Monday, January 31, 2011


First of all, I'd like to thank all of you for commenting on my last post!  I got 31 comments on Friday which means 31 dollars will be going to Soles4Souls.  I also got a comment from the charity itself- which is totally awesome!

I've gotten some awards recently that I really need to acknowledge 1)because the givers-of-said-awards are totally awesome and b) I may have started to forget who gave me what...(eep, blame it on the hair- go ahead, I don't mind)

Apparently I'm pretty stylin' because Colene from The Journey, Madeleine from Scribble and Edit, D.P King from The Cosmic Laire, and Madeline from Capricious Existence, and TC McKee all gave me the Stylish Blogger Award!  Thanks guys- you rock!

I also got the NEW Versatile Blogger award from Carol Riggs at Artzicarol Ramblings!

Okay so the rules say to state 7 things about myself.  I haven't done this in a while, so I will go ahead and try to think up some random things about me.

1.  I hate certain textures of food like oatmeal, fried ochra, blueberries, and mushy fruit.  Sorry, can't do em.

2.  I was 2 lbs 11 oz when I was born 3 months early.  My head fit into my dad's palm with room to spare.

3.  My daughter on the other hand, was 9 lbs 1 oz and was "2 days" early.  I say that with quotes because I swear she was at least a week late.  She's now the smallest one in her class.

4.  I can triple roll my tongue

5.  I hate feet in which the second toe is longer than the big toe.  Sadly my husband is cursed with this (as is most the population I have found out) and quite possibly my daughter, although it's hard to tell.

6.  My daughter thought I was Sarah Michelle Gellar on the cover of a magazine one time.  She'll never know just how ecstatic I was- I was obsessed with her and all things Buffy when it was on.

7.  I feel awkward and weird around kids.  Probably why I only have one.

Weelp, that's about it.  Now on to the giving-out-of-awards:

I always want to give the awards out to people I haven't given them out to yet.  So while I think all of you deserve these awards, I'll just name a few people who are totally stylin' and cool:
Angela Felsted
Rachel Morgan
Michelle Merrill
Rachael Harrie

Thanks again for reading my blog, peeps!  Lurrrves and kisses!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Day From Hell Could Be Worse: Help Me Give to a Good Cause!

So...I don't have a post scheduled for today because a) I did Erica and Christy's mug shot blogfest yesterday and 2) yesterday was the Day From Hell.

If you wake up this morning and you turn on the news, you might see that a plane has crashed into my house in the middle of the night because that is just how my luck was going yesterday. 

I'll make a painful story short:
Drop sick car off at shop...and then dropped off at work by hubs who thankfully had the day off with the remaining car
Crappy day at work: seriously, everyone is out to get us.  Especially the printer gods.
Find out just how much the bill is for the car: crap my pants
Find out daughter is barking like a dog so hubs takes her to the dr
Get picked up from work and go to book club (thankfully)
Get dropped off at home at 8 to find Little Monster barking her head off and sobbing at the same time: snot is 10x worse.
Sister in law is in my living room sobbing her own head off.
Sit and listen to sister in law, give advice, the whole time listening to make sure Little Monster doesn't bark up a lung.
Take a shower.
Finally sit down to write this post and not have any time to look at anyone's blogs.  (So sorry guys!)

So.  Yeah.  Fun day.  BUT it could be worse.  They just did the homeless count in our town and it's not looking good.  I'm so lucky to have a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, a job, a roof over my head and at least one car to drive.  So many people don't have these things and I try to think of that when I'm down or have a crappy day. 

So, even though I'm feeling crappola, I know I can spare a little.  So I'm going to give a dollar to one of my favorite charities, Soles4Souls for each comment I get on this post today.  This charity gives shoes out to needy people around the world including the U.S.  I would so love it if you'd spread the word!

Oh and P.S.  I am SO catching up on your blogs this weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply Hot: My Mug Shot

Ha, I bet you thought it was a mug shot of me.  But nope, sadly, there is no extremely attractive protrait of me with bad hair, red cheeks, and a vacant stare on The Smoking Gun.

Today is the day for Erica and Christy's Simply Hot Blogfest! 

Here's my mug:

A few months after I started working at the library (almost 7 years ago) my boss called me into her office.  A patron had written to the library to say how much he appreciated the time I spent to help him with his question.  There was a gift bag on her desk and in it was this mug.  She thanked me for being a great representative of the library, and how happy she was that she hired me.  I was on cloud nine!  So needless to say, this is my favorite mug.  (Plus it holds WAY more ice cream than regular sized mugs)

Be sure to check out Erica and Christy's blog to look at all the other spiffy mugs my fellow bloggers are gushing over!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are You a Mac or a PC?

Drew Barrymore's boyfriend and that nerdy guy want to know: are you a Mac or a PC?

I've had a PC laptop for 2 years and it's starting to crap out on me.  There are of course the options of getting a new fan, or getting it fixed, but where's the fun in that?  I prefer to buy a new one.

I might have mentioned before that the hubsters is a manager at a huge electronic retail store.  It may or may not sport the colors of blue and yellow.  Anywho, one of his employees totally got me hooked on a Mac.  You can tell this guy is a "Mac Guy".  He loves his Mac and will convince you that you absolutely need one to live.  Like, you'll die if you don't have one.  And, since I'm TOTALLY gullible when it comes to electronics, I believe him.

So then, I come to work the next day and tell my crit partner that I want a Mac.  He then proceeds to tell me how he is a "PC Guy" and totally convinced me to get a PC instead.

So, now I want to know from you all.  You are writers.  If you had the choice, would you go with a Mac or a PC?  I'm still leaning towards the Mac, but they are so different it kinda scares me a little.

Here are some of the things that were said**:
Mac Guy: 
  • Mac batteries are built into them so you can leave the laptop plugged in all the time and it won't make the battery crap like PC laptop batteries tend to do because they are made like cell phones- intended to run down and then recharge.  (side note: I get about an hour out of my laptop battery right now)
  • Macs are made to last 7-9 years, PCs made to last 2-3 years (he has had his for 9 years)
  • Their iwork is easier and cooler than word.  And you can save it and send it as a word document.
PC Guy:
  • PC's are cheaper and are compatible with more "stuff" (like printers and stuff...although the mac guy told me macs are totally compatible with that stuff idea)
  • They are able to run more programs and download type stuff from the internet
  • Better for gaming (totally doesn't apply to me though, I'm not a gamer)
  • Better virus protection (I read about this one in an article...but I have also heard that Pcs get more viruses because they are the most targeted)
Anyway, that's just a few things I've heard.  Please enlighten me if you like one over the other.  Right now I'm shooting dagger eyes at my laptop so I may be a little bitter.  Just sayin'

**Disclamer: I have no idea if any of this they told me is true.  Remember: totally gullible

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Top Ten

Today I'm counting down my favorite 10 songs of all time.  The talented Alex J Cavanaugh is hosting this blogfest so be sure to hop on over to his blog and check out what other bloggers deem their top ten favorites!

The songs I chose are ones I liked or listened to during significant parts of my life.  The words themselves don't necessarily mean anything, but listening to those songs brings back certain memories of certain times of my life. 

Of course I have many more favorite songs, and some I may like more than the ones I have listed here.  But I wanted to make this list more focused, so that's why I chose songs that actually have some kind of significance in my life.

I couldn't sort these 10 songs into a list of most favorite to least favorite, so I listed them in chronological order.

1.  "Masquerade" from Phantom of the Opera.  This was the first musical I saw on Broadway when I was in 5th grade.  This was my very first "favorite" musical and the vocal power of this particular song brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.  This musical has a special place in my heart, because I feel like it's what made me pursue theatre in school.

2.  Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.  Wow, this song brings back every high school memory.  It was number one forever in the late 90's and I remember belting it out in the car with my friends as we cruised around looking for something to do.  We were so tragic and dramatic back then.

3.  Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band.  I chose this song because you're not a true Dave fan until you can master his "Dave speak" and I can proudly say I can decipher most of his gibberish in this song.  My boyfriend in high school got me hooked on Dave so he (Dave, not the boyfriend) will always have a special place in my heart.  This song reminds me of high school, dating, hanging out in basements, parties, and heart break.

4.  "What You Own" from Rent.  I lived, breathed and bled theatre in high school.  If I wasn't in a show, I worked on one.  I was at the theatre from the end of school usually until 6pm every day either rehearsing, working on the set or just hanging out.  It was my life and my job.  I probably know every word to every song from Rent, and we'd all break out into song during lunch (I know, total Glee moments!)  Anyway, I can't sing, but musicals move me to the core and I guess this song had a lot of meaning too.  We're living in America, at the end of the millennium, you're what you own.  This musical represents my time with theatre in high school, and even though it had it's own drama, I don't regret any minute of it.

5.  Closing Time by Semisonic.  Okay high school is beginning to have a theme here (can you tell why I write YA?  High school is a HUGE important time for teens).  Anyway, this song reminds me of graduating.  It came out the year I graduated (I think- don't quote me on that) and the lines: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end"; and "Time for you to go out to the places you will be from".  And, "This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come."  I don't know the true meaning of the song, but to me, it talks of opening new doors, closing old ones, and beginning a new adventure: college.

6.  Breathless by The Corrs.  This is the hubster's and my "song".  It came out when we were in college, and it was on the radio all the time.  The acoustic version is the one we danced to at our wedding, so yeah...'nuff said.  The hubs still leaves me breathless after 11 years.

7.  American Baby by Dave Matthews Band.  Here is another Dave song.  This was on his album that came out in 2005, the year my daughter was born.  My sister bought me the album shortly after we got back from the hospital.  I played it over and over while feeding Little Monster. The first 5 months were extremely hard for me, and this song brings back all the agonizing pain- physical and emotional, as well as all the joys.  I will never forget the sadness and emptiness that accompanies PPD, and this song is a reminder that we got through the toughest time in our lives.

8.  I Don't Want To Be by Gavin Degraw.  I played this song, as well as the whole album over and over when Little Monster started eating solids.  We had a book shelf in our dining room with the cd player and we'd rock out to this album while she ate her mashed broccoli (her favorite food).  It just brings back a lot of fun and happy memories singing and dancing around while shoving mashed up veggies into her mouth, and cleaning most of it from the floor.

9.  "Defying Gravity" from Wicked.  I bawl like a baby every time I hear Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth sing this song.  Every. Time.  It's so beautiful and powerful and tugs at my heart strings.  Little Monster is obsessed with Wizard of Oz- especially the Wicked Witch- so I got her hooked on this musical.  She loves to hear the music about the Witch and I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

10.  Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.  Listening to Gaga makes me happy.  Plus she gets me through my workouts.  What can I say?  Gaga is my hero.  She is a strong woman who is not afraid to express herself.  She's talented beyond words and fights for her beliefs.  She fights for equality among people; for us to be able to be who we are and not be ashamed.  She's a passionate writer, and loves her Little Monsters so much.  My daughter is also in love with her, and I can only hope I can teach her what a wonderful person Gaga is inside and out.  Can you guess where I got Little Monster's name??

Well that's my 10.  If you're still reading after this UBER long post, thanks for hanging on!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Michelle Merrill

Okay guys, are you ready for this?  Today I'm interviewing the lovely Michelle Merrill from Perfecting the Craft!  And guess what?  She's interviewing me too!  We found out we both do aspiring author interviews, so naturally we just had to interview each other and post them on the same day!  She's an awesome mom (of 4 kids!!), YA writer and totally still double spaces after periods like me (I know I know, archaic, right?  But we just can't help it!)  So here she is!  Be sure to stop by her blog to see my interview!  You might as well follow her while you're there- she's super cool and has wonderful interviews!

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

A random lady at church came up to me four years ago and told me that I should write a book.  My response..."Excuse me?" Okay, I barely even knew her.  And it was way before my reading obsession came along.  About eighteen months later I was getting to know a good friend and just after finishing a very animated piece of my life, she turned to me and said, "You should write a book."  This was after I was sucked into the reading world through Twilight.  Still, I thought everyone had gone crazy.  Well, a year ago, deep into my reading obsession, an idea for a book popped into my head.  Before I knew it, they were talking and having conversations.  Their emotions were taking over mine and their conversations creeped their way into every part of my life.  So, Jan. 3rd, 2010, I wrote their story down.  And now my life has been taken over by all sorts of character's. 

2.      What genre do you write?

YA Fiction.  Mostly Paranormal and Fantasy, but with romance included in everything.  Stories are like food, they only get better with a little spice.

3.      What authors inspire you?

Every debut author out there inspires me.  The fact that they have their first book means that I can do it too.  Every author faces the impossible.  They sit and write for hours on end and then after they finish the story, they go through it again.  And again.  And probably again at least one more time if not more.  And then after all that, they get the attention of an agent or get some kind of other lucky break and they've reached the next step.  There are so many steps and if they can do it, I can do it too.

4.      How often do you write?

Not enough.  I write whenever I get a moment throughout the week, but I usually set aside a good three hour block once a week.  Sometimes I write thousands of words and sometimes I don't get any.  I'll take what I can get.

5.      Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser, but maybe someday that will change.

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

I write best if I'm at a friend's house babysitting their sleeping kids in a silent home with my laptop on my lap.  How did I discover that?  I just did it one night and it was so awesome!  I think it's because I wasn't at my house worrying about what else I could be doing.  If you haven't tried it, then I dare you.  I guess it only works if you have a laptop, but I guarantee you that your friend will love you for it too.  See, two birds with one stone.  Writing and building friendships :)

7.      What is on your TBR pile?

Um, this answer could be really long, but I'll try to just add the ones that I'm most excited about.  Anna and the French Kiss, The Mockingbirds, Glimmerglass, Need, and Brightly Woven.  There are a lot of books coming out in the next year that I want to get my hands on the minute they're released, but I'll save that for another day.

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

I just had to google both of them to find the most intimidating pictures of each.  Here's what I came up with.

Yeah, not very intimidating.  Cat fight, huh?  Scratching, slapping, pulling hair, and biting are all part of a cat fight.  Although Stephenie Meyer has more hair to pull, I think that might be a strength.  The less hair, the worse it hurts right?  So with her locks of hair and (maybe) wicked Vampire teeth, she'd definitely have my vote.  No magic. 

Now if it was a writing fight, the results could be different.  Just sayin'.

9.      What is your “day” job? 

I'm a hairdresser, outfit coordinator, chef, maid, driver, councilor, cheerleader, tutor, and all those other things that deal with being a stay at home mommy of four kids.

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

I wouldn't get very far without my keys and a pair of shoes, but in my life, a diaper bag is also a must.  My diaper bag is like Mary Poppin's carpet bag.

11.  Mac or PC?

Well, I've heard great things about Mac's, but they are a bit pricey.  So I've had to live my life with a PC.  I don't have much to complain about, though.  I'm not too picky.

12.  Favorite dessert?

Candy.  Think Halloween.  All of those little taffy's, tootsie rolls, sour gummies, suckers, etc.  I can't stop once I get going.  It's bad!

13.  Favorite desert?

Big deserts-Sahara.  Not so prominent desert-Utah.  I grew up there so I'm a teensy bit biased.  Southern Utah is beautiful, though.  If you haven't been sightseeing there, then GO!  Arches, Zions, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and so much more.

14.  Where is your dream vacation?

Really?  That's a hard one.  Um, there is a small town South of Cancun, Mexico named Akumal.  I've been there once and I loved it.  If I wanted a nice quiet week on a white sandy beach, it would be there hands down.  That's tangible, though.  Dream vacation would be Austrailia, New Zealand, England, Italy, or snorkeling in Roatan, Honduras.

15.  Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself
My only public website is my blog, but I'd love for everyone to come visit me.

Thanks so much Abby!  I loved your questions.  It was a lot of fun to answer them all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AbCoJen Interview Part Deux

Hey you crazy cats!  I'm popping on real quick to get rid of ya!  Ha, just kidding.  You can stick around if you want.  I totally won't know if you lurk around.  Go ahead, lurk a little. 

But I also want you to go over to my friend Donea's blog, Queen of Procrastination to check out the second part of her interview with me (and my good friends Colene and Jen)!

If you missed part Uno, you can find it Here

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  See you Friday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Writing Processesssses

Blogfest time!!  Since I'm doing a post today, I probably won't do one tomorrow but come back Friday for my rad Aspiring Author interview with Michelle Merrill who will also be doing an Aspiring Author interview of me on her blog!  I know, hurts your brain to think about it doesn't it?  Kinda like the space-time continuum.  It's SO awesome and cool and mind blowing that you can't possibly wrap your  mind around it.

Shallee McArthur over at Life, the Universe and Writing created this awesome-sauce blogfest.  We are to give our pearls of wisdom and insight as to what our writing process is all about.  Get ready to be blown away peeps, cause here is the infinite wisdom that is my writing erm...process (take a drink for every time I say "writing process" on this blog...there's 4 already if you count the title):

Uh, I don't really have one...

Well, not one that's tried and true and works like a charm every time.  Because I've only written one book.  So my writing process is still being sorted out.

But here's the gist of it (my writing process, I mean)

Once I have an idea in my head (and that can come from anywhere...usually it comes while I'm mindlessly scanning books for an hour and half to ship out to various libraries across the state) I have to write it down or else it'll float away to that place only awesome ideas and dreams go when you don't write them down.  And you can never get them back.

Then I'll sit down to write out everything I know about my characters.  I usually have my main character- she comes to me first.  Her personality speaks to me, and I start to form an image in my head.  Next comes the love interest and the conflict.  I write down names, places, possible world names and city names, the villain (or whatever the antagonizing force is), descriptions of the characters and finally a loose plot of what my story will be about.  During that time I will add to it as things come to me.  With my current WIP, I had a notebook of stuff quite a while before I even started writing it.

So then I sit down to write.  As I write, I take breaks to look up words that will give me ideas of what kind of new words I can create for my world.  For my current WIP I used a lot of Irish words and changed them just a bit to make them my own.  I drew a map of the world, and came up with names for the cities.  I didn't come up with a name for my provinces and world until I was about 25k into my book.  I put words like WORLD and CITY 1 in and then when I figured out the names I did a find/replace.

I didn't do an outline, I just had my general idea and order of conflicts written down.  This is where I'm a pantser.  I just wrote as I went, and ideas and conflicts came to me as I wrote.  I then would write that down on my notes sheet so I wouldn't forget.  I also have a running list of names I use so I don't use them again.

Then as I go deeper into my story I have to start making an outline (probably when I'm about 3/4 of the way through, and nearing the major climax).  Because my characters start finding things out, and figuring things out and I need to write down when this all happens so I don't get confused as to who knows what and when.  I also write a timeline, what happens on what days and how many days have passed so when my character goes "we've been traveling for 5 days!" it really is 5 days and not really 7 because I haven't been paying attention or something.  Readers will pick up on that, and those are the worst continuity errors. 

I also somewhat edit as I go, so it takes me a long time to write.  It took me about a year and a half to write my current 94,000 word WIP (I am leaving out about 6 months where I didn't write because we bought our first house- totally craziness).  But I spend a lot of time thinking and staring at my screen and coming up with the best possible sentence, and best possible paragraph, and best possible dialogue.  I don't just write willy nilly, burning a hole through my erm..keyboard (although my keyboard has burnt me at times...stupid laptop..).  I really really wish I could crank out that sucker in 3 months like some people.  Okay, I guess I also have like, a part time job, a 5 year old and tv shows that I religiously watch.  Oh and a hubs..did I forget him?  So that takes up some time too.

I'm hoping as I write more novels, it'll become easier for me to write faster and write more frequently.  And I can't tell you that this writing process will work for my next novel.  It may be completely different.  I may plot the whole thing out, outlines and all.  Or I  may just wing it and see where it takes me.  I think each person's writing process can change and morph so it suits the author AND the novel. 

So, you nice and drunk now?  Shhh, I won't tell your boss you've been slipping sips each time I say "writing process" from the flask you bought at walmart in the liquor aisle from one of those pull off things where there's like 10 flasks just hanging there.  Next to the packages of straws.

Go check out Shallee's blog to find out some of the other awesome bloggers' writing processes.  I am sure theirs will be way more coherent than mine.

For the record I said "writing process" 11 times including the one in this sentence.  YESSSSSS!

(okay 12 if you count the label)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tour De ARC: Across the Universe

The Tour De ARC is chugging along all breakneck speed, so hold on to your wi coms because Across the Universe by Beth Revis is on it's way to Kim Franklin

The lovely Cinnamon at Cinnamon: On Writing Books and Being Toast started the tour by graceously lending her own ARC (advanced review copy) of Across the Universe to Colene at The Journey.  Then, because Colene loves me uber lots, she sent it on to me.  And now I am finished and have sent it on to Kim.  Make sure to check on Kim's blog to find out who the ARC will go to next!  It may be YOU!

So, I normally don't do reviews on here, I just didn't want to add one more thing to my plate.  Besides, I've got the hookups with the lovely greenbeanteenqueen.  She's got ARCs-a-plenty and has actually just loaned me the brand spanking new ARC of Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton.  It was part of her gigantic amount of books she acquired at ALA.  Ah the perks of working at a library with a famous book reviewer and teen librarian.

Okay totally went off topic.  So, I read Across the Universe.  Long story short: LOVED it.  Go read it.  Like, now.  Seriously, I'll wait right here while you go buy it/check it out....

Dum dee do dee dum...

Okay, so now that you're back from buying it or putting it on hold at your local library, I'll go ahead and leave you to your reading pleasure.

OOH ooh, hop on over to my good friend Donea Lee's blog to read some interviews of me and two of my blogging besties!  She's calling it AbCoJen.  It's really cool to see our three different answers to the same questions!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Melissa Wideen

Oh, hello!  Guess what?  I'm doing an interview with Robin Scherbatsky Melissa from Through the Looking Glass today!  If you didn't already know, she's a totally awesome Canadian who is in college, excuse me, University, (or Canadians call it college or university?  Or is it Uni...) She juggles classes, a job, writing novels and going to hockey games (okay, she only wrote about hockey once, and said she didn't like it, but I'm assuming she's lying and that she really does love it because she's Canadian, eh?)  Ha, just kidding.  A little.  She probably always wears stocking hats and Canucks jerseys.  Okay, enough with the Canada jokes.  She's an awesome person and a great friend and I'm so glad I've gotten to know her.  She's currently editing her YA fantasy that is going to be totally awesome when it's published.  Trust me, I know.  And she looks like Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother.  And I almost peed my pants when she said she was from Canada.  Seriously, look at her pic and then look at some of Robin.  Totally awesome.

Now onto the interview.  Oh wait, I have to post this:

(So Melissa's not the one in the stocking hat but dude...her friend is most likely Canadian and is wearing a stocking hat....I rest my case)
 Okay, and NOW on to the interview:

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

I have a history of getting pneumonia and at the beginning of 2008, I had my worst case yet. I had to take a nebulizer (oxygen mask that delivered medication) every 3 and a half hours so I was basically confined to a chair in my room. I was desperately ill and due to that and other personal factors of my life, I became seriously depressed. For ten months I sat in a chair.

Looking back, I feel like I lost a year of my life because I wasn't *there* during that time. A lot of times when people are really upset they call it depression - but that's not what depression is. Depression is a complete lack of all emotion. You are empty. There is nothing to feel or fight against, nothing you can do.

For nine months, I hardly had any thoughts in my head. One day these voices just started talking. I ignored them for a month but they kept getting louder, invading my dreams and saturating everything. Finally, I gave in. For a whole day I listened to them, heard their story and was introduced to their world. The next morning when my mom came downstairs to let the dog out, I started talking to her. Animated and full of excitement and energy. (Honestly I think I shocked her into absolute silence because I'd been completely unresponsive and unemotional for so long.)

I started writing my character's story.

Writing lets me sort through my emotions and feelings and balances me in a way I didn't know was possible for me. Whether I get published or not, I will never stop writing because I need to for the sake of my own emotional well -being.

2.      What genre do you write?

I write fantasy. With fantasy, the only limit is your own imagination. I can do anything I want and I don't know if I ever even want to write another genre specifically. That being said, I love layered story-telling so I hope that my fantasy has other genres intermingling with it like suspense, romance, mystery - things like that.

3.      What authors inspire you?

Lewis Carrol inspired me to love fantasy. Emily Bronte inspired me to root for all-consuming romances. Sophie Kinsella inspires me to have fun with my own work and characters. J.K. Rowling inspires me to be a better writer: make a vivid world, compelling characters, and a gripping storyline.

4.      How often do you write?

That's a little hard to define. I'll go for weeks at a time where I write feverishly - my every thought is another sentence forming. And then, when the fervor dies down I'll go for weeks (sometimes months) without writing anything (aside blog posts and stuff for school but I'm not counting that). I'm an all or nothing kind of person and that definitely applies to writing too. Besides, while I admire those who do, I don't have the discipline to write every single day.

5.      Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ummm...neither and both? I feel really...odd saying this but, my idea for my trilogy came to me fully formed. The story, all the rules of the world, the characters, their histories - to be more specific the entire world's history (thousands of years. Yes, my head is very cluttered), and things like that. I've never built characters or crafted a plot. Which would technically make me a pantser. Except that doesn't work either because I'm not sitting down with a vague idea and just writing by the seat of my pants.

I guess the best way to describe it is my conscious mind sort of just goes with all of this stuff but my subconscious mind is a meticulous plotter. I hope that makes sense.

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

I can write pretty much anywhere, I just have to get in "the zone." Before I even start writing I make a playlist that captures the feelings, emotions and storyline of my novel.  Music really helps me get into the necessary emotional state.

7.      What is on your TBR pile?

In the month of December I got 40 new books (my family got me a lot of giftcards to the bookstore for christmas!) in anticipation of my 110 book reading challenge this year. On top of that list I have a bunch of mysteries and other books I hadn't read yet at my house waiting to be read this year too. I'm currently reading entice by Carrie Jones and I have a couple novels I need to read for my English classes this week too. I'm not sure what the next book is beyond that right now. But there's a lot to chose from.....

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

Well, sparkling at someone is distracting but the colors of spells eclipses that because there's more than one color. The super speed and strength and extra abilities would be cool... if they weren't already dead from that Avada Kedavra. Since the authors obviously have the skills of their worlds. JK Rowling has ended Stephanie Meyer before I even finished writing this sentence.

9.      What is your “day” job?

I'm a full time student. Which means... I don't do anything that earns me money! (Which sucks) In the summer though I got certified as a bartender and am taking this summer off so in a couple of months I hope to be doing that.

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

Well, I'm sure this isn't that interesting but I can't leave my house without my inhaler. I have really bad asthma so I need to have my inhaler on me at all times, just in case.

11.  Mac or PC?

My family is BIG on Mac's - apple products in general actually. But when I started University last year my Grandpa bought me a PC (at my request) and I love it. I love Mac's too. I just... love them both! When I have the money to afford it, I want a Mac desktop and a PC laptop.

12.  Favorite dessert?

Peanut butter chocolate passion ice cream made by M&M. (Yes, it has to be this particular brand). It sounds like it'd be really rich and heavy but it's not. I have no idea how they managed it but they somehow combined ice cream, chocolate, and peanut butter into the most scintillating combination of AWESOME ever imaginable.

13.  Favorite desert?

I'm assuming a desert that so far exists only in my book/imagination doesn't count. I guess I'll pick a real place (though I hope my desert will be real to other people some day!). My favorite desert is the Antarctica desert because it's the largest tundra/desert in the world! (And before anyone tries to say it isn't a desert I have this to say: a desert is defined by being a larger area with less than 10 inches of annual precipitation. Antarctica actually has less precipitation than the Sahara desert. Unlike other deserts though there is little evaporation so the snow that does fall stays forever and has built up over hundreds and thousands of years!)

14.  Where is your dream vacation?

Well, my dream vacation was going to Hogwarts/Hogsmeade since I was nine years old and read the first book. Since, I've already been there now (YAY Wizarding World!) my next dream vacation is going to Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It's a resort and looks absolutely amazing! Seriously, go here ( and cruise around the site - you will be amazed! Promise.

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

Here's a link to my blog:

Thanks Melissa, and btw, SO jealous that you went to Harry Potter world.  So I'll just post one more pic:

Quick, who is this?  Melissa or Robin??  (notice the Vancouver Canucks jersey??)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sci Fi Lovin

So, I've been on a Sci Fi kick recently.  I've discovered that I need me some rough and tumble Science Fiction every once in a while.  You know, to balance out the princesses and unicorns.

I'm reading two Sci Fi books right now:

Across the Universe  by Beth Revis, which came out yesterday by-the-by.  You should really go pick it up, I'm halfway through and loving it!

And Cassastar by Alex J Cavanaugh, who is one spectacular blogger and all around awesome guy.  It's an adult novel so if you want something that's not a YA, but reads a little like one, I suggest this one!

Also, Hubs and I are watching the Family Guy Star Wars spoof, which is quite hilarious considering we watched the 1st and 2nd Star Wars (in which I mean 4 and 5 I guess...) on Christmas.  We don't watch Family Guy, but a friend loaned it to us and I have to say there are some really funny bits.

And then, of course, I had to watch the Back to the Future Marathon that was on every day on AMC during the week after Christmas, even though I own two copies of each movie.

PLUS the movie Serenity (made from the tv show Firefly which was also on tv recently) by Joss Whedon.  Brilliant show with wonderful acting.  They're space cowboys...'nuff said.  If you haven't picked them up, you should really watch them.

Anyway, so that's what I've been into lately.  How about you?  What kick have you been on recently?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Twitter Twatter Twutter

So guys, the ultimate question:  Do you tweet?

In a world of ever growing technology at the touch of a fingertip, it's becoming essential to stay "connected" "plugged in" "tech savvy" "on the up and up" "in touch" and whatever other phrase you have for keeping up with the latest nerdgear erm...stuff.

I have a twitter account, but at the moment I don't update it and I don't check tweets or feeds or chirps or whatever.  But I should.  I really should.  Because there is so much good information out there, so many awesome connections to make, and so many people (like literary agents) telling me to DO IT.

But (and use your best whiny voice here) do I HAVE to?  It's just ONE more thing for me to try to keep up with.  I feel like trying to keep up with twitter will push me over the edge.  I'm one step away from falling. Between Little Monster, work, writing, cleaning, reading, blogging, PTO, birthday parties, social events, gymnastics, husbands (there's just one there, but I was on a plural roll), sleeping at least 8 hours a night, family time, MY SHOWS, critiquing, emailing, cooking, cleaning some more, dog walking, exercising, and pulling my hair out, do I really have time for ONE MORE THING? 

I really should just dive in and start a tweet deck thingy, so I can keep up with writerly things.  Because lets face it: it's all apart of being an author in the 21st century.  I have to keep up with the times, whether I like it or not. 

So what do I give up?  Well that's easy: cleaning.  Bye-bye Mr. Clean, hello cute little twitter bird.

(okay so after some consideration, the tweeting may have to be put on hold a bit longer.  I'm seriously going to split in two if I put one more thing on my plate.  And there is this little thing called a manuscript I haven't touched since my break)

So what do you think?  Is tweeting really that important?  Do I need to try to fit it in, or can I wait until I'm published? (that is what I said about blogging, but here I am...)(and I love it, btw)(which is why I'm kind of drowning...I think I love it too much)(and parentheses are pretty cool too...)

And I have to say a huge thank you to Alex J Cavanaugh who presented me with the Making Smiles on Faces Award!  I'm tickled that I make an actual published author smile!  (although it was probably just gas...I used to think I was special making my daughter smile when she was a baby, turns out it was just gas)

So I'm giving it to a few of my peeps that make me smile when I read their blogs (although ALL of you  make me smile!)
Colene from The Journey
Candace from The Misadventures in Candyland
Melissa from Through the Looking Glass
Erica and Christy
Alexia at the The Life and Literary Pursuits of Alexia Chamberlynn
Lisa Galek at Read. Write. Repeat
Jules Ausborn at Jules and the Stars

Love and all that jazz, see ya!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Lisa Galek

Okay, so first of all I have to apologize for being behind on blogs.  It's been a crazy week, so I'm still deep in the midst of Wednesday's posts.  Between cleaning up an explosion of presents and Little Monster vomit, I'm slowly swimming my way back to the surface.

And now on to less vomity stuff!

My interview today is with the lovely Lisa Galek from Read. Write. Repeat.  She and I clicked instantly when we found out we both majored in Religious Studies in college (but she's way smarter because she actually has her Masters in Religious Studies).  She also has a Little Monster, and a full time job as a greeting card writer/editor for the Jewish and Christian areas (um, totally cool!), and writes contemporary YA.  Oh, and did I mention she LOVES Jane Austen?  Oh and it gets better:  She's totally going to Leakycon 2011! Um, jealous much? She's so sweet and uber smart, so go check her blog out!

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

The short answer would be – once I finished my first book. I've always loved reading and writing, but I never thought I had it in me to be an "author." I couldn't imagine what it would be like to write an entire book and I just knew I wouldn't have the determination or skill to stick it out until the end. I majored in English in college though and wrote mostly poetry and short stories until one day I had the brilliant idea to write a young adult book. It would be a fun, modern retelling of one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, Northanger Abbey. Simple right? I mean, Jane had already come up with the plot and characters – I just had to follow her lead. I'd be published in no time! Um, yeah… two years later, I am currently in the process of rewriting yet again. I was right the first time. Writing a book is hard. But, I learned that it's something I can do. I can write a book! I can rewrite it! I can edit! And I guess once I realized that I decided I wanted to become an author.

2. What genre do you like to write?

I like to write the same genres I love to read – young adult and literary fiction. My current WIP is YA and I've also got an adult novel in the works that I hope to go back to soon. I love reading things that are either really dark or really funny, so my writing tends to go in those directions, too. Strangely enough, I really enjoy fantasy, but for some reason, I've never been able to think of a fantasy world clever enough to bother writing about. Maybe one day…

3. What authors inspire you?

I tend to gravitate towards lady authors. Is that sexist? (Sorry, gents!).
Jane Austen, of course, gets top billing because she is so sensible and witty and shrewd and brilliant all at the same time. J.K. Rowling is a big influence on me. I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd and I really admire her world-building and the way she leads you through the story hitting just the right notes along the way. Shirley Jackson is seriously amazing. Her dialogue just knocks my socks off. In my dreams I would write like her. Judy Blume is my hero. I love everything she's ever written. Lorrie Moore is funny and dark and creates amazingly complex and interesting characters. And just to throw in a few of the guys I love: John Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy, Tom Perrotta, Richard Yates, Nick Hornby, Thomas Merton, Roald Dahl.

4. How often do you write?

I try to write a little every day, but sometimes I skip a session. I can only really write at night when my daughter is asleep and sometimes I just need to veg out and catch a movie with the husband.

5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Well, my current WIP was pre-plotted for me (thank you, Miss Austen), but I did go through and write up a detailed outline of what scenes and characters I wanted use and how they would need to be changed or adapted for my update. I didn't feel comfortable starting before I did that because I wanted to make sure the whole thing hung together and stayed true to the spirit of the original before I even wrote one word. So, I guess on that one I was a plotter. But, when I'm not working from someone else's source material, I'm a complete pantser. I have ideas of what my characters would do, but I usually just take it a step at a time and let them surprise me as they go. It's kind of scary, but it also helps me to build the story organically and naturally.

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

I have been writing at the desktop computer I just bought a few months back because it's all shiny and new and has awesome features. The downside is I'm always tempted to check email or take a little stroll on the Internet, which usually lasts an hour or two. So, lately I've been pulling out the old laptop which has no Internet access and working on that. I usually just hunker down on the couch and then write until I slump over from lack of sleep. I'm not one of those people who can listen to music when she writes. I need to completely focus on what I'm doing or else I can't function.

7. What is on your TBR pile?

Way too many books...
Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Villette by Charlotte BrontëAwait Your Reply by Dan Chaon
The Zero by Jess WalterFreedom by Jonathan Franzen
In fact, why aren't I reading right now?

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

I would never bet against Jo.

9. What is your "day" job?

I write and edit greeting cards, which is pretty cool. Right now, I'm working on Christmas cards, so think of me as you're looking over all your holiday greetings from this year.

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

Chapstick. I am a weirdo and HATE the feeling of chapped lips. I usually have several tubes in my purse or pockets at all times. Oddly enough, I leave home without my cell phone all the time. I'm a really lazy cell phone user and people are always getting mad that they can't get in touch with me.

11. Mac or PC?

Both. The new desktop I bought is a Mac and a looooooove it. But, the regular old laptop is always there in times of need.

12. Favorite dessert?

Ugg. I hate choosing favorite foods. Cheesecake? Mint ice cream? Crème brûlée? It's like picking a favorite child. They're all so good in their own way.

13. Favorite desert?

I'll go with Tatooine ( Wikipedia says it's a "desert planet" so that counts, right?

14. Where is your dream vacation?

I've got a trip planned to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando in July. But once that's done, I'd like to visit all the most important Jane Austen-related sites in England, like her house in Chawton and the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. A tour of Derbyshire wouldn't be bad either.

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

I blog: tweet:!/lisagalek goodread:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Which I Gush Over You

I love you guys.  No, seriously, I do.  I started writing my novel over a year ago, but only just started blogging this past September.  I never thought blogging would be like this.  I never thought there would be such a tight community of writers, authors, aspiring authors, editors, illustrators etc. out there.  I thought, Oh we write our blogs, read others' and get info yadda yadda.  But what I didn't expect, was to actually make friends.  I have a connection with each and every one of you- I feel like I know you.  Not only do we exchange information, but we understand each other.  We know what we're going through and the support and love we get from each other is amazing! 

I love that my husband supports me, and I love that my family and friends are excited I'm actually writing a book.  But there's something different to be said about the people actually going through the same thing you are.  Those raw emotions we get when interacting with our characters, pulling our hair out together and jumping for joy together because we KNOW what it's like.  We're going through that too. 

In just 4 short months, I've made some friends I know I'll keep for a long time- best friends, even.  We pour our hearts out to each other 3 days a week (many of you 5 or 7!!), and we know we are there to lend an ear (okay, most of the time an eye), say something encouraging, a shoulder to cry on (again, mostly just an email), and never-ending enthusiasm for days. 

So, I want to say thanks to my family and friends who put up with my agonizing, whining and complaining, and a special thank you to my writing friends- all of you.  I honestly don't think I could do it without the support and encouragement from you all and the endless energy in which you approach writing and blogging.  You don't just put up with me- you are right there with me, experiencing the same things I am going through, feeling the same way I feel, and knowing we aren't alone in this crazy world of writing.

Here's to a new year of getting to know you more, and meeting new and interesting people (and writing of course!)!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Hello, 2011

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone who took breaks this week are well rested and ready to get back into the 'ol grind of blogging.  And if you've been blogging this week, I am SO sorry I didn't read it.  I've missed your blogs and can't wait to get back to reading them!

I had a wonderful break this week, even though I was missing Little Monster who was a couple hours away at Grandma's house.  I started revising, and have learned a very important fact:

I hate it.

Seriously.  You have to sit there and look at every little note or critique and think about whether you want to change something or not.  Then you have to go in and figure out how to change it.  Then you have to go in and actually do the changing.

It's very tedious, but it's gotta be done.  The only good thing is that I *think* I'm making my manuscript a lot better.  I started writing a it while ago, and I've learned a lot since then. 

But dude, it takes

But I want to do it because I believe that everyone needs to do at least one revision.  Probably more. I can't say how many everyone should do because everyone's writing styles are different.  With me, it takes me a while to crank out a novel (I edit as I go...I know, I know, many of you would tell me to not worry about it but my brain literally does not let me knowingly write a bad sentence) (now, unknowingly writing bad sentences is a whole different thing...that's why we need crit partners and revisions) so I hope I won't have too many rounds of revisions.

So this brings me to a couple of resolutions goals for 2011.  (I hate the term "resolution".  I'd rather call them goals)

Last year was called "2010: The Year of Writing The First Novel and Taking Way Too Long To Finish But Also Starting A Blog and Meeting Awesome New Friends".
This year will be called "2011: The Year of Revisions, Queries and Hair Pulling"

At least, I hope I get that far.  Not the hair pulling so much, but it's kinda of inevitable- with querying comes hair pulling.  It's kinda like a deep fried chocolate covered oreo and nausea.  You can't eat one of those suckers without getting sick.  But you eat it anyway because you love the taste no matter what the outcome.

I'm not setting myself anything too lofty because if I don't make my goals I'll basically die a slow death, agonizing over the fact that I didn't meet them.  I'll just get this thing polished and ready to go out.  Easy Peasy right?  Yeah...I'm not gonna jinx myself too much.  Hey, if it doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen.  I'm not going to cut corners just to make my goal within the year.  This thing has to be perfect in my eyes.  So I'll do whatever it takes to make it that way.

Just gotta work hard and put my mind to it.  Like Jessie, Lisa and Kelly once sang:  "Put your mind to it, Go for it...Get down and Break a Sweat".  And that's exactly what I intend to do for 2011.

How about you all?  What are you goals for 2011?