Sunday, January 31, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY! Vlog Virgin No More & Stevie Nicks

NO LONGER A VLOG VIRGIN!
It's true, I've been de-vlowered and, I'm happy to report, it wasn't as painful as people say. If you've not yet viewed my first vlog EVAH, it's the post just before this one. Be sure not to miss it. It's short and sweet and you will thoroughly enjoy it. [It's nearly seven agonizing minutes long. You. Will. Be. Bored. To. Tears.]

Actually, it was much more fun and easy than I thought. [Being a film star is not all paparazzi and Vera Wang gowns. It's hard work, people, hard work!]

I did forget one vitally important ingredient for all writers - an undeniable "must-have," and this was picked up on by a few of my astute readers [You guys don't let me get away with anything, do you? Sheesh!] CHOCOLATE! I know, this should go without saying, but since I stole seven precious minutes of your life discussing all things writerly, it was indeed a horrifying faux pas that I left out the key ingredient to good writing. [Will eat more chocolate today to make up for this unforgivable oversight. There, I feel better already!]

EDITING UPDATE
I'm happy to report, I'm almost halfway through the edits for my YA novel. [No one cares.] I've shaved off over 20 pages of brilliant prose [filler] and, let me just say, "Wow! That's one tough lion to tame!" [I'm fairly certain a second grader could do it blindfolded and on a gummy bear high.] I'm so excited to see the novel tightening up, not unlike a sponge being squeezed of excess water.

See, folks? It's comparisons like that which distinguish the gifted writers from the run-of-the-mill-Joe-Six-Packs.
[That sponge thing was without a doubt, the single dumbest metaphor in the history of the written word.]

GRAMMY AWARDS
When I was young, I thought for sure I'd win a Grammy one day. I would have bet my life on it. I even drew a picture of myself accepting the Grammy for Best New Act of 1986. I had on a long, sparkly gown and my hair and make-up were perfect. [The hair and make-up should have tipped me off it was a dream that could never be reached.]

Last night I watched parts of the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Given how bad it was, I think I deserve my own Grammy just for watching. This tweet from someone last night sums it up:

"The Grammy Awards Executive Producer is Ashton Kutcher and you've just been punk'd!"

I saw dancers dressed in practically nothing, and heard alot of "music." [How many ways are there to say, "mediocre?"] Where have all the normal bands gone? You know, the ones who could get up on stage with no one but their fellow band-mates and make incredibly great music? [OMG, it's finally happened. I've become my mother.]

For me, the highlight of night was seeing Stevie Nicks on stage with Taylor Swift. [Taylor, you're lovely, but no one compares to Ms. Nicks.]

AMAZING NEWS! LET WORLD DOMINASHUN COMMENCE!
I'm so excited about this, I can hardly stand it. Are you ready? You sure? Okay, here goes. [Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.] I am going to meet Awesome Agent in person in NYC in less than two weeks! SQUEEEE!!!! [The minute she sees me, she'll realize she's made a terrible mistake and run for the hills, or the top of the Empire State Building, which in NYC is a more viable option.] We will discuss, at length, our plans for taking over the world. Then we'll share a yummy dinner and she'll smack me around to keep me on track with my editing schedule. [I hate pain.]

I'll take pics and maybe even do a VLOG. I'm so excited I'm afraid I won't be able to eat for the next 10 days! ["No better thing could happen." Signed, Your Waistline.]

Okay, folks this concludes another AMAZING [Not!] edition of SUBLIMINAL MONDAY. Don't forget to view my fascinating [sleep-inducing] First Vlog EVAH below. I promise you won't be disappointed! [Um, yeah, you will.]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My First Vlog EVAH!

Ok, this is a test, it is only a test. Your comments and my mood will determine how often I vlog. This introductory video is a little long, but there was so much I wanted to share. Let me know what you think! (Please forgive the Grand Canyon-sized bags under my eyes. It was a long day.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Love Thy Novel as Thyself or What to Save? What to Shave?

Ah, edits. Aren't they fun? Kind of reminds me of getting a root canal or being the last to be picked for a team in school. However, without these dreaded edits, we'd have nothing more than freakish-looking first drafts, laden with poetic drivel and lacking things like "riveting plots," "intelligible dialogue," and "meaningful characterizations."

Mine the Diamonds
I'm deep into my third draft of my YA novel, and finally feel I'm hitting my stride - a stride that will take my black and white sketch to a completed masterpiece. Yes, I know that sounds a bit "puffy," but if I didn't feel I could dig deep and mine the diamonds in my story, why write it?

Love Thy Novel as Thyself
You should feel the same way, too. Love your work profoundly and passionately. No one will or should love your work more than you do. It is that love that keeps us writing, keeps us going in the middle of our first drafts when we want to hit the "delete" key, and it is that love that keeps us from giving up on our long held dreams.

So, what's a writer to do? How do we know what to save and what to shave?
I'm 1/3 of the way through my revisions, and I've cut 13 full pages out so far. That's some serious shaving. It's also some serious saving, since I've kept - in one form or another - 73 pages. My best advice is "trust yourself." If you're questioning a word, sentence, paragraph, scene, or even a whole chapter, delete it and see if the story becomes weaker or stronger. That's why God created the Control X keys; you can take things out, and if you decide otherwise, put them back in again.

For my first two novels, I was so reluctant to eliminate any of my brilliant words, that I had "Outtakes" documents which held onto every, single, precious word I wrote and removed. Now, I save only completed drafts. The thoughts and ideas that come and go in between those drafts are lost in the ether, and I say, "good riddance!" As a writer, and as a healthy human being, you have to be able to let things go.

What are your stories about what to save and what to shave? Do you have trouble killing your darlings, or are you a literary Jack the Ripper? What have you learned from the process?

Vlog update: Found a better deal on Amazon (saved $65!), so I returned my Flip and am waiting for a different one. So, video blogging is briefly postponed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY: Olympic Level Writing

Watching Olympic level figure skaters this weekend made me think about my writing. If these wonderful young athletes [16 years old? Are you freaking kidding me? I freaking HATE THEM!] can rise from slumber long before dawn and practice hours at a time from about five minutes after they burst from the womb, then why can't I write for 4-8 hours each and every day? [Because that would assume a thing called "discipline" which, if my bathroom scale could talk, would tell you is sorely missing from my life.]

My main problem is distractions. Annoying phone calls from Stephen King pleading for writing tips [who do you think helped him write, "On Writing?"] and emails from Hollywood film agents needing option and casting advice distract me and get in the way of my precious writing time. [Actual distractions include Twitter, spider solitaire, frequent chocolate breaks, and napping]. I've considered hiring an assistant to field calls from Stephen and Hollywood, but haven't found the spare time to advertise. [BWAHAHA! What would I have an assistant do - surf the internet for pictures of Ashton Kutcher to add to my collection? Hmm, not a bad idea...]

So, in order to step up my writing game to Olympic levels, I've decided to make some changes. After all, you do not become an Olympic champion overnight. Here's my game plan:

1) VLOGGING: I'm going to start vlogging. What is vlogging, you ask? It's video blogging. You'll click on my video and listen to me talk. Isn't that like totally mega-fabulous? [Snore.] I plan to have my first vlog up later this week.

In order to accommodate this leap into modern technology, I bought a Flip Ultra HD. Ain't she pretty? Yes, folks, I'll be imparting vitally important information about writing via the magic of a cell-phone-sized video camera. If you're nice, I may even serenade you with an original song or two. [More snoring.] Let me know what types of things you'd like me to discuss, and be sure to keep your requests G-Rated. After all, my parents read my blog religiously. [2-3 times a year when I visit them and guilt them into it.]

2) NO TWITTER 'TIL NOON!: In order to fully concentrate on my work, I'm not turning Twitter on until noon. Talk about a MAMMOTH sacrifice. [I get up at eleven, so it's really no big deal.]

3) EATING LESS SWEETS: I'm cutting back on my enormous daily intake of sugar. You may not understand how the intricate complexities of less sugar ties in with upping my writing game since this is quite a complicated physiological matter, so let me explain. [I've no flipping idea.] When you take life to a whole new level, you need less sugar. Less sugar = more sustained energy = more and better writing. I swear, this is true. [I made the whole thing up.]

So, there you have it, folks. My new regimen for upping my writing game: vlogging, no tweeting 'til noon, and less sugar. Pretty brilliant, eh? [About as smart as Sarah Palin discussing anything remotely political.]

Although, I think this plan is like totally amazing, dude, my husband's not impressed. Ever since he started training for his first marathon this coming May, he thinks he's all that and a bag of treadmill-shaped chocolate chip cookies Woohoo, big deal, he's running a marathon. [I couldn't run a single block even if a pack of wild wolves were chasing me.] I, on the other hand, am officially in intensive training to be an Olympic-level writer, which is way more incredible than completing a stupid 26.2 mile run. [Are you laughing? Do you think this is some kind of joke?]

So, my dear friends, I'm off to make Olympic-sized lifestyle changes so I can make Olympic-sized literary history. Anyone care to join me? [What? You wouldn't follow me if I were the last person on earth and was dropping $100 bills behind me?]

My special SUBLIMINAL MONDAY gift to you. Click on the link below and enjoy:

Favorite Olympic moment: Torvill and Dean skating their unmatchable dance to Ravel's Bolero, winning them the title of 1984's Olympic winners in ice dancing. Sheer perfection.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

YALITCHAT, The League of Awesomeness, & How I Got From There to Here


I co-hosted YALITCHAT for the second time last night and loved every minute of it. Some incredible agents, editors, and publishers stopped by, and we had a lively conversation about what makes great YA and what exactly agents are looking for in YA queries and submissions. We were also treated to the names of the winners of the New Adult contest by St. Martin's Press. The top five winners were invited to submit their full manuscripts. Kudos to Georgia McBride for being the High Priestess of YALITCHAT, to Agent Elana Roth of the Caren Johnson Literary Agency for taking on the rapid-fire questions regarding what agents look for in YA, and to JJ Jones from St. Martin's Press for sharing the winners of their contest with us.

Some of the other awesome folks who stopped by to share their awesomeness were:

Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Agency
Bernadette Baker-Baughman (aka, Awesome Agent) from Baker's Mark Literary Agency*

Feel free to read the transcript from last night's YALITCHAT and learn more about the website and weekly chat here. If you write YA and are not already a member, I urge you to get involved. It's fun and informative, and the networking is incredible.

During the chat, I sensed many unagented writers wanting to know more about the process. How do you get an agent? What happens after you get an agent? What happens during the time before your book goes on submission? I'm in that very place right now, so I thought I'd share my experience with you.

Here's a recap of my journey thus far:
  • 1995: Started writing "seriously."
  • Wrote sporadically until 2008, sometimes with passion and focus, but more often, with indifference and lack of sustained attention, and always in between the obligations of my "real" life.
  • July 2008: After a conversation with my honey about getting really serious about my writing, I registered for the Algonkian Pitch & Shop Conference. Part of the registration involved submitting a writing sample. I was thrilled when I was accepted, though I was suspicious that all who registered were allowed in. I called and asked that very question. The organizer assured me only about 60% get in. I'll never know if this is true, but nonetheless, I felt a sense of accomplishment. For the first time, my writing had been accepted by people in the know (maybe).
  • Last weekend of Sept. '08: I attended the Algonkian Pitch & Shop Conference in NYC. There were approximately 60 writers in attendance, some who'd traveled from as far away as Australia. We were split into four groups of 15, mostly to work on our query letters. I met several amazing writers there, two of whom I'm still in communication with (shout out to Wendy and Sarah!). Over the 4-day conference, I met one-on-one with agents for the first time in my life. I was pitching my novel LITTLE PEARLS, and I was horribly unprepared. Before the conference, I was under the delusion I was good to go. I was fairly certain an agent would catch a glimpse of my literary genius, and I'd soon be on my way to sipping champagne with JK Rowling at fancy author dinners in our honor. Um, not quite. I struggled with condensing my story into three succinct paragraphs. Frustrated, I spent my time entertaining the group - making them laugh, encouraging them, generally lightening things up. I know this may come as a huge surprise, but I really can be the class clown. The last day of the conference, I didn't show up. I wasn't feeling well, or rather, I couldn't take it anymore. You see, over the first three days, most of the women in my group received business cards from at least one agent who we pitched to requesting sample pages. But me? Nada. Zero. Zip. The big, empty goose egg. I got nuttin'.
  • Sept. 30th, 2008: I started my blog. This was highly encouraged by some of the wonderful gals in my group, and one of the greatest gifts I've given myself as a writer.
  • October '08: I sent out a handful of queries, although I still had no business doing that.
  • Nov. '08: I received my first request for a partial. I was in Denver at the time, caring for my mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer (she's doing great, btw!), and I'm fairly certain my husband and kids heard me screaming with joy all the way in Philly. I was beyond excited.
  • Nov. '08: I started writing a new novel, SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS. This project was loosely based on my life, with a huge amount of humorous fiction thrown in for good measure. This was the book with my tag line, "Life as a rock princess in the Denver music scene, does nothing to prepare Jenny for life as a domestic goddess in the suburbs of Philly." (I would later receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 partial requests for SFS from queries. None of them turned into full requests. Not one.)
  • Jan. '09: I received my 1ST partial back from LITTLE PEARLS with a note basically telling me my writing sucked. Big time. She was very disappointed the pages I sent in no way matched the promise of the query. I was shaken and angry. I threw the note away, not wanting any negative ju-ju in my world. That same month, I finished the rough draft for SFS.
  • Feb - March '09: Revised, revised, revised.
  • March - April '09: Researched agents and queried, queried, queried.
  • May '09: Attended the BEA Pitch Slam and the Backspace Writer's Conference, both in NYC. At BEA, I pitched one-on-one to six agents. I was asked for five partials and one full. It was the greatest day of my writing career to that point. All of the agents I pitched to requested material, and I finally received my first full request.
  • May '09: I started writing a murder mystery called, MURDER ON TWILIGHT CIRCLE.
  • July '09: Finished MTC, polished it, and queried it to over 150 agents.
  • July - Oct. '09: Out of nearly 150 queries, I received 18 partial requests and 8 full requests for MTC (2 of those were from partials).
  • Sept. '09: I "met" Bernadette Baker-Baughman from Baker's Mark Literary Agency* on Twitter. She enjoyed our banter and checked out my blog. Feeling the love, she emailed me and apologized if her agency had passed on my query. In fact, they had. Twice. I'd received form rejections on both SFS and MTC. I described the projects, and she invited me to personally query her again with MTC. Here's the link to that whole wonderful, beautiful, magical story.
  • Nov. 13th: (Friday the 13TH!) I was offered representation by Baker's Mark for my newest project, a YA novel called, THE SECRET KEEPER, which I wrote in six weeks during Sept-October of '09.
  • Nov. 15th: I let the other awesome agents who had my work know I'd been offered representation, and told Bernadette I was good to go. I did a Happy Dance for at least one solid week. My feet hurt. I was tired. But I was happier than I'd been since my kids were born. We discussed the first draft of TSK and possible changes to be made.
  • Dec. - Jan. '09: I dug in and finished Draft #2.
  • Jan. '09: We discussed further ways to dig deeper into the story.
  • Jan. '09: I'm currently working on Draft #3. I have until the end of February to complete it, and I feel like the book is really taking shape. It's thrilling to see my work become better and better each time I edit. The advice and suggestions I've received from my agent are priceless.
  • Submission: Not sure when this will be, but it won't be before Bernadette and I feel the manuscript is sparkly enough for her to pitch. I'm hoping we'll be good to go by mid-spring.

I hope this blow by blow is helpful and encouraging to those of you seeking representation. I promise to continue to share my ongoing journey into the world of publishing - my path towards making my writing dreams come true - in hopes it will inspire you and keep you moving forward.

Where are you on your journey? Did this post help you? How? Do you have any questions for me?

*Baker's Mark website is currently under reconstruction. Please check back next week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY: All Aboard for Understatement City!

















I'm happy to report, SUBLIMINAL MONDAY is alive and well, taking the world by storm, leaving no prisoners, and is as tasty as a triple-scoop, hot fudge ice-cream sundae without the nasty calories. [Only my parents, husband, BFF, and annoying neighbor down the street read these silly SM posts]. 

This brings me to another important point: for the record, SM stands for SUBLIMINAL MONDAY. Please don't confuse it with S and M, which is another conversation entirely. [Not that I'd know, I swear, Mom.]

Problem is, SM's popularity makes me worry no one will read my blog on any other day of the week. [So what else is new?] It also makes me sad for the thousands of unpopular Monday blogs. I mean, who will talk to them in the halls before gym class, carry their books, or ask them to Prom? [YA novelists are delusional. They believe high school never ends.] Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled so many people are inspired by this secretive form of communication. It's just that it's a heck of a lot of pressure to keep up the funny week after week. [Keep up the funny? What the hell kind of jackass phrase is that? That is SO not funny.]

For this SM, I thought I'd give you a recap of my week. [This is when sane people click over  to Twitter or nap.]

MY NOVEL
As you know, I got my edits from Awesome Agent last week and am happily [tediously] working my way through my mss for the third time. I have to say, I freaking LOVE this book! [Conceit, especially unfounded, is so unattractive.] I'm hoping this revision will move me closer to submission, and that makes me so excited I could scream. [Terrifies me to the point I barely remember my afternoon chocolate.] I've got until the end of February to complete the work, which should be plenty of time to edit 240 pages. [And by "edit," I mean playing 4-Suit Spider Solitaire ad nauseum."]

NFL FOOTBALL
Did you watch the games this weekend? Weren't they exciting? [Snore.] Good luck to the Saints, Vikings, Colts, and Jets. If I tell you who I'm rooting for, I'll have to kill you. [Jets & Vikings] Although this week's games were a bit lopsided, next week's AFC and NFC championship games should be positively THRILLING! [Watching butter melt would be thrilling compared to this week's games.]

THE GOLDEN GLOBES [Code name for Mariah Carey's Enormous Breasts]
Hollywood stars think they're all that and a bag of Mrs. Field's chocolate chip cookies with their fame, endless amounts of money, and fairy-tale lives. Who in their right mind would want that kind of shallow, meaningless life? [Raises hand.] I am, however, glad that Sophia Loren (75), Helen Mirren (64) and Meryl Streep (60) showed up looking smoking hot, because let's face it: I'm not getting any younger. ["All aboard!" said the conductor, "For Understatement City."]

And "Avatar' winning best picture? WHAT a shocker! [Even Julia Roberts couldn't feign surprise.] Who'd expect James Cameron's work of art [expensive remake of every Disney movie ever made] would win over movies with original stories and great acting? [Everybody.] Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Avatar. Mind-blowing special effects, 3-D glasses, tall blue people, good vs evil [or, as James Cameron spins it, GOP vs Libs]; what's not to love? But, Best Picture? Feh! [Yeah, you heard me, feh!]

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
Martin Luther King, Jr. was and always will be a great American hero. His life was inspirational. He taught us to stand up for what we believe in and that peaceful change is possible. There will always be civil rights to fight for [gay marriage], and I'm grateful to have MLK to look to for inspiration. Let's each take a moment to thank him and those like him for being the change we wish to see in the world. And let's each take baby steps to become a little more heroic ourselves. Because I've been to the mountaintop...

And please don't forget to donate and keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. [Donate what you can, send good wishes, and be compassionate to those in your life.]

NOTE: Sorry, all, but I've got a freaking spammer, so I've turned the word verification back on. I know it's an annoying pain in the arse, but nonetheless... Have a sparkly day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please Help the Beautiful People of Haiti



















Pray for the people of Haiti. Let's get together, People of the Earth, and do what we can in the midst of disaster. Here are a few links that will take you directly to places where you can donate money and other necessary items:

Red Cross
Or: Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate. 100% of your $10 donation passes through to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. Your cell carrier keeps nothing.
Together we can make a difference.

Thanks y'all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY - Edits, Don't You Love 'Em? [Um, no.] or I WANT MY SKINNY JEANS!

















Since my first edition of SUBLIMINAL MONDAY was wildly successful [compared to my "modeling career"], I thought I'd make a tradition of it. This week's post is about EDITS! I don't know about you, but I love them [they make me want to throw myself from a bridge.]

Last night I received the edits for the 2nd draft of my novel from my agent. I was thrilled since she barely made any suggestions. [The manuscript (mss) looks like a triple homicide was committed on it. Red splattered everywhere. Shocking. Horrible. Terrifying.] My agent is brilliant [no really, she is], but apparently hates me and thinks I have no talent. [She hates me and thinks I have no talent.]

Actually, all those red marks are a good thing, right? [No.] I mean, it shows she cares about me and my writing and wants me to grow as an artist. [She's banging her head on the wall wondering why she signed me.] So, now I've got work to do, which is great, because I love reworking my novel over and over again. [Yeah, right, and I love cleaning bathrooms, too.]

I've got to buckle down and get cracking. [I have no idea what that means.] Since I'll be alone most of the day in a hotel room all week looking out my 31st floor window at the beautiful Inner Harbor of Baltimore, my plan is as follows:


1) Carefully read every page and give all comments my utmost attention. [Stare out the window as the boats sail by. Take pictures. Tweet them. Read new issue of US Weekly.]

2) Make changes as requested. [Nap.]

3) Read the editorial letter with keen interest. [Editorial letter? What editorial letter? Oh, you mean the attachment sent along with the mss? Dang, how did I miss that? BWAHAHAH!]

4) Call my agent and tell her what a genius she is for "fixing" my ms. [Call her and tell her she's a genius and thank the agenting gods for like the millionth time for sending her to me.]

One more thing: In the email Awesome Agent sent along with the bloodied mss, she said the following:  

"Think of this like boot camp. It really sucks to wake up at 5a.m. and go to the gym, but in six weeks when you need a skinnier pair of skinny jeans, you feel pretty damn good about it."

[I told you she was brilliant. Mean, but brilliant. And, yeah. I'm thinking "coral."]

Be sure to check back next Monday when I report on all the hard work I've done to whip my manuscript into shape. I promise, you won't want to miss that post! [I also promised my mom I'd wait until I got married to.... Oh, never mind.]



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Co-Hosting YALITCHAT... Expanding My Horizons


Last night was a first for me - I co-hosted YALITCHAT with Georgia McBride. Our guest was Daniel Ehrenhaft of Sourcebooks Fire, a YA publisher. The chat was fun, fast, and furious.

For those of you who aren't familiar with YALITCHAT, it's a chat on Twitter held on Wednesday nights at 9PM EST for writers of young adult books. If you're a YA writer and haven't stopped by, you're missing out. (If you have questions, email me and I'll explain exactly how you can "meet up.") My co-hosting duties included introducing, welcoming, and wishing farewell to folks, including agents, editors, and writers, as they came and left the discussion. I also retweeted anything I thought should be emphasized.

Agents such as Elana Roth from the Caren Johnson Literary Agency, Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Management, and Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Baker's Mark Literary Agency graced the chat and added many interesting questions and comments to the mix. 

It was a fun experience, though not without stress. For the first ten minutes or so, we had technical difficulties. People's tweets weren't appearing and the chat was moving at a snail's pace. Fortunately, the glitch was magically fixed (I imagine with the same faerie dust that makes fax machines and iPhones work!), and the rest of the hour went smoothly.

What did I learn from this new endeavor? 

1) That it's good to take on new endeavors.

2) That Sourcebooks Fire is a wonderful opportunity for YA writers.

3) That Dan Ehrenhaft is a sweetheart (and a good sport for being a first-timer, jumping  into the warped speed that is YALITCHAT), and that he's committed to putting great YA literature into the hands of readers.


4) Georgia McBride is a saint for getting the chat up and running in the first place, and for creating the partner website yalitchat.ning, which is a great place to network with agents and other writers and to improve your craft. You can get feedback on your queries and even submit directly to agents through the site. If you haven't already, you should check it out fo' sho'.

5) That I have the best agent in the world. I know, you're getting tired of my saying it, but it's true. She showed up all sparkly and beautiful to usher in my debut as a YALITCHAT co-host. (And, she tells me she'll soon be there to usher in my debut as a published author!)

6) That the writing community in general, and on Twitter in particular, is beyond amazing. I don't say that lightly. The writers, no matter where they are in their careers, are the most supportive, interesting, and passionate group of people I know. I realize that sounds somewhat crazy - I mean, how can you "know" someone via the internet? Yet, I do feel  I know a lot of them, just like I feel I know many of you.

Since I enjoy pain (kidding, Georgia!), I've agreed to co-host the chat again on January 20th.  That night we will be visited by JJ Jones of St. Martin's Press. She will be presenting winners of a recent contest and discussing the New Adult category, which features protagonists in their late teens to mid twenties.



So, get out there and try something new. That's what 2010 is all about. ;-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY - FIRST EDITION! On Writing a New Book [Important Stuff]

















I've decided to make SUBLIMINAL MONDAY a regular part of my repertoire. [Cue wild cheering.] Just so you now, said "subliminal messages" will appear within said brackets [ ]. I love saying "said" - it sounds so proper/elegant/formal [stupid], so if you prefer not to read these messages or feel they are "of the devil" [freak!], please feel free to skip over these [important] messages. (Did you catch the "message" in the picture above?)

I have no one but myself to blame [LiteraryJules] for this brilliant idea. [What the hell have I got myself into?] I don't have any "regular" features on my blog because I like to be spontaneous - it keep things fresh and interesting [allows for frequent naps]. In lo [that's the first time I've used "lo" in a sentence] my many years of blogging [15 months], I've never felt compelled to have structure. I mean, why bother? It's like so totally constricting, dude! [Like, OMG, I hate rules!] But, 2010 is MY year [humor me, I'm a first-born], so I figured, why the hell not? [Great point!]

For the first installment of SUBLIMINAL MONDAY, I've decided to discuss my shiny new work in progress. It's a "companion piece" to THE SECRET KEEPER, which means it's not a sequel, but a related story with some of the same characters. I know this term because I'm a savvy writer. [Julie Nelson told me. It was news to me.]

Writing my new book is a [crap shoot] process. Here are the three main steps I take to insure mega-awesomeness when writing:

First of all, I am completely organized, creative, and available for surprises. I always [never] have a detailed outline which I follow to a tee. [You can't follow something that doesn't exist.]

Secondly, I meditate for at least ten minutes before each writing session. [If you believe that, I've got some swamp land in Jersey we should discuss...] This allows my muse to stop whatever she's doing [playing polo in the English countryside with Prince Henry, perhaps?] and locate me. I find that meditation is good for the soul as well as the writing portion of the brain ["writing portion of the brain" BWAHAHAHA!], so I always take time and nurture my meditation skill. [It takes no skill to meditate. You close your eyes and try not to fall asleep. Any Joe Six Pack can do it.]

Lastly, I sit down at my computer - I call her Jezebel - [yeah, she's as hot /creepy as Bette Davis] and start writing. This is the wonderful piece of the artistic process where I let my mind wander freely to create exciting, beautiful, magical worlds with fascinating, never-before-imagined characters [there's no such thing as an original thought]. As the words flow seamlessly [like pulling a 300-lb guerrilla around by it's teeth] my noble dream of novel-writing begins to take shape. If you've never tried it, you should. It's a holy experience. [Particularly if you're a masochistic sociopath.]

I hope you've found this first edition of SUBLIMINAL MONDAY helpful. I know I've enjoyed writing it. [I got up early for this? What? You mean 10:30AM isn't early?] I hope you'll spread the word and visit "Write on Target" every Monday for the rest of your  natural life. That's not too much to ask, is it? [I like to keep my goals realistic. In 2010, I plan on being crowned Miss America and piling (at least) 100 million dollars in the bank.]

Happy New Year to all! Thanks for making 2009 special. I can't wait to see what we all accomplish in 2010!

[No, seriously, I mean it. Thanks so much. You guys ROOOCCCKKK!!!!!! ;-)]

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Yo, 2010 - You Wanna Piece 'o Me? Bring it on, baby. BRING. IT. ON.

2010 thinks it's "all that" and a batch of hot, dark chocolate brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar fresh out of the oven, and I'd have to agree. Why? Because...

1) My agent and I are planning to take over the galaxy with our awesomeness or get my book published, whichever comes first.

2) Honey's training for his first marathon. Yup. 26.2 miles in Eugene, OR this coming May. BTW: what is up with that .2? 26 miles wasn't torturous enough so some genius thought it would be peachy to stick an extra .2 on at the end? Did Pheidippides of Greece piss someone off and have a cruel joke played on him? Anyway, it's been a lifelong dream of his, and he's chosen 2010 to fulfill it. Yeah, 2010 - ARE YOU LISTENING???

3) My niece, Devyn, turns 1 in September!

4) My oldest is going on a three-week tour with his band this summer.

5) My baby starts college this year. OMG, did I just say MY BABY STARTS COLLEGE this year? Holy Time Warp, Batman! 

6) I will write (at least) two more novels before the clock strikes 2011.

7) We're planning a family cruise to celebrate a couple of, shall we say, "big" birthdays...

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about... Major freaking dreams coming true!

I'm warning you, 2010. I'm on to you. Yeah, you heard me. I'm not afraid of you and your "I'm all that-ness."  

QUESTION: What are you taking on in 2010? Don't be afraid to step up to the plate and tell 2010 right to it's face. It can handle it. It's done nothing but eat killer brownies and soak in awesome for the last couple of days. 

No doubt about it. 2010 is definitely up for the challenge.

All new in 2010: Subliminal Monday! [Be there or you're a nanny-nanny, boo-boo.]

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