Friday, March 30, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Slow Walker

(Anyone watch The Walking Dead? I totally thought of them when I typed in that title. (And then I thought about how on TWD, they aren't really slow walkers at all. Sometimes they have a little too much get-up-and-go if you ask me. And what's with them being able to climb stairs, anyway? I was totally counting on that being my way to safety if a zombie apocalypse ever happened.) And this has NOTHING at all to do with the quote.Which I should probably stop tangenting about and just get to.)

"I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards."

~ Abraham Lincoln

Why do I love this so? It's not just because I love Abe. And it's not because of zombies. It's because of turtles. I am a slow writer. Some might even call it turtle-like slow. It's okay. I've come to terms with the fact that I won't be pumping out a manuscript in two weeks.

I think the important thing is the NEVER WALKING BACKWARDS part. These dreams we dream? They're BIG. There are going to be setbacks. Disappointments. Things that knock us back. As long as we keep moving forward, even if we're just inching toward our goals, we'll get there.

And while we're getting there, we might as well eat cookies along the way, right?

Photo Credit and Recipe link for Red Couch Recipes

I hope you have an incredible weekend!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I think it helps to have both critique groups and critique partners

Most of us either have critique partners, or plan to find some when we're ready. But it doesn't seem like nearly as many of us have a critique group. And I swear they are every bit as valuable as CPs! Maybe even more so. And I think it's so important to have both.

Wait... What? Both? Seriously? Why?!

I'm glad you asked. :)

But first, let's make sure we're on the same page. By "Critique Groups," I mean the people you send your book to chapter by chapter. One section at a time. (Also called Alpha Readers.) By "Critique Partners," I mean the people you send the entire book to at once. (Also called Beta Readers.)

So why do you want both? Because they each give you different things.

A critique group can help you with:
  • Point out when you have redundancies.
  • Highlight awkward sentences.
  • Show when a character's voice is off-- even if it's only with a single word or phrase.
  • A more close-up scrutiny of everything. (A CP isn't likely to put in 30 comments a chapter when they are looking at the entire book at once. Someone looking at just one chapter likely will.)
A critique partner can help you with:
  • Pacing
  • Flow
  • Consistency
By the same token, getting help with those pacing, flow, and consistency things is vitally important, too! Those are things that someone reading your book chapter by chapter isn't going to be able to help with. Plus, all those changes you made after Alpha Readers suggested them need to be tested to see if they worked, right? Yep. You can't live without Beta Readers, either.

Do you have to have a group do the chapter-by-chapter part? Of course not! You can send your ms one chapter at a time to just one person if you want.

Is it better to have a group? I think so. There have been so many times when one person mentions something they think might be an issue, but you wonder just how much of an issue it is. It's nice to be able to ask the others if it was an issue for them (or if you're not meeting together, see if any of the others mentioned it in their notes).

Do you have alpha readers? If so, do you meet as a group? If not, is it because you'd rather not have them, or haven't found them yet?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Impossible to Discourage

"It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write."

~Sinclair Lewis

I like this quote, because I'm in love with the thought of being impervious to discouragement.


It doesn't totally ring true to me. I like to think of myself as a real writer. But that doesn't mean I'm never going to get discouraged. (I'm not alone in this, right?) The point is, we get past it. In the end, the writing means enough that it doesn't matter what naysayers say! We get over discouragement. We don't let it KEEP us down.

Okay, so maybe one shouldn't mess with a deceased man's quote. But I'm going to anyway, and hope it isn't as offensive as doing a jig on his grave. (If it is, I really apologize, Mr. Lewis. I'll bring flowers to your grave next time I'm near Greenwood Cemetery. And I swear I won't so much as step a foot on your grave.) I think it should say something like "It's impossible for a real writer to STAY discouraged - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write."

So let's raise a cookie and toast to not staying discouraged! (And what says "Discouragement not allowed" better than good ole chocolate chip cookies?)

Photo Credit for Donna's Gourmet Cookies

Have an incredibly fabulous weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Way We Are: Where do you hail from?

Sometimes this blogging world feels so small. I swear I wave at all you guys every morning when I walk out of my house! It always surprises me to find out that you don't ACTUALLY LIVE NEXT DOOR. That some of you are just going to bed when I'm waking up. It's kind of an incredible concept to me. So that's my question this week.

Where do you live?

As for me: I live here. Right at the foot of my* mountains in Utah.

Aren't they beautiful? They're not always snow-covered like this, of course. In fact, they've hardly been snow-covered at all this winter! Between yesterday when I took this picture and today, a lot on the lower mountains has already melted away. But still-- white, green, brown, gray-- I love to call these mountains home.

(*And yes-- they're MY mountains! They've even got my name on them! That mountain there on the left has a big G on it. It's snow-covered and a little hard to see, so I'll zoom in for you.)

(See it? The three mountains to the left of it have a P, an E, and a G. Over a few mountains to the right is the Y. )(....Okay, so only the G and the Y are really there, but still. I'm claiming them as mine. :))

Is the place where you live a forever home for you? Or one for just a little while?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finding Your Theme

I did a post asking what everyone's theme was about a week and a half ago. Several people said they weren't sure what their theme was, or what theme was in general. And that's when I realized what a crazy concept theme is! It's about as easy to explain and understand as Voice is. They're both so abstract.

As I showered that morning (because that's where ideas come from, you know), I thought about how I would explain theme. And wouldn't you know it: a couple of things finally fell into place in my book! So THANK YOU to everyone whose comments prompted me to think more about them.

And because I know that it can sometimes help just to hear a different voice give their explanation of a concept, here's mine.

Your book is like a salad. The concept and plot and characters and setting-- that's the lettuce and toppings on your salad. The theme is the salad dressing. It's the thing that's there throughout, the one common "flavor" that ties it all together.

You probably have dressing (theme) in your salad (book) already. Maybe it's not the type you want, and maybe not all the toppings are coated, but likely you have some in there even if you didn't think you did.

So how do you find your theme?

Look at your protagonist's character arc. That is a HUGE CLUE right there. In almost all cases, their arc, or the basic thing they learn, in its simplest form, is the theme for your book. But the theme isn't only in the MC's arc, just like the salad dressing shouldn't only be on the raspberries. It's throughout.

Let me explain in an example.

Okay, so some high school kids who are actually mechanical / science prodigies are offered a chance to go to an elite high school whose classes will stretch even them, and give them a chance to reach their intellectual potentials. At the school, after doing some searching, a group of the kids discover that the teachers are actually aliens who are stranded on our planet, and they're using the kids to figure out how to build a new space ship.

Okay. That's your concept. And the start of your basic plot. It is NOT theme at all. Moving on.

The MC is a boy who was the quarterback at his public high school, where he hid his intellect from the whole school, but most of all from all his teammates. It helped him fit in better. At this new school, he finds he can actually have his intelligence out in the open and still fit in. When it's no longer an issue of fitting in, he realizes the reason he kept his massive brainpower a secret was so he wouldn't turn out like his dad, who missed most of MC's childhood because he was in federal prison for hacking into the Justice Department's computer system.

That's part of your character arc. And great clues as to theme.

From here, you could play up the "I'm new here and trying to fit in and find my place" theme. Or "Can I help save the day / the school / the system / the world, without treading into waters that will take me to a bad place?" Or "Trying to figure out who I really am." Or heck, even "Can two people who share a love of math and everything logic go beyond what makes sense long enough to fall in love?"

So once you find your theme, what do you do with it?

Let's take the I'm new here and trying to fit in and find my place theme. That theme needs to be running throughout your character arc. When he's at his old school. When he's at his new school. It needs to cause issue with the emotional / romantic parts. With all his parts in the plot.

But it can't stop with the MC. It needs to be spread throughout. So those aliens: they're stranded here, right? They suddenly have to try to fit in and find their place in a world they find completely foreign, while hiding the fact that they're aliens. And lets say there's a secondary character. A love interest for MC. Maybe she's been the smartest person in her school for so long, that going to a school with super-geniuses puts her in the uncomfortable spot of not being the smartest. Not being the person everyone looks to. And now she's trying to figure out how she fits into this new world. And, if you want to get bigger with it, how this newly-created school fits into the world of schools and where that can take you.

Of course, you could go on and on. The best thing is to weave that theme throughout all the areas that the plot dictates you have included in your book. It doesn't mean you have to add new areas. Just get a little salad dressing on everything you've already got.

Obviously theme can't be heavy handed, or it becomes didactic. You want it to be subtle. When you eat a salad, you don't want the dressing to be overpowering, right? If you hit them over the head with the theme, they will only be able to find one interpretation of it, and it might not be what they want. Leave it subtle, and each reader can interpret that theme in their own way, and each one can come up with a different opinion on what the theme was. It might not be the exact thing you were going for with the theme, but they'll interpret it the exact way they need.

And that's the true beauty of theme.

And the winner of the ARC of EDENBROOKE is..... Steph Sessa! If you get a chance, hop on over to her blog and tell her congratulations!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Talent, Determination, Luck

"If people ask me for the ingredients of success, I say one is talent, two is stubbornness or determination, and third is sheer luck. You have to have two out of the three. Any two will probably do."

~Fred Saberhagen

Fancy yourself a lucky person? AWESOME. This means you can have either talent or determination, and you'll be golden! Luck tend to not be with you? ALL IS NOT LOST. All you have to do is develop your talents, and have buckets of determination. Then it doesn't matter whether or not you have luck, because you'll have the other two! And two is all it really takes... Fred Saberhagen said so. :)

Pretty awesome, right?

So lets clink our cookies together in a toast either to luck or to the absence of it. And what better way to toast luck than with  sugar encrusted lucky clovers? Okay, well maybe SOMETHING else, but nothing I can think of because my brain can only think of the sugar encrusting at the moment. And, oh yeah! having talent, determination, and/or luck. And sugar encrusting...)

Photo credit and recipe link from Bake at 350

Happy weekend and St. Patrick's Day, everyone! May you not forget to wear green.

Since you're feeling extra lucky, go to Jessie Humphries blog! She's having a giveaway of Fandango bucks, just in time for the Hunger Games premier!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Way We Are: Publishing Fears

I think we all have fears. Some people's greatest fear might be significantly more or less than another person's greatest fear, of course, but we all have some to some degrees. And it doesn't matter where we are in this whole process-- there are fears to be had all along the way.

  • Fear that you might find out your writing stinks when you share it for the first time.
  • Fear that you'll never find an agent.
  • Fear you'll never find a publisher.
  • Fear that your book really needs you to get rid of your favorite part.
  • Fear that if you get multiple book deal that you'll freeze up and not be able to write the second.
  • Fear that your ideas aren't original/big/interesting/unique enough, or that they don't have enough conflict.
  • Fear that if you do make it big, it'll change you as a person.
  • That someday you'll find it too easy to quit trying.
  • Fear that when you have deadlines, you won't be able to meet them.
  • Fear that if a publisher takes a chance on you, that your book won't sell.
  • Fear people will hate your book.
  • And, you know... about a million more.

I think there are two kinds of fears: bad fears and good fears. Bad fears keep you from doing the things you should be doing. Good fears keep you from doing the things you shouldn't be doing. For example, a bad fear would be letting your fear that your writing stinks keep you from giving your work to critique partners or moving forward with it. A good fear would be letting your fear that your writing stinks push you to learn more and work and work on your MS until it's really ready before you query. The point is, any fear that you have can be used for your advantage, or your disadvantage. It can work for you or against you. The real trick is getting it to do what you want it to do. :)

So what's your biggest writing fear? Is it a good fear or a bad fear?

Although I've had several of those fears and more, I had thought about not sharing mine because... maybe I have a fear of sharing it. :) But how can I expect you to if I don't?! Plus, I've skipped my answer in a few The Way We Are segments in the past, and you guys have called me out on it in the comments. I respect that.

So, okay. Here's mine. I followed this one writer's blog since before she had even 100 followers, and before she got her book deal. I thought she was awesome and I really related to her and I loved her posts. She has a few books out now that have done really well (yay her!) and her followers now number in the thousands. But her blog posts that were once fun and full of excitement when good things happened, are now almost always full of bragging in some form. I guess my biggest fear is if I ever made it big, that someday I might think I'm cooler than someone. You know-- forgetting that it doesn't matter which publishing path we choose to take or where we are on the path, we're really all the same. Every single one of us is just struggling to climb whatever step is our next step. I know we're all doing the same thing, and that no one on one step is any cooler than someone on a different step. I just really don't want to ever forget that.

But you've all got my back, right? If I ever write a post that sounds like I think I'm all that and a bucket of cheese, you'll call me out on it, right? Give me a virtual eye roll or flick to the forehead? I'd appreciate it.

And wow! I didn't know I was asking such a hard question when I started this! Go ahead and lay bare your publishing fears. If it's hard, just know that I'm right there with you on that.

Huge thanks to both LindaK at Excuse Me While I Note That Down and to Nick Wilford at Scattergun Scribblings for passing the Sunshine Award my way. I LOVE sunshine! In a huge way do I love sunshine. Thanks, Linda and Nick!!

Oh, and if you haven't entered in the giveaway for the Advanced Reader Copy of Julianne Donaldson's EDENBROOKE, scroll down to the next post and enter! You have until Sunday night. And yes on international entries, to those who asked. Sometimes I forget that you don't all actually live in my neighborhood! I swear I wave to you every day. Makes me not think to answer questions like that in the first place.

Oh! And head on over to Erin Summerill's blog. She did Julianne's head shot, and is giving one away on her blog! (Your own headshot. Not Judo's.) Trust me. You seriously want this. She's amazing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Julianne Donaldson: Interview, Giveaway, and Best "How I Got My Agent" Story EVER.

Hi, Julianne! Welcome! I'm so excited to have you here for my very first interview! Have a seat in the cushy chair. Might I say your hair looks fabulous! And I really like that sweater. Would you like a cookie? I baked your favorite kind.... which are?

I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie.

Yes! These are totally chocolate chip cookies! I baked them especially for you.

Mmm...Thank you! 

Your "How I got my agent" story is my FAVORITE OF ALL TIME. Care to share?

Oh, dear. This story doubles as one of the most embarrassing stories of my life. Okay, here goes. I was attending a writer's conference in Park City with some friends a couple years ago. The night before the conference started, we went to dinner with the conference organizers and the agents and editors. I happened to join the carpool that included Laurie McLean, agent extraordinaire. Another writer drove in her nice, leather interior truck, and my friends and I sat in the back and asked Laurie questions. We got to the restaurant, and as we waited for our food I started to feel nauseated. My stomach felt worse and worse, and by halfway through the meal I was doubled over.

My friend Jaime took pity on me and walked me next door to the Whole Foods store, where she bought me some ginger capsules and real ginger ale. I swallowed some capsules and chugged some ginger ale and felt a ginger bomb fermenting in my stomach. By this time everyone else was done eating and wanted to shop at Whole Foods too. So I sat on a bench outside the store, moaning, and called my husband to beg him to come and pick me up because I felt so sick I wanted to die. He knew that I would regret missing out on the conference, so he encouraged me to stay and see how I felt in another hour or so. The other ladies came out, looked at me, and stepped back a few paces.

Laurie said, "You look green. You should sit in the front seat." I took her up on the offer because I thought it might be necessary to exit the truck quickly. I rolled down the window, hoping the fresh air would help, and tried to keep my dinner down. We were almost back at the hotel when I suddenly realized that the ginger bomb in my stomach had exploded. I yelled to the driver, "Pull over. Right now." She pulled over, but she didn't stop fast enough. The puke was coming out, and I was not going to coat the leather interior of her new truck with it. So I threw open the door and jumped out of the still-moving truck while puking. I landed wrong on my ankle and stumbled along the rocky embankment while spewing all over. From inside the truck I could hear ladies yelling, "Oh no! Did you run over her? She jumped out before I stopped! Is she okay?" I hurled like it was going out of style, and finally, when I was done, I took a water bottle and rinsed off my shoes, then climbed shakily back into the truck, where everyone was expressing their extreme concern for me. I wanted to die, I was so embarrassed. But Laurie reached over my shoulder, handed me her business card, and said, "Send me a partial."

I spent the rest of the night with my head in the toilet, and the next day limping around the hotel and lying in bed with ice on my ankle. When I saw Laurie in the hall, she stopped to ask how I was doing. (Barely surviving.) Then she told me that she admired my perseverance in staying there even though I obviously wasn't well. She said it bode well for my career as a writer. I began to love her. The last day of the conference, I won the drawing to send Laurie my first three chapters for a critique. When they announced my name and I stood up, she cheered and gave me a hug and said, "It's karma!" I thought the same thing. It was fate that we should meet. I am sure there are other nice agents in the world, but nobody could have surpassed Laurie's graciousness. I have since learned that she is more than gracious and kind--she is hard-working, brilliant, optimistic, a go-getter, and the world's greatest cheerleader. Everything you want in an agent.

(Oh, my gosh, guys. Isn't that the best story EVER?) Julie, you actually got your book deal before you got your agent, right?

Yes, I did things a little backwards in that regard. I had published a non-fiction book with the same publisher a year before, so I already had contacts there when I began to consider submitting my novel. After having many agents read my full manuscript and respond that they "loved it, but couldn't sell it without sex in it," I had given up on the agent route. In fact, I didn't even send Laurie my full when she requested it, because I was afraid she would say the same thing. (I know. I was a wimp.) So I submitted my manuscript to Shadow Mountain, and after I had an offer from them, I contacted Laurie and asked her if she would like to represent me. She read my full manuscript in one night, loved it, and called me the next day to offer representation.

Then you went from book deal to publication date with lightning fast speed. What are the pros and cons of having a release date so soon?

I received a verbal offer from my publisher at the end of July 2011, and my book will be released the end of March 2012. Since this is my first novel, I don't really have a different experience to compare it to. But I will say that my team at Shadow Mountain has not lost their excitement for my story, and that is a pro in my book. For cons, I think one challenge with this short time-frame is getting everything done in time. My editing deadline was one week from the time my editor sent me my manuscript. Life is pretty hectic right now, but I am a very impatient person, and after working on this manuscript for five years, I feel like it can't come out soon enough.

A week?! I would've died. Edenbrooke must be one incredible book for them to push it with that kind of speed! Tell us about the book.

Edenbrooke is a love story set in the Regency period in England. (Think Jane Austen.) Seventeen-year-old Marianne Daventry is invited to spend the summer at Edenbrooke, a great estate in the countryside, where she imagines she will be able to do the things she loves, like ride horses and paint, while her twin sister tries to snag the handsome heir. But Marianne's plans for the summer are turned upside down and she finds herself caught in the middle of secrets, intrigue, and a headlong fall into the kind of love that changes you forever. It has humor, suspense, a lot of flirting, and a happy ending. It was a lot of fun to write.

Your book takes place in England, and you're going to England in a week to research your next book. Now tell the truth. Do you plan your book locations based on best vacation spot? :)

Absolutely! No, really, I have always loved England. It's in my blood--most of my ancestors came from England or Scotland, and it has been my favorite place to read about and dream about. It made Edenbrooke so real to me to visit England, that I knew I had to go again to do research for my next book.

I just decided. My next book is either happening in Hawaii or at the castles in Scotland.

Sign me up! Actually, I think my third book will be set in Paris. But after that, definitely Scotland.

The first two letters of your first name and the first two letters of your last name combine to make the greatest nickname-- Judo. I love it! Which begs the question: Did your husband's perfect last name figure into the equation when you said yes to his wedding proposal?

Thank you. I love my nickname. And, no, the sad thing is I didn't even realize that my name lent itself to Judo until our mutual friend Erin started calling me that. We were in a writing group together with another girl (and friend) whose name is Julie Dixon. So I couldn't be Julie D, because she was Julie D also. So I became Judo. I like it more than I should. It doesn't sound sophisticated at all, but it appeals to the side of me that jumps in the air and does karate kicks when I'm excited.

(I, obviously, did NOT take my husband's last name into consideration before saying "I do," since the same formula in a nickname gives me the name Peed.)

Your book sounds so fabulous, Julie, and so are you! Why don't you share all the important links so we can find out more about it and you. 
Buy Edenbrooke on Amazon
Buy Edenbrooke at Barnes & Noble
Buy Edenbrooke at Deseret Book

Thanks so much, Peggy! This was such a fun interview, and I loved your cookies!

Thank you, Julie!

And guess what? Her publisher sent me an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) to give away! In your comment, just let me know if you'd like to be entered for a chance to win. Bonus point if you use the words "nickname," "ginger," "regency," and/or "escape by tuck-n-roll" in your comment. Extra bonus point if you tell someone about the giveaway via facebook, twitter, blog, phone, email, texting, talking, good old fashioned note, smoke signals, and/or sign language. (Make sure you tell me if you get the bonus point.)

Giveaway ends Sunday night (March 18th) at midnight MST. Best of luck!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Jump off Cliffs

"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."

~Kurt Vonnegut

I think I love this quote because the concept of jumping off cliffs fascinates me.

Or maybe it's the leap of faith it takes to believe that if you take such a huge risk, you'll develop those wings on the way down.

Or maybe it's the wing-developing itself. That we have it in us to develop those wings... we just have to be willing to do the work.

Or maybe it's because I feel like I've been jumping off cliffs lately, and it's a comforting thought to know that I can get wings, because I REALLY don't want to splat across the rocks at the bottom.

Or maybe it's because there are these other cliffs that I'm standing at the top of, looking down at the ground so very, very far away, and I'm still a little scared to jump.

Or, you know, maybe it's just because the concept of jumping off cliffs fascinates me.

And do these cookies! Mmmm. I think I may have to forget cliff-diving for a bit and go make some of these.

Photo Credit

Happy cliff-diving!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Way We Are: Theme

So we all have a main theme in whatever it is we're writing, right? (Nod your head yes. Chances are you have one even if you haven't finely honed what it is, or even figured out what it is.) Just to make sure we're all on the same page, though, Larry Brooks is going to help us out. On his blog, he defines theme as this:

Theme is how a story touches you. What and how it causes you to think about. How the story mirrors and/or comments upon real life. Theme says something worth saying, even when it’s obvious.

“Love is complicated,” for example. Obvious, but worth saying over and over, and the fodder for an eternity of stories in all genres.

Theme is not concept. Concept is what the story is about dramatically.

Theme resides outside of the story, because it remains when the story is over. Theme is truth, theme is belief, theme is consequence and meaning and importance.

Unlike concept and character and structure, you can actually stumble upon an effective theme without giving it a whole lot of literary thought. It’s almost impossible to write a story about human beings squaring off with problems without a theme emerging on some level.

Since theme is every bit as fascinating as concept is, I want to know what yours is! 

In TTBB, I kind of have two that are a little bit separate, but work together. The first is work with your strengths! I mean, seriously-- are you going to accomplish great things if you focus on your greatest weakness, just because it seems to be everyone else's strength?

The second is a quote I ran across that I love: "There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. If you do not prepare to do them, they will not be done." (H. Burke Peterson)

Now lets hear yours!

P.S. Thanks so much to Julie Daines at A Writer's Compendium for the Kreative Blogger Award!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The "Are You Published?" Question

You know how it is. You're at the grocery store, the gym, your kid's soccer game, a family reunion, and you run into someone you haven't seen for a bit. They start asking about you, and you mention that you're a writer. And then they say, "Oh! Very nice." And then the dreaded question. "Have you been published?"

And if you say anything other than, "Why yes, actually, I have. My most recent book was [name of book everyone's heard of]," you get that look. The same one you figure you'd get if you had said, "I decided to change careers. I think I'm going to make it big as a hoola-hooping juggler."

And you want to somehow convey that you are serious about this thing! This isn't some hobby. This is something you work hard at! (Side note: If it IS just a hobby, that's so totally cool. It just usually means you won't say "I'm a writer" so much as "I like to write," which tends to keep people from asking the Dreaded Question. Which is also cool. ;))

Chances are, they aren't a writer, so they don't get it. They don't get the time and sacrifices and work that has to happen before you can be published. They don't get that everyone has to go through that work. So how do you answer?

My favorites were, "Not yet. Just give me some more time." Or "When I'm ready, I hope to be." Or "I'm working toward it."

Sometimes, it helps convey that it is hard work, and you're putting in the work. Sometimes it works and that look disappears a little.

Of course, sometimes it works TOO WELL, in which case you get Dreaded Question #2: "So, you're going to be the next J.K. Rowling?" (Am I right? Raise your hand if you've told someone you're a writer, and they've asked you if you're the next JK.) I don't know about you guys, but Dreaded Question #2 usually elicits a snort from me, and that's never pretty. Hm. I'm beginning to thing that people who say "I like to write," really know what they're talking about.

How do you answer that question?

P.S. Huge thanks to Eve at Functioning Insanity for the Sunshine Award and to Susan Kane at The Contemplative Cat for the Liebster Award!
P.P.S. I am immersing myself into edits on THROUGH THE BOMB'S BREATH so thoroughly and deeply that I'm only going to post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the month of March. There. I've announced it, so I won't feel the need to do some crazy post explaining why I missed a day. Oh, wait. I had fun doing that post.... I might have to explain myself again sometime.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Staying a Writer

“Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”

~Harlan Ellison

So true, isn't it? As much as writing can grab us and make us want to hole up somewhere with a laptop and write forever, it also takes a lot of WORK. A lot of effort to keep learning and keep growing and keep writing and keep revising and keep blogging or any / all the other things we do along with it. I mean, it takes a lot!

So is it easy to STAY a writer? I'm going to say no. Every once in a while, the thought crosses my mind about how much easier life would be if I didn't write. Easier? Yes! Better? For me, no. And I'm guessing for most, if not all, of you-- the answer is no, too.

(Of course, life would be easier if we had a maid, a personal chef, a personal shopper, and a gardener. (Ooo! While we're dreaming big, let's throw in masseuse, too.) But who says life is supposed to be easy? We don't need no stinkin EASY! We're tough! (We best keep telling ourselves that, too, lest we forget.))

So what do you think? On a scale of 1-10, (10 being the highest, of course, since it's the highest), what are the chances you'll STAY a writer? And to reward you for answering such a hard question, have a cookie!!

Photo credit and recipe link

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm feeling Lucky

Guess what, guys? I joined the Lucky 13s! It's a group of authors who are all debuting in 2013. I joined them a couple of months ago, and it has been amazing to be able to chat with people who are all going through the same things. (If you have a debut book deal but your book isn't out yet, or if you're looking forward to that point in the future, definitely think about joining a group blog. They're an unbelievable support!)

Today is my very first day posting on the blog, where I've managed to completely twist and bend this week's theme. It's supposed to be "Dinner with our characters: What's on the menu in our books?" yet I somehow turned it into the "Girth of the First Draft."

If you haven't already become a follower of the Luckies blog, I'd definitely recommend it. It hosts over 50 amazing authors of kidlit in so many different genres! It's worth it. I swear.

Click here to go to The Incredibly Awesome Lucky 13s Blog.

See you over there!

P.S. Thank you, S.L. Hennessey! She blogs at Pensuasion, and just passed on the Kreativ Blogger award to me! I love it and its crazy spelling of creative.