Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Finished, so YOU Get the Reward! Contest/Giveaway!

Hey guys!  Welcome back after what was hopefully a relaxing holiday (except for those of you lovely crazies who actually went out on Black Friday - but you are still fabulous!) It was for me, and now we're back to the 'ol grind (but with a little more cheer, since we get to stare at Christmas lights and listen to festive Christmas music all month!)

I know last week was crazy preparing for Turkey Day, so I thought I'd post again about my contest!  It's in honor of finishing my novel/100 followers/HP mania!

HERE is my post from Wednesday about it- post as many comments as you want about your fav Harry Potter scene (from any of the books or movies), and you'll get that many entries to win the awesome A Sorcerers Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter!  Can't wait to see what you loved about HP!

AND, have no fear!  If you didn't like Harry Potter, just tell me your favorite book (or you can tell me why you didn't like HP- no judging here!), and if you win I'll send you a Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card!!  I am ALL inclusive on this blog!

You can go ahead and leave comments here if you don't want to clicky on over to the other post (I totally understand- I'm lazy like that too)  It ends December 10!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unintentional Novel Title Slam!

Jen over at Unedited discovered an awesome way to make up a story!  She found it over at Tahereh and Christina Lee's blogs.  Jen called it A Story out of Novels. 

Colene over at The Journey and I teamed up to do our own today!  Her fingers actually challenged mine to a duel: seriously.  Not her- her fingers.  They wrote it on their own accord.  So be kind to me- her story is probably way more profound and awesome than mine.

So, basically the challenge is to make up a story out of your book titles!  Make it short and sweet (and definitely profound...and a little dramatic)!

I'm going to make mine from my TBR pile (in random order):

This is So Not Happening, she thought.  Too many Lies, during a Twenty Boy Summer Blue Bloods poured from their veins.  Hunger blurred her vision .  She laughed, Carter Finally Gets It.  The Insatiable girl drank him in the Firelight.

What story from your own pile can you come up with?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Interview with Author Ryan Jacobson

Hey guys!  Hope you all had a wonderful and coma-inducing Thanksgiving!  (and if you're not from the states, hope you had a lovely time eating a turkey because you love me!)

First of all- I wanted to remind you of my super contest going on!  Enter HERE to win a cool Harry Potter prize!!

Now, I have a fun interview from you from author Ryan Jacobson.  He's on a blog tour, and so I thought it'd be fun to interview him on my blog. He's got several middle grade books out, including a choose-your-own-adventure titled Lost in the Wild, and you can check his cool website out HERE.

1        Who or what inspired you to write middle grade novels?

I was a reluctant reader for much of my youth, so I feel like I didn’t really discover children’s books until college. (Believe it or not, I was 23 years old when I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia for the first time!) That’s probably why I became a children’s book author; I found such books at a time when I was still developing my interests, finding my voice and deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up.

As far as middle grade novels in particular, inspiration came mostly in the form of a business decision. I was visiting dozens of elementary schools each year—and selling plenty of early reader chapter books in grades K through 3—but I didn’t have anything for fourth and fifth graders. I needed something to talk with them about and something to sell, so I turned to the only books I read as a child: Choose Your Own Adventures. I decided on the story for Lost in the Wild because I had an “in” with a nature/outdoors publisher, and I felt confident they’d publish it.

That was the one time I wrote a book based more on what I could sell than on what I wanted to write—and it’s my best book to date. Go figure.

2        What is your typical day of writing like?  Do you write every day?

I have a full-time job and two boys under the age of five; finding time to write is something of a challenge. I think you can relate, Abby. And while I don’t get to write every single day, I certainly try. Yesterday was fairly typical. I woke up an hour early to get some writing in. I wrote a little bit during my lunch break at work. Later, I was last to leave the office, so I stayed an extra 20 minutes to enjoy some rare peace and quiet—and to write. I hung out with my family all evening, until we turned on the traditional cartoon-before-bed. That’s when I went upstairs and stole 22 more minutes of writing. I came down in time to read stories with our oldest, watched an hour of TV with my wife and ended my day with one final hour of writing.

3        When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

It’s surprising how much my life revolves around books. Even the people I spend time with now are pretty much all authors and illustrators. Other than that, I share your obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I’m plotting a story, I ask myself, “What would Whedon do?” (Hey, that should be a T-shirt!) I’m also a superhero junkie. I have a room full of comic books, superhero movies, artwork and toys. I’m a huge sports fan, although I’m not going to tell you I’m a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan because you’ll just make fun of me.

4        Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I used to be a pantser, but somewhere along the way—and I can’t remember which book—the illustrator was leaving the country and needed to get the artwork finished ASAP. I was forced to create an outline so that the illustrator knew what to draw. It made writing so much easier for me! I’ve never gone back. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t change my mind or think of something better halfway through a story. My outlines tend to change quite often.

5        What’s on your TBR pile?

I’m working my way through Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, but I’m just not into it. I know; it’s great. But as much as I want to like it, I don’t. I also have a copy of The Cat and the Canvas, which was written by my friend Deb Mercier. Another friend, Grant Gould, illustrated a trade paperback collection of web comics called Star Wars: Tales from the Clone Wars. I’m a Star Wars nut, so I’m really looking forward that. I’m reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and can’t wait to start The Girl Who Played with Fire.

6        If you had one piece of advice to give aspiring authors, what would that be?

Just one piece? Yikes. Um . . . never give up? No, that’s too cliché. I guess the advice I wish someone would’ve given me was to think about your work from a marketing & sales point of view. If you’re writing 100% for the joy of it, then ignore this advice, but if you want to build a career as an author, you have to think about the marketability of your work. Let me use my first series of books, Santa Claus: Super Spy, as an example. I love these stories; I’m proud of them; I think they’re great. But they could’ve—and probably should’ve—been told without Santa as the main character. (I’ll take it all back if a Christmas special ever gets made.) By using Santa as the main character, I limited my sales in schools—because, right or wrong, some schools are shying away from all things Christmas. More importantly, I also limited my sales in general to pretty much one or two months out of the year. So to aspiring authors: Think about how your publisher and you will promote and sell your story to your target audience.

7        In your experience, what is the best way to promote your books?

The secret of my success is, quite simply, doing lots and lots of school visits. Another secret that’s becoming not so secret anymore is to be in places (ones that makes sense) where there are no other books for sale. If you sign at a bookstore, you’re competing against the Twilights and Shivers of the world. If you’re at a gift store or a craft fair or something like that, it’s your book or no book for the customer.

8        If you had to eat one piece of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Is this a trick question? Does “one piece of food” mean I have to pick something really big that won’t ever spoil so that I have enough to nibble on, one meal at a time, for the rest of my life? Hey, that sounds like the start of a good dystopian drama. Anyway, assuming this isn’t a trick question, I’d choose ribeye steak. It isn’t my favorite food (that’d be pizza), but it’d take me a lot longer to get sick of eating it.

9        How many books have you written, and how many are published?

I couldn’t begin to guess how many books I’ve written. Since most of my manuscripts are for picture books and chapter books, they probably number in the dozens. So far, I’m up to 14 published books, with six more coming out within the next six months. Admittedly, that may not be as impressive as it sounds, depending upon how you look at things. About half of those books are self-published.

10    And finally, link us to your blog, books, website, twitter etc!

You can find my books and my blog at

Thanks Abby, this was fun! And good luck with your novel. I can’t wait to read it some day soon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Word Count Wednesday And Contest/Giveaway!

First things first:  My total word count for NaNo is 15,288.  It doesn't seem like much, but 15,000 words in less than a month  is pretty huge for me.  As most of you know, I am using NaNo not to write a whole new novel, but to finish the one I am working on.  And guess what?

Now for the Happy News I hinted to in my last post:


Yep, the total word count for my novel is 94,844 words- about 312 pages.  So even though NaNo won't officially recognize me as "winning", I totally won on a different level.  I accomplished something I never thought I could do.  Something that was just an idea almost 2 years ago.  Something that has become my passion since- something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. 

And honestly I couldn't have done it without the support of my husbsies, family, friends and my new online friends and crit partners!  Everyone is so encouraging and supportive of my ventures, that even though sometimes I wanted to quit, I thought of them and it kept me going.  (Okay seriously, I'm not published yet...jumping the gun a little on the dedication part ;p)

Of course this is only the beginning of a whole new journey: editing.  I've got both my crit partner's edit suggestions- which by-the-way, are totally awesome.  Colene and Andy are the best, and see things that I miss and I'm all like, *facepalm* when I see it. 

***SO, in celebration of finishing my novel, AND of almost making it to 100 followers, and of seeing how many commas I can use in a sentence, I'm going to have a contest/giveaway/HP prize thingy! 

And, in honor if it being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows mania, I'm giving away a copy of The Socerers Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek
Everything you ever wanted to know about the magic and mythology of Harry Potter all in one book!  It has awesome facts like where wands originated from, who wore the first invisibilty cloak, and what a grindylow really is.  You can look up just about anything from all 7 Harry Potter books, and learn where all these myths and folklores came from!

So, all you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite scenes from any of the Harry Potter books or movies!  And here's the cool thing- more comments equal more entries into the contest!  So leave as many as you want with all your favorite tidbits and adventures from Harry Potter!  This contest will end December 10, so get those entries in!

**If you didn't like Harry Potter- you can still enter!  Just tell me your favorite book, and if you win, I'll send you a gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon!

AND there are a couple of my favorite people doing contests right now too:
Colene over at The Journey- bad one liners, make 'em stink people!  That's all you gotta do for a super gift card!
Donea Lee over at Queen of Procrastination- all about the blogging and commenting for entries for gift cards and ornaments!
Fantasy and Sci Fi Lovin News - pick a book you would like to win out of this awesome list of books!
Kiersten White is giving away a copy of a signed ARC of Supernaturally to one lucky winner- all you have to do is donate to a good cause!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American buds out there!  And if you aren't from the 'ol US, go ahead, eat a turkey...because you love me :)

And tell me how you are doing with NaNo! The end is near, are you going to win?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Crit Partner Meet-Up!

What a great weekend guys!  The weather was beautiful (well, at least in my neck of the woods), I got to write at my Secret Writing Place with no distractions, and I met one of my Crit Partners for the first time!

Colene and I became crit partners several months ago and sent each other our manuscripts.  We found out we live somewhat close to each other and decided to meet this weekend and trade what we had done!

It was so much fun, and time went by way too fast!  Before we knew it, we had been chatting for at least 2 hours.  Not exactly sure how long, because one of us was late due to getting lost (not naming any names, cause you know, she'd be totally embarrassed).  And then we left and realized we hadn't taken any pictures!  So we turned around and went back to take some pics.  I always do that- in fact, in the beginning I told her that I always bring my camera but then forget to take pictures.  And then you know what happened?  I forgot to take pictures.

So here we are, yucking it up at the local Ruby Tuesdays:

Oh look, there's a baby growing out of my shoulder

Then we decided to try to take one ourselves, cause you know- we drove all that way back so we had to do something different:

Colene's got "cocktails" framing her face, hm, what does that mean?
 Anyway, so it was a blast and I'm so glad we got to meet.  She's super cool so go check out her blog if you haven't already. 

Come back on Wednesday for Word Count Wednesday and some happy news!

Friday, November 19, 2010



Dude, you guys.  This is it.  The beginning of the end. 

Emma Watson was NINE YEARS OLD when it all started....she is now 20.  Crazy, isn't it? 

Rupert Grint rapped in his audition tape about how he wanted a part in the series he loved so much

And Daniel Radcliffe had only just made his acting debut 2 years before Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone was released, and was also approved by J.K. Rowling herself for the part of Harry

When the first movie was released in November 2001, I was 20 and in my second year of college.  Hubsies and I had been dating for a year and a half by now.  I am pretty sure I had read at least the first book, if not more (my mom gave me the first one to read and said, you HAVE to read this....being that I love anything YA fantasy, I said sure!), but he hadn't read any of them.  We saw the movie and he was blown away.  We went on vacation with my family to the beach the next summer and he (and I) mowed through all the books that were out by then.  Up through Goblet of Fire I believe.  We read them all in a week.  We were hooked and every book after, we have gone at midnight of it's release date to get it. 

I remember one year, (2003) the local Barnes and Noble was SO crowded (I think it was for Order of the Phoenix) we went to walmart where we found a HUGE stand with a million Phoenix books on it and no one around.  Except a girl in a wedding dress and a guy in a tux.  Yep, midnight on their wedding night: superfans. 

Little Monster was born on July 12 2005.  And guess who went at midnight on July 16th to get me Half Blood Prince?  Yep, Hubsies (we were up anyway with a hungry/screaming/pooping baby).  I'm pretty sure we read it during 2am feedings, and afternoon naptimes. 

Deathly Hallows came out in 2007, and I'm pretty sure Hubsies went to get this one at midnight for us too (I wanted to leave the 2 year old in bed and go too, but I guess that's frowned upon).  Pretty sure we devoured it in just a couple days.

Anyway, during our college years we went to every midnight showing.  Once Little Monster came around, it got a little harder.  But we always went within the first few days. 

I just can't believe how much time has gone by, and how much our lives have changed during this roller coaster of someone's imagination.  I went to college, dated my husband, graduated college, married my husband, got a job, moved 10 million times in the same city (renting..ugh), had a baby, bought our first house, and now just recently celebrated that baby's 5 year birthday.  Just crazy. 

And now we're going this morning after we drop Little Monster off at school!

So where were you during all this?  What can you remember from the past 12 years since the books were published and the movies came out?  What changed in your life?

**Stay tuned on Monday for the recap of meeting one of my crit partners for the first time, Colene Murphy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Word Count Wednesday And Some Heart-Breaking News

Hola, Peeps.  Welp, it's Word Count Wednesday again!  My word count as of today is 10,462...wah wah wah...I've had a few distractions this past week including but not limited to: Little Monster's new habit of reading (geesh, kids these days...), migraines, work, blogs and naps.

Thats okay, cause we're half way through NaNo, and I am almost done with my book.  I'm at, as they say, the "last battle"...or something.  Anyway, this coming weekend I'm so excited because I get to go to my Secret Writing Place.  I get to write ALL.DAY.LONG.  Without any distractions.  Little Monster is going to my sister-in-law's, Hubsies is working, and I'll be all by my bitty lonesome!

But GUESS WHAT?  I also get to meet my Crit Partner, Colene Murphy from The Journey!  How AWESOME is that??  I'm so excited.  Also nervous- all we've ever done is email back and forth.  I think it might be better for us to sit on opposite sides of the restaurant and just email back and forth for a half an hour- you know, to break the ice.

Okay guys, now for the heart-breaking news.

Wills is engaged.  Le sigh.  I've lost my chance at the crown. 

Oh well, his family is a bit stuffy anyway.  Not really my type with the whole Polo and big ears thing.  It just wouldn't work sorry, Wills.  I've decided to go ahead and just stay in the states and live my humble life as a mother, wife and writer.  I know its hard...but you'll get over it... eventually.

Anywho, what's your word count?  How's NaNo going for y'all? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Interview with Aspiring Author Jennie Bailey

Hello friends!  It is my great pleasure to bring today's Aspiring Author Interview with Jennie Bailey over at Garden Full of Lily.  She is an animal lover who is allergic to pets but still has a ton of them!  Now that is love and dedication!  Plus she has her own non-profit called the Paws and Learn Humane Education Center. 

Hop on over to her blog, and today she's doing an interview of ME, too! (totally didn't plan it like that- I mentioned to her I was putting this up today, and she was like, OMG- I'm putting yours up too!)  So that worked out perfectly!  Thanks so much for doing the interview Jennie!

1. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

       I've wanted to be an author as long as I can remember.  I started writing small books when I was in the fourth grade - Ghost Carnival, Indian Princess, The Elephant and the Moon.  In high school, I poured all my teen angst into poetry.  My mom kept everything.  Everything.  I read some of the poems now and I cringe.  Others make me laugh.  In college, I wrote screenplays and television scripts.  My entire life, I've been a writer in some capacity.  I returned to wanting to be an author in 2000.  I was over 300 pages into a fantasy novel (adult) when my computer crashed and I lost everything.  I walked away for a few years because I was so heartbroken.  I still haven't returned to that particular story.

2.      What genre do you like to write?

      Young Adult Fantasy.  But my NaNo idea is dystopian.  We'll see how that goes!

3.      What authors inspire you?

      Laini Taylor.  Patrick Rothfuss.  J.K. Rowling.  Tolkien. 

4.      How often do you write?

     I try to write daily.  If I have a few days where I don't have the time, I start getting antsy.  It feels like I woke up with no coffee in the house, every store and coffee shop are closed and I'm three hours out of bed with NO caffeine.  I can rip heads off verbally.  I need to create!

5.      Are you a plotter or a pantser?

     Plotter.  But for NaNo, I'm pantsing.  I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone.  We'll see how that works!

6.      Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?

      It depends - I've written some great scenes in a crowded teacher's lounge on a break with no music.  I prefer to write on the couch in the living room with music on, balsam fir scented candle burning and the windows open.  Our house is tucked back in on a property behind a front house.  It's like a little hideaway.  You can see the hills from our window and we have a great big Jacaranda tree in our yard.  I love writing with the view from the couch.  I can also do some great writing in the Den with no view and just a soundtrack on the computer.  I love to have music on when I write.  I'm very visual and music drives that.

7.      What is on your TBR pile?

      CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh.
The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan (Book Twelve in Wheel of Time Series)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant
and I need to finish On Writing by Stephen King

8.      If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?

      My money is on Rowling.  It wouldn't even be close.

9.      What is your “day” job?

      I have a non-profit.  We go into the schools and teach Humane Education.  I'm in the schools at least three days a week teaching a variety of topics from Safety Around Dogs, City Wildlife, Kindness to Animals, Pet Needs, Pet Overpopulation, The Truth About Pit Bulls...We also do adult education so on the weekends, I'm frequently at community fairs or adoption events.  Our website is also a very comprehensive resource so I'm constantly updating it, writing articles for it, etc. so that I can refer people to it when I'm out and about.  I'm big on educating.  I love it!

10.  What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits- NO ONE can leave home without one of those)

      My purse.  Or is that cheating?  You should see how much I have crammed into it - obviously, the essentials.  Also, healthy snacks, favorite pens (for when inspiration strikes!), a notepad, sugar free cough drops (an addiction), lip gloss, money for a Venti Shaken Iced Green with two Splenda, San Diego Chargers 2010 schedule, my inhaler, my epipen. 

11.  Mac or PC?

     PC but not by choice.  The Hubster is too cheap to fork over for a Mac.  So we replace our PCs every two years when they crash.  (Insert eye roll at hubby here)

12.  Favorite dessert?

     Weight Watchers Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Bars.  YUM!

13.  Favorite desert?

     None.  I'm not a fan of hot and sandy.  When you throw in rattlesnakes, a poisonous lizard and the fact that you can dehydrate and die in short matter of time, I'm totally out!

14.  Where is your dream vacation?

     New Zealand.  We're going for our five year anniversary.  I can hardly wait!

15.  Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself  (I'll shamelessly plug the non-profit as well because I'm just as proud of that!)

Thanks so much Abby!  That was fun!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Books to Movies: Love Em? Hate Em?

So, I'm sitting here watching The Golden Compass on tv, and I started thinking about why some books that are made into movies succeed, and others tank.

Movies like The Golden Compass, Eragon, and Percy Jackson didn't get very good reviews. Others, like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Princess Bride are just spectacular*.

I was SO excited when they announced the making of The Golden Compass, and when it fell flat I was disappointed.  But I couldn't quite put my finger on why it (and others) have fallen flat.  I think when it comes down to it, it's the ability of the director and screenwriters to translate the book into a movie.  Honestly, the acting in The Golden Compass was pretty good (plus there were lots of big actors in it), and the same can be said for Harry Potter.  Seriously, Daniel Radcliff's performance in the first Harry Potter was far from oscar-worthy (luckily his acting improved a million times with each film). 

So I think the key lies in whether the director knows how to translate the book into a movie.  He/she has to know what to put in and what to leave out.  They have to know what can be changed without angering the audience too much, and how to flesh the dialogue out and adapt it for the screen. 

I absolutely fell in love with Lyra and Pan, Lee and Iorek, and the relationship of Lyra and Will in subsequent books in Phillip Pullman's series.  The book itself is so complex and riddled with political commentary, but at the same time weaving a beautiful world of fantasy and souls that live outside the body.  I wonder if it was just too much to put in a PG film.  (Okay, and honestly, as I'm watching it- it's not too bad.  But maybe because I read the book- it's bringing back all those emotional feelings I felt while I read it.)

I always said the problem with Eragon, was it was just a "skeleton" of the book.  There was no flesh, none of the rich history to it


Percy just changed a whole lot of things, even though the kid that played him was wonderful in my opinion. 

So now I'm a little worried about The Hunger Games movie- what will happen with it? Will it go the Harry Potter route, or the Eragon route?  I've also heard rumors about a Sabriel movie which worries me even more- what if it's awful?  What if Garth Nix waited all this time (like Phillip Pullman) only to have a not-so-good movie?  I just hate that it might not do the book justice, and it will turn people off from reading it. 

It also seems like nowadays people are jumping to make all these YA books into movies.  They should let them simmer a little...get people excited about the book, let it become a classic, and then they can choose who they want to make the movie.  I think part of the problem is many authors have almost no say in how the movie is done.  Meg Cabot had pretty much nothing to do with Princess Diaries and Avalon High (which premiered on the Disney Channel the other night) and they were drastically changed with not-so-good reviews.

So what do you think?  What books-to-movies did you like or not like?  Is there a certain formula they have to follow, or is it just luck/bad luck on how well they do?

*Um, yeah, so I didn't mention Twilight for a reason- so many people loved the movie, but c'mon glittery vampires with make-up lines on their necks, looooong teenage angsty pauses, and dude...where the heck did Carlyle get that accent?  So, Twilight's kinda in a league of it's own.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Thought I'd acknowledge the wonderful awards I got recently.  You guys are so awesome and I really am truly thankful we've become friends through our blogs!

Erica and Christy gave me two awards:

Thanks Girls- hope on over to their blog, they are two funny moms who teach, and you get two bloggers for the price of one!

Colene from The Journey gave me the Irresistible Blog Award!  Thank you to a great Crit Partner!

I also got the beautiful Magical Blog Award from Alexia Chamberlynn over at The Life and Literary Persuits of Alexia Chamberlynn  Thank you so much Alexia- and it's a gorgey award.

And then I just got two Honest Scrap awards- one from Kelly Dexter over at Nerdville Rhapsody, and the other from Lisa Galek over at Read.Write.Repeat.  Thanks so much girls- go check our their blogs.  Kelly recently started back up again from a hiatus (we missed you!) and Lisa is brilliant and is a Religious Studies major like me!

So I think I'm supposed to say some facts about myself for some of these, but I answered this a while back when I got the awards earlier, so I'll link you to that post: 7 facts about Me.

I'll go ahead and do 3 more to get to 10:
1. I am obsessed with all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer- my computer is named Buffy
2. My husband has an identical twin
3. I have a minor in communication, but have terrible social anxiety- go figure.

So now I'd like to pass these on to these wonderful bloggers:  You can choose any of the awards or all 4 of them!
Andy Thompson over at Writing Myself Crazy
Colene Murphy over at The Journey
Melissa Wideen over at Throught The Lookingglass
Lisa Galek over at Read.Write.Repeat
Jennie Bailey over at Garden Full of Lily
Donea Lee over at Queen of Procrastination
Anne Kenny over at Writers Quandary
Jen Daiker at Unedited
Angela Darling over at Chasing Fairydust

*edited- OMG I am so sorry to Sam and Maggie- I mixed up their blogs!  *facepalm*  See, this is what I get when I try to rush and do a million things at once!  Love you both!

You all rock, and seriously- I love all of you that read my drivel blog.  If you're not on the list (honestly because I got tired of doing all the links), go ahead and take any of these awards for yourself because I love you too!

Come back Monday because I've got an awesome Aspiring Author interview with our bloggy friend Jennie Bailey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Word Count Wednesday!

Can't believe it's Wednesday again!  My word count for NaNo so far is 9,124.  So that brings me to 88,789 words total for my novel.

I didn't get as far as I wanted to in a week, but I have a great excuse- it was my nephew's 1st birthday this weekend and we had to travel a couple hours away and spend some much needed time with him (and my sister and brother-in-law, but seriously...who cares about them when there is the cutest little boy smacking you and head-butting you while you try to take pictures with him?)

BUT- I did get a butt load written today.  I think around 4,000 words?  I was on a roll!

Anyway, I know some of you overachievers are already finished with NaNo. *cough cough* Jen Daiker *cough cough* Melissa Wideen *cough cough*

And some of us, are a little slower *cough* me.  But that's okay.  We all have our own writing pace. 

I do want to say congratulations to my crit partner Andy Thompson for plugging away at NaNo.  I am so proud of him- he's been keeping up his daily word count goal since the beginning of November.  This is huge for him since he had kind of been in a writing slump, and I think his wife (the fabulous GreenBeanTeenQueen) and I were starting to sound like broken records- "you need to write!"  "dude, stop watching Project Runway and write!" "I don't care if your new puppy Zedd is totally cute, you need to write!".  So yeah, pretty awesome. 

Tell me your word count!  I know lots of you have so much done and I love reading your updates!

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's Your READ Book Choice?

The fabulous GreenBeanTeenQueen blogged the other day about celebrities promoting books and how many of us just want to know why they picked the book they are reading in those famous READ posters.  Has Catcher in the Rye really shaped that many people's lives, or was because it's required reading in school and is the only book they remember reading?

It's hard to tell.  Some probably have read the book and have a great reason for picking it, like Nathan Fillion:
Nathan is a co-founder of KNTR (Kids Need To Read), and he's reading a book by his friend and co-founder YA Sci Fi author PJ Haarsma.  The book is Softwire: Awakening on Orbis.  You can really tell this is something he has a passion for, and is not afraid to talk about it.

But some may argue, at least they are promoting reading and it shouldn't matter what book they pick.  Which is totally true- at least the celebrity is taking the time to promote a book.  But if you are taking the time to do a READ photoshoot, give us a little line about what you loved about the book, or why you chose it for the poster.

So this brings me to my question.  What would you choose as your READ book?

I've had to sit and think about this one for a while.  There are so many books that I love, that have shaped and influenced me, and I want to hold all of them!

I narrowed it down to four:
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (the Dragonriders of Pern series really launched my love of fantasy)
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (I bawled like a baby at the end of the 3rd book, and I still ponder it sometimes)
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn (I grew to love the characters throughout the series, and waited with baited breath for each subsequent book to come out- I again, bawled like a baby at the end because I was losing my friends)

But my choice would be Sabriel by Garth Nix. 

This is what the cover looked like back when I read it

 Sabriel struck a certain chord with me, that is still hard to explain to this day.  I still remember when I read it in Junior High and thought if I ever wrote a book, this is what I would want it to be like.  I never thought I would be a writer at the time, but this book pretty much is what permanently glued me to YA fantasy.  Garth Nix just has the natural ability to weave a fantasy adventure story with a little bit of romance, all the while doing it under 90,000 words.  Sabriel is what I would consider the perfect "formula" for a YA fantasy.

But if I could be holding Sabriel, and have the other three stacked next to me with the spines showing, that would be perfect.

So, what would be your pick for your own READ poster?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview With Aspiring Author Angela Darling

Hello bloggity bloggers! 

It's been a while since I've done an Aspring Author Interview, so without further ado, here is the awesome Angela Darling from Chasing Fairydust.  Angela is so awesome, she has TWO blogs.  The other is all about yummy cocktail concoctions and 20-something dreams.

1.      When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I have always loved writing. When I was in elementary school and finished my work early, I would always write stories. I just never believed in my writing enough to think about publishing it. Finally, when I met my bf (he's an illustrator), he looked at me one day and said, "Why don't you try to do this for real?" So, I just thought, what do I have to lose? I could spend a lifetime wondering what it would be like to do it, or I could actually give it a whirl. So, here I am, trying to make my childhood dreams come true.

2.      What genre do you like to write?
Most of my novels are a cross-breed of realistic fiction and fantasy. My characters usually deal with situations that we all have gone through as children and teens, but their thoughts tend to bleed into the world of fantasy.

 3.      What authors inspire you?

Without a doubt, Jerry Spinelli is my favorite author. Every single time I finish one of his books, I'm left with that warm and fuzzy feeling that I want to do something to make the world a better place. I also love Sarah Dessen.

4.      How often do you write?

I tend to write in spurts.  I'll go a week writing every single blessed day. Then I'll go another 2 weeks without writing a word. I write when I feel inspired to do so. If I don't feel much of anything, I pop in a movie and plop down with a big ole bag of chips and french onion dip. After a good movie, I can get back to thinking creatively.

 5.      Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both -  I usually start out with an emotion, that develops into a scene. Then, sometimes I want to know exactly where I'm going with it and other times I just go with the flow.

6.      Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?

I seem to do my best work in the middle of the night (I'm a bit of an insomniac.) When I'm all tucked in under my covers with my laptop and a movie playing in the background, that's when I seem to write something that I won't throw into the trash two seconds later. If I write during the day (which is rare) I listen to some creation of Danny Elfman. His compositions get the writing juices going.

 7.      What is on your TBR pile?
 WAY. TOO. MUCH!! At every store I make the mistake of going down the book aisle - such a dangerous move for my bank account. Just like the last aspiring author you interviewed, I have an addiction to buying books. Sitting on my nightstand right now you'd find Oh My Gods, The Summoning, The Secrets of Peaches, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, Beach Blondes, and Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism. I swear my nightstand's going to crumble under the weight of all the books one of these days. That's not including a pile of books on the floor.

8.      If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?

Hmm... I think Meyer would try to clench her teeth into JK. But, my girl JK would wave a wand at her and cast a spell on Meyer that would give her writers block. With the fate of teens no longer knowing whether to drool over vampires and werewolves, the school of Hogwarts prevails. JK continues to write her fantastic stories and Daniel Radcliffe eventually becomes way too old to be playing a teenie bopper. JK ends up the richest woman that will ever live. 

9.      What is your “day” job?

By day, I'm a sub elementary teacher and sub school librarian, and by night and weekend (get your head out of the gutter) I am a server. I hope that changes to full-time school librarian ASAP, because I'm going to freak if one more person complains about a "mysterious curly red hair in the food". Funny, dear customer, you have curly red hair. Hmmm.... perhaps, and I'm just going out on a limb here, perhaps that hair is yours! Oh, yeah, it's definitely time to hang up the ole apron.

10.  What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits- NO ONE can leave home without one of those)

Chapstick is a must. I cannot live without it. I should own stock. I also carry about a zillion hair ties in my purse. I'm a sporty girl and never know when I'll need to whip up that hair. I'm always up for a pick-up game (except for basketball.. just leave me on the sidelines... unless the goal really ISN'T to get any points. I'm really good at that! haha)

 11.  Mac or PC?

I love MAC's. I've had fewer problems with them. Plus, the majority of schools I work in use them.

12.  Favorite dessert?

Try not to die of shock, I don't really care for sweets. I'm a salty girl. The only dessert I usually request is jello poke cake. YUM!

13.  Favorite desert?

One that has magical unicorns that fly you to water and food.. yeah, I know, that was a really random thought.

14.  Where is your dream vacation?

I'd like to spend a few months in Greece. Any place with that much history and romance is bound to conjure up some serious creativity.

15.  Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself J

     If you'd like to drop by and say hello, you can find me at

Thanks so much Abby for taking the time to interview me. This was fun! Hugs n' Squishes :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Word Count Wednesday

I've decided to dedicate Wednesdays in November to word count!  I'll post my updated word count, and you all do the same!  We can cheer each other on.  I won't get up to 50k though, because I don't need that much to finish my WIP.  And if I do, my crit partners have my permission to beat me over the head with my future novel, because it would be WAY too long (only if they appear in a DeLorean).

I'm at 1431 words (80,988 total for my WIP). 

(So I didn't write any yesterday, but I can't help it if I was glued to Anderson Cooper's lovely white hair all night)

Also, please consider donating to NaNo if you are participating- I am going to do that today.  They run on donations only, so anything you can spare will help NaNo be even better in years to come. 

Here is a great anti-NaNo pep talk from Maggie Stiefvater.  She makes some really great points, and even though I feel like I could agree, I think NaNo is fun and brings writers together.  I think it will help push me to sit down and write, rather than watch 5 episodes of House Hunters back-to-back.

So what's your word count?  Even if you aren't doing NaNo, what's your word count on your current WIP?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Writing Schedule

I figured, if I write down a schedule on here, then I have to stick to it right?  Because the internet's always right.

So, here is my weekly schedule I'm trying to hash out.  So far I followed it pretty well on Monday with a few setbacks since I got off work a little later than normal.

Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays:
7:30am-12:30pm: Work at the "day job"
1-1:30: Walk the dog and eat lunch
1:30-3:10: WRITE
3:10-3:45: Pick Little Monster up from school (I KNOW, I sit there for like, 10 years.  When it's nice out, I walk and it cuts out a lot of that waiting time)
4-6: Catch up on blogs, emails, internet schtuff, etc all the while entertaining Little Monster (Thursdays is gymnastics at 4:30-6 but luckily the Y has internet etc)
6-8:30: Dinner, relax and watch some tv or read, get Little Monster ready for bed
8:30-9:30: Get myself ready for bed, sit in bed and read crit partners ms, go to sleep.

7:30-5:30: WORK for 10 hours straight at the "day job"
6pm: die (and then get Mcdonalds for Little Monster who has been at the babysitters since school let out)
7:30-8:30: Little Monster bed routine
8:30-?: WRITE, blogs, read, catch up on shows till I can barely keep my eyes open (I'm off on Wednesdays)

7-8: "Sleep in", get Little Monster ready for school
8-8:30: Drop Little Monster off at school
8:45-10: write lets be honest- go back to bed
10-12: WRITE
12-1: eat, walk the dog
1-3:10: WRITE, blogs, internet blah blah
3:10-3:45: pick up Little Monster
Same 'ol same 'ol

Saturdays and Sundays:
Clean the pig sty house
Hang out with Little Monster
Catch up on blogs

Doesn't seem like much time to write when I put it all down, but at least it's something!

So you may be wondering, isn't there a husband in there somewhere?  Erm, I think so.  He's basically MIA until after Christmas since he's like Uber-"Customer Solutions Manager" of a HUGE chain store.  10 hour days, 6 days a week.  He takes Little Monster to school in the mornings, and then he doesn't come home till like, midnight.  So yeah.  Christmas season is AWESOME.  I wonder if I'll remember what he looks like in two months?

Oh, BUT we both have the 19th off together!  And you know what that means? 

We get to be super cool and see Harry Potter at like 9:30am with all the old people who need those special ear thingies while Little Monster is in school!  But, it's totally opening day and we get to go!  Woohoo!  (old people see HP right?  I mean, if I was 80, I'd totally go.  I bet I'd have a thing for Dumbledore)

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog- I'm going to do Word Count Wednesdays during November.  Post your word count tomorrow!

Monday, November 1, 2010

And So It Begins: NaNoFINmo

Today kicks off NaNoWriMO (National Novel Writing Month).  But for me, it's National Novel Finishing Month.  I am using the encouragement of NaNo to help me finish my own novel.  I don't have much left on it, so I thought I'd use NaNo as an opportunity to Get.It.Done. 

As Hubsies would say: "Rule 76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion"

So.  I went ahead and signed up.  My username is abbyminard.  (I have one from last year, but after a million attempts at trying to sign up, I just created a new one)  Look me up so we can be buddies.  Or you can comment on here and give me your username and I'll look you up and we can be buddies.

If I'm really going to dedicate time to this thing, my blog may be a bit sporadic (favroite word, btw).  But I am going to try to update and all that jazz as NaNo plunges on.  Don't quote me on that- I have no idea what will happen this month.  I may blog every day instead of writing my book.  I may write my book every day instead of blogging.  I may throw my computer out the window.  Or just crawl under the covers and weep for a while. 

So seriously. No promises.  Okay maybe just one: I promise to try. I need to stay sane though, and not get picked up by child services for neglecting my child.  So, leave me your username so I can find you, and Let the Games Begin!