Friday, June 29, 2012

Experience VS Knowledge

I know I've been slow in the blogging world. Life has been hectic. One thing that has occupied my attention has been finding a job. NOT.FUN!

Let me be honest for a moment. I know the economy is bad. I hear it on the news all the time. I see the stores closing all the time. However, it hasn't impacted me personally until now. Job competition is FIERCE! Extremely fierce! In fact, I've only been called in for ONE interview and I have about 50 resumes out. For this one interview, the job was only public for about 24 hours. In that time, the manager had two days of consecutive interviews set up, back to back! Yes, half hour interviews. WOW. I know this because I know the guy. I used to work for this company about 12 years ago, before I was a mom. That might give me a little edge - or so I thought. But that is a LOT of competition for one little job. Can you say humbling? Or scary? Or frustrating? It's all of the above!

The Point - This applies to our characters as well. At some point in the story our character know about something or someone. This probably creates a feeling of nervousness or fear. But what makes our characters great is when they are thrown right in front of this knowledge. 

When knowledge becomes EXPERIENCE!

This creates excitement, fear, suspense, emotion! --- for both our readers AND our characters. These are what make our characters great. To see how they learn and grow through EXPERIENCE. When it is no longer just a rumor or knowledge. No longer a feeling but something they have to encounter and face.

Another Point - This is the same with us! We spend so much time, writing, networking, and attending conferences so we can become better at what we do. We keep practicing and increasing our knowledge. If we persevere... all that hard work is going to turn into publication, which = EXPERIENCE! (or at least a new kind of experience) One day you'll have the insiders perspective of the publishing world! One day you'll be the one planning launch parties and signings! One day you'll be teaching at a conference! It can be intimidating. Or, so I hear! *grins*

But without EXPERIENCE we don't get to grow. 
Experience makes us the person we dream about being!

What do you think? Please add something! I could go on & on, but I'm one for shorter blog posts! *holds up a glass of ice cold milk* "Here's to experience! May we all experience it in it's best form!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Announcing the Fairy Tale Madness Blogfest!

I've got fun news today! I've been so excited to announce this, and for those of you who don't know how impatient I can be... it was REALLY hard to wait! However, the wait is over and it's finally here!

Here's what happened... I realized that I have the same Blogiversary as Cassie Mae, Morgan Shamy and Mark Koopmans! Exciting, right? So we all decided to get together and do a blogfest in celebration of the occasion! We even did a poll to let you vote for what you'd like to do for the fest and the What If? Fairy Tale Madness idea was born!

I have made an official Blogfest page, that you can visit by clicking the link up top, or just click HERE. But I'll past the fabulous info below too! We sure hope you'll join in the fun!

WHAT IF?
Fairytale Madness BlogFest!

         AUGUST 13th – 17th          
Have you noticed that by changing one detail; one event, one character trait, one thought...you can completely alter the rest of the story?

For this bloghop we are exploring "What If?"
Not only do we want it to be fun, but it will hopefully be a fun writing exercise and make for some great reading during the hop!

To enter:
Think of your favorite "well known" fairytale and ask "What If…!"
Then, pick one of these four categories: (be sure to mention which category you're joining, during your blog post!)
·       Best Plot Twist
·       Best Love Story
·       Best Tragedy
·       Best Comic Relief

Finally, write a scene(s) illustrating a new detail of the fabled fairy tale that changes our perspective.
To recap,
Is it a plot twist? (Cinderella gets knocked up by the Carriage Driver…)
An unknown romance that comes to light? (Snow White dumps the Prince for Grumpy…)
A tragic loss occurs? (The Three Little Pigs are too late to save their house…)
A little comic relief? (Hansel and Gretel win a trip on Euro Rail, sponsored in part by M&M’s…)

Whatever the change…It's limited only by your imagination – but please keep it PG-13 J
Other Rules:
·       Post your story during the week of August 13 to 17.
·       Flash Fiction – 300 WORD MAX. (You don't have to tell the whole story in three hundred words. Pick what works to illustrate your point.)

JUDGING CATEGORIES and the respective judges:
 ·       Best Plot Twist – Cassie Mae
·       Best Love Story - Morgan Shamy
·       Best Tragedy -  Leigh Covington
·       Best Comic Relief - Mark Koopmans

PRIZES!
(Prize will go to the winner of judge's sponsored category. For example, Leigh's prize goes to the winner of Best Tragedy, Mark's prize goes to winner of Best Comic Relief, etc.)
Leigh is offering: A Paperback Copy of "Save The Cat," by Blake Snyder!
Morgan is offering: A full manuscript critique!
Cassie Mae is offering: $25 Amazon Gift Card
Mark is offering: a $25 Hawaiian care package (incl. $5 USPS Priority Shipping) Winner can choose from any number of small items such as candy, trinkets, Kona Coffee, etc.

Now all you have to do is get your name in the linky and throw a button on your blog! (At least, we'd love it if you put a button on your blog!) This is going to be so much fun! Can't wait to read your entry!



 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Elizabeth Seckman!

You probably know Elizabeth Seckman from her blog, Use Your Words. And hopefully you've heard that her book, Past Due, has recently been RELEASED! *cheers!*

Not only do I adore Elizabeth and her blog... she has a wonderful sense of humor!... but I wanted to get her over here to spill some of the beans about herself and her book!

So, lets begin!

Hi Elizabeth! First off, let me thank you for sharing on my blog! And congratulations on your book, PAST DUE!!! I know we're all excited about it's release! I have a few questions for you about it! Hope you don't mind if I ask, but it's so fun to hear this stuff from the author!

Thanks for inviting me over...and ask away...I'll answer any question but how much I weigh.
 
LOL! Don't worry - my mom taught me never  to ask a lady that question. I won't answer that one either!
1. What inspired you to write this story? Where did the idea come from?

My sister. For her 25th wedding anniversary, she asked for a story as her gift. Then like the bossy older sister that she is (I can get away with that because she never reads my blog!) she said she wanted the story on the Outer Banks during the time of the lighthouse move. So, to punish her, I gave Jenna my sister's personality. Artistic, secretive, and a horrible cook. 
 
BAHAHAHA! Okay, I'm laughing over the "punishing her part!" Great anniversary gift though!
2. Tell us a little bit about one of your favorite characters, and why they're your favorite.

Hands down...Maureen Austin. She's a short, chubby super-hero who bakes a mean batch of any kind of cookie your heart desires. She'd bail you out of jail, cook you dinner, and charge you nothing but a lecture. 
 
I like her already! I'll take her up on those cookies even for a lecture!
3. Briefly tell us about your journey to publication.
I wrote my first manuscript in like three months. On the 90th day, I typed THE END and hit print. I shoved the unedited behemoth into an envelope and shipped it off to one of the big six publishing houses where it undoubtedly suffocated in the slush pile. The fabulous writer, Dixie Browning, retired from writing in 2006. I sent her a note of objection and she told me publishing was serious business and she wanted to enjoy her golden years. From that moment on, I looked at it more logically. To learn a business, you study. I stopped trying to sell while I studied the craft and the trade. I didn't query again until last year when I felt like I knew enough to not look like an idiot. Again...eep.
 
I can totally relate! And obviously it paid off for you! YAY!
4. What is your writing routine like?
I write in the mornings. The best writing days are when I start about 9:00 am, then the back door slams and I'm like, crap...it's after 3:00 and the kids are home from school! Those are good days. Even if my guys (I have four boys) make fun of me for being in my pj's all day long!

NOW... my chocolate chip questions! Hope you're ready! Okay, I won't be completely bizarre, but I love your blog! You are amazing and have a great sense of humor! So...

Hmm...sounds like you're saying you know I'm a nut, so nutty questions are fair game? Sheesh...I knew there was a reason I loved you so much!
 
LOL! See, this is why I love you! You're so much fun!
5. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

I'd have a super healing factor. I'm extremely un-athletic and a little on the passive side when it comes to confrontation...soooo,  helping my fellow super heroes without ever actually joining the fray would be perfect. And could I charge doctor's wages? I have a slew of kids to put through college!
 
Oooh! Good thinking!
6. You're going to outer space. (Don't ask me why, it's not important.) What is important is that you'll spend 3 months in a space ship, ALONE! What 3 things do you want with you? (And you can't pick family or pictures cause that's obvious!)
But I need to know why...I need to know my motivation!! Wait...I think I know...it's a flipping vacation!!! I have four kids and a house full of critters that the boys SWORE they would take care of, but guess what? It's all me. Sigh. I'm packing my bags for space right now...I'm taking my toothbrush, my deodorant, and my laptop. On second thought, leave the toothbrush and I'll take some Snickers bars. Brain food, ya know. ;)
 
Yes! Don't forget the brain food! So much more important than the toothbrush. Especially if you're alone!
7. Now... since you're in outer space, perhaps you're scouting planets to create a new civilization on. Which one do you pick and why?
Venus. The planet of LOOOOVE. Come on, what else do you expect from a romance writer?
 
Awww! Venus. Really, there is nothing else to say, is there?
8. Okay, now share with us a favorite thought or quote.

I have lots of favorites, but the one that I have taped to my computer desk that influences my writing is by the comedienne, Tommy Smothers. "When you don't know what you're talking about, it's hard to know when you're finished."    I have a tendency to fall in love with my characters and their lives, so I have to remind myself NOT to meander there. Every chapter, every scene has to have a purpose.
 
Brilliant! I think I may need to learn from that as well.
9. And lastly, who OR what inspires you?

Has to be God. I've had the writing bug since before I wore a bra. 
When it was nothing but rejection after rejection, I'd pray...please God just make me content to keep the toilets clean....but the stories and the characters kept whispering in my ear. Taking the time to write when you don't know if it will ever amount to anything made me feel sooo guilty. It was my husband who encouraged me not to worry about it. He would say, "Even if you never sell and it's only a hobby, it's something you love and enjoy, so do it." Yeah, I'm a lucky girl.

Do you think he could meet up with my hub and have a heart to heart? He needs to worry less about the toilets and let me write more! LOL! You are a lucky girl!
Thanks again Elizabeth! By the way, can I call you Liz? hmmm. I hardly ever call anyone by there first name. It's weird, I suppose, but I can't help it. You're amazing and congrats again on your book!
 
An equally amazing gal like you can call me whatever you want! A lot of people shorten my name to Liz. And ya know, it's funny, most people shorten names, I extend them. My husband's name is Chad, but I renamed him Chadwicki Spolicki when we were dating. Writers...such odd creatures. 
 
That is AWESOME! I actually just go with whatever they don't go with. So if they want me to call them "Kim" it's automatically, Kimmy or Kimberly or Kimberina! But if they go by Kimberly I change it as well. *sigh* It's a curse.
 
Thanks a million LIZ!  This has been so much fun! I am so excited about your book, so lets share the blurb!
 
Jenna Austin is a young, widowed artist raising a teenage son on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As the costs of living in paradise rise, she struggles to make ends meet. Life isn't easy, but she manages. When her car breaks down, she trudges on. She assumes life can't get any more complicated than it is. But it can... Chance brings her nose to well-formed chest with Tres Coulter, the handsome, affluent aid to Governor Hunt. Jenna and Tres share a history; they also share a love they thought long lost. Their lives are about to be altered forever as the deceptions of the past transform the very foundation of the present. The price of happily ever after may be too steep to pay once the past comes due. 
 
Also... here are some helpful links for you to find Elizabeth AND her book!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Strength!

 How about a word on crit work?

I remember when I first came into the blogosphere, I wondered about the "Crit Group" situation. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to share anything I'd written. Rejection sucks, even if it isn't from an agent or publisher. But when my friends asked me to be a part of their group, I knew I needed to do it & I was excited for the opportunity.

When I shared my first piece of writing, it made me physically ill! Yes, I was that nervous. Everyone talks about "getting thick skin" and I wasn't sure I wanted it. Well, I'm glad I got mine. You need it as a writer. You need to be able to take advice on your writing. (That doesn't mean that you need to do everything that everyone says) but advice and opinions are helpful to have.

So here are a few tips that I have learned from my favorite crit buddies:
  • Be brave enough to be honest! You can't hope someone else will mention something. If you notice it. Say it.
  • Constructive Criticism! Yes, it is possible to mention the flaws in someones story without being the worlds biggest A-hole! Your job is to help, NOT to kill their dream.
  • Find their Strengths! Everyone has different strengths, so even if you're reading a really rough, first draft, be sure to mention what you like! Tell them what they're doing right! It helps so much to hear the positive, especially when you're taking in the negative as well!
  • Suggestions! Sometimes my CP's will offer suggestions on a rough part. NO, we can't do this on every part that needs work, but it's okay to throw in your idea of a helpful sentence. Not only does this help them understand what you're saying, but also helps them to learn and get their writing mind on the right track!
There is always more, but these are a few of the biggest things that I've noticed from CP's. 

** Also, if you haven't joined a crit group yet, I highly recommend you do. They are a strength to each writer! Each person in the group is a link in a chain. They all have different strengths. When you put them all together, they can help you see what you can do to make your MS clean, tight and polished!

What is your strength in writing? Are you great at characters, plot, editing, dialogue, etc? And if you want... throw a shout out to someone, and what strength they have that you admire! Share the love!

And be sure to hop over to FALLING FOR FICTION! They are talking about this same thing today and I got to share my input! Thanks guys! I love you all!

Friday, June 15, 2012

HEAR YE ~ HEAR YE!

Guess what? This is my 100th post!!! And... I have something REALLY exciting to tell you!

My friend, and CP, Chantele Sedgwick is getting all REVEALING on us!
And NO, I don't mean that way! I mean this way...
Doesn't it just give you goosebumps? *Squeee!* I am so excited for her and totally in love with this cover!

Her book, NOT YOUR AVERAGE FAIRY TALE, comes out on AUGUST 1st!!!!
YES! It's almost here! (Find it on Goodreads!)
Here's a little blurb to get you even more excited!

Ash Summerland has it all–good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. When he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings. A.K.A. the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after". But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, Kendall doesn't want anything to do with him. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings.

Congrats Chantele! This is awesome!

AND... Another big congratulations to Deana Barnhart who just landed herself an AGENT!  Her story is awesome and so inspirational! Pop over here to check it out! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

About My Book...


The fabulous, Cassie Mae, tagged me with this post and I was excited to participate. I am working through the second draft of my book, and really like how it's going. I feel like things are really coming together and I can't wait to finish and get it out to CP's and betas!
Basically, I get to answer 10 questions about my book. Then I tag a few people to answer the same 10 questions about their book! Easy, right? So here I go!

1. What is the name of your book?

STAIN

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

Heck if I know! It’s really a culmination of a lot of ideas I had.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

YA Fantasy/Dystopian

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

Gerard Butler as Cerron (leader of the Guardians)
Emma Stone as Skye
Luke MacFarlane as Logan
Zac Effron as Chaz

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

Skye thinks that freedom will put her life back together, but instead she’s thrown into an underground war where magic and friendship might be the only hope of survival.

6. Is your book already published/represented?

Nope. Working on 2nd draft then going out for crit work!

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

Probably about 5 months on my first draft. Hopefully the second draft will be finished in two.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

I don’t really think there is anything to compare it too, and that’s okay. I like that it’s different. But I think that anyone who likes action, fighting, magic, fantasy and a little romance, will really like this.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

Lots of authors and books inspired me, but when I found out my friend, Chantele Sedgwick was writing and getting involved in the writing community, I knew I needed to quit being a chicken and go for it myself.

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

It takes place in a different world, in sort of a medieval type of era. It’s a dystopian and fantasy with fantastical creatures, sword play, magic and a sexy love interest.

So there you have it!
Now, I tag all of you! If you want to do it... then do it! Please share! It's a fun, I promise! OR... at least share a little about your book in the comments below!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sending Angie Off in Style!

Happy Monday Everyone!
In all honestly, after having that big of a break in blogging, you'd think I had all sorts of posts ready to burst through the blogosphere, but it's not true. I have nothing at all. I have finally made it to some of your blogs again though and I LOVE IT! Man, I have missed so much. It could be totally depressing, but instead I am looking at the awesome fact that I will be doing more visiting now! Yes, I can't be there every day, but I won't be completely MIA!
In case you haven't heard, the fabulous, Angela Cothran is moving away from the great state of Utah. This is very sad for all of us here, but wonderful news for those in Florida! I wanted to get together with Ang before she left and we decided we needed to get as many of us as possible together. It totally worked! Although, since she has so much going on with the "move" I volunteered to take care of the dinner. This may or may not have caused a sudden anxiety attack as the memories of the horrid Cheesecake Factory experience came to mind. *sigh* Alas, I fought through and things turned out fabulous! Thank you Olive Garden for being amazing and accommodating! 
Here are a few pics from the evening! I love these people!
 (L-R) Angela Cothran, Ruth Josse, David Powers King and Wifey! (BTW, David brought his daughter and she's as darling as his wife! So much fun!)
 (L-R) Me, Morgan Shamy, & Cassie Mae
We may or may not have been the crazy end of the table. I think Cassie and I corrupted for Morgan! Love these girls!
(L-R) Angie Cothran, Cassie Mae, Peggy Eddleman, Katie Dodge, Chantele Sedgwick, & Ruth Josse.

Let me, once again, state how amazing and supportive the writing community is!
I have been shocked after finally starting my blog and sharing my writing. I have met some made amazing friends, read some fabulous stories and learned so much!
Thanks to ALL OF YOU for being who you are!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two POSTS in ONE WEEK!

I'm posting twice in one week! It's a miracle! I have to apologize for my absence. I thought I'd be writing but May was full of too much other chaos. However, I am writing now and I really like how this second draft is going! It's awesome! 

Secondly... I hope you all enjoyed the interview with Leslie Pugh on Monday! Isn't she great? She is so much fun. I hope you all have the opportunity to meet her in person one day.

Now... I have an award to pass on! This is a NEW one so feel free enjoy and pass it on if you want! The fabulous, Tara Tyler gave me the "Napping Blogger Award!" Ha! So fun, right!
The rules for the Napping Blogger Award are easy:
  1. Link back to the one who gave you the award (in this case, it's ME!)
  2. Tell us what you do to take time for YOU! That might be a hobby, a musical break, a favorite movie or show, sitting outside enjoying nature, or even taking a nap!
  3. Nominate five other bloggers - especially folks you think deserve a break from their routine.
For my "you" time... I like to lock myself in my room with a good book, or with Pride & Prejudice, the movie (the one with Keira Knightly). I also make sure to have a good supply of chocolate and a tall glass of milk. Then I cover my face in a mud mask and enjoy.  ... if only this happened more often!

I nominate the following fabulous bloggers to share in this award...
and Joshua

Now... just for fun... in the comments tell me what you like to do for some "you" time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Have You Met Leslie?

Happy Monday Everyone!!!

Today I have the fabulous Leslie Pugh joining us. She is new to the blogosphere so I want you to be sure to hop over and show her some love. Her blog is "Leslie Pugh: One Word at a Time." You love it already, don't you? I thought so!

I met Leslie at the LDS Storymakers Conference and I instantly fell in love. No - not the creepy kind of love, but the "Oh wow! I think you're totally awesome and I can't wait till we meet again" kind of love.

So here she is answering some of my normal/bizarre questions! ENJOY!


Hi Leslie! First off... it was so awesome to meet you at Storymakers this year! You're amazing! And I'm so glad you have your blog up and running! I just had to get you over here for an interview so we could share your super-woman powers!
Hi Leigh!  I'm thrilled you asked me for an interview! I feel honored! And I am so happy I met you and lots of other fantastic writers at my first Storymakers conference. Makes me wish I would have attended years ago.

And thank you for all the tips and encouragement on starting a writing blog while we were at the conference. It really helped me take the plunge into the online writing world.


1. Tell us a little about where you currently live.
Sagebrush, dirt, rocks, Walmart. You said a little, right? Okay, I owe my lovely town more than that. Ephrata is considered eastern WA but is in the middle of the state, has 7000+ residents, and is a sunny, desert region. It took me a while to get used to living in a really small town far away from my side of the family and other important things like Target, Costco and airports. But I love the friendly people in our town, great schools for my kids, and the fact that my hubby only works minutes away.


2. In 40 words or less, tell us a little about YOU!
 
Air Force brat, BYU Art Education grad, wife and stay at home mom of three great kids. Book lover and daily reader. Once in a while knitter, scrapbooker and quilter. Loyal friend, follower of Jesus Christ, happy to be alive! 
That's exactly 40! 

 
3. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and why?
I have wanted to be an author and illustrator probably since the fourth grade when I truly fell in love with storytelling and books. Art and reading/writing have always been my favorite subjects since then. The magical worlds that images and words can pull you into is what drew me to books.

When I went to college I thought briefly about pursuing writing but it just didn't seem very practical, so I studied Art Education to be able to teach K-12. I've been fortunate to stay home with my kids and didn't end up teaching but I still ignored my writing and illustrating dream for years. 

Sometime maybe three or so years ago while discussing books, I think I finally confided to my sister Erin that I wanted to create children's books and to my surprise she wanted to write as well. And I think she had already been writing at that point. I still wasn't quite ready to commit to myself and actually write. So it took me until early this year to actually start writing. And now all my years of pent up writing dreams keep spilling out onto long lists of story ideas!


4. Tell us a little about what you write and a current WIP too, if you want to share!
I am writing a middle grade book about a twelve year old girl and her annoying little brother's adventure when they come across a cursed book of magical fairy tales that changes their lives in a less than happily ever after way. 

Okay... now prepare yourself for my "chocolate chip questions." Lets face it... chocolate is divine and these questions are fun little morsels of divine fun!
Chocolate IS absolutely divine. Especially with caramel. Oooh, or peanut butter. Or mint...


5. Give us your take on why Captain Crunch is the best cereal. I know you have a fetish.
Why yes, yes I do. I rediscovered PB Capt. Crunch when I was pregnant with my first kid 13+ years ago. I craved cereal a lot and when I came across that peanut buttery crunchy goodness, it was love at first bite. I've had other PB cereals but nothing compares to the perfect blend of sweetness, crunch and just enough peanut butter flavor  found in Capt. Crunch. I have to make myself walk by those boxes quickly in the cereal aisle just so I won't buy any and eat the entire box in two days.


6. What secret super powers do you harbor? What super power do you wish you had? I'm wishing I had super metabolism! I could eat whatever I wanted and stay thin! That would ROCK!!! Especially since I'm a chocoholic!
Sign me up for that super metabolism! Just thinking about PB Capt. Crunch now is making my pants tighter! Hmm, super powers, eh? Does being a top notch kitchen cupboard organizer count? That's about all I can think of on my list of current super abilities. As for a power I wish I had - I'd love to transport myself in a flash to anywhere in the world! I'd flash over to hang out with you for a couple of hours, zip over to my mom's for dinner, then maybe flash over to the beach in Hawaii... Like I said, I live hours from the airport so travel at the speed of light sounds mighty fine right now. 

7. You're hosting dinner at your place... I'm invited. :) What 3 famous authors would you want me to bring and why? (Do you like how I invite myself?)
 You are always invited! Heck, anyone that's willing to drive to our house in the sticks can come to dinner anytime. Three famous authors I would want you to bring most at this moment are Shannon Hale, Lois Lowry, and J.K. Rowling. Those three are master storytellers that have books that young kids love as well as adults. They are some of the few authors that have books I want to read more than once and have. 

8. What's your favorite thought or quote?
That's a tough one. There are so many that I love but the one that comes back to me over and over is, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." By David O. McKay. It helps my hubby and I keep our goals focused on our family.


Ah! She's awesome, right?! And I love that quote Leslie. It's wonderful and so true. You guys can also find Leslie in the following places:


Thanks again for sharing with us today Leslie! You totally rock! Now everyone show her some comment love! I know you rock at this!