Quote of the Day

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." Stephen King

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chapter three...

In my in-the-works book, True, the characters are being introduced in the first chapter, of course. Normal. The first look at the "problem" is also introduced. Mildly, because getting a feel for who we're taking this journey with is important. Fleshing out characters is MAJOR. The whole novel depends on whether they're liked enough to keep a reader reading into the second chapter. My book has a group of teen boys and one strange newcomer. I think it's important not to overwhelm the reader with too much detail now, just concentrate on the characters.

The second chapter introduces the newcomer by way of his strange actions. The boys react to him, and a spark is ignited to figure out why this new guy is here. Again, not giving much away yet,  and because I'm a fan of Stephen King and like the way he does things, I always want to incorporate scary with a young adult story.  I like the way he gives tastes of what's to come, without giving too much away. So, second chapter isn't so difficult. As long as I know exactly what is coming down the road and know why I'm being so evasive now.

Third chapter? This is the one that always gets me. It's time to rev up the engine and take it out on the road. The real start of this journey where you're either with me or you're not. It's a vital chapter, and one that has always tripped me up. To me, it's when you have to know what this story is about, where it's going, and even if I don't plot it all out down to the ending, and want to be as surprised as my reader as to what will happen, this is the time to know something. I have to turn the GPS in my head on, and though I might change paths here and there, I have to come back to the main road and stick to things as I see them unfolding. But the joy of writing is also being surprised at what happens as it's being written. The story is the boss. That's from Stephen, too.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Seriously, let's get back to the writing.

In 2014, most of my high hopes for writing were put on the back burner. I have to feel motivated, and I had so many stories in my head and no direction for them. I was overwhelmed.

A plea from my writer friend Jeff Fielder to us as a group made all the difference a couple of weeks ago. On Facebook, he talked about how his son, a 13-year old, was having trouble finding books that weren't about vampires, child wizards (he LOVES those, but really, who can compete and unless J.K. Rowling decides to give us more...) and he wanted something with a group of normal boys who face a situation that doesn't involve saving the earth per say, just get out of a mucky situation and give hope to the regular kids who don't have wizard blood inside of them.

Another published friend, Gae Polisner, shared a post about revising (as she was putting in LONG hours on a novel in which lots of changes had to be made...lots) and in it, it shared how revising can be changing up the entire story if you have to while keeping the good bones. It hit home with me. I was allowed. I was amazed.

I have two Young Adult novels simmering that are just that. Jeff sent out a plea for "us" as writers to write this stuff. Many sent suggestions of great books. Not what he was asking. He was calling us out to be the ones to WRITE it.

It fanned the flame inside me for those novels I was letting waste away on my old Dell. Before the thing dies, I need to finish these novels that have been conceived in its wire-y bowels.


So, this blog is back up and running and ready for a new year of serious story-making. First things first. I'll post parts of chapters, tell you how I'm doing this thing, and we can see what comes of it together. Share the blog, tell your friends. This is honest, the real deal of how an aspiring writer (THIS one) does it.

It's from my heart, anyway. I always hope for the best.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

So ready for 2014!

The end is almost here for 2013! I for one am glad to see it go. Wasn't  my best year in many ways.

I don't like to share my personal life much. I know emotions come, stay awhile, then change into something better and I always feel really stupid if I share sad then get happy and think, I felt THAT? I shared it publically??

 I SO admire those of my friends who can and do, on their blogs, fb, etc. Not Twitter, tho. Those folks who whine on Twitter are just goofy. If ANYPLACE is for putting on the good-face, for nuts sake, it would be Twitter! Network there. Share your GOOD news there about your writing. Attract new readers with your posts. Share your writer friends' accomplishments. Twitter needs to be all business. (New Year's resolution...practice what I preach about that. :)

I am an eternal optimist. Always the believer that this, whatever 'this' may be, is simply God rearranging things, and sometimes it's very painful. We have to just close our eyes and hang on through the storm. Believe me when I say, I have read every quote there is to read (and am officially sick of them) and the bottom line? Hang on, it will get better.

Another, important thing. When an idea for a novel comes (and, for anything for that matter) get on it. Don't wait. Your idea will find another mind, another heart, other hands to make it happen if you don't. Example? Off the writing for one sec. I had a great idea come to me years ago for a cleaning business. Had the name and everything. It would come to me so often, tapping my shoulder and me just shrugging it off, thinking I had forever, didn't really want to do it, etc. This past year, I looked up the name with thoughts of actually doing it. Guess what? This weird name was now attached to a newly formed cleaning company. Two friends standing there smiling, just as I had imagined it would be with me and MY friend. That great name and idea swept away from me, like that feather in Forrest Gump, and found more willing hands to hold it. I believe God used it as a lesson to me. When the idea comes, believe in it and at least TRY.

So...2014, I am ready to welcome you with an open heart! This year, it will start out as devotion to God, family, friends, home and writing. That order. So in talking about books...

I have had irons in the fire on about four books. I'm feeling led to YA, young adult novels. I have always had the desire to write for boys, because novels like The Outsiders, Old Yeller, Lord of the Flies...those books and more have stayed classics (yes, for girls, too) but the boys could be boys in those books. An eleven year old boy may not understand love for a girl yet, but he will understand love for a dog and excitement for adventures and most of all, loyalty for his friends, especially the misunderstood ones.

So after all this sharing, I'm going to write. This time, my idea and my title and my story will be mine, for better or worse. This is my official New Year's Resolution. WELCOME, 2014, you already look Totes- Mcgoats awesome.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Back to writing. And, a really cute dog commercial...

My novel, the young adult one, needs a major overhaul. My heart is with kids being bullied and I know I'm incorporating that into the novel more. Paper Tigers has been in my heart for too many years, loved by those who have been GRACIOUS enough to read it and give me feedback. But...it's lacking something. I think it's the heart gripping anti-bully message I need to mold the story around.

Normally I don't share what I'm going to write about, I just don't. But I know it's time to make a stand on this terrible thing that infects schools and kid' hearts and destroys lives of young amazing beautiful kids. Books are a powerful medium in which to get a message across. If my fellow young adult authors and I can churn out novels that make this message clear, lives could be changed if only that one child would know they are not alone, and they will make it.

That's my goal for this novel now anyway and I pray God will guide every word to reach at least one great kid.

The dog commercial? It reminds me of sweet Bo (except, Bo is a Fox Hound, otherwise, they're exactly alike. er...), my son's dog, who has the gentlest spirit of any dog I've ever met. Bo should be in this commercial. But since he's not, this dog is awesome too. :)

LOVE does rox.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fashion Friday!

In the spirit of not being too authorly all the time...er...I wanted to incorporate some of my other loves into my blog. So I will do a Fashion Friday and put my latest finds and favorites here. 

I love clothes and finding bargains, like little places that no one else knows of (except the million or so others who have found it way before me - but hey jack, have they blogged about it on their writing web site? I think not).

So for my debut Fashion Friday post, I have found...drum roll please...


They have awesome  clothes and, my weakness, shoes, they sell by color which I find endearing, and it's priced for all with some things $24 and some things like $124. It's an eclectic mix of old fashion meets new and bright designers and it's simply fun. And the shoes have great names like: 
This is Strawberry Heels Forever (gotta love it!) and:

BeWEAVE what you see. HA! 

Okay, so this is my find of the day. I'll get better with the presentation, meanwhile go check this out. I'll keep finding great new places so your stuff isn't like her stuff. 

Oh, and I will keep up the writing too. :) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Starting fresh, and teen writing

First, I'm noticing that I haven't written on this blog since last year. March of last year to be exact. (cough).

I took a hiatus of sorts. My heart wasn't in it. Not the writing, not the blogging, not even reading. (cough cough).

That's all changing. Again. Bear with me. I'm inspired again, this time about teen writing. Not that I'm sure I WANT to write young adult fiction. And yet, my heart seems pulled to it. Writing is about being consistent and doing this even when you don't have inspiration (what have we learned from Stephen King if not that you have to show up at the desk and the inspiration will absolutely come, but it has to know where to find you). But also, for me anyway, I have to have that feeling about a story that makes me crazy, like I can't wait to write the next chapter to see what happens because seriously, I DON'T KNOW. I have never planned a story out. I have never had those story boards, even in my head, nor have it wrote out a storyline that simply gives me an idea of what I'm writing about. I don't even write out a little paragraph about who my characters are. They truly just show up and they show me who they are as I write.

Maybe that's not the best way. Maybe that's why I've had so much trouble and by chapter five I am lost. But what drives me with a story is the same feeling that makes me want to finish a novel:  I want to know what happens because I have grown to care about these people I've just met on pages of a book.

So, about the Teen Writing thing? An article from The Huffington Post this morning, which I'm including the link to, made me think about my own writing. I think we're either gifted to do it or we're not. And I think if we even THINK we are, we owe it to readers to at least try. These teens who write are simply doing what they love. I can bet that their first thought when they sit down to write is not how much money they could possibly make (I mean, Stephanie Meyers did it, right?) or how many writing awards they could achieve. I think they sit in the middle of their bed with Cheetos and their laptop and just start writing something they'd love to read. They write their story without too much fear of rejection, that's not on their mind yet.

This is a good plan.

Here's the HP article. Get inspired.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest!

Well, it's that time again. I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and out of as many as 10,000 eligible entries possibly accepted, my young adult novel, Paper Tigers, made it into the top 1,000 for the YA category. I'm so happy.

I'm not nervous because I made it this far last year. If I make it to the next cut, March 20, then I'll probably get nervous. Well, more so, excited!

Right now, I'm working out another novel, sort of a Nicholas Sparks type I'm hoping, about love. I'm going to have to create it in a book right now. True love, that is. I'm just out of a relationship that I feel in ways I failed at miserably, but in most ways I know I tried my very best. But it hurts, and it sucks. I'm going to do what other writers I know and love do:  Put all that feeling into the novel and CREATE what I want for my life and live it  there for awhile in the story the comes to my heart.

I did that in my last novel, and you know what? Some things in that novel came true. Another great friend of mine said the same thing of her novel. There is absolutely magic in writing. And I'm profoundly grateful for it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nanowrimo! Start a journey with me?

It's November, which for writers, means one thing: Nanowrimo! It's when we start the first day of the month and go non-stop until the 30th day, writing like crazy a new story that may have been in our mind for a long time. Now, we give ourselves permission to write it without worry of editing (that comes in December).

 The ONLY way to write 50,000 words in one month (if you disect this by a daily word count, that's over 1,000 words a day, not counting the days you get behind and have to play catch-up). Lots of great novels have come out of this month. But one thing agents don't like to see - a FLOOD of submissions in December.

So if you're taking part in Nanowrimo, do yourself a favor? Hold on to it, edit in December, and think about sending it out next year. You may have better success with an interested agent. I will post snippets of the new book throughout the month, maybe you can give me some feedback? It's a love story. (Is there any other kind, really? ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My feelings about New York on this important weekend

New York is like home to me. From the moment I walked out of the Amtrak, up the escalator, in the middle of what seemed a hundred other people on that thing all excited to be home, too, I loved the place. When you ride up into Penn Station, life begins. An energy grabs you like no other, and you are filled with anxiety and excitement and happiness all at once - anxiety for me being that I hope I can find the right exit to get out into the street. Yeah, I know, I worry about senseless things, believe me, I know. :D

Today, I'm feeling the deep sadness about 9/11. I haven't lived in NY, but like all of us who have gone and made it home in our hearts, we feel the pain, too.

Can't wait to go back soon, and nothing gives me more joy than planning my next trip there. For my beloveds that I try to drag there every few months, they cringe. :D

I'm sure they'll be glad when I finally get an apt there to seasonally just stay in. (crosses fingers, come on published novel! lol!)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fb, taking a break, and trying to make myself write...(these are a few of the crappiest things...cue music)

What a great summer, it really was. Except for the end. I haven't written in a very long time. Finding time with the kids home is next to impossible when the computer is in the kitchen. No, the laptops are broken. Yes, I feel overwhelmed much of every day.

I'm pretty private about my private life, but problems arising with someone I love and taking a break (gut-wrenching break, might I add, that felt like the scene from Twilight New Moon where Bella and Edward break up and she stares out of the window for like an entire season). Yeah, it felt like that. I love deep, and hurt deep. Makes for a good writer. Makes for a broken up heart that is messy and friends who feel they have been holding grief sessions without getting paid the huge sums of money a counselor deserves. This thing is hopefully on the mend, but some damage is done. Hoping a new seed falls off the old tree and can become something fresh and new and untainted by the past mistakes. Sigh. (see, I am dramatic. stukid heart)

Facebook. Ah. My loved/hated little friend. It causes a lot of grief for certain types of people. For relationships, it can be a kiss of death. Quite a few people I know have decided to simply leave it and all it implies as soon as they start a new relationship. Or just because they hated ALL of the drama, period, from friends getting in their business to lurkers having no good intentions but just starting trouble. Not that it's all bad, of course when used right (family, keeping in touch with old friends...) all that is good. But after feeling hurt way too much about things there that really mean nothing and feeling generally like a nut for letting things bother me, I do see how sometimes, we don't need to be friends with so many blasts from the past, old friends that might be starting a new chapter in their life, want to play a little and maybe this causes trouble for people for whatever reason, etc. I have very mixed feelings about fb right now. I'll think about this tomorrow. ;)

And writing. UGH! I have not found time to write lately. Angst drives the writer, but too much locks her up? I write best when it is all I have to cling to. When I get into my story so much that I want to live there awhile, but I am pretty happy in the reality of my own life, it's hard to go to the other place. Do all writers have this? It takes a special mix of angst and contentment to write well. I have to get back to this place.

Okay, enough for now. I'm getting back to it. I'm going to trust that all the other pieces are going to fall into place. I've mostly done what I can to provide the puzzle edges, give them a nice place to fall...into place. Er...okay, before I edit all that, I'm out. But I WILL be back soon. :)

ps. Word of my day seems to be place. Hmmm...:)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to not write ten novels at once. No, you tell ME how not to. >:(

In one of my novels, the one which is probably the very best and of which I can't seem to get to, for lots of reasons but mostly because I know it's the one that will become sort of autobiographical and will most likely nearly kill me (emotionally) to write, the main character ponders if she has become bi-polar. With her ever-increasing emotional ups and downs, days she feels great about everything, nothing can get her down, to the next day when she is feels like she's in the middle of the ocean floating and no one even knows her name, she doesn't know if it's just what she's going thru, or if maybe one CAN become bi-polar and if so, how can one get back to the normal shore???

When an idea comes to me for a novel, I RUN with it. I start it full blast. I write a good 3,000 words or maybe sometimes over 7,000 words. And then...

I FREEZE! >:( I read how some authors do this, so I don't feel SO stupid, but still. I need to finish something. I think it's out of fear that the ending won't meet up to my expectations from the thrill of how it began in my mind. Now, if any of the 'greats' had felt that way, we wouldn't have had the novels we adore. No matter what, we have to FINISH the damn novel!!

So, I'm putting everything on the back burner except one. The one that will hurt to write in ways, but that will be very, very good.

Flicker. The one I posted the first chapter to awhile back here. I'm going to finish it and edit it and send it out to agents. It's what we do, and those who succeed do it until they have made it. I want that book to succeed. So, NOTHING else until I finish it.

Thank you for helping me decide this. :D I'm going to write now. You go do that thing YOU do, and do it with all your heart. :)

>:( I mean now. Go, now!


Friday, April 15, 2011


What inspires you?

What is it that makes you feel peaceful and happy and absolutely sure that the dream you have will come to pass? I know mostly, we all live in reality and don't think the things we want to happen actually WILL happen. But I'm not talking about those moments. I'm talking about the times when you catch that perfect sunset, and for an endless few moments, all is incredibly, perfectly okay. When you are a writer, and you send out queries, and you get endless rejection, only for that one day to come when you grudgingly look at the email you know says 'thanks but no thanks', and it's the one that says, send me the whole thing. Or the next one, when they say, this is really good, may I represent you?

I haven't received that last mail yet. But today, I'm dreaming. I feel sure that day is coming. It's equal to the work I put in to the result I get. How much do I want my books to be held and read and loved.

I want this completely. So, despite my sometimes doubt, I know this is going to happen for me. I'm going to write the stories from my heart, and give what I can give to the world. I'm not a great poet. I'm not a great photographer. I'm not even a great writer like some, but I'm going to write what is on my heart, the way I speak it which is the voice of my novels, and give that out to the world. Every single thing we send out that's positive doesn't go unnoticed or void. One picture of a sunset can change your whole day. One shared poem can bring happiness for no known reason. Don't ever underestimate what you can do for someone by sharing who you are. Be brave. You're going to change someone's day today. :)

So, hmmm...a picture that I took that really inspires me?

This one from a pier in NYC. A lot of things became very clear to me at this place, on a quiet summer night, and though it's just one snapshot amid many others that inspire me, this one makes me feel such emotion. I never wanted the night to end. I grabbed and pulled and felt war in my spirit as I stood there, my last night in NYC, not wanting to leave that special place. Somehow, my spirit knew that when I did, things would be different, and oh, how I was right. I'm in a very different place now, but somehow, being there, at that pier, was pivotal in making me who I am this moment. I think back on a crazy past five years of my life, full of the greatest sorrow I've ever endured, yet finding the deepest sources of love I have ever known. How lucky can one girl possibly be.

She dreams, and God himself smiles down. That is everything.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Out of ABNA, but never out of the writing :)

Well, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest is done. I didn't move up. I know, it sucks. :) But also, it's okay.

At this point, I deleted my other post. Because we're moving on. Because there are better feelings about things, and hopefully improvements will be made for next year.

BEST of luck to those moving forward! :) I'm going to keep writing, keep querying, and I'm going to make it, too. Alongside my bestest friends, who ROX. We're writing about dogs and teens in trouble and ghosts and vampires and...trolls? :) They might be the next big thing. Trolls with big waxy lips. Hey, stranger things have happened.


I think we all need a vacation. Something beachy?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moving up at ABNA! Woot woot!

On February 24, this past Thursday, those of us entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, the yearly chance given by Amazon and Penguin to give authors with unpublished or even self-published books to surpass ALL the other 5,000 and be one of two books chosen (Young Adult Fiction and General Fiction) to get a publishing contract, $15,000, and general envy from all that remotely know you, found out if we made it up. Most of my 'real-life' friends think it's pretty cool I write books, but they wouldn't want to do it themselves. Give them a great Nick Sparks or James Patterson or even Harry Potter and they are set. They've said they love what I've written and can't wait to see it in print. With a cover. On a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble.

But my other friends, the virtual ones, and to whom I feel as close to as anyone I have ever known, they are writers. They entered this contest with me, and a few of us moved up, a few of us didn't. We know at this point, it's mostly a crap shoot. This part is based on the pitch (a few paragraphs describing our book, making it sound like the next best thing coming, in 300 words or less). But still...to get past the pitch part is a good thing. Keeps you in the running.

Out of 5,000 entrants, 1,000 General Fiction, and 1,000 Young Adult are chosen. My book, Paper Tigers, is in the running as 1 out of 1,000 other Young Adult books. I am so excited!! But, now we have to wait...again. It feels sort of like, well...

Haha!! Those are snails, by the way. And it's exactly what it feels like now. This part of the wait is pure agony. They're basing the next choosing on the first 5,000 words of our novel. I'm pretty confident about those chapters, they've been picked over so much by myself and others that if something IS found to be wrong? I'll send THEM a trophy. :) There is so much intense and excellent competition. But that's what makes it so good.

Well, that's all I have to tell you. I'm editing, thinking of new stories, excited about all of it! I feel really good about this year. I'm cleaning house, both literally and figuratively, making room for new changes to come. Sort of like taking everything out of a room, repainting, and waiting for the new furniture, that you let someone you trust pick out, to arrive.

I hope God knows I like browns and blues, sort of a city feel and beachy feel all entertwined. Er...maybe God will put in a call to Nate Berkus?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Closing doors

I took care of some things I needed to do for a long time today. I closed some doors that needed closing completely. I felt God smile. It was a good thing.

Life is just like this. When we're little, we think the world we live in will always be the same. Same window we look out of at night at the moon and stars. Same friends. Same mom and dad to watch over us.

Things change. We grow up, make new friends. Leave our parents and make our own life. Sometimes that life isn't what we thought it would be. We pray for change, and change comes like the Atom Bomb! Way too fast and too deep and scary and wonderful and life-changing and it blasts new roads for us to follow.

Nearly four years ago, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would call myself a writer. Now, I have a manuscript in with an agent, hoping against all odds that something wonderful might happen. A different one out with other agents. I'm in ABNA again, also hoping that my book will go higher than ever. But also? I have TOTAL faith in myself that I have lots of great books inside. Grand ones, even. I know this in my core. I will be published. Others will enjoy my stories, because they're not just mine. Great stories belong to us all.

I'm excited about my future, privately and bookly. :) I stood on the edge of a cliff, so to speak, a few years ago and I dove off, not knowing if anyone would be there to catch me. My life changed forever.

I'm at the cliff again. Some strong arms are waiting to catch me, and this time, I'm not afraid. In my Women's Fiction novel, Miss Rose tells Jade that God goes ahead of us all with his flashlight on, guiding the path. We just have to be brave enough to follow Him. Miss Rose is so right.

Let the old doors close. It's okay. Someone who will give you all that you need for the next part of the journey is standing right behind the new door, waiting for you to be brave enough to push it open.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All we need to know about love, we learn from Pride and Prejudice

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sigh. I watched Pride and Prejudice Saturday night, for the tenth time I'm sure, and I realized how much I truly loved the movie, and why. The novel was published in 1813, and though we think we've come a long way, we haven't. Not about the truths of love. Everything about love then is the same as love now, and Jane Austen got it spot on.

As a girl, I can say that we spend the better part of our lives, from thirteen or so, looking for our Mr. Darcy. We expect him to come out of the blue, and he should have rays of sunlight surrounding him when he walks into our lives so we'll know for sure it's him. The wind should be blowing his hair back a little. HIs shoulders should be leaning forward as he walks, a sure sign that nothing can stop him from getting to us. He is determined. And he doesn't smile. Not at first. He's too brooding. We love brooding.

Of course, there is always an antagonist. Someone or something, a situation perhaps, that has to come between the couple to test its mettle. It usually rises up just as things are looking good for the couple. It's necessary, it totally is. Not just for plot in a novel. It has to happen in life so we can make sure it's what we really want, this thing we think is our Darcy. We want to make sure it's real. Because, the true Mr. Darcy of our lives is our rescue, no matter how things might be pretty okay and how much we will never admit it. Nothing is truly okay, and fully complete, until he appears. We're running around living our lives, but inside, we're waiting, just like the Bennett girls, for Him. Him who has the courage to pick us out from a sea of other beauties and who puts us high in his sky as his Northern Light. Nothing on earth is sweeter.

It comes in all forms, but usually jealousy is the core. Jealousy of the happiness. The only ones that can understand and be happy about your finding love are the ones that truly love you, or the ones that have love themselves.

In the end, love always wins. It's the most powerful force in existence. Nothing can stop true love. It comsumes us. It is the driving force of the whole world. We want to be rescued. We want to be loved. We want to find, as the Europeans say, the 'other half of our apple'. And it's out there. All the good novels tell us so.

Happy Valentine's Day! Go on, go find your Mr. Darcy or your Elizabeth Bennett and tell them how much you simply adore them. It's the day for it. <3 :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Ugh. The word writers LOATHE. Despise. Anguish over. It's a part of the business. The biggest part, actually.

As writers, we write a great story. Most of the time, we LOVE this story. It's got pieces of us in it. Snapshots and videos that run in our mind and get entangled with new characters and they become us. They handle the situation much better than we did, most of the time. They make sense of the whole thing for us. Yeah, that's what they do.

So, after our heart is poured out into our stories, we edit. And edit. Then, we edit.

If we're lucky? We have a few good friends that we trust enough to look it over and give us an honest opinion. Sometimes, we luck up and get the friend of a friend who loves books, will be totally objective, and give us some of the best line edit suggestions we will ever get. And if we're more than lucky, let's say, probably FAVORED by God himself, lol, they LOVE the story, too. KaCHING! :D It does not get better. Trust me.

So, we then query this novel. For the readers only, this means summing up our 100,000 word novel in about 300 or less words and sending it to a literary agent, who gets about a bazillion of these per year, and hoping ours stands out enough to make them ask for more.

Usually, you get a form rejection. "Dear Author...". Wait, they don't capital author. "Dear author...". Yeah, that's it. And you're mighty lucky to even get that.

But sometimes, the rejections have your name in them. "Dear Tracy...".
AHHH. And sometimes, the rejections talk about your character and how that character sounds interesting, but that it's not quite what they're looking for. And they wish you great success in finding the right agent.

This is the next best thing to hearing that an agent loves your voice, is very interested in the story, and would like to sign you on as his or her client. THIS is what I'm praying for. I want to be an Apocalyptie. An author whose book comes out in 2012. It can happen. I'm putting all my chips on the table, working my buns off, and praying alot.

Pray with me, Forrest. Pray.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't make me hurt you. Just type.

I'm here with my musings. Okay, I'm a day late. :) I'm getting better.

I've been reading Bird by Bird. GREAT book. They say that when you ask someone if they've read it, they answer you with a smile. I GET that now. It's really a must for writers. It's a little bit akin to Stephen King's 'On Writing' only in the sense that it is bare-bones, no mucking around. She tells you the truth as she sees it based on her experiences. She's real, doesn't care if you like what she has to say, she's saying it. We all love that, admit it or not. That's why people are entranced by Snookie. :D NOTHING replaces honesty, no matter how it comes to you. Not in love, not in friendship, and not in a book.

I've got another young adult novel SCREAMING at me to be written. I've put it off for days, telling it that really...I need to edit the young adult that's in ABNA first, and I need to work on the women's fiction novel I posted the excerpt of in my last post. I HATE giving people a taste then not hurriedly following through. BUT...as writers, there is one thing we know: When a new novel starts speaking, no matter the timing, you best start writing. This one is REALLY pushy. Almost fighting me, and mad each day I put her off. Yep, she's a her and I know her name and what she looks like and her attitude (oy vey, her attitude!) So...

Wish me luck. I'm diving into the ya today. I have no fear at this point, which is rare. Usually I get so nervous that I'm going to screw it up, I feel frozen. This time, the story...more like the loud voice...is pushing against me, looking at me hard and pointing to the screen to get going.

I'm going to get going.

I'll post excerpts of this new one from time to time. :) And I'll be working on the other one that you read from below. I've got people that already love it and want to read it!

Can I put that in my query letter to agents? ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

A little excerpt of something I'm working on...

In perusing other blogs today, I'm seeing a lot of excerpts from my friends whose writing is only getting better and better with every novel. I'm so inspired by what I've read (Megan Bostic's dystopian, Randy Russell's new work in progress (found on Gae Polisner's blog today), Jeff Fielder's novel (check these blogs out on the side over therrrrree >>>. :))

I started a novel a couple of years ago, then put it on the back burner to concentrate a bit on the young adult novel. I want to share a bit today. ;)

It's Friday people!! Woot! Relax, read a good book, and enjoy your weekend with those you love! I'll be back Monday with some musings. Yes, Monday. Because I said I would. ;)

This excerpt is the first chapter from one of my works-in-progress. :) Enjoy.

I sit before a flaming Tiramisu. I’m well aware it’s not supposed to be a flaming dessert. I cringe, fearing the 39 candles placed so precariously on top in honor of my birthday are at any moment going to fall onto the crisp white table linen and catch Goldino’s on fire. The bright side? We wouldn’t be sued. I smile and look up into the weathered old faces of the men towering over me on either side, their white jackets starched as crisp as the table linens. These men who are like fathers to me. Their faces beam back such pride, as if I really was their own daughter. My parents are the greatest of friends with Francesco and Giovanni Goldino, the Italian brothers who own this restaurant that has been my second home since I was born. They are from Agropoli, a sunny little city in Southern Italy. They brought the recipes across the ocean over forty years ago to a cozy Virginia town called Forest that they now call home. From the first time you walk in the door, the smells of wonderful old recipes pull you inside, despite your hectic schedule, and your need to cut carbs suddenly seems very silly for an hour or so. In the evenings, candles flicker seductively in their holders against the rose-hued walls, making for quite a romantic setting for you and your amore (your love) or even an amante (that would be your secret love). I have neither. I have David.

Since my birth, my pictures have joined those of Francesco and Giovanni’s children on those romantic walls. My father came with them from Agropoli to America. For an Italian man, it’s almost unheard of for him to leave his family (his mother) and begin from scratch in another land. The mommas, they go crazy! But these three guys shared two important things: Their love, adoration really, of the special dishes on the Goldino’s menu, and the courage to get on the damn boat despite their mommas and nonnis impending angina attacks and threats of suicide. Italian mommas make she-wolves look like poodles where their sons are involved. They know well which cards to play to the most affect. They nearly always win the game, too.

Francesco, Giovanni and my father, Antonio returned to the Amalfi coast each August for years. During this time when practically the whole of Italy takes holiday and heads out to see the other parts of the world, these three guys returned home to be doted on by the women that loved them most, said mommas and nonnis, and they were cooked for and their clothes washed “properly”, and generally for four weeks they did little except go to the beach, drink the wine and eat the finest food on the planet.

They returned to their new home in Forest always at the beginning of September, and soon they began taking wives. My father worked the restaurant for years right beside them, and he hired my sweet little All-American mother, Vivian, as a waitress. A year later, they married. Nine months after that? Viola. I mean, qui. I was born Christina Amore Bellacci Thomas. Yes, my middle name means love in Italian. It’s quite ironic now, really, given the state of my personal union. To complicate things a bit more, I am called Charley. I can’t get a straight answer as to why; I think they actually forgot and just hate to tell me, now that it’s stuck and they’re all used to it. The Thomas part came later, courtesy of David.

“Charley, where is your mind now, tesoro?” My father comes behind me, gently pulling my dark hair back, away from my face, as he always does. “It’s the thirty-ninth flicker, piccola. Molto importante! Blow the candles out quickly and you will have whatever you dream.”

I look up into his smile. He truly believes these words. He’s said this since I was little, and you know, most times he’s been right. Something would always happen in the days following this birthday ritual. Though it always seems to have a twist from what I actually asked for. The birthday I turned nine, I wished for a dog. I found Tinky the kitten stuck in a tree two days later. She lived nearly ten years. For my fourteenth birthday, I wished for a trip to New York City with my friends. I thought we could catch the train, go see The Rockettes maybe, go to Macy’s and buy just anything to say it had come from THE Macy’s. I got a trip to the movies with Natalie and Lori, my nieces, and a really cool Josie and the Pussycats watch. And for my seventeenth birthday, I wished for love. I met David three weeks later at a party. David has outlasted Tinky’s time with me by about twelve years.

Sei la mia adorata, il mio tesoro. Close those jade eyes and make your special wish, piccolo,” my father whispers. I obey my father. My God, what do I wish? The candles are no doubt ready to fall, and I can’t decide. An easy, amicable divorce? Simply peace in my heart and no divorce? Good will for all mankind in general? I could just ask for something amazing to happen. Anything would be an improvement to how things have been. But somehow, this is serious to me. If I waste this wish, there won’t be another for a year. I might not even live another year. Buses hit people, it’s a fact. Though, in Forest there aren’t too many buses plugging along the streets of my neighborhood. But, diseases come unexpectedly, even into the suburbs. Hearts break and sometimes that kills you. It killed Johnny Cash for one. June would have left just as fast if he’d gone first. And just watch, Billy Graham’s not long for this world. His beloved Ruth is waiting by those pearly gates for him. You know, if I have to go, I think dying of a broken heart for the person I loved beyond reason – my amore – would be the best way.

I look up into my father’s beautiful face once more before I close my eyes. Okay, here goes. I take a deep breath and hold it a few seconds. I trust God that it’s going to come to me the second the breath leaves my lungs and passes my lips. I’m going to wish something that’s going to change my life forever. I need change so desperately. And then, the worst word that exists on this earth, at least to me, pops into my mind to sum up things perfectly. A simple, calm, dangerously deceptive word. Mediocrity.

I gather the wish in my mind, ready to let my breath go. I wish that God himself would rescue me from this life of mediocrity I entangled myself in nearly twenty years ago when I married David. Almost TWENTY years. Oh my god, I feel sick. I feel eighty years old. Where did my life go? How did I lose so much of my life in complete mediocrity? Even my thoughts are all tinged with mediocrity.

I feel the familiar prick of the tears start. Way before shower time, which is highly unlike me to allow myself to feel like crying in front of everyone and away from my shower. The only place I can steal away from the little faces of my children prying into my soul and the bigger face of my husband angrily wondering what the hell is wrong with me. A rite of passage each day into nothing, except more despair for a life wasted. Pearls tossed to the swine, which then trampled them and turned to render me into pieces.

Tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a Charley, tanti a…” the birthday song begins. I get ready to blow the candles out, but instead, the rush of fresh air from the opened door takes care of them for me. I open my eyes and see him in the doorway. David, with his ever-present look of frustration plastered across his face, stares back.

“What?” he asks as everyone grunts and sits down, the last words of the Italian happy birthday song fading from their lips. My father throws his hands in the air and I know the unspoken things he wants to say. He sums them up in one nasty Italian cuss word.

Cazzo!” my father shouts, and my mother, who has been sitting quietly by my side all this time, smacks his arm hard. He takes her hand and kisses it in apology for spewing the f-bomb, albeit in his own tongue and gratefully most patrons tonight are in fact not Italian and don’t understand him. He sits down hard in his chair beside her. David rolls his eyes, used to this, and closes the door.

This is how my life has been with David. A long series of disappointments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for so many things. We have three beautiful healthy children. We have a nice home and he’s always worked very hard to pay for it. I’ve been to be able to stay home with them. I’ve never missed a first. I’m truly one of the lucky ones. My mother reminds me of this every day. When I call her, which is less and less now, because it’s very little fun being reminded of how lucky you are when you feel yourself caged like a bird, feeling the feathers falling off you day after day and you don’t know why.

I know that some women have it much harder, and compared to them, I live a dream. I have no right to complain. So why, I asked myself daily, were the clouds that seemed always over my head becoming darker with every month that passed. Sometimes I wondered if I was becoming bi-polar. Could you become bi-polar? I don’t think so. I think you were or you weren’t. But honestly, on the days I spent taking four showers, crying, praying, crying some more, taking another shower just to feel the darkness lit by candles and the warm comforting water hold me, I had to wonder.

It’s always been hard with David. Hard on my spirit, I mean. I think I knew I’d made a bad decision at my wedding, when everything that could go wrong nearly did. David and his ‘best’ man (named Weed? Need I say more?) tied the empty beers cans they’d gotten drunk with just that morning to the back of my old brown Honda Accord right in the church parking lot. My mother told me to simply leave quickly and maybe no one would notice. I’m surprised David didn’t stop the car on the way to the hotel and make sure a few drops weren’t left in one of the cans. My new mother-in-law was in total charge of all the reception food. She made it there about fifteen seconds before the actual ceremony.

I think I've waited since that day for God to whisper something. I kept waiting for it, then I’d have a baby. I’d wait, then I had another baby. Then another baby came, before I had a chance to listen for the whisper again. I began to search for solace in the little things. I understood why women loved soaps on tv. It focused us on someone else’s messed up life for awhile, and ours didn’t seem so bad. When you have three kids, who has time to think anyway, much less think about happiness. You are simply happy to get a shower in peace.

I think I expected that, if it was ever really coming, that precious whisper would come to me on a birthday. Each year that it didn’t, I got madder. I grew numb, too, and I told myself that I needed to get used to the chain-dog collar around my neck, and my little fenced in, mostly peaceful life. There were things worse than this, a whole hell of a lot worse. He never hit me. He yelled a lot, but what guy didn’t? I yelled too now. I cussed like a sailor, in fact. Right in front of the kids sometimes. I slammed drawers and doors. I regretted it afterwards, of course. I felt stupid and immature and like the worst mom ever. But controlling it was getting harder. And that damn whisper wasn’t going to come. I was waiting in vain. Playing house.

But tonight, on the evening of my 39th birthday, the thirty-ninth time candles flickered on a special cake meant for celebration of my life, my life began again.

Even though he managed to ruin the best part of the party (mostly in my dad’s eyes; the blowing out of the flickers is the magic part) it is the last one he ever ruins. Of course I don’t know it tonight, and I won’t for awhile, but I’ll look back and thank David.

Unseen, like the air that surrounds us that we breathe in and out a million times in a day, sometimes things we had no idea that even existed come together. Bond solid. Miraculous things.

While my dad continued to fuss under his breath in Italian, as my mother sat with her arms crossed and glared at David, while Giovanni cut squares of the cake and served us, trying as he always did to make everyone smile and forget any trouble, a man, seemingly oblivious to the bedlam going on at the big table beside him, went to the old jukebox Francesco had insisted on buying upon opening their Goldino’s. The man put his money in, pressed the old fading letters, then the numbers, and went back to his seat.

I’d heard Fats Domino sing before, but never this particular song. I listened despite the tinkling of forks to plates and the ice clinking in the glasses, despite children laughing and waiters passing and my own family glaring and fussing. Fats sang of going out and dancing every night, and seeing all the city lights. Of taking a trip around the world and doing everything with silver and gold…but he had to hurry up before he grew too old. (I closed my eyes and felt the tears sting. The words touched a part of me so deep and so fast that I honestly felt dizzy). He was going to do a lot of things he knew was wrong, and he hoped he’d be forgiven before he was gone, that it would take a lot of prayers to save his soul, but he had to hurry up before he grew too old.

The whisper I’d waited on for nearly twenty years came just like that, in the form of Fats Domino. I opened my eyes. My father was turning a shade of crimson that really, men ought not to turn. I think if we were in Agropoli he might have killed David tonight and gotten away with it due to some old Italian law allowing the disposing of your son-in-law after he did just one stupid thing too many. I looked around at the people I love the most in this world, mi famiglia, who were now forgetting all semblance of propriety with evil stares, hateful words, ignoring the rebuttals and eye rolls. David fuming, not even attempting to defend himself anymore.

And I smiled. It was my own personal New Year’s Eve, this thirty-ninth flickering. The trade winds picked up that night to blow the life raft
I was holding onto for dear life from a safe yet murky little pond into the huge, black, scary ocean. I was going to find out just how fast a wish can reach Heaven, and how quickly a life can change simply by grabbing onto HOPE with both hands. I could never have imagined how my wish would be answered when the wind blew those candles out for me. Oh, and I know I’m wrong on that one now. It wasn’t even the wind.

It was surely il respiro di Dio.

The very breath of God.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ABNA time again!

I should be editing my entry today! The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest that Amazon.com puts on every year is BACK on! We have until February 6 to get our stuff in (which includes an up-to-300 words pitch of the novel, a bio (mine is...well, a three-year-old could do better) and a picture, as well as our 50,000 - 150,000 word novel. General Literature and Young Adult are the categories. Mine is going in YA.

I'm not going to give much away about the book yet. Call me superstitious, but I think keeping quiet about it will drum up more interest later, if (WHEN, I meant WHEN) it moves up and makes it into the top ten, or top five, or whatever.

I'm making myself talk positive, but there is a lot of competition. Some GREAT authors are out there, and their books ROX as much as I hope mine does. I really do wish each and every single one of us good luck in this. The best thing about ABNA is the wonderful people you meet along the way and the friendships you can forge that last hopefully a lifetime. You learn SO much about everything (life, the stories behind the novels, what makes us as authors stick together and become true friends) and that alone has proved the biggest prize of all to me. If anyone I know and have grown to love through ABNA wins it? It's truly like I'VE won it.

Okay, but that said? I hope I at LEAST get a good publishers weekly review. I'd appreciate that. A BAD one? Er, not so much.

Good luck everybody who is entering!! Break a leg. I mean, a pen! :D

Friday, January 21, 2011

Authors are...SEXY!!

I think so, anyway. I'm biased, of course. But since it's Friday, and I'm feeling in a crazy mood, I wanted to say that my friends who are authors are, yes, sexy. We are the BEST. We create worlds to live in and then invite others to share these worlds with us. And it's obvious: People want to escape into our worlds.

Who'd want to walk beside an eleven year old boy for SEVEN YEARS as he discovers he is a wizard?


Who'd want to live in a little town chock full of vampires and werewolves. Not only live there, but fall in love with one of each, then have to decide which one to love before we and the members of our family are killed for it?

Um, WE do.

Who wants to see the way other people handle situations that we have never/probably WILL never be in for our entire lives sort their mess out and teach us a lesson about life all the while?!

We ALL do.

And, from the looks of my best friends who are in the business of creating these places to go and such wonderful people to love, we are the most awesomely hot, devastatingly intelligent creatures to roam the earth. :) The pen is mightier than the sword. We hold the pens. We create the universes. Hear us ROAR!!

And look sexy while we do it. ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do they want to READ?!!!

Today, I'm feeling inspired. After reading an excerpt from my good friend Megan Bostic's WIP (work in progress), Taking Zoey, on her blog, The Angsty Writer (check it out if you haven't, she ROX), I feel called to work on a story I started a couple of years back.

It's a young adult, sort of a modern day Nancy Drew I suppose, but as always, I FLEW through the first few chapters with elation. NO problem. And then...

I seem to have a problem with the story as it gets into deeper details. I think it's because I don't plan the story out first. I know the beginning, usually know the ending, but how to get from point A to Z after point D seems overwhelming.

I think it's that I begin to doubt myself, and the story. Will this interest ANYONE but me? As writers, we have to tell the story in our heart, NOT the story we think they want to hear. It's impossible to 'gauge the market', as Stephen King says (I quote him alot, get used to it. There is no way to know what people want to read. We can study great books, we can think we know what it's all about and what's going to sell.

But I don't think J.K.Rowling had even the faintest inkling about how a little story that popped into her head during a four hour train ride would change the writing world and get kids reading again. She couldn't know how she wouldn't be a struggling mother just trying to get enough money from a little book to put food on the table for her kids much longer. She wrote the book in a coffee house in Edinburgh due to having no heat, for nut's sake! A boy wizard. Done already. But one well-written story and now she's a literary icon.

I don't think Stephanie Meyer realized how her little sexy vampire and werewolf story would take off and give something incredible to tweens and teens all over the entire WORLD. I'm very sure she read her own work over and over while it was a wip, thinking to herself how NO one in their right mind would want to read this drivel. We all do it. Never known one single author who didn't feel they were walking a tightrope almost every time they sat down to write another chapter.

Not one worth anything anyway. :)

So, feeling inspired today, I'm going to keep working hard. I'm going to not worry about what they want to read and write what's in my heart. And I truly believe I'm going to make it somehow. Just like my fellow brothers and sisters in this crazy thing we've gotten ourselves into because we have a passion for it. We are authors. Hear us roar. At least buy our books and READ US!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lines for my (not yet published) books...

I was joking with friends last week about our novels being published (for a couple of them, Spring 2011! For most of us, still a dream in the making...) and we agreed that yes, we most certainly want a line running out the door, down the street and generally wreaking havoc in any city we're promoting our book at the moment. :)

But of course, it's not that easy. I won't go into all that getting published entails, but suffice to say, writing the book is the EASY part. Er, well, mostly.

It's absurd to write a book for the fame. Or the money. It's 'morally wonky', says Stephen King. You have to have the passion for it. I remember when I wrote my first novel three years ago. I couldn't stop writing it. I had NO idea what I would do with it when I finished it or why I had to write this story, but every moment was about it. It consumed me. I have never had a story since to do that. It's not the greatest story, not written that well, but everytime I go to edit it, I can't do much to it. It begs me not to cut, tweak or change anything, that it's perfect the way it is (and of course, I know better, but still...). Every unperfect sentence is full of pure feeling. I might have to self-publish that one and pray for the best. But everyone who has read it, despite its imperfections, always wants to know what happened.

I hope I'm a bestselling author one day. I hope I have apartments in a few cities around the world (okay, apts small as closets are FINE with me, just so I can dig my toes in beaches and walk thru little European towns and American cities and call them mine for awhile). That would be what I did with the money, honey. But the GREATEST reward, and I mean it sincerely, would be to know that someone read my story, closed the book, and walked away aching from the story that was now a part of their heart forever. It's happened to me with books I love, and I pray I can give that to my readers.

Even if it's only one. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Life is a highway...

or a train track.

I'm feeling a bit melancholy today. Maybe it's just that I'm tired. Maybe I feel like the only one in the world NOT out shopping and taking advantage of great deals on this Black Friday! I'm here, cuddled up under a blanket at my computer, eating leftovers from Thanksgiving lunch WAY too early in the morning and wanting to write.

I think my musing today is on relationships. How they change you, even if you're only there a short while. Or a LONG while. But you never come out the same.

I learned some things about someone I love yesterday, and for the better part of the evening, I felt so disappointed. I felt I didn't know them as well as I thought. I also felt I understood some other things about them SO much better now, knowing the 'new to me' facts. But a crushing feeling was upon me for awhile, like loving a little beach where I'd go and sit and run my fingers and toes thru the sand and think, what a beautiful beach...only to discover it was only a beach because a huge volcano had erupted years ago and took a wild forest apart, creating this place I now sat. Having no idea there was ever a volcano there in the first place. Was I lied to by the beach because it was so different before? Of course not, the beach didn't owe me any explanations. But it DID help me to understand why the tops of tall pines stuck out where the dunes were supposed to be.

Make sense? Probably not. I guess I'm trying to say that life is ... I prefer to say it's a train ride (because nothing in the world has proven better for me than getting on the train in my little Virginia town and heading to Manhattan, NYC baby! :). We come away a little different after every stop.

Life's about forgiving, forgetting, and learning from our mistakes. Letting ourself sulk a little, be sad about things, then finding a place in our hearts to file it away and get excited about what's down the track, waiting and ready to change us a little bit more.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finding some sunny...

I've been feeling very overwhelmed lately. I've been writing a little, but feel scatterbrained as to what I'm SUPPOSED to be writing. I think I've lost my confidence a bit. When you want to do it (writing) nothing stops you. I want to feel that sunny feeling on me again, that confidence that I can do this thing, and do it pretty well.

Do I have great stories in my head? Yes. Do I think I can write them and they'll turn out good? Yes, at least I know I'll have a great beginning and ending (my strong points). The middle's what gets me.

I hate starting out so strong, so sure about what the story will be about and how it will be told, only to fizz out by chapter four. Tell me this happens to EVERY author!!!

What keeps me going is that I have finished TWO books. I go back to those and see that I am capable of finishing a novel. It's having the passion for the story and the characters and believing in it wholeheartedly. When we write, it has to take us over. The laundry doesn't get done. There's a lot of take-out (um, that's not really different from my everyday life, but...) and there is nothing on our mind except the story. We walk around in a daze, thinking of what's happening and what happens next. Everything else takes second place.

I haven't gone to that place in a long time. Guess I'm afraid if I take my focus off things in front of me, I'll lose them somehow? That's just fear talking.

I need to go to that special place where the muse lives and spend time in the story. When I get back, what's left is what's supposed to still be here. :)

See? I'm excellent with endings. Now, let me get going on the middle.