Friday, June 29, 2012

Time Writing Capsule

In movies I’ve seen characters bury something when they were young and then when someone passes or they gradually age (as we do with time) they remember this little box buried somewhere safe and find it to see what they kept from the past.

Listening to the song 20 Years by Civil Wars got me thinking about what my writing would be like twenty years from now.

They lyrics are amazingly simple (and poetic)…

There’s a note underneath your front door
That I wrote twenty years ago
Yellow paper and a faded picture
And a secret in an envelope

There’s no reasons, no excuses
There’s no secondhand alibis
Just some black ink and some blue lines
And a shadow you won’t recognize

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting
For twenty years and twenty more
I’ll be praying for redemption
And your note underneath my door
And your note underneath my door

Seriously The Civil Wars are amazing. Here’s the videolink. It’s a must listen.

They gave me the idea to take writing into my own hands. I’ve selected a piece of my handwritten writing and have decided to place it in a box and somewhere safe so twenty years from now I can see where I came from.

Consider it my own writing capsule. I’m looking forward to seeing the yellow paper, black ink, and faded blue lines. I’ve also placed a picture inside as well… might as well see how much my hair has changed at that time.

Ever thought about it? You should do it! And if you have, how rewarding does it feel when you realize how far you’ve come?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Wordies - Food Style

Author Note: For those of you who saw this last week, I'm sorry... my fingers slipped and posted it too early!

I'm a hungry blogger today so what's better than choosing stories that have some sort of food mention in their title!!! Times a wasting and this girl is ready for some grub when these first sentences are shared!!

1. The firm close of the door, despite not having been remotely slammed, nevertheless reverberates through the profound emptiness of my house.

2. Georgia turned onto a tree-lined street of brick town houses and brownstones, stopping when she reached a gunmetal-gray low-rise that shared none of it's neighbors' quiet charm.

3. Charlotte had known when she married Henry that he would inherit Transcome Point.

Any sounds enticing?! I know each one of these sentences had me asking a million questions. Then again I'm bias because I also saw the cover art and loved it!!!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Bad Habits Die Hard

Writing is no easy task. The amount of work that goes into a poem, short story, novel, or screenplay takes a lot of time and dedication. So those sneaky little bad habits getting in our way makes our job harder. Nothing is worse then knowing your habits and having the hardest time in breaking them.

What's mine?

Telling vs. Showing AND punctuation.

These are HUGE considering they are the most noticeable when it comes to readers. I'm sure my critique partners are beyond annoyed by page fifty after all the paragraphs they highlight. We've started to do a chapter at a time. They show me my biggest mistakes and I comb through the pages and try and improve in chapter two. The only way to get better is to practice.

What are your bad habits? No time like the presence to tell us your dirty little secrets! How are you improving them?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Adoption Update: We're APPROVED!

Just in case you don't visit twitter of facebook (or you just plain missed it), my hubby and I got the call yesterday! We were approved and on to the next phase of babyhood!

Love me some Google

So, in an adoption agency, what does it mean to be approved?

So glad you asked!!

It means we are now getting opportunities. This is a simple email telling us about the birth mother and her life. Should we choose to embrace her we send her our 'opportunity book'. This is a book where we share about our lives, our animals, and our families. It's a way for a birth mother to get to know us as much as possible in a short amount of time.


We are overjoyed. We even went and purchased two outfits. They were as unisex as we could get... which was harder than I'd thought.

We are going to be parents. It may take months or even years, but one day we'll hold that little one in our arms and know that they were all worth the wait.

Now we must complete our required classes (last class to be completed in November) and we'll officially be ready for placement!

If you're interested in adoption or just the story itself, shoot me an email! It's worth sharing!

Any exciting news you'd like to share? Let's dive into the positive before the weekend begins!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Wordies

With summer in full swing I love the imagination and free spirit that comes with the beautiful weather so today I've chosen three magical tales! Any grab your attention?

1. Of course I'm cursed with the most uncomfortable seat on the plane.

2. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

3. Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom.

I would choose all three of these fabulous tales!!! Bonus question for the day: If you could have one magical ability... what would it be?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marketing Monday - Beta Readers are a Bonus

Writing is a solo act but there comes a time when help is needed. There is no doubt that some of us are superstars at character development or quite possibly we have the gift of grammar. None of us can truly do it all... I know, I know, we think we can but when we've spent hours, days, weeks, and months on this story. We become bias and can no longer see big or even the smallest of issues. Our minds become jaded. We bring in the next experts... our critique partners, but the same thing happens to them.

That's when it's time for the BETA READER (or what I like to call our SUPERSTAR).

How does one choose the genius who gets to hold that masterpiece in your hands?

Easy. Research.

Do you write YA?

Middle school and High school students are your target audience. Don't know any? Not a problem...

1. Social Clubs - Go to a local high school and speak with a writing/reading group. Find an English teacher and ask if her students would be interested in reading a rough draft of your work. You'd be surprised how attentive these teachers will be to the idea. Gives them a chance to liven their students moods for a love of uniqueness.

2. Libraries - You'll have avid readers. Stalk the young adult section and see if there aren't any regulars you bump into. When you create a relationship with one of them they'd be honored to read your work.

3. Parents/Relatives - My number one hot spot is family. Cousins, nieces, and friends children, one of them is bound to be a reader. Talk to the parents to get their approval. You'd be surprise how much support they show.

4. Online - I think most of us use this because it's where we feel most comfortable. Emailing teens that obsessively read are sure to gobble up that story of yours!

I've tried all of these and was successful with each or I wouldn't have suggested them! How about you? Did you ever try to go offline to find yourself a beta reader in your target audience?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Appreciate those who write.


Short Stories

Picture Books



Behind every person is a story teller.
Some never take the time to dive into it, some realize they don’t have the passion for it, others do it just to relieve the pain they feel.

It’s true when a writer tells you anyone can write. We don’t specify what exactly it is you should write after all, that’s half the writing process.
Now, I have no plans to write music, picture books, or journal every day but others will find what fits their personality best. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the hard work that is endured to complete the finished product.

Several us are inspired by music. What if there weren’t writers who wrote those beautiful words, around? We’d lose that inspiration.
What if that first book we touched, read, and slept with suddenly disappeared? Where would the idea have sparked for us to become writers?

Recently I’ve come to also realize how much work goes into writing a screenplay. It’s been a ton of fun to write but with each new scene I prep and write the more I appreciate those who have made successful stories on screen. After all, I wouldn’t get to enjoy half the movies I love today had it not been for the writers to first be blessed with the idea.
What writing inspires you?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Wordies - Movie Style

Since I'm having so much fun these days with screenplays I've decided it'd be fun to share the pitches for three different movies! These three are all comedies. Summer is here and that means the sun is shining, we are looking for some easy giggles and some light afternoons! Let's hope these three films fit the bill!

1. Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

2. A middle-aged husband's life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.   

3. Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

Any clues as to the titles of these films? I'd love to see how many have already laughed with me! Happy Watching!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marketing Monday - Alice and The Big Six

Think Alice in Wonderland (publishing style)… but probably even more twisted.
You take a sip of the bottle (aka the world of publishing) and are instantly tiny in the world of the big six and the six figure authors. You walk through the doors to start your journey and suddenly start meeting interesting people like yourself.
The mad hatter seems less mad and more magical and the red queen is merely the next obstacle (or writers block) for your second novel.
Alice’s mad mad world is truly appreciated by those who are equally as unique and creative. Alice was often frustrated when she couldn’t find her way back… I think we as writers feel frustration when that certain chapter/scene/story isn’t going the way we anticipated. The mad world causes us to continue to travel until we find the solution we’d been looking for all along. Thanks to the Cheshire cat he directed us to the next crazy obstacle we were meant to overcome.

So the next time you’re feeling like the phase you’re in might be too much make sure to stop by and visit the caterpillar, he has some very insightful things to say… or maybe that’s just what the cat told me.

I suppose that's why it's called Wonderland, we all wonder when we'll get there.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Elana Johnson is a blogger goddess, fabulous person, and amazing writer. Today she's dropped in to share about SURRENDER. If you haven't read POSSESSION I suggest you grab your copy now because you'll be dying for SURRENDER moments after!

So let's not wait... here's the info everyone is dying to hear!


Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.


Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

Romance in YA

A guest post by Elana Johnson

Okay, so I’m just going to put out there up front that I think books are better if there’s the possibility of romance. It doesn’t have to be overstated, and it doesn’t have to be the entire plot. I am such an emotional reader, though, that I want something in there that appeals to the heart.

I actually think the best kinds of romance in YA novels start slow and build with the plot. In SURRENDER, my two main characters have sort of been eyeing each other for months, though for different reasons.

Gunner likes Raine. He wants to get to know her better, but she’s not his match, and he doesn’t break protocol. But when he gets summoned to train with the Director, all bets are off—and that includes his look-but-don’t-touch attitude toward Raine.

Raine likes Gunn, because he won the Flight Trials, and she admires his flying ability. She hasn’t really thought much about him beyond that, and so when she notices herself crushing on him a little bit, she has to stop and figure out when that happened—and what she wants to do about it.

I like this kind of romance. I like writing it, and I like reading it in other YA novels. I want the catalyst to feel authentic, and I want it the relationship to make me feel something. I also want the relationship to begin to dictate some key points in the plot. As humans, we do things for irrational reasons sometimes—and sometimes one of those reasons is love.

Some have argued that teens can’t fall in love. I’ve spent a lot of time with teenagers, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: They live with an it’s-now-or-never attitude. Everything that happens in their life is the biggest deal ever. Every emotion is FELT. And that includes love.

Maybe it’s not “true” love.

But maybe it is. And that’s where the magic can happen in a YA novel. And that’s why my YA novels (almost) always have romance in them. It’s magical.

Do you enjoy a good romance? What do you think makes a good romance?

 You can win one of five SPECTACULAR SECOND books this week! It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. All you have to do is fill out this rafflecopter widget with what you’ve done.

If you haven't met Elana, you want to, trust me. She's the icing to everyone's favorite cake! Go say hello...


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Wordies

I loved sharing both the first lines and the titles with you last week, I thought it added a little more flair. Why not do it again?

We'll keep it simple. This go round I've chosen books that have outdoor cover art. That's right... even though you can't see the cover art it's an outdoor theme. ENJOY!

1. Scarlett Thomas has been my best friend for as long as I can remember.

2. I once read that football was invented so people wouldn't notice summer ending.

3. Sometimes I think about when I was little, and my older brothers would take me out to fly kites.

And here are the titles!

1. Catching Jordan

2. There You'll Find Me

3. Someone Like You

Any sound familiar? Catch your interest?

Author note: If you'd like to participate or appear on Wednesday Wordies feel free to send the title of your novel along with the first sentence and a link to purchase it. Never hesitate to send it my way! I'm all about being sure we're getting the promotion one deserves!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Marketing Monday - Styles of Writing

Lately I’ve come across a bad case of writers block. With the adoption and settling into the house I’ve found that my mind is often distant from opening up that blank paper and writing a few thousand words. It’s not that I don’t want to… it’s just the fact that the only strength I have left is to climb into bed for a nice long eighteen day nap.

Well something changed while I was watching the HOUSE finale a few weeks back. The first hour was somewhat of a documentary showing all the important people in the background. It was there I thought about all the screenwriters putting their heads together to make this eight year show the success it was today.
Guess what? In that moment the writing mojo came back. I sat down at my computer screen and began typing out a small synopsis of my newest YA story. I then googled ‘screenplay examples’ and it was there I found a site that explained how to properly write a screenplay. Low and behold the reason I was having trouble writing my YA story was because it wasn’t meant to be a novel… it was meant to be told in a different perspective.

I’ve written short stories, full length novels, and now I’m adding screenplays to the list. Stephen Kings best advice was to always first write for one’s self. I’m taking his advice and not worrying about what people say but going with the feeling of success. It doesn’t mean this is going to be the next biggest blockbuster. However I will go on to say that it’s currently my biggest blockbuster.
Moral of all of this? Write for yourself. Try a new style of writing. Don’t be afraid to try poetry, a vignette, or a full length novel. Being afraid is what makes you never brave enough to reach for the stars.

You want those stars.

Where are you headed in your writing journey?

Friday, June 1, 2012

When researching is fun...

I love being a writer. The research behind the stories we write and construct is half the fun. Want tips on making research a little more fun when it seems it was more than work than expected?
1. GOOGLE – Informative and goofy. Learn multiple things in a hurry! This tool allows you several options in under five seconds (unless your phone is slow). I often make my way to You Tube to find a nerdy guy to explain more of the daunting stuff.
Fact: Recently researched about the holocaust. I have to thank Google for without them I wouldn’t have found the quirky man to tell the tale.

2. COFFEE SHOP – When I want to learn about human behavior I’ll go to a coffee shop. You learn mannerisms much quicker when they don’t know you’re watching. Go during a peek hour and find a spot in the corner and just watch (don’t be a stalker about it, though). You’ll be surprised by what you pick up.
3. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE – Baseball games, museums, water parks or amusement parks. Take a day for yourself. Get out of your head. Removing yourself from your usual routine allows your mind to work in another area. Often times my ideas start to form when I have a day to trying something new or unusual… never be common. We as writers were meant to be unique. Let that freak flag fly.

4. GET ADDICTED – Hobbies are great. Don’t let them become distracting but take a day to watch a favorite season or dive into a book that pertains to what you need to learn. When your imagination is at an all-time high the juices flow and you’re able to soak up more knowledge when the time comes around.
5. PICK BRAINS AND TEACH OTHERS – To make the knowledge stick talk to others about it. Spouses, family members, and children (unless it’s about serial killers…). The more you share what you’ve learned you’re more likely to keep hitting the books and becoming in tune with what your character would have taken the time to learn.

What do you do to make research fun?