Thursday, June 28, 2012

Great giveaways are like a weatherman promising a sunny weekend after a month of rainstorms. Exciting with a hint of promises.

And I've come across a 75 degree, light wind, beautiful giveaway.

It includes a copy of Wonder by R.J. Palacio or a 20 page critique of your MG novel by agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin! Seriously, readers and writers alike- who passes up a free book or an agent critique? So go on over to and enter.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Awesome Advice

I love this video on being creative. In my own writing I feel I am right in the middle. I know when I've written something good. And I know when I've written something that is either not great or merely adequate. But I can't pinpoint what I need to change to make the not great/merely adequate chapters good. 

They say you have to write 10,000 hourse before you understand how to write stories. If I'd known that in the beginning I would have started a log for my hours.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Let the Journey Begin…Again.

The first time I went to a writers conference, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, I went not to learn about writing, but because I had absolutely no idea how to go about publishing my BRILLIANT children’s chapter book.

A week later, and the conference over, I had notes and notes about publishing. Notes on the writing too, but who needed that? I already proved I could write with my finished manuscript.

I submitted my chapter book.

Um, turned out my BRILLIANT chapter book wasn’t quite so BRILLIANT. It wasn’t even just brilliant. In fact, it kinda sucked.

That’s when I decided that maybe I should put some time into learning to write.

So for the past six years that’s what I’ve been doing. There have been breaks. Pregnancy squashes the writer out of me. But now that my fourth child is six months the creative juices are flowing once again. HALLELUJAH!

My plan is to post every Saturday since I have The Hubs disconnect the internet during the weekdays so that I write rather than Facebook, email, Pinterest, visit random blogs, and celebrity stalk.

How is your creative journey going?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm Baaaaccckkk.

When I titled my last post And This Is Where I Stop Writing, I didn't mean to actually jinx myself. I haven't written for two weeks - on my blog (obviously) and on my manuscript (obvious, but only to me).

I blaim it on a quick decision to take the family to Disneyland in six days time. Hello laundry, errands, phone calls to cancel all appointments during said vacation time, packing, cleaning the car, and buying snacks. It was crazy but worth it.

So, writing? Nada.
Reading? Two books, baby!

While packing I listened to Austenland by Shannon Hale. It was really fun and cute. Especially for anyone who loves Pride & Prejudice.

While at Disneyland (or I should say, in the hotel room resting my aching feet. Three days at Disneyland is hard goin') I started Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. It was so FUN! Seriously, this book was a total escape for me. And an awesome one at that.

Paranormal Romance is not my favorite genre. I can be kinda critical of it just because there is so much of it right now. But Paranormalcy was oh s0 cool. Seriously, read it. Especially if you liked the T.V. series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It was similar, but very different at the same time. And if you are like me - and not too into fantasy - read it anyway. You might just love it like I did. :)

Now to make writing goals. We'll go low - say, 2500 words - to help me get back into the swing of things.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And This Is Where I Stop Writing...

Ok, not really.

But man, I'm hating it right now. And I know exactly why. It's because the scene I am writing requires research before it can be written. In the rough draft version of my manuscript I just glossed over how I wanted the scene to go. But now I'm writing my first draft and I want the manuscript to be as solid as possible.

Writing about something you have zero experience with and need to research is intimidating.

But there's another glitch in my writing as well.

I've said already that this is the furthest I've ever been with completing a manuscript - an entire rough draft and the beginnings of a first draft. But the urge to sit and edit what I've written in my first draft is eating at me.

In the past I'd get stuck in a neverending edit of the first chapter and never progress anywhere else in the book. The husband would nag me to move on and write more than the first chapter. I knew he was right, but editing is like trying to scratch an itch on that part of your back that is impossible to reach. Always scratching without getting at the itch.

So, here is a compromise for the husband and the itch. 500 NEW and UNEDITED words that are moving the plot forward will be written each day. Then, AND ONLY THEN, will I allow myself to go back to previous chapters and edit.

Weekly Word Goal - 3000
Weekly Reading Goal - The Sisters Grimm: Book 2, Howl's Moving Castle

Friday, February 18, 2011


Life likes to play dirty little tricks. Recently, it has been playing a little game I like to call, The Neverending To Do List. For three or four weeks I put utmost priority on being a Reading Mommy Writer. Yup, that's the official title.

It was wonderful. If my kids didn't need me I was either reading or writing. But there was a little problem. Moms don't just take care of their kids. They -

1. Fix meals

2. Balance checkbook and pay bills

3. Laundry

4. Plan weekly dinner menues

5. Grocery Shop

6. Straighten the house

7. Mop

8. Vaccuum

9. Dust

10. Make Beds


And this was the week that I finally felt the pressure of all I've been neglecting. But guess what? I WANT TO MASTER THE ART OF WRITING A NOVEL! And bygone, I'm going to.

I'm going to stop worring about my dirty bathroom floor. Because I guarentee my 8, 5, and 1 year old boys don't care. And the husband says as long as he can walk through a room without tripping he doesn't care.

I'm learning to prioritize what I want in this life. I really doubt at the end of my life I'll think, "Boy, I'm sure glad I scrubbed my house spotless instead of writing that stupid book."

Though it doesn't help that my book has gotten really hard to write, making the thought of cleaning the dirty bathroom floor sound so much more fun than forcing myself to add depth to my book.

But I've done it. I've written on average 500 words each day this week. Except for yesterday, when I called a psychic for book research. The whole time on the phone with her I just wanted to hear her mystical voice say, "Oh, you're an amazing writer! This book will be glorious. It won't be hard to write. You'll have it completed in six months, sign with the first top selling agent you query, and be a record bestseller!"

But she didn't. Nope. Instead, her answers to my questions have made my book that much harder to write.

That's another one of Life's games. It's called, A Twist.

Not sure I care much for that one either.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Kill A Mockingbird. The Harry Potter Series. The Giver. Gone With The Wind. The Outsiders. The Witches. A Wrinkle In Time.

All these book have two things in common - they are on the list for most banned books in the U.S. and I loved each and every one of them.

One of the best things about being human is the opportunity to make something where there was nothing. Whether we are painting, starting a business, building a house, writing a novel, or having children; we are tapping into that part of ourselves that gives each of us joy. Creating.

And before I continue let me be clear. I in no way support someone telling someone else what they can or cannot create. Or someone telling a parent what is acceptable for their child to read.

However, I had to ask myself some questions when I opened the book Cracked Up To Be last night. Remember, this book is written for teens, meaning publishers are marketing it for the 14 to 18 year old demographic. Caution - it is vulgar and crude and I don't enjoy putting it on my blog but I also think a lot of parents are unaware of what is being sold to their minor children under the name of Young Adult literature.

Here is the opening page of Cracked Up To Be.

Imagine four years.

Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken lims, turf wars - every day a turf war - six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.

High School.

"No, seriously, Jules, just feel around in there and tell me if you have one-"

"Fuck off, Chris-"

"And tell me where it is, the exact location."

"You're disgusting!"

"Hey, Parker!"

He reaches out and grabs me by the shoulder. I shrug, shrug, shrug him off.

"Fuck off, Christ."

He's been on about the G-spot for, like, a week.

"Don't fail me now, Parker. Where is it?"

"Cosmo, December '94. The Sex Issue. Came with a map and everything."


I gave up hoping the content would clear up by the third chapter. Skimming instead to the last scene. The 'F' word caught my sight at least one to three times every couple of pages. There was also no shortage of sexual conversation/scenes.

And trust me, this isn't the only "R rated" book available in the Young Adult section at a book store or library.

So this is my question - does it seem off to anyone else that an unassuming 14 year old girl could pick up this book and buy it without a problem but she wouldn't be able to buy a movie ticket to see a movie with similar content?

Banning books? No. But why isn't there a rating system for books being sold to minors?

As an author, I believe I am accountable for my manuscripts. Authors and publishers have a responsiblity to bring awareness to parents of a book's content. And parents have the right and responisiblity to decide if that book is acceptable for their child.

I think it's a wonderful thing that books can be used as a discussion tool between parents and children. But I also think it's unrealistic to assume that a parent is going to proof read every book their child brings home.

The MPAA (Movie Pictures Association of America) helps parents know what their kids may be watching in a movie.

Books don't.

(Please don't think I have anything against the YA market or issue books. There are many clean YA books - Matched, by Ally Condie for example. And Speak, a book about rape, is a tough read but one that I believe is beneficial for teens.)

I'd really like thoughts about this. A discussion between authors and readers.