure to check back.

Also, is "Followers (202)" orange for all of you? Up until yesterday it matched the rest of my blog. I don't know why it changed, and it's driving me crazy that I can't change it back. Yes, this is something I'm obsessing over. Isn't that normal? ;)

In other good news, I finally figured out the end of my story. Yea! I sat down Wednesday night and wrote down a very rough outline thingy ;) and hopefully, I'll have the brain power to finish it up over the next week or so, which will put me right in line with my goal to have it finished by the end of the month. So no big deal that I took a break for a month, right?

And I have a job interview Monday morning. First job I've interviewed for since 2003, so I'm freaking out a little. Life's getting interesting. :)

Finally, in honor of my son turning twelve on Wednesday, I give you this. Twelve may not technically make him a teenager, but this is still freakishly accurate. Enjoy! :)

Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest

I had a hard time finding a scene from my WIP that's heavy on dialogue but doesn't give too much away or hasn't been posted on the blog yet. So I pulled this from my untitled NaNoWriMo project that fizzled out and died. This evolved from a really crappy short story I posted on the blog about a year ago. I think it'll be YA science fiction (maybe horror or dystopian) if I ever finish it. :)

And this is my first attempt at writing a teenage male protag, so if the narrator sounds too girly, I would love to hear your thoughts.


“Dude, are you crying again?” I laughed. “You are such a girl.”

“So what if I am?” Devan’s back stiffened and his gaze darkened, but those were definitely tears.

Kid needs to toughen up. I shook my head as he stormed out of the room and turned my attention to Emery. “What do you want for dinner?” I held up a dented can of chicken noodle soup and a can of beans. “We got a wide selection here.”

“You're so mean!” Her tiny hands balled into tight fists, and her nose wrinkled as she glared up at me.

“What’s your problem?” I jerked my head toward the bedroom. “You got a crush on the little girl in there.”

She stomped out after Devan, screaming as she went. “Boys are so stupid! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

Whatever. I dropped into the chair next to the fireplace and used my knife to pry the top off the soup can. If they didn’t want to make any of the decisions, that was fine with me. Though I could've used some help figuring out what to do next. We were sitting ducks in this house. If we wanted to survive, we needed to find more people, whether Devan agreed to go with us or not.

“Michael?” Emery tugged on my sleeve, pulling me from my thoughts. “I'm sorry. I don’t hate you. Promise.” She sniffled and wrapped her arms around my neck.

“I know, kid. It’s okay.” I pulled her onto my lap and hugged her. “How’s your boyfriend doing in there? He suck it up yet?”

“You should be nicer to Devan. There might be stuff you don’t know about him that you’ll feel bad about later.”

“What kind of stuff?” I set her down next to me, holding her shoulders. “You can’t be keeping secrets from me. Did he do something to you?” If that creep laid one finger on my little sister…

“No.” Her eyes widened. “Don’t be mad. He didn’t do anything real bad.”

“What do you mean, he didn't do anything real bad?” I jumped up, my chair scraping across the floor, and threw open the bedroom door. “What the hell’d you do to—”

Devan stood in front of the dresser mirror with his shirt off. Tight, white bandages covered most of his torso.

My jaw clenched. “When were you going to tell me, you little cretin? When’d you get bit? Yesterday? Was it before we got here?” I pounded my fist against the wall, cracking the drywall. “You could turn on us at any minute and you don’t have the decency to warn us?”

He just stared, his mouth hanging open.

“Emery and I are leaving first thing tomorrow.” I jabbed my finger in his direction. “Without you.”

Emery flinched as the door slammed shut behind me, echoing through the small house. She curled up in a ball on the couch, her bottom lip trembling. I grabbed the shotgun and paced in front of the fireplace. Don’t know where we’re going, but we gotta get out of here before idiot boy in there turns into one of them.


Thanks for reading! All honest thoughts are welcome. :) Be sure to check out the other posts here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blog Chain--Under the Influence

This round was started by Christine. She asked:

“Which author or authors have most influenced your writing and how?”

This is going to sound stupid, but I've never really considered this before.

As I've said before, I haven't been writing long. Before I started writing I was much more into art and design. Though there are basic principles that cross over, my appreciation for Van Gogh and Monet and pretty much anything Art Nouveau doesn't do much for my writing. Cover design, maybe. :)

In high school, I did all of my assigned reading, but the only ones I remember really enjoying are Dickens, Poe, Alcott, and Tolkein. And though I was never assigned to read it, one of my favorites will always be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Beyond that, the authors that have probably had the most influence on my writing and storytelling are J.R.R. Tolkein and Robert Jordan, and more recently Suzanne Collins, Simone Elkeles and Laure Halse Anderson.

Tolkein and Jordan made me love fantasy and the intricate worlds that are so prevelant in that genre.

Collins for her amazing ability to keep me reading even when I know I need to sleep. The woman is a master at pacing. She really makes you care about her characters too.

Elkeles is excellent at characterization and going beyond stereotypes. She's also a great example of creating tension in the romance area.

Anderson has heavily influenced the way I write emotion. She's amazing at taking the setting and using it to show what her characters are feeling. If you're struggling in this area, her books are a great place to start, though they may make you feel incredibly inferior. ;)

I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that I can think of that have had a direct affect on my writing.

What about all of you? Which authors have influenced you?

Be sure to check out Shaun's post from yesterday and Cole's post tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I was tagged by Lilah Pierce to answer these surprisingly difficult questions:

Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?

1. I was twenty-nine. Still claim to be, but five years ago it was true. ;)

2. My baby was still at home all day. She'll be nine next month. :(

3. If I remember correctly, this was when I was obsessed with scrapbooking and just starting to dabble in digital scrapbooking.

4. I lived in Arizona on an unpaved, unmaintained road. I think that was the year it rained and rained and rained. We got our 4-wheel-drive Tahoe stuck in the mud--to the point that the body was resting on the ground and we had to let it dry out a little and dig it out the next day. Good times!

5. We also had a microburst that year that lifted our trampoline over our house and our vehicles and exploded in our front yard. The tramp was wasted, but it could've been so much worse.

Question 2 - Where would you like to be in five years?

1. Published. Or at least done with this stupid rewrite. Okay, so maybe I'd like the rewrite to be done a little sooner. ;)

2. Sane. Five years from now, all my children will be teenagers.

3. Still in Idaho. We really like living here. :)

4. Recovering from my addiction to obsessively refreshing my email.

5. I'd like to develop some sort of superpower, like super speed, or super strength, or super healing, or flying. That would be cool. What? It didn't specify that my goals have to be realistic. ;)

Question 3 - What is on your to-do list today?

1. Write this blog post.

2. Polish up my resume and apply for a few jobs. Yes, I'm finally giving in on this one. No more slacking for me. Ridiculous as it seems, I'll probably get more writing done once I'm gainfully employed. :)

3. Figure out the ending to my story.

4. Work on critiques for crit buddies.

5. Laundry, dishes, make dinner, and other exciting tasks including making my children suffer by requiring them to do chores as well. >:)

Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?

1. Ferrero Raffaello. Seriously, like little bits of Heaven.

2. Black Cherry Ice Cream

3. Chocolate

4. Brownies

5. Lemons with salt

Question 5 - What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Buy a modest house with acreage and new vehicles. No mortgage or car payments=awesome. :)

2. Put away enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life.

3. Put away enough to put my kids through college.
4. Take a fun, indulgent family vacation. :)
5. I'd probably end up giving a lot of it away. That's a lot of money.
And the taggees are Stephanie McGee, Michelle Gregory, Patti Nielson, Karen Akins, and anyone else who would like to participate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Trailer for LINGER and a Contest

I know I said I wasn't going to blog on Mondays, and since I'm blogging on Monday, I should be doing Motivational Monday, but yeah. Motivational what? ;) I just wanted to let you all know about Maggie Stiefvater's last contest to win an ARC of LINGER before it's released in July, plus other cool SHIVER/LINGER related stuff. Check it out here.

And here's her awesome book trailer for LINGER. My kids were just ooing and ahing over this. I think she did a really great job. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The In-between* Stuff

For the same reason that I paint all the edges of a room first, I can’t write all my favorite scenes first and glue them together later. Just as the edges of a wall would never get painted if I started with the middle, that glue would never be applied to those scenes. Glue is boring to write. ;)

I do skip ahead once in a while if I’m stuck or I have a moment of inspiration, but for the most part, I write chronologically. What about you? Do you like to skip around? Or do you start at the beginning and go straight through to the end?

*Between is one of those words that if you stare at it long enough or say it enough times, it no longer looks or sounds like a real word. Too many e's or something. It's kind of annoying. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sometimes I Trust My Brain Too Much

The other night I had a good idea for something to add to the end of my story. Just one problem. I was already in my comfy, warm bed. So I thought, I'll just remember it. I do this all the time. Do I ever remember it? Of course not.

I'll admit it's very possible the idea wasn't that great. I did think of it as I was falling asleep. But I'll never know for sure, since I was too lazy to get up and write it down. One of these days, I'll buy some of these. Until then, I'm just going to have to find a way to make my brain work better.

Anybody else do this? Where do you think those ideas go? They're probably running free in some field somewhere and laughing at us. Jerks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Blog Schedule

I've been resisting this for a while, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut back on my posting schedule. I have to get this rewrite done. Plus, May is going to be crazy busy, and then my kids will be out of school. Honestly, I don't know how mom's with kids at home get any writing done. Those of you who do it are amazing. When my kids were younger and home all day, I was lucky just to get a shower and put make-up on.

Anyway. I'm cutting back to two days a week--Wednesday and Friday--until September at least. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain that schedule through the summer. We'll see. :)

And I'm getting close to 200 followers, and I'm thinking about holding another contest when it gets there. So be sure to check back. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Last Line Blogfest

This is the end of the first chapter of my YA sci-fi novel, Embrol. You can read the beginning of this chapter here. Check out the other Last Line Blogfest posts here.

Just a little setup. The MC, Olivia, and her mother have just been in a car accident that flipped their car. Olivia’s feeling a little disoriented for some reason. ;) And I’ve been told by a couple of betas that this scene is a little graphic, so you have been warned. Enjoy!


“Mom?” Was that shrill voice mine?

She didn’t answer. Her upturned hand lay in front of my face amid a mass of auburn hair—mine or hers, I couldn’t tell. Blood oozed into the gaps, pooling around her hand. I reached a trembling hand out to hers. My fingers brushed her palm and recoiled, my stomach lurching.

How can she feel so empty? The image of her face as her head struck, flashed in my mind—her eyes, so blue and so vacant.

A whimpering rose within me. This isn’t real. This isn’t happening. I clawed at the steering wheel, the frame of the windshield, trying to free myself from the nightmare around me. My legs refused to cooperate, and every movement brought more pain, shooting through my torso and radiating out to my arms and my neck.

“Be calm. Help is on the way.” A woman crouched in front of the windshield and patted my hand. I jerked it away. That was how Mom’s hand should’ve felt—warm, pulsing with life. Tears formed in the woman’s eyes before she stood and walked away. She spoke to someone in a low voice, but I couldn’t make out the words. Clouds crowded my vision, dark shadows creeping into the corners. Sound came in spurts. Sirens, soft in the distance, then nothing—they blared closer, then nothing. An invisible weight pressed down on my chest.

Something warm brushed my hand, pulling my eyes open.

The face of a beautiful, blue-eyed angel hovered before me, the jagged edges of the windshield creating a halo around his golden curls. I opened my mouth to ask who he was, but my subconscious whispered I already knew the answer. If I could just remember…

“Olivia,” he said, his deep voice soft and comforting. The chaos around us faded away, as if only the two of us existed. My eyes slid closed, and for a moment, I was there beside him, examining the wreckage. I saw myself, my head pinned between the seat and the roof of the car, blood trickling a grisly mask over my face, my body bent in places it wasn’t meant to bend. Mom hung next to me, her petite frame held upside down by her seatbelt. Her body was clean, no blood except for the puddle around her hand. Her head rested against the roof, twisted at an unnatural angle, her eyes open, staring.

Pain shot through my chest, yanking me back to my body as a scream—my scream—shredded my eardrums. Piercing agony worked its way into every cell, throbbing with each beat of my heart. The clouds thickened, blanketing my vision, and I hovered somewhere between the light and the dark. The thread holding me there, the one I clung to so desperately, slipped in my grasp. I could think of nothing but the pain, and how it would all disappear if I could only let go.

“Olivia,” the angel whispered. Warmth flowed into me from his fingertips against my cheek. “Come back to me.”

He pulled his hand away, and the world turned black.


Thanks for reading! :)