Monday, February 28, 2011

Stuck in the Waiting Room!

Waiting rooms usually aren't that bad, right?  Somewhat comfy chair, magazine, nice plant in the corner, maybe even a cup of something to drink, and a nice person with a bright smile sitting behind the desk to greet you.  Well, maybe not always a bright smile, but they're there to help, even if they've had a long day don't seem like they want to look at you, let alone do anything for you.  

The question is, why are you in that waiting room?  What are you waiting for?  Are you nervous for the appointment?  

Without fail, I always get nervous when I go to the dentist!  Every. Single. Time.  The worst part is that I'm usually fine until I set foot in that all too inviting, but somewhat intimidating, waiting room.  Sure the furniture might be high quality, but how good is that going to calm my nerves when the smell of dentist is permeating my clothes?

Well, it just so happens that I'm kind of stuck in a different waiting room right now.  Back in January, I wrote a novel.  And starting Feb. 1st, I put that novel on the back burner and have decided to leave it there until I'm totally disconnected from it.  When I revise, I have to be able to see it objectively and sometimes it takes more than a few weeks to cut off that loving connection to my protag and awesome make believe world.  

But what if I get stuck in the waiting room?  How many of you have decided to step away from a project and haven't had the nerve to put down that magazine or turn off that TV screen, or whatever it is keeping you in that waiting room, so you can get to it!  

Are you nervous to walk through that office door and make the long walk to your appointment with your MS?  I thought I'd be nervous, but I actually can't wait!

 Instead of having dentist hands in my mouth, I'm going to be the one cleaning, chipping, prying, prodding, and polishing!  It's my turn to be 'the mean one' with all my writing tools!  

Ya wanna know what I've been working on while sitting in my waiting room?  I can't stand the thought of not writing, so I decided to go back to a half finished MS from a few months ago.  It's been interesting getting back into the story (long version to come later), but I have to keep writing.

Another one of my favorite things that I've been working on in my waiting room is research.  What have I been researching?  I'll tell you on Wednesday!

So, are you currently stuck in a waiting room with a project that's sitting?  What do you do in your waiting room?  Are you nervous for that inevitable revision?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Come Meet Chantele Sedgwick.

My Photo  This is Chantele Sedgwick.  I recently met her through the Writer's Crusade, and I'm so glad I did meet her.  She's awesome!  If you visit her blog, you'll find this...

I am a wife, mother of three silly kids, a harp player and an avid reader of books. I enjoy reading and writing YA fantasy and paranormal. I'm repped by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS literary and am working to get my books published. If that ever happens you will be the first to hear about it! :)

It's totally gonna happen and I can't wait to read her book!  Isn't it so awesome that she has an agent?  I may or may not be absolutely jealous, but really mostly happy for her.  It seems like finding the agent is one of the most frightening parts of becoming a published author.  It's fun to read about those who have had success.  I'll post a link to Chantele's agent story after the interview.

Let's go ahead and start with the first question. :)

Chantele, How long have you been writing?  

I've always had stories in my head, ever since I was little. I started writing them down in high school, but ended up throwing everything away. (I sort of thought I was crazy...) I started seriously writing about three years ago and haven't looked back! :)
(I'm glad you picked your writing back up.  You weren't really crazy in High School, or maybe you secretly were...but aren't all of us? ;))
So, what made you want to write? 

I'm not really sure! lol. I've been a daydreamer since I was little, and I think I figured out I was supposed to be a writer after I had kids. When I found myself listening to the voices in my head, I knew it was time to write them down. I had so many stories, so many ideas, that I had to put them on paper. I love making up new worlds, and creating characters out of nothing. It's amazing and exhilarating. I would never go back to just daydreaming. I have a passion to write my words down now, and I love it. I hope someday I can share my stories with the world! Writing is a huge part of my life now and I'm so glad I made the decision to write my stories down. 
(Isn't it funny how we not only hear the voices in our heads, but start talking back to them? With kids around, sometimes those voices listen to me more than my kids do!) 
Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  

Hmmm. I don't think I have any pet peeves while I write, but I do wish I had more time to write.  I can't write until my kids go to bed at night, and sometimes it is so hard to wait. Also, I am an edit freak. I have a problem editing as I go, and it drives me insane. I'm learning to just write, but I think I'll always have the habit. It's okay though. It works for me, and I've found that my books improve because of it.
(I have the same problem.  Both of them.  The kids have to be in bed and I edit along the way.  The only thing that got me out of that was when I wrote the book in a month back in January.  There's no time to edit when you set a goal like that.)

If you could sit down and reread any book, which would it be?

 I love reading! Do I have to choose just one?  I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, so I may have to choose that one. Or the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale.  Or Harry Potter. I'm a huge fan of those books and they never get old. I love the Twilight Series as well.**Blushes** Don't judge me. ;) Can you tell I write YA? Love it.
(Those are all great ones!  Definitely at the top of my reread list.  And no blushing here...I think Twilight is one of the few books I have read more than once.)
Let's say you only had enough time to visit a couple of writing blogs a day, which would they be?

 Kiersten Writes would be my top writing blog. She is seriously hilarious. Midnight Meditations is a good one. They are twin sisters who do the blog together, and they are so funny! And Between Fact and Fiction by Natalie Whipple. (Don' you just love her last name?) Those are probably the ones I visit most.  I've also heard Perfecting the Craft is an awesome one, and I'll definitely be hanging out here now! :)

(Oh man, who's been lyin' to you now?  Haha. Note:  I did not bribe her to say that :)  I love Kiersten's blog and I've now visited the others.  Looks like a lot of fun!  Whipple is fun.  I had a friend with that last name growing up.) 
If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you choose? 

I'd love to meet J.K. Rowling. Seriously, Harry Potter changed the middle grade/ YA market so much.
What book are you reading right now and which one do you have lined up to read next? 

I'm reading The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan right now. CREEPY! I have Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins up next! LOVED Hex Hall! 
And last, but not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate? 

I'm a chocolate kind of girl. I'm not a huge fan of fruit. I'm a rather picky person.
(It's okay.  Everyone needs to be picky about something in life, right?)

You want a random fact about Chantele?  How about three :)

Random facts? Hmmm... I've played the harp for 21 years. I love to sing. I get most of my ideas for my books when I'm driving, or waiting to pick up my son from school. :) 

Thank you Chantele for answering my questions!  It was a blast getting to know more about you.  If you haven't visited Chantele's blog, you should go now.

And for those who want to read about Chantele's success in signing with her agent, you can read that here.

Have a great weekend!

The Challenge Truth

If you missed my Crusade Challenge post, read it here before you go on...or you'll get the spoiler before the goods.

Wow!  Most of you guessed that my blade-like fingernails were my lie.  Although my fingernails aren't exactly blades, they are sharp when it comes to picking at my face (which is one of my worst habits ever, something that I do while I concentrate).  Ugh.  I wish I could stop, but most of the time, I don't even know I'm doing it.  So, no.  that wasn't my lie.  

And as flattered as I am that people think I have a flawless complexion, I don't.  The zits are there.  Every year, I think that I might grow out of them, but maybe I'm just not really growing up.  Maybe writing YA and eavesdropping on teenage conversation actually has an affect :) And since that's something I won't stop doing, I'll just have to learn to live with the everlasting adult acne.  Oh well.

And as for my love of candy...I do try to start with just two pieces.  That doesn't mean I won't go back for more, but I know if I only grab one, it won't be enough.  You may also be thinking of small candy when you say I grab handfuls, but I love love love taffy and two pieces are usually satisfying :)

And oddly enough, I can touch my nose with my tongue.  If I ever meet you and you remember that I have that quirky talent.  Go ahead and ask.  I'm not afraid to show you :)

I suppose you want to know what my lie was then, right?  Here it is.  

I haven't cherished books since my childhood.  

Gasp!  I know, kind of an unthinkable thing as an aspiring author, but I just wasn't into it growing up.  Not that I hated it completely, but I always said I did.  Of course I read some classics like the Boxcar Children, Goosebumps
American Girls, and Harry Potter.  

But it wasn't until I picked up Twilight four years ago that I really turned into a reading hobbit!  And now I'm catching up.  I live with a book by my side and always have another one lined up to read next.  I was completely shocked when one of my friends came to me for a something to read.  She said I was the book queen!

Proof that miracles do happen :)  So, what was the book that got you hooked?  How long have you cherished books?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crusade Challenge! Bring it on :)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the are the challenge requirements.

I've decided to describe to you a typical afternoon here at my house.  Enjoy!

I hung up the phone with a smile.  I had succeeded once again in making my friend laugh by bloviating about the struggles my not-so-awesome character traits put me through.  I sneaked back to my room and grabbed two (never one) candies from my Valentine stash near the head of my bed and made my way to the couch to read a book.   

I got so caught up in the story, I didn't notice that my blade-like fingernail had made its way to the helpless zit on my chin.  (I know, gross!  And you'd think I'd be fuliguline enough not to have them anymore, but I do!) 

Distracted by my kids, I looked at my oldest with a book in her lap and couldn't help thinking about how much I've cherished reading since I was her age.  She noticed me watching and ran to my side.  I touched my nose with my tongue, which made her fall over in a fit of laughter, and we snuggled close like two rabbits until our giggles were gone.

I may have revealed something about me that isn't exactly true, can you guess what it is?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winners and another Award!

 It's partay time!

Meaning that it's time to announce the winners for my 100 followers contest!

With help from, the winners of the first chapter critique (or about 3000 words of your choice) are:

#1.  Alison Miller
#2.  Margo Kelly
#3.  Ben Langhinrchs
#4.  Brooke R. Busse
#5.  Shari

Congratulations winners!  Feel free to email your chapter's to me anytime!  michelle m merrill (at) hotmail (dot) com.  No spaces, I just want to make sure you get the extra m in the middle!

The winner of the Across the Universe book and swag is...


Yay!  Congrats!  Email me your address so I can get that book in the mail!

Onto other exciting news!  Thanks to Heather Hellman who has given me this award!

Here are seven, mostly useless, facts about me!

1.  I am super picky about how I load my dishwasher.
2.  I visited 48 states in the back of a family van before I ever set foot in an airplane.
3.  I've lived in four different states.
4.  My initials are MMM.
5.  I can't ride roller coasters because I get way too sick...even with motion sickness medicine in me.
6.  My mom is my hero.
7.  I don't have cable or any other means of having television in my house.  I know, shocker.  It's too expensive and I don't have time to watch it anyway.  Besides that, you can watch almost anything on the internet these days.

I'm passing this award onto these seven, totally awesome, people!

1.Chantele Sedgwick
2.Lois D. Brown
3.CherylAnne Ham
4.Kari Marie
6.Alison Miller

So go ahead and take the award, post some fun facts about yourself, and pass the award onto some of your blogging friends!

Thank you to all my blogging friends!  You are all super awesome!