Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meet the fabulous Leigh T. Moore!

Leigh T. Moore This is Leigh, and she really is super fabulous! 

On her equally fabulous blog you will find that she is a writer, editor, public relations professional, wife, and mom. Sounds busy right? If anyone can handle it, Leigh can. She's totally inspiring :)  

Anyway, let's get on with the interview.

Leigh, how long have you been writing?

I think second grade. I always liked to daydream and make up stories in my head, but around second grade, I actually wrote one down and illustrated it. So my very first "book" was a graphic novel called "Fury Woman." (LOL!) It was about this pretty female scientist who spilled acid on her face and then grew a huge eyebrow and mole and did bad things. I can't remember all the details, but I do remember the eyebrow and the mole. I wasted boxes of ballpoints on them.

After that, my best friend (Dara Rush Bartee) and I created "Dignity & Detriment." I wrote it, and she did the illustrations. She's still an amazing artist and art teacher in a suburb of New Orleans. I don't remember the plot of D&D, but Dara still has it. I can say it has nothing to do with "Pride & Prejudice."  

(Awesome! Your book in second grade reminds me of the book my kindergarten daughter just wrote called, "The Hot Mom." The kids push the mom in the fire and then laugh at and all. Kids are so creative. I can totally see you tearing into a new box of pens just to get that mole right!)

And what made you want to write?

I don't know. I think I'd reached that point in my career where I'd done everything I could do except write a book. I'd been a freelancer for almost 10 years, an editor for almost 14 years, I'd run a magazine, so I'd assigned other writers and supported them, coordinated them with photographers and scheduling, etc. (huge amount of work). 

For whatever reason, I decided to see if I could actually write a book-length narrative that someone might actually want to read. (My mom had been saying I would since I graduated high school.) 

Eighteen months later, I'd written four. (I had no idea it would be so fun!)

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  

Being interrupted! Especially when it's all coming together. I'm a bit of a procrastinator getting started, but once I'm "in the zone," I can write for hours. My husband likes to say I have an amazing ability to block everything out--including him. But the truth is, I'm also a mom and a wife, and I still have two freelance jobs. And now we're doing this major relocation... Will I ever write again??? sigh. No, I have to remind myself there is a life and important things outside the cave. 

(Yeah, I can get stuck in the cave too and my four princesses and their handsome father love it when I emerge and remember them.)

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

Just one? :D No, when I started writing news stories, the best way for me to improve was to read my stories after they'd been published to see where the edits had occurred. But with books, the best way to learn is by studying books that people rave about--both good and bad--and making mental notes. So specifically, I'd like to reread "Twilight" (Meyer), "The Truth About Forever" (Dessen), "Poisonwood Bible" (Kingsolver)... I'd like to read "Carrie" for the first time...

Quick, you have five minutes to visit one or two writing blogs, which ones will you check?

Why yours of course, darling--LOL! :D This is a very unfair question. I love all my bleeps, and it stresses me out when I can't make the rounds. I feel so out of touch with everyone, like I'm missing something... (Am I stalling here? You bet. ;o) 

(I know, not really fair. You're totally justified in the stalling.)

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you choose?

Stephen King. I just want to pick his brain about everything. How he did it, how he balanced it all, how he coped. Clearly he didn't cope so well, as we all know about his addictions, etc. But he's over that hump now, and I would love to have coffee and interview him. Get all his good advice. Like how do you go about daily business and pretend to be normal when you've got all these stories going in your head all the time? (Hmm... maybe he's not the best person to ask that question.) 

No, I'm a journalist at heart, and I bet he's got a ton of great stories. Him or J.K. Rowling. She's a mom, so she's probably better for advice, but I think of her more as still young in her career. And I like interviewing OLD people... LOL! :D

What book are you reading right now and which one do you have lined up to read next?

I'm currently reading "Water for Elephants" because it's my book club's selection. I have to confess, I didn't expect to like it as much as I do, but I'm only on page 108. So next, I'm not sure yet. 

I want to read Elana's book ("Possession"), but I also need to read more in my genre. I've had "This Lullaby" (Dessen) on my Kindle since forever, and "Oliver Twist," which I've never read, but the musical (Oliver!) was in my head when I was writing the book that's with my agent. And my Goodreads list is exploding. So I don't know what's next. 

(You're like me. I hardly ever really know what will be next, just a list of ideas.)

And last, but not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate?

Depends on my mood. I used to detest fruity candy (I still don't like Starbursts), but sometimes I just need a gummy. Still, dark chocolate typically wins.

(And I could just use a gummy anytime. You can have all my dark chocolate.) 

You want to see some more of Leigh's fabulousness? Here she is...


And then there's this.


See what happens when I'm given permission to use any of the three? I like photo dumps and a photo dump of Leigh is better than a photo dump of me any day. Not many people can pull off feathers like she can.

Thanks Leigh! It was so much fun getting to know more about you. Be sure to follow Leigh at her awesome blog. It's definitely worth your time.

Have a great weekend! I'll be with my hubby celebrating our 7th anniversary. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Querying "The Voice"

Okay, I know I said I was sick and I also said that I was going to lay low for a few days but I watched a show tonight and just had to write about the connection I found to querying. 

And after I'm finished writing this I'm going straight to bed and then I'll be lying low once more. 

Did any of you watch "The Voice" on NBC? If not, you really should watch it next Tuesday, then you'll really know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it's a new "find the best singer" type of show. But they have moved past the other singing show's and have discovered a way to really find the best voice.

There are four judges (amazing world famous singers) that sit with their backs to the person auditioning. This way they can really hear the voice. If the judge likes the singer, they press a button and the chair turns around.

Here comes the best part. When more than one judge likes the singer, they get to kind of fight it out or explain why they'd be the better coach for the singer. It's awesome. 

And here's how it applies to querying. Let's say the four judges are our top four all time favorite agents. We work endless hours writing a manuscript, rewriting, revising, writing a query letter, rewriting the query letter again and again, doing all we can so we give our best to the agents. And then the agent gets to our query and it's like a blind audition.

They don't know much about us and they can't see us. It's our work in their hands. So, if they like our query, they press that 'reply' button. Just like the show, we might not get an agent to press that button, but we shouldn't stop trying.

So, what is the agent looking for? Just like the show, the singer could have picked a great song and could've dressed really nice, but it all comes down to the voice! Yes, the writing is key in querying but from what I hear, a lot of agents are looking for voice!

And there you have it. Watch the show, see the connection, and apply it. Do your best, bring everything to the table, and hopefully you get not only one agent to press that button but lots of them fighting for your voice :)

Good luck and happy writing!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Dreaded Equation

There are lots of equations in life and only few I dread as much as this one.

School carnival (lots of kids with potential germs) 
+ Easter (lots of junk food)
+ Late nights (lots of sleepy moments)

Don't get me wrong, I love each of those parts of the equation separately but together, they got the best of me. And then they lead to another equation.

Achy body (lots of med's)
Sore throat (lots of fluids)
+ Groggy brain (lots of duh! moments)
= No writing and a serious case of lame blog. 

Hopefully I can catch up on my sleep and take care of myself. This weekend is my anniversary and I DID NOT plan on getting sick. There are plans that would be hard to change. 

So I'm taking a TLC break for three days. By Friday I hope to be back to my usual self...whatever that may be. But, I'm super excited about the Aspiring Author interview. You should be too. Just sayin'.

And I'm kind of feeling a giveaway coming soon. I hit 100 posts a while ago and didn't even realize it. So look for a giveaway next week.

Are there any equations you dread? Any suggestions on beating this sickness before it gets too bad?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

You might be wondering where my usual Aspiring Author interview is. Let's just say I drop the ball every now and then. This is one of those times. 

But it all worked out because now I get to do the final Crusade Challenge! 

Here are the requirements:
In 300 words or less, write a passage that shows (rather than tells) the following:
  • you're scared and hungry
  • it's dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.
Rach sure knows how to issue a challenge. I'll accept that challenge with this...

I ducked under a branch and my foot sunk into a rotted log. A bead of sweat trickled toward my brow but I shook it away and glanced up the hill. My last informant insisted that I would reach the ocean by morning. That would've been twelve hours ago. If I didn't get there soon, the free-thinkers would reach the village first. They might've done so already.  

If that was the case, the fed's would kill me.

I crawled up the hill, dragging my body over moss and roots. Halfway up, the smell of salt stung my nose. It burned my throat and coated the roof of my mouth with a filmy bitter substance. I gagged but nothing came.

Snap, a noise startled me in the distance.

Oh crap! Whether it was the fed's or a free-thinker, I had to hurry. Dirt wedged under my nails as I shoved off the ground and wobbled forward. My heart thumped faster with each breath. Only three more steps.

The noise came again. This time right behind me. I fell forward and came to a sudden stop, my head hung over the edge of a cliff. The fading light shimmered on the ocean's surface below. There was no way down.

"Stop," a voice cut through the air.

I rotated my head and eyed the man. A free-thinker. Not just any-free thinker, though. It was the leader, his fingers wrapped around a mega-taze.

A knot tightened in my stomach. The game plan had changed. He was never trying to win the race. I was his prize. Me. The fed's last hope. If I turned into a free-thinker, I'd be as good as dead.

I took a saccadic glance between the crashing water and the man behind me. I wasn't ready to die.

And I hope you liked it! Have a great weekend and happy writing :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hypochondriac Writer.

I have to admit that I'm kind of having one of those lame weeks with my blog. 

Sorry, I just am. I hope you'll still come visit me...this really should pass. 

Anyway, let's get down to my life long illness. Or rather, non-illness. One of those things you think is an illness when you think everything is an illness. Confused? 

Have you ever met a hypochondriac? I'm a mild hypochondriac. Yes, I worry that I have every little thing wrong with my body. All. The. Time. 

I'm getting better. MUCH better. But you should've been in my biology class in Junior High when we learned about all those cancer's. Yeah, I pretty much thought I had every single cancer. Including the ones that girls can't even technically get. 

Oh and then I saw a movie with an old lady who goes blind. You guessed it! I thought I was going blind.

I live an exciting life. 

And how does all this have to do with writing? It has so much to do with it. How many of us worry about every little thing while writing our first draft?

I try not to edit as I write but I just do. I can't help it. And if I'm not worried about grammar it's my character's or my plot line. I'm totally a hypochondriac writer!

How about you? Do you ever get worried that you'll suffer from writer's block forever? How about self doubt? What about just worried about the future and what may or may not come? 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Come meet Aspiring Author Regina Linton!

[photo+%281%29.JPG] This is Regina Linton (picture taken from her lovely blog). She is a fellow crusader and an awesome writing friend! When I asked Regina a little about herself she told me this.

I work full time in social services, I love to write in my spare time when I have some at home. I have five children. 17, 16, 15, 14, 7. Yep, they keep me on my toes and very busy. I married a Murphy. I have completed one manuscript and have yet to query it because I stink at query letters. *cough noise* I suck! But believe in myself enough to get better. I know I can do this. I also adore reading. I will go through books like water if they are really good. I have read 41 books so far this year - what does that say about me? :P

You definitely love to read! What a great way to spend your time. It's my favorite kind of research :)

So, Regina, how long have you been writing? 

I have been journaling for over 15 years but really trying to professionally write for 3 1/2 years.

What made you want to write?  

My mind has constant chatter that never goes away. I guess you would call her my muse. I call her Chaos. She does come up with interesting ideas though.

(I love that you named your muse.)

Do you have any pet peeves while writing? 

My biggest pet peeve is when my muse (Chaos) jumps train of thought in the middle of a WIP and wants to start another project. She does that a lot!

(Ooh, mine does that too! Which is why I get stuck writing books and never revising. But not anymore. Revisions are underway.)

If I could reread any book, what would it be? 

I would have to say The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I just adored the series and could read it over and over again and am looking forward to seeing if they can do the books justice with the movie. I have my doubts but I am a Peeta fan so I will watch it anyway. lol

If you could meet any author dead or alive who would it be?

Good question. Perhaps William Shakespeare. I am a big fan  of his work.

What books have your attention these days?

Right now I'm reading: Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Next: Red Riding Hood by Catherine Hardwicke
Then: The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan

(Hold it. Did you say Red Riding Hood is a book by Catherine Hardwicke? Awesome! I'll have to look into that.)

Given the choice would you choose...

Werewolves or vampires. Definitely werewolves. I get cold easily and need the extra fur to curl up and keep warm next to. Plus we can share meals. :)

Breakfast or dinner? I eat breakfast for dinner some nights, so that works best for me. 

(We do this ALL the time at my house.)

Beach or mountain? Mountain. I do most of my creative thinking when I am moving and when you give me a hill to climb or trails to explore or get lost on - that is even better!

Chic flick or action? I'm always a sucker for a good chic flick - especially The Notebook. 

Fruit candy or chocolate? That is not even an option for me. Chocolate hands down. No offense to those fruit candy lovers. Chocolate just comes first in my food chain. 

(More fruity for us. Perfectly fine :))

Thanks Regina for being on my blog today! It was fun getting to know more about you.

And thanks to those who stopped by for the party :) Be sure to visit Regina here.

Have a fantabulous weekend!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LDS Writer Blogfest: The Eternal Blessings of Marriage

Okay, so my post today is kind of long...but it's SUPER awesome and totally worth reading!

Today I'm joining other writer's of my faith to tell you a little bit about our beliefs. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every six months we have a General Conference when we gather together as church members to learn from our leader's.
Richard G. ScottI'd like to share some highlights from Elder Richard G. Scott's talk on the Eternal blessings of Marriage.
In our church we have the opportunity to be sealed in temples for time and all eternity. This ordinance makes it possible for us to be sealed together as a family unit after this life is over.
If you'd like to know more about temples, you can learn more about them here.
Now I'd like to share the highlights from Elder Scott's talk. These are the things that stuck out to me, the stories and council given that I absolutely loved :)
"Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity. The temple sealing has greater meaning as life unfolds. It will help you draw ever closer together and find greater joy and fulfillment in mortality.
"Once I learned an important lesson from my wife. I traveled extensively in my profession. I had been gone almost two weeks and returned home one Saturday morning. I had four hours before I needed to attend another meeting. I noticed that our little washing machine had broken down and my wife was washing the clothes by hand. I began to fix the machine.
Jeanene came by and said, “Rich, what are you doing?”
I said, “I’m repairing the washing machine so you don’t have to do this by hand.”
She said, “No. Go play with the children.”
I said, “I can play with the children anytime. I want to help you.”
Then she said, “Richard, please go play with the children.”
When she spoke to me that authoritatively, I obeyed.
I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that she wanted me to learn.
The next morning about 4:00 a.m., I was awakened as I felt two little arms around my neck, a kiss on the cheek, and these words whispered in my ear, which I will never forget: “Dad, I love you. You are my best friend.”
If you are having that kind of experience in your family, you are having one of the supernal joys of life."
Isn't that a great story? I love that the wife didn't think twice about doing the laundry by hand. It was more important for her to have her husband spend time with the kids. Yes, the washer would need to be fixed sometime, but there is a time and place for everything.

Next, I'd like to share with you some awesome marriage strengthening questions that Elder Scott asked.

"If you are married, are you faithful to your spouse mentally as well as physically? Are you loyal to your marriage covenants by never engaging in conversation with another person that you wouldn’t want your spouse to overhear? Are you kind and supportive of your spouse and children?"

And then he gives some great advice...mostly for husbands but I think it's good for everyone.

"Do you tell your wife often how very much you love her? It will bring her great happiness. I’ve heard men tell me when I say that, “Oh, she knows.” You need to tell her. A woman grows and is greatly blessed by that reassurance. Express gratitude for what your spouse does for you. Express that love and gratitude often. That will make life far richer and more pleasant and purposeful. Don’t withhold those natural expressions of love. And it works a lot better if you are holding her close while you tell her."

I know that this council can strengthen my marriage and my family. I'm grateful to have the fullness of the gospel in my life. I love that I have the opportunity to be with my awesome hubby and cute kidlets forever. Although having a family is hard, there is no greater joy or love than the happiness that can come from working together, laughing together, supporting each other, and growing closer to each other as we grow closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Satan wants to tear down families because he knows that's where we can find the greatest blessings. It's important to be strong and build a good foundation to keep Satan and his influences from our families. I hope we can all turn to our Savior, build our family relationships and find joy in the journey that will lead us all to eternal happiness in our marriages and families.

If you'd like to read the complete talk by Elder Scott, you can find it here.

To read more talks from the most recent General Conference from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can find them here.

To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints you can go here .

Here's a complete list of bloggers in this blogfest!

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kayeleen Hamblin: “Become as a Little Child”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sallee Mathews: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Tamara Hart Heiner: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”

And in case you missed my interview with Susan Fields, you can read it here

Thanks for taking the time to read this :) Have a great day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Monday!

I have two things to tell you today. First, do you see that button on the side of my screen? The yellow circle with an envelope? It's awesome, right? I think so! If you want to contact me all you have to do is press that sweet button. 

Would you like one too? Cool. Just go to Abby Annis's blog. If you want the direct link to the contact button page, go here. There are all sorts of choices. I love the simplicity and the splash of color! 

Another side note of awesomeness. Susan Fields will be posting an interview of yours truly on her blog later today! To find out a little more about me, head on over (sometime in the afternoon) :) 

Thank you Abby for the button and Susan for the interview! I have awesome friends.

*Sorry for posting about the interview early. I blog in the mornings and Susan blogs in the evenings...and I'm doing a blogfest tomorrow so I wanted to make sure I got this post in today :) 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Christine Bryant

My Photo On Christine Bryant's blog, she is a Day Dreamer. I love the phrase she uses. "Dream it. Believe it. Do it." With that mind set, anything can happen!

Here's the 'about Christine' blurb from her blog profile.

I'm a loving wife and mother of two wonderful boys, living in Magic Valley, Idaho. Our home sits in the middle of sage brush and lava rock with the view of the Snake River Canyon, a truly amazing place to be. I love music, books, friends, family and, of course, writing. At first, I may seem shy, but once you get to know me you'll see I'm a bit sassy and a rebel.

Ooh, a sassy rebel. Awesome! And who wouldn't want to live in a city called Magic Valley? I totally would. And as I've driven the roads in Idaho many times, I have to agree that it is truly an amazing place to be...even with all the sage brush :) To learn even more about Christine, visit her 'about me' page. 

Let's get to the interview.

Christine, how long have you been writing? 

Honestly, it feels like I came out of the womb with a tablet and pencil in my hand. My mother has a picture of me hiding under an end table with a legal pad, writing away. I was only two. I remember sneaking into my dad’s office and using his old Royal typewriter, even before I knew how to form words and sentences. I just liked the way all those pretty little letters looked on the stark white page.

(I love the sound of a typewriter. And I wish my mom had pictures of me writing. Most of my moment's were me covered in something gross. Peanut get the picture :))
And what made you want to write? 
It was more a matter of not fighting it. Writing is in my blood and not listening to the voices in my head just wasn’t an option. Once I committed to letting them have their way, the stories began to flow freely and I’ve never looked back. I love writing. It’s a part of who I am.
So, do you have any pet peeves while writing?  
Hmmm . . . good question. I suppose it would be anything that keeps me from entering that “ZONE” where I have complete focus on my story. It’s so frustrating to finally have your muse working perfectly, your fingers flying across the keyboard at lightning speed, and have someone need you to find their socks.
(Oh, I love getting into the "zone" and I totally understand the interruptions. Usually my muse can recover but sometimes she crashes so hard, the zone feeling is ruined!)  
What are your favorite genres to write? 
Anything romance. I grew up reading romance and the first book I began to write was romance, but at some point I gravitated to paranormal. Not the werewolves and vampires kind of paranormal. Not even the angels and demons, but things that dealt with psychic powers, ghosts and those things that go bump in the night. Because I write clean novels, I then gravitated toward young adult, although the age of my characters would probably put my novels more in the crossover genre of New Adult.
(I love how you described your paranormal as things that bump in the night.) 
If you could sit down and reread any book, which would it be?
I’m not sure how to answer that. There have been so many books I’ve loved reading, but honestly, I don’t know if I want to reread them. There’s something about not knowing how it ends that brings excitement to the reader. Once you’re finished and you know the ending, why read it again. Besides, I have a list of books I haven’t read yet that are calling out to me. They get precedent.
Let's say you only had a few minutes to visit just one or two writing blogs, which ones would you choose?  
Besides yours, ya mean? ;-)  I think it depends on the mood I’m in. I love Elana Johnson’s blog—always funny and informative. Ali Cross has Ninja’s on her blog—total coolness.  But I think my favorite blog has to be Abby Annis’s blog. Always a fun place to hang out.
(Great choices! Thanks for the links.) 
And last, but not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate?  
Chocolate, of course. And, thanks for letting me hang on your blog today. This was fun.
No problem, I love hanging out with other writer's! Thank you Christine for answering my questions. 

You can find Christine at her writing blog, and I suggest that you do. It's awesome!

Have a fabulous weekend!