Friday, March 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge


I'm doing the A to Z challenge X 3! 


Here, I'll be travelling the world, stopping by all the places I'd love to see some day. Hopefully you all can give me ideas or tell me stories of great places you've been :)

Cinema Challenge Cavalcade

On Cinema Challenge Cavalcade, Joshua and I will be telling you our favorite movie picks for different genres/categories. (Joshua's Harry Potter trivia challenge is going on now, so get over there and work your magic!)

Falling for Fiction

And over at Falling For Fiction, Cassie, Jade, Jenny, Kelley, and I will be introducing our group blog by lifting writers one post at a time, starting off letter by letter :)

And for absolutely no reason at all, I'm adding my theme song--You're So Cool by Hans Zimmer--to this post :) 

If you've never seen the movie, I highly recommend it if you're into action flicks, it's one of my favorites!

Have a great weekend and hopefully I'll see ya on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There are many days when I feel successful in my writing: adding 2, 958 words in one day, making it into a contest, reworking a section of my ms leaving it far superior to its previous version, getting a request from an agent, writing THE END on a project, the list is long. These are the days when I'm floating along with the rest of the writers out there. Ascending higher in the craft and hopefully my writing life.

Then, something happens.

It could be a rejection, writer's block, a sick child, reading 2, 958 success stories from fellow writers, losing a chunk of unsaved writing, lack of sleep, not getting into that contest, life-sucking co-workers, negative feedback, a crappy soccer game, questioning the merit of my writing, another rejection, the list is long. Often, it seems like this deflated feeling won't leave, making it impossible to rise up off the ground. I know it can't last forever. Knowing doesn't help.

So what helps you? What do you do when you find yourself here? How do you lift your spirits?

A lot of times, I just need to ignore my writing and step outside the writing world. Not for long. Sometimes it's just an hour or two, long enough to get some non-writing things done like laundry or dinner. Other times, I might have to turn my back on my computer for a couple days. Sooner or later, I'll be back. And when I am, fellow writers are there to remind me to KEEP ON TRYING, DON'T GIVE UP, YOU CAN DO IT!

Thank you fellow writers! Thank you blogging friends, commenters, and followers! And thank you a million times CP's :) I would not have made it this far without you. The journey is long, I have many mountains to climb and will need you ALL along the way. You lift my spirits and help me soar!

I hope I can return the favor :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Light Bulbs

The best thing about teaching is when a student’s face lights up with understanding—the ‘light bulb’ turns on as months of reinforcing skills and encouragement click into place. 

A similar phenomenon happens with writing. When a cp helps me turn an average word into a beautiful one, switches a telling emotion into a showing action, and amps up the intensity in a scene—it’s like watching a 1000 watts shine through my manuscript.

I've lucked into a marvelous group of critique partners--my light bulbs. Cassie, Jade, Jenny, and Kelley have become some of my closest friends and greatest support. They are kind, generous, creative, encouraging, and lift my spirits on a daily basis. These ladies are some of the funniest people on the planet! We even have a silly name that is way too crazy to share :) And of course, they are incredibly talented writers. So talented, I marvel at their editing expertise, story ideas, and answers to my many writing dilemmas.

In honor of our lil' support system, we've decided to start a group blog to share hope and encouragement with other writers. Falling For Fiction: Lifting Writers One Post At A Time is our next adventure and we hope you will come along :)

Falling for Fiction 

Our group blog debuts on April 1st as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
Come join us!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mobsters, gangsters, and thugs, oh my!


You have one more day to test your mobster movie trivia. 

Click HERE, come on, don't be a @#%#$, I dare ya!

Or fugetaboutit.

Cinema Challenge Cavalcade 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Best of the Best

I'm finally on Twitter. Do I know what I'm doing? Not so much. But I've been researching and learning and trying not to make a fool of myself. Most of the time, I'm just reading what others are tweeting, yet to become a regular tweeter. I figure it's similar to how I started blogging, only writing a post every so often when something changed in my writing. That evolved into signing up for blogfests and bloghops, following more writers, commenting more often, and now posting more regularly. Hopefully this will happen with Twitter. Time will tell :)

Best of the Best: Twitter, twittering, tweet, tweeting, tweeter, and hopefully not twit:

What are your tips for being a successful tweeter?

Please follow me and let me know if I'm making a mockery of myself over there!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dreaded Word Verification

Does this picture frighten you? Sometimes, I get that gut clenching feeling when these dreaded images pop up below my comment. Like right before taking a very important test awash with the threat of failure. Over a word! Well, two stupid words now.

My vocabulary is not stellar. I read with a dictionary next to me because I can't stand not knowing the meaning of a word. Any word. When leaving a comment, I hope the word verification does not rear its ugly head. But when it does, I look at the words and think, should I know what that means?

Cattle is a word, was and curiosity too. Should I know what nkedded is? And onstraon or urmstro? This is the point I start playing Balderdash in my head.

reCAPTCHA challenge image

gialogn: (n) a mythological beast
enewsTas: (v) the act of spreading rumors

Anyone else thinking some of these tricky words could be great for writing?

reCAPTCHA challenge image

I could see another world named Panua. Or a character named Cullic.
Or possibly a group of characters from the Mbechipa, part of the Deleduce tribe.

Maybe I'm not smart enough to pass this word verification test thingy. Maybe I'm just old and my vision is failing me. I thought I had at least another ten years before I needed to wear reading glasses.

If you still have word verification set on your blog, please, please, pretty please take it away :) J.A. Bennett has given super simple steps for doing this here. I thank you from the bottom of my arketsca if you do!

arketsca: (n) the innermost part of a human heart

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Got Green?

"Got Green?"  Blog O'Hop :) 

Thanks Mark Koopmans for the fun Blog O'hop!

At first I wasn't going to do this bloghop cause I didn't think I had anything Irish enough to post about. Then I got to thinking and realized, why yes, I have enough Irish blood to claim some GREEN after all :)

  1. My Grandma Dorothy's maiden name: Cronin (Dad's side)
  2. My Grandma Irene's maiden name: Dwyer (Mom's side)
  3. I have fair skin. Fortunately in the summer I can actually get a tiny bit of a tan, certainly not super tan, but I'm not that lovely blue-white color.
  4. The older I get though, I realize my tan isn't much of a tan but more of a string of connected freckles. I used to only have the ones dotting my nose that would fade away before springing back up the next summer. Now, my face turns into one giant freckle thanks to the sun. But it does look like a tan!
  5. My hair used to be really blonde, not toe-head blonde, just blonde. The older I get, the more the red streaks come out. Not sure yet if I like them or not... 
  6. And probably the most predominant Irish thing about me is my feisty streak. I can still hear my Grandma Irene tell me how ornery I am.
  7. Since seven goes with luck and luck goes with Irish, I'll throw in one more. My kids have their own personal leprechauns--Cort's leprechaun's name is Lenny and Quynn's leprechaun's name is Lucy. They've made leprechaun traps this year and love to tell stories about what they'll do with Lenny and Lucy once they catch them. I hope to keep Lenny and Lucy around for at least a few more years :)

So I guess there's a bit of Irish in there somewhere!


What bit of Irish lives inside of you?
Do you have any St. Patrick's Day traditions?

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Irish who?
Irish you a
Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Library

I love the library. Nowhere else can you find so many worlds and characters and journeys in such a small space. The possibilities are endless, waiting for you to explore, begging you to choose.

Some day, I hope to walk into the local library, head toward the R section and find my book sitting on the shelf. Or better yet, scan the online catalog for my book and find that it has 82 requests from patrons waiting to read my story :)

I am an avid user of the Hold Shelf system. My kids and I probably check twenty to thirty books out at a time. If I'm really on top of things, we swap these out every week or two.

I've just learned that I can request materials that aren't already in the online catalog. This past week I have requested my library carry a copy of five books:

Leigh Fallon's book Carrier of the Mark

Carrier of the Mark

Marta Szemik's book Two Halves

Ali Cross's book Become


Alex J Cavanaugh's book CassaFire

Jessica Therrien's book Oppression

If you have published a book or know of someone who has, let me know and I would be happy to request my library obtain a copy :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Climbing the Mountain

I reached the peak! I've actually sent out a few queries :) Hitting SEND was a mountain sized hurdle, but I did it! YAY!

Teetering on this precipice, I'm now terrified of what's to come--climbing all those other mountains. Looming in the distance are Mount Form Rejection, Mt. "No response means no", Close But Not Quite Mountain, and the worst one of all--Mt. Waiting, or more often called Patience Mountain. Aaaah, the agonizing climb that could take days, weeks, even months.

So, while I wait, and wait, and wait, I thought this would be a good opportunity to throw up my query for critiquing as I stand at the base of Patience Mountain.

Here's the 28th version of my query letter for MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING:

Dear Agent,

Fourteen-year-old Eri sprints into the night seeking a beast that wants nothing more than to feast on her flesh. She knows this is suicide, but she can't deny the pull. The Calling is too strong. As the beast’s claws reach for her throat, a Protector slices off its head, saving Eri from a bloody death.

The Protectors are River Island’s only defense against the monsters roaming the darkness. The clandestine guardians use the Calling—the internal link to the man-eating beasts—to watch over the village. Being a Protector is an honorable, secretive position, and one only fit for men.

As the link grows within Eri, she finds herself repeatedly drawn beyond the borders, hoping to satiate the rage flooding her veins. But without proper training, the beasts will destroy her. And as a girl, Eri’s not allowed the education to become one of the Protectors.

Beast encounters increase. Villager deaths rise. Eri must secretly learn the skills to fight before there's nothing left to fight for.

MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING is a young adult post apocalyptic novel complete at 68,000 words. Readers of Kimberly Derting's THE BODY FINDER and Maggie Stiefvater's THE SCORPIO RACES will connect with Eri’s journey—a girl shunned from the only profession that can give her the tools to control her inexplicable connection to seek out evil.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thoughts? Tweaks? Suggestions? Questions?

I tweeted about sending out my first query last week, and Ellen Brook from Keytop, Inc. tweeted back about a great offer her business is currently promoting. "Keytop, Inc. is a multipurpose writing company that provides high quality professional creative content, including business writing, copywriting, editing, and proofreading." Right now, Keytop, Inc is offering a free critique of your query letter OR the first five pages of your manuscript. They're providing these free critiques until they have several solid examples for their portfolio on a first come first serve basis. Check out their blog HERE or find them on Twitter HERE for more information and a chance at a free professional critique.

Friday, March 9, 2012

WiP The Movie

Thanks Kyra and Rachel for hosting this fun bloghop!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to post a photo of the actors or actresses you would like to play the characters in your WiP if it were to be made into a movie. It can be just one character, or the entire cast!

Secondly, soundtrack your movie! Head over to YouTube, and post a song that best describes one of your characters, or your story as a whole. Again, you can pick one song, or several, it's entirely up to you!

My Protector: The Calling

Pitch: When Eri becomes the first girl to receive the Calling, an internal link to the man-eating beasts plaguing her planet, she must use her inherited skills to stop the creatures from destroying everything she loves.

Eri meets Finnley after they're both drawn out into the darkness by the Calling, ultimately forging a friendship once their secret bond is revealed. Grayson is the Protector who saved Eri from the claws of a beast when she was 14 and is later talked into helping her train thanks to Finnley's jabber mouth and undying loyalty to Eri.

(Chloe Grace Moretz)

All Around Me by Flyleaf

(Taylor Kitsch)

Timshel by Mumford & Sons

(Paul Walker)

Crawl by Kings of Leon

I know, I'd need a time machine for these actors to play Finnley and Grayson, but the world inside my head does not comprehend such trivial limitations.

Who is running around in your head?

Now it's your turn to hop around and find out what characters are living inside other people's imaginations :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If the shoe fits

First insecure post, and I'm insecure about it...

I'm about to start querying. *Big sigh* I think I know what's coming, but it's one of those "You can't fully understand until you walk in their shoes" type of a thing. All the doubt, lack of confidence, being able to handle rejection, I'd like to say I'm ready for it. But stepping into those shoes is scary.

My main obstacle is having the confidence to compare my ms to an already published book. I don't think I have big enough shoes to claim something so bold. I realize it's a necessary evil, but I was raised to be modest. And claiming something like this steps on the face of modesty with size 106 steel-toed work boots like these

The query letter is challenging enough without the tread of claiming my unpublished work being comparable to something already out there, something with a following, something popular enough to be on an agent's radar, something selling enough to entice multitudes of shoes running to snatch it off the book shelves.

And then I have the problem of deciding what my ms truly resembles. It's a post apocalyptic novel without zombies. It has a girl fighting to be part of a man's world, but it's not dystopian. It has beasts in the night, but it's not horror. Is there another book out there like mine? A few are close, but not enough to say the shoe fits.

I need to start querying. But that last paragraph is like a tiny rock hiding in the sole of my shoe. I search for the pebble, I can wiggle it to the side nearly out of the way, but it remains uncomfortable.

I've been reading like crazy, the stack of books next to my bed constantly growing. I know there's a book or two out there I can comfortably say reflect my story, even if it's just in theme or character motivation.

I just have to find the right pair...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Teenage Heartthrob Blogfest

Vic CaswellSarah Ahiers, and Emily White are hosting this fun blogfest. Hop over and check out their blogs and see who your fellow bloggers had teenage crushes on.

7 heartthrobs I had crushes on when I was young :)

Emilio in Breakfast Club was my first infatuation.

I had at least eleven Teen Bop pictures of Corey Haim taped up in my pink bedroom.

And then I saw 16 Candles, ahhhhh...

Lots of Saved By The Bell watching after school (probably longer than I should have) just to see Zack.

Robert Downey Jr made it onto my radar when I saw Chances Are
And wow does he just get better with age or what?

I remember going to see She's All That and my friends were all claiming Freddie Prinze Jr.
I was like, "Go ahead. I'll take the hot blonde guy please!" 

Just about every one of my friends had a crush on this guy named Harlan when he moved to our school in 7th grade.
I didn't understand it at the time. I married him 10 years later :)