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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Life Goals

Thanks to Universal Studios announcing Harry Potter Land opening in April 2016, I have a new life goal.

Universal Studios announced the spring 2016 planned opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," on June 2, 2015. (Credit: Universal Studios)

Affording taking a family of five to Universal Studios AND Star Wars land.

Star Wars-themed land Disney Parks Concept Art

Yes, in a few short months the prospect of my life being complete will only be dollar signs away.

And maybe a few child leashes. Those are good, right?

This is my C3P-OH outfit.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Editing FOR-Eh-VER

Sometimes the editing process never ends.

At least, it feels that way.

When you're hiring an editor, you want to make sure you fit with expectations and timelines. Basically, let them know what you're looking for, what you want done, what they charge, how long it takes, how many people are already in line, and when you'll be hearing back.

Remember editing is not super duper fast.  Not if it's being done in depth and well.

So what I'm saying is... I'm a writer, which means I edit, or work on edit notes I get from Critique Partners, Beta Readers, Editors, Publishing associates, and anything I get-- All. The. Time.

I edit.
I am NOT an Editor.
But, I freaking edit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Adventures in renting.

Our family decided to sell our home last spring. We lived in area that had been a little depressed in the real-estate market so we anticipated a loooooong listing phase. 30 days on the market and our home was under contract--apparently it was the perfect time to list. Everything was selling. Our newly finished remodel was perfectly timed, except we had not developed our plan for 'what next'.

Thus began life as renters.

And then there was nothing to rent except a basement--a sunken basement without much natural light making it through the window wells. I was used to sitting in front of a bright with warm colors and happy d├ęcor.
I was a little hesitant about a basement because I battle depression and our winters are already long in the region we live. And the basement is olive green and maroon.... I'm not making that up.

I bought a lot of lamps.

Still--my living space is so dark my computer screen lights up the room....

I should blog each event separately, but needed a little build up to the event that spurred me to write our adventures in renting--a fire.

Okay, let me backup.
First our hot water went out.
For a week we could not contact the landlord and inform them that we had a water crisis.
Of course my husband was away at a work conference, and my brother was visiting with his family consisting of three young kids (2 months to 6 years), and everyone came down with the flu...

Luckily I own a lot of very large pans to boil water in. I boiled water to wash dishes, bathe children (and myself, which is yuck because I hate washing my hair in a bathtub), and clean-up puke misses because my kids are young and can't aim worth betting on.

I figured I was in the worst of it. And allowed myself a little pride in how well I handled it all.


 Then (finally, after a week of boiling water) a plumber arrived. And we received the news that the water heater had in fact CAUGHT FIRE!
One of the bedrooms in the basement we rent is void of windows (it's listed as a bedroom because it has a closet, I think). I made a stink about it. I refused to put any of my children in that room even after the description squabble did not result in any reduction in rent cost.
The windowless room is a box sanctuary.
The landlords aren't beasts, there are just no rentals in our area, so cost isn't negotiable. They're actually really nice people, who happened to be vacationing on a European cruise while all of this was going on, so had no idea about the hot water crisis until yesterday.

And we have been reassured that the fire was contained without us ever knowing about it happening. But, I still feel a sting of 'what if the fire had caught the drywall'. I'm so glad my kids were all sleeping in rooms that have windows--where a fireman could get to them if they needed to. The water heater blocks the only door in the basement. Our only exit other than windows--and our kids are young, even though we plan and practice fire escape routes and fire safety--kids panic. And if mine have inherited anything from me--it's anxiety and panic.

My husband arrived home from his conference with no hot water--he had to join the boil water tub washing brigade, but his family was alive and getting well (remember we've had the pukes).

This week has been crazy--a little scary after the fact, and filled me with the gratitude for small things I never want to live without (I'm not talking about hot water).
I don't mind living in the dark cave basement, it has decent space and the light really tries to get to us on sunny days. But, I do want to join the sunshine people again someday.

 I mean--even cave homes can have daylight!

Note: If/when we build a home, we will not include a basement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

That thing where you sign your name and freak out at the same time.

Contract for Publication.

There is nothing as exciting as putting your name on a paper that says, "I believe in you and your writing."
That happened for me today.

My YA novel KILLER POTENTIAL has been offered a home at BookFishBooks.
I should add--I've had my eye on these guys forever. (you should see their covers--gorgeous).

So this offer was something that hit me right in the heart--and also sent me a little insane--This is how I look dancing with joy.

This wonderful thing didn't just happen out of thin air. My writing groups, Critique Partners (especially my CPs), supportive and encouraging family and friends, Conferences, Being stubborn, Writing contests, Great authors I cut my teeth on, Amazing publication options available today, and sheer blessings--I've probably missed something too--all combined for this honor.

This is how my son and I greeted the inbox today.
I have no idea where my upper lip goes when I smile.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Personal Authorly Annoyance Policy.

I often see the quote "Don't annoy authors, or they'll put you in a book and kill you."

It's pretty cool. I like it, but...
It doesn't quote fit my personality.
so I took it as a challenge to come up with an annoyance policy of my own.

I’ve decided my personal-authorly-annoyance policy is:

“Annoy me, and I’ll put you in a book and try my best to figure out the good qualities I’ve obviously overlooked, (because that’s the only possible reason I could have gotten annoyed) on a journey that might end poorly for anyone and everyone.”…

...Sort of hard to fit on a mug.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Frustrations as Non-TV viewer--Level: A RED BOX

When I want to watch a movie, I go to A Red box.

I never watch movie trailers, because I don't have regular TV. So Red box is like Movie Cover/Title Roulette.

There should be Movie Title trailers: Trailers for Movie Title

So Here It Is:
(note: for fear of trademark infringement I've used a literal 'red box' image here)

Husband: Have you ever heard of any of these movies?

Me: Uh... no.

Husband: Any idea what this might be about?

Aloha, Movie on Blu-Ray, Drama Movies, Romance Movies, even more movies, even more movies on Blu-Ray

*Imagines storyline based entirely on cover image and title*

(Dramatic Movie Trailer Voice)
In a world with separate hello’s and goodbye’s, one island has devised a time saving dialogue that confuses the bejeesuz out of everyone.

“Oh hey…” Stranger waves vigorous hello.
“I’ve been here the whole time, jerkface. I now leaving.”

Not even Emma Stone could save the awkward heartache and broken friendships caused by the time saving word. Until used in a setting where it could accomplished one major goal, redeeming its purpose for all time and solidifying its place in island culture. REUNIONS--of all kinds.
Making family visits last exactly how long they were meant to.

*opens door*
*closes door—thanks cab for waiting* “good visit”
(family inside: “wow, thought she’d never leave.”)

Well, you got the 'In a World' voice down.

*Smiles. Rents Spy--except it's NOT THERE! AHHHHHH!*

*The Red Box wins this round*

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other


I've been giving a lot of thought to the time and love put into establishing a trusted and professional author network. This includes writers that I trust to hash out ideas with, inspire me to do better and seek resources to make my work the best it can me.

What if someone put together a place where you could go to meet every writerly need?
Some incredibly generous and talented people have done just that. And I'm sharing all the awesome with you here.

Every once in a while, something comes along that changes things for the better.

And in the world of writers, this is especially welcoming, because we all know just how much sweat, courage and persistence it takes to write a book and then release it into the world.

Today I’m pointing you toward a new website which I hope will help writers brainstorm stronger characters, craft deeper, more compelling plots, and teach us how to be more effective with our description so we draw readers in.

One Stop For Writers is a collaboration between Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, and Lee Powell, creator of Scrivener for Windows. This powerhouse online library is filled with one-of-a-kind descriptive thesaurus collections, tools, tutorials and much more, all geared to provide the resources you need to strengthen your prose and write more efficiently.

Want to check One Stop For Writers out?

Hop on over to Writers Helping Writers for their Launch Week festivities (October 7-14th)! If you know Angela, Lee and Becca already, you probably can guess there will be some great prizes, and probably a bit of paying-it-forward too.

I always feel a little bit of pride that my friends are so awesome--like it says something about the type of individual that I am drawn to--successful, hardworking, talented types--and I think that is contagious. So happy to be friends with you all.

Melissa Foster's photo.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Interesting Little Known Fact about Writers (at least the ones I know)

Writers challenge themselves in all areas of life.

I've noticed this while building friendships with writers all over the globe of different genres and age ranges.

What people think writers do all day:

Most of my friends create beautiful artwork for book covers and home display, crochet/knit amazing and functional items, quilt, bike competitively, build out of wood or cardboard or anything, run, hunt/fish, boldly shave their womanly heads for no other reason that to be brave and beautiful in their own way, and work full and part time jobs.

I've challenged myself to be mindful of how I balance my life.
These challenges aren't things I set out to do consciously, which might have made them that much cooler, but things I realize ground my life in balance and rich experiences that most, if not all, authors see at every opportunity.

Athletic challenge

I haven't been a runner since my first child was born.
I try to stay in shape, but distance running seemed like a waste of time and energy.
Challenge accepted.
My husband and I agreed to run on a twelve man Northwest Passage Ragnar team. I'll be honest, I was slated for the majority of the easy runs for our van--Until our sixth person dropped out. I didn't go so far as to volunteer for an extra leg, but I did grudgingly accept (with the fear of failure) some longer legs.
I survived!
I still workout regularly, not necessarily seven mile sprints.

Artistic challenge

If you know me well, you know my artistic abilities are limited to cut and paste and doodling.
I'm not knocking those, they're awesome, but not a challenge.
Painting this door red scared the crap out of me. I have no idea if this was the thing that helped us sell our home, but it sold--within a month of being listed, even after I murdered the door.

Social challenge

Family reunions might sound like a weird thing to list as a social challenge. I have high anxiety and suffer worst case scenario syndrome.
I come from a large family. My husband comes from a large family. Our families are very different from each other. We attended overnight family functions for both sides of the family this summer.
This makes me a social gold medalist.

Phobia challenge

I startle easily and have an anxious mind poised for terror around every corner.
Guns freak the crap out of me.
I'm all for supporting freedoms, I'd just prefer to be trained and super safe before handling a weapon.
Some friends who are both trained, and huge into safety, invited us to learn some skills in safe gun practices.
It was amazing. And the .22 rifle gives off a ton more gun powder scent after being fired than a .22 pistol, in case you wee curious. I was.

Being a writer is like cultivating the curiosity and excitement from childhood. You are always trying to find new ways to experience the world you want to write about and share new and vivid life with readers. It's the most alive and fulfilled I know how to live.

A little known fact, writers are hard working and great at experiencing life.

What It Feels Like to Query

Stage the First:

I've been working on this for a year, it's AWESOME!
Every agent will be knocking down my door to rep this.

This is a delusional stage, by the way.

Stage the Second:

I totally nailed QueryShark suggestions to make demonstrate how un-live-without-able this novel is.

Hint: I have never nailed a query, unless the term is being used ironically.

Stage the Third:

Research all agents--like ALL. Achieve stalker level research skills.

How I travel in large cities...

Stage the Fourth:

Develop some serious Agent-Crushes.

Try to follow their specific guidelines from their individual websites and agent pages.
*still screw something up*

Stage the Last:

After you hit send

And you stay in this place for the rest of the day.

These are the reasons I want to puke, live I a hole, and in most ways become nothing more than a freckle after I send more than three queries. Also, I'm really good at being a doofus--not the best way to impress.

Luckily I have an awesome group of writing friends I can turn to and confess my insecurities.
I spent the weekend making a massive list of agents to query.
I revised my query and gave myself a little pep talk.
"These agents are looking for what I have. They might like my style."
I hit send.
Now I feel paralyzed with doubt.
Why does this happen?
I feel like every line of my query makes me sound like a dorkwad.
Like I should purchase buck-teeth and take a googley-eyed selfie to post as my profile picture from now on.
I highly recommend finding a group of writing friends who understand what you're going through as a writer. People that appreciate the work you put in and the product that comes out. I have that, and it's awesome.
It makes this whole process worth it.
I just hit send again.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

#PitchWar Mentee WannaBe

I was hugely impressed with all the mentor blogs.

That's basically the only reason I'm doing the #PitchWars bloghop.
I want you to want me as badly as I want you.
But, I know I'm actually this:

If you're still with me I'm thrilled, and probably a little emotional.

Here goes:

What I love:

Okay that's a given, but it can't go unsaid even still.

My Patronus would be a goat.

And not for the obvious reason that Dumbledore's patronus is a goat.
Goats are not followers. Believe me on this--no matter how painful--they will not follow for the sake of following. 
Goats go to hell, as Cake informs.

Now that my life destination is out of the way...

I'm a Geek.

If you're a mentor who doesn't appreciate extensive knowledge in dorkdom, go ahead and pass on me. I'm full Star Wars dork with Aquabat envy.

I prefer comedy everything, however, I've learned I'm only funny when I'm not trying.
Basically, I'm funny 1/18th of the time because I'm mediocre-always trying to be funny.

I even planned a stand-up comedy routine when I was six including a shock-therapy bit--it was awesome.

Why you want to work with me:
Please pick me if you agree that revision gives you the same feeling as falling in love at the age of fifteen.

Angsty and magical.

Where the MS is all:

And I get fixing and things change for the better, as far as I'm concerned.
Then it gets serious to the point of:

Somehow by the end the MS is all:

Uhm...I love David Bowie.

So I'm a hard working dork willing to put in the time and go to hell and back for an MS that will make agents feel:


I believe in the mentor/mentee relationship.

I WannaBe Your Mentee.