Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 200 Followers Giveaway!

So, technically, I'm at 217 followers, but that's still over 200. I'm just a slacker.

Here's what's up for grabs. Books! I know you're surprised. ;) And I'm going with a ghostly theme. Both very moving stories with pretty unique concepts.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman From the back cover: On a day that started like any other... Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left--the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

The Everafter by Amy Huntley From the inside flap: Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this--she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience--and sometimes even change--moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister's wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life--and death.

This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments--and the strength of love even beyond death.

And... My new favorite toy. :)

Aren't they the coolest pens ever?

Perfect for late night inspiration. :)

The winner will get one green pen and one red pen (black ink). I'm also throwing in a cool journal. What are pens without paper, right?

Added July 28th:

How to enter:

+1 for commenting (You have to comment, or I won't know you want to be entered.)
+2 for being a current follower
+1 for being a new follower
+5 for blogging, posting on your sidebar, tweeting (@abbyannis), or facebooking about the contest (total of 20)
+1 for telling me the best book you've read recently and why you loved it
+1 for calculating your total

Contest ends Saturday, July 31st at Midnight PST and the winner will be announced Monday, August 2nd.

And be sure to check out Tere's Witchy Woman Birthday Giveaway for more great prizes. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Still Here...

I know I've been slacking lately in my posts. Life is crazy with my kids home all day. And I know many of you do this all the time and I should be able to handle everything, especially since my kids are older and pretty self sufficient, but I've decided to just accept the fact that you're all better than me. I'm totally fine with that. ;)

Just a few random things...

The most important first: Tomorrow, I will finally be announcing my 200 followers contest. So be sure to check back for that. I know I promised this over a month ago, but I was waiting for a cool little something to arrive in the mail. It should be here later today. Yea! And yes, I'm probably making it sound way more exciting than it actually is. :)

Don't forget about the Share Your Darlings Blogfest hosted by Michelle Gregory on Thursday, July 1st. This is your chance to share your most beloved scene that didn't make the final cut in your novel. Or any other favorite you thought had been killed for good. ;)

And congrats to crit buddy, Julie Cross, for getting an agent and an awesome book deal all in one week. You rock, Julie! Congrats!

I'm getting a lot done on my WIP, so that's finally made it's way back to the top of my priority list. Well, near the top, anyway. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of July. So, I will probably be pretty sporadic in my postings for the next couple of months, but I'm not gone for good. Things should return to some version of kids-in-school-normal in September.

So, what's going on with all of you? Anything exciting happening? Any exciting news I might have missed?

Hope you're all having a fantabulous summer!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Breaking the Rules Blogfest

Elizabeth Mueller is hosting the Breaking the Rules blogfest today. The idea is to post your rule breakingest stuff. Now, I'm not one to break the rules very often, but I did have one rebellious moment. ;)

This is one of the many discarded openings for my current WIP, Embrol. Some of you might remember it, since I posted it here about a year ago. I was pretty pleased with it then. Funny how much my perception has changed.

In this one short scene, I broke the don't begin with a dream rule, don't begin with waking up rule, and don't begin with dialogue rule. Plus the writing's pretty crappy and the dialogue's pretty lame, so you have been warned. And besides all the rule breaking, there are several reasons this opening didn't work, including at least one plot hole. So it was banished to the darkest corner of my hard drive, and I honestly thought it would never see the light of day again. Yet, here it is. :)

“Faster. You must move faster.” The deep voice echoed through the void, propelling me forward, giving strength to my weary legs.

Terror coursed through me. I had to keep moving. Protection of the medallion enclosed in my hand was crucial. Sharp points dug into my palm as my grip tightened. I raced toward the light ahead, the darkness close behind, devouring everything in its path. The medallion grew heavier as I neared my destination. I struggled to maintain my speed. Failure meant the end of everything. I was sure of that. Almost there.

“Livy.” The world around me wavered at the sound of my mother’s voice.

My eyes swung to the right, then the left, searching for her. A sheer drop-off, on either side, marked the edges of my narrow path. My breath caught, but I didn’t slow down. The urgency to reach the light intensified.

“Livy, wake up.”

The world wavered again and disappeared.

I opened my eyes and groaned at the video camera hovering inches from my face. “Ugh. Go away.” My hand closed around the lens, and I shoved it back, pulling my pillow over my head. The pounding in my chest slowed, her presence reducing my anxiety.

My mother laughed. “On this day, eighteen years ago, Olivia Noelle Ryan was born to Thomas and Lily Ryan in the great state of Arizona. And there was rejoicing throughout the land! Today she is officially an adult. Would you like to add anything, Livy?”

“Can’t I sleep in for once?” I lifted the corner of the pillow and opened one eye. “In fact, to celebrate the joyous occasion, I should probably stay home from school. Turn the light off on your way out.” I waved my hand toward the door, letting the pillow drop. Would I have succeeded if she hadn’t woken me? Why do I care? It was just a dream.

“Don’t be such a spoilsport.” She laughed as she pulled the blanket off me.

I reached for it too late, and it fell to the floor. “Hey, it’s freezing!”

“Come on, time to get up.” She gave me a quick swat on my backside. “You’re going to be late for school. Being an adult means being responsible.”

“Seriously, Mom. Are you starting on that already?” I pushed myself up to a seated position and rubbed my eyes. “Would you please turn that stupid thing off?”

“You used to love this part of your birthday.” Her lips pulled down as she turned the camera off, her smile reappearing a second later. “I made you some birthday French toast, if you’re interested.”

I covered a yawn. “Tell me again. What makes it birthday French toast?”

“Because I made it on your birthday, silly girl. Don’t be too long. It’s getting cold.”

“'Kay. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” I studied my palm as she left the room. Three tiny drops of red marked where the medallion had pierced my skin, forming the points of a perfect equilateral triangle. I wiped away the blood, and it seemed I wiped away the wounds as well. That’s not possible. I shook my head. Like wounds from a dream are possible. Figures I’d lose my mind on the day I finally turned eighteen. 


Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the other entries here. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What's Appropriate for YA?

Tere Kirkland has raised some great questions today about what is appropriate subject matter for YA and who is responsible for making sure the kids who are reading these books are mature enough to handle the content. So be sure to check out her post and put in your two cents. I know this can be a pretty controversial subject and there are some strong opinions out there, so go contribute. Now. Don't make me come over there... ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Share Your Darlings Blogfest and WriteOnCon

We've all heard the term "Kill your darlings". Well, I've heard it, at least, so that means everyone else has, right? ;) Anyway. Now you have the opportunity to share those beloved scenes you had to cut because they weren't moving the story forward. Michelle Gregory of beautiful chaos is holding the Share Your Darlings blogfest on July 1st. She's even added a book giveaway, so be sure to check it out. You can add your name to the link list here.

Here's a button I made, if you'd like to post it on your blog to help get the word out. The code for a sidebar button is below. And if you'd prefer one without  blood spatter, you can find that on Michelle's blog. :)

Sidebar button code:

<center><a href="http://michellegregory.blogspot.com/p/share-your-darlings-blogfest.html"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IEJkFlU5H8o/TBZVCspdSwI/AAAAAAAAA0w/dGCIAW7itSM/s1600/share+your+darlings2+sm.jpg" /></a></center>

Also, in case you haven't heard, be sure to check out WriteOnCon for some awesome news about a FREE online writers conference. Here's a vlog with all the info.

Be sure to stop by the blogs of all the organizers for a chance to win some cool prizes. :)

And Tere's contest ends on Wednesday, so make sure you get over there and enter.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blog Chain: What Inspires You?

It's blog chain time again. Shaun started this round yesterday. He asked:

From where do you get your inspiration for stories? Give me the oddest, coolest, things that have inspired you.

I would have to say the strangest way a story came about was from a short story prompt put out by Elana Johnson over a year ago. The challenge was to write a short story and somehow tie in flowers. Sounds simple enough, right?

So I started out writing something about a kid going to live with grandma for some reason. I don't even remember why. But somehow, this zombie-like monster jumped into the story and killed his mom, but not before the monster and all his monster buddies killed off most of the human race. So, how I got to zombie monsters from flowers, I don't know, but that turned into my NaNo project, and though it isn't finished yet, I do plan to go back to it as soon as the current WIP is finished.

Most of my inspiration is pretty boring. My current project, Embrol, has been stewing for years. Ever since I was a little girl, I've thought about what I would include if I could create my own world. Then, a couple of years ago, I had a pretty major DUH! moment when I realized I could create my own world. Well, a fictional one at least. ;) And that's when I started writing. Okay, so there was more to the reason I started writing, but that was part of it.

So what about all of you? What inspires you? Anything unusual?

Be sure to check out Cole's post tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Giveaway at The Lesser Key

Tere Kirkland at The Lesser Key is giving away a copy of Ruined by Paula Morris.

All you have to do is follow and comment. And well, you should follow anyway, because Tere is made of awesome. :) Contest ends June 16th, 9am CST. Go now!

Monday, June 7, 2010

For Family and Friends

I updated my family blog for the first time since October. I know, it's about time. It's private, but if you'd like to check it out and I know you, just let me know and I'll send you an invite. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blog Chain—Motivation

It's blog chain time again. :) Amanda started this round. She asked:

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you're not making any progress in your writing career?


What was the question?

Seriously, this has been my problem for the last month and a half. I have zero motivation. I sit here and stare at the blank page on my computer screen (like I did this morning for twenty minutes before I wrote this) and think about what I want to write, but I just can’t seem to put my thoughts into words. Not words that I’m happy with, anyway.

I still love my characters and my story, and I still intend to finish this draft—I even know how it ends now, so what’s the problem? And something is pushing me to keep trying. So I suppose the motivation is still there, buried under all my stress and distractions. It’s just a matter of digging it out. If I could just find the right kind of shovel, I’d be great. ;)

I guess, ultimately, it comes down to a love of writing and a desire to create.

Are my words motivating you? Yeah, me neither. Sorry people. I know all of you could cover this subject better than me. So why don’t you tell me? How do you stay motivated? Is it harder when you feel like you're moving backward instead of forward?

Be sure to check out the much more inspirational words of Shaun from yesterday and Cole’s post tomorrow.