Thursday, August 26, 2010


Last night, my dog got into some night shade that was apparently growing in the very corner our back yard. Yeah, we had to make an emergency trip to the vet.

Izzie is just fine. I hope. I panic first and think later. And then I continue to imagine the worse possible things happening to my dog. Maybe this is a writer thing? My imagination runs away with me?

Anyway. Night Shade. I thought of the upcoming book, Nightshade! I'm not sure where I'm going with this. =)

Next week, I'm on vacation. And I have a stack of books ready to be devoured! Yeah! Just a few below...

I'm ready to get back into reading good stuff. I also have The Body Finder and, DUH!, Mockingjay. I just finisheed I AM THE MESSENGER. Loved. Loved. Loved.

I'm taking a little writer vacation. I'll just pretend like it's my job to write. It's going to be awesome!


And stay away from Night Shade. The plant, not the book. =)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Private Life of Melody Shine

I watch Mad Men. I love Mad Men. In fact, I may have blogged about this character exercise before, which is inspired by Mad Men. Mad. Men. No, I don't have a problem with repetition. Not at all.

Every character needs to have a public life, a private life, and a secret life. For example...

Don Draper

Public Life: He's a successful dude at an ad agency. He's a creative genius, mega-sexy. He's smooth. Admired by many. People want to please him.

Private Life: Cheats on his wife. Now divorced. Has, um, ladies of the night visit his apartment.

Secret Life: Who is Don Draper? Where did he come from? How did he grow up? He keeps these things a secret. His past is one, big question mark right now.

Try it out on your characters. It'll deepen them a bit. I'm working on this with Melody. There's more to her, I know it. I just need to dig a little deeper as I edit.

Also! I got a new computer. Now my writing is all organized and such. Makes me feel a bit better without the mess that was my old hard drive.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


As I continue to work on edits of Moon Dog, I'm learning more about my bad, bad habits.

First of all, I group adjectives in three.

But I am also guilty of...get ready for it...

The Info Dump.


The long passage of back story/information that's sole purpose is to provide info. It stands out. I didn't realize just how guilty of this I was. But now that I see it in one area, I can see it in others. I can trim and cut. A LOT.

Instead, I need to sprinkle little pieces of back story throughout. A little here. A little there. Reader does not need to know everything up front. In fact, Reader does not need to know everything period!


There's such an art to it. I'm struggling. But I've got to cut, cut, cut out these huge chunks of ramble. Even if I like the passages, they bring the story to a screeching halt. And with a murder mystery such as Moon Dog...this is very, very bad. It's all about moving the plot forward.

Lesson of the Day:


Happy Thursday (It is Thursday, right? Head is foggy...)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Perks of Being Unpublished

Hi! So the Query Tracker Blog posted my guest blog today! Yeah! Since I never posted it here, it's below.

It's all about looking at the bright side of things. Also -- WELCOME NEW READERS! =)

The Perks of Being Unpublished

Aw, to be published. It's the dream. To be able to hold your book bound and pretty in your hands. To flip through the pages, overwhelmed with new book smell. To run your fingers along your words. To know strangers might be doing this same thing at this very moment, breathing in your characters, your story, feeling inspired. Changed.

Aw, to be published. To see your book along the shelves. Or in the e-book store.

But it ain't easy.

And for those of us on the other side of the agented/book deal/published fence, still digging our way to success, breaking every fingernail in the process, let's stay positive, shall we?

The grass in Agented/Published Land is greener. Sure. We can see that. Why else would we want over there? But we've got things over here that they don't got. A keg, for one. Just kidding...actually, we have kegs full of melted CHOCOLATE.

Check it out:

1) No Deadlines. No one's waiting for me to finish this manuscript. Okay, I should probably finish it. But life gets in the way. And I can let it without a panic attack. I can keep LIVIN. L-I-V-I-N. My financial situation will not in any way suffer because of my procrastination. I like to think of this as a GOOD thing.

2) Legal Issues. I want to use some Beatles lyrics in my story. I don't care if I'm allowed to. Maybe I would care if I had an agent. Or I had a book deal. But now? Nope. Don't care. It's going in there. And from these lyrics could sprout a new storyline. Or character. Or something magical. A Yellow Submarine, perhaps. I do what I want, screw copyright issues.

3) No Pressure. I don't have to worry about sucking too badly. I don't have to worry about letting my agent down and getting dropped. Because I don't have one yet! Suckage away! For now. But then edits come...

4) No Bad Reviews. Ugh. Not to say all authors get these, but I imagine someone, somewhere, whether it be a reader posting a review on Amazon, might hate your story. Sad to think about, I know. But it happens to the best of 'em. But not my problem! Because only a handful of people will even read it right now!

5) Freedom. This sort of goes with No Pressure. But basically I could have my main character streaking throughout the whole novel with few worries. In fact...*edits manuscript quickly.*

6) Brand-Free. One minute, I want to write YA paranormal. The next, YA contemporary. No, a thriller. Wait...something literary. Maybe some women's fiction? A graphic novel? I'm not branded yet. I can jump around all I want. I can still DECIDE WHO I WANT TO BE AS A WRITER. Exploration! Yes! No marketing marks on me, my friend. The sky is the limit.

7) What-the-Heck Moments. Eh. What the heck. Add in that pink unicorn. See #8.

8) For My Eyes Only. No one's asking to see this. Expectations are pretty low for the slush pile.

9) Catch and Release. Seen this movie? One of the very cute characters is a photographer. He said he loved taking pictures...until he started getting paid for it. Now I have no idea if this is true or not, but I see his point. We are writers because we write. No because we get paid for it. Alright, so it would be awesome to get paid for it...But writing without any sort of agent or deal is still FUN and HONEST and TRUE. And things can only get better.

Have any to add? Please do! And I'm sure agented/book deal/published authors are just grinning. Because they've got that green, green grass.

But we've got the chocolate keg! Party on!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'm excited about this book. It sounds so fresh and fun. And adorable. And lovely. And FRENCH.

Can't wait!

So I'm entering Stephanie Perkins LAST ARC GIVEAWAY!

Fingers crossed.

If you're not following her blog, get over there. Stephanie has this eye for unusual and beautiful things. Things that make you sort of tilt your head and scrunch your nose.

I won't even mention her blue hair. Doh. I just mentioned it.

The story is set in Paris. PARIS! Can you get more romantic? And scary? Yes, Paris frightened me! Granted I was only there for about two days but it was a new and scary and exhilarating place. I remember it as a blur. A rush. A race to the finish line. I can't wait to read about Anna's adventures living there. This is one of the upcoming releases I'm really excited about. I only wish it came out sooner!

What books are you excited about?

J'adore les livres! (I think I just wrote I Love Books...if I remember correctly from French class.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I've been watching this new show on MTV called IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME.

I really like it. Sometimes it makes me tear up.

Basically, the show is about CHALLENGE DAY. One day in a high school where clique barriers are torn down. One part of this day is where the students get into small groups and start by saying IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME...and then reveal something that people may not know about them. Something that makes them real. Something that makes them more than a cardboard, stereotyped cut-out.

For example, for Mel, my MC for Moon Dog (that was a lot of M's...), here is what she might reveal on such a day:

IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that I am terrified of the water.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that I am angry at my father.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that I feel trapped in this small town but I am afraid to leave because it's all I've ever known.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that I secretly envy my free-spirited mother.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know I feel like a freak.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that everyday I fear for my life.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know that I feel like I need to protect everyone around me.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know I'm tougher than I look. Because I have to be.
IF YOU REALLY KNEW would know I feel like I let my parents down just by being what I am.

I could keep going!

Try it out for your characters. I think it's a great exercise. Personally, I like it better than a character sheet. These are the things that I try to SHOW about Mel. She never comes out and says any of the above. Not directly anyway or without some pushing from another character. These are the things she keeps hidden. The things that make her who she is. Her issues. Things she needs to overcome at the end of the story. Things she might need to come to terms with.

I think I'm going to use this for every story I write now. I've always kind of struggled with character development/voice/character arc. I think this might help me! I really like it. And, if you get the chance, watch the show. It's pretty good stuff!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reading and Editing

I'm deep into edits.

But I can't read other books right now.

Is that normal?

I literally have about 5 started books stacked up. And I can't get into any of them. It's not like they're bad. I like them. But I can' mind won''s strange. I get like this during edits. I don't like it. I don't think it's healthy. I wish I could mult-task. And pull myself away from the edits. Not to mention I need to do some critiquing which I want to give my full attention to!

Dear Brain - You can do better than this!

At the same time -- I'm afraid to lose my momentum.

I have a vacation coming up at the end of August. I plan to be done with edits by then and just READ. I love reading other people's stuff! It's so much better than mine! But right now, I can't seem to focus on anything but Mel's story.

I hate that. But I can't help it!

Any advice?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Butt-Shifting Moments

So. Sometimes. When I read a really, really good book. And a really, really good part comes up...I shift in my seat.

You know what I mean? Basically, I'm settling. I'm getting ready to...READ MORE. BECAUSE I CAN'T STOP NOW.

The Hunger Games, for example (pretty much at the end of the every chapter) I shifted. Not just to get comfortable. Not to keep the blood moving. But because I was excited. I was scared. I was...something!

I love butt-shifting moments.

Sometimes, these moments turn into Freezer Moments. Moments so scary or heartbreaking that I want to put the book in the freezer (like Joey from Friends). The Loop. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Hunger Games. The Smoke Jumper. All of these books had these moments for me.

I love it when I get these butt-shifting moments when I'm writing. Sure, they might not translate that way for the reader but (butt!) they are sooooooo FUN! Who knew scooting your booty could be such a blast? Just a little scoot. A little lean. A little something my body does to react to the scene. A sign that something is...happening. A sign to keep going. Keep reading. Keep waiting for more of those moments!

This is why I write. Butt-Shifting Moments.

Pure and simple!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Importance of BREAKS

This seems to be a theme this week. SeeSaraWrite talked about this on her blog, inspired by Eat, Pray, Love which is so fabulous in so many ways. TAKE A BREAK ALREADY!

Also - Jade talked about this a few posts ago. The Importance of Getting Away from the Manuscript. Let It Sit.

I didn't do this. I might let my manuscripts sit for a week and then I would dive right back in. But I've let the Moon Dog sit for MONTHS now. And I'm back.

And new ideas are pouring out of me. I NEEDED that time away to get a better view of the big picture. It's important to let the manuscript sit for a month or two because of the BIG PICTURE.

I'm not talking about the little grammar errors or little changes. The line edits. Oh, no. The big changes. What your books does as a whole. For me, I could only see this once I was away from it for a long time. Maybe this works different for everyone. But for every manuscript I write from now on, I will let it sit for at least a month. The edit following that month is the most important. Never again will I query before that. It's pointless. That edit after time brings the story to a new level. That time is so, so, so important.

I knew that. But I didn't KNOW that. You know? Like Jade said -- I had to find out for myself! That time is invaluable. I never thought it would be so hard to let it alone. It's like an itch I've got to scratch. But when I have other ideas I want to work gets a little easier.

That time saved the Moon Dog Inn from the fate of the Eternal Desk Drawer. Also - invaluable advice from critique partners also saved The Moon Dog Inn.

(Thanks Marsha! Beth! Jade! Shelley!)

The Moon Dog Inn is back in business, baby.

Wow. This post has a lot of various capitalization in it.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I realized something. Last week, I was tired. Real tired. I wondered why. And I realized it was because I wrote about 20,000 words in four days.


I rewrote the first act of the Moon Dog. Not much was saved so I'd say those 20,000 words were basically all new.

I couldn't believe it. I am a slow writer. I can edit quickly but...this turned into a rewrite! Once I get going, I can move. This is kinda nice. As I am typically slow at everything!

No wonder I was tired. These edits are pouring out of me now. I'm obviously ready to go!


Happy Tuesday!