Wednesday, December 28, 2011


January Novel Writing Month. It's my way of making up for NaNoWriMo...since I never have time to write a novel in November.

Usually things slow down in January for me, so that's when I attempt the insanely possible, yet brain draining craziness. Last year I wrote a novel in January and pretty much told myself I'd never try it again. 

Haha! After a year of revising that book, I guess I've forgotten why I didn't want to do it again. So I'm going to do it. My baby brain might not let me, but I'm going to try!

Do you want to try with me? It will be lots of fun! One novel or 50,000 words? Or what about a personal goal...but a BIG one?

Oh. And there's another thing. I'm almost ready to query! Pretty much the most nerve racking thing ever. And I haven't even started. But my book and query are almost polished.

What are you working on?

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's that time of year!!!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry...whatever you celebrate :) We all have different beliefs and different ways of celebrating, but I wanted to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! 

I'll be out for the rest of the week, but I hope to post one more time next week before the new year. Does the phrase JaNo mean anything to you? Well...if you want to know what it means to me, stop by next week.

Until then...have a great week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Crowd.

Who is your crowd? Who are you trying to appeal to?

I've realized something important over the last year. And that's "Who's your crowd?" Honestly, I've read So. Many. books that have had great reviews that I just don't like. I have friends that will love a book that I couldn't stand. And visa versa. 

That's life. And that's the tough thing in this writing world. Who will like our book? It starts right at the beginning. We first have to find an agent that likes our book. After that, you have to find an editor and publisher. And then it's to the reader's. 

The hard part is realizing that there is probably someone out there who loves it. And then finding them. And having patience in that process.

I once had an agent read my stuff. It was horrible, not well-edited, and all together a bad decision on my part, but I learned something from it. Not only did the agent give me great feedback, but I realized she wasn't the agent I wanted. If I ever get one of course. 

Even though I liked her feedback, I didn't like her way of presenting it and a few other things bothered me. She was one of the top agents on my list and she didn't like my story much. And that's life. It hurt for a while and then I had to realize that it didn't appeal to her. And that's okay.

I took her advice and changed my story so that it's even better for the agent that WILL like it. And then hopefully reader's who will just die over it. Even if other's won't. 

There are always good and bad reviews and we need to remember that the crowd is different for everyone!

Do you ever worry about that crowd? What do you do to face the crowd fear and push on with writing what you love?

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I did it! I finished another draft of my book. And it's already out to beta reader's! In fact, I sent it to beta readers early so that I had more determination to finish. 

And it's done!

Current title is Smoke and Ashes. I wanted to call it Ashes, but yanno...another book just came out with that name. 

Final word count is 64,589.

Brain status: Fried. 

That was so hard to do with the preggo brain. We'll see how my JaNo goes next month! Hopefully I can pump out a novel with a baby zapping most of my creative energy :)

I have one more accomplishment to tell you about. I know, get off my soap box and sit down, but this is really exciting to me. A year ago I realized that most writer's only use one space after a period instead of the two I learned when I started typing. I was so determined to change my habit. 

And after lots of practice, I did it! I am converted to the one space after period. Isn't it fabulous? I know, I'm weird. But remember my first announcement about finishing a book? Yeah, my brain needs a break :)

What have you been up to? Please tell me your awesome accomplishments...or even little goals you've reached. It all gets us one step closer to where we want to be!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Madness

Gah! I still don't know how anyone writes a novel in November! I hope everyone's NaNo went well though. Sadly, I haven't had time on the computer a lot lately. Which leads me to my major point for this post.

I realized today that my holiday season is packed, more like jammed full of events. And most of those events take preparation. Which, sadly, is where my free time is going for the next four weeks. Between school events, family events, friends, and church...well, it's a good thing I have January to devote to writing a novel :)

And I'll also be playing catch up in the blogging world during January as well. This doesn't mean I'm totally out for this month...just on a tighter schedule with less time to post and follow.

I'm sorry. I hate the feeling that I'm making excuses. I know everyone's busy. And somehow you all have time to blog as often as you do. You're awesome. Just know that I'm in awe. I hope to post at least once a week and share some fun during this holiday season! 

My Christmas lights are on, my yummy candle is burning, and I just ate an orange and hot chocolate for a snack. Mmm...mmm! 

What do you like to snack on during those cold winter evenings? And is your life as crazy as mine during the holiday's?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow is turkey day! Unfortunately, I don't like turkey very much. But I am thankful for many other things in life :) I sent my hubby to the store to buy a small turkey (think turkey breast) and he came home with a whole 12 pound turkey. That was not what I had in mind. And it's frozen. And I don't know how to cook. It should be interesting! But I'm definitely thankful that I have a wonderful hubby who will do my shopping for me :)

And we might stand in line Thanksgiving night for one of those ridiculous sales on something that we may or may not get. But we really want it.
And my goal of finishing my latest revision by the end of the month may not happen, but I'm not giving up yet. I'm just busy with life and well, the bazaar I'm in charge of at my daughter's school.

But I have an awesome pile of books to read.

The Help.
The Iron Knight.
The Book Thief.
The Forgotten Locket.

Awesome right? Why aren't there more hours in a day? 

And I'm certainly grateful for many things. Here's a few that just barely scratch the surface of my life's blessings.

#1. My family. The one I grew up in, the one I married into, and the one that my husband and I are lucky to be raising.

#2. My faith. What would I do without the help of My Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Ghost? 

#3. My friends. Both those that live near and those that live far. They are just like family.

#4. My talents and abilities. I've been blessed with a (mostly) healthy body and mind. I can do many things and have the potential for so much more. I'm excited to tread into the unknown.

#5. A home (no matter how small) and a job (my husband's) that can support our family in order for me to stay home with the many little kids we are blessed with.

I'll stop there. I could go on forever, but this post is already getting long...

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking your own meal? Going to brave the Black Friday lines? Are you still doing NaNo (if you ever were)? What books are next in line for you to read? And what are you Thankful for?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe and have fun :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Dawn...Part 1?

I used to be a die hard Twilight fan. Like, I was a Twilight mom, tried to be in the movie, went snooping around filming locations, and pretty much dreamed of the characters day and night. 

My feelings have changed, or more like simmered. They filmed the first movie here in the good North West, though, and that's just where I happen to live.

Since it's the opening day of Breaking Dawn (part 1), I thought I'd give you some sneak peaks and short stories about my first obsession. And to put to rest the question of whether I'm excited about Breaking Dawn (part 1)...well, let's just say I'm not a big fan of breaking a book/movie into two. There's a reason it's written as one and I prefer it all together. So, although I may not be waiting in line anytime soon to watch Part 1, you can for sure find me in the lines when Part 2 comes out :)

  This is the picture I sent in to be part of the movie. The only "cool" thing was that they called me in for more sizing to be Victoria's stand in...or something like that. I didn't get it. But it was a great experience anyway!
 This is the fence you have to hop over if you want to get to the baseball field they used for filming.

 So, one afternoon we were driving around town and saw bright yellow posters to guide the filming crews to a park. Like no one else is going to see them right? Weird. So my hubby and I took our kids to the park. They weren't filming yet, but they were setting everything up. Don't worry...I went back when they were filming :)

 Actor's trailer's. Saweet!
 Food tent.

 A couple days after the hubs and I snooped around, my friend and I took my kids back to the park. As we drove in, they were in the middle of filming a scene right off the side of the road. My friend was yelling at me to look, but I had to inform her that if I took my eyes off the road I would definitely hit one of the millions of film crew people glaring at my red van! Yeah, SO not inconspicuous. 

 This is the fog machine they used for the "reveal vampire in the woods" scene. Pretty awesome!
And my friend took most of the pictures so I don't have anymore. But we did see Robert on a break and tried to get his autograph...but when a red van parks nearby, apparently it's time to hide in the trailer.

 Another awesome Twilight mom's thing I got to be a part of was a dinner at the View Point Inn. For those of you who might now know, that's where they filmed the prom.

 Apple bracelet anyone? 

 Oh wait! Does he look familiar? This is the guy who played Sam in the first movie. He's really nice and was awesome to come to a dinner with a bunch of "not quite teens anymore" that were obsessed with Twilight.

 Yes, I stayed true to the color scheme :)

 And this is the Breaking Dawn book release party at Barnes and Noble downtown Portland. It was a Prom theme. Hence the nice dresses and, of course, vampire make up!

 Oh yeah. He was there this time too. 

Have any of you done anything crazy like this? Ever tried to see an actor? Been so obsessed with something that you lived and breathed it? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Fun Read.

So, any of you like a light, fun read? How about one filled with fairy tales, backstabbing sister's, and unexpected love? Want a wish or two...or maybe three? How would you deal with the way the wishes were granted?

I just read My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison and it met all these expectations. Totally fun, light, funny, entertaining, and yes, included all the fairy tales we love :)

My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1)

What have you been reading? Are you excited for Breaking Dawn part 1 that premiered tonight and is coming out this weekend? Find out Friday if I am...and get some behind the scene fan pics from the first movie! See ya then.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Some of you may really be following my progress...or the lack thereof. I like to report what I'm doing, and some of you may be wondering why I've been working on my final revisions and pre-querying process for a good five months now. 

Well, things come up in life. And sometimes our body and mind choose different paths. I've been diagnosed with something. Don't worry, it's not too bad and will be gone soon enough, but here are the ever present symptoms that scramble my mind sometimes.

Mood swings.

Yeah, that last one is a killer when a good idea won't come together. No matter how hard I think. Sometimes the harder I think, the worse it gets.

Some may say these symptoms are the caused by a parasite, but I like to refer to it as a baby! Yes, baby #5 will be here sometime around April 2nd.

So, if there are times when I make a comment that doesn't make sense, or I just forget to check your blog. I'm sorry. My brain has other plans most of the time. 

For the first four months, I couldn't even write. Editing was fine...but only for others. Nothing happened on my novel. I had to come to the conclusion that that's just the way it was going to be.

But some of my brain has returned...along with a growing stomach that doesn't get along with my laptop. 

What kind of setbacks do you have?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNo Check In...or check out.

Holy cow! I finally have a chance to sit down and write a post. And I'm not even doing a NaNo novel. Life is BUSY! And we're already one week into November. Wow!

So, how is everyone's NaNo novel's coming? Are you far into it? Just getting started? Or decided to sack the whole thing and try again next year? Don't give up yet. You can still write a novel. Maybe not such a long one, but you can do it! Even if you haven't started yet, start now! 

Even though I'm not writing a novel, I've come up with a goal for myself. I want to finish my final revisions before the end of the month. 

That way I can send it to beta readers during December and start querying after the holiday's. 

Yay for goals! Good luck to everyone on whichever part of the journey you're braving right now.

What are your goals? Are you writing a novel this month?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What? There's something big in November?

Of course there is! And once again, I won't be a part of it. Why NaNoWriMo has to be in November is beyond me. I don't know how you all find the time to write a whole novel in November. I mean, yeah...another month would be great. But November? Okay, so maybe it's not a usually crazy month for anyone else.

I must be a loner.

But that's okay. Because I'm going to try my JanNaNo again in January. What does it stand for? Well, certainly not National Novel Writing Month. Or January Nation Novel something, cause that would be untrue. It's just my name for writing a novel in January. 

But since there are so many of you who do write a novel in November, I'm throwing my blog plan out the window. That means no interviews. I know, sad. But I don't want to bother anyone who might be working on something big :)

I'll still be posting, but it will be more random. More fun. Stuff people can read to relax from the whole writing thing maybe. Or just light writing stuff. And it won't necessarily be on Tuesday's and Friday's. Just when I feel like it. 

I have some fun stuff planned and I'll probably throw in a few holiday traditions. Let's face it. I've been listening to Christmas music for six weeks. Shocking, I know. But it's kind of my favorite. And who doesn't listen to their favorite music all year? At least I'm limiting mine to three months!

But good luck to anyone writing a novel in November. I'll be here as your cheerleader! 

Let the fun begin!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do you know Cortney Pearson?

She's awesome! And I get to interview her today. Yeah, I know...I'm super lucky! But you get to read the interview so it's your lucky day too.

My Photo

On Cortney's equally awesome blog, she says, "I squeeze out my stories in between chasing after two adorable boys, performing my favorite juggling act of being both mother and writer. I currently have an agent considering one of my novels. Join me on the road to publication!"

Mother and writer. Super cool. And so close to being agented! Which means, she knows her stuff. So let's get to the interview.

Cortney, how long have you been writing?

Since I can remember, actually. When I was little I would draw a picture, scribble underneath it and walk around telling my story to anyone who would listen. In grade school I wrote a picture book series called Why, Mr. Rabbit? about a rabbit with super powers. As I got older I would hide away in my mom's bedroom on our old-school computer and write stories about girls who were everything I wanted to be. Once, for Halloween, I put on a sweater vest, tucked a pencil behind my ear and counted it as my costume (since we all know writers wear sweater vests, right? lol). But I've been writing "seriously" for about four years now.

(I love the "old-school computer." We all know what you're talking about there. Well, most of us do :) I just gave away my only sweater vest. I guess I need to get another one!)

What made you want to write?

The big thing for me was Twilight. I know, I know--I got sucked in along with everyone else! But I found out Stephenie Meyer was LDS (Mormon) and it was encouraging because I am too, and I was like, if she can do it, so can I. And shortly after I started scribbling my first novel I heard that quote by Toni Morrison: "If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." So I did. :D That book hasn't seen the light of day for about a year now, but it was essential in helping me figure out that there's more to writing than just...well, writing!

(Yay for the experimental first book. Everyone has one! And Twilight got me too. No shame! Everyone also needs a book to get them hooked.)

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

My first thought was Charlotte Bronte because Jane Eyre is my favorite favorite favorite book. But then I changed my mind. I think I'd rather meet J.K. Rowling. What a mastermind. I'd want to know how (or if) she mapped everything out, how she kept track of details, where her ideas came from, etc. I'm sure it's all in an interview somewhere, but it would be way cooler to hear it in a conversation with her. That way I could ask whatever questions I wanted.

(And then I could have a conversation with you to find out the juicy details. She is a mastermind.) 

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?

Not really. I know, lame-o answer. Interruptions are hard to take, I guess, just because I'm in the moment, caught in the details of my imaginary world. But it's so laughable, because with two small, beautiful boys, interruptions are inevitable! I usually write while the baby naps and make sure my four year old has things to stay occupied, but I always try to make sure he knows he's more important. I try to stop whenever he needs me (try being the operative word, ha ha j/k).

(I love the way you talk about your kids. Writing's awesome, but kids are priceless!)

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

Right now it would be Anna and the French Kiss. I loved it! And I checked it out from the library so I had to take it back, but it's definitely on my to-buy list. I heart Etienne!

Quick, you only have enough time to check a few writing blogs/websites. Which would you choose? 

I'd check out my writer friend's blogs. They're definitely "in the know" and always have great posts. 

Morgan's blog is fairly new, her writing is fantastic, and her posts are quirky and fun.

Right now Liz is having a spooktacular contest with agent Natalie Lakosil from Bradford Lit. You can submit a 500 word spooky story and if Natalie picks yours, you get a query critique and also critique of your first 10 pages! (I'm totally submitting, btw)

Also, I like bebopping over to Nathan Bransford's blog. He's a former agent and always has great insider advice.

(Thanks for the links! I'm excited to check them out.)

Do you prefer:

Angels or fairies? Angels all the way! Patch, if only you were real...

Vampires or Werewolves? Vamps, baby. Love em, even before Twilight came out. I'd actually written a vampire short story in high school that I always wanted to do something more with but never have.

Historical or Contemporary? This one is tough because I enjoy both. But probably contemporary, depending on the content, of course.

Series or Stand alone's? I love series as long as the story isn't dragged out just to make it into a series. If it can be told in one book, tell it in one book. And it's agony waiting for the next one to come out, especially if it's a story I'm into, but at the same time it's always nice to have more of the characters' lives that you've fallen in love with. Yay series!

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

Lol, I'm like those dogs on Up. I'll be talking and suddenly--chocolate! Okay, not quite that obsessed, but I love it. Hmm, time to go grab some.

Thanks so much for being on my blog today, Cortney. I had a blast learning more about you. 

Be sure to stop by Cortney's blog, Cortney Pearson, for fun posts and a great writing friend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Series, Roads, and Bridges

As promised, here is the post. I warn you though...I kind of ramble and get carried away with the analogy. Read at your own risk! It might be confusing.

A couple weeks ago, I talked about Series and Stand Alone's. I discussed my frustrations with book #2 in a trilogy series. You know, how often times it's lacking. Like it's a bridge from the beginning to end, but the bridge isn't sturdy and can't hold its own. 

Anyway, it got me thinking more about how a series should be. How the beginning road should start out. How the bridge (or bridges) in the middle should support and connect. And where you should be by the end book. You know, what kind of road and destination we hope to find.

Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately for all you) I didn't get my own drawings made. So we're stuck with pictures from the internet to relate my message.

The first book in a series, or any book for that matter, needs to look something like this.


Now I realize there are many different diagrams to show this, but the point I'm trying to get at is that it needs to start down, at the bottom of a hill, and work its way up. 

Here are a few things we don't want to see.

 A flat road with no end, or rise.

 A road that's going nowhere but down!

No, we want something that will slowly take us up, with a few high spots, but an ending that will rise us to the top and let us down softly to a lower spot. In a series, that lower spot doesn't mean back to the bottom. More like a comfortable waiting area where we are excited for the next road, or bridge, but not upset about where we were dropped.

I hope that makes sense...

Now I'll talk about the second book (or middle books) in a series. I like to think of them as bridges. 

And, like our road, we want a similar bridge. Here are some bad examples.
 This isn't going to take us anywhere. Only make us regret we picked up that next book.
 As small climax won't cut it.
Don't leave gaps and holes of missing information.
Don't confuse the reader by adding or keeping too much info from them.
And most importantly, make sure the bridge can hold its own. We don't need a middle book that is held up by the beginning and end books.

Get the idea? It happens all the time. Actually I just read a second book in the series that held its own better than the first. I felt like the first book was a road creeping at an incline with a small climax at the end. But the second book was more like this.

 Yes, I realize this is an elevator. But that's how drastic the change was. It took me from a low point and lifted me to a whole other level of the story.

Now the end book should look much like the first. So, I won't bore you with more pictures and words. But a series altogether should look like this.

 Each peak should be the climax of a book. And each book should get you closer to your end goal, which should be the top of the mountain. There may be a bridge in there, but it should serve its purpose and stand on its own.

I like to think about the Harry Potter series. It's amazing! Each book has its own climax and each character has a purpose. All together though, they tackle something on a much bigger spectrum. The plot reaches the goal for the book but also contributes to the conflict and resolution for the series overall. The roads are sturdy and the bridges not only stand on their own, but carry the reader like an elevator to another level. 

So, there you have it. A brain dump about series. Read em. Write em. Hate em....and Love em :) 

I already asked you about them in my last series post, but have any of you come across a rickety bridge? How about a flat road or a small climax?