Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Brave, Be Bold, and Don't Suck

Happy Monday! Just wanna leave you with some helpful quotes to get the week started and help motivate your muse. :)

*  Writing is a long hard slog and your brain needs to be in tip-top shape.

*  Reading is the creative center of a writer's life.

*  Reading is your job. If you don't read the genre your writing in, you will never absorb the techniques and structure needed.

*  Unlearn much of what you know about writing.

*  Construct clean sentences powered by vivid verbs.Your metaphors and images need to trill as memorably as a chorus of bagpipes at a funeral.

*  Like other pros, put in the time, hit the books, and refine your skills.

*  Nothing instructs a writer about metaphor, imagery, and the potency of language more than poetry.

*  Writing and reading poetry brings us deeper into the vast sea of language because trying to convey an idea           in a few lines teaches us depths of language we'd never find on our own.

*  Experiment, brainstorm, and dabble.

*  Stay loose and enjoy the writer's equivalent of mud and finger paints and clown hats.

*  Juggle several projects at once. This sort of tinkering refreshes the imagination, creates small successes, and boosts confidence.

*  Write your first draft fast as though your pants were on fire, and stay close to your story.

*  Writing must contain emotional and intellectual complexity, which is the opposite of melodrama.

*  Put writing first in your life and keep plugging away; carry it around with you.

*  The more often you visit your characters, the more likely they'll whisper their truths and heartbreaks.

*  Research, then emulate the lives of successful writers.

*  Realize that sometimes you're going to be the geekiest, dorkiest new kid in class. Learn to laugh a bit when you screw up.

*  Find sophisticated and possibly cold-hearted readers.

*  See the world is gold all around you and press those images onto the pages.

*  Instead of searching the world for a source of joy, make writing your source of joy.

*  Always think about what you're seeing, and always question it. Always remain open.

On that note, get in there and get writing. Even if it's simply jotting notes for your next story. Keep the creativity flowing. These quotes were compiled from my fave handy dandy writing manual, Thanks, But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Morrell. Jessica also runs a terrific writing-focused blog which you can find here.

On a side note, check out the pic to the right for the A-Z Blogfest happening in the month of April. It means blogging everyday (except weekends) for the entire month of April, but what a fun way to meet new friends! Click on the pic and get to Blogfest HDQ where you can learn all the deets.

So what about you? Any fave writing quotes you'd like to share? Or just anything in general? Let's talk ... 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Intuition vs. Self-Doubt

Sound weird? I think there must be a fine line between the two. Why, you ask? They both come through as faint whispers in my mind.

As I go through the typical aspiring author role, accepting rejection as my inaugeration--the humility I must  endure to earn my ultimate goal--I can't help but wonder if it's really my natural path. Okay, now you're totally confused, right?

What I mean is, I'm a non-conformist by nature. If there's a way for me to alter tradition, I do it. I love putting my own twist on things. That's why I'm a writer. So knowing what the alternative to finding an agent and a traditional publisher is, grows more and more appealing each day. It's reachable, attainable. I could have my work out there right now for people to read. That's the true ultimate goal, right? Having readers for our stories??

There are risks, of course ... like losing the "debut author" status if I ever find publication with a traditional publisher. But I'd be losing royalties that way, anyway. If I self-pub on Amazon, B&N, etc, I'm keeping most of the royalties myself. I just have to be willing to market my stories, which you're exepcted to do now anyway with traditional pubbing. PLUS! If I self-pub, I make my own deadlines and am my own boss. That is so me.

However, even though I've been writing for five years now, I'm still a newbie to the publishing scene, and I'd really love the guidance and support of an agent. I feel like it makes sense. AND I write mostly YA, so I don't know how successful ebooks will be in that market yet. Ereaders are still mostly adult oriented (which I strongly believe will be changing in the near future when kids use tablets for school.)

So this is where the intuition vs. self-doubt comes in. I can't distinguish the two when it comes to this topic. The rejections I receive in the search for agents has nothing to do with the actual stories, only that they don't feel passionate about them or they just didn't "love" them enough. And I get that. I read stories sometimes that are decent, but I don't "love" them.

The thing is, others may. And agents read SO many stories that how can you possibly be able to dazzle them anymore? A perfectly good story can fall to the wayside because it just didn't sparkle quite enough in that agent's eyes. And the funny thing is that there are stories out there that STILL don't sparkle and have been traditionally published.

Long story short, the whispers I hear tell me I should put this effort I'm expending into finding an agent, into marketing the work I've already written. You know, building an actual website, uplaoding stories to Amazon, promoting, promoting, promoting, etc. Getting out there so readers can access my stuff RIGHT NOW. But I can't tell if these whispers are my intuition speaking to me, or my self-doubt that I'll ever actually secure an agent.

Either way, I'll keep writing and I'll keep honing my craft with each story.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Any experiences to share? Advice? Lay it on me....  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply Hot Mug Shot! (Blogfest)

Erica and Christy are hosting a Simply Hot Mug Shot Blogfest today. This one is quick and easy. And I do believe my secret is now out--the one about what a scatterbrained fiction writer I am. ;) I signed up for their blogfest twice and both times I entered my name wrong! LOL!

Hey, at least my kids are fed. Seems I get so preoccupied with my stories that I forget stuff all the time. Anyone else out there have this problem???

Anyway, the idea of the blogfest is to share a pic of our very most favorite coffee mug. That's it! So check mine out below, then hop on over to blogfest HDQ at Erica's and Christy's and check out the other entries.

This is mine:


I say "Good Grief!" all the time, so this mug is just perfect for me. I say it when I watch the news, while I'm working (I work from home), while I'm trying to get kids ready for school. Sometimes I give ol' Charlie a little wink, 'cause I know just how he feels. GOOD GRIEF!!

SO what about you? What's your fave mug look like? And does being a dedicated fiction writer make you scatterbrained? Please tell me I'm not the only one out there. ;) Happy Thursday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 10 Music Countdown --- Blogfest!!

Okay this took some genuine thought, mainly because there are so many darn good songs out there. Music provides the soundtrack to our lives, and I flat out can't imagine a world without it. My most current ms deals a lot with music.

Remember how invested in certain songs you were when you were young?? Man, it felt like the world was speaking to me through certain lyrics. I'm such a music nut, I coordinated / choreographed  my own wedding to individual songs I picked. I honestly believe there's a song out there for every kind of feeling.



Check out my TOP 10 here, then head on over to Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog to peruse the rest of the entries. Should be a fun day!!

And without firther ado ...  (in no particular order)

10.    River of Deceit    Mad Season  (Reminds me of the good old days. And just a kick-ass song)

9.     Beautiful Day   U2   (Played this song at my wedding right after our first kiss. The whole wedding party exited the ceremony to this song... it was so great! To this day everyone at my wedding thinks of it when they hear that song. I know because they tell me so ;)  )

8.  On a Clear Day   PM Dawn  (Reminds me of college days and being so free)

7.  Riders on the Storm    The Doors (Perfect for driving on rainy days)

6.  Here Comes the Rain Again   Eurhythmics  (Just love this song. Reminds me of college days and winding down an evening of dancing with this song)

5.  Storms in Africa   Enya  (Something so hypnotic about this one. I walked down the aisle to marry my hubby to this song. I'd always wanted to, and it was completely untraditional, but I did it anyway, and everyone loved it.)

4.  Don't Stop til You Get Enough   Michael Jackson  (Gets my feet moving. Have to dance to this one)

3.  Ramble On   Led Zepplin (Cranking this song up just puts me into "rock out" zone)

2.  Iiieee    Tori Amos (Yes it's really the title. Tori is my all time fave singer and this one just never gets old for me)

1.  Like a Prayer   Madonna  (So Madonna's songs ain't deep or anything, but they make me dance. And this one gets me on the floor quicker than anything. It's just a darn good song)

Here are just a few runners-up off the top of my head:

Nightshift ( Commodores); Free Bird (Lynnrd Skynnrd) In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel); If You Leave  (OMD ); Dreams (Cranberries); Homeward Bound (Simon & Garfunkle); Where the Streets Have No Name (U2);Barons of Suburbia (Tori Amos) Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye)

Alright, so of course there are MANY more songs I adore, and this just barely grazes the surface, but I sure had fun giving it a go. Can you imagine a world without music? It would be so very blah.



So tell me what some of your fave songs are? If your participating in the blogfest, I'll be stopping by for a visit soon! Happy Monday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest



Well this blogfest sounded fun, so how could I resist? Here was a chance to get my hubby in on this bloggy thing. So the idea was to ask our significant others a few questions about us and our writing. Click on pic above to get to blogfest HDQ and see what the other entries have to say.

Here are the questions and Mr. Hrezo's answers:

1. What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?

No brainer.... COFFEE!


2. What one thing would you change about your others writing habits?

Stop all the multi-tasking! When you're doing something else, just do it... don't try to write here and there while you're doing laundry, watching kids, etc. Save the writing for when you can sit down and write.


3. How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?

Very frustrating. But I'm glad she has a creative outlet she's passionate about.


And that's it from Mr. Hrezo. He's a man of few words--my cute little firefighter hubby-wubby. lol He is so right about the multi-tasking, but what can I say? GUILTY! I've got all these ideas swimming around in my head and I have to be able to jot at all times.

But Mr. Hrezo is very supportive and an absolute jewel of a husband who isn't afraid to take the kids by himself and give Mom some free time to write ... or just decompress. In short, my significant other rocks, and I'm so very amazingly lucky to have him.

Thanks for stopping by! If you're new here, welcome! If you're looking for the critique from Lydia, it's the next post down.

So tell me, my friends, how does your significant other support you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Critique From Ms. Lydia Sharp

Okay, here it is ... my first 250 words of Starsong, with Lydia's comments attached. And just a brief rundown, Starsong is a YA contemporary literary that won an Honorable Mention in Lydia's Awesome Contest. As you will see, I have a love affair with ellipses and Lydia called me out on it. LOL



I will flat out die of embarrassment if Tanner Westin sees my notebook. {excellent opening line}
            Victor is carrying it under his arm. He’s twice my size with a face like a puppy dog, and as Finlay High’s star defensive lineman, {I'd put a period here instead of a comma} he has no trouble blocking my lunges. He chuckles like it’s a sick game, stopping in his tracks and flipping my notebook out in front of me. My fingertips brush past the cover as he lifts it out of my reach again.
            I stomp my foot. If Victor wasn’t so big I’d kick his shins in. Instead, I wrap both my hands around his mega bicep and pull down as hard as I can, dangling from his arm like a spider monkey.
            Victor grins. He heads right for Tanner with ease, my body anything but an interference. We reach Tanner huddled beside his Jeep with his buddies, looking oh-so-cool in his black skater tee. They gawk at us as we approach.
I drop down to the ground, gnawing at the insides of my cheeks.
            “Hey, Tanner, what’s up, my man?” Victor holds up a hand, waiting for contact.
            Tanner slaps Victor’s hand in his friendly guy way and flips his chin-length sandy hair to the side. “What’s up, bro?”
            “ Just stumbled across some interesting info, thought you’d like to know … {period here instead of the ellipsis. But keep the second one at the end.}  it’s about Pinks here …”
I try to be sly and reach for the notebook again.
             Victor is too fast. He blocks me with ease, flipping the notebook from under his arm and handing it to Tanner. {I would strike the underlined words and simply say, Victor blocks me with ease... Saying he's "too fast" just gets in the way of what's actually happening. It adds nothing.}
            Tanner glances at me, his face baffled. He looks from me to the notebook, turning it around to read it.
             My poor ego is about to be pulverized—I can almost taste the humble pie now. {not horrible, but kind of cliché. See if you can come up with something more unique} My jaw clenches, gazing at Tanner’s face.
            His denim blue eyes meet mine for a few seconds. It’s done now. He’s seen it—the big heart on the back cover of my notebook—the one with Tanner’s name engraved in ink inside it. I think I’m going to puke.
Tanner shrugs, handing the notebook back to Victor. “Whatever, bro … {ditch the ellipsis here} Hey, you going to the lake party tonight?”
Yeah, man, I’ll be there for sure,” Victor says.
Later, man.” Tanner steps back into his mob of guys and resumes conversation like nothing happened. He’s so cool that way.
Victor nudges me with his pudgy hand, tosses me the notebook with his other.
Okay, so Tanner was pretty cool about it, but my blood is boiling.
Oh, come on, Pinks … {no need for an ellipsis here} you’re not mad, are you? It was just a dumb prank … {or here; you've officially abused it} loosen up. It’s our last day of school! We’re seniors!” Victor smiles, but his voice has a guilty tone.
I can’t even form words. I turn my back, ready to barge through the parking lot, but the  neighbor kid from down the street appears out of nowhere. I bump right into him.
          Whoa! Easy there, killer,” Sami says. His voice is soft, but his gaze is intense.
Wow. I'm actually infuriated that I don't have a page to turn. Here's the breakdown:
1.   You have a clear handle on what is meant by "narrative voice" and "unique character viewpoint." Don't take that lightly. This is one of the main things that will make you stand out in a slush pile.
2.         You have a good balance of detail. Just enough to ground the reader into the scene, but not so much that it distracts from the story.
3.         You start with tension and you keep it going. Even when the "notebook debacle" is seemingly resolved, you don't waste time before the next thing presents itself. Definitely crucial for YA.
4.         The only thing I can truly fault you on is the punctuation. Why so many ellipses? Scrutinize every place you use one in your ms and decide whether or not it is truly needed. Too many and it detracts from its intended emphasis. Anything that puts a spotlight on the technical aspect of your writing and distracts the reader from the story or the emotion, is a bad thing. But honestly, this is minor and easily fixed. Excellent job overall.


This was really helpful. She picked out areas that were in the back of my mind. All in all, a very encouraging and constructive critique. Plus, it didn't hurt that she liked it. ;)
So any comments on this? Any further advice or suggestions? I'm all ears ... (oops, ellipsis!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Weekly Spotlight .... Could Be You!

It's that time again! Yippee skippee. First off, I just got my critique back from Lydia Sharp over at the Sharp Angle and wow is she a brainiac! I am amazed what that woman pulled off in a matter of weeks with 85 contest entries!! Stay tuned to her blog because she may offer another contest like this in another few months. You won't want to miss it.

Also, can I just say how disappointed I am I missed Miss Snark's secret agent contest this last round?? UGH! I sent my entry in at 7pm on the nose, and got no response for like five minutes. Finally, I thought, "I better send another one." And at that moment a rejection email came through saying I was to early and it was 659pm when it went through. So I skidaddled to get a new entry in, and at 707pm got my second rejection that the contest was full. Double UGH!!! Oh well ...

Anyway ...

If you're new to my blog, Wednesdays are the day I shine the spotlight on a blog I follow and tell you why I follow them. Today, the Blogger Oscar goes to ...

*drumroll*

*tosses confetti*


Sarah Falen  of   FALEN FORMULATES FICTION


So I am brand spankin' new to Sarah's blog, but I wanted to share it with you today because she has this awesome run down of last week's webinar with Sara Megibow--lit agent extraordinaire.

I really wanted to attend this one, but didn't have the extra cash. I know first hand how amazing Sara is, and now to see how equally amazing Sarah is to post the notes she took during the other Sara's webinar--just fantastic! So if you, like me, are new to Sarah Falen too, don't delay! Get thee over to her blog right now and read up on how you can make your first three pages rock. And if you already think you know, check it out for a reminder.

I'm excited to see what future posts Sarah has for us. I just lurve making new bloggy friends.

Are you new here to my bog? If so, I'm so happy to meet you! What about you--find any new blogs you want to share? Tell me everything....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's Your Process Blogfest

Just found this blogfest, and wow! What a great idea! Come on in and see how I write, then pop over to Shallee's blog and peruse the list of bloggers to see how they write!

My process is fairly simple, though it does take some thought.

* Write the Logline (this is so I know exactly what the story will be about)

* Character Sketches ( I have to know their ins and outs, and deepest secrets and fears)

* World Build (I need to know the setting. Much easier if it's contemporary. Fantasy takes much longer)

* Chapter Outline ( I know what I want to happen in each chapter. Doesn't always stay that way, but it keeps                                 me on track.)

So that's it! Of course, each of my four steps takes a lot of thought process. I start a "story bible" with each story, which is a spiral notebook that I jot notes and ideas in, and will contain my character sketches and chapter outlines. This is something I refer back to over and over throughout the first draft. I'd be lost without my story bibles.

* After I write the first draft as quickly as possible, I give it a quick (all in one sitting if possible) full edit, then I let it sit for a couple of weeks.

*After it's properly marinated, I dive in for hard core revisions.

* Once my first round of revisions is done, I send out to the wolves... no, not really. I send to trusty betas. Love my beta readers! They pick out so many areas in need of tweaking, and have so many awesome suggestions.

* After all feedback is in, I revise again.

** At this point I am burnt out on the story and I consider it finished and move on to creating a new story bible for a new idea.

But what works for me may not work for you. This is my process and it gets smoother with each new story.

Do you do something similar? Or totally different? Please share ....

Also, a HUGE welcome to my new followers! I'm so glad you're here! Remember, if your blog or website isn't attached to your blogger profile (or your little floating head) than I cant find you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Would YOU Do??




So in honor of the American Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to pause a moment to remember what an amazing man he was ... what he stood for. I know I don't need to go in to details for my bright and dynamic readers ... I'm sure you know them already.

I will leave you with this, though ... not only did he have a vision that suggested every person be judged NOT by the color of their skin, BUT by the content of their character ... Dr. King lived his entire life in service to others. When he saw suffering, he did what he could to help. He spoke out against poverty, injustice, and violence. He was the kind of person who put the cause before anything else.

So, I ask you this fine Monday, January 17, 2011, what would YOU do? 

Let's say your book (or whatever it is you do) achieves astounding success. ( come on, you know you've all dreamed of it.) You're rolling in dough and got more than you know what to do with. How do you use some of it to give back to others? How would you help others in your community or around the world? Go on! Have some fun imagining and tell me in the comments!

I'd visit children's homes around the world and donate to each one as they needed. I'd make sure they had plenty of age appropriate books, as well as clothing and food.

Your turn!

If you haven't listened to Dr. King's amazing "I Have a Dream ..." speech in awhile, take a few minutes to do so. It moves me every time I hear it. But don't forget ...

Tell me, what would YOU do to help out humanity if you could? Or do you already offer some service to others? If so, please tell me about it... don't be shy. Today is all about thinking of others.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Originality

Well come on in and get warm! PK welcomes you to her cozy little blog ....

Pull up a snuggie and a sofa, and let's chat awhile. Please help yourself to some coffee or cocoa ...


Alright, you all nice and cozy? Good! Let's talk originality ...

Okay, I'm a fantasy freak for sure. My true genre of passion is pure fantasy. It's what got me started writing stories in the first place. After my daughter was born and I decided I was going to write a story, I spent a year writing it out. It was a YA story about a wood sprite (or faerie) getting lost outside her woods and embarking on an adventure quest to get back home, all the while meeting different magical and non-magical creatures along the way.

This was before the Tinkerbell books and movies came out. I thought the idea was somewhat fresh and original. Then, while I was in the middle of writing, I saw it--the Tinkerbell book, the Quest for something ... and I felt sick. All my ideas of originality flushed down the toilet. But I kept writing because I had to finish it.

I finished writing the first in the series, then began the sequel. I queried a few agents, but got no interest. Little did I know at the time, that I didn't know jack about writing a query. Plus, my ms was in major need of trimming and polishing. I was a newbie writer ... I didn't know. I was convinced it was my lack of originality preventing any real interest. Darn Tinkerbell and her rabble of fairies! I used to like her too. lol

*inserts Tinkerbell in a noose here*

So I ventured off into other writing realms. I wrote a contemp romance, a political thriller, then got back to YA and have written two contemps since then, my most recent the NaNo project. Now I'm ready to get back to my roots ... back to writing fantasy, but with a new perspective ... But don't leave yet !!

I'm tying this into originality, I promise.

I know I gave you a lot of backstory there, but the reason is, for one, this ain't a novel (tho it may seem like it at this point) and for two, so you can see why I've come to my conclusions. Originality is not just about thinking up some brand new creature or world or plot--though those things are great! Originality is also about putting a fresh spin on an old idea.

Take Harry Potter for example. It's a perfect example of how an author can combine new ideas with old ones to craft a story. JK Rowling is not a genius. She's one clever duck, but no genius. She borrowed ideas and creatures to create her stories around. Of course, a lot of it IS original. But that's my point. As writers we can pick and choose and use both.

Take the dementors from HP -- they have an uncanny resemblance to the ring wraiths from Lord of the Rings.


 ringwraith or Nazgul
dementor

 Or how about Aragog the spider?? Very much like Shelob from LOTR. Of course, JK used many other fantastical creatures like unicorns, mermaids, goblins, etc. She borrowed names from constellations and Greek gods and philosophers. She thought up some really great characters and had a phenomonal setting. Everything else was classic good against evil and a fresh twist on fantasy fluff.

And I adored it just like the rest of the world. So what is originality? Does it mean we have to think up something completely original? Well, it won't hurt. But we can have free range using others' ideas as well. What makes this so awesome is that no other writer in the world will be able to put a spin on something the way we do. Now, I'm not saying go out and write your own story about an orphan boy wizard who goes to school in a super cool castle outside of London and put your own spin on it. Duh. But use the creatures and ideas that are already out there--just twist them around a little. Let the readers see them through YOUR eyes. Make it your own.

After all, that's what originality is-- the world through your vision. What could be more original than that??

Thoughts? What makes something fresh and original to you? How do you put a fresh spin on an old idea? You know that part of the query where we can put similar stories that have been successful? Do you do that?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weekly Spotlight .... Could Be You!

And Happy Hump Day to all! If you're in the U.S. northeast, hope you're staying warm and enjoying the snow day! Wow, it's been a rough winter. And I know that must be lame coming from someone down in Florida, but it's been an exceptionally cold winter for us too.

And besides that, working for an airline, when there's weather somewhere--anywhere, I feel the full force of it with all the cancelled flights and talking to stranded passengers. First it was London shut down for a few days, then NYC over Christmas, now NYC again. Whew! I'm over it.

As usual, on Wednesdays I like to shine the spotlight on a blog I follow and tell you why I follow it. This week the Blogger Oscar goes to ....

*drumroll*

*confetti*


Maria McKenzie  of   Reading, Writing, Romance


Maria always has such great advice on writing and is dedicated to the craft. Not only that, but she shares yummy recipes as well. An all around fantastic blog to follow! So if you're not already following Maria's blog, click on the link above and hop on over. She will be glad to have you and is always a gracious hostess.

On a side note, welcome to my new followers. I'm so happy you're here. Oh, but if your blog isn't linked to your Blogger profile, I can't get to it to follow you. I think sometimes Blogger goofs and doesn't show the website, because sometimes I'll pull up a profile for a second time and the website/blog is there. Who knows?!

Anyway, here's to you! *raises steaming cup of coffee in toast*

Stay warm! And tell me what you're working on!

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's In Your Drawers??

Okay, get your brain outta the gutter! lol .... I'm not talking about those drawers. I'm talking about your drawers of plots, schemes, characters, and literary gems.

See, I've got these craft drawers in my "office" that are stuffed with odds and ends: fabrics, beads, pictures, etc ... crafts, in a very broad sense of the word. My hubby loathes these drawers. If he had his way he'd come in with a giant garbage bag and dump it all. I, of course, would have heart failure and and if I survived, would cry uncontrollably for days on end.

Lol, okay so maybe I was exaggerating there. But my point is that I don't use these crafts everyday. Sometimes it could be a few months before I even open up these drawers ... but they're there if I need them. Hubby doesn't get this. He doesn't undertand that I may need to delve into my craft drawers for an unexpected art project with the kids ... OR ... I may be spontaneously filled with desire to create at any given moment. DUH!

Now, reverting back to the writing world.... you've probably got some stuff in your writing drawers too. Ideas and characters and themes you're waiting for the perfect opportunity to use. But contrary to the craft drawers, I think we need to be careful how long we hold onto these litarary ideas. If we keep these ideas in our "drawers" too long we may never use them.

Which brings me to my final point: DON'T HOLD BACK!

Why wait for the next book? Why not go for it with the one you're working on?? Air out those literary drawers and get moving... even if it's just a short story, use it. Bring those ideas, characters, etc. to fruition and get it down in text. You can always come back to tweak later.



So start digging, my friends! Start pulling those precious little things from your drawers ... get them to the light, Carol Ann. Don't keep them tucked away for the story you plan to write next year. Write it now!

BTW If you get a chance, hop over to Everything Boho and watch the video of JK Rowling addressing Harvard graduates on failure and imagination. It's moving.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Awards!


Recently, I was given some awards and I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Donna Yates and Quinn for bestowing such honor upon little ol' me. So in return, I must answer a few questions and then leave the awards for other bloggers I admire. Don't worry, I'll keep it short and sweet!



and


For the Versatile Blogger award you must tell seven things about yourself:
1. I'm only 5'2
2. I hate celery
3. I've never been to a country I didn't like
4. I'm a fifth generation Florida native (a true cracker)
5. I have a dog but I'm more of a cat person
6.I can dance to anything at any time
7. I always have a bottle of water with me

Now for the 10 questions for the Life is Good award:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now? 

I love that you all know who I really am. I have nothing to hide. Nor will I assume a pen name, unless I change genres or something.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

Ha ha... just talk to my hubby. I'm sure he can give you plenty of instances. But stubborn in a good way, all week my son's been trying to stay home from school, feigning sickness. I've been the pig headed mom. I just said NO!

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

Someone who's been very blessed. I've been fortunate enough to have people who really love me in my life. 

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

Oh, I'm pretty boring there... WATER. The only thing that quenches my thirst is good ol fashioned water.
 
5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do? 

Write! 

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it? 

I'm not published yet ... so that. I want to visit all seven continents (I've only hit 3 so far). I didn't have to change this from Quinn's answer. I've been to 20 different countries, but only 3 continents.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching? 

Actually, I was nominated for class clown. I was a total underachiever tho.. if it didn't come easy, I didn't do it. I wasn't shy because I grew up with most of the kids I graduated with. I think I ditched half my senior year. lol 
 
8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

Becoming a parent. I always knew I wanted kids, but it wasn't until my son first arrived that my life truly made sense.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I don't mind doing either.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why? 

Read a book. I talk on the phone for a living, so I hate talking on the phone. Plus, I never have time to read anymore. It's a struggle and I'm usually so tired at end of the day I fall asleep reading.

Well, that's it for me. I'm supposed to pass these awards on to other bloggers I think are fantastic. And if you're here reading this now, I think YOU are fantastic. So please help yourself to one or both of these awards. I know it's kind of cheating and all, but what can I say... sue me! lol 

Big thanks again to Quinn and Donna for thinking of me and sharing the blog lurve! You guys rock!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Critique Opportunities

I was going to do a Weekly Spotlight today, but instead decided to share these awesome opportunities to win a critique. Having just won a couple myself, I can tell you how helpful and rewarding it is to have additional eyes on your first few hundred words. After all, they're so crucial to keep  the reader reading.

So check them out and enter... you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Lydia Sharp is offering a first 500 words critique to anyone who enters by January 15. WOW!! Plus, the grand prize winner will receive a double critique on the first chapter, a query critique, free book, and guest spotlight on her blog. So hop on over to The Sharp Angle and get the lowdown on  this fantastic opportunity.

And that's not all ...

The Trilogy Contest is also happening where you could win
3 x query or synopsis (max. 2 pages) critiques (winner's choice)
3 x first 300 words critiques
3 x first 3 pages critiques
AND
3 x first 30 pages critiques

Total coolness!!  Hop on over to Rach Writes for all the details.


I won't keep you any longer so you can get all signed up for these golden opportunities. Hope the new year is treating you good so far!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Creation Blogfest

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUMMER!!! * toots horn *

In honor of Summer Ross' 29th birthday, she's having a blogfest over at My Inner Fairy

This may be the easiest blogfest I've ever done. It involves only two sentences: the last sentence of a work from last year, and a first sentence of a brand new work currently brewing.

Here's my last sentence from my older story, The Mistake:

He slipped his hands in his pockets and strolled back to his Jeep, leaving Lindsey in a daze at the bayou park bench.

My next story I plan to write in a few months will be a YA fantasy. None of it is written yet, but if I were to take a stab at a first line, it'd go something like this:

I prefer video games over people any day.


Wow that was easy! If you'd like to read more, hop on over to blogfest HDQ at My Inner Fairy. There's about thirty entries--should be a good time (and quick too.) ;)

Tune into tomorrow for my Weekly Spotlight .... could be you!

January must be blogfest month. There's one everywhere I turn!! I've been thinking of ideas to have one next month. Anyone interested? If so, what would be fun? I was thinking of maybe a "Dear Teen Me" blogfest where bloggers post a letter to their teen self.  Or a story sales pitch one? Any thoughts??

Monday, January 3, 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest ...

Okay so better late than never, right???

Here's my 500 words for the Show Me Yours Blogfest where we showcase some of our NaNo project. This is a YA contemporary story called Starsong:


My first real shift falls on the busiest day of the week, and I’m running late. There’s no time to ride my bike, and of course, Mom has her Pilates class, so driving me to work is an inconvenience for her. But Dad’s home for the weekend and he’s happy to take me. He drops me in front of Marshall Mania.

“I’m glad you’re back, Dad,” I say, stepping out of the car. We both understand the wrath of the Ice Queen if things don’t go her way.
“Me too, pumpkin,” he says. “Don’t worry, you’ll have enough money for your car in no time. Your mom just wants you to learn a little responsibility. She didn’t have her own car til she was twenty-two. She thinks you have it too easy.”

“Dad, she buys herself a new outfit like every week. Between new clothes and the Botox she’ll have your savings blown by the time I graduate. And she’s worried about me learning responsibility?” I try to keep my tone calm.

Dad raises a palm to stop me. “I know, I know. Just leave her be and do what she wants.  Best thing for you to do is study hard and get into a good school. Then you can live on your own. Besides, you may enjoy having a summer job. I didn’t mind when I was your age.”

I sigh. “Sure, Dad. See you later.” I shut the door and amble into the arcade. Dad has never stood up to Mom before. He’s the head big wig at his corporation—in charge of hundreds of employees throughout the country—and the one person who scares the crap out of him is my Mom.

“Hey, ready for your first shift?” Vela asks at the door. She’s perched on a stool with a stamp pad in one hand and her cell phone in another.

“Yeah,” I say. “How many parties today?”

She pulls a clipboard from the podium, looks it over. “Ooo … looks like six for you all day. Not bad for a Saturday. You’ll be working next to Darnell. She’s fun—a true wack-job, practices voodoo in her spare time.”

I head off to the back to get my party table set up.

Marshall Mania is a complete madhouse today.  Kids are running around like disturbed ants. There are three separate lines at the prize counter , with one flustered looking heavyset woman behind it. That’s Opal. I wave to her as I pass by, she doesn’t see me.

“Ma’am, excuse me … my child’s been standing here a long time …”

I look around for the voice. A tight-faced woman looming over her boy is raising her voice at Opal. Poor Opal is trying to keep her cool.

I scoot behind the counter. “Do you need help with anything?”

Her blue eyes look huge behind her thick glasses. “Hi there, Miss Wynonna. It’s your first shift on your own today, isn’t it?” Her voice is soft and calm, accented with Southern twang. It totally betrays the rattled look on her face.

“Yeah, looks like a busy one, too,” I say.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here's To You .... 1-1-11

Hoping that 2011 brings you...

INSPIRATION

MOTIVATION

DETERMINATION

CULTIVATION

FASCINATION

ELEVATION

TOTAL ELATION


HAPPY NEW YEAR !  * TOOTS HORN*   *TOSSES CONFETTI*


To all my lovely bloggy friends, I'm looking forward to another year of sharing your hopes and dreams and challenges. Thank you for making 2010 amazing for me. We're in this together, and I adore you!

                               1-1-11