Wednesday, December 18, 2013

3 Awesome Things!!!

I'm not sure you're ready for this awesomeness...but I'll tell you anyway.

#1. My great friend and awesome CP has a book deal!!! You should feel super lucky right now because her story is fantastic. Yes, you have to wait until Fall 2014 but time flies, right? Want the awesomesauce from Shallee McArthur? Go to her blog right now to get details!

Shallee McArthur

#2. Next piece of info? I get to go to my FIRST real, live, in-person conference!!! I'll be attending LDStorymakers in April and I'm so excited to expand my knowledge, finally meet some awesome friends, and make new writing acquaintances. 

#3. Well...Christmas is in one week!!! Maybe you don't all celebrate, but we do. What better way to acknowledge the birth of our Savior and feel the spirit of his giving? In light of the season I want to wish you all a very safe and a very Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winner, winner, turkey dinner!

I did it!!! I'm a NaNo winner. I reached 50,000 words on November 19th and then finished my book yesterday, November 25th! Final chapter count: 32. Final word count: 66,579. Final brain status: Fried!

But we love fried brains, right? 

I absolutely love my story and my characters. Yes, it was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was a fun journey. 

How has your month of writing been? Did you do NaNo or skip out this year?

Also, for those celebrating, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! There is so much to be thankful for, but for now I'll limit it to just a few things: God, my husband, my kids, my family, friends, talents, and the ability to stay positive in a negative situation. I'm not the best at that last one, but I'm thankful that even when I'm not, others still are. And of course, I'm thankful that even though I started writing later than most people, I'm happy I found my passion. 

Happy writing!   

Now to eat some turkey...nom, nom, nom. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And then there was silence...

Anyone else doing NaNo? This is, technically, my first time participating in NaNoWriMo. I've written books in a month before...just not in November. I mean, who has time? 

Well, turns out. I do. Kind of. If I push everyone else away and decide I like crampy fingers, it works. By day 9 (last Saturday) I was at 30,000. I definitely think I've got the 50,000 in the long as nothing catastrophic happens. But my book won't be finished at 50,000. So the question now is, can I write the whole thing this month?

Considering the fact that I'm going on a week vacation for Thanksgiving, it might not happen. But if my family decides they're not up for nighttime fun and games, I might have a lot of time on my hands.

This might actually happen!

*Cue crampy fingers*

I'd better go. But happy NaNo! And if you aren't participating, I encourage you to try it sometime! It's a great challenge and a fun way to make a deadline. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Check out my post...

My good friend, Kelley, asked me to write a post for her blog, Scribbleweed. To read about why I would or would not do NaNoWriMo...please visit her site and feel free to make a comment :) 


Have a great week and happy writing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Which shoe are you?

Rejections. I know, lovely word, right? I'd say most, if not every, writer has been there. It's part of the process, but it doesn't have to be a negative thing. When an agent gets your query and you get a rejection, it's not about whether they are rejecting you. They don't even know you! It's just not a right fit.

Let's go shoe shopping for a minute. We walk into a shoe store, smell the leather and instantly start to browse. Right away you see a pair of alligator high tops with stiletto heals and...your lunch threatens to come back up. Someone else might like them--in fact, there's another shopper dying to buy a pair--but you know right away that they are not for you. Are you rejecting the person who designed them? No. They just aren't for you.

Right next to the alligator getup is a pair of bright red pumps. You like pumps. And you like red. But...this red is a little too, oh...fruit punch? You're more of a velvet cake type of red lover. So, you considered it, but after a short time you knew it just wasn't going to work. Rejection.

You abandon that shoe stand and meander to the back of the store where you find a pair of black flats, genuine leather, stiff soles. Right away you're interested. It fits your style, so you pick it up. They're not too heavy, not too light, the leather is smooth yet worn enough to know that it won't take too long to break in. In thirty seconds, you've found a chair, kicked off the oldies, and slipped on the flats. At first they seem to fit just perfect, but then you stand up. Three steps later, you know your toes are going to suffer and your ankles will need something short of physical therapy after extended wear. Rejection. Not instant, but in the end, they just weren't right for you.

You're about to give up, walk out, stop wearing shoes, but then you see the pink cowboy boots. Just the right mix of three parts red with one part white--yes, you like your pink a little dark. Your friends can't stand the shoes, but what do they know? The shoes are quite similar to something else you own, but different enough that you'd be an idiot not to consider them. Before you can even say cowb--they're on! And they feel just as good as they look. No, they are a hundred times better! You love them enough that you don't even take them off to purchase them. That's when you know you've found the right pair of shoes.

The others weren't bad. They might have been perfect for someone else...but they just weren't the right fit.

And that's the key. You want an agent the's a right fit just as much as they want a writer that's right for them. Rejection can be hard. But don't take it personally. You'd hate for an agent to pick you only to realize after a few days that maybe you weren't the right fit. 

Do your homework and sale your shoes at the right store. Find the agent that's right for you. And if they like what you've created, they might not ever let you go :) 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I can't go a single season without mentioning NBC's singing contest called The Voice. It relates so much to writer's querying agents! I love it :)

And on last night's episode, Christina Aguilera said something that really stood out to me. None of the four judges turned a chair for one of the contestants. And instead of the contestant getting mad and throwing a fit, they were really appreciative of the opportunity they had to go on the show. 

Christina's response was,

"It's beautiful to have that attitude."

And it really is. Having a good attitude can never be a bad thing. Being positive can affect the world around you. Positive people are naturally beautiful because they look happy...and most likely, they are. When we're negative, it can pull us down in a well of self-doubt and can ultimately drown out our potential to do something great. the light of that quote. Be happy. You may not get your big break today, you may not get it in the next month, or even in the next year. But being positive can fuel you to learn more, be better, and forge your path to doing the best you can.


Happy writing! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

PitMad right now!!!

PitMad is going on right now on twitter! Go post your 140 character pitch and cross your fingers for a request :) 

 For anyone coming from PitMad, here is more about my book, Changing Fate. 

All Kate wants is to stay alive. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of two and battling its effects every day is hard enough. But when her mom uproots them in the middle of her senior year to live closer to the hospital, Kate’s determined to isolate herself. Not only does she have a secret to keep, but making friends means losing them when her disease finally wins the constant battle. 

When her backpack is stolen on the first day of school, Kate fights to get it back but her lunch is gone. Even though she doesn’t want friends, her hunger drives her to accept food from an upbeat extrovert named Giana. Her resolve to be alone falters even more when she hears the smooth voice of freckle-faced Kyler, whose sweet melodies give Kate hope and make her lifelong dreams of visiting Paris feel like reality. Between Giana’s persistent friendliness and Kyler’s soft touches, Kate struggles to keep her emotional walls in place. 

As her health rapidly declines, Kate begins to realize the people she pushes away may also be the ones who give her a reason to keep living. But what if it’s too late?

Basically, that's my query in a nutshell...or in a blogpost! Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Go get yours!!!

One of my friends and critique partners just published her book! 

Just Ella

Gorgeous cover, right? The story is equally beautiful! If you're into romance, this won't disappoint! It's a sweet story of a princess who falls for a rugged boy...who doesn't love a good rebellious relationship? You can order your e-copy or paperback here

To learn more about Annette K. Larsen, visit her website :) 

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

WriteOnCon hangover.


Wait. You don't know what WriteOnCon is? Really? Please tell me you're kidding. If not, get over here right now and check out the awesome posts by industry professionals. The content will be available for...I think a long time? Long enough that you can read it all, respond, learn, and grow! I'm trying to give WriteOnCon some love since they're so generous to offer a free conference. Yes, you heard that right. Free!

And this year I have to say my all time favorite thing was the google hang outs where we got a chance to see agent's first response to twitter pitches. I loved hearing their reasons for either requesting or rejecting. Seriously, if you ever doubted if querying is subjective...go watch these! There are so many reasons for them to reject your project. It doesn't mean they're necessarily rejecting your writing, your premise, or you as a person. That's why it's so important to keep on trying. The only person who can stop you is yourself.

And now that my brain is fried, in a good way, I'm going to try to clean up the tornado that crashed through my house these last two days. Really. My kids are super sad it's over. What? They have to actually do something instead of staring at a screen for longer than healthy limits? Yeah, that's life.

Happy writing! I can't wait to put the polishing touches on my query and send it out to the agenting world!

Friday, August 9, 2013


I should've written this post while these memories were fresh on my mind...but I didn't. Let's pretend my summer wasn't crazy and that my kids didn't get sick. And that this is the perfect time for this post :)

While visiting my parents, I read this book.

Going Vintage

I loved dipping into the sixty's and going vintage with the characters. With my own issues of technology taking over real life conversations and face to face connections, this was right up my alley! 

And to make my experience even better, I spent the week going through old fashioned things taken from my grandma's house. Here's the photodump of vintage awesomeness. 

Yes, this is a Better Homes and Gardens Magazine from 1963! Awesome, right?

I absolutely loved these ads. Ice cream in Cream of Wheat? Sure, why not?

We also found dresses my grandma wore back in the day. 

This is of me in her homemade wedding dress! So much fun!

It was a great week made even better by reading Going Vintage and finding these vintage things from my personal past. 
If you haven't read it, do it! I love Lindsey Leavitt's books.

One more thing. Have you heard of WriteOnCon? 


If not, go here right now. Like NOW. It's awesome and right around the corner. You certainly won't want to miss this FREE writing conference filled with great advice from industry professionals. The crit forums are open and are a great way to polish your query and first pages! 

See you there!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Vacay Success!

I just got back from my summer vacation to Utah! I know, I know, exciting right? Well, that's where I grew up and where I like to go to visit friends and family. And oh boy, do I have some awesome friends. Several writer's live in Utah but I didn't get to see most of them. :( Sad day.

But I did go to Lagoon, twice. (Yes, it's a terrible picture of an awesome amusement park, but it's the only one with the name and no family.)

And I did get to see one of my favorite writer's in the world. This is Shallee McArthur and me. We've known each other since Elementary School! She is a brilliant writer and I'm lucky to have her as a friend.

And, as luck would have it, I was sitting at a local restaurant with my mom and kids when in walks a familiar face--familiar from seeing it online but never before in person. I approach this person and ask if her name is Elana Johnson. And it was!, looking around the small restaurant for any kind of camera and never finding one. It was fun to meet her and hopefully one day I'll get to visit with her again!

My next post will be a book review. I know, shocker. I don't usually review books because there are so many things that factor into rating a book and giving it a reputation. Mainly, personal preference. But this time I just couldn't resist. Be sure to stop by for the awesome adventure that made my visit home even better!

Have a great week and happy writing!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I swear I'm not neglecting everyone on purpose. With all the kiddos home, we're super busy. And when I do have free time...I'm writing! That's good, right? 

Here's my brain during the day.


And here's my brain at night.

Once upon a time...

I'm almost finished with the first draft of a book that I absolutely LOVE! It's emotional and tender and I hope to share it with everyone one day. This is the book I was supposed to write and this is the reason I love what I do.

I promise to be more consistent with blogging when school starts again. Until then, you're more likely to find me on twitter (@merrillwrites). 

I hope you have a great summer and a safe Independence Day!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The 9 letter word of doom.


I know. It's like someone just told you you'll never make it. You didn't impress them and you'll never impress anyone. That's what goes through your head, right? 

But what do you do after that initial reaction? Do you sulk off and beat your head on the wall until all creative thoughts are subdued? Do you grab the closest piece of fattening food and indulge, wallowing in self doubt? 

How about ice cream? YES! That's what I'm going to go eat right now. But not because I'm upset. I'm going to eat it because I've decided to treat rejection like the Robinson's from Meet the Robinson's treat failure. They have a party! Because every time you fail, it gives you another opportunity to succeed. 

I love this quote from Walt Disney. "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We look forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." 

So, lift your spoon of ice cream and join me in looking forward. Here's my ice cream of choice today. 

Be happy. Keep going. And don't ever let anyone's opinion come in the way of your success. This writing business is subjective and rejection will just put you on the right path of finding success with the agent that's best for you. 

In the meantime, I plan on taking this advice from Shakira's Waka Waka song. 

 "Pick yourself up, and dust yourself off, and back in the saddle."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TBR pile

My TBR pile is huge! But there are so many books next to my bed that I can't wait to read. 

Right now I'm reading this.

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)

I absolutely loved the first book in the series, The False Prince. And so far, this one is equally awesome!

I also have these two.
Requiem (Delirium, #3) Fragments (Partials, #2)

These are both parts of series that I would definitely recommend :)

What's up next in your TBR pile?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Writer's Voice 2013!!!

"The Writer's Voice" is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid's Literary Connection, Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat). Monica B. W. of LOVE YA, and Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes.

I'm in! I've made it through the first part of The Writer's Voice. Yeah, was just a lottery pick, but my name was chosen! And for those interested, here is my entry. :)


Dear Awesome Agent,

Genies don’t only grant three wishes, they grant wishes for three weeks. And if their lamp breaks while they’re on assignment, they die…leaving a layer of ash and a blackened singe mark.

When sixteen-year-old Brielle gets her first assignment in Tri-Cities, Washington, she abandons her Saharan prison only to discover that someone’s out to kill her kind—one smashed lamp at a time. She needs magic to solve the mystery, but won't get it until her assigned human, Addie, makes a wish. Unfortunately, Addie isn't "the wish-making" type, more like an anti-social teen who wants nothing more than her bright pink accessories and addiction to Mountain Dew.

It’s bad enough that Brielle can’t reveal her true nature, but without magic or help from a disorganized Council, her last option is Rockafel: a smokin’ hot genie who has a history of trouble. She’d love to avoid him, but he has magic and she doesn’t want to die. With three weeks on assignment, Brielle has days left to find out who’s behind the murders before they get a hold of any more lamps—especially hers.

SMOKE AND ASHES is a YA Urban Fantasy novel complete at 67,000 words and is a standalone with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Michelle Merrill

First 250 words. 

I stared through the window at the Council Member’s back. This was the fourth time I'd come to make my request—same day each year with the same Saharan sun reflecting in the glass. That sun followed me, trapped me, hunted me with its rays, suffocating me with a constant reminder that I couldn’t leave. There was no escape.

My fingers tightened into a fist and the grains of sand pricked my skin. I lifted my arm and knocked on the window three times.

The Council Member turned around and nodded as if he expected me. Seconds later, the other two Council Member’s joined him and an argument broke out—no doubt discussing my problem but never coming to a conclusion.

Same old, same old.

I squeezed my hand tighter and slammed it against the window. They didn’t even flinch. Maybe overreacting was the only way to get something done. “Hey,” I yelled. “I’m right here. Come out and talk to me.”

Finally, they formed a single line and filed out the door.

“Happy birthday, Brielle.”

“No. It’s not. But it could be.”

One Council member cleared his throat. I held my breath and waited for him to tell me something good. 

Those few seconds felt like several minutes. “We can’t help you.”

I cursed the seven dunes and felt my hope collapse. “Can’t or won’t? It’s been four years since my lamp was put into storage by a human. I could be helping someone, getting my magic. You three can’t even figure out who’s in charge.”

And...that's it! I hope you enjoyed it! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Upcoming Contests!

Since joining twitter, I've found that the best thing besides meeting other writer's is finding out about contests! Seriously, if you're not tweeting yet, get to it. Find different authors, agents, writer's and follow them. 

Here are three contests either currently running or coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing is hosting a Pitch+250 contest! It's running now and closes either on May 3rd or after they get 100 submissions. So go polish your 100 word pitch and first 250 and email it over right away!

The Writer's Voice starts in 2 days! Haven't heard of it? Go here to check out the details.

And last, but not least, Query Kombat is launching on May 13th! The details are here and you still have time to win a free pass by posting your book nickname by May 3rd!

Good luck everyone! I'll see you there :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another one bites the dust!

I just finished MS #5!!!

It's a YA contemporary called, The Worst Job Ever, with a little humor and a little romance. Just the way I like it :)

It's filled with all the great YA problems: family troubles, friend issues, good boys, bad boys, stuck up classmates, work problems, school dilemmas, etc. All crammed together in 27 chapters and 70,000 words. Trust me, they don't like being crammed together. And that's what makes it so awesome! 

There are fights, handsy boys, crazy parties, jealous girls...and one of my favorite things about it is the format. Weird, right? It's rockin' awesome! It makes me so excited.

Of course, right now it's still first draft material. The characters are a little flat, the internal monologue is really confusing, and the pacing is all over the place. 

But at least I now have something to work with! I'm going to give it some space and revise my YA fantasy. And, of course, continue to suppress all the great ideas that are taking over my mind. 

I need more time!

How is your writing coming? Are you in the excitement of a first draft or in the trenches of revisions?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Flash Fiction

Have you ever tried to write a flash fiction? One of my fabulous writer friends sent an email tonight that said, "My challenge is to write a flash fiction piece (less than 750 words, not including the title) that tells a quirky story, illustrates the setting, and creates emotion."

About twenty minutes later, I finished my piece, read through it with my hubby, and sent away...then decided to post it here. 

Remember, this was written quickly and just for fun. And I definitely had fun :)

It's called: American Idol.

Seven hundred and fifty miles and I had finally made it to try out for American Idol. The line wound around the side of the building and stretched back and forth across the parking lot. Even though it was really long, my stomach fluttered with excitement. 

Nothing could ruin this day. Except, of course, failing the try-out…but I wouldn’t let that worry me until it was over. 

 But what if I didn’t make it? What would my friends think? My steps were quick and shaky. The judges had to like me. I’d won the school talent show three years in a row with my voice. How could they refuse? 

 The guy in front of me in line was probably mid-thirties with an overgrown beard that put my few facial whiskers to shame. I rubbed my chin and cursed myself for not shaving. They would definitely see the two hairs and then the audition would be shot…unless my voice could distract them from the gruesome sight. 

I could win, be a star, tour the country playin’ my guitar. 

But what if I didn’t get any votes? 

Ugh, I needed a distraction. And as much as I didn’t want it to be from ‘Sasquatch’ in front of me, I had no other choice. 

I cleared my throat and tapped his shoulder. “Yo,” I said. 

The man/beast turned around and eyed me. “Is that even a word?” 

“Uh, yeah. It means ‘Hey.’” 

Sasquatch frowned. “Hay is for horses.” 

I laughed, sure he was trying to pull my leg. “Where are you from?” 

The man looked down his long nose and made me feel small, and I’m six foot. Then he scratched the curve of his beard and grunted, “Boring.” 

I rocked on the heels of my feet at his response. “Oh. Right. Well, I guess this is kind of boring.” 

A bushy eyebrow rose. “If you say so.” 

“I didn’t say it, you did.” 

Sasquatch leaned to the side. “No. I told you I was from Boring.” 

My eyebrows pinched together. “There’s a place called Boring? No way.” 

“Way,” he said. “It’s in Oregon.” 

“By Portland?” 

The man spit a huge loogie next to my feet and my stomach churned. “It’s by Happy Valley.”

My jaw dropped and I gaped at him for a quick moment. “Right. I know where that is.” Not.

“It’s right between Happy Valley and Sandy.” 

“Sandy what?” I snapped, challenging his wit. 

“Not Sandy what, Sandy where.” 

“Where?” I asked, really confused at this point. 

“In Oregon.” Sasquatch shifted from side to side like this really was getting boring. 

I glanced at his flannel shirt tucked around the beer gut that hung over a navy pair of jeans. This conversation wasn’t going anywhere, but it got my mind off the audition and the line was now moving. 

I decided to keep it going. Otherwise, my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. “What kind of music do you sing?” 

The man cleaned his teeth with his tongue and worked out something black with a fingernail. “I don’t.” 

Again, I couldn’t stop the laugh. “Good one.” 

He frowned. “I wasn’t trying to be good.” 

I flinched. “I didn’t say you were.” 

“But you told me I was a good one.” 

I shook my head. “No, I just liked your joke.” 

The man paused and ran a burly hand through his beard. “But I didn’t tell a joke.” 

“You said you don’t sing. I thought it was funny because this is a singing contest.” 

The man whipped his head around so fast, I thought it would snap right off. He stared at the long line, his eyes following the throng of people leading back to us. 

“What did you think this audition was for?” I asked. 

“This is So You Think You Can Dance, right?” 

I almost choked on another laugh. He thought he could dance? Maybe he could a long time ago. A really, really long time ago. I almost wished I could watch his performance. Shocking would be putting it lightly. 

His face turned into a nasty snarl. “I never get my times mixed up. I’m sure I’m here for the dancing contest.” 

“Nope. This is American Idol.” Yes, I even said it like the announcer. 

Sasquatch turned on me. “You lie.” 

I shook my head. “One of us is in the wrong place.” 

Suddenly, I heard voices behind me. The conversation confirmed my worst fears. “…ballroom dance for my audition.” 

Sasquatch’s laugh boomed.

That's it! 749 words.

Wanna give it a try? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dream and Dye.

One of my favorite things is meeting up with other writer's. I haven't met very many of them, but I did have the privilege of growing up with a dear friend and fellow writer, Shallee McArthur.

If you don't know her, click on her name and get over there! She's a talented, smart, funny, caring, and ultimate plotting genius. And when I was down in Utah visiting family for spring break, I made sure to visit her too. Here are a few pictures!

Yes, we both have red hair. No, it's not natural, but we can dream...and dye, right? Dream and dye. That sounds terrible, but would be a great title. 

In writing news, I only have seven more chapters left on my current WIP. It's been interesting and I can't wait to give it space and work on something else. I have another MS that's vying for my time and two other ideas battling it out in my head. Life is never boring for a writer. Even when my mouth is closed and quiet, my head is full and loud!

How is your writing coming? Do you ever get to meet up with other writer's?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Voice...again.

I know. Believe me...I know. Every time another season of The Voice starts, I post about it. That's because it relates so much to having the voice in writing. While watching the show's premiere, I heard a phrase I just loved. Adam said something along the lines of,

"Your voice is not like anyone else's."

Uniqueness. It's key. You could write another story about vampires but you'll never get it anywhere near a publisher unless it's completely different than every other blood sucking story. Make your story unique, make your voice stand out, and then make it happen. Never give up. 

And never stop writing :) 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Never Give Up.

A friend of mine posted this on facebook and it really hit home. 

"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional."

She didn't know who said it, but if you do, I'd love it if you'd tell me so I can give credit.

Let's face it. Every writer has down days. It happens. And if you haven't, well...don't tell me about it today. Maybe next week :)

But I will not be defeated. I will persevere, I will improve, I will endure, I will overcome!

How about you?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It's official. I decided to flap my wings and join twitter. Not sure what I'm doing and kind of really lost...any and all tips would be appreciated. 

Come find me:  @merrillwrites

See you in the tweeting world.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Distraction Choice Awards

Since I'm now in the querying trenches, I need distractions in order to stop me from checking my email a million hour. 

One distraction I wasn't expecting was a slight pressure in my chest that brought a funky cold and a voice that resembles something between a braying donkey and screechy car brakes. Yeah, I tried singing this morning and it wasn't pretty. Speaking of not pretty, my grown out pixie haircut that is pushing a fullet (female mullet) and is flying every which way. It's suuuuper hot. 

But right now, I could care less. I'm just glad my kids made it to school and have food in their tummies and clean clothes on their backs.

As for the distractions I do enjoy, here are my choices!

The first two go along with my current sickness. That would be choice award for clothing:  pajamas. And choice award for healthy remedies: doTERRA Oils.

Basically, I live off OnGuard all winter long. It's awesome.

My choice award for book to read right now is:

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)

My choice award for Netflix show definitely goes to:


My choice award for hulu show is:

My writing contest of choice is:

And tomorrow's the last day to post your pitch so get on over!

And my writing of choice is my current YA Contemporary project. Here's the first page.

Most people think the devil has spiked-shaped horns, holds a pitch fork, and has an obsession with everything red. What they really don’t know is that he’s much more normal. About five feet, ten inches, completely bald head, compensating dark goatee, pin striped suit, and wears pennyloafers. No joke. 

And just happens to have a daughter who stands tall at five foot, two inches with cropped red hair that may or may not flame when she gets upset. 

Okay, so not all that is true. My dad isn’t the devil and I only stand tall when I’m standing on something else. The hair part…well, let’s just say things heat up when someone contradicts me. Especially Dad. And even though he isn’t really the devil, I get the two confused more often than not. Especially when he strikes a hard deal—which is what happened my senior year. 

This is how the conversation went. “Kal-bell,” he said. Yes, a lame nick-name for a normal person named Kalli, but he’d called me that since I was a child. Somehow that negates any hard feelings. Anyway… “Kal-bell,” he said. 

I looked up from the calculator in my hand, frustrated that he probably ruined the ten minute equation I was about to crack. “Yes father?” He had a certain look in his eye—the same look he gave me before we had made the deal that got him more date nights with mom while I babysat my twin little brothers for free. Not cool. 

I dropped the calculator and put my hands behind my head. His eyes narrowed on me and he leaned against the counter, mirroring my relaxed position. Somehow the person most relaxed always won the deal.

And that's how I distract myself! I'd say they are great things to keep my mind busy. 

What would your choices be?

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Yes, I just used the eight letter word. Shhh, don't tell anyone. It tends to make people shiver, shake, roll their eyes, get nauseous, anxious, or otherwise lose control of all thoughts and sanity. 

Not really.

But it does make some people nervous. For me, it's kind of a mixture of all the above adding to that a dash of excitement. I'll tell you the reason why.

Just over a year ago, I queried my novel to about ten agents. It was right before the birth of my child, but I decided I was ready, my book was ready, and that it was time.

Ten rejections later, one baby, extreme postpartum, crazy colic, selling a house, moving across state lines...basically it was a hectic year. 

Was I upset about the rejections? Maybe a little. But it didn't take me long to realize I was more relieved than anything. And here's what I'm getting to.

Things will happen when they're supposed to happen. 

Had I gotten an agent last year, they probably would've dropped me within two months. No joke. My life was absolutely crazy and things wouldn't have worked out.

Which brings me to the present time. Since those ten rejections, I have gone through my novel two more times, enhanced key emotions, and added another level to the conflict and characters. My book is one hundred times better than it was a year ago. And I thought for sure it had been perfect.

Now I'm certain beyond any doubt that it's ready. I'm ready. Life has settled and it feels right. Hopefully my premise and voice can catch the eye of a few agents, but I also understand that it's a subjective kind of business. If they don't love my book, I wouldn't want them to rep me. 

To be honest, we don't all like the same books. We have different tastes, styles, interests. If I can't find the right agent for my book right away, I'm determined not to get discouraged. 

Because it will happen when it's supposed to with the agent who will love it the most. I love my story and my characters and I want the most for my book.

So here's to another waiting game!

Time to continue writing my current YA Contemporary. In a's AWESOME!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Synopsis...dun, dun, dun.

I've seriously been dragging my feet in the synopsis department. I mean, first we have to grab someone's attention in 200 words with the query and then whittle our whole book in a 1-2 page double spaced document????? (Yeah, that many question marks.)

Now you know why it's taken me a whole year to write one. But even better, now I can say it's done! And the best thing? I love my synopsis and had a great time writing it...well, after the initial urge to slam my head in the wall and smash my laptop to the ground. Good thing I got over that!

So, how did I do it?

First I googled how to write a synopsis. After reading over several helpful articles, I gathered my thoughts and made up a loose outline. Basically, I took my format for writing a book and minimized that. What format do I use for writing, you may ask? I absolutely love the one and only awesomesauce filled, Story Engineering.

Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing

If you haven't read it, you need to! You won't regret it, I promise. 

Here's what my synopsis outline looked like.

First Plot Point-
Middle turning point-
Second Plot Point-

Yes, in case you haven't heard, add the ending of your book to the synopsis. 

After filling in a simple one line detail for each of those events, I made another list that looked like this.

Important People-
Important world building clues- (For my urban fantasy book, this was things that made the world of genies different from the norm.)

Once that was finished, I stuck those clues into my sentences above, fleshed it out, added some voice, and then revised. What started as a four page double-spaced, somewhat detailed synopsis is now a clean polished, concise just over one page beauty. 

Did I do it alone? No. Which is the best secret of writing. Critique partners are just as important as knowing your abc's. Well, almost :) I sent it off and continued to work on it myself, rewording things to say them in a better way that would take less space. And most importantly, taking out anything that isn't absolutely needed to cover the basics. 

Remember the unforgettable side characters I just blogged about that I love? Unfortunately, they may be an enjoyable addition to the story as a whole, but not always to the main conflict. You don't need to add every subplot and side character. Pick and choose, but keep the story true to itself! 

So, have you written a synopsis? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Characters I LOVE...

Have you ever read a book and had a certain character stand out to you? Me too! And my favorite ones are usually not the main character.

And more often than not, I end up naming something after them. Right now my laptop and lapdesk are named after two characters from one of my favorite book series, Poison Study.

Janco is my laptop.

And my lapdesk is named Ari.

If you haven't read the book, I highly suggest it. 

Usually my favorites are part of the comic relief. Some of my other favorites are:  Finnick from Hunger Games and the two satyr's from Fablehaven.

And I have a new character from a British TV show. Have any of you seen Merlin? If so, you'll know who this is and maybe know why.

Seriously! Where would the word be without Gaius?

So, who are your favorites? Is it usually the steamy romantic character with a dark edge? Or how about the jester/joker with a hidden secret?

Characters make the be sure to make your characters strong and unforgettable!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Have you heard?

Have you heard about WriteOnCon? If not, get over there right now. Like, drop what your doing and go here. If you have, did you see their latest scheme to help us all become better writers? Or at least better at pitching our story?

Check this out!

The forum's are open to post your perfected pitch. This is where others get the chance to critique it for you and help get you ready for the actual contest.

The final pitch can be submitted on March 11 and the voting starts March 18.

If you want more details be sure to head over to WriteOnCon.

Good luck with everything!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Last year I did a post on what my character's would love for Valentine's Day. This year I'm curious how you tell someone you love them. At my house, it either looks like this...

But most recently, we say this to each other...

Gitchee Gitchee Goo.

Check it out. It's lots of fun.

Have a great Valentine's!