Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Signing Off

Well folks, I'm signing off. No, not permanently! (I would curl up in a little ball and not be able to function if I did that!) But I have come to a conclusion. I love blogging. Way too much. As a result, my writing has suffered horribly. So I've decided to embrace the ever-popular unplugging week. *sighs*

I've heard about this wonder, but I resisted partaking for several reasons:

* I love blogging (yeah, I said this but I REALLY love y'all)
* I learn so much by reading your blogs
* I love "talking" with all of you out there
* I didn't think I could unplug without going through withdrawl (still not sure about this one)
* I'll MISS you too much (no really, this is not gonna be easy)

Now I'm not gonna unplug completely. Not sure I can go cold turkey. So I'm gonna allow myself to read five blogs a day (no commenting *sniff*) and I'm gonna allow myself a little time on Twitter each night after everyone is in bed. So maybe I'll see you there:)

By the way, my unplug week could end early. I'm making a deal with myself that if I get 5000 new words before next week I can blog again. Keep your fingers crossed for me or feel free to act like my boss and ask for a progress update:) Okay, going now for reals:(

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reading Outside of Your Writing Genre

Okay writers, you've all heard the advice, right? Read a lot and be sure to include books that are NOT in your genre. But how many of us actually do that?

I confess, I tend to choose books that are in the same genre in which I write, which is YA spec fiction. Now I didn't always do that. Of course, I've always gravitated toward science fiction and fantasy, but I've also read romance (contemporary and historical), thrillers, and mysteries. I've never been too much of a fan of pure literary works (sorry to those who do enjoy them, but it's just not my thing) and I've never really been into non-fiction. Over the past year, I've pretty much stayed to the YA novels, with one exception. I love James Rollins, who writes thrillers, and usually try to pick up his books when they are released.

But something about my current WIP has me down lately. The past two chapters have been very dark and depressing, and I've made very little progress with the writing there (yeah I know, bad writer). Anyway, I was in the mood for something more uplifting and without the usual teen angst that comes with YA, so I wandered over to the romance section at Barnes and Noble last week. And I found the newest release by an author that I used to read all of the time: Julia Quinn. She writes historical romances set in England during the Regency Era. Anyways, I ended up buying What Happens In London and I'm really enjoying it right now. I had forgotten how funny her books can be (she always includes an element of humor in her stories).

Now I'm a little less than halfway through, but something positive is happening. I'm finding myself actually thinking about my book again. Shocking, I know:) But folks, I was at the point where I didn't even want to open the word document to look at my ms anymore. I mean, the bad things happening in there was pulling me down. So I guess the change of scenery (literally) that I'm getting from Ms. Quinn's book is giving me a breather, and now I'm able to concentrate on my book again. I have to get the thing finished sometime, right?

Do you find yourself reading books in different genres? Why or why not? Do you find that reading different types of books helps your own writing?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Back To The Land Of The Living

Oh, what a terrible weekend I've had! I think I mentioned last week that my middle child had a virus. Then we had the wonderful/awful snow day. Thought we were in the all clear then BOOM! Saturday night the oldest child came down with the virus while the hubs and I were eating out at Carrabba's . We found out when we got home and I ended up staying up half the night with her (and my poor sister-in-law/babysitter got it too). Spent Sunday getting over it then Monday got even worse. The youngest child woke up at the crack of dawn sick (won't give you the gory details) and by lunch my hubby came home sick. I thought I was gonna get off, but no. That night I came down with it (stupid Lysol let me down)! Fun times, I tell ya:(

I felt sort of better last night and since I missed all of you so much, I got on the net to check out all of the fabulous things I had missed. But Blogger decided it hated me, so I couldn't comment on anybody's blogs! And my computer is getting slower. I keep getting messages about my virtual memory being too low, whatever that means.

Sorry for the rant here. Things have just sucked to the millionth degree for the past few days. But on a brighter note, I did find out that I was one of the winners of Karen's contest! So that made me feel great (except for the fact that I couldn't comment on Karen's blog last night)!

So how's things going for you? Please share some good news! I could use some right now:)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Contest Winner!

Sorry I'm so late posting the winner of my 100 followers contest. We've been enjoying the snow before it melts since we rarely get any here. But that's probably a good thing cause my living room carpet is a disaster right now:)

Anyhow, I won't keep you waiting. The winner of the contest is: (cue drum roll)

Kristi Faith

Congratulations! Your gift certificate from Barnes and Noble will arrive by e-mail in a little while.

And a huge thank you to everyone who entered the contest! You guys are the best:)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Contest Reminder and The Last Award

Okay folks, just a quick reminder that my 100 followers contest ends tonight at 11:00 EST. A $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift certificate is up for grabs. Click on the link above if you want to enter!

Before I get to the final award that I need to pass on, I've got to tell y'all that it's SNOWING here. I know, some of you are going big freaking deal, but it hasn't snowed here in eight years. My oldest child was three during the last snow storm and she barely remembers it. My two youngest girls have never seen it (except on t.v) and they are in awe. It's barely sticking to the ground, but they had to go outside and run around the yard for a while. Nothing like seeing the huge smiles on their faces and hearing their delighted giggles. I was smiling right back at them, then I saw the carpet next to the door. Mud, grass, and god knows what over there right now. *grumbles* Stupid snow! Don't get me wrong - I'm excited to see it (just not as excited as my kids). But....guess who gets to clean up the mess they leave behind from the millions of trips in and out of the house. And it won't be the hubs:(

Now on to the award! Today I'm passing on the From Me To You award. Two lovely ladies gave it to me late last year: Julie at Literary Jules and Carol at Carol's Prints. Thank you so much and again I apologize for being such an award slacker! I'm going to pass it along to two blogs that I really enjoy visiting: Anissa at Anissa Off the Record and Karen at Eternal Moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind. I've been following these blogs for a long time, and I always smile when I visit them. And both of these ladies are having contests now, so hurry over and sign up!
Now I'm supposed to share 7 things about me.
1. I only eat lettuce in salads. Hate it in sandwiches or anything else.
2. My birthday is next month:)
3. I flew in an airplane for the first time three years ago. Was scared to death at first, but once we were up in the air I loved it.
4. I've always lived in Georgia.
5. I don't like getting flowers for Valentine's Day. Seems like a waste of money for something that will be dead in a week.
6. I do like going out to eat on Valentine's Day (without the kids). And my husband always lets me pick the restaurant. This year we're going to Carraba's.
7. I love sleeping in. Having to get up at 6:00 in the morning sucks to no end and I'm just as excited as my kids when they have school holidays. Yeah, I have to deal with the fighting and other fun stuff all day, but at least I get plenty of rest cause my kids sleep just like me:)

That's all for now. Have a wonderful Friday and please check back tomorrow to see who wins the contest:)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reading Time vs. Writing Time

I feel like a writing failure right now. I'm supposed to be participating in Saradise, hosted by Sara at Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler, but things just keep happening to keep me from my manuscript. My oldest was sick on Monday, and today my middle child has the virus. Needless to say, no writing was done on Monday and so far today I'm batting zero. (I did crit two chapters and work on chapter 15 in my ms last night, so there's a little something.)

Now you might be thinking Um, couldn't you still write when they are asleep? Well, I could, but I started a book Sunday night. I picked up Fallen by Lauren Kate a few weeks ago and let me say that I'm hooked. Read three hours Sunday until my eyes couldn't stay open. I was drained on Monday from being on sick child duty, so no writing (hey I can't think when I'm that tired). Instead I read for two hours that night. Last night I only read for an hour because of the critting and writing I did. But I was positively itching to get back to reading. And today....well let's just say by the time I'm done cleaning up puke all day, I really don't think my creative side will be functioning very much. Now I could be wrong, but that's the way I work. Then there's the book, calling my name. Oooh, I want to get back to it. *Picks up said book and strokes the cover*

So how do you get in quality reading time AND writing time? My free time is so limited that I feel I have to choose between the two and I hate doing that. I want to do both! Every day! Oh, how I wish there was some super energy pill so I could have the stamina to work round the clock:)


Okay, now for the second award I have to pass on. Today's award is the Honest Scrap Award. I received this one from the super-talented Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and the awesome Julie at The Climb. You're missing out if you haven't visited their blogs before! I'm going to pass this award to Jon at Jon's Life. Very cool dude. He's new to blogging, but he's picked up a lot of followers very quickly. Shows how talented he really is! So check out his blog if you haven't found him yet. You'll be glad that you did;)

Friday, February 5, 2010

My 100 Followers Contest!

Well, I am thrilled that I have over 100 followers now! *Waves like crazy - Hey Ya'll!* I'm so glad you found your way over here! And I'm not just saying that. I never thought I'd have so many people actually interested in what I have to say, so I'm thrilled! (Um, yeah I did say that already, but ya know I'm EXCITED!!!!!)

So in honor of your awesomeness, I'm holding a contest. The prize will be a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift certificate. That way you can pick out any book that you want to read:)

Now for the details. I'm not technical or anything, so I'm going to use the old-fashioned name in the hat. Your name can go in more than once. Here are the ways you can increase your chances of winning.

** You have to be a follower of this blog. If you're already a follower you get two entries and if you're new you get one entry. (I do have three kids and I'm a little crazy at times, so let me know which one you are).

** Leave a comment telling me what book you are looking forward to reading and why. For example, I'm looking forward to reading Paranormalcy by Kiersten White because I've been following her blog for a while and she is hilarious.

** You get one extra entry if you mention this contest in a blog post.

** You get one extra entry if you tweet about the contest. (Please use @mehlane so I can see it).

The gift certificate will be sent via e-mail, so make sure you leave your e-mail address.

And that's it! The last day to enter the contest will be Friday, February 12 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Good Luck:)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Dreaded "T" Word

Yes, I'm talking about themes. The bane of my existence when I was in high school. I know, weird for someone who loves to read, but a discussion of story themes always made me want to snooze when I was a teen. No, I didn't actually fall asleep in class. I made every effort to appear attentive and fascinated, but I silently prayed that the teacher would not call on me because I knew I would look like an idiot. And I tried to sit behind really tall people:)

Anyways, I just didn't see the point of having to know about the theme of a story. I just wanted to be entertained when I read. And I confess, even when I first started reading books about writing, I usually skimmed over any reference to themes.

But when I started my current WIP, I decided to give the whole theme concept another shot. I kept reading books, articles, and blogs that preached the importance of knowing your theme. So I figured if it keeps showing up everywhere, then there must be something to it. So I made a list of what I thought of as being central to my book. I even wrote them on a sticky note and taped it to my desk.

And you know what? THEY WERE RIGHT! Yeah, all of those writerly type professionals actually knew what they were talking about. Because when I go back over my themes, I am constantly reminded of where I need to go in my story. I like to think of it as a guide to help me when my characters have a choice to make. I just refer to the themes and ask myself What would (insert character name) do? Why would he/she do this?

And I'm going to list a few of the themes from my WIP because I know you're dying to find out:

*Staying true to yourself
*Dangers of blindly following authority figures without fully knowing why you're doing it
*Hope for a better future

So how do you feel about themes? Love them or hate them? What are some of your themes?


Oh, before I leave you, I found my list of who gave me some awards. I have three, but several different people gave them to me. Since it takes forever to link other sites (courtesy of my very slow computer) I have decided to pass them out one at a time.

Today's award is the One Lovely Blog Award. I have a bunch of wonderful people who gave it to me, so I'll list them out for you: Natalie B., Tina Lynn, Carol, Elle, and Yaya. Thank you guys so much! And I'm going to pick just one blog to pass it on to: Jen at Unedited. I found her blog recently (well she found mine first) and I've really enjoyed getting to know her. And check out her post today. She has the neatest, cleanest writing space I've ever seen! So not like mine:0)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Award Day!

Natalie at The Sound of Rain gave me the Over The Top Award. Thanks Natalie! You're so sweet! (And if you haven't checked out her blog yet, do so. She's awesome!)

First I have to answer these questions with one word. I have a tendency to be a little wordy when answering things, so this isn't going to be easy!

Your cell phone: Charging
Your hair: Brown
Your mother: Caring
Your father: Funny
Your favorite food: Italian
Your dream last night: Fading
Your favorite drink: Dr Pepper
Your dream goal: Novelist
What room are you in: Kitchen
Your hobby: Writing
Your fear: Failure
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Published
Where were you last night: Home
Something you aren't: Extroverted
Muffins: Strawberry
Wish list item: MacBook
Where did you grow up: Georgia
Last thing you did: Laundry
What are you wearing: Sweater
Your TV: On
Your pets: Loud
Friends: Comforting
Your life: Peaceful
Your mood: Happy
Missing someone: No
Vehicle: Old
Something you aren't wearing: T-shirt
Your favorite store: Barnes and Noble
Your favorite color: Green
When was the last time you laughed: Today
Last time you cried: December
Your best friend: Sister
One place you go over and over: Wal-mart
Facebooking: Rarely
Favorite place to eat: Carraba's

Now to pass it on to five blogs that are over the top!
1. Sara at The Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler
2. Julie at The Climb
3. Diana at Writing Roller Coasters ***
4. Patti Nielson
5. Roni at Fiction Groupie

Well, being the severe slacker/procrastinator that I am, I was going to pass on a few more awards that I got LAST YEAR (November and December), but I can't find my list of who gave them to me. And I refuse to pass them on without acknowledging those fabulous people. So I will search my study and pass out the awards (yeah, I know you're dying for that) as soon as the missing list is recovered.

*** This is a shout out for Diana. She is having a sweet 100 followers contest at her blog. Check it out! The deadline to sign up is this Friday.