Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Break

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season with lots of family and friends and time spent relaxing--don't hate me because I'll be doing it in Hawaii! :) I'm taking a few weeks off blogging but will be back in January ready to catch up with everyone. Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, it's my birthday once again. And what an exciting year it's been. Of course, reflecting on all that I've accomplished and all that I hope to, I'm reminded again what quirky people we writers are.

Case in point: I had $50 to spend on myself for my birthday. What did I buy? Why, fifty dollars worth of nail polish, of course. What??? Yes, nail polish. And I don't even like to wear nail polish on my fingernails. Yeah.


See, this past November I had a little too much fun playing around on this website. The MC of my Nano book likes to paint her nails a different color every day to suit her mood, and the colors have funky names like Purple With A Purpose, A Good Man-darin Is Hard To Find, and Teal The Cows Come Home. I ended up using eight different colors in my book, each with a special meaning based on their name/shade.

And even though I've still got a ton of revising to do and who knows if anyone will ever be interested in this book and the nail polish thing might not even make it to the final draft...I kinda freaked out. Because OPI is unlikely to carry all these colors for very long, and what if my colors and their unique names are discontinued? I could lose my chance to own this special part of my book. So I splurged and bought a bottle of each color. Pretty sensible, right?

Um...

I'm hoping it's not just me, and that all writers are quirky as a whole. Tell me, what quirky things have you done in relation to your book/writing? Or even books you've read? (I know I'm not the only one with a mockingjay pin)

I'll leave you with a song that makes me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I listen to it. And no, not because of Bella and Edward. It's my theme song to that one scene from that one book that was literally the hardest scene I've ever written to date. And it still affects me so much...what a weirdo, right?

That's okay, it's my birthday. I can cry if I want to. :) Excuse me while I go paint my toes a pretty shade of Kiss Me On My Tulips.

I surrender who I've been for who you are...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fraction of Stone Cover Reveal

Let's rewind back to NaNoWriMo 2011. Kelley Lynn was one of my Nano buddies, and I still remember when she told me she was ditching her Nano book halfway through the month and starting on something completely new. Whaaa??? I may have freaked out just a little bit, but she knew she had to follow her gut. Not only did she WIN Nano with the new book (she wrote it in ten days!!!), she landed a book deal with it too. Way to trust that gut, girl! I'm so glad to be participating in the cover reveal for that book, so take it away, Kelley:

Wow. I can't believe the day is here! Time for the FRACTION OF STONE cover reveal.

Before we get into that, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far. All the fine people who are helping with this cover reveal, my CPs/Betas, family and friends. And of course, thank you to Sapphire Star Publishing for helping make my dream a reality. (And also letting me have a huge say in how this cover looks.) I am so, so excited and feel so blessed.

To thank you all, there is a drawing for 2 ARCs of FRACTION OF STONE which you can enter to win at the bottom of this post! You can enter until December 14th at which point the winners will be chosen.

Okay, now that, that has been said. Here we go!


Book information:

Fraction of Stone by Kelley Lynn
Release Date: March 21st, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description:

Wind tunnels, torrential rains and earthquakes tear apart Casden. The cause of the world’s imbalance is unknown, but the mounting occurrences suggest there’s little time before life ceases to exist.

Rydan Gale and Akara Nazreth are the only humans with the ability to wield magic. The tattoo on their necks and the discovery of an ancient book, dictate they are the key to the world’s survival.

But the greatest obstacle for saving mankind isn’t the bizarre creatures, extreme betrayals and magic-fearing men hunting them.

It’s that Akara doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. 


Book Trailer:


About the Author:


Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Kelley Lynn's LinksBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

She's so awesome, right? I can't wait to read this book. And here's a treat for you all. Today's song is Lost in Paradise by Evanescnese, the song Kelley says is so, so perfect for Fraction of Stone. Enjoy, and don't forget to sign up on the Rafflecopter below!


Rafflecopter Giveaway: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Narrative Modes


I just want back in your head...

There are so many ways to tell the same story, and sometimes it gets overwhelming deciding how to do it.

First, you've got points of view. In a nutshell:


First person: I, we

Second person: you
Third person: he, she

Then you can have alternating POV's in the same story. And if your narrator is a character, he/she doesn't even have to be the protagonist, either. Yipes.


Next, you have to decide if the reader gets to know the internal thoughts of the narrator. 




Is the narrator an actual character in the story? And is he/she reliable or unreliable? Oh, boy. You could even unfold the story via documents like letters or diary entries. 

And of course if you choose a third person point of view, you must decide if the narrator will be objective (unbiased) or subjective--conveying the thoughts of the characters. If subjective, will it be limited where the narrator only knows what one character is thinking, or omniscient where he knows everyone's thoughts. Why not take it a step further...universal omniscient--the narrator knows things even the characters don't know. Um...

After you've sorted through that whole mess, you're not done. Oh no. Now choose your narrative time: past tense, present tense, or future tense. 



Of course, this is all assuming you already know your target audience (MG, YA, Adult, etc.) and genre (sci-fi, romance, mystery, etc.) and that you've nailed that all elusive "voice" needed to make your book stand out.

But wait, are you sure you want to go with fiction to tell your story? Maybe you want to try non-fiction, poetry, a song, painting, or even *gasp* an interpretive dance. 



Now even I'm confused. All I know is after trying out several different combinations, I'm very comfortable writing YA sci-fi novels told in first person present tense with a good cabbage patch or sprinkler dance move thrown in for good measure. Mostly kind of maybe for now. 

What's your preferred narrative mode?

Monday, December 3, 2012

And You Are...? Blog Hop

Emily and Tammy, with the help of David Spade, need to give away three Christmas presents, so they're going to interview a group of people, some naughty and some nice, to find those most deserving of Santa's toys.





Here are my answers. Cross your fingers I can impress them with my awesomeness. Because I want All The Things.

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?

Zero. Nada. Zilch. Yes, I am THAT perfect. I was pulled over for a headlight out once and got a warning. My husband on the other hand...

2. Can you pitch a tent?

If it comes with those thin poles that elasticize together, and it's a relatively small dome, then YES. Better yet, the kid sized ones that snap into being when you pull it out of the nylon bag. That counts, right?

3. What was your worst vacation ever?

In fourth grade, my class took a trip to the Big Island to see the erupting volcano, and then didn't see it because there was a tsunami warning. We spent our time in a school gym until we got the all clear. Then when we were back home on Oahu, I GOT LEFT AT THE AIRPORT. That's right, the school bus left without me and my BFF (we were in the bathroom) and we cried until some security guard found us and helped us call home. Worst. Vacation. Ever.

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?

I'd say books (Merry Christmas to me) but I guess those are a bunch of little things, right? So...a brown leather chaise for my writing room. I know--awesomesauce.

5. We're handing you the keys to what?

My new beachfront house in Lanikai. *dreams*




6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?

Stroganoff. The mushrooms were bad bad bad. We had to dump it and I went out for a tray of orange chicken instead.

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like ______?

...one of those rap guys' girlfriends. Oh, am I supposed to be original here? Um, she looks like...me. Haha. Big booty girls unite!

8. What was your first car?

A red Honda Accord. Exciting, I know.

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first?

Neither. I immediately get down to help her up, ask if she's okay, then glare at anyone who might be laughing.

10. What's the worst song ever?

Um...this one. I think it's pretty self-explanatory.




Pick me, David, pick me! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Killers Killed It

I just couldn't resist coming back and saying I had one of the best nights of my life. Ever. I may or may not have cried. Just a little bit. The Killers were amazing. Brandon was insanely incredible live. I could have stayed there forever--dancing and singing and jumping and just plain dying of happiness. Yay!

And I just had to post this short clip just for Jaybird. :)


Okay, back to normal writerly stuff next week. Woot!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Killers


I can think of nothing else except that tonight I get to see The Killers live in concert. This is a huge deal for me. They are my favorite band and it's been on my bucket list for a long, long time to see them in concert. And it's really happening. Tonight. I can't wait!


This got me thinking. My MC in my current WIP gets to do something in the book that, though she never considered it a possibility, would definitely be a bucket list item for her. Heck, it'd be an awesome addition to my own list if I could. Since I tend to put my characters through a whole lot of crap, sometimes it feels good to let them have something happy, too. 

What's on your bucket list? Your characters' list? Do you like to endlessly torture your characters, or do you throw them a bone every once in a while?

Also, if you're finishing up Nano today, good luck! You can do it--I believe in you!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Girl With The Green Pen

Many of you may know one of my amazing CP's, miss Taryn Albright. She founded Teen Eyes in August 2011 to critique YA manuscripts from the perspective of a YA. Since she''ll be 20 soon, the "teen" part won't work much longer. She still loves Teen Eyes, but wants to do something bigger. So, I am pleased to introduce...


thegirlwiththegreenpen.com

Here's what she has to say about her services:

My mission is to guide writers through the daunting task of revision. From idea development to editorial feedback to general publishing advice, I love working with stories and those who create them. As a nationally ranked swimmer, I know the value of time, so I believe in quick responses from the first email to the last.

I am not just another freelance editor. Beyond providing an experienced and thorough critique, my secondary goal is to establish a relationship with my clients. I want to support you throughout the stressful submission process and celebrate with you upon any and all good news. Writers may put pen to paper alone, but it is through a community that the book gets finished, polished, and submitted.



Why The Girl with the Green Pen? Why green?

Most edits are made with a red pen. If someone critiques your manuscript, s/he will most likely cover it with red ink, right? Not so much here. I make all my notes in green because I like to reflect the idea of moving forward. Green means go, it means new life. These are ways to think of your revisions, and this is how I like to think of the editing process.



You can find Taryn's shiny new website here. Be sure to check out the very affordable packages she has to offer. With an impressive list of agented and published clients, I highly recommend her services. Also, I am her favorite CP. Right, Taryn? Right?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Post on Cupid's LC

So I'm totally geeking out over here. I have a guest post up on Cupid's Literary Connection about NaNoWriMo today!



Go and check it out.

The Finish Line

Five more days, peeps. YOU CAN DO IT!


I'm lucky to have already had my first reader dive into my Nano book and send me notes. And it gives me a huge smile to know she totally got it--at all the right parts...just the boost of confidence I need as I dive into revisions. Thanks, Robin!

Time to report...how's Nano going for you? Are you gonna make it by Friday? Do I need to send you some emergency chocolate?


You are not alone in this...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I am thankful for YOU, my blog readers. Thanks for brightening up my corner of the universe!


This song's dedicated to all of you!

But these stories don't mean anything when you've got no one to tell them to. It's true...I was made for you.


Monday, November 19, 2012

U Got The Look

I've been tagged by Nick Wilford in the "U Got The Look" meme. Thanks, Nick!

All I have to do is go to my current WIP, hunt down the word "look", and post the surrounding paragraphs. So today, you all get a taste of my Nanowrimo project. BTW, I won Nano this past weekend. Thank you, thank you. I'm still plugging along to get the whole thing done this month, though. *fingers crossed*


Here you go:

We had a pact, remember? No apologizing for something you didn’t do wrong.”
“I remember.” He loosens his tie and pulls it over his head, tossing it to an otherwise spotless floor. If it weren’t for their maid, I’m sure Liam’s room would be a disaster. He undoes a couple of buttons on his white shirt, which sends my heart racing, and rolls up his sleeves to his elbows. “No more talk of my parents.”
He picks me up, sitting me on the edge of his bed. It’s a four-poster, and his mattress is so high, my feet dangle off the side, his face level with mine. “I was thinking…my bed’s looking a little cold. Maybe we could try warming it up.” His hands take hold of my waist, and he waggles his eyebrows like a cartoon villain about to endanger my virtue.
“Tempting,” I say, “but I was thinking more along the lines of, oh, I don’t know, warming up those brain cells of yours and studying for your next math exam.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I’m serious. My grade is on the line here too, and I’m not going to blow it giving in to some teen boy’s fantasy of getting me in his bed.”
“What if—”
I hold my hand up to stop him. “Math. Studying. Now.”

And now I randomly tag:

Nicole
Tyrean
Livia
Julie
Suzi

This one's dedicated to all the blue bouncy balls in the world...they have all the fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nano Hump Day

Well, it's here. November 15th. Nano hump day. I was on a such a roll with my word count, I was hoping to be done by today. But alas, the stomach flu decided to visit me and mine, resulting in a funky flatline on my otherwise pretty-making Nano graph. No worries, though. I'm back on the writing train and hope to "win" by the end of the week, and then finish the whole novel before the month is up.



One thing I've learned this time around: no matter how many times people recommend just writing forward for the sake of word count, I can't do it. I'm too addicted to reading what I've written the day before and tweaking...just a bit...before starting for the day. Even when I made a major plot change earlier this week, I went back and GASP erased what needed to go before adding the new info. I also jump around and write whatever scene I'm feeling that day. Not a big deal when you're a major plotter like me.

Also, I tend to get caught up in the line by line crap. I whine and complain that my writing sucks sucks sucks. Well of course it does--it's a first draft, silly. I know I'll come up with a better word choice here, a more consistent YA voice there, etc...when the time is right. But for now, I'm just getting the story out of my scrambled egg brain so I can breathe easier again.

How do I overcome it? Here's a tip that goes against the masses, yet again: take a day off and just read what you have so far. What?!? Yes. And if you don't trust yourself to keep your fingers off that keyboard while you read, print it out and do it. Because if you sit back and read to enjoy your story, that's exactly what you'll find, YOUR STORY, beneath all the crappy words. And then you'll see that you were brilliant all along because this story ROCKS. *enter renewed motivation* It works for me.



And lastly, make a playlist for your book and look up actors to play your characters. This is vital, important stuff, people.

A quick non-nano commentary: anyone seeing the big vampire movie this weekend? Here's my confession: I've been to the midnight showing of every single one and this last one--I'm kind of feeling burned out. Meh. Whatevs. I'll get to it. Eventually...What's the deal with that? (No Twilight bashing allowed on my blog, FYI :)

Also, I decided to start a new feature on my posts in which I post a song for the day. We'll see how it goes. This one's dedicated to my CP's. Because there is no way I could do Nano without our daily plethora of emails. *blows kisses* This song's on my Nano book playlist, but I think they will laugh cause they know all about my epic gravity scene. Or non-gravity scene. Hehe.

Nano-ers unite! Give me an update on your progress in the comments. And keep writing!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick of Captcha

I signed up to participate in the Captcha Craptcha bloghop today, but I'm sick in bed with the stomach flu, probably because I'm overloaded with using Captcha. So I'll just leave it at--Don't Do It.

And if you don't know what Captcha is, you must be a robot. Go here to learn how to take it off to prove you aren't one. Happy Captcha Craptcha Day!


Photobucket

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bonded Blog Tour



It's Michelle week here on the blog, and today I'm posting as part of her BONDED blog tour. First off, here's the official information about the book:


Announcing BONDED by Michelle Davidson Argyle

If you like the darker side of fairy tales, especially ones twisting in ways you wouldn’t expect, you won’t want to miss out on Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle. Author Elana Johnson calls this collection of three fairy tale novellas, “Magical storytelling. The only consolation when one story ends is knowing there's another one waiting” Author Chantele Sedgwick says it is, “Romantic and enchanting. Ms. Argyle has a captivating voice and beautiful writing.”



BOOK DESCRIPTION: What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in Bonded, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas. Based on three fairy tales, Bonded contains a fairy tale continuation (Cinderella), a fairy tale retelling (One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes), and a fairy tale prequel (Sleeping Beauty).

Bonded is available now! You can find it on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and other online book retailers, both as an e-book and in print. Find it for a discounted price on the publisher’s website here: http://shop.rhemalda.com/


I've had the chance to read this amazing book and loved it! Fair warning...these are DARK fairy tales, not your happily ever after Disney versions. If you're looking for stories much closer to the original and eery Grimm style with an accessibility via beautiful language, captivating characters, and a world so magical I want to be there, like, now, then this is the book for you. 

I'll leave you with a couple of pics from Bonded's book launch last night at The King's English in Salt Lake City. Good times! 

Me and Katie with Natalie Whipple (dressed as Serina from Scales) and the model for Christina from Cinders. She made that dress for the book pics!


Michelle signing my book.


Me and Michelle.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Cover Reveal: Pieces!


I'm super excited to participate in the cover reveal for my dear friend Michelle Davidson Argyle's novel, PIECES, set for release on Valentine's Day. Isn't it beautiful?



Here are the details:

PIECES - Rhemalda Publishing / February 14th, 2013
Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her … until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie—in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

Pieces is a companion to The Breakaway and can be read independently, if desired.


As mentioned, Pieces is a companion to The Breakaway, which has been breaking records for her publisher because it's that awesome. Here's some info on The Breakaway and Michelle:




THE BREAKAWAY - Rhemalda Publishing / May 1st, 2012
When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it.


Purchase




AUTHOR BIO
Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

Here's where you can find Michelle:

Congrats Michelle!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Check it out ya'll, I won a spooky romance contest.

Have a spooktacular day!


Love,

The Grave-Digger, Emma Swan (from Once Upon A Time), the Wizard, and the Bumblebee! 

Otherwise known as Mommy's candy collectors. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping Goals

You see that little Goodreads book counter on the right side of my blog? Scroll down a little bit. There, that's it. The one titled, "2012 Reading Challenge." It says I have read 42 out of my goal of 50 for the year. I am one book ahead. Yay!

Except in a few days it will be November. And here in my house, November means fast food, laundry mountains, cold cereal, late nights, pajamas, showers few and far between, and barrels worth of Diet Coke. Yes, NaNoWriMo, my people. And fo sho no reading for fun, I can assure you.

Which also means for the first time this year, and much to the chagrin of anal, OCD me, I will be FALLING BEHIND on a goal.

Never fear, I still plan on meeting it, even if I have to lock myself in a closet come New Years Eve. Because that's how I roll. I'm careful not to set goals for things I can't control, and ponder really hard before setting goals, but I usually reach the one's I do set.

As I wave adieu to my staying ahead of the curve all year, you tell me...what goals have you been able to keep this year?

Now when the sun come up, I'll be there to say what up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meeting Authors

A couple of weeks ago I had the fabulous opportunity to listen to Tess Hilmo (award winning author of With A Name Like Love) speak to my daughter's writing club.

My daughter with Tess 
and the fancy signing pen her son made her. :)


She was amazing, of course, and got the girls excited about writing, plotting, reading, words, names, and almost everything else about writing you can think of. I know the girls had a blast, but even I thought it was soooo helpful for me as a writer. In fact, here's a method of plotting a novel she shared that I'd never heard of before.

What authors have you met? Have you learned valuable writing tips from them?

P.S. It is snowing outside....what???


Monday, October 22, 2012

Inspired by Keturah


I love to read.

Shocker, I know. As with everything else I love to do, I wish I had more time to do it. My time is valuable, so it is very rare that I read a book more than once--there's just too many good ones out there. But I thought I'd spotlight one today that I revisit over and over again. I read it again earlier this month for a book club, and am still amazed with how good it is.

Here's the description of Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt:

Keturah, renowned for her storytelling, follows a legendary hart deep into the forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near—and learns then that death is a young lord, melancholy and stern. She is able to charm Lord Death with a story and gain a reprieve, but he grants her only a day, and within that day she must find true love. A mesmerizing love story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance.




Ooh...a dark tale of fantasy and romance--delicious! It was a National Book Award Finalist in 2006 (along with earning a slew of other awards) and was rereleased at the first of this month as a paperback. 

The story is original, engaging, and unforgettable. The themes of life, death, sacrifice, friendship, love, destiny, and choice join together with the most lyrical of language and a voice that would make any writer envious. 

And if that's not enough to convince you, this book inspired the third book I ever wrote (Koa's Passage), the NaNoWriMo novel I'm planning to write next month, and another story in my "to be written" pile. 

Yeah. Kind of changed my life. I can't recommend Keturah and Lord Death enough.

I'll leave you with a picture of the most delicious key lime pie I've ever tasted in my life. Isn't it pretty? It literally melted my face off. Or would have, if my face could literally melt. It was our dessert for the book discussion, and I think it changed my life as well. Book club peeps, am I right? :) (Thanks, Nicole!) If you've read Keturah, this virtual pie is yours if you can tell me how it relates to the book.




What books have changed your life?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day in the Life

No time for a real post today, so thought I'd leave you with a taste of my other life...that of a homeschooling mama. What else do you do besides write?


video

Monday, October 15, 2012

Complex Villains

*I may or may not have a serious crush on Loki*


I have this problem. I LOVE bad guys. More often than not, they end up being my favorite character in a movie or book. Way more than the hero or the love interest. And the more complex, the better. I'm a total sucker for an evil character that isn't completely evil. One with a glimmer of hope that maybe...one day...he could be good. Maybe?

*Darth Vader, the ultimate complex villain*


My favorite "bad guy" is Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. Talk about complex--he's the guy we just LOVE to hate. Any character that can make me want to shoot him dead one day and cry for him the next is amazing indeed.

*Why settle for one Gaius when you can have two?*


It's even more fun to WRITE a complex villain. I'm planning one right now for my Nano book who I think will be the most three-dimensional character I've ever written, period, and I'm SO excited! Tell me, who is your favorite bad guy?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

This is my official declaration that unless some major unforeseen circumstances occur, I'll be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I'm super excited about a YA science fiction story I'm ready to tackle. Last year (2011) was my first time, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I definitely wouldn't have finished without the support of my CP's, who all won too!



So this year, I want to add more people into my "writing buddies" circle. The more support the better. I'm nano-ing under the name ilimaktodd. If you are participating, let me know your username and once I figure out how to do it, I'll add you to my list of buddies. :)

What's on your I Really Want To Write This Story list?

Monday, October 8, 2012

What I learned from GUTGAA

I got to participate as a judge for the first time in an online contest, and it was an epic one. As the sun sets on GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) here in its final week of competition, I've been reflecting on what I've learned through it all:



1. I never ever EVER want to be an agent. Like, never.

2. There are a lot of great writers out there.

3. Queries are hard.

4. Deana Barnhart is one super-amazing kick*ss chica.

5. The writing community (for the most part) is extremely positive and supportive to other writers.

So, honestly, I already knew all these things. This experience just reaffirmed them. But here are two things that surprised me:

6. No matter how amazing a writer you are, you HAVE to have an original/intriguing concept to get an agent's attention. It shocked me how many entries felt like the same idea over and over again. Show the agent what makes YOUR story stand out, what makes it special.

7. I realized I'm a total chicken. Remember when I asked you all to guess my super secret undercover judge name from the list. Yeah, I decided not to reveal who I was after all. I tried to say something nice on every entry in addition to constructive criticism, but in the end (after some insight from other judges and a couple of twitter trolls) I decided to remain anonymous for fear of backlash. If any of you REALLY want to know who I was, I can email you, but I'm not going public with it. Neurotic? Maybe. But hey, I'm a writer. I'm supposed to get emotional and blow things out of proportion, right? :)



What about you? Did you participate in GUTGAA? How was your experience? How do you feel about online writing contests?

Friday, October 5, 2012

My CP has an agent!

I finally get to announce that my critique partner Robin Hall has an agent! 



She signed with agent Julia A. Weber (@jawlitagent) for her amazing magical realism YA novel, LOVESENSE. Yay, Robin! Head on over to her blog to hear her story and congratulate her! Yipee.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Create


The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

This quote from one of my church's leaders has been resonating with me as of late. I love to create. It could be sewing a dress for my daughter, cooking up a new Thai dish, or writing a short story with a surprise ending. In every case it's: here, look, I made this. There's just something about creating something from nothing that brings out my happy gene.




My children have it too. One would draw and color all night long if we let her and another spends hours building with legos and raiding our recycling bin for robot-building materials. One child films the most amazing stop-motion videos and plans to be an inventor when he grows up. My oldest is a piano virtuoso who composes music so beautiful I literally cry listening to her play--she plans on writing film scores for a living. If you can't tell, I'm pretty proud of my little creative lot, which makes me realize parents feel this yearning too. Being proud of our kids is like saying: here, look, I made this.




Which brings me to writing. I think it may be the most ideal medium for creation. We create characters, conflict, entire worlds...there are no limits to what we can make. And a good writer leaves enough room for readers to fill in gaps with their own ideas and imaginings, letting them become creators in their own right. And when we finish that story, we can't help but want others to share in our joy: here, look, I made this. It just feels so good.

So my challenge for you today is to create something and find joy in the process of creating it. :)

Do you have that yearning to create? What's your favorite "creation"?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

It's my anniversary today!!! A happy 15 years to the love of my life! Wow, look how young we were. Babies, I tell you.



Two of my CP's have some epic giveaways going on right now. Go and check them out:

Robin's 100 Follower giveaway
Taryn's Epic Guilt giveaway

I've been tagged by Taryn in The Next Big Thing blog game interview thingy where you answer questions about your WIP or a new piece you'd love to become the next big thing! I'm gonna go with my baby, the book that landed me an agent since that's all I seem to be working on these days.

1-What is the title of your book?

Remake

2-Where did the idea come from for the book?

I've managed to avoid this question thus far on my blog (because it's somewhat controversial) but I will finally divulge today. I saw this news clip (you might need to watch a short commercial first). And it just wouldn't leave me. Whew, there. That wasn't so bad.

3-What genre does your book fall under?

YA science fiction

4-Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I know my MC for sure. It would be Saoirse Ronan. 




I'm not familiar enough with young actors but know my supporting cast would have to consist of one blue-eyed, hot, fair-skinned guy that could pull off bald, and a brown-skinned teen boy and girl of ethnic ambiguity, also good looking. I know, my racial sensitivity astounds even myself. :)

5-What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

In a time when people choose their genders, sixteen-year-old Nine can't wait to ditch her weak girl body for a braver male one, but a crash en route to her Remake teaches her girls kick ass too.

6-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am represented by Jennifer Skutelsky of Veritas Literary.

7-How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?

Less than four weeks. I lived and breathed this thing like it was nobody's business. Here's the opening:


Male or female?
My finger hesitates over the touch screen. How can I decide which to be for the rest of my life? It’s so…permanent.
Theron puts his hand on the small of my back in encouragement. I glance at his blue eyes beneath long lashes. They’re longer than the hair on his head. I smile, knowing what little there is will be shaved off in a few minutes.
               He returns my smile and rubs my own shaved head. Our lack of hair keeps those in our Batch equal--both the boys like Theron and the girls like me. Except the stubble that grows from my head is red, while everyone else's is dark brown. The Maker that designed me must've had a sick sense of humor.

8-What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Origin by Jessica Khoury. Thanks to some CP hook-ups, I got to read it as an arc and used it as a comparable in my queries. It was released earlier this month, and I still think it's the closest book I know to Remake. Here's a trailer if you haven't heard of it. Excellent book!




9-Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think the core of this book is about family. So obviously, my own family inspired it. Wha??? A story about a girl wanting to be a boy is about family? Um, yes it is. You'll have to read it to find out why. Ha!

10-What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Ooh, what to give away? I'll just say someone has to give someone else the lowdown on the birds and the bees. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that whole conversation. Hehe.

I'm gonna tag the last 5 people to leave a comment on my blog:

J.A. Bennett
Rachel McClellan
Kelley Lynn
Amy L. Sonnichsen
David P. King

To participate, just answer these ten questions on your own blog and tag 5 more. Be sure to let me know if you decide to play. Thanks!