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My reading list grows exponentially. Everytime I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
-A.J. Jacobs

Monday, November 29, 2010

Annnd Done

So after my plot epiphany, I mapped out the characters, finished outlining the major plot points, and then sat down and well, you know, WROTE.

The story was all down on paper and embedded in my mind, and after writing it almost all the way through one time and being unsuccessful, I knew what I didn't want to happen.

I turned off my inner editor - something I've NEVER done before and just wrote. I'm talking hardcore writing. My loverlies (Tina Lynn and Kristen) and I bribed each other with pics of Jared Leto amongst other things I shall keep a sekrit.

My fingers nearly bled, I typed so fast and furious.

I didn't even go back and reread what I had already written to gauge how it was sounding because from previous experience I knew that it either a.) would read like a NY Times best seller that might as well be already on a shelf (in my glory moments) or b.) was made of suckage and needed to be rewritten immediately (does See Spot run count?). And either way, I knew it was a skewed way of looking at things, so I decided to write with abandon.

I put a song on repeat (I swear I listened to a song 27 times in a row) and glued my rear to the seat (with the occasional potty and mint chocolate chip breaks. Not simultaneously, you freaks.

And I wrote. I wrote the whole thing. It's a middle grade, so it's totally doable to write a book in a week, especially when it's well plotted (the thought!). But the amazing part to me is that I started writing this book last year.

When I told my daughter that I was going to finish the book last night, her response was: "You shoulda been done a long time ago. You've been workin' on that stinkin' story since I was in kindergarten!" (She's only in the first grade this year...)

Wow. Thanks for the support. LOL. But she was right. One day this past week I wrote 12K in one sitting, when the most I had ever written was 2K at time. The writing with abandon was freeing.

My first draft was finished at midnight last night and clocked in at 38K.

And now I'm here twiddling my thumbs. I so bad want to jump right in and reread what I've written. To see if I wrote 38K of junk or if it makes sense or if it is all a bunch of gibberish.

I know I should wait. I want to wait. But I don't.

Would it be so bad to do a quick once over and read it all the way through and THEN let it sit for a month before editing and revising?

You guys tell me. When you finish a rough draft, what do you do? And how long do you wait before you delve back into it?

Someone might have to tie my hands behind my back, because I'm guessing it'd be hard to revise a book with my nose.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tiffany Has An Epiphany

Disclaimer: What is about to be said by Tiffany is borderline without a doubt embarrassing. But the thing about it is, there has to be other schmucks like me out there that have been in this same boat, and I hope that maybe by my raw honesty about this topic, it could help at least one other person who stumbles across this blog.

Bottom line-  Tiffany's epiphany is this: An idea does not = a plot.

There, I said it. It seems like a DUH-no-brainer kind of thing, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I was able to realize what was wrong with the books that I've written or been in the process of writing. Up until then, the definition of a plot was: a small piece or area of ground: a burial plot.  Which is where I dug myself and my book into every time I wrote like that.

And get this my epiphany occurred while I was in the middle of teaching 4th graders a lesson on plot - of all things.

So, when the other teachers on my team and I discussed how we were going to teach plot, I thought about how it would make sense for me to teach plot through writing. Because DUH! You have to have a plot to write. Right? (Of course I didn't stop to think about my lack of such an important thing in my stories at that moment). It made perfect sense for me to teach my students plot by telling them how real-live authors plot out their own books. So, I turned to the most genius and kid-friendly plot visual I knew of courtesy of the One and Only:  Jamie Harrington. She created what she calls the storysaurus to plot out her stories. It's basically brilliant. And who doesn't like dinosaurs?

Between the storysaurus and Shannon Messenger's outlining pattern, along with a couple of other online resources, my students and I reverse-map plotted The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (An AH-May-zing book, I might add). I drew a giant dinosaur on the board, and then wrote the main focus of each chapter on a sticky note and placed it on the dinosaur's back (you know, like the plates on a dinosaur's back). We then figured out what the starting point was, the inciting incident, the conflicts/crisis that contribute to the rising action, the moment of hopelessness, the actual climax, and then the falling action and resolution. It went amazingly well.



I even went as far as to show them how they could use a storysaurus to plot out their own narrative stories that they have to write, pointing out that each paragraph contributes to the climax and then leads to the resolution.

It's so simple.

Yet, as I stared at that storysaurus after school, I realized, OhmygoshIamatotalandcompleteidiot! It's right there! My huge and most ridiculous problem: I DON'T HAVE A PLOT! Nor did I have a plot for the first book that is collecting dust on a shelf, that will never see the light of day again. That's where I went wrong.

I was missing some of the major elements of a plot because I was a total pantser. I didn't plan it out. I let the ideas write themselves. The words would flow from my mind and my fingers would type and I would just go along. But then, I would find myself in a corner or in the middle of a burial plot. And I wouldn't know how to get out of it, and I'd go into panic mode, and then put the book away and declare myself a Professional Reader who will never ever become a professional writer. A very vicious cycle that guarantees a lot more panicking than actual writing. I don't like that panicky feeling.

Then, I had a huge brain storm session with my loverlies Tina and Kristen, which helped me so much. I now have a plot. I know my plot. I can write my book. It's so simple, it's stupid. Well, not really. The plotting almost made me lose my mind all day yesterday, and I basically walked around like a zombie without a single coherent thought until I worked it all out in my mind. Considering that yesterday was a school day, I can tell you another honest truth: my classroom did not get much accomplished during my Brain Spasms (AKA WHAT IS MY PLOT?) but when it finally came, the feeling was one of sweet satisfaction. And when I was given the thumbs up by my critters, I was in Plot Heaven.

I also got a great tip from my critters to watch The Plot Whisperer which solidified everything I had in my mind.

So there you have it.

I was a pantser.

I am no longer.

I am now a plotter.

And maybe, just maybe, I will have a complete book that is worthy of being shown to someone soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Got Nothing...But Jared

I'm actually quite pathetic right now and have nothing of value to offer anyone. However, 30STM has been busy and they have a snippet of their upcoming music video.

And since I've watched it 30 plus times and looking at Jared listening to their music is all sorts of inspirational, I thought I'd share.

Enjoy.

 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear James Dashner,

(Yes, there is an enormous possibility that he might just stumble across my blog, so back off all you realists)

Dear James Dashner,

Let me first begin by saying: You are genius. I'm totally not sucking up, because as per my recent I Will Not Let An Author Make Me Feel Like I'm Not Good Enough Epiphany, it would seem totally like I was reverting back to my former self. I am not. And I will not.

Anywhoo, I bought your book over the summer, not having a clue what the book was about, due to my slight issue of feeling the need to buy every and all YA books so that I can read them and then possibly build a house out of them. (That'd be a pretty cool idea, huh?)

Your book wasn't the first on my list of To-Read, I will be honest, but for some reason, when I started to dig through the hundreds of books, it sort of called to me. It said: Tiffany! Read me!

And so I did.

And I tore through the book in a way I've never done before. I found that you put me so far into Thomas' character, to the point that it was scary. I felt like I was in his shoes the entire time. I was thinking the same things he was thinking, I was questioning the same things he was questioning, I was feeling the same way you described him to be feeling. It was crazy!  I can honestly say that I have never read another book that had me so one with the main character. Really.

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who hasn't read it, but I'll just say, I felt as if I had a memory wipe like Thomas did, and so I tore through the book, following Thomas on his journey to figure out what in the world was going.

And the new language was all sorts of amazing, good that? I mean, for you to create a new language and then to make it totally believable and not forced was so great that I now speak in that language. Even though no one seems to understand what it means when I call them slintheads and klunks. Oh well. Maybe they should read the book...

Then the ending. The ending...if you want to call it that. As if it wasn't enough to have me so immersed in your crazy Maze world, where I had no clue what was going on, you go and leave me TOTALLY hanging at the end and make me run out and buy The Scorch Trials THE NEXT DAY, in  which I tore through that book only to find out that I STILL have hardly any of my questions answered. Not to mention the fact that you yet again left me hanging.

I would normally have a deep hatred for you and your cruel ways. To leave an obsessive girl like me waiting around for another year just to find out what in the world is going on in that crazy mind of yours...it's just plain wrong. But, instead, I feel this need to take what you taught me through your books and use it to make my writing better.

So even though I contemplated, at one point, stalking you, kidnapping you, and then forcing you to tell me WHAT IS GOING ON, I've decided to take the high road. Probably, mostly because I am not in the mood for being arrested. I realized after reading your book that the ability to put a reader into the main character's head is the most invaluable thing an author can do. I mean, I already knew that, but I don't think I had ever read a book that had done that so well.

So, thank you Mr. Dashner, for your amazing books, and inspiring me to find a way to connect my readers to my main character in a way that makes them feel like they are truly going on a journey with them. So, how 'bout an ARC of The Death Cure? Pretty please?? I'm not so sure I can keep my promise of not hunting you down for a whole year...

Love,
Me (Your #1 Fan)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Insanity Has No Boundaries


Most of you don't know me in real life.

Some of you do.

The few who really know me, though, know that I'm a tad on the strange side. But I like the word eccentric better. And at times, I can be obssessive. Okay, so maybe not at times. More like all the time.

I used to be able to keep my insane Tiffany away from mingling with the sane Tiffany's life, but lately, those two have merged together in a very disturbing way.

So much so that at school, a student surprised me with a  LIFE SIZE Edward poster. You may ask: Why would a 4th grader know about your obsession to the point that they would bring you a life size Edward poster? Well, I really can't justify myself to you. My students know me all too well!
Evidence from Exhibit A:

Evidence from Exhibit B:

Evidence from Exhibit C: (Edward's new brooding place on the side of my filing cabinet, next to my round table where I work with small groups)

Some may argue that my insanity is a little too much and they may not want me teaching their young children's impressionable minds. And I may agree. But, hey I'm honest and I'll never pretend not to be me.

However, if ever a student brings in a poster of this:


Edward will have to be replaced. Damon is the vampire of my choice. Oh, and by the way, I love my new hairdo. Shoutout to Kristen's hair chick, Erin. She rocked my hair, and now I'm going to have to travel to Buffalo everytime I want my hair did. Who woulda ever thunk that this girl would have such short hair!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What the What...Newly Reformed Tiffany

Have you ever read a book that has made you doubt your abiltity to be a writer. That feeling that creeps up inside your chest and settles there telling you that you will never make it. Ever. Like, the fact that their writing is: Just. That. Good. That you feel like you should throw in the pen and give up while you're ahead?

I've had quite a few of those books, but some of those top authors that manage to evoke that feeling of inadequacy out of me are Suzanne Collins, Ellen Hopkins, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

They are amazing writers. And with each of their books that I've read, I've torn through the pages, fallen in love with their characters, and felt like I lost a family member when the series or book was finished.

But instead of using their books as inspiration, I used their books as a way to punish myself and tell myself that I wasn't good enough, nor would I ever be good enough to write a book made of that much awesome.

And I've finally realized that my mentality is just plain stupid. I don't know what their journeys were like into their writing career. How many books were turned down before "the right" one hit, how many times they felt at the bottom of the barrel and "not good enough." (And if they had the I-Wrote-And-Sold-My-Very-First-Book-Within-A-Month Syndrome, then I'm covering my ears, and I don't want to hear it. La la la la la...)

My mentatlity was putting such a strain on my creativity and the ability to write for fun, so I decided to end that. I will continue to read those amazing authors, but instead of allowing it to bring me down, I am going to use what makes their books so riveting to my advantage, and put that same passion in my books. And when it's my time (if it's my time -- oh wait, do you have to have a complete book to have that time ready for you?) then great. No more writing to find an agent. No more following all "The Rules". No more beating myself up constantly.

Let me introduce you to the new and improved Tiffany Neal.

*waves*

Nice to see you.

*deep breath*

I feel good. Or maybe it's the black and plum hair dye seeping into my pores and damaging my brain. Either way, I'll take it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Fall Over

I'm posting a blog post.

Yup.

Don't be too shocked.

School's going smoothly, and I'm hoping to be back around more often. Probably a couple times a week-ish, er, something like that.

Anyway, the exciting news is that I'm in New York with my crit partner/best friend turned writing partner and we are seriously buckling down on our book. It feels so good to be writing again or at least in the process of writing again.

Kristen introduced me to character chat last night, which when she first brought it up sounded a tad bit crazy, but WHOA it was awesome. Basically TinaLynn chatted with Kristen and I who played the main characters.

I know, I know, sounds bizarre and maybe even a little crazy, but it SO helped. Tinalynn asked some great questions and our plot seriously thickened and we worked out some amazing things as we stepped in our characters' shoes and pretended to be them. And, just so you know, a few times I was nervous that character Kristen kinda scared me a bit. And I wasn't so sure sleeping in the same house with her was a good idea.  (You know I love you Kristen)

I'd so suggest you doing this to get to know your characters better. I feel I know the character I'm writing so well right now and the chapter that I'm working on shows it.

It's good to be back. Hope to start seeing everyone around again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boo, You Stink!

Yup, basically, I do.

I haven't been:

  • tweeting
  • blogging
  • commenting
  • writing
  • MYSELF!!!
I've been drowning in the start of school, which has, quite literally, kicked my rear-end. I'm sure you all loved how I went on bragging over the summer about how I woke up late, read, wrote, and laid out by the pool at all/any hour of the day and it didn't matter what time I woke up.

Yeah, well, the start of the school year has been ROUGH to say the least. I forget that when my students leave me, they've done so much growing throughout the year. When I get my new students it takes so much work to get them to where I need them to be.

It's totally worth it in the end, but it is HARD work!! Not only that, but trying to keep my brain focused, my desk organized, papers graded, the family to all of their extra curricular activities, getting everyone fed, bathed, and keeping the house cleaned is WEARING me out.

Anyway, I went to visit Kristen (SQUEE!) in Buffalo for a much needed vacay (wink, wink) and we had a BLAST! I so miss her right now. But, we of course made sure that our meeting went down in history. If you want to see some of the craziness called us AKA Krisiffany, then you should check out our co-author blog: Shade and Sunshine. We even VLOGGED again!

Hopefully you'll all start to see me around more once things start to get settled down in this crazy chaos called my life! :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Short Story Contest

So, in an attempt to get out of my writing funk, I submitted a short story to a contest. I'd love it if you guys would go check it out.

In order to win, I have to have more than 15 comments and 30 ratings (you actually have to give it a thumbs up, not just give it a star rating).

So, if you have a spare moment, I'd love for you to read it and let me know what you think. It's actually an adult short story (gasp!) and it's only 500 words, so it won't take long to read through it!

Thanks in advance guys! Here's the link. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Writing Funk Of Epic Proportions


I'm in a funk. A bad one. I can't write. The words aren't coming to me naturally and my creativity has been squashed.

This is my last week of summer and I didn't get near as much writing as I hoped to get done, but as I recall, I promised not to make any writing goals.

The Writing Slime has returned. And I am suffocating. Someone, please pull me out of it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Best Blog You'll Ever Come Across

Kristen and I have begun a new epic journey. We made a blog. We made vlog. And we have a contest. An epic one. Watch us make fools of ourselves in our first vlog ever and then enter the contest over at our new co-authoring blog, Shade and Sunshine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writer Must-Have Numero Tres

Yeah, I decided to mix it up and throw in a little Spanglish with this post. Mostly because it's 1:20 AM as I type this. I must have pulled a DitzyTiff and forgot all about BrilliantTiff''s idea to blog all week long about the writer must-haves.

So this post will be short. Like, epic short for me. While you're picking up your stone paper, you MUST pick up Paper Mate Profile Pens in multiple colors.


Writing with  one of these pens on my stone paper, is better than...well, I'll let you fill in the blank once you get that paper and pen heavenly combo going. And don't forget to turn on The Sixty One. You will almost be in my writing bliss. Just you wait for tomorrow's post. By the end of this week, you will be a fantastic writer all because of me. You can send any royalties my way. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writer Must-Have #2

I was sitting, staring at my computer screen wondering what in the world I could possibly write about when it hit me! (This doesn't happen often, so stand back, it could be the sign of the apocalypse, a zombie one at that).

So getting back to the scenario, this is basically how it went. I toned it down a bit. And yes, I do realize this is a conversation between me and me. Do you not talk to yourself? Okay, that's what I thought...

DitzyTiff: *taps finger on chin* What could we blog about...hmmm...

BrilliantTiff: *raises pointed finger in air* I know, we could turn this week's blog into daily posts about we can't live without when it comes to writing.

DitzyTiff: *scratches head* I don't get it.

BrilliantTiff: *slaps DitzyTiff across the face* What do you not get, idiot? Yesterday we posted about the awesomeness of thesixtyone.com. Today we post about another Writer Must-Have, and then we continue for the rest of the week. Gah.

DitzyTiff: OMG! That's like, super genius! I totally get it now. Like how you always need your blanket from when you were a baby wrapped around your...

BrilliantTiff: *clamps DitzyTiff's mouth* What? What are you talking about? Shut up. *turns to the waiting audience apologetically* I'm sorry for her. She's a compulsive liar. She's been going to therapy for that.

DitzyTiff: *trying to pry BrilliantTiff's hand off mouth* mbmlblmblbmblalmbm...

BrilliantTiff: Don't mind her. She's also got a few screws loose up there. Anyway, today's EPIC Writer Must Have is STONE PAPER!

Yes, you read that correctly. There is such thing as paper out there, made from stone. And the paper is so freaking crazy/awesome because it's soft and sort of feels like it's damp in a way, and when you write on it, it is so stinkin' smooth, it's unreal. 

Basically I can't explain it to you, but if I could marry my stone paper, I just might.  You must run out and get you some stone paper TODAY. (Neither of the Tiffany's are receiving any royalties for shamelessly promoting this product, but if you do choose to go out and buy it today, you should go to Walgreen's. That's where I got mine.)



See? Isn't it pretty!! Okay,so it may not be visually appealing, but holy mother of bats it has a kinesthetic appeal. Because. It. Writes. So. Dang. Smooth.

What do you use to take your writing notes in? I guaranty you might change that answer once you try out the-rock-paper-of-awesome. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

News Bulletin

I interrupt the regularly scheduled blog post to direct your attention to the most important thing ever. If you haven't heard of or checked out http://www.thesixtyone.com/, then you should leave this blog post (after commenting of course) and lose yourself in some of the most ah-may-zing music ever. You can create play lists, download the music (some of it is free!), and support these undiscovered artists. I don't know about you, but I have to have music to write, and since writing, the diversity of my music has spread like no other. This website is seriously just about all I listen to now.

The best part about it, is that under the section Popular, you can click on Moods, and then click on what mood you (or if you're like me the voices in your head) are in, and it will play a non-stop collection of it.



Gah! I know, so exciting, right?

Are you like me? Do you need constant music reflecting the mood you're book is in at that moment?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DFW Writer's Workshop

So, I've been on a crit kick this week. Heehee. That sounds funny. I went all soft yesterday talking about my awesome crit partner Kristen (who by the way is going Critler on me to get my book done).

Today I want to talk about the awesomeness that is critique groups that meet in person. Weird, huh? More like completely terrifying. Honestly, I didn't really get the whole point of Workshop at first. I was thinking, you could get the same thing accomplished with your online critters as you would in person, so these people must just need to interact with other real, live, humans in person.I reasoned with that. It makes sense.

But, oh no. That is not what it is. There of course are positives and negatives to every side of anything you do. And there are a few negatives to the Workshop, however, I truly believe that the positives outweigh the negatives by a million degrees. And even though at times I look at Workshop as an AA meeting for writers, hey let's face it, we need that, it is so much more.

Basically here's a run-down of how it works:
There's a meeting with the whole group sharing news, highs/lows of the week, introducing new members, and any announcements.

If you've signed up to read, then you are assigned to a group/room/moderator and told what order you'll be reading.

Quick break.

Readings begin. Last week I was the first to read which was seriously terrifying. I can't explain to you what comes over me when I read my stuff out loud. I get all weird and my voice tenses up, and my heart practically pounds out of my chest. No, seriously. I can hear my voice shaking when I read and I always read WAY too fast.

You may be asking right now, why in the world would you put yourself through that terrible torture. Here's why:
After reading, you give up the stage (not literally) and hand it over to the critiquers. People can crit for up to five minutes, and have seconds if there is time left over. The crits can sting and feel brutal sometimes, but they are always beyond helpful. And the crazy thing is that I can read a chapter a bajillion times out loud in the privacy of my own home and think I'm freaking brilliant, and then read it out loud to the group of critiquers and realize as I'm reading it, "Oh my God. This is horrible." And already know what they're going to say is wrong with it before they even open their mouths.

It's CRAZY. But ridiculously helpful. And in my opinion, a writer shouldn't do it all by themselves. They should rely on critique partners to help them out. We are too close to our own stories to have good judgement on what really matters. And yes, even though it does take longer to finish a ms while being in crit groups, I can guarantee you, that my ms is going to be much more polished and ready for an agent than if I had done it all on my own.

Plus, going to a Workshop where you can meet other writers in real life is pretty awesome in and of itself. I'm really lucky to have amazing people that attend Workshop with me to learn from. Some agented, some published, but all writers wanting to grow and become better at what they do. Not that I'm name dropping or anything, but you may have heard of Jamie Harrington, Jenny Martin, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Candace Havens, and A. Lee Martinez. All fellow Workshop attendees. And of course there are many, many more fab writers there as well... :)

If you live in the DFW area, you should check out Workshop. It is worth it. Not to mention the amazing conference they offer as well. So, do any of you guys have a Workshop type deal that meets in your area? Are you a member? Tell me about your meeting in real life with crit partners!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Online Critter Groups

First of all, I have to start out by saying that if you feel jealous of me and my crit situation after you read this, then you should. ;)  I met my other half and most amazing crit partner ever, Kristen, in February.  If you've ever seen us talk/tweet/blog each other, you would've thought that we had known each other since we were in diapers.

It actually seems this way to us as well. She can seriously finish my thoughts and sentences at times which has led us to try and figure out how our parents pulled a real, live Parent Trap stunt on us. We had to have been separated at birth. It's the only thing that makes sense. Sadly, she lives in NY and I in TX. Such a far, far distance apart.

When I say she's my other half what I mean is, on any given day, I talk to her more often than I do my husband. That's intense. We have something wonderfully unique. We don't just crit each other's stuff, but we talk each other off the edge of the cliff, think of other entrepreneurial types of things to do with our lives if we don't make it as writers (like sidewalk chalk artists and tight-rope walkers), work out plot problems, talk about the millions of book ideas that swirl in our brains, we trust one another, we are tough and harsh when we need to be, personal cheerleaders, and most importantly we are best friends.

I know our crittership is a rare thing and I feel so blessed to have her. More recently, her and I have joined two other writers, who have amazing stories and are a brilliant asset to the group. Now that I've gone on and on about how much I love my crit group, let me wash out most writer's issues with "problems" with crit groups. Obviously this is all based on finding the right group that you can trust and wear thick skin around.

  • Be honest and upfront - Tell what you are looking for in the group. If you know that you aren't thick skinned, then, well, maybe you don't belong in this business, but beyond that you're more looking for a personal cheerleader. That isn't what everyone is looking for. It would be a huge waste of time for me, personally, to be in a group where my critters didn't point out the minor and major issues my writing has. So make sure that you know what you are getting into and make sure everyone is on board and is wanting what you want.
  • Tell what your thoughts are as you're reading - Meaning, if you find something HI-larious, then say it. If something doesn't make sense or doesn't fit right, say it. But ALWAYS explain why something doesn't work.
  • Point out the plot issues - If something is not believable, then say it. If there are inconsistencies or things that just don't make any kind of sense to anyone other than the one who wrote it, say it. If you can't take this type of criticism, then how are you going to make it with an agent/editor/publisher's notes to change things?
  • Take some, leave some - If you don't take any of the critiques given, you are making a huge mistake and wasting valuable time of the people critting your stuff. If you are taking all of the critiques, you are most likely making a huge mistake. Everyone has different opinions on things and if you have 4 people looking at your ms, then obviously, there will be differing opinions. Take a look at the majority, leave the crits that don't settle well with you, and find a happy medium.
Do you guys have any other biggies when it comes to your crit groups? Anything that you find to be extremely valuable from your critters? Or is there anything that is extremely NOT helpful from crit partners you may have had in the past?  Tomorrow I'll talk about the membership with DFW Writer's Workshop. Happy Humpday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Critter Groups


I've seen a lot of posts about this recently. It's one of those hot topics that everyone has such a solid opinion on. It's one of those that is also hard to change a person's opinion on. Not that I'm going to try to do that, of course.

Most people's arguments as to why finding a good critique group is a waste of time is because it takes a lot of time and in most circumstances, it turns out to not be worth it.  I know everyone finds a thing that suits them well and to each man their own, but without my critique groups I would not be the writer that I am today.

I not only have several online critique buddies, some of the greatest friends in the world by the way, but then I also go to a local writer's workshop. Both of those avenues have worked for me as a writer and in an attempt to not go long winded on anyone today, I'm going to do 2 separate posts. One tomorrow about my critiquing experience through online avenues and then one on Thursday about my experience with DFW Writer's Workshop.

For today, tell me what types of experiences you've had with critiquing groups and if you feel that they've had an overall positive or negative experience on you. What made it work/not work?

Monday, July 12, 2010

To Read or To Write?


This conversation has come up a million times since I started really trying to write for a living. I talk to all sorts of people all the way from those who never read while in the midst of a writing project, to those who make reading a part of their daily routine even in the thick of writing their ms.

I find myself somewhere in between. I am a voracious reader. You put a good book in my hands, I will tear through it in no time at all. Sometimes in a few hours. That's how I've always been. I remember reading until midnight (GASP!) underneath my covers with a flashlight when I was in elementary school. All of the classics of course, RL Stine's Fear Street, Sweet Valley High, Babysitter's Club, and all of Roald Dahl's masterpieces.

I've always loved reading, which only makes sense as to why I want to be a writer. But lately I've noticed that the one thing that inspired me to want to be a writer is the one thing that I put on the backburner. I don't have time to read. I have to blog, and procrastinate on Twitter, critique and oh, yeah, write. All of those writerly things that are going to make me a real, live writer one day.

But ironically enough, I've noticed that when I'm not doing much reading, my own words dry up and POOF! they're gone. I mean, it's not rocket science we're talking about here. Besides the fact that you can learn so much from reading a story that you find yourself completely immersed in, as writers, we can see first hand the techniques the author uses that work, what doesn't work well, ways to add more depth to our writing, and so much more.

Funny thing is, I tell my 4th graders all the time, "Good writers read more than they write." Shouldn't this be true. In order to know how to make a YA book have that edge that's going to grab an agent/publisher's attention, we should be constantly reading the latest YA books. In order for me to write a believable MG book, I've got to read first hand what those 9-12 year olds love to read.

There's a hundred reasons why writers don't read as much as we should. There's never enough time. We're constantly worried that we might steal a plot idea, character name, beautiful sentence or idea. We get so caught up in these things that we forget that in order to become a better writer, we should be reading just as much if not more. So, I've decided that even in the thick of trying to get my ms finished, I will make time every day to read a wide range of books.

When I decided to write about this topic I googled: Best advice for writers. This is the first link that popped up.

Leave me a comment and tell me about your reading habits. And just for fun, what's the last book you read? I just finished Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. Brilliant of course.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bree Despain's Epic Contest

Bree Despain wrote the amazing book, The Dark Divine.



I know you've seen this beautiful cover in the bookstores. It is a great cover, isn't it? I read this book in a heartbeat and loved the characters and the plot. She is an wonderful author and does such an inspiring job keeping in touch with her fan base. If you haven't read The Dark Divine, what are you waiting for? Go and get it. Now!

Besides the fact that she has this fantastic book, she now has her book trailer up. It's a teaser, so go ahead and watch it before you buy the book (yes, I give you permission) because it will make you want to read it even that much more.



If this all wasn't enough, then her ridiculously enormous contest she is running right now might get your attention. You could win up to 11 books (yes, you heard that right, 11) and even an iPad. What? I know you are going to want to check it out. All you have to do to enter is spread the word about her contest.

Go forth, spread the word, and let's win some books!! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Barry Lyga Rocks!!!


Carolina Valdez at Carol's Prints has been holding this fabulous contest Barry Lyga Rocks!!! Part of the contest is to write a letter to the awesomely awesome author himself, Barry Lyga.  Make sure to check out the other letters-to-the-author here.

::I'm starting to feel nervous:: *sweaty palms* Okay, here goes nothing.*deep breath*

Dear Mr. Barry Lyga, (It feels so informal, but since I'm not on Barr-man status with you, I shall call you by your full name)

I first heard of you at the DFW Writer's conference and was super excited to read a book of yours. Well, between work. writing, 3 maniac kids, and life I hadn't gotten a chance to get around to it (Goth Girl Rising had been sitting on my shelf for months). Anyway, when I heard about Carolina's contest, I figured that it would be a good time to read it.

I put down a couple of other books that I was trudging through to finish and picked up Goth Girl Rising and finished it in less than 24 hours. That is saying something huge about your book! You grabbed my attention with amazing writing, true, real-life characters, and a realistic plot.

And I do have to say you stepped into a mentally unstable 16 year old girl's role quite easily. Should I be worried about you? I think I should. Just a little. Kyra's history and life story leave her in an extremely vulnerable state during some of the most most impressionable times of a teenage girl's life. You do such an honest representation of her that I truly felt as if I knew Kyra. I felt for her and wanted to be there for her.

Kyra has a depth to her that I loved. She is a typical teenage girl in the fact that she thinks she knows what she wants, feels, cares about only to be utterly confused in certain times and start having reverse thinking on those topics. Even though she comes across as one who could care less about what others think, we get so close to her to see that even a person who appears that way truly does care on the inside.

Beyond the on-the-spot character portrayal, the writing craft and creativeness kept the story moving at an unreal fast pace. I loved how you switched between present, to past, to chat sessions, to poetry, to playing out scenes in comic book panels. I have one word for that: genius.

Out of all the ways that you wrote, I have to say that the piece of poetry that threads itself throughout the book, revealing itself in entirety only near the end was amazing. It kept me wanting to know what was going to happen. What she was going to do. What she was going to say. And then when the poem does end, it is nothing like what I expected. As a reader, there couldn't have been a better way to have done it. I applaud that well thought out idea.

Now that I've finished one of your books, I have all of the rest of your books on my TBR pile. I love discovering new authors that are able to keep my interest and keep the book in my hands until it is finished. I can't wait to start another book of yours. Actually, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I win the contest that Carolina is holding, so that then I can have 2 more books of yours! :)

Sincerely,
Tiffany Neal AKA Your #1 Fan (Um, I had to do that-it's what my 4th graders do)

Phew. *wipes sweat from brow* Why do I get sweaty palms when I'm writing to an author? It's not like I'm meeting them face to face. Maybe writing is more stressful because that's what I want to be when I grow up and the author may look at my writing and say: NO! You will never be a published author! You can't write worth a damn.
Whatever the case is, I'm glad I got to share a great book by an amazing author. Check out his website which features his other books and blog here!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Got Nothin'...

So since Eclipse released this week I thought I'd share one of the most hi-larious vids I've found covering Twilight. My favorite part: What I like to call The Kristen Stewart "No" Hospital Scene. Very spot on. Enjoy and Happy Friday.

The Twilight Before Christmas from Electric Spoofaloo on Take180.com

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sah-Weeet

This whole No-Goal-Setting thing is all sorts of awesomesauce. That is, if you noticed (or even care) this is blog post #3, three days in a row. Whoa. Epic.

Aaaaand, I've been on a Super-Critting streak (record breaking - just ask Tina, Kristen, and Melissa) AND most importantly, I've been writing. Like, writing real words that are worth keeping around.
No more goals for me, NOPE, never again. So, please remind me of this when I get a wild hair up my rear end that tells me to make goals and I'm stupid enough to post them for the whole world to see and laugh at! :)

On to the real reason I'm posting. I was thinking earlier today (I know...that's a big one) about how close I am to the query stage of my MG ms, Post-It Bandits. Woot! I love the story, the characters, well, everything about it.

My concern: If I (by some crazy sort of luck) get this sucker an agent, will I then be an MG writer? Do I need to stick to that genre, that age? Because honestly, I love YA just as much, if not more than MG. Don't get me wrong, I love middle grade because I feel like that is the age to hook a reader and make them life long readers. It's also the age that I teach, and I love the idea of my students one day getting to read my very own book.

But my first ms was a Paranormal YA and I'm also in the process of writing a YA Dystopian and mapping out a co-authored YA Realistic Thriller with my oh-so-awesome critter, Kristen.

Can I be a MG writer and a YA one? What are your thoughts on this? And are any of you writers/lovers of more than one genre?

(Wow. It's good to be back!)

And, for those of you interested in the animal also known as a monkey-pig from my Bickering Blogfest post yesterday, I will leave you today with two equally disturbing pictures of one:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bickering Blogfest

Kristen over at Take It As It Comes is holding a Blog Fest...a BICKERING one, yesssssssss. :) Let's get to it, and make sure you check out the other blogfesters here!

Here is a scene from Post-It Bandits. Hope you enjoy.

***

“Come on Cam, you’re not still worried about Bree and the Brainless Apes, are you?” Jordan rolled her eyes and gave him a look that said: pathetic.


Cam relaxed his shoulders that had been creeping up to his ears and tried to look nonchalant, but his acting skills were pitiful. It didn’t even take her a minute to bust out her nonsense meter and figure out that he was more worried today than he was yesterday. Thinking about something disturbing nonstop could do crazy weird things to a person — it could make them even more paranoid than normal.

“Are you for real? I mean, seriously, who cares about what Bree Meyers thinks anyway?”

Everyone in the world except for you. “I don’t really care — it’s just embarrassing. Is it possible for you to even try to understand? Even if I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, the rest of Jackson Middle School seems to think so — besides you and Bryan. And you don’t really count, Jordan, because number one, you’re my friend and number two, you’re a glitch in the system.”

Bryan chimed in, “Well, I for one am glad that you don’t care what they think. Let’s get real here. You’d never be allowed into their group even if the aliens come down from Planet Zorcon today and declared you their king.” He laughed, complete with a snort at the end.

“Huh?”

“You know, the aliens that are about to take over the world.”

Cam and Jordan both rolled their eyes.

Bryan, unaffected by their total disregard, gathered his face together and made googly eyes and kissing noises. “Plus, I’d hate for you to change, because I wuv you just the way you are.” His voice raised a couple octaves – not that it had to go up much because he sounded like a girl half the time as it was.

Jordan snickered.

Cam glared at him. “You look like a monkey pig when you do that. It’s fitting. You should do it more often.”

“What the heck’s a monkey pig? Is that even an actual animal?”

“Yeah. Mr. Baker showed us a slideshow of the weirdest looking animals the other day.”

“Ah. Cool.”

“Wait. Why am I making small talk? I’m irritated with you. And you.” Cam moved his glare over to Jordan.

Bryan lifted up his nose to look like a demented pig. “It must be because this monkey pig face is irresistible.”

When Cam didn’t laugh or break his stride, Bryan continued, “Whatever. Be angry all you want. Like I care.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Easy There, Girl.

Hi. My name is Tiffany and I'm a compulsive over-achiever and goal setter.

Hi Tiffany.

*insert nervous smile*

You see, all of my lofty goals were just that. Lofty. And so much was on my plate...and...and...
*breaks down in sobs*

It's okay. Let it all out. We are here to support you. Tell us how you really feel.

*quiet sniffles; wipes tears from eyes* It's just that when I make huge goals and don't succeed, I feel worse off than if I hadn't set goals in the first place.

*heads nod in agreement (or support - or for fear that the crazy sobbing over-achiever might hurt them if they don't)*

~~~

Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever.

So basically, I realized that setting ridiculously high goals for yourself is not a good idea. Because when you fail (miserably, at that) it really, really, really sucks. Did I mention really?

I've made new (obtainable) goals for myself. They aren't able to be posted either, because they aren't daily goals. Some days are rougher than others. Some days my children make me wonder what type of species they are and why God granted them with the highest, screechiest voices in the world. Some days my kids fight from the moment they roll out of bed. Some days I don't feel like writing. (GASP!)

I had to remind myself that this is my summer. I work all school year to get to this point and it is ridiculous that I am stressing myself out even more than I do during the school year.

So, some days I will:

Not get out of my PJs
Spend 5 hours at the pool working on my tan
Play with my kids
Read a book

Which in turn, will let the words flow easier. Anyone else a chronic and compulsive overachiever that punishes themself for not meeting goals? Come on. You're a writer. Admit it. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Drumroll Please...

I have officially survived:

  • The last week of school
  • Taking and PASSING my 4-8 certification test
  • 4th Grade Awards Ceremony
  • Working on a Saturday
  • Our first dance rehearsal and recital
And today officially begins the first day of summer! Woot! Besides a few maintenance type things around the house (AKA clean-the-house-that-has-been-neglected-for-weeks) and of course playing stay-at-home mommy for the next couple months, I am back to writing full time and with goals.

I figured that since I've been such a slacker in my favorite area of life, I should post goals for you all to hold me accountable to:

  • Write a minimum of 1,000 words a day toward my WIPs
  • Go back to DFW Writer's Workshop ASAP
  • Get critiques back to critter buddies in a timely manner (24-48 hours)
  • Start working on new WIP with Kristen
  • Blog 3 times a week
  • Read AND comment on at least 10 blogs/day
  • Join the world of Twitter again
Lofty goals, eh? Yeah, well, maybe so, but I am determined. And when I get determined, things get done. Like, maybe a novel or two. Or winning tug-of-war? Because this is me when I'm determined:




WHAT?!? I like to win. There's nothing wrong with a little determination. You know, besides a burst neck vein. Pft. Like you've never looked like that before. Ahem, well, whatever.

I'm glad to be back! I'll leave you with a pic of K1 (who totally rocked all 3 dances) & K2 (who was the cutest dancing poodle EVER) and their epic weekend!



Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'll Be Baaaaack.

I have been a TOTAL blogging loser recently. I'd like to add to that a writing loser as well. I've actually been quite embarrassed at the state of my blog and writing and I have reasons, but the reasons as valid as they are, don't make me feel any better about it.

I hate this feeling of BLAH that I am in right now. The end of the school year is the craziest time of the year. This is a small example of what I've been up to (AKA- my list of excuses as to why I suck so hardcore right now):



  • 2 TAKS tests
  • Play Day (think field day, but a competition against other 4th graders at different schools)
  • 3 days at camp
  • Field trip to the local library/eat at CiCi's
  • Field Day
  • Meetings galore
  • Book Count
  • Clean classrooms and move all furniture to middle of room
  • Never ending checklist of To-Dos in order to get to leave for the summer
On top of that, I've decided that I wouldn't mind teacher the older kids, say 7th graders in particular. It would seriously be right up my alley. Getting to discuss YA literature with students would be one of the coolest things EVER. Don't get me wrong, I love my 4th graders and I heart my school, but it may be time for a change. So, in order to make that change I have to:
  • Study for the ELA 4-8 test
  • Take and PASS that test on Thursday
If that wasn't enough, my personal life has been a bit hectic too! Here's a few more excuses to chew on:
  • My husband has got a new job that requires CRAZY amounts of hours he has to put in
  • I have 3 kids (Yeah, I know, I've had them all along, but now as a semi-single mother, I feel all 3 so much more)
  • The hubs sometimes works from home. This should be helpful, right? Um. No. My dining room table has turned into the most disorganized chaotic horrible mess of a desk. Ugh.
  • Speaking of my house: It is a disaster. I swear there are goblins that creep up out from under the house and destroy it while I'm not looking. (Oh, wait. Those would be my 3 kids)
  • My oldest is about to graduate from Kindergarten
  • We have a dance recital for my two older ones next weekend
  • And I'm a backstage mom
All of this has EXHAUSTED me. I'm talking, fall-asleep-at 8 kind of tired. This, coming from the girl who used to stay up reading/writing until midnight or later every night and then wake up at 5 for work the next day.

So now that I've filled my blog up with excuses, I am making a vow to be back after next week. It will be summer. I WILL have more writing time. More blogging time. More tweeting time. More reading time. More critiquing time. More writer's workshop time. More ME time. I will demand it.

This whole not writing thing is terribly depressing and I'm in this nasty, killer, sludgy slime of disgustingness that I can't wait to get out of.



SEVEN days and counting and I'll Be Baaaaaaaaaaaack. I know you'll be counting down the days, hours, and minutes to my return.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Linger

Okay, so I have to be honest. I will most likely throw down for a chance to get an ARC of Linger. I've entered several contests that I haven't won and at my writer's conference in April, I seriously considered meeting the chick out back who had won it to steal it from her.

I know, I know. A bit over dramatic, right?

Maggie Stiefvater is holding another contest in which I could win an ARC of Linger, therefore allowing me to not have to trample the little teenie-boppers to get my copy on the release date.

I usually don't do posts about contests, but I have to say between the fact that I REALLY want this book and the fact that sharing the Linger trailer with those of you who haven't seen it, brings me much pleasure.

Maggie Stiefvater is seriously one of the most talented people. Beyond being an amazing writer, she is an artist with mad skills, AND a musician. Ridiculous. I know. On one hand, I am beyond jealous of the fact that she is so multi-faceted, but more so I am just in awe of her abilities.

That being said, here is the trailer for Linger. You MUST go back to her blog to read the posts of how she made this. It is insane. So much time, dedication, and perseverance was put into this project and only goes to show the crazy talent this woman has!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Because I Have Nothing Better To Do...

I've been extremely busy tonight doing some oh-so important writerly things. I felt that it would be in my best interest to search for fun and different blog backgrounds, get lost on the internet for an undetermined length of time, and lastly find more music to add to my playlist. As you can see, all of the above HAD to be done so that I would be more inspired to write.

Pft.

I've been doing what I do best: procrastinating.

Soooooo. Now that I'm doing my writerly duties for inspiration, I am going to go write.

Right now.

Stepping away from the internet.

Opening MS...

and out.

Oh. But before I go, I have to share this video with you. :)


Monday, May 3, 2010

Spread the Awesome: Books That Deserve 10 Stars

Unwind by Neal Shusterman





Goodreads description:
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

***

I'm not a huge fan of giving away too much about a book. I'm the type that enjoys picking up a book, having no clue what it's about, and devouring it in one sitting.
That would be what Unwind was for me.

I have a soft spot in my heart for dystopian novels, and this one was the definition of what one should look like. Complete with twists and turns and unpredictable on every level, I read this book in record time, trying to figure out what was happening.

The idea of being unwound is fascinating and keeps the plot moving quickly. And a part I will only touch on, but is one of my favorite things so much so that I wish Neal Shusterman would write a book entirely about it, is the Clappers. Brilliant, I'm telling you.

Two of my favorite quotes from Unwind:
"Stupid dreams. Even the good ones are bad, because they remind you how poorly reality measures up."



"Statistically speaking, there's a better chance that some part of me will go on to greatness somewhere in the world. I'd rather be partly great than entirely useless."


This book has also been optioned for film rights, so stay tuned for new developments along those lines.

I want to personally thank Neal Shusterman for inspiring me to write my own dystopian, which is one of my current WIPs. And I want to thank all of you for stopping by to see what an amazing book this is. I'll be holding a contest very soon, giving away a copy of Unwind, so check back soon for those details. (I'm working on trying to get a signed copy for the giveaway, which is why I'm not holding the contest during this post).

Unwind is not the only genius book that Neal Shusterman has written. His website has more information about his other books, three of which I've read and loved, so you should check those out as well.

And kudos to
Elana Johnson who set this all up and constantly amazes me with her fabulous ideas at supporting fellow writers/authors. Thanks Elana!
Go check out all the other Awesome Books That Deserve 10 Stars
here.

It also appears that I've forgotten to send you over to the next author to find out what book they chose. You can do that on Suzette Saxton's blog! (Sorry Suzette - I promise I try to follow directions, most of the time anyway!)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Epic Post Tomorrow

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Yeah, yeah, I know I've been MIA, but you see, I have a perfectly reasonable excuse. The thing is, if I told you, I'd have to kill you. And I honestly don't want to go down as a murderer, so where I've been will remain a secret.

Elana Johnson recruited a slew of YA authors to post about their favorite book tomorrow. It's called Spread the Awesome: Books That Deserve 10 Stars.

Tomorrow I will reveal the book I chose to Spread the Awesome with and let me tell you, it is one of my all time FAVE YA books. Plus I will also be announcing an upcoming contest! So even though, I've been on the run and not around recently, you should totally stop by and check out tomorrow's post.

Epic I tell you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brain hurts. Must Write.

This junk in the Texas air is making my brain hurt. Like crazy. It hurts to read. It hurts to look at the computer screen. Heck. It hurts to think.

I want to write. BAD. Instead I'm contemplating drilling a hole in the middle of my head to relieve the pressure.

Done complaining. Promise.

My main reason for this post is because I am trying to find my inner 13 year old boy so that I can bottle him up and use his lingo to get me through writing the rest of Post-It Bandits. I want my writing to be true to a 13 year old boy, but don't want it to be stereo typical or total tween-talk. I hang out with 9-10 every day, so I have first hand access to their langauge, but it's not every day that I hang out with a 13 year old.

That would be oogie if I did. Unless I was their teacher. Then it'd be a different story. Point being, if you are one of those oogie people that hang out with 13 year old boys, or if you teach them or are a parent to them, I need your help. Maybe you used to be a 13 year old boy. Ladies, please refrain from using this as an opportunity to come forth with your past as a man. I don't want to know.

Tell me some of those ticks that they have, how they treat adults, phrases they use all the time, how they spend their spare time (that's not so stereo-typical), and anything else that you can help me out with.

I'm scheduled to go hang out in a 7th grade classroom in the upcoming weeks AND. Cannot. Wait. It is going to be the best thing ever. I Hated middle school. Quite possibly more than high school, which I hated with a passion. I almost feel like giving the students an obligatory messages of:

Middle School Does Not Last Forever.
Sitting At the Cool Table is Not Going to Mean ANYTHING in Ten Years.
Just Because You're An Ugly Duckling Now, Does Not Mean You Will Be Later In Life.
(and the opposite) To Mr. Hotshot: You Will Be Bald and Fat At Your Ten Year HS Reunion.

Anyway, if you have any brilliant nuances of a teenage boy, please enlighten me. I found out the other day that a 13 yo wouldn't say: No biggie.

So any help would be greatly appreciated! Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Best. Post. Ever.

Kristen, my other half, has interviewed me. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been interviewed. My very first interview.

*hushes screaming fans*

You all are going to have to calm down.

*taps foot and sighs*

Okay, okay, people. This is getting ridiculous. Your excitement for this awesomely amazing interview is absurd and I demand you all to get a grip on yourselves.

Thank you.

Basically, I want you to know up front that I heart Kristen, but you also need to be aware that she likes to make stuff up. She's a compulsive liar who eats at least 10 cupcakes a day, so my answers may or may not be entirely true.

There's also the slight possibility that I suck at being interviewed. But not likely. I'm not usually the one with the problem. Everyone else is the problem. Not me.

If you've made it through this ridiculously long and drawn out, pointless post, then I applaud you and reward you with...

Drumroll please...

My Very First Interview.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Page Blogfest

Kelly Lyman is hosting the First Page Blogfest! If you haven't signed up already, go...NOW! :)

This is my new first page from the after picture of the reconstructive surgery that my MS is in the process of getting. The MS even has a new name! The lovely ChristaCarol came up with it and I liked it a lot, plus I was needing a more creative title. The new title is Chance and here is the first page from the chapter titled Dead On:

***

The chimes of a door trilled in warning, but it was too late. By the time I looked up I’d already crashed into her. The last thing I saw before getting sucked in was the plastic sack tumbling out of her arms. My heart jumped and the world turned black as the image hit. There was no way to escape the unwanted vision from assaulting my mind.

She was tied up and gagged in a filthy room with grime caked on the walls. A man, wearing all black and a creepy rubber mask, stepped out from the shadows. The girl squirmed and squealed, with her black mascara streaking down her cheeks. Each boot made a loud distinct click on the concrete as he advanced on her. She thrashed around, frantically trying to get out of the rope shackles that clung to her.

Behind his back, gloved hands revealed a wire, taut and ready to be used. She panicked and flailed on the bed. The man moved closer with a low disturbing laugh. With one fluid movement he closed the gap between them, removed the gag, and twisted the rope around her neck. In no time at all, her screaming became gargled and her eyes bulged as she gasped for air. In her last futile attempt to stay alive, she jerked her body back and forth before turning limp; bloodshot eyes – wide, lips – blue.

The vision fizzled and I sucked in my breath, and tried to open my eyes, but couldn’t. The whole world was black and I couldn’t pull myself out and back to reality. My throat was tight, and I couldn’t get enough air to save my life. In the background, I could hear the distant wails of sirens and voices containing the urgency of the situation.

***
That's all folks! And come to think of it, this is the scene that I planned on posting for Anne Riley's Murder Scene Blogfest. Hmmm. Would that be cheating? Hope you enjoyed! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

CC Was Feeling Neglected

Since I've been taking my blog-cation, I've been neglecting dear blog. I hope to be back soon, but writing is my focus right now.

Anyway, I just stopped by to say that ChristaCarol is having The Greatest Blog Contest EVAR! She is giving away lots of fantabulous books, so stop by and become a follower if you aren't already. Because she's awesome and she's the first person I blog stalked and even followed to writer's workshop.

Basically, I owe her this. And last night, we were sitting at IHOP after a very succesful read at workshop and she looked rejected that I hadn't stopped by her blog. So, I promised her I'd do this instead of teach today.

As you can see, that didn't happen, but better late than never, right?

Also TinaLynn at Sweet Niblets is holding A Novel In Six Months. It started today...but no fear, you still have time to join. I wrote 1,715 words today. Because I'm an over achiever and the 500 words came so easily. But in a way I think I might be screwing myself because what if my muse does not show up tomorrow? Then what??

And Kelly Lyman is hosting a Blogfest tomorrow, post your first page. A looooooooong time ago I posted my first chapter. Well that along with 5,000 other words have been cut from the original novel, because, well, it sucked. So stop by to see the sparkling, new version of page 1. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Build Your Own Book Boyfriend

THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED POST OF THE MONTH - EPIC! (More so because I FINALLY did it!

Jen at Unedited passed this on to me - uh - a while ago. And I've been researching that entire time. Yes! That's why it has taken me so long. Mmmhmmm...

From the Gutter Girls: We all have our favourite book boyfriends and now you have the chance to create one just for yourself and your fantasies! How do you play? Fill out the quiz bellow, post a picture of sexy man and tag five (5) other book addicts to do the same. Don't forget to pop to their blogs as let them know they have been tagged! Once tagged... you have do do the same, grab the button, answer the questions, and keep it rolling! But don't forget the picture of the sexy man! It doesn't have to match your fantasy man, just a little eye candy for the rest of us... heheheee!


1- Hair color and style – Dark hair of any kind. There can be minimal hair – or the bouffant. Whatever works…I have no major preferences.


2 - Eye color and facial features – Green/Blue anything light colored. I have a fascination with those light eyes I can fall into... Love strong jaw lines and chiseled face. Look at these *wipes drool*

3 - Height and body type – Tall and built – not too muscular – not too lean. Hmmm…how about one of these:

4 - Visible age – Okay, so it kind of freaks me out when they look to young, so I’m going with the 5 year rule, plus or minus: 25-33ish would work. But in the case of certain individuals that do not fit in that age range, I will not discrimate…Just sayin’


5 - Human or other – Human. I don’t know why but other makes me think of aliens. Well, he has to be at least partially human. That’d be preferable. For sure…
6 - Paranormal skills – Ya know, I’m thinking it would be great for him to have that crazy paranormal skill of picking up after himself. Nah- that’s probably too far fetched. So, how about he just reads my mind – but only when I want him to…
7 - Interests – I’m thinking he needs to have some Twilight Edward interests. You know, like be well versed in literature, music, art. And of course I should be his number one interest.


8 - Habitat – I’m pretty fond of Earth. But I’m pretty flexible with things like this. If he wants to live somewhere un-earthly, then I’m sure I could manage.


9 - Special skills – Hmmm…the ability to keep me happy at all times. That would be great. Always say the right thing. Look good at all times (wouldn’t be hard to do for these gents…) and OH! He should cook for me! Yes!!! That’s it!

Wow. That was great fun. I should do this more often.
Now to the five blogs to pass it on to. Since I've been Blogger Neglectful recently, I don't know who has and hasn't already done this, and there's probably been tons of you! So, I will pass it on to the 2 that I know haven't done it and then anyone else who wants to hotty search, then take this and run with it. :)
ChristaCarol- Shine On

Friday, March 26, 2010

Impromptu Hiatus

Guys! My muse is back!!

*does a little dance*

Hence the blog hiatus. I opened up my GoogleReader and saw there were 342 new blog posts. *Gulp* I think I'll peruse. Do a little stalking. Not a whole lot of commenting. I apologize in advance, but I can't deny the muse. She was missing for so long.

I've been writing like a mad woman, trying to prepare for the DFW Writer's Conference in 2 weeks.I have done total body liposuction and reconstructive surgery on my baby with a ridiculous amount of help from the most awesome critter ever: Kristen Yard. She's a genius. And her writing is amazing. You must check her out if you haven't already.

The changes are hard to swallow at first. And I still struggle with the fixing the scenes that are affected, but it is worth it in the end. I want my MS to be as sparkly as Edward in the sunlight. :)

Speaking of Edward. I still have not posted my Build-Your-Own Book Boyfriend. This will be the most epic post considering I've been searching for a week for the hottest men on this planet.

Bring a napkin to wipe the drool from your mouth.

Even though I've been MIA from the blog scene, I can't seem to stay away from Twitter. I'm officially Twitterdicted. Thankyouverymuch ChristaCarol. So, if you don't see me hanging around here, I'm definitely allowing my ADD to take over on that.

Don't forget: Epic Boook Boyfriend post. This weekend. For real. Here's a teaser for you to prepare yourself:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Useless

I've been a fairly useless blogger recently. Sorry bout that. It is for good reasons! I'm no longer whining and crying over the fact that the Word document is blank. There are words again!! So, I've been focusing on that and I have to say I am pretty pleased with the transformation taking place in both of my WIPs.

Kristen, my awesome-I-think-we-were-separated-at-birth critter, sent me this GREAT video. I love me some Twilight, but I died from terrible fits of laughter watching this video. You should enjoy it! (Buffy meets Edward!)

Also, keeps your eyes peeled for my perfect book boyfriend. Jen at Unedited tagged me to play along, and well, I have never been so excited about building my perfect guy!! :)

Happy Friday!