Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Run for the Roses

I'm so excited to have Rachel Schieffelbein on the blog today. Her novella, RUN FOR THE ROSES, released a week ago. Here's a little about the book:

Abigail Conrad has spent her whole life training for one goal: to win the roses at the Arabian Youth Nationals. She’s given up friends, a social life, and doesn’t have time to even think about guys -- much less date!

Now that she’s headed off to college in the fall, it’s her last chance to be a Youth National Champion, and she won’t let anything distract her from that dream.

Except maybe Chase, the older brother of Abigail's biggest rival. He’s charming, funny, and possibly Abigail's biggest problem. How can she focus on riding when her mind keeps wandering to Chase’s green eyes and confident smile?

With her dream on the line, Abigail had better learn to fight her growing attraction to Chase, or she might end up losing the roses and the guy.

Take it away, Rachel...

Thank you so much for having me here today, Ilima! :)

Since Run for the Roses is mostly takes place at the Arabian Youth Nationals, I thought I'd share some of my Youth Nationals memories.

My first year showing at Youth was in 1994, (yes, I'm old.) I was showing a sweet little western mare named Showshill Merit. At Nationals you usually have cuts to make before you get to the finals, (and of course you have to qualify to be there in the first place.) I had two classes I was showing Merit in, so two cuts to make. Both of my first cuts were on the very first day of the show. I got a wrong lead in the first one and got the gate. A few hours later, I got the gate again.

(Got the gate, is the horse term for I got sent through the gate with diddley squat.)

So that was it, I got to just hang out the rest of the week with nothing to do. Lol. But, years later I saw a hat at Youth that said, "I got the gate at Youth Nationals." I loved it. I may not have gotten a ribbon, but I'd made it there. I was competing at a level I'd never dreamed of before and that was pretty cool.

And I use the expression with my speech kids all the time when they are competing at State. Anything from here on out is just gravy, you made it here and that's awesome.

It's true for writing, too. Be proud of yourself each step of the way. You got a personalized rejection? Awesome. You got a request? Way freaking cool. Even if they turn it down you know you are making progress. You are heading in the right direction.

And here's a cute picture of a foal, just for fun. ;)

I love that! And it's so true. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel. You can find her book on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Congrats!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Well, I did it. I hit my 50K. *cheers*

NaNoWriMo was a little different for me this year as my word total came from more than one book. I was already halfway through drafting a novel (a sequel) when November started so I decided to finish drafting that one first, then started another. NaNo was just the kick in the pants I needed to finish the sequel, which has been kind of a pain for me. 

I originally wrote 20K of it and knew the story wasn't working, so I trashed it and started over. For OCD controlling outliner me, it was hard but had to be done. And I'm so glad I did. Yesterday, I skimmed through that book and laughed and cried and realized it doesn't suck as much as I usually think my first drafts suck, so I'm very excited to start revising it.

Some other firsts this year:
* I finished my longest book yet, sitting just under 80K.
* I broke my personal record and wrote over 9K in one day.
* I managed to write all month w/out the help of diet coke.

So maybe that last one is weird, but I'm proud of it because I've been trying to quit, and my body is thanking me for not staying up until 2 in the morning to get my word count in as I have in the past. :)

How are you with your NaNo goals? Don't give up! There's still a lot of time left. Need some more motivation? Here's a link to a guest post I wrote last year on all things NaNoWriMo.

What am I going to do to celebrate? Date night this weekend at the movie theater! Anyone else Catching any Fire this week? I'll be back the first of December. Have a Happy Thanksgiving all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


No, this isn't a post about Firefly.

I'm talking about serenity, as in peace and calm. It's something I haven't enjoyed in a while and if you're doing NaNo you probably haven't either. But remember this post? I thought I'd share some after pics of my newly designed bedroom:

The medieval doorway leads to our bathroom...or should I say throne room?

If you squint really hard you can see pics of my family

Where the magic sleep happens.

In LOVE with our giant mirror. 

Pretty, no? Somehow, just looking at it calms me down. And I'm so grateful for that right now. I've had a rough couple of days and peace is something I'm ready to welcome like an old friend.

My husband also kidnapped me this afternoon. Within 3 1/2 hours we drove to Ikea, bought all the fixings for a new chill lounge for his employees, ate lunch, drove back to his office, unloaded endless boxes, assembled everything and put the room together. Talk about instant gratification. It was quite therapeutic, actually. And the feeling of accomplishment lifted my spirits quite a bit.

You can't see the flat screen TV and mini-fridge on the other end. How will work ever get done?

We're almost halfway through November. How are you with your NaNo goals? Consider taking a hot bath, sipping some cocoa by the fire, and taking a minute to ponder on everything you've accomplished so far. Mmm, serenity achieved.

Now get off your butt and get to typing. We've got some words to write, people!

One of my CP's sent me this song yesterday. She heard it and knew it was perfect for one of my books, and now I can't stop listening to it. Just what I needed. Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ten things I hate about NaNoWriMo

I hate the way you're hard to spell and even worse to say.
I hate it when your site goes down in the middle of the day.
I hate the month you choose to live.
I hate your taunting graph.
I hate how all my buddies read my word count with a laugh.
I hate how much my hands hurt and my eyes and rear end too.
I hate that all my words are crap.
I hate staying up 'til two.
I hate it when you're over and my life's no longer stalled.
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

To all of you doing the crazy NaNoWriMo dance this month...

Keep going!

You're awesome!

You can do it!

I believe in you!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Steampunk Adventures and NaNoWriMo Wishes

A couple of great books to spotlight today. First up is the cover reveal for Jay Noel's novel, DRAGONFLY WARRIOR. It's a steampunk adventure that mixes Asian and European mythology, the Wild West, martial arts, traditional fantasy, and high powered steam action. How cool is that? I LOVE how the cover portrays all of this:

Isn't it awesome? Dragonfly Warrior is the first book of The Mechanica Wars and will debut on January 6, 2014. Congrats Jay!

Also, today is the release of THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY from Jennie Bennett, Jessica Salyer, Kelley Lynn, David P. King, and Cassie Mae. You can purchase it here. All proceeds from sales go to benefit NaNoWriMo, and they are hosting a Blog Hop to celebrate.

To participate, I just have to share my NaNo wish. This year I want to finish drafting Remake 2. It's told from the POV of my all-time favorite character, and it's been quite an emotional journey for me...my most challenging book to draft so far. But it will be worth it!
Shiny. Let's be bad guys.

How about you? What's your NaNo wish?

If you want to friend me on NaNo, I'll friend you back and we can support each other all month! My username is ilimaktodd.

How was your Halloween? Any guesses who I dressed up as?

And who else is seeing Ender's Game tonight? I can't wait!

Take my hand and come walk with me...

NaNo Blog Hop list: