Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Gift to Me

All I want for Christmas is a two hour chunk of time where my three small children are entertained by their father and I can sit at the computer--uninterrupted--and write.

In Stephen King's ON WRITING, he says if you truly want to be a writer you have to write every day. Even on Christmas. I thought to myself, I am so there already. Writing is like my most special place I go for me time. And writing during the day (I write almost exclusively at night while littl'uns are asleep) is heaven.

What about you? Do you want to write on Christmas? Or do you count Christmas day as a vacation from writing?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Awesome Giveaway

My friend and fellow writer, B.J. Anderson, is holding a contest on her blog--a gift giveaway. And it rawks!

But the rawking part has nothing to do with the fact that I'm giving a five page MS critique. The contest would rock even without that. So go check it out! And I mean it!! I want to see some comments over there because she's one of my absolute best friends. And her contest rawks!

On another note, is anyone else being pummeled with snow? We have shoveled our driveway at least ten times since Sunday. We've gotten more than two feet of the white stuff. It is slowly going from Winter Wonderland to Thank Goodness I've Done All My Christmas Shopping Because This Is A Nightmare!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fawning Over Firelight::A Bookanista Review

I have the best luck in the world. First of all, I was asked by the Bookanistas if I wanted to join them and be mailed ARC's to read and review online. HECK YES! And then, I get sent some of the most amazing books to read! Like Sophie Jordan's Firelight. This is probably my favorite ARC yet!

Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee. But Jacinda feels only anguish within Nevada's desert climate. Then she meets Will and, despite recognizing him as the same draki hunter, feels herself come alive.

What I liked about this book: Everything! It brought me back to the more traditional fantasy novels I read as a teen, where magic and love have no limits. Yet this is a contemporary read.

What I liked about the Character: Jacinda is strong, yet breakable. In the beginning of the book, she's a rule-breaking rebel who has no fear, but removed from her ideal climate, she almost crumbles.

What I liked about the setting: Set mainly in the Nevada desert, Sophie Jordan does a beautiful job of bringing the reader there. I could feel my skin tightening under the hot desert sun as I read.

The other thing I liked: The love story. It was sweet and beautiful, and left me tingling with anticipation right until the very end. The kissing scenes were totally on fire! And it made this book impossible to put down.

For more spectacular Bookanista reviews from my fellow up-and-coming writers, check out:

Kirsten Hubbard celebrates JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Elana Johnson gives a little love to JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE
Beth Revis chimes in on CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker rave about BOOKS THEY’RE DYING TO READ
Carolina Valdez Miller looks ahead to JANUARY RELEASES

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Meaning Behind the Letters

It is snowing, my kids are at the neighbor's house, and my YA MS is ATTACKING my sanity like a relentless ninja. So, JSYK, this post will be short.

Anyway, my BFF writer pal Sheralyn Pratt asked me to post about the meaning behind the letters. Letters? What Letters, you ask? See below .

YA=Young Adult
MG=Mid Grade (as in genre/mid grade)
LMAO=Laughing my ass off.
IMO=In My Opinion
JSYK=Just So You Know
BRB=Be Right Back
BFF=Best Friend Forever
BTW=By The Way

BTW, If you have any to add to these, post them in comments and I'll put them in the post with a link to you and your blog.

From Magenta:
ROTFL=Rolling On The Floor Laughing
WIP=Work In Progress
AFK=Away From Keyboard
POS=Parent(s) Over Shoulder
TTFN=Ta Ta For Now.

From Nicole:
BICHOK - Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard
ROTFLMAO - Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off

Angela says:
WB = write back

Elana says: FTW=For The Win

Jacoby Says (and how'd I forget this one, LOL): LOL=Laugh Out Loud

Emma Says: TTYL=talk to you later
TTIB=talk to you in a bit
BBIB=be back in a bit
BFFL=best friends for life

Monday, December 13, 2010


"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." -Richard G. Scott

I believe this pertains to more than becoming a writer. It pertains to every day life. Do you agree? And more importantly,

What do you want to become?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss::A Book Review

I had the pleasure of reading Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss. It was fantastic! I'm a very you-gotta-have-some-kind-of-magic-or-sci-fi-junk-in-a-story-to-make-it-good type of reader, and this book didn't have any of that. But I had a hard time putting it down! That should be enough of a recommendation for you to go read it--trust me.

"Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris until she meets Etienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home."

What I liked about this book: The voice! Stephanie Perkins really knows how to do funny. She keeps the story alive with her humor.

What made it stand out: The hot, sexy, British-French-American Etienne St. Claire. He's not tall. He doesn't have perfect teeth. He's full of flaws. Yet all of those things make him even more desirable. Seriously!

The Characters: I already mentioned Etienne. Anna's quite awesome herself. She has a space between her two front teeth (So do I)! And she's hilarious.

Another thing: Reading this book made me hungry. For French food (banana and Nutella filled crepe, anyone? I love Nutella). And French culture. And French architecture. I want to go to France because of a book. Lame reason? Read it and you'll get me.

So, go check it out. Here's the Amazon link.

And for more Bookanista reviews, check out:

Carolina Valdez Miller praises ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
Christine Fonseca and Elana Johnson recommend THE WRITERS GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY
Shannon Messenger raves about DESIRES OF THE DEAD and gives away the ARC
Megan Miranda gushes about REVOLUTION
Lisa and Laura Roecker present a special Guestanista review of PERSONAL DEMONS

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Talentless Hack? Or Writer in the Making?

Advanced warning... abnormally long post below.

Someone asked me a brilliant question. Something I have never been asked. Here's what she said:

So you got started by writing an hour a day? What made you continue when you reread what you had written and you felt like a talentless hack? I want so badly to write all of these stories in my head, but I feel like I can't do them justice and so I don't write very often because I'm so afraid of it turning out horribly.

This really hit home, guys! I could have written this very same question to an author seven years ago. So brace yourselves for my bitter truth.

(WARNING: If you think becoming a published author is easy and you don't want your hopes and dreams taking a reality check, don't read on!)

The first book I wrote took me almost a year to complete. It was 700 pages, a terrific story with beautiful characters, and an absolute prose NIGHTMARE! In fact, it was so poorly written, when I tried to start editing, I gave up on it completely and stuck it on my Shelf of Things Best Forgotten (right beside my dreams of being a musician, famous inventor, and doctor).

I wrote another book, much shorter... about 300 pages. Again, a great story, great characters, slightly better writing. I polished it, wrote up a horrible query letter, and started querying while penning part two. That book went nowhere. I racked up about fifty rejections over a year and then stuck it on the The Shelf, along with book two.

So with three shelved manuscripts under my belt, I did what any sane person who discovered the relentless drive to write would do... the inevitable. I wrote a forth manuscript. I wrote a decent query. I queried agents. And I got rejection after rejection after rejection after...

The only thing that made the rejections not sting as badly was writing. So I started manuscript #5. As I wrote this manuscript, I laughed, I cried, I'd stay up half the night with my heart pounding, jumping at the smallest sounds as I wrote terrifying scenes, and knew what I was writing was magic. And it was. Still is. But it was magic that had to be edited and edited and edited until it was good enough to get me a fantastic agent (thanks Marlene!), and an amazing publisher willing to take a chance on me (thanks Walker!).

Let's jump to today. I wrote for years, wrote thousands of pages to get where I am, spent days, hours, weeks, months, years in front of the computer honing my skill. And if I hadn't...


It doesn't get any easier! I still work until I can't see straight, the only difference between now and then is now I write better, faster. If I didn't, if I hadn't "practiced" for all those years, there's no way I'd survive the publishing world.

So enjoy every second of your journey. Embrace the editing process and what you learn from it. And most of all,

Never. Give. UP!


Friday, December 3, 2010

The Drive to Create

As a teen, I'd have these sudden, indescribable urges. They went on into my twenties. Now I know what you're probably thinking and ... GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER!!! I don't mean those urges. It was something like this:

I'd feel a painful, internal yearning, like my heart was trying to claw its way out of my body, and the only thing that would fix it was to sit down at the piano and play for an hour.

Other times everything around me would become overwhelmingly bright, bringing me close to tears, and I'd grab a pen and paper and try my best to create some artistic masterpiece (and fail miserably).

And then I discovered writing. And for the first time in my life I understood what that feeling was--

The Drive to Create.

Writing eats it up. Funny thing is, the more I channel it into writing, to more of it I have.

How about you? How else does your creative bug manifest itself? How old were you when it started? And when did realize what it was?

BTW: for a hilarious post on dialogue, go to Ian's blog here. Want an honest look into editing for a publisher? Check out Mary's new blog here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thrilling News!

We are taking a detour from our usual Bookanistas post to celebrate something huge. (Though be sure to check below for linkies to our fellow Bookanistas as they talk about books that rock!)

And now for The News. =)

Our good friend and fellow QueryTracker blogger Carolyn Kaufman has a brand new book published!!! Suzy was lucky enough to beta this book so she can vouch for its awesomeness. It reads like a novel and (to warn you) is very hard to put down. Read on for insight plus a sneak peek at what's in the book.

How did you decide to write The Writer’s Guide to Psychology?

While I was in grad school, I noticed a lot of discrepancies between what I was learning and seeing in the therapy room and what I saw in the popular media.  I started investigating, and discovered that there’s a branch of psychology – Division 46, Media Psychology – that addresses the problem.  And though a few scholarly books have been written, and though there are some consultants available to accomplished writers through big organizations, there was no interesting, accessible, affordable guide on clinical and counseling psychology that was readily available to writers – so I decided to write one!

Could you give us a quick rundown of The Writer’s Guide to Psychology?

  • ·         Chapter 1 explores and corrects common myths and mistakes we see in the media.
  • ·         Chapter 2 teaches the writer how therapists think about human behavior, both to help them create stronger characters, and to help them portray therapy realistically.
  • ·         Chapter 3 delves into the therapist’s profession, describing the different degrees your characters can have (psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker? for example), how therapists are trained, and the real ethics of doing therapy (another big place writers make mistakes).
  • ·         Chapter 4 takes you behind the closed door of the therapy office and provides you with more character-building tricks, including ways to get tough characters to open up.
  • ·         Chapter 5 helps you understand the difference between a “normal” problem and a disorder, as well as how diagnoses are made.
  • ·         Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 explore the most common diagnoses, including uncommon tidbits to help you portray the disorders realistically.
  • ·         Chapter 10 is all about the psychology of villains and psychopaths.
  • ·         Chapter 11 gives you the ins and outs of biological interventions, from medications to “electroshock” therapy and cutting-edge treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
  • ·         Chapter 12 teaches you to portray emergencies realistically (yet another place lots of writers make mistakes), including suicide and homicide assessments and hospitalization.

What impact would you say completing THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY has had on you personally and on your writing?

This might sound a little silly, but it taught me that I really could reach out to people using this medium, ie books.  And now that I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again. 

I think what I’m trying to say is that I feel a sense of competence, which we psychologists call “self-efficacy,” about writing nonfiction. That makes me even more excited about this book; it also makes me excited about future books that I don’t even know I’m going to write yet.

Who has been the greatest influence on you with respect to encouraging you to write and become a published author?

Probably my parents – they raised me to believe I could do anything if I put my mind and a great deal of effort into it.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of the negative messages some women and some artists get: that they can’t accomplish certain things.  I was never given those messages, and my parents supported my dreams when I wanted to be a writer just as strongly as they supported me when I decided I wanted to be a doctor.

My mom in particular has been a huge support on THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY.  When I first created my website, she read every single thing I wrote and provided wonderful feedback.  She let me bounce ideas off of her and read my proposal and then every word I wrote for the book itself.  When I was asked to add an Introduction to the book in a very short period of time, she was there to read it in the few hours I had before I needed to turn it in.

How can we purchase your book?

The book is available from all the big and small online retailers like  You should also be able to find the book in brick-and-mortar stores like Borders!

You can visit Carolyn’s WGTP website for more information including the media kit and a detailed table of contents, follow her on Facebook, visit her YouTube channel, or send her your psychology and writing question at Archetype Writing, her website on psychology for writers.

Congratulations, Carolyn!

For some awesome reads check out the Bookanista links below:
Christine Fonseca recommends JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE in BIG HAIRY DRAMA
Elana Johnson raves about MATCHED

Shannon Messenger loves on ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and offers a Giveaway
Megan Miranda celebrates DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Beth Revis sings the praises of CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker salute REVOLUTION