Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season....

.... for generic headings....

Hahahahahaha haha ha ha.

Did I mention that I love just about everything about this time of year?  It's true.  Busy stores, long lines, late nights, flour handprints on my jeans... love it all.

I think however, like everything else I do - I may be gathering a few too many traditions.  So far it's manageable, but if I keep picking up 1-2 new ones every year, in about 10 years we'll be spewing Christmas from Labor Day to Valentine's Day.

I've been writing, so that's wonderful, but I'm sort of stuck in a world of WIPS (works in progress).  There aren't any that are calling my name at night and begging for attention, so I'm just plugging along waiting for one to scream to be written or a new SNI (shiny new idea) that will grab me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Banned Book Week

So, the Banned Book Week party is over, the crepe paper is still clinging to the ceiling by a random piece of Scotch tape.  The dishes are almost washed and the helium balloons are bouncing around the room at eye height now. 

Did we all have a fun Banned Book Week?  I still can't believe some of the books that get banned - or challenged.  I try and live in my little world bubble most of the time - here we have good food and can read anything we want to. 

Enough rambling and on to the good stuff...  I have a winner for my little contest.  I was so excited to have 10 comments!!  ( Little things people... little things! )  Thanks for sharing your favorites with me - and commenting!  I love you all!

The winner of the contest is MELANIE!  Congratulations!! Email me at hddougherty at att(dot)net with your shipping info and choice of book and I'll get it out to you by the end of the month!!

Thanks again for participating! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Banned Book Week Contest

As you can see, I don't blog frequently or have a huge array of followers (but for those of you that do follow and read - I LOVE YOU!! SO MUCH! Hai!!) so this may in fact end up kind of silly. 

Look down there... I usually only have one amazing person commenting on any given blog post - so the fact that I'm doing a contest may end up being rather laughable. 

Laughable, silly... yes, indeed.

I still can't stop myself.  It's almost, nearly, just about Banned Book Week.  I can't stand for it.  Well, I can stand for Banned Book Week - but not for Banned books.  I've never understood this concept of censorship.  If you feel something isn't appropriate for your child to read - then monitor it.  Please don't try to dictate what my kids (or me!!) have access to.  I was lucky that I grew up in a family that didn't really censor my books/music access.  Sometimes there were clear lines drawn - especially for age appropriateness, but as I got older, my parents felt okay with letting me decide what I could handle reading/listening to.  I hope to do the same with my kids. 

Some banned/challenged books have been favorites of mine.  Others not so much.  I'd still love for others to have a chance to read them...

Most recently there has been quite an uproar over the challenge to Laurie Halse Anderson's book, Speak. 

I would love to attempt to give this topic some face time, but quite frankly - I feel it's been so eloquently handled by others that I will leave it to them, but I want to say that I SUPPORT SPEAK!

Who I recommend reading on this subject (hope you don't mind me linking to ya - cuz you rock!): 
Laurie Halse Anderson

Myra McEntire
Veronica Roth

The ALA has listed the top 10 most challenged books from the last year. Read banned books!


Okay...  So - here is my plan.  Comment here with your favorite banned book and you are entered.  Easy Peasy right?  Considering you may be the only one commenting - your odds could be spectacular! ;)  If you tweet this contest or blog about it or somehow in some other way mention it - you will get an extra entry into the contest if you note that in your comment.  Also - please note in the comments if you are blogging about banned books this week or are having a BBW contest.

So what do you get?  Well, the winner - picked randomly from the comments (if there are more than one!) - will have their choice of one the following banned books sent to them. I should be able to ship internationally, so go ahead and enter!

This contest will run through the 2010 celebration of Banned Books Week, from September 25 through October 2.  I will post the winner sometime the week of October 3.

Thanks for supporting banned books (and me and this little blog thing!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Out in the world...

This has been a crazy month.  As you can see, I haven't managed to be very successful at blogging regularly.  I'm okay with that since I'm not putting extra pressure on myself.

I've started the query process, but as I'm learning - I query like a blog.  S-l-o-w-l-y!  I seem to be on a one submission every other week time frame.   This works out well for me because I'm really spending time researching the agents.  I think I'm on the right track...

As for writing - I have had SNIs invade my life the last couple of weeks.  I won't complain - but it is definitely challenging to find enough time to do all the writing I'm inspired to do.  I have a MG skeeery ghost book that has a word count of about a 7K with most of the book thought out (yes, I'm still a pantser - but this one came at me fully fleshed out), and then Tuesday I had a SNI hit me harder than any other - EVER.  I wrote 10K words on Tuesday and then yesterday I actually sat down to make notes so that I wouldn't forget all the ideas screaming through me for it.  I settled in to write another 2K - and hope to double that today.  This SNI is a contemp YA - I love it. 

In other news - the kids are back to school - well - at least Big and Middle are... Little doesn't start until next week.  I wish I could say that this means I'll have 3 mornings off a week - but I've chosen to work while she's at school.  The stress that's removed by paying bills definitely outweighs the extra quiet time.  Did I just say that?  That seems rather grown-up of me.  Must be a fluke. 

In my to be read pile:  Mockingjay, The DUFF, Hush Hush, Silver Phoenix, You Wish... I don't remember the rest... I love books.

I want to wish fellow AWer Emilia a Happy Blogiversary.  Check her out - and don't miss her Punkiversary Giveaway of Life-Changing Proportions Contest... last day to enter is today! It is so full of amazing things you'll be happy just looking at all the prizes.  Don't forget to check out the rest of her blog.   She's funny - adorable and mega talented - plus - you'll get to say "Oh, I found her way back before she was this mega-famous author." 

Ode to an Iced Capp

Many roads we’ve wandered,
You and I
When the wells of my sanity,
Have all but run dry.
Your popular cousin, Coffee,
Is just not my thing,
But with your milk and icee,
You make my heart sing.
When my nights grow too short,
Because my worries are long,
With you in my system,
I can keep going on.
Some might call this corny,
Or even quite silly,
But it’s just my way of
Saying, I really, really,
Really, really, really, really
Really love you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

oooh books!

I am on a reading spree.  My BFF (I may be 35 but I can still call her my BFF - she's been my friend since I was 13!) sent me a box full of books.  Great books.  Amazing books.

I got her hooked on Hunger Games - so she bought me Catching Fire (yes it's finally close enough to Mockinjay's release that I can read it!), Linger (yay!!), Vampire Diaries and more Vampire Diaries, Darkfever, Hush Hush - oh there are more but I can't remember them all. 

This was one of the coolest gifts I've received in a long time.  Can you give a better gift than a book that someone falls in love with?  That escape, those characters - they are with us forever. 

Speaking of books - in which a girl reads is having a HUGE contest - in fact it's called the Very Humongous Blogoversary Contest.  Check it out.  Definitely check it out!  Fall in love - she has a very humongous group of terrific books to choose from if you are a winner. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's done! It's done! It's done!!

The latest draft of NORMAL is complete.  I'm sending the last section to my amazing betas.  Once I get their responses back - and I have the last reserved betas do a full once over... it will be time to query agents!  Can you believe it??

It is an amazing feeling to have this draft under my belt.  There were many large edits in this version and I really like where it's gone. 

No more excuses, no more procrastination.  Hopefully within the next two to three weeks I will begin sending queries. 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lazy, hazy days

I woke up this morning to the sound of my fan shutting off.

Normally it doesn't sound like such a big deal, but in my world it means the power went out.  No power, no computer... and no computer... well... let's just say I need a life.

Cue crying.

Well, the power is back on and I'm over it.  What this lead me to though, was realizing I need mah 'puter!  Yes I have my WIPs saved on an external hard drive, an online back-up server and I have emailed them to myself.  The real problem is that I am no longer able to write by hand.  I tried.  I really, really tried this morning, but it didn't happen.  It's not that I had writer's block, it's that I can't write nearly as fast as I can type and by the time I had a thought out on paper, I forgot where I was going with it. 

It sucked.

So here I am perched back on my computer, electricity chasing through the wires and NOW I am blocked again.

I love writing. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vacation, all I ever needed....

So... I've been on a little writing vacation. 

Not the kind where I go somewhere fun and write - but eh kind where I just don't write at all.

So really, the worst kind.

With the end of the school year excitement, weddings, work trips, work, softball - my brain has been fried by the end of the day.  Normally I write from 11p-2am.  That hasn't been possible because most nights I'm asleep by 11pm. 

I will say that I miss writing, and my characters.  Now that school is out (whoooo hoooo) I hope to be able to scrape out some writing time.

Including maybe an occasional blog post or two. 

'cuz you miss me, right? 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting dirty

Oh I wish the title of the post meant I'm going to be chatting about smexy, dirty things... but unfortunately it's not.

So I just put my garden in the ground.  So far three kinds of cucumbers, some zucchini, squash, five types of tomatoes, 2 types of peppers, some chives, some onions, some carrots, watermelon and some lettuce.  I have a whole bunch more to go in but it's a good start.

While I was sitting out in the sun digging in the dirt I have a lot of time to contemplate things and one of my favorite past times is to plot out books/scenes, etc.  Today I realized that gardening and writing are very similar and I realized a little about my personality.  That's some serious gardening right?

I love the feeling of planting the garden, it's a lot of work to get the ground ready, but once it's time to start putting transplants or seeds in the ground, it's exciting.  Each plant has serious potential and I don't see the garden for a bunch of piles of dirt with little spindly seedlings, but the potential of a gorgeous lush garden with loads of veggies for my family.

The same can be said about my SNIs (Shiny New Ideas).  I get an idea and it's a major high.  Then as I mull it over in my head, thinking of plot points, characters, it starts to take shape (in case you can't tell - in planning terms I'm a pantser not a planner!).  I start to write and I can see the finished project in all it's glory. 

Then the tough stuff.  In writing a novel - the weeds are those tough middle spots that you have to push through when you temporarily lose your inspiration because the actual work that goes into your masterpiece takes over.  Then there is editing.  I clear the infiltrators of THAT, passive tense, excessive adjectives, excessive dialogue tags... just like I have to clear the garden of infiltrating weeds, pests and my kids. 

Eventually you end up with something.  For me, last years garden was a bomb.  We had 23 days of rain in the 30 days after we got the plants in the ground.  This does not make for a bountiful harvest later.  There have certainly been books that also met the same fate and sit in an unfinished state in my hard drive.  Not even hard work can save those puppies.

When everything comes together well, the completed manuscript is worth every ounce of time and energy you put into it.  

Did I mention I can't wait till my tomatoes ripen? 

Around, around, around the sun...

I'm sitting in a room where Elmo's World is on the TV but there are no children.  I'm too lazy to reach two feet in front of me to get the remote and change the channel.

Don't judge me.

My oldest daughter asked me what my favorite color was.  I realized I no longer have easy answers for just about anything.  It used to be yellow.  Now my favorite color is the vibrant green of leaves with sun shining on them set against the clear deep blue hue of the sky with splashes of white from both white, puffy clouds and branches of white birch trees. 

I don't mean this in a poetic way, or even in a cleverly crafted purple prose (MUST SLASH ADJECTIVES!!) kind of way.  It's just that I don't find any of those colors enough on their own.  Put them together and TA-DA gorgeous. 

More questions that I don't have easy answers for - but should?  What is your favorite song?  What is your favorite move? book? TV show? kid?

All of these things are difficult to answer for the same reason.  It just depends. 

It depends on my mood, it depends on when I first heard it, it depends on what memories I have attached... it depends.  See.

The same can be said about my writing and editing.

I need to just finish editing NORMAL and get betas final opinions on it (so far my betas have helped tremendously and I love, love, love them all!).  Every time I sit down to edit NORMAL it changes.  I know that's the point of editing, but I mean the focus, the voice, the feel and flow of things.  It all depends on my mood, music I'm listening to, how tired I am...    I think the more I edit the farther I get from the end. 

Oh and just in case you are wondering?  There was no point to this post.  Just lots of randomness. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

My heart... in paper....

We had a semi-successful yard sale this weekend.  I mention this only because two things happened as a direct result.  The first - I once again realized why I dis-like holding yard sales.  I sold my three year old leather, glider/recliner for $17.   That's one.

The second is infinitely more important.  I found my box of books.  THE box of books. 

Let's back up a bit.  My father is the kind of man that loves books - he's the reason I'm such a voracious reader. He keeps his books forever.  He has walls of books at his house.  All organized according to author and almost all are in hardback.  Lots of books.  Most of which have only been read once by him or twice if I got my paws on 'em.  This leads me to another fun fact about my dad.  Do not borrow a book unless you will return it to him.  Otherwise you will forever be in the book jail.  I don't borrow books anymore unless I'm not leaving his house with it - and even then I point out when I leave exactly where I am leaving the book so that he knows I'm not shoving it in a suitcase to take home. 

This gene is also deeply embedded in me.  I don't have the funds that he does to purchase books, but when I do, I have a habit of holding on to them.  In my defense, I am a re-reader though, I can read a book 2-3 okay 4-5 times (or 20 something if it's Austen or a Bronte). 

Moving 7 times in 4 years broke me of this habit.  I admit one of the hardest things for me to let go on our moves were my books.  I imagine them in new happy homes, being read and enjoyed by a happy reader curled up on their couch and treated lovingly.

Yes.  I might need a life. 

That aside, there are some books I just couldn't part with.  When we moved from Arizona to Maine I allowed myself one large Rubbermaid container of books.  They went from moving truck to storage units to storage unit..etc... until finally I have another place where I shelf space for my precious.  In fact - I have a great built in bookcase! 

To make this long story longer - emptying our storage shed I found the box.  I opened it and went through it the same way I do the little storage boxes with my children's baby clothes and mementos.  I've had some of these books longer than the kids!

In the box were a few I'm okay with letting go now, but mostly, books I cherish remain. 

What books would you have in your box?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Contests, Contests, Contests!

Some fandangulous peeps are having contests on their blogs and I wanna share the love!

Check out the marvy Kathy Bradey's blog.  She is having her first ever contest - and you can win an Amazon gift card!   Kathy's manuscript - Ice Carousel is UH-mazing! 

The GotYA blog has another fun contest up for ya - this time from Annie after the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention!  Check it out!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

So... tomorrow is my birthday. 

Cue the singing.  Oh look there is a beautiful cake.   Balloons?  Presents?  Oh - you shouldn't have. 

I love my birthday.  A LOT.

I've had some wonderful birthdays - and some not so wonderful birthdays.

I used to cry every time someone sang the Happy Birthday song.  (I may or may not still do this.. SHUT UP!)

These are birthdays I remember...  in no particular order  (I told you I like to make lists!):

The one where my grandparents were there and I went to Show Biz Pizza

The one where we played the game Telephone in the backyard.

The one where the boy I liked gave me a kiss as my present.

The one where I had a hot tub party and none of the girls would put on a bathing suit to get in - but me.  And I got to hang out in the hot tub with 8 good looking guys - all by myself.  The very next day one of those guys showed up on my doorstep and told me how amazing I was because I was okay enough to do it (even though I didn't look particularly great in one!)

The one where I cried all day because someone broke my heart.

The one where I was at prom and my birthday started at midnight.

The one where I cried all night because my parents showed up late to my birthday party and everyone had to leave by the time they got finally arrived with the cake and pizza. 

The one where I just found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.

The one where Jim Henson (one of my favorite people on Earth) died.  The same birthday that one of my other favorite people brought me a dozen roses because every girl should get beautiful flowers on her birthday (Miss you tons Mrs. C!).

The one where I got fired from a job and my boss brought me a dozen roses and a dozen daisies to apologize. 

The one where I was 40 weeks pregnant with my middle daughter. 

The one where my work friends decorated my cubicle and gave me amazingly touching gifts.

The one where I watched my daughters dance recital.

The other one where I watched my daughters dance recital.

The one at Chi Chis where I donned the giant sombrero and had yummy fried ice cream.

The one where I had my birthday cake in a bathtub - with two little girls tubbing with me!

The one where I was surprised when an amazing friend showed up with a cake, flowers and balloons for me. 

I've had many good birthdays.  So many - I can't remember them all.  I'm sure tomorrow will be another one!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Sunny Days, everythings A-OK!"

Can you believe it???  The amazing Lydia Kang gave me a blog award! And my favorite kind of award - involving sunny things and flowers.  * I'm going to pass this along to my buddies at the GotYA blog - because it involves many of the women who inspire my writing - daily.  Oh - and cuz I won an awesome contest on there.  And they rock.  * Nicole Thomas who has been incredibly helpful with all things writing.  * Bridget at Bake at 350 which always makes me smile!  * I love the blog at Notes from the Cookie Jar  *  Also Vero's blog - because it's one of the coolest I've seen in a long time...

I also received a blog award from Nicole Ducleroir - who has a gorgeous, fun, touching blog that you need to check out too!  I'm going to pass this along to some of my other favorite blogs to read...
*Becca Rogers blog is terrific - she had beautiful teasers - and a daisy!!
*Deb's blog - besides the fact her graphics make me smile, her posts make me literally laugh out loud most of the time. 
*Amanda Plavich's blog is adorable and beautiful - plus if you dig hard enough you get to her photography site which is as wonderful as her writing. 
* Amy Bai - just read it - worth every second!
*OK - I also want to throw two of my favorite writer's of all time on here... Barbara Kingsolver because her books saved me a long time ago and her site is full of her.  And that is lovely. "The writing of fiction is a dance between truth and invention." 
*And then there is SARK.  Because I am a succulent, wild woman - and because her site is fun and informative and bright and colorful.  Just like her.  And a little bit like me. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"You stole my heart but I love you anyway..."

So, I'm learning I maybe a major fail at blogging.  I want to be witty and fun, or serious and interesting or something.  So much so that the words just don't come to me.  So I'm going to cheat.  I'm making a list.  I love lists.  Back in my old diaries I used to make lists upon lists... who I liked, who the cutest boy was, movies I wanted to see, presents for my birthday, favorite singers.... if I could categorize something and stuff it into a top 10/20/30... I would.

It's May.  I love May.  It's the month I was born, it's when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, it's when I had my middle daughter, it's when I am celebrated as a mother.  It's also a time where the weather turns warm and my toes dig in the sand at the beach for the first time every year, the leaves explode onto their branches, the smell of cut grass catches the air, the garden is planted... oh how I love May.

So, honor of my list making and my love of May, I will present for you a list of things I love.  I'm leaving off the obvious/most important (my husband, my children, my family, my friends) and trying to dig into some of the other things that thrill my soul.

This is in no specific order...
- kids giggling
- citrus scented soap
- teaberry ice cream
- showers without short people (my children in particular) barging in the bathroom
- old favorite songs on the radio
- smell of salt in the air
- the middle of an amazing book
- fountain coke that is "just right"
- dandelions clutched proudly in little fists
- tequila
- putting away winter coats/hats/gloves
- fires in the hearth on a cold rainy day

- homemade ice cream
- adirondack chairs

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lovin' my library

I've had a couple of people ask how the reading has been going - and what I think about the books I mentioned earlier. I'm not much at writing book reviews but I love to chat about books...

So - Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson, this was crazy good. It was hard to read at times because you are entwined in the MCs head that you feel as out of control as she does (which is the point - and is done VERY well). The pacing is super fast and toward the end I HAD to finish it because I needed to not only find out what happened, but also to get out of her head! Great read.

Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr, also very good. I liked that the fairies in this book were not the little happy, twirly fairies of our youth but dark, dirty and at times cruel. Main character Aislinn is tough, brave and saves her own day. I can't wait to read Ink Exchange ... which is waiting at the library for me!

Graceling - Kristen Cashore, I ran through this book. If you want to read a book about a hard-core tough chick - this is that book. Katsa is a fun character, because she has tremendous growth throughout, but still retains the core of her person at the end. The concept behind the book is fun - and the world that Cashore creates is beautiful and fascinating.

Wish You Were Dead - Todd Strasser, This was another dark book, and I flew through it - anxious to find out how it ended. I was expecting something a little more humorous (I don't know - maybe the title should have clued me in??) - dark - but funny. It wasn't that - but a captivating suspense thriller instead.

My favorite of this group which I admit I may be a bit biased about since the author is a fellow AWer - was Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin. I expected this to be some kind of hostage situation type of book (I'm apparently not very good at guessing these things!!) but found an intriguing glimpse into the main characters life. I love the main character Parker - and adore her he-who-shall-not-be-named- love interest. The story lightly touches base on many relevant topics without feeling like she's skimming over them - or preaching. This was another race to the end to find out what happens type of book. I admit I'm a little sad it ended.

Up next: I'm almost done with Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, and have hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in queue. Oooooooooh and I won Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl from a contest on the terrific new OPWFT website - called GotYA. Check it out if you get a chance!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Write on...

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

The urge to write just up and went. Away. I have no idea where it went, but wherever, it is far away from me.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

I'm pretty sure that Bradbury is on to something. I paused for just a moment, turned my back and reality sure enough did grab me and fill my soul with.. well...reality.

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

I love to write. Sometimes though there is such muck to wade through to reach anything of interest that nothing flows on the paper.

If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet

It's been a month since the urge last struck me.

Today I feel a small twinge. It's there. It's thinking about coming out. A couple of nights without sleep always help that along.

I will set myself up with all the necessities... caffeine (Tim Horton's Iced Capp)... food (a veggie wrap sounds tasty... music (cues NORMAL playlist on itunes)... turn off internet...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Tuesday! No Teaser!

I'm knee deep in revisions. I have been getting responses from my beta readers and so far so good. I love their honesty and comments, so far I'm in agreement with the suggestions and that is always a good thing - even if they are some tough recommendations. I love editing after getting comments from a beta. It feels good to be polishing - catching things that I missed earlier and making my MS as clean and shiny as it can be. It also brings me one step closer to querying.

I did something crazy.

I let my best friend read my MS. I find this isn't always a good idea because it can be awkward if they don't love it, and criticism stings differently coming from a friend than it does from an impartial beta reader. Good news - she stayed up until 1am to finish reading it! We talked about it all day yesterday and it was so much fun to chat about the characters and issues I'm having. I'm pretty sure I won't be writing her review of it on any agent queries, "My mom and my best friend really think it's cool..." but it's good to have someone to bore on end with questions.

I have another good friend who has been reading along with me from the beginning and her initial help is the only reason Normal is where it is now. She held my hand through those self-conscious, overly dramatic writer moments.

My point here... through this journey I'm growing braver with each step. I'm sharing my dreams with others and accepting their help. I think this makes all the difference.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday or is it already Tuesday?

I want to post a Teaser, but I have been working on a major spoiler area this week and I'm having a hard time finding something that doesn't scream "alien invasion Earth goes KABOOM" kind of thing.  Well, not quite that since NORMAL has neither aliens or elements of kaboom.  Maybe I need some?  So, what I am left with is a small snippet.

Thanks as always for checking it out!

Sitting in the restaurant it felt strange that the rest of the world continued on while their lives were so out of control. Aly watched as lovers held hands and smiled at each other over meals, people celebrated birthdays and families joined together for happy occasions.  She found their joy to be powerful and attractive.  She eagerly clapped and sang along as the servers carried a cake to a nearby table, singing Happy Birthday as they went.  She hoped it would spark something inside her, some fleeting moment of enjoyment but only a deep numbness filled her, protecting her from the other darker feelings that shared space.  She looked at Andrew and caught him staring at Tanner’s wheelchair and tapping his fingers on his cast absent-mindedly.  Both served as a visual reminder of the scars healing inside them all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Major coup at the library...

I scored at the library today!  Right as I walked in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters stared back at me!


Then when I hit the big time YA section I struck library gold.  We have a great library here but if you don't reserve a copy - you are looking at 5-6 year old releases.  I'm all for older books but I've had my eye on some newer releases (2009+ kids!!)...

So - what did I grab?

Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson) (Yeah, I know it's not Speak...)
Fire (Kristin Cashore) (So what, I'll read Graceling next?!)
and Wish you Were Dead (Todd Strasser)

Yeah yeah, I know - soooo last year - but this is a huge deal for me.  I'd go out and spend money on books if I could right now, but I can't, so the library is my bestest friend.  Oh, and my other buddy "librarian" gave me the down low on the new online reservation system.  I'm going to go deep into a reading coma. 

I may never sleep again.

I have to go start my bath.  Pages await...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

This is a super short fun scene from Normal with Andrew and Aly - she's not crying!

“I can’t give you this copy, but I’ll send you an advance copy.”

“Can I get an autographed one? I hear those go for big bucks.”

Andrew flopped back into the chair and laughed hard. “I’ll sign a bunch of stuff for you then, put you through college.”

She shook her head. “Oh no, I want a pretty car too, so I’m going to have to ask you to get everyone’s autograph – it’s worth more.”

“Of course. I’ll try and remember that.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Taffy Stuck and Tongue Tied

It's starting again.  I'm pretty sure my brain likes to sabotage me.   I WANT to edit and revise Normal, I really do.  I believe in it and would like to subject it to the knowing betas for advice and assistance. 

I will query for agent representation for it.

In the meantime, when I should be editing and getting it ready for betas, I keep having these new book ideas hit me.  I mean wake me from deep sleep several nights in a row because I'm ignoring them. 

I spent two days making notes, writing dialogue, character descriptions, plotting and researching idea #1.  I gave myself that time justifying that I needed to get as much of my inspiration down on paper while the feeling was with me, and that I'd just jump right back into editing.

Then shiny new idea #2 hit.  I ignored it.  SNI #2 came after me with a baseball bat.  I hid in the closet with a flashlight and held my editing pencil tight (and wrote bad poetry apparently) while I forced myself through more pages.  SNI#2 came after me with a scythe.  I ran screaming outside in slow motion, flailing my arms and screaming for help but SNI#2 chased after me. 

I tripped I fell and SNI#2 stood over me with a menacing smile.  I held up my hands and begged, "I'll do it, just stop chasing me." then rolled onto my side in tears.  SNI#2 laughed a maniacal BWAH HA HA HA.

I spent two days planning SNI#2.

They are rather pushy, violent little things.  I can't wait to get to know them better.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tax Deductions

I'm getting my 2009 tax information together and I'm thinking of all the things I wish I could use as a tax deduction from my writing "job".

Okay - this is a joke in and of itself since in order to reference it as a job I would need to have earned income from it, but still, I'm a dreamer.

So things I would like to declare on my 2009 taxes IF I was a paid writer:

$36.29  in Itunes purchases for inspirational playlists
$26.03 Ibuprofen liqui-gels
$158.08 Tim Horton's Iced Cappuccino's for those "mornings after"
$159.00  New printer that doesn't go through ink like a bad meth habit
$92.00  Ink for meth-addict printer before I went Office Space on it
$14.95  Ink for new printer with mild aspirin habit
$42.00  Paper for printing rough drafts
$2.99  Box of preferred pens for editing
$540.00  Year of internet service for research, access to Itunes, and AW
$125.86  Wine (aka - cheap drunk)
$24.99  Bottle of good tequila (aka - writers block)
$44.85  Jonas Brothers 3D concert movie tickets
$NOT GONNA PUT IT HERE.00 Jonas Brothers concert tickets (research people, research)
$366.00  Take out for nights I'm too busy writing to figure out dinner

Yeah... writing is fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

I'm going to rejoin the living! For today's teaser I went with NORMAL again, and a little snip towards the beginning of the book.

Aly, her little sister Caitlin and Aly's best friend Jeana are hanging by the pool at a resort in Mexico on a family trip.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Time goes by...

The goal I set for the final edit of Normal before it went off in the hands of betas was 2/15/10. I'm not sure I'm going to make that. I wanted to start querying 3/15/10. I laugh in the face of such deadlines.

I'm a very introspective person and fairly aware of my own foibles. Did I mention I have a lot of them? I'm pretty sure I'm subconsciously (and apparently not so SUB) sabotaging myself.

I know that if I never finish editing I can't send it to betas. If I don't send it to betas I can't polish. If I don't polish I can't query. If I don't query I can't be rejected. VOILA!

I'm a wimp. I want to move forward, but fear keeps me rooted. I want to be brave and go out all balls to the wall and query the heck out of my work. That is the problem though, it's MY work. Up until now I've been a closet writer. I've allowed myself to come out and share with select people. Part of that is a self motivator to be accountable to others since I am not accountable to myself. What if it isn't very good?

I'm a strong woman, at least I play one on TV, but writing has always been so inherently personal that it's hard to share. It's hard for me to even admit that I'm afraid.

Therein lies the problem. Fear. Doubt. Guilt. Fear.

I will do it. Just maybe not today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Well, I'm gonna tease again!

This takes place while Aly and her younger sister Caitlin are visiting Andrew and Tanner on tour.  They are checking out the stage when Andrew notices how happy Aly is.

“Well, I was going to tell you later, but, I got into Northwestern and the program!”  Her voice shook with excitement.  “Architectural Engineering and Design: here I come!” 

“I’m so happy for you,” he said.  He kissed her forehead and gave her a huge hug.  Andrew still had his arms around her when Aly spotted Jacob off to the side of the stage.  

Aly stood still and watched him walk towards them.  All of her preparation for this moment failed.  He looked in her direction and caught her eyes over Andrew’s shoulder.  Aly inhaled deeply, she’d forgotten the little details of his face and how handsome he really was.  Andrew let go of her and held her at arms length to look at her, noting her instant tension. 

His brow furrowed.  “Are you okay?” he asked.  

“Of course,” Aly said.  She stepped back out of his grasp and cleared her throat to regain her composure.  The last time she saw Jacob he left her standing on the beach in tears. He smiled at her now but she noticed the smile never reached his eyes.  Jacob hugged Caitlin warmly and then greeted Aly by awkwardly hugging her with one arm and a pat to her back with one hand.  The kind of half-hug a guy would give a buddy.

“I’m glad you could come.  It’s good to see you.” Jacob said.  His voice was tight, not the deep rich voice she remembered.

“Jacob, it’s good to see you too.” 

He fidgeted with the lanyard around his neck then looked back to the side of the stage.  A tall blonde joined them.  She stood next to Jacob and put a hand on his shoulder.  He looked anxiously from her to Aly and back.  Aly almost laughed at seeing Jacob so uncharacteristically flustered, but the sick feeling in her stomach kept her silent.  Jacob said, “I want you to meet someone.  This is my girlfriend Eryn.”

     “Hi Eryn. It’s nice to meet you.” Eryn daintily shook the hand that Aly offered.  

     Eryn stood formally with perfect posture.  “I’ve heard a tremendous amount about you.  Andrew speaks of practically nothing else and now I understand why,” She said with an unnaturally exact cadence. “Have you been to one of their concerts before?  It is truly wonderful.”

     “No, I haven’t.  We’re excited,” Aly responded, putting an arm around Caitlin.

     “You must be Caitlin, Tanner’s girlfriend,” Eryn said.  She extended her hand to Caitlin.

Caitlin immediately blushed. “I’m his friend,” she corrected.  Her voice was barely audible. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The one where I go on about Nick Jonas...

This is semi-related to my writing so I'm going to just go with it.

I am an emotional person, by that I mean that I get that overwhelming pressure in my chest, making it hard to breathe, heart racing, tears flooding into total bawl baby moments often.  A great book where I have lost myself deep in the tangle of characters, a movie that transcends format, a song that moves me, for goodness sakes, I've lost my shit over commercials before.  Rarely - but it happens.

Nothing moves my soul quite like live music.  Something happens in the presence of hundreds/thousands of other people - listening to live music.  The energy, the emotion, the comradarie, being able to actually feel the music.  Singing along with a huge crowd of people just does something to me.  Watching someone share their creation - is powerful to me.

Last night I took my oldest daughter to see Nick Jonas and the Administration down in Boston (yes, on a school night - hey it was what she wanted to do instead of a birthday party).  I'm an admitted Jonas Brothers fan - I think they have a fun, catchy vibe and the fact that they play their own instruments and write their own music holds a lot of weight with me - so I wasn't dreading the show. 

I have heard a couple of the songs from NJatA, his first release Who I Am  (and I cry at the video - just sayings all) is pretty good.  I love the lyrics to Rose Garden... and Olive and an Arrow is also pretty good.   I'd read some reviews which were mostly positive, and talked about Nick's funkier, older sound.  Hmmm, the kid is 17 - just how old can he sound?  I know he had some good stuff backing him (3 of the New Power Generation band... and bassist John Fields) so that was a good sign.

I was wholly unprepared for what I walked into.  I've seen the Jonas Brothers in concert - so the hordes of screaming girls didn't phase me.  What I was surprised by was the boy on stage.  His voice was the strongest I have ever heard it.  I have pretty much listened to every Jonas Brothers song recorded (7:05 is my favorite... followed by Can't Have You, if you were wondering) and Nick's voice was decent - but nothing special - and a lot of the time it sounds like he's straining too hard.  Last night his voice was strong, in tune, and I found myself digging it about 2 songs in. 

His band is nothing short of amazing - a tremendous choice on his part - but Nick himself was the main attraction.  The songs, including two re-manufactured Jonas Brothers songs (2 more were also smashed up in a cover mash up) were darker, dirtier, funkier, and just more... well MORE. 

I've often marveled at what it must be like to be a teenager who plays their own music in front of 30,000 screaming fans, singing your words back to you.   Something about dreams coming true, yadda yadda yadda.  Last night I saw a kid (an old soul for sure but a kid nonetheless) on a stage in front 3,000 fans.  He looked out at the crowd, sometimes in amazement, as they sang along to songs that haven't even been released yet.  His eyes searched the crowd, and there was something in his eyes that just said, "wow."  

He was equal parts show-man, funny guy, humble, ridiculous (jumping on top of a piano at one point to jam out).  My favorite part of the show was when he sang a song that he wrote last week (and recorded the day before at John's Fields apartment in Boston!!) called Stay.  I've seen the other youtube videos, so I'm aware that some of his moves are a bit repetitive (some would say rehearsed) but it really moved me.  The song itself is great really, but watching him perform it - you could easily see how much the song meant to him and in turn it was even more moving.  (In a creepy side note - if you watch this video (which is not mine) check out how he rocks the microphone stand at about 1:30). 

It was fun, and my daughter was beside herself.  As much as I loved the music (and I did) - the best part for me was watching my daughter.  She is normally a very reserved kind of girl, quiet and although I think deep down she likes being the center of attention, she is a bit shy about getting that to happen.  She is NOT the screaming, squealing type of fan-girl - that's just not her way. So - back to my favorite part - during Rose Garden, a song my daughter absolutely loves, I looked over at her and she had tears streaming down her face (she's just like her momma - a crier) and she was just quietly singing along.  Then in an uncharacteristic move - she throws her hands over head and I smile.  Then I see that her hands are in the I LOVE YOU sign.  This is when my tears fall.

Thanks Nick.  Good luck.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have five minutes left of Tuesday - so I thought I'd participate with a super small snip...

As they walked into the restaurant Jeana tugged on Aly’s hand. Her smile had grown into full-blown gloating. “You can’t escape them now, it’s fate!” She whispered.

Aly sighed. She knew that to some degree Jeana was right. No matter what she did, in just a minute she’d be sitting across the table from four obnoxiously beautiful guys. She felt her skin crawl at the thought. She pulled her hand away and walked faster, putting distance between her and Jeana. She called back to Jeana over her shoulder, “I don’t believe in fate.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends...

I'm a cheerleader.  I love to share my excitement about something that moves me, something that grabs me.  If you did it and it's awesome, I want you to know it.  I think everyone needs a cheerleader.  The real shock is that I'm not an exception.

I'm not new to writing but to talking about writing.  One of the things that has changed the most over the last four months is that I now actually like talking about my writing.  I like talking about other people's writing.  I like talking about what other people think of other peoples writing.

What I hadn't ever experienced was people talking about MY writing.  To me.
I used to think writing was a solitary process.  Very solitary.  To a certain degree it is, but even before you reach the "rah rah team of an agent/editor/publisher/adoring fans/crazyfangirls" level, having people support you is incredibly important.

As a closeted writer, a year ago only a few well chosen people knew that I wrote.  Only one of those people ever read anything I wrote.

Now, with the inspiration and not so gentle guidance of a wonderful group of writers - I share my writing readily.  I have even let some people read my writing.  Some would say I might 'overshare' my writing a tad.

It's amazing.  Not just the support of another writer (or twenty) but having others read my work has rapidly improved my writing.  I have instant feedback on whether something works or something is authentic to a character.  Obviously I love the supportive comments, squees of joy and happy thoughts and I've been known to pour (hell is this pour or pore?) over them and mainline them like crack (do people mainline crack? hmmm something to ponder)  - but what I've learned is that where I grow is from the critique.

When something doesn't work for a reader, I want to know why.  I LIKE knowing that something I wrote didn't work.  Why?  Because it helps build my own internal editor.  I often ignore the little voice in my head, (not that one... but THAT one... no no no, not the one whispering over there... THAT ONE! geez!) that small grumble that tells me something is off.  Because I wrote it, pored my heart into it, breathed life into it - I might be just a little too close to it at times to be objective.  Yet, as this process goes on and more and more comments come back I realize I knew where the problem was all along. 

I'm grateful I de-lurked and I appreciate the group of writers that have shoved down on the bench to make room for the new guy.  It's an amazing place where I can be in the game - and on the sidelines cheering at the same time.  Which is just about perfect for me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Something in the Way She Moves...

A non-writing friend asked me what inspires my stories, or inspires me to write.

(I admit, I felt all AUTHOR for a moment and could imagine myself being asked this while standing in front of a group of fans at a reading.  Please forgive me my momentary plunge into fantasy!)

My answer came quickly; music, photos, great books, dreams and watching people interact.

She smiled and looked at me with humor in her eyes - a look I know well now.  I get a little, ummm, excited sometimes when I get going and it's highly amusing to some of my friends that, after never talking about it - I can't stop talking about it.  (That's what I chose to believe at least).

Music - although music inspires me WHEN I'm writing, it's often not the inspiration on what to write about.  It absolutely sets the mood and gets my mind in the right place. You can check out my playlists for NORMAL and BITE ME on the sidebar of their homepages.  This is music that I either write to or reminds me of my story - something that makes me want to write.

Photos - This is kind of a big one for me.  I love photography.  Something about how people see the same world so differently becomes clear in a photograph. My parents used to laugh when I used to take my oldest daughter to have her photo taken every month as a baby, because I fancy myself an amateur photographer and she was already the most photographed baby  - ever.  To me though, having her photo taken by another photographer allowed me to see her in a different way. 

This is probably the main reason that I do castings for my books.  Sometimes it is an actual celebrity in my head, sometime it's just how they look in one particular picture or a look they have on their face that makes me think of that character.  However.  I find a lot of inspiration from photography - settings, houses (UNTITLED actually has a whole architecturally rendered floorplan of the MC's house), faces, smiles - even the mood of a photo. 

For instance:  This photo of Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato, it's just freaking fantastic.  I believe that it is photoshopped (I do not take credit for it) and I don't know where it came from otherwise I'd give that person a big ole shout out.  This photo has inspired many a new scene in NORMAL. 

The rest is fairly self explanatory - seeing how people interact, listening to their speech... all inspire scenes and moods in my books.

The single most important one though - are my dreams.  Almost every single one of my SNIs started out as a vivid, movie-like dream.  Something that grabbed me and didn't let go.