Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Conference So Far

Big Sur. . .Henry Miller Library. . .and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency = one helluva writer's workshop.

Now, all we need to do is get every agency out there on board with a similar effort. That way we can really get to know the agents and understand who we want more than any other agent out there.

I loved it!

If you've never been, the time to go would be this coming March. That will be their 15th year of sponsoring the writer's workshop in Big Sur.

There are only about 50 or 60 writer's that attend. They keep the numbers low so that the critique groups are small. There are 5 writers to 1 agent, editor or author. You are placed in two critique groups and each group meets twice. This is designed to help you work on revisions. You get critiqued then you go off and revise at night or during the lunch break on Saturday and then bring the revision back to your group for another critique. You can bring two projects if you want.

My critique group 1 was with Jennifer Laughran (agent). She's funny. I liked my time with her and my group. I learned a lot and we got to be ourselves.

Critique group 2 was with Ellen Hopkins (author of Crank and many other books). This group was very good. Joy Preble (author of Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted) was in my group working on another book. All very lovely people in all of my sessions.

I learned so much and am excited to really focus in on the story everyone thought had an important message. I'm hoping to have revisions done and ready to query by March of next year.

There are also panels with editors, authors and the agents. I learned the most interesting thing from the editor panel. Both Random House and Chronicle books laid out the process from acquisitions to sales and came up with the same time frame. More or less from the point an editor finds your book interesting and wants to buy it takes four years to get it on the shelf.

FOUR YEARS!? Wow. At first I didn't believe it, not because I think they are liars, I just wanted to find out from a published author. So, I asked Joy Preble, "How long before your first book got on the shelf?" She said thought back a bit and then said, "Four years." She explained that during that time she wrote the other books in her series and they came out one year after each other so the process sped up significantly.

DID YOU KNOW THAT? I thought maybe two years but not four. That's okay, I just didn't expect that. The way the editors went on to explain the publishing process they said authors of picture books have a harder time because they have another factor which is the illustrator. When the illustrator is hired that doesn't mean they have time to work on your book right away. It might take a year before they are done with another project and can start yours. Very interesting stuff.

Anyway. I hope everyone had a great and productive year of writing, querying and conferencing.

For those of you who had been following me and knew I dropped off the planet to help care for my mom who was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer this January, I want to let you know she is still doing well. She's beating the odds. They gave her 3 months and she's going on a year. I'm looking forward to having a big family Christmas in Utah with my mom and my sisters.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What a Deal!

I've been away for awhile. You probably don't remember who I am anymore. 

Whew! Life changed a lot since I first started blogging. I got busy. My mom got sick. Milestone birthdays crept up on me and now I feel a little bit like a full time party planner who only spends and doesn't get paid. But it's going to be an awesome 40th birthday for my husband on October 1st.  

I didn't get too busy to write, necessarily. And I wasn't away for bad reasons. Being busy can be a good thing. My mom's cancer treatments have been working, nothing but good news there. 

I even got a request for my full manuscript back in April. I was rejected 3 months later but nothing harsh was written and yet it wasn't a form rejection. There is still hope and hey, I was asked for my full. That's great. 

After I went to the LA SCBWI conference I had to take time off to put my writing life into perspective. It occurred to me that half of being a writer is having to get out and go to workshops and meetings and conferences and not just sit in a little dark room pounding out better drafts. 

That's when I decided I should sign up for the Andrea Brown workshop in Big Sur this December. That will give me a chance to really sit and work on my manuscript with industry professionals. 

I panicked shortly I signed up. I wondered if my writing was ready to go to that level of work-shopping. Maybe, I should skip it and save the money and focus on local writing groups and regional SCBWI meetings. 

My husband had to rationalize with me. He made a good point. He said that since I met with Kelly Sonnack from Andrea Brown during my consultation at LA SCBWI and she's the one that gave me the flyer for the Big Sur workshop then I should go and stay relevant and in her mind. If I wait a year she might not remember me at all. But if I keep putting myself out there and show that I'm a hard worker than maybe over time I can work my way in. 

That's not a bad idea. 

But just in case, I decided to freshen up my creative writing skills by signing up for an online workshop. 


Yep, I did. I am enrolled in Gotham Writer's Workshop for Children's Book Writing.

When is the last time you took a creative writing class? I took one back in 1998. That's a little while ago. 

When  I was in theater arts at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts West we were told that we should be taking classes regularly throughout our career to keep our skills honed and fresh. I figure, writers are part of the arts and entertainment field so the rules, I think, apply across the board. 

The reason I have pulled myself out of my cave of business to post about this is because I found a deal for the Gotham Writing Workshop that is 53% less than what I paid to get into the class. I figured I should let the writing world know about it. 

Check it out here: Gotham Writing Workshop - Creative Writing Online Class

No. I don't get anything for passing the info on. I just like my class. That's all.

What do I like about it the most?

This might be bad, I don't know, I like that I get to compare my first drafts and writing skills to 12 or 13 other students and we all give each other feedback which is valuable. But then there are the assignments, the prompts, and for those the teacher is the only one who see those and gives valuable feedback.

Some of the classes are run by agents and some are run by published authors. 

The workshop also has a newsletter that is filled with helpful info and contests.

Check it out if you can. 

Write on Writers!!!! Soon, I will be around the blogs to give everyone comment love. I don't get around to blogs very much but I get a lot of your blog posts in my email and I enjoy reading them. We just need to figure out how we can comment straight from our email and then I will be able to show how on top of reading posts I really am.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Conference Recap

Happy 40th Anniverary SCBWI. I'm happy I got to be there to celebrate with you.

Whew! I got back from SCBWI Los Angeles on Monday night and I'm still trying to process everything.

I had never been to a conference before. What a blast! Seriously, I can't imagine why I was so nervous to go in the first place. It was like being in college all over again; meeting new friends, going out for the socials, sucking up to the teachers, haha! Okay I didn't have the balls to do that last one, but I thought about it. As a matter of fact, I was the dummy who didn't realize she was talking about cheese with Kelly Sonnack an agent at Andrea Brown.

There's more to that story though. I signed up for a consultation and all morning they had been telling everyone that we may or may not get to meet with an agent or editor, it could be an author giving us our critiques. I didn't mind. I just wanted to chitchat with someone about my first chapter and ask some questions. So, I went into the meeting, on the first day of the conference, with an open mind and lowered expectations. And yes, I really did talk about cheese and then moved onto a conversation about mud baths at the local hot springs near my house. And when we were done chatting she gave me some great feedback and then I left. It wasn't until later that one of my new friends told me who Kelly Sonnack is. Doh!

That's not the only stupid thing I did, or that happened to me. I learned that recently published authors are quite nervous people when it comes to the day of their book signing. I picked up a book and read the inside flap which had terms like, The Beast and The Beauty. But it was crowed and chaotic around me and I couldn't focus properly. So I asked the lady, "Is this a paranormal story?"


Her response was, "No. But I can write 'vampire' next to my signature if that would make you happy."

I back peddled and stammered trying to explain that I was only wondering if she took a contemporary or paranormal approach to her "ugly duckling" story. And then I walked off and never looked back.

HOWEVER, had this woman been more understanding, I might have bought her book out of sheer guilt. All well.

On the bright side, I met the best people there, one being, Susan:

Me and my conferene besty waiting to get our books signed by Libba Bray.
You might have to go to a conference by yourself. And maybe that's because nobody in your circle of influence gets your ambitions in this field. I'm here to tell you that you NEED to go to a conference by yourself, at least once. And likely there may only be a once because as soon as you get there you will find your conference besty and a bunch of other friends who totally get you and want to keep in touch. At the end of it all it's sad to say goodbye, so you don't. You say, "Hey, do you think you might come back to this conferenc next year?" And they say, "Yes! We should meet up and share a room!"

Did I get a contract out of the conference? No. And I don't believe the woman sitting next to me waiting for her consultation did either regardless of what she says. For, why, if she got a contract last year during the consultations would she be back and eager to find another agent? Okay, I know there are several answers to that. I just have that feeling she was giving random people false expectations (watch out for that).

Going to a conference, in my opinion, is more about learning how the agents and editors are. How they work and what they're like. After you see them talk a few times you get a pretty good feeling about whether or not you would ever query them knowing what you do now. And then you find ones you want to work hard to get to know better.

And if you're lucky, you will get to go home with a new besty and a bunch of notes on how to revise and edit yourself better. For me, I came home with all of that and two critiques from an editor and an agent who had conflicting opinions on the internal monologue in my story. One stressed importance for internal monologue and didn't mark mine for that while the other one marked the crap out of it and showed a better place to start. I could see how both opinions work well. Now I need to figure out what changes to make and what to do with that internal monologue. Hmmmmm.

I'm off to figure out my stuff.

P.S. Definitely always be prepared to give your pitch. And watch out for the random people who want to hear it that AREN'T agents or editors and find it necessary to critique you or say things like, "Yeah, yeah, I know you wrote a story and it's about a girl. Start over."

And that will be interjected right after you say, "DODGING JORDAN is a story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Addie--"

Best advice for that is to finish what you were saying and then say, "Now it's your turn." Have fun!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Tall Tales

Me and the giant sunflower in my garden.

No lie, I thought the two-for-one dollar grow-it-yourself seeds at Home Depot wouldn't outgrow my garden. Especially because my 5-year-old son was in charge of starting it and then transferring it into our vegetable garden. Honestly, it was a craft; a project for the kids to do while my husband and I transferred our summer plants into the big garden from the starter kit. Now look at the darn thing. That sunflower is at least 10 feet tall. Ridiculous. Absoultely ridiculous.


Anyway, summer has gone on a little too long. I'm ready for the kids to go back to school. I'm pretty sure it's more my fault than theirs that I'm this fried. See, every summer I work from a self-made calendar of activities and use it to build routine into chaos. This summer I built chaos into chaos and got lots of chaos. Brilliant, Patty.

So far this summer we have:
  • Kept our morning study routine of 20 minutes reading, 20 minutes math, 20 minutes bridge to the next grade worksheets.
  • Kids kept up with their penpals (Excellent handwriting practice. Plus, they should know how to send letters via mail not just email. Worked out great!)
  • Made slime
  • Went to a movie
  • Built and raced robots with two other families
  • Big 4th of July party at my house
  • Went to Hawaii for 10 days
  • Went camping
  • Went to the beach-twice
  • Had a pizza party and experimented with dry active yeast
  • Completed the Barnes & Noble Reading Challenge for the kids
  • Went to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
  • Had a balloon party with 6 booths
  • Went to the library (albeit, we only renewed our card for e-reading on our ipad)
  • Went to the park a couple times (walked once and then got smart and drove the second time)
  • Made a time capsule for the yard
  • Made ice cream in Zip Loc bags
  • There were sleepovers and back yard movies
  • Went to see "The Beatles" play with the kids and neighbors
  • Did enough swimming (yep, there can be enough of that)
  • Oh, celebrated 7-11's birthday, got free Slurpees and cheap food
And that doesn't complete summer nor does it include what I've done for myself:
  • Husband finally made good on that gift certificate for Glen Ivy Hot Springs he gave me
  • Read six books: WITHER by Lauren DeStefano, BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton, REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan, TEXAS GOTHIC by Rosemary Clement-Moore, WE WERE HERE by Matt de la Pena
  • Prepared for the upcoming SCBWI conference in Los Angeles
  • Started a new journal
  • Started a new idea for the upcoming NaNoWriMo
  • Worked with a lovely Crit Group on a completed story
  • Added to a WIP
  • Went out with the ladies
  • Handed out grapes, apricots and vegetables to neighbors
  • Went on a wine tour with neighbors
  • Planned hubby's 40th bday party
  • Planned daughter's 9th bday party
  • Planned son and niece's 6th combine bday party
NONE of that includes the refereeing I had to do for the bickering, yelling, fighting, hitting, and teasing that goes on between 3 children.

NONE of that included 4 days per week of extracuricular activities (Tae Kwon Do, Piano,Voice and upcoming Reading Program)

Mainly because that's the yeah, yeah, yeah stuff. Like, yep, kids need a lot of attention during summer.

However, I wasn't AT ALL prepared for the most ridiculous of all kinds of ridiculous arguments I've ever had with my 9-year-old daughter (This too is no lie. Not at all a tall tale): My daughter's friend is apparently going to be homeschooled this year. (I have no opinion on that) I let my daughter spend the day bowling and hanging out at said girlfriend's house. Daughter came home and BEGGED me to homeschool her.

I'm thinking: What the?
I say: "No. Believe me, you don't want to be homeschooled."
Daughter says: "Yes, I do. [Said friend] is."
I say: "So?"
D says: "Why can't I?"
I say: "Sorry. It isn't going to happen. You can't even sit and do your homework for 20 minutes without complaining. You don't qualify for being homeschooled. Plus, it's not like you would get to hang out with your friend who will be schooled IN HER OWN HOME!!!!!"
D says: "I'm going to HATE fourth grade! My life SUCKS!!!!"

I'm left thinking: Sucks? That's a new one. (At this point I can't focus on her word choice. I'm too busy wondering a lot of other things.) What in the hell kind of things did her friend's mom say to make homeschooling sound THAT appealing? And what kind of kid thinks their life SUCKS because they aren't going to be pulled away from all their friends to be stuck at home with me all day everyday? This is a joke, right? Anyone? Anyone? Damn, I'm by myself and NOBODY is going to believe this conversation.

AHHHHH! I have to get out of summer. Right now!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Effects of a Good Blonde Joke

Before I trudge on with ultimate blondness I want to thank the bloggers who came looking for me while I've been away. Mostly summer caught up with me and spending time with my mom while she's been sick. But now I'm back! (and hopefully better than ever, hahaha!)

I'm a blonde, yep, with an 'e'. You see blonde/blond is a French word where the ending letter determines the sex of the person you're describing. So, I'm a blonde with an 'e'. I'm always surprised at how many books use 'blond' to describe girls. I guess the rule doesn't matter in America and I don't have much of an opinion on that.

So, being a blonde, I hate writing MC's as blondes.


Because blondes are either stupid, slutty, cheerleaders, prissy, the popular ones, or the evil ones. You might be thinking I'm reaching now. There are plenty of good books where the MC is blonde and she isn't any of those things and none of her friends think that. Such as the Evermore Immortals series by Alyson Noel (love those books).

But seriously, I rarely see book covers with blondes who aren't any of the things I've described. When a blonde is featured on a YA cover the title usually includes Pretty or Queen.

I'm thinking this has to do with the effects of a good blonde joke. I've been around for awhile and have heard some really good blonde jokes. My favorite being:

Q. What do you call a dead blonde in a closet?

A. Last year's hide-and-go-seek winner.

See, what I mean? That's a pretty good one. With jokes like that, how can I possibly make my MC a pretty blonde who happens to be smart and witty with a good sense of humor and an uncanny knack to blow off the stupid boys effectively? I could. But would you trust that she would be this way if you saw her pretty little face on the cover of the book?

Let's face it. Marketing a blonde MC that doesn't fit into her cliche would be more difficult than a brunette.

What percentage of YA girl MC's do you think are brunette? And blonde?

Do you jump at buying up books where a blonde-haired girl is pasted on the cover?

I tried to jump out of my blonde cliche by getting tattoos and body piercings when I was young. And even still, I added two more tattoos in my thirties. I wanted people to take me more seriously and not as a dim-witted, bubbly, cheerleader-esque, goody-goody. For the most part it worked; people realize I have more depth than my appearance might otherwise suggest.

The only bummer about that is. . .I never get to hear the good blonde jokes anymore.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conference Advice

No, no, no. I'm not going to OFFER any conference advice, I'm LOOKING for some.

I am happy to say that I get to go to the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference in August. Is anyone else going? I would LOVE to meet up.

Are you debating whether or not you should go? YOU SHOULD! If you are AT ALL on the fence about this conference I can tell you that even without conference experience this is going to be AWESOME!

Are you thinking: It's Los Angeles, that's not a safe place, it's dirty and far away?

You're not entirely wrong about all of that. However, Los Angeles is HUGE and wraps itself around cities such as Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc. Traffic alone could put you hours away from the bad areas. Haha! Out here we don't judge distance in miles,only in time. It could be a mile away but more importanlty, how long will in take me to get there?

I've been living in California for 14 years and spent nearly 3 years living in Hollywood and West Hollywood and can tell you for certain that the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is in a beautiful area off of Avenue of the Stars. Nothing at all to be afraid of.

Now, enough of putting you at ease with this particular conference, I need you to put me at ease. I've never been to a conference. Yep, I a newbie--newb, if you will.

Any advice? Funny stories? Do's? Don'ts? I wouldn'ts? You should's? If you can's? If you haven'ts?

I've already booked my hotel room but have to be honest when I say, I wish I had a roommate to share the cost with. If you are seeking a roommate for those days, let me know. If you are going to be there, drop me a line. I WANT TO MEET YOU!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegas was. . .AWESOME!

Spring Break is over, my kids are back at school and I've come back from Vegas with stories and pictures. Now, I've been hesitant to come back right in the middle of the A to Z blogfest but I think it will be okay.

To preface the pictures, my sister and I took my mom to Vegas to cross that off her bucket-list. I must say, for a woman who is suffering terminal pancreatic cancer and had been given 3 to 6 months to live back in January, she sure lived it up in Vegas:

My Mom at the Minus 5 degrees Ice Bar at Monte Carlo in Vegas
I tell ya, when you ask your mom to sit with your drink for a minute so you and your sister can get shots from the bar you DON'T expect to find her dancing in a corner with a penguin. That's the kind of stuff you read about in fiction or see in Vegas. If you can't find any interesting characters in Vegas then you know who you are: The character in Vegas.

Left to right: Me, my mom, and my sister.
I'm happy to say that my sister and I were able to convince a 23-year-old that we were around his age. Shhh! Who cares how many shots he had before that?  I loved this bar. It's not one you hang out in for too long but the fact that EVERYTHING is made out of ice made this a memorable place. I would definitely go back.

Unwritten rules need not apply. You know how what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? I'm assuming that statement doesn't apply to souvenirs.

My new tattoo.
My sister's husband's cousin-in-law after he tattooed me in Vegas! Great guy!

The tat is the Eye of Horus. For those of you who don't know, this Egyptian symbol wards off the evil eye, brings spiritual power, wisdom, prosperity and good luck. This is actually my fifth tattoo. I have an atom that represents me and my children on my left wrist and because the Eye of Horus represents religion versus spirituality to me, I enjoy being able to say the tattoos on my wrists represent how religion and science go hand in hand.

Oh yeah, I went there to work on character building. I'm happy to say I did that as well. We not only had time to do some people watching we managed to get three shows in as well. We saw Terry Fator, the ventriloquist from America's Got Talent, Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil and David Copperfield. During David Copperfield my mom and sister both participated in the finale which was a vanishing trick. That was pretty cool. Good times had by all.

There she is: My sister had just returned from being vanished on stage.
David Copperfield was an interesting character. I kept thinking about how bored he must be having to perform the same illusions for 30 years. This might not have occurred to me if he hadn't seemed so blah. I'm eager to go back and see Chris Angel's Mindfreak show. It will be interesting to compare the two.


HOPE YOU ALL HAD A GREAT SPRING BREAK AND ARE OUT THERE WRITING AND QUERYING. (I've been querying like a mad woman. I'll let you know if anything interesting comes up.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break

I've been fighting off the temptation to relax during spring break but it has finally won me over. After a little rest I'll be as good as new and look forward to seeing all the Crusaders around the blogosphere soon.


I'm excited to say I get to spend four days in Las Vegas seeing shows and gambling. Excellent time for watching people and building new characters. If only I could write it all off as a business trip it would be even better. Haha!


On a side note: I would like to commend Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes and everyone else at Write Hope for the efforts they are making to collect funds for the relief effort in Japan. What a sad time for the world to watch this meltdown. My heart goes out to all of the people of Japan.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Truth Be Toldeth

2004 after a 10-year anniversary refurb

She be pink - I not lieth. My most favorite (non-human) thing in the whole world is my 1976 Volkswagen Bug that I've owned since I was 16 years old (She was pink then, too). Yep, she's my first car and I still own her. I don't get to drive her regularly (not really a car that holds car seats very well), but I do get her out in spring and summer most years. I blogged about her once. More pictures HERE.

I asked my sister which one she thought was the lie and she said, "Well obviously your sense of humor about trivial things." My response to that was, "Really? I think I have a pretty good sense of humor." She said, "You do! Just not at first. It takes a minute for your sense of humor to come out." I guess I was lying about that? I didn't mean to, so this doesn't count as the lie because I still think it's the truth.

I finally told my husband I'm planning to shave my head when and if my mom loses her hair due to her chemo. He said, "Great! I think you should, as long as you let me shave it." YIKES! This is coming from a man who bought an extension to our Dyson vacuum to brush our dog's hair. Deal is OFF if he comes near me with the vacuum cleaner, that's all I'm saying.

Depending on how you look at it, when I said I stopped going outside last year, I wasn't lying. In comparison to how often the neighbors, my kids and my husband saw me outside in The Cul-de-Sac I really don't go out anymore. I think I over did myself when I was making appearances amongst the neighbors. I got burned out. There are only so many new and interesting things the neighbors have to talk about when all the wives stay home for a living. I threw in the towel when gossip reached its peak in my neighborhood. The neighbors weren't the only reason. I stopped going outside when hubby came home from work because I wanted a break and spent that time writing.

Speaking of neighbors. You wouldn't think a person who would take time to measure water coming out of my front spout from my back yard and into the gutter could exist outside of the movie, The Burbs starring Tom Hanks but it's true. My neighbor is obsessed with pointing out what's wrong with everyone else so no one will focus on what's wrong with him and his family. Not that I'm implying there is anything wrong. How would I know? I don't go outside anymore. Haha!

I do live in a cul-de-sac and the neighbors do refer to it as The Cul-de-Sac and we refer to their street as The Straight Street. My sister reminded me of how they used to call it The Cult-de-Sac. What can I say? Cul-de-sac people rule! We have our own private street and we look sideways when cars make a wrong turn into it. I guess it's kind of cult-ish. But we do put on the best and only haunted house in the community.

The true blade of misfortune really is the house down the street from me we call The Hanger House. The wife of the original owner hung herself in the gargage just before Christmas 2 years ago. Luckily, after a year on the market, the house has finally sold. I'm not sure though why a single woman would buy that house. Would you intentionally buy a house you knew someone committed suicide in? And then when I met this woman she mentioned working with someone who talks to the dead. Ahhhhh! I think she's trying to out-do my annual haunted house, what do you think?

It's true that dancing to the beat of my own drummer annoys people but I actually don't care. Eff them if they can't take a joke. The lie is within the blending. Blending is like following and in the excellent words of the rap artist, M.I.A. "You can be a follower but who is your leader?" If I start blending now I would be following someones lead which has been against my policy since birth. I enjoy being an individual and I hope all of you artists out there are enjoying your individuality as well. Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

It Was Definitely a Challenge!

It's not easy putting together a post that has to be less than 300 words and incorporate one lie, one secret, one interesting quirk, one annoying habit, one of my best character traits, one of my favorite things in the whole world and include the following words: bloviate, fuliguline, rabbit, and blade. It was definitely a challenge. Check out how other Crusaders fared in this First Crusader Challenge by going HERE.

Now for my version of the challenge:

I don’t live in high society but some of my bloviating neighbors think we do. When I shave my head to support my mother’s fight against cancer those same neighbors might think I’m doing it for unwarranted attention. They don’t get me. I would warn them but what’s the point? A little shock value goes a long way in this world. I’m quirky like that.

I’m not sure what my husband will think because I haven’t discussed it with him yet. I imagine he’ll say, “Fuliguline, Patty! You’re freaking bald!” He’ll get over it. He gets me.

I live in a cul-de-sac outsiders call The Cul-De-Sac which is just off of the street all of us inside The Cul-de-Sac call The Straight Street. My house is three doors down from The Hanger House; a blade of misfortune in my opinion. I like it here. We all bred like rabbits and now when my three kids go outside there are thirty other kids for them to play with.

Last year I stopped going outside. It would be rude for me to blame it on my neighbors, so I won’t. I’m just going to say I don’t enjoy hearing my neighbor say he measured a quarter-cup of water pouring into the gutter from our backyard every hour and wants to know what we’re going to do about it.

I’m not sure why but I’ve found that dancing to the beat of my own drummer annoys people. That’s why I started blending recently. I’m not sure why I’ve never done this before. It’s relaxing. However, I think that means I’m going to have to give up driving my favorite pink car around if I want to truly blend in. Having a good sense of humor about the trivial aspects of life is probably my best trait.

I may have revealed something about me that isn’t strictly true. Can you guess what it is?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Put the Damn Thing Away Already!

I have to say that to myself sometimes. PUT THE DAMN THING AWAY ALREADY!

I used to hate the advice about shelving your WIP and getting back to it weeks or months later because I thought, I'M READY NOW! I wrote it. I edited it. I packaged it up with a really great query and even have a pretty darn good synopsis to go with it. Why shelve it when I'm pumped enough to query NOW?

I hate to admit when I'm wrong and all the advice is right. So I'm not going to say that. I'm just going to let you know it's there in the back of my mind and I'm fully prepared to allude to it. (Hey, stubborn people can get far in life just like everyone else.)

NaNo had this really great way of forcing me to shelve that WIP I really thought was ready to go as well as a tiny bit of feedback I received on  a partial I sent out last June.

Now, my advice to everyone else is since you've written your book and edited it, maybe put a query together and a rockin' synopsis, SHELVE IT!

You have at least twenty other story ideas to write, get to it. That's what I did. I wrote two other books while I was letting my first book marinate.

Now I'm back to the first book and ready to query the second book which marinated while I wrote the third book. See how the cycle goes?

Maybe, if I'm lucky, within the year I could have three books ready to query. Who knows?


(P.S. Hello and welcome new followers and Crusaders! I'm about to go around and return the follow and start getting to know all of you a bit better. I'm not a daily blogger. At most I get out and around the blogs twice per week. I usually only blog once per week as well. If you have an Email Subscription box on your blog then know that I'll be following via email. I tend to focus my short window of spare time on my WIP's. If you don't have an Email Subscription box and want to know how to put one up, email me and I'll let you know.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rach Writes and Has An Awesome Crusade

I'm a Crusader.

I might not be an excellent Crusader (there were things I missed and times I spent away) but I'm a Crusader all the same.

Are you a Crusader?

What's that you say? Oh, okay, let me back up a bit and include some linkage.

A Crusader is a writerly blogger who has stumbled upon Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes and has noticed that she leads the most awesome Writer's Platform Building Crusade in the world. I'm not exaggerating.

Crusaders sign up and meet other Crusaders who vow to support each other in the blogging and writing community by way of comments.

Personally, I've met some of the nicest people in the blogging community this way.

I thought maybe I was going to skip the second round of crusading because I recently found out my mom is suffering from Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer and life has become somewhat overwhelming. However, the first round of Crusaders have been so supportive during this fragile time of my life that how could I pass up the opportunity to be part of this amazing community again?

I didn't REALLY feel like a blogger until the first round of Crusading. I would be completely lost and feeling left out if I didn't join again.

I'm a Crusader. That's who I WANT to be. Where do you fit in? Where do you belong? YOU BELONG WITH THE CRUSADERS! NOW GET YOUR BUTT OVER THERE AND SIGN UP.

Happy Writing, Writers! Can't wait to make your aquaintance soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

You Have to Be A Really Good Sifter

It's true. Sure, you have to know how to write first, but we're beyond that, right? Among other things we know all too well, we have to have patience, an open mind, an eye for detail, a voice, etc. Been there, done that, checked it off my list, now what?

We have to be really good sifters. That's what comes after everything we already thought of.

Sifting is a skill required for getting through revisions, edits, critiques, etc.

Actually sifting runs deep. For ladies we are just beginning to learn how to sift when all that baby advice comes into play (do this, don't EVER do that and you'll be just fine). For men, sifting is what you start doing when you get engaged and all your married buddies have all kinds of advice on marriage. You realize at some point (usually years later) that most of the advice didn't really apply to your situation.

If you don't have kids and you aren't married then you might not understand these versions of sifting, don't worry, you're a writer. Your book is like a child and a marriage all wrapped into one. You've likely already been told what to do and what not to do and you've decided there's no way you can get it done without breaking some of those rules or going against parts of that advice, that's when you start sifting.

Let's say you put your query or the first 250 words of your story on a blog fest or forum. You know you're going to get comments and you're pretty sure some of them aren't going to be very nice. That's when you decide that you have to have a thick skin for this business so you'll take whatever you get, or you're waiting for some kind of external approval on your skill and if that means revisions then so be it. Before you go to such extremes think about what kind of commenters you're going to get.

Commenters are such interesting people. Some are doing it because the forum mandates a certain amount of participation via comments. Some commenters just love to go around and create controversy and spark confusion. Some are just being nice and are there solely to show their support so they won't have much in the way of constructive feedback. Some commenters are reading your posting first and some are reading your post after they've already used up all their judicious perspective on 40 other posts before yours. Some are awake and some are half asleep. Some are taking a break from a frustrating part of their own stories and are taking out their frustration on your piece. Some commenters just received seven of their own negative comments and need to prove a point. How can you know for sure what kind of commenter you're getting? BY KEEPING ALL THIS IN MIND AND SIFTING.

While sifting consider these points:
  1. Automatically dismiss any criticism that comes from commenters who replace words like 'the' for 'da' and have nothing but harsh things to say about what you've posted. That's a Keyword Dismissal. It might not be DA that ticks you off it might be some other careless word. Odds are pretty good that commenters that don't use proper English aren't going to have the type of knowledge or opinion that will have much of a bearing on the success of your writing.
  2. Tactless. If your query or portion of your story has been commented on and the commenter has just ripped you apart and shown, in bullet points (who knew a commenter could use bullet points), how you should have done it and they can't find even one good thing in your writing then DISMISS this comment. There's no need for anyone to be harshly critical about something they've only read a snippet of. And if they can't find anything good in your writing but think they could do it better then you know right away they are teachers and not doers. What if they've never even written a book before? What if they're just bloggers and not writers at all? What is their credential? Why should this comment matter to you?
  3. They start with, "I don't read this genre, but. . ." Be wary. They might be nice and they might have some creative advice but if they don't read Sci-Fiction or Paranormal and that's what you write then how do they know for sure your snippet isn't realistic for your character or that parts of your story don't make sense? If a commenter only reads adult fiction then how would they know if your character sounds more MG than YA? SIFT WRITERS SIFT.
  4. Conflicting advice should be taken with a grain of salt as well. The commenter may be too tired from reading several other posts and then reaches yours and gives you two pieces of advice that don't make sense. Realize you're not getting fresh eyes or an open mind and should move on to the next comment.
  5. Short Story Comments. To me, any comment that begs for more information inside of 250 words is a short story commenter. If they wanted to see more of this, or wished the character would hurry and do whatever inside of 250 words, they are, more or less, asking you to sum up thousands of words into a short story. Twilight is the best example for this. During the first 250 words of Twilight we realize the MC is a dark/negative character who is moving away from her "hair-brained mother" to a small town she's always hated just to live with her dad. That's it. A negative girl moving. Inside of 250 words she doesn't tell us why she's moving, what she's leaving behind other than her mother (no boyfriends, friends, etc.), whether or not she has siblings, etc. And who cares? Not me. I'm a patient reader. I know the MC has a purpose, that the story is about to get exciting, that other characters are going to come into play, I trust the writer. I don't need a lot of info in the first 250 words.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Accurate. Not Helpful.

Let me preface this by saying I don't do book reviews. With that said, I just have to give my opinion on this book I bought recently. Haha!

Some of you already know that my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer three weeks ago. Once the initial shock of this news wore off I was out buying the Jack Lalanne juicer and books to go along with it. Once I found myself looking up juicing books I found myself clicking on all the recommended cancer books. I strongly urge anyone who has just discovered that they or a loved one has cancer to use caution when purchasing any of the detox books. I'm just throwing that out there.

In my sudden search for a way to extend my mother's life despite her terminal illness, I came across this book:


That's what I was asking myself when I started reading it while I was there helping her through her first week of chemo. Luckily, the book arrived while I was there and I intercepted it before she got a hold of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is a very good book for anyone WHO DOESN'T HAVE CANCER! Or, for anyone who has NEVER:
  • Used a microwave or been anywhere near a microwave when it's been on.
  • Eaten meat.
  • Eaten any type of refined sugars.
  • Breathed pure oxygen on a regular basis.
  • Had a negative thought.
  • I'll just stop here because by the time I got to the regular enemas I was done.
IF you already HAVE cancer you might FEEL like YOU are the reason you HAVE cancer, should you buy this book.

Is it true, one person gets cancer because they use a microwave and eat refined sugars while a seemingly less healthy person should get to live cancer free for eighty years or more? Seemingly healthy athletes aren't impervious to cancer either, so how did they get it? Why some and not others? NOBODY KNOWS. IT'S NOT BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T DETOXED, THAT'S FOR SURE! (however, perhaps avoiding some of the bigger carcinogens could be of help like not smoking for instance.)

Could a detox here and there help us all out, maybe. Perhaps this book is accurate, but it's not helpful. And it's not a good idea to tell cancer patients and their families that if you had just skipped that last bowl of ice cream for a trip to an oxygen bar then maybe, just maybe you wouldn't have cancer.

Another bad idea is to suggest a chemo patient start worrying about their diet. Again, maybe accurate, not at all helpful. Chemo patients have a lot more to worry about than detox. What the hell was I thinking? I think I was focusing on the mind and spirit part of the title over the detox part.

So, all in all, a good rule of thumb here is to incorporate not eliminate during chemo. Juicing - YES! Full detox - NO! Hard to justify a detox with toxic chemicals running through your system. Kind of a funny thought actually.


(P.S. I must thank my friend, Fred, for the, "Accurate, not helpful" line.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All Time Greatest Hits

It's time for the Top Ten Music Blogfest. What!? You haven't heard? That's okay. But now that your here you should check out mine and then check out everyone else's over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

My list far exceeds my age, especially since I was only born in 1978, but I'm the youngest and I have four older sisters with three being ten or more years older than me.

Besides exceeding my age, it doesn't quite match what I listen to on a daily basis either, but then this is an all-time greatest list. By the list you wouldn't know I currently listen to artists like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Pink!, Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, and on and on. However, those artists keep me young, they don't remind me of my first boyfriend, my wedding day, rollerskating rinks in the '80's, or the part of my early twenties when I experimented with drugs (shhhh!). That's why they don't make my list. Check this out though, you might recognize and relate to some of these:

  1. Somebody - Depeche Mode
    (This hits my list in 1992)
    My list starts here for a reason. Although the majority of my listening pleasure came from my parent's record/8-track player or any of my sister's stereos, I didn't really start loving music until I met my first boyfriend. Yep, this is the song I lost my. . .you get it. Good starting place, I think.
  2. Purple Rain - Prince
    (For me, 1993)
    First real introduction to writing poetry. I went from writing in a journal to writing my feelings in code, otherwise known as poetry. With first loves come Purple Rain, at least in my experience.
  3. Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel(1994)My mom still has this record. In 1994 Dad came home from being away for business and announced he wanted a divorce. This song played a lot. I think I'm the one who played it over and over. In 2003, my husband took me to see them in concert. Definitely one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Probably the only audience member crying during this song. Oops!
  4. Ironic - Alanis Morissette (1995)Thank you Alanis for inspiring me to open my mind and gain a spine. I was seventeen this year. It was a refreshing year. I had spent a good three years with the first love and now I was branching out as a whole new kind of person. I was always kind of an introvert who incidentally had a family who moved a lot (2 elementaries, 2 junior highs, 3 high schools). I was tired of being the new kid in school and vowed not to be that introverted, shy girl this year. It worked out for the best.
  5. I Am the Walrus - The Beatles(1995)My introverted self found me a great new bunch of friends, well, kinda. Hmmm. They weren't the best type of friends, but we managed to have a pretty good time with each other for the short summer we spent together. I learned about The Beatles in a whole new kind of way. I Am the Walrus was actually a song playing on the radio on the way back from a busted party where the cops came and broke us up due to a neighbor's complaint that marijuana smoke was seeping into the hallway from the condo we rented in Park City, Utah. This isn't where my drug experiences begin. It is however, the year I vow to NEVER try and see Pearl Jam in concert again (no show, effing freak. I hate that guy! Love his music--hate him. Bitter party of one here.) Beatles won't show up again on this list only because the list is too short. I take great comfort in The Beatles and especially John Lennon, however.
  6. Casey Jones - Grateful Dead (1995)My sister, Anna, had been playing The Grateful Dead in her car for years trying to get me to catch on. She toured around and saw them in concert and brought stickers back for my sticker collection way before I started listening. Finally, the year I get into Casey Jones, Truckin', Sugar Magnolia, among others happens to be the year he dies and I have tickets to see them play. That sucked. I stuck to his music for years after. I even found a guy who followed The Dead around and tapped into their system to make recordings. I listened to those tapes for awhile in 1997. Good times had by all. (Still not my drug era.) I listened while I wrote poetry and screenplays.
  7. Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin (1998)My mom used to call me a throwback even as a small child. She pegged me for child of the sixties or even as far back as a beatnik. When I latched onto Janis Joplin and didn't let go my mom just kept saying, "I've always said you're a throwback." Maybe I was reincarnated, who knows. It's great to listen to this song but even better to watch her sing it. I have a huge framed drawing of Janis singing on my bedroom wall. I don't know why but she inspires me more than any other female singer. (Still not my drug era.)
  8. Into Dust - Mazzy Star(1999)I was fresh out of an abusive relationship and living a crazy lifestyle in West Hollywood, California. I was ready for a do-over. Unfortunately, I had never heard of Mazzy Star until I was high on acid. My writing took an interestingly dark and introspective turn but for the better. I was climbing out of a hole and onto a fresh new page. I was stepping away from years of raw poetry to short stories. I don't have an addictive personality and I was broke so I got bored with the drug scene pretty quick and focused entirely on sharpening my story telling skills. Mazzy Star gives me the incredible urge to play guitar. This is the year I get a guitar and meet my husband. The beginning and ending of a weirdly short drug stint into the rest of my blissful life.
  9. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Brother IZ(2001)My then soon-to-be husband and I heard this song and just knew it was our song. My husband's mother and her family are from Hawaii and we were planning to get married in Hawaii so it just seemed perfect. Every time we hear this song we pause and reflect on how we once pictured our lives would be together and are happy to discover we are right on track. This was the song we danced to at our wedding. By this time in my life I really believed there were lights at the end of tunnels, pots of gold at the end of rainbows, better times ahead. . .I wasn't wrong. I'm not disappointed so far.
  10. Mad World - Tears for Fears (2002)Lots of things happened this year. I got married, plus I had my first child. My first child had kidney problems and faced surgery at 5 months old. My world had gone mad. I was falling apart and for some odd reason really latched onto this song. Sure, Donnie Darko was something else, but this song just understood exactly what was going on in my life at the time.
Now you've been through the deepest parts of my journey in music, hope you enjoyed. I can't wait to go around and read everyone else's. I would have put together some links but I'm typing this out in a hotel room in Utah and it's Sunday night. My husband and kids are begging me to close up shop and go to bed. We have a flight out of here Monday afternoon after I spent a good week caring for my mom during her first week of chemo. It's back to life in warm Southern California. Happy writing writers!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest

I have to really, REALLY, thank my husband for putting this together even though he's been home alone with our three kids for a week while I've been in Utah caring my mother. Thanks Babe, Love ya!

The following post is written by my husband for the Significant Other Blogfest. Check out mine and then go check out everyone else's.

When my wife asked me to put together a “blog posting” I thought she was losing her mind. Didn’t she know that I was a financial advisor, whose written skills were next to non-existent? Didn’t she remember that I scored a 330 on the verbal portion of the SAT, twice! (For the younger people out there, it used to be scored on a 1600 point scale) . Anyways, here we go!

You writers are amazing to me. You able to come up with elaborate stories starting with a blank sheet of paper, a pen and your thoughts. I remember watching my wife write her first book wondering where did she come up with this stuff? I on the other hand, enjoy doing complex mathematic calculations in my head while I work out. To each their own.

Outside of work and workout I do enjoy cooking! The question was asked, “What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?” For those of you that don’t cook often, the answer is simple. Just include the 3 main food groups, Butter, Salt, Sugar. To be specific, the dish I would cook is a Risotto with asparagus tips, topped with butter shavings and fresh parmesan. The side dishes would include a mozzarella caprese. Some homemade garlic bread with fresh chopped garlic and real butter spread prior to baking is a must. For you wine drinkers a nice bottle of Cain 5 (great blend). Lastly, some Gelato for dessert. Heck if this didn’t put her in a good mood, I would be in such a great mood I could just entertain! OK…I’m getting hungry. No seriously.

My wife is introspective and is at home with herself writing with only her thoughts and her computer. It’s really remarkable to hear the key strokes mimicking the sound of a machine gun. When she asked me, What one thing would you change about your significant others writing habits? I had to reflect on the question. She is dedicated, self-motivated, disciplined and she is able to create stories/situations/dialog that grab and hold my attention. So, where do we go from here? I can honestly say that I would not change her writing habits, I would change her self-marketing habits. The query process is a tough one. I watched my wife get her hopes up with a partial request and then have them crushed with the form letter rejection. There is no easy way to get rejected 99% of the time. The one word of advice is to put it into perspective and realize that the rejections are part of the process. She had 2 partial request out of 12 queries sent. In my head that is a pretty good percentage, to be exact 16.66667%. And…the most importantly is that constantly put yourself out there. If there are no outstanding query’s there is no potential for a partial or full manuscript request.

The last question, “How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?” To be very pragmatic about it, it’s not difficult to watch as long as they continue down the path. During my Ironman triathlon, our neighbor put a sign together for me. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts!”. The only time I will be concerned is if my wonderful wife loses the passion to write. The happiness, success and failure are all worth it as long as you continue to do what you love. Good luck everyone and keep writing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Good in Bad

Oddly, this post comes right after my Life IS Good, Isn't It, post. (God's a crafty guy, filled with all kinds of irony)

At the end of last week I found out my mom is suffering from Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Needless to say, this is CRAP NEWS. There is NOTHING at all good about this news no matter how we look at it.

My family is no stranger to cancer. I've seen my dad go into remission with his throat cancer, and I've watched other members of my family die from this heinous disease.

If I may, I would like to add to my New Year's Resolutions by finding the good in the bad. I don't just mean with my mom's prognosis, I mean in every aspect of my life. I have no choice. I'm about to get a lot of training on the subject.

Let's take an example from my mom's awful news:

THE BAD (an incomplete list)
  • Pancreatic cancer is incurable. She will die from this disease at some point.
  • Stage 4 untreated = 3-6 months of life.
  • She's only 66.
  • She's my mom, I don't want my mom to die.
  • Chemotherapy
  • and on, and on, and on. . .
THE GOOD (A list to add to)
  • Stage 4 with treatment = 3 months up to 2 years
  • She's a healthy 66-year-old presenting with only mid-section pain; hope increases for treatment
  • The rotten, no good, horrible, Chemotherapy is a light dose (nausea and hairloss are unlikely)
  • Mom is up and at it, willing to fight.
  • I get to live with her for one week per month in Utah during treatments
  • My mom isn't being taken from me suddenly
  • We get to slow down and take time for a bittersweet ending.
  • Who knows? Two years might be a very real possibility.
I encourge all of you to find the good in the bad during your writing and query process; your journey.




Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life IS Good, Isn't It?

I’m surprised I even get awards because I’m so terrible about passing them along. I do appreciate them, and they really do make my day, but I’m falling short on passing them on. But today is different; I’m passing this one on RIGHT NOW. . .or, right after I answer 10 questions about myself.

The requirements for the Life is Good Award:
1. First, thank and link back to the person that gave the award. (Thank you Quinn!)
2. Answer the 10 survey questions.
3. Pass the award along to other bloggers whom you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you have chosen to let them know about the award.

10 Questions:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?

I don’t wish I was anonymous because I’m not controversial. I was over at Nathan Bransford’s blog the other day and noticed that the anonymous comments were really distasteful and meant to get a rise out of other bloggers. That’s not really me. However, I would like to think that if I were controversial I would have the balls to use my real name, figuratively speaking of course.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

I’m a Taurus so stubborn just comes with the territory. Let’s see. It’s hard to pick and choose on this one. Let me call my sister. . .Here’s what she had to say, “Can I just pick a moment where you weren’t stubborn. That would be a lot easier.” Thanks, sis.

However, she did remind me of my childhood. I don’t remember this because I was too young (or I lost some pertinent brain cells) but this is the way my family likes to describe it: I, apparently, was so stubborn that around 18 months old until I was about 3 years old, if I didn’t get what I wanted from my older sisters, I would hold my breath and pass out. My mom says she knew it was coming because I would start off with a cry that sounded like a siren and then nothing, no sound. Afterwards she would find me passed out on the ground somewhere. I won’t even go into detail about how my legs were too short to walk down the stairs so I rolled down them. I’m like the Bucket-Head kid from the movie, Parenthood.

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

A 17-year-old girl who can’t believe she’s actually 32 and has 3 kids. Sure, there are those days I'm too tired to do anything because I have 3 kids, but in the mirror I’m only tired because I was out late with my friends the night before. I still feel very young and because I’m short (4’11-1/2”) I'm often mistaken for a teenager. Salesmen who come to my house have asked for the owner or my parents. When I had my first child people thought I was her babysitter and not just because she’s darker than me because she’s ¼ Filipino. And just a couple of months ago during the kindergarten field trip to Norco High School to learn about farms, I was mistaken as one of the high school students.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

Coca-Cola is my year-round beverage, however, I love the Tastefully Simple brand of Sangria Slush Mix. (I don't sell this. I'm only linking to it because it's just that good.)

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

Time for myself? That’s a new concept. I should try that and find out.

No, I’m kidding. I rarely get time for myself so when I do I end up writing.

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

I’m going to put publishing on that list because it is the last thing I haven’t done that I have always wanted to do. If you asked me this 6 years ago, I would have said learn to ride a motorcycle. But then I did learn. I even own a dirt bike that my husband and I take trail riding. If you asked me 2 years ago, I would have said write a book. I would start my ideas and then never have time to finish or focus because I had babies in diapers running around me. I’ve done a lot in my life and wouldn’t give up a thing.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

I’m definitely an overachiever. In 10th grade I lettered in academics. When my parents divorced and we moved from California back to Utah where I had grown up, I dropped down to a 2.7 GPA. However, I was determined and managed to letter in Theater Arts and graduate with Honors. Still, to this day, I keep strict schedules for myself. I’m excellent at coming up with ideas, breaking them down into steps, and then accomplishing the task, like building a haunted house in my cul-de-sac every October. I’m terrible about delegating though.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

I have several poignant moments in my life. It’s hard to choose. I’ll just give it a try right now and tell you what I come up with. . .Okay, I saw the day I auditioned for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts West. I was standing in a hotel conference room with the woman sent to audition me and a few others from Utah. I was halfway through the piece I rehearsed for a month from Children of a Lesser God. I played the part of Sarah Norman, a deaf former student of her love interest, James Leeds. I had to use sign language and speak with a voice that sounded like a deaf person speaking. The most poignant part of that audition was starting it. I’ll never forget the look on the auditioner’s face when I started signing and speaking like a deaf woman. It was a proud moment. I managed to get accepted for class of 1997. They auditioned over 2,000 people that year and accepted only 500.

It’s those kinds of moments that remind me that if I want something bad enough and I’m willing to work for it I can most certainly achieve it.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I don’t mind sharing my true self. I’m a goof. Either I’m just highly alert about my surroundings or my life is truly stranger than fiction. However, I find it a struggle to write about things that aren’t about writing. I’m not sure what everyone wants to read.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

I don’t really enjoy talking on the phone so I’m going to pick reading a book. I love to read. I hate the phone. The only person I talk to on the phone regularly is my sister and that’s because we both have 3 kids around the same age and so if our kids are crazy in the background or if we have to yell at our kids while on the phone it’s no big deal. I wouldn’t put anyone else through that. However, send me a text message, I’ll get back to you for sure.


I’ve comprised a list of awesome bloggers that I think more than deserve this award. Some are new to follow me but all have supported me and my craziness in one way or another. Thank you for that. Life IS good, isn’t it? Don't fret if you don't have time to pass this on, I understand.

(Okay, Blogger isn't showing my links the right way so I'm going to just put your names next to your link. Blogger will not get me down today.)

  1. (Michael & In Time. . .)
  2. (Regina @ Middle Distance Runners)
  3. Erica & Christy @ erica & christy (erica & christy @ erica & christy)
  4. Kelly Polark @ Kelly Polark (Kelly @ Kelly Polark)
  5. (Margo @ Margo Kelly)
  6. L'Aussie @ L'Aussie Writing (L'Aussie @ L'Aussie Writing)
  7. (Dan @ Sanguine Musings)
  8. (Nicole @ Heaven on Earth)
  9. Alex @ Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex @ Alex J. Cavanaugh)
  10. (Ivy @ The Happy Whisk)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm Completely Resolved - Happy New Year!

Yesterday, I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted my resolutions to be. Check out my conundrum HERE.

I really enjoyed the comments I got yesterday, thank you! I especially liked the one from Jenny Beattie who said she wants to be a better Crusader. I'm with her. I'm terrible. There are so many of us and so little time to read each and everyone's. That's why I wish you all had an Email Subscription box. I know most of you put an RSS Feed but that goes to an area that I don't check often and doesn't appear on my phone. The Email Subscription goes right into my inbox and onto my phone, so I can read your posts anywhere.

However, I too, will try to be a better crusader.

I was seriously stumped. I didn't know exactly what to choose for myself this year. Mainly because I know what my goals are regarding writing, and I understand my commitment to my family's needs and couldn't find a way out of my tight schedule for at least another year and a half.

I would have loved to choose working on bringing the NaNo Youth Program to my kids' elementary, but I don't have the time because I have my youngest child in preschool through this year and next year. Our preschool is 20 miles away so it eats up a lot of my time.

I thought about making it about my writing group, Write-A-Tat-Tat, and helping them polish their NaNo books, but I can't force them. A resolution is really about what I'm capable of doing. Sure, it can be about helping others. I could have made it about helping my writing group, but I already do that, we work as a team. I needed a resolution that I could focus on in my spare time--a fail-safe.

Now why a fail-safe? Because the far-fetched resolution relies on things outside of my control. Which takes more time and patience. I may never achieve my far-fetched resolution of landing an agent this year. I'll consider it a successful resolution if I give it my all in the query process, but I still want the agent. The fail-safe resolution keeps me challenged in a way that I can do it by myself.

A fail-safe resolution can be as easy or as challenging as I want it to be. I can set a limit on a fail-safe resolution. For example: When I set my fail-safe for 2010 it was to cook a new meal from a recipe book at least once per month. I failed this one. But I was okay with it. If I wasn't absorbed in my far-fetched resolution then I would have easily completed the recipe task. If it wasn't challenging enough I could have up the ante to 2 new recipes per month. See what I mean?

At 10:00pm last night I was over at my sister's house playing Trivial Pursuit the Bet You Know It edition, when I realized I was going to need some help choosing the fail-safe resolution.

I decided the resolution should involve learning a new skill and practicing it. Then I asked my husband, my brother-in-law, and my sister to each come up with a new skill for me to learn. I added one to the list as well.

Here's what we came up with for me:
  • LEARN TO SEW (This one came from my sister. Yep, I know a little bit about sewing. I could probably stitch something together but I hate the sewing machine. I have never been able to get that thing to work for me the right way.)
  • LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR (This one is from my husband. Okay, back when I was in college I got a guitar for Xmas because I wanted to learn how to play Mazzie Star songs. I quickly found I needed help with the chords and dropped the hobby altogether.)
  • LEARN TO PAINT FROM BOB ROSS, THE HAPPY PAINTER FROM THE JOY OF PAINTING (This comes from my brother-in-law. Love this guy, Bob Ross. He paints, "Happy little trees." I could learn from buying his kit HERE or from watching his YouTube videos like the one HERE.)
  • LEARN TO CAN 6 FOODS IN 12 MONTHS: JAM, JELLY, PICKLES, KIM CHEE, CARROTS & JALAPENOS (I threw this one into the mix. I want to make orange marmalade.)
All of the above were put onto strips of paper, folded up, and thrown into a dish for me to choose from. It took us until 11:45pm last night to make this list. Here I am all hopeful and excited, getting read to draw my fate, so to speak, ha, ha.





Tell me what you have planned for the year, especially if it involves adding an Email Subscription to your sidebar so I can get over there and sign up for it.