Friday, July 29, 2011

This Week In Favs……….

10) “Critiquely Interview with The Rejectionist” from Mary Baader Kaley on Mary Baader Kaley (is) Not an Editor. Aahh…. an interview with one of my favorite blogs to follow: The Rejectionist. This is one interview that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It was refreshing, open, honest, and gave me the warm tingles. My hope it that you enjoy this interview as well. And……

Here’s a little treat from The Rejectionist’s website that I found this week - A Harry Potter themed want ad: 

9) “There Is No Such Thing as Writer’s Block” by Joseph Selby, guest blogger on Roni Loren’s writing blog, Fiction Groupie (who was also interviewed by Mary Baader Kaley…check out her interview here). I loved this post! Especially the Neverending Story references he uses (I’ve definitely felt like my WIP was consumed by the Nothing a time or two). Writer’s block is the one excuse that I’ve consistently tried to wipe from my vocabulary. Nowhere can I have the word ‘writer’ followed by ‘block’. For me, 40% of the time outside stressors are what’s blocking my Muse from coming through. The other 60%? Somewhere along the way (a consequence of being 90% pantser) I’ve either missed a secondary plot element, forgotten about a character, or mishandled a delicate scene. All of these are reasons for my subconscious to tell my conscious that I need to go back and fix it immediately!

8) “Should Books Have a Rating System?” by Jami Gold. This is one of those posts that you keep going back to so you can read the thoughts and comments of other readers. Should books have a rating system? In my humble opinion: absolutely. It keeps readers from being blind-sided by sensitive topics (such as rape, abuse, etc.) and offers the parents of MG & YA readers a cushion so they have a better idea of what their children are reading without having to read them first. I don’t have children, and I’m already so busy, I barely have time to eat. Parents with pre-teens and/or teens in the household? Busier!! Besides, a rating system could also prove useful for us as writers. *ahem* “Who’s more likely to give a book a bad review or start a book banning campaign? Those who knew the content going in, or those who were blind-sided?” <—Excellent question, Jami! I encourage everyone to get over there and share your thoughts on the subject.

7) “Turn It Off'” by Barbara O’Neal on Writer Unboxed. *snort* Ooookay…. this has been a long-time comin’ for me! My biggest issue when I’m sitting at the computer trying to edit? The INTERNET! I don’t know if it’s ADD (I’m gonna call it like it is since, ‘our concentration is becoming fragmented by our attachment to electronics’, is putting it a little too nicely for me personally), or if I just subconsciously look to the internet world for inspiration when I’m stuck on a scene. Whatever it is, it is NOT good! It’s waaaaay to easy to get stuck on Twitter, Facebook or blog-surfing. The next thing you know, it’s an hour later, and you’ve wasted a damn good 60 minutes that could’ve been used finishing those chapter edits. I’ve printed Barbara’s suggestions and now have them posted on my wall. I’ll let you know how it’s going in a few days. ;)

6) “Breaking Down Writing – The How and Why?” by Tina Moss. Tina’s on vacay for the next two weeks, recharging her batteries and *hopefully* soaking up some sun. While she’s away, I’m enjoying her list of suggestions on writing methods. I’m 100% with her on #2: Write every day, and #5: If you tell your friends and families that you’re a writer, then you have to act like one.
Tina’s post is quite timely as I’ve been scheming a lil’ something for a week in August on the blog: The Writing Process. My ultimate goal? Guest bloggers for an entire week, sharing *their* writing process and personal writing tips. Maybe it’ll be Q&A, maybe it’ll be free form. I haven’t decided yet, but some of my favorite bloggers – and you know who you are – may be finding requests in their inboxes soon. *fingers crossed*

5) Another So You Think You Can Dance goodie!! :)
Melanie is the one to beat the season! Why, you ask? The dances I’m highlighting from this week both showcase her dance and interpretation of what the choreographers gave her <—That’s a true artist for you!

I could go on about how awesome she is, but I won’t. Instead, I give you the first performance from Wednesday night’s show that took my breath away….and it includes All Star Neil, one of my favs from seasons’ past (keep an eye out for Melanie’s HUGE ‘leap of faith’ into Neil’s arms).

Next up: Grrrl power! Sasha and Melanie teamed for a jazz routine by one of my all-time favorite choreographers, Sonya Tayek. I could write an entire blog post on Sonya alone (and what I wouldn’t give to spend one day with her)!

4) “Don’t Lose the Magic” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. A-ha! When you’re beating yourself up over the difficulties of writing, gaining representation and publishing, Lisa comes through and reminds you not to forget the magic you discovered when you first picked up a pen – whether you were 7, 9, 14, 23, or 50 years old. There’s a reason why you started writing and it was called MAGIC.

Wanna see my reminder (thanks to Lisa’s wonderful reminder)? 

2011-07-28 22.35.07
 Can you tell I got a bit stuck editing today?!?

3) “Twisting and Deepening the Final Battle” by S.P. Sipal on Harry Potter for Writers. I LOVE these analyses from Susan. I couldn’t even begin to dive into the writing of JKR and pull the incredible lessons out of the writing the way she can. I mean….. I…… *sighs* Words seriously fail me right now. Susan: BRAVO on this post! I really really can’t wait for your next series – Mystery Plotting, is it?  :)

2) “What Drives a Story: Plot or Characters?” by Jami Gold. Yessss! Another awesome post that keeps me going back to read the comments. I love it when posts start a great debate between fellow writers. I’ll give you the ‘snapshop’ of the loooong comment I left on Jami’s blog: I tend to teeter in the ‘in between’ with reading, writing and movie-watching. I thoroughly enjoy the books and movies that tend to move a little slow (for other people) but offer the best character arcs of a lifetime. BUT, I also enjoy the flat-characters, blow-things-up, nothing-but-action movies and books that are so in your face, you seriously can’t look away. On the flip side, in my writing, I’ve got my characters and what I believe to be a very good plot developed, but both could use a little more oomph! For me, in a perfect world, every story would have that balance: an unforgettable plot AND unforgettable characters.

1) “Keeping the Faith: Best-Selling Authors Tell What Keeps Them Writing” on Writer Unboxed. To go along with Lisa’s post listed above (go figure I’d come across this within an hour of reading her post…when I should have been editing),  I wanted to share some inspiring words that were posted on Writer Unboxed this week. My favorite is from Dawn Tripp, author of Game of Secrets: “My heart broke for four years as I was writing Game of Secrets. That might seem a strange thing to say. It was a strange thing to feel. But it drove me. Writing is a dream of the body, not strictly of the mind, and even when I couldn’t quite see how the strands of the story would all come together, I somehow knew heartbreak was a feeling I could trust.” <—this quote was pulled from her interview on Psychology Today. One word: WOW! Hope you enjoy reading their inspiring words!

Now I’m off to get some more editing done! Today is my last 'official' vacation day from work – aka: time away from work to write/edit – which means that come Monday, I’m going to be right back in the office, overwhelmed with emails, phone calls and who knows what else! After the end of August, I won't have be able to take anymore time off until January.

**But I wouldn’t change it for the world!**

Happy Reading & Writing!!!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finding the Balance

Like a lot of people, I’ve been struggling with balance in my life for quite a while now…balance between my work life, my writing life, my reading life, my blogging life (which is still new to me), and my personal life. I’ve got so much going on, that I’ve lovingly referred to my life (as I know it) as chaotic.
Fellow blogger, Lisa Gail Green, actually posted an article, Balancing Act, that has stuck a chord with me since the day I read it. I’ve thought long and hard for the past several weeks about time/energy management. 
Just to break down the chaos for you:
  • I work 40+ hours a week at a job that I absolutely love and enjoy. Everyone I work with has become family, and the company’s absolutely amazing to work for.
  • I’ve completed the first draft of my WIP and am currently 70% through my first round of edits. I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve got ahead of me: 2nd and 3rd drafts and line edits (to name a few). 
  • I love to read, and in order to be a writer – at least a good writer - you have to read; mainly books in your genre. This is a much needed escape for me and without it, I’d be completely lost -- no GPS system on earth would be able to locate me.
  • I enjoy connecting with other readers and writers via Twitter, Blogger and Facebook. I often find myself on there for at least an hour every night (C’mon, it’s really really easy to pass that 1-hr mark on the clock!). I learned quickly from my FT job that networking is important in business and I’ve actually grown to love it.
  • I have a blog and I thoroughly enjoy sharing my life with other readers/writers...especially my personal favorites from the week! I like to put myself out there, say what I need/want to say – whether it’s wrong or right – and share my fears, hopes and dreams.  I also enjoy spending time on other people’s blogs, reading their fears, hopes, dreams, and all of the wonderful writing tips they each have to offer. Everyone is so amazing that it’s hard to keep up with it all!
  • I have a wonderful husband and small circle of friends that I absolutely love and adore. While my husband is extremely supportive of my craft, I often feel guilty since we don’t spend too much time together during the week. I also couldn’t imagine not going a week without seeing our dear friends.
Now, when you think about, that doesn’t seem like a lot. But when you dive into it, there’s only so many hours in the day to do it all (Side note: I am a little OCD and a complete Type-A personality. Call me crazy and it won’t hurt my feelings whatsoever.). The only constant that I know I must do to keep my ‘mojo’ is writing and/or editing. With the exception of one day a week, I have to spend time (even the smallest amount) with my current WIP. Whether it’s writing or editing, it’s an absolute must. The worlds I create are mine and I looove spending time in them. My muse and those worlds keep me sane (at least by my definition of the word).


Here’s my solution/plan for Finding the Balance in this chaotic, surprising, exciting, lovely life:
  • Taking it one day at a time: I was given a motto by an old boss several years ago: IOOP = I’m Only One Person. I try to do as much as I possibly can. I’m a passionate and selfless person, and as such, I push hard and strive for my dreams. But…..
  • Remember: Stress = Illness. The more you stress, the more your body wears down (notice I didn’t work fitness into my chaos – I should probably re-evaluate that). You lose sleep the more you stress, thus, the more your body begins to beg for you to sloooow the hell down! *One day at a time*
  • Several passions = several days a week to slowly spend time with them all…without feeling guilty. As much as it pains me to not be able to write for three hours every single night, I’ve come to realize that ‘slow and steady’ can be best (more to come on this one). Beginning Monday, I’ll begin following a strict schedule:
    • Monday & Tuesday evenings: 30-minutes working out, 1 hour for blogging - and not just my own, but reading and catching up on some of my favorite blogs! Follow up with an hour of editing and an hour of reading (depending on what the hubby and I have planned).
    • Wednesday evenings: 30-minutes working out followed by quality time with my lil’ sis, then quality time with the hubs. <—this entire night provides what can be a much-needed break from writing and editing! 
    • Thursday Evenings: 30-minutes working out, 1 hour of Twitter/Facebook, 1 hour of blog time (personal blog this time) then an hour of quality time with my WIP.
    • Friday Nights: This was a tough one to plan out, but I’m leaving Friday nights open to do whatever my little heart desires: hanging out with friends, editing, spending time with the hubs, watching a movie, reading a book….. the possibilities are endless!
    • Saturday Mornings: More time (maybe 2-4 hours) with the WIP (or spending time editing my CP’s MS or researching a new project). Maybe I can squeeze in another 30-minute session of working out???
    • Saturday nights: much-needed quality friends and family time! <---and maybe a little brainstorming on my WIP with my best friend (who is also an avid reader & tells me if I’m falling off the tracks).
    • Sundays: Twitter, blogs, laundry, alone time with the hubby, TV show catch-up…maybe a little reading as well, but only after spending more time with the current WIP. 

Notice I didn’t include blog surfing in there? Well… I consider the blogs I ‘follow’ as favorites. I tend to come across other blogs by following the hashtags on Twitter and I plan on reading through those during my breaks/lunches at work (thank goodness for my android phone!).

We’ll see where this new outlook and plan will take me. Who knows…I may find enough time to  add another item to my list.

What balance are you struggling to find? Is it between work and personal/family life? Work, personal and reading and writing? Or maybe it’s just a professional balance: you spend to much time on emails, and not enough time on reporting or talking with your clients?

Please share your thoughts, fears, and insights on Finding the Balance in your life.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week In Favs……….

Happy Friday everyone! I’m sitting here at the beach, having a glass of wine and enjoying some chips and salsa while putting together this blog post.

I may be on vacay, but this was too incredible a week in the writing blog-o-verse to not gather and share my top picks of the week <—And I had a hard time picking this week since there were sooo many awesome, informational posts out there!

Enough chit-chat….let’s get started!

10) “Author Intrusion: 12 Pitfalls to Avoid” by Roni Loren. Can I just say how much I love and enjoy reading Roni’s posts?? This particular post is here for a very good reason: I’m a repeat offender guilty of #7: Information Dumping (especially in the first draft), #8: Paying Too Much Attention to the Setting or Not Enough, and #10: Putting the Cart Before the Horse. So needless to say, my Muse was talking to me while reading that post, nodding her head and smugly stating “told ya so”. Roni, my Muse thanks you….this list was printed and is currently taped to the wall next to my monitor.

9) “What I Say When I #amwriting…(my process)” by Johanna Harness <—creator of the #amwriting community on Twitter. Wow! Just….wow! The flow charts in Johanna’s post are amazing. Her rough draft process? I can follow that….no problem! But the revision process? I had to look at it for about an hour just to absorb every bubble and where each one was connected. My #amwriting process is nowhere near this caliber, but I must say that I got several ideas to add to my own after seeing these awesome flow charts. Get over and check them out. 

8) “5 Creative Flaws That Will Expose Your Lack of Storytelling Experience” by Larry Brooks on I saw this post as great advice for every writer, not just newbies. I’ve been writing for several years, just as most of us have, and during my first and second drafts, I still use proper names with dialogue and I overwrite time fillers and/or food descriptors (I’m a total foodie, by the way) and I do it a bit too often, especially in the first draft. Would it save me time if I keep this in mind while I’m banging out that first draft? Possibly. Am I willing to give it a try and find out after reading this post? Absolutely.

7) “Crafting a 25-Word Pitch” by Marcy Kennedy over at Girls With Pens.  I was drawn to this particular post because Marcy mentions the Facebook post by Rachelle Gardner in which she asked her followers: “In 20 words of less, tell me about the book you’re writing right now.” Well, I responded to this post with my 20 words, and it sucked! So you can imagine that I was grateful to find this post. Marcy breaks down the points you need/should include in your pitch. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to take your 80,000-word story and shrink it down to one sentence. I’m a wordy person in case you haven’t already noticed! If you also want further info on pitching, Rachelle Gardner had two great posts this week also: “Pitching Your Novel” and “Your Verbal Pitch”.

6) “What I Told My Family About Publishing” by Jennifer Hillier, guest post on Guide to Literary Agents Editor’s Blog. Yes! Jennifer posted exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to family members and friends. Just because I’ve got an MS that I really really really want to get published doesn’t mean it’s going to happen any time soon, if at all (although it is the first completed MS that I’ve wanted to get published). What family and friends don’t seem to understand most of the time is: If I were to find an agent today, it could still be 1-2 years before the book hits the shelf. A lot of the time, they also don’t understand that this isn’t the ‘get rich quick’ industry. Now, I can print this out and take it to them, along with a few other similar posts, and I can say: “See this? I doubt I’ll be able to quit my job any time soon, much less buy you that new car you’ve been wanting, Sis.” :)

5) Another double dose of So You Think You Can Dance goodies!! We’re down to the Top Ten and now it’s every dancer for themselves vs. the contestants dancing in couples. So, as individuals, they are paired with an All Star Dancer who is both from a previous season of the show, and an expert in their dance style. The Top Ten dancers had a phenomenal week, so of course I had to go with two dances again, right?!?

Here’s Sasha (the contestant) & Twitch (the All Star…one of my favs):

Next, we have Jess (the contestant) & Katherine (the All Star):

4) “Deciding When to Show and When to Tell” by Martina on Adventures in Children’s Publishing. This is a prime example of what I love about the blogging world! I’m an adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy author with no shades of YA, but yet I love to learn from sites like this where the posts are written by YA and children’s authors. Techniques of the craft are the same across the board. Whether you’re writing children’s, MG, YA, or adult. We all share the same techniques and learn from one another. This is yet another post that has been printed and added to my notebook of blog posts/writing tips.

3) “How To Leave ‘Em Wanting More! The Wonderful World of Potter” by Lisa Gail Green. Lisa perfectly lists exactly why every fan of JKR is left wanting more Harry Potter: World building, supporting cast, and an outstanding story and hero that will never leave our hearts and minds. THIS is what every aspiring author strives for. We each want to create a story with characters that will reach the masses and be memorable for generations to come.
Lisa’s post is part of the Harry Potter Blogfest. Seven awesomely wonderful bloggers created #PotterChat on Twitter and a scavenger hunt contest that is currently taking place. You only have until 5pm EST today to gather the clues, answer the questions and email your answers. The prizes? Well, you can pick from a wide variety such as a beta read, a first chapter critique, or a copy of two books (one will be released in September, the other is A Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter by another great blogger, S.P. Sipal). There’s a total of nine prizes to choose from and it’s first come first serve, so find the clues and send it in by 5 so you can be one of the lucky winners!

2) “What’s Your Blogging Style?” by Jami Gold (psst…. Jami’s one of the awesomely wonderful bloggers in the Harry Potter Blogfest).  Yet another great post from Jami, and this one I really enjoyed reading. It really got me thinking: What keeps you reading a blog post? Is it because it’s short, therefore easy to read? Or is it because of the content, therefore leaving you to not really care if it was a long one? And if it’s a long post, does it flow well, or does it leave you flat to where you have to start skimming? What makes you want to leave comments for the author? Thanks, Jami, for a wonderful, thought-provoking post about blogging. I’m still getting on my feet with this blog so I found this incredibly helpful!

1) “Testing the Idea-Is It Strong Enough to Make a Novel?” by Kristen Lamb. I’ve been following Kristen’s blog for quite a while now, and I’ve come to cherish the information I’ve gained and the techniques I’ve learned. This particular post is a fav because of the LOCK system: Lead Objective Conflict Knockout. Never heard of it? I didn’t either until this post. The LOCK system is a great technique and I was incredibly excited to learn about it. I won’t go into too many details here because I’m just learning about it, so I may not be able to explain it as articulately as Kristen.  The system is from Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell – a book I have on the shelf but haven’t dove into yet. Guess I better get on that, huh?. 

Q4U: Are you finding the links on ‘The Week In Favs’ posts helpful in locating the best of the best in writing blogs? Do you have any suggestions for future ‘Favs’ postings? Please, please share with me (please also be nice).

Hope everyone has a wonderful and cool weekend!

Happy Writing Everyone!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Song of the Week: Hero by Skillet


The ‘Song of the Week’ posts are moving to Mondays!! What better way to start off the week than with a rockin’ or thought-provoking tune, eh?

Music and writing go hand in hand. Soooooo, it’s needless to say that when you discover the perfect song for a scene, or for the entire MS, you never tire of it. Case in point: this week’s song was on loop for about 4 hours on Sunday during edits (another 4 chapters, I might add!).

Hero by Skillet is the perfect song for quite a few chapters of my current WIP, and another song by Skillet, Awake and Alive, is its theme song (literally, I was in tears while I listened to Awake and Alive….it was that perfect).

Other than the fact that this band is just absolutely awesome, and the video is amazing, the female drummer, Jen Ledger, ROCKS!

Hope you enjoy listening to Hero as much as I do!


I absolutely love finding new tunes to add to my writing playlist, so I have two questions for you:

What songs/albums/soundtracks do you listen to while writing, editing, or reading?

Does it fit the particular scene or chapter your writing, or is more of a theme for your entire WIP? 

I look forward to listening to your selections!


Happy Writing Everyone!!!!


Friday, July 15, 2011

This Week In Favs……….

10) “The Big Post of Querying” by Kat Zhang on The Katacomb.. This particular post was in response to a question posed to Kat in regards to how she went about querying – which is a daunting task that I think all aspiring authors tend to get the heebe-jeebes about (I know I do). I love Kat’s honesty in her postings. It’s incredibly refreshing and it’s encouraging to hear that within two months of querying, she found herself an agent. I think I’ll be looking to follow some of the advice she gives here. I also couldn’t stop laughing at this twitter conversation she posted. Thanks, Kat…hope you survive the reenactments!

9) I’ve discovered a great writing blog: Miss Snark’s First Victim: A Blog for Aspiring Authors. This particular blog caught my eye as I was reading Kat Zhang’s post (see #10 above). The ‘Authoress’ is anonymous, but she holds monthly (except for June & December) “Secret Agent” contests (aka First Page Shooters) where aspiring authors can send in the first 250 words of their MS, and the Authoress will post 50 entries for comments from other writers and the ‘Secret Agent’. This particular blog is a 2009 winner of the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, and I’m enjoying perusing through the first pages of other writers and learning from them on what works, and what doesn’t work. This is definitely one contest I may find myself entering once my current WIP is polished.

8) Susan (aka: Harry Potter for Writers) is now offering New Editorial Services! I guess I know who I’m going to seek a critique from when it comes time to start sending out queries. Believe me, I trust Susan to be completely open and honest when it comes to critiques on queries, synopsis, and first chapters. Her posts prove she’s got a knack for breaking down the writing and pointing out, not only the good sections, but the trouble sections as well. If I can make her want to read my MS with my query or synopsis, then I know I’ll get some requests from agents in the query process.

7) In conjunction with #9 in this post: “First Page Tips from the Pros” by Becca Puglisi on The Bookshelf Muse. Now, if you’re not following The Bookshelf Muse, then as a writer, you’re seriously missing out!! I literally spent about 5 hours so far this week perusing through their thesauruses again. I might as well take the time, paper and ink to just print every entry on emotions, character traits, settings and weather. Each one comes in handy during each stage of the writing process – especially editing.    
6) “Conquering Writer’s Block – When the Writing Gets Tough, the Writer Gets Tougher” by Lydia Sharp on The Sharp Angle. There are no words…..literally. I just can’t come up with how this perfectly gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a novel.

5) Another So You Think You Can Dance goodie!!! As we get closer and closer to deciding who America’s favorite dancer is, the pieces continue to get better and better. This week, I had 4 dances that I really wanted to highlight here, but I will settle with just 2:

Jordan & Tadd: This routine, choreographed by the wonderfully talented Travis Wall – no, I don’t have a crush. He’s just THAT good! I looooved this piece. Intensely beautiful!

Melanie & Marko: These two dancers were previously highlighted for their outstanding ‘statue dance’ a few weeks ago (if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link to that post). These two dancers have proved time and time again that they are the ones to beat in this competition, and once again, I had goosebumps!! The song they danced to, “Skin and Bones” by David J. Roch? Wow! That one has now been added to my writing playlist, and I have the perfect scene to run it on a loop to while editing!

4) “The Beauty of Books: Why The Literary vs. Genre Debate Isn’t Necessary” by Roni Loren of Fiction Groupie. Roni’s post on Wednesday, “How Fast Do You Have to Write to Build a Successful Career?”, moved a fellow blogger to comment, which then sparked into this wonderful post, opening the door to a great topic of discussion. Why don’t we let this one speak for itself, shall we? “The value and beauty of books is what they do for the reader. So if someone reads a literary memoir about the Holocaust and it makes them connect with the past and feel the anguish of what those people went through, that’s a powerful thing. However, if a woman is reading a romance in a hospital while she cares for her sick child and is able to escape from the current sadness in her own world, that is just as powerful in my opinion.” Right on, Roni!

3) “When a Character Won’t Cooperate” by Karen Essex, guest post on Writer Unboxed.  Listening to your characters is one of the most important things you can do when you’re writing. Karen learned this the same way I did: wanting my MC to be a strong, no holds-barred, independent female from the get-go. But then Avalyn spoke: “Where could I go from there? Why would anyone be interested in me if I didn’t grow into that?” A-ha! *lightbulb dings over my head**initial opening scene chucked* Listen to your MC, Muse, or whatever you call it! You may not like what they have to say, but somehow, they know what’s right and wrong in their story!

2) “Should We Write To Trends?” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. This is exactly why I love the writing community. Everyone is open and honest and THEY GET IT!! Especially Lisa. Just because dystopians are hot right now, does not mean I should start writing it. Why? 2 reasons: 1: It may not be hot in two years when the times comes for the book to hit the shelves, 2: It’s not what’s in my heart! What is? Paranormal Romance (PNR) and Urban Fantasy(UF). Those genres are what make me tick. I enjoy reading them (although I will also read other genres also…if they’re THAT good), thus I thoroughly enjoy writing them. It’s a world I’m comfortable in. I can lay it all out on the page when I’m writing in this genre. Thank you, Lisa! YOU ROCK!

1) Here’s a fun video that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did. It’s called ‘Plot Device’. Description: “A young filmmaker obtains a mysterious device that unleashed the full force of cinema on his front lawn.” Writers, readers and movie-lovers alike will enjoy this. I found myself cracking up a few times. It’s a little long (at 9 min), but well worth the time!

Happy Reading Everyone!!!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song of the Week: Iridescent by Linkin Park

Ahhh….. Linkin Park! I’ve been listening to these guys since day one, and it never fails….they continue to write awesome music.

I’d have to say this is one of my favorite songs by them to datte (the other two are Papercut & In The End).

Hope you enjoy!

Happy Reading!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

This Week In Favs……….

I hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th! I know I did ‘cause I got some major editing done…just in time for the fireworks too!

It’s been such a busy and exciting week in the blogosphere that I had a hard time choosing what was going to make the list, but here it is!

10) “Half Over?” by Katie on KT’s Korner. Kudos to Katie for putting her 2011 goals out there for the world to see! This got me thinking about my goals for 2011. I’m a total list person, due to my OCD, but something different happened on 12/31/10. When I rang in the new year, I didn’t really set too many because, well, normally when I do, I never meet them. If I don’t write them down, then I surpass the ones that were sitting in the back of my head the entire time. So, going with my ‘unspoken’ goals for the year, I’d say that I’m doing pretty good. I’ve made a real effort to work-out more (I’m 6’1” and I weigh 168.2 as of this morning – ha!), I’ve dove back into my writing, and I’ve continued to surround myself with positive people everyday. That’s all I wanted in 2011. Nothing too grand but not too small.

9) “Death by Critique – 6 Tips on How to Avoid It” by Roni Loren. Ahhh…. the elusive over-editing that can shred your novel and its characters into nothing more than empty words on the page. This is one for my book of writing and editing tips: the article minus the super-scary picture (no, not the grim reaper - the other one).

8) “When Your Character Doesn’t Act Like Herself” by Lisa Gail Green of Paranormal Point of View. I don’t behave the same way in every situation or surrounding, and I’m sure that you don’t either. Lisa’s post reminds writers to stay true to their MC(s). They’re people like the rest of us, fictional people, but people nonetheless. My MC, Avalyn, was in the back of my head, screaming “told ya so” on one particular scene when I *almost* kept her calm and reserve. She told me she really needed to just let it all hang out and go off on someone, so that’s what she got, and it worked beautifully. Needless to say, good ol’ lefty is on the lookout for when her actions in certain scenes don’t match up to her character arc.

7) “Voice Tips from the Pros” by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. These ladies have some of the best writing tips out there in the blogosphere! I remembered perusing their thesauruses for hours when I first discovered their blog, and here I am, several months later, super-excited to share one of their awesome posts that hit it home for me this week. Now, I don’t write YA, though I do read it from time to time, so not every pro’s tip was exactly perfect for me, but they each led to something more right for me in my adult paranormal/fantasy world. My MC has a voice and it does leap from the page, but guess what? I want more! So I started interviewing not just my MC, but all of my characters because they each have an individual voice that needs to be heard.

6) Congratulations are in order for Tina Moss! *throws confetti* She and Yelena Casale (her co-writer)’s MS, BLOOD BOND, placed 1st in Central Florida’s RWA Touch of Magic contest (Paranormal category)!! The final round judge, Meredith Giordan, an editor at Berkley, “…thought our main characters were very likeable, that the hook grabbed her attention, and would love to read the full MS.” I’m just as excited as Tina for Ms. Giordan’s use of the word love. This is a huge accomplishment!! Congratulations again, Tina! You rock!!!!

5) Another So You Think You Can Dance goodie! This week, the performances were great, so I had a hard time choosing. Okay, well not really. The Top 7 Guy Dancers were my choice the moment I saw their routine (which was within the first 20 minutes of the show). I love the power in their bodies and how they use it to express the emotion and movements of the music - which is Prague by Damien Rice – another song for my ever growing playlist!

4) “Why It’s Hard to Be A Writer” by Scott Tracey. Now this is a writer after my own heart! Yes, it’s hard to not only write, but finish a novel, revise said novel, to read and accept a bad critique, and it’s hard to find an agent. But we writers, we do it because we love to write. Period! Scott states this beautifully in this post and he’s right: “The best that any of us can hope for is to keep our head up. Because there’s nothing we’d rather do than write. And writing is the easy part.”

3) “The Green Lantern Movie: How *Not* to Plot a Story” & “The Green Lantern Movie: How *Not* to Write Characters” from Jami Gold. Wow! Can I just say that this post saved me some $$ AND offered great writing tips?!?!? I have to commend Jami for these two posts. When I saw Transformers 3 this past Sunday, I never even thought too much on the plot or the characters (Oh God! Sam was hilarious in the beginning of the movie), and that’s just because when it comes to Transformers, for me, it doesn’t matter. Now that I’ve read Jami’s posts, I’ve gone through the movie in my head, over and over again. Now, I want to watch a couple of bad movies I’ve watched recently…just so I can pick apart the ‘why’s’ on how they didn’t work.

2) “Fireworks” by Donald Maass. I’ve always followed, heeded, and taken action with everything that Mr. Maass has written. My copy of “Writing the Breakout Novel” has highlights galore on its pages. Needless to say, my left brain is soooooo loving this post from him and eagerly seeking out those events, characters, sentences, and entrances/exits, and looking for ways to work with my right brain in making them explode and come alive, just like the Macy’s fireworks display in NYC this past Sunday night. (and if you haven’t read about my Right vs. Left peace treaty, check out yesterday’s post)

1) It’s time for a Simon’s Cat treat! I haven’t posted one of these since my first post and a new one was posted two weeks ago: “Hidden Treasure”.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Editing Is Fun…. Yes, I’m Serious!!

There comes a time in every writer’s WIP when they must sit down, buckle up and edit <--- “The E Word” elicits a range of emotions unique to each writer.

For me, hearing that I’m about to take a drive with “The E Word” makes me excited. I’m literally rubbing my hands together, getting out my trusty red pen or clicking on ‘track changes’ in Word, cranking up the stereo or headphones, and going into ‘The Bubble’.

During my latest writing/first draft process, I found myself stopping every so often, getting out my red pen then editing what I’d just written. I soon learned that was a bad idea, and it took my best friend, Jennifer, to tell me the following: “If you keep stopping to edit every other day, you’re going to burn out. You need to keep your writing organic. Let. It. Flow.” (this isn’t an exact quote, but it’s how it soaked into my brain)

Huh….so I went home and took her advice. I always trust her advice because I know she wants what’s best for me and my writing. Sure, there are moments when I may think about what she tells me then go back to her with another idea for us to brainstorm instead, but she’s either always hitting the nail on the head, or she’s hitting mighty damn close to it (Which reminds me, I need to buy her a happy surprise!).

I banged out that first draft, quickly capturing the story and trapping it to the page. I didn’t even stop to let the left side of my brain take over and bleed out on the page with spelling and grammar mistakes, description issues, etc. Let’s just say my left brain was itchin’ to get out and wrap its hands around the pages every now and then.
What a difference that made! I finished my first draft not too long after receiving that piece of advise, and now my left brain is having a bit too much fun editing…..seriously!

I’ve found myself doing a mini booty dance at my desk when a scene comes together beautifully, arguing with myleft vs right brainself (more accurately, with my characters) over cutting out a paragraph here or there, then…..something magical happens! My characters (right side of the brain) and “The E Word” (left side of the brain) no longer collide. They’re actually working together, finding places where additional details should be placed, spots where their unique characteristics can shine, and spaces for an additional scene or there.

Ex: Saturday, Jennifer brainstormed with me on some possible holes in the story and where there were could be some opportunities to highlight one or two of the characters even more. So, on Sunday, as the left side of my brain dove into chapter 14, it got halfway through then politely stepped aside, allowing the right side to add in an additional scene (1,000 more words). When the right side was done, I booty danced, then the left side took over again and bled, only a little, over the newly written scene before finishing the rest of the chapter.

To me, editing is what you make it. You either love it or hate it. Some writers have a love-hate relationship with it. It may just come down to how well you manage your right/left brain relationship: Is one more dominate than the other? Are they jealous of the other? Maybe right side doesn’t understand that the left side truly wants what’s best?

Bottom line here is: I love editing!! I love it even more now that my two halves, characters, and WIP are all happily coexisting in my little land of make-believe.

Here is a related post that I found after this blog idea came into my head earlier this week: ‘Can Editing Be Fun?' Maybe’ by Therese Walsh on Writer Unboxed. Perfection! Ms. Walsh said exactly what I’d pondered on while I was home from work on Monday, sick in the bed and jotting all of this down.

Now, I’d LOVE to know your thoughts on “The E Word”:

Is it something you love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with? Do you find your characters at battle with the editor in the Left vs. Right War?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Song of the Week: Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse

The theme for this week’s song is: “What's it to ya?”

Personally, this particular song holds many meanings, and not just for me. Each one of the characters in my MS had a moment, whether in their '’behind the scenes’ backstories or in the middle of the page that called for this song to played in the background.

The personal meanings to them?

“Time to take a chance!”

“Now’s your moment!”

“Change it. Change everything about you. You’re no longer who you thought you were.”

“Never give up!!” 

So tell me, what does this song say to you?

Friday, July 1, 2011

This Week In Favs……….


Welcome, welcome! This is entry #2 for ‘This Week in Favs…’

It was a bit of a slow week for me, but I do have a few goodies: contests, another So You Think You Can Dance clip (an oldie but a goodie), and a great critique post I discovered this week!

10) I found another blog to follow this week: The Character Therapist. Jeannie, aka The Therapist, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and….a writer! As I perused through her past posts, I found her ‘Character Clinics’ to be extremely insightful. And bonus! The ‘Character Clinics’ are actual assessments for writers. Double bonus! Jeannie offers detailed assessments where you can put your character on the couch for only $14.99. Jeannie also gives away a free copy of her Writer’s Guide to Character Motivation upon signing up for her quarterly newsletter. I’ve gotten my copy, so get over there and sign up! This is one blog I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on.

9) Contest #1: “An Agent’s Inbox” on Mother.Write (Repeat.)There’s not much time left on this contest (as the participating queries have been chosen and winners will be announced on Tuesday), but I felt this contest definitely deserved to be mentioned. Krista’s blog turned into an agent’s inbox with 20 queries (and their first pages), each one posted out there for us to critique. The winner and their prize is chosen by “The Agent”. My favorite part was getting on there and reading all of the queries and first pages. I’ve been thinking on a few and look to offer some critiques of my own over the weekend. As writers, we know that by critiquing someone else’s work, we in turn become more aware of our own writing (and that’s only part of it).

8) “What Do You Wish You Had Known When You Started Writing?” post from Nathan Bransford. Nathan’s post was simple by sharing his own ‘What I Wish I Had Known’: “I wish I would have known that whatever happens in any particular manuscript: it’s all worth it.” The nugget in this post for me isn’t just what Nathan shared, but what his commenters shared…. 120 comments total. Some were insightful while others had me cracking up.

7) Contest #2 is over on Paranormal Point of View where you can win a pre-ordered copy of Original Sin, book #2 in the Personal Demons series by Lisa Desrochers. Ms. Desrochers has a guest post on Lisa’s blog, and one lucky commenter will have a chance at winning Original Sin. I have yet to meet Luc, from this series, but after reading Ms. Desrochers guest post/scene, I am definitely intrigued and sold on picking up the first book and getting into this series!

6)  I’ve been on information overload this week!!! Since I’ve begun my first round of edits, I have been out there, surfing the blogs and looking for tips/tricks to use during this process. There’s just tooooo many articles and posts out there to weed through them all. So, I found myself reverting back to a post that I read by Lisa Gail Green: ‘Finding the Horcrux’. Taking her advise, I have continued to skim all of the articles/posts out there and have managed to not only keep, but maintain organized files of all the tips and tricks on editing and re-writes. I highly recommend you get over there and check it out! 

5) Here’s another So You Think You Can Dance goodie! This dance is from Season 2, and half of the pair is Travis Wall (who choreographed the dance goodie in last week’s post). This one was choreographed by the FABULOUS Mia Michaels. 

This particular piece brought a tear to my eye. It’s lovingly referred to as ‘The Park Bench’ routine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….and still do!

4) I’ve been a little bummed about missing out on RWA11 this week, but I still got a little goodie in the mail from Thea Harrison: Elder Races trading cards!

Thea posted on her Facebook page about a week before RWA letting her fans know that we could send her a SASE and she would pop them in the mail for us before she headed out to RWA11 and taking the rest with her. Check ‘em out! *squee*


3) Contest #3: ‘Milestone Contest – Prize: Me! Wait…er, What?’ from Jami Gold. What a milestone indeed! To celebrate Jami’s upcoming one-year blogiversary, her 101st blog post is a contest where she will let the winner dictate the prize. BUT, as she states, she doesn’t intend to land in jail over this, so some of the ideas she’s thrown out are: $25 Amazon GC, Critique of your first chapter, synopsis or query letter, Beta read up to 25,000 words, email brainstorming, guest blog post, books from her personal collection, and the list goes on. What do you have to do to enter? Well, first off, get over there and visit her (if you haven’t already)!!! Next, leave a comment. She’s picking 1 winner per every 25 commenters, and if I remember correctly, she’s up to 3 winners as of Thursday afternoon. But don’t just stop there. She posted a great article on Thursday: ‘How Vulnerable is Your Writing?’. Peruse through her posts. You’ll soon discover why I would love to pick her brain one day.

2) “3 Feedback Traits I Adore” from Mary Baader Kaley (is) Not an Editor. This post was right on the money for me! These are the same feedback traits that I LOVE: Honesty, Thoughtful Reflection, and Personality. Katie (my CP) and I had just recently discussed that we wanted a CP that was brutally honest without crossing the line of being mean. This was a perfect post given our recent discussion, and it has made it into my files (per fav #6).

1) Since Tuesday, I have been looking forward to this upcoming, long, holiday weekend. On the agenda: Transformers 3, grilling out with my bestie (aka-Piece of My Heart), edits/re-writes, and….. rest, rest, rest.


I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!!!


Happy Reading!


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