Monday, December 20, 2010


I'll be taking a break until January 3rd. Please have a safe, happy and blessed Christmas. I love you all so very much. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I signed up for the 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. Sounded like fun to me and I can't resist a challenge so here we go: 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge (Can I still find these books? I'll let you know. :)

From the sponsor, My Reader's Block: 

All books must have been written before 1960 and be from the mystery category. So I'm in. Can't wait to see how many I can read. I loves me a good mystery. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boys need more stories! Can I interest you?

We need more writers willing to write for boys. Boys love a good story with a male protagonist. And boy type topics. Action/adventure, pirates, science fiction, anything that makes reading fun and not a boring chore. The writers that target writing stories that specifically appeal to boys, Bruce Coville, Jon Scieszka, Max Elliot Anderson and Chris Crutcher to name a few, use the GROSS OUT factor which goes hand in hand with their excellent storytelling.

Their books are WORTH the effort it takes to sit down and have quiet time for these kids. I have an interest in this and plan to write one in 2011. A lot of these boys are also reluctant readers. Which makes this all the more important. Motivating these kids is vital. 

Now I am a female. So I have absolutely NO idea what a boy feels inside, how he thinks, and what is important to him.

But I do have an 'in'. I have six boys. And I can remember how they reacted and if I'm not sure, I will ask.

So can I interest you? :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

I have two presents. YIKES! But, I love the Christmas season. It's the rush-rush, push-push I don't like. At least at this time of year people could be considerate. Be nice. Smile a little. Have you noticed a Grinch around your area of the world?

I thought I would post some pics of how my small  town looks at night around this time of year.

Now didn't that make you smile? Spread it around. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Love You Dadai

Diane Estrella is doing a different sort of blog hop. It's about loss and connecting  with others who have experienced loss. If you want to read about it and read about Diane's Mama then pop over to Diane's house

Here's mine:

My  Dadaí (This is the Irish Gaelic word for Daddy.) was a strong, kind, honest gentleman. He went HOME the week before Christmas in 1997, seventeen days after Ivy was born. Kidney cancer took him, but it could never take the memories.

It was always our job to go get the Christmas tree. (My brothers and sister were all ready grown with families of their own by the time I was born.) We lived in South Florida and every year Mamai would send us out. It was ALL about being together We loved it. Just as we loved heading out to the shooting range together. (Uh yeah, I'm a sharpshooter, he made sure of that.) We'd stay at the range for hours. And no matter how many times that gun sent me flying backwards, I'd get right back up and try it again. Eventually I became an expert shooter.

This man taught me the value of honesty. And he taught me the value of a dollar. :)

I miss him so  much. He built my cabinets that are in my kitchen when he was 76 years old. That's what he loved, what he did to make a living. He was a wood worker. And the best I've ever seen. He was also a self taught mathematician. He worked out calculus/trig problems for fun. He had loads of books. That's where my love of books came from.

He was a father. And the best I've ever seen. I leave you with a quote from my Dadai:

"The first hundred years are the hardest." :)

Where do ideas come from

I've given this A LOT of thought. There isn't one answer. Ideas come from everywhere. Just look around you. At the grocery store, the park, the coffee shop, books, and the hospital. (Where I spend a lot of my time.)

Wherever there is atmosphere there is a story to be told. I see a picture of a giraffe. I think, hmmm, great picture book story. Or, I overhear an argument between a mother and her daughter at the mall. (Because writers ALWAYS have their eyes and ears open. Bam. A story idea hits me. We see something that triggers an idea. But of course we all know the ideas come our heads.

All writers have heads full of these wonderful ideas. If you're a science fiction writer you have ideas about that. But something triggers the idea. Just ask Beth about what really triggered her idea for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Something very simple. (Don't forget to buy the book.)

The non-writers will tell you they have this AMAZING idea and they want you to have it.


They say they only want to split the money when the book and er, movie come out. UH-HUH.

I just tell them I am working on my novel right now and have to spend all my writing energy on this project. :)

The ideas come and then we create these extraordinary worlds, with  remarkable characters and incredible settings. Ahhhh, but it AIN'T EASY. Non-writers think that we whip out a book in a month. I had a man tell me (when he discovered I was a writer, because I had my laptop) at Christopher's hospital that he was going to write a book. In a month. And then he planned to send it to one publisher, S&S. He figured the book would come out in a few months. What did I tell him? Nothing. I nodded and smiled. There was no sense in going into a long drawn out, five hour discussion about it. He wouldn't have believed me, anyway.

I leave you with this quote from Neil Gaiman: "You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it."  'Nuff said. :)                        

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Have you read this book?

I love, love, love this book. I thought I'd recommend it to all of you. It tells the story of Zibby and how she wants to boycott Amber's party because of the coupon chatter. (some girls got the special coupons and some didn't.) I had a lot of fun reading this book. I know you will too.

It made me think back to school. The popular versus the unpopular girls. UGH! I never want to go back to that scene again.

Have you read this book? It's the third book in the series. Now I have to get the others.

Have any books you'd like to recommend for me?

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's going to happen to picture books?

Don't know if y'all saw this last month. It's a New York Times article on just how unpopular picture books are these days. Here's the link, head over and read it and come back: New York Times

This was taken from the article. “So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner.SAY HUH? No one buys picture books for their little ones anymore? What are they buying them to read? The New York Times?

I know they are expensive to produce, but what will the little tykes do without them? How will they nurture their love of the written word? The words and the pictures in picture books produce wonderful images in the heads of little boys and girls. But instead of reading their children a precious picture book, the parents let them fill their time digitally?

What say you on this very important topic? If you have little ones, are you concerned about this?

I read picture books, because I write them. I love reading them. My kids always loved them. This news saddens me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Kate McRae's mama, Holly

 Kate STILL has shown NO sign of new cancer in her brain. There is something on the scan that they are watching. Please pray and read this from her mama Holly. (A super woman, I might add.) She needs any help that you might be able to give for families of children fighting the same rare brain cancer that Kate has. There are about fifteen families that Holly and Aaron(Kate's daddy) want to help this Christmas. A couple of the families lost their children to this cancer in 2010. Here's the address if you would like to help:
 Kate’s Crazy Cool Christmas, c/o 1437 W Auto Dr Tempe, AZ 85284. THANK YOU!!!!

"Kate now calls me her "emotional momma". The Christmas drive continues to resurface the many emotions this journey can bring. Diving in with other families, makes us revisit our own questions, fears and blessings. At times I have to do some of the work for it in the quiet of the night so the tears can fall unseen. And yet, there is nothing that seems more fitting than journeying with others, and assisting them around Christmas. A month crucial to our faith, and the month we celebrate Kate's birthday. So thank you for honoring Kate and her upcoming 7th birthday (December 26th) by loving on other families battling cancer this Christmas season. It is very special and personal to our family.

I know I sound repetitive, but we love hearing your stories as you donate. I am often surprised and moved how God moves hearts through tragedy. Oftentimes the people who donate are those who themselves have been touched by tragedy of some kind. Maybe individuals see the need more profoundly if they themselves have walked in similiar shoes, or if they have been on the receiving end of someones generosity at some point.

So I have some more requests tonight, unfortunately not all of them. Bear with us, as we wait to hear from the other social workers with the final lists of some other families. I do want to tell you of another family you are helping tonight. This is a young man fighting the same type of tumor as Kate. Many of you might know, it is extremely rare. I am trying to collaberate with other families with this diagnosis and have around 15. There is no one else at our hospital with the same diagnosis (that we know of) and we have only met one other family in person with the same diagnosis. So when a need arises within this small circle, let's just say it does feel personal.

So Nick is 14 and battling a recurrent PNET. As he was finishing treatment 3 new tumors were found. He is just starting an experimental study in hopes to finally beat this. His mother told me that Nick has followed Kate's journey. He rejoiced with her newest great news, despite receiving some of the most devastating news himself. He is currently not in school as he is recovering from a most recent brain surgery and from the side effects of previous surgeries and treatments. His spirit has stayed strong despite fighting a very uphill battle. Please join me in helping to love on him this Christmas!

Items we can use for multiple families
~gift cards to department stores.... many families are in need of clothes and winter coats
~Target gift cards seem to be a favorite!
~art supplies for all ages
~new release movies
~again itunes gift cards for the older kids
~kids games, especially kids sequence, guess who, monopoly, lego games etc.
~lego sets
~princess things
~gas gift cards!
~ballerina stuff
~Thomas the train stuff
~nintendo ds games! (especially mario games)
~wii games
~country music cds
~Fry's food grocery gift cards
~Walmart gift cards
~Macys gift cards
Pleae keep in mind multiple children have visual impairments due to brain surgery. So be creative when thinking of ideas!

We also have a few very specific one time requests... (email me at if wishing to fufill these)
*a medium adult mens snow jacket
*size 6-7 boys winter coat and hat
*size 7-8 girls winter coat and hat
*Kohl's gift cards
*I also have requests for a few larger items. If you would like the details please email me.

The parents are all desiring help with gas and groceries this Christmas. Thank you for donating! We are excited to bless these families as they fight through very difficult days! Please spread the word so we can stay available to any last minute local needs! I will continue updating ideas as they come in! And again if you would like to fufill a separate specific request email with SPECIFIC REQUEST with an amount you would like to spend and we will send you a request to fulfill. If you have done so we will be sending you yours shortly. Again thank you for your generosity!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing is HARD!

Thank you all so much for all the prayers for Christopher. He's fine! And I am breathing again. :) Everything went well, NO COMPLICATIONS from the Sturge-Weber. :)

Now onto the post. :)

 Any writer knows this. Writing is just plain hard. It ain't easy. But nothing worth having is. Of course, we all know that anyone can type words onto a computer screen. It's making those words into something that readers will love that takes effort. And, well, it's just hard.

But it will show you if you've got what it takes. Write a  novel and then stick with it through the grueling revisions. Then you'll know if you're a writer. If you come through the revisions excited to start your next book, you're a writer. If you never make it through the first revision, uh, er, better try something else. :)

And if you can't find the time to read any books, maybe you'd better try something else. A writer must read. It is the best teacher. We can take online classes, go to conferences, meet with our crit partners. But there is no better writing teacher than reading what other writers have written.

We learn to develop our own unique voice by reading other writers books. And we learn what voice is. We also learn how chapters need to end and how new chapters are started. We learn about tension when we read tension.

So yeah, writing is hard, but it's the best way to earn a living that I can think of. Write on. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


 Christopher has his mouth surgery today at Chapel Hill. Please pray for him. There are all sorts of complications that can pop up with the Sturge-Weber that he has. He is my sweet, sweet guy.


 They grow up so fast.

She is 13 today. YIKES!

Have a very happy birthday, Ivy. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope you had a DELICIOUS  Thanksgiving. :) I know I did.

 “A blank sheet of paper.” That was Ernest Hemingway's answer when someone asked him what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered.


I do. The time before I write the novel is the scariest time of all. Now I know some writers believe that ideas are the easiest part. For them I guess it's the implementation of those ideas that scares them the most.

How do you face the empty page? 

This is how I do it. I read and write and then I read and write some more.

John Grisham tells writers to experience some things, see some of the world, go through things–love, heartbreak, and so on, because you need to have something to say. Agree?

He says he always tells young aspiring writers to write a page a day. It quickly becomes a habit. I know there is some truth to that.

Ernest Hemingway also said "each day’s work should only be interrupted when one knows where to begin again the next day"

 I know that is true. That's how I write. I don't stop until I'm sure I know where to start when I pick back up the next day. I've even written myself a note in the MS in case I forget.

The only way I've found to defeat the empty page is to read and write and read and write some more. 

How do you defeat the empty page? :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Candy's J2W Part Two

That girl is at it again. She's raising money for women, children and families in need. And all you have to give is a dollar. A buck. Four quarters. Ten dimes. Twenty nickels. (Yeah, I counted on my fingers.) One hundred pennies. Come on! Let's help. Let's do our part. Click over to Candy's house and make yourself feel good. You'll feel all warm and fuzzy and you know how you like to feel all warm and fuzzy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

 I'm thankful for all my blogging pals. I love y'all so very much. My prayer is that God shower blessings on all of you.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL. I hope you all have an awesome time with family and friends. I'll be back on Monday, November 29th. BE THANKFUL AND EAT LOTS. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cool, cool contest over at Sharon's house.

Click over to Random Thoughts and enter to win an AWESOME book and meet author Steve Swinburne. Contest ends on November 30th. Good luck. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Awesome giveaway

Click over to Karen's house and enter the awesome giveaway she's having. Win a writers package. A most awesome writers package. :)  But hurry over and follow. It ends November 17th.  :)


As most of you know, Amazon pulled the hideous book from their site. After receiving the many emails and phone calls , I guess they figured out what they had to do. My question is this. The book was self-published on kindle. Doesn't that make Amazon the publisher? Why would they do that? We know it wasn't a disgruntled ex-employee with a grudge, because they pulled it once yesterday (where it was 99 on the bestseller list) and then put it back up (and it was 80 on the bestseller list).

I need answers. And this isn't the only book like this that Amazon sells. WHERE DO THEY DRAW THE LINE? Have they NO shame?

The Christmas season is closer than they think. I'll be buying my books at B&N and my local bookstore. In the past, I've regularly bought books at Amazon. NO MORE. I can't support a company like this. Maybe sometime in the future, if I am reassured that their morals have improved, maybe then. But Amazon, I wouldn't hold my breath.

I'll post regularly again on Monday. Today is my wedding anniversary (notice how I said MY? Like the hubby had nothing to do with it.)

It is also the one year anniversary of the death of my beloved cat Blue. A whole lotta tears will be shed.

Have a lovely, safe weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Huge Amazon Controversy--Go Weigh In!

I KNOW I said I'd be back yesterday, but our derned internet was out. No bad weather. Pleasant sunny day and NO internet. MAN, ain't technology sweet? :)

Please email Amazon and voice your displeasure over the pedophile book (the pedophile's guide to love and pleasure) (capitals left out on purpose.) that is on their site. It was reported that they had pulled the book, but that isn't true. They have NOT pulled this book. (It made their bestsellers list.) Amazon says that “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions. HELLLLLOOOOO! By selling this book they are MOST CERTAINLY SUPPORTING CRIMINAL ACTS.

Question for you. Should a book like this be censored? Banned? I'm TOTALLY against censorship, however, this book (though it has no pictures) clearly explains how to harm a child in this very disgusting way. So I have to say "BURN THE BOOK."

Please click over and voice your displeasure with the powers that be. Amazon has to know where we stand on this issue. TOGETHER! WITH OUR CHILDREN!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Won't post until Wednesday

I'm writing a lot these next two days, but I'll see you on Wednesday. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Can Betas Do For You?

Betas give you that extra punch you need. That extra idea, that extra force you need to make your story THE BEST FRICKIN' STORY EVER! They give us the critical eye we need. My betas read my story like a book. From cover to cover. Then they go back and show me areas where they were confused, places that need more or less. Things I'm showing instead of telling. (Yes, I said what you think I said. There are places like that in your book.)

Let's face it, we all need 'em. They make us better writers. Not only from critiquing our stories, but when we BECOME betas, we learn a lot from critiquing their words. It's a give, get thing people.  We give? We get back.

How did you come to know your betas? I got to know mine through the blogging world. And they ROCK! 

We all need each other. I have become a better writer, because of them. I love writing and reading awesome novels.

Do you have beta readers?

How did you meet them?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Have you read this book? I believe it came out in 2009. But I loved it. The book centers around Thomas, who finds himself at the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. The only thing  they know for sure  is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them open up. Every night the doors are closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. All boys are sent up until a girl arrives. Thomas needs to unlock the secrets that are buried inside his mind in order to figure out what is going on. The part where Thomas has to rescue his grouchy friend Alby, while the grievers(part man, part machine) were getting closer, pretty much had me on the edge of my seat.

Have you read any books you'd love to share?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time for Writing Prompts

At times we need a little push to sharpen our writing skills or take us away from the dreaded WRITERS BLOCK. (Which I have never had.) *knock on wood*

Here are a some good ones that I thought you'd like to try. I got them from the Writers Digest list of Writing Prompts  There are literally hundreds.

1. Get out a photo album. Pick out number 14. Count anyway you like, but make sure to stop on number 14. Look at the photo for 2  minutes. Then for 10 minutes write all the ways that photo made you feel.

2. Pick out ten words from the dictionary. Create your own meanings for these words. What do the words make you think of?

3. Pick a fairy tale and write your own ending. Feeling sinister? Funny? Make it YOUR way. Actually this is a great exercise for any book you loved reading or hated.

4. Pick your favorite poem and write a new one.Make the last line of the favorite poem the first line of the new one.

5. Write down all the cliches you can think of. Choose the one you're most familiar with and make it the first line of a poem.

We all need exercises every so often. Whether it be our physical selves or our writing selves.

Add to these in the comments. What works for you? :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Go to it and win an ARC of   MATCHED by Ally Condie. You know you wanna grab this book. Click over to her new place and follow. :) (Apologies for me being late to re-follow you Emy.) Here's the link peeps: Emy's house :)       

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cool contest.

Head over to Theresa Milstein's Substitute Teacher's Saga  and enter her really great get to know other bloggers through her Halloween Haunting contest. Contest ends November 1st. This is such a fantastic idea, Theresa. (Why didn't I think of it?)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Write for teens? Then this is a MUST read.

You have to read what Audrey, a 13 year old Californian, has to say about the reading habits and reading preferences of her and her friends. Click to read what these amazing kids have to say over at  Write 4 Kids

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can You See It? Really? Part Two

Using our senses in writing means using all FIVE of these, makes it so very easy to show what we mean, little gems. If I am going to show the crackling fire in SEVENTY-TWO HOURS what better way than to use my sense of hearing, sight, and smell. I even used touch when Anna burned her finger on  the spattering embers. The sense of smell brings back memories (as Angela pointed out) and is the one we're most likely to use. But let's use them all and give our readers the descriptive language they want and deserve.

I've blogged about our pal, Angela before. I can't tell you the times that I have been stuck, popped over to her blog and used her thesaurus on setting, colors, shapes and textures, or emotions. More than once, her thesaurus collections have brought me back into my book and helped me NAIL the scene. So this being a day when I still have the CRUD, I will leave you with a link. If you haven't yet, please go and sit a spell at her house. You'll go back often, so click over and visit Angela's place. You'll be glad you did. :)

Just want to give a big THANK YOU to Tess. *hugs and more hugs* *and more hugs* :) Never ending hugs to you, pal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Can You See It? Really?

As writers, we know to make use of our senses, but most of the stories I see, could use a lot more touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting.

We never go through a day without these vital sense organs reacting to the outside world. When Christopher was little, he grabbed the pretty red HEATING ELEMENT in the oven. I felt HIS pain, because I could SEE his pain. He cried of course, but there were other ways he showed the agony. And when I looked at his hand, I saw the skin had melted away.

We need to do more than show a gurgling stream to our readers. Our readers want to be in the book. Sitting by the stream, smelling the fish, and listening to the wind howl. They want to be able to see the night sky and feel the passionate kiss. I write picture books and middle grade, but thought I'd throw the kiss in for those of you that write the GOOD stuff. :)

So if you are having trouble putting it into words, go and do it. Yes, I really did eat acorns when I wrote SEVENTY-TWO HOURS. And they're quite tasty. By the time I wrote revision 91, :) I was able to write that scene so well, the reader can actually taste the acorn.

Remember, the reader wants to be IN the story with your characters. No matter what is going on. That's why books can take us from another country to ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. 

Short post, but I have the CRUD. I've been in bed for two days. Anyone else have anything to add? Can you see it? Really? Have a lovely weekend. Thanks for popping over.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy, Happy Birthday

Happy eleventh birthday, Lenny Lee.

I hope your birthday is filled with AWESOMENESS. Because you are filled with awesomeness. So here's wishing you TONS of joy and TONS of love and 100 more birthdays. (At least.) Everyone join me in wishing this COOL little guy a most wonderful birthday. Everyone sing happy birthday. Sing loud, so he can hear you. (^_^)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Win a copy of A Memory Between Us, by Sarah Sundin

Pop over to Karen's house and read her review of this well written book. You can win a copy. How cool is  that? It's historical fiction, need I say more? :)

Check Out Judy's post today

Click over and read Judy's post today. It's about the United Nations focus on bringing water to the millions of people, like the women who live in the foothills of the Drakensberg, who still have no direct access to clean water. (From Judy's beautiful post.) Click over, will you?

Question for you

Computer is going and thanks to all my writerly pals that sent me their support and advice. For one thing, everything will be backed up thrice. The thing that hurt the worst was loosing my writing and family pictures. The pictures are gone forever, because someone wanted to hurt a fellow human being. Well he/she got their wish. My entire family was hurt by the loss of our pictures. Ivy went to see Taylor Swift over the summer and those pics (of her with Taylor's band) are all gone. I feel responsible, because I put off backing up. :(

My question for you is this: What is the best movie adaptation of a children's book. Or the absolute worst. I have wanted to do this post ever since Where The Wild Things Are came out. Yeah, I'm a little slow.

As most of you know, my favorite book of all time is: Black Beauty. But NONE of the movies adapted from this book HAVE ever done it justice. Say STINKO with me.

Sea Biscuit was one of the best. And I thought The Black Stallion series was done fairly well. 
What did you all think of  The Cat In The Hat? Pinocchio? Eragon? All of the Harry Potter books? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? The Jungle Book? Little Women? Matilda?

Do you have any picks for  the BEST or WORST? Speak to me. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

I know I've been mostly absent this week.

But I DO have an excuse. My PC has been very sick. Almost dead. As a matter of fact, they had to revive it. And by that I mean, make it new.

This virus was the absolute WORST virus that they have ever seen.  And I have virus protection. So don't don't let that fool ya. Your computer can still get one. Where did I get it from? FACEBOOK!

I opened a message from my son. Not realizing his facebook had been hacked. MY KID. Of course, I'll open something from him or any of my other children. (They all don't have facebook.)

Point? I will never open another message from anyone. I can't. This virus got into all the files, the family pictures, the writing. It wormed its way into my Microsoft Office.

This is a warning to you. All the writing folks that I love. Back up EVERYTHING. Put your pictures on a disc. Please!

This has weighed me down on a week when I should be happy for Beth. (And I am. Just not like it should be. Nothing is this week.) She is in New York with C. (her hubby). Having a big time. *waves to Beth*

I'm using my laptop right now, but am really only writing on this and I am DEATHLY afraid to use it on the internet too much.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The story of how I did

Last week several bloggers followed our very own Patti Nielson into the wonderful world of keeping track of our writing hours, minutes, and seconds. :)

So how'd I do? Here's my tally:

Monday: Well, it was my birthday and I met with Beth. So I wrote NOTHING. UGH (GUILT)

Tuesday: Hospital trip with Christopher. Hubby drove and I wrote in the car for two hours. (Sun was bugging me and hubby was chatting away or I would have written more. More GUILT.

Wednesday: YAY. After home-school I wrote for four hours. WOOT! Left laptop feeling, oh so wonderful about myself.

Thursday: Home-school and then writing. I logged another four hours. Feelin' fine. Yeah!

Friday: home-school co-op. After my journalism class (great kids, btw, I love 'em.) I wrote two hours and then when we returned home from co-op, I wrote for another hour. Said to self, "self, you are a writin' FOOL." Yeah!

Total: Thirteen hours

What I learned. I learned I write more than I thought I did on certain days. And that interruptions don't bother me. I flow along. But I have pangs of GUILT when I don't log at least three hours of writing time. This GUILT haunts me until I am able to have a long writing session. And the guilt makes me believe I won't be able to write the next day. So I have to step outta that guilt in order to write well the next time.

This experiment was totally worth it and I have decided to do it on my own for a month to track my progress on my novel. GET OUTTA HERE guilt. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big Dear Editor contest

Now. I only whisper about this contest since I want to win the prize, but SHANNON are you listening chica? :) Picture book edit. Nuff said? Here's the link:

Check out Jody's awesome interview over at Karen's place

And win a copy of Jody's most awesome book, The Preacher's Bride. You have to have this book. I promise you do. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wicked contest over at Roots In Myth

You gotta have a copy of this book, don'tcha? Let me tell you, I read this book from  the first draft and man what an awesome read it is. So head over and try to snatch the ARC. Go on now. Before it's too late. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Prayer for Kate and Banned Books Week

I have blogged about Kate McRae before. She's the little girl in the picture on the sidebar and I know many of you have lifted her up to God. This summer went great (no sign of the brain tumor) for her and she finally was able to start kindergarten. But this weekend she began vomiting and seemed very lethargic. Please pray that this is just a normal virus. Pray for her mom and dad. They have had a taste of almost normal family life this summer and now might be thrown back into the depths of the cancer black hole again.

 This is from the ALA website:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

 Here are some links on Banned Books Weeks.

We all have the right to read. While I don't believe in reading certain material, I defend your right to create and read that material.

It's all about free speech. Fight for it. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010


Happy National Punctuation Day. Lots of celebrations going on around the country. Here's a link to THE National Punctuation Day's website.

It was started by Jeff Rubin seven years ago. This year there is a Haiku contest going on. Your entry has to be in by September 30. Good luck and remember, ' it's not possessive. (^_^)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contest over at Jenna's house

Lots of books to be had. Race over and check it out. Here's the link: 

First Drafts

First drafts are a way for me to find out exactly (almost) what story I am telling. It isn't for finding the greatest way to tell that story, that is left for the later drafts.

I am writing a first draft. But the main characters have been developed, their stories told in the book I just finished. This is not a series, though. Just another story using the same main characters as my last book. (These characters won't leave my head.)

In all relationships there are conflicts. Mother, daughter, husband, wife, boss, employee. The key to writing a great book is creating real relationships. In life, we all have our differences. We can't get along every day. There are going to be disagreements, because we're all human. Our characters in our books are humans, too.

Internal conflicts shows what our character wants or what he/she feels. This is hardest for me. In SEVENTY TWO HOURS, Anna's external is easy. She's lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her best friend Claire. They want to find their way home. Internal was harder. Anna's pride and independence overrules her common sense. Anna wanted to feel proud and independent, yet she wanted to admit she was vulnerable. Two conflicting feelings pulling at her.

Which brings me to another point. Anna's name before it was Anna, was Sarah. There's nothing wrong with the name Sarah, but the first draft went faster after I changed the name. Scarlett O'Hara's name in the first draft was Pansy. I think Scarlett just works better, don't you? :)

Pacing. Very important. Slow things down when you need to and speed things up when you have to. Big things need more time. Move a little slower. Dig a little deeper.

Any advice on first drafts that you want to mention? Speak to me. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Friday, September 17, 2010

Blogfest, YEAH!

Our sweet, cherished friend, Patti Nielson is hosting a great blogfest which starts on my birthday. At least I won't have time remembering the date. hehe

From her blog:    

Write down every minute or hour you spend writing or editing. Starting on Monday, September 27 and ending on Saturday, October 2.

Join the fun, spread the word. You in??????

I had to add this to my post. Great one by the LOVELY Nathan Bransford.  You have to read it, if you haven't already.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poisonous Gas Pumped into Afghan Girls' Schools

Please click the link and then help spread the love and the word by sharing the links wherever you are on the internet.    Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I'm glad that children's author KP Bath, author of The Secret of Castle Cant, was sentenced to six years in federal prison, but I wonder if it could have been more. The author was found to have a large collection of pornographic photographs and video clips of children in his Portland, Oregon, home.  Bath's publisher, Little, Brown, abandoned another book from Bath, because of the allegations against him. This is disgusting. He is disgusting. *celebrating*

Did you know that Laura Lippman's new thriller, I'd Know You Anywhere, sold more ebooks than hardcovers during its first five days on sale?             announced in recently that it was selling more ebooks than hardcovers. Authors and publishers are now also starting to see ebooks outsell hardcovers. The Digits post says some experts believe ebooks could be 20% to 25% of publishers' total revenue by the end of 2012. The Ebook version outselling the hardcover version of a new novel will probably be a common occurrence by then. SAY HUH???? 

Outselling the hardcover version of a new novel=common occurrence?? I'm just sitting beside myself here. :) I thought this might happen, SOMEDAY. Not in a year or two.

On the last post, most of us agreed that actually touching the pages and smelling the sweet aroma of our hardcover books means a lot to us.  Will hardcover books go the way of the old eight track tapes? Help us all!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Great Post Over At Cassandra's place

Laura Diamond discusses scheduling writing time. Please check it out. Then hop over to Laura's house to read what Cassandra has to say females in fantasy. Follow the links. It's a blog chain people. (^_^)

Friday, September 10, 2010

This really is a business

Did you know that is selling more Kindle books than hardcover books? Say what? Uh-huh. That amazes this NON (never will) Kindle user.

Over the past three months for every 100 hardcover books has sold, they've sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month for every 100 hardcover books sold, has sold 180 Kindle books. They sold 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009. This includes hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition, but this is still simply amazing.

Five authors- Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books. Say what? Uh-huh. Okay, now I'm really amazed.

E-book sales grew  207 per cent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales exceeded that.

 Am I the only one that finds these numbers incredible?

I like to feel the book, smell it. But lots of folks love the convenience of a Kindle. These numbers prove that.

So this really is a business isn't it? :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love the links and plotting = UGH

     Plotting. A big fat UGH. I didn't plot SEVENTY TWO HOURS, and I paid the price during my 5000 revisions. So with this next book I have a synopsis and I am plotting my way through.

     So how do I plot? I'm using Storybook. It helps you with structuring your book. Managing scenes, characters, locations. And keeps it all in one place. The best part? FREE! The hubby loves that word. ;)

Need help with plotting? Here is a free toy that should help your plotting time be a pleasurable experience.

Here's a great link for children's writers. Great posts, interviews, just fun stuff. I love that place. I'm not from Utah, but this is a great blog. Check it out.

Short post today, but home-school is just starting and I am plotting away. *wink*

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Are Your Strengths As a Writer? And An Announcement. :) I HAVE A TITLE, PEOPLE!

First, let's get to the good stuff. Drum roll please. :)  :)

The winner of the title contest is: Candy Ganger, Silent Stables: The Disappearance of Fancy and Rundee. You have my email, lady. So shoot me one with your mailing address. Congrats. She wins a $30.00 Barnes and Noble gift card and a sweet little basket of goodies from Village Coffee. 

The second place winner was right on Candy's heels (only missed it by 6 votes. And believe me, I counted ten times.) so I will send Doctor Lydia Kang, Gone in a Gallop,  a $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card. Thanks and congrats Lydia. Email me with your contact info.

Check out these blogs. These ladies are amazing.

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful title ideas. Dang, you people are GOOOOD!

What are your writerly strengths? Weaknesses? I'll go first. My strengths? Voice. Dialogue. Weaknesses? Voice. Dialogue. Yep. You read that right.

I love to write. I love to write for kids. And I have been told I have great voice. And not so great voice. I have been told I'm a whiz with dialogue. And I've been told I write too much dialogue. My strengths and weaknesses are the same. So I must find the right balance. 

The problem with my dialogue can be summed up like this. Sometimes I go to the extreme. Trying to hard. And I get so into writing dialogue that five pages later I go, "Oops." I have really been trying to use lots more description and not so much dialogue. But I have to be careful, lest I write an entire book with dialogue. :)

I must remind myself of these things every once in a while: 
Always be careful not to use phony dialogue just to get where you are going. You know, to advance the plot. I would never say to a friend, "Where are we going?" That is just for the readers benefit and the reader doesn't like it. :) Or "what's up with that?" *groan*
Never sound like another writer. I have my own voice. And it's very nice. :) 

Suffixes. Ness words. The reader doesn't like them. They make the reader trip. He/she has to come back and reread. And we can do without them. 

Smart quotes. Use them. The agent will have to change over to smart quotes, anyway. 

Commas, those little buggers. I sometimes don't like to put them where they go, because I don't like the pause they give. Put them. Punctuation is very important. Learn the rules. :) (I'm still learning.)

I have a little problem with pacing that I am correcting. *CONFETTI*  It can be too smooth. Too just so. I need to remember to shake it up. Or it can be too uneven. YIKES. Speak the scene out loud. You'll know, because you'll hear it. Very important.

I'm just glad that I can admit my faults. Shhhh, don't tell hubby.

Two great books? Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter, both by Heather Sellers.

Do you know what your strengths as a writer are? Your weaknesses? Care to show? And show how you fixed it. Someone else might need to know. :) I love you all. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The winner...

     I will announce the winner of the title contest on Friday. I have to finish counting the email votes. I have been busy with home-school stuff. We start back next week and yesterday I found the most AWESOME math books in the world. Totally awesome, tremendous, most wonderful math books. WOO-HOO! I'll say that again: WOO-HOO! *happy dance* 

    Oops, sorry. But I still can't believe how TOTALLY happy I feel at having found these books.

    On to the post for today. Yep, I do have one. :)

    Do we need social media? What say all of you?

     I think we do. My reasoning for my quick response is this: (it was quick, you'll just have to believe me.)

     A. Connecting with other writers, agents, editors=learning as much as we can about the publishing world.

     B. When that GLORIOUS day arrives and we have our baby (BESTSELLER) in our hands, we think book sales. A lot of authors have blogged about how many sales come from social media connections or folks that heard about their books from social media sites.

     C.  Uh, my pal Tess recently joined Facebook. WHOA!;) BTW, she's doing a month post on book trailers. Pop over. LEARN.

     Which is better? Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn? Or are they all about the same? I am on Twitter and Facebook. My blog is where I most like to connect, but Facebook is faster.

      Do these sites take up too much of your time? Promise yourself to only spend x amount of time on them. The writing is THE most important thing. And why connect if you're not writing? What say all of you?

      Short post, but sometimes shorter is better.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you voted for the title you like? It closes August 30th.

How do you add backstory? Dialogue? In SEVENTY-TWO HOURS, I have the girls talking about the old times they had together. Very effective and easy to do.

Or do you use flashbacks? I do have Anna thinking about times gone by. The only thing I don't like about this is I HAD to use the word had. Since it was past perfect. So I didn't use it too much. But I had to use it some. When you read the novel, you'll see why. :)

Going over past events in your character's head. This is a great way to weave in backstory. Because it is so natural. I'm always going over events in my head. So it is very  normal for my character to do this. Not too much, mind you. I think it can slow down the narrative if used too much.

Why use backstory? The reader needs to know significant things about your character. If it's relevant. Like Anna's diabetes. Anna and Claire's past friendship. Stuff like that.  It shows why a character acts a certain way. But we don't want to bore the readers to tears. So we stuff it in in short snippets. No one wants to read three pages of backstory. UGH. And NEVER start your novel with backstory. YAWN

And remember that lack of info is just what the doctor ordered for your reader. Makes them curious and that's a very good thing for your book. Anyone have anything to add? Tell it to me. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Query Too Soon

I almost made the mistake of querying early, too early. I said, I almost made that mistake. When I finished my book I thought it was ready. I said, "here it is world. I know you're going to love it as much as I do. And I will get paid tons of bills, enormous amounts of CASH."  But I began to notice a lot of problems that needed to be worked out. And I noticed these problems in time. WOOT! I noticed places where I made the DREADED AND MOST UNPROFESSIONAL mistake of telling instead of showing. Yup, GUILTY!

So, I didn't query. I said, "Stop, slow down, you move to fast." I wonder how many will have that song in their head today. hehe

Writers have to make sure our books are the best they can be. I know of a writer that queried her book too early. She sent queries out to all the agents she could find. This writer decided to 'fix' the problems she began to notice in her book. Now the book is ready, but agents have already turned it down. She is hoping that a handful of agents will take another look. I hope so, too.

How do we know when it's time? That's a hard question to answer.  I took another look. A serious look. And I just knew it wasn't ready yet. No major plot problems, but some lots of characterization problems. No major things, just little fixes throughout. I read my story like a book ALOUD. That's when I saw the problems. Then I went back over it marking here and there. And there you have it. Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm ready and my story is ready.

What ways do you double check and triple check to make sure you and your story are set to go?

Big shout out to my great pal Linda Kage. Her book, The Trouble With Tomboys was released a couple weeks ago. (Apologies on my tardiness, Linda. It has been given a FOUR star review. WOO-HOO. Way to go girl. Happy days and no one is more happy for you than me. Well, probably you, your hubby, family members, but you know what I'm sayin'.

Next up, my sweet pal Patti Lacy. She just announced that she has sold her book, Reclaiming Lily to Bethany House. Congrats Patti. WOO-HOO. I am so happy for you. You deserve this and I can't wait to read it. I am buying An Irishwoman's Tale next week.

Last but not least, one of my first blogging buds, Michelle Davidson Argyle just released her Novella Cinders. It is getting rave reviews and I plan on purchasing it next week, too. Glam congrats. I know you are on cloud nine. I'm right there with you. There is a blog tour for the book in September.

Check these blogs out if you haven't already. Great ladies, great talents, great blogs. I love all of you. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tags, tags, and more tags and Dialogue, too.

Don't forget to vote on which title you love for my new book. Polls close (I've always wanted to say that.) August 30th. Go here peeps.>

Tags. We love 'em, we hate 'em. Sometimes we don't know what to do with them. Or at least I don't. :) Too many tags can distract the reader. Pull them out of your story. I like to see dialogue with nothing else but the dialogue. No tags. Not all the time, mind you, but there are certain times when you need nothing but the characters speaking.

Good dialogue can be complicated. It needs to move the story forward and reveal important character info without seeming fake. It needs to seem genuine without actually being genuine. Throughout your novel you can sprinkle in a couple of lines of just dialogue. The reader should be able to KNOW who is speaking without any help from tags or beats.

Listen to the way people talk. Pay attention to the natural rhythms we use when we speak. Then use them in your writing.

Never use dialogue to tell the readers things your characters all ready know. I have been guilty of this more times than I'd like to count. Okay, HUNDREDS!

The best way to figure out if you're using too many tags is to read your scenes/story aloud. It is very telling when you actually hear what you've written.

Oh, and how many times does your character shrug or breath? YIKES! I am guilty of having my characters breath so much they should have been hyperventilating.

Anything I forgot? Tell it to me in the comments. :)

And I want to give a SHOUT-OUT to my pal Jody Hedlund. Her book The Preacher’s Bride will be out in October, but you can pre-order it now. And her blog is mentioned on the Write It sideways site, 23 (more)Websites that Make Your Writing Stronger.

Don't we love it when our fellow writers have success? Friday another shout-out to Glam. You peeps are having so much success that I'm going to get hoarse with all of this shouting out. :) Write on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hmm, Are You External or Internal?

Don't forget to vote for the title you think is the most awesome title. Go here>

As I began writing my next book, it occurred to me that conflict is the lifeblood of our books. There is external and internal. What comes easiest for you as you write your novel? External conflicts or internal? I'm an external kinda gal. I write external conflicts with ease. They just seem to gush out of me. But internal? Oh, mercy me. There is where my troubles start.

Internal conflict is the problem facing our character on the inside and its influence on the character.  It shows how our characters grow throughout the novel. It shows how they change. Not my cup of tea. And we must remember to do everything in our power to keep our MC from reaching their goal. Every bump in the road must show our character something. Expose the weakness in our character. Make him/her human.

External conflict is what drives our characters to make choices. Internal choices. You can't have one without the other. So how can I be great at one and awful at the other if they intertwine so? Dunno. Wish I did. I'm working on it though.

You have to have emotion and conflict on every page. And this tension is what makes the reader love the MC and hate the antagonist. This is also where those famous words, "show no tell," become meaningful to us as writers. Instead of a character rambling on about how much she hates John Doe ;) show it through body language. Actions speak louder than words.

Drama = conflict. Conflict = a best seller. :) Anything I forgot to mention in this post? :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I have not been able to post anything all week here at the ol' house. I don't understand why blogger is being so hard to get along with. I was preparing to type up a bad-tempered letter to send to the powers that be and guess what? It finally worked for me. GAH! Double GAH!

A giant SHOUT OUT to Candy for all the hard work and love she put into her contest. I think writers are the most  considerate, warm-hearted folks in this universe and beyond. Which reminds me, I cried at the end of Toy Story. Yup, I embarrassed all who pretended they weren't with me. ;)


The top ten titles (in order of how many votes they received) are listed here. Please vote on which title you think I should use. A lot of you emailed your votes to me and that is just fine. Either email or by commenting on this post. Your vote will be counted. Without further adieu:

 Silent Stables: The Disappearance of Fancy and Rundee  

The Horse Pirates

Gone in a Gallop

"The C.I.A." - Grand Larceny - Horse Theft
(C-laire, I-an and A-nna)   

To Catch a (Horse)Thief      
Searching For Fancy     

Thieves in Their Pockets  

The White Pines Kidnapping    

Take Hold of the Reins

So let's get out the vote. Cuz, I need a title, yanno??

And thank you to everyone who sent in titles ideas. Every title got at least one vote, which only goes to prove that y'all are just awesome title thinker-uppers.

Oh and Jennifer Shirk raised a great question about the genre. So I thought I'd fix that. It is middle grade action/adventure. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last Day!!!!!!!!!!!

This is it folks. The last day to enter Candyland's contest and soothe aching bodies and souls in the process. Hop over will you? She's probably got a pot of coffee on to go with all those excellent prizes. Come on! Give from your heart. Click here>  

Or click to the right at the top of the sidebar. Just click! You'll be glad you did. 
Happy weekend. Smile , laugh and love peeps!

Friday, July 30, 2010

How do you define success in your writing?

Don't forget to vote. Go here:   Or you could just scroll down from this post. hehe

Two more days to visit the MOST AWESOME Candyland's house and give from your heart. And a chance to make a difference in this world. Let's keep hope alive and give, so that these woman can be independent. The non profit Joy 2 the World generates micro-credit loans for the women of Ghana to encourage independence. Taken from Candyland: This organization helps build wells for clean water (as opposed to river water), create pre-k schools with hot meals, give loans to women for small business start-up and awards scholarships to those attending school. So dig deep and there are lots of ways to give. And you have a chance to win a most amazing prize in the process. We writers loves us some prizes. SWEET! Click this link or the one at the top of the sidebar. Puuulllleeeeaaaassse! You'll be feeling great and walking on air all day. Thanks!

How do you define success in your writing? Is it:

Snagging cool, awesome agent

Getting a humongous advance

Becoming a clone of JK?

Having a feel good feeling when you're in the bookstore and actually watch someone pick up your book and buy that wondrous thing?

Being invited to Oprah. (Come on, admit it.) *wink* *wink*

Just writing your stuff, no matter the outcome.

Actually all these are possible. But for me it's just writing the novel and having a chance for it  to be published. Just the chance. How about you? Oh, and er, yeah, the Oprah thing too. *wink* *wink*

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sliding Rock
That's BC heading down Sliding Rock and Ivy is at the top getting ready for her turn. What fun! What icy mountain water. We had an awesome time.

Please, please, hop over to the most awesome Candyland's blog and feel the love and share the love. It's all about giving of ourselves. Giving whatever we can give. Sharing whatever we can share. Click on the I Heart Joy Like BR80 on top of the sidebar and it will take you where you need to be. This is about giving folks. And the chance to win some AWESOME prizes. And I mean AWESOME prizes. Plus, you'll get that feel good feeling in your tummy. That's the best prize of all. The non-profit, Joy 2 the World, generates micro-credit loans for the women of Ghana to encourage independence and empowerment. Now that's a feel good thang. And leaving the world a little bit better than we found it. Come on folks! It's a love thang. =) Contest runs through July 31st. So time's a wastin'! Let's get rolling.

Now on to the title contest entries. Lots of excellent, amazing, and awesome titles here folks. So, let's commence the voting. Voting for the ten favorites will last for a week. Then the ten with the most entries will be back up next Monday. You will choose the winner. Drum roll, please!

1. "Stolen"
2. "Searching For Fancy" 
3. "The C.I.A."- Grand Larceny - Horse Theft (C-laire, I-an, and A-nna)
4. "Gone In A Gallop"
5. "Stolen Canter"
6. "Stolen Fancy
7. "Silent Stables: The Disappearance of Fancy and Rundee"
8. "The Horse Ring"
9. "Swindled"
10. "The Horse Pirates"
11. "If Horses Could Cry"
12. "Horseshoes & Hijinx"
13. "Fancy Free"
14. "Horse Flesh and Goose Bumps"
15. "Ranch Thief Round-Up"
16. "The White Pines Kidnapping"
17. "Snatched"
18. "Spirited Away"
19."To Catch a (Horse) Thief  
20. "A Bid For Fancy"
21. "Traded Thoroughbreds"   
22. "A Tale Of Two Horses"  
23. "Stealing Fancy"  
24. "Horse Stolen"
25. "The Stealing Ring"  
26. "Chasing the Wind"
27. "Thieves in Their Pockets"  
28. "House Thief"  
29. "Captured"
30. "Horse Burglar"
31. "Horse Finder"
32. "Masterminds"
33. "A Gift Horse"
34. "Stolen Freedom"  
35. "Take Hold of the Reins"
And there you have the entries, folks.  Vote in the comment section of this post using the number or name. Number being the easiest, I guess. And a HUGE thank you for all the super fantastic title ideas. I love 'em! I know the font size is different on some titles GAH! I've had so much trouble with this post. I gave up. PHOOEY ON YOU BLOGGER.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have You Shared The Love?

Don't forget to enter the title contest to win a Barnes & Noble gift card + a goodies basket from my local coffee shop, Village Coffee. Thanks to everyone who has entered. I loves ya!

Also, have you shared the love? If not, please click on the banner at the top of the side-bar. It will direct you to the ever so cool and awesomely beautiful Candyland's house. It's lovely over there, where the love and compassion churns baby churns. So click on over and read the story of Matt Brady and New Medicine and Joy 2 the World. After leaving there, your day will be sooo sweet. Please give, create, listen, buy, or promote. So many ways to share the love. And so many prizes to win. Even a prize from my  fab crit pardner Beth Revis. (A special pre-order of Across the Universe.) So come on folks, make your day by helping the cause. It's a feel good thang, yanno? 

Verbs! We need those super fantastic action words. I mean we're writers. This link will give you lots of verbs to choose from. I used it while finishing up SEVENTY TWO HOURS.

Click over to Deanna Carlyle's, 1000 Verbs To Live By.

Need a thesaurus??  I gots ya covered. Click over and download this free wordweb version. It's sooo much more than a thesaurus.

Hugs and love to everyone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't forget to enter the title contest to win a Barnes & Noble gift card + a goodies basket from my local coffee shop, Village Coffee. Only one more week to enter. People! I've only received FIVE entries.

Also, please do not forget to check out Candyland. This contest has loads of great prizes, and FOUR ways to enter. Plus, you'll be giving to this incredible non profit that  provides micro-credit loans to the women of Ghana, West Africa.What can be cooler than that. Can you imagine their delight in making their own money? Come on peeps. Let's do our part. There is so much hurting in the world. So many needs. We can't do it all, I know. But we can do one or two. Give to this cause and in the process WIN a prize. What could be better? NUTTIN! So click on over to her house and check out the non-profit and the blog. You'll be glad you did. And you'll leave with a smile on your face and a feel good sensation in your tummy. I loves me a feel good sensation down deep in my tummy.

I have a question. When you first began to write, seriously write. What are the things that surprised you the most about writing, finding agents, the publishing world in general? What have you learned?

When I started writing and received my critiques back, I would get right to work. Changing everything to suit the critiquers. Say what? Yup. I thought I was supposed to do that. Yup, I was a dummy. 

 I have since learned that if I AGREE with a critiquer or beta reader, then I will make the change. But I NEVER make all the changes. NEVER. Because I know what is best for my story and there are parts that I want to keep. In the long run, I have to live with my story. It's my baby.

Beth is a fantastic help. My betas are fantastic help, and I value their advice more than I can say. But they are giving their opinions. So it's my job to figure out what to use and what to pitch.

What have you learned? Do tell?  Thanks for reading.  

Title contest, y'all

Robyn has finished SEVENTY TWO HOURS. She needs a title for the MG book she is working on now. Still about Anna, Claire, and Ian. (They won't leave my head.) But this time they are after the thieves that took their two beloved (and worth a lot of moolah) horses, Fancy and Rundee. Snatched them right off the ranch where Anna and Ian live. They head out after the slimy burglars and end up captured themselves. BTW, they discover a ring that is stealing thoroughbreds and selling them to the highest bidder. Now pass the word about this contest and you get THREE extra points. Facebook, twitter, yanno the drill. Also, if you add it to your sidebar, another THREE extra points. I will post all title entries on the blog on the week of July 26th. Then you will vote on your favorite. Uh, nope, can't vote for your own title. I have Ivy on the case. She's a super-sleuth. =) The entries with the most points, because they facebooked, etc, will be at the top. 1st place, 2nd, etc. Top ten entries will be voted on by you. The most lovely folks in the universe. You will pick the winner. When my book comes out, (and come out it will) providing the publisher allows, the winner will receive credit as being the said titler if they use it. Prize?? Say huh?? ^_^ A $30.00 Barnes and Noble gift card and a basket of yummy Village Coffee stuff.

I only have five entries. Contest closes the morning of July 26th. If I don't get any more entries I will just post the five I have.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Super Cool Lady Having A Super Cool Contest.

Check out Candyland to see the awesomeness of this fine lady and to help a wonderful cause. Plus lots of super cool prizes for writers. So everyone wins. Win, win, YANNO?

This is taken directly from The Misadventures in Candyland:

They're an incredible non-profit who provides micro-credit loans to the women of Ghana, West Africa. Not only do they help empower these women, but they also use donations to help the community as a whole by building wells for clean water (as opposed to river water), pre-K schools for children, they provide buckets ($40 donation) to encourage hand-washing to prevent the spread of germs and disease, and present scholarships for students attending school.

Come on peeps, let's throw our hat in the ring and leave some goodness in this world. (And boy does it need some goodness.)

Here's the link:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tension in our writing

Don't forget to enter the title contest to win a Barnes & Noble gift card + a goodies basket from my local coffee shop, Village Coffee. Only two more weeks to enter. 

The horse show was super fantastic. We had such a great time and Ivy made all of her jumps and patterns. She did an outstanding job. Ans she vows to go back next year, too. =)

Tension! We all face it in life. It's a given. Some of us daily. (If you have teenagers.) Especially girls.

Think of old movies. Every second of tension in a old horror movie is captured for our viewing pleasure. Even in old romance movies there is a lot of tension. Tension makes us watch on. Tension holds us to our seats. We can't wait to see what will happen next.

The same goes for our writing. Tension! Showing every second of the danger and action. Let your scene unfold in your head like a movie. Play it out. What made you grip your seat? Write it! 

I once read that interrupted action adds to the tension for the reader as much as the actual cliffhanger does. It causes stress and that's exactly what we want. =)

Distraction. It stops the action and adds even more tension, because now the reader must wait to see what will happen. More stress for the reader. Lovely isn't it?

Help the character to make mistakes. Now that can really add to the tension. A mistake can be as simple as saying no instead of yes. Or loosing an important email, that gives the oh so important phone number. Plot situations that boggle the mind. And make the reader read on.

Do shorter sentences help create tension. You betcha! What about word choice? Uhhuh. Words with harsh sounds in them, "shut up!", create tension. While words with a more softer feel and sound bring the reader into their happy place.  She longed to be kissed by him as he draped his arms around her. Okay bad example, I'm not a romance writer. =) But you get the message. I hope.

There a lots of ways to bring tension into your scenes. And add stress to your reader. And that's what we all want.   Thanks for reading. :)