Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Questions - Playlists and Character Names

This is one of those times when I know I should write a real post. But it's after nine and I'm tired. So I'm cheating with a random question post.

Do you make a playlist while writing?

If yes, do you add songs that only reflect on the story? Or do you add songs that help you write? Or both?

My NaNovel is about kids on the farm. One of the songs on my playlist is Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean. Also, Crush on You by The Jets. That one shows my age :-) But you will also find no less than two songs by Jimmy Eat World because they are the BEST. BAND. EVER.

Now, on names...do you pick random names that mean nothing? Do you use baby name web sites? People you know in passing? I find the email address list at work to be very helpful. In the novel I'm currently editing, there is a country band. One of the members is named Mare. She knows who she is :-)

So...thoughts? Opinions? Names and songs! Go!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Learned from NaNoWriMo

I first signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2004. The first time I won, I cheated a little and used something I already started, changed it and finished it. I won again in 2008, I think. That was a new story. I don't think I ever finished it. But I had proof that I COULD do it.

I've "grown up" since then and realized that I have what it takes to write a novel. Like really write one. Start to finish. I can proofread. I can edit. I am finally at the point where I can recognize errors and weird little quirks in my writing. My blog posts might not reflect it, but my novels do. It's quite a feeling.

So what I learned, and really came to believe, this November is that I can totally do it. It's hard work, but I CAN DO IT. The one thing I don't like is how they make you believe that you have to hide away in a closet with your computer to make it work. I work 40 hours a week and every other Saturday. I have a husband who refuses to cook his own meals and two kids that require a lot of attention. So my dishes weren't done every day and we ate a lot of leftovers. The floors may have been vacuumed once or twice. I still went to work. I wrote on my breaks and lunches. I wrote when the kids finally went to bed. I stayed up late. If it hadn't been for the extra couple of days off at Thanksgiving, I might not have finished. But I did it.



And I will probably be able to do it again. All I have to do is keep bugeting my time. And coming up with stellar ideas. And it wouldn't hurt to sign with an agent. That's my next goal. Pretty lofty, huh? My head got all big from that NaNo win this year :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Save the Publishing Industry

So it's November. Pretty much everyone in the writing community has heard of National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't, get out there and join the madness. At least now, I have an excuse for not posting for a month. I'll be busy working on a contemp YA called RURAL ROUTE. This is probably the first thing I've ever written that has a title before the story is written. Awesome.

Anyway, so the title of my post...that's a pretty lofty task, don't you think? I'm sure there's no one way to "save" traditional publishing from the way of the e-book. Not that I'm opposed or partial to one form over the other. I LOVE ALL BOOKS.

I've always been a reader. I had a collection of Babysitter's Club books when I was younger (still have them too). I read some Sweet Valley High (still have those too). My grandma had some Nancy Drew books that I wished I'd held on to when she moved (along with an old typewriter). In high school, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to read ROOTS. I don't think I finished it, but at least I made the attempt. I wish there was a way to go back and remember EVERY SINGLE book I'd ever read.

Had I been born 10 years later, that might have been possible. The internet was just becoming popular when I was a senior in high school. If Goodreads had been around then...I can't even imagine what my library would look like now.

So that's my solution. Get more people on Goodreads, or similiar book sites. I used to have about 30 books in my house. I bought a couple books a year, maybe. I'm a slow reader, unless I really get into a book.

But since I joined Goodreads, my library has grown to probably 200 books. Plus, I own a Kindle now. So I feel like I've done my part to save the world. Er, I mean, publishing.

I realize not everyone has the ability to buy that many books. I don't have access to a public library. So I have to buy books. I probably don't *have* to buy that many. But I like to. Now my problem is finding the time to read all of them...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Questions

Sometimes I get a jumble of questions in my head that I'd like to get other people's thoughts on. Usually I tweet them, but sometimes I ramble too much for a tweet. Since I hadn't posted lately, here I am.

I'm reading a book right now that's been pretty well publicized around the bookish community. If you really want to know what it is, I'll tell you. You can probably figure it out by checking out my Goodreads page too. Anyway...my thoughts...

Do you ever read a book and think the author took a bunch of cliches and wrote a book to see if anyone would get it?

Do you think your preconceived notions about a book make it more predictable? Or less? If you think you know how the story is going to go, do you find yourself trying to draw more conclusions? How often are you right?

I ask the last question because sometimes I read something and think 'That has to be obvious to everyone.' But maybe it's not? I do that with my own writing. Question it, I mean. Like maybe I shouldn't include a scene because it's obvious or cliche. It's not, by any means, because I'm some kind of deep thinker. When I read, I take everything at face value. I don't get the hidden meanings. That's probably why I don't read poetry or plays. I have a hard time figuring out what things mean (Poe is a good example of someone I love to read just because it's creepy not because I get all the hidden meanings).

Share with me. What kind of reader are you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I am highly suggestible. Which is why websites like Goodreads are bad for me. Anyway, I pre-ordered Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson from Books of Wonder, well, because Maureen said to. It will be signed and include stuff. So why not?!

In an email from Books of Wonder today, I discovered they have posted the first 78 pages of the book. Score! Already, I'm enjoying it. You can too, here.

Here's what I was thinking about, though. When I was younger, I read the hell out of scary books. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (here) was a favorite of mine. I read Christopher Pike and RL Stine. As I got older, I steered away from the ghosty stories, but I still enjoy them. I'm going into Name of the Star thinking it's a ghosty type story. So I hope to not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crafty Feature

It used to be that I only blogged about my life. Which was really pretty boring. Then I tried to be a crafty blogger. That didn't last long either. Now I just (barely) blog about writing. BUT, I have my Etsy shop and try to be crafty as much as I can.

**shameless plug** VISIT MY ETSY SHOP HERE...PLEASE?

Anyway, Kitty bought one of my notepad kits and featured a nice tutorial on her blog, here. Please do check it out. She looks to be a lot more crafty than me. Plus, she's in law school and still has time to blog about her craftiness. So what's my excuse?!

Since I don't know how to link to a download, comment on this post if you'd like to receive a template to print your own notepads!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I am the Champion

This new interface has me a little freaked out. I didn't use Blogger enough to have the hang of it before. This is totally intimidating.But that's not why I'm posting.

I have big news. HUGE NEWS. I finished a draft. I don't want to call it a first draft because it's technically not. Maybe the first draft of this version? But I'm looking forward to editing, which seems crazy. Especially since I've got a lot of changes to make.

I've already decided, though, that I'm going to let it sit for a little while before I start edits. I need to take a break from it. For a few days anyway. Somebody needs to tell me how to upload it to my Kindle, though. I can do that, right?

In the meantime, I've got a few ideas floating around. I've got a few plot points written down, but I'm more of a pantser when it comes to outlines. When I get a little more into the story, I tend to write a few more details as I go. Wish me luck.Happy writing!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Missing In Action

I'm obviously not one of those people who is disciplined enough to stick to a blogging schedule. It also doesn't help that they've been blocking websites at work again. I *am* one of those people :-)

It's summer, though. Everybody is busier in the summer. It's been super hot here in Illinois. My sister-in-law got married. My baby turns 4 next week and I'm prepping for her birthday party. Just the family over for supper. No lavish affair with clowns and bounce houses for us.

Oh, and I'm writing too. Slowly and whenever I have a spare moment. But it is getting done. Whew. Trying to fit some reading in there too. I just finished If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. My "reviews" (quoted because I'm not very good at writing them) are on Goodreads, but I wasn't overly impressed with either book. The second was better than the first, in my opinion. I couldn't connect with Mia, but I liked Adam. I think I'm in the minority with not liking the books, though. Oh well. To each his own.

Now the hardest decision of all...what to read next! How do you decide?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Kids on the Block


I know I've mentioned my boyband obsession before. Well, my lifelong dream has been fulfilled. I got to see New Kids on the Block in concert. The only thing left for me now is to publish a novel. (oh, and see them again next week in Indianapolis. I really am crazy/stupid) (also, you can't pass up Matthew Morrison, who was the opening act)


Backstreet Boys were there too. But I don't care about them nearly as much (not nearly as much as I care about Donnie's abs).





Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Picture Post



Because I'm too lazy to come up with anything interesting to say today. It's already 86 degrees and it's only 9:30 am. By 2:30 this afternoon, it will be in the mid-90's and it will be at least 80 in this office. Blargh.

We spent our 4th of July afternoon playing in the creek. I try to get creative with the camera. While trying not to drop it in the water :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Tuesday

I need to be more clever with my titles. I'm just not feeling very creative today. I was going to post a picture, but I don't even feel like doing that.

We had a nasty storm roll through on Sunday night. So far, I think it's just been called straight line winds. Seemed like a tornado to me. But having never experienced a tornado, I'm not really the person to say.

I woke up in the middle of the night. The Farmer was already up, which is unusual since he'll sleep through most anything. He was watching it out the bedroom window. I immediately got up and prepared to go to the basement. I didn't think to grab anything important (like pictures or my MS or even my flash drive). I was poised to grab the kids when he gave the word. There's a big picture window in our living room, and a smallish tree outside the window. I watched from across the room and I kept asking "Do you think we need to go now?" Finally he gave the word and we headed down with the kids. They were more panicked about being woken up, and then the power going out. They weren't really concerned with the weather.

It only lasted 15-20 minutes and it was just a lot of blowing. There's a lot of debris everywhere. Not the destruction like what you see in the pictures from Joplin (trees looking like sticks). We had lots of big limbs down in the yard and some damage to the side of the house. There was a tree down in the road west of our house. In town, it's still crazy. Our power was out for about 18 hours. A lot of places still don't have power. We're under a water conservation and boil order.

I don't have any pictures to post, which is pretty unbelievable since I take pictures of everything. As soon as someone gets back and I can leave for lunch, I'm going to venture out and see what the streets are like.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Picture Post



Had a little getaway last weekend. It was a bachelorette weekend, so some craziness was involved. But it was fun. I didn't get to read at all, but I did get a little writing in. Which brought along with it the "what are you writing?" questions. Sometimes it's fun to tell them. Sometimes it's scary to admit. I didn't get any weird responses. They wanted to know what my story was about and basically said if they were readers, they would read it. Somehow I have managed to surround myself with a bunch of people who don't read. I don't know how this is possible. But people change. I know because my mom never used to be a reader. Now she does it all the time. I'm on the fence about asking her to read what I write. I think she'd like it if I asked her; but I know how she is. Very mom-like and critical. For example, she'll walk into my house and the first thing she'll say is "You need to vacuum the floor." Chances are, I just vacuumed the floor. But...that's my mom.

Now that I've aired that out...yeah...

Happy writing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why I'm Glad I'm Not Stephenie Meyer

I came in late to the whole Twilight phenomenon. I put it off because I wasn't a huge fan of vampires (unless Anne Rice wrote them). I thought for sure I would hate it. I hadn't even seen the movie. I hemmed and hawed long enough. And then I saw the first book on sale at Wal-Mart for like $4 or something. I could spend that on a book and not feel too bad if I hated it, so I bought it.

The first book was good. It kept me wanting to read more. It was one of the first ebooks I ever downloaded so I could read it whenever I had a spare moment. There was action and suspense and romance. At that point, you had to love Edward because Jacob was such a minor character.

It took me nearly forever to finish the other three books. After I read Eclipse, I couldn't even remember what happened in New Moon. To me, it was a lot of build up to...NOTHING! Breaking Dawn was a little better, but it took me FOREVER to finish.

This isn't a book review, however. This is a commentary on Stephenie Meyer. Am I the only one who thinks she will milk this Twilight thing until its death? I mean, there are graphic novels and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twilight and whatever else has been released in addition to the books. Am I the only one who is tired of it already?

The thing is, though, she can do that if she wants to. She doesn't have to write any more books. But don't you think she would want to? I'm not even published and I can't NOT be writing something at all times. But if I were her, I'd be sitting in front of my computer, TERRIFIED. Think of all the pressure she's under to write another book. What if it sucks? (sidenote: the books weren't that great. I came away from them thinking I could write something just as good and it's part of the reason I started to persue the idea of getting published...like it's that easy!) What if no one wants to read it? Or worse, what if it only gets compared to Twilight? So why write anything else?

So while it would be nice to have the readers and the fame and the money and all that, I don't think I could take the pressure. It's hard enough to write for myself, when I know no one else is reading. Imagine if there were millions of people waiting to hear what I had to say next. Scary...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fun!

Thanks to the stupendous Brenda St. John Brown, I've been bestowed with a blogging award.



In keeping with the rules...
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 deserving blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them

Random Facts About Me
1. My job as a credit analyst also involves making collection calls, which terrifies me. So I send a lot of collection emails.

2. I have a sick obsession with boybands, proven by the notebooks full of bad fanfic and the NKOTBSB cd playing (on repeat) right now.

3. Yes, I am married to a farmer. We live on a farm with cows. In fact, I have almost always lived on a farm with cows.

4. When I gave my daughter the middle name Carlene, I didn't think about the fact that her brother's middle name is Carl. She was probably two before I gave it a thought and now it bothers me a little because it's like I was trying to make their names similiar, when I really wasn't. They are family names.

5. When I find a new song that I like, I will listen to it on repeat for days at a time. Most recently, Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean and Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum.

6. My degree is in agriculture. I work for a company that manufactures broadcast equipment.

7. I used to be a huge NASCAR fan, but I'm not anymore. I still have a picture of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in my cubicle. Because he's pretty. I also wrote bad fanfic about him.

And now, I pass this award along to following wonderfully fabulous people...

Mare, who taught me about fanfic in the first place

Mercy, because she started National Cow Week

Emily, a fellow farm wife and rock star because she just had baby number 4

Quarry Heights Writers' Workshop, it's the closest to home writing related thing I've found

You're Write. Except When You're Rong, because it's an amusing blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Addition...

In addition to my Twitter post, go read this post by Beth Revis in regards to your online presence as an author. It is possible to sell books if you aren't widely known online. I've bought books by authors I've never heard of.

My Twitter Guidelines

I'm still a novice when it comes to Twitter. I putter around a little and tweet irrelevant things. Much like what I write here. But I like to keep up with what people are doing. I like to see pictures. I like to hear about people's lives. Which is why I've come up with the list of examples as to why I will unfollow you without thinking twice (I know there are thousands of people out there who will read this because *my* opinion matters so much to them. ha!)

1- I unfollowed an author because all her tweets were centered around praise of her book. She only retweeted all the wonderful reviews and glowing things people said about the book. I did not like the book so much, so UNFOLLOW.

2- I unfollowed another author because I didn't like her book. I read a few pages or a couple chapters or whatever it was and had to put it down. To me, it seemed to be "just another Twilight knockoff", only it was a werewolf book. UNFOLLOW.

3- Last example. I unfollowed an author because apparently she thought she could bank on only releasing one book. Isn't there a "rule" out there that says when you're shopping your book, you're supposed to be writing the next one? Apparently, she didn't get that. So she tweeted a lot of melancholy crap about writing while still milking the first book (which I loved, by the way). UNFOLLOW.

I've decided I need to be more selective about who I follow. I waste a lot of time on Twitter. A lot of that time is spent filtering through the crap to find the good stuff. But like I said, I'm a novice. So maybe I'm going about it the wrong way? I like to read about people lives. I don't like to click links, unless there's a good description of what's there (hard to do with only 140 characters). Don't only tweet links to your blog. Don't only tweet about writing. If that's your whole life, I think you're doing it wrong.

And yes, I do follow all the agents/publishers/editor-type people I can find because I'm sure one of these days I will stumble upon the magic formula that will allow me to write a hundred best sellers.

So, what's your Twitter formula? Am I doing it wrong?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Picture Post




This is what it looked like when I walked outside around 7:30 or 8 last night. I have a plain old point and shoot digital camera, nothing fancy (in fact, I used credit card points to buy it). The only "fancy" setting I use on it is the vivid colors. But this picture is actually pretty close to what it looked like. Totally otherworldly.

We're several hours away from Joplin, Missouri (where the big storms hit last night), but we had watches and warnings. We had some rain and wind. And this weird sky stuff.

This one was taken with all the auto setting, no "fancy" stuff...


Friday, May 20, 2011

Help?

I need help. I'm stuck.

My current WIP is about a girl on a road trip with a boy. Very general :-) My problem is that I've changed the story since the idea first hit me and I don't know if my MC has the motivation for the trip that she had at first. So if the MC has no motivation for being there, that kinda defeats the purpose of the story, right?

At first, she wanted to leave home because her parents were never around and it was a cry for attention, basically.

Now the MC is a popular over-achiever with great parents who encourage the trip. So it's more of an escape/life experience kind of thing before she goes to college. But, that's sort of what college is about, so why go to the trouble of the road trip beforehand?

I've got it written in to the story that MC found a photo album of trips her parents took before she was born and she used that as a base. Also, the idea came to her after her BFF moved away and then fell off the face of the planet. I don't think that's quite enough, though.

So...is it feasible to have no motivation whatsoever for a trip? She just wanted to get out and see the country (it's a US cross country sort of trip)? That doesn't seem like much fun.

Should I throw in some off the wall reason? Like escaping a stalker or a boyfriend she doesn't want? That seems like a cop-out.

I'm going to try and do some character and plot worksheets (Check out the helpful revision process detailed by Susan Dennard on her blog) to see if I can come up with a solution, but I wanted to put the question out there to see if anyone had an opinion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Writing "Career"

You always hear writers say that they've been writing for as long as they can remember. Well, here's what I remember.

The first story I remember was written after my aunt took me and my cousins to the lock and dam on the river. There were barges going through and all these noises. For some reason, I remember thinking about these scratching noises and I wrote a story about what lived under there and made the noises. I can't even remember now what it was; but if I looked hard enough, I might be able to find the notebook I wrote it in.

From there, what I remember most is fanfiction. And I was writing that before I knew what it was called. I wrote the Justin Timberlake-era Mickey Mouse Club (but I was a fan of Tony Lucca and JC Chasez) and New Kids on the Block. I stuck to boybands, I guess, because N'Sync followed.

I was a writer of "real" people. I never could get the hang of writing from TV shows or movies. The way I figured it, those were someone else's characters and I couldn't do them justice. Celebrities aren't much different, I suppose, because you only know them from what you see on TV or what you read in magazines.

There were a few other non-fanfics. One was about a girl going to college. The other was about a girl who gets money from an inheritance and leaves home. I don't remember now how they went but I'm sure there were boys and love involved.

That's what I always write about.

In 1999-2000ish, I was away at college. Far from home with little else to do, I started Cowboys and Angels. This would be my life's work for a long, long time. It took on many forms and characters changed. The original idea was always there, though. I know I completed one sequel. There's another one that I don't think I ever finished. I also started a part four. That might have been as recent as last year.

When I got it in my head that I wanted to get published, I thought I could take my last draft of C&A and revise it once to make it wonderful. I thought I could query it and see what happened. That was about a day after finding out what a query letter was.

Now, it's almost a year later. I moved my focus to another story that I started for NaNoWriMo in 2009, and I've been working on that ever since. It's taken on different forms and gone a different way than what I originally planned. But I don't outline. I don't lay out a detailed plot before I start. I take the original idea, jot down what I think will happen, and then I see what acutally happens. Sometimes it goes the same direction. This time it won't and that's okay.

I've got notebooks full of partial stories. Stuff I started and loved for a while. Every once in a while, I'll think that I need to dig out one of those notebooks and see what kind of wonderful thing I can do to it now that I've studied the craft a little. If I thought the story was brilliant when I first wrote it, just think what I could do with all my new knowledge of writing.

Ha.

Have you read all my other posts on focus and keeping up with one project? Yeah. I'm still working on that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It Cannot be Avoided

Everyone is talking about the Royal Wedding. Aren't they? The news this morning did postpone it a little to talk about the devastating weather in the South yesterday, but they got to it eventually.

Anyway, I live in a very rural area. I have come to accept the fact that I am surrounded by a lot of racist homophobes who don't like the president. I probably just got myself flagged on a bunch of watch lists for even saying that. But, sadly, it's true. It's Illinois, not the deep South fifty years ago. Grow up, people. Along those same lines, I keep hearing a lot of comments that basically boil down to "Didn't we beat them in the Revolutionary War? Why do we care?" Blah, blah, blah.

It's really kind of sad.

Or maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic. I mean, Kate is becoming a freaking PRINCESS. What girl hasn't dreamt about that? How many women will be weeping and starting their own fairy tale novels as this wedding takes place? I don't think I have it in me to stay up/get up that early. I'll watch the replays later on. Because I'm sure they'll be on every channel.

But it's a perfect story.

I'm not old enough to remember Diana and Charles' wedding, but I've seen the pictures long enough to know what a big deal this is. Even in the US. I can't help but feel a little sorry for Kate, though. How much of a say did she actually have in planning her own wedding? If it were me, I would've happily handed it over to someone else. I got married in Vegas, so I kind of did. I couldn't deal with the planning. But a lot of girls thrive on the whole planning and prep stuff. I guess if you're marrying a prince, you've got bigger things to worry about than picking out flowers.

Like the fact that millions and millions of people will watch you walk down the aisle. Not just the hundreds that are sitting in the church. Scary.

So, to William and Kate, best wishes. Try not to fall down or giggle inappropriately.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm Just Gonna Say It...

I've always enjoyed a good ghost story. When I was younger, I read "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" and the creepy RL Stine and Christopher Pike books. Honest to goodness, I'd probably be completely freaked out if I were to reread them today. I've gotten wussier with old age (though I've NEVER been a fan of scary movies), but that really doesn't have anything to do with what I'm trying to say.

I'm confused by what "paranormal" means anymore when it comes to books. Because, to me, "paranormal" was always ghosts. Maybe it's changed because of the expansion of/desire for the genre? The whole vamp/werewolf thing just needs to go away. I'm so over that. I can't even hardly look at those books anymore (please don't look at my Goodreads list and judge me because I mark A LOT of books to read).

Maybe my strong desire to write a good contemporary fiction has fueled my sudden dislike. Because I read Twilight (and I liked it...most of it) and I read Shiver (I couldn't get into Linger, though). What else qualifies as paranormal? How does fantasy and dystopian fit in? I've tried to read The Hunger Games. I couldn't get into that. I really disliked Matched, so did I pick the wrong dystopian to start with?

The whole genre thing is just confusing anyway. Is women's fiction the new term for "chick lit"? Or is it something all together different? I've gotten a headache just thinking about it. I think I'm going to go lay down now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random Wednesday

I'm supposed to be working on customer refunds. For the record, this is probably my least favorite part of my job. Right above making collection calls. It's a tedious process that takes too long.

Anyway, we survived the road trip to South Dakota. I got no writing done, but I did a lot of brainstorming. Mostly because I drove the whole freaking time. So I had the idea to restart my current WIP again (for the seventeenth time, probably). But I typed out a paragraph yesterday and I knew it wouldn't work. So I saved it for a flashback or some random piece later on.

I did come up with at least one good idea. And I rewrote a scene yesterday. A kissing scene. A first kissing scene. In the rain. I hope it works. My kissing scenes need work, so I think I did pretty good with this one.

Then I was thinking about how this story came together in the first place. It was a lot of scenes written at random times, in different notebooks. The hard was going back and putting it all together. Now the harder part is revising it. Because I wanted to change it up. I had my character all figured out, sort of. So now I'm making her more definite. Hopefully it works.

And now, random SD pictures...because I can...





Thursday, April 14, 2011

Confessions

I already admitted to breaking the book buying ban. So let's just go ahead and talk about how I have no self control whatsoever.

Today I went to Borders with a long list of books I'd like to own. They only had one of them. Days like this remind me of why I don't like going to Borders in the first place. They never have a good selection of what I want. I don't think my taste is that different from most people. But I'm buying from the YA section and it is ALWAYS empty. So whatever.

Anyway, when I got back to work, I promptly got online and started shopping B&N. If you do it side by side (which I do), you will see that they are cheaper. Which is always nice.

Here's my justification, though. I had commissions sitting around on my Scentsy card. See that linky box over there on the right? Click it and buy some Scentsy products to support my book buying! I'm kidding. But seriously...

It's like finding twenty bucks in your pocket. Score! Let's go spend it!

P.S. This is also why I can't diet. I'll eat a brownie and then go for a walk around the parking lot. I can't justify that :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dreaming

My current WIP is about a girl on a road trip. It's tentatively titled Cai Perry's Big Adventure, but I suck at titles.

This Friday I get to embark on a little road trip of my own. It won't be nearly as much as the story. For I get to travel with my mother and two children. Not a cute boy. But I'm going to visit my best friend, so it's all good.

Anyway, I was putting together my trip binder (it's part of the story) and I got to thinking about how cool a three month road trip would be. If only I had unlimited resources (money, a nanny, a nicer car) and an insane amount of vacation time. I would totally do it. Then I got to thinking about if it would be possible to take a leave of absence from work. It'd be like a maternity leave :-) as I would be birthing a book. Right? Or experiencing everything to make it better. The SCBWI gives out a WIP grant, but I missed the deadline this year. Maybe I should start planning for next year. The trip is pretty much all planned out. All I have to do is take it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Picture Post



My dream was to have a pretty picture blog that I would update every single day. It would be a wonderful, beautiful thing. But I'm lazy about blogging. So I'll have to settle for posting random prettiness here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Random Thursday

So remember my big book buying ban? Completely out the window. It took me a week to admit to it, though. I bought three books at Borders. The saddest part? I can't even remember which three books I bought. Wait. I know one of them was Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt (look at that! I figured out how to link!). I had a signed bookplate from her. What's the point of having one if you don't have the book? Plus, I had a coupon from Borders. And I'd like to keep them in business, since it is the only book store in the area.

See? Totally justified.

Do I even get into the $40 book order I submitted to my kid's teacher? I think I said I wouldn't stop buying books for the kids. Because kids can never have too many books. No matter what The Farmers says. They need something for their Easter baskets!

In other news, I got comments back from my CP on my current WIP that I would really love to finish within the next couple months. I don't know if it was her comments or my complete lack of sanity, but I started another rewrite on the beginning. It will change the rest of the story, but the meat of it will still work. I think. I hope. We'll see. If not, I'll scrap it and go back to the old version. Because I can!

Monday, April 4, 2011

YA Love

http://stephsureads.blogspot.com/2011/03/tru-luv-teen-romance-pulling-ya-down.html

This is an interesting post about romance in the YA genre. Go, read it. It's most interesting because there are such strong opinions about it. I love romance. I love to write happy endings. I was the girl who, in high school, thought I'd found my "soul mate." Maybe I'm just cynical about it now because that is not the same person I married. I don't advocate marrying the person you're in love with in high school. I've seen people do it and it works for them, but I think the majority of people will not get that lucky.

I didn't date an insane amount of guys. Just a handful (like, count on one hand) and that was enough to figure it out. I've tried to get away from writing characters with no boy experience because, like I said above, I like to write happy endings. I don't want my characters to be the head over heels in love totally unrealistic type. I think a lot of people think of Twilight when it comes to this (isn't it funny how everything always comes back to Twilight? Love it or hate it, it's a phenomenon like no other). Bella had it too easy. But that's a whole other discussion.

The point is (I think) that love isn't easy. So we shouldn't write it that way. But it's something that everyone can relate to and everyone can understand. Everybody has different views and different opinions. So be true to what you know and believe and write from your own heart.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blocking

Or stalling is maybe a more correct word.

Because it's not really writer's block. I think writer's block is when you can't write anything. I could write. If I wanted to. I've been writing in my journal. I think what happens is I get to a point in a story and I...freeze. I don't know where to go. Or I know where I want to go, but not how to get there. So I have to take a break and step back to take a breath.

It sucks because right now I'm in the frame of mind where I just really want to finish! I'm getting so close to the end. I know how I want to write it, but this one scene...it won't go away.

So do I delete it all together? Wait it out until I am inspired again? How long will it take? So many questions!

The problem with this is that I'm so tempted to give up completely and start something else. Or go to editing something else. And that's been my problem all along. Focus! If I can take a short break, get rested, and then go back, I'll be full of inspiration. But I don't want to give up completely. I don't. The other projects will still be there when I do finish.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Picture Post


It got cold again today. So I'm posting pictures of the last few days, when it was nicer.



See how green the grass is already? That's depressing (because I don't want to mow it). It's might snow this weekend, though, so that might slow it down a little. Here's hoping anyway. My mower is sitting in the garage with a dead battery and a flat tire. It's going to take some time to get it ready to go!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sharpie Pens and Craft Supplies

In addition to my book buying "problem" I should also add Sharpie pens (or office supplies in general) and craft supplies. I promise I'm not a hoarder or anything. Yet. It might develop into a real sickness and I'll be buried alive by a pile of notebooks. But I could write a memoir to stay alive. Because that's why I have so many pens and notebooks. I like to write the old fashioned way. Pen to paper. I don't know. It's probably not the best way to do it anymore, but it works for me for several reasons.

1) When I do sit down to type it into the computer, I can do a round of edits.
2) I don't have a laptop and a notebook is portable.
3) notebooks are prettier than laptops

And that leads into the crafting obsession. Before I was on the 'I want to getpublished' kick, I spent a lot of time reading craft blogs. I don't remember how I got started, but I picked up on a few easy ideas. I've done some neat projects, nothing super complicated. But then I started buying scrapbook paper and making my own pretty notebooks and journals. I make notepads and just about anything you can think of with magnets. So I've found a way to tie my loves together.

It will be a long time before I run out of paper to write on. Can a person make their own ink? I don't know how far theSharpies will carry me.

*Note...this was typed on the tiny iPhone, so please excuse my mistakes*

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Name is Beth and I Have a Problem

It's not really a problem. It's a good thing...unless you are my bank account. Then it's very, very bad. What is my problem, you ask?

Book buying.

I'm addicted to books.

See? That's not so bad. There are a lot worse things to be addicted to, like shoes. Or handbags. Well, that's another post. Let's just stick to books for now.

I've always enjoyed reading. I've always had bookshelves. But when I joined GoodReads just over a year ago, things started to get out of hand. I started knowing when books were going to be released, and I HAD to have them. I never used to like hardcover books because they were more expensive. But now, I don't even care. For one thing, it seems like YA books are always cheaper, which is awesome. Even hardcovers.

But now...how do I know when to stop? Or at least slow down? Because I'm running out of books shelves? My house is full of shelves! Because my bank account is draining? That's why I work! So I can buy things I enjoy! After I take care of my family and household needs, of course.

How about the fact that I'll never be able to read the books I already have in my lifetime?

Yeah, that might be a problem.

I'm a slow reader. I work 40+ hours a week and have two small children that still require a lot of attention. Plus, I'm trying to write my own book. So that takes up a lot of time. Oh, and there's my husband too. He requires time and attention too...

So I'm here today to put this in writing (because that often helps one stick to something better than just declaring it to oneself). I will not buy any more books until I get caught up on the books I have.

*Gasp*

Can I do it? Really? Probably not. But I have a lot of seriously good books that I need to finish! And what about all the book orders my son brings home from school? I can't deny him that (and I won't, because I'm not talking about picture books! Ha ha! Loop holes!)!

So, I will at least try to restrain myself. No more lunch time trips to Borders (which isn't hard because it's still a crappy store, even if it is all I have). No more browsing the online stores. For now, I will have to be satisfied with marking all the books I want to read on GoodReads. I'll buy them when they come out in paperback next year.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Niceness

X Posted to LJ

I get peeved easily. My issue is with book bloggers and authors. Since the whole YA Mafia thing came up, I've been intrigued. I've only read one post on it, and while I don't believe in it, I could see why people would. Just as a viewer of the tweets and blogs, etc. I think you can see the little groups that people have. I have always felt like a nobody because I'm just a reader and not a blogger. I can read your book and post a nice review on Good Reads; but because I don't have that exposure, you as the author, will not acknowledge me. Even though I paid money for your book and loved it and would recommend that more people buy it.Or maybe that's my own inferiority complex?So today, I marked a book to read and it posted to my Twitter feed. Shortly thereafter, the author had not only followed me, but asked if I wanted a signed bookplate. That's the love I want to feel from each and every author out there. Is that too much to ask? Probably. But if I ever get to that stage, that's the kind of author I want to be. To love everybody and show it. Because if it wasn't for readers, there would be no reason to write.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Because I Suck at Titles

This will probably be a kind of all over the place entry, I didn't know what to call it. But I really do suck at titles. Most of the time I will use a song title. Because it's easy.

That's not even what I wanted to talk about, but I should take off on that topic. Maybe next time!

One thing I did want to talk about today was focus. I touched on this one other time, I think. I have a hard time staying focused on one thing at a time. Writing-wise, but also in a lot of other things. Like, if I'm trying to clean my house, for example. I'll walk through the living room, on my way to the laundry room and notice something to dust. Or toys to pick up. Or whatever. So I'll start on that, which will lead to something else, so on and so forth. Then two hours later I will realize I never started that load of laundry like I planned. Normally, however, I will always circle back and follow through like I should.

With writing, however, it's so very easy for me to be distracted. I'll get tired of whatever I'm working on. I'll come up with a new, bright shiny idea that sounds a lot better. Whatever it is, it always seems better. I have actually finished two novel length stories. Since then, I've struggled. Well, maybe three, but the third was written in pieces and isn't technically finished.

For NaNo last year, I started a YA paranormal romancey type thing. I only got about 20K by the end of November, but I kept up with it. For a while. Then I was pulled back in to the contemp YA that I started for NaNo 2009. It's in much better shape and begging to be finished. For some reason, though, I decided it wasn't good enough the way it was and I revamped my main character. Which required an edit of the already written part. So, at 61 pages in, I think the story is already better.

Oh, but I'm not done. Last year, I went on a weekend getaway to the lake. While there, I got an idea inspired by a story I wrote a hundred years ago when I was a teenager. I wrote a few pages and dropped it. Now, I'm planning another getaway for this summer and I so desperately want to pull THAT story back out.

I won't allow it. I won't finish anything ever again if I do. Because it's a vicious cycle that I need to break, dammit! And I will. I will finish something! And it will be good (maybe)! And one of these days I will get published!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random

Our system is down here at work. So I've been working on audit stuff, checking out craft blogs and working on a spreadsheet. So I have been working. But I'm taking a break. I have a headache, so I'd like to take a nap. Maybe later.

The Great Remodel of 2011 is nearing completion. Here's how it started. During the Snowpocalypse or SNO-M-G, or whatever other stupid title you want to give it, I started to peel the wallpaper off the bathroom walls. This has been something I've wanted to do for ages. It wasn't super ugly or anything. I just didn't like it. And most of the corners had started to peel anyway. And the kids had started to pull off what they could reach (with only a little encouragement from me). We were snowed in, so what else did I have to do?

Sometime last fall, my husband talked to his brother-in-law about ordering new windows for the bedrooms. I was not in on this, though I know he wanted to do it. In the midst of a discussion about the paint color for the bathroom, it became a "let's go ahead and do the bedroom" discussion. That was his project, though. I stuck to the bathroom.

He started last Sunday, after a crazy trip to Menards on Saturday night (talk about date night). Last night, we (finally) got paint on the bathroom walls. He might have done another coat today. I'm not sure what his plan is. I got to pick out the color for the bedroom because he decided he didn't care. Which, ultimately, leaves him open to criticize the color until we decide to paint over it.

So...more pictures....


The bedroom before



The bathroom before...and after the wallpaper removal



The bathroom after...the lighting isn't very good so it almost looks too yellow



And the pretty blue bedroom

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow






Is the big Blizzard national news? Because it's all they are covering around here. Not like we don't know it's there. When you get two feet, it's pretty hard to miss.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making Time...

In my quest to write a novel, I used to whine a lot about never having any time to write. Then I read a lot of "if you want it bad enough, you will make time" posts and I realized that was exactly what I had to do. I guess it was sort of an unofficial New Year's resolution (since I don't make resolutions).

So, with nothing really to go on, I came up with a plan. I started by printing out the weekly calendar view from Outlook. I work an 8 hour day, with a 30-40 minute commute each way. I have two young children. I have a husband who is a farmer and keeps weird hours. I decided the easiest thing to do was focus on my evening hours. Weekends are a kind of see what happens time because I work some Saturdays too.

I started this in the middle of a week, so I crossed out the days that had passed. I populated anything that I had already scheduled. Luckily, my kids are too young to be in a lot of activities yet and I'm not a social butterfly. I budgeted out the remaining time for every evening that was left in the week. It looked something like this...

6-6:30 Exercise
6:30-7:15 Supper
7:15-8:15 read
8:15-9:15 write
9:15-10 shower, pre-bed activities...because I have to be in bed by 10 in order to function the next day

Each day allows for different things. Like Monday 7-8 is blocked out for Chuck. Wednesday is laundry night. Thursday is clean-up/put away laundry night. And Tuesday is kids night and nothing else.

It's not a perfect system. Like I said, I have two young kids. They require a lot of attention and my husband isn't always there to help. So I juggle and shuffle things around a little. But so far, it's working. I get a little reading and writing done every day. Not much, but some. The next step will be to figure out a daily word count goal. That's a little harder because I don't have a definite word count ultimate goal in mind. It's a fly by the seat of my pants kind of thing.

For more about this time budget, you can read this post at Better Writing Habits. I read it after I started by budget, but it applies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Writing...

So one of my goals this year was to write more. I had it in my head that that meant to finish what I was working on. Not that I wouldn't start anything new. Just don't start anything new until I had FINISHED WHAT I HAD ALREADY STARTED!

I have failed.

For a while now, I've had it in my head that I wanted to rewrite 'Cowboys and Angels,' which is the first novel I ever wrote. I love and hate the title at the same time. It sounds too much like a trashy romance novel to me; but I suck at titles and that's what I always called it. I started to do some edits on it. Then I got more into YA and decided I could rewrite it as YA. I've thrown around some ideas, written out some plot points, but that's as far as it went.

Then it started to snow and I wanted to write a pretty snow scene. Like a kissing in the rain scene. But a walking in the snow scene. So I wrote it as part of the rewrite. Then I started at the beginning. So far, it's only a page but how I want it to be more!

So I'm doing what I always do. Drop something completely because I got a good idea and want to run with it. This is why I have a hard time finishing things. This is why I get so frustrated with myself. Grr...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Challenge I Can Handle...

http://www.theresabook.com/read-to-me-picture-book-reading-challenge/


This is the Read to Me Picture Book Challenge. I'm not good when it comes to linking in a pretty way, so there it is. I'm going to shoot for the Feeding level because I think that's easily obtainable. We read two books last night, Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too. The hard part will be the reviews. Anybody who has seen my Goodreads page knows I'm not the best book reviewer. I always wrote crap book reports in school too. But I'll do my best with this one! You should try it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Goals

x-posted at LJ

I got my notebook out this morning and during the course of my regular, credit analyst duties, I've been randomly writing down some goals for myself in 2011. I don't do resolutions. They are too easy to break. But goals, goals are acheivable. Especially if you write them down. If you write them down and keep them in a place where you have to look at them all the time, then they haunt you and guilt you into acheiving them. I used to be really good at keeping a list of goals. I think I started one last year...but I didn't look at it all the time and I probably lost it. I had a list in high school that included things like moving to Australia with my best friend. I don't think our husbands would go for that now. Oh well.

So here's my list (so far) of my goals for 2011 (in no particular order)...
- Read more
- Write more
-finish the two stories I have started
- Crochet more
- Be a better parent
-yell less
-be more active (coloring, writing, drawing, painting, etc)
- Spend less
- stop buying things I don't *really* need
- Be more aggressive
- Eat healthier
- Exercise more

There you have. Pretty standard stuff. Some I've already got a start on. Go me.