Saturday, April 30, 2011

♥.•*¨Z is for . . .

Zebra?

Hello, my BRAVE BRAVE BRAVE   A - Z Blogging Challenge Contenderz!

So, today iz the last day of the month and the last of the wild ride of April's blogging timez! It's been WAY fun viziting everyone's blogz. The fun we've had, and the brotherhood we've just forged!

I'm a proud sister.  ;)

I've created an award just for you! Show it proud on your blog--you sure dezerve it!
Please share with us what you learned from this challenge.

I am awarding this to everyone who participated! It will take me a while
to reach everyonez blogz, but I will eventually!

If you would like to become a follower and link this to my blog as a thank you, I would love it, but you don't have to.


Congratulations, you guyz rock!




Friday, April 29, 2011

♥.•*¨Y is for . . .

Young Adult!

Okay, YA is hot right now. So hot that it is luring readers, authors, agents and publishers. Oh, not to mention booksellers, too! Am I missing anyone?

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A friend of mine introduced me to YA. She said she could enjoy a fun, clean romance without the sex, and other YA reads without violence and language. This happened over 6 years ago. She didn't have to work hard to convince me. I decided to pick up a YA book for the first time in decades; the thought had never crossed my mind before since my oldest was 8. The only thing I read in high school was VC Andrews (scary!).


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I love kids. All kinds of kids--even the teen kinds. They are a fun loving group with the hardest choices in life; what they decide now will forever forge their adult fates. I yearn to be a positive influence, to make my books enjoyable for them without pushing them into something dark that would hurt them even more.

Now you know why my heart is in YA. What about yours?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

♥.•*¨X is for . . .


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Exercize for writers! The physical kind. . .

Is there such a thing? Well, we are humans, right? Er, we'd like to think so...

For 14 years I've been exercising my hands. It all started out when I worked at a trampoline factory. The supervisor taught us these to help strengthen our hands and prevent carpal tunnel.


1. Hold your arms out in front of you (horizontally) with palms up. Then, rotate them until your palms face down. Then up again. Down. About 10 times.


2. Spread your hands in front of you, like you're getting ready to push someone. Squeeze them shut. Open. Shut. 10 times.


3.  Next, rotate your hands at your wrists into an outward circle. Then inward. 10 times each.


4. Hold your hands in a 'prayer' position below your chin, and slowly bend them to the left so that your left hand is pressed by your right hand into a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds. Do this for the other hand so that your right hand is being pressed into a 90 degree angle.


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I can type and draw for hours without cramps or aches!

What exercises do you do for your writing? You can mention the kind that strengthens your grammar, too! ;)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

♥.•*¨W is for . . .



Writer's quotes!

Yes, I thought I'd cheat and not bust any more braincells. So I'm sitting on the shoulders of writerly geniuses today and hopefully fill your day with inspiration and laughter!

I'll start off with my most favorite quote:




Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald

 
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. 
~E.L. Doctorow
 
 
 A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.  
~Charles Peguy
 
 
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  
~Ray Bradbury
 

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.  
~Elmore Leonard

 

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to kno what I was going to say.  
~Sharon O'Brien

 
I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  
~James Michener






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What are your favorite writing quotes?


most images found on Google search

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

♥.•*¨V is for . . .

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Visceral!

What is visceral? It is the bodily happenings when someone is experiencing an emotion. When you include that in your writing, it gives the reader a sense of reality and connection with your characters.

Let's see how John, my temp MC, reacts to this sentence:

The creature, eyeless in the deep night, slithered closer; death in its breath.

Before:

 John fell and screamed, unable to move.


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After:

John fumbled, his hands like blocks of trembling ice, his feet leaden things that weighed his heart to a standstill.


Do you illicit visceral reactions in your characters?

Monday, April 25, 2011

♥.•*¨U is for . . .

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Unprepared!

Have you ever--be honest now!--submitted a book that wasn't ready? How embarrassing is that?

It's as bad as showing up to your big job interview with your skirt tucked into youunderwear. Or going out on a hot date with a piece of spinach wedged between your front teeth.

*Cringe*

Guess what? I have (not the under wear or spinach thing) and I thought my book was ready! I had worked hard on my revisions after several critiques and beta reads.

Pristine novels are no accidents. They are refined over and over and over again. Sent off to a group of insomniac writers to critique. Rewritten and/or refined again. And again. Until... Well, until it shines.

Sometimes enough is enough and we just need to let our baby go into the real world.


When do you know it is time?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

♥.•*¨ Happy Easter! ¨*•.♥

Here is a treat from me to you!

It took me about an hour from start to finish. If you're interested on the steps, I've documented it here!




The true reason we honor Easter:







Happy Easter my dear bloggie friends!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

♥.•*¨T is for . . . The Third by Abel Keogh¨*•.♥

The Third

The Third by Abel Keogh


from the back:

"The only way your kids are going to have any future is if we get this world back to a livable condition. The only way we're going to do that is with fewer people. People are the problem, not the solution."


Doesn't that just give you chills?

I enjoyed the world Abel Keogh built. It is strong, believable and frightening. I realize how blessed we are with our homes, our yards and swing sets, warm water, and motorized vehicles. Most of all, to have children without regulation--we won't be punished for having more than two!

I was hooked before I opened the book. I was hooked all the way to its end. Most of my nails are gone because I couldn't stop biting them! I will get my kids to read this and my friends, that's how much I enjoyed it. I look forward to the sequel!

Makes for a great book club discussion!



Add The Third to your shelves!

Friday, April 22, 2011

♥.•*¨S is for . . .



Support Systems!

We humans tend to flock together with other humans. Well, since writers aren't human, we really need each other. Well, okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, writers are made up of many humans to create us. Where else do all these  fantastic, characters come from? Hence, this quote that I have on the inside cover of my journal:



"Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person." 

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Can you see how utterly, urgently important it is for us to have support  groups? We'd all be thrown into a crazy house. Oh that brings me to a riddle I've just invented:

What do you call an insane  asylum of schizophrenics?

A writer's conference!


Mooahahahaha! >)

So that's why, boys and girls, it's important to have a support group, to keep us on the straight and narrow to Writerdom.

Do you have a support group?

I wonder what our FFW say about thisAnastasia V. Pergakis,  J. D. Brown, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Deirdra Eden-Coppel, M. Pax,  Jeffrey Beesler, Charlene A. Wilson, and Andrew J. Cooper!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

♥.•*¨R is for . . .



Remote-control  parenting!

It's like sitting in front of the television.

Click!

Not another commercial.

Click!

Okay, I don't want to watch junkfood dance.

Click!

That's better now.

I'm guilty of doing that. With my kids. This happens mostly when I'm blogging *ahem* or writing. I don't want to get off my laptop. I'm on a role! The homework needs to be done, so I yell out, "Start  your homework!" Later: "Are you done yet? Okay, clean your  rooms now!" And still, a bit later, "Okay, did you hunt around the house for  your junk?"

It makes me feel bad, because, when the day has wound down to pillows and PJs and whispers, I close my laptop and kiss them goodnight. It has come and gone and the only thing I did that day was write or blog and tell them what to do.


I've made it a point to NOT do this anymore. I only write on my own time: when they are at school or  after I've tucked them into bed. That way I feel satisfied that I've given my kids the time they deserve with their mom.

What challenges do you face with your children/family/other stuff and writing?




Photos found at Photobucket.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

♥.•*¨Q is for . . .

Query Letters!

Okay, I'm not one for really posting on this because I've only submitted one novel 3 different times and got rejected 3 different times! Oy... But here is my query letter:



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Dear Super Agent Girl,

Stormy Winter Sky believes she is an ordinary teen until her first kiss with Alex Stormhold. DARKSPELL is a young adult paranormal romance, complete at 96,409 words.

From the moment Alex meets Winter, he cannot hide who he is—the key to her hidden past. Alex unlocks a world Winter thought impossible, a place of dark secrets and magic, where she discovers a disturbing secret of her own. .Alex risks his life and her love to keep Winter safe from the evil that seeks her out, for he is the only one who can protect her from its control.


Here are my accomplishments in the writing. I placed second in the Peach Days short story contest. International Poets Society published a few of my poems in 1996 and 2008. Published several poems and a few short stories in the Riverside High School Literary Magazine, Borderlines in 1992.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Mueller
------------
*Ducking* Okay, go ahead and throw the tomatoes, I need some for my salad anyway!
What do you think?

*updated:  This is the Query Letter that won my Publisher!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

♥.•*¨P is for . . .

Picked up by a Publisher--WHOOT!

My love affair with writing has landed me a Publisher!

I am SO honored that TreasureLine Publishers has taken notice of little ole me. *bats lashes*

I've never been through a wilder rollercoaster than this!

I've documented signing my contract here!  (sorry for the background sound, that was my hubby watching television)


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I'm so distracted that I put toothpaste on my 5 year-old boy's cut rather than antibacterial ointment. *cringe* Bad mommy, bad mommy!


Darkspell, YA Paranormal Romance
coming soon!






Monday, April 18, 2011

♥.•*¨O is for . . .

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Observation.

How many writers here observe? Have you ever sat in a park and just watched how  people interact with each other? How  does a toddler handle a leashed dog  approaching? A young  mother with a crying baby? What about a couple about  to kiss on the bench?

On a different note: what is the procession of colors as the sun sets? A smaller bird's reaction when a larger one lands beside it? And the glitter of dancing leaves as the breeze tickles through?

There's a loout there for us t observe. Learn. Our research is right at the tip oour fingers!

What have you learned from  your  observations?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

♥.•*¨N is for . . .

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Networking of course!

It's crucial for writers to network--we need TLC from others who think like us.


Before I go on, I should mention   Nichole's blog post on networking. She also has some helpful links you can use! Come by and read it when you get a chance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

♥.•*¨ M is for . . . Crazy Days of Motherhood, by Jane Still ¨*•.♥

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood


 Book Review: The Crazy Daze of Motherhood by Jane Still

Short, fun, sassy!

From the back of the cover:

"Jane is married to Rick Still, who she believes has the distinction of being the only man in history brave enough to give her earwax candles for her birthday. They had six children in eight years, and while her children were growing up, she discovered she had a great sense of humor.

At least that was her take. Rick once said to her, "Honey, you know all those real corny things you say all the time? Who ever thought you could make money at it?" Her son Adam once told her, "Mom, could you please stop telling jokes to my friends? It's really embarrassing." One of Jane's philosophies is, "You're not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you.""

I had so much fun reading this book. It's a fresh breeze for mothers. It gives us a glimpse into a world where hope can thrive on humor and not feel so frantic about every ouwie or flooding toilet. I laughed out loud at every turn, and now my kids want to read it!

It makes me think on life and how short it is to be stressing over the little things. I can still be a fun-loving mom at the same time!

Jane Still does an excellent job at capturing moments of seeming peril and shedding the medicine of life to them: laughter. This is one book I'd love to read over and over again. Visit Jane at her website at janeisfeldstill.com or her blog janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com!

If you want a fun-filled afternoon reading about someone else's chaos just to make you feel better, read  The Crazy Daze of Motherhood!

♥.•*¨ ¨*•.♥  ♥.•*¨ ¨*•.♥  ♥.•*¨ ¨*•.♥  ♥.•*¨ ¨*•.♥  ♥.•*¨ ¨*•.♥ 



You can win a fun prize from Jane to help celebrate the release of her book.  Just go to her blog at http://www.janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower.  You could win:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards
2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate
3. Chocolate

Thursday, April 14, 2011

♥.•*¨L is for . . .

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Library!

*Le sigh*

Does looking at this photo make you all giddy-like? I wish I could get lost in there. Find myself a nice desk--or a comfy sofa for that matter.

I love to spend lots of time in the library. No one will bother you there. You are master there. Are you kidding me? Look at what's surrounding you!

Karma, karma! The books bleed their positive chi into us crazy writers so that we feel spurred into the next chapter. So we can get our stories out there on those shelves!

Okay, I know. So I'm a geek.

Confess--how do you feel about libraries?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

♥.•*¨K is for . . .

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Kill your darlings!

*GASP*

Have you ever fallen in love with a scene in your novel? It's perfect! The way you pored over its every sentence, gave so much love and thought into the setting and plot. And your characters! How real it feels. How in love you are . . .

So you eagerly whis it to your critique group and--what? It is something that has nothing to do with the story? You've gotta what? No!

I've had to kill my darlings time and time again. But guess what? I cheat. I cut and paste it into a secret file so that I can maybe turn it into a book itself.

Tell me about a time or two where you've had to kill your darlings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

♥.•*¨J is for . . .

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Journal!

The emotional journal that is.


* What are you feeling? Anger. Surprise. Disappointment. Sadness. Happiness. Anguish. Write the emotion down at the top for easy reference.

* Listen to your body's natural reactions. Write them down.

* What about your emotions? Write those.
 
Do you wish that there was a book out there where all you have to do is look up anger? And you get this:



Anger: 



VISCERAL:
eyes like hard ice, fire in your eyes, mouth pinched, flushed face, hot face and ears, rush of fire in your veins, trembling, breath fast and shaky, acute sense of awareness, adrenaline rush, hands and shoulders and stomach tighten as well as muscles, jaw clenches, nostrils flare, heart pounding.

EMOTIONAL:
throw something, break something, hit something, scream, pull hair, bawl, lash out, cause pain to self or others, aggressiveness, name calling, throw a tantrum, hurt someone.


Here's an article on anger.


Okay, I came up with most of that, but I did some research and included a reference, too! Keep a small spiral bound notebook, a big one, a pad of paper--anything--and when you experience an emotion, rush to that paper and write it down.


Do you keep an emotional journal?


you might like:

Monday, April 11, 2011

♥.•*¨I is for . . .

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Internalization!--or getting  into the character's head.

Tell me if you notice the differences between the two paragraphs below (excerpt from my novel, Rock Star). Two brothers are about to head onstage for their show, groupies high in the POV's head as they discuss their childhood tragedy:


I wish.” He lowered himself  into the swivel  chair. “What do you think Dad was thinking?” He huffed. “Leaving matches within my reach? I mean, c’mon! You just don’t leave matches there for a kid my age then.” He swallowed hard.
 AND
I wish.” It amazed him how Zag read his  mind. He lowered himself  into the swivel  chair, and dismissed  girls from his thoughts. “What do you think Dad was thinking?” He huffed. “Leaving matches within my reach? I mean, c’mon! You just don’t leave matches there for a kid my age then.” A twist  in his throat. He wished Zag wouldn’t diss  his  pain.

Which one feels involved? Realistic? I've read books where I felt so left out--a mere observer. I had a hard time connecting with the MC. But too much internalization can be dangerous. Have you heard of infodumping? Yep, thought so.

 What's your take on this facet of writing?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

♥.•*¨H is for . . .

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Honesty.

I attended a writer's workshop and the president there discussed the down and dirty facts of writing; not being afraid to open up. Should I write about the real life pangs of child abuse? Should I describe how it feels to be sexually assaulted? How about the ugly thoughts of murder? Stephen King talks about honesty in his how-to book, On Writing.

So, what is honesty?

Imagine a fierce prince. He swears vengeance upon the neighboring kingdom. It shows in his face, his  physique, his demeanor--but  he never lifts a finger to hurt anyone. Would you believe that  he could really follow through with  his vengeance?


I know I wouldn't!

But that's  how my novel started off. I didn't want any kind of violence in it. He sounded like a flake. Why would anyone want to follow him? I've grown since--I've had my characters drink blood--literally! I ain't squeamish no longer, though I won't do gore baths.

How honest do you keep your MCs?

You might like:

Friday, April 8, 2011

♥.•*¨G is for . . .



Genre!

So, what's my genre?

Really, are you kidding? The very first writers conference I attended instructed us newbies to stick to ONE genre--because it would be difficult to establish yourself as an author if you wrote nonfiction, science fiction and horror. I can see that. *in my whiny voice* But I can't limit my muse!

That's one reason why I choose YA. I can write all those and keep it under the YA belt. My other reason is because it's easier to keep my books clean without having to explain myself or lower my standards to agents or publishers or anyone else who might want to see a little more leg.  ;)

I sure can't wait to see why fellow FFW's choose the genres they do: Anastasia V. Pergakis,  J. D. Brown, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Deirdra Eden-Coppel, M. Pax,  Jeffrey Beesler, Charlene A. Wilson, and Andrew J. Cooper!  

What's your genre?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

♥.•*¨F is for . . .

Family!


I have to confess that life a mother was so MUCH simpler before I hit my writing hard. Well, I've always been a writer as far back as I can remember, but I hadn't taken it to the next level (which mindset makes ALL the difference). It is this: I am going to get myself published.

Before, I volunteered in all my kids' schools. I was a room mother. I volunteered as a cross-guard once a week. I helped at the birthday table. I was a hand-and-foot homework helper (now they need to find me if they have questions). My house was a bit more tidier, I did more things with my hubby (take walks, watched movies...). I volunteered to help people around my community.

Now, my world has gotten so much smaller. It's me, my laptop and my houseful of kids. I don't step out unless the fridge is groaning from starvation. Really. It's hard for me to find time to watch DVDs because I'd rather be writing, editing or networking.

Poor kidlets. I've struggled so badly to keep them in fair balance, I've literally had to swear off writing for weeks at a time so that I can return to myself!

How do you do it?

You might like:

Time Management for Writers (Writer's Basic Bookshelf) 


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

♥.•*¨E is for . . .



Elizabeth!






Okay, not the  queen, but this one:  ME!




Well, I have  so many E's to share  with you that really  get  me going! Ready for just one?






Echo: Every author does this--if not, wow, you're  my hero! Have  you picked  up a published novel  and found immediately  the writer's  favoritest  word? Or even  from your writerly companion's own WIP? It yanks you out of the story so hard you begin to take  count of all his or her  repeat  word.

What is your favorite  repeat  word that your editing partners nag you about? C'mon, don't be  shy!


Mine  is:  eyes!
















photos found in photobucket.com, but for mine!