Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Keeping Your Toes in the Water

I've said it before (many a time) and I'm going to say it again. This writing thing is hard. Whenever we put ourselves out there we are opening ourselves up to judgement and criticism which can be hard to take, but which will also make us better writers.

I'm learning something in the query process. I've been rejected a few times already (which I totally expected) and some of the rejects have been harder than others. But here's the thing, I'm keeping my toes in the water.

What does that mean exactly? Well, I'm making sure I have more than one query out there so that when I get rejected, I can't give up. I still have another query out there, so I know the rejection isn't going to be my last chance. As long as my toes stay wet, I'm inclined to continue sitting by the pool.

Even though rejection is hard, it doesn't mean I'm giving up. I will continue to work on my query letter and my MS and I will search far and wide until I find the agent or publisher that is right for me and my book.

Friends, don't give up. Keep your feet wet and someday you may get the chance to swim.

How do you deal with harsh critiques/rejection?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Using Images and Other Random Thoughts

I want to start out this post with an announcement: I will no longer be doing awards. I struggled with this one because I think my blogger friends are the coolest people in the world and I want to share the love and link back to everyone who has posted links to me. Still, I am weeks behind on awards and I just can't seem to fit them into my blogging schedule.

This doesn't mean I'm cutting you guys out. I plan on sharing links to blogs that I find extremely awesome any chance I get. I have quite a few awesome ones listed below that you should check out if you feel inclined.

Also, I've tried to add back everyone who has me on their blog list, but sometimes I miss people so if I'm on your blog list and you want to be on mine, give me a shout.

Now, onto the title of this post. Using Images. There is a really great article that I read the other day on Facebook (thanks Donna Weaver!) about using images. I, like the blogger in this post, thought that as long as I credited the images I used on my blog. I also thought that if took down any images people did not want being used, I would be fine. Turns out I'm wrong.

Please, please read this post. Be aware, and save yourself some heartache and maybe even some legal fees. I'm not safe yet, I have to clean up my Pinterest and my old blog posts to be sure. But from now on I'm using public domain pictures, many of which are beyond awesome, such as this one -

It never hurts to be more safe than sorry.

In other news, I have a few new tabs above. All of these tabs are also on my website, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to add them here as well :)

Let me know of any news you think should be shared with the blogging world!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hanging on a Cliff Side

It's day two of the Hookers & Hangers blogfest and today it's all about leaving them hanging.

Even though my book, EXISTENCE ends with a cliffhanger, I'm not giving that much away. So here are a few lines from chapter endings that might help you connect the dots with some of my hooks. Bonus points for any guesses in the comments ;)

"The research she had done before the mission told her President Reagan survived, but two of the secret service men weren’t as lucky."

"She wasn’t sure how she was going to get on with life, but she knew she didn’t want to Curve through time anymore. Not with her father gone."

“Well,” Chrissie said, a half smile creeping on her face, “first, we are going to get our bruises cleaned up, then we’re going to Italy.”

"He had her watch, and she was nothing but a prisoner to Matt."

“We should get the others,” Gabe said, shaking his head once more. “It’s time to go to the future.”

So there you have it. Now for another question: out the novels you've read, which one had the best cliffhangers?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Almighty Hook

There are a few blog hops that I am really, tingle-in-my-toes excited for, and this is one of them. It's the Hookers & Hangers blogfest. Today it's all about the hook.

I'm going to share the five best hooks (or chapter beginnings) from my novel EXISTENCE. Some of these hooks probably only mean something to me, as someone who knows the novel backwards and forwards. However, I'm going to start with the first hook, which should be the most important--and hopefully the best out of the five. Without further ado, here's some hooks.

"Chrissie Fox could taste the metallic sting of time on her tongue."

"The funeral was held three days later at the Rogers Family Mortuary."

"Chrissie sat cross legged on her bed, the pocket watch cradled in her hands."

"Matt put his arm around Chrissie’s shoulders, “It’s okay, love, I’m here.”

"Steel walls, steel door, steel bed frame. Chrissie had once wondered if CITTA had high security prison cells and now she knew the answer."

So there you have it. A few lines from my novel. I feel like I'm giving all my secrets away :) 

I'm curious to know: in the books you've read, is there a first line that stands out more than others?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Working Through the Hard Stuff

If you saw my post last week for the Insecure Writers Support Group, you already know I haven't had much of an opportunity to write. Everything has been fine for me health wise. I (thankfully) haven't gone into labor again, but I've also been very cautious in making sure I'm resting enough and doing everything I can to keep this baby inside me for a few more weeks.

Because of that, my writing time has been severally cut and I haven't had the chance to write everyday. In the past week, I think I've read ten posts about writing everyday to become a better writer. I have a little guilty squirm in my stomach every time I read one.

I want to write everyday. I want to improve and become a better, stronger, writer. But I can't. And I feel like it's pushing my writing backwards.

I know. You really don't have to tell me that this too shall pass and that I'll get the chance to write everyday when things settle down. I know this. I tell myself this daily. It doesn't make it any easier.

I hate to be a downer. I guess I'm here to put all my feelings out there so that I can move forward and be stronger. That's the power of writing. It's the chance to improve yourself by putting your thoughts on paper.

This is me coming out and saying, "I'm weak right now, and I just need to share it with the world in order to move on."

So tell me, have you ever been in a position where you want to, but you can't?  What did you do to be strong?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blogging Tips

More and more I'm finding that blogging is an art form in and of itself. To be a great blogger you have to have a certain touch, and way to connect to other readers.

We all know as bloggers that content is key. What your content should be is entirely up to you. On the same token, you'll probably find that some of your posts are more popular then others. Keep track of your stats so that you know what readers respond to, and what searches Google likes to bring to your blog.

All that being said, the reason for this post is to let bloggers know about a few ways to make blogging more user friendly. Bloggers like to visit other blogs, but if your blog isn't up to par, people will stop coming and stop commenting. Don't let this be you!

The #1 thing that holds people back from commenting is that darn CAPTCHA. I've already written a post about this, but I still see so many people using it (and I'm sure a good portion of them aren't even aware that they have it turned on). Seriously, these things are hard to read and annoying when you have to do it over. If I'm commenting from a phone or a tablet, I'm not even going to bother leaving a comment if you have CAPTCHA. It's too much hard work for an touch-screen keyboard. Read my post on how to turn it off, now!

Next, bloggers like to communicate. I like to respond to comments, and I'm more likely to respond if I can see your email. It's easy for me to reply to your comment and that way I'm certain you actually got my answer. If you ask a question I think needs an answer I'll still visit your blog to let you know what I think, but I won't always do that. If your email is available then we can talk about silly things and not just the serious stuff. Here is an awesome post by Peggy Eddleman on how to solve that problem.


Last but not least, make sure to visit the blogs of people who leave you comments. I came to your blog because I want to get to know you better, but if I never hear back from you--I won't visit again. I liked your blog, but it makes me feel like you don't value what I have to say.

That's it. It doesn't take much to be accommodating to other bloggers, and some of us appreciate it more than you know. Following these tips will bring you more comments and pageviews in the long run. Good luck blogging!

What tips would you add to the list?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

June Mini-Reviews

For those who don't know I've made a goal to read a book a week this year. I'm way ahead of schedule, and enjoying every moment of it.

I couldn't enjoy clockwise without picking up the sequel, Clockwiser, now could I? I enjoyed this book as well. I really like Cassie's personality and the crazy situations she finds herself in. However, I liked clockwise more. That's the thing about book two in a series, it is always the low point. The MC doubts her relationship with the boy, and she starts to doubt herself when she used to think she was awesome. It's the nature of the beast for a second book. That being said, I would recommend this book :D

I've read Divergent before. I loved it the first time around. The whole time I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. When I read it again this month I was at the height of my edits and I wanted to read it to figure out what I liked so much about it. It's hard to enjoy a book when you read it that way. I still liked it, but it wasn't my favorite anymore. I was afraid to read insurgent becasue of that. I took a few days breather and really thought about what I read. I came to the conclusion that Roth has wonderful descriptions and rich text. You always know where you are in the story and your always headed in a forward direction. That's what makes this book awesome.  

With those feelings sorted out I started Insurgent. This book is not small. It's 106,000 words. and I read it two days. Even after feeling down about Divergent I couldn't stop reading Insurgent. Each page begged to be turned. When was she going to fix things with Four? What is outside of the fence? Would the fractions ever find peace? Really good sequel.

After the mind blowing read of Insurgent I really needed a book to lighten the tone. There was no way I could handle another action packed mind-blowing adventure. In comes awesome author extraordinaire Jenni James.  I loved her first book Pride & Popularity. Seriously cute lighthearted fun romance. When I picked up Northhanger Alibi hoping for more cuteness and romance I wasn't disappointed. It put me in a cheery mode and I laughed the whole way through. Seriously fun.

To round off the month I read the final book in Kane Chronicles, The Serpent's Shadow. I was hesitant to pick this book up. I really disappointed in book two (The Throne of Fire) becasue Riordan's usual touch of getting his characters into trouble and keeping them in trouble didn't come through in that book. The characters kept wiggling their way out of everything too easy. With the hesitation, I had a hard time getting into the story again. It took me until I was about half-way through to realize that Riordan's old charm was back and this books was going to take me on the adventure I had been waiting for. I thought the series ended perfectly and left just enough room for me to wonder about when Percy Jackson is going to team up with the Kanes. Excellent story.

I tried to keep the reviews short but sometimes I get caught up :) What did you read this month?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Not Everything Goes According to Plan

It's been too many months since I've posted anything for the Insecure Writer's support group. It's not that I haven't been insecure (trust me, I've had plenty of ups and downs) it's just been about timing and blogging schedule.

Blogging has been hard with this pregnancy and now writing is going to have to take a back seat as well. I was really hoping to pound out my newest novel (see this post) but then on Thursday night I went into pre-term labor. Ugh.

I'm only 29 weeks so it was quite alarming to suddenly have contractions three-minutes apart. I've never had a single problem with my other two pregnancies. They both came at full term with out any complications.

This pregnancy I have anemia, a chance of diabetes (I have to take a second glucose test to know for sure), and the baby has one kidney that doesn't work and will never work. (The baby will be just fine because you only need one kidney to live, but there's still a chance he'll need it removed at birth).

Anyway, the doctors got the contractions to stop and I'm on bed rest. I want to write, but I don't want to stress myself out too much and start labor again.

I have a really hard time letting go of my goals and this case is no different. Hard as it is, I have to think about this baby first and put writing on the back-burner. It really stinks because I've been wanting to write this book since May, and even though I might get some writing done, chances are I won't finish before the baby comes like I had hoped.

Which brings on a whole new wave of the feelings that I'm not good enough and I will never get where I want in the writing world. The sensible part of my brain knows that's rubbish and that this writing gig takes time. But still, it's hard when you really want something and it feels like you are blocked at every turn.

Wow, I really hate to be a downer. I know everything is going to work out with both writing and the baby it's just going to take some courage on my part to be patient.

In the comments, tell me something good happening in your life. There's nothing that will pick a girl up like knowing my friends are succeeding (and the good doesn't have to be writing related). Ready? go!