Monday, January 31, 2011

Paying It Forward....

Happy Monday, all!  This post will be two-fold today.  First, I'm participating in "Market My Words" Pay it Forward contest.  Shelli J. caught a break in the publishing world when a special someone went out of their way to encourage her dream and recommended Shelli to their agent.  She's looking to do the same for one lucky person.  Read about how you can get in on this WONDERFUL opportunity HERE.

I want to pay it forward to one of my biggest fans, my little sister Caitlyn.  She has ALWAYS read anything and everything I've ever asked her to.  In fact, there's often times she has to demand new material from me, because she just HAS to know what happens next.  She keeps me and my writing on my toes and pushes me, encourages me, and inspires me to keep at it and go after my dream.  She's a wonderful champion, friend, sister, fan, reader, gal in general and I love her dearly.  She's also a writer and has a fabulous idea for a novel that I can't wait to help her with.  Whatever you need, sis!  I'm here for you.  :)

I encourage you to check out Shelli's contest - even if you don't enter, you'll be linked to some other great stories of fellow writers/bloggers and their appreciation for the special people in their lives!!

Secondly - I just HAD to throw in a Monday Munchie here!  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, please read about my new blogging schedule here.)

The Superbowl is Sunday - GO STEACKERS!!!  (That's my neutral cheer...really, I'll be there for the finger foods and commercials...)  Hmmm... or does GO PACKEELERS!!! sound better?  Regardless... if you're in the mood for a yummy half-time snack - try this:

Winger's Dip
  • 1 cup Original Winger's Sauce (tip!  you have to buy this at the Winger's restaurant.  If you don't have one in the area, you can sub. with your favorite from-the-store wing sauce)
  • 1 cup Hidden Valley ranch dressing
  • 1 large can of canned chicken (premium white meat kind, or cook & shred up some chicken breasts...I'm just lazy...)
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 2 - 8oz block cream cheese
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the 2 blocks of cream cheese in the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan.  Shred up chicken and layer over cream cheese.  Layer at least 1 cup shredded cheddar over the chicken.  Mix 1 cup wing sauce with 1 cup ranch dressing and pour over top of mixture.  Top with remaining shredded cheddar.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  When you take it out - stir it up really well.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!!

Ok - by NO means a healthy snack.  But SOOO good!!  *And one last thing!!  If you haven't entered in  my 100+ followers celebration, please do so here.

Have a wonderful start to your week!!  And let me know....are you going to watch the Superbowl?  What's your favorite Superbowl snack?  And/or Will you pay it forward to someone special today?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blogmetic Surgery....

So, since the medical community won’t allow me to use cosmetic surgery as a weight loss tool… *le sigh* I’m going to attempt to get my fix by performing a little “blogmetic” surgery on my blog. (no worries, little bloggy – it will be painless, I promise!)

So, I’m switching things up! And I do hope you all stick around and LOVE my changes! Here’s the new line-up:

Mood-munchies and Mood-music Mondays: Writers have things that help them through their writing processes and food and music seem to be among them - Elana J.’s obsession with bacon, Shannon Whitney Messenger’s character play lists, for example. I know music inspires certain scenes in my novels and who couldn’t use a break from their MS once in awhile to enjoy some good grub? So – on Mondays I plan to highlight music and food/recipes.

Totally Random/Traveling Tuesdays - This one’s a free-for-all! My prerogative to post anything I want, or nothing at all, OR something to do with travel. Maybe interviews with fellow bloggers. Maybe a snippet of my wip. Maybe this, maybe that – you’ll never know unless you stop by…

Writerly Wednesdays – ALL about all things Writing Related: Processes, contests, inspirations, prompts, great writing websites, conferences, etc. In which I hope to be helpful… :)

This-is-Me Thursdays – this will be my day to dish on what’s going on in my life, or to gush about other things I love – like all the many television shows I’ve watched over the years, or books I’ve read, or movies I’ve seen, or a particularly great GNO with my besties. Basically, it’s all about ME! (feel free to skip Thursdays entirely...)

Find-the-Story Fridays – This is a feature I already do and I really love it and I ESPECIALLY love when my followers play along! I post a picture that I’ve taken – a person, place, or thing - and ask you to find the story behind it.

Saturdays and Sundays = OFF/Blogcation.

So, that’s it! What do you think? Give it a week and you’ll let me know? :)  I plan to start with the new post schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 1st, as I’ll be participating and posting for “Market My Words” Pay it Forward contest on Monday, the 31st.

So, my bloggy friends. I hope you hang in there with me and enjoy the new things I’ll bring you. If it takes some convincing, well...I’m not above schmoozing, so I’ll also say that - “You da bomb!” “You’re frawesome!” “You ROCK!” “You’re the best invention since sliced bread!”
Seriously, wouldn’t be here without all of you. So, thanks!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! Patrick says "hello"....

Ok - so when you see him, you might be thinking *gasp* "Where's the poor guy's shorts!!??"  And his expression?'s there.  You just have to look really, really, really close...


Admit it - you all secretly desire to spend a day in Bikini Bottom, right?  Well, now's your chance!  You've got ONE day down under - what do you do?

Personally - I've been dying to try a crabby patty ~ :)   Happy Friday!
(p.s. for FUN upcoming events next week - check out my post here!)

**SPECIAL ADD ON!  My friend Abby is giving $1 for every comment she gets today to a great charity - Soles for Souls.  Please go check it out here!  Thanks!! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My HOT Mug....

Ahhh - thought you'd get a face shot here, right?  :)  Sorry...maybe later.

I'm actually posting a pic of one of my favorite beverage mugs as part of erica & christy's HOT Blogfest!  Super easy, if you want to get in on the fun today.  Just post a picture of your favorite mug!  And then make sure you check out all of the other participants HERE.

Ok, so here's mine:

And here's what I like in it:

And don't forget to mix in a little minced Andes Mints!


What's mixin' in your mugs?  (oh, and don't forget to get in on my 100+ followers celebration by clicking here! )

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Quickie....

Good morning!  Ok - so I'd fully intended for this to be a quickie (no, not that kind.  Here's your mind.  The gutter's not here...or is that just my mind...hmmm)  :)  But, as I go through the things I want to list today - there's A LOT!  SOO many wonderful celebrations, blogfests and contests going on right now.  So, let's get down to the nitty gritty:

Tomorrow, I'll be participating in Erica & Christy's HOT Blogfest!!  SUPER easy.  All you need to do is post a pic of your favorite mug!

OH, HO!!  This one is SOOOOO cool!!  HollyAnn of Can't Fight the Write (a wonderful new blog I found - go check her out!) will HAND MAKE the winner of her contest a DOLL THAT LOOKS LIKE YOUR MC!!!  Is that too cool, or what??  Seriously - what an amazing keepsake.  I sooo want this one!!

Enter BEFORE 2/2!!

Lydia at The Word is my Oyster is celebrating 600+ followers with a very fun, infectious contest!!
Go get DISEASED before 2/4!!!

Some other fun ones you simply MUST get in on:

Kimberly at Meetings with my Muse is giving away a $100 gift certificate to Writer's Digest.  YES - you read that right - $100 smack-a-roos!!  She suggests using it towards a webinar with Mary Kole - but you're free to use it however you please.  Just comment and follow by 9pm ET this Friday, 1/28!!

Shelli at Market my Words is also having a WONDERFUL Pay it Forward contest on 1/31!!  Her instructions are a tad bit involved (but, SO worth it) - so I suggest you follow this link and read up on how you can get the chance to win a free query critique, a 3-chapter submission AND a PERSONAL recommendation from Shelli to her agent, Alyssa Henkin of Trident Media!!  Wowza, right?

I know I'm probably missing some greatness here.  This blogging community is just TOO generous!  (Oh, yeah - you got in on Nathan Bransford's 1st paragraph mania, right?  Due by tomorrow, 1/27 @ 4pm PT)

Ah, heck!!  ALSO - now this is important - Shannon Messenger is giving away a DUAL query critique to one lucky winner!!  She's teaming up with Matthew Rush of The QQQE.  Trust me - these are two sets of eyes you WANT to look at your work.  Amazing opportunity here.  Enter BEFORE midnight THiS Friday, 1/28!!

Wow - did I say "quick"?  Sorry - just have one last Celebration mention - and that's my own!!  I'm celebrating 100+ followers and you can read all about it HERE!   Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blogfest! My Top Ten Songs...

Happy Monday, all!  This is a special extra post for me as I'm participating in Alex Cavanaugh's TOP TEN Count down - Music Blogfest!  Please make sure you visit the other participants here.  And "THANKS" to Alex for organizing this!!  It gives me the opportunity to remember/rediscover a thousand new songs that have inspired writers all over this wonderful blogging community!

Now - my taste in music tends to change.  I don't know that I necessarily have just one favorite song.  Or even only ten.  But, as I look at this from my writer's perspective, considering scenes and different emotions and actions and anything/everything I'd love to put in my writing - here's a list of songs that help me get in a mood...

10 - For driving fast.... AC/DC's Thunderstruck
9 - A good you-been-dissed song... Pink's You and Your Hand
8 - For the contemplative drive up a canyon or somewhere, alone....Tori Amos' A Sorta Fairytale
7 - A good song to dance to at a wedding...Bryan Adam's Heaven
6 - Unrequited love, anyone?....The Veronica's Untouched
5 - Steamy kind of behind-the-doors lovin'...Sade's No Ordinary Love
4 - And one more...the romantical type (or possibly torrid)...Chris Isaak's Wicked Game
3- For the on-the-prowl gal, shooting pool at the college pool house and trollin' for guys with her besties, this is what she play's on the juke box...The Divinyl's I Touch Myself   (*yeah...sorry...stuck in a theme here and rolled with it...)
2 - Another "love" one (or more a don't-want-to-be-in-love-any-more one)...ack!  But, I love it....Sara Bareilles' Gravity
1 - A break and a great lamenting-a-lost-loved-one song (and one of my favorite artists)...Sarah Mclachlan's Wintersong

Ahhhh!  That was SOOO hard!  All songs I love - but shame on me that I didn't include any Depeche Mode!!

Or some Kesha or Katy Perry so I don't seem so OLD! Or that Usher song I love, so I might've come off a little hip, maybe?  I even thought about throwing a little classical in there so you'd suspect I was cultured and smart... :)  Just NO country music.

Anyhow - that's just a small sampling of songs that inspire me when I write.  Good picks?  Bad picks?  Suggestions?  Now, I'm off to visit more blogfesters.  You should, too!  Thanks for stopping by ~  OH!  And don't forget to get in on my 100 follower's celebration HERE!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Celllllll-e-brate Good Times, C'MON!

I'm very pleased to report that I've peaked the first blogging milestone and come over the other side to 100+ followers - woo hoo!  A special thanks to ALL of you who've spent a little time visiting my blog, given me awards, linked to my blog for one reason or another, and shown me some blogosphere love.  I know I wouldn't be here without you ~ :)

Now, you might want to shade your eyes as I throw a little of this:

And don't laugh too hard as you imagine me doing this:

Now - for the good stuff!!!  FREE STUFF!!  Free = good!  Blogging has really motivated me to write, write, and write a little more (oh, and also read of course).  This is a great community to be in.  And since 2011 is the year of 100+ and more to come - here's what I'd like to do....  I want to give 4 lucky blogging friends a prize - please let me order/pre-order either the 2011 Debut Author book of your choice OR any book by one of my blogging buddies!!  Might I make a few suggestions:

(these are just a very few suggestions - feel free to pick any debut you want.  And if you have a book I need to list here, let me know!!)

And, because I know that you'll have to wait for some of these - in the mean time, the same 4 lucky blogging friends will get a special treat all the way from the home state - UT!!  (*trust me - I'll pick out something uniquely utah)

And ALL you need to do is 1. Be a follower AND 2. Comment (side-bars and blog shout outs appreciated, but not necessary) on this post by Feb. 13th (Happy bday dad!) and I'll announce the lucky winners on Valentine's Day!  Why 2/14?  Because, as Charlie would say "I'm in smit."  (bonus points if you can tell me where the quote comes from...)  Yes, I'm in smit with blogging.  And I hope you'll celebrate with me!!  I look forward to many more years of getting to know some great people through their wonderfully written words.  :)  Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! Getting my "Oogaly Boogaly" On....

*WARNING!!  The picture you are about to see may cause nightmares, night terrors, screaming, indigestion, heart failure, voo doo chanting, an urge to perform a virgin sacrifice, accidental peeing, eye popping, jaw dropping, sweating (oodles - I can lend you my deodorant.  Just let me know)  OR....and this is important now....come closer......

No.  Closer than that!  C'mon.  Chicken?

*leans in and whispers in your ear*  ABSOLUTELY.....

I don't know.  You tell me?  This is "Find the Story Friday" after all.'re strolling along some strange neighborhood at night and you come across a house with a big scary face on it.  WHAT DO YOU DO?

Please share.  :)

Ok - now, before I let you go - I just need to give a few shout outs to some awesome peeps.  First of all, a new blogging friend, Lindz, has awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award!!!  Thank you!  So happy this is for blogging and not for fashion ~ :)  Lindz has got a ton of awesomeness over at her site - Rapturous Randomocity.  Please go visit.

I am supposed to give you another 7 things about myself and pass this on, which I fully intend to do.  Just not today.  I'll get back to it, I promise - because I know MANY deserving bloggers. 

I also want to link to a Paranormalcy give-away happening over at The Innocent Flower.  I've heard raves about this book, but haven't had a chance to read it yet...I know, I know.  Maybe I'll get lucky and win a copy!  You should throw your hat in, too.  Never hurts to try, right?

Also - if you'll look a little to your right, you'll see some info on some fabulous blogfests coming up next week and also a link to Theresa Milstein's 400-follower Fiesta!  She's giving away 14 prizes!!!  Wow.

One last thing, I promise.  I'm 100+ followers myself!  And there will be celebrating.  Oh yes, there will be.  Please join me on Sunday when I make my announcement.  I hope it doesn't pale in comparison - there's a lot of celebrating and giveaways out there!!  But - I appreciate all you wonderful blogging friends so much that I'm feeling uber-generous and need to send you free things!!  So - have a great start to your weekend, do something fun, and Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The AbCoJen Interview - Part II....

Part II

Welcome back!  Or...for the first time.  Either way, welcome, welcome!  Glad to have you here.  :)  And if  you missed Part I of this interview, you can find it here.

These 3 ladies obviously have a lot of fans out there.  And as you read even more of their wonderful answers, I'm sure you'll see why.  So, I'll quit jabbering and get you to it!  Without further ado - Abby Minard, Colene Murphy and Jen Daiker ----------->

Question 8:  What motivated you to start blogging?
Abby:  I always thought I'd wait to start blogging until I got an actual book deal. But my crit partner encouraged me, and the blogs I read kept saying to build a presence. So I started and absolutely love it. I love making friends with the amazing people in the writing community. I never thought we'd be so tight!

Colene:  I started because of the need to. You know, unless you're already a big name, you have to have a blog or die or something like that? But after a few months I fell completely in love. I love the people I have gotten to know through emails and comments and blogs. I love every bit of it.
Jen:  Watching Julie & Julia I realized what a great idea it was and decided to dive in. Haven't regretted it.

Question 9:  What do you attribute your blogging success to?
Abby:  Ignoring my child. No, just kidding (a little). I think when I started I just wanted to meet people who experience the same feelings I do with writing books. I found that I liked meeting new people online (I'm horrible at it in real life...seriously, if you meet me in person, I'm really rather dull) and I try to keep up with reading other's blogs and making connections.

Colene:  Ha! I'm not at all a success! Not to me anyway. I still feel like a very small fish. But the only thing I can give any credit to are the people who come back 3 days a week to "see" me. Without an ear to hear I'm talking to myself, you know?
Jen:  Time. It takes time to build, time to manage, and time to keep it going.

Question 10:  One blog you don't go a day without missing?
Abby:  Colene Murphy's- The Journey (she's my crit partner and one of my online besties) (*link at the top!)

Colene:  Just one!? I can't pick just one...fine...but it isn't easy. TheGreenBeanTeenQueen blog is my every time blog. Granted, I can't stay away from SO MANY blogs, it is a tough pick but hers and Jenny B. Jones blogs were two of ones I checked religiously long before I had a blog of my own.

Jen:  Oooo. Tough. Can I say my own? hehe. Really I'd say Candyland... she's my girl.

Question 11:  Favorite TV show?  (It's all about the writing, after all...)
Abby:  If it's all about the writing, it's got to be Castle. The dialogue is funny and witty, and the mysteries are wonderful. I'd have to throw How I Met Your Mother in there too- again, AWESOME dialogue.

Colene:  Eep. Um. It changes! I love the Thursday night shows (The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town)  The hubs and I are tv people. We aren't the creepy, zoned out, do nothing but drool at the screen kind,  but it is our way to relax after long work days and be together, chatting and laughing while the tv is on. But I did recently fall in love with Firefly. So, maybe that is my favorite right now?
Jen:  Criminal Minds
Question 12:  Favorite movie?  (same here...)
Abby:  Back to the Future: I can probably recite the whole thing on the spot.  I think the acting has something to do with it, because if you listen to the writing, it's pretty darn cheesy.  But seriously...BEST MOVIE EVER.  Anyone that can pull off cheesy writing and dialogue and still smash it out of the park, they're number one in my book.
Colene:  Garg! These are harder than the writer questions! Ha! Umm... I really can't pick one. I have a favorite for MOODS. Boondock Saints, Princess Mononoke, Interview with the Vampire, Mean Girls, Avatar, Moulin Rouge, Donnie Darko, Planet Terror, Evil Dead, Auntie Mame, The Sound of Music. My movie loves are varied for moods, as you can tell!

Jen:  Love Potion No. 9 (love me some Sandra Bullock)

Question 13:  Do you wish on stars?
Abby:  Yes- I love to look at the stars and envision us going out into the depths of space and time to find a new world. The sci fi in me, I guess..
Colene:  Nope.
Jen:  Every night
Question 14:  Team Harry, Team Edward/Jacob or Team Peeta?
Abby:  Oh that's hard. Peeta as a lifelong companion and lover, Harry as a best friend.

Colene:  HARRY!! I adore The Hunger Games and Peeta (woot) BUT my loyalty will always fall with my dear, tragic, brave, wonderful Harry.

Jen:  Team Harward (Harry & Edward)

(Ok - since ALL three of them included Harry, just have to throw him in...)

Here he is - any way you like him!
So there you have it, my friends: 2 parts, 3 girls, 14 questions and 42 answers!  I hope you enjoyed getting to know Abby, Colene and Jen a little bit better?  I know I did!  And...extra bonus?  This interview has pushed me over the edge to 3 digits!  Yes - that's right!  I'm over that 100-follower hump!  Woo hoo!!  Thanks, ladies!  I know if was your large following of fans that did it (I attribute nothing to my blogging prowess, of course...). 

So, please know - there WILL be celebrating!!!  Feel free to check back with me on Sunday to see just how much celebrating I plan to do for reaching this first great blog-follower milestone.  Thanks, again, for stopping by - thank you new followers and HAPPY WRITING!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The AbCoJen Interview!!! Part I...

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Today, I have the pleasure of posting part 1 of the AbCoJen interview:

 I'm giving you some AWESOME times 3!!  Love me?  Thought so ~ :)

If you don't know them already - settle in, read, follow the links to some great blogs.  If you do know them - settle in, read, learn a little more about some great fellow bloggers/writers/friends.

I give you Abby Minard of Above Water, Colene Murphy of The Journey, and Jen Daiker of Unedited(clicking on their names will link you with merely one of my favorite posts from each lovely lady!)

Question # 1:  What genre do you write and why?
Abby:  I write YA fantasy. I've loved reading the genre since I was in elementary school, and have been stuck ever since. I honestly don't really read anything else. I've always wanted to make teens feel the way I did reading books like Sabriel, The Golden Compass, or the Dragonriders series. I can't picture myself writing anything other than YA fantasy.

Colene:  I write YA. And the reason makes me sound like a complete moron so I wont say WHY I started writing YA. But I will say that I continue because you can do SO much in that genre where others might be more restricted. And I love teens. They are so full of potential stories.

Jen:  I'm not set to one. I adore Young Adult, the ability to shape the world and have it be anything. Teens allow you to really be creative. I also love writing women's fiction (comedy), just love writing about women in different situations. I've also been known to write thrillers (complete with serial killers).

Question #2:  Favorite writing website?
Abby:  I get updates from Writers Digest and I love those. Also I love their chats and blogs are just great.

Colene: There are so many awesome writing websites! But this seems to have a bit of everything.

Jen: I don't avidly follow any. Sorry!

Question# 3:  If you could go on a writing retreat with 3 of your favorite authors, who would they be and where would you go?
Abby: Sharon Shinn, Garth Nix and Kristin Cashore. I would love to go to New York City or maybe somewhere warm- like the Caribbean (so we can just lounge around in the sun and talk fantasy writing and books, maybe even do an anthology together...sigh...).

Colene: I would love to just chat up JK Rowling (of course), Laura Whitcomb, and Garth Nix on a sunshiney, warm beach somewhere tropical.

Jen: Susan Elizabeth Phillips (for romance), JK Rowling (for world building) and; Lisa & Laura Roecker (a duo - it counts - because they'll make me laugh). As far as where we'd go... Umm since they aren't from the same mold I'd say one in New York (cuz I've always wanted to visit).

Question # 4: Best writing advice you ever got?
Abby:  Don't get distracted by all the little threads of ideas you get for other books while you are writing your current one. Write them down when you get them, and then it's back to your current work. You'll never get anything completely written if you stop and start writing new books all the time.

Colene:  I think I will repeat the same thing on this question until the day I die! Back up your sh*t! Sometimes I unvulgarize(made up word ftw) it but truly, you can know all the rules and get everything right and be the best author the world has ever seen...until your computer crashes and the only copy you ever made is now gone forever. Then what? Yea, start again. Write it over. BUT what a crushing feeling that is!

Jen:  A blank sheet of paper doesn't write itself.

Question #5:  Where do your writing ideas usually come from?
Abby:  I get inspiration from songs, tv shows, books- anything, really. Dreams even. I honestly can't tell you how I came up with my book, except that I wanted an ensemble cast like Sharon Shinn's in the 12 Houses Series, where you really feel like they are your best friends. And I wanted a love story like Sabriel's.

Colene:  Pft. If I knew, I would never get writer's block. Tap into that junk all the time!

Jen: My dreams, thoughts, etc.

Question #6:  Favorite character name?
Abby:  Serafina Pekkala from The Golden Compass.  And Ender from Ender's Game

Colene:  Ky. I just finished reading Matched and am in love with that name for some reason. Don't know if it's my all time favorite name but right now it is.

Jen:  Tully

Question #7:  What character role are you destined to play?
Abby:  The shy intimidated heroine (gorgeous, of course) who overcomes her mental obstacles to save the world and get the guy.

Colene:  Anyone who gets to make out with: Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Riddick(not necessarily Vin Diesel...just Riddick...), Alexander Skarsgard, LL Cool J, or James Franco is fine with me.

Jen:  MC finding herself

(*Ok - have to add this for can thank me later!)

Intriguing, no?  :)  In following the suggested good-blog-tip of brevity, I'm cutting this post in two, so if you'd like to learn even MORE about these fabulous gals - you'll need to come back on Wednesday for Part II of the AbCoJen interview.  I really just want to thank Abby, Colene and Jen for answering my questions and for being some of my first followers and blogging friends.  I want all three of you to know that you're a big part of the reason that I keep blogging and that I'm truly inspired by each of you every day!

And for my visitors today - I so hope you enjoyed getting to know these three a little better.  Thanks so much for stopping by and happy writing/reading/whatnot!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! And a little show not tell....

Happy Friday blogosphere!

First, an apology...I signed up for a blogfest and forgot to get my post up when I said I would.  *slaps own hand*   Madeleine over at Scribble and Edit is hosting a wonderful and VERY useful (to me, anyhow) blogfest titled "Now Showing".  The idea is to pick some rather boring telling statements and turn them into some fantabulous showing statements.  I picked the following:

4.  S/he was elated. 
My turn:  Her grin stretched wide across her face and her heart felt so light, she thought it might fly from her chest.

6.  S/he was filled with embarrassment.
My turn:  After it happened, not just her cheeks but her whole head seemed to burn red and she wished she had an invisibility cloak in her back pocket.

Hmmm...passable?  It's a thing I need to work on - so THANK YOU Madeleine for a great blogfest idea!, I'll make the Find the Story Friday!! part quick.  Here's your pic for the week.  Run wild with it:

Oh!  And if you know (or would like to better know) any of these fine ladies:  Abby Minard, Colene Murphy, and Jen Daiker - you'll want to check back on Sunday for the "AbCoJen" Interview - Part 1.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Writing!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Peek at Pike's Peak Writer's Conference...

Happy Wednesday, everyone!'s it going?  Editing away?  Are the written words flowing?  Any querying successes to report?  (I hope so!!)  For those of you who saw my "I'm a Special Request" post...ah, well.  Weronika and I are not a match, I'm afraid.  Apparently, I have more novel and query letter fine tuning to do.  And that's ok!  Because it justifies the expense of going to a writing conference this year - obviously I need all the help I can get!  And what better way to do that than to spend a weekend with editors, published authors, agents and fellow aspiring writers attending a myriad of workshops aimed at honing my writing skills?

So, I've picked one!!

This year, I've decided to attend the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference in Colorado Springs, CO.  It's happening the weekend of Apr. 29th through May 1st.  There's also a bonus all-day workshop on Thursday, the 28th.  And registration opens up in just a few days, on the 15th. 

Now, the official brochure for this year's conference isn't out just yet.  So, why am I committed to going already?  Well...I've heard this one's a good one.  :)  But, seriously - I want to say that I remember one of my favorite authors, Shannon Hale, saying that she attended one year...hmm.  Anyhow!!  If you check out their past conference info - you'll see that they seem to ALWAYS have a great line up of agents, publishers, editors, and authors on hand.

Last year, their keynote speaker was Donald Maass!!  I think we've all heard of him, right?  The editor and chief of Del Rey did a workshop on "What I look for in a manuscript".  Awesome.  They also had a read & critique session for aspiring and published authors alike and agent pitch sessions with agents such as Sara Megibow and Kristen Nelson of the Nelson Literary agency, Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Lit. agency, Sarah Warner of Warner Lit., Scott Hoffmann of Folio Lit. and many more.  Hey - Nathan Bransford even attended one year!  PLUS - their (past) workshop line-ups are jam-packed.  Seriously.  Their Saturday line-up last year started at 7:30am and ended at 11:00pm. 

Plus - this particular conference is one that I can drive to in a day (I think...).  So - that's my plan!  Do you have one of your own?  Happy Writing/Editing/Querying, all!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Short Stories and a Writer's Platform...

Happy Sunday, fellow bloggers and lovely friends!  Hope all is well in your respective necks of the woods?  Yes?  Good.  :)

So, I got a subscription offer for The New Yorker the other day. 

Now, I'll be honest (don't cringe too much) and say that the most I know about the The New Yorker is that it's a magazine (ha!), it's been around for a while (1925-ish, right?), and that it's kind of a boon to any writer's career to get their fiction published in it (ummm - you meant "jackpot!" right?). 

So, I'm submitting my latest short story to them today and expect you'll all see me in print in a month or two..........HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Yeah, point is - while I'm quite a ways away from EVER having my work published in this landmark magazine (idk, it could happen eventually, right?), I think we've all heard that getting short stories published in reputable magazines, e-zines, anthologies, etc. is an extra bonus to add to a query letter and get you noticed by an agent.  It's part of your "writing platform" - the more you have here, the better.  Of course, as bloggers, we're already in the game here.  More and more - "on-line" presence is topping the list of things to have in this "writing platform".  But, publishing short stories could possibly be a good stepping stone to getting your novel noticed and ultimately published, too.  It can only help, of course, to also READ the stories that make it in to The New Yorker and into other writery type mags.


I'll admit again that I haven't too much experience looking into this area of publishing, but one or two mags out there that have helped me out or that I've considered submitting to are:

1. Writer's Digest.  I know you've all heard of this one.  Jam-packed with advice, writing and publishing interviews, contests, etc.  *AND CHECK THIS OUT - they're hosting a webinar with agent Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency AND participants will get to submit their first 3 pages for Sara to read AND comment on!!  How cool is that?  Click "here" to find the registration page - this Thursday, 1/13 @ 1pm EST.

2. Glimmer Train.  This is another fiction magazine that focuses on short stories.  They have contests specifically for debut authors, but you're welcome to submit to them anytime.

Ummm...yeah.  There's only two suggestions from me (sorry).  But, please share some magazine/short story collection ideas of your own!  And I think I might just get that subscription to The New Yorker after all ($29.95 for a year and I get a free bag!!!).  Happy Writing ~ :) 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Find the Story Friday!! Is for the birds...oh and 7 things!

Happy Friday, everyone!  I haven't given you a place in a while, so please tell me where the following picture takes you (or your MC):


Lovely, isn't it?  I'm seeing lovers picnicking in the park...they pause to do a little somethin'-somethin' that startles the birds!  You?

And now here's my follow up to my recent Versatile Blogger Award - 7 quick things about me:

1 - I dearly miss the old chocolate twizzlers....
2 - I have wide feet.  (do you know how hard this makes finding CUTE shoes in a regular shoe store??  Ummm. hard.)
3 - I have a little long-haired dachshund named Sammy.  Maybe you've seen him?  :)
4 - Olive Garden makes my favorite alfredo sauce.
5 - I marketed a Ouija board for a class project in Jr. High... (yah, yah...I know...)
6 - I'm an Aries.
7 - I used to have a fang  (yep, just one!)

And now to pass on the award to some other great bloggers I know!!  I found a different (looking) version of the Versatile Blogger award, so please grab it for your blogs ~

1. Caitlyn @ the great esCait.  This is my little sis, peeps!  (Sadly, with only 3 followers so far) So, of course gotta give her a shout out and wish her some bloggy success!
2. Shannon McMahon.  Have you checked out her Anoncrit series yet?  Awesome!
3. Leisha Maw.  A great blogger from my neck of the woods - yeah!
4. Lynda Young @ Wip It!  Always has some great writing advice!
5. Carol Riggs @ Artzicarol Ramblings.  Yay - she just got over 100 followers and is celebrating with a giveaway!
6. Vic @ Hairnets and Hopes.  She just sent me a dvd, a book and some chocolate - so OF COURSE she's in!
7. Danette @ There's a Place I dream about.  Yep - a fellow dreamer.

Congrats to all of you - and for those I didn't list (yet), I'm all about paying it forward, so I hope you'll be patient with me.  I'll get all you fabulous bloggers listed with lovely bloggy awards asap!  Happy writing!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

100 Words and a dash of shame...

Happy Wednesday, all!  Have you checked out Elena's 100 Words for $100 contest yet?  The $$$ comes with participation and mama (aka "I") needs the cash, so jump on over RIGHT NOW and enter!!  You've got until Jan. 31st - so PLENTY of time to come up with a mere 100 words.  It's so easy!  Here's mine:

Kat fell to the soft wet earth, which cushioned her knees in mud and stained her brand new denim jeans rich brown, and let the tears fall in curtains as she pondered over her own sad fate of which she had solely brought upon herself with her callous disregard of John's heart, with her very good lies, with her snap judgements and unforgiving nature, and with the long-held secret she'd carried and should have told him about because it would have cleared up everything and made things right for them to be together, finally, after so many lonely years.

(Ok, well maybe not so easy....)

But, this totally challenges your writing.  Yes, that's right!  It's a writing EXERCISE, which is good for a writer's soul - so DO IT!  Come on.  Pop on over.  You know you want to.  :)

(Thanks, in advance, of course!)

Ok - so now for the shame comes in threes.

#1 - My little sis, the great esCait, TOTALLY kicked my can in my NeToReMo challenge!!  10, count them, TEN books down in the month of December to my measly little 5.  AND she throws it in my face a little on her blog - so sweet.  :)  But, looks like she read some amazing books that I'll definitely be adding to my TBR list.

#2 - The fabulous Maria McKenzie, over at Reading, Writing, Romance passed on to me The Versatile Blogger award a whole week ago and I'm just now getting around to thanking her!  Thanks, Maria!!  If you haven't checked our her blog - pop on over asap, please!  I'm supposed to name 7 things about myself, now - and pass this on to some other wonderful bloggers, which I fully intend to do!  On Friday... :)

#3 - I also told my blogging bud, Jen @ Unedited, that I would blog about her fabulous 1 year blogoversary giveaway (last Sunday, whoops!)  She'll have been blogging AND writing for 1 (count it) ONE year on Jan. 20th!  And have you seen what she's accomplished?  Truly amazing.  And she's celebrating with a very wonderful and generous giveaway.  So, if you haven't stopped by to enter and give her some blogoversary love - do it today!

(I hope that was ALL I had to make up for....)  I've seen a plethora of events, blogoversaries, blogfests, and contests out in the blogosphere!!  Great things are happening in 2011 so far.  Make sure you don't miss out  and Happy Writing!  :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Neverlutions...

How many of you make New Year’s resolutions?  (Oh, Happy Monday, btw!!!)  Do you keep them?  If so, BRAVO!!  *stands up and claps a lot*  Because I NEVER do.  Sure, my intentions on Jan. 1st every year are good.  I think about it, what it is I want to accomplish in the New Year.  But, then I wake up on Jan. 2nd and sadly, it’s business as usual at the Q.O.P’s house.
If you Google it, you can find lists of the most popular resolutions people make – I know you’ve heard them before, but here’s a quick recap of the top ten:

Lose weight/Be more fit
Stop smoking
Drink Less Alcohol
Find a better job
Save money
Take a trip (really??? People have to make this a resolution to do it? That’s sad, really.)
Get a better education
Volunteer to help others
Find a soul mate
Manage debt

(Note: these were listed at random, prioritize as you please, please)

I’ll tell you right now that “Lose weight/Be more fit” is the one I usually go with. (it’s a girl thing…) So, when Jan. 1st rolls around and I can still roll with it?  Well....

So this year, to avoid the guilt on 1/1/2012 - I give you this:  My list of New Year’s Neverlutions!! Here’s a few things I have ABSOLUTELY no intention of doing this year and why:

1 – Lose weight:  Ummm….why? Food is yummy!! Especially my favorite foods. The Lay’s motto – “betcha can’t eat just one”? Yeah, that applies to all the yummy food groups in my opinion! Dieting is for the birds…and maybe pretty people. And as I can’t fly and, let’s face it, will never be a model – I say to heck with losing weight! I’ve got a belly and I’m proud of it! Seriously now – it shakes when I’m jolly. You know what that means, right? I can keep that Christmas spirit near and dear ALL year long! You betcha! And when I sit with a snack – my belly doubles as a coaster, maybe a small plate. Less dishes to do = awesome! What else? Ummm – built in bib! Heck ya! Easier to clean a shirt than the carpet, am I right? It’s also a ready-to-go costume for Star Wars conventions – give me a sports bra and a marker and voila! Jabba jr. And how about a “personal space” guard – so, no personal-bubble-popper people to worry about. It’s a pillow for my daughter or my husband. It’s really just a friend that is always with you. So let’s give it up for belly chub! And NO DIETING is the ticket to some of your very own! (yeah, keep telling yourself this, Donea!)

And hey - having a belly worked out for this fine fellow.  Think about it...

2 – Quit smoking: As a non-smoker, I can honestly say that this is a resolution I have absolutely no intentions of keeping.

3– Find a better job: In this economy?  You're joking, right?  I'm good where I'm at (for the moment), but thanks.

4 – Manage debt: No way! If I do this, I’ll have no fun at all this year! (And I’m going to a writing conference this year if it kills me/my cc!!)

5 – Find a soul mate: I better steer clear of this one. It might make my husband upset…

It’s a modest list, but I’m pretty sure I will not do any of these things in 2011 – so I’m feeling pretty good about it. :)  But, if…you know…on the off-chance one of these things is accomplished… (#1 – I’m staring at you here!!!) it will just be a bonus!

Rest assured, however, that my writing goals for 2011 have a “reso” rather than a “never” on the “lutions” front. And for those goal-oriented types, I wish you all the best of luck with your resolutions this year – really, I do! But…IS there anything you plan to never, ever do this year? Just curious. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!!! Eye candy blogfest and a NeToReMo update!!

Happiest New Year to EVERYONE!!!  So, it's 1-1-11 and here's what I'm hearing when I say that out loud, "Won, won, won, won."  You know what this means, of course, don't you?  GREAT things are gonna happen for us all this year!  They are, I tell you.  Just watch!!  :)

Ok - so now down to the bloggy stuff:

Vicki Rocho is hosting a New Year's Day Eye Candy blogfest today!!  Super easy - post a pic that makes you smile.  I, of course, immediately thought of cute boys when I read "eye candy", so here's mine:

Sammy's take on Holiday Fashion
He's SOOOO adorable!!!!  Totally eye-candy worthy ~ :)

So, anyone here for the blogfest - thanks much for stopping by and I hope my pic gives you a smile, too!

My next order of blogness today is my NeToReMo report.  I'm probably one of only two people (my little sis joined in, love her!) that participated in this.  Likely because I made it up... :)  But, if you're interested to see what the idea was, you can find the original post here.

Alas, I didn't get to every book on my list.  This is either due to my propensity toward procrastination.  Or I can blame it on the holidays.  Hmmmm...I'll get back to you on this.

Instead, I made it through 5 books.  And here's the scoop:

1. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern.  245 pages.  First line, "I so used to love the first day of school."  My (quick) thoughts - this was a fun, relatable, tale about the trials of finding true friendships in high school.  The point?  Nice people rock!  No matter who they are or where they rung in on the social ladder.

2. Going Bovine by Libba Bray.  480 pages.  First line, "The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World."  Thoughts - I kept thinking that this book is to readers today, what Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was to the druggies of the past.  :)  That's not a dig, I promise!  This book's a total trip!  But in a good way.  I've heard it called a new "cult classic" and I could totally agree with that.  To see what I mean, you must read.  (although, maybe not for readers who cringe at frequent use of the "f" word...)

3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  471 pages.  First line, "In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind."  Thoughts - Ah, Katsa.  Ah, Po.... this one I REALLY enjoyed!  Wouldn't it be awesome to be better than anyone else in the world at one thing in particular?  Well, only if it's useful, of course.  Being the world's best line dancer or tic-tac-toe player wouldn't quite do it for me.  And I'd hope that my two different colored eyes were nice colors...of course, knowing my luck - I'd get stuck with pea green, and pee yellow.  Nice...

4. Fire by Kristin Cashore.  461 pages.  First line, (from chapter 1, not the prologue)  "It did not surprise Fire that the man in the forest shot her."  Thoughts - the idea of a "human monster" can be seen in more ways than one, here.  And I got a little "don't judge a book by its cover" here.  A good read.

5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  208 pages.  First line, "Every one thinks it was because of the snow."  Thoughts?  More like moods.  This book evokes so many - the good, the bad, the inbetween.  It's a beautiful book about something simple - a choice.  And it holds things in its pages that I think almost anyone could relate to.

So there you have it - 1,865 pages in one month.  Not too shabby, really!  That's 60 pages a day.  I think 100 pages a day minimum sounds a little better and that's what I'll shoot for next December (feel free to join me).  Did it help?  Did I soak it all in?  Will it make my writing that much better?  Time will tell (and maybe a few beta readers).  I hope so.

Who's my winner for best first line?  I'm gonna have to give that one to Libba Bray and Going Bovine!!!  Woo Hoo Libba!!!  But, was that my favorite book?  Not necessarily.  For favorite read of these 5 - I'm going to have to go with Graceling.  What can I say, I'm a fantasy girl.  But - these were all good reads.

And have you seen this?  The 2011 Reading Challenge.