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Got to Love Technology


 

Okay, so on my way in to work these last couple of days I’ve been noticing some odd things. Like two of the gas stations are now on Facebook/Twitter. And they’re encouraging their customers to follow them on line. 

To me, that seems kind of ridiculous. Follow my gas station on line? What could they possibly have to say? “Had lots of customers today—and they pumped gas!” LOL. Okay, so they’re giving followers a chance to win prizes, but still. A gas station? 

Which brings me to my dentist office. Yep, you’ve guessed it. They’ve also got a Facebook page. So I’m wondering what they have to talk about? Cavities, fillings, dentures? “Hey, we’ve got a cavity of the month club.” Right, so maybe that’s not what they’re talking about. But phew, it seems so odd. It’s like everybody and they’re brother (businesses included) are trying to use technology to their advantage. However, that being said, I already visit enough online sites without adding my regular, mundane things to the list. I want to go to the dentist to clean my teeth, not follow them online. And well, not really all that “excited” about pumping gas either (grins). 

I had to chuckle though, because then I got to thinking about other businesses or companies that’d be funny to see with a Facebook page/Twitter. Like walking into the gynecologist office “Hey follow us on Twitter.” Or what about the sewage pumping “We’ll pump the sh*t right out of you”.  I mean, come on now…okay so that’s my rant/craziness for the day. 

I do admit, however, that there are certain writers, agents, and publishers I follow online but it’s because of the industry information I’m trying to glean. Not to mention I like to keep up to date. And well, I just can’t justify following my dentist or gas station on line. 

So I’m wondering if anybody else finds some of this stuff ridiculous?


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I do my best writing when...


Okay, so everyone has their own secret writing formula, time of day + certain spot= large word count. Or certain setting + lots of people/no people around= large word count. Or listening to music + office=large word count.

There are so many variables, but I tend to be a more “doom and gloom” kind of writer. Now I know everyone is wondering, what in the heck is a “doom and gloom” kind of writer? I do my best writing when it’s gloomy out. I love the rain, cloudy gray skies, thunder rumbling, lightening flashing or at least a very dim room. I also find that the creative juices really get flowing when I’m in certain settings. For instance up at a lake with the waves crashing in the background or dreary wooded areas with lots of green and the light blotted out.

 If I had it my way I’d buy up a chunk of wooded land and plop a writing shack right in the middle of it. Not that I have anything against the sunshine, it’s just that I like the dimmed rooms/dark settings for my writing. Then of course there’s the music. I love listening to it while I write as it can set a mood for a scene or make me dig deeper into the romance between characters.

 Okay, so here’s my writing formula: dark cabin + woods/lakefront+ dreary weather = high word count.

 So I’m wondering what kind of environment creates the best backdrop for your writing?   


Critique Groups


As a writer I can’t even begin to talk about how great having a critique group is. And for any aspiring writers, I think it’s important to consider having a critique partner or critique group.

The group I belong to has 11 members and we all write YA. We are a by application only online crit group. This of course allows us to chat, crit, brainstorm, and share information from the comfort of our own homes. And the added bonus is that we all write for teens. So we are better suited to help one another on our journey. We “get” one another.

The importance of having other people crit your stories for you is that they bring a whole new perspective to your work. Because I, for one, know that I tend to miss things when I’m writing. Or sometimes I’m too close to the characters/plot that I’m not able to figure out what needs to be cut or added.

So having someone else come in with a fresh pair of eyes enables me to catch things I might have otherwise missed. Above that, there are times when maybe I know a scene isn’t working and I can have one of the girls read it through and they can make some suggestions.

But beyond the critiques we do, we’ve also forged some awesome friendships and we act as a support system for one another. Because let me tell you, when you start sending those queries out it’s good to have other writers to come back to and discuss things with. No matter how much your family and friends are ”cool” with the writing thing, they never fully understand the time, energy, emotions, and hard work you put into the MS.

So if you don’t already have a crit group, find one. You won’t be sorry!


Adding to my TBR Pile


Cross posted to my Wordpress blog as well:

Okay, so I purchased a few new books over the weekend (yay). This means not only am I supporting my fellow writers, but I’m getting some darn good books too (hehehe).

These are my purchases, although the Vampire Diaries book was replacing the one that I lost when moving from Kansas when I got out of the army.

So here’s the list of my newest books:

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Vampire Diaries: The Fury and the Struggle by L.J. Smith

Pre-ordered Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

And picked up three new authors I’ve never read:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Can’t wait to read them, but I’ll have to wait because I’m reading Tempted book 6 of the House of Night series right now, and working on my own stories.


Working on two stories at once


So I'm trying my hand at writing two stories at once. Normally I stick to one at a time, but I had two ideas that were both rather vocal in my mind. One is a YA Fantasy set more in medieval times, while the other is more of a YA Fantasy set in modern times (and lighter tone).

I'm actually enjoying it! I thought I might have a hard time hopping between the two--but as of yet there have been no problems. I think it's because the "voice" is different in them.

On the querying front (for TWP), I've got 4 partials out right now that I'm waiting to hear back on (totally psyched). Yeah, I'm doing my usual "hey let's check the email a million times an hour" thing.

Mother's Day was fabulous! My babies made me homemade cards and gifts. I absolutely love the thought and creativity they put into it. I always save them too!

Well I should get back to work...

Cross posted at my wordpress blog.


Let the querying begin!

And so out the door goes my "baby".  Querying a new project is an emotional roller coaster. There's the excitement of sending the queries out the door, the excitement of getting requests, the terror of thinking it might get rejected, not to mention the whole panicked checking of the email 42,000 ever half hour.

Yet, it is something I put myself through because I want to be published. To share my stories with others. And in the mean time in order to keep myself from going totally nuts, I'm going to start my next MS. Because let me tell you if you don't have something to keep your mind off the queries, the positive and or negative responses, you'll go crazy.

Luckily I have a fabulous crit group that I'm a part of and they keep me grounded, encouraged, and writing!

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TWP should be ready to query soon!

Ahhh, I love the feeling of a new, shiny story. This weekend I'll be doing my final edits on TWP--a story that I decided to start writing in January, based on a short story I wrote in high school. I finished writing back in March and my crit group has been busy critting away (LOL).

So this weekend I finish applying last minute crits and final edits, then next week TWP will be out the door for beta reads. I'm super excited and I love the whole writing process. The bulking up of scenes, the trashing of others, it's like an art.

I've already got my top 18 agent list drawn up and I've been visiting blogs, websites, etc. like a mad woman seeing if they've signed any recent new clients and if so what genres.

Anyway, looking forward to getting this bad boy out there!

The art of a query letter

Okay, so everyone has his or her own way to do query letters, some work, some don't. The actual process itself can be difficult. I know, you're saying, "how can I sum up a whole novel in 2 paragraphs?" That's why I'm going to suggest something kind of crazy here. Write the query letter before you write the book!

No, really. Before I write any story, I always blurb it. My idea of a blurb is two paragraphs that intro Main Characters, what their issues are, and something about how these issues may or may not get solved (think back of book blurb). It is so much easier to blurb the story before you start writing it, because it gives you an idea of a) where the story is going, and b) it gives you the blurb you can use for your query.

I find that if I wait to do the query until after I've finished the story, I have a harder time trying to decide what information needs to go into it. The other good thing about blurbs is that I can hold onto it until I'm ready to write, in another words, if I'm in the middle of writing a different MS and know I won't get to the "new" idea right away, I'll at least have some idea of what the story is about.

But having the query ahead of time keeps be from getting to wordy/putting in too much info/characters that aren't needed in the "hook". And if something changes along the way, I at least have a starting point and can go back and revise the query if needed.

And if someone wants to know what your story is about "presto" two paragraph blurb coming up! So, my advice, blurb it before you write it. Blurb becomes two paragraph "hook" for your query, and you've got instant notes on what the story is about!

Happy writing!

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Going Bovine by Libba Bray and writing

Oh my gosh, so I finished Going Bovine by Libba Bray, let me just say it was FABULOUS! The story is about a boy named Cameron who is kind of like the black sheep of his family, smokes pot, doesn't really live life, doesn't care about anything--then he finds out he has the human form of Mad Cow Disease. This means that his muscles/body/mind start shutting down. I know it sounds kind of depressing, but the story is actually funny. He goes on this journey/quest to save the world, bringing along a dwarf named Gonzo (who is like the worlds biggest worrier/always thinks something is wrong with him type of guy).

Then throw into the mix a yard gnome named Balder who can talk and is actually a Norse God, and the punk rocker angel Dulcie who tells Cam he can get cured if he finds the infamous DR. X.  It's like a road trip from hell with all the crazy things that happen to them--but I was cracking up throughout the whole story. Libba weaved in a lot of humor and some "real" sentimental moments too.

Everyone HAS to read this!

Now, as for the writing bit, I'm starting chapter 27 of TWP, getting so close to the end. Because my characters have been crazy and taking over my story, I'm not sure the exact ending. Like I know what will happen during the "big climatic" scene, but what plays out after is still up fro grabs.

Book Contest on the YA Book Realm Blog!


Hey all,

Wanted to let you know that there's a fabulous contest going on over at the YA Book Realm Blog for a chance to win the book "Wherever Nina Lies," by Lynn Weingarten.

Blurb for book:

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild...and adored by her younger sister, Ellie.
But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.
Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given up hope that Nina will return, Ellie just knows hers sister is out there somewhere. When Ellie finds a clue in the form of a mysterious drawing, she sets off on a road trip with her crush, determined to find her sister.
Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far more shocking...the truth.

Here's the link to the contest for anyone who would like to enter. Make sure you follow the contest rules!

http://yabookrealm.blogspot.com/2010/02/wherever-nina-lies-contest.html