Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lata, 2009! Bring on the new year!



(Oooh, pretty!)

I just have to say: Thank. Goodness. This. Year. Ends. Today.

Next year's got to be better, right? Right!?

Okay, so the year wasn't terrible. I made a firm decision to get my ass in gear regarding my writing, I got married, and I'm ending the year with a plethera of Barnes and Noble gift cards.

Not so bad.

But the year also held a lot of bad news, frustrations, and disappointments. More than any other year in my memory.

So 2010 is a chance for a fresh start. I'm working steadily on my WIP, I've made a ton of friends through blogging, I discovered that people actually like to read what I've written, and I've gained confidence.
All of these awesome things will be carried over into the new year along with my newest resolutions:

1. Finish current WIP.
2. Find a critique group and really get down to the nitty gritty of my work!
3. Query and score myself an awesome agent.
4. Dance on the desks of the people who told me I'd never make it.(Wait, what?? I didn't just say that!)
5. Continue with last year's resolutions(No soda unless there is absolutely nothing else to drink and no french fries! One year tomorrow since I've had a SINGLE fry! Which is huge if you were to look back at my awful diet consisting of, well, fries.)

I guess what I'm striving for most is more dedication to my writing. Having all you blogger friends to answer to makes this a lot easier to do, so thank you for all of your support!
Also, hi to all of my new followers! ::Waves hi:: Thanks for stopping by. :)

I've loved reading everyone's year end recaps and resolutions. I'm inspired by every one of you.

Here's to 2010 and all of our dreams coming true!



By the way...don't forget about this Saturday, which is No Kiss Blogfest Day. Sign up on Frankie's blog to join in, or just to check out all the amazing entries we're sure to have!
I still have to come up with a scene, so I'll be hard at work until then.

Happy Writing!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Twelve!!!!


On the Twelfth Day of Me, I give to you...final thoughts.

Posting(almost)everyday for two weeks has been so much fun, I'm sad to let it go! I guess I don't have to...it's been good discipline for me which is something I have little of when it comes to my writing schedule. So if I keep this up, maybe it'll flow over into my WIP.

Not to mention how much it helps when we have things going on like the Official Kissing Day Blogfest or the No Kiss Blogfest which help keep me focused. And they're so much fun! If you haven't already, head on over to Frankie's blog(linked above)and sign yourself up! Hmmm...I suppose I need to do that myself.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I was extremely blessed this year and in front of the difficulties my family and friends are facing were happy tears shared by all.
Happy tears are the greatest kind.

PLUS! I got sooo many B&N gift cards and I can't WAIT to start shopping! :) I think I'll have to pace myself so I can afford to buy all the exciting new books by new authors coming out in 2010.

Something else that I feel blessed with this Christmas: ideas! For some reason over the past couple of days, ideas for new stories have been leaking out my ears for lack of space in my brain. There's just that many. And I'm very excited about them, even though I really can't do much with them besides jot them down and keep them very, very close to me.
Maybe it's all the action of the holidays, maybe it's coming together with friends and family...who knows? I'm just thankful that they're there.

For now, I'm going to go relax with a cup of tea and perhaps some french toast and mull over these new ideas(and then maybe get to work on the current WIP)for the rest of the weekend.

How was everyone else's Christmas? Any exciting stories to share, moments of laughter or tears?

Happy Day After Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Eleven



On the Eleventh Day of Me, I give to you...a holiday greeting.

I'm off for the start of the Christmas celebration and probably won't be around until Saturday.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Twelve Days of....Me! Day Ten



On the Tenth Day of Me, I give to you....my dumbass.

Seriously.

It is two days before Christmas. An ice storm is coming TONIGHT. Like, right after I get out of work.
And I? Am headed to the mall. Yes, that insufferable place full of pushy, whiny, greedy, rude, smelly things that resemble humans but I'm pretty sure are actually baboons let loose.

Why, you ask, am I going to venture into the mall on such a day? Because, I answer, I am a dumbass who decided not to go Christmas gift shopping until rightthisverysecond.
To be perfectly honest, I tried boycotting the whole gift giving aspect of Christmas for various reasons, and I suppose I've just been in angry denial over the whole thing.

This denial also appeared in my lack of baked goods which I'm usually drowning in at this time of year. And lack of decorations, considering I gave up after being attacked by my tree while stringing the lights.(I have the scars to prove it!)

Perhaps this trip to the mall wouldn't be so bad if I had a list and a plan. I have neither.
So I'll be wandering aimlessly, dodging the baboons while they run to pick the fleas off the other baboons...I know, I know. I'm a total Scrooge.

But the good news of the day is that one of my managers gave me a hundred bucks as a gift and my husband told me I should use the money to buy BOOKS!!!! I knew I loved him for a reason! :)

I have two days left in my twelve days of me, and even though people have much better things to do besides read about, well, me, I'm going to try to post anyway.
So I'll be around if you want to stop by!

For those of you who won't be back until after the holiday, Merry Christmas!
I'll see you soon.

Anyone else out there a slacker like me?? ::Sigh::

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Nine

Since yesterday was the awesomest day in the history of the world and completely devoted to all things kissing, I missed my day eight of my twelve day blogging promise.
But since my kissing scene is the very first piece of writing ever to leave the comfort of my own hands, I'd say that's a pretty big day of "me" and worthy of holding the eighth day spot.
So yesterday was the implied day eight.
Moving on.

On the Ninth Day of Me, I give to you...2 awards!

Recently, I have been given two awards from two very talented writers.



The Honest Scrap Award came from Julie Dao(thank you, Julie!)at Silver Lining and now I must reveal ten honest things about myself. This could take awhile...

1. I absolutely refuse to eat food/drink milk that is one day past the 'sell by' date. Not the expiration, the SELL BY. Because it still grosses me out. Too bad.

2. I hate stuffed animals. Not because they're not cute, but because when it's time to give them away because I have too many, I cry. And not just cry. Sob. Because I'm afraid I'm hurting their feelings.

3. It is three days before Christmas and I have barely begun shopping. Or baking.

4. I can't clean my house unless I'm singing and dancing to my favorite songs. This is also why I can only clean when my husband isn't home because he'll make fun of me.

5. Which brings me to...when I was in fifth grade, I was picked by my music teacher to record a Christmas album with some of my classmates. I got to go to a real recording studio in Chicago and I still have the album.

6. If I fail as a writer, I would like to be a Life-Planner. I'm excellent at making decisions for people and there's millions of times when I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying 'I told you so'. People should always just listen to me!(This is just a joke. I don't actually want to plan someone's life...I'd just be good at it.)

7. My favorite color is purple and I wish I could paint every room in my house a different shade of it.

8. Sometimes the things in life that inspire me the most are the people who have let me down.

9. I hate magazines because there's never enough to read.

10. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS IS OVER!

Whew! It's hard to come up with this stuff at the drop of a hat!

So, I know I'm supposed to pass this on to a bunch of people, but I decided to pick just one person to receive each award. I always try to pick someone who doesn't already have the award, and this person does not as of yet:

Melissa at Chasing the Dream. I love her blog because I feel like I can relate to her a lot. She always has something interesting to say and I look forward to new posts from her!

If you're not following her already, click away!



The Lovely Blog Award was given to me by Natalie Bahm. Thank you, Natalie!

The person I want to pass this on to never ceases to inspire me. Her posts are always beautifully written and I've been known to shed a few tears when I read them. Check out Victoria's blog and be amazed and astounded by her insight on everything from writing to the simple things that are guaranteed to make you think.

Thanks again for the awards, ladies!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Kissing Day Blogfest!!



This is a blissful day, I've gotta say. Thank goodness Sherrinda did this! Check out her blog to find the links to everyone participating!

I wasn't up to the kissing scene in my WIP yet, so I had to jump ahead. I guarantee it won't stay the same and it's REALLY rough right now since I wrote it last night, but I couldn't resist!

Quick background: Josh has just shown up at Evie's house after the Homecoming Dance. He has come over to tell her that he has feelings for her, even though he's been dating her best friend.

*************************************************************************************

There he stood, the streetlight illuminating him from behind, giving him a very godlike effect. His smile was gone, replaced by a serious expression.

“Come for a ride?” he said in greeting.

Evie nodded, not knowing how else to respond.

Josh waited while she locked the door and then walked beside her down the front walk to his truck. He opened the passenger door, waited while she climbed in, then shut the door gently behind her.

As he made his way around the truck, Evie breathed in the scent of him: musky cologne she’d noticed on him before, sweat and dirt from football practice, the cranberry air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. She’d been in the truck before, but tonight she felt much more aware of him.

A mixed CD sat half inside the CD player, and she wondered if he’d been listening to it with Maddie. Specks of glitter sparkled on the dashboard, an obvious sign her friend had been here. Without thinking, Evie brushed the tiny pieces to the floor, not wanting it to intrude on her moment.

Not that she knew what her moment would entail.

Josh slid in beside her, his jaw set. Was he angry? He hadn’t seemed upset when she saw him from her window. Nervous, maybe.

She didn’t say anything as he turned the engine over and buckled his seatbelt.

“Ready?” he asked in a low voice, glancing at her. His brow furrowed for a quick second, then softened as he flashed her his familiar smile.

Evie nodded, fastening her own seatbelt.

Josh put the truck into gear and sped off down the darkened street. Evie watched the houses flash by, a blur of dull color in the night.

“Are you okay?” Evie finally asked, breaking the silence.

Josh didn’t respond right away, his hands gripping the steering wheel so hard his knuckles were white.

He couldn’t explain things to her just yet. He still had no idea how to tell her the crazy things that had been running through his mind since he pulled up in front of Maddie’s house at six that night. How could he tell Evie that he thought he was falling in love with her?

They were only seventeen, and as much as he hated to admit it, he hadn’t exactly been honest with her since they’d become friends.

Besides, what made him think she’d have any interest in him beyond friendship anyway? She’d never acted interested in him before. Except for that time at Last Dance when he’d caught her staring at him. And the ride on the ferris wheel. And during lunch a few times.

Okay. So maybe there was a chance she could be interested in him.

He realized he’d been quiet for a long time, so he said, “I’m fine,” before she thought he was mad at her.

Evie leaned back in her seat and sucked in her breath. She had no idea where they were going, but she was kind of nervous to ask. So she just watched the world go by.
A few minutes later, Josh pulled into a park on the opposite side of the river. He drove over to Lookout Point, an area tourists went to view the whole river and the lit up village.

Evie was confused. This part of the park was closed at this time of night. Why were they here?

Josh glanced at her as he cut the engine and got out of the truck.

Evie followed him, her nerves creating a tight ball in the middle of her stomach like she’d eaten too much greasy food. She met him at the tailgate and he lowered it.

“Beer?” he asked, jumping into the bed where a blue cooler sat half hidden under a dirty brown tarp. He pushed the tarp aside and opened the lid, pulling two cans of beer from the ice. “I have a couple fruity drinks in here, in case you wanted that.”

In case she wanted that? Evie wondered if he’d planned this.

“Beer is fine,” she said, even though the thought of beer instantly brought back horrible memories of her sister’s birthday party. She reached out to take the can he held out to her.

Josh sat down on the tailgate, letting his feet dangle.

Evie rested against the truck, popping the top on her beer and trying to find the best possible way to drink it without slurping like a guy. Should she sit next to him?

Josh took a gulp of his drink and set it down beside him. He watched Evie sip hers and worried he might be scaring her with all of this mystery.

“We’re friends, right?” he blurted.

Evie jumped in surprise, then felt her stomach drop. Friends? Great. Just what every girl wanted to hear from the guy they had a massive crush on.

“Yeah, of course,” she replied. She shuffled her feet in the dirt and crossed her arms, holding her beer at her side. Friends. So it wouldn’t seem obvious if she sat next to him. She jumped on the tailgate and turned to smile at him. She hoped it seemed genuine.

Josh nodded. He stretched his arms, then slid out of his jacket. He’d grown a little warmer after she joined him up here. He looked over at her as he set the jacket behind them. Her long blonde hair fell down her back in perfect ringlets, a small glittery barrette holding half of it up. He realized she’d had it done for the dance she’d never gone to. Her fingernails were painted a soft pink with white tips.

She smelled amazing, like a field of daisies or something. He breathed in deep, closing his eyes to her scent.

How could anyone stand her up? He recalled how angry he’d been when her date showed up at the dance with a different girl on his arm. His friends laughing about stupid little Evie sitting at home waiting for him to pick her up. He’d had to fight to keep himself from punching the stupid prick right in the mouth.

Speaking of mouths…

“You look really nice tonight,” Evie said, her face flushed. From the beer or the compliment, he couldn’t tell.

“Thanks.” Josh nudged her arm. “You probably looked pretty amazing yourself.”

Evie snorted. “Right.” She lowered her eyes, fiddled with the tab on her beer can. “I suppose I deserved what I got.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

She shrugged. “I only accepted his invitation because I wanted to go. And since no one else had asked me…”

She trailed off, leaving Josh feeling guilty about never asking her himself. What was he supposed to do? Maddie had already asked him, and he knew that it would have caused problems if he’d turned her down and asked Evie instead.

Evie slid off the tailgate and carried her beer over to the railing overlooking the river. She rested her arms against it, relishing the feel of the warm breeze across her heated skin. She had almost said, ‘since you never asked me’ but couldn’t bring herself to do it.

Josh came up beside her, his mouth set in a frown. He’d rolled up his sleeves, his black rubber bracelet in its usual place on his left wrist. “Something happened tonight,” he said, his eyes focused on a few ducks swimming past. One of them quacked and disappeared under the water.

Evie raised her eyebrows. “Something like what?”

He paused, not knowing where to start. He cleared his throat.

“Josh.”

He turned to face her but was unable to meet her eyes. Instead, he watched her mouth, that perfect pout begging to be kissed. She was wearing gloss, and he wanted to know what it tasted like. Would it be fruity? Or minty?

Okay. He had to stop staring there. He raised his eyes to meet hers, startled by how bright the blue of them appeared in the near total darkness.

“It happened while I was dancing with…well.” More throat clearing. “I never should have gone with Maddie,” he clarified, raking a hand through his hair.

“Why not? You make a good couple.”

Josh opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. She thought they made a good couple? Maybe this confession was a bad idea. Maybe he should have just gone to Hannah’s party with Maddie and forced himself to forget about Evie.

But then Evie sighed, such a small, defeated sound, and she averted her gaze. She didn’t mean that. He knew she didn’t mean that.

“The thing is,” Josh continued, “while I was dancing with Maddie, the only thing I could think about was how I should have been dancing with you.”

Evie’s eyes widened and she looked back up at him. He wanted to be dancing with her. Josh wanted her. He said it. It wasn’t just her imagination!

“I just-” Josh set his can on the railing and stepped up to her. He took her can and set it beside his. Another step closer and he could feel her breath warm against his face. Her pale blue eyes were hopeful, giving him the push he needed to do this. He lowered his head and cupped her face in his hands. “I just wanted to be with you.”

His lips met hers before he closed his eyes. She tasted like strawberries, her lips soft and warm. Suddenly, everything seemed clear. This was where he was supposed to be. Not with Maddie, not at some stupid school dance. Right here, with the most perfect girl in the world.

Evie placed her hands on Josh’s back, feeling his muscles through the soft material of his dress shirt. She spread her fingers out and pulled him closer, raising up on her tiptoes to kiss him deeper. This was even better than she’d imagined. She’d never been kissed so tenderly, so thorough. Like she was the only person who existed.

Who knew? Maybe they were the only people who existed right now.

Josh smiled as he kissed her, elated that this was happening. How had he gone for so long without this? He’d known her for years, had always had that secret crush on her, the one no one knew about. He’d been missing out on this. He ran his fingers through her soft hair, opened his eyes to see her, to see how lucky he was to be in this moment.

They didn’t notice the headlights. Didn’t hear the engine rumbling behind them.

It wasn’t until they heard, “Josh?” that they realized they weren’t alone anymore. Someone else did, in fact, exist right now.

*************************************************************************************

Dum, dum, dummmm....

Geez, sorry this was so long! I couldn't figure out where to start it. I hope you enjoy it!
I'm loving everyone's kissing scenes! We should do this more often. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Seven


I skipped a day!!! I apologize. Yesterday was a very busy day and I only had about two minutes of computer time. So I'm a day behind. Eh. For anyone wondering(and I know it's been killing you to hear back from me), my work party Friday night was a huge success! The turnout was amazing and even surprising! Everyone thanked me for putting it together, including spouses whom I'd never met before. It made me very happy that I had done it. Our employees deserve some kind of recognition, even if it is just a get together at a bar, thrown by a fellow employee who can't afford to pay for it herself. And no one questioned who was paying. Relief! Also? I didn't have to pay for a single drink(or my dinner)myself. Score!


Quick reminder: Tomorrow is Official Kissing Day, where you post a kissing scene from your WIP, or just a fave from a book. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet because I haven't made it to my kissing scene in my own WIP. Maybe I'll just skip ahead to that moment since it's already in my head anyway.

If you want to join in, head over to Sherrinda's blog to include a link to your blog and see everyone else who is joining in.

Now. I had my post idea in mind for yesterday, just didn't have the time to do it. So here goes.

On the Seventh Day of Me, I give to you...my support.

My best friend and I get our hair done together every six to eight weeks, religiously. It is our guaranteed 'us' time to talk, catch up, and make plans. I look forward to these hair appointments more than anything else now.
Yesterday as we ate lunch after our appointments, she told me that she'd been here, to my blog, to see what it was about.
At first I was just happy to hear it, since no one I 'know' has actually read it. I included a link to it in my email signature a while back but haven't had any feedback.
Later on, as I thought about it, I realized just how much it meant to me that she had clicked that little link to show some support.
Which had me thinking of the people who support me the most, who push me forward, who believe in me, probably more than I believe in myself sometimes.

And I'd like to introduce you to:



Mandy. She has been my best friend for about fourteen years and the one person I know I can count on for anything. She has been my rock, my sister, my shoulder, my ear. She encourages me when I doubt myself. Without her, this journey would be much more difficult.



My mom. (That's her, on the left. Er...in case you couldn't tell?) My mom has been pushing me to pursue my writing career since I was in junior high. If she believed in me when my writing sounded like a cat dying, I can only imagine how much she believes in me now when my writing is, well, not crap.

And also my sister Jacki(on the right)who has been my best friend for a long time. We've been through a lot together and I don't know what I would do without her. She's artistic like I am(but she sketches and can put together some killer flower arrangements)so it's something we share.



My husband, Will. He bought me my laptop a few Christmases ago with a card that encouraged me to follow my dreams. He's also my biggest cheerleader. All of his friends and family know about my writing(whether I like it or not!)and as humiliating as this is for me, I can't thank him enough for it.

And last but certainly not least, all of my followers and fellow bloggers! Without you, I would be wandering aimlessly, believing I was the only person out there struggling with this dream. Your encouragement and words of advice help me more than I can ever begin to describe. Thank you for being here, and for being you!

Having a support system is extremely important. We all need a little ego boost at times.
Have you thanked your supporters lately???

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Six



On the Fifth Day of Me, I give to you…Five Random Things!!! (Rhymes with Five Golden Rings…Gold Rings??)

Anyway.

To start, I’d like to thank Julie Dao at Silver Lining for my Honest Scrap award! Yay awards!! ::Blows celebratory horn:: I haven’t had a chance to post about this yet, so I’ll try to get that done by the end of this weekend. Picking blogs to award is such a difficult thing for me to do because I love each and every one for different reasons. Which is why it takes me forever and a day to do anything about it!

Second, I read on A Writer Wannabe's blog that Monday, December 21st is Official Kissing Day here in the blogging world. This is thrilling to me because I love kisses! I love reading about them, watching them, and, of course, giving and receiving them myself.

To participate, all you have to do is post a kissing scene or almost kissing scene from your WIP. If you are too shy(which might happen right here on this blog), you can post your favorite kissing scene from a book you’ve read.

This might be the most fantastical day in the history of blogging. For serious.


Third! This has been a very long week and I’m so excited that tonight is my work’s Christmas get-together. I could really use a drink. I planned this night out because my work really can’t afford to throw us a party, so I thought it would be nice to book a room and just invite everyone to come hang out. Nothing exclusive, just a space for us to gather. So I booked a room at one of our local faves, made up a few flyers to hang around the buildings, and began looking forward to a fun night out. I love hanging out with coworkers because they’re so much like family anymore. Any excuse to hang out is welcomed.

Anyway, so this afternoon, I get a call from my friend in a different office who tells me that some of our coworkers are under the impression that tonight is paid for by the company. OH. NO. Nowhere on my flyer does it say this is a company sponsored party. No one was ‘invited’, per se. And who in their right mind would see a flyer on a wall and believe the evening would be paid for? COME ON, PEOPLE!!!
So my relaxing night I’ve been looking forward to has just exploded and is now the cause for some serious stress. This post with no rhyme or reason is the result of that stress. I have lost any train of coherent thought. What’s on your agenda for the weekend? Any Christmas celebrations?

Moving on.



Fourth. I’ve been thinking more and more lately about taking advantage of my Twitter account. I’ve had one for a while but I only follow celebrities and I log on about once a month. But the more I read about fellow bloggers utilizing it, the more I want to be a part of the club! So this weekend I might do just that. Be prepared for some Twitter stalking as I muddle my way through the learning process. I’m kind of nervous! Any Twitter advice for me??

Fifth. It’s one week before Christmas! ONE WEEK!! I have barely begun shopping and I might be screwed. Are you all ready?

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Five


Today's post was handed to me by Victoria S.
She tagged me to answer some questions about my writing, so...

On the Fifth Day of Me, I give to you...some answers!

1)What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

It’s been a few days since I’ve written anything, but the last thing I wrote was the opening of a new chapter of my current ms, Evie After. The first thing I wrote that I still have? My diary. And…I would have to say the first book of a series I spent a good eight years of my life writing. Anything before that, my mom probably has tucked away!

2) Write poetry?

I used to. I used to write it constantly. But somehow I lost my passion for it and now it just collects dust in an old binder on my bookshelf.

3) Angsty poetry?

I’m going to reveal something humiliating about myself. Here goes. ::Deep breath:: The most angst-filled poem I’ve ever written was about Taylor Hanson. From the band. Hanson. This is not a lie, but in fact a ridiculous truth. It was about four pages long and it rhymed and I read it out loud to my mother with tears in my eyes while hers glazed over. I’m pretty sure she had an anxiety attack waiting for me to finish the awful thing.

4) Favorite genre of writing?

I love getting lost in other worlds in fantasy/paranormal fiction, but I don’t think I have the mental capacity to create my own. I recently discovered YA fiction and I’ve been inhaling books as fast as I can to get my fix. I’ve never felt such a strong pull to books before YA, so I’m pretty sure it’s my calling.

5) Most annoying character you've ever created?

I wrote this chick who had the most amazing fiancĂ© in the history of the world and I made her cheat on him. If that weren’t bad enough, she turned into this weepy paranoid person who couldn’t make a decision to save her life and annoyed the crap out of her two best friends. Story filed away!

6) Best plot you've ever created?

I would love to say the one I’m working on, but I have a new idea forming in my head and I’m loving it! One at a time, Julie, one at a time! I do love the story I’m working on now, though.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created?

The one I’m working on right now! I was surprised by it myself. No spilling the details on that just yet.

8) How often do you get writer's block?

Writer’s block and I are totally BFF. It happens all the time, especially lately. I’m not sure why because my ms is always on my mind and there’s no problem with flow up there, but when it comes to putting the words on the screen, I’m stumped. How is that???

9) Write fan fiction?

Not even once. I did, however, find inspiration in the Sweet Valley series and I developed my own series about twins(which turned into quintuplets along the way)because they fascinate me.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

Type! Before I had a computer(which wasn’t until my freshman year of COLLEGE)I wrote everything longhand or on my typewriter. I have notebooks upon notebooks of writing.

11) Do you save everything you write?

Thanks to my stepdad, I do. When I started packing to move out of my parent’s house, I tossed all my old stuff rather than cart it around with me. He told me I would regret it if I did that, and I thank him every day because he’s right.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?


Sure. Sometimes the stuff I thought was crap at the time turns out to be better than my new stuff. I guess I just need to put things away for a while and come back with a fresh eye.

13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

I have this story about four girlfriends who all have these deep dark secrets that they keep from everyone, including each other, until a vacation together reveals everything. I loved creating the characters and helping them deal with their inner turmoil. This is one of those stories I plan to go back to. Maybe.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written?

Honestly? No one has ever read my stories. I’m pretty sure my mom has peeked when I wasn’t around, but I’m pretty tight-lipped about my writing. It’s a part of the fear. I did write a poem once that I let my family read. It made everyone cry, so I guess it was good.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

LOVE romance and angsty teen drama. To me, a book is not worth reading without these! Well, most of the time.

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters?

I like small towns where everyone knows everyone. Cities terrify me, so I wouldn’t even know where to begin with that. My current ms setting is inspired by a town near me on the river, but I’m adding my own elements.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

My novel, Evie After, and planning to start jotting down ideas for the next one that’s been floating around in my head.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?
I have never won an award, but I was used as an example of what you’re SUPPOSED to do on a weekly basis in my Creative Writing class. My professor was a published author and each week we had to turn in a new chapter. Although I was embarrassed that he kept shouting my name and random pieces of my ms to the class, I was thrilled that he thought I was that good.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Dream, Believe, Hope, Inspire, Shine. Kind of cliché, I know, but they inspire me.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

In that series I mentioned earlier? I created this character named Julie(wow! Surprise!)who was me to a T. And she had a boyfriend named Tony(because I had a monster crush on a guy named Anthony). I basically created these characters to write out my fantasies…

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

Everywhere! People I know, people I read about, even things that don’t make sense, like when it snows. Usually I come up with an idea and the characters barge in whenever they feel like it and I have a story.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

I’ve had some amazing dreams but I never wrote them down. Yes, I even had a fantasy novel play out in my dream, but when I woke up, I could only remember it for a minute. And then it was gone. ::Sigh::

23) Do you favor happy endings?

I favor uplifting endings which is different than happy ones, I think. I don’t like to give my characters everything they want, but I don’t want them to end up in an institution when they get older either.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Oh my gosh, yes! At least with spelling. I am a stickler for proper spelling and I get all crazy-eyed when anything is wrong. I’m not perfect by any means, but I try to spell correctly.

25) Does music help you write?


Music inspires me to write, but I can’t listen to it while I’m writing. It’s too distracting. I listen to the words rather than the melody and I lose my focus. But I create playlists and when I’m writing a certain scene, I’ll play the songs that go with it to help me along.

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.

"“I know that if I stay here, nothing will get better.”

And so he would go away.
There was nowhere else in the whole world that would help him escape his memories. Nothing that wouldn’t remind him of my mom in one way or another. The only way he could start over, begin a whole new life...was to end his first."

Just a note: This quote came from a story I had been writing that was very personal to me. I chose this quote because it actually helped me move on in my own life. And then had to put it away because it got waaaaay too deep for me and I spent more time crying than writing. Maybe another time??

And that was an inside look at me.

Now I have to pass this on to five other bloggers. Forgive me if you've already been tagged to do this; I tried glancing through each blog to make sure, but when my eyes started to swim, I had to stop!

If you're not following these already, be sure to click that button! They are always awesome reads.

1. Anissa at Anissa Off the Record
2. Sara Tribble at I Am Write
3. Karen Denise at I'm Always Write
4. Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi
5. Heather at See Heather Write

There you go! Thanks again, Victoria, for tagging me! I had fun.

For the ladies I tagged, if you see this before I have a chance to tell you, I'm sorry! I can't leave you a comment at work, so it has to wait until tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Four


I don't have much time to write here today because I'm going to a Tupperware party at a friend's house right after work and probably won't be home until late.
But it's day four and I'm still blogging strong, just like I promised!

On the Fourth Day of Me, I give to you...the Little Green Monster.

I write YA. Romantic, contemporary, real life YA.

But I have a secret:
I would love to be able to write Paranormal/Fantasy YA. These books fascinate me, and when I read blogs of paranormal YA authors, I am quickly taken by the little green monster we like to call ENVY.
The imagination required to write these elaborate stories, to make up whole worlds with a completely different vocabulary, different morals, different everything, simply amazes me. I have a wild imagination, without a doubt, but I can't seem to come up with ideas outside the real world box.

J.K. Rowling alone blows me away. The spells, the potions, the creatures, the backstory of all of the quirky characters...who has this brain power to begin with? And why can't they share some with me???
How come when my MC goes to school, she wears jeans and a t-shirt and sits through boring classes like Chemistry? Why can't she go to Herbology while floating in House Robes instead?

Because it's just not in me.

Is it?

If it is, I wouldn't even know where to begin. And besides, I love the stories I create, even if they do take place in the real world.
This little green monster on my shoulder likes to torment me, though. He's always questioning why I don't put in a little more effort to come up with an alternate universe, a new creature to make women of every age swoon and line up outside theaters to drool over.
I hate that little guy.

I have so much admiration for people who can create those worlds, the intricate details that go along with those worlds, and the characters that would only fit in in those worlds. I wonder how they do it. I'd like to open their heads and root around in their brains for the answers to my questions.

But for now, I'll stick to writing about the girl/boy next door and their struggles with the real world. And that little green monster on my shoulder? He gets squashed by my bra strap.

Do any of you have a genre you'd love to write in, but just can't seem to do it for one reason or another? How do you squash your little green monster?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Three

Can you believe this?? Three days in a row and a blogging record for me!

After a stressful work day and a heap of bad news, I thought about scrapping day three. But I'm determined to keep my promise of twelve days in a row, so here I am.

On the Third Day of Me, I give to you...my writing fears.



Okay, first of all, I'd just like to say that when I googled the word 'fear', a ton of really creepy pictures popped up. Apparently there's a video game with the same title and a super scary little girl(much like the girl from The Ring)on the cover.
Moving on and far away from that nonsense...

I'm sure everyone attempting to break into this business is scared. Even the people who have already been agented or published. There's always that 'what if' feeling in the back of your mind, a clench in your stomach, a lump in your throat.

I am no different. I know I have a talent, it's something I've done since I learned how to write a complete sentence. Writing is who I am, not just something I do. I need it like I need the air I breathe.
And more than anything, I want to be OUT THERE. You know exactly what I mean: to walk into a Barnes and Noble and see my cover on the New Authors shelves(and even better to be mixed in with all the big names!). To sit behind a table while people line up for my autograph, an opportunity to meet the person who wrote the words that touched them.
It is my dream, my biggest dream.

But what if it doesn't happen? I tell myself that this is foolish, if I think positive and work hard, of course it will happen.
But that stupid thing we call fear just creeps right back up, raising goosebumps across my arms and twisting my stomach into a ball of knots.
Sometimes the fear is so great, I wonder what the hell it is I think I'm doing, trying to break into this business!
But I force myself to take a moment and remember why I'm doing this. Because without it, I would not be who I am.
Even without publishing, I would still be a writer. But it wouldn't be my dream.

I'm a pusher. I push everyone I know(and sometimes even people I don't know!)to follow their dreams. There's enough room in this world for every dream to come true. And what a world it would be if more people went after their dreams!

So I wake up every morning with the fear, and I go to bed every night with it as well. But throughout the day, I know that in facing this fear, my dream will eventually come true and it will all be worth it.
I just keep chugging on, working harder and harder.
I will get there, you'll see.
I know I'm good enough. And you know what? You are, too. We're all in this together, facing the fear as partners, as friends. Fear is really just a molehill on this wonderful journey and if we all hold hands, we'll make it through.

Thanks to all my followers and fellow bloggers for being here for the ride. You give me the courage to continue!

What kinds of fears do you face in your writing? What pushes you over that hill to the other side?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day Two

On the Second Day of Me, I give to you...my first completed work.



How many of you remember the first story you ever wrote? The first time you wrote The End, the first time you ran out of space in that notebook?
I think the first story I ever wrote was called The Lost Kitten and was about a little girl who fought with her best friend. :)
Hopefully, I know a little better now about titles and storylines and the fact that they should, you know, make sense together!
But the first story I ever completed in written form was the story of my own life. My diary.
Reading it tonight, I found this:

"Just think: when I finally finish my diary, I will have completed my first book. It's a cool thought."(Jan. 12, 1996)

Yeah, that was a while ago! But I didn't even start flipping through my diary until I began writing this post. Kind of neat that I have the same idea regarding my first completed book now as I did way back then.

When you think about it, every story you create is a diary of someone's life. You create their world, their life story. You put it down on paper to relive over and over for years to come.
Let's just hope my diary never gets published! Several posts back, I said that I am boy crazy, but the proof in my diary is just ridiculous. Not to mention humiliating. Door shut and locked.

The great thing about my diary is that it shows me how far I've come in my writing while still proving that I have the same passion for words. Reading through the entries brought me right back to that second of my life, and I can clearly recall things I've long since forgotten. What a treat for a Monday night!
The words I poured into my diary are so important to me. They tell me where I've been and where I hoped to be as an adult. Thank goodness I'm not far off.
It might not be a work of fiction(although my imagination would prove otherwise), but I'm so proud to say that it is my first completed story. I've owned other diaries and journals, but I've never stuck to them the way I did that very first one.

I suppose it was just time to move on to someone else's story.

How do you feel when you think about or read the first story you've ever completed? Do you feel pride in the accomplishment? What did it help you to discover about yourself?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Twelve Days of...Me! Day One

In honor of Christmas and the fact that this year, I am trying to be a lot more selfless I am going to use the next twelve days(yes, I'm going to attempt a post twelve days in a row!)to be selfish and talk about yours truly.




On the first day of Me, I give to you...my inspiration.

I'll start off by saying that this year for Christmas, the only thing I asked for(and the only thing I wanted to buy for my family)was a donation to a charity. A charity of my choice, and nothing more. This did not happen because for some reason, this was considered 'silly' and I am now going to be receiving multiple Barnes and Noble gift cards to help me continue being selfish.
Ahem.
Because of my family's response to what I considered a good gift idea, I have limited my spending on them to twenty-five buckaroos a person. And I spent a few hundred(give or take)on toys for a hospital toy drive and a giving tree in my town. This made me feel much better(not to mention the pleasure of having to drop off the toys at the local fire station where all of the firefighters were very grateful for the donation...and very good looking)about receiving gift cards to help add to my reading addiction.

The biggest bonus of helping a charity? The inspiration I've had from giving to such an amazing cause. It's boosted my Christmas spirit and sparked my creative juices. Which comes in handy when creative juices run dry.
There's nothing like seeing that happy smile when you've made someone's day to push you forward. Nothing.
Someday, I hope to do that for my readers. I hope to inspire them, to make them think and react.

What about you? What is something that inspires you, especially around the holidays?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pondering Themes


Tell me what kind of books you gravitate toward.
Do you enjoy the ones that are just for fun, a lot of action and drama with no real 'purpose' except to entertain?
Or do you like the ones that have an underlying message? The kind where the main character learns something in the end, something that makes him/her a better person.

I find that I read and write books that have some kind of meaning, something that is important to me and that I want to be important to my readers as well.
Maybe it's because I am so full of advice and I want to get it out there in mass amounts and hope that everyone LISTENS TO ME!!! :)
Or maybe it's because stories that teach you something always seem to inspire me, even if I already live by what is being taught. In that case, it might actually inspire me more.

The picture I found stands for 'believe in yourself'. This is something I preach to everyone who is in need of advice for...well, pretty much anything.
And because I write YA, I believe that this theme falls into play a lot. Who needs to believe in themselves more than teens who are struggling to find a place for themselves in this crazy world?

How about you? Do you have any favorite themes? Or do you just like to read(and write)books that simply entertain and detach yourself from the real world?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!



Guess what? You will never guess because I am so astonished about this myself...
I picked seven fellow bloggers(some I just discovered, some who just deserved it)to receive the award I won, what, two weeks ago? Geez...
Again, a big thank you to Julie Dao for this award:



To follow the rules:

1. Thank whoever gave this to you
2. Copy award
3. Post it in your blog
4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don’t know
5. Link 7 new bloggers
6. Notify winners of the award with a comment on their blog
7. Keep being awesome!

Already did 1, 2, and 3! Yay!!
As for the seven things about me...

1. I love tea. Hot tea, cold tea...it's wonderful, and in my opionion, fixes everything! Plus, I hoard it like it's going out of style. I have a whole cabinet devoted to all things tea. And now that the Christmas flavors are out, look out! I almost lost it when I saw the display at Walmart. My husband acted like he didn't know me.

2. I used to want to be a professional dancer. Like, a Laker girl(pro cheerleader?). Hey, Paul Abdul did it, so it must be awesome.

3. I think I am the funniest person in the whole wide world. Sometimes I send myself into fits of laughter at random moments, usually causing people to stop and stare, or my coworkers to come into my office to check on me. The funny things always happen in my head.

4. I am terrified of my slow cooker. I realize that this is irrational and that the house most likely will not burn down should I utilize this appliance, but the fear remains.

5. I would much rather watch the teen dramas like 90210 and Vampire Diaries than any 'grown up' shows on TV. This is usually only a problem when someone at work says, 'so and so from this grown up TV show is so sexy' and I'm all, 'yeah, so is Stefan and Liam' and I get this blank expression in return. Kind of embarrassing.

6. I once had a naughty dream about Daniel Radcliffe(you know. Harry Potter.). Which is strange because my fave character is Ron Weasley.

7. I snort when I laugh. This is when I find something extremely funny. Like those funny things I come up with in my head.

And now....for the seven blogs. This, by the way, was extremely difficult for me because most of my free time happens at work and I can't spend all my time on blogger at work! And there are so many deserving. But here are the ones I picked:

1. Anissa at Anissa off the Record.
2. Heather at See Heather Write because the first blog I read of hers was Harry Potter overload and I heart Harry Potter!
3. Jody Hedlund for being such an inspiration.
4. Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi.
5. Carrie Harris.
6. Sara Tribble at I Am Write.
7. Karen Denise Parkville at I'm Always Write because she loves Ron Weasley and I love Ron Weasley...therefore I love Karen.

So there you have it. Yay me! I know, I know, it's about time.
But check out all these great blogs and let them know how awesome you think they are(because they really are!).
And have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Me, Myself, and I....or He Said/She Said???


I'd like to start off by saying a HUGE thank you to Julie at Silver Lining for my awesome new award! I'm so excited about it. And I promise, promise, promise that I will complete what is required of me this time...just not tonight as it is eleven o'clock and I have just kicked my back's rear end(possible? Yes, I'm pretty sure of it.)by hands-and-knees scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors.
So I'll try to have my blog picks up by the end of this weekend.

Moving on...
I've been thinking a lot lately about POV. I feel as though I've hit a wall in my ms and I think that the POV is the cause of it. For years now, I've been writing in first person with no alternating narrators. It's just my thing.
But one thing I hate about reading books in first person is when the MC is not exactly cheery.
Sometimes I have a hard time liking the MC for this reason. I mean, all you hear is his/her inner turmoil and after a while, it gets tough to read.
I think that is my problem. My MC is going through some rough times and it's kind of depressing me. And the last thing I want to do is depress my readers!

I've also been reading several blogs about the stereotypical 'bad boy' lately. The bad boys always create that exciting, sexy element and they are fun to have around. But the beef is always that bad boys are bad just to be bad. And when you're reading something in first person, how do you really know what's going on in that bad boy's life without the MC constantly around him?

As I get to know my characters more and more, I'm realizing that I don't like not having the 'in' with my male character. I thought about alternating first person viewpoints, but I'm just not feeling it.
So I tried writing a scene in third person, just to see how it flowed for me. And it was great!
Now I think I might go back and change the whole thing to give the 'bad boy'(who's not really bad, just misunderstood)a chance to shine.

First person has always been my choice because I find that it's easier to be funny or to have exaggerated reactions from the MC. After all, everything is a much bigger deal in my own head than it actually is in real life which is how I entertain myself.
But I'm going to trust my gut and attempt this new POV. It will be a lot of work, but I think it will pay off in the end.

What do you think of this? Have you ever changed the POV in the middle of writing a story? Did you like the end result? And which POV do you usually prefer and why?

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Which I Whine




Ah, yes. It is true. I've been MIA for what seems like forever, but now I'm back, and filled with new writing drama. If it weren't ten in the morning, I would say that the silver lining would be the glass of wine(because every good whine deserves a glass of wine as a reward)at the end of this post....oh well.

Anyway, sorry I've been slacking for a while. I've had office drama, no sleep because my husband snores like a Looney Tunes character and flails about violently for no particular reason, waking me in the process so that I can cover my head for protection(seriously), and thank-goodness-my husband-is-still-alive-drama(he works with heavy machinery and sometimes it's scary), so things have been wearing on me lately.

Commence whining! Oh, wait, you mean I already started in that previous paragraph?? Silly me.

Continue whining!

I was blog surfing yesterday. And I decided to pick one and go back to the beginning, to get to know the blogger and where she came from. In one post she discusses her novel and happens to mention a backstory....um...hello?? Have I met you before, Person-who-wrote-an-almost-identical-backstory-to-my-MC? Because, seriously. The two were so similar, you would have thought that maybe we had been a writing duo at one time and recently decided to go solo but neither of us could decide who got to keep the ideas.
Unfortunately for me, this person has already been agented, and because we appear to write in the same genre, I have to come up with a completely different backstory. Or at least twist mine in some way to make it spectacular on its own.

::Sigh::

My other whine of the day is that my MC's name is the same as another fellow blogger. This is not so bad, as we write in different genres and they don't have the same surname. I don't think. If a name were easy to change, I would do it in a heartbeat, just so I wouldn't feel all copycatty. But it's not easy to change in the least. So, I'm going to keep it.

The bright side to my very whiny Saturday morning? I finally came up with a title for my ms! Or, at least a working title. Now I don't have to open my YA Novel file which has always made me feel a little silly. And now that I have this, I feel a little more pumped about writing it, like I know what I'm shooting for or something. Does that make sense?

So that, in a large nutshell, is what has been weighing on my mind lately. Hopefully by my next post I'll have the glass of wine(except that I usually write these at work which probably wouldn't be a good thing)and no whining to go along with it.

How about you? Have you ever read something that is eerily similar to what you've been pouring your heart and soul into? How did you react?

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thwarted!!


I have been slacking. Hugetime. On everything.

Do you ever feel like everything you try to accomplish is thwarted by something you feel you have no control over?

Let's use writing as a starting example.
There is only one working computer in my house which means that I have to 'share' my computer time with my husband who has a severe internet addiction.
Sometimes I find myself sitting on the couch across the room from him, trying to force him off using the awesome powers of mind control. This, unfortunately, does not work in my favor.
I have very little time in the evenings to get any work accomplished after I take care of my 'nightly duties'. You're probably reading this, thinking, 'get your husband to help with the duties'. And I, in turn, am laughing at you.

I try to work around this problem by working on my ms at work...while I'm being paid to, you know, work. Most of the time, this is no problem and I keep my focus fairly well amidst the noise of a car dealership. But when I'm busy doing the work I'm actually being paid to do, writing has to take a backseat. Sometimes for days.

I wish I could stay up all night and get things done, but I just can't! How do you all do it??? How, I ask you?

Another thwarted attempt: commenting! It is SO frustrating to read someone's blog at work, leave a comment because I 'totally get what this person is saying', only to find out that I CAN'T LEAVE COMMENTS!!!! My work has blocked me from this. Which means I must do my blog reading at home, at night, when I'm done standing in line for my computer. Which in turn means I don't get to comment on anything. Because when I finally do get to use the computer, I have to use it to get my work done!

Aargh!!!

How I wish I had an Easy Button to press whenever I am overwhelmed. It seems to happen so often.

So I ask you, how do you make time for your writing when it seems like every opportunity you have to get something done is thwarted? How do you make writing a priority over other things?

Ugh, even this post took me a couple hours to finish and it doesn't even make sense when I read it over! Today is a Julie-needs-help day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Envelope, Please


Just a little blog surfing tonight.
Then suddenly, "oh, my gosh, it's my name underneath an AWARD!!"
::Bouncing on couch commences::

Thank you, so much, to Melane at Chasing the Dream for presenting me with my very first blog award!

This means so much to me, especially in a community that still somewhat scares the crap out of me. I'm working on this, I swear!

The winners are hard to choose, so let me mull this one over and I'll come back to it.

As for the seven things you don't know about me...well, this could take all night, seeing as how I'm still new to you. But we'll try it anyway.

1. I love Britney Spears(oh, no, was that a good one to start with? Will you all stop reading my blog now???)

2. My dream vacation is London.

3. I am completely boy crazy(yes, I am married, but this is totally innocent).

4. I hate movies in which an animal dies or is hurt or neglected, etc, etc.

5. I make KILLER chocolate chip cookies and refuse to share my secret.

6. My biggest regret is having never gone away to college.

7. I still watch Saturday morning cartoons(even if the good ones are hard to come by).

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have seven winners for all of you to check out.

And thanks again, Melane, for this awesome award! I can't even begin to describe this ego boost.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Facing the Fear


I read a post the other day that seemed to hit home moreso than any other post I've read in a while. Here's the original post.

If you don't want to click on the link, I'll just tell you that the entry is about 'coming out of the closet'. To be a successful author anymore, you can't just submit a manuscript and collect payment. You have to build up a network, expose yourself to the world...to anyone who will listen.
And everyone knows that writing is extremely personal.

I have no trouble at all proclaiming my desire to be a published writer. When talking to friends and even sometimes strangers, I have no problem changing my job title from 'biller for a car dealership and I hate my job' to 'writer'.
But when they ask, 'What are you working on?', I wave off the question with a casual, 'Oh, nothing. Just a fiction novel'.

When in fact, it's so much more. It's my life. It's my passion. My dream that I'm trying my hardest to realize.
Why do I try to pass it off as nothing? My little sister is an amazing artist with oodles of money-making potential and she has no problem displaying her work for all the world to see.
But I shut myself away and hope that people forget I ever said I was a writer.

What, I ask, is up with that!?

Sharing such a huge part of my soul is a scary thing, but I know that it is something I must do.
That is why I started this blog.

I knew I needed to get myself out there, find some support, people to follow me. So I did.
Then the other day, I opened my email and there were comments, COMMENTS! from people, perfect strangers who took the time to read something I wrote. I felt my cheeks burning as I read, both from embarrassment that someone actually took notice and from the adrenaline rush I got from realizing this.
It was a strange feeling, scary and liberating all at once.
And when I logged onto blogger and saw that I had followers, FOLLOWERS!!!! I almost cried.
What an awesome feeling, to share something so personal with other people going through the same things.

Hopefully this will help me overcome my fear of 'outing' myself. It's working so far, and I've gone so far as to include my blog in my email signature, getting my name out to friends, family, and business associates.
And the next time someone asks me what I'm working on, I'm going to try to show a little more enthusiasm for the work I love and yours truly.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Next Peak

I have my idea.
I have my two main characters, Evie and Josh. I love them and they don't even have life yet.
I have a town and the conflict.

I don't have an opening line.

If I don't have an opening line, I have nothing. My idea is shot without that killer opener, the line that decides the fate of my story. If it's not perfect, it will be passed by.
How many times have you opened a book(after first judging it by its cover, of course)to check out that first line, to hear the voice of the narrator, to see if you can feel the emotion right away? How many times have you put the book down because the first line of the first chapter did not draw you in?

"Once upon a time..."
"It was a dark and stormy night..."
"To be or not to be..."


That, essentially, is the question.

How do you come up with the perfect first line? Do you use dialogue? Do you start with a memory? A dream? Just before the action? In the middle of the action? Do you start at the end?

There are so many questions to ask when coming up with an opening line. And until I have that, how can I move on? How can I create a world for these two characters I already love if I don't know how they begin?

It's driving me crazy!!!

Back to the thinking board...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Truth About Forever

Once again, I am pimping Sarah Dessen. After reading Along For the Ride, I borrowed the rest of the Sarah Dessen collection from my sister. My first pick?
This amazing gem:




This was a story about Macy, a teenager who is 'dealing' with the loss of her father with no help from her mother who seems content to pretend he never existed at all.
The story follows Macy through a pretty ignorant breakup email from her boyfriend Jason, and leads her to a waitressing job with a company named 'Wish'. It is here that she meets a group of people who show her how to let go and move on, how to be herself rather than the person she thinks people want her to be.
And, of course, she falls in love with Wes, an amazing guy that the reader can't help but fall in love with.

This book really touched me because I only recently lost my own father and dealing with it has been no easy feat. As each day passes, I prove to myself over and over that I am not the person I thought I was, that my thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, run much deeper than they used to. It's amazing the way a person changes when they lose something, or someone, close to them. In my case, it's the distance I had between my father and me that inspires me to be a better person than I was the day before.
I miss him more than I thought, but in losing him, I gained something else: my extraordinary passion for writing, something I've always loved to do, but never pushed as hard to do it as I do now.

In this book, Sarah Dessen managed to capture my exact feelings about my own loss, and I am grateful that I had a chance to read it. She is definitely a huge inspiration to me, and I hope that one day I get to say it to her.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Writer's Block....Name Block??

Perhaps I spend too much time on the small details.
Before beginning the writing process, I come up with the main and secondary characters, as every writer does, I'm sure.
When it comes to my main characters, I need to be able to visualize them perfectly in my head so that I can know them better while I write their story.

The first step, before I even decide what color hair or eyes they will have, is coming up with the perfect name.
What makes the perfect name? I'm really not sure. But usually, when I hear it, I know it.
But right now I'm at a standstill. I have my male lead, and because I have his name set in stone, I know that he will have shaggy blonde hair and deep green eyes with a crooked smile that sets my female lead's heart aflutter(of course!).
But that female lead...she is an empty face, a headless body, until I can name her.

Is this strange?
I'm not sure.

I feel that if I do not love the name, then I will not be able to portray a character that readers will love. She has to be as familiar to me as my own reflection in a mirror, from the length of her eyelashes down to the beauty mark on her earlobe.
I must know my main characters as much as, if not more than, myself.

For the story I'm set to begin, I have a main character, a female, who is quiet and shy, studious with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She is not boy crazy, except for one, and she doesn't even realize it right away. Her world is turned upside down very near the beginning of the story and she must rise above her current situation to come out on top at the end.
This character is kind and caring, and I want my readers to love her as I already do even without fully understanding her or knowing who she is.
I just need a name...
Perhaps a quiet night at home will do the trick? We'll see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Relieved

I finished my short story!
This is a huge accomplishment for me since it's so difficult to fit everything in 3500 words or less! I always have so much to say.

And even better...this is the first time EVER that I have entered a writing contest of any kind. A huge step for me. And it will be read by Jodi Picoult! How amazing is that?
Of course, my work does not even compare to the masterpieces she comes up with. And I'm almost embarrassed to think that she's going to read what I wrote. It's not nearly as deep as her work, but I hope the theme sticks with her.
I finally came up with an idea about three days ago for my short story, keeping it personal but not too revealing.
I chose to write about a woman on the morning(or middle of the night)of her wedding, a sleepless night during which she wonders if she's making the right decision in getting married.
It's mostly inner monologue, her fears of marriage and what she will be come once she 'loses her identity'.
She ends up staying up all night, analyzing the what ifs to death, and at the very last second, right before she walks down the aisle, realizes that her marriage will only be as great as she makes it.
Having just got married myself, I felt this was something I could relate to and write about, and I know that every woman who has been married has had some kind of doubt, even if it is fleeting.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fork

As in, 'in the road'.

I've always written chick lit. Well, I can't say that. When I was a teenager, I wrote about teenagers. I didn't care about 'old' people, people in their twenties or so.
But after the age of, oh, nineteen or so, I began writing more adult novels, mainly because I was entering adulthood myself and could understand more what they went through.
And now I'm twenty-eight and I want to be sixteen again. Don't get me wrong, I still love my chick lit and I like writing about people my age.
But I've started reading more and more YA and I've gotta say, I'm in love.
I love the innocence of them, the firsts of everything. First kiss, first day of school, first time behind the wheel...there's something so magical about being a teenager.
So I'm going to follow the road less traveled in my writing and give it a shot!
My inspiration?

Sarah Dessen



This was the first book I'd ever read by her and I literally fell in love. Not only did it make me want to buy a house on the beach in a beach town, but it made me want to redo my teenage years with these people. With 'that boy'.

And it also made me want to sit down and write and write and write until my first young adult novel is completed.

Of course, I will have to take a stab at it AFTER my short story is complete. It's due on September 15th and I am no closer to having a great idea than I was the day I found out about the contest!
I actually think I'm going to start over completely. Find something better to say. Because even though I'm all for the revealing 'dad' story I had going, I could not figure out how to relate it to women! At all. It was a defining point in my life, I am, of course, familiar with the situation, but not every woman has had to deal with a homeless alcoholic father their whole lives. Not every woman can relate to my unique situation.
I have an idea...let's just hope it pans out and becomes the great one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Inspiration

I've been thinking lately of the things that inspire me to write...as a writer, I know how important it is to write consistently rather than when inspiration strikes. And even if I write nothing as far as my novel goes, I always try to write something, just to keep up a flow, whether it be my blog, on writers market, a simple journal entry or a detailed email to a close friend(this is how they usually end up with pages to read rather than a simple how are you...my emails are always full of my musings!).
But sometimes I find that when something truly inspires me, there's no telling how much real writing I can get done!
In the car, I have a habit of carrying with me the CDs that lift me up and help me realize that I have something to give, something to say. And it's always easier to write after I listen to them.
An example? Sure.
My favorite is Josh Groban. Here's a video, to give you an idea:


I also find myself engrossed in reading blogs on all sorts of subjects, usually while I'm supposed to be working! And simply reading a great book will put me on the right track.
Everytime I find something that inspires me, I think to myself, 'someday that will be me. Someday I'll be able to do what I love for a living'. All about positive thinking, right?
Still working on that one. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I Know

I've heard it time and time again. 'Write What You Know'.

My life hasn't exactly been book-worthy. I can't pick up a pen and come up with three hundred pages of how my life has given me so much experience, turned me into a success, inspired me to push forward, giving my dreams all I have.

Or can I? I was raised by two loving parents who taught me how to be the person I am today. I grew up quickly when I realized I had to help care for my little sister during a very difficult time in our lives...the loss of the man who was 'Daddy' and the birth of a perfect stranger, one who chose a life of selfishness and addiction over his own family.
From then on, I have strived to become who I am. I learned from my mother's example...and also my father's. I knew that I wanted to be warm, loving, and open to all people and ideas. I knew that I did not want to disappear into a liquor bottle, lost in the mistakes of my past and the choices made by my father.

Because of this...I believe in being open to all sorts of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual preference, or religious beliefs. I donate to charities(although I'd love to donate my time as well)and am one of those people who will hand over some money, whether I have it or not, if I can see that you are struggling. I find that I am taken advantage of because of this, but it doesn't matter. In the end, I know that I helped someone and that is important to me.

I learned from the mistakes of the people I love, and even people I don't know, and to this day strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.

Although my life was never full of drama, I have seen a lot and dealt with a lot more. I have been the shoulder more often than I've needed a shoulder. I'm not an extremely religious person, but I do believe in following the example set for us so many years ago. There is a reason why I am here, and I intend to do something about it.

Why is this important, you ask?
I am writing a short story for a contest...I've never written a short story before now, and I don't know how to go about it. I don't know how to find my voice in my story. I'm supposed to base the story on women of today, what they deal with, things of that nature.
After much agonizing, reading endless 'how-tos', and asking everyone in the world for ideas, I came up with a gleaming turd. Single motherhood. Plenty of women deal with this, and while it can be a huge struggle, it is also something that can be a blessing.
So I wrote 3500 words of crap. Why was it crap? Because I am not a single mom. I know single moms, I was raised by one for part of my life....but I know nothing about being a mom at all, much less a single one.
So how could I find my voice when I have no words for it?

But I do have a past, and that past includes finding myself and who I am as a woman. And the person who helped define me more than anyone else was my father. In working to make myself his polar opposite, I found exactly who I am and who I want to be. My mother raised me and I want to be most like her, but without my father, I would probably still be looking for myself amongst a sea of familiarity, never risking anything to learn about yours truly.
So my short story, I have decided, will be about him...not his story, of course, but my own, how I came to terms with his addiction and his death. How the rest of my life will be affected by the fact that he is not here, was not at my wedding, will not meet my children.
Women deal with regret and with defining themselves based on their own terms and not anyone else's. The risks they take are usually greater than that of men because they are expected to fail. They fight to stand out.
This won't be an autobiography. Just 3500 words about a girl missing her father, using my voice.
I will write what I know, and I will do it well.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Out of the Box

A quick entry:
I am entering a writing contest for the very first time in my life! I am very nervous, but very excited about it. I have to write a short story with the theme having to do with women today. Should be easy enough, considering that I am, in fact, a woman of today.
But, I've never written a short story before. I have a wild imagination which is why novels are my calling....but I'm going to try.
It's for Good Housekeeping magazine and Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, is the guest judge! Jodi Picoult will be reading MY story!
So it must be good. Very very good.
Wish me luck and I'll try to post it here when it's done!

Who's Married? Me?? No...

I'm taking a moment to post this:





Because they(Love and Theft) are my new obsession...and I got to meet them!

You can check out their video here:




Momentary lapse in sanity. My husband knows who he married. What of it??


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Motivation

I started paying attention to when I do my best writing. The events of the day, how I've been feeling, you know, my general mood.
And it seems to me that the more angry I become, the more adrenaline I have coursing through my veins, the more motivated I am to write. And everything I say surprises me, even years later.
For example:
I haven't touched my computer for any reason other than scoping out people on Facebook or reading up on my favorite bloggers since sometime near the end of 2008. This was mainly because I was so focused on my wedding, I couldn't hear myself think through the swarm of must-do's and ohmigod's buzzing in my brain.
Even after the wedding, I still had trouble getting back to my 'special place'. I was discouraged, even a little depressed. I know that a writer can't sit around and wait for inspiration and normally I don't. But I literally had no creative juices flowing and it was the worst time of my life.(The lack of inspiration, not being married! :)
Then one day I opened my email at work and there sat this two page letter from my mother-in-law who 'wanted to say a few things to me'.
And then proceeded to tell me that I was rude and disrespectful to her and her family and included incidents that have never even happened!
Then she delivered the biggest blow:
She had the nerve to say that my father-in-law, who employs my husband, is how my 'bread gets buttered'. Basically saying that without FIL and my husband, I would be nowhere and nothing.
The next day, I started writing again.
I decided, if subconsciously, that no one was going to make me feel like I had to rely on another in order to survive in this world. No one was going to tell me I wasn't good enough to do something.
This is my life, my world, all that I am. I WILL make it. I WILL butter my own bread.
And she can kiss my ass.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blank Slate

I ended my last blog with a post that stated I would be back, eventually, with a reason to write.
I wanted to have something to say, something that wasn't mindless chatter that no one actually cares about anyway.
Once people look forward to hearing what I have to say, maybe then I can talk about the things I have rolling around in my head, the random banter that is my norm.
This blog....
Is going to be about my climb.
My climb to what, you ask?
My climb to success, to being the person people want to hear about.
I am a writer, have always been a writer, it is in my blood, the one thing that completes me.
I have not been published, and this is most likely due to a lack of backbone on my part. I have stories, poems, letters that could make some seriously good articles.
It fills my office, clutters my mind, and is desperate to receive the attention it deserves.
I have an idea for a book.
I have the greatest desire to write novels, stories that will make people smile, laugh, fall in love, cry, and find peace in their own lives.
This is my goal.
This is my dream.
I wanted to make this blog as a way to reach out, to connect with anyone who is willing to listen, to offer advice, to be a shoulder on what is probably going to be a long and treacherous journey.
This time, I am going to do it.
I am going to overcome my fear of rejection, my fear of failure, and put myself out there.
This is going to be the start of a new me, and I'm dedicating it to all of the people who believed in me, and also to the people who had no faith at all.
It is because of you, because of ALL of you, that I am moving forward, starting this new chapter in my life.
Once I have started outlining my story, I am going to post updates on my ideas, reveal the plot, introduce my characters, and wait for feedback.
I don't know who will read this, but I am putting it out there for all to see.
Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to pause for a minute on my page, to get to know me just a little bit.
And hopefully in a not so long amount of time, you will see my name as you walk in the front door of Barnes and Noble, you will pick up my book and a cup of Starbucks coffee, and you will make me a friend for life.
It's nice to meet you.