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I have a new blog! It's over at my new website. So make sure to go over there for new posts as this blog will be closing soon!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday.

I'm blogging over at the Oasis.  Swing by and tell me what you're grateful for this week.  And don't forget to sign up for my Banned Book Giveaway here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Book Week Giveaway

In honor of Banned books week, I'm giving away two books.  We all love book give-aways, right?  I was originally planning on only giving away 1 book, but with that lovely fiasco last week, I decided to go ahead and add another. 

So there will be two winners in this contest.  First place winner will receive their choice of Crank by Ellen Hopkins or Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 


Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.


Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.
Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.

The reason I added Speak in, is because I think it's absolutely disgusting that because one man found rape scenes in a YA book sexually arousing, that he has the right to ban other people from reading it.  This bothers me for several reasons:  1) From the article it appears he never read the book and 2) if he did read the book, why on earth did he consider the rape scenes pornography, which in its definition states that pornography is "printed or visual content with the explicit intent to arouse or stimulate erotic feelings."

That in and of itself is...well, it's creepy to say the least.  So, I've added Speak to the giveaway.  All you have to do is fill in my teeny, tiny entry form below, oh and maybe become a follower, or tweet and blog about it.  No biggie, right.  :D 

The contest starts today and ends October 5, 2010 at midnight.  Winners will be drawn randomly and results will be posted October 5th.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Music Monday: Avril Lavigne

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tip Thursday: Verb Tenses

I’ve been working with my son on verb tenses and I realized how confusing it could get, so I decided to do a post on verb tense.

Verb Tense

Verb tenses give a hint to the reader when your story took place (i.e.  past, present, future.  Futurue will probably only take place in dialogue.  I can’t imagine writing an entire story in future tense.  :D) 

Most stories are written in past tense, but some recent stories have been written in present tense (my latest for example.  Hunger Games trilogy for a better example.)  It’s important to learn tenses because you must stick to the same tense for the entire story.  The only exceptions are: internal thoughts and dialogue are written in present tense, even if you’re in past. And flashbacks are allowed to be in past tense during a present tense story (though it can pull your reader out if you don’t have a good transition.)

Types of Verb Tenses:
  • Present Tense
  • Present Continous Tense
  • Past Tense
  • Past Participle Tense
  • Future Tense

Present tense shows an action is taking place now (i.e. the present), but does not say when the action(s) will end.


We go to the store.

They study at the university.

You usually use present tense to discuss a book, poem, or an essay for review, even if written in past tense.


Bella is not happy when she moves from Arizona to Washington state in Twilight.

Present continuous tense shows something is happening in the present, but will have a definite end.


We are going to the store now.

They are studying at the university.


The past tense shows that something was completed in the past.


We went to the store yesterday.

They studied at the university in 1980.


Past participle tense shows something was done in the past before another action takes place. Usually, past participle and past tense are used in the same sentence.

We had gone to the store when she arrived.

They had studied at the university before they found jobs.


The future tense shows something will happen in the future.   (Usually only used in dialogue, but I mention it, because it’s important to remain consistent in your tenses, even in dialogue.)

We will go to the store later today.
They will study at the university in the coming September.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: Characterization

I'm blogging over at the Oasis about characterization.  Please join me over there.  Thanks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Blog Award!

Yay, I won another blog award and I'm thrilled! Kristal Lee at Kristal Lee Romances gave me this award.  Thank you so much Kristal.  I truly appreciate it. 
And now for the rules:

Accept the award, post it on your blog along with the name of the person who has granted the award and a link to his or her blog. Pass the award on to other blogs  you enjoy and  contact the blogger to notify them of your choice.
So I'm onto step two: passing it along. These are the blogs I follow and enjoy.
The girls from Oasis For YA:

* Jessie  at The Daily Harrell
* Sheri at Writer’s Ally
* Nikki of her self-titled blog
* AE Rought at Love, Light and Shadows
Other writer friends
* Liz Czukas at her self-titled blog
* Larissa Hardesty at Larissa's World
* Jaclyn Dolamore at her self titled blog
* Kristi LaPointe at Mommy Barbie
* Adventure's In Children's Publishing
* Leah Crichton at her self titled blog
* MJ Heiser at Dispatches from Jaenrye
* Slushpile hero
* Jody Hedlund at her self-titled blog
* Lynn Rush at Catch the Rush
* Jordan Deen at her self titled blog

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Friday: The Nuclear Battery

An anecdote of a normal day’s work at my husband’s office.

A young college student runs into my husband’s shop.  “Please.  You’ve got to help me.  My computer won’t turn on and I have class in twenty minutes.”

So, my husband always up to the task of helping a damsel in distress, decides to go and figure out what the problem is.  He takes the computer and presses the power button.  Sure enough it doesn’t turn on. 

Then he flips it over and presses the button on the battery.  It shows no battery power.  Then he flips it back over and plugs it in to a power source.  Miraculoulsy it turns on!

The girl beside herself, says, “Oh my gosh, thank you!  What was it?”

My husband with a straight face says, “Well, see, you didn’t opt for the nuclear battery option.”

Her face lights up and she goes.  “Really?  How do I get one of those?”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

YA publisher looking for Unsolicited Submissions

If you're a YA writer with a finished manuscript, you might want to check out this post by new Sourcebooks editor,  Leah Hultenschmidt.  She used to be an editor with Dorchester, but just recently transfered to Sourcebooks Fire, their new YA line.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: How to fix a blank page.

So you're staring at a blank page and you don't know what to write, here's some tips:

1)Stop editing. Just let the words flow.

2) Follow the emotions:  If you feel yourself getting emotional with a scene, let it flow!  That's great and it means you're probably headed in the right direction.

3) Type with your eyes closed:  If you find yourself getting caught up in editing, go ahead and close those eyes.  You'll be able to picture that scene better and you won't get distracted by errors.

4) Listen to music:  Not only will it inspire the Muse, it'll distract the part of your brain that wants to edit.

5) Freewrite and brainstorm.  Just start typing something to see where it takes you.  Sometimes the best brainstorming sessions are the ones we freewrite.

6) Do research:  You never know what will strike your fancy and become the catalyst for a novel.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tunes

I'm over at the Oasis today.  Come check out our favorite music of all time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

How to get more of your writing time.

So, I’ve been writing a lot lately. Okay, well, not so much JUST lately, but always. And one of my crit. Partners has always wondered how I was able to get all that done and take care of my family. So, today, I’m going to divulge my secret.

And that secret is…there is no secret. LOL. If you’ve watched KUNG FU PANDA, you’ll understand what I mean.

Okay, seriously now, the biggest thing I learned is to be able to shut down to everything else and WRITE!!! If it takes me 30 minutes of my hour to shut down to write, then I’ve wasted half my time. However, if I’m able to shut everything down instantly, then I’ve not wasted any of my writing time.

And I take the time for my writing. I try to sit down for at least an hour a day, 5 days a week.

However, just as important as the ability to shut things down, is the realization that it’s okay to write crap. Every one does. That’s the reason for first drafts. Put down your editing pen and cap. Just write. Get that story out of you and onto paper. You can fix it later. It doesn’t matter if everything you wrote that day is cut. You wrote. And it’s just that many more words until you’re finished and while you may not keep those words, it will help you decided what you want for your story.

Like Edison didn’t invent a light bulb his first try, you’re not going to get the perfect story in the first try.

I tend to write much too lean. I always have a bare-boned first draft, filled with passive voice, hanging participles and entirely too much dialogue with no physicality.

So the second draft I end up adding more to it. But then I usually overdue it. My third and fourth drafts are adding and deleting and fixing scenes so they makes sense and doing in-line edits. Eventually by my sixth draft or so, it’s probably fit for human consumption and I send it off to my betas.

Then the cycle starts all over again.

So my question to you is, what do you do to get that story out of you and onto paper?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Funny Friday: Why not to bother your computer technician

According to my husband, this is how most of his clients think a repair is done and should be fixed before they even know it's broken.

So, as most of you are aware my husband is a computer repair technician—Macintosh’s only.  He's also a smartass.  These two things are generally not a good combination, but they do tend to give me a laugh or two during the day  (not to mention plenty of fodder for my books).  :D  

This particular conversation I'm posting below is between my husband--Ben--and a client he's friendly with over IM.  Apparently these conversations are quite normal for the two of them.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

11:13:21 AM Client: Any good news?

11:22:15 AM Ben: 7 people dead no survivors 

11:23:20 AM Client: Was that the good news?

11:24:26 AM Ben: if it wasnt you

11:24:36 AM Client: I guess so

11:24:46 AM Client: How can I find out if it was me?

11:25:12 AM Ben: look in mirror if no reflection that is an indicator

11:25:34 AM Client: well, I have a new 27" imac aka imirror on my desk

11:25:38 AM Client: and I see this fat ugly guy

11:25:41 AM Client: so I must be ok

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tip Thursday: Absolute Write

Okay guys, just a quick one today, because I'm a moron and forgot to do a post for today.  (*Face/palm*).  Anyway, I've had this come up lately from a friend of my husband's.  Basically he's written a children's PB (which is really cute.  ALthough I'm deathly afraid of clowns.  :S) and he didn't do any research on publishing.  He ended up publishing through a vanity press because he didn't realize it wasn't a commercial publisher.

Please, please, PLEASE if you're submitting, just starting to submit, or thinking of submitting, DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK.  THere is NEVER a reason to spend money to be published.  Yog's Law states that money flows TO the author.  I've said it before, folks, and I'm sure you think I'm a broken record, but it's SO important.  You won't be taken in by scams, if you remember that one rule.

So, in honor, of research, I'm pimping  They are chock-full of great information from writers to writers.  And the best thing is their bewares and background checks board.  They will let you know if the agent/publisher you're thinking of querying is a scam or legit.  They don't pull punches and tell you exactly how they feel, but they're a wonderful group of writers who actually care about helping you succeed. 

It's where I'm at most days, not to mention it's how I found my agent.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writer's Wednesday

Today I'm posting for a good friend of mine, Larissa Hardesty, for a very good cause.  The Florida Writer's Association is having a silent auction.  The organization was " specifically formed to promote literacy, as well as enhancing the writing skills of children, youth, and adults."  She is still in need of items for the auction.  It can be almost anything.  From critiques to giftcards.  

Please, if you can donate an item or two, it would be much appreciated.  Please see the below letter for more details.  Also, if you can't donate, but would still like to help out, some of the items will be placed on the Auction's website and you can bid on the items there. 

Also, as an added benefit, if you donate and pass along the word, comment below and I'll enter you into a drawing to win either a full manuscript critique by yours truly or a few books.  Winner's choice.  I will verify the winner  has donated so please don't fib.  Thanks for all your help.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Sanctuary

I'm blogging at the Oasis today, so please stop by over there and leave your comments.  Thanks much!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blog contest

Hi guys!

I've decided to do some more giveaways.  I feel a little lonely here on my blog.  So, here's the deal.  When I reach 250 followers, I'll be giving away some books and a query critique.  I have an adult prize pack and a teen prize pack, which I'll announce once I reach 250 followers. (Hint:  Authors include Rachel Vincent, Nora Roberts, Rachel Hawkins, Sophie Jordan, Cassandra Clare, Kiersten White, etc).

When I reach 500 followers, I'll give away a $15 amazon gift card, a query critique, and a 25 page manuscript critique  

When I reach 750 followers it will be a $25 amazon gift card, a query critique, and a 50 page manuscript critique.

And at 1,000 followers I'll give away a $50 gift card, a query critique, and full manuscript critique.

There's a chance for at least 3 winners per contest and they will be open worldwide, so please pass along the word.  Thanks!  I also do another agent or editor contest.  It's going to be a bit different then the ones I've done before, and I'm working out the details. So stay tuned for details!

Freestyle Friday: Interview with author Jordan Deen

Please join me at Oasis for YA, where I'm interviewing author Jordan Deen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Half Moon Tour

Hi guys! 

In honor of my friend Jordan Deen's book HALF MOONs release  in 140 days, she's hosting a HALF MOON cover reveal scavenger hunt!

Here are the details:

Today, 14 bloggers will reveal the 'Half Moon' cover art! As an added bonus, they will post an exclusive part of Chapter 2 of 'Half Moon'.

Now, the contest:

It's just like a scavenger hunt! So, you *start* here!  That website is both the beginning and the end of the tour.  Go to her blog to find the rules.  I'm the last stop, so after you finish, please return to her site.

Want to know the prizes? One person will win all of the following:

Half Moon Swag
$25 B&N Gift Card
Jewelry Box
USB Camera/Video recorder

That's right! It's a *huge* prize pack! So spread the word. 


If you missed the last section, click here.  After you're finished, click here.  

And without further adieu, the last piece of your scavenger hunt!

            “No,” Brandon screamed and his body lurched under Matt and Trevor’s hands. “She won’t!  Our bond will return. I won’t let her die!”
            “I’m not sure how you intend to do that. She’s in love with someone else. Her nightly dreams tell us that she’s still madly in love with Alex and she longs for him to find her.” Damn. Lily continued to poke around in my dreams. So much for not telling Brandon about them.  This was certainly not how I wanted him to find out either.
            “You said you weren’t…” Brandon slumped into Matt and Trevor’s arms, but his defeat didn’t last long. “You said he wasn’t…  Damn it, Lacey,” he screamed and pulled his arms away from his friends and advanced towards me. Before I could move out of his way, he phased over my head into Grant and took off into the woods, whimpering and howling as he cleared the tree line out of sight. Emile signaled Matt and Trevor to follow him and they quickly phased and chased him into the woods.
            “Lacey…” Nicole offered me her hand and an unspoken conversation passed between her, Emile, and Ava. “Let’s go,” she said, pulling me from the ground and wrapped her arm around me, sending tingling vibrations through my shoulders, but nothing like the first time I met Matt and Trevor.
            I didn’t dare say anything with Michael, Lucas, and Emile within earshot. They heard our argument from the cabin, I’m sure they would hear the nasty things I wanted to call them. They didn’t care what happened to me; it had never been about me. I’d been a fool for coming here with them, and now… no one would come to save me. The world that hid in the shadows of humanity was full of enemies.           


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tip Thursday (A day early)-- Children's Writing

I'm doing tip Thursday a day early because of a contest that I'm being a part of that starts tomorrow.  Check out the details here.  GREAT prizes.  Makes me wish I was eligible.

I found this great article the other day and I wanted to share it.  You can find the article here.


Basic Writing Tips for Children's Writers

 By Jill Esbaum

Here are some of the most important points to keep in mind if you want to write for kids:
* Every story must have a central character with a problem that he solves himself. Having a wise parent (or other elder) step in to help is a no-no. Period.
* Begin your story on the day that is different - when life, as your character knows it, is about to change.
* Stick with one viewpoint. For beginning writers, viewpoint can be a tricky beast. Just remember that your story is unfolding through one person's eyes, feelings, thoughts. The third person omniscient voice doesn't work well for kids unless you are a really really talented writer (and if you were, you wouldn't be reading this). :) If your novel is begging to be told from more than one viewpoint, switch at chapter breaks.
* Don't get lost. If you get off track and your storyline is wandering, boil your theme down to a one-sentence summary. Keep it taped to your computer and refer back to it often. Theme is what you're trying to say. Plot is how you choose to say it.
* Show, don't tell. Think of your story as a series of scenes, each of which should reveal character or move the story forward. A scene should come alive for your reader, make her feel as if she's there.
* Develop an ear for "real" dialogue. Don't have your characters talk in stiff, perfect sentences. Real people often speak in fragments and interrupt each other. And keep in mind that what characters do often reveals more than (or even contradicts) what they say. Become a student of body language, then use it in your dialogue tags.
* Use strong, active verbs. Find exactly the right verb to convey your meaning, and you won't need many adverbs. Try writing poetry to hone this skill.
* Be unique. Avoid cliches. Strive for original similes/metaphors, not the first one that pops into your head.
* Be descriptive - but don't get carried away. A few words or lines of description can certainly help set the scene for your reader, but a little goes a long way. Keep things moving. When in doubt, simplify.
* Don't talk down to kids. Resist the urge to preach (even in religious stories). You needn't hit kids over the head with a message. They'll get the point - and appreciate your respect for them - if you're more subtle. However...
* Your main character has to learn or grow or come to some new understanding by the end of the story. Otherwise, what's the point?
* Revision is our friend. When you read a story, it's easy to believe that the author just sat down and wrote it the way you see it. Not true. Stories and books are revised again and again (and again). When I get discouraged (in the midst of my 53rd revision), I look at the Phyllis Whitney quote on my bulletin board: "Good stories are not written. They are rewritten." Learn to look at your own writing with an objective eye. When you think a piece is finished, put it away for a while. When you come back to it weeks later, I guarantee you'll find ways to improve it.
* Target submissions carefully. Research publishers' catalogs to see what kind of books they publish. Make friends with a librarian; both school and public libraries get oodles of catalogs they'll let you study. Invest in a market book like Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (ed. by Alice Pope). Follow word count guidelines. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by using colored paper, decorated envelopes, fancy letterheads, funky fonts, etc. And no matter how cute they are, never send photos of your children or dressed-up pets.
* Be prepared to spend years learning your craft, finding your voice. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day (egad, a cliche!). It may take a while to develop your own style, but nobody else sees the world quite the way you do. A distinctive voice has a much better chance of being published than the same old same old, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
* Read. Immerse yourself in reading and language. Make it a part of who you are. Read children's poetry, novels, nonfiction, picture books, or whatever it is you are interested in writing yourself. Read for pleasure, to learn, and to absorb a feel for language. Then put it to work and practice, practice, practice.
* Develop a thick skin. You'll need it if your end goal is publication. Remember: a rejection of what you've written is not a rejection of you. There are more factors influencing an editor's tastes from day to day than we can imagine.
* Never give up.