Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking a Break in April

Hello all my bloggy friends out there!

First thing's first.  I'm taking a break from blogging in April.  Many of you are participating in the A-Z challenge (okay, all of you- it's now up to 700 something bloggers?).  I just don't have the time to blog every day, so I've decided to take the month off to work on editing my WIP and writing my query letter.  I figured you all would be checking all the a-z people, so I might as well take a break!

But I promise I'll be back in May!  And I'll have something totally awesome to share when I get back.

So please stay with me, because you guys mean the world to me!  I'll periodically lurk around and maybe comment a time or two if I'm taking a break.  Don't want to miss the epic a-z blogfest completely!

Next: I've gotten a few awards I'd like to share.  Colene at The Journey gave me the Write Hard award.  Jenni Merritt gave me the Lovely Blog award, and Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings gave me the Best Blog award!  Thank you so much ladies!

Here are some fab people I'd like to give these awards to:
All my crit partners- you know who you are ;p

Also: My very good friend Catherine Kohman is having a contest for her book Lembas for the Soul.  Her publisher is giving away 5 copies to celebrate the start of filming The Hobbit.  Go here to enter.  If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings, this book would make an awesome companion.  It's a collection of stories inspired by the the Lord of the Rings books.

I'm really going to miss you guys this month, but hopefully I'll be all done with edits by the time I come back all refreshed and rearing to go in May!  Tootle pip and a skip!  Love you all!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Mates

Oy Mates!  Today is Michael Di Gesu's HP blogfest!  We have to list 2 Harry Potter characters that would be our mates at Hogwarts, and then say why we chose them.  This is bloody brilliant, if you ask me. (I'm trying to speak all british-y. How am I doing, eh?  Oh wait, no, the "eh" is Canadian).

So turn off the telly, come inside from your gardens, and flush the loo, because here is who I would pick for my besties:

I'm not going with the three main characters because obviously we'd all want them as our mates.  My choice for my two mates would be Tonks and Lupin hands down.  Tonks is a little younger than me and Lupin is a little older, (and I know they aren't kids) but this is my fantasy so don't get your panties in a tizzy.
photo credit
Tonks is bad ass because she's an Auror and a metamorphmagus.  She can change her appearance at will, so we'd have loads of fun playing with that.  Lupin is a bad ass because he's a werewolf and the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher around.  I'd want him at my back at all times.  Of course I'd be an animagi, most likely a unicorn or something like that (well obvs because I'm all graceful and stuff.  And who wouldn't want a pointy horn you can poke people with?)

And finally, I just love their story.  Their love for each other was strong and unconditional.  Even though I'd lose my best friends at an early age, I would still choose them.

Make sure to click on Michael's name above and visit the other blogfesters to see who their mates would be!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ode to My Crit Gals

Oh, my lovely crit gals, you come from far and near,
To rip apart our precious books, of which we hold so dear.
Arkansas, California, and Canada are the places you call home,
And me in Missouri, too far for me to roam.

Every Saturday, the four of us meet on Skype,
Ready to talk YA books, Fantasy, our type.
Although our convos can lead to zombies and black rocks,
We always come back 'round, with grammar in our talks.

50 pages is what we crit, once every week,
Watch out for Lady M, her crits are not for the meek.
Miss Coco is the grammar Nazi, marking our pages with red,
While Ms J gushes, building up confidence in the head.

My crit gals make me stronger, more confident in my work,
Catching things I may not see, giving my brain a jerk.
We cheer each other on, wish the rewards come ten fold,
I hope we keep on doing this, even when we're wrinkled and old.

Love you gals!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Change: Love it or Hate it?

I have a confession to make: I like change.  Actually I need it.  If I don't get it, I can feel the walls around me shrinking and confining me, binding my arms and legs so I can't get out no matter how much I scream.  It's very similar to claustrophobia.  Which I have. (Let me clarify: I like what some would call 'cosmetic' changes. Huge, mega life altering changes? Not so much.)

If you haven't been keeping track, I've changed the layout of my blog like 3 times since starting it in September.  I've changed my picture like, 5 times. (although all this may be due to my chronic wishy-washiness)

The feeling comes on about once a year, and usually I would satisfy this need by moving to a new rental house.  Of course there is always a reason: no more super sweet discount for working in the rental office, bad location, can't afford rent, not enough space, someone is buying our duplex and kicking us out, and finally, buying a house. (and, by-the-by, all of that happened to us)

Since we bought a house, I can't move anymore.

So I buy new furniture.  Redo the bathroom (okay, that was because our pipes burst).  Install new storm windows.  Buy a new car.  Now we are making plans to put up a privacy fence.  Then it'll be bedroom furniture.  Then, switching Little Monster's room around.  Replace the old shed. You get the idea.

Hubsters knows when to duck for cover around Spring because that's when I get the itch.  As soon as he comes up for air I snatch him up:

Me:'s what I'm thinking....
Hubs: (crouched in the corner rocking back and forth whispering) please don't make me paint the trim, please don't make me paint the trim...

Anyway, this need seeps into my work.  I was getting my ms ready to send to my crit group, and last minute I'm frantically making little changes here and there.  I couldn't help it!  My fingers itched to delete a little here, backspace a little there, add a line here, change some dialogue there.  I wonder if it will ever look perfect to me?  Will I always need to change it like I do my house?  When it's published am I going to go crazy thinking, "Gawd, if I just changed that ONE line!!"? (but honestly it's small changes...I think when it comes down to changing major chunks of my ms, I'll cry and protest for days)

I'm really hoping I can satisfy my little change addiction by just doing things around the house.  That's harmless, right?

Ooh that reminds me...hey Hon, I think it's time to redo the kitchen.

Tell me, how are you with change?  Do you take in stride, seek it out, or resist it with all your might?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Please Vote for GreenBeanTeenQueen!

Hello my lovely bloggy buddies!  This is a special month, because my VERY good friend Sarah Bean Thompson (aka the GreenBeanTeenQueen) is running for a spot on the 2013 ALA Printz committee.

(If you don't know what that is, it's a group of librarians selected to read and select new YA books to win the Printz award.  It's a huge deal to get your book on the nominee list.) You can read more about it here.

I'm sorry to say you have to be a member of ALA or YALSA to vote, so I will not be able to vote for her.  But if you are a member or know someone that is, please pass her name on!  I know you guys have wonderful connections, and give wonderful support to your fellow bloggers! (that is why I love you so much!)

She is a WONDERFUL teen librarian.  She is really dedicated to her teens, and they can attest to that.  I know some of them run in the same blog circles as us, and they have nothing but good things to say about her.  And dudes, she has pink streaks in her hair.  Which is SO totally awesome.

Here is her platform from her facebook page:

"My name is Sarah and I currently work as a teen librarian. I also blog at GreenBeanTeenQueen. I love YA and being elected to the Printz committee would be a librarian dream come true! I have had an article on book blogs as well as a Teen Read Week Booklist published in VOYA and I've presented workshops on tween and teen lit and reader's advisory. I currently serve on the Fabulous Films Committee for Young Adults and the Gateway Award (Missouri State High School Book Award). 

I believe that the Printz Award is an award that all YA librarians and teens can be proud of. The books selected for this award should be books that adults and teens will read and discuss. They should represent the best of YA and be books that teen librarians can pick up and say "this is why I love YA and why I do what I do." 

Check out my blog, read my reviews, and feel free to ask me any questions you might have! I'd love your vote!!

Voting is open only to ALA/YALSA members, so please share with your librarian!!"

What I love about her book reviewing, is that if she doesn't like a book, she never hesitates to mention that even though the book wasn't for her, that doesn't mean someone else won't like it.  She encourages everyone to read the book for themselves and see what they think.  

Sarah would make a wonderful addition to the Printz committee, so please think of voting for her or telling your librarians to vote for her!

Voting ends April 22.  

Oh and don't forget to "like" her facebook page!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beware! Wee Men Can Be Deceiving

Now that I got your attention with the title, you can get your pretty little heads out of the gutter you silly bloggers!

Today is Colene and Alexia's Luck O the Irish SPD blogfest!  The challenge is to write a 200ish flash fiction about something to do with Saint Patrick's Day.  Hope you enjoy my entry!


            March 17, 2010 is the day I almost died.  I will never wear green again.
           My day started out pretty normal.  Alarm rang at 6:00, I smashed it. Phone alarm rang at 6:30 and I smashed that too.  Finally at 7 when my mom pounded on my door I rolled out of bed and into my green sparkly tank top.  Ready for a day of pinching all non-green party-poopers.  
           When I stepped outside into the misty, gray morning I noticed a rainbow in the sky.  
          Pretty, I thought.  
          Didn’t seem like a rainbow kind of day.
          But it was Saint Patrick’s day, so it was kind of fitting.  I smiled as I thought of a cute, wee leprechaun dancing around a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
          My thoughts were interrupted by a flash of what looked to be red hair streaking at the edges of my vision.
         Huh.  Wonder what that stupid neighbor kid is up to.  Probably trying to pee in the garden again.  
        “Hey, Sean, get out of our yard!” I yelled, whipping my head around to find the culprit.
         A tiny evil laugh sounded around the corner of the house.
        Ugh.  What a little turd.
       “God, just what I need before school”.  I sighed as I trekked around back.
        As I turned the corner something jumped on my back, digging in with its sharp fingernails.
       Screaming, I danced around, trying to shake it off.  It was snarling and gnashing its teeth, drooling down my neck and shirt. 
       “EW!  Get off you stupid brat!”
        I reached around and grabbed the kid by the hair and flipped him over.
        Except it wasn’t the kid from next door.
       It was a zombie leprechaun.  And it was trying to eat me.


Hope you can check out some of the other entries in todays blogfest!  Happy St Patty's Day everyone!  (and watch your back- you never know when a zombie leprechaun will be lurking in your backyard) (I think I may count how many times I say wee today.  Teehee)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hacking The WIP

I've had a revelation.

A couple weeks ago, after careful debating, consideration, and frantically emailing my crit partner, I've come to the conclusion that I need to hack a major part of my WIP.

For some reason I thought I needed to have both my main character's POV and the love interest's POV (and for the life of me I can't remember why I came to that conclusion).  But I kind of didn't decide that until a little ways into my book.  So I had my MC and her personal journey and conflict, and the overarching conflict all the characters had to go through, but the love interest didn't really have his own story.  He was just there along for the ride.

After a question was brought up about his POV, I began to think about it.  Was his POV necessary to the story?  Did he propel any of the plot forward?  While he is considered a big character to me (it's sort of an ensemble cast of four characters, with my MC as the main-main character), I couldn't figure out his purpose (besides making out with my MC).

So I'm chopping his POV.  Cutting it right out and making it all from my main character's perspective.  It's going to take a while, but I think it's worth it.  I think it will make my MC stronger.

While their love story is a significant part of the novel, I want to focus more on her personal journey and the four of them as a group and their collective journey together.

Tell me, have you had to chop a significant portion of your book?  Was it hard to let go of a big part of your "baby"?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Only 26 Checkouts!

Wow, this is big you guys.

HarperCollins has changed its policy on ebook checkouts for libraries.  Before, we were allowed unlimited checkouts of ebooks published by HarperCollins.  Now, after 26 checkouts, the license will expire and the library will be required to buy that ebook again if they want to circulate it.  In theory, an ebook can reach 26 checkouts in about a year.

They say this equals one year of use for a popular title.  But the thing is, many of our books are kept for a long time.  And we don't buy replacement copies unless the book is damaged beyond repair.

I mean, I completely understand that this is beneficial to the author, in theory.  But now, the library I work at can't buy HarperCollins ebooks anymore.  They can't afford to buy a new one every 26 checkouts.  Since we usually only have one or two copies of an ebook available for check out, it'll reach 26 pretty fast.  So the author loses anything they may have made with just one purchase of their ebook. (not to mention publicity for themselves)

I would understand if they said libraries had to re-buy them after say, 5 years, or even 3.  It's just so complicated when it comes to ebooks anymore.  I don't know what would be the best practice, and I don't know how I would feel or if my views would change if/when I become a published author.

I'm not bashing the decision, because I can see both sides of the argument.  It's just interesting, and right now since I work at the library, I'm seeing it through their eyes.

Here is the link to the article in The Library Journal.

What do you think about this?  Is this going to interfere with ebooks in libraries?  Will it affect the author?  Do you think the rest of the big houses will follow?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Brad Jaeger

I've got a treat for you guys today! (no, it's not candy, although that sounds kinda yummy right now).  It's a double Aspiring Author Interview!  Today is with Brad Jaeger, an aspiring author who is ALSO doing an Aspiring Author Interview with me!  At the same time!  So click on over to his blog to see an interview of Yours Truly.

Brad writes fantasy (on his PC- I'll forgive him for that I guess) and loves to talk about religion, social issues, and whatever else pops into his head.  You never know what's going to come out of that guy's mouth (, and that's what makes him such an interesting person!

I had a lot of fun interviewing him as well as being his interviewee!

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

    One night--as I was silently cursing my station in life as a security guard--I was skimming through Time Magazineand came across Stephen King's royalty rates. “Writing books”, I said to the other guard on duty, “now there's an easy way to earn some scratch. First thing tomorrow I'ma write me a fiction novel.” Kidding! And yes, I know, all novels are fictitious—you can unclench your fists now.
    I'm not quite sure what to say. There wasn't an epiphany or any form of causation that set me on this course. I'll just take a cop out and say the usual, “I've always been a creative person! I love it when my stories entertain my readers or bring a smile to their face, yada, yada, yada..."

  2. What genre do you write?

    Whatever the story calls for. In the case of my WIP that would be dark fantasy. I don't doubt that I'll try my hand at horror or YA one day, but for now I'm at home with the fantastical. 
  3. What authors inspire you?

    Every author that I've ever read has inspired me to some extent. Those who have had a lasting impact include Neil Gaiman, Philip Dick, J.R.R Tolkien, Stephen King, Bart Ehrman, James Joyce, William Blake (more of a poet and painter, but I'll let that slide), John Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, and the dozens of authors contained within the Old and New Testaments. 
  4. How often do you write?

    Generally five or six times a week and usually to a specific word count. Right now I'm stuck in editing hell, so the only writing I've managed is rewrites.
  5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

    Mostly a pantser. I like to run with an initial concept and see where it takes me.
  6. Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?

    As long as I'm alone I can write pretty much anywhere. I do a lot of my writing at home and at work when the store is slow.

    I absolutely cannot write without music. My taste is eclectic: David Bowie, Rammstein, Arab Strap, Voltaire, Elvis Costello, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie, Bad Religion, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Bauhaus, Rob Dougan, Mogwai, Tom Waits, The Cure, Amanda Palmer, NOFX, Arcade Fire, Howard Shore, Rob Zombie, Fela Kuti, I Like Trains, Chairlift, Dead Can Dance, Frank Sinatra, Nine Inch Nails, Hans Zimmer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Serj Tankian, Peter Murphy, Tim Minchin, Heavens, TV on the Radio, Zeromancer, The Twilight Sad...the list is endless.

    I listen to a lot of rock (be it gothic, punk or “alternative”), folk songs, lounge singers, afrobeat, piano ballads, orchestral works--pretty much anything with an experimental aspect to it. Also—and this is a recent discovery—music that comes out of Scotland has a track record of being awesome. See for yourself.
  7. What is on your TBR pile?

    Naming the Bones by Louise Welsh: This is her latest work, and to be quite honest I know absolutely nothing about it. I'm just buying it because her debut novel The Cutting Room was an absolute gem that followed Rilke, a promiscuous homosexual auctioneer who comes across some unusual photos that he sets out to find the origins of. I wrote a review for it on my blog which you can check out if you like. Louise's prose is like butter in her books—I'm surprised the words don't melt right off the pages.

    Then We Came to the End
     by Joshua Ferris: His debut novel, which I hear is a delightful satire of office drama and the American workplace. It also won the 2007 Hemmingway award for best literary fiction by a debut author, so that ought to count for something.
    Forged: Writing in the Name of God by Bart Ehrman (available March 22nd): The main focus of this book is on something that every prominent, non whack-job biblical scholar has known for the past two centuries – that not only are many books of the bible not written by the author they are attributed to, but in some cases they are outright deliberate forgeries. While Dr. Ehrman normally writes academic texts for university teaching, this book is similar to his works like Jesus Interrupted and Misquoting Jesus, in that it is his attempt to relate the findings of biblical scholars to those not privy to the ivory tower. To date, he remains my favourite biblical scholar.
    Genealogies of Pain by Marilyn Manson & David Lynch: Two of my favourite artists share some of their lesser known work. In Manson's case it's a few dozen of his watercolour paintings, and with Lynch it's stills from some of his early experimental short films. Both artists provide commentary throughout. I think this comes out towards the end of April. Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek by Bruce Metzger: It's hard to make this sound exciting—even for students of religion. Unless you've got an unhealthy fascination with New Testament manuscript variants (the majority of which were written in Greek) then this may not be for you. I may not believe in God, but amusingly enough my library is stacked to the rafters with countless texts of monotheistic studies.    8. If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?    Rowling. Do any of your guests actually say Meyer? Let's make this question more exciting and rephrase it as “If Meyer's and Rowling's characters got into a fight, who would win?” in which case I'd still give the point to Rowling—seriously, I bet even the sorting hat could kick sparkly Eddie's butt. 
    9. What is your “day” job?    My day job is actually a night job! For the past two years I've worked at a sex shop called Sin City Adult Superstore. I'd love to go into the specifics, but I suspect that this blog is PG, eh? Let's just say that I have a very interesting job and meet very interesting people.
    10.What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits)
    Well that's good, because I hate cell phones. If spotted outside (a rare thing i ndeed) you're likely to find me with my Kindle, my PSP, a book or some manga. Oh, and my girlfriend; we often go to the same places together, isn't that adorable? 
    11. Mac or PC? PC. Twice the power at half the cost. The only downside (besides crippling instability) is that I lack an excuse to visit Apple's genius bar and annoy the geniuses by smack talking Steve Jobs.
    12. Favorite dessert?   I'm quite fond of cheesecake, apple crumble and dessert wine. But I'm not picky--I'm an equal opportunity nommer. 
    13. Favorite desert?   The Nambib Desert, just southwest of Angola. Being barren for the past 55 million years (80 years if you're a young-earth creationist!) has rightfully earned it the title of “world's oldest desert.”
    14. Where is your dream vacation? There are many places I'd like to visit, although most of them are unconventional. Firstly, there's a place in Siauliai, Lithuania called The Hill of Crosses that was started in the early 1200s and has been expanding ever since. Google it if you're unfamiliar, because it is unbelievably stunning.
    I'd also like to visit Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, which was built from the bones of at least 50,000 black plague victims: it is supported by large columns, and within it are chandeliers and even a coat of arms—all made out of human remains! Talk about memento mori! Other than those two specific locations I'd be happy to tour Romania, Russia, Greece, Scotland, Germany, Italy and New Zealand. 
    15. Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself

I am nothing if not a press whore. 
Blog: Facebook:
Twitter: @bradjaeger

Thanks for having me, I had a blast!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Rachel Morgan

Okay guys, today is a special interview, because it's my first one with a writer from 'across the pond'.  Today is with Rachel Morgan of Rachel Morgan Writes.  Yep, I have no idea what time it is where she lives, but it's definitely not 8 am.  Which it is here.  In the US.  Which is not where Rachel is from.  She is from South Africa which is WAY far away and sounds like a whole other world.

Which means she kinda lives in the future.  Because I'm writing this post at 7:45 pm on Wednesday night and it's 3:45 am Thursday morning for her.  WHOA.  That totally  just blew your mind, didn't it?

Anywho, you'll also experience a little deja vu when you click over to her blog.  I won't tell you what it is, but I think you'll get a kick out of the little glitch in the matrix you'll encounter when you look at her page.

Rachel is a very dedicated blogger, teacher and writer.  She blogs every day of the week (I have no idea how she does it with a full time job!) and teaches math at a high school.  I know, a writer that teaches math- total oxymoron.  But so cool!

Here is her wonderful interview (plus some super cool buttons she gave me for you to clicky.  Please clicky on them because I am attempting to put the codes directly into my html thinger and that's some pretty crazy computerizing for me)

  1. Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels.
Well, (wait for it, surprise, surprise...) I’ve always wanted to be an author :-) But by the time I reached my teens I had kinda told myself that it wasn’t a sensible option for a career. Writing books, I decided, was something people did in their spare time/when they got old and retired. So it took me all the way until doing my masters in Biochemistry to figure out while reading TWILIGHT(!), “You know what? I don’t actually want to be here. I can totally do this YA-paranormal-love-story-fantasy-novel-writing thing!” So I quit the masters, found a job to support myself, and here I am (still plodding along, but getting there slowly...).

  1. What genre do you write?
YA fantasy and YA paranormal romance (and I recently discovered that another genre I want to write for actually has a name – New Adult :-))

  1. What authors inspire you?
My top two are JK Rowling (duh!) and Cassandra Clare. I read their books not only for enjoyment but also as “manuals” on how to write epically awesome novels!

  1. How often do you write?
*guilty before even answering* Ok, I wish I could say every day, but I’m a teacher and sometimes there is just too much marking/lesson prep/other random teacherly stuff to be done. So... then I’ll try and at least get some writing done on the weekend!

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Um... 60-plotter-40-pantser! I have a rough plan for most major scenes and then along the way the others just kind of... happen (and I like to jump around sometimes and write whichever scene I’m in the mood for, even if it’s not in order).

  1. Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?
Sitting on my bed with my laptop on a tray on my legs :-) (and a good storm outside would make the setting even more perfect!) I find music to be an incredible inspiration and specific songs have inspired scenes and characters and stories, but I just can’t write while it’s on. So if I need inspiration I’ll stop writing and put on a song, but then it has to go off again so I can write!

  1. What is on your TBR pile?
CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS (Cassandra Clare) is at the top, top, top! Then there’s also ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (Stephanie Perkins), ANGELFIRE (Courtney Allison Moulton), ABANDON (Meg Cabot) and WARPED (Maurissa Guibord).

  1. If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?
Come on. JK all the way! She has gotta have WAY more tricks up her Hogwarts robe than Steph has!

  1. What is your “day” job?
Maths teacher :-) (and despite my love of writing I NEVER want to teach English!)

  1. What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits)
Um... clothes? No, wait, the only thing I absolutely have to take when I leave home is the remote to open the gate and the garage (although I did climb over the wall once when the electricity was down so I guess that isn’t entirely necessary either...)

  1. Mac or PC?
PC. Though I have admired Macs for a long time now :-) So preeeeettttty.....

  1. Favorite dessert?
Definitely something with chocolate. So either that peppermint crisp pudding (with the layers of biscuit and cream mixed with caramel and peppermint chocolate) or that floating chocolate pudding (the chocolate cake type thing floating in chocolate sauce).

  1. Favorite desert?
Desert? Seriously? Like the large expanse of dry sand? I... um... never really thought about having a favorite before! Off to Google...
Hmm... Ok. Inga Nielsen’s desert looks like the perfect fantasy desert!
photo credit

  1. Where is your dream vacation?
Well, there are many places (I would absolutely love to visit the Northern Lights one day) but the first that springs to mind is a cruise around the Greek islands. *sigh*

  1. Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself J
Woohoo! Shameless plugging, here I come!


And thank you SOOOO much to Abby for having me here. I feel honoured to be considered aspiring enough for an aspiring author interview!