Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wildest Moments Blog Hop


To celebrate the release of Wilde's Meadow, Book 3 in the Darkness Falls trilogy, I am participating in the Wildest Moments Blog Hop. You can visit the author--the lovely Krystal Wade at her website here.

So, here are the deets: 
Blog your wildest moment--something wild, life-changing, inspirational, fun, or heart-pumping.

If you know me well, you might say I should consider writing about my "Mildest Moments," instead. Yes, I'm a list-maker, long-term goal planner, and all-around don't run with scissors kind of gal. I don't drink, smoke, and I've never done drugs in my life. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't know how to have fun: you should see me at 2:00 in the morning when I get the giggles from lack of sleep. Now, in my teen years I did some things that would be considered "wild," however, by today's standards, I'm starting to think...hmmm...probably not so much. Certainly, anything I did wasn't "life-changing." Wow, now I sound really boring--even to myself. Needless to say, it was difficult for me to pin-point a wildest moment worthy of this blogfest.

But, don't despair.

I dug deep down into my past, and pulled out something that one would consider pretty darn wild, if I do say so myself. And I do. Let's go back a few years, circa 1993, if you will. By all means, my late eighties perm was wild, maybe even in a "girl on the hood of a car in a Whitesnake video" kind of way.

The 80's rock!

Sorry, just had to say it.

Okay, I promise, I do have a point to all of this seemingly pointless drivel. But, I'd rather just show you.


Yep, that's me at 20-years-old holding a snake--my snake. A Red-tailed Boa, to be exact. In fact, I didn't own just one...no, no, no, I owned two! My husband and I were newlyweds, ahem, almost twenty years ago. Apparently, the first thing you do when you're married is rush out and buy two snakes. One for each of you. You know, so your pet can wrap around your waist, and you can walk around town, and such, with free hands.

Some people will simply look at the picture of a snake and get the creepy-crawlies. Apparently, I don't possess this mechanism. Snakes don't bother me. As you can see. Now, if it was the bad perm giving you the willies, then you're in luck. Here is a more recent photo of me and the beloved creature I call friend:



No, I don't own this snake, or any snake for that matter (not anymore). I did have a Sulcata tortoise named Sheldon, up until about a month ago...I think he ran away...or a hawk got him. I'm hoping for the former.




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No News is Good News?

IS IT TRUE??




I sure hope so. Last week I participated in two online contests: The Hook, Line, and Sinker contest. My entry is here. And, the Spooktacular Pitch Extravaganza. My entry is here

My stats:

2 Full Requests
3 Partials

and

1 very nice comment about my writing from a well-known agent

After the contest, I queried one of the judges that participated, but didn't request anything from me at the time and ended up with a partial request from her.



Here's the problem: I haven't heard back, yet. But, no news is good news. Right?



I'm not convinced. No news could mean a few different things: 

1) The agents haven't read my ms yet. (According to twitter three other contestants have already been signed.) 

2) The agents are reading my ms, loving it, and taking meticulous notes. (This can be very time consuming. Hey, a girl can dream.)

3) The agents started reading my ms. Hated it. Stopped. (They just haven't had a chance to break the news.)



This is the first time I've had REQUESTS to see more of my work, and submitted something beyond the required query etc. to an agent. I don't have a clue about what kind of response time to expect.

Fellow writers, unite! 
Tell me of your experiences submitting requested material to agents. How long did you wait for a response? Did it come right away? And was that good or bad? Did it take days, weeks, or months? And what was the outcome?


In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers and toes that I'll hear from an agent, he or she will want to rep me, and I will be able to yell, "Extra, extra, read all about it!"




Monday, October 22, 2012

Writer Therapy

I'm participating in the Writer Therapy blog hop hosted by none other than: Writer Therapy.



My writing therapy consists of ample doses of Coke Zero.

One-hundred times better than Diet Coke--any day! Somehow, it's a comfort sitting next to my keyboard. =)









While listening to the "2 Cellos" station on Pandora.

If you haven't heard them play Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson...you don't know what you're missing.













And, if all else fails...I go run on the treadmill or take a shower. I get my best ideas in one of these two environments. ha ha

What is your writing therapy??

Hook, Line, and Sinker contest: YA entry #2 - IGNITE

UPDATE: The HLandS contest is officially over. 

Here are my stats:

1 Full Request
2 Partial Requests
1 Very nice comment about my writing from a well-known agent



Good morning! Aren't Monday's grand?? They are when you make it into round 3 of the Hook, Line, and Sinker Contest. Please check out my entry. Kat Ellis writes: YA entry #2 - IGNITE: Name: Natasha Hawkins Title: IGNITE Genre: YA Urban Fantasy Word count: 65,000 Hook: Branded with PTSD after her grandma’s murder...

Only agents can comment over at Kat Ellis Writes, but you can hop on back here and leave a comment, if so inclined! =)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spook Pitch entry #31

UPDATE: 

The Spook Pitch contest is over.

Stats: I WON a full ms request!!




This week I entered in the Spook Pitch contest hosted by the lovely Jamie Corrigan. Agents Brittany Booker and Jordy Albert will be "egging and tee-peeing" aka requesting manuscripts. Please blog-hop on over and check out my pitch and first 250 words here (I'm #31 -- IGNITE). Only the agents can leave comments over on Jamie's blog, but feel free to hop on back and leave a comment for me here. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Page - Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest

UPDATE:
I WON A PARTIAL REQUEST FROM CURIOSITY QUILLS IN THE HAUNTED WRITING CONTEST! YAY!

Thanks to all that have stopped by to comment on my first page. I have revised based on the feedback I've received from my fellow minions, as well as my super villain, Krystal Wade. Her critique was invaluable, to say the least. Thanks! Here's the revision...do your worst! =)

REVISION #1:


Leg-over-leg, I climb the railings that keep visitors from falling over the edge of the pier and clutch the wooden beam behind me. There’s no false sense of security now—only my white-knuckled grip, and a blanket of black ocean thirty feet below, taunting me:  
Here lies Alison Summers. Devoted daughter. Sister. Dog-lover.
One slip and that will be chiseled into the headstone above my eternal resting place. That is, if someone finds my body. Not that I expect a superhero to swoop down and save me, but an easier way out of this nightmare would be nice.
The cool breeze picks up the smell of fish. It should remind me of the summers my family vacationed here, but instead, I’m left with the urge to gag. All my inner organs tense like they’re pounding violently against each other. At first, La Paz Beach was a logical place to run, but now at the dead end of this pier there’s no time to consider a better plan. They are hot on my heels. But who are they?  My head whips toward the sound of heavy footfalls. But the dense fog makes seeing my hand in front of my face nearly impossible, let alone those who trail me. All I see are two streams of lights zigzagging through the thick mist.
My foot slips. I adjust my position on the damp ledge and grab the beam tighter. Sand plummets into the white-capped waves beneath me. A tingle creeps down my spine as I consider a crazy thought. As a competitive swimmer, I can easily out-swim anyone. I release one hand—just one—and a gasp escapes my trembling lips.
 “Don’t jump.” The words are barely a whisper in my mind.
“I have to,” I return. My reply is useless. At well past midnight, the pier is deserted—except for my pursuers. The stillness of this place strangles me. I don’t want to jump. No. But, the alternative . . . .
Either way, my seventeenth birthday will be surrounded by death.
I’m going out my way.

***As a side note--Krystal had suggested I add more details about the pursuers. I didn't do that in the first page, however, that comes on page 2***


I am participating in a Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest hosted by Curiosity Quills, if you would like to join click here. But, you don't have to join in order to leave a comment on my blog. Also, I have revised my QUERY if you would like to check it out. Any feedback/critiques/comments/questions/compliments on either are welcome.















Here is the first page of my YA Urban Fantasy (w/romantic elements) -- IGNITE:


Leg-over-leg, I cross the hand railings that keep visitors from falling over the edge, and white knuckle the wooden beam behind me. There’s no false sense of security now—only a blanket of black ocean thirty feet below taunting me:  
Here lies Alison Summers. Devoted daughter. Sister. Dog-lover.
One slip and that will be chiseled into the headstone above my eternal resting place. That is, if someone finds my body. Not that I expect a superhero to swoop down and save me, but an easier way out of this nightmare would be nice.
A fishy aroma spikes the wind. It should remind me of the summers my family vacationed here, but instead I’m left with the urge to gag. All my inner organs feel like they are pounding violently against each other. At first, La Paz Beach was a logical place to run, but now at the dead end of this pier there’s no time to consider a better plan. They are hot on my heels. If only I knew who they were.  My head whips toward heavy footfalls. But the thick fog makes it nearly impossible to see my hand in front of my face, let alone those who are trailing me.
My foot slips. I adjust my position on the damp ledge, and I grab the beam tighter. A tingle creeps inside me as I consider a crazy thought. I let go of one hand—just one—and a gasp escapes my trembling lips.
 “Don’t jump.” The words are barely a whisper in my mind.
“I have to,” I say. My reply is useless, though. At well past midnight the pier is deserted—except for my pursuers. The stillness of this place strangles me. I don’t want to jump. No. But, the alternative…
Either way, my seventeenth birthday will be surrounded by death.
If that’s the case, I’m going out my way.




Query for IGNITE


I have revised my query...once again! I've received a lot of feedback from other writers on different blogs/contests etc. on my old query and this is what I've come up with. Let me know what you think...

Query for IGNITE:

Competitive swimmer Alison Summers should be back home in Nevada celebrating her seventeenth birthday at the pool with her best friend—not running from her grandma’s killers. But no one, including her family, believes Ali’s story anyway. Not once the autopsy determines the cause of death is cancer, not murder, and she’s branded with PTSD. No one except WitWatch—a top-secret and experimental branch of the Witness Protection Program operated by agents with supernatural abilities.

But, Ali’s not crazy, and she’ll prove it. To expose the killers, she must trust a fire-wielding Watcher with a classified past. Only Agent William Reed is keeping deeper secrets: like his ability to transfer thoughts into her mind. Following an attack by discharged Watchers, Will mysteriously disappears leaving her doubting his alliance. Discovering she's been injected with a supernatural antigen, Ali uses her ability to manipulate water and tracks down Will and a link to who killed her Gram. But that’s not all she finds: a rouge Watcher with an antibody to eliminate supernatural powers has resurfaced. And Ali’s next on his to-cure list. Now, Ali needs to decide if the world is better off with or without her kind. But either choice may lead to losing someone she loves.

Written from the point-of-view of an unreliable narrator, IGNITE is a 65,000 word YA Urban Fantasy with romantic and suspenseful twists that will appeal to readers who enjoyed Kelly Armstrong’s DARKEST POWERS trilogy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WATER COOLER WEDNESDAY

For "Water Cooler Wednesday" I like to talk about things that are going on in my world that have to do with writing or reading...OR just fun stuff that other writers can relate to and might like to discuss.

Today, I am talking about a scene from Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck. The synopsis is below in case you're not familiar with the book, however, you don't have to be in order to understand/relate to/or comment on my topic today.


Synopsis from the back of the book:
With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in Bay of Bengal. It's a race against time--the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.

First off, I have NOT finished reading this book, nor am I going to do a review of it here and now--wouldn't make sense, anyway. Nevertheless, despite not really loving this book as much as I would like, last night I read a short scene that I thought was blog-worthy. So, gather round the virtual water cooler and let's discuss...



Okay, I'll admit it. I'm one of those people (at least, I hope there are others) that sometimes might skim ahead a teeny-weeny bit to get to the "good stuff." You know, the lovey-dovey parts. Yeah, that's me. If a story is, let's say, dragging out the action or just narrating page-after-page of boring, I mean, interesting scenery etc. I might gloss over it just a tiny little bit and hope for some love-interest action. Needless to say, that's what I was doing last night when I came upon a very swoon-worthy part. You might think there was kissing or something of the like going on, but no: it was simply a note left by Kishan, one of Kelsey's (the MC) love interests. Now, you should probably know that Kelsey loves two brothers, Ren and Kishan, AND really loves Ren more, but she is with Kishan instead. (That's a long story for another time.) Anyway, Kishan leaves her a note after Kelsey storms off and has a fit when she sees Ren cozying up with another woman. 

With no further ado, here is what a part of the note said:

Last week, I instructed your guards to bring you to me the instant you asked for me, but you never came. I love you, Kelsey. I wish I knew what we were fighting about.

Now, you're probably thinking really, that's it? That's swoon-worthy to you? Well, yes. Yes, it is. I even let out an audible, ahhhh. I re-read that passage 3 times. And, my heart broke all 3 times.

So, it's your turn. Do you ever skip ahead in books? Do you anxiously wait for the "love" scenes? Have you read a swoon-worthy scene recently that you have been waiting to share with somebody? Anybody? Well, here's your chance. 

Leave a comment at the water cooler and talk amongst yourselves....




Monday, October 8, 2012

EXPRESS YOURSELF #2: Movies/Books




List 5 books/movies that cause the hair to stand on the back of your neck:

1) IT - Stephen King

This absolutely had to be #1 on my list. I read this book over 20 years ago while in high school, and I  have never looked at a clown the same since. I couldn't watch the movie because the book was scary enough on its own. Even though the shape-shifting "IT" could turn into any form that would induce fear into its victim, IT preferred to be Pennywise the Clown. Thanks Stephen King, you ruined all future birthdays for my children. In fact, when my grandma brought a clown cake to my daughter's first birthday, well, let's just say that thing never saw the light of day!!


2) The Living Doll - Twilight Zone

"Talking Tina" is the reason I hate dolls. You will NOT find a doll in my house. (Of course, my kids are teens now) But, even when my girls were younger, "baby dolls" were meticulously picked out by little ol' me. I don't need some creepy doll saying, "My name is Talking Tina and I'm going to kill you." No thanks!
 3) And All Through the House - Tales From the Crypt

As you have probably noticed, most of my list is old, lots of stuff from the 70's and 80's. I guess that shows my age too. Those were very formidable years for me and most of these TV/movies/books have had some influence on my adult life. This is no exception. Yes, even Santa Clause can traumatize us. When a woman kills her husband on Christmas Eve--in order to get the insurance money--a killer dressed in a Santa suit makes his way to her house. At the very end, her daughter is holding "Santa's" hand and says, "Look mommy, Santa's here!" The door was locked, so I let him in." Then it cuts to black. Nice, huh?


4) The Tale-Tell Heart - Edgar Allan Poe

Okay, first off, I LOVE Edgar Allan Poe. He's one of my fav's. Anything eerie is right up my alley, so of course, so is Poe. In this story, a man says he's NOT crazy, but has a perfect plan to kill an old man. Sure, you're not crazy at all. So, he stalks this old man for days and then finally decides to do it. He kills the man and cuts off all his limbs and buries him beneath the floor boards of his own home. Eww! Well, the police come and the man convinces them everything is okay. That is, until the man starts hearing a loud pounding. A low thump, thump, thump.  He says, "I admit the deed!--tear up the planks! here, here!--It is the beating of his hideous heart!"

5) Carrie - Stephen King

Now, I never read Stephen King's paranormal horror book, only saw the movie. And boy, after seeing the movie version I'm pretty sure I could never read the book. Shy Carrie is tormented by her classmates, but is somehow voted as Prom queen. When she goes up to get her crown, a bucket of pig's blood is dump all over her. Gross! Carrie loses it and uses her "powers" to burn the place down. When she goes home, her mother stabs her to death thinking she is possessed by the devil. Later, as Sue, the only survivor of the Prom places a flower on Carrie's grave, a bloody hand grabs her wrist. Let me tell you something, you can never get that visual out of your head.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Express Yourself!


This month I am participating in a fun blog hop meme called...you guessed it...Express Yourself. I am excited to do this and also get to know other bloggers in the writing community. To see how a fellow writer's mind works is always fascinating stuff, for sure! I will be leaving my answer to this week's question in this post below.

If you would like to participate go and (Express yourself here). I look forward to getting to know you, too.

Here are the memes for the month of October:



 -   -   -   -   -   -

Pick a name in your current WIP; what was your process of acquiring it:

My current WIP is very new--I've only recently started writing it. However, I can't seem to begin writing a new ms without a name for my MC. So, I usually start there and name him/her right away. Now, I recently changed the last name of the MC of my current ms--it just wasn't working for me, even though she (Alison) had that last name for years, basically. So, I changed her last name from Montgomery to Summers. Which suits her much better. But, I really liked the name Montgomery: 1) Because it has been a part of "me" for so long. 2) It's the last name of one of my favorite authors, L.M. Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame). 

Well, it got me to thinking about the name Montgomery. And I thought...that's the kind of name parents sometimes give as a first name when they have that SAME last name (Why do they do that? I don't know). But, it's always fascinated me when people are named Robert Robertson or Robin Robins. I know for women this sometimes happens by marriage, but I think it's way more interesting when it's an actual given name. Hence, the name of mc from my WIP became:

Montgomery Montgomery. 

Of course, he'll want to go by Monty, for short. 

Now you know a little about how my brain works. What are some methods you use to name your characters? Go ahead--express yourself!



Monday, October 1, 2012

Get Your Pitch On Workshop


I'm excited to be participating in the Get Your Pitch On workshop. Right now my Pitch is being critiqued over at Whimsical Quests of a Curious Mind: Get Your Pitch On-Ignite.

Please head on over and check it. Be sure and leave a comment too! I appreciate all feedback.

If you would like to participate there's still time to be in the workshop and fine tune your Pitch. There's even a chance to win a 10-page critique!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1st Page Critique Contest--Last Call

Writer's Therapy is hosting a first page contest...

Grand Prize for 3 talented winners
Query critique from agent Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger
Query critique from agent Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
1st Chapter critique from Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

Head on over and enter here:

http://www.writertherapy.com/blog/2012/09/10/first-page-contest/

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Query Critique

Two weeks ago I volunteered to have my query for IGNITE critiqued over at Oasis for YA. Four of the Oasis ladies were gracious enough to take the time to offer up their suggestions. Check it on here: Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Our Critiques

Here is the revised query based on the feedback I received from the Oasis Sisters...


Competitive swimmer Alison Summers should be back home in Nevada celebrating her seventeenth birthday at the pool with her best friend and not running from her grandmother’s killers. But no one, including her family, believes Ali’s story, anyway. Not once the autopsy determines the cause of death is cancer and she’s branded with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No one except WitWatch—a top-secret and experimental branch of the Witness Protection Program operated by agents with supernatural abilities.

But, she’s not crazy, and she’ll prove it. To expose the killers, Ali must trust a fire-wielding Watcher with a classified past. Only Agent William Reed is keeping deeper secrets: like his ability to transfer thoughts into other minds. Following an attack by a discharged sect of Watchers, Will mysteriously disappears leaving her doubting his alliance. When Ali learns she possesses his matching element, Water, her new ability helps track down Will and a link to who killed her Gram. But that’s not all she finds: a rouge Watcher with an antibody to eliminate supernatural powers has resurfaced. And Ali’s next on his to-cure list. Now, Ali needs to decide if the world is better off with or without her kind. But either choice may lead to losing someone she loves.

IGNITE is a 72,000 word YA paranormal novel with romantic elements and suspenseful twists that will appeal to readers who enjoyed Kelly Armstrong’s DARKEST POWERS trilogy.