You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.
First off, a huge apology. I’m almost a month behind schedule with this Q&A, award, links, and game of writer tag. I really appreciate when someone notices my blog and takes the time to let me know I’m doing something right, but I was slammed with revisions and didn’t have time to put together a proper post.
Big thank you to Lauren over at Tales of A Charm City Chick for recognizing my blog as one of her favorite blogs! Wow. Smile stretching from ear to ear. As part of this, I’m going to answer some questions and pass along the award to others.
Note: there is no need to pass this along. It’s more of a shout out and a celebration of blogs. So if I name your blog as one of my favorites, feel free to pass it along or just accept it and not do anything.
1. What is the best thing that happened to you in the last 36 hours?
My excerpt is up on Amazon with two reviews.
2. What are your pet peeves?
Inconsiderate behavior. Hypocrisy. And when the dvr forces me to watch the same limited commercials. Grrr.
3. Did you have an imaginary friend growing up or did you want one? Tell us all! When did you part ways? Was it gradual?
I used to think my stuffed animals could come alive and so I treated them like they were alive. Does that count? Um. I still think when I sleep they might hang out and do stuff.
4. If you had the power to declare a national holiday what would you declare and why?
Ladies Hold Your Men Accountable Day. It’s time for women to stop blaming each other and start holding guys accountable for their actions. If I see one more woman lash out at the “other woman,” I will scream. Who made promises to you and then broke them? The guy. So why are you attacking the girl he cheated with. He probably lied to her too.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? (You have the capital for this one, don’ worry)
Nai Harn in Phuket. It’s sooooo beautiful.
6. What do you think of celebrity gossip?
Why are we all so concerned with them? Bo-ring.
7. What’s the theme song of your day, week, year, or life?
Today it’s Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos.
8. If you came with a warning label what would it be about?
Hurricane winds without warning.
9. Favorite quote or joke that you made up?
Blanking on this one. Yeah, I got nothing. I’m never funny on command.
I hate when people touch my stuff. Look, don’t touch. And never ever borrow my shoes. Ever.
11. Best pick up line anyones’ ever fed ya?
Are you from England?
Oh cause you look like you’re from England.
(WHAT does that look like?!)
12. Tell us something embarrassing about your brain.
Sometimes when I’m nervous it says the wrong words. I’ll mean to say “fasten” and “flatten” comes out of my mouth. Close but not quite right.
Here are some of my favorite blogs:
Lucky 7 Meme Tag Game
- Go to page 77 of your current MSS/WIP
- Go to line 7
- Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written
- Tag 7 other authors (I’m only going to tag 4 and again–this is completely for fun, feel free to not participate and I will still <3 your blog)
These seven lines are from my YA story.
Three snake rings writhed across her right hand. She’d twisted and braided her long hair into an elaborate up-do. Morgan conservative.
I was as ready as I’d ever be, slathered in SPF 70 waterproof sunscreen with my UV-coated parasol shading my face. A waterproof case held my Mac, and a backpack had been stuffed with everything I needed to survive a few days on the isle.
Seth started to venture into the water, but Evan’s words stopped him. “The rip tides are less than 50 meters from the shore.”
I’m only going to tag 4 other writers…(No pressure to play, purely for fun)
And lastly, but never leastly, I was also re-gifted the Sunshine Award from Michael at I Have A Dream. Thank you so much Michael! It’s a great award and I want to pass it along again because I’ve met so many new bloggers who deserve it.
Here are the official Rules:
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Write a post about it.
Answer the questions that come with it.
Pass lt along to ten people and let them know they’ve received it.
Here’s my version of the rules:
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Write a post about it.
Link to the ten questions since I posted answers before.
Pass it along to 4 new blogs.
If you receive it, there is zero pressure to pass it along. Bask in the glow of your wonderfulness. If you want to pass it along, that’s great. But you don’t have to.
And here are the blogs I am awarding The Sunshine Award to because they bring rays of brightness into my day.
Last week my favorite librarian chatted with me about YA books. I mentioned my love of Jay Asher and she recommended a book he co-wrote with Carolyn Mackler called The Future of Us.
Best recommendation ever! I laughed, I flipped pages until my vision blurred and every day I anticipated getting back to it.
The story is set in 1996. Two estranged best friends, Emma and Josh are re-united by an AOL CD-Rom. Josh receives it, but he doesn’t have a computer so he brings it to Emma. This is back in the age of dial up so it take a couple hours to set up. When it’s done, Emma creates an AOL account. Suddenly her screen changes to Facebook…
But it’s Facebook 15 years from 1996. She’s somehow able to get a glimpse of her future. She and Josh reconnect over this crazy anomaly. While Josh’s future looks pretty awesome, Emma doesn’t like what she sees in her own so she sets about changing things. Every action she takes in the present ripples into hers and others Facebook pages. But no matter what she does, future Emma never sounds happy…
If you were a teen in 1996, you’ll remember listening to Green Day and Dave Matthews. The internet being a new thing. And what it was like before everything we did became online fodder.
Mr. Asher and Ms. Mackler do a fantastic job setting the scene and the protagonists’ reactions to Facebook are priceless! Especially Pluto.
They created characters I was sad to say goodbye to. As I read the last scene, I was hoping they’d have a sequel.
The book is very clean writing and super fast paced. The chapters alternate between Josh and Emma’s POV in the first person. I love first person POV because it draws me in more.
I was completely sucked into their world and loved every second I spent there.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone writing YA because the authors created highly believable and multi-dimensional characters and did a fantastic job setting the scene without bogging the reader down in setting. The pacing is lightning fast. An un-putdownable book!
Amazon worked tirelessly last week and this weekend and has fixed the major glitches (missing emdashes, weird characters replacing quotation marks and italics, and missing apostrophes) in the quarterfinalists excerpts from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Contest!!!
There are still paragraphing and page break issues in the excerpt, but it is now quite readable.
My product description does not have my original paragraphing and the spacing is wrong in a spot or two, but other than that it is ready to be read.
So drumroll please….
To read my ABNA excerpt from The Six Train to Wisconsin, you click on the link and it will take you to my Amazon page. You have to download the excerpt to your Kindle. It says you click to buy it, but it’s $0.00 dollars.
Then you can read it on your Kindle. The product description on the Amazon page is my original pitch that got me through the first round of the contest. It’s the one I worked on at the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar in November and used at the WDC Pitch Slam in January.
This is the first time my writing is in a public forum. I’ve bitten my nails to nubs. Nerve-wracking and exciting. I never ever thought I would reach this point when I entered back in January. I’d really love to hear your thoughts. If you have time, please stop over to check out my excerpt. You can rate it and leave reviews on my Amazon page too.
There are 250 talented ABNA Quarterfinalists across many genres of adult fiction. I’m competing against 249 of them. There is a separate contest for YA fiction with another 250 amazing ABNA Quarterfinalists too. You can read their excerpts by clicking on the link and selecting which genre you want to look at along the top of the page.
If you don’t have a Kindle or a Kindle app, you can still check out my first five pages of The Six Train to Wisconsin on my website.
Tuesday, I stalked Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award webpage like a 13 year old with a crush. Finally at 11:30 a.m., they quarterfinalists were announced….
This time I remembered K comes after J and I took a deep breath. Preparing mentally to not see my name. It’s okay. You did you best.
Then I started scanning. And what did I see? My name. OMG. The air forgot to enter my lungs. My brain knocked into my skull.
I placed in the quarterfinals. I’m one of the 250 out of 5000. Wow.
This round they (Amazon Editors and Amazon Top Reviewers) judged an excerpt (3-5K words) on overall strength, prose/style, plot/hook, originality of idea.
That is major affirmation. Thank you so much Amazon reviewers. It means so very much to know you thought my excerpt deserved to move on to the next round.
Now onto the super cool part. I have an Amazon page. Yup.
But there’s some tech issues right now. My pitch and excerpt have formatting errors (random symbols for quotation marks and apostrophes as well as missing emdashes). Amazon is aware of the issues and working hard to rectify them. So I’m not linking to it because I think you would get a headache trying to read my excerpt.
As soon as the problem is corrected, I’ll provide the link in case anyone wants to read my pitch or my excerpt. You can also rate and comment on them too.
This means my entire manuscript gets read by PW and they will give me feedback. Wow.
I’m so excited!
When I ordered toner for my laser printer on March 1oth, when do you think it arrived?
I waited. And waited. I was absorbed in my manuscript revisions and trusted that it would arrive.
On March 17th, my printer said “low toner, please replace cartridge.”
But I couldn’t because my supplies never arrived from Office Depot.
So I called Office Depot. They looked into and apologized profusely. Said Conway their carrier needed to be contacted. Office Depot promised to call me in 2 hours with a status update. They credited me $25 for the aggravation. Okay, I was willing to give them a second chance. My MISTAKE.
Yeah, my phone never rang Saturday or Sunday.
I had to run out to Staples and purchase a toner cartridge and a new drum. $200 later, I can print my manuscript to send to editors on Monday.
But wait, it gets better.
Because after a colossal screw-up, the best way to make amends is to leave me a voice mail blaming me for the problem on Monday. Good job Office Depot!
Evidently, Office Depot’s new carrier, Conway, requires me to be home to sign for the delivery. BTW, I am home all day. So I think this is just bullshit. Oh and they don’t leave any notice that they attempted delivery anywhere. BULLSHIT!
The voicemail goes on to tell me “You need to call Conway and schedule delivery.”
Um no. I don’t. I placed a delivery order with Office Depot. It’s your damn job to get me my delivery. It is not my job to fix your mistake or to be blamed for it.
I called and cancelled the order. Of course, they told me I have to refuse the order when (IF) it arrives. Then they will credit my account.
Awesome. Just awesome.
This means another headache because Office Depot cannot do ANYTHING CORRECTLY. I am just going to call my credit card and dispute it.
Office Depot I sentence you to an eternity on my “Shame on You list.”
I will never ever conduct business with your shittastic company again.
Shame shame shame on you for your EPIC fail and your refusal to take any culpability for your actions.
Cassandra Clare is the duchess of setting and love triangles. I adore the world she created in Clockwork Angel. This is the first book of her prequel series “The Infernal Devices” which takes place in Victorian London way before her NYT bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
I did not read the Mortal Instruments series yet. (I am hording them on my nightstand from the library.) I am a huge fan of anything Victorian and supernatural so The Infernal Devices trilogy called to me.
I was also very intrigued by the love triangle she builds in this series, especially after hearing her speak about it at the SCBWI Winter Conference. Check out the fabulous Kat Bender’s guest post from a few weeks ago to hear more about Cassandra Clare’s presentation.
The story revolves around an orphaned teenage girl, Tessa, who travels to London in search of her brother. She is kidnapped by witches who force her to tap into her ability to shapeshift by threatening her brother’s life. A Shadowhunter, Will, rescues her. She soon learns that she is part of the supernatural that exists in the Downworld. He and his fellow Shadowhunters guard humanity against the Downworlders.
It’s unclear what Tessa is, but someone malevolent called the Magister has plans for her. Will brings her to the Institute where the Shadowhunters live so they can try to find out what she is, why the Magister wants her, and where her brother is. There, she meets Will’s best friend, Jem, and the triangle begins…
Cassandra Clare’s ability to write setting puts me to shame. She brings every room to life in her book. You can tell she enjoys writing it too. She also has phenomenal world building skills. Wow.
And her action scenes are very well crafted. Usually action scenes lose me. I have trouble following them. But her epic melees are a super fast read with zero confusion over who is doing what when. I was right there with Tessa in the midst of fire and fury.
The love triangle did not disappoint. In fact, it might be my favorite thing in the book. There is oodles of tension and conflict and things unsaid but felt. It was terrific.
I can see why these books are wildly popular.
This is something I wrote recently. I used to be a huge writer of poetry but they don’t rise up the way they used to. Maybe all that creativity funnels into my novels.
Anyway, when this one came along, I was surprised and delighted. I was thinking of adding it to my website, what do you think?
I will spin you a web of normal
A safe backdrop to your existence
I will give you the gift of consistency
A semblance of something simple
I will pretend away the darkness
A sacrifice to keep you safe
I will reset the axis of your life
A sacredness that will not be denied
I will rebalance everything
A seal upon my promise
I will spin you a web of normal.
Ah, Springtime. When everything returns to life. New beginnings.
With Grandma H, it’s grave cleaning time.
She pulls into the cemetery driveway and tells me, “You are the look out. If you see a rapist, you tell me.”
“Uh..okay?” I say.
“And you run as fast as you can.”
“I’m going to have to. He’ll take one look at you and be after me,” I say.
Grandma H giggles hysterically.
We pull up and park the car. She tells me to grab the rake. When we get to the graves of her parents and her sisters, she does some weeding and assigns me to raking. As I’m raking, she says, “You’re not being the look out. You have to rake and be the look out.”
Grandma H says, “I’m only taking out library books if I find something good.”
“Those three I took out disappointed me. I skimmed them. But you know it’s outside,” she says.
“What is it? The bushes, a person what is outside?”
She sighs. “It’s spring time. Time to be outside.”
“Ah. I didn’t get that from it’s outside.”
She shakes her head.
Grandma H decides she wants to try Olive Garden. On the ride over, I say, “I think you will like the breadsticks.”
Grandma H says, “I hate breadsticks.”
“They call them breadsticks but they are more like rolls.”
“No seriously chewy like hotdog rolls and long like breadsticks.”
“I’ll try them.”
We get to the restaurant and Grandma H takes her first bite. “These are delicious!”
“We can get more right?”
“And the salad too?”
For the next hour she tells me four times how great the breadsticks are.
Her eggplant parm meal comes and she say, “I’m only eating a little pasta. I’ll take it home so I can eat more salad and breadsticks.”
I don’t eat my spaghetti so she scrapes it onto her plate and takes it home for dinner.
Grandma H comes into my mom’s house and announces, “We have to go to Poppy’s grave to check on the angel. I think the grave diggers ran her over.”
“What?” My mom and I ask in unison.
“They are digging a new grave near your grandfather’s. And I think they backed into the angel and broke it. We have to go check.”
I nod. “Sure.”
She gets a menacing tone in her voice. “And if it’s broken they are going to fix it.”
“Okay, let’s just make sure they did something wrong first,” I say. Grandma H has a tendency to open with mean.
Grandma H’s favorite place to drive by is the horses on Woodtick Road. There are about 6 horses in a paddock below street level.
Every time we drive by she slows down and gazes at the horses. Her voice gets buttery and her eyes sparkle. She adores the horses. And it never gets old. We’ve been driving by them for two months and she gets excited each time.
Sometimes it surprises her and she tells me, “I like horses. I really like horses.”