Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

With T-minus 3 days and counting, I'll be signing off until after the holidays, but here's a peek at our eclectic little Christmas tree . . . laden with all the ornaments we've collected from every place we've visited.

I had to show this one: it's an outhouse ornament we found in Steamboat springs. Classic!

And an ornament I made for my mom in first grade. (Awww, wasn't I cute?)

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you all after the holidays. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Tradition

Growing up, one of our Christmas traditions was to take cinnamon twists to all our friends and neighbors. My mom's were the best, and we all loved helping dip them in butter and cinnamon sugar . . . and of course EATING them. :)

I have continued that tradition, and my kids love it! (In fact, I have dough rising in the kitchen as I type.)

So, I have never written a book that takes place at Christmas time, but for those of you who have, did you give your MC any fun traditions to look forward to? And for those of you who haven't (like me), what is your favorite holiday tradition?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let It Snow!

Yesterday we finally got some snow. Kids got out early from school, and my kids didn't want to come in.

I couldn't help smiling at the memories of my own childhood. . . . Making snow angels, throwing snow balls, building snowmen, pink frozen noses and cheeks. Then coming in to hot chocolate and toast.

We read "The Snowy Day," by Ezra Jack Keats, and the afternoon was a perfect little picture of a childhood winter.

So what is your favorite winter book? What are your favorite memories of a childhood winter?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happenstance and Other Things That Make You Laugh

I gravitate towards humor. Those side-splitting, gut-wrenchingly funny books are my favorite. Janette Rallison's books always make me laugh.

And I've found that I love to write that way . . . but MAN! Not so easy (I'm still aspiring to it).

So for any others out there who may be interested in writing humor, here are some ways to inject humor into your book.
  1. Slapstick: Have your MC run into a pole, or trip over their own two feet. Putting several such instances in a series of events is even better. Good old three stooges comedy.
  2. Wordplay: Humor with words can come in many forms---self-deprecation; witty, sarcastic comments; and you know how you come up with the most clever comebacks about five minutes too late? Let your MC use them, and bonus, your brilliance is no longer wasted.
  3. Embarrassing situations: Remember that dream with you at your High School  pep rally wearing only your underwear? Make it real for your MC. OR just take your own most embarrassing moment ever and make your MC suffer it, too. (Note: A cheerleader sliding down a mud hill and landing in a muddy puddle at the bottom while the whole boys basketball team watches---not that that ever happened to me---may not work if your book is set in medieval times. Maybe a dairy maid could fall into a mud puddle while the blacksmith's son [who she's secretly crushing on] watches. You get the idea).
  4. Happenstance: Who hasn't seen the bus drive through a mud puddle soaking the poor man at the bus stop who was just having the worst day ever? Total happenstance situation. 
  5. Puns:  You know, when your MC is deciding if they should really knock on the door of Apt. 2B where their crush lives, and they say to themselves: "2B or not 2B . . ." Punny, punny, punny.
  6. Some things are just inherently funny: A fat lip. The word Aardvark. Dodos. Monkey brains. A talking cucumber. Road signs that say "Men Working." Etc., etc.
So do you write humor? What sort of humor makes you laugh hardest?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Do-It-Yourself: Building a Luck Pool

After multiple requests that I share my luck, I feel that Christopher at Notes From the Underground has the right idea about sharing the secret of building your own 'Luck Pool.'

It's the whole teach-a-man-to-fish idea. And since I won't always be there to send my extra lucky vibes to everyone, you better build your own.

So here are the instructions.*
  1. Identify a body part that you think is unique or the bees knees (and please don't tell me where it is . . . I'm not sure I want to know). Ex: Double-jointed thumbs; A second toe that's longer than the first; Those pointy-tipped ears; Whatever.
  2. Dip that spot in green ink. Don't wash it off. Just let it wear off on its own. (I still recommend that you shower and stuff like that, because otherwise, that's just gross. Just don't TRY to scrub it off)
  3. Build up good karma. Ex: Hug a tree; Put coins into expired meters (just make sure there's a car there . . . and I think you get bonus karma if you see a meter maid nearby); Refrain from yelling cuss words at the jerk who cuts you off; . . . you get the idea.
  4. Find a four-leaf clover. I know, you're scoffing at this, thinking 'that's just an old wives tale,' but I found one when I was a kid. And look at my luck. Just sayin'.
  5. Wait for the bounties to shower down upon you. They typically come in threes, so don't greedily be expecting more once you get them. You have to let the luck build back up.
And voila, you are the proud owner of your very own 'Luck Pool.' Go and use it wisely.

*The writer of this blog makes no promises for the effectiveness of each individual 'Luck Pool' that is created and cannot be held accountable in the case that the 'Luck Pool' is defective or in rare, unfortunate cases actually decreases a person's luck. Should you choose to follow the instructions, you do so at your own risk, and shall be solely responsible for any undesirable effects that may be produced.

Friday, December 10, 2010

License Plate Fun

Last Sunday I saw this license plate:


Now if I adjust it just a touch . . .


. . . isn't that perfect?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Luck and Personal Postulates

So I have this theory on luck. At least how my luck works.

I believe I have this pool of luck inside me somewhere. Your guess is as good as mine as to where it actually resides. Maybe it's in my lucky double-jointed thumbs, who knows?

But see, this pool can only hold so much. So when it hits a breaking point, I'm showered down upon with all kinds of winnings. Of course, once it's gone, it's gone so I have no more luck until the pool fills back up. Maybe that's a karma thing, but I'll have to think further before I postulate on that one.

Usually it'll be a string of winnings. Sometimes it's blown in one big-shot offering, but I never know when it will strike. It's like waiting for Christmas, but not knowing what day it's on.

Going back ten years, here are some of the prizes I've won in random order:

-A trip to New York (flight, hotel, Michael Jackson concert tickets)
-Lunch for two at my favorite restaurant
-A year membership to SCBWI
-Free airport parking
-Books (several, and diverse)
-Gourmet chocolate-caramel apples (came in a freezer-package in the mail, very cool)
-Handmade bracelet
-Gift cards
-Full fixings for French dip sandwiches

Many of these came in quick succession, very few came as a single shot (just the $5000 in fact---that wiped my luck out for a good 2 years).

I know luck can often be looked down on in plot-lines. We're generally told that events in our novels have to be established, planned for, and have a good reason. But still, luck has its place. So where does it fit in in your work? Does it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Results! White Meat vs. Dark Meat

Now that Thanksgiving is well past, I suppose it's time to tally up the votes for the White meat vs. Dark meat competition. So here we go:

Total votes: 19

White meat: 11 votes; 58%
Dark meat: 6 votes; 32%
Both + veggies: 1 vote; 5%

Tofu: 1 vote; 5%

Now that's better---a few exceptions to add a little spice. And I admit, I wasn't sure how to figure in the votes that were contingent upon specific conditions, so I used the "eeny-meeny method." I'm sure that didn't affect the numbers at all. ;)

I have to say, I'm rather surprised that white meat won. I totally went for dark. None of this flip-flopping just because I grew up . . . wait, or did I? I can't remember. Definitely doesn't seem like it.

So now that this is becoming a semi-regular feature on my blog, maybe I should name it or something. We shall see. But I am especially excited for this next little competition. Are you ready?




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hating Game WebSplash!

Hey all! I love the giving spirit in the writing blogosphere, and wanted to jump in by being part of Talli Roland's Web Splash. 

Our goal is to help her debut novel, THE HATING GAME, hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. 

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. 

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Life has been good to me, and I have much to be thankful for:
  • Parents, in-laws, and siblings who love and support me. 
  • A husband who encourages my writing and believes in me. 
  • Children who still give hugs and kisses, and who still want mine. 
  • Friends who worry about me and love me despite my perpetual absentmindedness. 
  • Blogger friends who give amazing advice and who read my rantings.
Thank you to all of you! You know who you are and what you do. My life would be meaningless without you.

A quick P.S. . . . I'll be out the next two weeks (minus Talli Roland's Web Splash on Dec. 1!) working on revisions, but happy holidays to all of you! See you soon. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Character Writer or Plot Writer

A few years back I went to a conference, and Shannon Hale asked this question of us: Are you a character writer or a plot writer? Do you come up with characters and then discover their story? Or do you think of a fascinating plot or situation and build from there?

At the time, I wasn't sure. I debated the finer points of my writing style, but couldn't decide. Now I laugh at myself for that.

I am a character writer all the way. I discover a character, and then I learn their story through painstaking effort. Painstaking, I tell you. I have to work hard for that plot.

So what are you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Do You Do Well?

I was just thinking about how sometimes we don't let ourselves admit when we do something very well. The world tells us we're supposed to be humble about our talents or we'll be hated like all those other conceited jerks out there.

So today I'm giving you a free pass: I want to hear what you think you do really well, and I promise not hate you and think you're a conceited jerk. It can be anything! Maybe you are an exceptional teeth-brusher . . . you've never had a cavity (I wish!). Or maybe you have a talent for spinning a basketball on your finger. I don't know, but I'd love to hear!

Okay, so me? I have a talent for making gravy. No lumps, perfect consistency, always yummy. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ms. Bestower-of-Confidence

Have you ever been around someone who makes you feel like a million bucks? It doesn't seem to matter the time or the place or the occasion, there's just something about them . . . and it's not just you. Everyone else feels the same way about them, too.

I so wish this was me. But alas, not to worry, I think most things in this world can be learned. So here are my 5 easy rules for being Mr./Ms. Bestower-of-Confidence (based on observation, of course):
  1. Smile. But not just with your mouth, and even beyond your eyes. Find your happy place and keep it at the front of your thoughts.
  2. Give compliments. The catch is they have to be sincere. None of that "I love your hair" crap, when you're really thinking "What were they thinking?"
  3. Don't give too many compliments. Then you just sound fake.
  4. Ask questions. About them. There's a catch to this one, too. You have to listen to the answer. Not just with your ears, but with your whole body. Then ask follow-up questions. And yup, you guessed it, just keep listening.
  5. Enjoy life. Have fun. And I don't mean the go-out-and-get-drunk variety. Look at kids, they recklessly dance to the music at the end of a movie without fear of looking silly. They get excited because they see two school buses in the same place. They laugh at the sheer pleasure of running as fast as they can. They don't worry about getting chocolate on their noses, they just enjoy.
 People who do this have a contagious happiness. These are the people I like to be around. So what rules did I miss?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Votes are in

Yes, yes, November 2nd came and went, but this is a much more important vote than that. Fall vs. Spring. I know you're all dying to know which one won . . . so on to the results!

Total votes: 20

Spring: 8 votes; 40%
Fall: 12 votes; 60%

There are two remarkable things about this vote. First it's very close (unlike the Hawaii vs. Cruise vote). Second, this is the only time that no one added their own personal option. No one asked, "not winter?" And even though some claimed it was an excruciating choice, they were all eventually able to make it. . . . unlike times past. Very interesting, Holmes. So in case you wondered, I voted Fall. Something about the smell . . . mmmm, I get dreamy just thinking about it.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, here's a thanksgiving-y question (yet one that all of you non-U.S.A. people can still answer . . . I know, I think of everything.) ;)

Dark Meat


White Meat

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank you!

I wanted to thank everyone who weighed in on Friday's post. So many good comments (and reminders)! Here is what I got out of it:
  1. Some of those balls are rubber and will be okay if I drop them. Still, some of those ARE glass, and I need to be extra careful with them . . . family and husband being good examples.
  2. Schedule my time. In the past I have done this, but lately (the last few years or so!) I've let it slip. I think it's time to go back to the dark side of my OCD. Just a little. ;)
  3. I'm not alone. So maybe, just maybe, I'm not the mess I fear I am. I'm just human.
  4. Breathe and wear a helmet. I'll get through.
So I'm leaving you with my happy thought . . . the mental place I go when I'm feeling stressed.

Where's your happy thought?

Friday, November 5, 2010

On Juggling

I've always been a bit of a sloppy juggler . . . rushing to catch the ball that's about the shatter against the floor (oh yeah, the balls are glass, I'm just sure of it).  
  1. My writing . . . oof! Phew, got 100 words in.  
  2. My family . . . oh no! We've got 2 minutes to get to soccer, let's move it people! 
  3. My work . . . my deadline's tomorrow?  
  4. My husband . . . you don't mind if we talk about my book on our date, do you?  
  5. My blog . . . uh . . . I had an idea . . .  
  6. My co-op preschool . . . It can't be my week to teach already, can it? 
  7. My friends . . . Wait, what are their names again?  
  8. My exercise . . . I could just skip today, right? Surely the scale was wrong. Again.
  9. My cleaning . . . Do I really need to vacuum today? 
  10. My laundry . . . I still have one more clean shirt, right? Oh wait, that was yesterday. . .

Anyway, you get the idea. So many balls, so hard to keep them all in the air.

What are your secrets for not dropping the ball? And seriously here . . .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What in the heck is Voice?

Five-and-a-half years ago, I had my first ever critique by an editor at my first ever writing conference. I went into the meeting with so much hope, and came out devastated.

While the editor was very nice, he basically told me that my writing stunk (my own word), and I needed to keep practicing. The only bit he liked was the part I was considering cutting, and he said it sounded like I just hadn't found my voice yet.

I haven't touched that book since.

Anyway, that was the first I'd heard of "voice." What in the heck is voice? I wondered.

According to "voice is the author's style , the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character."

At Kim's Corner for Teacher Talk she says: "voice shows the writer's personality. . . . It contains feelings and emotions so that it does not sound like an encyclopedia article."

But see, while good definitions, none of this really helped me "find my voice." I do think that I've learned a bit in the past five years, and so here are some things that I think helped me:
  1. Don't just read good books, study good writing. Ask yourself why you like it, and listen to the voice.
  2. Know what point of view (POV) is and how it should be used in writing. I know that may sound obvious, but I look at my first ever book, and cringe at my all-over-the-place POV. I've been re-writing it with a solid POV, and it the change is astounding. (trust me!)
  3. Write what you enjoy. No . . . more than just enjoy . . . write what you're passionate about. For me, that made the difference. I wrote the book I really wanted to write on a subject I adored.
  4. Work with a critique group. I can't tell you how many times my amazing group steered my writing to keep my voice on track. "This just doesn't sound like something the character would say," they told me. Or "This is a POV shift." Little things that add up. (Thanks guys!)
  5. Write. Write. And write. There's nothing quite like practice. We hear this all the time, but how can we expect to be good at something we rarely do? We can't.
I admit, I'm no expert on voice, but hopefully this is a little helpful. And I'd love to hear your thoughts . . . How did you find your voice?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wisdom of a Five-year-old

"The first rule of the game is to not get killed by the bad guys. Cause if you get killed, you're dead. And that's bad."

Happy Halloween everyone! Have a great weekend, and don't get sick eating too much candy. (It's the mom in me. I have to say it!) :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GPS-ing Our Plots

Last weekend I went to the beach with my kids. I'd never been there, but I looked it up on-line, plus I got an address to enter into my handy, dandy GPS.

Fortunately I had google-mapped it, because the GPS wanted me to go straight through DC (which EVERYONE knows you avoid if you can). I went around.

But on the way home, I was in no rush. The kids had a movie going, so I thought, why not? Let's see where the GPS takes me.


A path I NEVER would have taken in a million years. Still, it got me home and it only took 15 extra minutes.

When I started my now-complete novel, I had a plan. The basic chapters laid out. It was to be a short, funny jaunt through fairydom. Apparently my internal GPS had a different idea. All kinds of elements and subplots snuck in there, and the book went a different direction than I had planned.

Was that a bad thing? I don't think so. Was my first plot-line terrible? I don't think so either.

That's what's so great about writing. Our books can go so many different directions, and it's all up to us.

How do you decide where to go with a book?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Story time: When I was little, I wanted to be a cheerleader. Doesn't every little girl?

I told my mom and while she smiled, I saw the worry in her eyes. "It's really hard to become a cheerleader."

I told my friends who looked at me with skepticism. "Why?"

I told my older sister. "You have to be popular to be a cheerleader. I wouldn't count on it."

The thing is, I'd always been taught that I could do whatever I decided to as long as I was willing to put in the effort.

So in 7th grade I convinced my mom to sign me up for a cheerleading class. I learned to do kicks and jumps. I learned how to hold my hands just right. I learned how to chant loud and clear so everyone could hear. I learned how to do back-handsprings. I tried to learn how to do the splits.

The day finally came, and I awoke to a single rose in the vase. A note was attached. "We love you no matter what happens."

I was nervous! I knew I wasn't the prettiest, the skinniest, the most graceful, or the most popular, but I had worked hard. When my number was called (22), I went out there and did my best. I was thrilled when I was given a call back . . . right up until I flubbed the dance in a major way.

They started calling the numbers. The first, second, . . . . when the seventh was called, I knew in my gut I didn't make it.

But my gut was WRONG. I was the last one called. My years of work had paid off. I had done it!!

 (I'm on the bottom, second from the right)

I tell this story because as a kid, I never doubted my abilities. I KNEW I could do anything I put my mind to. Even if it was hard. But now, as an adult, I let doubt seep in. Worse, I let it influence me. And really, what's different? NOTHING.

Nothing has changed but my attitude. So I'm telling myself now: I CAN write, and I CAN succeed . . . even though it's hard and takes lots of work and practice. It may take years of effort. But I CAN do it. And so can you.

How do you overcome doubt?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Query and Thanks

I'm getting ready to query. I've been polishing my letter, and after some fairly major changes (thanks to an amazing critique by Carrie Harris), I was wanting some feedback.

Disgruntled Bear happened to be offering query critiques last week, and I snuck mine in just in time. I wanted to thank her for all the time she's generously giving to do this. VERY nice of her! If you're curious or feeling generous with your time, I'd love to hear what you think. My critiqued query is here. :)

Also, I recently won an Animal Encyclopedia from Connie Arnold

She has a new book coming out called Animal Sound Mix-up. I wanted to thank her for the beautiful book I received in the mail yesterday. Can't wait to read it with my kids. :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yesterday, my 6 year-old found a notebook and a pen and started writing. When I noticed, he showed me what he had written: A bunch of squiggly lines across the page.

"I'm writing a book," he informed me.

I asked him to read it to me, and he launched into a story about his little sister playing with a friend. Then he stopped. "I haven't decided what these two squiggly lines say. I still have to write the next chapter."

After that, he started writing all the words he knew. And may I just say how giggly it makes me that he knows the word "Bob"? Right up there at the top. If you're writing a book, 'Bob' is an essential word. N'est-ce pas?

This, more than anything else makes me feel like a writer (okay, maybe getting published would top it). My kids see what I do, and accept it as the way it is. Not only that, they want a piece of it. (Little do they know what they're getting into!)

What makes you feel like a real writer?

P.S. Happy Birthday Lenny! Eleven is a lucky number. :D

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fulfilling My Promise

Friday, I promised to finish off those awards by sharing 5 tidbits about myself then passing them along. So here goes:
  1. I once dressed up as a piece of gum on the bottom of a shoe for Halloween. My roommate and I had matching outfits: pink sweats with a sneaker-shaped slipper for a hat.
  2. I played soccer on my high school soccer team. All three years. SO much fun.
  3. When I was two, I fell out of a second story window and walked away without a scratch. I CRIED like a banshee, but otherwise, fine. (And I better not hear any "THAT explains it!" comments.)
  4. My thumbs are double-jointed. Pretty cool, eh?
  5. I hate chili. Like a lot. Sorry to all my Texan friends, but I think this disqualifies me from ever living near you.
Okay now for the more interesting part. Just so you know, I only give low-stress awards. You need do nothing with it. I'm good with that. This is just my way of telling you that I think your blog is cool. So you can choose the Versatile Blogger or the Creative Blogger Award. Or none, of course. :)

First, Shallee McArthur at Life, the Universe, and Writing. I recently found her blog and have been loving the open friendliness I can feel shining through her writing. Go visit. You won't be disappointed.

Next, Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer. I'm always so impressed every time I visit. Her words really are inspirational and uplifting. Her title fits just perfectly. And she gives some pretty awesome advice, too.

Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi. You should see the buckets of awards she recently got. And all deserved. She isn't afraid to share her frustrations, and she's everywhere with her upbeat comments. Who couldn't help but love Jemi?

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares. This is who you WISH you had as your English instructor. She is hilarious! Under her tutelage, grammar is no longer scary. It is fun. I see the doubt in your eye, but seriously. You want a laugh? Go visit.

Finally, with two days from his birthday, how could I not include Lenny Lee at Lenny's World? A little spot of sunshine and happiness that is incredibly infectious. His posts and comments always, always, always make me smile.

Honestly, I could give you all awards. It was really hard to choose just 5. But thank you so much for being my friend and visiting my humble little blog, and thinking what I write is worth reading. I don't know how I made it so long as a writer without the support of the amazing writing blogosphere (that's you).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First 250-Words Blog-Fest

I've never participated in a blog-fest before, but couldn't resist Elle Strauss' offering. This is one I can do! 

The first 250 words of my novel have changed so many times (hopefully improving with each draft!). I'd love to hear your comments. Don't worry, I can take a hit! Hope you enjoy. :)


After an hour of drills, Prince Bob felt like a rug on beating day. Repeatedly falling off a horse will do that to you. 

Instead of concentrating on the exercise, he debated excuses to get out early so he could sneak off to the library. Forgot to make his bed? Ate some turned meat at lunch? Or keep it simple by fainting?

"Go!" Commander Peter called.

The line of cavalrymen shot forward. Bob dug in his heels, already several paces behind. He raised his sword, leaned in to strike . . . and miscalculated. Again.

Bob struck air. His balance shifted, and the dummy smacked him in the head. For the fourth time that day, he landed flat on his back.

Laughter echoed from his comrades. 

"Who knew a dummy could fight so well!" Friederick called. 

Bob sucked in the pain that pulsed from his back. He thought of Charming, his brother, telling him to stick up for himself and forced a grin. "Is that you, Friederick? Well I'll be." He jerked a thumb toward the dummy. "I could have sworn that was you."

Silence spread as Friederick’s posse congregated around them.

Friederick scowled down at him. "We'll see who's laughing when they appoint new captains. Or will king daddy pull strings again?"

"Like Lord Léon does for you?"

In a practiced move, Friederick leaped from his horse and unsheathed his sword. "Why don't we just see who deserves to be captain right now."

Friday, October 15, 2010


Yes, this is a lot of what I have been doing today (housekeeping), as I've neglected it for the better part of a week. I swear laundry increases exponentially when you ignore it for a day or five.

Not to break my stride, I'll keep up with the housekeeping here.

First, I wanted to let you know that while I don't normally blog on Saturday, I have joined in on Elle Strauss's First Page Blogfest. I couldn't resist. The darn thing keeps changing, so I thought I'd appreciate hearing others' reactions. (Especially from those of you who have read a previous version!). So I'd love it if you would weigh in . . . any comments to help me make it better would be greatly appreciated!

Second, I won a couple of awards a while ago, and I've been meaning to publicly thank them for a while now.

Heather at Buried in Books gave me the Versatile Blogger Award.

And Amy at The Green Bathtub gave me The Creative Blogger Award

While I don't post pictures of awards I've received, I'm always so flattered when people think of me and my little blog when bestowing them. It brightens my day to know that I was being thought of in such a nice way. So THANK YOU!

I know the rules require tidbits about myself and bestowing it to others. Since I don't have the particulars, I'll just pretend that 5 is a good number on both counts. However, this is getting long, and I have a rule against long blogs, so you'll have to wait until Monday. Cruel, I know. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It came!

I'm sure you remember my book with the missing pages, right? Well, my new copy with ALL the pages arrived today! So it's not that I don't love you all, but I've got some reading to do.

What was the last book you read that you HAD to finish before you could become a functioning member of society again?

Friday, October 8, 2010

License Plate Deciphered

I know you've all been dying to find out what kind of car had the license plate SUSHIBX. I admit, having seen the car, I didn't realize how hard this one would be. But all the more fun, right?

Okay, so we had a couple of great guesses:

Sandy Shin randomly guessed (her own admission) a dark-blue Toyota Highlander. She got two of the three features right. It is not a Highlander.

Lenny Lee deciphered the coded license plate with the skills of a true detective. Sushi for a Japanese car, and Box for a box car. I know you've seen them . . . Honda Element, Nissan Cube. Literally boxes on wheels. But it's neither of those.

For the candy bar, Bob, the answer is a dark-blue Toyota Scion xB!

I have contacted both of the winners, and gleaned their favorite candy bar. Twix for Sandy, and Reeses PB cups (minis) for Lenny. However, in a twist, he has chosen the surprise option. Sorry, you'll have to wait until he gets it. I can't spoil the surprise.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doing the Impossible

I know I said I'd follow up on the guessing from Monday's post, but I'll do that Friday. Promise.

So, I have this yearly tradition. Just before Halloween, I break out the sewing machine and sew a costume for one of my kids. The others get store-bought, because one is all I can handle.

The thing is, I am no seamstress. Like at all. I avoided sewing like the plague. Even the bookmark I had to make in Home Ec didn't look like a bookmark. Pitiful, I know.

Then three years ago, my friend was doing her annual frenzy of sewing FIVE costumes. Amazing! But dangitall, it looked fun. So with the promise of help (that I could call her with every little question, no matter how stupid), I took the leap. It took me a month to make it, but here are the fruits:

Yes, yes, I know, you're all impressed. ;)

This tradition isn't just about saving money on a costume (because it costs me more to sew one than to just buy it). It's about reminding myself that I can do the seemingly impossible when I put my mind to it.

What impossible feats are you accomplishing?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Guess that car!

It's been months since I obsessed (publicly) about personalized license plates. But I certainly haven't stopped finding fun ones. Yesterday I saw:

BZE GMA (any guesses?)


LOVE NBA (obvious, huh?)

Seriously, they're like the ultimate twitter. How much can you say about yourself in 7 letters?

But I digress. So here's the game: Guess the car make, model and color.

Simple enough, right? Last time it was WAY too easy. And I foolishly gave a hint. *snort, cough* This time it will be harder. Maybe.


First person to get it right, I'll mail their favorite candy bar. Or they can choose to be surprised. *big grin*

Ready. Set. Go!

Friday, October 1, 2010

National Book Festival

One of the perks of living near DC is the National Book Festival held every year on the Mall. There are scads of authors who all do book signings and speak to the masses.

And PBS kids comes with Miss Rosa, and Steve Songs, and they give out all kinds of free stuff. I went last Saturday with my 3-year-old, and he was so excited to choose a free book compliments of Penguin Inc., receive a free book and book-making kit from Scholastic, and carry his free bag of goodies from PBS.

I so wanted to go hear Suzanne Collins speak, and get a signed copy I could give away, but alas my 3-year-old wouldn't have it. However, I was standing 2 feet away from Margaret Peterson-Haddix (Among the Hidden series) before they rushed her off for her speaking gig. And I hear Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm series) was excellent. One of these years I'll actually get to hear the speakers. In the mean time, I basked in the glory of being there with my son who was just as excited about the books as I was.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Contest

Honestly, you guys. I really thought the results of the last poll would be a little closer! So here we are:

Total votes: 25

Cruise: 3 votes; 12%

Hawaii: 20 votes; 80%
Cruise TO Hawaii: 1 vote; 4%
Neither: 1 vote; 4%

Though I was leaning towards Hawaii (because it was my favorite vacation EVER), I felt so bad for the cruise that I had to add my vote there. I'm a sucker for underdogs.

And with  the smell of Autumn in the air, I couldn't resist the next debate:




Monday, September 27, 2010

Gahh! . . . Missing Pages

I've been reading the sixth and final book in a series. The tension's been building for five books now, things look terrible for the MCs, the end of the world's in sight, then . . . GAH! I'm missing a chunk of book!

I stared for a minute, read and re-read what led up to it just in case it was simply numbered wrong, flipped through the rest of the book in case it the pages were merely out of order . . . No, that confirmed it, I got two of the same section of pages.

I ran to my computer, googled the publisher, found an e-mail address and sent my humble plea. (I was so polite. You all would be proud!) Within an hour I had my response.

A new book is on its way. Hooray!

Despite the kafufel, I give kudos to the publisher. Thank you for understanding the urgency! Now if I can only wait till it comes . . .

Has this ever happened to you? How did you respond? Or how would you?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Compelling Characters

As part of The Great Blogging Experiment by Jen, Elana, and Alex , here is my contribution.

So with all the hype surrounding Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I placed my holds at the library and read the books. The whole series. I wanted to understand the craze. And I have to admit, I laughed . . . even harder when my six-year-old was rolling on the ground in hysterics.

But confession. The main character annoyed me to no end! I got to the end of the first book and wondered why I should feel bad for his situation. The last incident was an attempt to make him likable, but I wasn't convinced. I kept reading the series, and found each book worse than the last in that regard. Don't get me wrong. Yes, they were funny. But the character is a jerk! It made me wonder if I even want my kids reading it some day.

In contrast, take Charlotte from Charlotte's Web. She's a spider for goodness sake! I hate spiders. (Surely you remember this post on the subject). But I love Charlotte. I cry at the end every stinkin' time. And why? Because this character reaches outside of her meager existence to make a difference in the world. She thinks less of herself and more of others.

And no, not all characters will be like that. Nor do they have to be to be compelling. There are a lot of ways to write a compelling character, and I won't (nor even can I in this limited space) cover them here. But one way to make a character compelling is to give them something to love. Something outside of themselves. Something they are willing to fight for. Sacrifice everything for.

Those are the characters who have influenced me the most and compel me to keep reading. What makes a character compelling to you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three-Month Mentorship

There are so many amazing contests going on write now. Surely, among them, you've heard of Angela Ackerman's 1000-Followers contest over at The Bookshelf Muse. This amazing woman is offering not just critiques, but a THREE-MONTH MENTORSHIP.

I know! Who wouldn't want someone standing by you for three-months, helping you through this lonely and crazy writer's world we navigate? This contest is open until Wednesday, September 29, so go check it out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Pitch

Back in June, I entered the pitch for my book in a contest and won. I was shocked and elated!

The thing is, when I saw the contest, I wasn't going to enter. I looked at the agent's bio, and didn't think she was interested in fairy tales. But my husband, being the wise man he is, asked, "Well what harm is done if you enter and don't win?"

So I pulled out my pitch, which I'd edited and revised and played with after reading Elana's blog:

"With his country at war, Prince Bob, Prince Charming's failure of a little brother, is desperate to prove himself and finally escape his brother's shadow."

I was about to post it, but that nagging little voice in the back of my head made me doubt. I'd read Nathan Bransford's blog on pitching and came up with this:

"When war breaks out and Prince Bob is demoted from his captain's post, he prevents a mutiny, stops a traitor, and leads the army to victory to save the kingdom."

But to me, it felt flat. So I pulled out the one I'd gotten some good feedback on it at Seekerville:

"Prince Charming's little brother must overcome a mutiny, a traitor, and his own ineptitude to prevent the downfall of his kingdom."

And while I liked it better, I still doubted. See, a few months back, I read through some winning pitches on, and one of them read something like this: A post-apocalyptic glee club.

It says nothing about the plot. 'So how could it win?' I asked myself. Then came the lightbulb.

A pitch is one sentence. How can you really tell someone about the plot in so few words? But see, a pitch isn't meant to tell the whole plot. That's what a synopsis is for. A pitch is meant to capture someone's interest. Make them want to read your book.

That's when I decided to break a few rules. Think outside the box. I stopped focusing on the plot, and started focusing on what I thought was unique and intriguing about my story. Here's what I submitted:

"Before Prince Charming rescued Snow White; before he faced her evil step-mother in a knock-down, drag-out battle, he faced his biggest challenge to date: training his inept little brother, Prince Bob, to be like him. This is Bob's story." 

While I still got a rejection letter in the end (albeit a very nice one), the pitch did what it was supposed to do: catch the attention of the agent. I definitely think I have a better concept of what makes a good pitch. 

So what makes your story intriguing? Can you turn that into a winning pitch? I'd love to hear yours!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Waiting vs. Patience

Today's a quickie. I found this quote that I thought perfectly describes the whole writer's journey:

"Patience [is] far more than simply waiting for something to happen---patience require[s] actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn't appear instantly or without effort."

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn

Saturday night, I had a date with my husband. Things have been crazy (even with the vacation), so it had been a really long time. We planned a bike ride along the Potomac trail, and I was SO excited! It's just cool to ride along with the Lincoln and Washington monuments staring at you from across the river.

I was getting a quick dinner for the kids minutes before our babysitter arrived, when the phone rang. I answered it, but apparently I've lost my finely honed multi-tasking abilities, because I promptly grabbed the pan from the oven with both hands.

Yup, that would be bare hands. The pot holders sitting right there on the counter, staring me in the face. Insult to injury, I tell you.

Needless to say, we canceled our bike ride and decided to do the Lincoln Memorial (by night) instead. I brought my ice-pack with us, but it lost it's cold all too soon. I was honestly having delusions of being able to shoot fire balls with just a flick of my fingers.

 (That thing I'm holding is the ice-pack)

So then I was thinking how awesome that would be! But wait, what would I even do with such a power?

Yeah, I know, this really doesn't have much to do with writing (unless you want to think of it as a character exercise), but here's my question: If you could shoot fire balls with your hands, what would you do with it? World domination? Pyro-maniac encounters? Work for the government? Start an occasional camp fire?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Know You Want This!

I know the word contest turns some away, but if you write, you want this. Trust me.

Wait, actually, no, you don't want this, because I WANT IT! Seriously. Like, a lot.

C.A. Marshall, freelance editor extraordinaire, and literary agent intern, is offering a free substantial edit (i.e. plot, pacing, character development, etc) up to 100,000 words.

I know! Awesome.

You do have to be a follower, but she gives such great advice, I would recommend it anyway. Click here for the link.

So good luck and all that jazz, yada, yada, yada. But did I tell you I want this? ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Fake Following"

I was reading Elana's blog last Tuesday, which I'm sure most of you saw (I mean, who doesn't follow the fabulous Elana?!). She talked about blog building and following, and in the comments, a few people mentioned "fake following."

This idea has been swimming through my brain ever since. I've seen blogs that specifically say: "Only follow me if you're sincere" (or something to that effect). And I've seen those who follow, but rarely visit.

So here's my question: What do you consider to be "fake following"?

Does that mean you follow and NEVER visit? Follow and only visit once a month? Twice a week? Is a true follower only one who stalks visits your blog daily?

Honestly, I follow blogs that I rarely visit. However, I only follow blogs on subjects I'm sincerely interested in, and I've never thought of it as "fake following." I skim through my daily list of updated blogs and visit the ones with topics that interest me most until I run out of time.

Conversely, I'm always pleased when someone stops in and comments, but I have never looked through my follower list to see who is and who isn't commenting. I figure we all have lives outside of the computer (at least I HOPE so!).

So how about you? What are your thoughts on "fake following"? And please, don't be afraid to disagree with me. I'd love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Late Results

Yes, it has been over a month since the Cake vs. Ice Cream debate. But as this is such a pressing issue, I couldn't let it slide. People breaking rules left and right, but *sigh* I suppose I'll let it pass. Again. ;)

Ready for the results?!

Total votes: 31

Cake: 14 votes; 46%
Ice Cream: 13 votes; 42%
Gelato: 1 vote; 3%
Icing: 1 vote; 3%
Ice Cream Cake: 1 vote; 3%
Depends (as in depends on the situation, not the brand called Depends): 1 vote; 3%

The cool thing is that I got to throw in the deciding vote. Woo hoo! I feel the power coursing through my veins . . . oh wait, that's the Snickers bar I ate earlier.

Okay, so the next pressing issue that MUST be decided:

A Cruise
 (photo compliments of



(yes, that's me sticking out my tongue, just trying to make you all jealous)

Friday, September 3, 2010


I so wanted a picture for this blog, but alas, you'll have to deal with my crappy artwork.

On vacation, we planned to meet up with my brother to do some rock climbing. We were supposed to connect in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Off we drive, until we see this sign.

So if you saw this sign, which direction would you go to get to Big Cottonwood Canyon? If you guessed straight, you'd be wrong.

I know, right? So we spent about an hour on a wild goose chase, dodging bikers in the middle of a race, pulling over so our kids could go to the bathroom find a bush. Not so fun.

We debated just abandoning the plan and skipping out on the rock climbing, but gritting our teeth, we finally made our way to the right place. And I have to say, it was totally worth it. The kids LOVED it. Even my 3 year old loved it, and he never got much higher than my head.

Point? You want a point? *Deep breath* Sometimes writing is like this. We do our best to follow the signs (blogs, interviews, publishing books, whatever), but still, things don't turn out the way we think they should. But giving up? Definitely not the best option.

So when's the last time you had to take a deep breath, and just force yourself to keep going?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Back!

Wow, so I feel like I've been gone an eternity or so. Blogging? What's that? Now I have to re-learn all this stuff.

But the trip was good, minus the not good stuff. And I definitely have some ranting fun stories to share. I'll save those for other blogs. Just wanted to pop back in, after my long absence, and say "HEY YA'LL! I'VE MISSED YOU!!"

So what is the funnest thing you did in August?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sympathetic Listener

So my husband got home from work yesterday and told me this story:

"I was almost to my car when I felt something itching my neck. I reached up to scratch, and this BIG, FAT cockroach zoomed around my head and landed on the ground in front of me. So disgusting!"

And he shivered with the grossness of it all.

Being the loving and concerned wife that I am, I immediately began wondering how I could use his experience in a book. (Of course, I shiver with the grossness of it, too.)

Do you do this? Hear or see something yicky that happens, and start thinking books instead of sympathy?

So before I end, I have to tell you I'll be succumbing to summer vacation. I might pop in from time to time, but I'll be on vacation most of August. I can already feel myself going into withdrawals,  . . . but it'll make it that much more exciting come September. See you all in a month!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Timeless Debates

So I have to follow up on the chocolate/peanut butter debate. Here are the results:

Total votes: 33

  Peanut Butter: 3 votes; 9%

  Chocolate: 23 votes; 70%

  Both (which wasn't even a choice, people!): 7 votes;  21%

Technically, another 7 grudgingly chose chocolate, but would have preferred both. In that case, chocolate got 16 votes, being 48%; and both got 14 votes, being 42%.

Still, chocolate won. Alas, I was on the peanut butter side. I feel so alone!

This time, we need a harder question. Got it . . . Ice cream or cake? (Any flavor)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Perspective

My first visit downtown with the kids, I had a very limited knowledge and understanding of the layout of the District. I carried a map, and consulted it constantly. When we decided to visit the White House, it felt like we had to walk a LONG TIME to get there.

Walking on the streets, the trees and the slope of the ground hide the White House really well. You could be walking right next to it, and not realize it. But with a little perspective, you have a much clearer picture.

This was taken from the top of the Washington Monument. The street you see is Constitution Ave. You might call it the main drag. That LONG WALK turned out to only be 2 blocks.

The publication process . . . whatever stage you may be in (writing, querying, on submission, waiting for publication date) . . . can sometimes feel like it takes a LONG TIME. And sometimes it does. But someday, when you have a little perspective on your experiences, you might realize that it didn't take as long as it felt like it did.

Does that make waiting any easier? Probably not. But I do try to keep it all in perspective. ;)

What has your experience been? Is the wait worth it?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Thanks to everyone for entering my giveaway!

With 31 entries, has chosen:


Congratulations! I've e-mailed you and you have 48 hours to send me your snail mail address.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick Giveaway!

I was fortunate to win a copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. All kinds of buzz has been swirling around this book which is released by Philomel in Oct. 2010.

From Ms. Cremer's web page, here is the description:

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Instead of being greedy and keeping it for myself, I am going to give away my copy (paperback, read once by me). All you have to do is be a follower and leave a comment with your e-mail address on this post. And I'm sorry, but because of costs, I can only ship to a U.S. or Canadian address (if you're international, but have someone in the US or Canada I can send it to, I'm totally fine with that).

The last day to enter is Sunday, July 25 at midnight EDT. I'll post a winner Monday.

So, recap:
  1. I'm giving away a gently used ARC of Nightshade.
  2. To enter, be a follower, leave a comment with e-mail on this post.
  3. Ends Sunday, July 25th at midnight.
  4. U.S. & Canada only.
  5. Good luck!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Candyland's Awesome Contest

If you haven't heard about Candace's contest over at The Misadventures In Candyland, you should go there now. This isn't just any old contest. This is Operation I Heart Joy Like BR8o.

What does that mean you ask? Well click here for her explanation. This contest is to help raise money for a charity called Joy 2 the World which generates micro-credit loans to women in Ghana to help them become independent.

I.E. They loan her money to buy a sewing machine and then they can start their own business.

It seems like such a small thing, but this can really make a big difference in their lives. Even if you can't give money, please help spread the word. This is an awesome cause that is about more than giving someone a meal or even feeding them for a month. This is about changing their lives.

Oh, and did I mention that there are some awesome prizes? So many generous people donating to the cause!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?

Vicki Rocho (at Rambles and Randomness) and I had an e-mail exchange on this general topic last week, so I wanted to throw this question out there . . .

Chocolate or peanut butter?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I took this picture from my back porch last March. I'd been working away on the computer when my son slipped next to me and said, "Mama, we haven't watched a sunset together in a long time!" My little heart melted, and I had to grab the camera to remember the moment.

In movies and literature, sunsets are rather iconic. Often, the hero rides off into it. It's a time of change, transition (think Fiona in Shrek). It's the ending of one phase and the start of another.

We all face countless sunsets in our lives: graduation from high school and college; marriage; children. And the same can be said for us as writers: completing that first novel; attending that first conference; receiving that first critique; facing that first rejection; attaining an agent; signing a book deal.

Some of these sunsets we pray for. We eagerly await those moments when we can finally close that chapter in our lives. Move forward. Sometimes we're there in our minds long before reality catches up. I totally do this when I think about finding an agent.

But too often, we're so anxious for the sunset, we forget to appreciate the beauty of the day. Having recently finished my 2nd book, I can tell you that while it felt good, it didn't even rival how I felt after completing my first one. And it was an unpublishable mess. Yet, I don't think I appreciated that joy at the time.

No matter what sunset you're waiting on, what are you appreciating about your "day"?

Me? I'm appreciating that I have no tight deadlines. ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lexical Gaps

As an English major, Linguistics 101 was a required course. Surprisingly, I actually loved the class . . . though that might have been because the teacher was a stand-up comedian on the side.

So of all the things I'm sure I should have learned from that class, what I best remember are Lexical Gaps.

Lexical Gaps, in the linguistic sense, are possible word forms which aren't really words. Sometimes it's because another word already exists to express the same meaning, sometimes there's no real reason. It just isn't.

Examples would be funner, badder, goodest, extinctified, unreplaceable, fantabulous.

Granted, some lexical gaps are a bit grating (i.e. goodest, badder, funner), but used right, they can liven things up and give a sense of personality. I've seen a couple on blogs that are fun: besties, awesomesauce

So the question is, do you have a favorite lexical gap? And would you ever use it in your book?

P.S. Now when someone tells you "That's not a word," you can tell them, "Yes, but it's a lexical gap, so I can use it." :D

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Award Central

Between my contest and the move, I've been hoarding a few awards. It's always a warm fuzzy to receive an award like when someone offers you half their cookie at lunch. So, time to share the fuzzies!

Renae at The Siren's Song; Sharon at Random Thoughts; Kris & Kels at Take My Hand; Amparo at No Rest for the Lazy; Medei Sharif; Writing Nut at Writing in a Nutshell; Julie Musil; and Alexandra at Friends and Crocodiles awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you all! I'm so flattered you would think of me.

Then Bethany Elizabeth at Ink-Splattered, and Clara at Pinches of Madness awarded me the Honest Scrap Award. I love this one. Makes me feel strong. :)

And finally, Medeia Sharif also awarded me the Sugar Doll Award. I feel so sweet every time I look at the one. Thank you! Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go eat a sugar cookie . . .

Okay, I'm back. So Honest Scrap and Sugar Doll ask for 10 facts about me, and Versatile wants another 7. You'd all be bored to tears, so I'll just offer up 7 and call it good:

  1. I don't eat plain chocolate. Slather it over a cookie, or mix it with something and I'm good, but I can't handle it plain. Every few years I try to eat it again, but I always have to spit it out. No go.
  2. My husband and I spent 3 months in Ecuador the first year we were married to work in orphanages. All our wedding cash went to pay for it, but it was SO worth it.
  3. I was a cheerleader in junior high. Short skirt and all. But no pom-poms. I promise I was no cliche, though. I was nice! Really. :D
  4. I'm much better at math than I am at English. I know, weird!
  5. I'm the 4th of 5 kids . . . Did you know 4th children are always the most well-adjusted? ;)
  6. I have never been to Canada. 
  7. I hate to brag, but I can both roll my tongue and fold it. Yes, talent indeed.
Okay, so for passing these puppies on. Versatile calls for 15 people each, and the others ask for 5 . . . so doing the math (which I'm good at, remember?) . . . (8 x 15) + (5 x 2) +5, that would be 135 of you. Uh, yeah, that's a lot. So I will be breaking some rules.

I am choosing only 5 recipients, and I am letting you choose which award you want (did Stina do that first? Fab idea):

Vicki Rocho at Rambles and Randomness. She is so fun, and not afraid to share those less-than-flattering moments. If you need a good laugh, check out her blog.

Roh Morgon at Musings of a Moonlight Writer. She is just getting started with her blog and has a fun character contest going on right now.

R. Garrett Wilson who always has interesting discussions going on. His blog makes me think, and I like that.

Justine Dell who is not only funny, but amazingly brave. She posts her query stats ON HER BLOG! I can only hope to be that brave one day.

Finally, Bekah at Bekah's Stories who always has interesting topics going on, plus she has a Worst Query contest going on right now. How fun is that?

So phew! My fingers are numb. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wallowing in My Own Mud

So we've moved. Unpacked? No. But moved, yes. Yay!

More space for the kids to run around. No neighbors beneath us. Best friends next door. I'm thrilled.

However, I'm learning stuff about myself. Though the new place was "cleaned," I have spent a lot of time cleaning. Wiping down blinds, walls, cupboards, cabinet tops, disinfecting the bathrooms . . . well, you get the idea. The thing is, I had to do all of that in my old apartment before leaving, and it wasn't nearly as gross.

And after much reflection, I've figured it out . . . in my old place, the dirt was MINE. In our new place, the dirt is someone else's. That makes it much more egregious.

The thing is, I think our books are like that, too. I see an overused adjective in my critique partner's work, I heartlessly mark it (in the nicest sort of way, of course). A nicely worded phrase that's simply unneccessary? Cross it out. Etc., etc.

When I see it in my own? But I NEED that adjective. Is the overuse really that horrible? And that phrase is BEAUTIFUL. Perfect. Necessary. I can't cut THAT.

See, but it's my own dirt. Maybe I should pretend I'm editing someone else's work for my next revision . . . Do you find it easier to edit others' work?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Happy Dance!

Okay, okay, I'm supposed to be packing up the last of our things to be moving to our new place, and my internet will be cut off any second, . . .

BUT I peeked in my e-mail and got a little nudge from Amy over at The Green Bathtub (Thank you!) that I won the pitch contest on Renae's blog The Siren's Song. (!!!!!) So excited!

I couldn't help sharing the good news with all of you (my extended support system, no?). While it's not as exciting as, say, landing an agent or getting a book deal, it's always encouraging to get positive feedback. I say celebrate the small steps too, so . . .

. . . I'm home, in a half-empty apartment doing my happy dance. :D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Thanks to everyone who entered our 101-follower contest! And boy, SO close to hitting 150 yesterday. I'm totally in awe!

So on to the important stuff. I had 58 entries (54 people). I wish everyone could win, but alas . . . has chosen 2 of you.

1st Prize: Melissa at YA Bookshelf has won the $25 Amazon Gift Card

2nd Prize: Lynn at Place to Create has won a mystery prize. She has selected door #3:

Lynn, you have selected the fabulous prize of a book of your choice (up to a $15 limit)! Let me know what book you want and I'll order (or pre-order) it for you, delivered directly to your door. You really
chose well, this was the good prize. I think I'll leave you all guessing and save the other prizes for another contest. ;)

Congratulations! Please send me your addresses at rjljohnson (dot) janet (at) gmail (dot) com within 48 hours to claim your prizes. If I don't hear from you, I'll choose new winners.

And just to let you know, I am moving this coming week, so I'll be out of commission for a while. Have a great week, and thanks again for following and entering our contests!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last Day to Enter Our Contests!

Just a quick reminder: TODAY is the last day to enter mine and Jessie's contests. Click here for the details.

And wow, since I'm so close to having 150 followers, if I get there before the contest ends, I will let 2 people choose a mystery prize. Doors 1--4. Woo hoo! Aren't you excited? ;)

Have a good one!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reclused . . . I mean, Reduced to Fear

It was late. The kids were asleep. My husband had gone to bed. I was hard at work finishing my blogs for the week. Then I saw it. A quarter-sized spider not three feet away.

I screamed. I mean SCREAMED! The spider froze, watching me with its beady little eyes. I didn't dare look away for fear it would disappear into my house. I called my husband, trying not to wake the kids. He's a light sleeper, I thought. He'll come.


I called again, cursing the tremor in my voice that made me sound like such a wuss. Again, and again. Still no knight in shining armor to rescue me!

The spider was getting antsy. I started to creep away. I realized I needed to kill the blasted thing or it would escape and haunt my dreams . . . and my waking life.

I grabbed the empty garbage can and stepped closer. The spider knew.

Zoom! It sped away like nothing. Then I really started screaming (I'm ashamed now to admit it, but I didn't care who I woke . . . the kids, the neighbors, the dead). I had completely lost it! And of course the thing ran for the pile of boxes in the corner (we're getting ready to move).

I was still screaming for my husband when he came sauntering out of the room. "What is it honey?"

Boy I laid into him. But I was in hysterics by then. Fortunately he could tell. He didn't make any sudden movements, and he spoke in a nice soothing voice. I shivered in the corner while he painstakingly went through every box till he killed it. Yeah, it was a Brown Recluse. *shivers again*

So now I don't know which I should feel worse about: that my mental state is so fragile I lost it at the sight of a mere spider . . . or that my husband never came running despite my bloody murder screams.

What do you think? And please tell me I'm not the only one to have such irrational fears!

And again, don't forget to enter my CONTEST here! Ends tomorrow at midnight EDT.