Monday, February 28, 2011

Non-Existent Parents in YA

So, those of us that read YA regularly can usually bet that the parents of the main character are most of the time a) dead b) don't care about them c) away or gone for some reason or d) are too wrapped up in their own affairs to notice that their teen is sneaking out every night or whatever.

My crit partners and I were discussing this during our weekly chat.  At one point someone goes, "Wait...are all of the parents in our stories dead?"  We kinda looked at each other for a second and we all nodded and agreed that yes, at least one parent in our stories was dead.  (there are 4 of us in the group, and we all write YA fantasy).

I've come to the conclusion that it's just easier that way.  If the parent is nonexistent, then it's way easier to let the main character do what he or she needs to do and accomplish their personal journey.  If there was a parent in the way, always making them check in (especially in fantasy- I mean, look at all the quests and journeys these teens go on- no parental units is practically a staple in YA fantasy) it'd be a pretty boring book.

So I'd like to say this to my own parents- I definitely don't wish you dead.  I'm very very glad you are alive.  And to those parents who notice that their teen's YA books' parents tend to be out of the picture, don't take it personally.  Your teen doesn't wish you dead (at least I hope not), and it's all just part of the story.  That's what being a teen is all about- escaping to a fantasy world for an hour or two a day where the teen makes all the decisions without the parent breathing down their necks.  Of course they will mess up- it's what teens do.  But seriously, we don't need to be lectured in real life AND in books.

BUT.  I am not saying everyone should start killing off the 'rents.  I've read books where they were very active and present, and are significant to the story.  I'm just saying, if you notice the trend, it's just an easy peasy way to get those main characters off and by themselves so they can go on their emotional as well as physical journey without having to call mom every 5 minutes.

What do you as writers think of this?  How about you as parents?  How about as a reader- do you notice and are bothered by it, or is it just pretty normal to you?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little Monster

So some of you have wanted to know why I call my daughter Little Monster. 

Is it because she is, in fact, an actual little monster that clawed her way out of my womb much like the demon baby in Breaking Dawn?  No, of course not (sometimes).

photo courtesy of princessbella at fanpop
She is known as Little Monster because she is Lady Gaga's biggest fan (okay, let's be honest here...I'm a huge fan, and it might have kinda sorta rubbed off on Little Monster).  And we all know Gaga calls her fans Little Monsters.

photo courtesy of ME (and my bestie Jennie)

And I'm proud of that.  It's fun to talk to Little Monster about Gaga, and how she likes to pretend but it's always to make a statement, and make people think about issues and feel good about themselves.  Little Monster loves looking at Gaga's costumes and performances and thinks she is just beautiful.  And she is, inside and out.

Her new song Born This Way is so emotional because it inspires me to talk to my daughter about loving herself and respecting everyone, no matter who they are.  And I think Gaga is a perfect example of that. 

photo courtesy of Just Jared

So Gaga fans, young and old, put your paws up and love yourselves, love your neighbor and always know: you are special and were born this way.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Way Too Much Wednesday

It is with a heavy heart I tell you that I am shaving my blogging schedule.  I just can't keep up with everything that needs to be done, and my WIP and crit partners' manuscripts have to be my top priority (besides family and work, obvs.).  I just can't dedicate the amount of time needed for blogging.
So I'm reducing my blogging to twice a week, mostly Mondays and Thursdays.  I will blog in between if there is a blogfest, or if there is something I absolutely have to tell you.  But I feel like that would work better with my schedule.
This also means that I'll probably only religiously read blogs on Mondays and Thursdays.  The rest of the week I'll play catch up and do what I can, because I love reading your blogs so much!  But between giving Little Monster the attention she needs, giving my WIP the attention it/she/he (totally gender neutral on that) needs, and giving my crit partners the attention THEY need (dude, they're so needy), going to work 27 hours a week, and actually keeping my house above sanitation codes, I just can't do it all.  Unfortunately it's my blogging that will suffer.
I still love you guys so much- you are what makes this blog run.  Without you, I'd just be a lonely writer talking to a brick wall (or computer screen in this case).  You make me feel all warm and squishy inside when I know you're reading (or it could be the 5 pounds of cookie dough I just ate).  Either way, you brighten my day, just knowing you're there, hovering and reading (but not in a creepy stalkerish way)  So please don't hate me because I can't read your blog every day.  I will honestly try to keep up when I can.
I promise when I'm done with my edits for  my WIP and feel like I can come back to a more frequent schedule, I'm totally back to my M/W/F posts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Holy Seven Dorks Batman!

So the other night I was diligently working on surfing the net my book while Hubsters was putting Little Monster to bed.  He was reading her most recent book she checked out from her school library.  It was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  I heard them chatting a little and then I heard him go, "It's the Seven Dwarfs, not the Seven Dorks."

Many a mom would think I failed as a mother of a 5 year old girl.  She doesn't know her Disney Princess stories. (although she loves the new Rapunzel movie)  But, she knows who Batman, Diego and Spongebob is.  She could care less who Jasmine is, but she loves Aladdin.  Believe, me I tried to get her to watch some of those old Disney classics, but she just wasn't interested.  She would rather watch Cars, Finding Nemo and Toy Story.

I also try very hard not to push her into any gender roles or stereotypes.  I have a huge issue with that.  Why are girls only "supposed" to like the Princesses, pink and dressing up like them?  My daughter loves Batman, blue and dressing up like a vampire.  But she also loves icarly, Barbies and Littlest Pet Shop.  The important part is that I let her choose what to like.  I tried everything out on her, and she picked what she was most attracted to.

I think it's very important not to push our children into those stereotypical roles that society says is the "right" way.  It gives them variety, opens their minds to new experiences, and lets them make their own choices.  Plus it keeps them from prejudices they may develop as a result of gender stereotypes.

Right now, Little Monster is into Batman.  She started checking Batman books out from her library at school and we had to read them every night.  Then one day she told me a boy at school said she couldn't check the Batman book out because it was a "boy book".  (Le sigh).  She told him that she could check out whatever she wanted to (yay!).  But then next week she came home with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  (Le sigh again).

So it's an ongoing learning experience for us, but I always try to be open with her and let her choose what she wants even though sometimes this little voice in the back of my head goes, "but everyone else is doing pink/princesses/fairies" or "I wonder if she's picking a princess theme out because all the other girls in school are".  But I stand firm, and let her be her own person.

What does this have to do with writing?  Everything.  When you create your characters, try to give them their own personality instead of pushing them into certain stereotypical roles we're used to seeing.  Push the envelope a little.  Take a chance- you never know what your character will reveal to you.

Okay, I'm off to watch the old Adam West Batman movie for the umpteenth time with Little Monster.  Holy Heartfailure, I may just die after a week straight of campy humor and rubber sharks.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Jenni Merritt

Today's interview is with the awesome Jenni Merritt.  She is a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, and writes as much as she can in her spare time (although I have no idea how she does it with two boys...I can barely keep up with one girl!).  Like me, she is finding time to do anything but edit her current WIP. I recently found out from the Bernard Pivot blogfest that she likes smelling the rain, the word 'clasps' and hates the HUB syndrome (you'll have to check her blog to find out what that is).  And no, this isn't an ad for the craigslist dating site.  If it was, it'd be accompanied by a picture with her shirt off, flexing her muscles.

1.        Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels.
I am one of those crazy people who literally started to write as soon as I could hold a pencil.  By the time I was in first grade I was insisting that one day I would be published… obviously it has always been a passion of mine.  It wasn’t until NaNoWriMo 2010 though that I finally got past the "first few chapters block" and finished my first MS.

2.        What genre do you write?
Sci-fi/Fantasy (Dystopians... Paranormal... the good stuff)  Its pretty much all I read, and it would be wrong for me to write anything else.  Right now I am trying out YA, which I am actually starting to love and can easily see myself become addicted to.

3.        What authors inspire you?
Oh man, do you really want the list?  The few taking the cake at this moment would have to be Orson Scott Card, Terry Goodkind, and JK Rowling.  Also, my good friend Keary Taylor.  She is self-publishing right now, and her drive to do this art is something that keeps me going!

4.        How often do you write?
In my head: every minute of every day.  Oh, you mean physically putting the words down some where?  Lately it hasn’t been nearly as much as I would like (I am in the editing phase of my current WIP, so am revolting, naturally.) But I try to write for at least an hour, if not more, a day.

5.        Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Pantser.  Through and through.  Plotting just makes me feel restricted and blocks my “flow.”  I get my general idea, then run with it.  I pretty much did all of school work by the seam of my pants, and now I am happily writing that way too!

6.        Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?
I live in a never-large-enough apartment with my little family, so having a writing space is hard to find.  This last October I declared our dining room my writing den and decorated it the way I wanted.  Its very inspiring now.  (Mostly the big “WRITE” hanging above my desk.) 

As for music… it depends on the mood I am in for that piece of writing.  It tends to range from Secondhand Serenade, to Tatu, over to some Dave Matthews Band, and wrapping up with some amazing David Lanz.  Lately it has been a lot of Pandora and Playlist cruising… I hate silence.

7.        What is on your TBR pile?
Right now I just started Matched, along with Beta-reading for my friend.  Next is a toss up between Blindness, Linger, or some Stephen King.  Along with at least twenty or so other books.  I am a book-buying fanatic, and I am not ashamed!

8.        If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?
Seriously?  Stephanie Meyer would attempt some mind reading or emotion-calming tricks, but JK Rowling would easily use her Occlumency expertise.  Meyer would let loose her ShapeShifting Wolf-Indians, and Rowling would simply transform them into bugs and stomp them flat.  Then say "Accio Sunshine" and glitter Meyer out of existence.  Hands down: Rowling.

9.        What is your “day” job?
My amazing day job is being a full time stay-at-home mommy of my two little boys.  And trust me, with their energy levels, I really do deserve a raise. 

10.     What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits- NO ONE can leave home without one of those)
My camera.  I am photo fanatic… I literally take hundreds of photos, and that is still never enough.  It seems like every time I do leave the house without my camera, something happens that cries for a photo, and I cry because my camera on my cell phone is pretty lame.

11.     Mac or PC?
PC.  I am a PC through and through and using a Mac even for a moment would be cheating on… myself? 

12.     Favorite dessert?
That would be pretty much anything that even has a hint of chocolate in it.  Present me with chocolate fondue, and I am all yours.

13.     Favorite desert?
Oo, you almost got me with that trick.  Desert… would have to be… I hate deserts.  In all honesty, I really do hate them.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and still happily live there with no plans of ever leaving.  Take away my evergreen trees and high humidity levels, and I am miserable.

14.     Where is your dream vacation?
I would love to get a nonstop train pass and explore wherever the tracks go in Europe.  If I couldn’t have that, then at least see the amazing land of Ireland.  Go back to my roots, you know?

15.     Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself :)
Yay for shameless plugging!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inside the Author's Studio - Bernard Pivot Blogfest

Today is Nicole Ducleoir's Bernard Pivot Blogfest.  These are the questions James Lipton asks the actors he interviews for Inside the Actors Studio.  I signed up because whenever I watch that show, I always have my answers in my head when the actor goes over them.  It's fun to fantasize about me and James Lipton...I mean, in an interview of course.

  • What is your favorite word?

  • Sporadically

  • What is your least favorite word?

  • Moist (OMG, I can barely write this word because I have to say it in my head...*shudder*)

  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

  •  When I'm reading a book and I hit a point where I know this is going on my top list of favorite books.  I want to read it any waking hour I have.  Also, writing an awesome scene in my own book gives me hot flashes.

  • What turns you off?

  • Bad teeth and too much sarcasm

  • What is your favorite curse word?

  • Fuuuuu....dge (real drawn out because I realize I'm in front of my daughter half way through)(picture Christmas Story when he drops the screws)

  • What sound or noise do you love?

  • My daughter's genuine belly laugh

  • What sound or noise do you hate?

  • My daughter's genuine crying as well as her fake crying.  Hate those for different reasons.

  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

  • Well since I'm not a real full time author yet: author

  • What profession would you not like to do?

  • Accounting (I can't imagine actually having to do math for a living.  That would be my version of hell)

  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

  • I'm going to answer all those unsolved mysteries that the world has been wondering about, and yes, aliens do exist.

  • I'd love to hear your answers on some of these!

    Hop on over to her blog to see who else signed up and what they have to say!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Mawwiage...and Love

    Hello all you love birds out there.  If you haven't noticed, today is the big V-day.  No, not Vampire Awareness Day, but Valentines Day.

    If you are like the hubs and myself, you probably aren't going to do the whole card/candy/flowers thing.  Because seriously, every day is Valentine's Day for us (insert sickeningly sweet "awwwwwwww")

    Waiting in line for a table for hours, and plunking down large sums of money for flowers that die in a week is not really my thing**.  Who needs romance when you have take-out chinese and an episode of Castle to watch?  Hubs figured out long ago that the key to my heart is not chocolate, (oh wait, actually, that kinda is) but a night in on the couch, in our jammies, watching Ancient Aliens.

    **BUT if you are a teen and dating someone- TOTALLY different story.  It's like, required for your boyfriend to get you something for Valentines Day.  If he doesn't, you have my permission to dump his butt.

    If you're married... Meh.  As long as you do Vday type stuff year 'round, I don't think it's a big deal not to celebrate it on the actual day.  Now, if hubs never gets you anything except on Vday?  Then by all means, celebrate the love till the break of dawn.

    But seriously guys, just celebrate it all the time.  Send your wifey some flowers at work in August.  Give your hubs a back massage in March.  Go on a date (without your kids ;p)  Show your spouse that you love him/her all year round.  Trust me, it works SO much better that way.

    Tell me friends, do you celebrate the big Vday?  What are your plans for today? 

    P.S. Don't worry, we totally give something to Little Monster on Vday.  It's much more fun watching her face when she opens little presents.

    P.P.S. and a BIG thank you to The Blogger Formerly Known As for the Stylish Blogger award!

    AND a big Happy LOVE Day to all my bloggy lovey friends out there.  You truly make my days special!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    There's An App for That

    Here's a tip for the Catholic on-the-go: have you ever felt like you didn't have enough time to go to confession?  Have you ever been too busy to stop by the church on your way home to confess your sins of the day?  Or maybe you just want to confess your wrongdoings from the privacy of your own bathroom stall.  Welp, now there's an app for that!  (disclaimer: I have no idea if you hear back from a priest but I'm pretty sure you can do three Hail Mary's and an Our Father after and be fine.)

    Anywho, don't you wish you could just scroll through your million apps on your phone** and find one that edits your book for you?  Press a button and BOOM, all your "was's", adverbs and dialogue tags are changed to something better.  Or say you did your story in one POV but then decide to change it to a different POV.  Find your app, and BAM, it's changed (and everything flows wonderfully).  Or how about you want to get rid of a character?  Find the Killing Your Character app and SHAZAM, your character is dead.  Make sure to choose either the Slow and Agonizing Death or the Quick and Painless Death (only 1.99 each). (I'll clarify by saying I LOVE writing the first draft.  I just wish revising was a little easier!)

    What kind of apps do you think they might have in the future?  How about one that turns your lights on and off while you're not home?  Oh wait they already have that.  Or how about one that acts as a tracker on your teen?  Oh wait, they have that too.  What ISN'T there an app for?  I think they need to start working on an app that teleports you from one place to another.  Now THAT would be an awesome app.

    **I actually don't have an iphone.  Hubsters does.  Little Monster knows how to use it better than I do.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Buffy is Dead.

    Yes, Buffy saved the world a lot.  But sadly, my Buffy did not.  She died only 2 years after I took her out of the box, all shiny and new, full of promises for a brilliant manuscript.  She was a lovely laptop.  Very hot headed and stubborn, but she got me through 2 years of writing my first book.  Her ego is a little banged up, as well as her exterior.  But she was faithful.  Even during her temper tantrums of completely going black for no reason, she still saved my most important baby: my manuscript.  She will be missed, but it really is for the good of humanity that she actually kicked the bucket.  Because I was about 10 minutes away from killing her myself.  But I totally loved her, I really did.  Honest.

    So now it's time for another hopefully more faithful and more powerful laptop to make her appearance:

    Meet Buffybot, my new Macbook Pro. (if you are unfamiliar with the Buffy series, the Buffybot is a Robot Buffy that was made for Spike during season 5.  Yeah, you just gotta watch it)

    Yes folks, I woke up Monday morning to a bright and shiny new Macbook Pro sitting on my desk.  I think Hubsters was sick of hearing me whine about my laptop.  He was actually probably ready to shove 'ol Buffy down my throat.

    And OMIGOSH I love it.  But I have NO CLUE how to work it.  I couldn't even figure out how to maximize my safari screen.  But after hubs fiddled with it, we figured it out (you have to actually drag the box from the bottom corner to make it bigger- how cool is that?) (and OMG, she's SO quiet! She doesn't sound like a jet engine taking off like Buffy did!)

    Anyway.  I need tips, tricks-of-the-trade and any cool info you can give me about my new Macbook!  All you mac lovers out there, please throw me a bone because I'm SO clueless.

    And I totally need to apologize for being non-existent on blogs this week.  I am working more than usual because of the snow days we had, and I'm playing with my new computer!  I'll try to get caught up this week!

    AND I want to say a big HELLO! to all my new followers!  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the drivel!

    Monday, February 7, 2011


    First "First": Well guys it's finally happened.  As I was reading blogs and commenting yesterday, I was shocked to find the SAME word verification on a blog that I had seen just moments before on another blog.  I never thought in a million years that the word verification thingy repeated itself.  But, folks, sadly it has.  I'm a little disappointed.  I thought blogger was better than that.  But apparently it loves "ingsibe" so much it needed to use it twice.

    Second "First": Tonight is my first time on the chopping block with the new crit group.  And let me tell you, this group consists of three of my best friends I've made in this blogging community.  They are so sweet but honest and will tell me how it is no matter what.  Which makes me a tad bit nervous.  But at least they think I look pretty when my video freezes every couple seconds.

    Third "First": Little Monster and I survived our first 4-day stretch of snow days off from school.  Barely.  Creepy voices and lipstick stains aside, we had a blast.  Although it does make me a little worried about summer vacation...I'm getting used to this whole school thing.

    Fourth "First": This is the first time I am in the vicinity of 22 awesome YA authors.  They are all secretively holed up in a lodge 30 minutes from me staring at moose heads and stuffed animals.  Not of the toy variety.  BUT they are doing awesome chats at 8pm eastern every night until the 8th.  So I can at least pretend I'm in the same room as them.

    Fifth "First":  Buffy battled "The First" and won(ish) against it.  Okay, she kind of turned her town into a huge sinkhole, and there may be another hellmouth in Ohio.  But whatever.  She's still awesome. 

    These have been my "Firsts" lately (okay except the Buffy one- I watched that a long time ago- but I just had to put it. I mean, c''s Buffy). 

    What "Firsts" have you experienced recently?

    P.S. Go check out Shallee's blog from Life, The Universe and Writing.  She's doing an awesome contest for a great cause.  For every 5 dollars you donate to help her friends from Ghana go to school, you'll get entered into a contest for a critique of your first chapter from an agent!

    P.P.S. AND this is my first time making it to 200 followers!  Thank you so much you guys- you totally rock.  Like, if I could come through that screen and kiss you, I would.  But I won't because, well, we can't do that.... yet.  Anyway.  Thanks for reading my drivel and actually caring to follow.  Love you, and you, and you, and you over there Mr Lurker- I love you too.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads...

    I know I don't normally post on Sundays, but I couldn't resist signing up for Ellie Garrat's Top Ten Horror/Sci Fi Movie Quotes BlogFest.  EGTTHSFMQBF for short.

    So, I am not a big Horror fan- actually I don't remember the last time I saw a horror most of my quotes are from Sci Fi flicks.  Although, I do love me some classic Scream (is that even considered horror?)

    EGTTHSFMQBF is especially difficult because I hardly remember the names of movies, let alone actual quotes.  I'm always like, "Hey, remember that one movie, with that one guy who said that really funny line?  What was it...umm...." And then I sit there trying to remember while my mind is COMPLETELY blank and everyone stares at me waiting for the punch line.  And then like, 5 hours later I'll be sleeping and all of a sudden I'll sit up and bed and yell "Groundhog Day!" (which btw, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow so Spring will be early- thank goodness we have groundhogs to tell us what our weather will be like.  Can't trust those weather guys)

    And I slipped in my favorite TV show ever, just so ya know.  Because it totally deserves a spot on this list.
    Okay so here's my top ten in no particular order:

    Marty: "Wait a minute Doc...ah...are you telling me, you made a time machine...out of a DeLorean?" 
    Doc: "The way I see it...if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with style?"
              ~Back To The Future

    [on the ship's intercom] This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode.
              ~Malcom, Serenity

    "I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show 'em why."
              ~Buffy Season 7

     "Dammit, man! I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"
               ~Bones, Star Trek (2009)

    Do you like scary movies?

    "If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
              ~Doc, Back To The Future

     "E.T. phone home"  "Beeee goood" 

    Jay: Did you ever flashy-thing me?
    Kay: No.
    Jay: I ain't playing with you, K. Did you ever flashy-thing me?
    Kay: No.
              ~Men in Black

    "For someone who was never meant for this world...I must confess I'm suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I'm not leaving. Maybe I'm going home."
              ~Vincent Freeman, Gattica

    "You know, somehow "I told you so" just doesn't quite say it.
               ~Spooner, IRobot

    Friday, February 4, 2011


    We are on the 4th snow day of SOWPOCALYPSE here, in the beautiful snowy midwest.  The sparkling white snow looks gorgeous in the bright sun while the 3 foot icicles glisten and threaten to stab me in the head.  They were strategically placed right above the steps of our porch.  Thanks a lot, Mother Nature.  I swear that piece of paper flew out my car window by accident.

    Meanwhile Little Monster is wheeling her bike around inside with her imaginary friend Tony, writing "redrum" on the bathroom door with lipstick.  Dang, my good lipstick too. 

    I'm trying to get my ms finished, but all I seem to be able to write anymore is "all work and no play makes Abby a dull girl".  Huh.  Weird. 

    All I can hear behind me is this creepy little voice going "redrum, redrum, redrum!!"  I swear, that girl has the weirdest imagination.  She's even referring to me as a crazy women from the other room.  Whatever...I'm just trying to get some writing done.

    Maybe we should just go and play in the hedge maze outside in the backyard.  No harm in that, right? 

    Ooh, wait...I forgot my axe.  I'll just go and get it and be right back.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Aspiring Author Interview with Lydia Kang

    Somebody LOVES the snow.
     First of all, let me just say we're in the midst of a SNOWPOCALYPSE right now. (okay so my favorite term for it right now is SnooooOMG)  First Blizzard since 1912 or something crazy like that.

    I have this picture in my head of Laura Ingalls Wilder inching along a rope in the blizzard, not able to see anything in front of her and almost dying.  SO glad I don't actually have to make a living off my animals! Pretty sure we can't milk my dog anyway.  Actually I'm certain- he's a boy.

    So while we're all holed up inside praying our pipes don't freeze in -12 weather, I'll warm you all up with a little piece I like to call, Aspiring Author Interview.

    And this one is super cool you guys.  It's Lydia Kang from The Word is My Oyster.  She's a mother, wife, DOCTOR, and a writer.  Yep, I said doctor.  AND she has awesome posts on Mondays in which she talks about blood, guts and gore and the technicalities of ailments, death and any other medical condition you want to write about in your book.  She's a great research tool if you want to find out just how long it takes to heal after a gunshot wound to the calf, or what kind of drug will make a character unconscious for several hours.  Check her blog out for these great tips and other awesome writing-related doctorly type stuff!

    Ooh ooh, AND she has a 600 followers contest going on right now!  Check it out!

    1.      Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels.

     About five years ago I started writing non-fiction pieces about my day job and managed to get a few published in journals. Three years ago, I joined a writing group involving doctors, poets, and writers called the Seven Doctors Project and the love of writing poetry began. I got a poem or two published too, but it wasn't until about 18 months ago I decided to write a novel.
    I always wanted to write a book but I didn't know how, and I didn't have any good ideas.I actually took a few hours one day and just thought really hard about an interesting idea that popped into my head. It was an urban fantasy YA plot, and after hashing out the basics, I thought, huh. Maybe I could try. Three weeks later, I had my first novel. After a bunch of small revisions, I queried widely and even spoke to an agent. But the novel wasn't ready, and by then, I had a new idea brewing, so I moved on. Since then, I've been writing nearly daily and learning the craft.

    2.      What genre do you write?

    I write YA. I started with urban fantasy, moved onto a historical romance that is still out with some agents. Now I'm revising a near-future sci-fi. I can't seem to stick to one sub-genre!

    3.      What authors inspire you?

    Suzanne Collins opened my eyes to plotting and pacing. Libba Bray, Margaret Atwood, and Jennifer Connelly (among many, many others) inspire me to work on my prose. I have a huge author-crush on Austen, all the Brontes, Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M.  Montgomery, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien...
    I used to be embarrassed that I loved so many middle grade and YA books. I've gotten over it. Waaaaay over it.

    4.      How often do you write?

    When I'm doing a first draft, I write every day for hours at a time. I lose sleep and lose weight. It's a bit unhealthy! Generally I write on my non-working days and after the kids are in bed.

    5.      Are you a plotter or a pantser?

    I'm 65% plotter and 35% pantser. I know what scenes and plot points must happen, but the scene itself is pantsed. Some of my crit partners actually beta my outlines now.

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

    I can write almost anywhere (floor, bed, desk, teahouse, coffeehouse, bookstore) but I can't be confined. I need to get up and walk around, tuck my legs under, stretch. I listen to music sometimes but when I'm in the zone, I tune it out and forget it's even on.

    7.      What is on your TBR pile?

    I'm only partly done, but Dark Life by Kat Falls (won that from Carol Riggs, thanks!), Shipbreaker, The Book Thief, to name a few.

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

    Let's face it, they've got enough cash to hire their minions to fight for them. So I guess the question is, which would win, a wanna-be vampire/werewolf or a wanna-be witch/wizard?
    I'd give it to the witch/wizard. You can do a lot of damage with that wand while the wanna-be vampire is spreading on the glitter and the wanna-be werewolf is attempting to wax his chest hair off.

    9.      What is your “day” job?

    I'm a part-time primary care general internist, a dying breed in the U.S. I spend a huge amount of my time praising the virtues of exercise and healthy food. 

    10.  What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits!)

    My tea, either green or white. I drink about six cups or more a day. I joke that most people's bodies are 60% water; mine is 60% green tea. I'm a total snob about my tea too. Don't get me started on brewing temperatures and the horrors of bagged teas. 

    11.  Mac or PC?

    Converted to Mac one year ago, never looked back.

    12.  Favorite dessert?

    Oreos and cold milk. 

    13.  Favorite desert?


    14.  Where is your dream vacation?

    New Zealand. I must visit Hobbit holes before I die.

    15.  Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself.
    Shameless plug: If you haven't had a chance, enter my 600 Followers contest where I'm giving away gift cards or stuffed, fluffy diseases, risk free! Ends Friday Feb 4th.