Saturday, March 31, 2012

Intersession, WIPs, MSs, A to Z


I know I talked about this last Saturday, but it's driving me crazy. I'm losing it over here. My 5yo is losing it too. I'm missing my 'me' time and she's missing being at school. It makes for a week full of grumpy mom and daughter with attitude. I even tried to do stuff to keep her entertained.

We watched a movie at one point, it lasted about thirty minutes. We played outside, but she didn't want me to play with her. We practiced T-Ball (batting, throwing, catching), she was done after ten minutes. She tore the house up and we cleaned it together (although I did most of the work while she whined about how much she hates to clean). We watched this one show she likes that is aweful, but we watched it. I tried to get her to do the right thing, listen and do what she was told, so that we could go shopping...didn't happen. Crafts, games, talking, playing, nothing...absolutely nothing made her stop being mad at me for her having to stay at home. Every day was a fight about how mean I am for not letting her go to school. And how Intersession is stupid and it must be my fault. It was so much fun *rubs temples*


I worked on my WIP all week. Can anyone tell me how to jump out of edit-mode and just write? It's so irritating. I have this darn story in my head, but as I write, I stop and go back to edit something. It's very slow going. I just want to get through my first draft, then edit, but it's not working.


When I worked on my WIP, my MS yelled at me for neglecting it. So, I had to give it some of my time. Why is the completed MS so demanding? I mean, I gave you almost a year of my time, can't you take a break so I can write something new? Is that really too much to ask...

A to Z

Ah yes, the challenge, it's finally here. Well, basically. You can still sign up-here, so if you haven't, go do it.
So, I've got my posts pretty much all figured out. I've written and scheduled some. I've worked my semi-theme out for most days. And my semi-theme for Fridays is only missing from one. So, I'm considering myself ready to go. Hopefully, I will be completely ready within the next few days.

Get to know one of the hosts - DL Hammons.

That's my week, all wrapped up.

Happy Saturday :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Ali Cross

Ali Cross is an amazing author that I found first on the Indelibles blog and I've followed her personal blog ever since. I'm a Writing Ninja thanks to the site she came up with and because of that site, I found out about NiNoCon, attended AND won three awesome books. One of those books was Become by Ali Cross. She is a fantastic writer and a genuinely nice person. Ali tweets @ali_cross, she's on Facebook, and Goodreads.

1. When did you start writing?
I started writing my first book in October of 2002. I remember exactly when it was because...

2. What made you want to write?
My family and I were driving into the mountains for a weekend getaway and I was telling my husband how much I loved Guy Gavriel Kay’s books THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY and how I would love to be able to write a book as beautiful as that one day. We brainstormed ideas, and by the time we got to the resort we were BOTH ready to start writing our own books! And we did!

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
I think wanting to be published went hand in hand with wanting to write from the very beginning. I never wanted (and have never envisioned having) great success—like, I never thought “I want to be a famous author like J.K. Rowling!”. But I did want to be read. I wanted people to receive the story I was sharing, right from the very beginning.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
I write dark urban fantasy, dystopian, and science fiction for teens and adventurous fantasy and science fiction for middle grade readers.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)? Ooh, good question. I write dark stories for teens because that’s what I know from my own life. I tend to write about the power of hope—and there’s no doubt I’m writing to the girl I once was (and someone else like me) with the desire that I can give her hope that things can get better.
I write fun, adventurous middle grade stories because I’m a mom of boys so I often think of stories they would like. These stories are still pretty emotional, which seems to be a constant in my stories, but they are definitely geared toward active boys.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I do a particular type of outlining which is like storyboarding a screenplay. I’m very visual so not only does it help me to visualize my story as if it’s a movie, it helps to have the storyboard in front of me when I’m writing. I don’t need it there all the time though (I can write virtually anywhere, anytime), but the exercise of putting it together really cements the story in my mind. Then, I just write like a crazy madwoman. I don’t stop to second guess myself or to question what I wrote—that comes later!
My revision process tends to be long and arduous, lol—probably because I write like a crazy madwoman!

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
Ha! Yes indeed, as I mentioned above! I am a 100% firm believer in the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. It’s a screenwriting tool, but it works really well for me.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Nope! I used to eat Mike ‘n Ikes like they were going out of style, but I write so often these days that if I always ate candy I’d never be able to get out of my chair. :) I do really enjoy my super-comfy-awesome-fatabulous headphones and Pandora. I <3 Pandora.
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
One hundred percent on the computer. Drafting is always done that way because I tend to write very, very fast and there’s no way my penmanship could keep up with how fast I draft.
But I tend to do all my revisions offline, pink pen to printed manuscript.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I’ve got seven full-length novels written and one short story. :)

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Ha! That’s such a good question. My whole life my family has pretty much thought I was just a dreamer and tended to discount most everything I did. However, when it came to writing, people have been very supportive. Almost like they all went, “Writing? Huh. Now THAT’s something I can see Ali doing!”

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
Yes, I do, albeit badly. I blog, which I love. I’ve tried not blogging (because it’s so time consuming), but gave up. I need blogging. It’s like air to me. I Tweet—pretty much love that, too. I love the connectedness it gives me. I’m on Facebook and Goodreads but I’m sure I don’t utilize either of them like I should. And I’m “on” Google+ but I’ve spent even less time figuring that out than I have Facebook and Goodreads!

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
I often received the advice, “Don’t stop querying! One day you will find an agent/get an editor/get published!” Sometimes, you DO need to stop querying. Sometimes I think it’s best to take your career into your own hands. Not every story gets it’s day by traditional means.

14. Have you always been interested in Mythology or is it something that piqued your interest when you started writing?
I love mythology. I studied Latin (with all its accompanying history) for five years through high school*, then Russian and Slavic history through university. I am fascinated by all mythologies and love learning even more through my eleven-year-old son who is just as crazy about it as I am! *Where and when I lived in Canada we went to grade 13 in high school. Oh the horror!

15. Become is not the typical YA (meaning your supernatural element is not what you usually see in YA), what made you want to write about the devil's daughter?
Do you want the standard answer? Because I thought it would be cool, a neat twist on the usual wanting-to-rebel-against-your-parents kind of teenage angst. If you want the real answer, then I’d say, because I am a girl who has often had to face her past. I’ve often wondered if it’s possible for a person like me to move forward, to truly be worthy of good things. BECOME is my answer to those fears.

16. Are you completely self-published or are you Indie Pubd?
I am completely self-published. It’s all me, myself and I. :)

17. Why did you go that route?
I didn’t initially choose this route. BECOME was contracted with a small publisher and should have been released in July of 2010. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Then I had a New York agent who turned out to be a flake so . . . It was either go independent, or go back through the whole arduous process again. I decided to jump in with both feet and do it myself.

18. What inspired you to create the Ninjas Write site?
I’ve been into martial arts for a long time and think that the black belt mindset is wholly relatable to what it takes to be a published author. For the past year I’ve done all the ninja stuff on my blog, but it’s grown a little too big for me to manage on my own, and I didn’t want my own personal “room” in the blogosphere to be cluttered with We Love Brandon Mull posters. So now Ninjas Write (or the writer’s dojo) is my “office” where we get to go all swoony* over all things author-ish, while my home is where I get to hang loose and just be me. *I had no idea this was an actual word, but apparently it is!

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Read, read and READ!!! I also love to watch a ton of movies—they are inspiring to me!

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Hmm. I guess my word of wisdom would be to love what you’re doing. If you’ve lost the love for your story, it’s okay to put it away (for a while) and write what’s calling your name. Sometimes I think we writers feel we need to power through and not “give up”. But I don’t think it’s giving up—I think it’s responding to the creative inspiration in us to go where our muse takes us. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood lest anyone think I’m advocating story-jumping. There are times when we need to press on, even when our story is giving us fits. (Probably lots and lots of times, honestly). But there’s a difference between pressing on and denying our creative instincts.
This is probably a very good reason why I don’t often give advice because it tends to be convoluted and confusing!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Depending on what kind of To Do Lister you may be, this one can be on the list several times a week, once a week, or even tied in with Grocery Shopping. For me, it varies. There are weeks when I have errands to run every day and there are weeks when I pick one day for my errand day.


There are so many different kinds of errands, they will vary by person. Errands are a part of my non-writer job, that's what I do-things for other people. Sometimes I take other peoples kids to school or pick them up. I do all of the shopping for my mom-even gifts for people. Hell, sometimes even gifts for me (of course, I don't know that at the time). Shopping in general can be a common errand for people. Some have dry cleaning or getting their oil changed. I don't know what else, but you have them. Even appointments: salon, Doctor, Dentist, taking your pets to the vet. They're all errands that need to get done. We may not like it. But I have some tips...

If you need to make a Doctor appointment, think about your schedule. Is there a time when you will already be out of the house? I find it best to have an appointment around then. If I'm already out, it's easier to add another thing to do, rather than being at home and having to get out to go somewhere I don't want to.( This applies to all appointments.)

When you have shopping to get done (other than grocery) it's easier if you decide where you want to go and try to pick places that are close together. That way, you go from one place to the other. You will use up less time, gas and whatever else. You may also want to think like the appointments and try to get your shopping done at a time when you're already leaving the house for something else.

If you have to get something done on your car that is a same-day kind of thing, that only takes a few hours. This is another good time to knock a few things off the list. You can pick a place that's close to something else you need to get done. You know, kill two birds with one stone.

These may seem like obvious tips, but my sister never does them. She procrastinates on making appointments because she doesn't feel like getting out. When she does finally make an appointment, it's in the middle of the day. So, of course, she winds up irritated that she has to get out in the middle of whatever she was doing. When she has errands, she's all over the place. Going from one side of town to the other. I remember one time we were shopping together and she drove to a Target on 21st St. Then she decided we should go to Best Buy, which was at 71st St. Guess what's right across from that Best Buy (in the same shopping center)? Yep, Target. It was pointless and a waste of driving time and gas. She does that all the time.

So, plan out your errands/appointments and it will be much easier to get them done.

Happy, um, Erranding/Appointmenting?  :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thoughtful Tuesday

This is my new Tuesday title. Every Tuesday will now by a thoughtful one. It will either be a poem or some random things, but thoughtful all the same ;)

Why is time management so important, yet so hard to accomplish?

Am I the only person who thinks that it would be awesome if vampires, werewolves/shape-shifters, telepaths, magical witches, etc were real?

On that subject...why are aliens so facinating to people?

When drivers hit a certain age, they should have to take the driving test again. I honestly think there are some people around 60+ who should never be behind the wheel.

Is there a point to being married to someone whom you barely see and when they are actually at home, you wish they weren't? Especially when the person doesn't contribute to any of the bills, groceries, house/yard work? (For anyone who does not know, I myself am not married and have never been, and am not sure that I ever will be. So this is not about me) I'm just thinking that surely I am not the only person who thinks that is an odd 'marriage'.

Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grocery Shop

Before I get to the To Do for the day, I have something to say (dang, I can't help but rhyme all the time :p ). Anywho- It took me forever to gain followers. At times I would make posts and think, yeah, there's no one here to read them. But I kept posting and kept thinking of things I could do to draw in some people. I know a lot of my readers have a ton on their own blogs. But for me, the 32 I have is fantastic. So, I want to say, thank you everyone who follows my blog. Happy to have you here! :D

On to the To Do...

Grocery Shop

This isn't usually on the daily list, but it's on a list somewhere. We have to eat, therefore we grocery shop. I myself am back and forth on the subject-sometimes I enjoy going to the grocery store and other times I despise it. The days I can't stand the grocery stores, I have to force myself to go. There are times when I find inventive ways to make the most of what I do have just so I can put it off another day or two.

We must grocery shop though, so how do you do it? For those of us with kids, it is a little easier to make ourselves. Our kids are top priority and we cannot let them starve, so there's one motivator.

As a writer I have a few things I need when I'm writing. 1. I ALWAYS have something to drink, the entire time I'm writing (water, tea, coffee, juice, occasional Dr.Pepper). 2. I need to snack, it can be something as simple as a handful of peanuts every once and a while (there are times at night when I'm writing from 10 until 2, 3, 4 or even 5 in the morning). 3. Something sweet-you could say this goes along with a snack, but it's not really the same (for me). Sometimes I eat a piece of candy and sometimes it's a candy bar. For some reason, something sweet aids in my writing process.

So, that's another motivator. I know there are other writers out there who have things that they like to have on hand when they're writing, whether it's a certain drink or snack. Therefore, we need to grocery shop to insure we have those things.

Finally, what are we if we whither away due to lack of food/drink? What good would we be? That is the last motivator to help get Grocery Shop checked off the list. We may not like it, but we have to do it.

Happy Grocery Shopping :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Something Sunday

Since I had the amazing Jean Oram on my blog this past Thursday, I thought I would give her KidsPlay site a shout out.

It's All Kids Play is a place where you can go to find fun activities and parenting tips. Jean offers tons of fun stuff to keep your little ones occupied. She also gives things that will help keep you occupied with them. She also tweets tips and fun activities @KidsPlay. I don't have much else to say except if you have kids, grandkids, niece(s)/nephew(s), or know some who has any of them--GO CHECK IT OUT!

I've found tons of stuff to do with my little ones and I know you will find something fun to do.

So, one more time: It's All Kids Play go check it out.

Happy Sunday :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games, Spring Break, Revisions, A to Z

So I had a crazy week-what's new right? Yeah well...

BTW-Did you check out my Thursday TAG! this week? If not, you should!

The Hunger Games

I have never read The Hunger Games. *gasp* With the movie coming out and all the hype, I decided I should get it and see what all the fuss is about. So far I've only read through Chapter 3. I have to say-WOW that's a lot of details. For anyone who does not know-I HATE DETAILS/DESCRIPTIONS! They are soooooo boring. It makes it really hard for me to get into the book because all of the details, my goodness. I hate to not finish a book, so I will finish it. Maybe by the time I get into it more, I will like it better. So far-ch 1-3 get 2 stars, and that's pushing it.

Spring Break/Intersession

This week was Spring Break. *cheers* No, no cheers. My kids drove me crazy. They don't care about Spring Break so it was all my fault they couldn't go to school. It was even harder because my oldest goes to a year-round school so this week was her second week out of school and she still has one more week to go until they're back in session. Again, this is all my fault. Since it is me being mean and not letting them go to school, they decided to go wild. Not listening, tearing up the house, telling me no about was exciting...

Revisions & Writing & Critiques

Revisions were up and down this week. As of right now, they're up. *fingers crossed* I hope they stay that way. Also, I've been working on one of my WIPs. The ideas just started flooding out. It's a great feeling. What's not a great feeling? This week I post the ending chapters of my MS for my critique group. I already didn't care too much for the last two chapters (well, last chapter and an Epilogue). So, I was expecting some bad feedback. Thing is, I got a bit of bad feedback, plus a overall final thoughts sort of thing. Someone said they don't like how I write and that I write the way I want, and it's just not their style. Now, I honestly respect the truth and their opinion, BUT I don't write the way I want anymore. After all the critiques I started writing the way others think I should. The way I'm told people will want to read. I don't write how I want, just like I don't write for me. So-it hurt a little. I try really hard, rewrite my entire MS based on what advice I was given-and still not good. IDK, others like it, so who knows...

A to Z

Welp, I said I was going to talk about it every Saturday until time, so-here ya go. Sign up here. I have a semi-theme for mine and a semi-theme for my Friday posts since I took Friday posts away and will only be doing them for the challenge. I don't have much else to say about the challenge except I can't wait to see what everyone else is going to do. AND you should sign up!

Here's a fun Getting To Know Your Hosts with Alex J Cavanaugh. Go check it out :)
And you can go here to see the winning video and a list of ten tips for the challenge.

That's my week all wrapped up--Happy Saturday! :)

Have you read The Hunger Games? You like it, or don't? Why? Did you go see the movie/are you going to? Have you signed up for the challenge? How do you handle feedback from critique partners/groups? Anything else you want to talk about-go for it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Jean Oram

This week's TAG! is coming at you from Jean Oram. You can find Jean on her site (where she blogs), on twitter @jeanoram & @KidsPlay, on AQC being Super Moderator, she has a site for kids stuff, a blog about kids stuff here, Facebook for writer stuff and parenting stuff, and she's on Pinterest.

Whew, she's a very busy woman! Yet she still found time for my Q&A. (Thanks Jean!)

1. When did you start writing?
About 5 years ago I sat down, and giggling, decided I wanted to write a novel. And I did. It really sucked but it was a TON of fun to write.

2. What made you want to write?
I have no idea. It was like a recessive gene that suddenly kicked in one day. I haven't looked back.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
Pretty much when I started writing. I figured if I was going to write a novel I should try to get it published. I mean, why not?

4. What genre(s) do you write?
I started in chick lit, then started doing some women's fiction which lead to commercial fiction and finally some middle grade children's fiction. I also write nonfiction.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
I'm all over the place. I write what strikes me, evidently.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Nope. None whatsoever. Every book I've written has been different. The only thing similar is a computer, the couch and some tea. But that has all varied too. So nothing I could tag as a ritual.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I've done both. I'm starting to settle into having a rough idea before I write as sort of a plotster/pantster hybrid. The more I write, the more I add to the outline/idea. I try to stay ahead of myself although sometimes I have to work backwards. I'm not much good at being strictly one or the other.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc.)
Nope. Although having no distractions really helps. I get frustrated when I get interrupted all the time. It doesn't exactly bring out the best in me.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
Computer all the way. I do some brainstorming and note taking on paper sometimes. Paper is good for working through what-next, ideas, confusions, etc.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I've got three stories in progress (a commercial fiction, children's fiction and a short story). It's driving me nuts but my writing time is sort of weird and hit or miss at the moment. I've got a first draft waiting for me that I wrote during NaNo a few years ago--it's chick lit and since I kept getting chick lit rejections despite compliments on my writing because chick lit is hard to sell… it sits there. :(

I've three finished chick lit novels (2 of which really suck--I call them finished because I don't think I will ever go back to them) and a women's fiction story sitting there and finally, the nonfiction children's book out on submission. So, I think that's something like 9 or something. I just did my taxes so my math is used up for a few days.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
I don't tell people in my real life that I write and the folks I hang out with online (and know I write) are serious writers. So, no. I avoid situations where I might have to defend myself and what I do.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
Yep. I have been addicted to AgentQueryConnect since 2007. I've learned a TON from the people there, met my critique partners, and got a tip/in from a friend/critique partner which led to gaining an agent.

I love Twitter. I love to learn what's out there and learn new things (one of things I love most about writing) so social media is awesome for connecting with other like-minded individuals.

I also blog both on my own site and with other AQCers on From The Write Angle. I'm working on getting into Facebook and finding the fun there as I think that might be where my audience is for one of my projects.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
I can't think of any offhand. I'm sure there is a ton. The thing with advice is what might be the best advice ever for one person might be the worst advice ever for another.

14. How do you find the time to write, tweet, blog at your personal blog and From The Write Angle, be a Super Mod over at AQC, manage your awesome Kids Play site, AND be a mom to two little ones (especially since I know a one year old must keep you very, very busy)?
Did I mention I also do some freelance editing? (I think I might be trying to achieve too much.)

When you list it all... um, I'm not sure how I manage it! I definitely don't do as much as I did a year ago. But basically, I don't spend a lot of time on my hair or making my house perfect. And I sort of focus on one thing at a time. Efficiency is key. I'm also pretty protective over nap time. That is my time to spend at my computer either writing or doing that other stuff you mentioned. (During the week only as weekends are family time.) I also don't watch much in the way of tv or movies. (0-3 hours a week.) I do read a lot though! I like to average about 3-4 books a month.

As for moderating over at my cyber home-away-from-home, AgentQueryConnect, there is a fantastic group of moderators now and that really helps. Plus, the people who participate on AQC are so great that usually all that's needed is simply helping others and I love doing that. I wish I had more time for that. I could spend all day helping other writers--and before my son was born, sometimes I did!

Honestly, right now I feel like I am not doing a very good job on any of the above (except parenting--that always comes first). I'm doing the minimum, but trying to do it with quality. Sometimes it's frustrating trying to do all that I want to do and not having the time and triaging everything. For example, this month my afternoon writing time has been usurped by getting my site revamped. But it needs to be done. So, what can you do?

15. Being so busy, is there ever a time when a great idea pops into your head but by the time you are able to jot it down, it's gone?
No, usually they nag at me and drive me crazy because I can't act on them all. (Really driving me nuts!!) Plus, I've learned over time to always write ideas down. I have notes and notebooks all over the place. That helps.

16. Did your kids inspire you to want to write middle grade (well, at least one of your kids) or did the desire come from somewhere else?
Several things started that one. One was seeing an agent keep asking for it on her blog. Another was the fact that those stories are blessedly shorter which means I feel like I am actually getting somewhere when I write in the snippets of time I manage to snag. Plus, I can keep focussed on the plot--I haven't forgotten it and half the characters by the time I've written for a month or two. And, as I have discovered, it is a TON of fun to write.

17. Where do you get the ideas for your Kids Play site? started when I saw a cool teepee in a magazine. Since my eldest wasn't big enough at the time to appreciate it, I wrote the idea down. That opened a door in my mind and by the end of the week I had several hundred ideas. Now I have hundreds and hundreds! I think having a fun and free childhood helps with finding creative things to do. Right now I am working on revamping the website. I hope to make it even better!

18. I read chick lit, and know a couple of fabulous chick lit writers. Do you have any thoughts on why chick lit is so hard to sell?
The market got flooded a few years ago (or so I hear) to the point where publishers were cancelling contracts. I think it will take awhile for that to cool down. I hope it will become easier for agents to sell again in the future. But, if you have the right story, it doesn't matter that the market is full, there is always room for someone who is awesome.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I hang out with my family, play outdoors, read, try to get the house back in order.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Enjoy it.  Always learn. Don't be afraid to fail. You can't know everything about writing right out of the gate. Look at failure as a way to learn and improve. And again, enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


First up on the non writer To Do is:


If you have school to get yourself to and you are a writer-it can be so hard.. So, how  can you do it? Stop staying up late to write! NOT. This is only a not because, let's be real, it just isn't that simple. We are writers, therefore, we write. It may keep us up until three in the morning, but you can't say-HEY Creativity, leave me alone so I can go to bed...I have school in the morning. Sad, but true. Writing is a passion. It's not a light that you switch off because it's time to go nighty night.

Same goes for those of us who have kiddos to get to school in the morning/or picked up in the afternoon. Our writing has to be shut off, but how to do it can be a mystery. Same reason as above...It's just not simple.

Those of us who attend school AND have children to get to/from school....hang on, give me a minute to praise you.........Okay. No really though. It's complicated to manage one of those things and the fact that you manage both deserves a pat on the back.

The problem is that there is no real solution. Yes, school is important. Yes, sleep is important-especially to do well in school or to get our kids to school on time. You can't cut your thinking off at night, no matter how much you need/want to. That means the best way to make sure you are able to get yourself and/or your kids to school on time is to...just do it. Hehe, you all thought I would change it up for these huh? Nope.

Well, maybe a little. If you're like me and just can't switch your characters off at night (which many writers are), then set an alarm for the morning. Set 2 or 3 if you need to. Honestly, I set 10----yeah, makes me go :o too. I do it though. Plus, I get everything ready the night before. Sounds like an obvious, but not everyone takes the time to do it. Those two things alone will help. The rest is pure motivation. You have to get to school/get your kids to/from school-so you use that to motivate you to get it done.

I've learned that if I try to make my characters stop talking because I say so, they talk louder. So, I don't try anymore. I just focus on the fact that I have to get my kids to school on time and pick them up on time. That, with the alarms and a little pre-planning the night before helps me accomplish this to do.

Happy Schooling or something :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Summer comes
Summer goes
Then comes winter
Rain, sleet and snow

We have months of heat
Then months to freeze
Get those months to play
Then those of cuddling

Seasons change
They come and go
All they do for me
Is bring signs of hope

Hope for new
Hope for change
Hope for a better year
And many more seasons.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

I have to post twice today, but it's worth it...I got my first blog award, YAY!

I was just hanging out, working on revisions when all of the sudden I get a message on Twitter from @geekytendency. It said there was something for me on his blog. So, I go to it and what was there?

So, thanks Jeremy :) Everyone, go check out his blog. He talks about some pretty fun stuff over there.

I have a few instructions, they go like so:

1. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award.

2. In the same post, thank the blogger who gave you the award and put a link back to their blog.

3. Nominate 15 other people for this award and let them know.

4. Post seven random things about yourself.

5. Include these rules in your post.

So, here are my Seven Random Things:

1. I am a very, very loyal person. And I mean, LOYAL. If I care about someone or something in any kind of way, it takes a string of major things to break my loyalty to that person or thing.

2. I sing. I even had a group in middle and high school, but we never went anywhere. I rap a little too. And I can for real sing, not just that-I think I can, but I really sound like a sick howling dog. My passion is writing though, which is why I don't try to make anything of my singing.

3. In middle school, I pierced my own belly button (with a safety pin) it hurt. What hurt even worse though was when a 'friend' of mine ripped it out. Ouch.

4. When I was three, my next door neighbor's dog bit me on my nose and I had to go to the ER. When I was 5, a kid pushed me off the merry-go-round at school, busted my head open and I had to get 5 stitches. On my sixth birthday, I was riding my bike and crashed it. I knocked my front tooth out and had to have a false tooth for a year or so. When I was around 7 years old, my sister shut my finger in the sliding door on my moms' van. I broke my wrist when I was 9. I cracked my collar bone when I was 13. My neighbor gave me a black eye from a snowball when I was around 14...I'm just a tad bit accident prone.

5. From September to April/May I consume a total of about 3-4 pots of coffee. Strong coffee. In the other months I consume about 11/2-2 pots. But that's because I switch to tea and can't even count how much of that I drink-it's a lot though. And I still find room to fit at least 1/2 gallon of water a day.

6. I have long hair-like down to my butt long. And I am so attached to it that I cannot cut it. Even in the summer months when it gets so hot and sticky here in Oklahoma, I will not cut my hair. Not even a trim, though I know it needs it. When I do convince myself to trim it, I cry-yep, I cry for the loss of my hair.

7. I used to hate You Tube and still don't care much for it. BUT I am obsessed with Goopery. It's a vlog by a guy named Luke, and it's funny. I love it. He even has a side channel now-Gooperdom, and I love that one too.

I went through my reader and picked at random. I love all the blogs I follow, so I wasn't sure who to pick. Some of you may already have this award, sorry to repeat, but hey-nothing wrong with having the same award more than once, right? Anyway, here's my fifteen:

Joey F
E.M. Labonte
Dean C. Rich
Jacqueline Gardner
Jean Oram
Jemi Fraser
Alex Cavanaugh
C.K. Bryant
Michael Offutt
DL Hammons
Tiffany M.
Riley Redgate
Jayne D
Bloggit Write

Happy Awarding! :)

So Little Time

So it's time to work on tackling those non writer to dos. The list goes on and on, at least for most people I know. For these to dos, I will be making some of them work with my A to Z Challenge posts. Those don't start until April though. Here are some things I will be talking about:

Grocery Shop
Pick up

Some of you may think these topics are strange and many will think they don't apply to them. But, it may surprise you once the posts are up, so come back and take a look. Even if I don't give you anything that helps with your to do, it may be interesting all the same.

Happy Monday :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Something Sunday

This Sunday is for the writers. I decided since I'm always talking about Agent Query Connect, I should give the site its own post.

For anyone who doesn't know, AQC is a forum full of writers. There are topics for queries, synopses, publishing, writing/editing advice, agent info, marketing, etc. Really, the list goes on and on. The amount of knowledge you can gain (and provide) on AQC is so vast.

You can ask questions, post your query and synopsis for critique, or a want-ad for a critique partner. That's not all...There's a topic to post your Twitter name so you can gain followers, plus a topic for your blog address, one for your Facebook and even one for your Goodreads. Had a bad writing day? There's a topic for that. Did your book finally get picked up by an agent? Boast about it at AQC-there's a topic for that. Feeling a little bored and need a break from writing? Check out the Game Room. Need some motivation to meet your 2k words a day goal? There's a topic for that.

Are you just a writer looking for other writers to share your journey with? Go to AQC! It's a fantastic place, full of wonderful writers (some are even published and have some pretty darn good books out). The best part, other than the great things you can learn, is that this forum is full of REAL people who are there to share in the experience with you. People who are willing to help you. People who have the same questions you have. And people who you can help.

I found some great reads from being a member of AQC. I gained a critique partner and a critique group because of this site. More important? I gained friends who are writers that are there with me, and that I can be there for as well. I would be lost had I never joined Agent Query Connect. In fact, I would probably have sunk into a depression brought on by the overwhelming challenges of being a writer. This site gave me a community of writers that have made me a better writer.

Agent Query Connect is a wonderful forum and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a writer, or anyone who thinks they want to be one. Go check it out. You can explore the topics without even being a member. So you get a chance to see if it's the right fit for you.

(If you sign up (or just want to find me) I'm K McClelland on there.)

Are you a member? Leave your name in the comments if you want :)  Not a member? Why? Is there a particular reason, or did you just not know about the site? If you didn't know, are you going to join now that you do?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Birthday, Critiques, Schedule, A to Z

Okay, so this was a strange week for me. My mind was everywhere and nowhere and here and there....Crazy.

Monday my youngest daughter turned four. We had a party for her, invited a couple friends from her Headstart class (couple meaning literally two), and had pizza, cake and ice cream. I will freely admit, I am a pantser in writing and in regular life. Oh yeah, I love my to do lists, write them every day-even several times a day sometimes-but I suck at planning ahead. In fact, it was the morning of the party when I told the moms of those two kids what time the party would be. Yeah, go me, right? Ah well, it worked out. We had fun, although I had nothing planned to keep the kiddos entertained.

Something else that I did well with this week was critiques. I am usually so bad about it. I still have one crit for my group left, but typically, I still have almost  (or all) of them left even by now. (In my critique group we post a chapter or few on Sunday/Monday and then have a week to critique.) This week though, I was on point, for the most part. Something else that worked better this week...revisions! Yes, you read that revisions were pretty good this week, YAY :)

My blog schedule has changed. Just to let you know:
Monday and Wednesday will still be the To Do List posts (we are now on the non writer to dos).
Tuesdays are now for poems OR random thoughts. Some days it's just easier to get some random things up.
Thursdays are still TAG!
Fridays are now open (except in April) I want to give my TAG! people more time to shine. Speaking of, Jacqueline Gardner was this weeks TAG! if you missed it-go here.
Saturdays are still the week wrapped up and Sundays are still Something Sundays.

And on to my last topic- the A to Z Challenge yep, talking about it again. :)  I decided I will have something I am doing for each letter. Not a theme exactly, just a little something. I will talk more about it either on March 31st or I will in my A post on April 1st (because that's the first day of the challenge in case you didn't know. Of course I'm sure you signed up, so you do know, right? If you haven't-go sign up).  I don't have a theme because I am not going to stray from my schedule and I have rules to posting more than once a day. I also wrote a couple more posts for April, YAY-I guess I do plan ahead sometimes.

So, there's the week wrapped up. Happy Saturday :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Jacqueline Gardner

Jacqueline Gardner (AKA Jacque) is someone else I met on AQC, of course, and she is the author of Thoughtless & Mutiny(book 1 in the M.E.R. series). She's also got another book coming out in April and the second book in the M.E.R. series will be out this year. You can find her on her site and she's on Twitter @Writer_Jacque.

1. When did you start writing?
Since I was in middle school I've kept an ideas journal. Twelve-year-old me had some strange book ideas! But I've been into writing and storytelling since before I can remember. Telling made up stories before bed was basically a childhood tradition of mine.

2. What made you want to write?
Writing for me is very therapeutic. That's why I do it, and that's why I love it. It's a stress reliever.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write) When I'd written enough for a full-length book! My first manuscript was crazy long (and very wordy). But it taught me a lot about my writing style. After the first, the others came easy and I found I just couldn't stop.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
At the moment I write young adult fiction.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
I enjoy writing 'firsts' - first crush, first kiss, first betrayal, first loss of a loved one.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Nothing specific but I like to write chapters from start to finish. I don't like stopping in the middle and picking up where I left off later. I usually bribe myself with little things like a tv show, a nap, or even a cupcake.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing? 
I usually have the main plot points written down and an idea of how to get there.  Other than that, I leave my characters a lot of room to do what they want.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
I need noise! Whether it's music or the tv, I need background noise to focus. I was the same way with homework in college.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I go straight to the computer but I also have a book journal that I doodle in to keep my thoughts in order. And yes, I still keep an ideas journal by my bed. It's full of book ideas! Some are better than others.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
Four books & one short story

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Well that person would have to be ME! I'd always thought of writing as just a hobby until a couple years ago.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
Yes! I have a blog & I tweet @Writer_Jacque. 

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
No. Though I've come across advice that wasn't particularly helpful for me. I guess it depends on the writer.

14. Why do you like to write about mind readers?
THOUGHTLESS is about a teenage mind reader who sees her ability as a curse. I've never personally read a book or series about mind readers (though they do exist). It was a story idea that I would've liked to read myself, so I wrote it for fun.  

15. If you could have ONE magical power, what would it be?
I don't think I'd want to be a mind reader. Some things are better left private! But maybe time travel? Sometimes I just don't have the patience to wait for things!

16. Why that particular power?
So I wouldn't need to work on being patient. Though I'm sure that power would backfire someday.

17. Why do you love cupcakes so much?
An old roommate of mine was a culinary art student. I helped her finish decorating a wedding cake one weekend, and I immediately became obsessed with the world of cake! I like to create them more than I like to eat them. I actually have a hard time watching when someone eats a design I spent all day making perfect. Right now cake decorating is a hobby, but one day that could change too.

18. What is the best cupcake you've ever had? What's the worst?
Well the best is actually one my husband invented. It's a made-from-scratch chocolate cake with a Brazilian candy poured over the top. So good! And the worst . . . probably all the cupcakes I made in cake class. I took a cake decorating class once & we used Crisco based buttercream to practice. Its basically 90% Crisco and 10% powdered sugar. In other words, flavorless sugar and lard. Yeah, I didn't eat any of those.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I'm involved with a production company called Labragirl Pictures. We make historical documentaries paired with classroom curriculum.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know? Yes! Have your work critiqued by other writers, rather than family & friends. You get better advice that way. And be willing to accept criticism. If someone makes a negative comment about your manuscript, choose not to be offended.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

To Do List: Share

This is the last to do on the writer to do. Next week I'm going to be starting the non writer to do.


This will actually be a pretty short post. It's quite simple...

When you're connecting, reading, learning, even researching-you will come across something that you love. A Tweet that you retweet, a blog post that you tweet a link to-or post on your Facebook or blog. If you enjoyed it, or found it informative, or even thought it was horrible-share it! The way to do it? As soon as you find a post or tweet or whatever else you feel like sharing, do it immediately. If you're including sharing with the other things you're already doing, what's another minute or two to share something you think others should see/read?

See, short and sweet. A simple way to wrap up the Writer's To Do List. Now we are all having a better time checking everything off our to dos, right? Of course we are.

Happy Sharing :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I don't have a clue really where my title for this came from. Again, there is no poem today, sorry busy bee over here. So here are some random thoughts...

Every kid at some point (at least those that I have known) always sing "The Song That Never Ends." For anyone who may not know it: "This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend(s) some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because." (Repeat over and over and over...) SO- is there an old man/woman somewhere still singing this song? I mean, it's supposed to go on and on, right?

Why is it called the "terrible twos" when it doesn't REALLY hit until around 3?

Why do so many people not know that a woman carries a baby for ten months, not nine?

Why is it easier to write an entire book, all the way through to the final FINAL draft, than it is to write the synopsis/query/blurb/etc.?

Why are actors/actresses/singers/rappers more famous than authors/poets? They are the real celebrities.

Why do waitresses/waiters make so little money? I don't know how it is elsewhere-or even what minimum wage is as of right now for servers, but when I was a waitress, min wage was 2.13/hr. It is almost impossible to live on that, even with the tips. Yet, servers go through all kinds of hell. When food is cooked wrong, the server gets the complaints. When the cooks are moving slow, customers blame the servers. This list could go on and on, but the point is the same: Servers bust their asses and make practically nothing, why? (Remember that next time you're at a restaurant, btw)

The youngest generation of kids these days will never know the joys of Atari/Original Nintendo/Original Gameboy. They will never know what it's like to take have to blow in a game to make it work right.
What a thin, simple, rectangular controller feels like in their hands-how easy it fits and how much better you can play. What a real joystick controller looks like. A black box, with one orange button and a white stick in the middle.They won't know how Mario looks without the digital enhancement, or what Frogger is really supposed to look like. They won't know that there were big, rectangular, hand-held games that didn't even have a color screen. Or how about what it's like to flip a silver switch (yes I really mean switch) to turn the game on. The joys of gaming in the "digital age" is just unfair to our younger generations. It's so sad....

That concludes my random thoughts. Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

To Do List: Blog

Oh I know, I know-not everyone blogs-right? Why?!?!


I love to read writers blogs. I didn't used to. In fact it's only been about a year since I started reading blogs. I read them all the time now though. Blogging helps us connect with other writers, with other people like ourselves, other people who share our interests.

It's hard to find time to blog, but you should still do it. With all the scheduling options, it makes it even easier. For instance, I'm writing this post on March 4, but you are just now reading it today, March 12. I have a little time right now, so that's why I'm writing a few posts in advance. I do have other posts on my blog that I don't always schedule, or that I don't schedule very far in advance. The point is, blogging helps you gain an audience, so you should find a way to do it. I'm not telling you to, just suggesting. And the way you mark Blog of the to do, is find free time in your schedule to fit it in. Write some posts in advance and schedule them to post at different times. Also, make a blogging plan. Figure out what you want to talk about and how often you want to post. I post everyday because that's what I want to do. Some people post 3 days a week, some only once a week. Just decide what works best for you and do it.

Aren't these short posts nice :p

Happy Blogging :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Bound by C.K. Bryant

Five Stars (and hats off) to Bound by C.K. Bryant.

This is another book I won from the awesome NiNoCon. I won the ebook and read it in one day. It was THAT good. Nothing I had to do got in the way of my reading this book. I read it throughout the day and by the time I went to bed, it was over. Which was the saddest part-it was over. The sequel isn't even out yet...I'm so sad.

C.K. did an excellent job with this book. Kira's adventure will keep you intrigued from start to finish. There is not a dull moment in this one. I read every single word from start to finish, no skimming this one. It was one of THE BEST books I've read in a long time. I hate to sound this way, but I was happily surprised by how well written this story is.

This is usually where my spoilers would come in, but I hate to spoil it for anyone. Okay, okay, I'll do it...


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kids, Dads, Revisions, and A to Z

This week's Saturday wrap up is late because I didn't want to post my original. It was LONG and ventful (yes, ventful :p). So, I decided I wasn't posting a post like that. I cut it back, got rid of a some of the venting and here ya go...

REVISIONS! I think that word should be classified as a swear word. I will just leave it at that because if I don't the post will be way too long.

KIDS! My three and five year old were packed full of back talk, attitude, and overall "I will do what I want and there's nothing you say or do that will stop me." It was a stressful week as I tried to get them to check their attitudes and clean up after themselves. It didn't get all the way better, but they're not being as rotten.

DADS! I say "Dads" but really only one dad pissed me off this week, my kids'. He called Monday and cut them off. Said he's done with all of us. Yep-isn't he father of the year? Oh yeah. That's okay though, I hate it for my kids, but we will get through it together. It's going to hurt my oldest more, she is an EXTREME daddy's girl. Oh well, people do stupid things, and that's stupid on his part, but I learned long ago that I cannot change him.

A TO Z! Yes, to wrap up this Saturday, like I did last Saturday, I want to talk about the A to Z Challenge. It's such a positive way to conclude my grumpy post. The challenge is creeping up slowly, but it's coming. I have my poems lined up for every Tuesday and Friday(though they will be poems I wrote a while back, it's just easier that way.) I have my April 1st post written and scheduled. I have my Monday and Wednesday To Do posts planned out for each letter of those days (Yes, we will still be working on the To Dos' it's just the non writer to do) I have some prospects for my Thursday TAG! (Those letters are not so easy) I got my line up almost completely ready to go. Next week I'm going to work on getting posts written and scheduled. NOW-don't you think it's time for you to go sign up? I know some of my readers are already signed up-YAY-but if you haven't you should. It's going to be so fun! Go to the A to Z Challenge site to sign up.

I will tell you, I'm going to mention the challenge for the remaining Saturdays in March. Sorry for anyone who already signed up, I know you don't need to hear about it every week. I just want to make sure anyone who doesn't know about it-or knows but hasn't signed up-goes to sign up. I will try to add a link to something fun about the challenge, like this one: Jeremy over at his blog Geeky Tendencies has a fun list-HERE.

So that's this week all wrapped up, Happy Saturday! :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Love

The first day we met
I could see in your eyes
Determination, power
An ever burning fire

An angel
In every sense of the word
Beauty and passion
A fighter for sure

Attitude to keep me
Always on my toes
A heart so big
There's barely room to grow

Like the peace
Of a calm summer night
That I ever lived without you
Just doesn't seem right

Life will bring us struggle
Heartache and pain
I promise to be there
To shield you from the rain

My heart is yours
From now until death
My love remains
Stronger than the rest

This is a poem I wrote for my daughter. She turns 4 on Monday (March 12) so I wanted to post it for her-even if she can't read it :) Happy Birthday Asianae! :D

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Jayne Denker

It's time for my next TAG! victim participant. :)

Up today is Jayne Denker, a fabulous woman and a friend of mine that I met on...Agent Query Connect. She writes (wonderfully) about real women and real things that happen in life. She blogs here, you can find her under the name jdenker on AQC, and she's on Facebook

1. When did you start writing?
It seems I've always been a writer! I remember really loving writing assignments back in elementary school, and because I was a huge reader, I felt like I wanted to create stories as good as the ones I loved reading. So I started writing for fun.

2. What made you want to write?
It's a compulsion, isn't it? Writers can't NOT write. Characters, plots, scenes, etc. always popped into my head, and I found myself fleshing them out during my daydreams (I was always in trouble in school for daydreaming!) Then I needed to write them down so I I didn't forget them.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
I've always had the desire to be published--even when I was a child I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. I tried to make a living doing other things, like high school English teacher, proofreader, catalog editor, Web content manager, etc. But it was the full-time jobs and the freelance gigs where I had a byline that excited me. Once I decided to quit my full-time job to stay home with my son, I started thinking seriously about finally writing a novel for publication.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
It used to be called chick lit, but now, since that term is verboten, let's call it romantic comedy!

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
I love to make people laugh, so the idea of writing something that would put a smile on people's faces, something that would brighten their day, makes me happy. Serious fiction is not my strength, and I know enough not to fool myself into thinking it is. Besides, there's so much serious stuff out there already. But a successful comedic novel...that's my Holy Grail. That's a challenge--something to strive for.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
No spinning in circles and spitting over my shoulder (Shakespeare in Love reference there), no voodoo rituals. I just need quiet so I can focus (and coffee). What's weird, though, is if I have complete silence when I'm home, I'm easily distracted by stuff around me--dishes need to be washed, floors need to be cleaned, internet needs to be checked (!) (that's right--"needs" to be checked ;) ), but if I take myself out of my usual environment and go to a coffeehouse, even if I'm surrounded by people, I can work better because there isn't anything else demanding my attention.
The nut of it is I need enough time to slip into a creative mindset. There are four types of brain waves: beta, alpha, delta, and theta. When we're doing everyday things, our brains are in beta. When we get creative, or even when we co-create by watching a movie or reading a book (when we're really into it), our brains are in alpha. I need to get into alpha to produce some decent fiction.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I maintain a rough outline--or, rather, a list of stuff I need to remember. It's usually only a page or two, a giant single-spaced blob of text that I keep adding to as I think of things: character details, key scenes, a list of plot points I need to hit, bits of conversation, funny lines. Everything, however, is subject to change at a moment's notice. I don't stick to the outline if my characters say otherwise.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Time to focus, as I said before. And snacks. Not all the time, of course, or I'd be 600 pounds. But, you know, munchies. And one of my cats has decided she's my supervisor. If she hears me typing on my laptop, she shows up out of nowhere and plops on my chest (if I'm lying down) or my wrists (if I'm sitting up) and makes things much more difficult. But I appreciate her presence.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I used to write longhand when I was a teenager, back in the Dark Ages before personal computers (eep showing my age, there). But nowadays my laptop is my extra appendage. Because I can type as fast as I think, it's easiest just to type everything straight into the computer. I guess I have to thank my mom for forcing me to take typing in school.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I have no idea, to be honest, since I've been writing for decades. I wrote about a dozen novella-length stories when I was a teenager. Because I was an English/creative writing major, I wrote a bunch of short stories (and several very bad poems) in high school, college, and grad school. One of my short stories was published. I have one completed novel-length MS that I've been trying to get published lately. I have a half-finished MS that's on hold and a new one I'm working on...and ideas for about five more.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Oh lordy, yes! There are always detractors. I have one particular relative who always gives me grief--every time I mention a writing gig, even if I talk about a blog entry I wrote, she immediately asks, "Oh yeah? You getting paid for that?" But what I've learned is that the naysayers doing their thing isn't so much a commentary on my talent (or lack thereof), but instead reveals their own fears. They can't imagine being a writer because that's not one of their own talents, or they think nobody except Stephen King can be a successful writer. Or they're just afraid to do something out of the ordinary, and that fear compels them to try to stop someone else doing something out of the ordinary, being creative. As for that relative of mine, she doesn't understand that writers create for the joy of it, and I find that sad.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I have a blog ( and a Web site I built for my freelance writer/editor work ( I'm on Facebook, but only to communicate with friends and family, not to promote my writing. I was on Twitter but I had about 12 followers and maybe about half of them were real people. I was boring even myself, so I quit. Honestly, I think Twitter is a ridiculous medium, and I look forward to the day something better replaces it.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Ooh ooh yes! Absolutely! It's a twofer, even. The first bit of advice I hate is that you have to get up at the crack of dawn to carve out some time to write. I'm a night owl; IF I could drag myself out of bed before dawn, the only thing I'd get on the page would be s&^oidhW@~yd!890*973b^%&^#. I say write whenever your imagination takes you by the earlobe and twists, demanding that you get more of your story written. If that's 5 a.m., great, but don't do it because somebody else's body clock says so. Carve out time whenever your schedule allows it--that could be your lunch hour, just before dinner, or 2 a.m.

The second bit of advice is very popular, so I'm probably going to piss somebody off criticizing this one: that you have to sit down and write for X number of hours every single day no matter what, because even if you're writing crap, at least you're writing. I say hogwash. Sometimes you simply can't write every single day--life gets in the way. And then, if that happens, you could start to beat yourself up over not sticking to your schedule, which might make you more likely to give up on writing altogether. Don't fall into that trap. The same goes for writing crap. When I write a lot of crap day after day, I'm more inclined NOT to sit down and try again. I say give yourself time to be inspired instead--and when a little bit of mental meandering sparks an idea, mow down whatever is in your path to get to your paper or computer to get it on the page.

14. How do you find a balance between your writer life and your non writer life?
LOL I'm not so sure I do! :) A lot of times my writing ends up being last on my list unless I consciously make it a priority. So many times I'll say "Okay, today I'm not doing anything but writing!"...and then I get distracted by a thousand and one different things. Conversely, if I'm on a roll writing, my household duties suffer, but then I feel guilty. Do you have ANY IDEA how big dust bunnies can get when your back is turned?!
If I have an article due or some other deadline with my writing, I'll isolate myself--I'll go to a local coffeehouse right after I drop my son off at school and stay there till it's time to pick him up. The place gets a lot of my money, what with my needing breakfast, lunch, coffee, and Italian vanilla sodas! Often I'll get inspired late at night, because of that night owl thing I've got going on, and then I'll stay up writing till 1 or 2 a.m. Not the best practice, but I won't shut off the creative flow if I can help it.

15. How do you manage to write (fabulously) and still find time to be an awesome and involved mom?
My son, who's 8, always comes first--there's no negotiating on that. So I write when he's in school or after he's gone to bed. If for some reason I have to write when he's home, I am able to say "I have some work to do" and he'll amuse himself for a little while. But I try not to do that unless it's absolutely necessary.

16. How long does it take you to write a complete novel (all the way to the end, edits and all)?
You know, I'm not sure, since I've only completed one MS so far. That one took me about a year and a half (with months-long gaps of inactivity), but subsequent novels might take more or less time--not sure yet. I started my completed novel during National Novel Writing Month in 2009--I wrote the required 50,000 words during the month of November. After that I was so burnt out I left it for ages, although I wrote a chunk during the summer. When NaNoWriMo 2010 came around, I wrote 50,000 more words to finish the story. By that point I had a ridiculously high word count--something like 130,000 words! The first half of 2011 was dedicated to hacking it down to a manageable size, editing, and polishing. I finally was happy with it by July 2011, so I started querying agents at the end of that month.

17. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?
Absolutely everywhere. People I know (I want that t-shirt that says "Careful or you'll end up in my novel!"), people I don't know--I mean people I observe in public and start speculating about what they're like. Even imaginary characters--ones I meet in books or in movies or on TV shows. Of course I don't steal them or recreate them in their entirety, but instead something about the character or person in front of me sparks my imagination, and suddenly an entirely original character starts forming in my mind. As for the romantic heroes, well (!), they're entirely imaginary, although I often cobble together physical attributes and/or personality traits of men that make my knees wibble (entirely different from wobble, that is ;) ).

18. What genre(s) do you like reading outside of the genre you write it?
I'll read anything that comes highly recommended or sounds intriguing. Right now I'm in the middle of Stephen King's 11/22/63, Joseph Monninger's The World as We Know It, the inspirational book Heaven Is for Real, and a second go-round with The Help, and I've just ordered the Hunger Games trilogy. Reading them takes forever, though, because whenever I have some down time I try to write instead of read. Another balancing act, I guess.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I'm thinking about writing! :) Really! Part of my mind is always on my WIP--what's coming up next, how to untangle a knotty bit of plot, etc. But when I'm not being Superwriter, I'm a mild-mannered housewife and mother doing domestic goddess-y things, working on renovating our old house (that never ends), and catching up on my favorite TV shows--all serialized fiction, of course (not reality shows). They're like dipping back into a favorite novel every week. My favorites lately are Smash, Hart of Dixie, and Cougar Town.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Read. Read a LOT. Read the stuff in your chosen genre, but also make sure you read Literature with a capital L, the classics, so you know what really good writing is--the stuff that stands the test of time. An added benefit is when you read some new stuff that is sheer garbage, you feel better about your own writing, because day-um, it's better than THAT, and THAT got published--! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Do List: Research

Today's to do may sound a little like Monday's, but it's not really. Also, this will most likely not be a daily thing, it may not even be a weekly thing-but it will still be on the to do somewhere.


This is something you absolutely HAVE to do. Every book you write is going to require some type of research. For some it may be minor things, and for others (like my first book in my vampire series) it will be A LOT of researching. This is definitely one of those-You find time to do it, because you need to-kind of to dos. There is no way around researching for a novel. Even if you write non fiction, you still have to do some type of research for it. You want your novel to hold truth of some things, no matter what your genre is. If you don't research, your story may lack believability. Your reader is going to want believability.

So, make the time to check Research of the list. YAY! This is a short one. Sorry I can't give more helpful advice here, but really-JUST DO IT.

Happy Researching :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Sister Queens By Sophie Perinot

This is my second post for today, and like the first, it's not a poem. I apologize to any of my readers who enjoy my poems every Tuesday and Friday, but I wanted to promote a couple books today.

Especially this one....

Sophie Perinot is a Historical Fiction author. She can be found on Agent Query Connect under the name LitGal and on Twitter @Lit_Gal. She is also a contributor on From The Write Angle, a site you should check out if you haven't yet. Today is the day her debut novel hits the shelves...

The Sister Queens

"Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals. They were also queens."

Although I am not a historical fiction type of gal, I can't wait to read this book. The blurb had me interested from the first time I read it and I've been looking forward to the release ever since. I added The Sister Queens to my TBR and I recommend you to as well. Even those of you who are not Historical Fiction fans, I would give this one a shot, I believe it would change your mind. 

Please go here for more information about The Sister Queens and links to where you can purchase it.

Shield the Heart by T.K. Richardson

If you like YA books with lots of twists and turns you may enjoy my new book Shield the Heart. When you mix one girl with a special gift, one ancient Russian prophecy, danger, and a dash of romance you end up with Shield the Heart!  

I hope you'll check it out. The book is available in paperback and as an ebook.

One Gift, One Prophecy, One Choice

Shield the Heart

(Note: This book is part of a series. Book #1 Return the Heart. Book #2 Shield the Heart.)

What if the battle was in your heart?

Lilly's gift of reading the heart seemed like a curse, but when she discovered her gift was linked to an old, Russian prophecy it changed everything. What she never questioned, though, was her own heart.

When the prophecy pulls Lilly back to Russia and demands to be fulfilled she is torn between love and loyalty. She must make the most difficult decision of her life and choose between the two. But Lilly's decision is farther reaching than even she is willing to acknowledge. It stretches from East to West - from the past to the future.

Lilly discovers there's more to the old prophecy than she realized and enemy forces are bent on stopping it from unfolding.

One thing is certain - there will be casualties. And sparing those closest to her may be impossible. While Seth attempts to shield Lilly from the truth, Nikolai reveals secrets that could change everything.

As Lilly falls into the arms of Russia she must decide: will love or loyalty reign? And can she live with the consequences? Two sides compete for Lilly's heart and she must find the answers she needs before her enemies find her.

Shield the Heart, by T.K. Richardson, is the riveting second book in the series and takes Lilly deeper into Russia's mysterious past... and her future.

(**This post was part of a contest to win a Kindle Fire.  If you'd like to enter for a chance to win visit the site to find out how!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Do List: Learn

We're still going strong and everyone is having an easier time checking things off their to do. So here's the next thing up, and this one doesn't always have to come daily.


Now, of course we all hope to learn something everyday (or at least several times a week). However, what I'm talking about here is learning in respect to your craft-writing. There are so many things we need to know and it never stops. The business, agents, publishers, how to's, and the list goes on and on. If you are a writer who writes with the desire that your books will be published for others to read-then you have to learn the business.

Websites, other writers, blogs, books, etc. are all tools for learning. We use them, we need them, and we must find the time to do it. Learning takes up a lot of time, and I know it's hard to check it off. We want to write, that's why we are writers. But if you want to go somewhere with your writing, you have to learn. You have to go to sites like Agent Query and learn about how the publishing business works, learn about what agents want, learn how to write that beautiful-agent grabbing query. Go to blogs like From The Write Angle and learn from people who have been there and done that-real, genuine people who were once in your shoes-writing with hopes that one day they will have published work for the world to read. Don't forget to go to writer communities like Agent Query Connect and learn from people just like you-what they do and don't do, what has worked and what hasn't. And you have to go to blogs by other writers, like Alex J Cavanaugh's blog and C.K. Bryant's blog who are both published authors that are also normal people, who have been there and understand what it's like. Their posts can be teaching posts without that being the original intent. It will help you learn something, without feeling like it's a "lesson". But make sure you go to blogs from writers who have not been published yet, they can teach you things too. (Like E.M LaBonte's Blog and Terri Bruce's Blog)

The point is-writers have to learn about the writing world. It is not always an easy thing to work into your day (or week), but it's important if you are planning on actually doing something with what you write. The fact that we can learn from various things, makes it easier to mark Learn off the to do. You can learn while you're connecting, or you can go somewhere looking for a specific topic, but however you do it-DO IT. Time to learn can vary, depending on what exactly you are learning, but work it in. There have been plenty of times I have learned something in less than 10 minutes or even in the time it took me to read a blog post. It can be done quickly if you don't have a lot of time to squeeze it in. But if you want writing to be more than a hobby, find the time to do it.

I know my posts are beginning to sound the same- Just find the time, because you need to-but that's really what each thing on your to do comes down to. You need to do these things, so do them.

Happy Learning :)