Friday, September 28, 2012

Five for Friday

1. I'm so freaking addicted to ebay right now. Let me make something very clear, I haven't used my ebay account for around four years. Yeah, been a while. But that all changed when paypal sent me a notice letting me know I had unspent funds in my account that needed to be well...spent. I can't explain the euphoric high I start riding when I see the words 'You've Won!' it's NOT GOOD. I have been smart about the purchases, most of the items have been things for my little ones. And books, I bought five books, most of them the third to trilogies I have yet to finish.

2. I recently finished City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare and LOVED it. She really is an amazing writer. Can't wait for the Clockwork Princess. Only a couple more months!

3. I'm also finishing up Girl of Nightmares and am thoroughly entertained by it. Like I said before I'll be running a contest for one of you lucky winners to snag up the copy. Probably some time next week.

4. I'm in the thick of revisions and while I'm consumed in the process and enjoying it, I keep wanting to go back and change more stuff. I keep telling myself to finish this round first and then go back if it's absolutely necessary.

5. The trees are changing color here! I LOVE FALL...super excited about wearing jeans, sweaters, and boots. I admit that I did spend some of my ebay money on a good pair of boots. Who doesn't love boots?!?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Falling Again

Ever fall in love with your manuscript all over again? It's been a while since I've felt passion flaring for Fire and Ice. When you've been working on one manuscript on and off for a few YEARS, the desire to delve back in again sort of just wears down to little nubs of frustration. For a while I've gone 'meh' and I couldn't put my finger on why I wasn't super excited about working on it. Again, it's been years in the making, so I guess ups and downs are to be expected, but it's been on the down side for a while. Ever get the feeling there's something wrong with your manuscript but you can't quite put your finger on it? Something has been nagging me about Fire and Ice for a while. In the beginning I sent it out to agents way too soon (thankfully only to a handful of them, but that still doesn't make me feel any less embarrassed that they had to endure the atrocity that was my first query letter). I thought I was ready, it thought the manuscript was ready. Boy was I wrong.

When I reread and revised Fire and Ice I knew it had potential, but I didn't know how to make the most of that potential, I didn't know where else I could take it. I'm finally at the point where I KNOW what wasn't working (thanks in part to my CP) and am going through the whole thing all over again to fix it. And I'm loving it. Not to say I don't get stuck every now and then, but I'm happy to be stuck, to think on how to fix things as I go ahead. The passion has been reiginited. I falling in love with my characters all over again, starting to get IT. All you writers out there know what IT is, I know you've felt it too. It's totally refreshing to have that desire to work and make my manuscript stronger push me at me. It makes my writing stronger and it makes this whole experience fun. What about you guys? Is there a manuscript you couldn't quite get right, but weren't ready to give up on? How did you overcome the downs?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Judgey McJudgerson

I've talked about the Judgey McJudgerson's before. You know the type. They're the ones that look down on me for having four kids and looking like I'm twelve (one of the perks of being short). Those who whisper behind their hands because they've come to a conclusion about mewithin a milisecond. We all judge people, let's be honest, whether we mean to or not. Human beings make judgements based on religious or non-religious beliefs, gender, skin color (I've been called an Arab before and NOT in a nice 'oh, are you an Arab?' way). There are LOTS of ways to judge someone else. I'm guilty of doing it (and trying to get better about not doing it), and I'm sure all of you have done it at least once in your life. And if you haven't, you're a liar and your pants should be on fire.

But what about judging someone based on their writing? I find it somewhat hilarious that readers come to some pretty far-fetched and firm (to them) conclusions about an author based on their books. At times there is an underlying message that's pretty blatant, but that doesn't happen all that often. Let's talk Twilight for a minute (I know, I know, I can feel you guys rolling your eyes). Many people have made judgements about Stephenie Meyer because of this book. That she is severely lacking passion in her love life, why else would she write about Bella's and Edward's love like it's the end all be all? Or she thinks it's perfectly okay for a guy to be controlling, because Edward is that creepy stalker boyfriend who won't leave Bella alone.(These aren't necessarily my opinions) She's sending the wrong message to impressionable young girls about abusive relationships and abstinence (just like when an author writes about teens having sex doesn't make that author a sex addicted freak who wants young girls to get pregnant/ STD). But let's be real here for a minute, I'm pretty sure when Stephenie Meyer sat down to write her book, these thoughts were not floating around her head, she didn't have some secret agenda against women or one that was pro-abusive relationships. She wanted to entertain us. She loved her characters and wanted to tell their story. And honestly, if a mom, sister, cousin, aunt, grandmother, whoever takes issue with the content within a book then they need to sit down the girl wanting to read the material in question and tell them what's up. As a parent it is MY responsibility to explain certain things to my children, and not force those issues on other people.

What I'm getting at is we need to stop judging each other. We have every right to our opinions, freedom of speech, people. But being mean about our opinions makes the judger look like a jerk. There is a perfectly acceptable and courteous way to share our opinions without being judgmental about it. At the end of the day, as an author, all i want is to write a story I'm passionate about. I want to share my characters with other people. I want readers to love them just as much as I do. I don't have propaganda I want to shove down other people's throats (not saying there aren't people out there who do have an agenda of some kind, but for the most part authors don't). And if I don't like the content in a book, hating on the book and the author isn't going to get me anywhere. Really, it's a waste of time. Use that energy on doing something positive. Write a book that's the opposite of the one you hate. Be productive and let's stop judging on each other.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five for Friday

1. Wow, it feels like forever since I've done one of these! What's been going on, you ask? Life. Lots and lots of life, filled with small moments of writing.

2. I really want to give a big thank you to all you awesome people who left critiques for my query and 150 words, you're the bestest! I really took the critiques to heart and worked my butt off to get the query to near as perfect as possible.

3. Michelle Krys recently ran a contest...and I won! What did I win? A copy of Girl of Nightmares, the much anticipated sequel to Anna Dressed In Blood. Now, I'm not telling you this just to gloat and be all 'I win you lose! Na-na-na-na-bo-bo' but because I want to share the gift. Once I recieve my copy and am done reading it, I'll hold my very first contest so one of you lucky people can read it too! Woohoo! I'll post more deets once I'm actually done with it.

4. If one word could sum up this week it would be revisions. Lots of them. I'm not even half way through. My awesome crit partner pointed out some serious issues within Fire and Ice, issues that I needed to know about. And I'm going about fixing them. I got some writing done on my WIP, but my main focus has been on revisions. I'm not gonna lie, it was daunting at first. But once I started, it became easier. Getting started is the hardest part, am I right?

5. I just finished the fabulous Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson and just adored it. Highly recommend to any fans of Jane Austen and old fashioned romances. So sweet.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GUTGAA PItch Perfect Bloghop

Unfortunately I wasn't one of the 100 able to make it into the pitch contest, but there's a bloghop for those of us who didn't going on. Below I've pasted my query letter and the first 150 words for all of you to shred into little pieces of humility. Okay, so be a little nice with your critiques. Fire and Ice is a YA paranormal romance.

Sixteen year old Shelly Paladine doesn’t need a stupid merit badge to prove she can start a fire, all she has to do is snap her fingers. Suddenly bestowed with a power she never asked for, all Shelly wants is to keep the fire at bay while hiding the secret from her adoptive parents. After she’s attacked by a troll with questionable hygiene, and receives text messages warning her of impending danger, Shelly knows the simple days of just trying to keep herself from spontaneously combusting are long gone.

Enter Kale Vanderhoof, a guy that makes Shelly’s heart race with his easy smile and boy-next-door good looks. But there’s more to Kale than meets the eye. He’s got a power of his own, and he’s not alone. Kale reveals some secrets to Shelly, like the fact she’s a part of a secret organization, the Circle of Elements, that keep scary beasties from harming humanity. Unfortunately Kale isn’t the only one hot on Shelly’s heels. Her mysterious texter makes it clear that if Shelly doesn't do everything she asks of her, well then the whole world is pretty much going to end.

With the fate of the world on her shoulders, Shelly becomes her stalker's puppet and the first thing she wants is for Shelly to get closer to Kale and infiltrate the Circle. As Shelly spends more time with Kale, the line between following orders and free will begin to blur, and Shelly begins to question the control her stalker has over her. But is she willing to break free from her puppeteer if it means losing Kale and all that she's found in the Circle?
And the first 150 are below. (Technically the first 151).
Here’s the deal; I was pissed. Standing there, listening to my mom go on about how I was giving up on my future if I gave up dancing, was the last thing I wanted to be doing.  I’d rather jump out the window of our tenth-floor apartment and take my chances with the sidewalk.
            “You can’t just throw your future away like this, Shelly.”
            “Actually, I can,” I shot back, fighting the urge to grit my teeth.
            “But you’ve worked so hard for this. I’m not saying that going to NYU is a bad idea, but ballet has been your entire life. And you’ll be giving it up for what? A few minutes at some pointless frat party?”
I resisted the urge to, once again, point out how I wasn’t some na├»ve little girl who would get suckered into stripping naked the first day of college to streak the football field.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Categorization: Someone Else Said It Better

This is a subject I struggle with when it comes to defining the genre my story is in. The amazing Jennifer Laughran just a wrote a great post about it. Click HERE if you're interested.

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

I'm participating in an awesome bloghop run by Deanna Barnhart, and our first assignment? Meeting and Greeting each other. So here are my answers to the questions.
Where do you write?

Anywhere. But mostly on my couch. It's leather...and comfy. Sometimes outside. Other times at the dining table...wherever I feel the need.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

The wall outlet where my laptop is plugged in. It's the reason I chose the specific spot on the couch.

Favorite time to write?

ANYTIME. Really. With little ones running around, and school going again, I have to make time to write. It usually doesn't matter if I'm 'in the mood' or not, I just have to do it.

Drink of choice while writing?

I'm so boring-water. I'm not much of a soda drinker, and I dont' drink coffee, so...yeah.

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Is there such a thing as complete silence? Huh...I don't remember what that's like anymore. Honestly, I can write in any setting. Yes, even with four kids running around my living room screaming and chasing each other. I'm adaptable.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

My latest? Probably my extended family. They're quite an interesting bunch. I started writing it in July when it sort of just hit me. I'd been thinking about it for some time, but then BOOM, the opening scene came to me and it was so perfect I couldn't not write.

What's your most valuable writing tip

Seriously? I'm not an expert. And I feel kind of ridiculous giving any sort of advice to people. But I think the thing I agree with that other authors have suggested is reading. Lots and lots of reading. It's truly invaluable.