Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas to all

Update: I got my shopping done and visited a few blogs. No cleaning, no wrapping, and no chapter 7.

But I still have tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I will be enjoying family, food, going to a water park, an anniversary, a birthday (big 4-0), two weddings, and a reception, all of which will require driving 18 hours.

I'm pretty sure no writing will occur.

See you all in January and you can help me celebrate my birthday. Well, technically I won't see you in person, but I will see your profile pictures, so yeah, see you in January.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's time to catch up

Tis the season for being busy.

So this week I've decided to catch up.

I'm going to clean my house - most of it anyway.

I'm going to finish my Christmas shopping - this is a must.

I'm going to wrap my presents - hopefully not all on Friday night.

I'm going to catch up on everyone's blogs this week - probably not all 199 blogs, but I'll try. Do you see how close I am to 200. It would nice if I could reach that before the end of the year. That would be nice Christmas present.

I might try to finish Chapter 7 - I said I might.

I'll be back to wish everyone a Merry Christmas at the end of the week.

What do you have to do this week to catch up?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do you like to be first?

Sometimes when I play soccer, I don't like to start, especially if we're playing a new team. I usually like to watch the game for a little bit so I can determine who to look out for, who has a strong kick, or who might take you out.

Likewise when I read blogs. Once in a while, when I read a blog I don't necessarily like to be the first person who comments, especially if its my first time to someone's blog. I like to see what others have to say. Maybe a couple of posts to get to know the person. Although lots of times that's backfired and they've said the exact same thing I would have said.

What about you? Are always excited to be the first one commenting or do you hang back and wait for a while?

PS: Please don't let this post deter anyone from commenting first and have a great weekend full of Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't wimp out

Playing mid in soccer is hard. You have to defend and attack. For most of the indoor season I've been playing this position and last night I wimped out. During the second half, I psyched myself into thinking I could no longer play that position because I was so tired. So I asked someone to switch. After the game, I regretted making that decision and wished I would have made a better effort.

Last January I made two resolutions, to write a second book and to get an agent. I accomplished the first one, but like last night, I've kind of psyched myself out of trying for the second.

I sent out a handful of queries at the beginning of the year and didn't get any responses: no fulls, no partials - nothing. So I re-evaluated my book and decided to rewrite the beginning and end, but that's been done for a while. Then I decided to redo my query and write a synopsis. Both of those have been ready to go for a few months, but still I'm reluctant to press send.

So instead of making the goal for 2011 to get an agent, my goal is just to send out as many queries as I can (I'm thinking 100). I need to get over my fear of failure. I might become the queen of rejections, but I need to be okay with that, because the last thing I want is to look back at 2011 and wish that I would have made a better effort.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why am I such a misfit?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is my favorite Christmas show. I watch it every year and last night I guilted my kids into watching it with me. We sang along to the songs and laughed at the lines, "And we won't let Rudolph join in any reindeer games" and "This is man's work."

Good times.

What's your favorite Christmas show? I have to say I'm also partial to The Year without a Santa Claus, but that's mostly for the snow and heat miser scenes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hard work trumps height anyday

Last weekend my son played in his first basketball tournament of the season.

We're not a tall team and to make matters worse, our tallest and one of our best players got the flu and couldn't play the first game. Some of the kids thought for sure they would lose and I would have thought so to when we saw their competition. They were big and strong, some even had facial hair (a lot of it). Also just to help set the scene, our team is made up of grade 9 & 10 boys, while their team was grade 10 & 11 kids.

But you know what happened. The boys worked hard. They played tough defence and didn't let the ball get to the big guys. And in the end they shocked this big team from the city and won the game.

Bragging moment: It was one of my son's best games. He had 28 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, 7 steals, and 3 blocks.

I know there have been times when I look at other writers and thought, wow, I'll never be able to write like they do. Sometimes I accept defeat before I've even played the game. But what I need to keep in mind is that even though I might not have as much natural talent (height) that others have, if I work hard, I can eventually reach my goals. Sure it might take longer, but I'm a firm believer that hard work can trump height anyday.
Please note the photo is not of that game, the kids he played against were much taller and yes my son is the one with the ball and the boy with the moustache, well that was fake (it was Movember).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't miss out


First of all I want to apologizing to everyone who commented on Monday's post. I usually email a response to your comment, but procrastination got in the way and then Christmas shopping took over, which is what I want to talk about today.

Back in September I made a goal not to buy anything for myself for four months. Anyone who knows me, knows that was huge, because I kind of love shopping. So although I didn't go total cold turkey, I did pretty good. One pair of soccer shorts $26 and one coat $35. Not bad - right?

Well today I went to the mall to do some shopping and it was so much fun. I got presents for my family and a dress for me since I do have a Christmas party and two weddings to go to this month. But the best part was shopping with my sisters and mom, who I haven't really done anything with since I made my goal. So even though I did really well on my goal - I've missed time with my family.

How does this relate to writing?

It's good to make goals, but don't let it get in the way of other things that are maybe more important.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How many writers does it take?

A while ago Michelle made a comment that kind of popped back into my head tonight.

She mentioned that she had too many people read her first book, Monarch, which is about to be published. She didn't explain why. I can only guess that too many people, means too many opinions. But this had me wondering - what is the magic number. Should you have less than five, more than five, but less than ten.

So far I've had five, but the first two don't really count anymore, because it's a completely different book since then, so really I've had three.

Do you think I need more? How many people have read your work? How many people do you think you need to have read your work?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Takes a licking but keeps on....

Thanks for the well wishes on my last post. Apparently, I suffered a minor concussion and have either bruised or broken ribs. I'll be getting an x-ray tomorrow and will find out on Monday how long my soccer break will be.

My doctor said to me as he shook his head, "This soccer thing has been hard on you."

But when I'm playing soccer, I don't look at all of the injuries I've had (broken wrist, achilles problems, sprained knee). I only see all the fun I've had. I'm doing something I love with people I love. So even though I might regret it when I'm 60 and can hardly walk, I'll keep playing until I can't run anymore.
Same with writing. Yes there's hardship. Sometimes rejection can get you down. Sometimes the lack of words has you questioning what the hell you're doing, but I know this for sure. I will keep writing for as long as I can.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A soccer break


I usually write my posts at night, but I got beat up pretty badly in my soccer game tonight. Ball to the face, my already bruised toe stepped on again, and tripped by the goalie, which resulted in me doing a flip and landing on my head and back.

So since I'm pretty sore and my head hurts, I'm going to take a couple of days to recoup. Be back on Thursday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Throwing stuff away

Today my daughter got mad at me for throwing away an art project she did at school a year ago. It was a picture she drew on tin foil and she wanted to do it again, but couldn't remember exactly how to do it.

This begs the question. How much of your old writing do you keep. Sometimes I think I keep too much. Every time I change a chapter, a query letter, a synopsis – I change the date and keep the old one, even though I might have only changed one sentence. I keep thinking that maybe I'll change my mind and decide that the paragraph on page 10 was better in version 15 than version 18 and if I throw it away I'll never remember what the exact words were.

How about you? Do you let go of your old words, or do you hang onto them like clothes from the 1980's.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To my American friends


Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Here's hoping you are able to visit with family, have a great dinner, and get some great deals at the mall.

I'll probably be having cereal, working, and juggling basketball and soccer practices.

Just for fun here's a few things I'm thankful for.

1. That we have a garage to park our cars in.
2. That I only have to drive to work 3 days a week on icy roads.
3. Friday - because it will be a balmy -1C, instead of -38C

Stay warm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What comes first?

What comes first for you – the book or the movie?

Do you like to read the book before you see the movie, or do you like to see the movie before you read the book?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In need of a pick me up

As of Tuesday it has snowed nonstop and I'm quite tired of it. I'm in need of a pick me up from the lack of sun. I'm thinking a good movie might be in order.

Except I hate crowds, so I'll probably just rent a video.

But there are some good movies coming out.

1. Harry Potter - you know the one with the wizard boy.
2. Voyage of the Dawn Treader - the obvious cast
3. Love & other Drugs - with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal
4. Restless - with the girl from Alice in Wonderland. Apparently she meets a boy who likes to go to funerals and talks to a dead Japanese fighter pilot. (She's also the new Jane Eyre - not sure when that one is coming out)

How about you do movies give you an escape from everyday life and if so what movie are you most looking forward to?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I did...

Thanks so much for all the great advice on Monday. So this is what I did.

I got home from work, and I went for a walk to clear my head and because a blizzard was coming, and I wanted to enjoy some sunshine. I took a bath. I did some laundry. I watched TV.

The next day I worked on finishing the chapter and I think I was making it more difficult that it needed it to be. I was over thinking it. So I made my changes, and my husband read it and understood what was going on. Yeah! Now I can mark that off of my things to do.

Later on Tuesday I tried again to work on my synopsis, but with not much luck. I went to my soccer game, which started at 9pm. Scored a goal, got an assist and we won 5-0 (sorry I just had to brag, since I don't get to do it very often). Woke up Wednesday with a horrible headache and slept for four hours. Got up and actually made progress on the synopsis. Slowly I'm inching my way toward finishing this thing.

With my current WIP I've alredy written they query and it was way easier to do it while writing my draft. I'm thinking I should do the same for the synopsis.

Which bodes the question. Do you think it's easier to write the synopsis before you write your book, during, or after?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When things click

I think we've all had those moments when things click. Plots come together, chapters have well formed arcs, and our character development is right where we want it.

Last week as I was working on my synopsis, I had a moment of "yes, this is what my plot needs" then I spent the whole week trying to implement it, and I hate to say that nothing clicked. I tried massaging the chapter. I tried rewriting the chapter. I even tried to move things around. Nothing worked. I think that I need to leave it alone, let it sit for a week, but I've never been good at doing that.

What do you do when you're stuck and nothing is clicking?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Massaging

For me massages are a necessary evil. I don't get the swedish kind with the aromatherapy and citar music playing. I usually go for the sport massage. The masseur kneads and puts pressure on all the knots I have in my back and shoulders. Usually I want to cry or at least hold my breath. In short, it hurts. I'm usually sore the next day, but a few days later, I feel pretty good.

I've been working on my synopsis all week. Well not every minute of the day, but it sure feels like it. I've got all the main points written out, and the first half is mostly done, but the second half needs a lot of massaging. It's going to be rough, and it will probably hurt. I'm hoping not to hold my breath until I'm finished, or I might just pass out.

On the plus side, I figured out a different motivation for my main bad guy that I'm totally excited about, maybe writing a synopsis is a good idea.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conversations

Setting: Driving highschool aged son home from school with eight year old daughter in the back seat.

Daughter: Can you give me some advice about highschool?

Son: Sure

Pause

Daughter: Okay, go.


Setting: Going to a wedding shower, daughter is wearing skinny jeans with black shoes that have a little bit of a heel.

Daughter: I'm pretty sure I look like I'm ten.


Have you overheard any interesting conversations lately?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Walking a Straight Line

So last week I talked about being stuck and muscling through Chapter 6 and a little bit of Chapter 7. I told a friend, who has written four books, about this on Saturday, and she asked why didn't I just go to the next scene and come back to it.

Here's the thing. I'm a very linear writer, which is probably to my detriment. I have a hard time writing out of order. I'm not sure why. I've tried jumping ahead to other chapters, but it just doesn't feel right. It's like I want to progress with my characters at the same time as them. I'd make a horrible actor or director.

How about you? Do you jump from scene to scene or write linear and why?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting past Chapters 6 & 7

I've been stuck. For two weeks, I've been trying to finish editing Chapter 6 of my current WIP. I had the first part done, but the second part wasn't ringing true. I questioned the flow, the tone, the voice, the importance of the scene, but today I muscled through.

I said to myself, "Self, if you don't try, it will never get done."

So I just did it. It might not be perfect and I might change a few things tomorrow, but for the most part I think it's pretty good.

Now I have Chapter 7. When I wrote my draft, I didn't write Chapter 7. I wrote write dragon scene here and moved on. Today I decided that I couldn't procrastinate anymore, so I wrote half of it and although it will probably change, at least I have the words down, because you can't work with anything if you don't have anything to work with.

Make sense.

My advice for the weekend. If your stuck, flex your brain and try to muscle through.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Newbie Advice

Over the past year a few friends and family members have asked to read my book. Most take a while to read it and I have to ask what they thought of it, but on Monday I got a great email from my niece. I sent the book to her on Thursday and she read it in three days. Gotta love that.

Here's what she said:

"Wow, I am surprised that it has not been published yet."

And then she went on to say a lot of other nice things, which I won't bore you with. But it was really nice to hear some positive feedback.

Then she told me she was writing a novel and asked for any advice. I told her to read some books on writing (which is something I wish I had done), visit some blogs (wish I'd known about this sooner), and have a sense of where you're going, plus a few grammar things (no adverbs, avoid passive).

If you knew then what you know now, what advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Implants

My husband is a broken man. He's had six surgeries since we've been married and the doctor's want him to have another one on his shoulder. This time instead of trying to fix the shoulder, they want to give him a new one from a donor (a dead one). The doctors say that can't completely fix what's wrong. They can make it somewhat better, but he really just needs a new one.

This is how I feel with writing sometimes. Some of my chapters just aren't working. I try to change a word, a sentence, a paragraph, but in the end I really just need to start fresh with all new words. Which is a lot easier than getting an implant.

Back to editing and writing a hook for my query. I have the whole letter written, except the hook, maybe I'll post it later this week to get some feedback.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We interrupt this break...

I'm coming out of hibernation to let you guys know about another great contest. Marieke interviewed Elana Johnson on how to write a good query letter. For anyone whose struggling, this is some great advice. Also you can win a critique from Elana, who wouldn't want that.

Back to editing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Oldie but a Goodie

I've decided to take the rest of the week off. I need to get myself organized. I'll be stalking around, but won't be posting anything new.

But for those who are new here's an old post that I liked.

The First Ten Minutes

I’m not one of those people who loves to run, but because I play soccer it’s a necessary evil. What I find the most interesting is that the first ten minutes are the hardest not the last ten.

It takes me ten minutes to get into a rhythm and for my body to get used to the pounding. If I can make it past ten minutes then I can run for another forty or more.

I find the same thing with writing. It takes me at least ten minutes to get into a groove where I’ve blocked everything else out: my kids, the internet, the TV, the dirty dishes. Usually it's when the kids are in bed, the internet and TV are off and my house is clean that I can sit down with a clear mind. Then once I get past that first ten minutes then I’m good to go and I can write for hours. Okay, maybe not hours, but it sure feels like it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Waiting and Wishing

It seems to me that I am never content.

As a kid I used to start a lot of phrases with I can't wait until . . .

- I can date.
- I can get my driver's license.
- I finish high school.
- I get a boyfriend
- I get married
- even I can't wait to have kids

Now that I'm older my days are filled with I wish . . .

- I had done better in school,
- I wish I hadn't been so boy crazy (which probably would have allowed me to do better in school).
- I wish I would have dated more.
- I wish I would have wore my own wedding dress.
- I wish I would have been more serious about writing sooner.
- I wish I . . . okay, well you get the point.

Sometimes it's so hard to be happy in the here and now. To look at the things you have and not worry about the things you don't. I know I've talked about this before, but I've had a bit of crybabyitis this past week, mostly because I'm comparing myself to others, which is always bad.

So it's time to get over myself and live my own life. Who's with me?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Difference between boys and girls

The other week my son got his learners. He can now drive, which is scary. In fact, me and my husband rock, paper, scissored, to see who had to take him out first.

Anyway, back to my point. We were updating his information for the license (height, eye color, etc) and he noticed that his weight was wrong. "I'm ten pounds heavier," he says.

I had to laugh, because a girl would never in a million years say, actually I'm heavier now.

Right now I'm editing a book where the POV are from two different males. I need to make sure I stay true to how boys act. I had a scene where one boy cried and a beta reader pointed out that most boys don't cry. Little things like that I need to consider.

Do you write in a girl's POV or a boy's? And if it's a boy, what do you do to make sure you stay true the male species?

Monday, October 18, 2010

We're all in this together

Tonight I went to a Speaker Series event sponsored by the local SCBWI chapter. They had Janet Gurtler and Angela Ackerman talk about agents. I knew a lot about the agent search, but I still learned a lot, which goes to show, you can always learn more.

What was interesting is they started talking about sites that I visit, resources that I use, the process of getting an agent, what an agent does for you. It made me think that we really are all in this together. We all have similar goals and the same passion - writing. And it's great that we support each other so much.

Also, I met fellow blogger Stina there, which was great to meet someone in person. I'm always so jealous when I see pictures of writers meeting at conferences.

Overall it was a great night, even though I had to burrow $40 for gas from my boss in order to get there.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

250 word blog fest

I just found out about this today and wanted to participate. Elle Strauss
is hosting a first page, 250 word blog fest.

So here's my latest project. Yikes!

Oliver strutted down the main street of Archgilly as a crowd amassed behind him. He tipped his hat to the women and shook hands with the men. Little children ran up clamoring to touch his sleeve. When he reached the Rumina, he turned and bowed to the cheers of the people. Four years ago, no one knew his name; now they chanted it as he entered the building.

He slipped down the corridor and opened a door to find the three Elders sitting behind a great oak desk. They squinted at him as he slid into the room. “Sit down Oliver, sit down,” the Elder, Faraday said, his wrinkled face barely visible in the mountains of gray hair.

Oliver took a seat. The noonday light barely eked through the dusty windows causing the room to exude a certain gloominess. “Are you ready to know what your final task will be?” the Elder, Reverie asked, his voice squeaking like a mouse.

On the street surrounded by smiling faces and words of encouragement, Oliver brimmed with confidence, but now perspiration formed on his brow, and dripped down his forehead. He took out a handkerchief and wiped it away before it descended any further.

Faraday stood up and rested his hands against the desk as he began the same speech he gave Oliver every time he had come to the Rumina for instructions. “Being a Defender has a rich and distinguished history. They are called upon to protect the water that flows through our lands, the water that is the lifeblood of our community, the water that allows us all to live long and happy lives without pain and suffering.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My new textbooks

Think back to highschool and collage when you'd sit in class as your teacher dissected sections of Shakespeare or a passage in James Joyce's A protrait of an artist as a young man. You'd take notes in the margins, highlight passages, and basically write all over your book, so you could go back and reference them when you write your essay.

I stopped doing this when my university days were done, but I have a friend (an author of three books), who still does this. When she lent me a few books, there were lines drawn all over it and sections that were circled.

A few years ago, I couldn't even imagine writing in a book, but now I'm starting to think it's not such a bad idea, especially due to my lack of memory.

How many times have you been reading and thought that's a great way to describe that, or I like how the author did that, but when you go back and try to find it, well, you know, you can't.

I've been reading a non-fiction book these past few weeks and I've used a pencil crayon as a book mark. I've been highlighting those passages I find interesting, funny, or thought provoking. I think its a practice I'm going to continue.

How about you? Do you write in books?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why playing soccer late at night helps my writing.

Now that the temperatures are dropping and the sun sets around 7:30pm, we Canadians have been forced indoors. Indoor soccer that is, which means late games and practices.

Last week I started practice at 9pm and ended at 10:30. When I got home I was so wired that I couldn't sleep, so I started writing and before I knew it the clock read 1:30am. I got a lot edited and a lot re-written and even made some progress on my query. Good thing the next day was a holiday for the kids and I got to sleep in.

Tonight same thing. My game was at 8:00pm and ended at 9:00 and I'm so wide awake that I'm going to write for at least an hour.

Usually I'm struggling to keep my eyes open at ten, but with that little bit of adrenaline I'll be up for a while.

Hopefully my boss doesn't mind me sleeping on my keyboard.

PS: Not completely recovered from too much pumpkin pie and turkey, but the soccer and writing more will definitely help.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm here to inform you that ...

Patti will not be available to blog today as she has slipped into a turkey coma.

Two turkey dinners in two days is not recommend as it leaves the partaker feeling overstuffed, bloated, and darn right gassy. Add in the abundance of mashed potatoes, gravy and pie, both pumpkin and apple, and it's not hard to see why this has happened.

She's hoping to make a full recovery and rejoin the blogging world sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday pending on the leftovers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovin' Life

Yesterday on facebook I saw that one of friends posted this: I Love Life.

It made me stop for a moment and think, am I lovin' life.

Not so much right now. I could make a long list of things that aren't quite right. Eye infections, bad crowns, politics with my kids sports, working, not being able to figure out a hook for my query etc., but what I should be doing is making a list of things that are right.

3 beautiful kids
1 awesome husband
A great extended family
A home to live in
A computer to work on
A car to drive
A soccer team to play on

The list goes on and on. Yeah, sure things aren't perfect. I don't have the house I want. I have to work. Other kid's parents drive me crazy. But what it comes down to is not letting that stuff get you down.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I'm going to try to put on a happier face and focus on the positives. Then I can put on my face book that I love life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sometimes bribery works

I've been trying to get my boys to read books for I'm not sure how long. My younger sons reads a bit, but only at school. My older son doesn't read at all.

I've bought all kinds of boy friendly books. The Maze Runner, Leviathan, The Book Thief, but none of them have worked.

So two weeks ago I tried one more. I am Number Four.

It sat on my desk for a week before I came up with an idea. One night my son was moping around the house, bored and, so I said if you read a chapter of that book I'll make cookies.

Not only did he read one chapter, he read four and he plans to read more.

Did I mention that I make really good cookies.

I know your not suppose to send bribes with your query letter, but since it worked so well on my son, do you think that maybe...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How I did.

Last week I kept track of every minute I wrote or edited, or at least I tried.

Monday: I worked all day, got home, made dinner, and helped with homework. After the kids went to bed I edited for and hour and a half.

Tuesday: My day off. I’m expected to get a lot accomplished. What I find is I’m so anxious to write that I get my laundry, dishes, and vacuuming done a lot faster than usual. I managed to edit and write for 3 hours, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I also went for a run and got groceries, plus Glee was on.

Wednesday: I worked for half a day, but also went to the dentist to get a crown. I managed to squeeze in 30 minutes before dinner and then another hour after the kids go to bed, but my mouth is sore and I was really tired.

Thursday: I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of time to write, so I wrote on my breaks and lunch hour. When I got home, I went straight to a soccer meeting (yeah, I still haven’t quit that). Got home at 9:30 and in total wrote for two hours.

Friday: My other day off. Again I expected to get a lot done, except I didn't. My son was home sick from school, actually he threw out his back and I spent most of the day getting him an ice pack and a hot water bottle. My other son forgot his binder and my daughter forgot her photo form, which meant a trip to each school.

Later that night I had a lot of time. Older son was at volleyball with dad, middle son was sprawled out on the couch, and daughter had a friend over. I could have written. I could have written a lot, but I didn’t. Instead I sat on the couch and watchd TV. My eyes were tired of looking at a computer screen. I was tired of editing. I tried to write a short story I’ve been thinking about, but it’s about an emotional issue and I didn’t feel emotional. I tried to write my soccer story, but the words wouldn’t come.

At 7pm I gave up and turned off the computer. In total I write for an hour.

The whole weekend I thought about this. Does this mean I’m not a serious writer? Serious writers would spend every extra minute they had writing, wouldn’t they? The questions and insecurities kept coming. Maybe this experiment wasn’t a good idea.

By Sunday night I came to this conclusion. This week wasn’t about how much you wrote, it was about making choices, and Friday I chose not to, but that doesn’t mean the next time I have that much free time I won’t spend it madly typing away. Does that mean I’m not serious about writing. No, I think it means I needed a break. On Saturday I worked on my query for an hour at one in the morning after a full day of volleyball, basketball, football, and a birthday party. That must mean I’m serious.

For those who kept track, how did you do?

PS: Sorry this was long. I’ll completely understand if you only skim it.

Here are others that participated:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Everybody this is...

In a continuation from last Friday's compelling characters blogfest, I thought I'd expand a little more on something that has taken me a while to learn.

Introducing too many characters too soon.

Lots of times my soccer team is short players, so we call people from other teams to come sub for us. They usually arrive at the field an apprehensive face as they scan the groups of people looking for the team of strangers they're going to play with. Sometimes they know one or two people on the team, sometimes they don't know anyone.

After they get ready and put on a jersey, we introduce them to the team.

"Everyone, this is Victoria."

Then I introduce everyone to Victoria. It's hard to remember 12 names, especially when they're all wearing the same jersey and have ponytails. To make it even harder, put them on a field and see how well they do at remembering names when they're trying to kick a ball.

The same can be said when introducing characters. Sure you, as the author, knows who everyone is, but the reader is like the new player coming to the team. If you through a bunch of names at them, mixed in with action, they'll have a hard time keeping it all straight.

Take a look at your first chapter and get rid of everyone whose not vital to the plot. I did this and I have to say, my first chapter is much better.

For those who are keeping track of your writing, remember Friday's the last day. I know I plan on picking it up tomorrow, but that's more because I don't work.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Something has to give

I've decided that I wear too many hats. (Actually, I don't wear any hats, because I get hat head and frankly who wants that).

But figuratively speaking:

I have my mom hat.
I have my wife hat.
I have my daughter hat.
I have my sister hat.
I have my work hat.
I have my church hat.
I have my soccer hat.
I have my writing hat.

That's way too many. Since I can't give up my family, church or writing (still thinking about the work hat), I'm going to stop being so involved in soccer. I've been on the board as VP for ten years and I think it's time to focus that energy on making my writing hat bigger. Of course, no one knows this yet. You're the first. Hopefully it goes over well.

How about you do you have any hats you want to give up?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let the counting begin

If you are one of the 17 people who signed up to keep track of how much time you spend writing or editing, today is the day. If you want to join there's still room. Just go here. I've extended the deadline date, thanks to Ali for the heads up. I'm new with this linky tool thing.

I think this will be interesting, because now I'll be accountable for my time. Although, I know I won't get much writing done on Monday or Thursday this week. I'm hoping to make up the time on Tuesday and Friday and maybe a little bit on Wednesday.

Keep track and let everyone know how you're doing each day, or save it all until next week. If you can only keep track on one day then do that.

It will be interesting to see if keeping track motivates us to choose writing over other things that might waste our time (TV, internet, etc)

Good luck to those who are participating.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to compell - let me count the ways.

It's blogfest time and today it's all about writing compelling characters. I feel a little intimated to write this post, because frankly I'm still learning, but here's what I've read from a great book. The First Five pages by Noah Lukeman

Characterization Issues:
1) Using stock, cliche or overly exotic names. No John Smiths or Raylazan
2) Introducing too many characters at once (this is something I've been guilty of)
3) Confusion over who the protagonist is.
4) Generic character descriptions.
5) Having an unsympathetic protagonist.

Here's how to fix those problems:
1) Research names, look to mythology, look at the meaning of names.
2) Have patience - learn to stagger your character's entrances.
3) It's hard to enter a new world, give the reader a friend, a guide, someone to follow.
4) Make the character unusual looking, describe different body parts. Notice your characters cheeks, complexion, posture, aspect.
5) Remember what might be interesting to you, might not interest others.

To me writing compelling characters means that the reader has someone to relate to, someone to route for, someone whose just a little extraordinary. Readers want someone who captivates them, whether they be the hero or the villain.

I'm looking forward to reading other posts on this subject.

Remember Monday is the start of another blog week, but if you can only do it for one day that's okay. It's all about seeing how much time we really spend writing.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Choosing

Three years ago my husband had an idea. If you climb 10 mountains in 30 days you'd lose 30 pounds. So in July 2007, we tried.

We picked 10 mountains. Every three days we would leave early in the morning and come back before the kids got up (I didn't work then). While I climbed the mountains, I wrote down everything I ate. Every single calorie.

I got to the point where I knew I had only so many calories I could consume in a day, so I started being really picky about what I ate. Did I want quality (chocolate) or quantity (cucumbers and tomatoes - they're very low in calories)?

This is a lot like writing, we have to choose what we do with our time. Choose if we'll spend it watching TV, surfing the net, exercising, spending time with our family, writing. It's all about balance. Figuring out what's the best use of our time. Sometimes sitting on the TV watching a show I enjoy at the end of a long day is what I need. We just need to choose.

That is what's next week is about. It's not about writing a lot, but choosing to spend our time wisely, even if that means not writing at all.

BTW, we only climbed 5 mountains, because my husband's knee gave out, but I did lose 15 pounds.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blogfest for Real

On Friday I had an idea for a blogfest and now I want to make it official.

Starting Monday, September 27th, you write down every minute you spend writing or editing everyday until Friday, October 1st.

On Monday, October 4th post your results, or you can keep everyone update to date daily if you'd like.

My intention was not to get people to write more, but to see how much time we actually spend and see if everyday we can increase it. Not to the point where it takes over our lives, but to the point where we feel is manageable in our lives.

Maybe it will also show where we are wasting time. Watching TV, twitter, facebook, internet, blogging (although I do think that not all time is wasted there).

Anyway Ali Cross even did an awesome icon for it, which is totally awesome.

I know some of you said count me in on Friday, but here is the official sign up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blogfest Idea

So in responding to the comments on my last post, I got a brilliant idea. Are you ready, because it doesn't happen very often.

What if we actually kept track of how much time we spend writing. (Some of you might already do that - which is great, but I don't) I don't mean sitting in front of the computer reading blogs, checking facebook, or browsing twitter, but actual writing.

That means you would have to keep track. Write down every minute or hour you spend writing or editing. Starting on Monday, September 27 and ending on Friday, October 2. Not even a full week. Five days.

Don't be all Nanoy with it, just write normal. If you miss a day that's fine. I would like see how much time people average.

Anybody else want to join me. If so, spread the word. We'll see how much time we can log writing that week.

When I’m 64


Last weekend, me and my husband (or is it my husband and I), went to the mountains. We climbed another small mountain, hiked to the bottom of a waterfall, and went mountain biking, just your typical romantic weekend. Before we left to go back to normal life, we decided to go check out some rock climbing routes nearby.

As we walked along the road, the mountain we climbed last year loomed beside us. It's big and has a flat front (see photo). Apparently, you can rock climb up the face, and it's something my husband has always wanted to do, but he told me he never would.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I'll never be good enough. It takes time to be able to climb at that level and at 43, I'm running out of it. I'd have to go climb every weekend in the summer and go to the indoor centers in the winter. I don't have the time or the body to do that." (Sorry hubby for revealing your age)

Do you ever feel like this with writing? You'll never get a book published. There isn't enough time to hone your skills.

Between working, family, and keeping up with other responsibilities, sometimes I feel like there's not much time to write effectively or go to conferences, or take classes, or even read a book on writing. Today, I work all day (I'm writing this during my break). From work I go straight to a parent meeting with my sons volleyball team. Go home, pick up younger son take him to basketball. Go home get older son, take him to basketball. Take younger son home. Go to my soccer practice. I will get home at 10pm tonight. Now today's not totally typical, but pretty close. It's a repeat from Tuesday and yesterday I took son to volleyball right after work and got home at 8:30pm too tired to do anything. (Ranting is now done)

The good news about writng, is that unlike rock climbing or soccer or anything active, there isn't a small window of opportunity. You can write until you're 64 or later.

Really, it comes down to patience. I know, sometimes that word is like a swear word to writers, but it's true. My life will change. Kids will stop playing sports. I'll hurt my knee again and be done playing soccer. Kids will leave home and that's when I'll have so much time I won't know what to do with myself.

So just remember when you're feeling frustrated with your lack of time, you really still have lots of it. Unless you're 63.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Epicness

This is the contest of all contests, and you all probably already know about it.

Signed books, ARCs and critiques.

Go to Elana's blog to see how you can win these fabulous prizes.

Also WriteOnCon is having an online chat with professionals

When: Monday, September 27. 7:00 PM EDT.
Where: WriteOnCon site.
Who: Literary agents Jessica Sinsheimer and Roseanne Wells

I'm so excited about this because I was on holidays during their WriteOnCon conference this summer.

Go check everything out and yes I do realize by telling you, I have less of a chance to win.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aiming below


For those who are new, last September my indoor soccer team got promoted to the top division in Classsics division (which means we're over 35). We had a hard season. Lost most of our games (all but 2) and got scored on a lot. Even though we didn't finish last, I thought for sure the league would put us down a division for the 2010-2011 season, but they didn't.

So faced with another abysmal season, our team started brainstorming our options. We could face another hard season and this time finish last, we could request to go in the bottom open division, or we could quit. I'm glad to say that no one wanted to quit, but the prospect of another hard season didn't sit well with us. So me and my co-manager of the team wrote the board a letter stating their own rules and how they didn't follow them. I must say it was one of my best letters. My husband even said it was well written and that's something coming from him.

We waited a week before I finally got a call saying they were putting us back down a division. Jubilation ensued.

Part of me wonders if we should have tried more to rise to the challenge of competing in that division. Did we sell ourselves short?

Do you ever feel like that with writing? You finish a scene. You think it's good. Maybe it could be better, but you don't know how, so you leave it. Are we selling ourselves short, when we should be trying harder to reach a higher level of writing?

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another year, another mountain

For those new to my blog, my family has a goal of climbing a mountain every summer. We’ve done eight so far. They’ve ranged from moderate to difficult, but not too difficult as my youngest is only eight. For the most part they’ve taken us at least three hours to do, sometimes longer depending on the complaining.

This summer we have procrastinated our climb, which we have also done in the past, but this year the weather has not cooperated.

We went out to the mountains on Monday to our designated mountain to find the top covered in snow, so we went to plan B and discovered snow at the trail head, so we went to our plan C.

Mesa Butte is a mountain, albeit a small mountain.

It only took us an hour to go up and back and was more like climbing up a large hill.

We’ll try to do another mountain if the weather warms up, but so far it’s not looking good. So in order to keep the tradition alive, we’re counting this mountain and really it still had a great view.

Sometimes going to Plan C isn’t so bad.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Being easily offended

When I was a young woman, around fourteen, my youth group was asked to sing a song at an event. I can't even remember what for now, but I do remember the lady who taught us the song. We were at her house learning different parts, you know, alto, soprano and we came to a hard section. I tried over and over again to get it right, but finally the lady told me to just mouth the words at that part.

After that I never tried to learn to sing or do anything musical. Over the years I have regretted letting that woman have so much power over my decision. I wished I would have tried to sing better or learn to play the piano.

The same thing happened when I took a writing course, the instructor gave me an incredibly harsh critique. I'm sorry to say that I put the writing away for a while and once again gave all of the power in regards to my writing over to this lady.

I'm glad this time that I eventually persevered and have written two books, and although they aren't published, I'm definitely headed in the right direction.

So even though being critiqued on our work is a part of being a writer, don't let any critiques get you so down that you quit like I did with music. Keep on writing and learning and reading and don't give up on what you want.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Need a Geeky Name

For another project I've been thinking about I need a real good geeky girls name.

I have three and sorry if any of these are your name.

Gertrude
Mildred
Eleanor

Which one exudes the most geekiness, or do you have any others?

BTW, two days into September and I haven't boughten anything new. Yeah, go me.

Also I was going to add a picture of a geeky girl and I typed in geeky girl into Google images and it came up with a bunch of girls dressed in sexy geeky costumes and Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September is the new January...

Which means one thing, resolutions.

I have six.

1. I want to spend more time doing and less time thinking.

Okay, I'll probably still do a lot of thinking, but I want to be doing the things I'm thinking about a lot more. For example; I will stop thinking about getting in shape and just do it. I will stop thinking about querying and just finish my book and do it.

2. I won't feel guilty when I can't get everything done in one day.

I work three days a week, so I spend two days a week doing everything. Cleaning, grocery shopping, visiting my family, exercising, did I mention cleaning. I don't want to feel like a failure when I don't get the laundry done on my day off, or the dishes for that matter.

3. I want to read more books of all different genres.

I read a great post by Kristen Lamb. She talked about the difference between writers and hobbyists and one of the main things was reading and I've been neglecting that part of being a writer.

4. I'm going to exercise and get to my goal wait by the time I turn 40 at the end of December.

Yes, I turn 40 in four months and yes, this is a very stereotypical resolution, but I'd rather do it now than in January. Actually I plan to lose five extra pounds, so I can eat whatever I want at Christmas.

5. I want to be comfortable in my own skin.

I am not a fancy dancy girl. I have tried to be, but it just doesn't feel right. I don't wear heels, I barely wear make up and my dream outfit is a pair of well worn jeans and a white t-shirt. I'm tired of trying to be someone I'm not, so I'm going to try to be me in life and in my writing.

6. I will not buy anything new for myself for four months.

This is a hard one for me, because I am kind of clothes horse. The last time I did this was the first four months I was married and we were starving students. This one I think might even be harder than losing weight. Actually, I'm going to start this one of the 2nd, because I have to buy Paranormalcy by Kiersten White tomorrow.

So that's it. I'm sure I could think of a lot more, (like spend more time with family and but those will have to wait til next September.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Motivation

My soccer season ended on August 7th and since then I haven't gone for a run once. In fact, my exercising has been extremely minimal. Now we were on holidays for two weeks and, really, who wants to get sweaty when your on holidays, but I've been back for a week and a half and I haven't done anything.

Indoor soccer starts in October, so there's no immediate games or practices to motivate me to stay in shape. I'm trying to blame the fact that it's still summer vacation, but really I'm just being lazy.

I'm finding this a bit with writing. I don't have a book deal, an editor, or an agent breathing down my neck asking for revisions on my latest chapter. I don't have to write, which for a good portion of the summer I haven't.

So I'm looking at September 1st as my January 1st and I'm making some resolutions. I'll tell you about them on Wednesday.

In the meantime, how do you stay motivated?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Avoiding all things Mockingjay

It's not that I don't want to read this book. In fact, it's sitting on my shelf, staring at me. I just know that if I start to read it, the monster Booklore will take over again and my family will be ignored, so I'm waiting until the kids go back to school next week and then I will indulge.

The reason I'm avoiding any blogs that mention Mockingjay is because I don't want to read anything about it that might give something away. I want to be completely surprised.

How about you? Do you look at reviews before you start a book that you know you want to read?

PS: Sorry for the lateness of this post. I could say it's been a crazy day, but really it's been a lazy one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting my house in order

I've neglected pretty much everything this summer and now I'm facing the consequences. I'm doing spring cleaning in August.

Monday I went through my boys rooms and took out everything they aren't wearing. Next will be the little knick knacks that litter their shelves. Next will be my daughters and my clothes. The pile in the storage room is growing. I'm on a "get rid of everything binge".

After that I need to clean every room, clean out our trailer and go pick some flooring. Yes, that's right we still need new flooring for the kitchen.

With so much to do I have had a hard time sitting down at the computer to write. I fell pangs of guilt when I try to edit because in my periphal vision all I can see are all the books I need to put away, the piles of filing I need to do, and the carpets that need cleaning.

I hope to have all the cleaning and organizing down by the end of next week, so that I can finally get back on schedule and do one more edit of my book before I start querying again.

How about you? Do you feel guilty writing when there are other things you need to do?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I actually finished a whole book on vacation

That might not be amazing to some of you, but for me it's a great accomplishment.

We biked and hiked, sat by the lake, shopped, toured, went to an amusement park, ate some very good ice cream, plus a few other things. So as you can see I didn't have a lot of down time to read. I fit in little bits of time when the kids were busy biking with their dad, or playing at the park.

The book started off slow, but by the second to last day of our vacation I was enthralled and couldn't put it down. I was okay to wait for the boys while they hit a few balls at the driving range, or biked on the BMX course. My kids would tease me when I didn't hear their questions. "Mom's in book mode."

Finally it came to a head when I was reading my book when I suppose to be telling my husband where to turn. He announces to the kids, "A monster has taken over your mother and I will call him Booklore."

So I put the book away and finished it the next morning while everyone slept.

It's good to be back even though that means going back to work. I'm looking forward to getting back to some much neglected writing, plus catching up on your blogs. Let me know if anything exciting happened while I was gone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Goodbye, farewell, but not quite adieu

Now that all the basketball tournaments and camps are over, I'm looking forward to some family time, so that means a break from the blogging world for a couple of weeks.

Please try to go on without me, I know it will be difficult.

To tied you over I give you Entertainment Weekly's top 6 Opening Lines in Classic Books.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1813), Jane Austen
''It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.''

MOBY-DICK (1851), Herman Melville
''Call me Ishmael.''

A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1859), Charles Dickens
''It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.''

ANNA KARENINA (1877), Leo Tolstoy
''All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.''

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1885), by Mark Twain
''You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain't no matter.'

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951), J.D. Salinger
''If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.''

How many have you read? Do you have your own favorite opening line?

Hope you have a great rest of the summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hooks and Contests

I've never really shared a hook or anything on this blog, because I'm entirely too afraid of rejection to be in this business, so I'm putting my pride aside and posting my hook line for book 2 to see what people think.

I figured since my blog friend Jessie did, I could as well.

So here it goes:

In order to become a defender of Archgille, Oliver must rescue a damsel in distress, but when he is assigned dragon rescue, he knows the girl he’s loved his whole life is going to die.

So there seems to be some debate on the phrase "when he is assigned..."
I did have "when he draws..."
how about "when he selects..." or "when he pulls..."

Any thoughts.

There I did it. Whew.

Now onto other news. Roni Griffin and Julie Cross are having a great contest for critiques and books. If you're interested in either head on over.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Keeping Track

When I'm editing, I'm bad for keeping a million different copies of my chapters. Okay, maybe not quite a million, but a lot more than I care to admit.

I find that every time I go into the chapter I save it as a different name just in case I change something and then decide I want to go back to what I had previously written. And, of course, because I'm getting older, I can never remember the exact wording.

Hence I have a lot of the same chapter with just a few changes, which can be hard when you're trying to figure out what document is the most up to date. So with this book I've been using dates in the name, which so far is working well.

What about you? Do you save your chapter each time you open it or do you just rewrite and forget about what was once written?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Tuesday that will be read on Wednesday

Last Saturday, as me and my 8 year old daughter drove home from shopping, she turns to me and says, "Mom, I'm hungry. I've been eating air and drinking spit all morning."

**********
A conversation between me and my sons.

Me: I've been a bad influence on you guys. I've taught you to be pessimistic and a little judgmental.

Middle Son: You didn't teach us that, it's in our genes.

Me: If only, if only.

***********

Do you ever find yourself sitting down at the end of the day exhausted, but wondering what you did all day long?

***********

I don't speed, I just reach the speed limit faster than everyone else.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2 totally different books

So over the past two weeks I have managed to read a couple of read good and completely different books. First off I'm really bad at reviewing books that's why I haven't done it before, so bare with me.

Some Kind of Normal by Heidi Willis

All that stands between her daughter's life and death is a tenth grade education, a zealous group of baptist ladies, and 1.8 million Google hits.


What I liked best about the book is that Heidi has created such a unique voice in the main character Babs that it remined me of Perry in Patricia Woods book Lottery. It was distinct and fit the character so well. This book hit home for me as I have a few people in my family with diabetes including my 17 year old niece. I also related to the religious struggle that Babs goes through. I can't tell you how many times I've written a grocery list or a to do list in the middle of church. Overall I learned a lot about diabetes with this book, but wasn't hit over the head with so much information. That's why Heidi's book is being recommended by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. Yeah Heidi.


The second book I read and one that's completely different is The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting.

A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

First off I wouldn't recommend reading this book late at night when your husband is gone for the weekend and your home alone with two young kids. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep. Besides the great plot, fantastic suspense and gruesome crimes, what I liked most about this book is the romance between Jay and Violet It was a refreshing change from the whole love at first sight, obsessive relationship thing.

I highly recommend both books.

After reading these books it got me thinking. In your crit group do you all write the same or different genres, and what do you think is good or bad about either?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The need for constant reassurance

Last night, instead of playing a striker, I played an attacking midfielder, which I haven't done all season. I felt a little lost, in people's way, and generally of no use.

After the game this is how my conversation went with my husband:

"How did I play?"

"Good."

"What did I do that was good?"

"You passed well and you got the ball to the wings well." "

"Anything else?"

"You looked tired at times and you needed to move into open space."

"Did I do anything right?"

"You played well."

For the record, I had kind of a hard game. I gave the ball away too much and I really didn't know what I was doing, but I wanted some praise even though I maybe didn't deserve it.

I think that's why I get my family to read my chapters before I send them off to beta readers. Generally I don't get critiqued too hard by my nieces and sister. They give me rave reviews, which feeds my need for reassurance just before reality hits when my beta readers tell me what I need to change.

What about you? Do you give your chapters to your family to read first knowing they won't say anything bad?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting from Point A to Point B

When I first started writing I thought I needed to account for all of my main characters time. My writer friend called it pedestrian writing.

She got into the car. She drove to her friends. She got out and went inside.
(horrible, but you get the point)

In the past I spent more time trying to writer creative descriptions about moving from one scene to the next when all I really needed to do was end the scene and start again somewhere else.

So that's what I'm trying to do. I don't have to tell the reader everything the main character does. Readers are smart and they can make the right assumptions about what your character has done between scenes.

How about you? Do you feel like you need to account for all the time or not?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Thursday

I think that this might be a new theme for my Thursday posts, which invariably I write late at night on Wednesday, so really it's a Wednesday post, but everyone reads it on Thursday. Now that I have you thoroughly confused, I'll move on.

Random #1
I'm totally in love with books on CD, as I have mentioned. I've gone back to Jane Erye and I have 6 more CD's left. It's 20 hours long. It's really made me listen to every word, because sometimes when I read I have a bad habit of skimming.

Random #2
I stole this from my niece's facebook.

I'm dreaming of a better world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

Random #3
Yesterday, my husband had a client come to the house in a cowboy hat and boots and my daughter thought he had "Mantracker" for a client. (A Canadian show where a cowboy hunts down two people by following their tracks. It's quite entertaining.), which goes to show that all cowboys look the same, at least to an 8 year old girl.

Random #4
We went to Lake Louise on the weekend (by Banff) and my son thought he could cross a bunch of logs that had collected near shore, but fell in. Instead of being the concerned parent, I asked him to do it again so I could catch it on video. Here is is after he got wet up to his waist.

That's it. Have a great weekend.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Everyone has their own thing...

For those who have been reading my blog for a while know that me and family are fully engaged in sports. I play soccer, my boys play basketball, and my daughter even did baseball this summer. When our weekends aren't full of driving to gyms and watching a few games then we are usually out in the mountains biking, rock climbing, or hiking.

What I've found interesting over the past little bit, is that everyone has their own thing that they do. I have a friend whose life is spent putting make up on her kids, making customes and driving everywhere to watch them dance.

Others are more entrenched in the arts. They go to plays, festivals, and spend most of their time downtown and probably go out to eat a lot.

I know lots of people who have horses and they spend every weekend going to rodeos or show jumping.

Everyone spends their time differently, so it only stands to reason that we all write differently. That's the one thing that I've learned while critiquing. No one quite writes like you do, nor should they. When I first started reading others work, I found it difficult not to instill my way of writing on them. I failed a few times, but through doing it more I've think I've gotten better at not doing that. In the end we have to let people discover their own way and just try to help them find it.

Side note: I want to thank everyone who has let me read their words and comment on them. I have learned a lot about critiquing. I have not always been right. I have not always caught things that could make it better, but once in a while I think I help.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

All things sports

Sorry this post has absolutely nothing to do with writing. I'm telling you this now so you are not disappointed. The last thing I want is for you to read through my post, hoping to discover a fantastic analogy (because in case you didn't know I'm the queen of them) only to find nothing. This way no ones mad at me.

First off, go Spain. I love this team. They play so well together, pass the ball magnificently and are mostly unselfish, except for Pedro at the end of the game. Frankly I thought Germany would have killed them with their fast transition play, but Spain hung in there. So I'll be cheering for Spain on Sunday.

Second, this Lebron James crap is just plain annoying. I think his decision tonight to leave the Cavaliers will tarnish his image of being one of the great players of basketball. Kobe Bryant didn't leave his team, Michael Jordan didn't leave his team. They led their teams to victory. I hope the Heat get booed everywhere they go and they don't win a championship.

Third, well actually I don't have a third, because well it's summer and I don't follow baseball.

Hope the two people that might read to the end of this post have a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What I wish for...

I wish that when kids get the flu it didn't happen in the middle of the night.

I wish that I could see a good movie this summer.

I wish I could figure out our summer holiday.

I wish that I wasn't so tired.

I wish I could walk up stairs without my body hurting.

and

This is a tiny wish.

I wish agents would send something, even a standard rejection instead of nothing.

I know some agents say, "silence means no", which is okay if you have an option on your voice mail that lets you know when someone has read your email, but if you don't, well then you're left to wonder if they got your email at all.

I know sometimes they don't respond because they don't want to enter into a dialogue, and I completely understand that. Maybe if they had an automatic reply telling the querier that their email was received. I think that would be good.

I know it's just a tiny wish, or maybe it was more of a rant.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Finding the Compliment

So I've been trying to look at the positives in life and lately when people say the smallest things I try to take them as compliments.

Last week me and my husband were in a store when the sales lady starting talking about "Pat" from SNL, then she says "You two would be too young to remember that show" - Excellent compliment.

After one of my soccer games my daughter asks me if I'm naturally good at soccer - Another excellent compliment.

Teaching 11 year old boys in church. "Of course you know more than us, you're like 28" - my favorite compliment.

My nieces telling that my kissing scene was the most disgusting they have ever read - loved that one.

It's always good to find the small things in life that make us happy.

Happy 4th of July and belated Canada Day, which was on the first.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Decent Player

So far my soccer season has been going pretty good. We have a new coach who is from St. Lucia and a phenomenal soccer player, although half the time we can't quite undersand what he is saying. Out of the eight games we've played, we've won 5, lost 2, and tied 1.

As of right now I have five goals, which puts me tied for first place in scoring for our division, which consists of ten teams.

Just for clarification I play in the Classic Premier division (another way of saying over 35). There is only one other division higher than us, which is Classic Major.

The other day I received an email from a Classic Major team, a team which has finished in first place ever since they became a team. They've won provincials and competed at the National level.

This is what the email said, I have heard through several reliable sources that you are a decent player. Then they asked if I'd be willing to sub for them when they are in need of a player. I had to laugh when I read that because first of all saying you are a decent player isn't that much of a compliment, it's like saying you are an okay cook. Second, I'm pretty sure they just looked at the scoring leaders and asked those people with no regard to how they play.

Unfortunately or fortunately due to club policy we cannot play for a team in a division where the club has a team, so I couldn't say yes, but I wasn't disappointed, because having them believe I'm a decent player is much better than playing for them and proving otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like that with writing. In my mind I'm a good writer, of course in my mind I'm good at a lot of other things, but sometimes it's still hard to send out chapters to my critique partners or queries, because the rejections or critiques might prove otherwise.

Anyone else feel that way or maybe I'm the only one with major insecurities?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Random Conversations

Near the end of school my fourteen-year-old son was coming home on the bus. In front of him sat two girls of the same age. When his ipod battery died he overheard an interesting question about vampires and werewolves.

Girl #1
Who would rather date a vampire or a werewolf?

Of course being a boy, he tuned out and didn’t hear her friends answer to the question, but my twelve-year-old had a great response.

Son #2
Werewolf of course because of Taylor Lautner
(He says with a hint of sarcasm)
Actually vampires are cold and werewolves are warm and I’d rather be warm.

Son #1
I don’t think there are any girl werewolves.

Mom
Actually there are. There’s at least one. You’d know that if you read the book.

Son #1
I’ll read your book when it gets published, but not that book.

Side Note: Did I mention my boys don’t read, but I did buy four books for them to read this summer, we’ll see if it happens.

Son #1
Reading over mom’s shoulder
Like that’s going to happen.

A mother can always hope.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rereading

Like most of you I have a few people who read my work and help me to make them better, but I've been thinking that I need to be using them a bit more than I do.

In the past I've only been having them read through my chapters once and then doing the rewrites on my own. Sometimes I'll send them a chapter if I've completely rewritten it.

So here's my question:
What is your process with crit partners? Do they do multiple reads of your work, or just one or two?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going back to the beginning

No this isn't going to be another Princess Bride Analogy, although who doesn't love a little Princess Bride.

No, this is about going back to the reason I wanted to be a writer in the first place, because I loved to read. I've been feeling a little out of sorts. I have a serious lack of motivation, a full on set of procrastination, and at times I've been darn right lazy. So this week I've decided to start reading again.

I have narrowed my TBR pile down to three books that I want to finish by the end of June.

Some Kind of Normal by Heidi Willis
(I should have read this long time ago - sorry Heidi)

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting.

I'm hoping to get myself out of my funk and give myself some motivation, or else it'll do the opposite and think I'll never be able to write as good as theses ladies so I might as well give up. Hopefully it's the former.

PS: A little six year old girl at church today told me I had swampy eyes. Is that good or bad, I'm not sure?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Need a little laugh

I commute to work. Fifty minutes there and fifty minutes back, if I'm lucky. I do this three times a week.

For the last few months I have been listening to books on CD in an attempt to enjoy my drive and not get so frustrated with the traffic. I've listened to lots of different authors and different themes: Nora Roberts, Scott Turow, Sidney Sheldon and Anita Shreve to list a few. (There isn't a lot of YA books on CD in my library). Lately I've picked books have been a little gloomy and depressing.

The latest is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It's 20 hours long, while most other books are only six. Although Jane Eyre is excellently written and entertaining, I'm starting to feel a little depressed. All these books about angst are starting to get to me. I think I need to go get a Nick Hornby or Larry Doyle book.

What about you? Do you ever get sick of the same dark themes and need a little humor? What's one of the funniest books you've read? I need some ideas.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What would you give up?

I came across this interesting story and thought I would share.

What would you sacrifice to see your country win soccer’s World Cup? Food for a week, according to a survey that also found fans willing to lose a limb for their team’s glory.

Fifty-one percent of respondents to the tongue-in-cheek survey of 20,000 people, who live in North America but hail from countries with teams in the June 11-July 11 World Cup, said they would starve themselves for a week if that would bring victory to their national squad.

More than 40 percent offered to give up dating for a year, while seven percent said they would gladly give up their job to see their country win the title.

A further four percent were willing to give away a body part.

The survey was conducted by U.S.-based international calling firm VIP Communications Inc (www.JoinVIP.com) ahead of the South African extravaganza featuring 32 nations.

It found that a majority of English respondents — 93 percent — would give up food for a week to see England win, while some 70 percent of Italians would give up their job for an Italian victory.

Americans were most willing to sacrifice their homes, while South Koreans were most ready to sacrifice their love life.

And the people least willing to make a sacrifice?

The survey found that only 3 percent of Solvakians would give up anything to improve their country’s chances of victory.

So what would you give up to get your book published? Are writers as crazy as football (soccer) fans?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How do people do it?

Things I try to do and how I’m doing

Keep up with the housework (This gets harder if I have any other things to do on my days off work – like volunteer at the school)

Work 20 hours a week (I don't try to do this. I do this because I’m paid to)

I try to eat healthy and exercise (I have my good days and my bad - today not so good)

I try to spend quality time with my kids (Doesn't always happen, unless you include watching them play sports)

I try to write at least one chapter a week. (Was good until I finished. Now I’m not sure whether to edit or start writing something else).

I try to blog consistently (I think I’m pretty good at this)

I try to comment on other people’s blogs (Right now I’ve been horrible. I do read your blogs, but I’m just finding that if I can’t think of anything witty to say, I don’t comment).

I try to keep up with all the contests and great articles that people link on their blogs. (Really bad at this right now. I can’t seem to keep up with it all)

I have a twitter and facebook account. (I’ve been really bad at this)

I am so amazed at the people who can do it all. Blog everyday, comment on other people’s blogs, read interesting articles to tell everyone about, enter contests, write 1000 words everyday, tweet, facebook, and basically make friends with people in the writing community all around the world.

Right now I think I’m trying to do too much and unfortunately for me that means I don’t do anything. I’m going to try and stick with blogging, commenting and writing, and hopefully I can still connect with people around the world.

So how do you guys feel? Do you every feel overwhelmed by it all or am I the only one?
.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A little scare - although not so little at the time.

Yesterday at work, we went out for lunch to celebrate someone's birthday. In the middle of the meal, I got an urgent phone call from one of secretaries saying that my husband called and he'd been in a serious car accident.

Of course being the non technological people that we are, we only have one cell phone and I had it. So I had no clue where he was or how he was. The secretary gave me the number that had come up in the caller ID. When I talked to the stranger she said he had been covered in glass and was bleeding, but okay. What exactly did that mean? Images of blood dripping down his face speed through my mind.

So I called my brother who lived close by to go out to where I thought the accident occured. I left everyone from work at the restaurant and went to try and find my husband, at this point I'm quite frantic and a tad bit emotional. Luckily he called five minutes later, gave me his exact location and told me he was waiting in a police car.

I turned on my CD of a book I had been listening to and tried to breath. When I got there, he was walking around getting stuff out of the car that was being loaded onto a tow truck, the whole drivers side had been smashed in. Apparently, a truck had been turning left and cut in front of someone going straight. After they collided, they both hit him.

So in short our car is totalled, but he's okay. In fact, he was more concerned about the fact that he had just filled up with gas and we had just paid our registration then he was about himself.

Even though everything worked out, there was an hour there where I felt anxious, stressed and worried, but in the end all of my fears were for nothing.

Believe it or not I do have an analogy to writing with this story. Is it okay to have a scene in your book where the characters are in a stressful situation, perilous even, but then have it be resolved easily or with not a lot of consequences. (I'm thinking more about scenes in the middle of the book - not at the end).

What do you think?
PS: The photo is not our car, but pretty close.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Afraid of What?

So it's been a while since I finished my first book. I mean ready to go to query land finish, but I've been extremely reluctant to push the send button.

I have a spreadsheet of over 80 agent names, but yet I hesitate. What do you think that means?

Part of me is afraid I'll be rejected by everyone and the dream of having that book published will be crushed.

Right now I can day dream about it. Imagine what it would be like, but I'm sure that each rejection will slowly cause that dream to fade away and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

What about you? When you were done or are done, will you be super eager to press send?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Goal!!!!

No, I'm not speaking of soccer, although I am very excited about the World Cup starting next week, especially for the photos of the players that will make the rounds through my email. (I might have to share)

No, today I'm talking about achieving one of my goals for 2010. I finished my second book.

Interesting though, I wasn't as excited as I was when I finished the first one, probably because I'm not naive anymore and I know what it takes to edit a book to the point where it's query worthy. Don't get me wrong. I'm very happy to have completed this goal. I wanted to know that I could do it again. That I could write a completely different book, with different characters and plot line. Knowing I can do it makes me more confident about having a writing career, even if it takes me a while.

The first draft of my last book was 100,000 words and I cut it to 70,000. This time I took a different approach. I wrote less words, knowing I would add more later on.

So here's your question: When you write a first draft to you write to add, or write to cut?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bloggy Break

I am two chapters away from finishing my first draft on my second book, so I'm going to take a break this week and try to get it done.

I'll be around if I feel a need for a laugh, some inspiration, or gossip.

Hope everyone has a great productive week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Typing and a contest


Go to Megan's blog for a great contest for some awesome books (I've been wanting to read The Shifter) and a critique (who couldn't use that)

A long time ago in a classroom not too far away, I learned to type. Not on a computer, but an old fashioned typewriter (I know showing my age). My mom made me take this course, for which I have been eternally grateful. Not only has it allowed me to be employable, it is also makes writing a lot faster since I can type about 50-70 words per minute.

I have a hard time writing by long hand, because I kind of play with sentences. I try it one way and then another, which is a lot more time consuming with a pen and paper.

How about you? Do you know how to type properly or do you still look at the keyboard? If you fall into the latter category, go on line and teach yourself to type. You'll never regret it.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What happens when?

What happens when you play four soccer games in five days - you can barely walk down the stairs.

What happens when you go on a soccer tournament and take your some of your chapters with you thinking you'll get some editing done - it sits in your bag.

What happens to your family when you go away for the long weekend - they get a lot done around the house, but starve.

What happens when you come back and get to sleep in your own bed - you sleep better.

What happens when you score three goals in one game - you get a hat trick (and I got one tonight - yeah, go me)

What happens when your not around a computer for almost a week - you don't read anyone's blogs or comment, something that I'll rectify tomorrow since it's late and I need to shower and go to bed.

It was good to go away with the girls on a soccer tournament. We laughed, we ate, we won, we lost, and had a long drive home with lots of traffic, but now it's good to be home. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I have been neglectful

I have a horrible memory. Over the past few months I have received a few awards and have not reciprocated. I tried to keep a list, but then I lost it. I swear if I don't have it in my inbox, I don't remember.

So I apologize to everyone who has given me an award. I will try to do better.

That being said Abby Annis tagged me for this revealing questionnaire.

I had a hard time with this. I used to have a saying that a lot can happen in a year, well it turns out for me not so much. We are still at the same house, we still drive the same vehicles. Nothing momentuous has occurred, so I had problems answering the first set of questions.

Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?

1. I was a stay at home mom.
2. I just started playing competitive soccer. (played in a house league for 3 years before that)
3. My life didn't revolve around my kids sports, well actually now that I think about it, it kind of did.
4. I still live in the same house.
5. I was in the middle of writing my first book. Yes, it's been that long.

Question 2 - Where would you like to be in five years?

1. Published
2. To take a lot less time to write a book.
3. To have written three more books.
4. To be 20 pounds lighter.
5. To stop liking peanut butter so much, which would help with the 20 pound goal.

Question 3 - What is on your to-do list today?

1. Write this blog post - and go to other blogs.
2. Finish chapter 19, start chapter 20 on current WIP. Finish a critique.
3. Work all day.
4. Go a soccer game right after work.
5. Pack because I'm going away on a soccer tournament this weekend.

Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?

1. Peanut butter with honey or jam on toast.
2. Ice cream
3. Chocolate (this goes without saying)
4. Swedish Berries
5. Cookies (my chocolate chip ones - in fact I might have to stay up late tonight to make some to take with me this weekend.)

Question 5 - What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Me and hubby would quit our jobs.
2. Travel.
3. Buy a bigger home.
4. Buy a loaded up 4x4 jeep.
5. Give to charity

Lots of people have already done this. So I'll wait until the next award to pass it on.

Hope everyone has a good Memorial long weekend for the US and Victoria long weekend for Canada and cross your fingers that I don't injury myself this weekend.