Friday, February 26, 2010


It's Friday.

I'm a little behind on, well, life, really. The day job's been busy with the whole team of people I work with all over the world in town for an all week meeting and now I get to play catch up.

oh yeah. And we're working on the (neverending) remodel of our bathroom/laundry room too.

Keep an eye out for some more Recent Reads and other randomness next week.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WiP... er, Working Wednesday

We interrupt this attempted work-in-progress Wednesday to let you know . . . It's uber-busy at the day job this week - we've got about 20 people in from out of town for a 3-day meeting, so forgive me if I'm a little slow commenting on your blogs! I am totally going to try to catch up over the weekend!

For now anyway, I've been doing tons of reading (I have another Recent Reads posting coming up!) and just finished up another round of revisions on one of my projects. It's currently percolating and winding its way through some readers right now. *Fingers crossed* for some awesome feedback.

Also, I'm still working on my first attempt at a ya paranormal, though another 1 has struck me, in addition to the 2 contemporaries I've already been working on. So, I've got a full plate on all sides. It's like an all-you-can-write buffet, except, you know, there aren't enough hours in the day.

What have you guys been up to lately? Reading? Writing? Arithmetic?

I'll check back in later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recent Reads: Stories and Sirens

Book: Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Count: 5
Genre: YA Contemporary
Deanna Lambert's life is defined by a single event: getting caught in the backseat of a car with a boy by her father. Two years later, all the stories of that night still float around her, leaving her to decide if she's going to continue to let that night haunt her forever or if she's going to rise above it. Fantastically told, the story seems simple on the surface, but there are so many underlying emotions. Sara Zarr's amazing.

Book: Siren by Tricia Rayburn (out June 2010)
Count: 6
Genre: YA Paranormal
Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything. The complete opposite of her fearless older sister, Justine. After a late night cliffdive, Justine's body washes ashore the next morning and Vanessa's fear struggles with her attempts to find closure after her sister's death. As more and more victims, are pulled from the sea, Vanessa and her childhood friend Simon begin to find these are not freak accidents. Something is calling to these people, inviting them into the water. This was one of those stories that continued to haunt me long after I finished reading it. Loved it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

"No one can really pull you up very high--
you lose your grip on the rope.
But on your own two feet you can climb mountains."

Louis Brandeis

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Chance to Win LINGER!!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sleep's Overrated

Those of you who know me, or been following for a while, know that I'm a bit of a night owl. I've been known to stay up until 3 or 4 A.M. working on this or that, a new wip, some revisions, reading a good book, whatev.

But guess what? For the last week or so, I've actually been SLEEPING! I know, right? Crazy! What is this world coming to? Break out the 72-hour emergency kits, because something big is a-comin'.

Just kidding.
So yeah, I haven't slept much for the last couple years, and I've been fine functioning on something around to 3-4 hours of sleep a night, if that. I've gotten so much done in those hours when the everyone in the world (on this side of the planet anyway) is resting their pretty little heads.

Now I'm torn. I'm sleeping more and it feels great! But then, I think about the 3-4 hours of time I used to do things, like write, read and revise. With a full time day job, 2 little kidlets and a husband who works more than full time most weeks, I'm sorta hoping my body will decide that 6-8 hours of sleep is totally overrated and let me get my extra ME time back.

While I mentally wander off to decide what to do about this issue I've decided is Over-Sleepage, I wish the rest of you 

P.S. I noticed I had a few new followers , so I thought I'd start by saying, welcome to my humble abode. I can be random at times, but I make up for it in Hello Kitty cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Query-tastic Contests!

Did you see it? Did you miss it? I surely hope you did not!

If you did miss it, head on over to Elana blog and check out her Query-TASTIC contest. This is running in conjunction with Shelli's contest over at Market My Words (deets on that one below also).

Elana's running this great contest and here are some of the awesome prizes she's got up for grabs:
  • A query critique from one of 5 amazing agents!
  • A copy of Elana's ebook - From the Query to the Call (which I can totally vouch for and say it's made of all things useful.)
  • Or (a personal fave of mine as well) Super Sticky Post-It Notes
So hop on over there and get yourself entered!

Once you're done there, head on over to Shelli's blog and check out her contest. There's more to be won!

Shelli's offering up:
  • A query critique from one of 3 awesome agents!
  • Daily prizes throughout this Mardi Gras week
  • And 2 grand prizes - 1 each for the agented and unagented author!
So go check out these contests and good luck to everyone!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I haven't said anything, but for most of the week, I've been coming down with a case of Blogger-itis. Technical difficulties relating back to scheduled posts not going up when they are scheduled. Pages not loading properly or completely. And general, techie sort of issues. I'm still trying to work out whether this is my computer or if this is Blogger, so in the meantime, I really am trying to comment and what not when I can get to your blogs to read them! If you don't see me, don't think I'm not lurking, dangerously close to falling off that cliff that is the hard rebooting of my computer.

While I am off to fix things I probably shouldn't be trying to fix ... it is Valentine's weekend. Husband and I are pretty laid back on this, so it isn't a huge deal. Plus, he has to work on Sunday night. So for all the rest of you loverlies out there ... Happy Valentine's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Buzz

So obviously, I blog.

I also tweet. Twitter? I'm never sure what the right term is.

I have a Facebook page.

I'm on Goodreads.

I check into some forums (when I can remember -- sorry RS peeps!).

I even Gmailchat.

So when I signed into my email yesterday morning and it gives me this pretty, flashy page about Google Buzz, I ask myself, what's this?

And then I see it. And I wonder, where do I draw the line? I'm doing all I can to maintain some semblence of normalcy in life and also have a hand connected to the interwebs if at all possible, but I've seriously gotta draw the line somewhere.

So are you on Gmail? Have you seen it? What do you think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Head Hopping

How many heads does it take to make a story?

For most of mine, it takes, well, just one. For a boatload of other stories out there, it takes way more than that.

I’ve just started into a new wip with some head hopping and I’m having some difficulty. It’s really tough when I’m so accustomed to one voice, one perspective.

Head hopping, I think, is harder to do well in first person (and I've mostly written in 1st). The best books I’ve seen this done in are ones that make the transition at chapter breaks. Each chapter having different narrator.

Susane Colasanti’s When It Happens is a primo example. As is Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver.

In third person is where I see the head hopping ALL THE TIME. Mostly, it’s not a big deal. The transitions come with scene breaks and the chapters are built in a way that the head hopping makes sense.

Cassandra Clare in The Mortal Instruments series, is a good example. So is Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, with 3-4 narrators depending on the story is also great.

What gets me is the stories with head hopping with no defined break. When I don’t know who’s thinking what and have to reread whole sections just to figure out who the narrator is. That bugs. So as you can see, I’m a bit stressed about this in addition to worrying about Perspectives and Tenses) for my new project. Maybe I should just quit worrying and write first, but I’m a chronic worrier.

Have you guys done some head hopping? How’s it working out? Any tossing the computer out the window going on? I’m nearing that point.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Feeling Tense

But is it present tense? Is it past?

I've been told (and have read in various places) that present tense is a hard sell. Most books in present tense are from established authors. Some people may see the whole present tense as a gimmick. To that I ask, why?

I'm not sure I see the "gimmick" behind it. I've read books in both past and present tense, mostly past, as that is what's mostly out there, but did I miss something? Maybe it's just me and I'm totally clueless here, but past or present, if the story's there and the characters feel real, it doesn't matter what tense we're in. Right? I would think, anyway.

The ms I'm currently working through is in present tense. Someone asked me why. To that I responded "that's the way the story came out of my head." That is the way the characters spoke to me. That is how they told their story.

Mind you, the question came from a dear friend who I completely understand as looking out for me. I am sincerely thankful for that. In keeping with her advice, it honestly would not be difficult to switch tenses, if I had to. Chose to. And that is the dilemma that is sitting out in front of me right now.

So what do you prefer to read? Present? Past? Hmm ... maybe I should start writing in future ...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Some Perspective

Let's just say, you're sitting around, catching up on the last couple few episodes of Glee, just minding your own business, when something comes to you. Something that could be big.
Not, Taylor-Swift-is-dating-werewolf-kid-from-the-Twilight-movies-oh-wait-no-they-already-broke-up big. I'm talking JK-Rowling's-first-print-run-of-Harry-Potter-7-was-12-million-copies big.

At least in your head it seems that way. You run off to your computer/notebook/find a pen. Whatever it is you normally write with.

And you start writing.

Is it first person? Third person? How many perspectives are there? Is it limited? Unlimited?

What about tense? Present? Past? Present with some past? Past with some present?

Obviously I'm wrangling with some perspective issues, so I figured I'd get your perspectives. Nothing like taking advantage of the blogging masses! So ... how do you decide?

P.S. I'm not really sure if the motivational poster has that much to do with the post, but I thought it looked cool. :P

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Your success depends mainly upon what you think of
yourself and whether you believe in yourself."

William Boetcker

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friends Rock & Devil-bugs, well, Don't

Just found out my car needs new brakes. So this morning, I had to drive Husband's Devil-bug to work. Big Kidlet calls it her Ladybug. Thing is louder than all get-out and it feels like you're sitting on the ground. I love that Husband loves it, but I don't. So yeah. I call it the Devil-bug. Visual aid to help you understand:

Anyway, instead of focusing on the $$$ it's gonna cost to take care of my car, I thought I'd highlight the bright side of my past week (and a half) or so.

The lovely Mary Campbell over at Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me gave me the Circle of Friends Awards. I'm not really sure how this works, so I will just dip my head, curtsy and say, thank you much, Mary! I'm so glad we've met. I love meeting people who don't think I'm crazy. Lol!

Also, Elana Johnson gave me the Happy 101 Award. So even though I started this post not so happy, we're going to end on a happy note: with 10 things that make me happy.
  1. My family
  2. Good books
  3. Mrs. Field's Peanut Butter Nibblers
  4. The smell of the inside of a bookstore
  5. Pandora
  6. Days off from day job
  7. Sushi dinners (the good kind you go out for, not the pre-made tray from Wal-mart)
  8. Finishing (a book, a first draft, revisions, a kick-A query, the dishes, the laundry ... etc)
  9. My kidlets' laughs
  10. Cupcakes
This is another of those awards that seem to have been going around, and I'd like to pass it on to all of you, my awesome followers who make me happy every time you pop in for a visit!

Tried to keep it brief. Not sure if it worked. Ahh, well, I'll try again next week.
Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Drawing the Line at Brevity

I don't actually think I'm a brief person, I like my wordages - my first finished manuscripted clocked in at about 136,000 words. Yeah, that's right. I like them words. So when I had a few comments yesterday on my Recent Reads post commend me on the length, or lack thereof, I thought I'd take a moment to discuss the whole post length thing.

As I've stated before, I have self-diagnosed A.D.D. That and I also recognize that people have way more stuff to read than just my blog, despite how randomly entertaining I may be at times. Just kidding, random yeah, entertaining - that remains to be seen.

With the start of the year, I've been working on keeping my posts brief and hopefully insightful/useful/entertaining/etc. It's like a query, right? That single-page pitch of your (in some cases) entire life's work that is the difference between a yes or a no. Make it count.
Are there things you've made more brief or streamlined in order to make more efficient, for you as well as others?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Recent Reads: Angels, Haikus, Knights and Manicures

Sorry for the uber-long post. I'm catching up on my Recent Reads posts. I didn't put in much of reviews here, but check out my GoodReads page if you're interested in my thoughts!

Book: Fallen by Lauren Kate
Count: 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
The title should've told me what was up, but the cover was what got me. Beautiful! Luce Price has been medicated through much of her life to regulate her visions of shadows. Finally, a book where the MC is seeing weird things and there's some parental action being taken (even if it is medication). Another fallen angel(s) story, but this one has enough of a twist to make it different.

Book: The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Count: 2
Genre: YA Contemp
The title initially made me chuckle, thinking it was one of those snarky, teenage things. But that's not what it is at all. The book follows Nola on a quest to find herself. Interspersed with the Haiku-speak she shares with her terminally-ill sister, the premise of the story was good, but it felt like there were too many subplots that never really developed into anything and there wasn't enough life to the secondary characters. It was a short read, and I liked the story, but I just wanted more.

Book: Shadow by Jenny Moss
Count: 3
Genre: YA Fantasy (? Not sure what to classify this one as)
A bit of a coming of age story, Shadow is an orphan who's lived with Queen Audrey since it was prophesized the queen would die by her 16th birthday. A bit fairytale-ish, but the telling of the story is not. Told from Shadow's perspective, her pain is felt, as is her joy in the simple things. I was a little thrown by the twist towards the end, the fantasy aspect of it, but overall, it was a good read.

Book: Magic Hands by Jennifer Laurens
Count: 4
Genre: YA Contemp
After reading the book, I looked at the cover and I don't think that is the right image for the story inside. Cort is a popular jock at Pleasant View High School who's so desperate for a job he starts working at the new nail salon in town and gets a whole new perspective on the cattiness of girls and how a little bit of gossip can go a long way. I liked the story of this book, but the writing style was a bit confusing at times. It's written in third person, but there's head jumping with no clear line when we're jumping between Cort and Rachel, the female MC. I got confused a few times and had to go back and reread to make sure I knew who was thinking what.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brain Pain is Lame

That sort of rhymes. Almost.

But it IS totally true. Thank you all for your nice words and get well wishes.

My brain is doing much better now and was even functional enough for me to make it to the other side of the mountain for a loverly lunch with some writing peeps earlier today.

I have found something that does NOTHING to help cure brain pain.

That is ... your internet going down because your provider has switched from copper cables to fiber optics and FORGOT TO TELL YOU!?!?! Who does that?? Seriously.

So after I was fully recovered from the migraine, all ready to get back on my blogging feet, I found ... I had no internet. For almost 3 days.

Blogs went unwritten.

Twitter went barely touched. (Only updated because I am setup for text to tweet .. lol!)

And, most sad of all, crops went unharvested, resulting in a withery, wilted farm.

BUT there was a sunny side to this. You see, without the distraction of the internet, calling, whispering, taunting me, I was able to bust out the red pen and printed copy of my ms and .... that's right, REVISE!

So, yes, for every brain pain and down DSL-line, there is a bright side. And it's rewriting your book!

Er... that sounded so much better in my head. But trust me. It's a good thing!