Monday, December 28, 2009

Massive, massive book giveaway!

Came back to tell you about this book giveaway over at Chocolate for Inspiration. Click on over. :0)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I'm unplugging and this unplug week comes right at Christmas. I hope y'all have a fantastic week and a Merry, very safe Christmas. See you on the 4th. I hope Santa is good to us. *wink*

Friday, December 18, 2009

My pal tagged me!

I was tagged by Tricia over thar at Talespinning.

1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

I recently finished my MG novel, Seventy Two Hours. I did a book trailer for it too. Now it’s time to REALLY query. January 4th. Dum dum dum dum...

There was a time when I thought I could write songs. I still have the first one. Uh, and we won’t go there.

2) Write poetry?

I dibble dabble. :)

3)Angsty poetry?

Say what????

4)Favorite genre of writing?

Adventure! Is there another genre?

5)Most annoying character you've ever created?

I’d have to say it is a character in my WIP. Annoying but deliciously fun.

6) Best plot you've ever created?

Probably the plot for Seventy Two Hours. It’s WICKED!

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created?

One I’m writing now.

8) How often do you get writer's block?


9) Write fan fiction?

Say huh?.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

Write by hand? You’re kidding right? People still do that sort of thing??

11) Do you save everything you write?

Doesn’t every writer save their GENIUS?

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

Dunno. I never abandon my sweeties.

13)What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

Everything I’ve ever written.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written?

Chester the Rabbit. (Eh Beth?)

15)Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Say what?

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters?

Outside. There’s so much room for so many things to happen. I mean! Look at all that space.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

A novel, two picture books, a chapter book, and the next Harry Potter. Ahahahaha

18)Have you ever won an award for your writing?


19) What are your five favorite words?

The agent loves you baby!

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Um, hmm, um…

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

From life.

22)Do you ever write based on your dreams?

What’s a dream? This writer sleeps so soundly on her NEW Tempur-pedic. she doesn't even have dreams. *fist pump*

23) Do you favor happy endings?

Only when I’m in my ‘happy’ place.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

25) Does music help you write?

I need QUIET!

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.

Anna turned on the flashlight and walked over to the horses and rubbed both of them. They whickered at her. She knew they were hungry too. Hunger would come, Anna thought. Who was she kidding, it had already come. Anna rubbed her stomach. She had forgotten about the hunger until now. They had been so busy since becoming lost she hadn’t had time to think about eating something. Anything. Her stomach yelled for food. Anna had thought that she’d felt hunger before. After school every day she always had to have a snack. But it had never been like this. A loud, deafening kind of feeling, if feelings can be like that. It seemed so crashing that it almost became a sound, the sound of hunger. “Claire, do you feel the hunger pains?”

Yeah! That just popped right into my head.

And now the time has come to pass the torch. (I’ve always wanted to say that.)

Susan Mills over thar at A Walk In My Shoes.

Shannon over thar at Book Dreaming.

Jill over thar at Jill Kemerer.

:) :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can you use dialogue as a spark for your stories?

I think so. In fact, I have used this technique before. I read about this, but can't remember where. Sheesh, I really need to write down when I read something, where I read it. Anyway.

Decide here and now that to be a really great writer you must become a really great listener. Listen to conversations between your kids. Write down only sentences that one of the children say. Then look at the words. Dismiss character and situation. Just look at the words you jotted down. Do you see hints now? Hints at what the dialogue can become? For instance, say one of the lines you wrote down reads like this. Where are they at? Where. Hmmm, all kinds of interesting possibilities. Where. What if a nervous neighbor shouted that word to you over the phone? Or they hollered that word on a dark side road? Where. It's leading me somewhere. To some place.

Forget that your child ever said that sentence. Isolate the word. Then take the word and write it down. Tape it close to your computer. Say it over and over. Where, where, where. Write the word on an index card. Turn the card over and write down your first thought. Now grab another card and write down another thought. Work as fast as you can. You'll be surprised at what you'll see. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wish I knew Wednesday

This is my third Wish I Knew Wednesday that I am doing with Tess and anyone else who wants to join in.

When I first started writing, I wish I had known how ridiculously hard it was going to be. And by that, I don't mean the writing part. I had this idea in my head (scary place):) that I would write a book, wrap it up, send it off to a publishing house and PRESTO CHANGO, I would get this MONUMENTAL contract that amounted to thousands of dollars (and I mean six figure thousands) IMMEDIATELY. I know, I know, was I not the MOST naive person on this planet and beyond? I just figured, "who wouldn't want to read my book?"

When this did not happen I was crushed. I wish now that I had known that writing isn't just about writing. It's a hard business. And like any business it pays to research. That's the name of the game. Researching agents, publishing houses, and a host of other things. I told myself, "self you don't need no agent." WRONG! I'm glad I realized that I knew nothing about the world of publishing other than the fact that I wanted to be a part of it.

Now I'm getting butterflies in my stomach knowing that I am about to query. I mean really query. Those suckers are flying to and fro. To and fro.

And I know that most if not all of you already understand this. But. If. One. Person who is just beginning to tread on this path, reads this and learns, then it's worth writing.

And Beth, after Christmas I'm planning on taking you out to celebrate. Where ya wanna go? Huh?

Don't forget to enter Ann's fabulous contest. The prizes are all from South Africa. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Congratulations to Beth

I would like to congratulate my critique partner, Beth Revis on snagging an agent. Merrilee Heifetz of Writer's House. Congrats Beth. You truly deserve it. You have made me a much better writer since we have become crit partners. The twice-a-month meetings at our coffee shop have soothed me and encouraged me. I hope they have done the same for you. So now your dream is about to become reality. And I get to share it with you. I would say good luck. But we both know luck has nothing to do with it. It's hard work and perseverance. Soon, I expect to be joining you among the ranks of agented writers. Until then, I tip my hat to you. Well I don't really wear hats, but if I did I would tip the thing, that's for sure. :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Showing versus Telling


Don't forget to enter Ann Victor's Christmas contest. And if I was you, I'd follow her. She is an amazing woman and writer. I've learned so much from this lovely lady. :-)

We've all heard that we have to show rather than tell. But what does it all mean? Well, here is my explanation of showing versus telling. Showing is bringing the reader into the scene through action and dialogue. Kind of like watching a movie versus watching a news report on the movie. It's much more exciting to actually be at the movie theater. Description is a wonderful opportunity to show. It shows where and when. Use those senses. That's why God gave 'em to us. :-)

Ivy shivered in the frigid morning air. The horses neighed as she walked past them. The water in the trough had frozen over night. And they looked at her with ravenous eyes. The horses raced after her as she trudged to the barn. Well you get my point I hope. :)

Here is an example of using action to show. Jack raced down the hallway, huffing and puffing. Well, not the best example, but you are trying to show the reader what is happening. You are letting the reader know what the character is doing at that moment.

You can show a characters thoughts too. Instead of this, Jack knew he should apologize. Use this, I think I'd better tell her I'm sorry, Jack thought. If I don't, we'll have a huge fight and she'll never be in the mood. You get what I'm sayin.:)

With dialogue let the readers HEAR what the characters are saying. This adds life to our stories. Here are three different ways to say the same thing.

"Hello. How are you this fine morning?"

"Hey man. How are ya?"

"Yo! How goes it?"

All awful examples, but I hope you get what I am saying.

How do the characters feel? Jack was so sad he couldn't go. OR! Jack pouted. "I cleaned my room. Why couldn't I go?"

Showing is much better than telling, but there are times when we HAVE to tell. Like for simple changes. Like this: There wasn't anything left to say, so I left. The reader doesn't really want to know how I left. So I tell that I left.

Always show the gory details though. Your reader will love you for it. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fantastic contest given by our wonderful South African blogging pal

Ann Victor is holding a marvelous contest over at her blog. You have a chance to win beautiful prizes from South Africa. And it is very easy to enter. So easy I could even enter.:) But hurry and get over there. And if you don't follow this amazing woman, I suggest you friend her. She has a lot of brilliant advice for all of us. Now go on, click the link! :) And good luck to us all. Hey Theodora. *wink* :)

How's the Christmas Shopping coming?

How many of us are completely finished with our Christmas shopping?

*She raises her hand* Woohoo! I rock! I have finished. No more shoppers dirty looks. You know the folks I'm talking about. Well, I DO NOT have to see any more of that. No more grouchy, underpaid, overworked cashiers either. In fact, I may not walk back into any store until January. Oh that's right. We do have to eat. Shoot. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

How do you view your work?

Do you view your writing the same way you look at your critique partner's writing? Are you unbiased when reviewing your manuscript? This is something writers need to learn. We can't disconnect completely from our work, but we need to put some distance between us and our words. If we don't, we won't be able to see everything clearly. We won't be able to cut words, we won't hear the things we need to hear about our stories, because we'll think our book is the best it can be. We'll know that NOTHING needs changing. And most writers understand that their books can be made better.

From that first draft all the way to the final edits we cut, prune, add, take away, all to make our book the best it can be. If we fall in love with our first draft and think it couldn't be any better we are doing ourselves an injustice.

I remember when I first started writing. My first picture book wasn't awful, but it wasn't brilliant either. But I thought it was. To me that book was just the most marvelous book that had ever been written. YIKES! Did I have some things to learn. But I hadn't yet learned to distance myself. Now I know to look at my story through my readers eyes. Read it like they will. Now I can see the words that need to be cut and the scenes that need to be energized. How about you? :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you good at titles?

I've been searching for a title ever since I started my new WIP back in July. I just can't think of one that makes me jump up and down with total and complete bliss. I usually name my story first thing. This time though, nothing comes to mind. Oh, I have it named in my documents, because I need to know how to find it. But it's a fake name. A counterfeit, if you will.

I've thrown out names to Beth. None have made her do the happy dance. She'll go, "Uh, well... uh." I don't want to hear her stutter. :) I would like to see her do the happy dance. Because I found the title to end all titles. Sometimes she'll just look at me. Those titles that get that reaction, get tossed for later use maybe. Maybe. And sometimes she'll say, "Not for YA, Robyn." I know if it's a YA book, the title needs to be sophisticated, intriguing. It needs to scream, "this book is not MG.

Is it that important? Really? Will Mr./Mrs. super duper cool agent really read my story and say,"I love this novel. It makes me do the happy dance, but I can't represent it, because the title is a bunch of mumbo jumbo."

Do titles just jump right into your heads? If so, how can I condition my brain to accept titles? :)

I have been thinking of a title contest. We shall see.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What I Wish I knew

I wish I knew about Anna or someone like her when I first started writing.

Not the Anna from my book Seventy Two Hours,(though I do love her.) but Microsoft Anna. She reads your story back for you. She's that text-to-voice software that is already in your PC. I found her in my Vista. Mac has one too. Even Windows XP has a version.

But I believe Anna has them beat. She is sitting in your "Accessories" folder. Look under "Ease of Access."

She helps you hear missing words or even filler words.


If you love starting dialogue lines with words like my special favorite, "Hey," then she'll help you with that too. It's very convenient to be able to have your story read back to you.

She may mispronounce a word here or a word there, but she's worth her weight in erasers.

So the next time you're knee-deep in edits, ask Anna for some help. After all, that's what she's there for. :)

Did you know about Anna?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I can't! That's just it. I can't be the perfect wife, mother, home-school teacher, writer, friend, etc. Not gonna happen, no matter how much I feel it should.

I can't write if I'm distracted by other things. I can't write if THINGS are pulling at me from every angle. I hear writers complain about time. "Not enough time to write today," they say.

Hmm, is it time or are they just pooped? Are they too tired from all of their other responsibilities to lift a finger to type? Have these writers had an energy drain? Being everything to everyone saps energy you need to create your best seller.

Save some of yourself for your writing. Say "no" for once. Give just a little bit less. It will be okay. It's for THE book, after all.

Don't answer the phone while you're writing. And don't feel bad for that. Don't go to the door. Believe me, the salesman will return. :)

I read where an author (I forget who) doesn't have caller ID. When asked why, she politely said, "That wouldn't be nice for my book." Pretty cool huh?

Don't feel guilty about your all important writing time. Feel good about it. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Do you see writing as a business? Should you?




I once heard of a Pulitzer Prize nominee who makes a list every night about the next day. Which scenes need fixing, how many words he plans on writing, everything is set up for the next day. Then when his day begins, he gets the ol' butt in the chair and writes. He knows exactly what has to be attended to, because he has his list. This writer can keep to his mission for hours. And he admits not everything always gets done. But that's okay. The stuff that doesn't get done moves to the top of the next days list. He calls this process "positioning." This writer says he owns a business, and like any business owner he is crystal clear about what he needs to do.

Positioning helps this writer stay driven.

On the days that we write, but we don't finish, or we have trouble focusing, have we stayed absorbed with our writing? Probably not. And on those days we don't have to feel guilty. Just try harder the next day.

A writer blogged about how disgusted she was that she didn't get more done on her project for nano. But she did get a lot of words down. She just didn't get 50,000. I think she won anyway. She actually had the nerve to attempt it. And I believe she has enough to have a book. She just needs to stay determined to finish it.

Don't beat yourself up. But it is a business. And maybe we need to remember that from time to time. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

EGAD! I'm surrounded by 11-12 year old girls. Thank goodness no boys were on the invite list. :)

Today is the FIVE HOUR birthday bash for Ivy. Last night was the sleep over. Only the BFF'S and above were privledged to swing an invite to that. I'm tired. I'll say that again. I'm tired. What with everyone wanting to ride (those poor horses) and they all want to zoom on the zip line.

I've been listening though. It's so convenient to have these girls over. I am furiously writing, taking notes on the tone of their voices and the words they use. And they just look at me as if I'm SNOOPIN'. Oh the gossipin' they can do. Sheesh! Last night one of them was talking when she noticed moi pretending like I couldn't care less what she said. Then! She grabbed the other girls, pulling them into another room. That's when my chin hit the floor. HUMPH. KIDS THESE DAYS!!

Do you listen in on the conversations that your kids have? J...just for writing purposes, you understand. Do you get the cold shoulder? I mean, I try to pretend like I'm not listening. But I get caught up in the moment. *grin*

Have a great weekend. I think I'll head to bed early tonight. Very early.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is Writing Revising?

Before I get to my post, I have some things to say. It's about two of our blogging buds. As you know, my son is having some health issues. We've been traveling to the hospitals trying to find answers. About a month ago our sweet friend Davin mentioned that he would be willing to help us figure out what was going on with Christopher. Davin being a scientist, knew some doctors he could ask, plus I KNOW he did research. Now Davin DOES have a life. He works, he writes, and he has a personal life.


He took time from his life to try and help my son.

I wanted y'all to know what he did. Selflessly giving of his time to help a blogging friend. Davin, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You'll never know how much it meant. :)

Our other blogging friend Scott wrote a wonderful post about me loosing my precious Blue on his blog. He was there for me while Blue was at the vet and after he died telling me I would see my Blue again. Scott talked to me about the sadness of loosing Jordy and it really helped me get through. Like so many of you did. But Scott emailed me to check and see how I was doing. And then about a week later his precious Tasmyn had to be put to sleep.

I wanted to publicly thank him for being a true friend. Thank you Scott. :)

Thank you guys. And Davin I'll be returning your email. I just haven't had time to turn around. We had to make an unexpected trip to the hospital on Tuesday for emergency blood work for Christopher.

Now on to my post.

Revision is making a mess, not cleaning it up. When we revise, we aren't editing. Editing is cleanin' up the mess. It took me a LONG time to learn this. When we revise, we make new versions. Just think about it. Writing is revising. And MOST of my time is spent revising. If I could write a story perfectly, I wouldn't have to revise. BUT.

I can't. When I am revising a story, some of it gets much better and some of it gets much worse. Then I have to fix the part that gets much worse, and then, you guessed it. I have another part that gets worse. When I think a story is ready, then it's time to query publishers. Now when I say query publishers, I mean for my picture books. I have stopped doing this hoping that when an agent signs me he/she will want to sell my picture books. They are absolutely wonderful. :)

When I sit down at my computer, I just naturally believe that the words I write will be drastically improved from the last time I sat down to write. But.

That's not the case. Sometimes the words are better, sometimes they are worse. It's called learning. Figuring what my strengths are as a writer. Then making the most of them. And trying new things, but remembering it will take time to develop the new things.

Isn't that a HUGE mistake that new writers make? They write something, feel tremendous fulfillment, and immediately begin to query agents.

I want to make sure a piece, or a novel, or a picture book is finished before I query agents. Notice I did not use the word done. A story can be done, but not ready to go to agents. Finished means it's all set to go.

Thanks for reading. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This kind of goes with yesterdays post.

Writers have anxiety. That's just the way it is. I mean, writers never really know if they are writing the NEXT Harry Potter, or the next BIG BOMB. Gee, how do we do it?

I mean, how do we stay focused with so much anxiety cooking in our little heads? I discovered this back a few weeks ago when I decided that I suck at this. At the time, I really believed that I couldn't write anything decent. It was then that I realized something after listening to all of your comments. We all at one time or another deal with anxiety. Most productive writers have at one time or another believed they suck at writing. Most productive writers at one time or another have also believed they are BRILLIANT!

Talk about your living with tension. Talk about even flourishing on that tension. That's called creating, right?

After all, for taking time away from other things, we can feel selfish and we can feel selfless. This is how we grow as writers. Anxiety, discouragement to a writer mean sacrifice. We must sacrifice something. We must work hard. If we want this and I do. So we grow.

For me, I have sacrificed leisure time. After home-school on my writing days, I write. I shut myself up with the laptop and write. I do NOT sacrifice family time or home-school time. But there are things I feel I have to give up in order to make this dream come true. I am growing. Not there yet, but I am a teenager in this writing life.

So how do you deal with anxiety? With sacrifice? Are you fully grown yet? And by that I mean, that you know that you know how a book should come together without making newbie mistakes? Or do we ever really get to that point? Of course, I know that writers always grow. If I stop growing then I need to call it quits with everything. If I'm 90, I hope I'm still flourishing. But doesn't there come a time in our writing life that we know for sure what we're doing?

Questions. Could JK write a bomb? Sure she could. Is all the anxiety worth it? You bet it is.

First off! A big congratulations to two of our blogger buds. Linda KageLinda Kage sold her second novel. YAY! You go girl. I hear it’s really steamy. *Robyn wipes forehead and fans herself* WHEW!

And Tess Hilmo super, really, really cool agent dude sold her MG novel. Your dream is about to come true, Tess.

Yay! I am so very happy for you two. These two have worked hard and deserve to P-A-R-T-Y!!
Well, Linda is pregnant, so she’ll have to drink spring water. But hey! She’s eatin’ for two. YEAH!
Head over and give these two fabulous writers congrats, if you haven’t already.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wish I knew Wednesday

First off, thanks for all of the birthday wishes for Ivy yesterday. She loved getting them. And we had to make an unscheduled trip with Christopher to the hospital, I'm afraid. His platelet count and white blood count needed to be checked. Please send a special prayer up for him. Thank you!

This is my Wish I Knew Wednesday post #2. I know many of you already know this, it's just something I needed to say. When I first started writing, I wish that I would have always known about self-confidence and how important that is to anyone, especially a writer. Our time is spent mostly alone. Furiously typing our beautiful words. Believing in yourself is the number one thing a writer MUST do. If you can't believe in you, then who can? I wish I'd known how easily a writer can slip into insecurity.

It happens fast.

A few days of writers block, coupled with a critique that basically says, toss what you wrote and start over. And you have lost your self-confidence and will to write. Belief in yourself cannot be overemphasized.

Writers need to write. They don't need to wait on anyone to tell them they can write. Just do it, as the commercial says.

I never thought I could write. I never imagined me doing this. "Only for my eyes to see," is what I always told people about my writing. I never felt confident enough, until things just kind of happened and I found myself writing and showing folks what I'd written.

I still struggle with self-confidence, but I understand it now.

Writers are solitary people. We need to remember how easily we can fall if we aren't careful. And keeping in touch through our bogging buddies is one way to help our confidence level stay up. Our critique groups show us where our strengths are and help us make our weak points stronger. They make us better. We learn from other writers that we are not alone. And that they have gone through dark periods too.

Self-confidence. I wish I would have known how important it is in my writing sooner.

Are any of you joining in the Wish I knew Wednesday posts? The more the merrier. :)

Here's a link you might be interested in. I actually got it from Jen's Writing Journey. Thanks Jen! It's a Free copy of Nail Your Novel. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy birthday Ivy!

Today is Ivy's birthday. She is twelve. (She thinks she is smarter and wiser than me.) She's not!

I have to say she's a great kid. (Most of the time.) Sheesh, I use a lot of parentheses when referring to her. Hmmm, wonder why.

Anyway, she's having a birthday bash on Saturday. I just wanted to wish her a great day and to say how much we love her. *grin*

She plays the mandolin.

Fiddle too.

The only difference between a violin and a fiddle? A violin has strings and a fiddle has strangs. :)

Our son, Cameron, who is a MASTER guitarist is teaching her guitar. Our home is ALWAYS filled with music. I love it.