Friday, December 30, 2011

Best in Show

Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott are putting on the
Class of 2011 ya superlative blogfest. Hop on over to one of their blogs to find out more about it!

Friday, December 30th: Best in Show

I can't choose, they're all monumental  Favorite Cover--I can only imagine how awesome it must be for a writer to see their completed cover :)

Divergent by Veronica Roth    Most Likely to Succeed--was there ever a doubt in anyone's mind with this book?

Wildefire by Karsten Knight      Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime--read until my eyes couldn't stay open

Crossed by Ally Condie       Best Repeat Performance--didn't disappoint :) 

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi     Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath--so many steamy scenes without a single cliche, heart pounding!

Unbecoming of Mara Dyer  by Michelle Hodkin    Breakout Novel--I could only dream of writing this well :)

Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins    Best Old-Timer--one of the best ever!

Enclave  by Ann Aguire     Most Pleasant Surprise--never thought I'd like a zombie book :)

Torn   by Erica O'Rourke    Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle--great love triangle, left in a cliff hanger way too!

Variant by Robison Wells    Sleeper Hit--it was so awesome I wish it had been hyped more :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elements of Fiction

Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott are putting on the
Class of 2011 ya superlative blogfest. Hop on over to one of their blogs to find out more about it!

Thursday, December 29th: Elements of Fiction

Crossed by Ally Condie   Most Envy-Inducing Plot--fun ride!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi   Most Wonderful World-Building--ignored grammatical rules and litterally stacked emotional words to entice feeling and intensity

Enclave by Ann Aguire   Most Formidable World--the girl was born underground and travelled the subway and sewer systems--icky!

Wildefire by Karsten Knight   Wanderlust-Inducing--would be fun going away to school in the California's wilderness

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi   Loveliest Prose--felt like I was reading poetry amped up on adrenaline!

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer    Best First Line--"I died on a bitter, cold night."

Divergent by Veronica Roth   Most Dynamic Main Character--Tris is awesome!

Wildefire  by Karsten Knight   Most Jaw-Dropping Finale--don't want to spoil it, but there's a great character shift

Unbecoming of Mara Dyer  by Michelle  Best Performance in a Supporting Role--great story, needs to be mentioned somewhere on here

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Best Use of Theme--the numbers theme is carried beautifully throughout

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Popularity Contest

Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott are putting on the
Class of 2011 ya superlative blogfest. Hop on over to one of their blogs to find out more about it!

Wednesday, December 28th: Popularity Contest

Luke from Torn by Eric O'Rourke  Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Eve from Wildefire by Karsten Knight   Mostly Likely to Start a Riot

Noah from Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin   Biggest Flirt

Mo from Torn by Erica O'Rourke   Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF  

Four/Tobias from Divergent by Veronica Roth  Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Warner from Shatter Me by Tahera Mafi   Villian You Love to Hate

Caleb from Divergent by Veronica Roth  -or-  Xander from Crossed by Ally Condie   Most Likely to Become President

Julliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi   Quirkiest Character

Natalie Prior from Divergent by Veronica Roth   Favorite Parental Figure

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Congratulations Kelley!

Kelley is awesome!

Check out her winning query entry--#9 Fraction of a Stone--on Krista V's Mother. Write. (Repeat.) An Agent's Inbox Contest.  Kelley is an amazing writer and critique partner.  Hop over to Kelley's blog to read about her current projects and followe her blog :)

It was Cassie Mae's idea to throw Kelley a cyber party, so you can help by throwing some confetti her way on your own blog!

You rock Kelley!

Head of the Class

Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott are putting on the
Class of 2011 ya superlative blogfest.  Hop on over to one of their blogs to find out more about it!

Tuesday, December 27th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian     Divergent   by Veronica Roth       

Favorite Science Fiction     Crossed   by Allyson Condie

Favorite Fantasy     Wildefire   by Karsten Knight     

Favorite Action/Adventure     Enclave   by Ann Aguire         

Favorite Comedy     Bossypants   by Tina Fey  (I know it's not YA or fiction, but I laughed out loud a lot!)

Favorite Mystery      Through Her Eyes   by Jennifer Archer

Favorite Romance      Shatter Me   by Tahereh Mafi      

Favorite Paranormal Romance      Torn   by Erica O'Rourke   

Favorite Genre Bender     Unbecoming of Mara Dyer   byMichelle Hodkin

I was doing some genre bending here myself, but these were a handful of my favorites and I needed to fit them in somewhere :)  I'm looking forward to hopping around and adding 'must reads' to my list!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of the Best

I've mentioned before I'm working on my query letter.  I've sent it through the wringer a few times, tweak it when and where necessary, you know the drill.  One problem I've encountered is finding the appropriate genre or sub category to shove my manuscript into.  I was labelling it dystopian since some sites say anything involving life after an apocalypse falls into that category, but I've decided to go out on a ledge and just let it be what it is--post apocalyptic young adult.  I've now seen that listed as a sub genre so I'm going with it, I guess that was the confirmation I needed.   If you've found yourself in a similar spot, maybe one of the following links will help clear it up for you as well :)

Best of the Best--genre

If you know of helpful writing wisdom, I'd love to check it out and add it to my writing links :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Best of the Best

Don't you hate it when you find a great tip or useful advice on writing and leave the blog or website only to never find it again?  I am constantly coming across writing tid bits which help me through various stages of the process.  I needed to create a reference to these nuggets of genius so I don't waste time trying to hunt them down repeatedly.  Maybe you haven't landed on some of these gold mines yet, hopefully the following might help :) 

Best of the Best -- query critiques 

Check out my writing links above for other bits of writing information.  If you know of a great link please share :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

More Than a Critique Partner

Wrap It Up ~ Blog Hop!

More Than a Critique Partner
I entered a query contest
Figured out I am not the best
(Actually worse than all the rest)
But I found you
Your comments and ideas in blue
Make my writing improve
Glum writing days of mine
You dust with sparkle and shine
With every inspiration and line
Pulling me through the icky and rough
On the journey to making my skin tough
Thank yous and smiles are not enough

If you'd like to join in, here's what you need to do:

Write a piece of flash fiction, poem, or song (300 words or less) for someone you know (real or imaginary). It may be in any genre, but it must have a holiday theme (real or fictional). Post it on your blog anytime between now and when the linky closes. You will then give it to that someone, sometime before the new year.

Check out Leigh Covington's blog to join the blog hop and for more information!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brenda Drake's Blogfest Contest

Can you guess my character's age?

Going to the river alone is forbidden, especially at this hour.  Knowing this clear-cut rule of our people wasn’t enough to stop me from stepping off the gravel path and walking deep into the vacant field.  I no longer controlled my body.
Adrenaline thrummed inside me as I drifted closer to the water.  Heat slithered through my limbs.  White-hot anger burned in my belly.  If it was even anger churning there.  I had never felt anger creeping through my veins before.  Whatever this was, it pulled me toward the unknown.
I didn’t belong here.  I knew better.  I should run in the opposite direction, back to our village.  But I could not turn away.  With each step into the darkness, the foreign emotion intensified, guiding me forward.  I surrendered to the aggression.  I had no choice. 
I heard the warning bell like everyone else.  My people fled for safety into the closest shelter possible.  Not me. 
A few more steps and I would see the river through the trees if the waning light consented.  The coursing water rushed along mirroring my heightened flow of adrenaline.  The sensory overload amplified, the calling grew louder and became hypnotic, driving me like a machine, steering me down a path I would not otherwise take. 
I should not be here.
The bell clanged again, this time with faster frequency.  I froze.  The hammering in my chest felt as if my heart would burst through my rib cage and continue onward without me.

Thanks Brenda Drake for this fun blogfest contest!  Check out her blog at   Brenda Drake Writes...under the influence of coffee  for more information and to read the other entries!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Easily Flushed Blog Hop!

Dirty Underwear
I curled my legs up under me, wrapping myself further into the blanket.  I wasn’t even cold.  I wasn’t sure why he had a fire going, it being August, but I was thankful for the distraction.  “So they believed you had a woman in your cabin huh?”
“I do have a woman in my cabin.”  A sly sneer spread across his face revealing his teeth. 
I snickered at this.  “You know what I mean.  A real woman, not a girl.”
The sneer disappeared.  “You are not a girl Eri.  Please don’t think that.  I don’t think that.”  He shook his head. 
I turned my attention back to the flames, noticing my underclothing hanging on the fire poker next to where Grayson sat.  My mouth fell open and I turned the color of the coals.  “What is my underwear doing out here?” 
“I washed them.”  He said this as if it was an every-day chore.  “I tried to clean up your other clothes too, but there’s no way to salvage them.”
My underwear was hanging in front of Grayson.  He had washed them!  I started giggling uncontrollably.  Grayson looked at me oddly, his mouth hitching up at the corner.  “What?”
“I can’t believe you washed my underwear.  I can’t believe those men saw them.”
“Your virtue is safe with me Eri.  Don’t worry,” he said solemn, the frustration creasing his forehead again.
            That expression took the humor out of the situation instantly.  Why does he always have to get so serious, make me feel ridiculous?  I curled in as far as the blanket and the chair permitted.  Silence.

*excerpt from My Protector: The Calling*

Thanks Cassie for the blog hop!  
Check out the details and other blogs participating in the Easily Flushed Blog Hop over at

Hop around and read all the other hopper's reddening experiences on their blogs  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A freelance editor's contest and giveaways

CA Marshall has an awesome contest going on right now with daily giveaways. 

Check her out:  CA Marshall

CA Marshall : Freelance Editor : Author : Lit Agency Intern

She has great information for writers on her blog :)

A Blog Award!

Thank you Lynn(e) Schmidt over at The Submission Process

I am very excited!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you're not aware of how blog awards work, it's like this:
Awesome!  You got an award!  You can accept it and put it up on your blog and if you would like to pass it on to fellow wonderful bloggers, then you can...
-Link the award back to the giver
-Pick people to give it to

Here are ten other blogs I love reading :

So here are a few tid bits about me:

I am back to teaching after having 8 1/2 years off
I look forward to taking the ball from a guy's feet in a soccer game 
I've seen more movies than you
I had to move my 'To Read' book pile to the floor, it no longer fits on my nightstand (I'm reading Bossypants right now)
My Christmas tree is real and beautiful

Friday, December 2, 2011


To query, or not to query, that is the question:

When is it time to query an agent? 

I thought I was ready for this a couple months ago.  My manuscript was written.  I edited a ton, two other people were editing it as well.  I researched agents.  I started reading books they represented.  I read plenty books and blogs about writing the query letter.  I wrote a query letter.  I entered a query letter contest. 
My query letter sucked.  I found out my query letter was not really a query letter.  Instead, it was more of a synopsis.
Okay, back to reading more about what a query letter is.  Rewriting of query letter.  More rewriting of query letter.  Having my CPs critique my query letter.  Submitting my query letter to the Query Goblin.  More rewriting of query letter.  Submitting my query letter to AgentQuery Connect.  More critiquing.  More rewriting.  Submitting my query to The Query Cat...
Anyone else sick of the word ‘query’ yet?
Is it done?  I have no idea.  It’s better than it was.  But is it enough to entice an agent into requesting my writing?  I guess that’s the real question.
What is the best advice you’ve read or been given about your query letter?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am thankful for every second I get to spend creating characters and designing worlds no matter how frustrating, brilliant, lame, nonsensical, impressive, cliché, monumental, hilarious, entertaining, and/or delusional. 
Writing is a wonderful life!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow blogger friends-writers-accomplices-inspirations J

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I feel a bit like a serial killer.  All I do is hack and slash words, sentences, and ideas.  Sometimes I think I like ‘murdering my darlings’ better than coming up with new ones.  I might even be addicted to it.  Oh well, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right? 

Friday, November 4, 2011


Okay, so I have this story written, now what?  I’ve accomplished what I set out to do—write a book.  But having 210,000 words about Eri’s life merely sitting inside the hard drive of my computer isn’t enough.  I want her world in my hands, with a cover and pages and acknowledgements and a dedication.  How do I do that? 

Many hours on the internet and reading countless books on the craft of writing led me to realize that this writing stuff has sooo much more to it than just simply (ha ha) writing your story. That is merely the first monumental hurdle.  Ugh!  I am not a quitter, so…

Step one: figuring out what genre my story fits into and what else is already out there, and, big gulp, is my writing even worthy?

Step two:  realizing that my book is actually three books with dump truck loads of revising and editing ahead of me—the unending tweaking process.  Ok, now I have this manuscript and it's getting better every time I change a word, cut a paragraph, add a scene, and spice up the dialogue.  Must continue tweaking, never stop tweaking, can’t stop tweaking.

Step three:  researching agents who might be interested in my manuscript and reading books in my same genre (total bonus—I’ve enjoyed a ton of books and found new series and authors to follow).  To submit to an agent, you write a query letter to entice them into reading part or all of my manuscript (but first I need a pitch, a hook, a logline, an outline, a synopsis—short and/or long, I’m sure there’s more).  I am writing more about my story than I ever could have imagined (and I need the practice).

This is where I sit today, almost to the point of submitting my manuscript to agents.  While still nipping and tucking My Protector: The Calling (book one) with the help of Phil-the-extraordinaire, Kelli-online-writing-partner-already-published-author, and Cassie-critiquing-partner-fellow-YA/MG-writer.

It’s a rollercoaster of a learning experience to say the least…

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks Cassie Mae @ (my new writer friend and critique partner)!  I'm new a new blogger, not even sure I'm worthy of the term yet, but I accept the compliment graciously :)

Here are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you. Tell 7 things about yourself so that your readers may learn more about you and nominate 15 other newly discovered bloggers and let them know you nominated them.
1.  My favorite color is blue, any shade, it doesn't matter
2. I love soccer, playing not watching (I avoid watching sports on tv at all costs, if you know my husband, you know why)
3. I love to read, write (was that obvious?), and paint
4. Family is the most important thing in the world to me
5. I've seen more movies than you :)
6. I love to do crafts with my kids
7. I'm a sucker for blue eyes (my husband's are perfect)
Other fantastic bloggers deserving of the Versatile Blogger Award, check them out :)
heather b. at The Adventures of Flo
heath: in my mind at Heath: in my mind
Ninja Girl at Ninja Girl Reads
Kelli at
Monica B.W. at Love YA
Natalie M. Lakosil at Adventures in Agentland
Kathleen Ortiz at Kathleen Ortiz
Agent Kristin at Pub Rants
Rachelle Gardner at Rachelle Gardner
I'm a little short on the 15, apparently I need to follow more blogs!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I still find it difficult to talk about my book.  When confronted with someone asking me questions like “Wow, you wrote a book?” or “What’s your book about?” I get all wiggly, my brain jumps from snippets of scenes to lines of dialogue to descriptions of setting, and my mouth fails to communicate clearly without many blundering starts and stops.

Before I started this blog, I could count the number of people who even knew that I was writing a novel on my fingers (well maybe my toes included). I'm very proud of my story and I love writing, don't get me wrong.  But there's just something about talking about it that scares the crap out of me.  It must have to do with rejection.  The fact that I've invested my time and my brain and my heart into something that anyone can look at and comment on unleashes a torrent of ‘what if’ butterflies—not the pretty, graceful ones either.  

Thankfully, everyone has been very positive and constructive making this 'revealing' process much less painful.  THANK YOU!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Protector

About three years ago, my husband and I went on a double date with two dear friends of ours.  After a sushi disaster, we saw a movie and called it a night.  Whether it was the gonna-make-your-cheeks-ache-from-laughing-so-hard conversations between the Robersons and the Chambers, the absurd restaurant staff, Paul Walker's babe muscles, or a mix of the entire evening, I'm not sure.  Regardless, crazy dreams ensued and My Protector was born.

You can read Chapters 1 and 2 (above) and please tell me what you think!!