Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Beginning Game!

I would like to play a little game that really only benefits me :), but I could use some help and opinions and honestly feel free to say what you think. As you know I have done 2 workshops on my beginnings (2 different beginnings) and did not receive great reviews. So I'm brainstorming and doing some messing around and would love to hear what you think!

I'm going to post 3 different beginnings, just a few paragraphs each. You comment and tell me which you like best or none at all if that's how you feel. Do you connect with Sophie? Do you feel anything? Would you keep reading?

Ok here goes:

#1-This is my original starter-Preface critiqued by Mary Kole with some tweaks

I shouldn't have followed him, but I couldn't let him go without me.

I didn't like the look in Jaxen's eyes when he came to tell me goodbye, though I didn't know that's what he was doing. I struggled not to run into his open arms, the fear on his face held me back.

"I love you, Sophie," he said for the first time. "I have to go now. I'm so sorry."

Without a word I let him walk away. I watched until his tall form became nothing but heat waves on the horizon. My heart shattered with each parting step. I wanted to scream and beg him to come back to me...but I didn't.

And now I lay with blood pooling in a sickening puddle beneath me. I wasn't ready to die. I wasn't ready to leave him.

#2-The original chapter 1 start-not good feedback from Miss Snark's first 25

Wind carelessly messed his blond hair as he swooped in behind a herd of cattle. Sunlight sparkled all around him and I found myself frozen, staring in wide-eyed fascination. Like a movie scene playing in slow motion, he leaned low over his white steed, moving as one with the impressive creature. Chiseled muscles strained against a t-shirt stretched too tight across his chest.

A gust of wind from the running cows whipped my hair from beneath my cowboy hat, assaulting me with the stench of dirt and manure. He pulled hard the reins, the horse skidded to a stop mere inches from me. Dust swirled around me. I couldn’t blink, afraid he would disappear before I could memorize every feature.

Dangerous black eyes stared down, sending shivers of awareness through me. I lifted a hand to my forehead to block the bright light. That hauntingly familiar gaze traveled from the tip of my worn cowboy boots coming to rest on my too-full lips. I couldn’t read his expression. It was hard and soft all at the same time.

His mouth quirked up at the corner, but his eyes remained piercing, “Watch yourself,” he said, his voice tight and controlled.

My knees went weak and my mind exited the real world. Strange tingling sensations rippled through my stomach and I stumbled backward just out of the way of a stray cow.

And #3-Brand spankin' new-never been critiqued

I wished I could go back to the time before the accident when I was happy and carefree. Before my brother’s death devastated the whole town. Before my parents curled up into a little ball and let the world pass them by.

But I couldn’t find that girl anymore. I wasn’t her. She wasn’t me. And try as I might, I could not move on. His memory hung in every corner of every place and I could not escape it.

I had become that person, the girl that every one coddles with the sympathetic smiles and the “How ya doin’, hon” pats on the back.

I didn’t want to be her. I wanted to flourish, to grow wings and fly far away. Away from the never-ending rain and my parents who had forgotten they had a second child, a less popular and outgoing child, but she still needed their love.

Things that are hard to say when you're drunk!

Ok, time for more fun stuff because I kicked major writing booty last night and feel like doing something fun! Here is one of my all time favorite emails:

1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon

1. Specificity
2. Anti-constitutionalistically
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
4. Transubstantiate

1. No thanks, I'm married.
2. Nope, no more booze for me!
3. Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4. Taco Bell? No thanks, I'm not hungry.
5. Good evening, officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight?
6. Oh, I couldn't! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
7. I'm not interested in fighting you.
8. Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance, I have no coordination. I'd hate to look like a fool!
9. Where is the nearest bathroom? I refuse to pee in this parking lot or on the side of the road.
10. I must be going home now, as I have to work in the morning.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to make your blog stand out!

Just finished reading a great blog about...well, blogs! Guest blogger Angela Ackerman writes for the Guide to Literary Agents blog on ways to make your blog stand out. Here's the link: http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Creating+The+Breakout+Blog+A+Platform+Guide+For+The+PrePublished+Writer.aspx

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

19 ways to a keep a healthy level of sanity

In light of my severe irritation at my email provider for changing EVERYTHING and making me go through 2 years and 100+ emails before they vanish, I thought I would share some of the funnier ones that I had been clinging to-in case of an emergency ;)

Here are 19 ways to keep a healthy level of sanity:

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Marijuana".

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy".

9. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go".

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area and Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.

17. When The Money Comes Out of The ATM, Scream "I Won! I Won!"

18. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Contest...part dos

hmmm...so far I have not received good comments over at Miss Snark's. DARN IT! So the preface didn't work and neither did the first chapter. Time for some serious rethinking!

Another Contest!!!

Miss Snark over at http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/ had a contest yesterday for your first 25 words. Other readers will comment and tell you if they think it's worth reading on or not, pretty fun! She has posted her first 90 entries, I believe mine should be coming up later today. Check it out! It could be helpful...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beta Readers

I have been hearing and reading a lot about beta readers lately. You need them, use them, they are helpful. Great. How do find them?

Do you use beta readers? Are they people you know?

Here's my vision of a beta reader: I send my story in a neat little package to someone that I have never seen or talked to. They read it and write down things they like and things they don't like. They send it back to me in the same neat little package. I never have to see them or talk to them.

Now, of course this probably isn't how it really works, but I am slightly shy (no laughing from the people who know me) and would be incredibly embarrassed to see the person, don't ask why!

And, naturally, my mother and my sister think "it's so good. I can't believe anyone would not like this".

My husband's friends, who have just discovered that I write have asked me to send it to them and they would give me their honest opinion. WAY too humiliating for me. First of all, it's totally a chick book and second of all, what if they think it's horrible and laugh? And what it they do tell me the truth, that they hate it? Nope can't do it.

So who do use? Where do you find these people? I don't want a critique, I want a random person who likes my genre to read it and tell me yay or nay. That's it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rewrite and revisions

As most of you know by now, I was selected in Mary Kole at Kidlit.com's workshop for beginnings. If you haven't heard, go check it out http://kidlit.com/2010/03/16/workshop-submission-1/

It was truly an amazing experience. What better way to learn what you are doing wrong than straight from an agent you intend to query (And boy was mine filled with stuff I was doing wrong, I mean, I'm pretty sure it was the whole entire thing!)?

So here is some questions that arose for me: When you are given critique like this, how much do you take and change? Do you think, OK, I'm going to do every single change she suggested? Like for me, she instantly didn't like the idea of the preface, so do I take it out and start at chapter one? Of course you all don't have any idea what my chapter one is like, but on my blog I do have the very first paragraph of ch 1. So that would be the beginning of my story. any thoughts? Anyhow, my point is it is one persons opinion, how much do you let it affect you?

I did get a lot of positive feedback from others and most agreed on one place that they liked and felt I should start, which leads me to believe that would be a good place to begin, but then I still have the preface.

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO? Send me some feedback while I'm mulling this revision around.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog Award

I would like to thanks Jemi over at http://jemifraser.blogspot.com for bestowing me with a blog award! She has been a wonderful follower on mine and was kind enough to mention me on hers! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

Now, since I'm feeling saucy, I think I'll play here tag game :)

(In no particular order)

I like SUNSHINE!!!! Which is out in plenty today!!! YAY!
I like writing
I like traveling (Especially Disneyland)
I like tattoos
I like reading Young Adult books (Hey, I can be young at heart)
I like dancing
I like happy endings
I like being an American

I love my family-(Sorry Jemi had to use the same one) My kids and husband, sister and her girls mean the absolute world to me!!!

I hate MORNINGS!!!
I hate bad drivers
I hate the rain (most of the time-then why do I live in Oregon you may be asking)
I hate rudness-can't we all just get along ;)
I hate lying and sneaking
I hate the anxities I have developed in the last year :(
I hate waiting....for just about anything!!

Now you play!!!

I would like to mention a few blogs also, go check em out:

Charlie Eve: http://kidsbookjunky.blogspot.com/
Lisa Gibson: http://lisadgibson.blogspot.com/
3 Lovely Ladies at: http://whimsyandromance.blogspot.com/
Jean Oram: http://itsallkidsplay.blogspot.com/
TK Richardson: http://eveningfades.blogspot.com/
Calista Taylor: http://awritercooks.blogspot.com/

Sorry had issues with the links-tried for 30 minutes-grrr!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tweeting Twitters!

So I bravely confronted the new frontier of blogging! I like to think I'm fairly computer literate, I do work on a computer for a living for Pete's sake, but seriously when it comes to this, I am clueless!!! I am happy to say I think it's going ok so far...So I only have 12 followers, I am darn happy to every single one of them!

But, I find as I snoop around on all these blogs I have started following; agents, published authors, new writers and so on, that maybe, just maybe, I need to be on Twiiter.

WAIT WHAT?!?!? I have no idea how to Tweet and retweet (Ok, I just think it's funny to say it), and frankly, it scares the heck of me!

I would love to hear your point of view about Twitter and if you have any advice, please chirp it on over (hah...Oh, man sometimes I crack myself up) No really though, I could use some help with it. Give me some thoughts...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Being a mother...

Well, I've finally come to the conclusion that I will not be winning a Mother of the Year Award. It's a hard thing to come to terms with, but I'm sure I'll manange because I may be scatterbrained and impatient, but my kids are happy and healthy (Not to mention BEAUTIFUL).

So, there may be days I sit at the computer all day and never even take a shower, but they are always fed and cared for. So there may be times I lose my temper and scream things I really probably shouldn't, but they are, for the most part, not wild and crazy, disorderly heathens. And there may, possibly be one single day out of my kids whole life where I forgot to pick one of them up from the bus stop, but she has recovered though I have not.

Yes, I may not spend every second playing with them and I may let one of them play on the Wii far longer than he should. I don't do crafts and make smiley faces out of fruit for their snack, or take them to play group every week or even the park when it's finally sunny out. But does that make me a bad parent? No I suppose not, but I may never reach that Mother of the Year status.

Oh, well, they love me and I love them more than life its self! There's nothing more I could ask for!

What's your worst parenting moment or habit? Do tell...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Voice Journal

I found this great blog post at www.alanrinzler.com called: The writer's toolkit: a voice journal for character development. So I thought I'd spend a minute or two (well, ended up to be more like 30) to sit down and do this exercise.

Wow did my pen fly across the paper! What a great way to really get to know your character! I found out things about Sophie that I didn't know before and she really laid it all out for me. I would recommend this to every writer out there, whether you have just started or are on your fifth rewrite, take a moment to ask your MC some questions. This may never have anything to do with your story but it's your baby and you have to believe in them so much that they become a real person and have real stories.

Here's a little of what came out in mine:

I wanted to know just a little about Sophie, this is what she told me. My name is Sophia Layne, everyone calls me Sophie. I'm 17, but I'll be 18 in June. A gemini. I'm not a typical gemini though. I don't do the whole split personality thing.

I'm a Senior at Sandy High School, soon to be done with it(not soon enough). My bestie, Renee and I are moving to Cali after graduation to go to UCLA. We made a pact when we were 7 to move away from this rain-soaked town. So naturally, California seemed a good choice. My grammy lives there, right by the campus. She is absolutly my fav person(beside Renee and my other bff Brandon), even though I don't get to see her much. She was my main comfort after Matty died.

I still wonder if I will ever truly get over that. He was so young and promising and the best brother any one could ask for. I never knew depression before I lost him. In fact, I never know loss of any kind. My small bubble that I lived in had never experienced death, not even a fish (that's because my parents refused to let me have a pet).

There was more, but I don't want to bore you too much ;)

Saturday, March 6, 2010


So the hubby comes in to find me reading a new book (one of many lately) and says, "WHen are you going to finish your book?" "I don't know," I shrug. "Maybe you should set yourself a deadline and really stick to it. How about 2 weeks?" "Pffft," I scoff at him. "Ok, are you half way done?" "Pfft," I scoff again. "Ok, 3 weeks then."

AS IF!!!! Does he seriously think I can have this masterpiece (cough) done in 3 weeks? But then I get to thinking, maybe that's not such a bad idea! Ok, maybe not the 3 weeks, but really setting a deadline for myself and following through! I have no work in the near future, if I spent half the time on it that I do playing on Facebook, I could really get something accomplished!

But what is a realistic timeline? How long does it take to whip out the next 200 pages? Do you set deadlines for yourself and then actually follow through? What are some tricks that keep you on task?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting to know all about you...

I see that I am becoming quite popular...11 followers!!!! YAHOO! I couldn't be more excited (ok, maybe I could be a little more excited if I had more) but the point is, I really don't know some of you and I would really like to!!!

Ok, I do know pretty much everything about my beloved sister, Crystal and my best friend for pretty much my whole life, Wendy, but for the other 9 of you, I would love to get to know you.

Comment me and let me know a little about yourself. Where are you from? Why do you write? What do you do when you aren't writing? What do you do for a real job? Do you have kids? What's your sign ;)? How did you hear about my teeny, tiny little blog? Anything you want to share, I would love to know you!!!

Can't wait to hear from you all ( All 9 of you :) )