Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shiver Trailer

Maggie spent hours upon hours upon hours upon . . . well you get the idea . . . to make this unique Book trailer for Shiver.

Not only did she make the cutouts and photograph it, but she also composed the music to go with it. Have I mentioned how amazing Maggie is? *grin*

So click on one of the links for the Shiver trailer or watch below (if I embedded it right).

Write on!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Warning: Exhaustion induced post

So as I was browsing the net this morning (I know, I should be doing revisions!) I came across this advertisement:




And I went, "What the heck? Isn't that the picture from My Fair Godmother?" And I pulled out my copy and I was right!

My Fair Godmother

Obviously there are some differences between the pictures, and I'm not sure it's a big deal, but I'm tired and am proud of myself for recognizing the picture in the first place. *grin*


And why am I tired? For the last week, I've been kicking it in and working madly on revisions of WaM. I'm also way behind on my reading/reviewing so I've been madly trying to catch up on that as well. I'm still going to work (though for only one more week . . . YAY) so my revising/reading must be done after hours. Therefore, I have stayed up past my bedtime every night this week . . . and sometimes well past midnight (like last night).

The results? I've managed to read four books and begin two more (yeah, I'm reading two books at the same time . . . I'm an idiot), write reviews for two of said books, and I have about thirty pages left to revise in WaM. Oh, and I'm exhausted . . . but it's the good kind of I've-accomplished-something exhaustion.

And it doesn't help that I trimmed the hedges yesterday after work before diving in to revisions . . . now my arms are sore! Yeah, I'm short, the hedges are tall, and the stupid hedge trimmer is HEAVY! So imagine me lifting the trimmer almost above my head and swinging it back and forth for about an hour (hey, I had to pause once in a while . . . did I mention the trimmer is heavy?).

I don't mind trimming the hedges . . . especially since if I don't, I can't see the road when I'm trying to back out of the driveway. I know DH would have gotten around to the hedges eventually, but I was in one of those get-it-done-now-so-you-don't-have-to-keep-risking-your-life-as-you-back-out-of-the-driveway moods. ;-)

Anyway, I must get back to those last thirty pages . . . and then get everything ready to go visit my parents and siblings (we're celebrating the June birthdays) . . . which means getting a cake (S1 turned 16 on the 22nd) and the hamburger/hotdog buns from hubby (our contribution to the meal). And since I've done no housework, I have to wash laundry so we'll have some clean clothes to wear.

What the heck am I doing blogging?

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Write on.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

IMO . . . yeah, it's one of THOSE posts

There has been quite a bit of chatter about confidence, insecurity, jealousy, etc. Maggie appears to have started it all and Jackie, Carrie, and Karen were all inspired in one way or another to blog their thoughts. I've been avoiding sharing my thoughts, but I feel like diving in now (hope I don't drown).

Be prepared for a deep (long) post. If you can't swim, I don't recommend jumping in.

My thoughts . . .

Of Confidence (no, this isn't a Sir Francis Bacon essay)

First of all, I am not always confident, neither am I always insecure. In all honesty, I don't believe anyone is always one or the other. Before you jump down my throat (I have a sensitive gag reflex so I'm not sure how far you'd get anyway), let me explain.

You can have confidence and be confident about certain aspects in your life, but there is no way I'll believe you if you tell me you are a confident person all the time. You may be more confident than you are insecure, but you are both.

You have to be, and here's why (going all religious on you now). There is opposition in all things and this is the way the world was created. Look in your thesaurus or dictionary and you'll find a funny little word "antonym" which means (basically) opposite. Everything feeling has an opposite (in some form or another) and unless you've felt both, you wouldn't be able to recognize either.

Say what?

Yeah, think about it. If you have never been insecure or lacked self confidence, you would never be able to know security and confidence. It's impossible to know how it feels to be confident if you've never felt insecure just as it's impossible to feel happy if you've never felt sad (unless you're a Vulcan or an android reading this, and then you've never felt any emotion . . . but you're not real anyway so you wouldn't be reading this).

While some people are confident most of the time, they've been insecure, and I believe they still have insecure moments to remind them how it feels. We are all this way or we'd never be able to relate to characters in books.

Emotions are the whole point of reading and writing. Why do we relate to a character? Because we see a little bit of ourselves in them. Otherwise, we wouldn't read the dang book in the first place. Often in our desire to escape our lives by reading about someone else's we really work through our own emotions and feelings. This is the mark of a good book and what I think we are all striving for when we tell a story (but this is fodder for another day).

There are different stages of emotion and while I could go into all of them, I won't (because this post is going to be long enough as it is). But I do want to give my opinion on jealousy.

Of Jealousy and Envy (still not Sir Francis Bacon)

According to Francine Prose (contributing editor to the Oxford American Thesaurus for Writers), jealousy used to have only a sexual or romantic connotation but has since become synonymous with envy. I agree with Francine Prose and I, too, believe they should remain separate so I can honestly say I've never been jealous of someone who got an agent/editor or a book deal. *grin*

However, I have been envious and I don't believe any author hasn't. That is not to say we can't still be thrilled and happy for the authors who get an agent/editor or book deal. We certainly can and do feel happiness and joy for them. They worked for it and struggled along the path to publication. But we all struggle along the same path, and it's perfectly acceptable to feel like, "dang, I wish it were me" or similar emotions.

Yes, that's right, I just said it was acceptable ,and I stand by it. Feel those emotions, let them depress you (you heard me)! These emotions are true and must be felt . . . but they must also be dealt with and this is where the problem occurs.

It's what you do with the emotions that makes the difference. If you choose to dwell on the negative aspect of envy, you will eventually fall into the pit of covetousness and this, my friends, is where it goes bad. Coveting can turn you bitter, angry, resentful, and a whole host of other really dark emotions.

On the other hand, if you use the envy to motivate yourself to try harder, to learn more, to improve your writing, it can be a positive thing. It can give you the determination to reach a goal. Seriously, why do we set goals in the first place? Because something inspired us. And if we are honest and really think about it, that "inspiration" was often motivated by envy in the form of "I want that" or "I can write that" or something similar . . . and those thoughts are forms of envy.

But, as I said, I truly believe you can be envious of another author's success and still be happy for them, but only if you keep a leash on your envy so it doesn't bite you (or someone close to you) in the . . .  well, you know.


And now it's time to kick our legs back to the surface, take a deep breath and praise God (or whatever/whoever you worship) that we're still alive after diving into this post.


Write on.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's all good

I'm way behind on reviews and while this isn't exactly a review, I just had to post a blog before I head off to work this morning.

Yesterday a package from Amazon.com was waiting for me when I got home from work. Excitement filled the air as my children stood around to see what it could be. I told them the package contained the books I ordered, but this did not send them scurrying from the room. Nay, they still hung about like vultures. I opened the box and took out the packaging material to reveal . . . .

Books! (I told ya so.)

While not all the books I ordered were in the package, there was one more than I expected. Somewhere in my clicking I must have added an extra copy, because there in the box was not one, but TWO shiny copies of PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE by Cynthea Liu. Why I needed two copies, I'll never know, but there they were all new and shiny and smelling like the brand new books they were.

I logged on to Amazon to check (I thought they may have made an error) and sure enough, I had mistakenly ordered two copies. I debated about sending one back, but since I had ordered them from Cynthea's website as part of her Dare to Care, I figured it's all good and I'll keep the extra copy to pass on to someone else.

Anyway, I did a tad bit of revising, but dang if those two shiny books didn't keep daring me to read them (or at least one of them). So I read last night until 11:00 when my poor exhausted body insisted I close my peepers and get some sleep (cause I do have to function at work today).

I obeyed and slept until 4:35am. Upon waking, I took myself to the restroom (because my bladder insisted on being emptied) and snuggled back into bed to try to get some more sleep. But sleep would not come because right next to my bed were those two shiny new books and the one with the bookmark kept tempting me.

Book: "Come on, you know you want to read me."

Me: "I need some more sleep."

Book: "But look how far you've already read. Remember, you stopped right at Chapter 10 and you were about to find out more about Mayo's plan."

Me: "Yeah, but I have to work later and I need more sleep."

Book: "But don't you want to know what happens next?"

Me: "Of course I do, but I also want to be able to stay awake at work."

Book: "Well, it's your loss, but I promise you there are great things waiting for you in the next chapters."

Me: "Really? They can't be that great. You're just trying to get me to pick you up."

Book: "Nope, I'm telling you, great stuff."

Me: "But it's too dark in here to read and if I turn on the light, it will wake hubby up."


And so the conversation went for the next hour and a little bit. When hubby finally got up just before six o'clock, I grabbed the book, flipped on the light, and continued reading.

You know what? The book was right. GREAT STUFF! I'll have to write a proper review later, but dang I L-O-V-E-D this book! =D

If you haven't yet read PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE, you ought to.


Now I've got to jump into the shower and get to work in half an hour!


Write on!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Revisions, reading, reviewing, writing

I've had a pretty productive week so far. I managed to get a couple of books read and one review written (still need to write one more). I'm not sure if I'll be posting both reviews on my blog . . . we'll see . . .

I also managed to write a rhyming PB. Now, I don't claim to be a poet and I'm not sure how great it is, but it's written, revised, and ready. I'm not sure what I'll do with it . . .

Also, I've managed to get some revision done in the last couple of days! Now I know revisions never end and there will always be more things to tweak, but I'm happy to have reached page 81 of 211. This may not seem like much, but these are major revisions so they take some time. I seem to be adding more than I'm cutting at this point, but I knew this was likely as there were some tricky spots I had skipped over when I initially wrote it.

I've even gone back to the beginning a couple of times to add a few more little details. So I'm proud of the work I've accomplished these last several days. My goal is to be finished with these major revisions before June 27th. I've set this goal because I have a few beta readers I've promised to get manuscripts to on that date.

It seems like I'll reach this goal with no problem, but I go back to work tomorrow (I've been off due to the sickness S1 brought home from camp) and I won't have as much time. Hopefully I'll still get it finished.

Speaking of work, I've told my boss that I will no longer be coming in to work after June 30th. I know it seems horrible to stop working in this economy when jobs are scarce, but I will still be working a little . . . I just won't be going in to work every day. I'll be working from home when I have spare time from my writing, reading, reviewing, etc. I'm basically done with my portion of the project with only a bit of organizing of images to complete (and I can do that on my computer at home). And remember, this was supposed to be a 3-6 month job and I've been working for almost 2 years.

As you can tell by my rationalization, I feel kind of guilty about my decision because so many friends and family are being laid off. But it is the best decision for my family, myself, and my writing. It's time for me to concentrate on getting published. =)

And now I better get back to revising because I don't have much time today as we are taking the kiddies to see a movie this afternoon.


Write on.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I dare you to care!

Cynthea Liu is having an auction and other fun ways to support a Title I school in her area. Please go here to help support the kids of  Tulakes Elementary and qualify for fun prizes in the process! I dare you to go here and check it out.


Dare on!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scout camp is sickening!

Well, oldest son brought home a lovely bug from Scout camp. It was NOT food poisoning after all. D2 got sick last night and kept us awake, and now D1 has it as well. *sigh* I'm sure sometime tonight S2 will get it as well and then probably hubby.

I refuse to get it! I'm wiping door knobs, light switches, sinks, toilet seats, etc. with Clorox/Lysol wipes (whichever I grab first because we have both) and praying that I can kill the nasty little germs before they take over my entire house.

But the good news (if you can find good in puking children) is I had to call into work and my boss said not to come back until the kids are better (because they don't believe in "bring your germs to work day"). So I spent some time doing some work from home, and then I managed to get some writing stuff done.

So, minus puking kids, it was a good day.


Write on.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who wants to win a book?

Angela Cerrito is having a contest and giving away two copies of Fran Cannon Slayton's WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS.

I truly loved this book and highly recommend it! So go on over to Angela's blog and see how to win (hint, it involves some creative writing).

Write on!

Ghostly Giveaway

The fantastic megancrewe is having a contest on her blog. She is giving away a signed copy of her book, "GIVE UP THE GHOST" and also a couple of other books to go with it . . . as well as another little nifty prize.

So, go here and check it out!

Write on!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Scout Camp . . . BLAH!

Oldest son went to Scout camp this week. He came home this morning sick as sick can be. We hope it's food poisoning and not something more serious . . . like flu. Lots of the other campers got sick as well, but they couldn't find a common thing they all ate/drank.

While that's not good, what is good is that they all got sick around the same time last night so chances of it being food poisoning are better.

Not that we want him to be sick, but if he does have to be sick we'd rather it be something relatively minor.

Anyway, hopefully he'll get feeling better this afternoon.

Write on.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Book contests and other stuff

Here are some great contests in which you can win the greatest prizes of all . . . books!

To win copies of Shiver, Catching Fire, and Liar visit Presenting Lenore.

To win a copy of Shiver, visit The Shady Glade.


I may be having a contest of my own in the near future . . . stay tuned for details.


In other stuff news . . . I've been printing stuff for work all day and burning through ink like nobody's business . . . I even have one of those Kodak printers that uses less ink and still the ink cartridges are sucked dry rather quickly. Of course, it's mostly the black ink cartridge with a little color ink used as well, but I know had I used my Lexmark printer, I'd be using WAY more ink.

What the heck am I printing that would take so much ink? Well, over the last year or so (I can't remember for sure when I began this portion of the project), I've been painstakingly reading every letter written from Fran to Irene (her mother), and from Irene to Fran. And as I read said letters, I summarized each one and highlighted important people, places, events, etc. While reading letters may seem like no big deal, remember this was from 1928-1975 and letter writing was the thing . . . we have eight boxes of these letters just between Fran and Irene (the entire collection is over 100 boxes).

My notes on boxes 1-8 are an impressive 241,105-words. Yeah . . . see how many novels I could have written had I not been working? *wink*

Why am I using my own printer? Because it uses less ink than the ones at work, of course. Plus my oldest is at Scout camp and I don't have a babysitter so I can't go in to work.

And about the printer situation,I highly recommend the Kodak ESP 5 All in One Printer. The only drawback is my having to either leave my laptop on the shelf with the printer, or move the printer to my bed (which I did today) so I can plug it in with the little USB cord. So, if you are going to buy one and you have wireless capabilities, buy the wireless Kodak printer . . . wish I had.

Anyway, while these notes have been printing (I have to print 22 copies) this morning, I've been catching up on email and blogs. Now I'm going to start in on some revisions! I know, I can't believe it myself.

So, stop updating your blogs so I can get some work done, people. LOL

Write on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm so happy!

No, I haven't found an agent yet, but today on goadingthepen's blog she had a wonderful recipe for Snow-cone syrup!

While you may think this is no bid deal, it's a huge thing to me! We have an ice shaver and during the summer we use it . . . well, probably WAY too much. Anyway, that's not the point (and yes I do  have one) . . . the point is that I have a difficult time finding the syrup and even if I can find it, I don't particularly care for the flavors offered.

But now I am saved! Check out the recipe:

Sno-Cone Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup unsweetened kool-aid pack (your favorite flavor)
Boil sugar and water. Add kool-aid pack. Cool and refrigerate. Pour over shaved ice. Depending on how sweet or thick you like your syrup you can add more or less sugar and or water. For a stronger flavor double the kool-aid.

If you don't have an ice shaver, put ice in a sturdy ziploc, cover with a towel and let kids bash with a rubber mallet.
To store syrup use a sports bottle with a pull up top for easy pouring. Or use a refillable type condiment bottle. This stores in the fridge for months.

Can you believe it?! Now I can make my own syrup and have the flavors I want (plus a few mixed up ones . . . cause we like mixing our Kool-aid flavors)!

Yes, my friends, happiness is in the small things. June is off to a great start. Can it get better than this? We'll see . . .

Write on.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Slush Pile contest

Slushy is having another contest. Here are the details (from slushy's blog):

It's time to Bait Me!

What is Bait Me? Many in the industry call it a hook, but, to me, a hook is a one line blurb. I'm a smart fish and I need something on the hook before I'll bite.  I consider the bait to be the lines preceding your hook.

So, friends, writers, bloggers, send me your bait and hook. This is a contest but I'll get to the prize later. First, please be sure you understand the rules.

Send your bait and hook (no more than five sentences) to crit_write @ officeliveusers . com in the following format:

Screen Name: (won't be posted)



Bait and hook:

Now to the prize:

The winner of the contest will receive a one chapter critique.

I was fortunate enough to win a chapter critique from Slushy in a previous contest. While it stung a little, it was an honest critique and quite helpful. I'll be entering this contest (with a different MS) . . . so how about giving me a little competition? *grin*

Write on.