Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What season inspires you the most?

For me, it is the changing seasons... dead winter to thriving spring, parched summer to golden fall, bitter fall to a winter wonderland. The funny thing is, I tend to write my stories in whatever season I am NOT in. I wrote a book set in bitter, frigid winter during a summer heat spell. The book I am working on now takes place in the heat of summer.

How about you? Do the changing seasons stir your creativity?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walk Down Memory Lane

When I was twelve, I wanted to be my sixteen-year-old sister (the taller girl on the right with the totally hot date). I crept into her bedroom in the morning and snuck clothes out of her closet. I stole her books... and returned them after I'd read them. I fell in love with her boyfriends (and there were lots). I even listened to the same radio station because if she listened to that weird alternative stuff, like Depeche Mode and Gene loves Jezebel, then it was the ultimate cool.

Jump ahead thirteen years. My sister decided to be a writer of novels and asked if I wanted to be one too. I was doubtful of my own abilities (failed 9th grade english, didn't go to college) but if she was going to do it, obviously it was the ultimate ULTIMATE cool. That night I sat down and wrote my first page.

Dude. Thanks for the lifelong inspiration, Sue!
Originally posted 4/8/10

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Wish for You

Just down the hill from my home is an idyllic little pond which I've blogged about before. Every time we're out driving and it's dark (we make four karate-studio-runs per week) my kids beg to drive by Salem Pond. And so we loop around the pond, the kids ooh-ing and aah-ing, and I find myself caught up in the magic of the floating displays and the hauntingly beautiful trees.

Today as I sat down, I found myself wanting to share the magic with you.

And so our wish for you is that you will find childlike wonder in your holidays.

Wishing you and yours peace, joy, and happiness.

Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins
Originally posted 12/24/2009

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Addiction or Hobby?

Suzette: We should start writing books.
Me: Huh? What do you mean writing books?
S: I was watching this interview with the author of Holes. He said all it takes to write a novel is an hour a day and a year.
Me: Really? I've always wanted to write a book.
S: Me, too. So do you want to do it?
Me: Seriously?
S: Why not?
Me: Because I failed ninth grade English and didn't finish college?
S: So what. We might as well try it.
(This is where I stare at her, my mouth hanging open, wondering if she's gone crazy)
Me: Sure. An hour a day. I can do that. (Insert internal groan)

One year later: Status: We had both written two manuscripts (45,000 to 120,000 words--yeah, I was a little long-winded back then!).
Two years later: Status: We had both written another manuscript (or two).
Six+ years later: Status: My debut novel, currently untitled, is being released in September 2011 by Walker Books.

Conclusion: Writing can become a long-term addiction. Beware!

So, are you addicted? How long have you been writing? And what in the world inspired you to try it?

Originally posted 2/1/10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Significance of a Significant's

The scene: I am standing in the kitchen with my baby on my hip, chopping onions for the dinner I am making ahead of time since I have cub scouts in the afternoon, while simultaneously cleaning the kitchen, drawing a food pyramid for afore mentioned scouts, entertaining crabby 3-year-old, and watching for 8-year-old to come home.

Me=Me. Jaime=Husband.

Me: Jaime, you seem a little miffed that I asked you to watch the kids for an hour so I could work on my writing.
Jaime: Shrug.
Me: Just out of curiosity, how do you see my writing?
Jaime: I'm glad you have something you enjoy doing, and that it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Me: But it's more than that. I have the potential to be published. I have to treat it like a job.
Jaime: Shrug. When you start making money I'll see it differently.
Me: Biting my tongue. Waiting for fire to start flaming out of my nostrils. Deep breath. Another deep breath. Imagination overload--If only I had magic at my fingertips... I'd turn you into a toad!
Jaime: Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you have such a fulfilling hobby.
Me: Almost bite clean through my tongue. Pound the crap out of a chicken breast, kiss baby's forehead.You know, you're lucky you're still a good looking man. It's your only defense right now.

My dear Jaime
Husband of twelve years

So tell me, please! How does your significant other view your writing addiction?

UPDATE: My book will be published in September 2011 by Walker Books!!! Husband takes my writing very seriously!

Originally posted 2/9/10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Writing is Like...

... getting a slab of granite and being handed a chisel, and then uncovering David.

Writing is like being thrown a jumble of 85,000 words and being told that if you arrange them just so, they will have the power to make people laugh, cry, and remember how true love feels.

Writing is like snow. One flake is a beginning. A million flakes are a winter wonderland.

Writing is like running. You start out slow. And it hurts. But the more you do it, the swifter you become. The stronger you get.

When I was a teenager I finally admitted to myself that magic doesn't exist. As an adult, I know better. Writing is... magic.

What is writing like for you?

Originally posted 12/15/09

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Moments That Make Us

Just so you know, for the next week, in preparation for Thanksgiving and being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen A LOT, I'm going to post a week's worth of old but awesome posts. Even though it isn't next week yet, we'll start with this one, written by my amazing blog partner and sister, Suzette Saxton. Enjoy!

XO, Bethany

There are things in life that we have no control over that leave their mark - death of a loved one comes to mind - and then there are those subtle things that make just as big an impression.

Take opera. My exposure to it consisted of Pretty Woman, when Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) said, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." I made a point of listening to a smattering of opera after that - nothing happened. I figured I was one of those who would never have it in my soul. Many years later I bought a collection of classical music, and tacked on at the end, almost as an afterthought, was a very short opera piece by Puccini. I was so stunned by its beauty I found myself crying. That one piece unlocked a window in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.

Another involves Flaming June, a painting I think you all know I love, as I use it as my Google icon. (Sweet Cynde even sent me Flaming June emery boards!) On a recent trip to the museum I found myself face-to-face with an original 4x4 inch oil study that was part of the planning stage for Flaming June. To see the actual brushstrokes of Lord Fredrick Leighton ... I stood riveted to the spot as a long line of patrons accumulated behind me. When one of them finally cleared his throat, I gave up my place and moved to the back of the line to await another turn.

Other life-altering moments that come to mind include a recent camping trip I took with my children, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and sunsets in general, which never fail to spur spiritual growth. This past weekend I swam in a million-year-old crater pool. Once I got used to the fact that I was floating atop 65 feet of water, the experience was profound.

I want to know about those subtle, life-shaping moments that make you who you are.

Originally posted 10/10/09

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels, a Book Review

Don't you love sitting down and finding a book that you love right from the beginning? One that makes you semi-neglect your kids (not that this is good!) and totally neglect your laundry? Well, this is one of 'em.

Strange Angels
Lili St. Crow

Sixteen-year-old Dru Anderson has grown up traveling the country with her demon-hunter father. When he tries to tackle a powerful sucker named Sergej in the Dakotas, he is turned into a zombie. After stopping him from killing her, Dru must save herself when she, too, becomes Sergej's target.

What I liked about this book: This book made my heart speed up, made me jump at the smallest sounds, and made me temporarily scared of the dark. And, call me old fashioned, but there was no teen sex--I found that kinda refreshing.

The Main Character: Dru is awesome. She NEVER needs a guy to jump in and save her butt. At the same time, she's so down-to-earth and normal, her character is believable--even when she's battling a flaming hound.

The Side Character: Graves. He was awesome! Totally your average, dorky guy that melts your heart just by being himself.

What Made This Book Unique: The author's take on the supernatural was so creative, so engrossing, it sent shivers down my spine.

For more book love from these awesome fellow writers/Bookanistas, check out:

Shannon Messenger is awestruck by THE MARBURY LENS and giving away a signed hardcover
Carolina Valdez Miller is spreading picture book love for CHICKEN BUTT!
Megan Miranda is captivated by MATCHED
Elana Johnson is in love with PERILOUS
Christine Fonseca is amazed by DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Beth Revis is blown away by DEMONGLASS
Lisa and Laura Roecker share a YA review from an actual YA: a "Guestanista Review" on THE REPLACEMENT

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Short and Sweet

Remember a few posts ago I talked about how short query letters are the way to go (strictly my opinion, of course)? Well, my agent, Marlene Stringer, recently posted this on Twitter:

I'm seeing a lot of Qs with way too much backstory/setup.

So it's not just me. You've got to remember when writing your query, leave just enough of a taste of that short and sweet to leave them wanting a little bit more. Skip the main meal and to straight to the dessert, the very best part! And hook 'em with that!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Short Post and a Recipe

So I had another writEr momEnt the other day.

Every fall I make Butternut Squash Soup (with squash I grow in my garden). It is the best.

Now, I pulled out my big binder of recipes (which are totally unorganized) and started going through them in search of the butternut recipe. But after a moment or two, I paused. On the back of each recipe was a page of a former draft of one of many manuscripts I'd written. And by reading each edited-slashed-to-pieces manuscript page, I could tell what year I'd printed the recipe.

Total walk down memory lane.

How do you recycle edited-slashed-to-pieces manuscript pages?

And BTW, here's a link to the recipe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Black Hole Sun Book Review

The black is back, guys, as I write another book review post linked with the Bookanistas, a fabulous group of some of the most awesome fellow bloggers/writers in the universe. (See below for the links.)

Black Hole Sun
David Macinnis Gill

"Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure." (From Amazon)

What I liked about this book: I liked everything about this book. From the first paragraph, I was sucked into the action. The voice is amazing. I was laughing throughout. There's never a dull moment!

The Plot: The author doesn't tell you what things in this world mean, just writes them in and lets you figure 'em out. And it was refreshing! No info-dump.

The Characters: The MC was smart. REALLY smart. Without being the least bit cocky about it. And he was hot!

The other thing: The author made up his own language for swearing. It was really nice. A refreshing break from having to read the f-word five times per page.

For more fantabulous reviews, check out the other bookanistas:

Elana Johnson marvels over The Mockingbirds
Lisa and Laura Roecker dish about The Love Goddess' Cooking School
Christine Fonseca is nostalgic over books she loved growing up
Shannon Messenger is excited about the Ninth Ward
Megan Miranda adores The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Myra McEntire raves about NetGalley
Kirsten Hubbard considers the good, the bad and the ugly impact of reviews
Jamie Harrington is thrilled about The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball