Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop!

This hop was organized by Kathy at I Am a Reader Not a Writer Blog and Heather at Buried in Books.

Over 300 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Thursday, September 1st through, Wednesday, September 7th.

I have 2 great giveaways for you. There will be 2 winners.

My first giveaway is a $10 Amazon gift card.

 My second giveaway is a copy of two great YA reads:

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman


 The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Giveaway Details:

To enter the giveaway: Please follow this blog. Leave a comment below with your email address, for contact if you should win. If you were to win the books, please specify which you would like. The last day to enter the giveaway is Sept. 7, 2011 at midnight. The winners will be announced on Sept. 8. The contest is open to US residents only, please.

Please click the next blog in the linky below. Happy Hopping and Good luck!!!

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!

Monday, August 29, 2011

What I like about you...

I'm a sucker for a good story. It's true! Give me a good book and you'll not hear a peep from me until it's finished. And I love reading young adult fiction the most. The characters are awesome and writers (in their infinite wisdom) keep coming up with new ways to say old things.

So instead of list all the reasons or things I love about YA fiction, I'm listing what I don't like. That's a much shorter list. Believe me you'd thank me if you'd seen the other list.

Things I hate to see in my YA fiction:
  1. Perfect characters – nobody’s perfect, not even your hot guy lead who always knows what to say to make your MC drool all over herself. He’s not perfect and neither is she. Before you submit that story to an agent, you’d better find out more about your character. Make them believable because nobody’s perfect and everybody’ll be able to tell you didn’t flesh out your character(s) enough.
  2. Unrealistic dialogue. Um, kids don’t always talk in complete sentences. Well, sometimes. But not always. You’ve got to mix it up. Give the reader a taste of intelligent characters, but unless there is a specific reason for them sounding like Harvard Professors (something like an experiment gone wrong- sci-fi story) then stop trying to woo us and let the kids be kids. Oh and keep the slang to a minimum. I have a sixth grader (all his friends are older) and a 10th grader with dozens of friends and nieces and nephews - they don't talk slang 24/7. So your MC shouldn't answer their parents with, "Yo, what up, yo." I'm not even sure I wrote that right. A little goes a long way, but too much just starts to show your age- not your MC's. Plus it's distracting. Maybe give one character the habit of talking slang a lot- not every single one.
  3. An MC with no choice. Everyone has a choice, if they didn’t where would the tension be. If your MC learns of something he/she has to do don’t make it so that they must do it. Let them decide that they don’t want to do what everyone is expecting of them- it gives the reader something to look forward to - Are they going to change their mind? And of course, this adds tension. This is what the reader wants. It propels the story forward.

Now there are a few other things I don’t like to see in my YA. I have had my mind changed once or twice about what I like and don’t like. Are there any that I missed that you hate? I’m sure there are. Leave a few of your own YA pet peeves in the comments.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I’m tired. I’m hungry. And I’ve been up all night. So today’s post are random tidbits about what’s been going on with me:

1.  The kids went back to school yesterday. I have three – a 10th grader, sixth grader, and a third grader. The hubby’s conveniently gone away on business. Yeah, I was up all night signing papers. I can’t remember any more why I was excited about them going back.

2.  I’m adding extra villainous traits to my villain/antagonist in my current WIP at the suggestion of my CP. You can never have a villain that is evil enough. Right now, this pen and paper to my right with my children’s names on them are the most evil, loathsome, inhumane things I’ve seen in a while.

3.  I’m so ready to stop editing I want to smack someone. Of course, I’m practicing patience. But the hubby better watch out around the 18th of every month. That’s all I’ve got to say about that…

4.  Pleasantly surprised about a new movie I’ve heard about, Magic Mike. Yeah, I know that title is something else, huh. It stares Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Matt Bomer. I could probably watch with the volume turned down. I’m wondering though, I usually see movies with the hubby, but I’m thinking he might not like this one too much.

5.  I’m thinking of writing a MG story. I haven’t decided yet, but I have a short story I never completed – I fell in love with the characters. A female protagonist who kicks some major butt and a nerd on a special mission- umm I’m thinking. Not sure right now all I can think about with any real clarity is snuggly up in my bed.

What are you up to? Let everyone know in the comments.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blog Award

I received this Appreciated Follower Award from Fi at Fi's Magical Writing Haven. Thank you so much Fi. It's nice to be recognized. I follow quite a bit of blogs and most days I simply don't have enough time to comment. But there are times when I just have to. Maybe it's something in the post that resonates with me on a personal level or I have a couple extra minutes (yeah, it does happen) or sometimes I can't explain it I just have to leave a comment.

This post is dedicated to the followers who comment on my blog the most. Those that grace the comment section with their wit, suggestions and sometimes rants. I appreciate you all, of course, but the rules were that I could only pick five followers.

Here are the rules handed down from Fi:

1. Reveal the top 5 followers
2. Copy and paste the award here
3. Cross fingers followers will spread the love to other deserving bloggers
4. Do what I do best....Have bloggity FUN!!!!!!

So my top 5 appreciated followers are:

1. Kelly Hashway
2. Catherine Stine
3. Brenda
4. Bella
5. Totsymae

I'd like to extend a hearty thank you to all my followers. Thank you for your comments, always.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Part 2: Who's a good CP???

As promised, I’m continuing my discussion on critique partners. The focus of this post is showing proper etiquette. And no, it’s not just about saying thank you.

How can you have good CP etiquette?

·         Never show your CP’s work to someone else without their approval first

·         If your CP asks a specific question about their MS, please do answer. Even if the answer is, “I have no idea.”

·         Your comments can’t all be criticisms. Come on. I’m sure you can find something positive to say about the piece or you wouldn’t be working on it (see previous post here).

·         Don’t take a month to get back to your CP on ten pages of their MS. Unless you both decided to work at a snails pace.

·         Do respond to emails or phone calls from your CP in a reasonable amount of time. Even if you’re only responding to say, I’ll respond later. Don’t writers have to wait enough on others – don’t make your CP have to wait on you too.

·         Be humble. Do not assume that your suggestions are money in the bank. If they were you’d already have a book published. So what if your CP chooses to not take your advice/suggestion – get over yourself.

·         Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Remember your CP is trying to help you improve your piece. Don’t fight them. If you disagree on a particular suggestion and it means a lot to you, talk about it. If you can’t agree, agree to disagree. If it’s something you feel is a deal breaker – be honest. Being stuck with an unwanted CP is like being in a bad marriage (not that I’d know – I’m just saying).

·         If your CP reaches publication before you, you should be dancing with them – not frowned up in a corner with your thumb in your mouth. Their success is your success. After all, it was your excellent suggestions that helped to strengthen their MS.

I’m sure there are tons of other CP etiquette rules, but I’m tired and don’t feel like working the muscle in my head anymore. So, please, if you can think of others list them in the comments.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who's a good CP???

I’ve been going through detailed edits with my CP for the last couple weeks. It’s been brutal. No, really…it has. Critiquing someone’s work can be tough, not everyone can do it. Well, not without some training. No, you don’t have to go to school or take a class. But there are some things that you can learn before you start the process to make the experience less painful for you and your CP.

What are those things?

  • You need to know the characteristics of a good CP
  • You need to have good CP etiquette
  • You must be knowledgeable
  • You must be thorough
Okay, if you looked at this list and said, “Where the !@&!!@ she get that?” you’re not alone. I just made it up. But wait, before you click unlike or the little “x” at the top of the page, hear me out. If you or your CP don’t have all/some part of the elements above then you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.

I’ll break down each of the elements that make a great CP. But not all today. In this post, I’ll discuss the characteristics of a good CP.

There are certain traits a CP must have that set that person apart from others – for you and your writing. What are they?

  • Loyalty – a good CP will not toss your story to the side because someone else comes along and asks if they’ll look at their stuff. Not saying your CP couldn’t have another CP- they can. But they shouldn’t dump you in the middle of edits for weeks to work on someone else’s work. Unless, there’s extenuating circumstances and it’s agreed by the both of you.
  • Likability – if you can’t stand your CP your not gonna do a good job at edits. It’s like having a job you hate. Somewhere down the line your gonna skip something, thinking – oh, well, they’ll figure it out later. It’s all a matter of time. So do you have to be in love with your CP? Of course not. But there should be some kind of camaraderie. Finally, they must like your story. If they hate every detail of your piece, why are they trying to improve it for you? It’s like burning a cake but going through and putting the frosting on it and decorating it all pretty. Why would anyone do that? So if your CP, for instance, hates science fiction, and you write science fiction, I don’t think you’ll mesh well. My advice, if you wouldn’t read it – why critique it.
  • Thoughtfulness – a good CP points out the good in their CP’s piece and the bad. If you and your CP have been working together for some time and you feel you’ve grown – your CP’s work should reflect that too. What am I saying? Share. Play fare. Don’t hold onto new knowledge. Share that info with your CP to help better their work too. If you hear about a contest that your CP could enter, tell them. Let them enter and root for each other. If you found an article/blog post… that you absolutely love and has helped you tremendously, fork over the info.
  • Commonality – you should have something in common with your CP. Okay, you say, why do I have to have something in common with that person? Good question. It has been my experience that people who have zero in common don’t work as well together. True Life Example: My last CP (note: she’s not my CP anymore), and I had zero in common. I thought, that’s fine. She wrote Christian fiction, I write YA. Her children were grown; my children are school age. I could go on but I think you get the picture. We worked on one project together, after that I never heard from her again. No, we didn’t have a fight. We never argued over edits, we got along…well, well. We exchanged our work at a nice pace and kept our edits and emails strictly to the point. I don’t know anything about her except she is a talented Christian author and when her book is published, I’ll definitely get a copy (I’ll have to go out and buy it myself, though). I harbor no ill will toward her but our time together was some of the most boring I’ve ever had. Once the last email was sent, I never heard from her again. I emailed later to ponder about her progress – she didn’t reply. That was okay, I’m a tough cookie. My current CP and are have tons in common. We are both super goofy moms who write YA and our emails sometimes have one line – usually something super silly. And when she’s published, I’ll probably cry. Tears of happiness, of course. I’m sure she’ll do the same for me.
There are more traits I could’ve listed but this get’s us going. You get it. Right? You don’t have to be in love with your CP but you must be able to work with them. And preferably not on one project. If you work together on multiple projects just think of how much more that person can add to your revisions. They’ll have an inside track already to how you work and write. It’s crazy to stop at one project. Of course, this is all my experience – thus, my opinion.

What do you think? Can you list other qualities/traits a CP must have? Do you not agree with a trait I listed?

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Musical Inspiration

I'm busy with edits, school, kids, drafts, ....

So I thought I'd share some of my fav songs. I love John Mayer and both of these two are my fav by him. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Stop this Train

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best ending ever...

Most people will discuss the opening of a novel and never mention the ending. But it has been my experience that I can like a book all the way through but the ending can kill it for me. Not always. Not as important but it still has a vital impact on the overall feel of the story and how readers respond to it.

So today, I take my cue from movies - not books. I love movies just as much as books. Well, almost as much. Some of the more memorable ending movies have been my favorite. I love a story line that I cannot guess. One of the things I do upon watching a movie is try to determine “who done it and why.” If after 15 minutes of the movie, I can guess the ending, I don’t typically like it. I want to be surprised.

There are spoilers for some of the movies I listed. So, two things: shame on you for not seeing the movie sooner, and where do you live that you haven’t seen or heard this?

What are my favorite movies with killer endings?

The Skeleton Key – You never knew what was going on until it was too late..too late for you and too late for her. This movie made older southern women creepy. Yeah I would say it made New Orleans creepy but it has always had its own mystery. Hasn’t it.

The Sixth Sense – Yeah, dead guy walking through the entire movie…What else is there to say about this M. Night Shyalaman’s masterpiece. As a side note: I haven’t liked any of his other movies. I tried but just didn’t like any of them. The Village was promising but just didn’t do it for me.

Wild Things – This movie had so many tiny twists that they caught me off guard. Not a kiddy flick but it was a really good movie. And it wasn’t just Matt Dillon – but it didn’t hurt to have him in it either.

The Usual Suspect – Okay, the cripple guy’s (Verbal, don’t you love that name) the crazy killing loon. Love the entire cast of this movie, too. It has some of the best movie lines ever! This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Love it.

The Blair Witch Project – Yeah, this low budget movie broke new ground and scared the crap out of me. The final scene where the girl is hit from behind and the camera falls… Be honest you went and looked up the Blair Witch Project on your computer, too. You had to know if it was real. Right. My hubby and I ran from the theater to the computer when we got home. The freaky part – at first they kept saying it was real. Couldn’t find anything to refute this for a while… Yeah I slept with the lights on for a while.

Primal Fear – Who would have thunk the babbling, stuttering country boy was the murderer – not the lawyer who defended him that’s for sure. Plus, Edward Norton is a genius in front of the camera – love him.

Stephen Kings The Mist – I want give this one away- it’s not that old. But the ending will leave you wanting to fight or break down in tears. Or scream “Why” repeatedly at the TV screen…Gotta love the mind of Stephen King

The Ring – Come on Samara Morgan, you’ve killed my Estranged Baby Daddy, my precocious niece, and now you’re still gunning for me and my strange silently creepy son too… What do you want? You’ll be surprised. What would you have done? Made that copy???

What do you think of my choices? Did I leave your favorite movie off the list? Let us know in the comments.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh.