Monday, June 28, 2010

Taking a Short Break - Happy 4th, Everyone!

I'm taking a short blogging break - trying to finish up edits, get past what would have been an important anniversary, and enjoying a few weeks of R&R.

Check back soon. I plan to be back refreshed and ready to roll in a couple of weeks.

Love to all, and have a great Fourth of July!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let's Hear it For Peace & Harmony or The Stories We Choose to Tell Ourselves

I'm reading a book by Byron Katie called, "Loving What Is." It's a transformational journey based on four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. The LA Times says, "Her method can cut through years of self-delusion and rationalizations." Like Katie says, "It's not the problem that causes our suffering; it's our thinking about the problem."

Rather than fighting what is in life, try embracing it. Instead of thinking something or someone "should" or "should not" be a certain way, embrace the way it/he/she is. You may as well. After all, that's what is.

As some of you know, I've been going through a pretty rough time in my life. Or, so I thought. I'm actually just going through my life. I'm at a crossroads - a time of transition - but it's only rough if that's the story I choose to tell myself and believe. Instead, I'm choosing a different story. One of peace, harmony, gratitude, appreciation, and deep, deep love.

This book has entered my life at the exact perfect time. To Mollie and Keri: I love and appreciate your friendship more than I can ever say. Thanks for introducing me to Katie and for always being there for me.

If this sounds interesting to you and/or you're up for a little transformation in your life, here's the link to buy the book on

I'm more than halfway through my edits on Draft #5 of my YA novel. I'm loving it and hope Awesome Agent will feel the same way when she reads it. No matter what, I'm enjoying the process and am grateful for the opportunity to write. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Enjoy the rest of your week and do your best to love what is in your life.Justify Full

Monday, June 21, 2010

Graduation Day

One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands is, "Graduate" by Third Eye Blind. (Will the song live on long after we do?)

This post will be short and sweet. My baby graduated with honors from high school last week. He's been accepted to Penn State pre-med. I'm so proud of him on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. He's kind, compassionate, generous, honest, smart, talented (plays guitar in a band), ridiculously handsome, and is an amazing son, brother (per Adam), and boyfriend (per Meghan).

Here are a few pics from the joyous event that my Mom, Dad, sister Sharon, and brother-in-law David flew out from Denver to attend. The picture of the two handsome guys are my sons Adam and Ethan:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Have You Done Your Homework?

First of all, let me congratulate the winner of the signed copy of Allison Winn Scotch's THE ONE THAT I WANT. And the winner is...

Jamie!!! Contact me with your full name and address and I'll let Allison know. Thanks to and everyone who commented for participating. Your comments were beyond amazing. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes - I greatly appreciate your inspiring words.

Also, there's a great interview and giveaway on my friend, Kimberly Franklin's blog. After you finish here, go check it out. ;-)

Now, on to my Monday post (not subliminal - sorry!!!)

I was talking to a guy recently who claimed to be a non-fiction writer. He said he's on his 10th book in a series re: "coaching" in both sports and life.

"Cool!" I said. "Have you researched agents yet?"

"Yeah, about five years ago. I guess I'll need to take a look at that again."

"Um, yeah, I think you might need to."

"Otherwise, I'll just self-publish," he added. "I'm a tennis coach and I've got a pretty big network."

Oy vey.

This got me thinking about the amount of time, focus, and energy needed to find an agent and how that is one of the most important parts of the publishing process. We're so lucky these days to have the internet to help with this process. I've mentioned my favorite places to do agent research before, but I'm going to repeat it again here with links:

1) QueryTracker,
Fabulous place where you can search via agent name or genre. There are also "Success Stories" that illustrate how writers and agents connected. Here's mine. Great new post up there: HOW TO GRAB AN AGENT'S ATTN IN A QUERY.

2) Agent Query,
Love this site! Again, you can research names or genres. The site is user-friendly and gives lots of information on the types of books agents are looking for. ***FYI: I've been told by a reliable source (NYC agent) that this site is not often updated by the agents. Be sure to always check more than one source, especially agency websites.

3) Publisher's Marketplace (PM),
If you're serious about being a published writer, you should definitely subscribe to PM. The monthly fee is around $20, and it's well worth it. Many book deals are reported here. There are great articles on the industry, as well as, much information on individual agents.

4) Twitter!
I know, I sound like a broken record, but as many of you know, I might not have an agent if it weren't for Twitter, and I more than likely wouldn't have the Awesome Agent that I do. Here's my story: Debbie gets an agent. //Follow me on Twitter!

5) Agent Websites
A no-brainer, right? Wrong. I can't believe how many times I see agents mention, "If only people would follow the guidelines on my website!!!" Please, friends, do yourself a favor. Check agent websites no matter what information you find about querying them on other sites! Agent websites trump all.

6) Google
Yes, Google. Why wouldn't you Google someone who you may end up in a LTR with? If nothing else, maybe you can see a picture of them - they say that paints a thousand words, right? (I wonder if I put 70 pictures in my book if that would count for a completed 70k ms? Hmm...)

7) Absolute Write Water Cooler,
Fabulous resource for writing tips, forums, Ask The Agent, reviews, etc.

8) Backspace Writer's Conference,
I thought I'd throw in a great writer's conference website for good measure. I attended this conference last May ('09) and met fabulous agents and writers and learned so much. It was definitely part of what propelled me forward to signing with my agent. If it's too far away from where you live (it's in NYC), then make sure you get yourself signed up for a reputable writer's conference closer to home. You'll be amazed how useful they are.

These are my main suggestions. If you have further suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Also, if you have any specific questions for me, I'll be happy to answer them either in the comment section or via email at, whichever you prefer.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Signed copy of THE ONE THAT I WANT by Allison Winn Scotch!

RE: BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNER I will post the random winner on my Monday post. ;-)))

Remember how I told you how awesome Allison Winn Scotch is? Well, she just got even more awesome. She has offered to give one, signed copy of her new book THE ONE THAT I WANT to one lucky commenter on my blog!

Here's the deal. Tell me at least one thing you love about me and/or Allison in the comment section before midnight on Saturday, and I'll randomly pick a winner on Sunday. Feel free to either tell the truth, enhance (i.e., lie), or tell a funny story about something you think Allison or I might do. (And, keep it clean, people!)

Also, if you link to your blog or retweet on Twitter and let me know, you'll get an extra chance at winning the book.

Have fun and good luck!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Allison Winn Scotch - The One That I Want

UPDATE: I just received THE ONE THAT I WANT in the mail (from Amazon via the amazing and generous Daisy Whitney) and read Chapter One. I am totally hooked. You must go out, post haste, and buy it NOW!!!

Today, my blog is once again graced with the lovely and talented Allison Winn Scotch. Her latest book, THE ONE THAT I WANT has recently hit bookstores, and she was kind enough to drop by and share a bit about it. Hope you enjoy!

DLS: So, Allison, for the readers who may not have had the pleasure of being introduced to you in their bookstores or on Twitter yet, tell us a little about yourself.

AWS: I’m a freelance magazine writer turned novelist. THE ONE THAT I WANT is my third book after TIME OF MY LIFE and THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST AND FOUND. I live in New York City with my husband, our son, daughter and dog.

DLS: I read Time Of My Life last summer on the beach and loved it (the beach and the book.) I'm really excited about The One That I Want! Can you tell us a little about it?

AWS: Thank you! The One That I Want is sort of the bookend to TOML: it takes a woman who is perfectly content with her existence and shatters her world completely. Tilly Farmer is a guidance counselor at her old high school in her small town, married to her high school sweetheart. She’s given the unwelcome ability to see into the future and discovers that the perfect life she thinks she’s carved out for herself is anything but. Taking the whole “seeing into the future” thing out of the equation, it’s really a story about how we find happiness and how we sometimes have to take the blinders off to really see what’s meant to be seen.

DLS: OMG, I can SO relate to the whole "perfect life is anything but" scenario right now. Before I start crying on my laptop, let's change gears. What do you love most about your mc's?

AWS: Well, I’ll be honest, I found Tilly hard to relate to in the beginning, but by the end, I was and am absolutely smitten with her. She is a woman who hasn’t been dealt the best hand in life but who has made the best of what’s she’s gotten...and yet, whether or not she realizes it, this actually isn’t the BEST that she can do. I loved watching her eyes open to this idea and especially love the ownership she takes of her life by the end. It’s triumphant, and I really rooted for her. I also really enjoyed the character of Eli – I liked him personally and I liked writing him. He comes in from out of town and infuses a new energy into the town, and, to be honest, into the book. He’s a bit of a wanderer, and I could relate to that.

DLS: I'm sold, as I am with everything you write. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

AWS: I know that a lot of aspiring writers read your blog, so I only wanted to add that this book was a real labor of love for me – it went through about seven drafts, and at no point was it an easy road. I think writers out there should know that sometimes, it just comes down to rolling up your sleeves and diving in. That’s the only way to get it done. Writing can be and often is very hard work, and while it would be wonderful if every day were a creative joyride, the truth is that every day is not. :) So roll up your sleeves and get ‘er done!

DLS: Don't I know it (she said, diving back into Draft #5...!)

So, there you have it, my friends. Allison's books are fabulous and, in my opinion, seriously great summer reads. Make sure you pick up all of her books the first chance you get.

Happy new week to all!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ask an Agent a Question!

Have you ever wanted to sit down with a literary agent and simply ask them a question? One on one? Well, my good friend, Suzanne Hayze (who just scored major agentage in the form of Elizabeth Jote of Objective Entertainment!), and Amanda Bonilla have just started a series on their blog, Writing Out The Angst, where they let you do just that. The first installment is up and running at Their first interview will be with agent Julia Kenny from Markson Toma. Here's how it works: You post your question in the comments section, and they compile them--- send them to Julia, and post the interview next week. So, what are you waiting for? Ask away!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Simmer Until FULLY Heated

Some of you may have noticed I've been on a bit of a self-imposed blogging "time-off" lately. The self-imposed part makes "time-off" different from a "time-out," but it's similar in several ways.

For example, I've been sitting in a proverbial corner, pouting, wanting things to be different than they are, thinking, "Life's not fair!" and "Why, me, WHY ME???" Oh yeah. And there's the fist-pounding.

But now, my "time-off/out" is over. The moon and stars have shifted their positions in the sky (yes, I realize the Earth spins, but I'm going for dramatic effect here) and it's time for me to climb out of my cozy, dark corner and get back to work.

Let me back up. AA took me to Powell's Books & Orgasmatorium in Portland a few weeks ago and forced me at gunpoint to purchase a used copy of TWILIGHT. I doth protested muchly, but her cold glare stopped me dead in my tracks. I grabbed it from her hands, sighed loudly, gave her an evil glare, and marched to the check-out counter.

Last night I finished the damn book.

Okay, I admit, I loved it. (This is the part where my writerly BFF, Julie, who has been touting the wonders of all things Stephenie Meyer for the past year as I've defiantly rolled my eyes in disgust and proclaimed, "Vampires? PUHLEASE!!!"collapses to the floor in a wild fit of self-righteous laughter.) Anyhoo, when I read Becca Fitzpatrick's, "Hush Hush," I had a light-bulb moment realizing my story needed to be changed from 3rd person POV to 1st. Big, huge deal. My light-bulb moment while reading TWILIGHT was nearly 500 pages long. The magic here, and the thing I avoid in most areas of my life? SLOWING DOWN.

I move fast. Just the other night I was out with someone walking around downtown Philly and he said, "Damn, girl, you walk fast!" Yeah, I do. I'm from Brooklyn. We do everything fast.

What did I realize I need to slow down in my story? Romance! Edward and Bella don't even profess their true feelings for each other until halfway through the book! Their first kiss? Somewhere around page 300. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? And, the crazy thing is? It freaking works!!!

Tension, desire, anticipation, lust, mystery, utter joy. Those are the elements that, if written wisely, can be pure genius. TWILIGHT is not a book about vampires, it's a love story, plain and simple. And it's an epic love story. The reader "gets" how fully Edward and Bella are in love and are committed to one another. And, from a world-building standpoint? RIGHT. ON. THE. MONEY. A feverish love story with picture-perfect world building? That's no easy task, my friends, no easy task.

So, now, it's back to work for me. I'm lucky in that the bones of my book are solid, the concept interesting, and the characters engaging. Now, all I need to do is throw in the proper amounts of spices and let simmer until fully heated.

What about you? What are some of the things you realize you need to change/edit/work on in your stories. What parts do you nail, and what do you need work on?

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