Hiya folks! Yes, I'm alive and well, thank you for asking. I've been hunkering down in my
bat writing cave, furiously working on my WIP everyday to meet my goal. As of today, I'm 88% done with my first draft. Yippee! And while I'm internally cringing at some of my paragraphs, I have to squelch my inner editor and save it for the editing round.
Of course it's not all roses and sunshine. My ever fickle MUSE a.k.a. the BRAIN has decided to wrestle with me, writing down scenes WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN MY PLOT OUTLINE WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!? Needless to say, it has slowed down my writing momentum and I'm spending more time thinking than actual writing. GAH! Has this ever happened to you?
So. I apologize for not blogging, not reading your awesome blogs, not commenting (though this is partially BLOGGER'S FAULT--my comments kept getting eaten by the great cyberspace monster CHOMP CHOMP), not tweeting much or of being virtually MIA (Missing in Action) these past few days. My WIP will have to thank you for your patience. :D
This Inspiration Meme is long overdue, and since I'm taking a teensy break from the world of HIDDEN to take a breather, I thought this was perfect timing. What better way to pin down the muse, right? Give her doses of inspiration and maybe she'll start cranking the brain gears again.
3. I'm thinking the limit can range from 1-10. So tag within this range, anyone who inspires you! We want to spread this creativity and inspiration, don't we? YES!!!
4. And of course, tell those wonderful inspiring people who they are!
So, here we go:
1. My family. All of them inspire me everyday. My hubby is wonderfully supportive and loving. He balances me out and keeps me grounded when life overwhelms me. My two beautiful kids fill my heart with unbounding joy. Even when they resemble Wild Things at certain moments. Their warm hugs and sloppy kisses never fail to make everything right again.
My mother lives thousands of miles away from me, but our connection has gotten stronger through the years, especially when I had my kids. She's a strong, resilient woman, who'd raised us to be good people. I'll always be grateful for her love and example.
|Photo by Dee Q8|
Friday, September 30, 2011 | | 13 Comments
The best thing about having nice blogger friends is getting awards from them. Who needs an Oscar or an Emmy when you can have the ever green Versatile Blogger Award?
Yep, the lovely Charissa Weaks of A Day in the Life of an Aspiring Author graciously handed me this award. Thank you, Charissa! You rock, girl!
Since I've done this before, I won't bore you with another 7 random things about me. Instead, I'm going to give you a list of 7 bloggers I'm tagging and the reasons why I think they're great. :D
1. Suzanne Payne. She's an Elementay Music teacher, a mother, wife, friend, hottie (in my book, hehe! It's our secret code of sorts), Twitter buddy, and a writer. This lady has heart, and I love her sincerity.
2. Anna Banks. This chicka is hilarious! If you follow her on Twitter, you'll know what I mean. Plus, Anna's debut novel OF POSEIDON is coming out soon. And it is lovely. And I can't wait to read it. ;)
3. J. Lea Lopez. Because she's crazy-fun, loves Jell-O, she's a #goatposse member, and she's an AQer (Agent Query member). J.Lea writes sexy stories too. Woot!
4. Kimberly Krey. She's a Utahn mom-writer-reader like me. And she likes doughnuts. ;D
5. Michelle Simkins. Fellow #goatposse member, AQer, Greenwoman (as in she's all earthy and green and fae-like. No, she's not actually green, she just embodies it. Hehe.), feminist, knitter, gardener, tea drinker, reader, mother, wife, friend, writer (not in that order, btw). Versatile, indeed.
6. Leigh T. Moore. She's fun, she's cool, and she's super nice! Follow her blog and you'll see what I mean. :)
7. Masako Moonshade. (How cool is that name?) She's a fellow AQer and Twitter buddy. I'm only getting to know her but I think she's FAB. ;)
Have a great week, everyone! <3
Boy, do I have a treat for you this weekend!
My lovely and talented friend A.M. Supinger of Inner Owlet has a new series on her blog called FUSION, where she writes short stories for her followers based on what THEY want their story to be about. How awesome is that?!? I was lucky to be her first Fusion participant. When A.M. asked me for a prompt, I gave her the vague answer of "someone coming from a foreign land". And, being the awesome writer she is, this is the story she made for me.
Friday, September 23, 2011 | | 8 Comments
Whew. Tallying is such a pain and Math is not my strongest subject (don't worry, I still got A's and sometimes B's, but I'd never failed Math so rest assured I know what I was doing counting up points. :D ), but we finally have WINNERS!
Woohoo! THANK YOU to all who participated in my first ARCs GIVEAWAY! I didn't know those books would be so sought after. LOL!
Thank you for tweeting and spreading the LOVE. Also, a big thanks to my new followers--HELLO! I hope we'll have fun getting to know each other.
Anyway, I did the drawing as random as I possibly could, via Random.org. (I assigned each one of you letters & numbers accdg. to points, and then I picked a random number for the winner. Random.org did the scrambling thingy.)
What's that? I'm stalling? Oh my! Let's get on with it then.
|Photo By ADoseofShipBoy|
And here was my creation:
I put down the book I was reading and reached for the latch.
"Stupid Antonio. I can't take this anymore," I muttered. There he was two floors down, strumming his guitar, his voice cracking on the high notes. He looked up and smiled.
"My answer is still NO," I said, slamming the window shut. For two weeks, Antonio had serenaded me with his made-up songs of love and broken hearts. And all for a night in the town. One dinner date.
I shook my head. It was impossible.
The sun's last rays melded with the darkening horizon. I took off my clothes, peeling the layers one by one until I had only my skin wrapping me together. But not for long. Fangs extended, limbs shortened and disappeared, my skin turning leathery and black. I extended my arms, now encased with the thin film of my wings, and flapped them.
I shrieked. A moth's location echoed back to me, my sonar senses heightened at the promise of food. Time to hunt.
Krista has them on every Thursday, so head on over there for a fun writing challenge.
Happy Thursday, folks! <3
Thursday, September 22, 2011 | | 11 Comments
I've been participating in an online workshop over at WSE (Write Stuff Extreme) and one of the topics we're focusing on at the moment is about CHARACTER GOALS. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Actually, it is.
We know to ask the obvious questions:
-Who is your character?
-What do they want?
-What's (or who's) standing in the way of your character's goal?
-Is this goal feasible?
The problem, I've discovered, is that in a course of a story, your character will have MANY goals. What your character wants in the beginning of the story may be different from what they want as you near the end. So how do we answer the big GOAL question? 'Cause ultimately, we gotta have ONE GOAL that'll encompass all of these mini-goals.
TIP: By the way, if you can answer those questions above, you've got the beginning of a query letter right there.
Check out this video by the Plot Whisperer aka Martha Alderson for great plotting tips.
Also, my lovely friend Mary Frame talks about goals and flaws that you should absolutely read because it's great.
Aannnddd, my equally lovely friend Mary Baader Kaley (yes, I have a lot of friends named Mary and they're all wonderful), who introduced me to WSE, has a lot of critiquerly advice over at her blog Not an Editor.
So tell me, how do you assess your character's goal/s? Is it so clear-cut that you know exactly what your character wants and how they're going to get there? Or are you floundering in the dark, like me, trying to dig into the core of the story?
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | | 14 Comments
Last month, I participated in Kate Evangelista's Review Request series, where authors provide copies of their books (or in this case, an anthology) to bloggers interested in reviewing them.
Playing with Fire caught my eye because I've always liked reading horror/thrillers, and this one is a compilation of several horror short stories. Score! Thanks to Ms. Coral Russell for giving me this opportunity.
|Click on image to visit their website.|
Best Served by Susan Evelyn
Widows of the Night by Robynn Gabel
Bitten by Nomar Knight
Playing with Fire by CAV Laster
Devil of a Ghost Tour by Coral Russell
Key to a Haunting by Coral Russell
Amador Lockdown (excerpt) by Coral Russell
Flawed by Brian Fatah Steele
The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made Of by Brian Fatah Steele
This Dark Magic by Chryse Wymer
Living with Murder (excerpt) by Chryse Wymer
Let me just preface by saying that rating horror stories is akin to rating how spicy your food is. Everyone has different spice thresholds. What might be spicy for me, might be too tame for you. What might be horrific to me, might be so-so to you. And vice versa.
When I think of Horror, I'm immediately looking for the chill-in-your-spine, goose-bump-tickling kind that makes me look over my shoulder when I'm turning off the lights in my house for the night. While gore and graphic-ness is okay with me, I usually tend to favor the kind of psychological horror to scare me silly. Atmosphere, good tense writing, pacing, and appropriate descriptions can all contribute to a good scare.
Best Served is like a paranormal appetizer to whet your craving for more. I did not find this horrific by my standard, but nevertheless it was a pleasant read. You have a young mage playing detective in hopes of catching the man who killed her friend. A tiny bit suspenseful, but the outcome is predictable.
Widows of the Night is slightly disturbing, and is probably my favorite out of all the stories simply because of the emotions it invoked in me. The protagonist is a young girl who suffers neglect and abuse from her mother. Her punishment for the smallest mistakes entails spending the night in a closet crawling with Black Widow spiders (and she's an arachnophobe). Being one myself--an arachnophobe, not a spider! Sheesh--I had a lot of sympathy for this girl. The descriptions of her stay in the closet made me shudder. And that's a good thing. ;)
Bitten would appeal to zombie lovers anywhere. The protagonist lends an air of comic relief, even after he got bitten. So I enjoyed this, though I was mostly smirking while reading. Meeaattt!
Playing with Fire is a military experiment gone awry. Or is it? I got drawn into the story right from the start, and even while I kinda knew where it was heading, I read it anyway. I actually sympathized with the protagonist, who was suddenly abandoned by his father and hunted down by weird, evil-looking creatures. He didn't see it coming. Poor guy--all he wanted was a Hummer and he got the you-have-to-save-the-world kind of a deal instead. Lesson: Be wary of secretive military fathers who dabble in strange experiments.
Devil of a Ghost Tour is your typical ghost/demon possession story. A married couple goes on a ghost tour hosted by paranormal investigators Hector and Marcos. The story goes back and forth between the past and the present: the history of the haunted hotel and the young couple's experience while touring the hotel. While this is fairly solid and well-written, I felt like there was unnecessary verbiage, like Hector and Marcos' light bickering or dialogue lines that had nothing to do whatsoever with the story line. Aside from that, it was a nice, pleasant read. Didn't scare me out of my seat, but that's alright.
Key to a Haunting had a lot of beautiful potential. The love story aspect between the factory worker girl and the boss' son had me sighing after them. Like the story before this, it goes back and forth between the past and the present: (past) the forbidden love between worker girl and boss' son; and (present) a man struggling to succeed financially and to keep his marriage from crumbling apart. I kept expecting a sort of parallel between the two stories, and at least a resolution with the haunting, but I was shocked when it ended quite abruptly. Also, Hector and Marcos appear in this segment as paranormal investigators.
By the way, I love the historical aspects of Ms. Russell's stories. They bring so much dimension to the plot themselves.
Amador Lockdown (an excerpt) is such a tease...well, considering it's an excerpt so yeah. Here we have the Paranormal Posse back again with Hector and Marcos and a few others of their group hosting a cemetery tour. I loved this and it creeped me out, so kudos to the author for the creep factor!
Flawed is a perfect, horrific family drama. What happens when our darkest, flawed traits are magnified? For the protagonist, it means chaos and death. This is a story that makes one think.
The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made Of is another brilliant piece by the author who wrote Flawed (Brian Fatah Steele). It is melancholic, rather than horrific, but I really like the concept here of Dreams and Hell. Very original.
This Dark Magic has a great, easy-to-read voice. It follows the story of a Gazette reporter who gets thrown into the ugly world of Dark Magic and necromancy. I was drawn in immediately because of the voice, but the plot itself needed to tie some of its loose ends together, even for a short story. There were creepy, intriguing parts, but in the end, I was left more confused with the relationships between characters, instead of finding that "aha" moment.
Living with Murder (an excerpt) has a sci-fi feel to it, with the technology that this world possesses (such as the Oracle which lets you go through someone else's memories. As this is an excerpt, there is no resolution, but I thought it raised a lot of conflict and thought-provoking questions. The writing is well done--excellent descriptions and voice.
I really did enjoy reading this anthology. I'd give this 3.5/5 stars.
If you're interested, here are the links:
This is my 100th post! And in celebration of how far this blog has progressed since I started it last April 1st, 2011, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY!
(Yes, I thought I was fooling myself too on April Fool's Day by starting this blog, but with the help of WONDERFUL friends, I fortunately did NOT have to chuck this down blog-o-wasteland.)
More things to celebrate:
--1300+ comments (including mine)
--200+ SUPER FAB FOLLOWERS (yes, YOU!)
--aaannnd, this baby is 6 months old! Awww! I bet we can feed it solids now.
So what am I giving away, you ask? No, you can't have my Blu-Ray DVD, sorry. Or my sparkly tiara.
EDITED TO ADD: You can tweet and RT as many times as you want. I will total so no need to comment after every tweet. Thanks!
People. Be careful of what you say or post online. The Internet is forever.
You've probably heard this piece of advice before, or even read some horror stories of social media woes. You probably paid attention and made a promise to yourself to NEVER EVER be the nincompoop who trash-talked her co-worker online, only to find out a day later than even without naming names, said co-worker knew she'd become the water cooler topic of the week, thanks to you. Or be the idiot who whines about the agents he'd submitted his mss to. Whatever may be the scenario, when you feel that itch coming upon you to rant/rave/raise hell/complain online--whether through your blog or Facebook or Twitter--STOP!
AND THINK AGAIN.
It's all too easy to forget that what we say online can be viewed by MILLIONS of people from around the world. The thought doesn't even cross our mind when we press the Publish or Send button. Not when we're happily enclosed in our little writing shell, the four walls of our world literally the four walls of our house.
Even when we don't name names. Even when we think we're so clever that no one's ever going to guess we're talking about our neighbor's spying problem, always assume that your readers are SMART, INTELLIGENT people, and someone somewhere will eventually figure it out.
So. Be cautious. STOP, THINK, and THINK AGAIN. You just might end up being the conduit to someone's misfortune just because of the things you carelessly let slip online. Or, instead of being the conduit, you become the victim. Whatever the outcome, someone's bound to get hurt.
Don't let that shiny screen in front of your computer fool you. There are people--real, live ones with feelings like yours--behind them.
So you're probably wondering if something happened to me. Nope, thank goodness no. (ahem) This is just a public service reminder.
Have a great weekend, everyone! <3
First order of business today goes to the link for Chapter 14 of the Skeleton Key blogvel by Kellie M. of Tighty Writie. I'm up next Monday with Chapter 15, so I'm biting my nails here. :-0
Next up, the lovely and generous Krista of I Take the Pen has awarded me with the yummy looking Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Thank you, Krista! You are too sweet!
There are rules with this baby, but since I've already done the 7 Random Things post here and here, I thought that should suffice. But I still would like to pass this on to other sweeeet bloggers, because I like spreading the love.
So my dear friends, I award this strawberry shortcake to the following people (and guys, no pressure. You don't have to take it if you don't want to, or you don't have to follow all the rules AND still take the cake because I'm cool with that.)
1. Charlotte of Charlotte-on-the-Web. She's one of my newest followers, and her blog looks sweet! Plus, she's not a spider so double yay!
2.Isis Rushdan. Another sparkly new follower! ;)
3.Lola Sharp of Sharp Pen/Dull Sword. Yes, she's got a spiffy, sharp-looking blog.
4.Shallee McArthur, because she loves Africa and I've got a soft spot for Africa. Oh yeah!
5.Len Lambert of Conversations with Self. Her blog is so flowery. Pretty!
So go check 'em out (and not in a creepy, pervy way) and show 'em some love.
Hmm...am I forgetting anything else?
Oh, yes. I'm participating in #WIPFTW (that's Twitter-speak for Work-In-Progress For The Win), which basically means I have a deadline to finish my goal by November 1st. A lot of my friends are participating, and we just sorta created this to help motivate us to finish our WIPs rough drafts, editing/revisions, or whatever goal we've set for ourselves. It's great because it's nice to get support and public shaming (if necessary) in our pursuit of our goals.
My goal is simply this: To finish the first draft of my YA Paranormal/Fantasy WIP Hidden. Summer waylaid me with its too many tempting distractions of sun, family vacations, and all around FUN. But now that FALL is here, it's time to get back to work. Sad, I know, but it's LIFE. So I've updated my word meter and placed it higher up on my blog so YOU can also shame me if that meter doesn't move.
The downside is, I have less time to visit all the blogs I follow and less time to goof around. BUT I WILL TRY MY VERY BEST to keep in touch with all of you because you guys are simply WONDERFUL and SMART and AWESOME. And I truly enjoy visiting and reading what you have to say.
So please bear with me at this time. Happy writing, everyone! And may the MUSE be with you. ;)
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | | 19 Comments
|This is Harvey. He'll be asking the questions around here.|
Well, we are proud to say we managed to
So let's give a warm applause to our new member: Mary Baader Kaley of Not An Editor. By the way, you guys should totally check out her blog and follow her for critiquing tips and excellent interviews with authors.
Harvey volunteered to hunt down Mary and force feed her rutabaga if she refuses to answer the meme questions. Let's see what Harvey's got for us.
Me: (taps on ear piece) Are we on? Hello? Harvey, can you hear me?
Me: Were you able to do the interview?
Me: Oh good. Alright, then. Take it away, Harvey m'boy!
5. Kellie M., since one of the #goatposse people told me to tag her. So Kellie, yeah, you're tagged. Don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger.
I’m no good at math. Sigh.
Me: Thank you, Mary! Now you won't have to eat the rutabaga, thank goodness, since Harvey already ate it. Bad goat, Harvey, bad goat...
Monday, September 05, 2011 | | 22 Comments
I just had to share this. It's too funny to keep it all to myself.
For all you writers out there, this one's for you. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 03, 2011 | | 12 Comments
I just wanted to spotlight this amazing blogger real quick. Rachna Chhabria of Rachna's Scriptorium posts interviews and wonderfully helpful writing tips. Plus, she's always nice to me, leaving comments that make me smile. So to you, Rachna, I award the Cool Blogger Award. No rules with this one. Just claim it and enjoy. And you're free to pay it forward if you choose to do so.
Thank you, Rachna, for being a bright spot of sunshine in the blogosphere!
A few days ago I got an email request from a blogger wishing to guest post on my blog. Of course I said yes! It's always fun meeting new people and getting to know them.
Anmol Gupta from The Impact of Thoughts created this poem for us to enjoy. Thanks for sharing, Anmol!
Thursday, September 01, 2011 | | 9 Comments