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...)