Sunday, August 30, 2009

People who have made a diffence (to me)

What better way to end my first writing anniversary month then by honoring three people who have made a HUGE difference in my writing life? Smashing idea! I know this is a bit long but I assure you it's worth reading because these are three of the best human beings you'll meet.I included their blog links so that you can go see for yourselves.

Before I jump in I should note that there are other people who are a major part of my life and who help me in countless ways but since this is all about my writing I'm sticking to the individuals who have been involved specifically in this area of my world. Sheesh, if this was a post to thank each person that has touched my life I'd run out of memory on my blog! You get the point - I have great friends and family, there just isn't enough room to thank you all.

First off is my sister, Jenn. Aside from being my blood relative, I adore her. She's my biggest fan and supporter. She has read about twelve different drafts of Sage, stayed up with me until 1 am many nights working on my revisions, beta reading, creating my web site...the list goes on and on. Without her I would never have made it this far. She's my rock and not just when it comes to writing. Everyone should have a sister like her, and you can imagine she's one of two? Yep, I am the proud little sister to two incredible big sisters. I'm SO blessed. Jenn just started her own blog in addition to running a blog for a local group we're a part of, and a super special project we're working on. (stay tuned for news on that!) No matter how busy she is with work and raising her own family Jenn has time for me. She's superwoman! And get this, she brought over a bottle champagne when I got my first request for a full and gave me a necklace just like the one my main character in Sage wears. I really wonder what I did to deserve her.

Next up we have Jamie, my rock star of a writing buddy. We connected through my blog when I posted about starting a critique group (thanks to Elana for the connection!) It's crazy but I refer to Jamie as my friend even though we've never met in person. We started out connecting with the stories we were working on but found that we had a lot more in common then just writing. Same age, stay at home moms, love reading YA books...she's so much fun! Remember the name Jamie Harrington because she's going to be famous. And soon judging by the interest she's having in her novel Sketch (which is amazing!) it won't be long before you get to pick up her book at the bookstore. I cannot wait to get started with sharing our new stories to critique because she is seriously the most honest and helpful partners you could ask for. She had me hacking away words (chapters even)like you wouldn't believe. Love her. You can see why her blog is called totallythebomb.com.

Last but definitely not least is the incredible Sara. Like Jamie she's one of my writing buddies and is responsible for helping me write SO much better than I ever thought possible. If I didn't know she was twenty years old I'd never believe it because she is so wise beyond her years and super focused on her goals. Sara is by far one of the kindest, passionate and positive people in the world. She's always there to keep me up when I get down and isn't afraid to keep it real. Talk about the perfect combination of what every writer needs to hear! I actually started blogging right after she told me she was starting her own blog, but I'm blown away by her topics and interviews. Did I mention she's only twenty? Wow. And talk about talented! Sara's short stories have been published in several places the past year and man oh man are they amazing...and dark. Oh yeah, sweet little Sara has a dark side and it's brilliant. I have no doubt that I'll hold a printed copy of one her novels in the not so far future. I should also mention we've never met in person either - like Jamie, we met online and have become virtual friends but I feel like I've always known her. For the record I bet she's always smiling, just not in her twitter photo I used here, lol.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies for being so fantastic. You make the world a better place and I owe you everything. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for each of us, because whatever it is it will be bright and shiny and fabulous.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Winner of the book for you, book for your library contest!

I'm super excited to announce the winner of the contest celebrating my one year writing anniversary...

I Heart Book Gossip!

Congratulations! You get to choose two books from the list below. One for you, and one for your local library. They can be the same title or two different ones. The only rule is that you donate it! Hmm, maybe I should have you snap a picture to prove it so you don't keep two of these amazing titles for yourself. (kidding of course) I know I wouldn't blame you. Those I haven't read I can't wait to get my hands on. I have your email in the comments so I'll be in touch soon.

Thank you to everyone who entered and to the new followers. It was so much fun to do this so I'll definitely have more chances to win great book in the future. Oh, and thanks for the great suggestions of books and authors that have inspired you. My to read list just keeps growing and growing!

1. pre-order of Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (not new but you MUST read it plus #3 wouldn't make much sense without it)
3. pre-order of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
6. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
7. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
8. pre-order of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
9. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Congratulations again to I Heart Book Gossip. I can't wait to see which titles you choose!

Last day for free books!

Today is August 28th - the last day to enter my win a book for you, win a book for your local library contest! Just leave a comment sharing what books/authors have inspired you and you're entered, and for being a follower or becoming a new follower you get another point. How easy is that? And the winner gets to choose one of nine new books for themselves and to donate to their library.

I'll close the contest at 5:00 pm (EST time) and announce the winner sometime this evening so be on the lookout for that post to see if you're the lucky big winner. I can't wait to see who wins!
Good luck to all of you who have entered so far. ; )

If you haven't entered, go here now!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time to get dirty

I couldn't resist using this picture from last night when my son was enjoying the cupcakes in ice cream cones last night. Part of his cousins last hurrah before heading back to school. By the way why does this time of year still make my stomach churn? I'm not going back to school and my son doesn't start nursery school until January. I guess I'm just scarred from my school days. Funny how once you got into the routine again it was all good but the whole anticipation was horror. Bleh, let's move on.

Like my little sweetie here in his skanky food smeared swim shirt and icing filled face, I'm about to dig into my new project. I'm seven chapters in (not as great as it sounds, they aren't very long chapters - an idea I'm feeling this time around) but it's taking me longer than usual, but that's about to change. I'm officially moving on the my next book. No more queries. No more agent research. No more revisions. It's just me and my killer NEW story. It's a tad bit scary considering I'm heading into a teenage boy's mind this time, but it's exciting and challenging too.

Watching my son devour his cupcake/ice cream cone last night was both cute and unexpectedly inspiring. The way he just grabbed it and went to town made me think about what I need to do. Nothing else mattered for the few minutes it took for him to eat his treat. He wasn't asking to get down or to get back in the pool. He was 100% focused on what he was doing- enjoying the sugary sweet icing and chocolate cake (dairy free of course for the allergies). He didn't care who was watching or if he made a big mess.

If only we could take on every aspect of life with such pleasure and determination. Kids have SO much to teach us about life.

Ah, there it is. It hit me. I need to grab my cupcake and make as big of a mess as I need, forget about the rest of the world, and enjoy it. My cupcake of course being my new WIP, though the actual cupcake last night rocked too. That's when I decided to stop getting distracted and worrying about my first book. The queries are out there, now it's time for me to let go and immerse myself in a story that deserves my undivided attention. So in the coming weeks I'll share my progress and some excerpts as I edit. I'm really excited and can't wait to share more when it's ready!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I wanna be a writer when I grow up! Oh wait, I already am...

It's Tuesday, my day to contribute to the blog chain this week, and Kim kicked it off with a really good question I think most of us will have fun answering. She asks, "what are your plans for your career as a writer?"

I've probably got a good twelve years on Kim since she just graduated from high school so it was fascinating to read about her goals - they're great! I'm also thinking I might be a little jealous of how focused she is for her age along with the simple fact she knows she wants to a be a writer. I didn't figure that out until I was twenty nine. Better late than never.

Like most things in my life I know exactly what I want from my career as a writer, and I definitely DO want to have a career as a writer. No doubt about that folks. I think I'll make this a little easier to read by making a list, love a good list. I'm sure I'm missing some things here but you get the idea - I want it, and I want it bad.

1. I want to be a full time author. No part time or side jobs. I say author, not writer because I realize it goes well beyond writing. (yes, I know this is difficult to achieve considering the amount books you have to sell and write)

2. Books have been one of the single most inspiring and fantastic forms of entertainment in my life. Simply put, I want to help contribute more of that to the world.

3. I believe in paying it forward so I've made a promise to myself that when my first book is published I'll start working with my local library to start a program where I donate as many new Young Adult releases I can manage several times a year.

4. Reaching out to aspiring authors (young and old) to help them learn from my experience and support them in achieving their goals. In my mind published authors are one of the best resources and source of inspiration.

5. To show my son that anything is possible, that dreams are meant to be chased even when the world tells you it's next to impossible or just not practical.

What about you? Are you looking for a career as a writer? What are your goals?

Visit the other blogs this week and find out what the ladies have to say about their plans for the future. Somwhere Nowhere In My Kingdom, From Elysium, Girl With a Notebook, Flames and Shadows

Monday, August 24, 2009

How much time do you spend online?

I took a good hard look at the way I've been spending my time during my super awesome "me time" at night and guess what? I spend A LOT of it online. Way too much. Some of it's well worth it, like blogging and connecting with other writers, researching agents, all that good stuff. The rest, no so much.

For one thing I check my inbox too much. Think of the amount of time that eats up? Especially considering the fact that I have double email accounts. My old one, and a newer one for queries and all that sort of shiny professional stuff. I'm seriously considering forcing myself to check them only twice a day. It's way too easy to check them here and there throughout the day since I'm pretty much a stay at home (does working 3 hours a week some weeks count as part time even?) It's way easier to whip out my laptop and check email and blogs then open whatever book I'm reading and risk having my son call me to come play, which as you can guess happens often. When I read I like to immerse myself in the story so three minutes here and there doesn't cut it. Oh, but I sure can get on the computer.

I'm curious, how much time do you spend online? Is it worth while or just what you'd consider distractions? Are you like me and could have written another whole book with the time you've spent? A fact I'm not so pleased to share. Hey, but at least I'm changing that by getting into my new WIP and I'm well aware of my issue. The good thing is that I work well under pressure. Not that I have that right now. I'm just saying...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Daily Guru 8-22-09 Value your time

*Reminder* Enter my win a book for you, win a book for your library contest here!

I haven't posted any Daily Guru quotes in a long time because there focus was on forgiveness which is something we can all use a little help with from time to time, but it's not exactly connected to writing. Fortunately the one I found in my inbox today was spot on when it comes to writing and life in general of course.

“Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it.”
-- Alan Lakein

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
-- M. Scott Peck

For more great inspirational quotes like this visit www.thedailyguru.com. Good stuff!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sometimes it's the author not the story that gets my attention

*Reminder* Don't forget to enter my book for you, book for your library contest here!

I had this funny realization the other day. I have bought books based on what I knew about the author instead of just wanting to read the book. Who new? The prime example of this was Twilight. Let me just get this out there first - I am not a fan of vampires. Maybe it's the fact that I used to have this freaky reoccurring nightmare that involved a vampire when I was a kid, but I'm just not that into them. So it's no wonder I had no desire to read Twilight based on the fact it was about vampires (which as we know Twilight goes against many of the standard vampire ideas so maybe that's why I like it?).

Then I read an article/interview about Stephenie Meyer, then went and found her web site where she shares a lot of info on how it all began. Once I learned how she was a young mother of three and just sort of had this dream, wrote a book, and become a huge success I was intrigued. This was before the mayhem began (even before the last book came out - before I started writing even!) but late enough in the game that the world knew it as becoming a movie. Another reason I was curious. Love a book to movie.

It happened again when I started writing then blogging and discovered real life published authors were doing the same thing. Duh, right? When the awesome Beth posted about Carrie Ryan's debut The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I checked out Carrie's blog and site and instantly wanted to go get her book because her story was super interesting too. Lawyer turned YA fantasy writer? Love that. Did I also mention I'm not typically a big zombie fan? Yet I LOVED this book.

Most recently it happened with Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush. I'm not sure how I heard about it or if it was because I found her blog first then her site, but I wanted to read her book not only because it sounded amazing but because she seems like one of the nicest people on earth. Becca takes time to reply to what I am guessing are all the comments on her posts and is just so approachable you feel like you can ask her anything. Did I mention her book is AMAZING? It is.

I guess I'm a sucker for debut authors, especially ones who blog. It's like getting to know someone, and who doesn't want to pick up a friend's book? I sure do. In my mind blogging and other forms of social networking are a huge asset for both authors and readers. It helped me discover books I may have never read otherwise and boy am I glad I did. Lately I've been thinking about my time management (or lack thereof) and I just can't rationalize skimping on the time I spend reading and writing blogs or my growing interest in twitter because I love doing it and because I've seen how effective it is.

I'm far away from publication considering I don't have an agent yet, but the way I look at it is that I'm trying to do what I love seeing in authors. I'm recording my journey from the beginning. Even if I didn't want to become a published author I'd still do this because it's so fun and because of the incredible people I've met. For me blogging and networking is worth the time on many levels so I guess I'm going to have to find another place in my life to skim time from so I can write more and get other things done more efficiently. It really does come down to what is a priority for me. Sleep, showering? Who needs them? Kidding of course. Now cleaning under the bed or washing my car, they can wait.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Win a book for you and your library!

Don't forget to check out the contest I posted last night!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Contest time! Win a YA book for you and your local library

How would you like to win a book of your choice for you and your local library?

Here's your chance! In honor of my one year writing anniversary I'm giving away two awesome YA books to one lucky winner who will get to choose from the list below for themselves and their local library. Of course I'll need proof that you donated it and didn't keep it for yourself, because trust me they are great titles. Don't worry at least you know you'll be able to take it out from the library.

Here's the scoop. I was inspired to write after reading some pretty amazing YA fantasy books so what better way to celebrate than by making sure more fabulous books get out there to inspire would be writers via your local library?

I did my best to make this easy to win while providing some form of inspiring feedback from those of you who enter. You'll have up to four chances to enter to win.

+1 leave a comment sharing one or more of the books that have inspired you
+1 for being or becoming a follower
+1 referring someone who becomes a new follower (they must post your name in a comment here)
+1 for posting the contest on your blog (please provide a link)

I'll draw a name on Friday August 28th so be sure to watch for a post from that day with the winner's name so you can get in touch with me to choose your books and provide your address.

Now here's the good stuff! The winner will be able to choose two of the great new(ish) titles below. They are all Young Adult Fantasy simply because that's my favorite thing to read and a section in most libraries that could really benefit from an extra new release.

1. pre-order of Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (not new but you MUST read it plus #3 wouldn't make much sense without it)
3. pre-order of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
6. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
7. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
8. pre-order of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
9. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (sort of a pre-order since it comes out next week)
10. pre-order of Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (oh wait, did I say that twice. totally unintentional, honestly)

Sorry I didn't post images of the beautiful book covers but blogger keeps kicking me offline every time I try to add a new image so click on the book titles to check them out on amazon.com.

*I apologize but the winner must live in the US.

GOOD LUCK!

I love you guys

When I started this blog a few months back I never imagined I'd hit 30 followers let alone 60. Even though 60 is a tiny number compared to some of the triple digit followers some of you have, I'm pretty excited to have made it this far. And here I thought maybe my sister and a few of my friends might be the only ones who ever read my posts.

When I decided to start blogging it was for two reasons.
1. I wanted to share my journey towards publication.
2. I heard it was a smart thing to do for writers trying to establish themselves.
Pretty simple reasonable goals, but boy did the experience surpass them. I never imagined how influential, beneficial and fun blogging would be. I love it and I can't see myself giving it up anytime soon. I love blogging. There I said it. It's pretty much an addiction as I'm sure many of you would agree. Unlike most addictions blogging has a long list of benefits that range from networking to improving your own writing. Good stuff.

So thank you to all of you who are followers and commenters. I appreciate your support and interest more than you know. YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY ROCK. If it weren't for the fact that I have actual human beings making comments on the sometimes nonsense I write I'd probably skip a few more days here and there. See what I mean? You people keep me moving!

Now keep your eyes open for my writing anniversary contest coming out Friday. I'm super excited about the little add on I thought of, and you can thank my fabulous writing buddy Jamie for making it more fun for the now one winner. I originally wanted it to be two but this will be a better prize for the winner.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm a winner? At least my blog is.

You like me. You really like me! OK, maybe it's not me but you seem to like my blog. I had three fabulous other bloggers share blog awards with me today. I'm going to group this all together to keep it simple and save my own sanity. I feel bad that I never paid it forward with my first two awards so this time I'm following the rules. With my own touch of course. If I really followed the rules I'd be passing on 21 more awards. Uh, no thanks.

TereLiz and Lin gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award and Jenna gave me the Literary Blogger Award. Thank you SO much ladies! You're all amazing writers and bloggers, I'm honored and thrilled to receive these awards and I can't wait to share them. By the way I'm putting this all into one award, so here we go... (please take both or one of the awards ladies if you'd like to post
them on your blog)

Here's the rules.
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.
5. Nominate 7 Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
The seven people I nominate are below. I was going to give a reason why I was nominating each of them but I thought it would be more fun to just let you check them out because they are all great in one way or another. One is my sister, some are critique partners I adore, some I've known for awhile, some I just started following, ones not even a writer but the thing they all share is that they are inspiring, fun to read and have blogs you should be following. There are so many people I'd share these with but I decided to nominate a diverese group and share the love! Hopefully you haven't recieved one yet.
1. Sara at I Am Write.
2. Jamie at Totally The Bomb
3. Jenn at It's Just Me
6. Karen at Karen Amanda Hooper
7. Sharla at A Little Salty...

Now on to the final part, seven things about me that you may not know.
1. When I was a teen I read adult books, now that I'm an adult I read teen books. Huh?
2. I don't love Twitter. I'm trying, really I am.
3. My big sisters are my best friends, but you'd never catch me saying that ten years ago.
4. I wait to shower until noon sometimes just so I can sleep in due to the fact that my son gets up at 7:30 am so I have to wait until he naps.
5. I stay up until about 1 am every night. This is the reason for #4.
6. My red hair is totally fake. I was born with hair so blonde it was practically white.
7. In some ways my life has never been more complicated yet I've never been happier.

Thanks again for the nominations!

Blog Chain: 5 tips for new writers

This is sort of an unconventional topic for the blog chain this week, but since my head is in the whole writing anniversary mode I thought it would be fun to offer up a piece of advice to writers who are starting out like we all did at one time or another.

Whether you've been writing for five weeks or five years you can't deny you've learned something along the way. I'm hitting my one year mark this month and I'm blown away by how much I've already learned. Just think what I'll be saying three years from now! Now put yourself back to the first time you picked up a pen or pencil or started typing your first real story, what advice would you give yourself at that moment? It might be about inspiration, time management, querying, networking. Anything goes.

Me, I'd have this to say to myself last year at this time. Since the querying stage is fresh in my mind and one the areas I've learned the most I'm going in that direction.

1. Before you even think of looking for an agent find other aspiring writers to connect with. They can help you in ways you can't do for yourself with critiques and support so you can make sure your work is ready to submit.

2. Never ever call it a fiction novel. Apparently this raises a red flag immediately and marks you as a newbie hasn't done your research.

3. Send your queries in batches so you'll have a chance to head back in with a revision if needed before using up your list of top agents you'd like to work with.

4. Research each and every agent before you send a query so that you can find out if they have personal preferences. Some are even generous enough to spell it out for you with an exact query format so you can make it just the way they like it.

5. Don't give up. From what I've heard you should at least wait until you hit a 100 rejections before retiring a certain project.

Be sure to see what the other "blog chainers" have to say this week. Even if you're not a new writer I'm sure they will have some great tips.
From Elysium, Girl With a Notebook, Somwhere Nowhere In My Kingdom, Flames and Shadows

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hey, that was my idea!

I feel like I keep reading about the topic of people accusing writers of stealing or copying ideas from other books, movies, etc. Now I'm not so fond of this debate because I tend to think that ideas are in a constant recycling program. I mean really, what ideas are 100% original these days? Regardless of how fresh something seems if you really start to examine it you're sure to find similarities. But who really cares? I don't. If a story is good I could care less about the ways its like another story. Unless it's too extreme of course. I don't think the gate keepers of the publishing world are too fond of letting copy cats pass through.

In my own personal writing experience I've done my best to steer clear of any similarities to other books. The problem is what happens when you have some amazing idea but know it's been done already. I'm not talking about anything major but more of the smaller stuff, like say an amusement park as part of the story. I recently read one of the best books ever and it has some pretty sweet roller coaster moments. Last night we made our annual journey to a somewhat local amusement park that's in a wooded area so there are trees all over the place around the rides providing some very dark corners and paths. Spooky with the whole carnival music blaring from the carousel. Of course I was bombarded with ideas for my new WIP. Does this mean I'm copying? Well heck no. I bet there are hundreds if not thousands of books in print that include scenes at an amusement park.

My struggle is with over thinking whether an element (thankfully never a plot) is original enough. I get too paranoid that it feels too much like something out there, especially when it's a book I already love. I guess that's part of why I didn't read as much as usual while I was in the intensive part of writing my first draft. I hate the idea of being too influenced by other work at that moment. A prime example - my revisions after reading The Hunger Games all ended up in present tense! *gasp* Apparently it's not always a case of ideas, it might be tense or style or some other element of writing.

On the flip side there is a lot to benefit from other writers. We can learn how to write better by reading books written by authors who are successful at the things we strive to create - natural dialogue, plot twists, true to life descriptions. So it looks like my new philosophy will be to say "to hell with it" and write whatever comes out without thinking for one second whether any aspect of it's already been done. Because odds are it has. The key is to stay true to your writing voice and to just let it flow without worrying, in the end it will all come together. That's what revisions are for.

Anyone else have input on this topic? Ever have a fabulous idea only to discover a new book coming out is similar, too similar?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Managing my time - or at least trying to

The blog chain question of the week started with Girl With a Notebook. She asks how we manage our time. Ah, very good question because I'm pretty sure all of us could use a pointer here and there on this subject. Who doesn't have trouble balancing at times? I sure as heck do!

If I were to go off the way I manage my time now I'd get a pretty pathetic score. For one thing I'm not writing nearly as much as I should be and that's entirely my fault. I have the time almost every night to write but I've been very focused on other things that are writing related, like blogging, networking, research and reading. All good things but the fact that I feel like I'm not truly using my time wisely is a good indicator that I need to manage it better.

As you can see I occasionally lack something called balance. The good thing is this is the way I've been my entire life. My scales tend to tip if you know what I mean. *sigh*

Now when I was neck deep in writing Sage I was the complete opposite. I wrote every second I had the chance, when my son took naps, for hours after he went to bed and every free second in between. I was completely absorbed in it - it was fantastic. The trick is I wasn't into blogging and twitter yet, I hadn't met my writing buddies yet, and I wasn't concerned with querying and waiting on submissions of a previous project. As you can guess this is my struggle at the moment. Thankfully I work extremely well under pressure so in a pinch I can bust out four chapters at a time and revise like a mad woman.

Since I don't work full time and actually work less than part time most weeks (we're talking 3 hours a week) I have no excuse for not finding time to fit it all in. Sure it's not always easy to get things done with an almost 2 yr old running around (just wait until I post about his antics yesterday - diaper cream at nap time - bad bad mix). My problem is I'm not maximizing my time to fit in all the cleaning and other fun chores into my day. I get distracted with checking emails, facebook etc and going out when I should stay home, and up losing the free hours I have during the day. This is why I plan on focusing on getting into a routine come fall and putting Sage aside if my submissions and queries don't pan out. I NEED to eliminate the "clutter" and allow myself to get back into my writing groove so I can bust out another 84,000 word novel in the span of a few months. Minus editing of course.

I'm hoping I can repost this topic in the fall and share with you some useful ways I've actually improved my time management. I think I need to get back in touch with my management side from my days as a career woman and start using lists and planners again. Love a good list.

Stop in the other blogs from the chain and see how they try to manage their time.
Girl With a Notebook, Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom, Flames and Shadows, From Elysium

Since I'm last on this week's chain here's the lineup for next week girls...(I did my best to see who's started the past month and strangely enough it looks like it's my turn)
Monday - Sometimes Nonsense
Tuesday- Flames and Shadows
Wednesday-Girl With a Notebook
Thursday-Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Friday-From Elysium

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Best contest ever and my web site (sadly the two are not related!)

I'm sure you'll see this contest making the rounds in the blogosphere and for good reason - IT ROCKS! I've never seen a better contest in my life. My future contest wants to stay in bed and hide under the covers after seeing what this contest has to offer.

Go check out Cindy's blog for the chance to win some ( I should say a ton of) fabulous ARCs and follow a great reviewer. A win win. Of course I hope I win, not you. Sorry! But can you blame me when the list of books contains such awesome titles as Hush Hush and Shiver?

Since I kicked off my new web site announcement to post this I had to make another plug on that. My official web site as a writer is up and running here. Please stop by and check it out and let me know what you think in my comments on here or you can email me if you'd like. I'd love to hear what you think and if there are any notes on things that need to be corrected etc. Thanks! Now I'll quit rambling so you can go enter that contest and check out my site.

My web site is up and running!

After a few design changes (ok, more than a few) my sister and I have my web site ready for the world to see. Actually, Jenn (my sister) did all the work so if you like it then she gets all the credit and if you don't like it you can blame it on me since I had the final say. But I love it so I hope all of you will too. I did my best to pick something that reflected the direction I'm heading in as a writer, and just like my blog shows, I have a thing for trees. Which anyone who has beta read Sage knows.

One more note before you go check the site out. If you spot anything off please let me know. We did our best to make sure the fonts worked on all computers and the links worked but in case they don't please please shoot me an email and let me know or leave a comment on here too. Another a writing related note I'm on the fence on keeping Abbey's direct thoughts in italics or not and will probably ditch it but if you'd like to chime in on that please fee free. I'd love to know if there is anything more you think I could add or change. Feedback is crucial at this stage and you are my test subjects!

Now before I steal any more of your time, go check out the site. I thank you in advance for stopping by. So exciting for me! Pretty cool we have it ready in time for my writing anniversary month.

Here you go...
www.rebeccalsutton.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

YA section at the local library

I would be all about taking more books out at the local library. If they actually had the ones I was looking for. I really did try. I swear!

As of today I am making it known that one of my goals towards publication is that I will donate large amounts of books for the YA section at my library when I get a book deal. I know I could be doing that now but I'm pretty much in a place where it's me or them and I'm pretty selfish with the books these days. But I'm not that horrible because I do share with my sisters and friends. Ok, even as I am writing this I can see how silly I am talking about what I want to do instead of doing it. Even if I can't donate a case of books I sure as heck can donate one to start. Geesh, I guess I talked myself into that one.

So I'd love to know how the YA sections are in your local libraries? Do you they carry the newest in demand titles? Can you even find that section or is it hidden in the dark recesses? Does the librarian know what books are hot?

I ask all these questions because in my experience it's a little sketchy at ours. Here's why...

1. The YA section is tucked at the very end corner of the adult section and is very small. *sigh* (that section should be close to the kids books because it's way more user friendly for teens than the deathly silent adult space! talk about intimidating - ick)
2. My sister overheard someone asking the librarian in the children's section (I assume she was the Children's Librarian) if they had Percy Jackson series. Guess what? She didn't know what that was! (Icy Roses is having trouble breathing at the site of this one I bet!)
3. Months and months after The Hunger Games was already out they didn't have a copy. And no, I don't mean it was out. They didn't own one.

Am I alone on this or should they be up on what the hot new books are even if they don't have them available at the moment? This is what gets kids and teens in the door sometimes and if they come and find it's not available and leave, they may never come back. That makes me sad because there are so many kids/teens who's families don't have $20+ to spend on a brand new hardcover. My sister for example is donating her "like brand new" Breaking Dawn book because she bought the new special edition for the Blue October DVD with it (yes we heart them since we are going to see them for a second time this month). She asked them at the desk if they would take it since it was technically used and they said yes because of what book it was since all the Twilight series are in such high demand. That, I commend.

I'm not in any way bashing libraries. I love libraries. My first job was at a library. And I know a lot of it stems from the fact that they lack the funds to have all these books but I strongly believe having the current stuff will get kids/teens in the door. Heck, grown ups too. Woot woot - I'm 3o and reading pretty much only YA books! While I can't make them stay on the cusp of what's hot in the new release world or even existing books I can be the one donating them. One copy of The Hunger Games is better than none, right? Ohh, they so better have one by now...I'm totally going to check on their site when I'm done.

I challenge the other YA writers out there to check out your local libraries. Can you help your YA section grow? Even if it's one book every few months, think of how much of a difference that can make? Ohh this might be a cool aspect for my contest this month.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My writing anniversary - what would you like to win?

I can't even believe this month marks my one year anniversary since I started writing. Wow. So much has happened in the span of twelve months. Of course I wish it was a tad bit more than it is, like say an offer of representation. Still it's been incredible and I can't complain considering I'd never written anything outside of high school or an email until last August, and only a year later I'm waiting to hear back on a real life agent who's reading my book. Crazy.

Oh wait, did you hear that? I think I may have tooted my own horn a little there. Forgive me but that's what keeps me moving along when I have those moments of thinking I have no business trying to see my book in print so soon in my writing journey. The way I see it is without pride in your work and accomplishments you can't really survive in the chaos that is querying, rejection and - well I can't say what else since I'm not there yet. But I'm pretty sure it's something you need every stop along the way.

Sooo, I'm going to have a little contest in honor of this special time and I'd like to know what your thoughts are on the topic. What would you like to win? Gift cards? Books? Something else?

Please leave a comment on what you'd like to see as a prize and even suggestions on what sort of contest it should be. Don't worry it won't be too complicated and I'm already planning on having two - one for a new follower and one for existing. Just because I like to play fair that way.

Toot toot!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yelling about HUSH HUSH!

A few of you asked me to share my feelings on HUSH HUSH once I finished, which I did last night. Yes, I pretty much read it in one day (so did my sister who I so kindly allowed to read it first).

I usually have a lot to say in my posts, sometimes too much. In this case I'm not going to say nearly as much as I want to. There's no need.

Take a good hard look at that cover to the left because you're going to need to buy it come October. And I mean need. It's that good. It's spectacular. You'll be seeing that incredibly sexy falling angel everywhere. I had very high expectations of this book after hearing such great things and seeing how incredibly sweet and approachable Becca is and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. I wasn't even half way finished and I already knew HUSH HUSH would be in my top five favorite books of all time. How crazy and wonderful is that? It's a keep-you-up-all-night-to-see-what-happens kind of book and it will without a doubt be the hottest must read this fall.

I'm sorry that I'm not actually reviewing the book. I just want to ensure each and every one of you who read this gets a copy the second you can get your hands on one. I promise you'll love it but only if you like the sort of story that completely consumes you, keeps you guessing at every turn and keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat praying for one just one little kiss. Hot. Hot. Hot.

Ohhh and even better yet, they changed the ending since the ARC came out so even us fortunate ones who got to read it early can look forward to getting the published book in our hands to find out what's changed. Better yet it's a series. Squeeee!

If you'd like to learn more (and you should!) check out Becca's web site and the HUSH HUSH page on the publishers site. Good stuff and trust me when you read the sample chapters you'll be hooked too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How has writing affected your life?

Icy Roses kicked off the blog chain this week asking how writing has affected our lives. A great question that I'm excited to both answer and see what other people have to say. After reading her response I'm super envious of the fact that writing has given her a routine to the point where she treats it as a job. Love that. I only wish I could be that dedicated. Some days I'm on, some days I'm off. The nice thing is that when I do have a deadline I meet it. Love the pressure.

Well, for me writing has changed my life in many ways. The biggest thing has to be that I truly feel I've discovered the thing I never knew I needed or wanted. As hokey as it sounds I mean it. I know within every inch of my soul that I'm mean to write for the rest of my life. Whether that means as a published author or just fun remains unanswered at the moment but I'm rooting for the published author part in case anyone was wondering. I'm just saying...

Another aspect is the way I spend my time. I mean seriously, what the hell did I even do with my evenings before? Watch movies? Clean? Socialize? Soak in the bathtub? Read? Sounds good but I now choose to spend my time typing away on my laptop writing, blogging, researching, chatting with writing friends, cruising forums and publishing sites. I still read just not as often now that I find myself more interested in my own characters and stories. Believe me I can tear myself away to read books like Hush Hush (in love with it already and I'm only a few chapters in) and The Maximum Ride series (on book 2 right now).

I was never into the whole chatting or connecting with online strangers but since I started writing and posting on forums and blogs I've met some incredible people. I've never met any of them in real life but they know way more about this aspect of my life than my friends and family I see everyday. They've helped me improve my writing, kept going on the days it got tough and provided me the support in every which way. They are amazing and I'd never have made it this far without them. I also love meeting new people practically everyday who are going through the exact same thing I am trying to become published or writers who have seen their dreams come true, either way it's one of the most pleasant surprises I've encountered since I began this adventure last August.

Then there are the less life altering changes, like the way I read other peoples books now, the worship I feel for my trusty green laptop, the fact that I know what WIP, ARC and MC stand for among many other things I can't even think of at the moment.

My life is richer, more beautiful, more fulfilling now that I'm a writer and any thing negative I might say is overshadowed by the simple fact that I've found my calling. Plus it's a whole heck of a lot of fun.

Check out the other bloggers have to say.
From Elysium, Flames and Shadows, Girl With a Notebook, Somwhere Nowhere In My Kingdom

Monday, August 3, 2009

HUGE surprise in the snail mail today

The picture to the left says it all. I got a big ol' envelope from Simon and Schuster with an ARC of HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick (Becca, if you read this please excuse my silly fangirl reaction). Squeee!

I'm assuming I won it from entering my name on their site but I had no idea it was coming so I was beyond excited when my sister called to tell me about the mysterious envelope. Of course I told her to open it while we were on the phone (I was on my way home from work and she was babysitting my son) which meant she squealed the instant she opened it and saw what was inside. This is because we both read the first couple chapters on the publishers website, which you should totally go check out here. So we already knew it was going to be amazing in addition to all the early reviews saying it was the sort of book that keeps you up all night. Just my cup of tea! I'd actually be reading it right this second but I let my sister have the honor of reading it first to say thank you for all her babysitting assistance this weekend and today. She SO deserves it, plus she reads super fast so I bet you I'll have it back tomorrow. Trust me I'm dying to get my nose in this book. I'll glady sacrifice a night of sleep for a killer story.

How much do you love the cover? *Swoons*

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back from NYC!

I made it home safe and sound after two awesome days of traveling, laughing, attending a fab wedding, staying up till 4 am and having my son cry when I got home...and that's just half of the story.

I'll post more this week about the trip and hopefully have pictures to go with it since it was that amazing. But first I wanted to write a quick post to thank my lovely sister for writing on my blog yesterday and saying such super nice things about me and my writing. *blushes* Totally unexpected! When she said she was going to write about me I thought she was joking but when I read what she wrote I was speechless and actually fought back a tear or two. I've known she likes my book but it was just crazy to read it in such a public way. Love you for that Jenn!

And no I didn't pay her to say those things about me but maybe she thought I'd get her more books today if she did. Kidding. I hope. Another exciting thing is that my sister Jenn is planning on starting to review all these books we read which means of course I'll be sharing the links to. It's all about the YA books here in the family! Oh and thank you to Jamie, Sara and Susan for your sweet and supportive comments. I was so worried Jenn wouldn't get any comments and feel like a loser but you saved the day.

And now I must get my sorry butt in bed early for once considering how tired I am after drinking the night away and hitting a deli at 3 am. Bet you can guess how I felt this morning after only 4 hours of sleep. It wasn't pretty.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Me, Guest Blogger? Really?

[Hi, this is Jenn, Rebecca's sister.] Rebecca (Becky) headed out early this morning for the Big Apple! I know she'll have a super time and have lots of great stories to share when she gets back. (Quite frankly I am most excited to see what kind of treasures she finds at The Strand bookstore.) I agreed to be a 'guest blogger' and I had all kinds of ideas about what I wanted to say. But then, the more I thought about it, the more nervous I felt. Oh, crap! What if I sound stupid and embarrass her, and myself. I have a reputation to uphold here on this blog, she always gives me way too much credit when she talks about me. Well, I decided I'd just talk, see where that takes us.

When Becky first told me she was writing a novel, I thought it was 'a nice idea'. When she told me it was Young Adult Fantasy and that she thought/hoped it might be good enough to be published, I became kind of skeptical. I mean how many people actually write a book that makes it to the bookstore, and of those how many are actually successful? I agreed to read a little bit of it and to give her my opinion, so she sent me the first few chapters.

Late one night, after my kids and husband had gone to bed, I settled in on the couch with my laptop to read a little bit. I admit I was afraid that I wasn't going to like it, afraid of how I would tell her that. The next thing I knew I had finished all the pages and really wanted to keep going. I texted her immediately - cursing her for leaving me hanging and begging for some more! I was amazed by the story she told and the way she told it, but most of all ….. I was amazed by my sister.

Becky has gone through a lot of unexpected life changes over the past two and half years. Don't get me wrong, she has had her moments, but mostly she just keeps going. She allows herself to have faith that, somehow, it will all work out and she lets her heart guide her. She is a wonderful mom, sister, friend, and writer. As you can tell from reading her blog, she is inspirational, motivational and a heck of a lot of fun!

So I guess that’s it. That was easier than I expected, my blog is about Rebecca (fitting since this is her site). I am honored to be along on her journey. No longer skeptical, I believe with all my heart - she WILL be published, her books WILL be in the bookstores and she WILL be a successful author. One day I'll be back as a 'guest blogger' and we can all reminisce about how we followed her back before she was famous. :-)