Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's NanoWriMo time!

See you later guys!

"Hey, wait. Where are you going?"

It's November. Duh. Where do you think I'm going? Hint: check the sidebar.

"Seriously? You're doing NanoWriMo again?

Don't you ever get tired of writing? You've been doing this for what, five years now?"

Six. And no, I'm not tired of it. I would have done it last year but I was in school. And writing my thesis. I'd have much rather been nano-ing. Why don't you join me this year? I've got a bunch of other friends I'm buddies with online as well. We're going to cheer each other on.

"Cheering. For...writing.  Uh, huh.  Go ahead, Karen. I'll see you in a month."

*shrugs* Your loss.

I'll actually be around quite a bit this month: checking in online, on Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even updating my blog once in a while. Maybe once. It'll take a while. :) And don't expect to hear what I'm writing about.

Oh, you may catch strange glimpses here and there, or get thrown a weird question or two, but I'm kind of greedy when it comes to my projects. Not even my husband knows about this story. Only my 16 year old daughter. And only because she's going to be helping me.  A lot. Because if there's one thing she writes well, it's fantasy.  Me? Not so much.  I write contemporary YA.  But I had a fantastic idea for a fantasy and she promised to help me keep it...not so real.  I have a hard time pushing my imagination that far.  I know. I know.  I write fiction.  But fantasies require even more suspension of reality. I need help. There. I said it.

So who's with me?  I'm already excited about the "buddies" I have with me online.  If you've never heard of NanoWriMo and love to write, then here's your chance.  The rules?

  • New idea
  • November 1-30
  • 50,000 words
  • That's it. Well, not it. That's quite a lot of words to type in one month.  Good thing I'm a pretty fast typist.  And have a teenage daughter. :)
So what are you waiting for!!!!  Let's NANO!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Young Adult Literature Coming of Age

Super Fudge, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, To Kill a Mockingbird... Lord of the Flies: titles that anyone who grew up with me would recognize in an instant. Classics! Timeless! Books I was forced to read for English class...

I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird. I really did. I might have even gotten an A in the class. But...uh...the story didn't exactly change my life. It wasn't a book I could use to escape, to find the answers to life I was searching for at the time. Not like with Trixie Belden. SHE I could relate to.

Trixie lived in the country with her parents and three brothers (oh, Brian be still my heart) on their apple orchard. She was friends with a rich girl named Honey and they rode horses a lot.  I looooooove horses. And then there was this boy Jim. Ahhhhhh, Jim. When you held her hand for the first time I thought I would die. I think I sufficed with screaming. :)

I was fourteen years old. Trixie was living my dream.

See, I too grew up a little low on funds like Trixie. And I had friends who had money. I wanted a boy to LIKE me.  Hold my hand, darn it. (By the way, I waited months for my husband to hold my hand for the first time. Why oh why do they torture us so?) And these needs haven't changed since I was a girl. Trust me, I have teenage daughters. They feel powerless. They want ideas. They want to go on a date, maybe have some money. And a horse.

I'm still waiting on the horse myself, girls.

I waited impatiently for each new book to come out and then hoped I could afford it.  My mom tried desperately to help feed my need for new reads. But sadly, there were very few available and even fewer I could relate to. Judy Blume wrote for middle grade. And while I enjoyed her books they didn't have all the answers. Especially when I got to high school.

It's such a difficult age.  I mean, being stuck in bodies that won't stop changing is hard enough without adults telling you to grow up faster. Ugh. Keeping up can be a miserable challenge. Teenagers are TOTALLY misunderstood. That's why I write for Young Adults. And I'm so proud to be amongst the many that do.

Young Adult literature has come a long way since I was a kid. It's grown into a genre that feeds multiple generations. Hello, adult readers of YA anyone? (Harry Potter, Fablehaven, Hunger Games.) It allows us to explore others' lives without risking our own. Learn from others' mistakes or find solace in them. Find redemption in knowing that we're not alone.

 This world is a little different than the one I grew up in, so the books need to be as well.

A lot of the challenges teens face haven't changed over the years, except for the fact that there seems to be more of them. More challenges means more difficulties. More difficulties means more books needed to help teens find a solution. Or at least an escape.

I have a list I'm compiling at the request of others. I'm happy that it's taking me so long. It's a loooooong list. A lot longer than the one I had growing up. :) And that makes me so proud. I'm so grateful to all my fellow writers who are helping the next great generation to enjoy the journey they are on.  And for bringing a few of us adults along with. I'm loving the ride!

Meanwhile, here's my literal bookshelf. I had to track down a few in various bedrooms. :) Perfect.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Mythology by Helen Boswell

Hope Gentry doesn't believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. Was this her destiny all along? And will her powers help her survive the evil of the Demon Impiorum?

Mythology isn't just for English class anymore.


What a story!!

Not every story has the ability to keep me up at night, and even fewer have the distinction of being worth it in the end. Mythology was excellent. The storytelling was smooth, descriptive, and with a plot that was not only new and refreshing, but funny, despite the dark feelings typically associated with demons. And high school.  :)  I mean, who cheers for the demons?

*slowly raises hand*

And such is one of the many surprises this book had in store for me. I don't usually cheer for the villians. Or are they the villians? Redefining stereotypes and people's freedom to choose who they are struck a major chord with me. No longer was mythology about legends and folklore. It is about breaking the molds and myths that shape our existence. Some of the trials Hope faces are not unlike those of other teenage girls, and the author does a very good job of addressing the difficult issues that can define our lives. Or destroy it.

Hope and Micah each have their own personal demons to battle, and one of them is the reason that some libraries are choosing not to carry the book. Ridiculous. I have to wonder if we all read the same book. I for one found myself anxiously awaiting to see how it would all work out, cheering for Hope and the bravery she had.

The story was not only intriguing, but thought provoking, granting this YA fiction far more depth than I was expecting, given its title. Talk about breaking stereotypes. I mean, smiling because one of the characters slips and swears? Yeah, that's not like me. Of course they did get chewed out for it, by "the bad guy" no less, so yeah...pretty funny.

The book ended far too quickly for my liking and I find myself anxiously awaiting the sequel, and maybe a nap or two to prep myself ahead of time. I know better now.  :)

Well done, Helen. Well done. 

And through Wednesday of this week you can find your own copy of Mythology here at Amazon. FOR FREE!!!  Check out Helen's blogpost here to find out why!! Hint: it has to do with a couple of school libraries not carrying it. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sharing our Gifts

I grew up in a very large family, so sharing was not an option.

I mean, yes, we had the option, but there were pretty hefty consequences if you didn't. Natural consequences. Like someone not being willing to share with you when the tables were turned. Not fun when your brothers were in the habit of acquiring or participating in some really cool stuff.

Or brought over really cute friends.  Yes, sharing has benefits.

Like the picture of the cookies. I baked those yesterday. They're almost gone. Why? Because I have a house full of children. And because they have share them with.

For weeks I've been pondering over a dear friend's ordeal at using someone else's photo on her blog and the fall out to her and writers everywhere. Writers like me who LOVE to share something visual with the written word. It adds another dimension to our topic. Or saves us when the topic is important but  You know?

So my daughter and I embarked on a uniting plan, taking her love of photography and my need as a writer, to offer photos to others that they can use on their blogs.

Free of charge.

Why are we doing this? Because there's a need. And more than just a need for making blogs more eye catching (and my very empty Tumblr feed). :) My daughter needs to feel the joy of sharing her talent. Nurturing it. Working at something that she might one day do professionally, but for right now there's no pressure. No worry that she'll be accepted or rejected. Because even if no one has a need for the photos we'll take, she's learning how to hone her skill.

And I'm getting tons of time with her.  Win-Win.

We'll be posting the pictures on Tumblr very shortly. And updating it often. The link is on the right. Hope you can find something that you like among the offerings.  OH! And she's taking requests for pictures you might need, but don't have the time or means to take yourself.  She said she'll do her best.  :)

What more could anyone ask for? Cause it's already free.  :)  Have a great day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

iTunes Gift Card Giveaway!

Ooooo, did that get your attention? Good, because it's true.

If you go to his website before Saturday, you can enter to win an iTunes Gift Card my wonderful friend Braden Bell is giving away in celebration of his book, The Kindling.

Entering is simple. See, I'm doing it right now by letting you know. :) And aren't I nice, because you know I'm lessening my chances by letting you know so you can enter as well. :)

Even Amazon is excited about his book because they're offering a download for only .99 cents till Monday. No, I didn't get the decimal in the wrong place.  Nine dimes and nine pennies. That's a steal, folks.  I finished this book not three days ago and my 12 year old said, "NOW can I read it?"

Yup. You can read it. I just downloaded the e-book. :)

So on top of a great book, Braden's offering a way to get some music (or whatever floats your boat) to help put another bounce in your step.


So, GO! ENTER! NOW!  Here!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hamming it up

So it has been a busy couple of weeks in our home. My children were in a musical production, I made more desserts than my children could eat (I know, I know, where are their priorities?), and I certified as a ham radio operator.

It wasn't something I always wanted to do, like my husband. Yes, I knew how cool they were (thank you, Frequency) but I've had a lot on my plate. It wasn't the next thing on my to-do list. I did it to support my husband. To help HIM study. And sure, I like trying new things. It's great for authors who are always searching for ideas and ways to fill in plot holes.

Little did I know that studying would take a month of my time. Every day. Every time my husband walked through the door. During date nights. I almost didn't take the test. I mean, aside of all the time it was taking there was MATH involved. *groan* You mean that one can't just jump on the microphone and start talking? No. Apparently there are rules, lingo, and...opportunity.

I did it for the opportunity. So that my husband and I could share a new hobby together and maybe talk to each other if all other communication systems went out. What? It could happen. All these dystopians I've been reading? One of them is sure to happen someday. They're all too plausible! :) But I also gained something from the experience that I wasn't expecting.


I gained reassurance that I can still do hard things. That I can learn yet another new foreign language in a short period of time and actually convince someone to give me a license to talk over the airwaves. Seriously, people. It's a cool feeling. And yeah, I might be fantasizing about saving the world someday because I know how to use one.

So what sort of things have you done for research? For fun? For the love of another?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Losing interest in a series

I love series. Let's just put that out on the table right now.  I love following characters through their life's twists and turns, and gripping the book (or i-pad) anxiously as they each make choices that will change their lives forever. And mine. Because as I read, I think, "What would I do, if I were them?"

But what happens when the last book takes, oh say, three years to come out? I lose interest.

It's happened twice now, where a final book (for whatever reason) goes years before being released. That's a long time to hang off the edge of the cliff with a character, folks. My arms get a tad tired. So I let go and move onto to another character who will offer me closure.

Before you rail me for being unkind or hold it against me in the future (should I be said author who takes three years to finish) I devoured Robert Jordan's (c/o Brandon Sanderson-bless you) most recent Wheel of Time books the moment they hit the shelves. Partly because I was FAR too invested in the story, and also because in anticipation of the release I started rereading the series and became RE-invested.

AND in the case of the other books? I did buy the last books of those series when they came out. I just haven't read them yet. I'm not interested enough...yet. And folks, these were wonderful stories to begin with. But there is only so much time I can wait before I begin to think, "Was that last one the end of the story and I just missed it?"

I love what Elana Johnson has done with her series to keep us in the groove while waiting for SURRENDER. All her short stories, peeks, artwork, etc., really bridged the time gap and made it seem like a blink of an eye before the next book was released. Well done, Elana! Well done.

I've heard various suggestions via the writing community that say, "Don't write your series before you get your first book published." Hogwash. Sure the plot may change a bit, because your editor may have significant changes for you, but think about the anxious reader waiting for your next book and what you might be accomplishing ahead of time to keep their interest (aside of writing a great story). Timing is key in an industry that has so many wonderful characters to offer. If you don't.

Because if you leave your characters hanging off a cliff too long? Well, better hope they've got really strong arms. It could be a while before I get them down out of my head.

So what makes you lose interest in a series? What could writers be doing to keep you more invested?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th!

Oh, yes. You didn't know today was worth being happy about? Eyes of the beholder, I suppose.

Today is my wedding anniversary. I've been married a beautiful 22 years to the most wonderful man on earth. He came into my life when I needed him the most and has stuck with me through all the "better" AND "worse."  Turns out we make a pretty good team.

It hasn't come without hard work, sacrifices, and too many boxes of macaroni and cheese, but it's been worth it. For my part, I wouldn't be where I am without my husband. And yeah, yeah, he'll say the same thing about me. But I'm the one writing this post so I get to brag on him today. :)

If not for him I wouldn't be writing. See, he's the one who told me to dream my dreams. And then helped to make them happen. As a result I have a house full of children, a college degree, and in a field that I've loved since I was old enough to read.

If not for him I would have majored in *shudder* Accounting. Wow. Not the right field for me. I learned that pretty quick. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty good with numbers. It just killed my sense of creativity. All that finite math and stuff. There's not a whole lot of fiction going on there.  Well, except for imaginary numbers.

I don't even know why I thought Accounting would be a good idea. Oh, wait. Yes I do. Because people told me I was crazy for wanting to be a writer. Writers don't make any money. As though that's the only reason for doing anything. Pfscht! But I was young, impressionable, and already scared that I wasn't good enough. Despite what my creative writing professors told me to the contrary. And they weren't the only ones.

My husband-to-be was intrigued by my interests. ENCOURAGED them. And he was far better at numbers than I was, so I knew our children would be in good hands. (FYI, they have been. I love being right.)

Today I celebrate a Friday the 13th that changed my life. I think this has been the only time our anniversary has fallen on the exact day of the week that we got married on. (Correct me if I'm wrong. Come on, I dare you. Just rain on my parade. It has all week here anyway.) :)

Today could not be more perfect. Even if all I do is bask in the knowledge that I'm the luckiest woman on earth, that's enough. Tomorrow I'll go back to worrying about everything else. But hey, tomorrow I'll still have my biggest cheerleader cheering me on. And that's what marrying your best friend is all about.

Have a great day!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing with Children: Hint #3

If you can't beat 'em...join 'em.

Only, today I suggest it's the children who need to be doing the joining...not you, the writer.  I mean if writing is so exciting, then why aren't we including the children in our activities???

Because we want quiet time. Time to think. Aloooooone time. Um, folks? You have children. Leave the fantasy world to your imagination and books and look at the real world for a moment. Yeah, I's a little scary. But not so bad if you take a step back. *whoops, watch out for the--sorry, you okay?*

So, okay, sometimes it's a little noisy, but then I personally work better with a little noise.  Too little and my romance feels like a zombie apocalypse in waiting.


So how do I get them involved, You ask? They don't even WANT to write! Good grief, one of mine can't even hold their own pen. How do you suggest I get them to join me?

So. Glad. You. Asked.

  • Coloring books
  • Blank paper
  • Have them make their own book! using a $4 combination writing/illustration journal just for kids. 
  • Books on tape/cd. In fact, I've read some of my children's favorite books onto tape/cd so they could read along with MY voice (while I'm busy doing something else--like writing). 
  • Record your children reading their favorite book, then play it back to them. They're a STAR!!!
  • Teenagers can offer some remarkably good fodder. Especially if you're writing for them. It doesn't get any better than real life, folks. So, interview your teens.  You may be surprised by what you learn...and how eager they are to share (and not just because you may put it in your book). 
A little planning can go a long way into giving you the time you need to write. Plus we want our children to appreciate our talent, which means that we need to give them reminders of what it is we're doing and why (aside of being the awesome parent we are).

Books are awesome. Important. Just like our children. You CAN do both.

Happy Writing...with children.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing with Children: Hint #2

Karaoke machine. Trust me.

I was cleaning out my closet yesterday, a chore I had been dreading but couldn't put off seeing as how I  didn't have homework to...distract me anymore.  :)

I had actually gone looking for said object a few months back and couldn't find it. Go figure.  But yesterday's cleaning unearthed the "treasure" and the rest of the day was filled with music and....laughter.  Oh yes, lots of laughter.  There was choreography, duets, and moments where I thought my son was back (nope, just my beast of a daughter with a seriously low voice).

I learned who could sing and who couldn' the lyrics.  :)  You thought I was going to rat out my non-singers.  I can't, and not just because I love them. Proudly I don't have any non-singers.  Music has always been a big part of our lives and we've been blessed with pitch perfect children. :)  (okay, brag moment over)

So yeah, a Karaoke machine...and maybe some earphones. Because as occupied as they were yesterday, I was too distracted in listening to them (and laughing) to get any work done.  :)  We're on day two now and any moment we have some little friends coming over.  It's going to be a sing-songy day in the Adair home.

*pulls out earphones*

Happy Writing...with children.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender

It's time to Surrender!  No, I'm not giving up. Except of course the occasional free time. But I'm no quitter, as you'll soon find out (if you're new to my blog and don't know me very well). It's the release of Surrender by Elana Johnson and in honor of her new book she has issued a call.

This is me answering it.  About a time I refused to give up on something, no matter what. And from what I hear, it's a pretty good story. And it's true. Every word.

It began 23 years ago when I started college. And ended last month when I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree. Finally. It was a long, hard road lined with a lot of boxed meals, but baby I kept going until I got to the end. And I brought my family with me. In fact, they're not only the reason I put my education on hold, but the very reason I finally finished it.

It started the night my husband and I got engaged, and the sad realization that there wasn't enough money for us to both attend school simultaneously. I offered to work to put him through school first, seeing as how I wanted to be a stay at home mom eventually anyway. ☺ He promised that I would one day get my degree.

Well, we had four children by the time he got his PhD in Chemical Engineering and I was pleased to have supported our family during that time using my well-honed typing skills (sadly for things other than writing) to work from home while raising our children. I was happy. Proud of myself. Yet always in the back of my mind was the dream of having time to write again…and going back to school.

Two weeks into our new state, new home and well paying job my husband says, "Okay, now it's your turn." I looked around at the moving boxes and listened to the screams from upstairs and laughed in his face.  I said, " I know what you're saying, but now’s not the time. I still haven’t finished unpacking!”

Fast forward two years and my life looked something like this.

  • With Child number 4 and 5 in tow I head off to college to register. I love my children but I NEED something more than diapers and Barney. Online classes are my new best friend.
  • Number 6 arrives shortly before my sister in law (and her young daughter) who will live with us while her husband is at army bootcamp. She wants to help out, so I decide to sign up for a semester course…crammed into two weeks. I attend class, nurse my six month old, study and sleep. I get an A. And my sister in law cooks the entire two weeks. I’m liking this going to school thing.
  • Child number 7 necessitates my taking a break. Not because she's difficult, but because I'm just too darn busy being Mom. :)
  • Two years later I’m back at school. The oldest are now big enough to help watch little ones and I’m taking face to face classes during the summer while everyone is watching cartoons. And Facebooking.
  • It takes 7 years for me to complete my Associates degree. We throw a party and celebrate this milestone. I decide to take a year off to write and to spend a little more time with my five year old—during which time my mother passes away. I hear her voice in my head that says, "Finish school."
  • Six months later my youngest is old enough to attend public school, so I go back. Full time. I’m done taking my time and there’s nothing to hold me back. Except that I have 7 children who still need me…but also a promise.
  • My husband drops everything in his personal life to help me study, fix dinners, and help kids with homework while I’m doing my own. I still try and be Mom, and sometimes succeed.
  • I ask my husband multiple times 'why I am doing this? My life is nothing but stress and more stress as I juggle so many roles.' He says, “You’re doing it so I can keep my promise to you.”
  • I buck up and get back to work. I get into the Creative Writing program on the first try.
  • I try and speed up my education by writing a Senior Honors Thesis in place of a minor. It’s also good practice considering I’m an English and Creative Writing major. I graduate Magna Cum Laude with a printed Honors Thesis ready to grace the University library. And my shelf. ☺ 
  • I finished my last two years in two years, thanks to the patience and love of my awesome family. They were all in the stands when I walked across the stage.
    I worked my butt off.  I slept very little.  And my husband kept his promise to help me succeed.  To never give up. Never surrender.

    Karen Adair
    Bachelor's in English/Creative Writing
    University of Houston
    May 2012

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Writing with Children: Hint #1

    Juggling a passion for writing with a...passionate crowd can be a challenge indeed. But it CAN be done.

    Hint #1: Candy.

    This is the candy jar that sits on my desk. My desk that is conveniently located right next to the children's computers.  When they are at school my desk is quiet. When they come home we all work together, visit, and snack from Mom's candy jar.

    The kids used to complain that I was always at my computer. Now they don't.  Because when Mom's at her desk they can come visit her...and her candy jar.  :)  They love it!  I refill it about every two weeks with a different variety of candy. They always get excited to see what will be next.

    As you find creative ways to include your children in your writing adventures, you'll no doubt enjoy the "sweet" rewards of doing so.

    Happy Writing...with children. :)

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    Seven Days of Dares

    What a wild ride I took the last seven days!!  I'm still reeling from my fabulous cruise, which most people take to relax by the way. Everyone but me.

    Oh, no. See, aside of celebrating my having graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor's in English and Creative Writing (and Magna Cum Laude) :) my husband and I decided to see just how many fears I could next overcome. In a single week. While having fun doing so.

    So, in looking at the relative pictures how did I do? And what four fears did I SUCCEED in overcoming. :) Woo hoo!

    Now I can dedicate more time to tackling one last fear...only it's not so much a fear as a hope and dream all writers share. :)  Happy Daring to you all!

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    XYZ is for...

    Examine Your Zipper.

    "Hey! Off my blog kids."

    Sorry. That would be my daughter speaking to the last three letters, but her words ring rather profound when you think about it.  How many of us take a close look at our writing and see past the embarrassing parts in order to move on?

    I remember when I first started writing again, refusing to let my husband read what I wrote. It took two years for me to show him anything, and my writing grew a lot during that time. But not because I suddenly got better or didn't show it to anyone--sparing myself the embarrassment--because I DID show it to people.

    And you know that first fear of realizing your zipper is open? Yeah...that was me.

    My sister was first to offer me warm encouragement and well constructed advice so that I could improve my writing without losing hope. Others attempted to give me similar help, but they didn't know me as well as she did and their "help" sometimes hurt.  That help though has resulted my growing a tougher skin, a stronger backbone.

    I don't care if my zipper is caught open anymore. I just look at it and go, "Huh. So it is." *ziiiiiiiip*

    Not that I don't take certain precautions, like studying style and grammar and reading LOTS and lots. I try and learn from others' "style" of clothing and find what suits me best. And after years of hard work I'm pleased to tell you I have a very nice wardrobe.

    I hope to show it off to y'all someday soon. :) And my thanks to all the fashionistas who came before me, all the designers who have taken risks, and you my friends who have given me honest feedback and have kept me from wearing pink with green...or walking around with my zipper open.

    Happy A to Z challenge and...

    Have a great day!

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    W is for...

    Where'd she go????

    Sorry. Really. I...uh...was...uh....*drops head* here...but with a lousy excuse. I ran out of ideas.


    For the letters! Not for my writing. Okay, fine...

    W is for WRITING!  In fact I've been doing a ton of it this last week. As in, turning the infamous thesis into the Dean. *dundundun* and finishing a short story for my creative writing class.  I'm really proud of it, too.  It was fun to write. I had a grand time strolling down memory lane. Or was I running down it as fast as I could skipping past all the ugly parts and only stopping to smell the ones I enjoyed?

    What are earth are you talking about, Karen?

    I'm talking about my class on non realism and memoir writing. You see, I am an avid journal writer, but I'd never tried writing a memoir (or rather, a story within). My usual brand is contemporary YA. But I guess the two are somewhat connected considering I love writing about life and all its many challenges...and joys. Yes, joys.

    My writing has to have lots of humor in it, otherwise...ho's just a little too heavy for me. Real life has lots of bright beautiful moments, and where the challenge becomes one of trying to bring them out--both in real life and in writing.

    I love writing. I love how it makes me feel. I love how it makes my daughter cry to read something I've written, that COULD of happened, but really didn't. I love how my friends want to meet my characters in real life, but even though they FEEL real, they're not. Not really. But "shhhhhh," don't tell that to them. They may get their feelings hurt.

    And I need them to stick around for the rest of the series.  :)

    Happy Writing everyone!'s XYZ and the end of the road!

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    V is for...

    Violins and Validation.

    What on earth do these two things have in common? So glad you asked.

    First of all think tiny violin. You know, the one that plays when another individual cares nothing for your heartache or disappointment and gives you a mocking "wah." Yeah...I kind of want to slap those people to. Or shake them and say, "Try and understand how I'm feeling!"

    This feeling applies to teens as well as adults, let me assure you. No one is exempt from the need for validation. It uplifts us, encourages us, tells us we're not crazy (even if we are), and gives us hope.

    I play the violin. For real. I know...another shocker. Keep visiting my blog and you'll learn even more about me as time goes on. I promise. :) And it was great the other day to pick up my lonely instrument and play alongside my daughter on the harp and another daughter on the flute.  Neither judged my scratchy notes or stopped playing despite my mistakes. They thanked me for taking the time to TRY. For making time for them and helping our harpist work through a piece she's been working on.

    She needed to hear the melody to help her better understand the accompanying part she was playing.

    How many of us need some type of understanding and are just waiting for someone to help us out?

    I love the video on youtube about validation in so many ways.  It's a loooooooong and beautiful video. You won't be sorry you watched it. It will change your life...and maybe that of someone else.

    Have a great day!!!

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    U is for...


    Is that a word? Spell checker seems to think so. I know, it's not a very nice word though, so maybe it ought to be banned. But it's true nonetheless.  Sometimes I am underwhelmed by something.  Usually it's not a problem, but sometimes it happens with books.


    I know. I know. The shunning may now begin.

    But I CAN'T be alone in this, can I?  Haven't you ever been so hyped up over a new book or author and then been'd?  That's a word too, right?  It means that the book left you feeling a little disappointed. Okay...majorly bummed. You spent good time and money on a story that sounded so great and then...yeah.

    Maybe the narrative wasn't quite your style, or the plot didn't quite pull together like you wanted (or at all in some that I've read). Or maybe the book in question just had the misfortune to follow one by your favorite author.  But what if the book WAS from one of your favorite authors?  What do you do then?   Do you give up on them? Keep quiet and hope that your book was some horrible misprint that was actually a good book once but got intercepted by aliens out to destroy humanity's faith in literature?

    What? It could happen.  Or do you go on Goodreads and flame them?  Please don't, btw. I was joking. Seriously.

    I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to books. I guess I can see the author at work behind every word. I know how hard it must have been to write what they did. Even if I didn't like the order that they put some of the words in.

    What about you? How do you handle disappointing reads? And why?

    Monday, April 23, 2012


    RST looks an awful lot like "REST" to me...and before you think that's what I've been doing these past non-blogging days, let me enlighten you as to my crazy weekend.

    It involves standing in line for 20 minutes to get a free donut, chauffeuring for free sans the cool looking cap, drilling holes in my ceiling because of a new couch, and removing my closet light fixture because of a flooding bathroom.

    The line to the cafeteria was long but worth it, my two daughters clutching my hands excitedly because I was there. The donut wasn't half as important as my presence that morning, joining the not so few and proud at Friday's Pastries for Parents. I slept well that night and awoke not only to the realization that Saturday was the day we would buy our new couch, but that my oldest would be coming home. I drove the youngest to a birthday party, while the others braved the airport to pick up our son. I rushed from the party at the exciting news that my couches were shortly making their appearance at my home. As the massive assemblage arrived through our door, we were forced to rethink where our TV would go. It took roughly three hours to make the changes we needed and necessitated new holes to reposition the surround sound speakers. Sunday brought the sunshine of happy church goers and bits of random raindrops to our pleasant morning; only the precipitation was taking place in my closet, having made its way down from the upstairs shower. Ten towels, one bucket, and a lecture or two later, we left for church clean and showered and a little bit wiser.

    • R is for Remembering the good and bad times and the joy/horror in doing so. My life provides me with so much natural fodder, it's no wonder that I enjoy writing in the contemporary vein.

    • S is for Show and how much more powerful it is in portraying a scene as opposed to merely retelling it. I could have just said that I went to Pastries for Parents Friday morning and that the line was insanely long to get one simple donut and some juice. But that wasn't why I stood in line. Showing involves meaning and purpose behind the action, and "showing" what's happening so that the reader can feel the importance of it as well.

    • T is for Trouble and what every writer needs.  There's no question that at the heart of every story is some type of conflict; some aching need that must be met.  Even a Mom trying to tell her children she loves them by standing in line for a measly donut is a conflict when said person is claustrophobic. I love my children enough to put my own discomforts aside, and therein lies the victory for all of us. 

    So go...enjoy life...and not just for the fodder.  Because in the end, we want books to inspire us to live. To give us hope. To fill our minds with possibilities. So we can act on them.

    Go! Do! Live!

    Have a Great Day. :)

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Q is for...


    Quirks? But I thought you'd be writing about queries for sure. But soon. Very soon my life will encompass all things query and queriable (is that a word?). But for now let's just focus on all things queer. Just queer. Quirks, we like to call them.

    Everybody has one. Even those who vehemently deny owning one. Even the poorest and most destitute have one. So really, we're never without "nothing" even though it feels that way, or we'd like to think we are.

    But never fear! Quirks are what make us unique. They are what set us apart from others. They are what attract others to us, or repel them. And in writing, they are crucial to separating one character from another.

    Could you imagine how boring a story would be if everyone was exactly the same? If everyone was pretty, kind, and no one picked their nose? Boooooooooooring.  And totally unrealistic. Even in realistic fiction. Especially in realistic fiction.

    In order for our characters to be real to us, they need to have something we can use to separate them from others and give them character. Someone picks their nose. A lot. Someone has a half smile. Or no smile. Ever. My daughter actually knows someone like that. And he's a happy guy. He just NEVER smiles. It's weird. It begs for more backstory. It makes him interesting!

    Embrace the quirkiness and give it to your characters.  Maybe it's not a physical trait, but something they wear. Or something they DO. Quirks are great enablers to plot lines as well and in dropping clues where you need them.  Like your protagonist being spotted coming out of the school bathroom wearing an all too telling red sweater that you've seen the nerdy guy wearing every Friday for the entire year.  WHAT just happened?????  Oh begs for a response.

    So what are some of your favorite character quirks? What about ones you've noticed in books you've read? What about ones you've noticed in your neighbors? (That didn't require peeking through their bedroom windows.)

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012


    There's a reason that persistence is such a long word, given its meaning.

    From an online dictionary:

    per-sist-ence [per-sis-tuhns]


    1. the act or fact of persisting. (okay, not very helpful in defining the word)
    1. the quality of being persistent (who makes up these definitions? I have to define persistent before I can understand persistence. Talking about needing to be persistent to understand the word!)
    1. continued existence or occurrence (now we're getting closer)
    1. the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed (you can say that again)

    So just to clarify...

    Persistence is continuing to do something long after you're sick and tired of doing said thing, and want to give up but can't for some inexplicable reason (maybe because someone is making you) (or because you actually WANT to succeed or at least finish the job). For example:

    I had persistence in finishing my degree after starting it over 20 years ago. Uh, huh...that would be number 4 on the list. 

    I took a break from school to raise our children. It was something I had always dreamed of doing--felt very strongly about. But it meant putting my husband through school so that his job would allow me to stay home with them. And we did it. Fast forward twelve years.

    My husband was doing an outstanding job of supporting our large family, so there wasn't a NEED for me to work outside the home or get a degree, but baby we BOTH wanted me to have one.  He was determined that I have the same opportunities that he did, and despite the fact that I had paused to help raise our children didn't mean I shouldn't get an education.

    I just put it on hold for a while. That was a persistence all of its own. I never lost sight of my goal. In fact, in thinking about getting an education someday I found I filled in the need in other places. Patience, organization, sacrifice...all the things required of a hard working mother. AndI think I'm a much better, much more organized student than I was 20 years ago as a result. I wasn't getting straight A's then. :) Life has taught me the true value of things.

    Persistence is not giving up on a dream even when it gets really hard. When you're tired of boxed dinners and homework and getting done with your homework and the dishes and then helping your children with their homework as well.  And the laundry. *shudder*

    Persistence is about sacrificing something you want now for something better later.  Both the journey AND the reward is what makes persistence such a satisfying word.

    Some day I will be published. Aside of the binding my thesis is now undergoing. :) *oh, honey my pretty red book is going to look so nice next to your blue one on the shelf* :)

    I just have to be persistent and never give up.'s worth it.

    What are your goals and dreams? Have you achieved something that took an especially long time or was especially hard or trying? 

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012


    N is for No post yesterday because I was preparing for my Thesis defense. And yes, I passed. :)  Hurrah!!!

    O is for a salute to the beautiful English language. How adding a simple letter before a vowel lets you formulate so many rhymes. I don't know why I chose O. It just sort of came up on the drive with my husband and daughter today. 

    Moth. Cloth. Roth. Sloth. Broth. Both--



    Wait! Wait!

    Brothel. Okay, that's better.  Uh...wait--

    Brother. Smother-- okay I take back what I said about O. It doesn't always play nice; pretending to be so many other vowels. Maybe we should be done now--

    Doth. Wroth. Scoff. Snot. 

    Okay, now we're done.

    Have a great day....

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    M is for...

    Markers! Markers! Markers!

    Yes, I meant to type it three times; not just because I'm excited, but because I have three different kinds of markers that I use as a writer. And they're soooooo necessary!

    • First: Dry Erase Markers. They work on white boards, mirrors, and large pieces of plastic that you can buy in bulk at the craft store and hang on your wall. :) If you're outlining, then dry erase markers are the marker for you. You can make multiple changes on so many surfaces and then wipe them off easily. Perfect.

    • Second: Window Markers. These are THE coolest markers on the planet
      .Yes, maybe even more cool than dry erase markers. They work in the shower, they work on your bathroom mirror, they keep your kids entertained while you're trying to write. So yeah, a win-win-win all around. I get a lot of great ideas while I'm relaxing in the warm water, so these markers were the perfect gift from my teenage daughter.

    • Third: Sharpies. These are for the rest of my life. Things that aren't temporary or outline-ish (but perhaps outlandish at times). :) Lunch sacks for my children. Snack bags for my children. Frozen meals to hold my family through NaNoWrimo. My family is always there for me, so the Sharpies are to remind me that while what I write may someday be forever emboldened on the family is a permanent part of my life; right here, right now, and they need my time too.

    So, what kind of marker do you think might help you the most? What other tricks or tips have you found to help you in your writing?

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    L is for...

    Line editing.

    Ever heard of it? If you haven't, it's because either you don't realize you're doing it or because your friends are trying to protect your innocence (or rather your sanity).

    Line editing is necessary. Line editing is grueling. Line editing sucks. But, oh how we need it.

    It's a process by which you fine tune your story by pouring over each line of your work and taking out unnecessary words, fluff, or impertinent information that isn't fluff, but it's also taking up valuable real estate and doesn't really need to. Think of your writing in terms of New York...not Texas.

    Next week is the second class in line editing I'll be taking, and I'm excited, because the first one taught me so much about my writing. Not that it stunk or anything, but how much better it COULD be. How to make each word count. How we skip over words that drag us down or bore us.

    So how do you know which ones those are? Glad you asked.

    • Read your prose out loud. Your pet will love you for the attention you're giving them. Unless it's a fight scene of course and then they may go running (which may also mean you've done a good job). :)
    • Take out any unnecessary descriptive words. -ly words are the biggest cause for red-lines on a manuscript. Show, don't tell. We'll go over more of that when we get to S.
    • Trust your reader. You don't have to explain everything that's going on or what the reader is thinking. Their reactions are a response all their own. If you say, "Hey, you bumped me!" You may not even need to show the person running into them. The words are enough.
    • Too many creative tag lines or explanations in dialogue. "Said" works and exclamation marks are overrated. At least in dialogue. In blog postings? Bring 'em on!!!!!!! :)
    • Open your work in a new document to do your editing. There's nothing worse than changing your mind about something and then forgetting what you had before. It takes virtually no space to save multiple copies anymore. And you'll be glad you did.
    • Tracking changes is another way of seeing what you've done. Word has a great function for doing that.
    If you need more examples, there are a lot of great postings and sites out there dedicated to discussing line editing. David Edelman has this post and it's fantastic.

    Please remember though that line editing comes AFTER you've written your entire manuscript. Don't try and do it as you go. You'll get so utterly frustrated and halt the flow of ideas. Get everything down. Get the feeling of your work. Get out all those exclamation marks as you pour your heart, soul, and anguish into your story. Then make the delete button your friend.

    Have you ever heard of line editing before? What other names do you know it as? What is your biggest red-liner when you're revising your manuscript?

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    K is for...


    *cue the song with the frog and a bone and something about a loan*

    But I'm not talking about songs and amphibians today. I'm talking about the use of knick knacks in your story. And why they're important. (Besides, I collect thimbles and mugs--hence the cool photo I found.)

    Objects have a key place in a story. They're the story within the story. You see, every object has a history; a reason why someone owns it--keeps it, occasionally dusts it off-- and why an author would mention it. And folks, if you ARE going to mention it make sure it's important. Because readers are smart. I mean we've been taught to look for clues. You in the actual game of CLUE, where objects often become murder weapons. That's no insignificant knick knack folks.

    I personally have an important piece of jewelry in one of my books. It's a young girl's link back to her father, and an item that actually keeps her from moving on with her life. That little piece of metal becomes a major plot point in my story. It's a visual image that the reader can latch onto and easily associate with. I mean, we all own jewelry, right (or at least know what it is). In fact, you may even own the piece I mention (shhhh...can't tell you what it is yet).

    What I can tell you is that in an earlier draft it almost cost my protagonist her life. The current draft...not so much. But she does panic when she thinks she's lost it. And, uh, panicking is not good for my character. Usually lands her in the hospital.

    So, have you ever noticed how important objects are in a book? Do you use them yourselves? Will they make Scarlett and Col Mustard shake in their stilettos and combat boots? :) (Because if they do I want to read it)

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Stories and Jenga

    You know the game. Stack 54 wooden blocks in a tall criss cross pattern and then take turns trying to pull out a block. Without letting the tower fall over.

    It's full of tension. Suspense. Aggravation. Disappointment. Hmmmm sounds an awful lot like a good story.

    A story has a basic structure: Beginning, middle and end.
    It also has some important elements: Plot, theme, setting.
    Then you have what makes it special: Emotion, tension, suspense.

    Take away any one of these elements and you have an "eh" book (Although I've seen some brilliant ones pull it off, though I can't for the life of me figure out how they did it. Which is to say...why they're called brilliant.)

    Take out the Plot? *cue toppling of tower* (unless your book is Portrait of a Lady and then you'll be studied in British Literature where many a student will scratch their head and either hate you or hug you.) Or maybe you could just take out the ending, in which case you'll be like Thomas Hardy and everyone in British Literature will call you a cheater. Except you'll be a beautiful cheater.

    When I think of Plot I think of all the key sequence of events that comprise my story. Take out one of them and you spend the next week rearranging all your events. It can be kind of cool actually. Messing with people's lives is great that way. And no one gets hurt. Except your characters, and well that's kind of the point.

    We like reading about other people's lives and seeing how they deal with things. It gives us ideas of our own...without having to pull out a piece and watch our world come crashing in on us. It's much safer to watch someone else do it and learn from their mistakes.

    Reading is so awesome that way. Writing is even better. I love trying out new plots, new theories, and meeting new people. *waves to characters* *they wave back because if they don't they know I'll off them in the next book* :)

    What about you? What do you think one of the most important elements of writing is? What do you struggle with the most? What author do you wish you could write like and why?

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    I is for Apple! Wait, what?

    Oh, sorry. i is for Apple. (Oh, the English major in me is just freaking out over starting a sentence with a lower case I).
    There’s the:
    Honestly I love my i’s. Love. Them.
    No viruses. No load up screen. No blue screen of death! (curse you 2 yr old dell laptop that just bit the dust and I thought I didn’t need a warranty but now I know that was stupid of me because hey you were a computer and computers break especially Dells from what I heard but I heard too late and now I own a Mac. Neener neener.) Wait, where was I? Oh, yes. Reliability.
    You see, one of the first computers I ever owned was a Mac. A big boxy thing that looked more like a television…I mean an OLD television, not the new ones that are more like peppermint patties: dark and rich on the outside and filled with goodness that you continue to enjoy long after you’ve finished partaking. Peppermint patties are awesome like that. They’re—wait, we were talking about Apple products. Sorry. How do I keep going off on these tangents today? Maybe if I try and justify—oh, I got it. YORK makes peppermint patties and New York is called the big apple, right?
    So there you go.
    Granted, Macs weren’t always the friendly sort they are now. Windows and Mac wouldn’t talk to each other. Playing games? Yeah, they each played their own games, didn’t always play nice with others (some will still Argue that Apple doesn’t in more ways than one). Windows and Mac wouldn’t talk to each other. Documents kept to themselves and had to have an interpreter in order to understand one another. But time has healed the wounds and fixed the friendships.
    Mac is no longer treated like the new kid at school (even though it was kind of there first), but rather the center of attention. Really. It looks to me that Apple has its hands in just about everything and for the most part it’s great! There are a few dissatisfied individuals out there, but my response is to point you to that paragraph up top that rambles on endlessly about my woes with a NON-Apple product. And to have you listen to the testimony of my daughter who laundered her ipod (accidentally of course) and merely got a clean mp3 player in return.
    Macs are sturdy. Reliable. They’re easy to use. They’re a little expensive, which is why a lot of people go the other route. But for the cost of the two laptops I’ve already gone through I could have bought a Mac. One that didn’t try and steal my thesis when the motherboard crashed. Grrrrr. Thankfully my husband resurrected my thesis from my hard drive. Then promptly went out and bought me a Mac.
    Happy Graduation to me. I’ll be enjoying the rewards from both for many years to come.
    How about you? What do you love best about Apple products? What do you dislike? What would you like to see them dabble in next (because you know they will)?

    Monday, April 9, 2012


    Hey, how's it going? What's the matter? you ask. Oh, so sorry! Did my blog title throw you off? I'm not in trouble, but thanks for checking on me!! You're wonderful!

    That's what's so great about writers. We're so eager to help each other out. We write blog postings on how to get an agent, how to write a query, how to edit, post, primp, prod, and everything else associated with getting published.

    I've run across more than a few helpful sites over the course of my writing career thus far, which I thought I might share. The thing is, I know it's not complete. All of you have found your own sites that you steal from...I mean, get help from. You put them in links on the right hand column (I've never yet seen them in the left hand column--but I'm sure they exist), you have a page of them just to make it easy on other writers, and every now and again you blog about them.

    Like I'm doing right now. So here goes! And who knows, maybe I'll make a page of helps when I'm done. I'd love some help building it, too. So be sure to leave the name of the helpful sites you've found in the comment section, okay? Because we can all use the help!!!!

    In no particular order (okay, maybe a little):

    • Google. Enough said.
    • Wikipedia. Same as Google.
    • Agent Kristin at Pub Rants for EVERYTHING writing related.
    • Shelli Proffitt Howell's TOOLBOX with all her own fantastic links.
    • Elana Johnson, queen of how to write a query (author of Query to the Call--with free download now!).
    • Rachelle Gardner--agent extraordinaire
    • Random Plot Generators: Here's one, here's another one, and one can Google the rest. :)
    • Nathan Bransford--how to write a query and so much more.
    • The Heroes Journey--the ultimate structure of any epic story. This is only one example, but it's a good one. This is another. :)
    • The art of free writing.
    • Facebook. Never underestimate the value of the hilarity that is real people's lives. :) And the instant help they can offer you in a pinch. Been there. Saved by it.
    • NaNoWriMo Great ideas! Great forum for help! In November, write a novel in a month. Come on, I Dair YA. :)
    • Young Writers on NaNoWriMo! They have the most fun site and plot generator, dare machine, etc. SO FUN!
    • Writeoncon! Thanks to Jennifer for reminding me of this awesome conference you can participate in each year--in your pajamas! It's a free online writing conference led by some of the best industry professionals out there. The past conferences and vlogs are all archived as well so you can go enjoy them right now! Well...what are you waiting for?
    • A LINK ON THE LEFT! WOO HOO! Shaunna Gonzales has a little spicy help for all those who are trying to write that tantalizing kiss scene. Head on over if you need a little help. WITH WRITING ONE! Not that I meant you all needed help with...nevermind.
    • ASK ALLISON: Just found her through Twitter. 6 years of publishing tips and hints and help!
    I'm going to keep adding to these as the day goes on; because all of a sudden I feel the strange urge to write a story...

    Have a great day! And don't forget to leave me your favorite site. I really DO need all the help I can get!

    Saturday, April 7, 2012


    Today is my oldest son's birthday! Happy Birthday, Son! *throws confetti* And what a gift he was. Still is. We sent him presents for his birthday today, seeing as how he's away at college. Crud, did I just give away my age? Um....yeah, he's like a 10 year old prodigy...yeah...yeah. *not*

    But he is brilliant (quick proud Mom moment--please indulge me). He has many gifts that aren't wrapped up in packaging and topped with bows. They're pretty visible. Like the robots he's built. And the music he's composed. We've gotten a lot of joy out of his creations over the years. Especially this last year alone. Watching him come into his own has been a real treat. Makes us feel like we've done something right as parents.

    Gifts and talents are awesome that way. They not only benefit the possessor, but those who know them. Like with writers: those talented and hardworking individuals who have shared their sweat and tears and experiences through writing, so that I could unwrap that cover and receive a wonderful surprise.

    Each book I read, regardless of my peeking at the end (aka the last Harry Potter--yup, I'm one of those) is full of surprises. The plot twists and turns thrill and delight me. A really good story will pull me back in a second time. Right away.

    I've had many books that have changed my life. They probably didn't even mean to. They're just brilliant that way. That's the beauty of writing; even something meant for pure entertainment. I always get something out it. Treat your best friend better. Treat your mother better. Treat yourself to frozen yogurt at least once a month...uh...that might have been my own mental intrusion. No matter. I win in the end regardless.

    And some of the gifted writers that I've read this past year are:

    Thomas Hardy
    Shannon Hale
    Beth Revis
    Elana Johnson
    Rachel Nunes
    Sarah M. Eden
    Brandon Mull
    Suzanne Collins
    Ilsa J. Bick
    Robert Jordan
    Ally Carter
    Aprilynne Pike
    Marissa Meyer
    Veronica Roth

    and the list goes on.

    I hope one day to add my name to the list of them.

    Meantime, who else would you add to my list of gifted writers? Anyone I might have missed that I really shouldn't?? :)

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    F is for Facebook, Friends and Fan Pages

    Facebook...that all inclusive not so exclusive venue where people can stalk, talk, and balk at anything.

    I remember when it was still a new "thing." It was inhabited by professionals only, college students looking to break into a new career and make contacts. Then MySpace made some mistakes and the teens came rushing over in mass. Adults, too for that matter. Why?

    Because we like to have things within our control. We like settings and privacy and's that working out for everyone these days? But you have to admit that Facebook is a lot more secure than it used to be. Still, I've heard a lot of concerns (especially from authors) on the lack of privacy that persists. But you say 'Why are they complaining? Don't they want all the attention? What's wrong with being stalked??? (cue sarcastic voice--I've been practicing it for years)

    The issue becomes one of personal matters being made public versus those things that would be natural for the general public to know, SHOULD know.

    The creation of Facebook's FAN PAGE was a welcome venue for artists to have a following and connect with those who were interested in their work or themselves personally. It was perfect. No limit as to how many friends (which was later enacted by Facebook policies for Profiles), and you could be whoever you wanted to be--Pseudonyms included. It was perfect. Then there were pages for businesses, pages for groups, pages for EVERYTHING.

    What beauty! What perfection! What a...what is this timeline thing? Wait a minute...

    Facebook has undergone a lot of changes, but not to fear, a lot of good has come out of those changes. The new look has professionals looking even more like professionals, with timelines that resemble an actual webpage or blog. With all the new features it's become a true forum for those who want to connect with their audience.

    I have a new "page" though it has few followers so far. I'm just not one to beg (hint--that was a subtle plea to click on the link to the right and like me--wink wink). I can post, update, and link to twitter through my fan page and I love it!!! I'm excited to have more people to interact with on my author page, so that it can become a true venue to discuss what I love.


    So how about you? What features do you love best about Facebook? Ideas that you have for improvement but the restraining order Mark Zuckerman has against you prevents them from being implemented?

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    E is for Education

    Wait! Wait!!! Don't leave. Sheesh. This isn't about school, even though I'm sitting here in between two classes myself. And there's no test at the end. I promise.

    You'll stay? Whew. Thanks.

    So I've learned so much about writing over the last *mumble* years. I've attended conferences, read books on writing, taken classes, and written....a lot. But out of all the writing education I've received, turns out that reading books...for FUN...was one of the most influential.

    I found my genre through reading. I garnered my style through reading. I fostered my children's love of reading by...yup, reading to them. It's no wonder that it's one of the fundamentals of learning we're taught from early on. You remember the 3 R's: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic.

    If you know how to do all of those things you're pretty much set in life. Everything else, language and otherwise, is based off those important fundamentals. So here's to getting an education and spreading the wealth and love of reading, writing, and *sigh* arithmetic.

    Guess which one I struggled with in school? So, okay, this was a LITTLE bit about school. But there was no test involved!

    What about you? What was your favorite subject? Was reading and writing amongst them? Favorite book you read or had read to you?

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    D is for Dreaming!

    Dreaming...exactly what I was doing today instead of posting.

    Sometimes I dream with my eyes open and sometimes with them closed. And let me tell you, the insides of your eyelids? Yeah, they're pretty nice sometimes.

    I feel truly blessed to have dreams, and not just outlandish "they may never happen" dreams, but ones that I believe will actually come to fruition someday. Why?

    Because I'm going to MAKE them happen. Muwahahaha. I'm graduating with my Bachelor's degree after 20 years of working on it. I have a beautiful family and supportive husband (supportive is code for sexy, awesome, sexy...wait, did I just say that. Well it's worth saying Hehehehe). So I've already got it pretty good in the dream category.

    I have a dream of being published someday though. I really love writing, but I also want others to enjoy it as well. I feel so blessed by the things I've read and how they've changed my life. I would love the chance to offer that to someone else.

    Someday. Someday soon.

    Have a great day! Zzzzzzzzz

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    C if for....drumroll please...


    Wait, sorry, that was a reaction to the sight of something wonderful in my kitchen.

    Of course C stands for children. At least in MY house, although cookies and children DO kind of go together here.

    You see, we have a long standing tradition in our house that says when Mom makes cookies everyone gets a scoop of cookie dough. Yes, raw. I can't possibly have as many children as I do and honestly worry about every possible neurotic danger the world throws at them. And yeah, I've been eating raw cookie dough since I was like four so let's just throw out that horrible, diet-fad producing rumor shall we?

    But as I was saying, there are a lot of wonderful traditions we have in our family. Many of them I brought from my own blessed childhood. I grew up in a large family as well. What can I say, my mother and I both love children. My mother's been gone for two years, but happily the traditions she started have continued on.

    That's a lot of the reason that I love writing so much. Our work is a tribute to our life, others' lives, and for those who have yet to be born. We can learn so much from others' experiences and reading is a great way for us to get the most out of them (second best to living them ourselves).

    We don't need to sky dive to experience the ultimate terror it is to be hurtling towards your death (though I'm highly considering it these days), or be born into a royal family in order to feel like a princess (or prince--equal opportunist over here). :)

    We just need to know how to read. I've helped teach all my children. And I help them find books worthy of their time and interests. That's my role as a parent and writer. To help my children and others find joy in reading. Joy in learning. Joy in experiencing life when you may not have the opportunities for yourself...yet. I'm a firm believer in being able to make happen whatever you put your mind to.

    Hey, I just went up in a prop plane and I'm scared of heights. I know what I'm talking about.

    How about you? Who do you write for? And why?

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    A to Z blogging challenge

    I'm baaaaaaaaaack. And just in time. It's April, which means the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

    So my brief hiatus (it was brief right?--checks previous postings--crud) has now ended and I'm excited to once again be blogging. It wasn't for lack of things to write about I assure you. But you really didn't want to read about my Senior Honors Thesis that I've been writing. Or did you?Maybe that will make it on one the postings this month. Not the whole thing, it's freakin' 100 pages long, just the arduous process that it takes to write one. I highly recommend it. If you want to go insane that is. Somehow my family managed not to starve during the process, which gives me hope down the line when I get my story published. :)

    So to begin (again), yesterday was the letter A, but I was finishing my thesis. So you get a double dose of me today. Aren't you so lucky? (Please nod, you'll make me feel a whole lot better about not blogging lately.)

    For the magnanimous letter A, all I can say is that I love it. I love how sharp it is, I love how they look on my transcript. I have quite the collection you see which makes my family so proud. It's been a joint effort collecting them and I have my family to thank for all their help. *waves at family* *waves again because they don't recognize me obviously* *HEY! I'm the one who puts the frozen dinners in the oven. Yes, thank you. Love you too. :)

    I have a couple of B's in my collection as well though, because those illusive A's are sometimes hard to find. Trust me. But B's are just as beautiful. In fact, beautiful starts with the letter B so there you go. My middle name also starts with a B so it's a double pleasure to behold.

    But honestly I'm happy that my time for formal schooling is coming to an end. I learned a lot and it's been a great experience, but there's a few more things I've collected over the years that are well overdue for some much needed attention. Can you guess what they are?

    I'll give you a hint. It's starts with the letter C and I'll be posting about it tomorrow. So until then...

    Have a great day!
    (man, I've really missed posting that...)

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Book Review: Venom by K.C. Grant

    Book Description:

    Samantha Evans is determined to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of advertising. Newly hired by a prestigious ad agency, she volunteers to work on location in Mexico City as a personal assistant to the beautiful and driven creative director Katrina Edwards. At first the association seems promising. But Ms. Edwards seems preoccupied in a way that makes Samantha increasingly uneasy. In fact, many in the group seem like they are not being completely open about the project, including David Ayala, the mysterious and moody photographer for whose attention the two women find themselves competing. After several strange accidents and numerous appearances by an unknown man, Samantha discovers the truth: not everyone on the team is in Mexico to create a stellar advertising pitch. When her sleuthing leads to her abduction, she is brought to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and comes face-to-face with the venomous evil of the South American crime boss known as The Serpent. Now Samantha must not only fight for her life, but she must also discover if she can trust the man she's come to love.

    When I first began reading, I wondered how on earth we were going to go from coffee runs, copy-editing and credit card theft to an abduction in Mexico. I didn’t have to wait long. The author quickly and thoroughly establishes Samantha’s background story complete with perfect parents, challenging roommate, and serious romantic shortcomings. But her sense of determination and love for the Hispanic people she once served on her mission give her strength of character that will immediately endear her to readers.

    The most beautiful part of Samantha’s struggle is how she learns to couple her ambitious nature with her spiritual side. Fine. Fine. The guys are pretty hot, too. But the things she learns not only help her to grow in strength and understanding, but help her to avoid more than one perilous scrape during her two week adventure.

    The rich descriptions match the beauty of the country the author is describing, depicting her vast knowledge of the both the culture and language. I loved how organically she embeds the Spanish language with its perfect translation, working to bury the reader as deeply into the experience as Samantha herself. It was so beautifully done that I could only bear to put the book down twice: once to sleep and once to write this review. That’s not to say that I didn’t re-read the ending multiple times before finally putting it down. I just couldn’t help myself!

    To purchase a copy of Venom for yourself you can visit here. And to get to know more about the author, K.C. Grant, be sure to check out her website here.

    Kudos to K.C. for a gorgeous book of mystery and romance!!

    Happy reading everyone!