Monday, May 28, 2012

Pitch Slam!

Hey, all! It's that time again over at If you write YA or MG and have a completed manuscript you'd like to pitch to four different agents, get on over to this page right now:

Pitch Slam 2, courtesy of

An excellent opportunity to get some feedback if nothing else. You have until June 4th to polish those pitches and get them posted at the above link. Check out the rules and the agent line up there as well, and feel free to spread the word! Tweet, blog, Facebook, whatever suits you!

Good luck! :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Contest Post

Okay, so thanks to our most honorable blogfather, Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh, I discovered this contest going on at Sharon Bayliss' blog. She's got a book coming out (with a beautiful cover) and hosting a query/first 500 bloghop with opportunity to win a critique from her editor.

Still time to enter if you have a finished YA or NA (New Adult) and leave up for the weekend! So check it out!

(If you're a friend popping by, thanks! Don't feel like you have to read my entry, I totally understand .... so have a great weekend!!)

 My query and first 500 below:

Seventeen year old Madeline Martin gets strange looks for her blue hair and punk fashion, which isn’t such a big deal, but if she gets caught shoplifting or skipping school again, she’ll be really sorry. To keep her in line, Madeline's mom sends her to stay with her uncle in upstate New York for the summer, to work in a public library. Being away from her Manhattan friends and lifestyle sucks, but it’s way better than juvy hall. Alone in the library one night, Madeline stumbles onto an envelope tucked inside the pages of an eighteenth century atlas and unwittingly uncovers a political secret hidden away for centuries. Confiding only in the roguish neighbor guy, who's dealing with issues of his own, Madeline sets out to uncover the truth of what the found documents mean, as well as whoever may be willing to pay big bucks for them. After discovering she’s being followed by a stranger, and the police can’t help her, she has no choice but to unravel the mystery on her own.

Expelled from the IRIA, eighteen year old Armand Dantuine is after the truth as well, but not for the same reasons. He’s been hired by an international organization to retrieve the same secret documents, offering him a chance to regain the respect he never had in Iran. One person will stand in his way, however, and if necessary, the Martin girl will be a casualty of little importance.

Told from dueling points of view of both Madeline Martin and Armand Dantuine, my YA thriller, The 49th Parallel, takes on a series of twists and turns as both race to achieve their goal. In the vein of National Treasure meets The Da Vinci Code for teens, it’s packed with action, suspense, and a hint of romance, complete at 66K words. 

First 500:

Mom says I’m my father’s daughter.

She doesn’t mean it in a good way. It’s why I’m stuck in the most boring town in upstate New York for the summer, working in the public library. It was this or change bedpans for old people in a retirement home, and I’m not about to work around human defecation all day.

One more book to return and I’m done for the night. I roll the book cart onward, just as my MP3 dies, right in the middle of a filthy jazz riff too. Hate it when that happens. I flick the buds out of my ears and reel toward the American History section. The faded parquet floor creaks like it’s in pain. Except for that, it’s totally quiet—too quiet on my first night closing alone. At least the head librarian doesn’t hover over my shoulder. She lets me handle the lockdown on my own, and sad to say, right now she may be the only one who trusts me.

This big old building has three levels, with the third floor skirting a transparent railing around the center staircase. From up here, you can see all the way down to the atrium floor, where moonlight from the glass ceiling spills in like silvery rain. Distorted shadows dance across the floor there, provoked by a breeze through the tree limbs that hug the outside windows.

This job is supposed to keep me out of trouble, and I have to admit, even though it’s torture being away from my friends in Manhattan, it’s way better than forever being labeled a youth offender for something I didn’t do. Mom doesn’t get it—why I put myself on the line for my friends. That’s what she means when she says I’m my father’s daughter. Dad was a firefighter and made a career of getting people out of trouble. There’s even a memorial for him, along with the other firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. They dubbed him a hero, like the name was somehow supposed to make up for his death.

At the far end of the American History section I follow the decimal numbers to return the last book, a navy blue hardback that looks like it hasn’t been read in years. It’s heavy and smells like my uncle’s basement. The American Revolution is embossed across the front in pale gold. I scan the numbers on the binding again. Great. It belongs on the top shelf where I can’t reach without the ladder. Stepping back down the aisle, I snag the nearest shelf ladder and roll it over.

Glass rattles at the far atrium windows. My head jerks up in their direction where a couple of pigeons flutter from the stone ledge outside.

“Get a grip, girl,” I say to myself.

I’ve seen people mugged at knife-point outside my own friggin’ apartment building. Don’t know why I’m so jumpy. Must be that horror flick I watched last night. Mom’s always saying they’ll rot my brain.  


Thanks to all who read and comment! Best of luck to my fellow contestants! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confessions of a Blogoholic

I haven't done one of these in a looong time. My confession posts are just little snippets from my life--insight, if you will, into my zany existence. 

Today's confessions ... wedding crashers. Nope, not the movie (which I never actually saw because it came out at a time when I was weary of over the top comedies.) But I have my own real life wedding crasher story, starring yours truly. :o

I was the maid of honor at one of my BFFs wedding and was dating my hubby at the time. Mid 20s, and we had actually just started dating a few months before, but were starting to get somewhat serious. Anyway, the wedding reception was at the college located downtown--a gorgeous campus with architecture that dazzles anyone who gazes upon it. Really and truly a work of art with reception halls so beautiful, you don't have to add decorations.

A popular place for wedding receptions, as you may have guessed.

Not-yet-hubby and I had such a great time at BFF's reception, we didn't wanna leave when it was over. So what'd we do? Found another reception to go to. We moseyed ourselves across the corridor to another smaller reception hall and noted the names of the bride and groom from the sign out front. We decided we were friends of the bride, Kim.

Oh yeah, Kim and us went way back. And once we saw the buffet spread awaiting consumption, we knew we were staying. But we needed aliases for ourselves . We came up with the following:

Ned Schnitt and Dorothy Schlemmel

Are those great names, or what? So Ned and Dorothy were also delighted to find the open bar at our disposal. We smiled and nodded through the crowd, helped ourselves to the gourmet buffet (I'm talkin' shrimp and lobster and Beef Wellington ...yum!) And of course tipped the bartender for our free cocktails ... hey, we weren't total freeloaders.

We danced on the dance floor and had a marvelous time .... until .... dun dun dun ....

BUSTED! If you're sharper than we were, you probably already realized one small clue that we didn't belong there. I was still in my bridesmaid dress from the other wedding. We realized we were getting dirty looks. I was obviously not in the same burgundy bridesmaid dresses as Kim's posse. Mine was long and lavender and pretty darn obvious that it wasn't just a party dress, but a bridesmaid dress.

So, ho-hum, Ned and Dorothy took the hint and smiled big cheesy grins all the way out of the reception hall and skedaddled. Lucky, for us we'd already enjoyed the lovely fare from Kim and her newly beloved husband.

To this day, at random times, Hubby and I still call each other Ned and Dorothy.

How about you? Have any wedding crasher stories to share? Or anything else? How about your writing? How's it coming along?     

Monday, May 14, 2012

RAOK Blitz! and First Love's

Hi, all! Happy Monday! After a two week hiatus, it's good to be back. The first draft of my new story is done and just in time for school to be out in a few weeks. Phew! Made it.

Today's a very special day because it marks the release of a writing guide I've been waiting to get my hands on. Most of you probably know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at The Bookshelf Muse. I don't know how often I refer to their blog when I'm writing, but it's a lot! Chock full of helpful info to help writers like me think outside the box. Today, they release their collection of character emotions for writers in book format! And to celebrate, they wanted to kick off with something that I very much believe in: Random Acts Of Kindness. Here's why:

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community
Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.
So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!
To commemorate the release of their book TheEmotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

Today, I'm blitzing RAOKs on two very special teen writers who I think are just dripping with potential and promise. Jess McKendry over at Write, Skate, Dream and McKenzie McCann at The Ubiquitous Perspective, both of whom I've had the pleasure of reading their work. Jess and McKenzie  I will treat you each to the writing guide of your choice. You let me know which one you've been wanting to get your hands on, and it's yours. Because I believe in you both!

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)
Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.
Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Also, it's the First Love's Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click on the pic below to get to blogfest HDQ but first check out all my first loves:

MOVIE:  Okay so the first movie I ever truly fell in love with? I remember it well. I was eleven and I walked out of the theatre a changed kid. lol This one right here:

And in the fall, for the first time ever, I'm gonna treat that eleven year old kid to a trip to the Goon Docks in Oregon. Something I've dreamed of doing since I saw the movie way back then. I'm so excited!! Goonies never say die!

MUSIC/BAND: I was a kid in the 80s so all the great bands and music of the 60s and 70s had just slipped off the coolness radar. I didn't discover a love for music in that era til after high school. So when  I first fell in love with a band's music it was these guys right here:

And Kick just happened to be my fave of their albums. I'd blare INXS every morning before middle school while I was getting ready. lol . Never did get to see them in concert before Michael Hutchence's tragic death. But their music will always have a place in my heart ... 'cause we all have wings, but some of us don't know why.

BOOK: All my selections here are from when I was a kid, because that's really when we experience our first loves, IMO. Here's the first book I fell in love with that made me want to write stories too:

Thanks to Ms. Hinton for this fabulous tale that resonated with teen readers everywhere. I loved how she respected our intelligence and gave us a story that was raw and romantic and real all at the same time. 

PERSON: Now, this is a tough call. I could say my dear old dad was my first love--in a paternal way that all girls have for the first real guy in their lives. Or I could dredge up some ephemeral crushes throughout the middle school years, or the lengthier relationship in high school that served as a bit more profound, but why mention any of those when I can confirm without a doubt that any of those ideas of love were merely a drop in the bucket compared to the truest of true loves with my  hubby, who will always be first in my world:

So I know I've given you more than you ever wanted to read here, and if you stayed for the whole thing, you rock! Thank you!

Share some of your RAOK and first loves in the comments! I want to know everything! :) And don't forget about the awesome giveaways at The Bookshelf Muse !

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Z Ball, and Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hi there, new friends and old! What the heck's a Z ball, you ask? Well, it's what I dropped the other day. lol I posted on time every single day during Blogging A-Z and kept with my theme of favorite fictional characters ... except on Monday. I dropped the Z ball!!!

I know ... off with my head, right? Life just got a hold of me, which is okay since I didn't really have a good Z character anyway. I was going to post on Zelda from the popular video game Legend of Zelda (cuz I lurve it) but who cares about that anyway ... total yawn.

I'm back today for the monthly posting on the first Wednesday of every month in the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Click on the pic above to get to IWSG HQ over at Alex J Cavanaugh's blog, where writers and bloggers around the blogosphere take this opportunity to post their fears, insecurities, advice, and goals. It's always a refreshing pick-me-up to know we're not alone in this sometimes dejecting endeavor.

As for me personally, I'm taking a few days off from the blogosphere to tend to my WIP and finish the first draft. The month of April was awesome! I'm so glad I participated and met new friends and hobnobbed with old ones. I think the most valuable part about this blogging world is not the increased opportunity to publish and sell lots of books, but to nurture genuine friendships and support one another. How great is it to read another blogger's post about the rejection they just received--not because they got rejected, but because we know we're not alone? Or to read about the struggles of another writer's writer block? Or to read about all the tips from a writer's conference someone cared enough to share? So many great reasons to be a blogger and share the journey, so that when that journey does find a destination of success, we don't celebrate alone, but with all the amazing friends we've made along the way.

Friends like you! So thank you, for sharing this journey with me. I appreciate all of you who take time to read and comment so so much! Don't forget about the First Love's Blogfest on May 14:

You can find more on that on Alex J Cavanaugh's blog by clicking the pic above.  May 14 is also a special day for a very special release of a highly anticipated writing book. You can hear all about it then!

Feel free to peruse my archives for my fave characters throughout the month of April. I'll see you back in a few days. I'll be paying visits to other blogs so I'll see you around the blogosphere! :)