Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The sad truth about writers...

Location: My Humble Abode
Weather: Perfect
Listening to: Absolute Silence
Consuming: Absolutely Nothing
Reading: The Mark by Jen Nadol

There are certain... quirks that I believe most writers have. Being a writer is a lot of fun but there are some indubitable mannerisms that I think most writers share. I can not speak for anyone but myself, however, it wouldn't surprise me if other writer's read this and nodded the whole way down the list with random remarks that they do the exact things I inadvertently do. I hope you enjoy getting into the mind of a writer....

As a writer, I...

1.) Have conversations with myself even though I'm not really talking to myself, my characters are talking to each other. Now, most people would characterize this as schizophrenia or having multiple personalities but the reality of it is that sometimes our characters just won't shut up!

2.) Tend to watch, listen, and gawk at other people in such an intrusive way that I am given dirty looks. It's not that I disapprove of these people, in fact, it's the opposite! If I stare at you, it's because I think you would make a great character or your voice, hair, mannerisms, or whatever is unique and I want to ingrain it in my brain so I can copy you on paper. Feel flattered.

3.) Put the eggs in the pantry, the bread in the dishwasher, the empty milk carton in the freezer, and then start the washing machine with no clothes in it... all because I... a) stayed up waaaaay to late writing and I can't get my head on, or b) am so into my plot/characters/manuscript that I can't focus on anything. (Side note- Children could very well contribute to my lack of brain sometimes but I think it's partly my writing, too.)

4.) Have extreme lapses in conversations or daily doings because I was only focusing on my book.

5.) Hear someones life story, traumatic event, funny embarrassing moment, or unique idea and think "How can I put this into a new story?" It happens all the time. Even though I am really [trying] to pay attention to what you are saying, I can't help but turn you into a plot line. Sorry.

6.) Don't like being told I am wrong. Now, I know this is a major character flaw, (and bless my husband for tolerating me), but we writer's are play GOD. We make people, create places, invent animals, characters, objects, that never existed until I put it on paper. There is a certain level of pretentiousness that comes with that. I think it's important to stay humble and sometime I'm not great at it.

7.) Read some published books and think how in the frigging he#$ did that get PUBLISHED!? I understand that we writer's think we are the best thing since Jane Austen... but seriously... how do books of absolute mediocrity get on the book shelves? Someone, please. Answer that for me. I'm at a loss.

8.) Stalk the blogs of agents and authors to try and decipher the secret to getting published. (I have my favorites but that will have to wait for another post.)

9.) Always carry a book, notepad, and pen with me. Sometimes I use it A LOT. And sometimes I write random things in it that have absolutely no relation to writing or the current book I'm working on. But of course, the second I leave it at home I think of something brilliant and it suddenly vanishes from my brain, never to be seen or heard of again. *Sigh* (I hate that.)

10.) Pray every night that I will have a Stephenie Meyer moment and dream of something brilliant and then wake up the next morning, write a New York Times Bestseller book series and entertain millions and billions of people (worldwide) with my awesome idea that came to me... in a dream.
(We can all dream can't we???)

11.) Sometimes, I narrate my day in a monologue or dialect you would only find in a book. Example: (I'm washing the dishes and this is my internal dialogue)
She washes each dish with impeccable attention to detail of the food particles while listening to her husband ramble about something she is only vaguely interested in.
"Did you hear me?" her husband asks as he moves into her line of sight looking both hopeful and confused.
"Yep. Listening to every word intently, dear." she answers, trying to sound enthusiastic but feeling the exact opposite.
(Don't laugh at me... chances are, if I know you, I have internally done this while speaking to you. I can't help it.)

12.) Have cried, laughed, spoke to, spoke about, or talked smack about all of my characters at one time or another. I spend a good portion of my day thinking about or writing about these people who become real life friends and enemies to me. (This is not limited and includes falling in love with complete fictional people.)

I know it sounds crazy and maybe us writers are, (or maybe it's just me). So, let me go ahead and summarize this for you in one sentence: As a writer I am a bit schizophrenic, gawk at strangers, lose my brain often, have lapses in my day where I can't remember what I just did, turn other peoples traumatic experiences into a story for my own entertainment, play GOD, constantly critique published authors, have a really heavy purse, pre-plan my dreams, talk to myself in book format, and am over and utterly emotional about absolutely fictional people.
See? Doesn't writing sound like fun? Everyone should try it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One more thing...

If you havent heard of this website, check it out! I love it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Sweet Innocence and Imagination of a Child

Location: Home
Weather: Breezy and Wonderful
Listening to: Children's Laughter
Consuming: Diet Coke
Reading: Shadowland By Alyson Noel
(Third book in the Immortal Series)

I once heard that J. M. Barrie got the idea for Peter Pan by watching children play.
Their imagination far exceeded his own and so he took their creative adventures and crafted a masterpiece from the minds of the young.

Perhaps I write fantasy because I have spent my life caring for, nannying, and playing with children. Although I have no tales as distinctly wonderful as the great J. M. Barrie's, I can only hope to capture some of the creativity a child, so effortlessly, has.

Before I started school, my family was living in a large house in Iowa. I remember that it had a gigantic basement and it was for the soul purpose of my brother and sisters to play in. Jealousy consumed me because my siblings could write and I could not. Pulling out a piece of paper and pencil, I sat down and tried to write a "magical potion" with letters and words that only I would understand. Who cares if I didn't know their way to read and write? A few hours later, I went back to my paper and became so upset that I couldn't remember what I had wrote! It crushed me that I couldn't read or write! Quite some time down the road, my family was sitting in a restaurant that had paper place mats that we use to turn over and write on the back. It was there that I wrote my very first word: Kalina. I was so proud! (Is it normal that I remember all this?)

By the second grade we lived in Illinois and I was fully literate. What a blessing education is! However, I was behind on my reading and was pulled out of class to practice reading with a teacher one-on-one. It was then that I began finding the joy in books.

When I was in fourth grade I lived in California. My friends and I sat down during countless recesses and wrote a play to perform to the Kindergarten class. Much to my teacher's dismay (this had nothing to do with her lesson plan!) the Kindergarten teacher accepted our offer to perform to her students during school. So we did. Our play was much like the tale of Cinderella and I remember acting out a cruel part. Perhaps I was an evil step-sister or the step-mother. The part that was most memorable to me was the writing of the script.

By the sixth grade my family was living in Missouri. My English teacher gave us a creative writing assignment and I decided to write a screenplay of my very own. It was about a teenager who was babysitting and took the child to the park one day. While she was there, she started talking to her friends and the child was kidnapped! She called the parents and cried to the police about how sorry she was. The kidnapper asked for ransom and in the end the child was returned safely and the babysitter was forgiven. What an imagination I had at such an early age!

In Eighth grade my family was now living in Arizona. I was very involved in the youth group at my church. For one of our activities, we had to perform something for our parents. What a coincidence! It just so happened that I had written a play a few years ago that we could act out. With just a little bit of script tweaking, we performed it in front of a large audience and we received rave reviews.

I never thought that I would be a writer. It's not what I wanted to be when I grew up. Instead my head was filled with visions of becoming an actress, a teacher, a professional shopper, or perhaps a CIA Agent. My imagination was so far ahead of me there was no way I could keep up. Looking back, there is no surprise to me that I became a writer. I had become one the first day I tried to write that "magical potion" with words that only I could understand.

The imagination and innocence of a child is something no one can duplicate but I believe if I can even get a little tiny piece of that creativity written down, I may have a chance at writing something magical.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Number Game

Location: Home
Weather: Rainy with Thunderstorms!
Listening to: Snoring
Consuming: Water
Currently Reading: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
the sequel to The Great and Terrible Beauty
Since it's late and I have a billion things to do, I decided this weeks post should be the number game. Ready? Set. Go!
3- snoring people in my house
5- loads of laundry that I did today
2- loads of laundry left
9- hours until I drive to Cali to visit family
5- hours that it'll take to get to Cali
8- weeks that I've been waiting for a response from an agent
1- hour til midnight
3- diet cokes that I consumed today
1- awesome chapter that I wrote last night
2- books that Im working on
1- month until DaughterB's birthday
2- times that I went to the library this week
13- books that I have waiting for me to read
21- emails in my inbox waiting for a response
1- tired momma!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Let me let you in on a secret...

getting published is HARD!

I bet this is how the majority of people think it works:
(this is how I thought it worked)

You write a book.
It's okay if it's not perfect because that's what editors are for, right?
And it's alright that you don't remember all the technicalities of punctuation and grammar.
If you have some choppy parts, your agent or editor will fix them.
No one is perfect. Your manuscript doesn't have to be perfect.
If an agent likes your book, they will help you smooth things out.
There are lots of books in the world and some of them even suck.
YOU can write just as good.
It should be easy to get published. Anyone can do it.

If you think this is how it works, go publish your own book because no agent or publisher will look at your work without laughing. Its harsh, I know.

This is how it really works:

You write a book.
Then you re-write it.
Then you edit it, and re-write it some more.
When you get to the point where you are changing every sentence in fear that something may be wrong and then you end up changing it back to how it was in the beginning... only THEN
can you PREPARE to send it off to an agent.

Wait, you say. I thought we just prepared it?

You have to write a query letter.
You are asking an agent to read your manuscript.
One page, that's all you get so it better be good.

Then you have to write a synopsis. Which, many-a-writer will inform you (and even argue) that the synopsis is harder to write than the actual book.
Oh, and some agents want a one page synopsis of your entire book. Some want two pages, or five, or ten. So... you have to write them all.

But wait, there's more...
Then you have to write an author bio. Even if you aren't an author yet, you have to sell yourself, so make it good.

After all that's prepared, an agent may ask to see the first five pages. Or ten. Or the first chapter. And if you're REALLY lucky, a partial.

Then, they can ask for the full manuscript or they can do what every writer fears:

All based on one (or two, or five, or twenty) pages of your hard work.
Gone are the times where anyone and everyone who writes a story can get published.
Its a hard, harsh, sad, and trying publishing world.

Someone's gotta do it.

Perseverance is key, right? At least, that and great grammatical skills and a kick ass query.
And why I love it, I can't say. But I suppose I will continue on it for as long as it takes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everyone needs a hobby

Location: Home Base
Weather: Hotter than he#!
Listening to: Falling Slowly by The Frames
Currently Reading: Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Winner of the free copy of KATBE: Whitney
***Note: All names were put in a cup and drawn randomly.
I always circulate a few copies of my books to friends and
family because I LOVE feedback and am always looking
to learn and grow as a writer. So, if you weren't selected,
I would still love for you to read it.***

In my opinion, everyone needs a hobby. Something they do for themselves and no one else. Some people are happy without a hobby and to solely focus on their family, friends, work, and children. And that's fine, too. But my hobby is a big part of my life.

Hobbies are fun, too. You get to learn something new, practice it, play with it, mold it into whatever you want. Some are dangerous, some are hard, some are even downright nerve-racking (bungee jumping anyone?).

So... this weekend, I decided to try something new.

My Aunt (who I will refer to as AuntieM) decided to come spend some time with me and my family. It was great fun. We laughed, we ate, we played, we laughed some more. As though that weren't enough, we thought it would be a good idea to put highlights in her hair. I'd done a few weaves before, how hard could it be?

Growing up, everyone always asked me why I never went to beauty school. I was good at hair but never really thought twice about ACTUALLY doing it for a hobby or even a living. So, we took a trip to the store (which later ended up being a few trips), got a box of pizza, searched for my missing ipod but came up empty handed (I still can't find it!), and put on the gloves and started foiling her hair.


To spare you the brutal details, I ruined her poor hair while verbally assaulting her. I knew it was bad and I wanted to warn her. She decided to write down every comment I made and named it,

"Things You ABSOLUTELY Don't Want to Hear From Your Hairdresser"

1.) Dammit                                                                       
2.) Whoa                                                                        
3.) Shit                                                                           
4.) OHHHHH!                                                               
5.) I shouldn't have done this                                                        
6.) Seriously, this is the worst job I've ever done                                    
7.) This is all your fault                                                     
8.) I feel so bad for you   
9.) Luckily, this piece is in the back
10.) If it looks good, I will be shocked
11.) Please don't look at it
12.) Ohmigosh, poor AuntieM
13.) I apologize in advance
14.) This seriously looks horrific
15.) At least no one will pay attention to your face
Yes, I said all that, and yes, she still thought I was kidding. I wasn't. The pretty blond turned an awkward shade of orange and yellow and the deep burgundy was more like pink. (I have pics but AuntieM would KILL me if I introduced them to the Internet!) Now she has to go get her hair professionally fixed. Luckily, she has a sense of humor or else I may not have lived. Let's all just be thankful that I didn't try and cut it! Eek!

The moral of the story is don't EVER let me touch your hair. I think I'm going to stick to the hobby I know and love, WRITING. And AuntieM-- you get a free copy of my book, too.  

I'd love to hear what everyone else's hobbies are! Anyone have a bad experience like mine?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Free copy of Kasivia and the Black Emerald!

It's Tuesday and I'm baaaaaaack!

This week, I thought...what better way to say thank you to my growing list of fans (Now 8! Double from last week!) then to give away a free copy of my latest, unpublished, completed manuscript--Kasivia and the Black Emerald (KATBE).

If you would like to enter, you have to do two things. One- comment on this post, and Two- make sure you add yourself as a follower to my blog. I will select a winner by next Tuesday, post it on my blog, and mail you a copy! Since pretty much NOBODY has read it, (What can I say? I've been keeping it to myself for so long!) I am excited to finally share it!

In other news, since children are napping, I have a few minutes to myself and am FINALLY going to start Book 2 in the Kasivia series: Kasivia and the Tebikunuk Forest. The love triangle intensifies as Neyia hones in on her abilities, doing things she never thought were possible while traveling to the most beautiful places that (don't really) exist. (fairies galore!) It's going to be fun, intense, and totally exciting. I can't wait to see what team my readers are on... Team Andrin or Team Kipp?????? The suspense is killing me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Where does the time go?

... it goes into reading, editing, and lots of writing!

Which is exactly what I've been doing while I have been on hiatus from my blog. I apologize to all my fans out there! (All four of you!)

This is what I did during my time away:

* wrote and edited Kasivia and the Black Emerald (my first novel in the Kasivia series)

* wrote a synopsis for all four books in the Kasivia series (Yes, I know what happens in all four books!)

* had daughter number 2, which I will, so lovingly, refer to her as daughterB on here

* stayed awake for countless nights while making a new writing partner who my husband thinks I'm having an affair with

* Drank lots of coffee since having daughterB and staying awake with my lover (aka-writing partner)

* Attended an AMAZING writers conference

* Sent the FULL manuscript of Kasivia and the Black Emerald to an agent at the writers conference (Ok, so technically this JUST happened so when you see the next comment, know that I haven't been waiting a year)

* Am waiting very patiently but ever so anxiously for a response to said agent (yes, I realize that was an oxymoron)

* Fell a little bit more in love with my very supportive husband (I didn't think it was possible)

* I cleaned, did laundry, and cleaned some more... funny thing, the house is STILL never clean!

* Potty trained daughterA (Woohoo!)

* Went camping a few times

* Went to California a few times

* Drank ENTIRELY TOO MUCH DIET COKE (I swear my blood has to be half diet coke!)

* Visited a lot of cool people, went to a ton of awesome places, and did a tremendous amount of great things, (I think this last one should cover everything I left out!).

Now, to make sure I don't go on hiatus again, (I mean, I don't want to disappoint all my fans out there!) I am going to make a post every Tuesday. Why Tuesday, you ask? Because it isn't Monday but it's before Friday and I just picked it right now. Good reason, huh? So come back for more fun every week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Do you have a story?

I have a friend that has billions of stories in her head. They float around like lily pads in a pond and she is the frog, carelessly stopping at each floating leaf to savor the essence of every adventure.

My brilliance doesn't come to me in billions, we can't all be so lucky. It's been a full year since I have started writing and the more I write, the more ideas come to me. Everything I see is a story, every person I listen to becomes a character, and everywhere I look people have ideas.

Every time I tell someone that I am a writer, they confess that they, too, have ideas for a story. It is so amazing and encouraging to know that my closest friends and family members have made up worlds in their heads that are just itching to get out.

My poll this month is: Do you have an idea for a book?
Please leave me a comment and tell me what is holding your story up. Time management? No idea where to start? Character's flat? Plot line needs help?
I can't wait to hear what your ideas and doubts are.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A sneak peak at Kasivia

***Note: This is how the story begins as an epic fantasy, I am in the process of editing it to be an urban fantasy***

I still remember the first secret I ever told. It was when I was eight, the age that children received their pixies, the age of accountability and responsibility. I remember being so excited that I would have made up a secret just to tell my new, pixie, secret keeper. Her name was Brynn and she was beautiful. A brilliant purple path followed her wherever she went making it hard to believe she was real. Brynn smiled and introduced herself in a voice that filled the air with a music I had never heard before. I knew immediately that I could share all my secrets with Brynn. The problem was I didn’t have any.

I sat at my new desk, in my new room, thinking of that very first secret I had shared with Brynn. It seemed almost ironic now. Eight years ago I had gotten into an argument with my Mother and I was so angry that I told Brynn I didn't want to live in my parents boring house anymore. I wanted to go to a live in school and never see either of them again… and here I was.

In the dead center of the island of Kasivia, a short journey away from the shore, resides a safe harbor of great eminence and dignity. It is here that students of all ages are instructed on the etiquette and composition of their world. Although the teachers at this miraculous place do their job well, it is known that they conceal the knowledge on objects of incantation and the extraordinary gifts that some are born with. These objects and gifts are to be hidden, spoken about scarcely and only to those that are trustworthy. Didean Live-In School is the most stunning and terrifying place I have ever seen. It is the place that I now reside.

The Editing Begins

Between my two novels I have 46 chapters to edit in 13 weeks... which means about 4 chapters a week... I better get busy!

I am pitching my Kasivia book (Young Adult Fantasy) to one agent at the writers conference in September and my Avery Corwin Series (Women's Mystery) to three agents at the conference.

In addition, I have to write a synopsis and query letter for each book by that September deadline as well. For anyone who knows anything about writing, these are all tedious tasks and it is making me very stressed!

I feel like I am taking my writing hobby to the next level by talking to actual Literary Agents, Authors, and Publishers. Everyday I get a little more nervous and this has messed with my ability to concentrate on my writing.

It's still so fun and I can't wait to see if anything comes from it. I am so excited!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First, I have to say Thank You to my big Sister who set up this blog for me. I can assure you that it is not my ingenious way around the Internet that has led me to this site. My Sister- who is always looking out for me- has decided that a blog would help my writing career in a way where I can express my writing journey for those of you who are interested in my novels and writing adventures.

I have completed two novels and am now beginning the long and tedius task of editing them. I am always learning and growing as a writer and am looking forward to several writing classes, a writer's group and a writer's conference in mid-September that will allow me to pitch my ideas and novels to actual literary agents. (Imagine my brow beginning to sweat as I bite my nails.)

I have a theory- just because I write doesn't mean that I can write well. I basically needed a cheap hobby where I wouldn't have to leave my house or two year old daughter. My writing career was born.

I always loved writing and I love being able to make up worlds and characters in my head. Everytime I write I am constantly being surprised at what my protagonist is doing and how they are going to get out of trouble. Everything from dangerous villains and dead bodies to secret keepers called pixies and first grade teachers. I get to explore life outside my own and I can't wait to see where it will take me next.