Friday, December 23, 2011

The Final Countdown (to win my book)

So, wanna win SHIFTING? You have until midnight!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shifting (my book) Preview

So a lot of you know I've written a book. And maybe some of you don't.
Well, if you're curious about it--my book (SHIFTING)--and want to see if you might like it, follow this link.
You can take a peek at the first two chapters and see what you think! Here's the Amazon link . . . you know . . . just in case. ;D

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writer On the Side

Mom in the middle. That's me. Writer on the side, but Mom in the middle, where it really counts.
Don't get me wrong. I love writing. LOVE it! In fact, I recently sold two books to my publisher, Walker Books, and I am so excited for the world to read them!
But for me, being a mom is my number one priority. Because when I write a book, I have all the tries I need to get it "just right." But with kids? If I mess up, I can't go back and fix something by tweaking a scene, or changing the ending. With kids, every single day matters.
I had this epiphany a while back. Childhood is fleeting! It goes by so quickly. Time seems to be speeding up on me and before I know it my kids will be grown and I'll be all alone wondering where time went.
Therefore, my kids come before my writing. Always. I don't think I could instill morals and values into my writing if I didn't first live them in my daily life. So in essence, the fact that I have children, these tiny beings whom I love with all my heart and soul, is what gives me the overwhelming emotional power to write stories that touch other people.
So here are a few things that I have learned along the way:
--Always put your kids first because if they are happy and content, so are you. And if you are happy and content, then you can write beautiful stories.
--Put pieces of what you learn from your kids into your writing--they teach unconditional love, after all, and isn't that what makes life worth living? And books worth reading?
--Revel in the fact that you are lucky enough to be blessed with kids, because the people who dearly want children but can't have them wish more than ANYTHING (even more than you wish you were published, or you wish you were on the NY Times bestseller list) that they were in your shoes.
--Be content with what you have. Want what you already own/have accomplished, and you'll find joy in life. Don't look at other people's grass and marvel at how green it looks from where you are. I guarantee you that they will have grubs at one time or another!
I guarantee you that when you're on your deathbed you won't think, Man, I wish I wrote one more book. But you might think, Man, I wish I spent more time with my kids.
So, what have you learned from life?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mom or Author?

How about both? Of those two things, being a mom is my top priority. That is why, sadly, I haven't blogged since October. Life got tough for a little while. And now it is back to normal (which means only slightly insane). In lieu of that, I decided to do a few blog posts over the next few weeks about how to achieve your goals as a writer while also being the mom (or dad) that your kids deserve. Because they deserve the best. And so do you! (Check out this amazing article, "What We Wish We Knew Then.")
I am the proud mother of four small kids, and they take up a whole lot of my time. All of my time, actually, between the hours of seven a.m. and 8 p.m. So how do I write and yet raise a healthy, balanced family (because even my husband needs some raising)?
It is all about time. You ABSOLUTELY have to manage your time. Make every single moment count and don't waste a single second on useless stuff like . . . watching television. Or playing bejeweled. Or (cringe) Solitaire (guilty). Or, dare I say, Facebook and Twitter.
Here are a few totally random time-saving tips:
1. Learn to chop vegetables like a pro. I am not kidding! Do you know how fast I can make a salad now that I can chop a carrot in less than 30 seconds? A bell pepper in 60 seconds? When I can whip up a healthy meal in minutes, I have time to spare for other things.
2. Be organized! Everything should have a place, and never put something down! Put it away. (Or be like me and follow your kids from room to room picking up their toys--or make them do it.)
3. Make your kids accountable for their own messes--especially their bedrooms. In my house? NO TV until kids are dressed (the older ones do it by themselves), bedrooms are spotless, and beds are made. If they clean up after themselves, that makes a lot less for me to do.
4. Have a set bedtime for your kids and enforce it every single day. As soon as all kids are in bed, focus on writing.
5. Every evening put a load or two of laundry in to wash/dry so that it is ready to fold first thing in the morning. Do this every day!
And then, when the kids are in bed, it just so happens that the house is more-or-less clean, the laundry is folded and (if I'm really on the ball) put away, the husband is happily watching television, and you are free to do whatever you want (which is write novels in my case).
Now, tell me what you do to make writing possible (even if you don't have kids because you're all probably just as busy as me).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Amazing Marlene Stringer

This past October I had the pleasure of meeting my agent, the incredible Marlene Stringer (in the photo, holding someones adorable baby).
Here's what she's like in person:
She is absolutely bursting with energy.
She wears sassy skinny-leg pants.
She's incredibly sweet.
She knows the book business--both the legal side and the creative side.
She's quite possibly the best agent around.
Here's what she's looking for:
Contemporary & Urban Fantasy
Women’s Fiction
Historical Fiction
Science Fiction
Young Adult/Teen
Middle Grade Fiction
Our agency represents select non-fiction, including parenting, history, music, sports and popular science. If your manuscript falls between categories, or you are not sure of the category, query and we’ll let you know if we’d like to take a look.
She's temporarily closed to queries until the new year, so start polishing them up to send on January 1st. And good luck!