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Friday, 29 October 2010

Computer Fail, OA Chats and WIP Progress!

Is it Friday already?

I closed my little eyes at 4am this morning, but it was so worth it. Last night (or this morning for me) was the awesome query chat with Elana Johnson. The verdict? Woot.

We had questions galore, winners of critiques and a rather important discussion about Alexander Skarsgaard from True Blood (thoughts on that topic a) yum, b) Amparo, where are those pics?). Anyway, it wasn't without its disasters. Okay, my disaster.

Forty minutes before the chat started, my laptop decided it didn't want to play. Nothing loaded. I had no Internet access (apart from my phone) and everything shut down. After lots of eye rolls, reloading and "Crap, my CP's and Elana are gonna kill me" thoughts, I made it. Phew. For anyone who couldn't join us, or just wants to soak up the ninja's awesome advice, the transcript is available over on the OA blog.

Although, Kristal did mention my computer may have been protesting due to sheer exhaustion. Why? Last night I finished the first draft of my wip. Woot. Now it's time to revise, revise, revise and NaNo for book 2.

I might take a little nap first though. Oh, and if anyone can recommend a nice new laptop, I may be in the market soon enough!

Happy Friday everyone. :)

P.S. Amparo has an amazing guest post by Janice Hardy over on the OA blog today!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Writing, Writing, Writing...Ooh, Today's The Day

I've finally got the Hot Dog song out of my head from goddaughter sitting yesterday. Woot. So today I'm writing. Yes, I shall be in my happy space tapping on the keyboard. I've got blogs to read, a plot twist to finish, my ending to complete; I'm swamped.

Okay, I'm paraphrasing Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride there, but you get the idea. :)

One question though? Can you hear me squee? Yes, today is the Operation Awesome query chat with Elana Johnson. In case you need it, Kristal has posted a handy reminder form over on the OA blog. 

My love of spreading the awesome means I am to sacrifice my cookie/plot dreaming sleep to be awake at 2am. Fear not, I'm prepared. I've saved my writing procrastination episodes of this weeks The Vampire Diaries and Criminal Minds to keep me busy. Although you've seen where I write so I don't have to go far. I'll be the one moderating in my PJ's. I promise I'll brush my hair though. :)

There's also only three days to get your entry in for the beautiful UK edition white Twilight covers (bought and sent by yours truly). Contest closes at Midnight GMT.

And now other things.

Over the last month the goddaughter has started the copying phase. I rested my chin  on my hand, she did the same. I stood in the doorway...so did she (she even looked how my feet were positioned and did the same). If she had any sense she'd copy someone less of a klutz than her auntie, but I guess she's learning other actions. Other ways of expressing herself by watching me.

Then I realised that I do the same when I write. We all do.

We take our notebooks and jot down actions, moments and reactions we've seen and twist them to use for our own literary purposes. We magpie various tones of voice, facial gestures, traits and ticks for characters. We are the ultimate developing children who use our experiences to layer into our richly created worlds.

And that's got to help us learn to be better writers, right?

Hope to see you at the chat. :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Reminder

Two things today.

1) Today is my post day over on Operation Awesome. I'm talking about a write query process. Feel free to pop over and check it out. 

2) Tomorrow is the epic of epicness live query chat with Elana Johnson (and us OA girls). If you have some time, join us over on the OA blog at 9pm EST. We have copies of Elana's eBook as prizes and Elana is generously giving away three query critiques.

Happy Wednesday everyone.

P.S. Sorry if I don't get round to your blogs today, I've been on goddaughter duty. She doesn't let me use the computer in her presence. I have to play with toys and watch The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. lol.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

My Writing Process.

Yesterday I shared my bookcases with you. Today I thought I'd share something else. Yes, today I'm giving you a peek at my writing process.
And I'm including pictures!

Step one: Get my writing space ready.



Step 2: I need to have my essentials -- my wip playlist and snacks. I have a cup of tea as well.





Step 3: Think about writing by staring at the keyboard. Tapping my fingers is crucial during this. I like to think of it as limbering up.



Step 4: Procrastinate. Today was a Criminal Minds episode. Until Supernatural season 6 comes to the UK it's either Criminal Minds or The Vampire Diaries. How I love my Sky+ recorder.


Step 5: Write.

Sorry no photo. It's hard to write and take a photo and I forgot how to set the timer on the camera. LOL.

Step 6: Have a 'why did my character just do that?' moment.



Step 6: Delete the disaster from step 6.



Step 7: Nap time? No, I'm thinking about my scenes with my eyes closed for visualization.



Okay I was napping.

Step 8: Wake up/brainwave. Repeat step 5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So that's my handy guide to writing. I missed out the drinking tea, eating cookies and toilet break photos. As much as I <3 you all, I think that would be sharing a little bit too much information. lol. But I hope I made you smile. :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

I Spy My Bookcases.

Last week I was happily bantering with one of my awesome beta's, the fantastic Renae, about the TBR pile and how we need to see photographs. Imagine the look on my face on Friday when she posted just how big is that TBR pile? 

Like Renae said on Friday, we have never said how many books are in the TBR pile. But since Renae came clean with her thirty four, it's now my turn.

I've mentioned I have a TBR bookcase. Oh, and said once or twice how I get the dad eye roll when a new book arrives in the mail (I have a love/love relationship with Amazon.com and The Book Depository, he has a 'where are you going to put those' relationship with it. hee hee). It also doesn't help that Katrina, one of my CP's, is my book enabler in crime. But hey, at least I don't have any habits that can land me in jail.

You can't get arrested for too many books can you?

Anyway, I present my bookcases.


As you can see these bookcases are kind of full. These are the shelves my friend, and mother of the goddaughter, refers to as her library. If you look close enough you can see the gorgeous UK white Twilight saga covers on the top of the smaller bookcase. (Which you can still enter to win at Operation Awesome.)



The white bookcase is a mix of read/reading and TBR books. It's depth means I can stack books two rows deep, so I fit more in.

"So how many are in the TBR section?" I counted them, I double checked and I have forty books waiting for my attention. Some of these were bought over the last few months. I would have read them by now, but in order to finish the wip by the end of this month I've put a pause on my reading. I can't tell you how much I'm itching to get reading these books now. It's a good thing I read quickly.

Okay, there you have it. So come on, how many books are on your TBR pile?

Friday, 22 October 2010

Awesome And Reminders.

When Operation Awesome launched we had an amazing one-sentence pitch contest. And I did a happy squee when I found out one of the entrants, Nancy Herman, has been offered representation with our September Mystery Agent, Mandy Hubbard.

For all the amazing info check out Katrina's post over on OA.

Oh, and polish those one-sentence pitches. You may need it sooner than you think. :)

And don't forget on Thursday the 28th of October is the frawesome query chat with Elana Johnson and all us OA gals.

Now I have to go finish my entry for Hannah's contest before midnight. Wish me creepy thoughts. :)

Happy Friday everyone. :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Books. Books. Books: Well Hello My Pretties.

First, I'll be working my way through my inbox today to reply to comments from the last few days. The cold made a return over the last couple of days so I've been snuffling in bed. I blame the goddaughter. She got it back and re-germed me, but all seems clear this morning. :)

Second, a huge hello to my new followers. *waves* Nice to have you here on the journey.

You all know I love my books. I make no secret that I let out a huge squee of excitement when Atom Books said they were releasing a UK limited edition set of white Twilight covers.I got so excited I even ordered two sets to give away over at Operation Awesome. If you'd like to win a set feel free to pop over and enter before October 31st.

I'm not the only one excited by these covers. Myrna McEntire is as well.

Want to peek at the covers? Here's one of them:



Anyway, my lovelies arrived last week and are now living happy on my bookcase. I also just sent a set across to one of my amazing CP's, Katrina (a.k.a my book enabler).

I also took delivery of a pretty copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer! Unfortunately it came while I was out. When I got home my dear old Dad gave the the 'how many more books are you expecting' eye roll. So, for now, I've had to put a hold on ordering anymore books for myself this month. Sniff.

I guess I'll just have to start making a list of what I want to order now. Sorry Dad, the postman will be paying lots of visits to the door in November/December. hee hee.

What about you. Got any good books lately?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

CassaStar!

First I want to give a special birthday mention to Lenny Lee who turns eleven today.

A huge happy birthday Lenny!

And second. When I read that the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStar's book release was getting closer I knew I wanted to help spread the word. So, with my happy dance remaining between myself and the laptop, I present CassaStar!




Here's the blurb.

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.


Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal




Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

CassaStar is avaliable now. :)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

K.M.Weiland: Conquering Writer's Block.

We all get writer's block. Yeah, some people say it's a myth, but when you're staring at the blank word document (and mindlessly eating your weight in chocolate) it doesn't feel mythic.

So I have an awesome guest poster today. You may know K.M.Weiland from her amazing blog Wordplay. Katie has an amazing new CD out designed to help with writer's block. Take it away, Katie.




Angst and Creativity

The whole idea of “suffering for our art” seems romantic when it happens in the movies. But the real-life version can sometimes seem as if it includes a whole lot more suffering than art. I’ll venture to say that anyone who’s ever tried to write anything more than a pun has spent some his fair share of time wandering around, hands clenched in his hair, eyes wild and bloodshot, muttering to himself, and generally looking a) agonized, b) insane, or c) undead (take your pick). When asked why we write, we’re usually quick to respond with an answer along the lines of “because I love it.” But sometimes it’s hard to figure out how we can love something that can make us so miserable. Jessamyn West and George Orwell, respectively, agreed:

“Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.”

“Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

Most of us just accept the angst as a necessary evil of the writing lifestyle. But is it? Is angst a catalyst for creativity? Or is it a hindrance?

In my experience, it’s a little of both. Writing a poem, a story, or a book is a monumental undertaking. Why should we expect it to be easy? In fact, if it were easy, wouldn’t that sap just a little of the marvelous sense of fulfillment and gratification which is our reward when finally we type “the end”? In many ways, the difficulties of writing only make it that much worthier of our time and effort.

However, as too many of us who have wallowed in the black seas of a writer’s depression can attest, angst, when carried too far, can be a killing blow to our inspiration. As I point out in my recently released CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration (http://www.kmweiland.com/books_CWBASI.php), one of the most crucial steps in encouraging inspiration to take root in our lives begins with having a positive attitude.

A little angst is unavoidable, and arguably even important, in our experiences as artists. When we’re stuck on a tough story problem, of course we’re going to feel anxious and frustrated and frightened and perhaps even a little angry. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging and accepting these feelings when they come knocking for good reason. But it’s important we don’t allow ourselves to wallow in them. Approach writing with joy. Always remind yourself of the great blessings found in being a writer. The bad days will come. But don’t let them get you down. If you can wake each morning and approach your manuscript with a joyous sense of expectation and that irreplaceable childlike wonder, inspiration will be knocking at your mental door all day long. Harlan Ellison nicely summed up this impossible balance of the writing life:

“Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you—as if you haven’t been told a million times already—that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.”




K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the sandhills of western Nebraska. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her writing tips, editing services, workshops, and her recently released instructional CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration.

Thank you for being my blog guest today, Katie, and for the amazing advice. :)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Character Interview With Lisa Desrochers: Luc Cain from PERSONAL DEMONS.

So, today I am excited to have an interview with the fantastic Lisa Desrochers, author of this book:




Here's the blurb:

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.



Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.


But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them.

Okay, so that's all about the book. Now, in fear of being smited, I need to introduce the real star of this interview. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Hell's very own, Luc Cain.


Lindsay: I've heard you described as cocky, dangerous and seductive. If you had to choose three words to describe yourself what would they be and why?

Demon, demon, demon. Because I’m a demon.

Amparo: What are the best and worst things about working for Hell?


Hmm…well…there are perks to being the best at what you do. I’ve worked my way up to a First Level demon, which means, for the most part, I can choose my assignments. I like to get to mortals when they’re still open and adventurous. High school’s pretty much the place to be, and because my numbers are good, Lucifer lets me do what I want. Down side: you screw up, you end up dismembered and burning in the bottom of the Fiery Pit for all eternity. No fun, even for a demon.

Katrina: What's your favorite sin?


Pride. I’m a Creature of Pride. All others are inferior.

Lindsay: If I was trying to decide between heaven and hell how would you help me choose?

Everyone’s initial reaction is to say they’d choose Heaven. If you stop and think about it for even a minute, I think you’d see that the answer isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. First of all, you need to understand that there are a lot of rules in Heaven. Pretty much anything goes in Hell. It’s like a really hot, sticky party. Sort of. No matter what you do, no one is going to rip your wings off and throw you out, so it’s really much more laid back.

Amparo: How confident are you in terms of turning Frannie over to the dark side?

You’re joking, right?

Katrina: What's the easiest sin to get humans to commit?
That depends entirely on the mortal. They all tend toward something. It’s just a matter of blurring the lines between right and wrong enough that they let their inhibitions go. I just have to get them to the tipping point and they’ll eventually give in to Greed, Lust, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony and even Pride.
 
So there you have it.
 
Thank you to Lisa Desrochers, and Luc, for being guests on my blog today.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Queries, Chat, OA and Elana J!

Okay, I'm double duty today. hee hee. (Sorry, had a FRIENDS flashback then with double doodie. haha)

Anyway, enough about that, here's the awesome news.

Hate them or love them, we all have to write query letters. I know, I know, I get those days where I'd rather write another 70k MS than sit down and slog out 250 words about my plot. But we must.

Like those L'Oreal adverts, you know your MS is worth it.

So put down the pen. Step away from the synopsis and come chat with us.

Yep, Operation Awesome is having a query chat on Thursday the 28th of October at 9pm (EST)/2pm (CT).
We'll be taking how to/what not to do, the things you MUST include and everything inbetween. Oh heck, it's just a huge query chat. And that's not all. Did I mention we have a special guest? Yes, joining us is the query goddess herself, Elana Johnson.



And we want you! That's right, come chat with Elana and the Operation Awesome gals.

As always I'll prepare virtual cookies, but we have other prizes as well. There will be a few copies of Elana's awesome query ebook (which will get you a handy-dandy free crit with purchase).  And Elana has generously offered 3 query critiques as extra prizes.

Can you say frawesome?

Okay, I really need to lay off the cookies.

So, join us on over at OA on the 28th and lets talk queries.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

To NaNo Or Not To NaNo?

I've been hearing a lot of talk about the mythical beast called NaNoWriMo.

To see this strange creature in its natural habitat is new to me -- yes, I am a NaNo virgin.

The idea I could ever write 50k in a month was a major WTFlip moment...until the wip came along and the whole 1k a day extravaganza. I said if I got the wip done by the end of October, then I'd take part in NaNo. So, now I'm nearing completion with wip (8k to go. WOOT), I think I need to keep my word.

Plus, I love a challenge.

So tell me...anyone got any NaNo tips for me? Anyone want to buddy me and hold my trembling little hand if I take the plunge?

Come on...share the NaNo advice. I need to pick your brains. :)

Oh, and before I go...tomorrow there is a special Operation Awesome event announcement. Squee is not the word.

And on Thursday I will be posting the interview with the lovely Lisa Desrochers, I mean Luc Cain. And you know how testy demons can get. :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Interview Alert. Interview Alert.

Oh, here I am. Yes, I'm back after a rather weird few days where my poor little blog baby went unloved and abandoned. Sorry blog baby, I was with the wip baby.

Okay, it wasn't just the wip. I had another friend's birthday, an evil cold, and (like I mentioned) the wip that stole me away. Yes, even with a cold, my word rampage continues. I was also arranging some awesome things for here and over at Operation Awesome.

So. Excited.

So today you don't want to hang out with me. Nope. Nope. Nope. Why? Because Amparo, Katrina and I have joined forces to interview some awesome debut and published authors, and we're chatting with some of their MC's! So head across to Amparo's blog and check out the interview with Bianca from THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger.

Oh, and later this week we'll have the sexy demon from hell, Luc (from Personal Demons by the fantastic Lisa Desrocher's) on this very blog. Woot. Squee. Yay.

P.S. Don't forget the All White For Twilight contest is still rocking over on Operation Awesome until 12pm (BST) on the 31st of October. Click here to find out how to enter.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Yawns, Rests and Links and Contests.

Sorry if I'm a little yawny, but I was up late after the Operation Awesome chat and I think my body still needs to catch up. For anyone who couldn't join us, we missed you! But I'm sure we'll have another one. :)

So with my brain in less gear than usual, I'm taking a day off. Not off blogging all together, you can still find my cookies and smiles over on Operation Awesome today. I'll also be reading the post delights around the blogosphere and working on my wip.

I'll also be getting my agent list ready to query my completed MS some time in the future. So I'm heading off to visit Katie (a.k.a Creepy Query Girl) for her agent hunt tips.

I'm also writing my entry for the awesome Horror at Hannah's contest.

Then remind myself I still need to enter Justine Dell's 250 follower contest.

And I'm dancing with happiness at Jessica (a.k.a The Alliterative Allomorph) who has some awesome news.

And sending congrats to the lovely Jen from Unedited on her 3 year wedding anniversary.

Oh yeah, and before I forget. If you'd like the chance to win a UK limited edition set of white Twilight Saga books (sent by my fair hand -- I may also slip in some chocolate!) then pop over to Operation Awesome and enter the All White For Twilight contest. Entries close Midnight (BST) on the 31st of October.

Yeah, I guess my break didn't really last long there. :)

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Awesome Chat

Today Kristal, one of my Operation Awesome CP's, has taken over my blog to announce this:

AWESOME CHAT:


Today, from 5-6pm EST, come join the Operation Awesome girls in the OA Writing Lab (password: awesome) for some tantalizing discussion about magical limitations in your writing. The OA bloggers LOVE their magical story elements. In fact, I think every single one of us is writing a sparkly-magical story right now, so we have lots of opinions/tips/thoughts about how to do it convincingly, and we'd love to hear yours as well.

Door prizes include:

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Voice of Crow by Jeri Smith-Ready
 
Torment by Lauren Kate (UK edition)
 
So, if you are free between 5-6 tonight, please feel free to come say hi. I'll do my best to be as sparkling and witty as I can (even though it will be 9pm BST). I'll be the one in the corner with the cookies. :)

Monday, 4 October 2010

1k A Day Challenge: UPDATE

So the 1k a day challenge from Operation Awesome officially started on the 1st of October, and that means today is an update day.

Verdict: The weekend was writetastic. I got some major wordage down (7k), and welcomed the books 'Halo' by Alexandra Adornetto and 'Revolution' by Jennifer Donnelly into my bookshelf family.

So I'm happy.

But now for fun to kick start Monday.

It's October so it means it's time for QUERYPOLITAN. And this month there's signed Shiver books up for grabs.

Next there is an awesome excerpt from Alex. J. Cavanaugh's book CassaStar. And I'm super excited to have Alex's book trailer on the blog later this month!

And the query goddess herself, Elana Johnson is talking about why she wrote Possession. Unfortunately she doesn't mention me as one of the reasons. ;)

Finally, I missed this due to friend's birthday celebrations on Friday, but huge congrats to Lisa Roecker who gave birth to the gorgeous Benjamin. Check out the cutie here.

So, how was your weekend?

Friday, 1 October 2010

Contest Alert

Apologies for yesterday's blog silence. The cake decorating took longer than I thought...photos to follow though. Promise.

I have some exciting news. Not only is today the day Hilary Wagner's fantastic book NIGHTSHADE CITY is released, but it's also the start of a new contest on Operation Awesome.

What's that? Well let's just say being British finally paid off!

I've hijacked Katrina's blog day to launch the epic TWI-Contest.

YOU can win one of two sets of limited edition Twilight Saga books only avaliable in the UK/Ireland -- the one's with the white covers!

Here, take a sneek peak:



Seriously, what are you waiting for? Check it out.

Happy Friday everyone. :)