Friday, July 29, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! It's all about the Atmosphere....

Happy Friday, everyone!!  I've got another pic for you from the illustrious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel... :)  It was interesting to read every one's reactions to the other picture I posted last week (if you're into ghosts - please click here).

The "orb" was up for some debate... a speck of dust, instead?  Maybe.  (of course - you haven't seen my pics from the Salem the rain...)  Some said they hadn't heard of ghosts appearing as orbs in pictures.  Really?  I hear that all the time, actually!  :)  And I think everyone missed the creepy face that appears on my  niece's arm.  Oh, yes.  Look closely.  It's there.

But, whether or not the hotel is actually haunted - I have to say that part of its charm is the atmosphere.  There's a certain feel to things/places that make you sit up and take notice.  Is it a joyful place?  Peaceful?  Creepy?

And do you create this appropriate atmosphere in your stories?  If you're writing horror - are you using the right words and descriptors to set the scene?  To get that certain feel?  I sure hope so! 

And that's why I took this pic and decided to post it here today - it's TOTALLY atmospheric!


Do you agree?  What kind of story does this atmospheric picture evoke in you?  Please share!!

And I hope you all have a fabulous weekend - in your atmosphere of choice!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writerly Wednesday ~ I have written a fiction novel!!!! (ahem...10 query no-no's)

Happy Writerly Wednesday, all!!! 

I stumbled upon some query NO-NO's as I was trolling through the vast WD if-you-read-this-you-might-like-this links today.  I'm sure these are probably no-brainers, but...just in case... :)

10 things you NEVER want to do in a query (from WD - thank you Ann Rittenberg!):

The ultimate #1:  (hint: it's in the title)   A novel, of course, is fictional by definition

#2:  If you're having trouble reading is the potential agent.

#3: Deer Agent,   (typo = no no)

#4:  --> query continues on page 2.

#5: Sorry, no nuggets of wisdom to start.  Such as "Every step in life we take moves us in a direction."  Wow, really?

#6: "Thanks for your time.  I look forward to hearing from you.  But, only if you contact me between Sept. 5 and Dec. 1 at the following number.  Otherwise, you can e-mail me at this address until 5pm on Wednesdays.  Or call at this # between the hours of 9am and 9:05am on the third Friday of every month.  Thank you."

#7: No generic photocopied letter, please!

#8:  "I worked very hard on this novel."  (Ummm...K.  But, does hard work = great writing?  Maybe...)

#9:  "I know you're busy.  I don't want to take up too much of your valuable time."  (Uh - too late!)

#10:  "My novel will appeal to women in general and since we make up the majority of the population in the world - I will sell a bazillion books!!!"  (do I even need to explain this one?  Seriously.)

Anything you want to add to this list?  :)  Happy Query Writing out there today!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

GUTGAA - First 200 words contest!!

Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA blogfest is coming to a close - thanks so much for hosting, Deana!!  The last challenge/contest is on the first 200 words of your (my) novel.

You may have read this before - but here's the first 200 (or 189) words of my YA Magical Realism novel, THE GLASS PRINCE:

Strange images started to pop in front of my face, as if some phantom turned page after page of a photo album too close to my eyes. I shoved my head back into the chair cushion and scanned the room for this personal-space invader. I wanted to see how he managed to juggle those images in one hand, while whacking me senseless with the other. My head ached something fierce. But, I was definitely alone in the living room. I still heard Mom tinkering in the kitchen. I tried to blink the images and the pain away.

Blink one. The leather chair I curled up in turned into some gaudy four-poster bed.

Blink two. I sat in my chair again.

Blink three. I recognized the white-steel front door. Mom’s ugly dried-flower wreath hung from it.

Blink four. The door changed to a gray plank with a nail sticking out of the middle, and dipped candles on a string hung there.

I clenched my eyes shut and rubbed my temples.

“Mom,” I yelled.

“Honey?” she called back. Her voice sounded small, muffled, as if I had cotton in my ears.

Feel free to comment!  Or not.  Or just say "hello!"  It's all good ~ :)  Happy Monday, everyone!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! Do you believe in Ghosts?

Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn.....

:)  Happy Friday, all!!

So, on my recent trip to Canada, the fam and I took a drive up to the town of Banff in Alberta.  For my Utah followers, I would have to say that Banff is akin to Park City.  Adorable little resort town in a beautiful setting.  The main draw to Banff, however, is that it is home to one of the world's top ten haunted hotels:  The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

And even if you're not into the whole haunted scene...the hotel is just INCREDIBLE to go and see anyhow.  It was built in the 1880's, it's GRAND (ummm....yeah, thought about staying there a night, but it was $400 a night and that was for the cheap, non-peak season room!!!!!), and heck!  Marilyn Monroe stayed there.  Seriously - they've got pics!

But, I went for the ghosts.  I can't say I'm a 100% believer.  I get the occasional creepy feeling.  I think I might have seen things in the past.  But, still - I've never seen anything move of its own accord.  I've never had an actual apparition float up to me and say "BOO!"  Still...I think my belief stems from my fascination about any supernatural anything and the possibilities that it might all be true. 

So, we went to the hotel.  We strolled.  We took pics.  And a voice recording... :)  Which, I haven't listened to yet...come to think of it.  And here's the one pic I got that might make me a true believer:

I hope you can see what I see.  The picture quality looks so much better on my camera...but, if you look at my niece on the right...big, fat ORB!  And if you look above the orb at her arm...well. 

Tell me - do you see what I see??  What's your best, possible ghost sighting?  Do tell.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Query: Cherry? or Query: Cheery?

How do you pronounce:  Query?  I'm a query:cherry gal myself... :)  And here's my latest query for my YA Magical Realism novel - The Glass Prince.  Posted as part of Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up For and Agent Blogfest!!  You can check it out by clicking on the picture:

Check It Out HERE!

Dear Agent X -

A stranger’s uninvited kiss at Clara’s seventeenth birthday party, in front of all her friends and long-time boyfriend, kick starts her journey toward high school social suicide. Suddenly, the invitation to spend the summer in New Windsor, New York, from a grandmother she’s believed dead her entire life, goes from “‘very bad idea’” to “very ‘convenient escape’.”

So Clara hops her first plane ever from Utah to New York, fingers crossed and hopes high. Night one at granny’s house gets her the silent treatment. Nice. When Grandma does pay attention to her, it’s only to introduce her to a family heirloom— a glass prince figurine that springs the family curse on Clara with one touch. It’s the same curse that killed her father, good ol’ granny explains, and it will kill her, too, unless she can find a way to break it.

The kiss-crazy stranger himself is the one guy who can help her out.  He’s Snow White’s son, cursed by the not-really-dead evil Queen who finally got her revenge . And Clara’s family line suffers because her ancestor was the prince’s one true love who pledged her family’s legacy to helping him break his curse of immortality.  On the flip side, though, the Knight's have only a short time to help or they face an early death.

With an unexpected nemesis and maybe even her own grandmother plotting against her, Clara must decide just how far out of her sheltered comfort zone she’s willing to go to secure her future.

THE GLASS PRINCE is complete at 61,000 words and the ten pages your requested are pasted below.  Thanks for your time and consideration.

ME!  (Ok - yeah, don't use this as your closer...)

So...what do you think?  Are you querying yet?  What do you find the most challenging?  Perhaps blog-hopping Deana's query contest can answer your questions or give you some ideas. 
Best of Luck!! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Find the Story Friday!!! (Better late than never, right?) Fireworks and Lake Louise!!

OK, so I may be a tad late in posting this... (ahem.)  BUT - I'm still posting on the 15th, so it totally counts!!  How are you all, btw?  :)

So, it's Find the Story Friday.  And guess what?  You're actually going to find a story here on Friday!  I'm participating in Ali Cross's Independence Day Flash Fiction(click the link to check out other contestants, please!)  The challenge was to create a piece of flash fiction @ 250 words or less, with the prompt:  It's Independence day and something unexpected happens...

Here's my very thrown together attempt...(warning!!  Major suckage may follow...except for the picture, it's kind of cool...):

I'd watched fireworks in the park on the 4th of July for a long as I can remember. There were events that my family was absolutely required to do on certain holidays. And we never strayed far from home. Today marked the first time I'd spent the 4th away from home.

But, the fireworks show I was about to see was set up in the most picturesque spot. My feet dipped naked in a warm mineral pool. Pines and the tall, snow-capped Rockies flanked me on every side. As the sun dipped low, the lush greens turned a darker shade and torches lit up the perimeter of the resort. The air was a plethora of smell - fresh rain, leaves, smoky wood, pine, and sunblock. As the sky darkened, we heard the boom that signaled the "show" was about to begin.

The sky exploded in a rainbow of color and lit the tips of the trees with their various hues. The pool reflected colorful zigs and zags, spirals, spider-webs of light.

"It's stunning," I whispered to my husband.

So in awe were we that I didn't hear the screams until my back felt like it was on fire. The bear took another swipe at me, but my husband hauled me away. My body went limp in his arms and I marveled at the blood dripping down my arm and how it matched the color of the last firework exactly.  (239 words)


Ok, now it's your turn.  I took this pic at the GORGEOUS Lake Louise in Banff National Park in (crap, can't remember if it's in B.C. or Alberta...the border's close, at any rate...).

Tell me how it make you feel?

Stunningly gorgeous, right???  :)  And certainly inspiring.  I hope it's inspired you today, and that you share a little of that inspiration with me in the comments.

And I hope you all have a FABULOUS weekend!!  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writerly Wednesday ~ The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing...

Happy Wednesday, everyone!! 

I have to say...I really hate it when my blog title is a little too apt.  "Queen" of Procrastination?  Heck!  I've been the "Universal, Trans-dimensional, Supreme Ruler" of Procrastination lately!  My bad... and my apologies to all my wonderful followers.  My goal is to get back on track with consistent posting ASAP!

Needless to say, when I stumbled across this article in Writer's Digest, I wasn't very happy that I identified a little too much with #1...(in a more literal sense than what they actually meant, but still...)

I give you my recap of The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing by Zachary Petit:


#1:  Laziness.  (You see?  :))  The contributing author of this deadly sin, David Hewson, is actually talking about academic laziness.  You know - coming up with the same story over and over and over again, but just giving it a minor face lift?  (don't do that, btw...)  But, the literal laziness is kind of death to a story, too.  Trust me...I know.  It's far too easy to slip into a do-nothing rut and let your story gather dust.

#2:  Trying to be a good student.  Contributing author, Lisa Gardner, said that research for a novel is essential.  Of course it is!  However, what you do with that research is another matter.  Regurgitating it on a page just isn't going to work.  Use what you've learned artfully, and don't forget you're writing to entertain and move your story forward.

#3:  Marching Down the Outline.  Now, for me and my fellow pantsers - this one's not so much a problem.  But, for you uber organized outliners out there - take note:  Contributing author, John Sandford, said that sticking too closely to your outline may stifle your story.  Just be aware of the problems this could create and don't be resistant to changes as needed.

#4:  Denying Jealousy.  Author M.J. Rose said that aspiring writers are often jealous of successful, published authors.  (Who, me??)  Well...OK.  Yes.  When I first heard about J.K. Rowling's success, I thought - "Seriously?  What's so neat about Harry Potter?!"  And then I read the books.  The point is, it's OK to feel jealous.  Just don't bottle it up and let it hinder your own creative efforts.  Embrace your jealousy and let it fuel your way through writing your own bestseller!!  Who knows, J.K. might be a little jealous of you/me someday...  :)

#5:  Focusing too heavily on the business.  Again from Sandford, he warns that getting lost in the trappings of business and promotion could hinder you from actually writing novels.  The business of writing is important to learn and to know - but, it will do you no good if you don't have books to use it on.

#6:  Not reading books.  Again from Rose, this just might be the deadliest sin of all!  You absolutely MUST read books in the genre you write.  No questions, no excuses.  Just do it!  Read, read, read.

#7:  Imitation.  Hewson says it well - There is a difference between imitating a book and being influenced by a book.  (So, now I'm a little worried about my story "Mary Cotter", about a teen witch who flies off on a shiny red plane to the Blogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry...dangit!)  But, seriously...aside from the whole tacky factor of imitating another writer's work?  There is the part about  -  PEOPLE WILL KNOW!! So just don't do it.  If you love a particular book - look at why you love this book.  What works?  How could your own unique story elements work the same way?  Remember - imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

So - tell me.  Are you a sinner?  :)  Happy writing out there today!!  And for realz this time...Find the Story Friday on the 15th!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writerly Wednesday ~ If I were a Nietzschean...

I'm back!!  (Sort of...)  Hello, my bloggy friends!  Hope the past few weeks and holidays have been good to you - and PRODUCTIVE!!!  Have you all been getting a ton of writing/reading/editing done?

I'm back from a recent blogcation and actual vacation to B.C. Canada.  Enjoyed some poutine.  Saw a mama black bear and her three adorable cubs, up close!!  Paid 12% tax on EVERYTHING!  (B.C.' do you do it?)  I watched fireworks on Canada Day and absolutely drank in my beautiful, gorgeous surroundings.  Trust me - I've got plenty of new pics for Find the Story Fridays!!

Otherwise, I'm a little unprepared for my Writerly Wednesday today.  So, I thought I'd leave you with writing quote.  Not sure it's my absolute favorite, but the idea/image behind it is interesting.  Also, I've been watching FAR too many reruns of Andromeda lately.  So, obviously, when I stumbled across the quote author's name... I had to run with it.  Here you go:

Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Til Friday...  :)