Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween & the Witches Ball

The next few days there's a Halloween bloghop going on, hosted by Jeremy Bates. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I missed the first day yesterday. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of canceled flights and passengers missing everything from honeymoons, to cruises, to bar mitzvahs. Always breaks my heart a little. Right now work is just nuts. If you're bracing for the storm, stay safe!!

Makes me super glad I got back from Oregon when I did. (I'll be sharing pics on that soon!)

Anyway, back to  the bloghop .... Click on the pic below to get to HDQ and check out the other bloggers. We're talking about Halloween and scariest book and/or monster. But first! check out my post and my costume pics below ...

So I've mentioned before that werewolves were what scared the *bleep* outta me when I was a kid. As far as scary books go, I really found Stephen King's "It" to be immensely creepy. I think because he was genius enough to use a clown. I've always hated clowns (sorry clowns!)  They're supposed to be funny, but they've always creeped me out. I never wanted them to come near me when I was a kid.

But hey, this is coming from the little girl who hated visiting Santa too. lol The thought of sitting on some strange old man's lap really repulsed me. So I think I did it maybe once as a child and refused to ever do it again. I know, I'm mental .....

Which is a perfect segue into my Halloween costume for the annual witches ball!

This year's theme was "Alter Ego." I really could've used a lot of ideas for this, but I went with funny. I give you ....

Yep, that's me! Mental Patient Miss Piggy. lol  I wore a bathrobe and slippers, and of course the Piggy get up. Okay, so why Mental Patient Miss Piggy, you ask?? Well, I'm a little bit crazy. And as  I get older, the more I realize just how crazy I am. The idea of living in an institution in my bathrobe with medicine dosage and no responsibilities but working jigsaw puzzles, really enchants me. LOL

And Miss Piggy because for one, I do love food. And for two, I've been known to have Miss Piggy rages at certain times of the month. ;) And I've just always loved how the real Miss Piggy embraced who she was. (albeit a muppet) lol

Here are some more pics of the party and costumes:

                       Martha Stewart in prison clothes, Evil Queen, Little Red Riding Hood

                                                           Gold Digger and Cat Woman

                                                                Cruella DeVille

                                                 Super WOMBan and Suzie Homemaker

                                                                      Super Mom

                                                        Super Mom and Psycho Pig

                                                        Now for the fun treats!

                              Kitty Litter Cake (tasted yummy but hard to overlook the obvious. lol)

                                                   Mini- mummies (pigs in blankets)

                                            Jack o'lantern puking cabbage salad

                                                 Fruit cocktail floating head

                                    The sign says "Men Cooking" with body parts in the pot. lol

One of the party favors: cookie that looks like melted witch with a hat and broomstick.

These party hostesses go all out with the favors and decorations and it's always a blast. It's a group of girls that I graduated high school with twenty years ago. (Wow, I'm old) And we're just now entering a 40th year of life together. (I turn 39 next month)

Anyway, my apologies if I've been behind in blog visits. I'm still trying to catch up from vacation. Wishing everyone a spooky Halloween! Are you dressing up? Have you already? Please share your costume and/or spookiest Halloween memory or monster in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest

Coming at ya from Portland, Oregon today. Got in last night and my body's still on east coast time. Then I remembered the blogfest today! So I grabbed my coffee and here I am. The theme for this one is awesome, and it' shosted ny Alex J. Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight. Click on the picture below to get to HDQ and check out all the entries.

I'm taking the opportunity to mention the books of two fellow bloggers who are just super smart and talented women. Actually, there's a lot of them out there, and I wish I could mention them all, but to keep it short and sweet. Here are two eBooks I've noticed lately and look forward to reading ....

Since I'm in Portland today, thought it was only appropriate to mention Johanna Garth's book, Losing Beauty (of The Persephone Campbell series:)

Click on the cover to get to Amazon and learn more about this story.

Also, Leigh T. Moore's new indie release, The Truth About Faking:

Be sure to check out both these books and these fellow bloggers.

How about you? Any books you'd like to share? Leave it in the comments!

I know I promised pictures from my Witches Ball and I'll post them soon. For now I'm going to enjoy  a bit of the Pacific Northwest, but I'll be making my rounds to visit all of you too. Have a great day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pitch Live! ( My First Vlog Ever)

Happy Monday! Today I'm trying something new. My very first vlog. I thought it was time to give it a whirl and Brenda Lee Drake is hosting a Pitch Live event on her blog. I've always stuck to written queries because I'm a writer. My thoughts come out much better via the written word, so trying  to pitch a story live is uber hard in so many ways.

Like trying to pitch an entire story in two minutes! I had to keep my eye on the clock while trying to get the gist of the story across while hoping I don't look and sound like a complete goof. lol

But what the hay?! Sometimes you gotta get your feet wet.

So without further ado, I give you my pitch for my recent story The Desiree.
                                                                                                        YA Romance with a twist
                                                                                                        61K words

Yeah I know. Waaay to many "ums." Oy.

BTW I had a blast at this year's Witches Ball and I'll have some pictures for my next post. The theme this year was ALTER EGO.  I combined two alter egos (and won the prize for funniest). Can you guess what I went as for alter ego? I'll reveal with my next post. :)

Also, the winner of Laurel Garver's new book Never Gone is Nutschell Windsor! Congrats! And thanks to all who commented and entered the contest.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Finding Your Rhythm

When I was a child, I loved to dance. I’d blare the record player (yes we had record players when I was a kid) and boogie down. By myself. I could never let any another breathing soul witness my madness. But that was kind of the point—dance like no one’s watching. And that’s a lot easier to do when, well, when no one’s watching. ;)

I never took ballet, or tap, or anything like that. I was a tomboy. I’d have rather been outside fishing or riding dirt bikes, so every move I made through dance was in no way influenced by any real guidance. It was just me doing my own thing.

As I grew older, the whole dancing behind doors thing stopped. When I turned 18 and cast off the shackles of high school culture, friends and I started going out to night clubs where everyone was dancing, but by then, I questioned whether I ever really had rhythm at all. Yes, I loved to dance, but was I really dancing? And was it wise to do it in public now that my peers would possibly be critiquing my every move??

Bottom line was, I didn’t have confidence in my rhythm. Heck, I didn’t even know for sure if I had rhythm. Yes, I loved it, and yes I could kind of move to the music, but I wasn’t in the music like those really groovy dancers seemed to be—you know the ones who could just flow like a ribbon on the wind. So what did I do? I hung out on the dance floor sidelines and observed while I swayed, afraid to step foot on the actual dance floor, which looking back, was probably wise. I watched those dancers who could really get down and I knew I didn’t have what they had. Not even close. What I did know, though, is that I wanted it. I wanted rhythm so bad I could taste it. Which led me to ask, are people born with rhythm? Or do they discover it? Maybe a little of both? (sound familiar writers??)

It was the early 90s then, and I was living in a town with a thriving underground dance scene. Music was spun on records with a new sound that was blowing up the dance floors: house and techno beats mixed in with disco and alternative—all thumping the sound waves. I loved that music, but I wanted to be dancing to it. Real dancing. I wanted rhythm.

So what does any logical person do when she wants to achieve something? She studies it, practices it, lives it. I went to the clubs every weekend night and gradually I got better, until I wasn’t just a person trying to move to the music anymore, I was the music. I didn’t have to think about it. By the time I was 22, I could’ve easily auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance and (with a dash of luck) made it on the show (they didn’t have that show back then unfortunately.) Needless to say, I had found my rhythm.

You can see where I’m going with this and how it relates to writing. Whether we’re unpublished, traditionally published, indie … it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there comes a point when you know you’ve found your rhythm. 

Writing is the same. Once I found my writing rhythm, writing became part of who I am as a person. As a child, I loved to write even more than I loved to dance. When I decided twenty-five years later to seriously take my story-telling and writing to the next level, I worried if I had what it takes. Just as I watched those kids with real rhythm from the sidelines of the dance floor, I read fiction that blew my mind and made me wonder if I could ever be as good.

And just like dancing, that true inner rhythm doesn’t come from only wondering. It comes from hours and hours of hands-on practice and determination. We have to know what it takes to get where we want to be. We have to know how to identify what’s good. Then we have to be willing to work for it. Maybe you’re still writing in the sidelines because you haven’t found your writing rhythm, and that’s okay, but know that to become the story and for writing to be part of who you are, you have to lose a little face, sacrifice easier pastimes, and be willing to look failure in the eyes and announce you will not back down. I'm still learning how to do that too. 

There’ll always be great dancers and great writers, but none of them can be you as a dancer or a writer. Here's hoping we all find our rhythm, put ourselves out there and feel proud because of it! Every dancer takes a tumble now and then, just like every writer bears the brunt of rejection or bad reviews. Regardless, once you find that rhythm, no one can ever take it away.

Sorry for the loooong post today. I was just ... yanno, in the rhythm. ;)

How about you? Have you found yours? Or still in the sidelines? Please share ...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG - Wednesday

Ode to October, how I love thee so! Not only do you bring cooler weather, but my two weeks of vacation is just around the corner, as well as the annual Witches' Costume Ball my friends throw during your visit. The theme this year: alter ego.

As always, I'll have pictures to share afterwards. ;)

In honor of today's ISWG post, I  thought I'd share a few things I heard recently from a writing coach.
What's IWSG, you ask? Click on the pic below to find out more. But first! read on....

During a local SCBWI meeting this past weekend, Joyce Sweeney, author of 14 traditionally pubbed YA novels and mentor to 38 novelists, shared some of her expertise on things to do before and after you're published.

I'll share the ones I found most helpful:

* Craft is overwhelming. ( lol no kidding!) It may take years before you find the genre you're best at. In order to come up with fresh and brilliant stories, we have to do our time in the trenches. This means we're in for years of learning before we can truly start to market ourselves.

* 4 years of writing before breaking into the traditionally pubbed market is fast
  10 years is average. (wow)

* How long it takes, is no measure of how good you are. (love this one)

* You have the right to an answer when you send in requested work. Check back with agents/editors after a couple of months, and don't feel like you're bothering them. This is a business. Treat it like one.

* If you're getting rejections because agents/editors aren't connecting to your MC, it's probably structural. Get back in there and figure out why. ( I suggest watching all of The Plot Whisperer's videos on YouTube!)

* Once you're pubbed, you can't impact sales as much as you hope. Sometimes, it's simply the high concept that sells. Do what you can do to promote, but don't kill yourself.

* Have a market strategy that makes sense to who you are. If it's blogging, blog. If it's public speaking, speak.

* Be smart about what your brand is. After pubbing your first book, give readers something to associate with your name brand in your second book. Are you an adventure writer? Romance?

* Educate your family and friends on how the market works in order for you to be successful. Tell them they are helping you by BUYING your book. We are starving artists. We need their support by them spending a few dollars on our book.

* Plan for success, and don't forget to enjoy your journey. Each one is different, and there's no right or wrong path.

Thanks for stopping by! Anything to add? Do you disagree with any of these? Please share!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Never Gone Giveaway!

Today I'm hosting a stop on Laurel Garver's Blog Ramble celebrating the release of her debut novel, Never Gone. Read on to learn about the book and sign up for a chance to win an ebook version! Contest runs until midnight Saturday, October 6. Days after her father’s death, fifteen-year-old Dani Deane begins seeing him all around New York — wading through discarded sketches in her room, roaming the halls at church, socializing at his post-funeral reception. Is grief making her crazy? Or could her dad really be lingering between this world and the next, trying to contact her? Dani desperately longs for his help. Without him keeping the peace, Dani’s relationship with her mother is deteriorating fast. Soon Mum ships her off to rural England with Dad’s relatives for a visit that Dani fears will become a permanent stay. But she won’t let her arty, urban life slip away without a fight, especially when daily phone calls with her lab partner Theo become her lifeline. To find her way home, Dani must somehow reconnect with Mum. But as she seeks advice from relatives and insights from old letters, she uncovers family secrets that shake her to the core. Convinced that Dad’s ghost alone can help her, she sets out on a dangerous journey to contact him one last time. Add it on Goodreads The e-book is available at, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, KoboSmashwords The paperback is available at CreateSpace, Amazon a Rafflecopter giveaway Congrats to Laurel! Sounds great, doesn't it? This past weekend I attended a local SCBWI meeting. Writers around the state are gathering monthly to network and learn, and luckily enough for me, the meeting happen to be in my hometown at the library right up the street. We had a guest speaker who's a writing coach, and with my next post, I'll share some tips she shared. Check back soon! Don't forget to enter the raffle for the Never Gone Giveaway!