Friday, April 29, 2011

F³A: America is Crazy. For Realsies.

What am I referring to you ask?  Is it the fact that so many were glued to their sets to watch the royal wedding?  That people are actually paying to go see Charlie Sheen speak?  That Birthers STILL don't believe Obama is American even though he produced his birth certificate?

Bringing sexy back
No.  That is NOT what I'm referring to, though any of the above would make a fantastic blog post *makes notes for next week*  I'm referring the the travesty that took place on national television last night.  Casey Abrams was voted off of Idol last night.

Um, what?

Most of these people suck
Casey was a judge favorite and probably the most talented person to ever set foot on the idol stage.  Disagree with me?  Fine.  He's a singer, songwriter, musician.  You cannot debate the fact that he has an awesome voice.  No matter what he sings (aside from maybe Smells Like Teen Spirit) he has made me swoon.  He brought sexy back to the upright bass.  He scats like mad.  Rough around the edges, sure, but expendable? Not even close.

My idol obsession
He's got more style than Jacob, more versatility than Scotty, more experience than Lauren, and he growls better than Haley (I love Haley too, but not as much as Casey).  And he . . . uh . . . well, comparing him to James would be like comparing apples to oranges. Can't do it. (and now that Casey is gone, James is a shoo in to win.  If he doesn't I may just boycott Idol fooooorrrreeevvvvvverrrrrr)

However, there is no doubt in my mind Casey will get a recording contract.  And I'll be first in line at the iTunes store (figuratively) to buy his stuff.


 Friday Nibbles:

Random Pandora (iPod is dead) Shuffle Song: In the Waiting Line by Zero 7

Book of the Week: Hard choice, I hit the Borders sale yesterday.  I think I'm going to go with Kristina McBride's, The Tension of Opposites. Been wanting to read it for awhile.

Movie of the Week:  What is a movie? Kidding, let's go with another purchase from Borders, Blood and Chocolate.

Quote of the Week:   "Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us, come because we actually deserve them?  So now I take comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the Universe."  ~ Marcus Cole

Random Thought (this is new, I'll tell you some of the weird crap that comes from my head):  I dreamt about zombies last night and now I think I'm going to write a zombie book.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: Marketing

I received the marketing letter from my publisher yesterday.  Talk about information overload.  That's good though.  It's very thorough.  Clearly states what I should be doing.  What they will be doing for me.  Even with the online stuff I'm already doing, there's more.  I believe I will have no life for the rest of the year, probably longer.

Although I'm on Facebook, Twitter, I blog, I have a website, it's not enough.  There are certain things I must do on those sites to maximize my online presence.  Update often, host stuff (I don't know what yet)

Is that so bad?
There's swag, and since I have a little experience with graphic design, I'm going to design my own, bookmarks, buttons, postcards, and stickers. (and whatever else there is to create).

There are many events to attend.  Book signings, festivals, conferences.  I can also try and do school visits.

And of course I'm a member of the Class of 2k12, so I'm pretty much double marketing.

I need to find some balance, to do all this, keep up with my writing, give my kids some attention, and go to my day job.

It seems exhausting and impossible, but others have done it, so I think I can too.

Back to it.  Laters.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Withered (which I know I'll need to change)

As always, this is unedited.  I don't think I've even read it since I wrote it.    This may or may not be my next project after Sad.

      Entering the cafeteria, we looked around to see where we might want to sit.  We walked slowly down the aisles of  industrial white school lunch tables until we heard someone say, “You ladies need a place to sit?”
     Following the voice, we found a table of boys.  All staring and smiling.  At Sarah.
     “You can sit on my lap,” a tall thin boy with wispy shoulder length strawberry blond hair and a nose full of freckles said.
     The boy next to him, the one that had called us in the first place, punched him hard in the arm.  “Ow!” he yelled, rubbing what would probably a newly forming bruise.
     “Never mind Jack.  He’s an idiot.  What he meant to say was that he’d love it if you beautiful ladies would sit at our table.”
     Sarah looked over to me, I just shrugged, and we headed over to their table.  Not wanting to sit too close to Jack, we took a seat on the other side of our host.
     “I’m Chad,” he said, offering his hand.  He was something to look at, light brown hair, sparkling blue eyes, and dimples that could make even the most frigid girl melt.  
     “So, you two are new this year, huh?” Chad asked, mostly to Sarah as his eyes hadn’t left her face since we sat down.
     “Yeah, I’m from Colorado, and Willa here is from Oklahoma,” Sarah answered.
       “What do you do in Oklahoma?  Tip cows?” Jack asked then snort laughed.
     “Yeah, cow tipping, never heard that one before,” I said.  “And we’re all rednecks, love country music, drive pick-ups and wear cowboy hats.”
     “Jack, stop being such a douche,” Chad said.
     “What?” Jack said with a mouth full of peanut butter sandwich.
     Just then, Veronica, our walking dead tour guide from orientation showed up, food tray in hand, two more walking dead girls, twins to be exact,  behind her.  Veronica looked right at Chad and said, “What are they doing here?”
     “I invited them to sit with us.”
     “Well uninvite them.”
     “Ronnie, come on.”
     She exasperated and took a seat on the other side of Jack, her entourage sat across from her.
     “Ronnie, this is Sarah and-”
     “We’ve met,” she said digging into her school lunch, which consisted of nothing more than a pile of carrots and an apple juice.
     Chad then turned to us, gestured toward the twins and said, “And this is Blythe and Bliss.”
     “It means joy,” they said in unison, reminding me of murderous evil twins from a horror movie.
     “Creepy,” I whispered in Sarah’s ear.  She giggled.
     The time passed quickly as Veronica nibbled on her carrots, Chad talked Sarah’s ear off, Jack told stupid blonde jokes, and the scary twins did everything in unison from shoveling food in their mouth to drinking from their pop cans.  The bell rang and Sarah and I headed toward the exit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

T is for Timeworn: MySpace

Is MySpace dead?  I want your opinions.  I was thinking about my myspace page sitting there gathering cobwebs and wondering, do people still go there.  Would it be worth revamping my page and  posting my blogs there?  Could there possibly be anyone over *there* that is not on Facebook?

I know they gave their site a face-lift (which I hate BTW) but was it enough to stir up a second coming?  Do any of you use myspace?

Is it worth my time to dust my page off and keep up with it?  When I do check it, which is close to never, I do have friend requests waiting for me.  So obviously SOMEONE is there, but are they all just a bunch of SPAMmers and musicians wanting to be loved, or are they people worth giving a damn about.

Give me your two cents.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: The Ups and Downs of Writerdom

Some people get my writing, some people don't get my writing.

Sometimes I don't get my writing.

Some days I think I'm brilliant, some days I think I suck.

Some days I can't write a word to save my life, some days I can't stop.

Sometimes writers get not so good reviews and sometimes they get this in their Twitter feed.

"Never Eighteen is phenomenal! I cried so much; I'm in love with Austin and Kaylee. :)"

Okay, maybe that's only me.

Never EighteenI will say this, coming off a weekend of writerly uncertainty, this comment today made me believe in myself again.  Yes, some days I question myself.  I think we all do.  We wonder if we're good enough, if we have what it takes.  I have to keep in mind, someone liked my writing enough to rep it, someone liked it enough to publish it. Not everyone is going to like it.  I get that.  I have to get over it.  I need to focus on the people who do like it to keep going.

The review from the  above mentioned commenter will be available May 8th.   She's my new BFF (she does not know this yet, ;)  )


Friday, April 22, 2011

F³A: Research

How much research do you do when writing?  Do you love it, or hate it?  Is it intensive or superficial.

I've done tons of research, but I can't stand it because it's usually when I'm in the middle of writing time, and I stop and go Crap, I need to know how to, or what is, or where is, etc.

I've looked up some weird stuff.  Death penalties, lethal injection, cutting, constellations, cancer, medieval villages and stature, suicide, the amount of tithes a large evangelical church receives and where the money goes, bloods and crips, aids, the list goes on and on.

While it's interesting, I almost wish I had a method to my madness so it didn't always take me away from my writing, you know, like having one of those . . . what are they called . . . outlines. ;)

I've never been an outline person. I just write.  If I do ever get stuck I write down point A and point B and make notes about what I want to happen in between.  Crazy I know, but then again, I'm a little crazy.

Tell me what kind of research you've done for your writing.  Was it interesting? A drag?

Happy Friday everyone, here are my nibbles.

Random iPod shuffle song: Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

Book of the Week:  Illegal by Bettina Restrepo.  I just got it from Amazon and can't wait to read it.

Movie of the Week: Rain Man my mom gave it to me because she thought the girls would like it.  I think she's probably right.

Quote of the Week: "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." ~ Werner von Braun 

Have a great Easter/Passover/whateveryoucelebrateordon't

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: All Work and No Play

For the last few weeks, I've been working every waking hour of my day.  I get up and try to read my email, catch up on Facebook, I try to read other people's blogs, but can honestly say I haven't been very good at it lately.  So sorry fellow bloggers, I'll try harder.

Then I go to the day job.

Then I come home and work in my hard when the weather allows, write, work on marketing for myself and The Class of 2K11.

Then there's my side book trailer business.

And of course I have Thing One and Thing Two who have to be driven every which way, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking exercise. I've been trying to get up early so I can get all my computer stuff and my blog in before work.

It may not sound like much, but it's all very time consuming.  And exhausting.

I need to learn some balance.  I try, but I'm still not very good at it.

Anyone have any pointers?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writing Wednesday: An Unbalanced Line and a request

First of all, I want to say, if anyone wants to put some writing here on my Wednesday blog, I would love it.  Everyone probably gets tired of reading my crap every Wednesday and I'm running out of stuff to post without giving all my books away on here.

So, here's a bit from An Unbalance Line, formerly (and may go back to) Cheesy.

     But enough about that. I need to flash forward just a bit because not much else changed the rest of the school year except Brittany and Abi’s boyfriends, which changed as often as I changed my underwear. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but I couldn’t keep up with their boyfriends of the week.  It was usually the same rotation of guys over and over.
      One other thing changed—my body.  I grew taller, thinner, and then there were my boobs. They got bigger and I hated them for it. I went from a nothing to a 36C in two months flat.  No pun intended. The boys teased me relentlessly about it until I punched Mark in the nose. Then they never spoke of it again— to my face at least, I’m not sure what they were whispering behind my back, and I didn’t want to know either.
     Summer before my ninth grade year, we had record-breaking heat. I remember the sun beating down so hot I felt I was melting, but nothing could keep me away from the football field. My dad still pretty much kept to himself.  I know he missed my mom, when he wasn’t working or watching film, I’d catch him staring at the framed pictures on the mantle.  I watched him just stare at it for a few minutes then he’d go on about his business.  I picked one up after him once.  It was a picture from their wedding day.  My dad’s hair was brown at the time, not peppered with gray like it is now, and it was kind of longish, which I’d never seen him wear again.  The way he was looking at my mom—just beaming at her with pride, and happiness, and love—I wish he’d look even half like that at me every once in a while.  But even though I’m doing whatever I can to get his attention, he still just looks past me.  
     So, I just worked harder at the game he loved more than me.  I figured it would eventually have to get his attention.  At his practices I would get involved—fetch the boys their water, retrieve balls, and so on. I’d also flirt with Brady.  Even that didn’t get my dad’s attention.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

T is for Talk: Conference Talk

While I can't give you details of each class, because the talks are the property of each faculty member at the conference, I can give you a little idea of the sessions I took and the basic concept behind them, and also what else went on.

First there was an Editor/Agent/Art director panel, which was pretty informative.  People on the panel included Lionel Bender, Justin Chanda, Sarah Davies, Martha Mihalick, Joe Monti, Anne Moore, Timothy Travaglini, Liz Waniewski, Tina Wexler, and Marietta Zacker (you're going to have to look them up)

Then was keynote address by Deborah Wiles, which was amazing.  She talked about writing from your head, your heart, and your imagination and shared some personal stories and how they translated to content in her books.

My first breakout session was labeled as Marketing Mania: To the Bookshelf-The Sometimes Hidden Path, the speaker was agent Joe Monti.  It wasn't really was I thought it was going to be.  I thought it would talk more about Marketing, but it talked mainly about the process before that, what to expect between the time a book is signed to how it gets to the shelves.

My second session was Collaborative Marketing: Strength in Numbers by Roseanne Parry.  She was part of the Class of 2k9, and gave a lot of great information I can use with 2k12.  One of my favorite sessions.

Next session was How Far is Too Far in Teen Lit by Brent Hartinger.  I think he is an amazing person, and we happened to attend the same high school, though he was two years out by the time he got there.  This is what I took from that class:  I'm going to write what I want and let my agent figure out if it's too edgy.  You can go pretty far these days in edgy YA, and would be with good company.

I already told you I missed a few keynotes, which I really would have liked to see, but shit happens.

Sunday my first session was Five Ways to Make Your Character Sparkle by Kevin Emerson.  Great workshop about character development.  Kevin was very funny.  This was the session that I got up and read my stuff.  It was scary.

Next session, Writing From Anger by E. Lockhart.  Not what I expected, but it was interesting.

Next was Character Driven Stories by Liz Waniewski.  This was very helpful.  Most of the stuff I've written is character driven, and she gave us a worksheet to help us shape our characters, that was based on what she looks for when reading a manuscript.

There was another panel.  Local success stories. I'm not going to remember them all I think, but some of them were Carole Dagg, Caridad Ferrer, Craig Orback, Wendy Wahman, Jim Whiting, Jesse Joshua Watson, and Dori Yang.

There was also book signings.  I got a book signed by Holly Black and Brent Hartinger.

And then I nearly collapsed, so I left before the last keynote.

All in all a fun, informative weekend I would highly suggest to anyone.  There is no limit on educating yourself, and continuing to work on your craft.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: SCBWI Western Washington Conference

I have learned something about myself through attending the SCBWI WW Conference this weekend.  I'm a conference wimp.  I do not have the endurance to make it through the entire thing, at least not the way I was doing it.  I will mentally and physically prepare myself next year to meet the challenge of making it through the entire event.

Of course that was not all I learned.  I learned things vital to honing my craft, and also how to get the most out of my conference.  I'm going to start with the latter.

One very important thing I forgot, and remembered Friday night after I was already there, bring business cards.  You talk to so many people, you will want a card with all your vitals on it.  I am an idiot and didn't even think about it until I was already there mingling with the 400 writers in attendance (not to mention the agents and editors).

Pace yourself.  These are long days.  There is a Friday night social.  Have a couple drinks, mingle, then go to bed.  Things start bright and early especially if you're a conference virgin.  I may have stayed up a bit too late, then had to be at orientation by 7:30 the next morning.  I had to take a breather between my last session and the wine and cheese hour to catch my second wind.  AND, it is not a good idea to go out and close the bars down with your conference Bestie, Jarucia, AFTER the dance, then stay up talking for another hour.  Nope, that will definitely make you miss stuff.

This absolute exhaustion made me miss out on three keynotes, by E. Lockhart, Dan Santat, and Holly Black, which sucked big time.  Which brings me to this:  I think I may even book an extra day at the hotel and leave MONDAY, so I don't have to think about the long drive home.

Now, let's go back to the dance.  Do NOT be afraid to look stupid.  People attending the more social events of the conference are there to have fun and mingle, just like you.  So what if they want you to dress up like you came to the future?  Do it.  I was adamant about NOT dressing up.  No way uh uh wasn't going to happen.  Then Jarucia texted me and said she was dressing up, but just a little.  Luckily I had brought twice the amount of clothing I did (which I always do, "packing light" is not in my vocab)  I put on a tank with some sequins and beads around the neck, did my hair up in a high pony tail, put on three shades of eye shadow and purple blush, and called myself one of Capt. Kirk's bitches, but not the green one.  And you know what?  I didn't think I'd dance.  I didn't think I'd have fun, but . . . wait for it . . . I did.  Many were dressed up, many were dancing, many were having a good time, just like me. 

And because this weekend is so full and jam packed, don't even think you'll have time to read or write or do anything aside from attending conference events and sleeping.  I brought my laptop.  I looked at it for a little bit on Friday when I got there, and that was it.

You do not need to bring a big bag.  A tote bag, sure.  Mine was too big and cumbersome and started irritating me after about ten minutes. They sell awesome SCBWI totes there.  Buy one as a souvenir.

Come hungry.  No, I don't mean for that book deal, I mean literally hungry.  It is obscene how much food they give you.  Bagels, croissants, fruit, coffee, cheese for breakfast.  Their lunches were more than I usually eat in a day.  A GIANT sandwich (I am not even exaggerating), fruit cup, potato chips, cookie larger than what is good and pure in the world.  I ate my sandwich both days, the fruit the first day, I hope my maid enjoyed the cookies and chips.  Oh, and then dinner.  Huge spread.

If you have a shell, get out of it.  I took some big leaps this weekend.  You would probably not know it from my writing, but I am insanely shy around people I don't know.  First night I sat at the bar by myself eating a salad, they opened registration and I pounced on the first person I saw sitting alone, begging him to let me sit with him.  His name was Stephen (I think, I met A LOT of people), and I really appreciated that he let me hang out with him and his friend until Jarucia got there.  Totally out of my comfort zone.

The second afternoon, I was taking a break (because I was so damn tired) eating pita and hummus in the bar.  A woman came in and sat nearby.  After sitting there for awhile, I finally struck up a conversation. Her name was Sunny, she was a sweet woman who introduced me to a couple other women, one with whom I had a few more conversations throughout the weekend Sharon, and I was so thankful.

And here's a biggee.  You know, seeing these writers up on these panels, and teaching these sessions, I realized that once my book came out, people just might want me to speak.  In public. In front of people.  Which scares the hell out of me.  So one of my sessions was a  writing workshop about character development.  And he asked if anyone wanted to share, and before I could argue with it, my hand shot up.  I did explain to everyone that I volunteered because of my fear of public speaking and apologized in advance if my voice quavered or I passed out.  My voice did quaver, and my body shook from fear, but luckily, I kept from fainting.

I think lastly (probably not lastly, but all I can think about writing at this time) I urge you to talk to people.  Mingle, meet, introduce.  Many of the people there are in the same boat, or at an earlier stage, or later stage in their writing journey.  You can learn a lot, you can teach, you can share, commiserate, whatever you want.  I think in general, writers are nice, caring people.  And I think, as one of the faculty members, Roseanne Parry, said, we're not in competition with each other.  She's right.  We work hand in hand to create art.  To inspire each other.  To promote each other.  We celebrate each other.

I probably didn't meet as many people as I would have liked, my shell harder to crack than I thought it would be, but I did meet some very kind, creative people.  The weekend was invaluable to me.  I'm so glad I finally decided to take in a conference.  Next year (or who knows, maybe this summer in L.A.) I'm going to try to break that shell down a little more, and meet more people in the industry.  No matter who it is, or what stage they might be in their journey to publication, I'm sure I will benefit from having met them.

Tomorrow I'll talk about some of the sessions I took and what they meant to me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

F³A: Conference

And I totally forgot to write yesterday.  My bad.  I was just going to talk about people being in such a hurry all the time.  The other day people were cutting people off, passing dangerously in a no passing area.  I even got honked at RIGHT after the light turned green.  Pissed me off.

But enough about that.  I'm heading to SCBWI's Western Washington Conference today.  I'm excited and nervous.  This will be my first conference.  I know there will be people there I know, but I'm quite shy in real life, I'm going to have to break out of my shell to be sociable.

Here are the classes I will be attending:

Conference orientation for first time Attendees
Marketing Mania
Published Pros
Learning and honing
How far is too far in teen lit
Five ways to make your character sparkle
Writing from anger
Character driven stories

I think I will benefit from all these sessions

Anyone else going?

You know, two more people follow and that 200th person gets a prize.  Are you holding out to be the 200th?

Time for Friday Nibbles:

Random iPod Shuffle Song: Kelly Clarkson, Already Gone

Memento NoraBook of the Week: Angie Smibert's Memento Nora.  I've not read it yet, just got it in the mail and am excited about it.

Movie of the Week: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  Out on DVD.

Quote of the Week: "Rivers know this:  there is no hurry.  We shall get there someday."  ~A.A. Milne

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Untitled

I had originally called this three names that were already taken, so, for now it's untitled.  But here's just a bit, as I don't have much on it yet.

He stands up, closes the fridge door and says, “Sissie, who’s your friend?”  I’m mesmerized to the point that I don’t even realize he’s called Sarah, Sissie.  He’s the most perfect, most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen.  Okay, maybe perfect wasn’t quite accurate.  I’m sure anyone else would notice the tiny scar on his right cheek, or the couple of hairs on his head that don’t seem to lay quite right.  They’d probably notice that he limps just slightly when he walks and his feet are abnormally large.  But not me.  Okay, well yes I did, but to me he was flawed to perfection.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

T is for ?

I need a new Tuesday blog.  People don't seem interested in horns tooting.  Got any ideas?  I'd love to hear them.  Also, I am three followers away from shelling out a prize.  If you know someone you think would be interested in my blog, send them over.  A referral gets a prize too.

Today should be tired Tuesday.  Went out and "celebrated" my birthday in a big way last night. *YAWN*

Leave your ideas for a new Tuesday blog in the comments.  Maybe if I pick yours I'll shell out another prize.

Thanks for reading.



Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: 42

I am now the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. You know what that means, right?  You know Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? :)
It means today is my birthday and I am 42.  And it honestly doesn't bother me at all to be another year older. (no really, stop laughing)  Birthdays have never bothered me.  Well, I did flip out after number 40, but I've heard most people do.  You did, right?
It really doesn't bother me because for the last six months I thought I was going to be 43 this year.  So in a way, I've gained a year.
This last year has been full of big changes for me.  In March I finally found an agent to rep my work after looking for about three years.
In April I went to Disneyland and on that vacation found out that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt wanted to publish my novel.
I joined a great group of debut writers called the Class of 2k11. And though I'm now part of the Class of 2k12, I'm still a 2k11er in my heart.
I got to attend the book releases of two wonderful writers, Holly Cupala, and Carole Estby Dagg.
 I've met some really fabulous people this year, both virtually and tangibly. 
I started a new life, new house, new car, new job.
It's been a big year.  And the next, I keep saying, will be EPIC.  I want to thank everyone who has touched my life and supported me this last year, in either little or big ways.  Every little bit counts. 
Thank you friends.

Friday, April 8, 2011

F³A: Multi-tasking

I have been multi-tasking for some time now.  Between my day job, my writing (including research), editing when needed, my video work, and co-presiding over the Class of 2k12 including making the trailer, the lines get blurred. It's not pretty.  I've got papers strewn all over my office, notes scribbled everywhere.  Sticky notes plastered on everything.  This is how I do it.  And somehow it all comes together.  I like to call it organized chaos.  Aside from that, I have crap sitting all over the place that I have to review for Amazon Vine, papers that need to go into recycling, CD's with pictures and video for different projects I'm working on, and for some reason there is two packs of confetti on my desk.  Sometimes it amazes me that I get it all done.

So, how do you do it.  How do you get it done when it seems like pandemonium and disharmony.

By the way.  I have a new Facebook Fan Page, yes, I'm pimping myself out.  If you want to "like" me even more than you do, click here.  If you're sick of me and just want to wish me away, don't click there.

Also, only six more to my 100th follower.  Prizes will come to that 200th person.  It could be you.

Okay, not for the Friday Nibbles.

Random iPod Shuffle Song: Train, If It's Love

Book of the Week: The Year We Were Famous.  Went to Carole Esty Dagg's book release.  She's adorable and I can't wait to start the book.

Movie of the Week: Burlesque, loves me a musical, and Christina Aguilera has the best voice on the face of the earth.

Quote of the Week: Multi-tasking - Screwing everything up simultaneously.
-- Anon

That is all.  Happy Friday


My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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