Wednesday, August 31, 2011


At best my life could be described as chaos. At worst, a disaster. Between my commute, my obsession with writing, studying, and the plethora of bad stuff that keeps happening, it's amazing I have any time at all. For my own sanity, I need to have a plan. Said plan will probably have many deviations as most plans do. The plan might fail or it might not. Maybe for once in my life it'll stick and something great will happen. Maybe.

Item #1 of Plan:

Take OB boards. Most of you know by now that I do ultrasounds. This board is extremely important to my career and future. Plus I've already signed up for it. D-Day is September 30 and the countdown has begun though panicked studying probably won't begin until the 15th. Man, I'm so looking forward to those days. Gah!

Item # 2 of Plan:

Finish writing my current WIP. It has no title yet, so I can't call it by name, but it's the one with the one armed Ginger. It's fantastic. I love it. I can't wait to finish. After I finish, I will query. So says Item # 5 of the plan.

Item #3 of Plan:

Satisfactorily edit Stepping Stones. I've been making excuses. I've been avoiding it like my son avoids my sister's cat. Why? I'm afraid to lose the story in the editing. When I first started writing Stepping Stones I had a very clear picture of the story. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm getting too much advice and it's clouding my judgment. So yes, one more edit and we're through and moving on. I will also be confident about this decision, the plan says so.

Item #4 of Plan:

Query Stepping Stones. Relish rejection and anticipate an agent. Feel complete in my success regardless.

Item #5 of Plan:

Edit, write query letter, and query one-armed Ginger book. (Also give it a title.) Repeat good feelings from Item #4 of Plan.

Item #6 of Plan:

Begin editing Broken Stones until satisfied. Repeat with Rising Stones and Sand Stones. Wash, rinse, repeat. Print all four books and put them on my bookshelf. Pretend they've been published. Do happy dance.

Item #7 of Plan:

Start new WIP. Possibilities are endless. Maybe I'll take a look at something I've already started. Maybe it'll be a completely new idea. Maybe I'll write another book in my series. Regardless, I will write. (Maybe I'll blog more, too!)

Conditions to the Plan:

This plan is a sequential list, with Item #7 being flexible. Items 1-5 must be complete before 2012. That gives me 4 months. Plenty of time once I get all that crazy studying out of the way. Items 6-7 have a longer deadline with 6 being finished by the end of 2012. Item #7 varies wildly as to a time frame. Writing kind of takes it's own path and can't be rushed. That's what all the procrastinators say after all.

Sigh. So here it is, folks. I'll probably need some help sticking to it, but it feels good to get it down on, uh, paper? I feel better.

All the best,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Liebster Blawarding

The fantastically fabulous Riley Redgate has blawarded me with the Liebster Blaward (jeesh, say that five times fast!) We all know how much I heart her. In fact I think I've professed my love for her in this very blog. So, thank you Riley!

So what is this Liebster Blog Award, you ask? It's very simply this: an award to highlight new bloggers, the ones that have less than 200 followers. The ones like, um, me. After my spiel, I'm going to list 5 of my fav bloggers who have less than 200 followers in hopes that all of you out there will follow and heart them as much as I do.

So here goes!

1. First and foremost is the lovely Dawn at Write Away. Dawn is amazing for several reasons starting with the fact that she has interviewed tons of writers and posted them on her blog. It's always so much fun to read and learn about fellow authors. Also, she's sweet and nice and made of everything good. I actually don't know how many followers Dawn has, but I don't think she's going to complain about the additional traffic.

2. Next I would like to call out Missy at Missy Biozarre. She's quirky and fun and a newbie like the rest of us. She's in need of some serious love from the awesome group of people that I know follow my blog. I look forward to reading more of Missy's writing. She's got some talent, yo.

3. Here we have Michelle from Greenwoman. Michelle is the mastermind behind The Skeleton Key, a round robin blogvel that features a plethora of fantastic authors (including yours truly!). She's smart. She's witty. She's fun and entertaining. She offers great advice and says a lot of things worth listening to. So yeah...she's amazing. :)

4. Sadly, I'm falling short of being able to send you to people that have less than 200 followers, so I'm going to send you to some who have already been sent. Oh man, I'm starting to get confused. So Riley Redgate, here's sending the award back to you. I don't care about no blaward-backs (how's that for grammar??) You'll take it and you'll like it. That's right. But seriously, follow her. She's probably the most amazing teenager I've never met. Go In the Jungle with Riley.

5. Here I am again failing to live up to these blaward standards. It's not that I don't want to award people, I do! But they've all been awarded already, I'm sure, since I exist in such a tight knit community of writers. Instead, I'm going to promise you something. I am going to broaden my horizons and seek out some new writer friends. Hopefully by the next time one of these come around, I'll be better prepared. As writers we depend on this network, live for it on occasion. So I'm going to take this moment to say thank you to my friends. I seriously appreciate you.

All the best,

Friday, August 26, 2011

End of Manuscript Anxiety

Here it is the end of August and I've only written one blog this month. One. Seriously. I'll make some excuses: I'm busy, I've been studying for my boards, I've been writing my WIP, it's summer, I work a lot.

Ah, there, I feel minutely better.

For three weeks I've been debating writing this really awesome blog about killing off characters. However at this point it still remains an illusive idea. I have been writing. I'm 60,000 words into my WIP. That's a fair amount in, I'd say. In fact, I'm nearly finished. I've reached the What the heck is wrong with me stage. It's a really crappy stage that goes something like this.

"Awesome! I've gotten to the fun, interesting, dramatic, action-filled part of story! And I'm stalled..."

What the heck.

I'm on Chapter 26. I know how the story will end. I know how to get from Point A to Point B and sum it all up with Point C.

So...what the heck is wrong with me? Why can't I just sit down and write it all out? My critique readers are bugging me for the rest. I'm still interested, still in love with the characters, the plot, all of it. I'm even more excited about having a finished product and starting to work on a query letter.

Soo...why am I not finishing it?

The truth: I have NO idea. This happens every time I get close to the end of my manuscripts. I write like a beast for 3/4 of the book and then I hit this lull where I can't even bang out a chapter in a week. It's ultimately very frustrating. In six days I've written a page and a half. But it's not writers block (or is it??) because I know where the story is going. I know how it'll all end. I could even brainstorm out about a million conversations and scenes.

The explanation I like the best (because it doesn't involve scary words like writers block or lazy) is that I'm afraid to finish it. I love the story so much that I don't want it to end. I am especially in love with this story line and I'll be sad to leave my one-armed Ginger behind. But there are other stories in my head that want to be written, too. Plus I have another MS that's nearly ready for querying that needs some final editing and polishing (and three more than haven't been edited at all, yet). I have a future, maybe I just don't have the ambition. Maybe I'm just scared.

What about you? Do you suffer from end of manuscript anxiety? Maybe I need to start a support group. ;)

All the best,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dead Rules

I’ve never written a book review before, so let me apologize in advance if it’s terrible. I figure I owe it to Randy Russell to try since he was kind enough to send me a signed copy of Dead Rules. This may end up being more a synopsis than a review, but what do I know? If you plan on reading Dead Rules (read it!) then you might want to stop here so I don’t ruin it for you. (Thank you so much!) Here goes:

If I had to describe Dead Rules in one word, it would be: Clever.

Jana loved her boyfriend to death.

Jana Webster is an actress. She’s not too pretty (like her drug addict mother) but she’s going places. As soon as she graduates she’s going to Hollywood to make it big. Jana loves to think about herself and her future and all the amazing things she’s going to do with her life. She’s very aware of her abilities—not so much about others. Michael Haynes, Jana’s boyfriend, is going to go with her to Hollywood. Of course he is. Why wouldn’t he? They’re Jana and Michael of Webster and Haynes. Everybody knows that.

Jana loved her boyfriend to death.

All of her dreams are shattered when she ends up in Dead School after a freak bowling accident. I have to give credit to Randy here; he kills people in seriously creative ways. Jana can’t believe it. She died alone! How long will it take Michael to die too? Surely he can’t live without her. They’ve been together forever. They had plans—a future! Shared dreams. They were never going to part. Even death couldn’t keep them from an epic love like that.

Jana loved her boyfriend to death.

In Dead School Jana meets the dead kids. Stretchers, who are just what you think, bodies on stretchers. It took me a really long time to understand that and I work in a hospital. Wow. I know. I was disappointed in me too. Grays are kids who have committed suicide. They’re depressed and not trustworthy because they are loyal to the Regents who control Dead School. They don’t do much other than keep to themselves and follow orders. There are Virgins who died before, well you know. They’re ethereal and gorgeous and wear long white gowns and sing pretty. They don’t do much except sing. I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to them. Next are Sliders. Sliders are closer to the earth (or The Planet) than the other dead kids. They can manifest their bodies on the earth and be seen or heard by people. They’re also the bad kids, and were doing something bad when they died. Sliders basically do what they want, what hope is there for them? They’re bad. Finally, we have Risers. This is what Jana is. Risers are the good kids (not as good as the Virgins, but still good.) They follow the rules at Dead School. They go to their classes and wear their school uniforms properly and don’t do anything crazy—that’s left for the Sliders. As a Riser, Jana is alone. But she knows as a Slider, she could naturalize on The Planet and kill Michael. She would end his suffering and they would be together forever! Didn’t he want that? Of course he did.

Jana fantasizes about how to kill Michael, bullet, knife, poison, spider, hairdryer in the bathtub. In Dead School, you look just like you did when you died. Lawn dart to the head? That stays with you, bobbing from your skull like a lopsided metronome. Sliced in half by a tin roof? You can take your body apart and dance the jig forwards and backwards. Major road rash from a motorcycle? You’re missing half your face, including lips, eye, skin, etc. Swallowed a bird? You spit feathers and sound like there’s something trapped in your throat. Jana doesn’t want Michael to be ugly, so she has to think of some nice way to kill him.

Jana loved her boyfriend to death.

Jana enlists the help of Mars Dreamcote, a gorgeous bad boy Slider who breaks all the rules. But Mars has a secret of his own, a secret the leads him to helping Jana, even though he knows the truth. He was there when Jana died. It wasn’t a freak accident at all. It was murder.

Mars takes Jana through the steps to becoming a Slider, a truly bad dead kid. But once she’s ready to finally have Michael again, will she still want him?

Jana loved her boyfriend to death.

OH! The suspense! Sorry, I’m not going to take you through the end; you’re going to have to read it yourself!

Dead Rules is a fun read. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Randy throws in a twist just to keep you unsettled. You find yourself caring for the dead kids and the horribly creative ways they died. At the same time, you’re laughing at them. It’s okay, I won’t tell that you laughed at the girl with the lawn dart sticking out of her head. It is funny.

The bottom line? Dead Rules is a great read. Intriguing, amusing, and truly enjoyable. It has enough plot twists and turns to keep you guessing and plenty of things that you’ll never see coming.

Thank you once again Randy! (Follow Randy on Twitter!)

All the best,