Friday, May 29, 2009

Random Daily Guru Quote

Since I like sharing good quotes and the Daily Guru quote today was one I already posted I went into my handy folder chock full of old ones and randomly clicked on it is! Pretty darn good for anyone, especially us writers. Who doesn't get confused when writing? All those hands better be raised out there!

Friday 28, September 2007
In confusion

“It is while trying to get everything straight in my head that I get confused.”
-- Mary Virginia Micka

When I get confused, when my mind is wrestling with what to do, I have learned to abandon my thought processes completely. The best solution, I’ve discovered, lies in asking my heart for direction. This requires that I stop my mental chatter, either by sitting in silence or by doing something completely different. In quiet, still space, I often know what’s needed, with a clarity I never get from the labouring of my mind. And I now know, without doubt, that when I’m confused is never the time to act. I must wait for clarity.
(no credit provided on the original email as to who said this - great job to whoever the heck it is!)

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
-- Daniel Boone

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Blog Chain: How do you come up with your characters names?

Whew, I almost forgot it was my turn to start the blog chain this week! It's only 11:15 so I'm good. I was on a little road trip today and something I was thinking about were character names. Maybe it's because a writing buddy and I discussed how some of our minor characters are based off of people we actually know.


How do you come up with your characters names?

Strangely enough I can't seem to give a solid answer on this when it comes to my main characters. Those names just seem to have come to me out of the blue. Except for Gabriel and
Michael. They were inspired from the names of angels. (no they aren't actually angels)

Now the minor characters are pretty much made up of people in my life. Aside from the not so nice ones. Like the two girls who try to move in on Abbey's man, they have random names. I didn't want to insult my loved ones by making them snot nosed witches that go around stealing other girls men!

I like naming characters as people I know. It's like a fun little shout out to the people I care about. I've been having fun using the names of my critique group as I'm writing the sequel to Sage. It's so fun to not tell them and let them find it as they review the new chapters. And of course I use my son's name. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give credit to my biggest inspiration?

One of the stories I started and have waiting on my desktop needed a really cool name, something that represented her icy blue eyes in a world full of brown eyed people of the future. I searched all kinds of name name lists and found one I loved that actually meant water, which of course always makes you think of blue. That's the only one I researched so far though.

Stop by the other blogs from the blog chain to see how they come up with their fabulous names.

Monday- me
Tuesday- From Elysium
Wednesday- Lin Wang - Teen Writer
Thursday- Girl With A Notebook
Friday- Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blog Chain: What are your strengths as a writer?

Thanks Kim at Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom for the great blog chain question this week..."What are your strengths as a writer?"
(I had to stop and think about this for quite awhile...why is it so hard to confess our strengths and so easy to share our weaknesses? Silly.)

1. Chemistry and make out scenes.
Pretty funny huh? Yeah - I actually enjoy and seem to pull off the scenes where my beloved Gabriel and Abbey almost hook up. I never gave it a second thought but after having a few critique partners ask for my advice on these sort of scenes I started realizing my knack for hot and heavy moments. But don't worry none of my books will ever have a bare chest on them!

2. The ability to step back and rewrite.
My first draft was 102,000 words, my second 92, fifth 80,000. As you can see I'm not afraid to go through my work with an ax. I can cut entire locations, chapters and characters if I think they aren't needed. *flexes muscles*

3. Critiquing.
I hope my fellow critique group members agree with this one! I'm not great with grammar and punctuation but I can tell if the story is flowing, the descriptions are right, that sort of thing. I hope I'm really helping as much as I'm learning.

4. Ideas
The fact that I have about five ideas for new books started let's me know I have no problem coming up with story ideas. I wrote my first book with no outline and had no problem pumping it out. Of course a lot of it got hacked off but still...

Best genre: Urban Fantasy (well at least I sure hope it is!)

Stop in and see what the other girls thought about what their strengths are.

Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Lin Wang - Teen Writer
Girl With A Notebook
From Elysium

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

30 things I dream of doing

And you thought I forgot about my lists of 30s!
Some of them have been on my list since I was a kid, I better get crackin! Bet you can figure out which ones.

1. Become a successful and published author. (figured I better just get that out of the way since its pretty much a given!)
2. Travel through Europe.
3. Fly in a hot air balloon.
4. Learn how to make empanadas.
5. Weigh as much as I did in high school.
6. Have two more children.
7. Start a charity that involves kids/teens and books.
8. See the Northern Lights.
9. Own a house with a view of water.
10. Make a difference in the world.
11. Swim with whales.
12. Finish the last Harry Potter book. (I swore I'd wait until my niece caught up - no easy task for such a HUGE fan!)
13. Spend a night drinking martinis and dancing like I used to pre-baby.
14. Pay off my debt.
15. Go back to art classes.
16. Learn to be more organized.
17. Get to see the Pageant of the Masters again in Laguna Beach.
18. Learn how to really meditate.
19. Give back to my family even half of what they've done for me.
20. Get a professional quality camera and learn how to use it.
21. Quit watching American Idol.
22. Remember to take my vitamins every morning.
23. See Blue October in concert. Again.
24. Have a drink(s) with Robert Pattinson. SO many questions.
25. Stay in one of those extravagant huts on stilts in the water off a tropical island.
26. Make amends with anyone I've had or who have had issues with me.
27. Camp on the beach.
28. Never have to go back to a 9-5 job again.
29. Understand why people like Paris Hilton are famous.
30. Learn to truly accept, forgive and be patient. And mean it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life before writing. Huh, what's that even mean?

As I was making my breakfast today, waiting for my yummy whole grain flat breads to toast, I started running through my plans for the day. Eat, play with Nate, get him down for his nap, shower, check blogs, write a post, check email, see if chapters are posted from critique group...

It hit me. What the hell did I do before I started writing? Just about all my spare "me" time is spent on things related to writing when I'm not actually writing. The people outside of my family that I communicate the most with are writers, the blogs I follow are 97% writing related, you get the point! The entire time I spent in the shower today was devoted to thinking about what was going to happen next in my series. (no worries I did manage to use soap and shampoo during all that thinking!)

Just like having kids changes your world, writing appears to do the same. I have no idea what I felt like or thought about before I started writing this past year. I've always read a lot and have had things to do and obsess over. Somehow I feel like I found my missing piece when I began writing Sage. I've explained this before, but before this past August/Sept. when I began writing I had not the slightest urge to write. Yet now that I've started I can't imagine my life without it.

It's funny because I've been an artist in some form since I was about ten years old when I started art lessons. I went to college for art - twice. My career from the time I finished college to when I quit two years ago to be a stay at home mom, was as a visual merchandiser, even when I was a manager I still got to to plenty of creative stuff. In the midst of the schooling and working I still painted. Sadly I don't paint much these days. It's like I replaced one creative life line with another, only the painting wasn't nearly as consuming as the writing has been so far.

For me writing has become more than a passion or hobby. It's a way of life. There is honestly nothing else I'd rather be doing with my time (time after being with my family of course). Before you give me too much credit for feeling this way, you should know that all this time is not spent on physical writing. More of it should be, but a lot of my time these days is spent emailing with critique buddies, checking other blogs, writing my own posts - all that sort of stuff that can end up being a distraction. So is it wrong that I love that part almost as much as I love writing?

I love the connections I've made, writing for me is nothing close to being solitary. Not just in meeting new people, but in all the time I spend with my sister when we went over my first rough drafts (she must have read this book ten times in its different phases!) made play lists, looked at pictures of my characters, and talked obsessively about my story. Sage brought me even closer to my already close sister. (the rest of the family cares she just happens to have that extra interest - which I love - thanks Jenn - you rock!)

Anyone else feel like writing has brought a whole new dimension to your life? How has it changed?

To all of you have been writing since you were a kid, I give you a big round of applause! Especially all you teens that read this blog that are already pumping out novels. You ladies amaze me! I admire the fact that you've had this gift with you all this time, and to think I've only been writing one year out of the thirty I've been alive! Better late then never.

*oh and yes, I've even come to enjoy the querying/submission process in spite of all the waiting. guess I really am a lifer now...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blog Chain: Are Your Characters People?

I'm last in line this week for the Blog Chain so be sure to check out the other posts! This week it started with Girl With a Notebook when she asked this question - Are your characters people?

The fact that I think about my characters 90% of the time must mean yes. The fill my head when I shower, drive, watch TV, work online, play with my get the idea. Most of the time I don't even realize it since they've become so much a part of my thoughts. If I didn't love them so much I'd be pretty pissed off that they've taken over! And thankfully it's really only my main character and her love interest hanging around or I'd be in even bigger trouble.

I don't hear them talk to me, it's just like I'm getting to know them more everyday. I see things and think they'd listen to that song or like that outfit or would say that phrase. I constantly think of things that will happen in the story and what the characters will say or do as it unfolds. I guess you could say it's like a conversation I'm not part of where my mind forms these ideas and the characters decide how they'll play into it.

Sorry this post is on the shorter side but I've had a pretty crazy week, especially today with some good agent news. Not an offer but something that could prove promising! More on that later.

Here are the links for the other sites in the blog chain so you can see what they all had to say about their characters.

Girl With a Notebook
From Elysium
Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Lin Wang - Teen Writer

Here's the schedule for next week...
(sorry if I'm repeating the order for any of you!)

Monday: Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Tuesday: Lin Wang - Teen Writer
Wednesday: Girl With a Notebook
Thursday: Me
Friday: From Elysium

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If the American Idol judges were in the publishing industry...

As I'm sitting here watching American Idol I thought of something. Which judge would I want to offer me feedback on my performance?

Right away let me just take Paula out of the running. She is a hot mess and her critiques are just about worthless. My apologies if you like this woman but I can't pretend to have an ounce of respect for her! On to the people that actually have something valuable to say.

I have to go with Kara. She knows her stuff, offers honest helpful feedback and manages to do it in a respectful friendly way. Love that. If only Simon could take it down a notch, he'd be my first pick. He calls it exactly like it is and sugar coats nothing. Still I'd love to have someone with his insight and honesty help me improve my work. But for me I prefer the balance Kara provides.

So which judge would you want reading and critiquing your work if they were an agent or editor?

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Me" Day?

With Mother's Day still on the brain, I got to thinking if I had a day to do whatever I wanted, what would I do? I mean an entire day with no obligations, no kids to watch, no appointments, no work - 100% nothing. Just a full day to do what I pleased.

What I'm going to say has nothing to do with the fact that my blog is based on writing. This is genuinely what I would do given a day to myself.

Sleep in.
Check email and blogs.
Eat breakfast.
Take a long hot shower.
Get dressed.
Go to the bookstore and look at YA books for hours.
Eat lunch.
Check email and blogs.
Eat dinner.
Drink a green apple martini.

*Note - Very loud music would be played at several stages through out the day since I try avoid blaring rock or hip hop music with my 19 month old around.

Forget shopping, manicures or lunch with friends. I would die to have a full day morning to night to just relax with peace and quiet and write, read and play online. Wait, that's what I do almost every night! Too bad I usually don't get nearly as much done as I could. It's the whole trying to fit everything into those few precious night hours. Not to mention being tired after a full day of chasing a toddler. The irony is that before I got pregnant and moved back to my hometown I had free days all the time. My husband worked a lot of weekends so I had every Saturday and Sunday to do as I pleased. No kids, no family obligations. Too bad I wasn't a writer yet! Like most things in life I had no clue how valuable those days were back then.

Oh and I'm all for creating a Writer's Day. Anyone else in? We'd be obligated to tell our loved ones to buzz off and let us write in peace all day.

Now let me ask you. What would you do with one entire day to yourself?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Children's (and Teens!) Book Week May 11-17

Since becoming a writer this past year I've discovered a whole world I never knew existed. All these incredible blogs, what a query is, how difficult it is to get published, amazing fellow writers, the list goes on and on. Everyday I learn something and I love it!

It's no surprise then that I've never heard of Children's Book Week until now. I got an email from Amazon since they know I love me some kids books. I blew it off at first but then it hit me - hey, I should check this out. Turns out Children's Book Week isn't just for kids, its for teens too. Well in my case, an adult that loves to read and write teen books. (Plus as a mom I read to my 19-month-old as much as I can. I don't know which one of us has more books!)

As an aspiring writer I should make it my duty to know about this sort of thing. Anything that supports books, reading and kids has my attention. I just hope all the schools out there are making the most of this. There are fun ideas for having kids dress as there favorite characters. Sheesh, they even suggest Twilight! I'd love to stop by a high school and see some Edward and Bellas strutting around.

Since most of you reading this are writers, check out it.
They have a bookmark you can print and a little sign you can hang on your door to let everyone know you're busy reading. How cute. I'll be sharing that with my niece and nephews. Or maybe even myself. Haha...I do like to color and I'm often locked up in a room reading.

So May 11-17 be sure to celebrate Children's Book Week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Blog Chain: What Kind of Writer Are You?

The blog chain this week kicked off at Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom with a fabulous question...

What kind of writer are you?

This is super easy for me to answer because I am 1000% focused on one genre. Young Adult. My only completed novel is an Urban Fantasy. I'm guessing this will be mostly what I stick with. But I do have a few other WIPs started that are straight up fiction. Of course they're all within the YA range.

Here I am a 30-yr-old, stay at home mom and all I care to read is teen fantasy. And proud of it! I'm just drawn to the depth and excitement they provide. It's no surprise then that this is what I'm called to write. I especially love stories where the fantasy is below the surface, when the love story, action and mystery take precedence over the surreal parts. They feel SO real to me. Love that! I just hope I can achieve that in my writing...

To branch out a little more on this topic - I'm a speedy, straight from the heart, chaotic writer. With the sequel I'm working on now I have sections written out that jump from the beginning, to the end, to the middle, back to the beginning, etc. I write what I feel when I feel it. I let my characters tell me what they want and I just write. There are literally chapters of my book that I have almost no memory of writing because I was that focused. If only I could do that every time!

I'm not afraid to take risks and write something even if it seems crazy. I'm not afraid to cut chapters. I'm not afraid to write steamy love scenes. I'm not afraid to take peoples advice on improving my work, even when it means major revisions. Most importantly, I'm not afraid to put myself out there with my work, my heart or my opinion.

Stop by and check out what the other ladies had to say about this.
Monday: Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Tuesday: Girl With A Notebook
Thursday: From Elysium
Friday: Lin Wang - Teen Writer

Monday, May 4, 2009

Don't be afriad to pack on some extra pounds!

You hear about foods considered to be healthy fats (avocados, walnuts etc.) and though it sounds like an oxymoron, they really do exist. If only milk chocolate could be part of that list! Some people think any kind of fat is bad and avoid even the healthy kind. Silly if you ask me but to each his own. Especially since I love me some avocado!

I know you might think I'm nuts when I say this but this I see some similarities with writing and fat. Crazy huh?

If you've been writing for more than a week you are likely familiar with the phrase "cut the fat," meaning, cut out the words/scenes/characters you don't need. Lord knows I had plenty of fat to cut. And boy did I go on a diet. I lost about 35,000 words! Yeah - if only a real diet were that easy right?

Some of what I cut I consider good fat, healthy fat. Again, I might sound nuts here but hear me out. There are of course the bad fats - excess adjectives, tags, commas and that sort of thing. Which must be cut in order for a book to be written properly. But what about all that other stuff like back story, characters that don't do much to move the plot along, excess thoughts from your main character or entire scenes that sound pretty but mean nothing? Well, I happen to think they can be called healthy fat. They are beneficial. No, really, I believe that.

I made a lot of cuts during my first edit, my second and even my fifth and most current one (thanks to my writing circle and advice of an agent) and my story is slimmed up and looking hotter than ever. But that fat had its place. Something I'm only now realizing. It helped me get a firm grasp on my story and characters. I needed that fat to get to the important parts. That fat played a major role in getting my story to where it is now. I love that fat, though I don't miss it one bit, it certainly served its purpose.

I'm currently writing the follow up to my first book and while I've learned a lot since then I'm still letting the fat accumulate. Think of it as some winter weight, extra pounds you pack on over the holidays. I've got to let myself go in this stage and write what I feel, not skimp or fuss. That's what editing and revisions are for. Now the true test is knowing what fat needs to go. There's nothing wrong with writing chapters of back story if that helps you find your starting point but you must learn to spot it, chop it and leave it behind.

Embrace the healthy fat, indulge in a little back story, add a character that does nothing to move the story along if they help you understand your MC, write a a few paragraphs about a meal they eat. Just be sure to let go when the time comes to let go. Cut and paste all that good fat into a new document and save it in the archives. Someday when you're a big famous author your fans will come to adore it. I LOVE seeing outtakes from books. And what are they really? Healthy fat!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Daily Guru 5-3-09

If you're trying to become a published author, you'll get this...
(it hit me over the head!)

"It is important not to ‘need’ what you are calling to you but rather to have a certain detachment about it. Let it be all right if it doesn’t come, or if it comes in a different form than what you expect. After you have asked for something, surrender to whatever comes as being appropriate."
-- Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer

This and more awesome inspirational quotes available on

Friday, May 1, 2009

My night made of awesomeness

My only regret from the Blue October concert was not having my actual camera with me. I used my phone but the videos and pics are pretty blurry and the sound isn't so hot either. *sigh*

But oh lord, was the concert incredible! We were early enough that we got into the line while it was short so we ended right up front. Only a few feet away from the band. Amazing. My feet ached from standing all those hours but so worth it. Let me tell you, Blue October does a killer show. I was blown away.

Though we were two hours from home and it was already late we hung around for the chance to see the band. Ok, so my sister wanted to stay more then I did but I was so glad we stayed. I think it was after 1 am by the time the tour bus pulled up. Sadly, we were walking down the street to the parking garage. Since we saw the bus behind us we hauled ass, got the car and went back, parked on the street and ran over - there they were! My sister got all their autographs. Even the lead singer, Justin came out (something I hear is rare) and let people take pictures and signed tickets and stuff. They were such cool guys.

Ok, I'm done with my groupie rant for now! I never get to do stuff like this, I don't even know the last time I went to a concert, so this was extra special in every way. Yes, it was a very good reason for missing a day of revisions.

(yes that's my sister there at the end - Yay Jenn!)