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Friday, December 30, 2011

Winner!




Super short post today! The winner of TEMPEST by Julie Cross is:



JA Johnson


A huge thank you to everyone who entered!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Forward To...

**Today is the last day to enter my giveaway to win an ARC of TEMPEST by Julie Cross. Contest ends tonight (Dec. 29) at 11:59 EST. Click here to enter.**

So it's here. The last week of 2011. A lot of people use this time to reflect on what they've done over the past year. Some are already looking forward to what the new year will bring. Making resolutions, planning what they'll do differently in the new year. I'm not doing that yet. I'm trying to focus on my family. Spending time with the kids. Trying to make sure they don't kill each other. Packing the Christmas decorations. Keeping the house sort of clean-ish. Stuff like that.

But there are a few things I am looking forward to, though. Things like this:



I can't tell you how long I've waited for this movie to come out. I mean, it has Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Yep, that's enough of a reason to watch;)

And I'm looking forward to these January book releases:







*I've already read an eGalley of this and I'm really looking forward to reading it again*

One more thing I look forward to each day now:


Y'all, I never played Angry Birds until this past week and I'm hooked. My kids think it's funny. Hehe, look at Mom playing a game. My hubs thinks I've lost it. I don't care. I. LIKE. IT.

So, are there any things you're looking forward to? 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Books I Love - Tempest (Plus a GIVEAWAY!)

Tempest by Julie Cross
Publish Date: January 2012

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.



I was so excited when I won an ARC of TEMPEST. I'm a sucker for sci-fi stuff and time travel is soooo cool (any other Dr. Who fans out there?). Anyway...the beginning sucked me in right away. The story starts out in 2009, and Jackson already knows he has the ability to travel in time. In fact, he's been conducting experiments with his best friend, Adam, in hopes of figuring out why he has that ability and what exactly he can do with it. One thing they already know is that jumping to the past doesn't affect the present. Jackson's girlfriend, Holly, doesn't know that he is a time traveler, which causes problems because she knows Jackson is hiding something. While Jackson is trying to make up with Holly, some mysterious men break into her dorm room. They fatally shoot Holly, which causes Jackson to panic and jump back to 2007. Once there, he finds that he can't get back to 2009.

That's where the story really takes off. Jackson is forced to assume the identity of his seventeen-year-old self so he can figure out why he's stuck in the past, and in the process discovers secrets about his father and himself. I loved the fact that Jackson learned to become a more mature and responsible person as a result of having to pretend to be seventeen. In the beginning, he was likable, but definitely a bit on the selfish side. That gradually changed as Jackson discovered the truth about his origins and learned the extent of his abilities. And the end....all I can say is you might need some tissue. I don't usually cry when I read books. I might become teary-eyed, but I actually found myself crying several times while reading TEMPEST. Yes, it's that good.

So if you like books filled with action, romance, mystery, and great character development, you'll definitely love TEMPEST! And since I love this book so much, I'm going to give one of you my ARC. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to do if you could travel to the past. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, December 29th. Winner will be announced on December 30th. You can earn extra entries for doing any of the following:

+1: blog follower
+1 for each: tweet/facebook about the giveaway 
+3: blog about the giveaway

Please tally up your points and include your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win. International entries are welcome. Good luck and thanks for entering!

Monday, October 31, 2011

So I've Been Thinking...

1. I've  wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo since I started writing, but I've always been in the middle of a WiP when November rolls around. And wouldn't you know it, same thing has happened this year. So since I have no desire to put this WiP aside to start another one, I'm doing a modified version, kind of like NaNoFinMo (ya know, to finish a novel). My goal is to finish the draft by the end of the month. Easier said than done. Currently I'm at 42,000 words in my WiP and I haven't even reached the midpoint. Yep, this is gonna be a long one. *sigh*

2. I watched the movie Donnie Darko last night, and I can't stop thinking about it. It was released in 2001, but for some reason I'd never heard of it until recently. Anyway, it was REALLY weird, especially the "rabbit" named Frank. I liked it even though I spent most of the movie trying to figure out what was going on, and as a bonus, it made me boohoo at the end. Here's a clip of the trailer so you can glimpse the freaky awesomeness that is this movie;) 



3. And it's Halloween! I have a love/hate relationship with this holiday. I love/hate the fact that we're about to get an obscene amount of candy. I love watching my kids dress up in cute costumes, but I hate dragging them around the neighborhood for Trick or Treating. Then there's the sugar high that everyone will be on for the next few days. Yay. #sarcasm

So...anything you want to share? Are you participating in NaNo? Have you watched any good movies lately, especially ones that make you cry? And are you looking forward to ALL THE CANDY?!?!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Evil "P" Word


So you know you have something to do. You don't do it right away. You procrastinate. Why do that? Why put off doing things only to end up scrambling to get them finished, especially if you have a deadline? I don't have the answer, but I do know that I am a huge procrastinator. HUGE I tell ya!

For me, I always procrastinate when I don't want to do something. Laundry piling up? Procrastinate! House need cleaning? Procrastinate! Child's school project due tomorrow? Procrastinate! (And that last one happened to me this week)

I also procrastinate when it comes to writing. Weird because I LOVE writing! I've tried to figure out why I procrastinate so much, and I think it comes down to getting stuck. I know when I'm on a roll, it's easy to open the word document and start typing. Instant love, y'all. But when I'm not sure what comes next, or if I know something isn't working, I'll goof off on the Internet for a looooong time. Check email. Check facebook. Check Twitter. Check blogs. Repeat. It's a deadly cycle!

So do you know any ways to beat procrastination? What are some tricks you use?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giving Up on a Book Series

Now before I begin, I'm not going to name any book series in this post. Call it bad karma or whatever, but I don't want to trash any author or the books he/she wrote. No matter how much you may dislike someone's books, that person put in a lot of time and effort to write them, and I think they deserve to be respected for that because writing a book is NOT easy.

Aside from that, it's perfectly fine to not like everything you read. Everyone has certain tastes in the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and how they spend their time. Reading choices fall in there. Not everyone is going to like what I like to read, just like I know not everyone is going to like what I write.

I've read a lot of books over the years. Some books I've loved enough to read several times (Hunger Games anyone?). But I've come across a few that I struggled to finish. There are two fairly recent book series in which I liked the first book, but then I could barely get through the second one. I have no desire to read any more books in those series. Also, I've read two books that were the beginning of a series. They're both bestsellers, but I didn't like them. One I managed to finish, the other I gave up on halfway through it. 

There were several reasons I gave up on those series. For the ones in which I read the first book but didn't like the second, I found the characters had evolved in a way that really irritated me. I actually got to the point where I wanted the bad guys to win. For the other two books (the ones I didn't make past book one in the series), I just couldn't connect with the characters or the writing styles. One was really beautifully written, but I was bored while reading it. And the other, well I was shocked to find it was a New York Times bestseller. I couldn't figure out exactly why I didn't like it when I read it (this was a few years ago, before I started writing), but I read a review of that same book today that expressed exactly what was wrong with it. Basically, the main character is a Mary Sue and she bugged the hell out of me, and the whole plot was full of cliches.

So have you ever given up on a book or a book series? If so, what made you quit reading them? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Books I Love - Glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publish Date: September 2011

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.



I finished GLOW about a week ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I was prepared to really like it (sci-fi nerd here), but I was absolutely blown away by this story. To begin with, the description above doesn't do the book justice. Sure it's sci-fi, but it deals with so much more. Issues relating to morality, religion, loyalty, and just how far you are willing to go to survive are woven throughout the book in a way that made me tear through the pages, eager to discover what was going to happen to the characters.


**Minor spoilers below**
The story begins on the spaceship Empyrean. They departed from Earth about a year behind the spaceship New Horizon on a mission to colonize a new planet to ensure the survival of the human race. We meet 15-year-old Waverly and her boyfriend, 16-year-old Kieran, who is supposed to become the next captain of the Empyrean. They were the first of several hundred children conceived in deep space and born on the ship, and they're feeling pressure from the adults to marry and start producing the next generation of children, the ones who will actually live to colonize the new planet. Then the New Horizon shows up and their world is shattered. A crew from the New Horizon forces it's way aboard the Empyrean, kills most of the adults on board, tries to destroy the ship, and then departs with all of the young girls. The girls are told that they've been rescued from the Empyrean because of some catastrophe that happened on board, but Waverly and a few of the other older girls are suspicious. Then Waverly learns the truth--the women of the New Horizon have been unable to conceive children and they need the girls from the Empyrean to help create their new generation. The book then alternates sections from Waverly's point of view on the New Horizon and Kieran's point of View on the Empyrean. Oh, the things those poor characters had to go through!
**End of spoilers**


As for the characters...I haven't read a book in a while in which the characters are painted in so many shades of gray. One minute, you think you know exactly who the bad guy is, then the next you can see how/why they do the things they do. You might not agree with what they're doing, but you understand why they did those things. And sometimes you feel sympathy for them. That's a huge plus to me when an author can pull that off.  I can honestly say I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series!


Have you read any good books lately? Please share in the comments...I'm always looking for great new books to read:)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Addicted

Oh wow, I just counted the books in my HUGE TBR (To Be Read) pile. Eighty-three books! So yeah, I think it's safe to say I'm seriously addicted to buying books. I can't help it. Anytime I'm near a bookstore (or even if I'm in the same town as a bookstore), I'm drawn inside and I can't leave without purchasing a book. I've even turned my kids into book hoarders. My oldest daughter has 22 books in her TBR pile and the middle child has 13 books waiting to be read.

My husband doesn't get it at all. He thinks I should read what I have before buying anymore. *falls over laughing* Yeah, like that's gonna happen! But he does have a point, I guess. Why keep buying books when I have so many to read already? If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't have such a big stack of books.:D I know I should try to read faster, like I used to years and years ago when I was in high school, but that's impossible with three kids at home and trying to write my own book. (And I AM reading - I'm just really slow at it. Depending on the books, some might take a week or two to get through, others I can read in a few days.)

So go ahead and share...do you have a TBR pile? How many books do you have waiting to be read?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Books I Love - Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet by R.J.Anderson
Publish Date: September 2011

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.


Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?



I read an advanced copy of Ultraviolet a while back via NetGalley. Y'all, I can't tell you enough how much I LOVE this book! First of all, I was sucked into the story right away. From the beginning, the reader is thrown into the mystery of what happened to Tori, the most popular girl at school. Since Alison was the last one seen with her and they were fighting, she's the obvious suspect. After she had a meltdown at her house, Alison is hospitalized and then sent to the mental institution. That's bad enough, but we soon discover that Alison perceives things differently than normal people. She can see colors that no one else can see. She can taste lies, see sounds, and smell emotions. Her mother knows about it and treats her like she's crazy, therefore Alison believes she's crazy. 


While Alison tries to unravel the truth behind what happened to Tori, she gets to meet an eccentric cast of characters at the mental institution. They are all fleshed out and believable. There's even a romantic subplot. I won't spoil it for you but, well, let's say it was a little weird at first. However, I was completely drawn in because it's one of those forbidden romances. I LOVE those.


Now I want to warn you, there's a huge plot twist about three fourths of the way into the book. I've read a lot of reviews in which people say WTF, where did that come from? BUT if you play close attention while reading, there are a lot of clues sprinkled throughout. I saw a lot of them, and I thought I wonder if Anderson is going to go THERE. And she did and it made my inner sci-fi nerd soooo happy! 


So if you like books with a mystery, quirky characters, and a cool plot twist, you'll more than likely love Ultraviolet.


**Have you read any great books lately? Please share!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Keep Drafting

I love drafting way more than revising. It's exciting to create something from nothing. But to be completely honest, there are times when I feel like I should burn my manuscript because it sucks and anyone who reads it could suffer permanent eye damage. And that makes me want to revise while I draft. It happened while I was working on my first WiP (which is why it took me soooo long to finish that). I've been told over and over and over again to ignore the Evil Inner Editor and just keep writing. Embrace the sucky first draft. But y'all, that's hard! I want it to be good now. :D

So I'm trying something new this time. I use the track changes feature in Microsoft Word when I'm doing critiques, and I thought why not use it for my writing? When I'm working and I realize I need to change a scene or add something, I go back and hit the New Comment tab and make a note of what I want to fix. Then the comment is there for me to use when I'm DONE with the first draft. So far, I have tons of colorful little bubbles out to the side, waiting for me to make my book all sparkly. It's really helping me to resist the urge to edit as I go.

So do you have any tricks to make yourself keep writing during the first draft and not edit as you go?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Characters You Care About - Finding Nemo

I don't know about you, but I love the movie Finding Nemo. My youngest daughter got the dvd as a birthday present, and she's watched it something like a million times since then (yes, I'm exaggerating...but not by much :D) Anyway, I've watched it again and again with her more times than I can count, and I'm always surprised that I'm not tired of it.

That got me to thinking. Why do I like watching Finding Nemo so much even though I could probably recite the lines from memory? The answer, for me at least, was obvious. It has some wonderful characters. All of the main characters are full of personality, quirkiness, and seem so real.

Take for instance Marlin. He's a neurotic, overprotective father who obsesses about keeping his son Nemo safe. We saw why he was like that during the first few minutes of the movie (which always makes me teary-eyed) and we can connect to that desire to protect our loved ones. No matter how grumpy or impatient Marlin is, we can relate to him because of that need.

His son, Nemo, is the one we want to protect. He has a defect and he's been sheltered by Marlin his whole life, but he longs for the freedom to be his own person. Something we all can relate to.

Then there is Dory. Oh, how I LOVE Dory! Scatter-brained, funny, and lovable, Dory drives Marlin crazy on his quest to rescue Nemo. She's also the catalyst for most of the conflict during the journey. Yet despite these flaws, she embodies the longing we have for true friendship.

As writers, we strive to create characters like these. Characters who live, have feelings, have goals, desires, and flaws. It's hard to do, but if done well, your readers will come back to your books over and over again.

So what do you think? Do you find it hard to create characters that you can care about? Who are some of your favorite characters?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reviving the Blog

Hey everybody! So...my hiatus went on a little longer than I planned. Okay, a lot longer:) I could say that I've been busy traveling the world and fun stuff like that, but that's not the case. I guess I just needed a break. Anyway, I'm excited to jump back into the blogosphere, and I'm really looking forward to catching up with you.

After a year and a half of working on my dystopian, I'm finally working on a new WiP.  I was completely burned out with the dystopian. It didn't even resemble the idea I started with (the idea I fell in love with), plus I felt like I was trying to make changes to please the market. Big mistake. So I figured it was time to shelve it. That was harder than I thought it would be. Way back in March, I toyed with  the idea of putting it aside for a while, but I was too stubborn to let go. Fast forward to June. After a little over a month of absolutely no writing, a wonderful thing happened. I had one of those Shiny New Ideas (got it from listening to the song If I Die Young by The Band Perry). Anyway, I made an outline, character sketches, found some inspiration pictures, and now I'm drafting again. I'd forgotten how much fun that could be! Currently, the new WiP is at a little over 13,000 words.

Also I'm not sure if you noticed, but my blog address now matches my pen name. It's been aggravating changing my fb page, twitter, and a few forums I visit, but I figured I needed to make the changes now rather than later.

So how have YOU been? I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'll Be Back



Okay, folks I've decided to take one of those wonderful blogging breaks. I've got a lot going on with my kids (yay, softball season) and I've decided to push myself to finish this round of revising/rewriting by the first of May. And you know how it is - sometimes you have to step back from things to get other things done. I'll try to check in with you from time to time and I may stop by Twitter occasionally, but mostly I'll be absent. Have a great month!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Should I Get an E-Reader?

I never thought I'd even consider purchasing an e-reader. When they first came out, I was Oh heck no, I'm not trading my precious books for one of those. But they're everywhere, and I keep reading how e-books are growing in popularity. I don't know what this means for the future of publishing, but that's not why I'm even considering one. My thing is that I own a lot of books. My TBR pile is taking over my writing desk, and my bookshelf is overflowing (and I have one of those floor to ceiling deals that takes up an entire wall in my study). That's the appeal of e-readers for me - no more clutter. Now if I do decide to get one, I will still buy traditional books. I love them too much to give them up entirely. But I get the appeal of having a book at my fingertips and being able to download a book as soon as it's released.

So how do you feel about e-readers? Which one would you recommend I get if I do decide to take the e-reader plunge?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Learning To Love Note Cards

I read Save The Cat by Blake Snyder recently, and I loved it! Folks, it has been a lifesaver for my WiP. After I finished the first draft, I realized something. I HATED everything after the first four chapters, which led me to start a massive rewrite. Yep, not fun. Anyway, after starting the rewrite, stopping because I was stuck yet again, and starting back, I got Save The Cat because I'd been reading lots of great reviews about it on different blogs. And whoa! It's just what I needed. Sure, it's geared toward screenwriting, but you can adapt the suggestions to fit your needs. One of the ideas in StC was using something called The Board. I won't go into details about it in this post, but you're supposed to use note cards to come up with different scenes and post them on The Board. I followed the suggestions and they were great (I'm a visual learner), but I still needed something more. Then I decided to make a note card for each chapter. Since I'm still figuring out all of the little details for connecting the major events, I decided to make the cards as I work on each chapter. And this has been so helpful. On each card, I write the following:

* the chapter number
* the date and time frame the chapter takes place
* the setting
* a two or three sentence summary of the plot in that chapter
* the subplots present in the chapter(I write each subplot in a different color)
*+/- Which indicates emotional change - after this symbol I write a sentence stating how the main character's emotions change during the chapter
*>/< Which indicates conflict - after this symbol I write a sentence stating what the conflict is in the chapter

I know this wouldn't work for everybody, but it's been a useful tool for me. No more staring at the screen for what seems like forever, trying to figure out exactly what I've done wrong or why something isn't working.

Do you have any suggestions for helping out with revisions/rewrites?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

This is the first time I've done a Teaser Tuesday blog post.  Last week I came across one on Ian Bontem's blog, and I thought I'd try it myself. Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can join in. All you have to do is this:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Mention the title & author, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I'm doing mine from Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins. I'm cheating a bit because I just finished it on Friday, but I love it so much that I wanted to feature it first! I absolutely adore the main character, Sophie. Here's the teaser from page 272.

"Oh my God, less talking, more stabbing, please." My voice was squeaky with fear, and I knew my eyes were huge when I swiveled around to look at Archer.

So what do you think of the teaser? Have you read Demonglass? Do you have any teasers you'd like to share? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why Did You Buy That Book?

There are many books released each year. I'd love to buy more than I already do, but funds are limited and I have to make choices on what I would probably like the most. Most of the time when I have the chance to visit a bookstore, I already have a book in mind that I want to purchase. But there are times that I don't have a clue what I'm looking for. It's those rare occasions that I get to wander around the bookstore and browse. So I fall back on looking at covers and reading the inside jacket to decide if I want to take a chance on a particular story. On the occasions that I already know what I want to buy, I usually make my decision based on reviews I've seen on the Internet. If I've read a review and the book looks like something I would enjoy, I'll take a chance on it. Sometimes I'll buy a book if I follow the author on Twitter (or their blog) and he/she seems like a genuinely nice person that I want to support. Also, if I've read other books by an author and I loved them, I'm more than likely to buy their newest books (especially if they're part of a series). Here are a few books I got recently that I haven't read yet (or I've just started reading) and the reasons why I purchased them.


I purchased Demonglass yesterday. This is the second book in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. I LOVED Hex Hall! I've been waiting for this release for a long time.



I saw a review on a blog (sorry I can't remember which one) that had a glowing review of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. I thought it would be something I would like and decided to get it when it was released.


Need by Carrie Jones is one I purchased on one of those trips to B & N in which I didn't have a clue what I wanted to get. The cover grabbed my attention first and when I read the jacket copy, I knew I had to get it.



I follow Lisa and Laura Roecker and Kim Harrington's blogs and I stalk  follow them on Twitter, too. Even though I don't know them personally, they seem like genuinely nice people and I wanted to support them by buying The Liar Society and Clarity. Plus, their books sound amazing, not to mention I love the gorgeous covers!

So what are some books you purchased recently?  Why did you decide to buy those particular books?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Staying Positive

Sorry I've been absent.  I'm sick (yet again), and I've been in a bit of a slump lately.  So the brain cells haven't been cooperating when it comes to the blog.  So I found one of my posts from last January that pretty much sums up what I've been doing to drag myself back to the land of sunshine and rainbows. I've added some additional thoughts in blue to show what I've been up to:)

For my post today, I want to discuss ways to stay positive when you hit a slump. Since I went through one of these recently, I've had the opportunity to try several different things. Some of the ones that I tried that did help are as follows:

1. Get out of the house. Staying inside and dwelling on the negative will just make things seem so much worse than they really are. Very true. Plus, the weather has been great here for the past few weeks. So I've been outside with the kiddos a lot more. They even got me to swing with them!

2. Read a book. It's true. When you can lose yourself in someone else's adventures/loves/woes, you can forget about your own problems for a while. I was at good ol' Wal-Mart yesterday and I decided to browse the book section. I scored Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton, which I've been wanting to read. So far, it's wonderful!

3. Watch a great movie/t.v. program. Much like reading a book, you can immerse yourself in someone else's life or even learn something new. (Got an idea to help me with my current WIP by doing this, too) I' I forgot how much I love Glee. I hadn't watched any episodes since December, but I had a Glee marathon last Friday. I seriously laughed so much that my side hurt (I can't help but love Sue).

4. Visit writing-related blogs. Perhaps I did this too much, but visiting blogs of fellow writers always makes me feel better. I can get inspiration, advice, or even a good laugh from ya'll. Sorry I've been slacking on this lately. I'll get around soon!

5. Spend time with family and friends. It's tempting to want to sit and think about your WIP all of the time when you're in a slump, but sometimes you just need to step away and live your life. And nobody knows you better than your family and friends, so go out and interact with them. And who knows, you may pick up just the right snippet of conversation or observe something brilliant that will get the creative juices flowing again. Again, so very true. I've been spending more outside time with the kids, with other family members, and I even got my husband to take me out on a date night. I loved getting to have some kid-free time, and the writer in me was thrilled with the weird conversations I overheard.

These are just a few things I've tried, but there are many more out there. What have you done to stay positive during a slump?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's The Big Deal About Tense?

I read the blog post at Kidlit.com today talking about tense in books and it made me think.  What is the big deal?  I've read books written in past tense and books written in present tense that I've enjoyed.  I've read books written in past tense and books written in present tense that I didn't like. And the tense had nothing to do with whether I liked the books or not.  For me, it came down to the writing itself.  If the author could craft a story that was engaging, had characters I cared about, and had a satisfying ending, then I liked it.  If the writing was flat, then I didn't.

I know there are some people who would disagree.  One of the earliest readers of my WiP remarked that the first person, present tense I used was distracting.  That surprised me.  But I guess if you're used to reading past tense, then going to something in present tense would be more noticeable.

To be perfectly honest, I can't even remember reading anything in present tense until The Hunger Games.  I'm sure I did, it's just I don't remember.  But The Hunger Games made a huge impression on me because the writing was fantabulous.  Now, it seems like present tense is very popular, especially in YA.  Some of my favorite reads lately have all been present tense - Matched by Ally Condie, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis are just a few.

So how do you feel about tense. Do you prefer past tense over present tense or does it matter as long as the story is good?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Books I Can't Wait to Read


I was at Barnes and Noble last week, and I was surprised that nothing on the bookshelves really grabbed my attention. I know there are a lot of great books out there, but for some reason nothing looked *great* enough to make me part with my money;)  Now I've been buying a lot of books recently - my TBR pile is HUGE!  But on this particular trip I couldn't find anything (my kids didn't have that problem). Anyway, I found myself wishing that some of the books I'm really looking forward to reading were already out. (And I'm soooooo jealous of anyone out there lucky enough to have scored ARCs for these books!)

1. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Possession by Elena Johnson
4. Crossed by Ally Condie
5. Supernaturally by Kiersten White

What are some books you're looking forward to reading this year?  What are some books you've read recently that were great?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Small Part of How I Write

Today I'm participating in the What's Your Process Blogfest hosted by Shallee at Life, the Universe, and Writing. Since I'm no expert and writing about finishing a whole novel (finished like ready to query), I'm going to share how I started my WiP.  It worked really well for me so I'm going to do the same for my next book. 


The first thing I did was take the bare-bones idea I had and expand on that by asking the "What If" question.  I did that until I had a basic idea of a plot in my head and I also made notes in my first writing notebook (I've gone through three since I started writing), stuff that I didn't know if it would work but I wanted to put it on paper because I tend to forget things. A lot;)  Then I started thinking of who this story was about.  I made basic character sketches of who I was getting to know (because characters are like real people, right?) and then I looked on the Internet for pictures that matched what they looked like.  Once I had those printed, I cut them out and stapled them to each character sketch. 


Next, I figured out my major plot points - the inciting incident, the major turning points, the climax, and the resolution.  I wrote them in the notebook then I started brainstorming scenes that could come in between those plot points.  It was a very rough outline, but I know I didn't have everything that's needed to write a whole book.  I just figured I'd make the rest of it up as I went (hence I'm a little bit of a plotter and a little bit of a pantser - a plantser).  I tried to stick to my outline, but of course I took a few detours, which was fine.  Well, it kind of freaked me out at first.  I got stuck a lot and would take really loooong breaks, which is the worst thing you can do.  When I just pushed on, no matter what, that was when I was able to generate new ideas and finally finish the first draft.


I'm currently revising that same WiP and I'm still figuring out a good way to do that.  I will mention that The Plot Whisperer's site has been sooooo helpful.  I've been going through the December revision posts and I can already tell they are going to help me make my book a lot better. *fingers crossed*


And that's it!  So do you have any part of your writing process you'd like to share?  Any good writing resources you've come across?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

*Insert Catchy Title Here*

Sorry for the lack of title - I've been sick for the past few days and the constant crappy feeling and lack of sleep have destroyed the creative brain cells. (Not permanently I hope;)  Anyway, I wanted to share a few things with you since I didn't blog this past week.

1. PSA - Back up your files!  Don't be like me and backup once every.....whenever and wake up one morning to find your hard drive has crashed.  Yep, happened to me.  Luckily my sister let me borrow her laptop until I got mine fixed, but I wanted to curl up and die a little inside when I checked my flash drive and realized I hadn't backed up my WIP lately.  Much love and hugs and cupcakes to my wonderful CP Tina Lynn who had the chapters I thought I'd lost forever.

2.  I'm participating in the What's Your Process Blogfest this Tuesday, January 18th.  Shallee at Life, the Universe, and Writing is hosting it.  You can blog about any part of your writing process - how you develop characters, how you push through a rough draft, how you plot a novel, how you edit, or anything else you can think of to share.  Sign the linky at her blog if you'd like to participate.

3.  Speaking of the writing process, I read this blog post by Janice Hardy that made me go DOH! (I srsly did NOT realize that Kitchen Table Convo scenes were so cliche! Ugh!)  Anyway, it really helped me to generate some ideas for getting my characters out of the kitchen (Yes, I did have two characters having a convo at the kitchen table. *facepalm*)  Now that I'm thoroughly embarrassed for sharing that, check out the post.  It's great!

So what's been happening with you this week?  Have you learned anything new?  Do you have any news to share?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not Another Resolution Post

Happy belated New Year!  I hope your holidays were wonderful! Mine were full of chaos, laughter, eating and painting, lol!

Well, it's that time of year in which many people make resolutions. Lose weight, exercise more, save more money, etc. Many writers make writerly related resolutions. I did that last year and I confess I did meet some of those resolutions, but mostly I failed. And that makes me feel like a failure:(  And it's not because of lack of trying. Life happens.  Things you want sometimes don't happen.

Even though I didn't meet a lot of my goals, I still had some accomplishments.  After all, I did write a book last year. And I met so many awesome people through my blog, which is a huge plus:)

As for this year, no big resolution list for me.  Instead, I'm going to say that I'll continue to write.  I'll continue to revise my novel and start the next one.  Hopefully I'll be ready to query this year.  It would make me all sorts of happy if I get an agent this year, but it's okay if I don't. Mostly I want to enjoy life.  Enjoy my kids.  Enjoy my family and friends.  Enjoy writing.

What say you?  Have you made any resolutions or are you ignoring them this year?