If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Goodbye and Hello...and A-Z Challenge...


Hi Guys,

This is my final post on this site. If you are here for the A-Z challenge I am still taking part on my new site!!

Please visit me and my CP, Karen Denise, at:


I'd love it if all my old followers would come follow me  and I'll be following you as well, under the new blog. Thanks guys!! Hope we see you!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hi again...Announcement! :)

Hi everyone!!

MOVING
I'm back. Well, sort of anyway. The two weeks off stretched into a month, but things have calmed down a bit. In the meantime, I talked to my critique partner, and we decided to run a blog together in order to:

One: Make it more interesting.

Two: Visit more people.

Three: Split the work

So, with that in mind, I'd like to just announce that I will be moving!! (Please insert appropriate applause and fireworks)

 I'll have the new blog address up here in about a week. In the meantime, hope you guys are all good. It's awesome to be back in the "real" world. haha


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Forced to take a break...

Hi Guys,

So, I feel super bad cause I'm signed up for a blog-hop today and Alex's cover reveal in a couple days but, for a variety of reasons that are much too long and complicated to explain, I have to take a break from blogging for the next couple weeks.

I'll still come and visit everyone whenever I'm able. And I want to reiterate, I'm really sorry about missing some things I signed up for!!

I will definitely be back in about two weeks or so--by then a lot of the stuff that is currently happening will have calmed down.

Thanks so much for understanding!! Hope everyone has a great week. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thursdays Children...Love

It's time for Thursday's Children, a weekly bloghop where writers can share their sources of inspiration. It's hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet at A Nest of Words   and Kristina Perez

So, my topic for today is love. What is more inspiring than love, in all its many forms? And, since today is Valentines Day, it seems even more fitting. So, here is a poem I wanted to share with you guys. I can't take credit for this one. It was written by my son, Chance.

A QUESTION OF LOVE...

What is love?
Is it something we buy?
Is it a potion? An antidote?
Is it a drug? A hallucinogenic?

A lie we tell ourselves?
Maybe a lie other’s tell us.
Sometimes it’s only a dream.
A hope of a different life. A better world.  

We search, never knowing where we’ll find it.
Maybe hiding behind that girl’s eyes
or waiting in that boy’s arms.
Its comfort can rest in your mothers and fathers.
Sisters and brothers. Sons and daughters.

 But sometimes it dances--a sprite just out of reach--tempting you to leap forward.
Will you fly? Or fall?
 Is that a chance you’re willing take?

Love can be deadly or brilliant.
Love can drive you to the edge of insanity
Or be the one thing yanks you back.

You can chase it--try to hold it.
 I dare you and I warn you,
Because it’s a wild fire that can burn your world away,
Or warm it in the years to come.

 Never has there been and never will there be such a dangerous light as love.
So what is love?
Love is chaotic perfection.


Thursdays children is a weekly bloghop, so feel free to jump in anytime! I'll be damned if I can make the linky list work even with the code Rhiann so kindly provided. I feel like an idiot, but I'm always trying to put up posts when it's super late at night and my brain is too fried to mess with anything. haha. So, if you're interested in joining, click HERE

Also, quick writer question! The third to last line of the poem is: "Never has there been and never will there by such a dangerous light as love"  Can someone tell me if that line needs a comma somewhere? For a writer, my punctuation skills can be sadly lacking. 

And, I wanted to end this post by asking you guys for some of your favorite love stories.  They can be in the form of a book, movie, song...whatever. What love inspires you?



Monday, February 11, 2013

Flash Fiction...

So, Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse posted some really great links with her IWSG post last week. One was to Flash Fiction Chronicles, which I hadn't heard of before. I got in on the last day of a contest they'd been running for a couple weeks. Thanks for posting the links, Sharon!! It's always fun hearing about contests/bloghops/giveaways I'm not aware of.

Since this is a writing blog and I rarely share any stories I've written, I figured I'd post what I wrote  for the challenge.  I was hoping some more experienced flash writers would tell me what they thought of this. Honest opinions! Please don't worry about hurting my feelings, I really would like the truth!! I was worried that it was a little cliche maybe? Or too heavy on sensationalism? What do you guys think?

Okay--so this was called the String-of-10 Five Prompt: We had to use at least four words out of the ten in our stories and, if we could, also integrate the prompt. The word-count could be no higher than 250.


PROMPT WORDS:

EVENING-QUARRY-ACCENT-ROSE-TEAR-MINUTE-GRAVE-CLOSE-ENTRANCE-BOW 

 I want to put a ding in the universe. –Steve Jobs 
Beautiful Stranger

The first time I saw him I was at the florist, buying daisies to leave on my mama's grave. He was buying roses. Our eyes met and his held something strange--like a warning. It left me shivering for a full minute after he left. 

I noticed him again at the hardware store, where I bought rope and he bought duck-tape. Then at the liquor store where I paid eighteen dollars for some Bud and he paid eighty dollars for some scotch. 

He seemed smooth. Polished. Sophisticated. The kind of guy who’d have women chasing him. I didn’t envy him. I didn’t want women chasing me. My mama had only been dead for five years. I was mourning. 


Still, he fascinated me. I seemed to see him everywhere. Whenever he caught me watching, he’d respond with a mocking smile that filled me with both longing and revulsion. I became so caught up in him that I barely noticed the murders tearing apart my town.

At least until they arrested me.

He was there my whole trial. At night, he’d come in my cell and whisper the details of his killings. When they found me guilty, he bragged about how he’d made me honor mama’s wishes. He’d forced me to leave my mark.

Slowly, the days passed. Slowly, I learned to close my eyes and become one with him. 

He’s no longer everything I’m not. Together, we’re charming. Cultured. Smart. Together, we planned our escape. We’re gonna make our mama proud.  


P.S.  Both pics were found through Google Images. Since the second is someone's artwork, I'm including the link to the page  HERE if anyone wants to check it out. 


EXPRESS YOURSELF--FAVORITE COUPLES...

Hey guys,

I've been meaning to participate in Express Yourself for awhile now, but I kept getting sidetracked. Anyway, I finally managed to get my act together and remember this week! haha. If you guys are interested Express Yourself is a weekly meme hosted by Jackie Felger at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests. 

As you can see by the picture, each week they ask a different fun and interesting question.


This weeks question is: Who is your favorite couple? They can be fictional, historical or even present day.

Being a bit of a romance junkie, I think this is an awesome question. Since I read mostly YA, the first couples to come to mind were both from my favorite YA books: The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare.

Let me start by saying I absolutely adore Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments. They are just so damn in love, but nothing is ever easy for them. Every time they start to catch a break, fate chucks another monkey-wrench right at their heads. It's always a blast to read about their struggle to remain true to each other while fighting the forces of evil. :) Plus, Jace is your classic bad boy saved by the love of a good woman, and I can never seem to resist that.
“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.”

Tied with them for my favorite couple are Will and Tessa from Infernal Devices. Or do I mean Jem and Tessa? Crap! I can never choose!!
Although I normally don't really enjoy love triangles, this particular one is so well done I'm totally captivated. The fact that Will and Jem love each other just as much as they love Tessa gives this "love triangle" an added dimension that I haven't seen done before--or at least not done anywhere near this well.

Plus, normally, in these situations, it's disgustingly clear who the girl will choose. This isn't like a Twilight thing where everyone always knew that Bella would choose creepy-ass sparkly-icicle Edward over  fun-loving, hot-as-hell Jacob.  hehe...sorry...I digress...

I can't believe I found a Game of Thrones/Infernal Devices
reference. I couldn't resist!!!
In this particular triangle, it's impossible to see what choice Tessa will make. I honestly believe she's in love with both these boys. (And I'm highly impressed that Cassandra Clare somehow made a situation I wouldn't normally believe possible seem perfectly feasible.) Plus, no matter who Tessa chooses, nobody is walking away in one piece. The whole tragedy of it all makes for irresistible reading.

Honestly, now that I've been forced to really think about this...I've decided my second choice for favorite "couple" is Jem and Will. I'm fully aware that these two are not romantically in love. But the friendship and brotherhood between them is just as compelling as any love story I've ever read. In fact, it's Jem and Will's friendship, even more than their love for Tessa, that keeps me fully invested in these books.

“But—but...” Will sputtered.
“Oh, leave it,” said Jem, kicking Will, not without affection, lightly on the ankle.
“She annexed my plan!”
“Will,” Tessa said firmly. “Do you care more about the plan being enacted or about getting credit for it?”
Will pointed a finger at her. “That,” he said. “The second one.” 
― Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince


So, what about you guys? Who are some other great couples you love?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Celebrate and Spunk on a Stick...

Okay, so I want to post about a couple things today. One is the Celebrate the Small Things Bloghop hosted by VikLit and the other is a book promotion for Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick which I signed up for and then somehow stupidly missed. I'm sorry Diane!!

So, I'll start out with the Celebrate  bloghop. For anyone interested in joining, we post every Friday about whatever we want to celebrate that week.

I have some awesome stuff to celebrate!! The first and absolutely biggest, most important thing is that my youngest daughter, Kassidy Rose, won first place in a young adult playwright competition. The contest was open to all eighth graders in our county, including homeschoolers like Kass. She will receive $500.00 and on top of that, get to cast, direct and put on the play at our local community theater. This is the second year in a row Kassidy has won first place and I'm so proud of her!! And yes, I felt the need to post two pictures of my beautiful girl, cause I couldn't decide which one to use to show her off. :)

My other things are much smaller--but they still made me happy. One is a beautiful dragon shield my daughter, Meggie, got me for my birthday. I wish I could've captured the sheen of light on the silver parts, but my iPhone wouldn't pick that up. Still, I managed to get a pretty good shot of it. :)


The other is this adorable dragon incense burner my husband bought me. I named him Rhaegal after one of the dragon babies on Game of Thrones. Please note the smoke coming out of Rhaegal's nose. I think this is one of my favorite b'day presents ever!



And, sticking with the theme of dragon's, Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes awarded me the Cutie Pie award. Yay! I was very honored, cause Al has one of my all time favorite blogs. For anyone who hasn't checked it out, I highly suggest you stop by Father Dragon's blog to hear the wisdom and humor he dispenses on a daily basis. 

 And, to make it even better, I get to pass the award on to five other people! So, I nominate: Jaybird at The Birds Nest, Sus at Book Reviews by Sus, Chris Allen-Riley, David Powers King and Ella at Ella's Edge. These are all excellent blogs and I really hope you guys take a minute to check them out if you aren't already following. :)



And, even though I'm late posting for Diane, here is the information on her awesome book, you guys should definitely check it out!!



HOW TO PUBLISH AND PROMOTE YOUR BOOK NOW!
By L. Diane Wolfe

Publishing and promoting made simple!

Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:

• Traditional publishing
• Self-publishing
• Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
• Finding your target audience
• Generating reviews and media interest
• Networking and developing an online presence
• Promotional materials and appearances

Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!

$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0
Publishing/Marketing, 210 pages, Dancing Lemur Press LLC

Purchase at Barnes & NobleAmazon, Amazon KindleAmazon Kindle UK, and Powell’s.

“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.” 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers 

“A must-read for writers planning on self-publishing or any writer who wants the ultimate how-to on promoting. Tons of links, advice, and how-to, whether you're going for print or e-publication.” 
Helen Ginger, author of Angel Sometimes 


May it help you on your journey!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG

So, it's Insecure Writer's Support Group, and I almost missed it!! I'm posting a twinge late, but I'm getting it done. :)

For those of you who don't know IWSG is hosted by the awesome Alex Cavanaugh. It's a place where, on the first Wed. of every month, insecure writers everywhere come together to cheer each other on or just commiserate about our trials. If you haven't signed up, make sure to add your name to the list!!

Also, be sure to visit this month's co-hosts, Stephen Tremp and Julie Flanders!


Since I'm posting a bit late and, since my last post before this was pretty heavy, I decided to go with the path of cheering up anyone who  might be feeling a little down/insecure today. Just remember, at one point, JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins were all just beginner writers--the same as you and me!

And now they are big enough that the whole world knows what this means....

And this:


This:


Haha...you guys know I had to include extra Harry Potter stuff, right? Hope this made you smile. Have a great day!! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Overcoming Adversity...

Today is the Adversity Bloghop, hosted by Nick Wilford at Scattergun Scribblings. This bloghop is to raise money for college for Nick's stepson, Andrew, who has cerebral palsy. I think it's an excellent cause and would highly encourage anyone reading this to check out Nick's blog to learn more about it. 

P.S. As a quick addendum, I've been looking around at other people's stuff and realized I did this wrong. My apologies. I guess it was supposed to be a short story--more like a fiction kind of piece. I thought we were supposed to talk about actual adversities we'd overcome. So, I guess I messed up the rules a bit, but I'm still leaving this up cause I wrote it and I tried but, fair warning for anyone reading, that this is not like the other stories on this bloghop. 

I thought a lot about what to write for this. We all have our things in life to overcome and I've definitely had my share of adversity. There are a lot of things that would've been much easier to talk about than what I ended up choosing.

But, in the end, I decided to write the story you're about to read. I wanted to write about this because, at the time that it happened, there were days I didn't think I'd get through it. There were days when all I wanted was to never wake up again. But, after a long, long time, I came out the other side of it and maybe somebody will read this and will know that, no matter how horrible something is, there can still be a life beyond it--just maybe not the life you thought you'd have.

I was only eighteen when I married my husband. Twenty-one when I gave birth to our first daughter, Caitlyn. Twenty-two when our second little girl, Meggie, was born. Twenty-four when I had our first son, little Marc--dubbed Quick at some point during the pregnancy and known to everyone as such.

 Looking back, it's so crazy. We were little more than kids ourselves. We were still young enough to believe we were indestructible and, by extension, so were our babies. And yeah, other people had bad things happen to them--but me and Marc had both already lived tough lives. We'd already overcome so much adversity that it never occurred to me how much worse there could be on the horizon...We were young and  in love and  life seemed kinda like one of those country songs--the one where the washing machine breaks and the bills don't get paid, but you know it's all gonna work out in the end. We had these beautiful kids and we had each other and we had our whole lives stretched out in front of us like an endless summer.

And then, when Quick was three and a half months old, he died on Christmas day. We all laid down for a nap, only our little boy never woke back up. I won't ever forget the sound of my husband's screams when he found him. It took a really long time for me to hear any music in my life again, because all I could hear for a lot of years were those screams.

There are probably people reading this who are wondering why I would write about something as horrific as a baby dying. But I'm writing about it because it happened. We lost our son and, in losing him, lost our hope and our faith and our youth and ourselves. And it took a long time to find those things again.

And during that time, we wanted to give up. We both wanted to  die...but we didn't. Because we still had two little girls to live for. We still had each other. And those things are worth fighting for.

It's been nineteen years now. Long enough to look back and know that, if Quick had never died, our whole lives would have been different. I wouldn't have ever had any more kids, which means Chance and Kassidy would've never been born. The person I was before I lost my son would've never considered something like homeschooling--a choice that radically changed the people all four of my children grew into.

Looking back, the person I was before Quick is almost a stranger to me.  I have to believe that he came along to touch my heart and touch my life and force me--through the heartbreaking loss of him--to become the person I was meant to be.

 Sometimes I look at Chance (that's where we got the name, he was our second Chance) and I wonder if he looks like his brother. I wonder if  Quick would've liked to write? Or would he have been more into sports? Would he have had the same sense of humor as Chance or would he have been more serious? Those are questions I'll never be able to answer. But I was meant to have Chance. I cannot regret having him. Having Kassidy. I cannot regret having the life the loss of Quick lead to.

But I will always regret that I didn't get to watch my first little boy grow up. I will always miss him. I will always love him. And I will always hope that someday, somehow, I get to hold him in my arms again. 

Until then, I will tell him thank you for coming into my life for as long as he did. For making me a better person and a better parent. For giving me his little brother and sister. For all of it.

Thank you, son.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday again, which means it's time for the Celebrate the Small Things Bloghop, hosted by VicLit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Writer. Make sure to pop over to say hi and sign up to celebrate with us!

So, I was thinking of things to be grateful for and the first thing that popped into my head is one of the first things that always pops into my head when I remember what I have to be thankful for--my husband.

He is the best, most-supportive, awesome husband in the world. We've been married for twenty-five years last June, and I wouldn't be who I am without him. He has been the single-most defining force in my life, the one person I can always count on, no matter what. He is also a great father who is always there for our four kids.

I've been in love with him since I was fifteen and I only love him more now than I did all those years ago.

What about you guys? Married? Single? What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thursdays Children...Inspiration...

So, it's Thursday again. Boy these weeks are going fast! That means it's time for Thursday's Children, hosted by the lovely Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

I spent a lot of tonight reading over what me and Chance, (my son) have written so far in our book. We're now 55,000 words in--so 2/3 of the way there. It was past due to see if the chapters were flowing together as a whole. And...they are. Yay! Haha...

And that's one of the things that inspires me the most about writing. Taking an idea and a character (or set of characters) and watching as, bit by bit, they transform into something new under your fingers. The whole thing really takes on a life of it's own, to where I'm almost looking back and going, "Wow. Did we really write this?"

And I don't mean that in a conceited way--the book is still in it's first draft, so obviously it will need a lot of refining. I mean it more in the way of just being surprised to see how completely real the characters are and how our ideas translate from our head to the page and somehow, on the journey in between, turn into something so unexpectedly alive.

 I used to think if I plotted a book out the whole, "coming to life" thing wouldn't happen. It seemed like that would be something strictly obtained by just flying by the seat of my pants and letting the story do what it would. Turns out I was wrong...

How about you? Do you plot things out or let your characters choose their own paths? Do you feel that your characters/their stories seem to flow from somewhere else when you're really in the zone? Somewhere so far inside of yourself that it almost doesn't seem like you at all? Or is it more of a methodical process?

P.S. Sorry for not putting the linky list up. Go HERE for it! John told me how to post it but it's two in the morning and I have a headache, so I didn't feel like messing with it. haha



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reintroduce Yourself...

Hi guys! Monday again after an awesome weekend. And today is a fun day, cause it's the reintroduce yourself blogfest, hosted by the awesome Mark Koopman, C.M. Brown, Elise Fallson and Stephen Tremp. Make sure to stop by all their sites to say hi!! 

In the meantime, things about myself: 
My favorite place is Disneyworld. My second favorite place is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Because of the two above-mentioned things, my house looks sort of like an ambitious thirteen year old decorated it. Tons of Disney figurines everywhere, a dragon shield in the dining room, and wind-chimes hanging in almost every corner. I don't know what the wind-chimes have to do with anything but I thought I'd mention them. I love it though. It goes with my family, which is loud, irreverent and about as unconventional as someone could get. My four kids, husband, rotten grandson and four doggies are all my favorite parts of being me.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Small Things...

So, today is my first week of the weekly "celebrate the small things blog-hop," hosted by VikLit's Writing Blog. I love the idea of celebrating small things that I've achieved and I'm happy about every week. It's always easy to think of things to be down about--particularly during the querying/contest process, but it's not as often that I get a reminder to give myself a pat on the back.

This week it's really easy for me to think of what I'm happy about because I'm a little over 40K in to my new book. It was pretty hard for me to get invested in a whole new story/new characters after working on the last book for over a year. And then, earlier this week, it all clicked and, suddenly, I had this book just pouring out of me like the easiest thing in the world--you guys know what I mean--when the characters start talking so loud you can barely sleep at night for listening to them and you can't wait to get up in the morning to get back to them.

Honestly, I really like the last book I wrote--but it didn't feel like this. I haven't felt this level of inspiration since the very first year I was writing. It's the first time in a really long time that the process isn't cluttered up with doubts and rejections and blah blah blah...None of that matters right now. Right now the story is the most important thing--and the story feels like magic.

And, so you guys can be happy too, here's something for you:



Sunday, January 20, 2013

18 things...

In order to celebrate the release of her first book, 18 Things, which is coming out in 2 DAYS!!! JAMIE AYRES  is hosting the 18 THINGS BLOGFEST

I love the idea Jamie came up with for her blogfest! Cause everyone likes goals, right? Everyone loves a bucket list!! I haven't looked at my list in a couple years and it really hit home how much more I have to accomplish and that I better stop being cowardly and get my ass in gear with the querying. So, thank you, Jamie. If you guys haven't signed up yet, you have till the end of January, and Jamie is giving away some awesome prizes. Make sure to go check out her SITE.

 Here is my 18 things...

Get published Technically, I already accomplished this one, so it should really read publish an actual book.

Go to a writer’s conference  Funny that I will never have the money to do this unless I make it writing, at which point maybe it won't seem as important anymore? But I still think it would be fun to meet a ton of people who are passionate about writing!

Swim with dolpins. Cause who doesn't want to swim with dolphins? 

Be an extra in a movie My son was in a Nickelodeon commercial when he was three. I can't have him being the only famous person in the family--it's just not right for him to one-up me like that. 

One of my most popular faces
Get a canvas I made hung in an art gallery. It would probably help this goal immensely to actually make said canvas. 

Volunteer face-paint at a children’s hospital I've volunteered for a million other things with my face-painting skills, but never in a hospital. One of these days...

aaaaawww...
Go snorkeling in Key West I only live eight hours from here. A hop, skip and jump. 

Work at a monkey rescue for a weekend.. Again, who wouldn't want to take care of orphaned primates???

Speak on some sort of panel about writing Unlike most people, I like speaking in public. I generally just like running my mouth. Having a room-full of people who have to listen to me would be awesome. 

Start business making/selling handcrafted mirrors and stuff This is one that requires my husband's help. He seems to need a swift kick in the ass for motivation.

Write/publish a book with my son Enough said.

I need to see the person who can do this
and not snap their body in half like a
matchstick. 
See Cirque Du Soleil I've always been fascinated with this, but the tickets are horrendously expensive. I might just settle for watching the movie when it comes out. Does that count?

Go to California The geography fascinates me. CA has everything, if you're willing to drive around the state to find it. Mountains, deserts, oceans, snow, beautiful weather. Literally any landscape you could want. 

Prague
Visit somewhere outside the U.S. Preferrably Venice or Prague. Between Cassie Clare and Laini Taylor, I'm dying to see both these places. 

Take my family on a Disney Cruise There is nothing Disney that I don't like. Except their prices, of course.

Buy at least one of the beautiful Disney paintings they sell in the awesome gallery in Downtown Disney Again, pricey, but sooooo pretty. I love the oil paintings the most. 

Take my husband to a UFC fight! He's a huge UFC fan and I'd love to do this for him. 

This one kind of goes with the first but, since it’s my biggest dream by far; I get to say it twice. Walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf. Everyone reading understands this one completely...


In order to participate in this blogfest, I decided to forego my normal Teaser Tuesday post this week--but I'll be back next week! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Worst Beginning Ever...

So, MISHA GERRICK is hosting the WORD MASTER CHALLENGE. You can click on the link to get the details. Her challenge for this month is to write a horrible beginning to a novel, in less than 300 words. That was a challenge I couldn't resist and I had a ton of fun with it, so thanks, Misha, for coming up with this one!!

Can't wait to see next month's challenge! And, here is my try at the worst beginning ever:

 I am running, my feet sinking into the drenched, grimy earth! The moist texture of the terrane reminds me of the ambrosial chocolate pudding with crumbling towers of Oreo cookies that my sweet mama used to make. “Mama, can I stir?” “be careful, honey.” “I will be, mama” Stirring the pudding I am humming as warmth embraces me in it’s silky busom.


     My breath bounces from my lungs as I look behind myself, wretchedly wishing I was stirring pudding and singing beautiful songs,  instead of in this ebony coppice, that’s just like the forest from Snow White, in that part where the trees blaze to jagged life and grasp with emaciated arms! Only, in Snow White, it was her imagination. I only wish this is my imagination, but the undulating wailing of the hounds hunting behind me demolishes my hopes to shredded tatters of dreams.

     If the dogs capture me they will slash me to shreds as I shriek my last torn-apart howls of agony!! But still, I would slaughter that Lord again, even knowing that I would be dashing through this atramentous forest. The Lord was wrong to do what he did and somebody had to halt the evil that gushes from him like a river splashing into a gargantuan waterfall!

Someone had to be lionhearted!

And that someone was me!

     And I was glad, even as I flee with my heart now bashing against the stockade  of my chest, trying to pulse itself free with it’s steady punching pulse. 

     It pumps faster and I am panicking now, wondering what to do, but just then my eyes pop open as I bolt upright in bed, drinking in razor-sharp whoops of oxygen. It was a dream. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CHANCE...

Me and Chance face-painted in Gryffindor colors
 for Harry Potter
So, really quickly, I'd like to start by saying to everyone that I'm sorry if I haven't been around on your blogs as much lately. I do my very best to keep up with everyone, but I am also hard at work on a new book and it's taking up a lot of my time. You guys all know how that is!!

Me and Chance being ridiculous together
at Target. I love how silly he is!
Which leads me right into what I wanted to talk about for this weeks Thursday's Children Post. For those of you who don't know, Thursday's Children is a weekly bloghop hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet at NEST OF WORDS  and KRISTINA PEREZ. It's a really fun bloghop, all about what inspires us as writers. I'm always surprised that more people don't join in, the linky-list is open and you guys can hop on board any week!!

So, lately I've been finding my inspiration sitting directly beside me, kicking my butt to write faster. haha...His name is Chance and he's my sixteen year old son. We're almost 30K into a book we are writing together and it has been an awesome experience.
He looked so cute here I had to include this one. This is
him and his oldest sister, Cait.

I was the one who got Chance interested in writing. As I've learned and grown as a writer, I've tried to pass those lessons onto him. Because I'm the one who taught him (my kids are homeschooled)  his writing style is close enough to mine that we mesh really well. We also tend to think similarly, especially when it comes to making up crazy stories. In fact, I'd venture to say that, out of all my four kids, Chance is the one whose thought process is the most like mine.

Chance and his best buddy Jace,
just hanging out like guys do
BUT--having said all that, he's not me. haha. He's far, far from me. And having his input into this book has taken it in directions that I would've never thought of going. This is--by far--the most action-packed thing I've tried to write. I'd say it's the first of my books that's equally plot and character-driven. It's much more raw than my last two books, and I love the grittier feel to it.

 It's also the first book I've written where the romance is strictly sub-plot, and that's been cool as well--venturing out of my comfort zone. Plus, Chance brings in the perfect authentic viewpoint of a teenage boy. Since the book is told in dual view-points of two teenage boys, that's a really handy thing to have.

Chance stealing my horse right in the middle
of the ride!! He just got on and pushed me out
of the way!
I had to include this one, just cause it's so cool.
Chance takes his Halloween costumes very
seriously. This is an amalgamation of
the Steampunk Giraffe Band Members





 Having Chance as my partner has been a truly amazing, inspiring experience. If any of you ever get the opportunity to write with someone else, I would highly recommend it. There's nothing like having someone else who loves your stories and characters as passionately as you do, who can help you plan when you get stuck, who can bounce ideas off you and dig you out of plot holes!!

And, if you can find a writer who you happen to love more than anything else under the sun, I'd definitely say that's icing on the cake!! Can you tell this guy is my best friend? :)

And, for anyone who's curiosity is peaked, I got tagged (again!) in the Next Big Thing bloghop, so I'll be posting more about me and Chance's book sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

So, it's time for Teaser Tuesday, hosted by Miz Biz at SHOULD BE READING. If you'd like to play, just grab the book you're currently reading, open to a random page, share 2 teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. Make sure not to include spoilers!!! Share the title and the author too, so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR pile!!

My book this week, Paper Valentine, is by one of my favorite authors, Brenna Yovanoff. 

This is her third book--following The Replacement and The Space Between

All three are excellent and I'd highly recommend them to anyone--but I think this might've been my favorite so far. It was deep and thoughtful and poetic and sweet and frightening and morbid and true. All at once. 

The afternoon is still fresh like a slap, and Finny Boone is probably a sociopath. A big, lighter-stealing sociopath. But his eyes are steady and complicated, and I haven't really taken the time to notice boys since before Lillian died. 




Sunday, January 13, 2013

ABNA AND CUPID'S LIT AND PITCH WARS OH MY

Who doesn't love a good contest???
So, with the holidays over it seems like the contest season is starting up. I'm entering whatever ones I can because contests offer so much more than just the chance at an agent. I've met amazing people in almost every one I entered and that alone is reason enough to keep trying my luck with them.

Also, speaking of contests, I got a lot of really helpful answers on my POST about ABNA. I'd like to go on record as saying I wasn't asking because I have some overblown idea that I'm like a shoo-in for the finalist round or something... haha. It was just curiosity, which was well satisfied by the answers I received.
I am psyched about entering though! I know it's a huge long shot, but it's exciting in the same sort of way as playing the lottery. There's always that chance. :)

 I'm also going to try to submit to the Blind Speed Dating contest going on over at CUPID'S LIT right now. If you haven't checked it out, make sure to head over!! It's really amazing. There's going to be an auction, a kissing scene contest and even some sort of conference. Details HERE!

And, my entry is already for Pitch Wars. For anyone who is interested in pitching on Twitter, there will be a Twitter Pitch Party during Pitch Wars. Details are on Kimberly P. Chase's site. Even if you aren't interested in that, you should visit Kim's site anyway, just because she is awesome!!! People like her are the reason I enter contests. She is my Pitch Wars mentor (I am one of her alternates) and she has done  SO much to help me. I'm really, really lucky she chose me as an alternate and I know, whatever happens with the contest, I will stay in touch with Kim.

Exactly how I feel as I reach for the submit button
So, I'm buckling myself in tightly as I get ready to hit the roller coaster ride again. Anyone know of any other contests coming up? Are you guys entering any of these?

Best of luck to everyone!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick Question about ABNA

Okay...so, I never blog on Saturdays, but I have a  question for you guys. I am entering the Amazon Breakout Novel Award  in two days--as I'm sure a lot of you are. I was reading the rules tonight and I noticed that, when you get to the higher level (or maybe it was just the highest level--I'm not sure) that the winner is determined by popular vote.

I know there are no names/contact info. allowed on the entries, but--if someone got that high up--what is to stop them from telling all their friends/family to vote for them? Some people have a TON of friends and family. That could conceivably tip the vote. And, it seems like a lot of contests that are determined by "popular vote" turn into nothing but popularity contests.

Still, I understand that I'm talking about the biggest writing contest in the industry. So, I'm assuming they have some kind of safeguard in place for that? This cannot possibly be all on the good ole' fashioned honor system? Somebody please tell me it's not.

You guys might remember the Kissing Scene contest I was in a few months ago. I talked about it a lot. And, in the end, someone cheated so much that the whole thing ended up going in front of an impartial judge and the "popular" vote was discounted.

I was really happy I won, but it sort of tainted the experience. And made me a little wary about entering anything where the popular vote determines the winner. And that was for a three chapter critique by an agent. This is for a fifty-thousand dollar prize!!! Fifty thousand dollars. Hell, even the four first place winners get fifteen thousand dollars. People WILL cheat for that kind of money, if given any opportunity to do so. I'm sorry to sound all jaded and such--but it's the truth.

So, am I missing something here???

Does anyone out there have any information on how this is run, or any thoughts about it?
The motto of too many people