Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Sur = Big Inspiration

Expressing what I gained from going to the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop is impossible, it would take me pages of this blog and your eyes would explode before you ‘x’ed me out. But to say it was wonderful and worth every penny is an understatement.

Just having a big-time literary agent, not dropping names, YET, say…”This is excellent.” Sent shivers of excitement through me to rival my first time! That’s a bad analogy, my first time was dreadful, let’s say my first time with my über, awesome ex-husband. When words of wisdom flowed from her lips like buttery Chardonnay, I was ready to axe the very heads off of my characters to make them fit what she envisioned as the perfect tweaks. And now that I’m making those alterations…OH MY GOD, she was right!

Everyone at the conference brought such a depth of knowledge and approachability to the table, that I never once felt uncomfortable or like a bug under a microscope. My other critique group leader was the awe inspiring Eric J Adams, co-writer and producer of numerous books and movies, one hitting NETFLIX yesterday, December 6, ARCHIE’S FINAL PROJECT. (Please refrain from adding it your DVD cue until I’ve received my copy.) He was funny, honest, has met more celebrities than TMZ, and is way easy to talk to. He talked about his next film starting on January the tenth, the way I’d note my next dentist appointment. Not to mention he built us a fire and even saved me when the smoldering wood tried to attack. Yeah, maybe I developed a wee crush. But you would too, so shut up.

Ellen Hopkins, yes, THE Ellen Hopkins, was amazingly awesome to chat with and it was nothing at all like I imagined eating spinach salad with a two million copies sold NYT Bestseller author would be. Jealous, right? She was so totally chillaxed, I almost offered to pick out the stem stuck in her front teeth for her. I refrained!

I only had one critique partner the snarky queen herself, Gina White, was unable to attend with me.

I could gush and carry on about everyone there, but I won’t, it would make you physically ill that you missed it and I don’t want to be responsible for that. So why are you still reading this? Google, google my friends and sign up for the next one in March 2012.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My India

Today is my daughter’s twenty-fourth birthday and I can’t think of anything else. I’m not a poet but I wanted to say something to her.


Independent and stubborn, you screamed at me coming from the womb; I gave my life for yours.
How I loved you.
Tears streaming, glasses fogged, I closed the door of your classroom.
How I loved you.
Walking on your hands, a year viewed upside down, I worked far too much.
How I loved you.
Cheering with all your heart, I shouted louder than all the moms.
How I loved you.
With a timid wave and a shaky smile you left on a plane, I turned my back and cried.
How I loved you.
Angry with me you packed your bags, I begged you to come back.
How I loved you.
Decorating your dorm you swelled with pride, I drove away in tears.
How I loved you.
Hurting inside and out you blamed me, I accepted the blame.
How I loved you.
Rocking and rolling, you searched for yourself; I watched and waited in despair.
How I loved you.
New schools, new rules, you are searching still; I wait for your return.
How I love you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Third Time... Strike or Charm?

I’m not ignoring my blog, I’ve just been stupid, crazy busy. I have to finish one complete edit of UnAltered by November 4th. The rules of submission, state that the manuscript must be mailed by that magical date and I’m only on 189 of 262 pages.
The good news is that I’ve shaved approximately 4,000 words. The bad news I may have gone a bit heavy on the contractions and once those are fixed….well, you get the gist.

Another exciting news tidbit is the uber YA agent Suzie Townsend has skipped over to the Nancy Coffey Agency and is holding a query contest next Tuesday from 9 am to 10 am, est. Anyone can enter, but wear your rhino skin as she says she’ll be brutally honest. Googling Teflon underwear shops as soon as I'm done here...

Enough excuses. I eliminated a portion of the original query and now have a shorter, more in-yo-face kind of query. Okay, maybe not, but I’m trying to learn how to roll here, be kind.

This is the end product:

Dear Ms. Thang,

According to your website, you are seeking dystopian YA with character driven plots and real emotional power. You may enjoy my novel, UnALTERED.

“Primitive birth, genetically unaltered…mutt.” All names sixteen-year-old Ezra Thibodeaux is grotesquely familiar with. But she only has one goal: be the best Cadet Smith 902 she can be. In other words, assimilate or die. But when the Freedom Fighter’s grandson, Thorne bin Laden sets his targets on her, assimilation becomes the least of her worries.

Raped, pregnant, and selected for survival exercises, she faces the toughest decision of her life. It’s made tougher when fate reunites her with a boy from her past. If she chooses to keep her baby, she must fight her way out of One Globe or die. If she doesn’t, she’ll never have to tell the boy she loves she’s pregnant…with their enemy’s child.

UnALTERED is an 78K word YA dystopian. Per your submission guidelines, I’m including the first ten pages in this email and look forward to sending the remaining manuscript at your request.


So, any more advice or is everyone sick to vomit of this query? I’m kinda feeling that way…

Saturday, October 15, 2011

UnAltered Query Mess Numero Dos

I asked for a critique or ten of my query letter that I’m submitting for the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop and while I didn’t get ten, I did get a couple. Thank you so much Nancy and Gail for your time and assistance.

But instead of that warm, fuzzy ‘problem solved’ feeling, I now feel utterly addled. As a result, I’m going to break it down bit by bit over my next couple of blogs.

As you know by now, I deplore the longwinded; I’ll attempt to be brief.

The beginning of my query, as was posted:

Your website states that you are currently seeking YA, “…character-driven AND page-turning contemporary fiction with real emotional power; dystopian…”

My intention was to prove that I had gone to her website and researched what she is specifically seeking, without repeating her tweets and outing myself as a fangirl.

But one critiquer thinks this is grand faux pas numero uno.

That commenter, a fellow writer with extensive querying experience, stated:

“Unless an agent specifically asks for an introduction, always jump right into the meat of the query. Besides, the agent already knows which genres she reps so you don't have to remind her.”

The other commenter, one-time journalist, poet, children’s writer, etc., had a different idea:


As I’m no expert I went to the expert’s corner…

In my world that’s Chuck Sambuchino’s blog, A Guide to the Literary Agent. All the following quotes are from his immeasurably helpful blog. (Maybe I have a small crush…)

These are a few of those wants and don’t wants in queries:

Molly Glick of Foundry Literary & Media told Chuck: “…No. 3-Proof that you have researched and hand-picked an agent…” (Maybe I will repeat her tweets…)

Janet Reid, the infamous Query Shark, says it a little differently: “…Section Three: 1. Why you chose this agent…” Essentially, keep the intro but put it at the bottom.

She also demands a query letter not surpass 250 words. I’m good there, mine currently is 203.

And I could go on and on, but your eyes are already bleeding and you’ve just scrolled down three-fourths of the page.

This is my current intro:

According to your website, you are currently seeking dystopian YA with character driven plots and real emotional power. You may enjoy my novel, UnALTERED.

So you tell me, do I scrap it or keep it or rework one more time?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Querying We Shall Go

The upcoming writer's workshop at Big Sur requires a writing sample and query letter before I'm officially approved to attend. So, I'm asking your help. I SUCK at writing query letters.

I'm sticking in my current sample and ask for your feedback. Tear it to shreds, spare no blood, please!

Dear Amazing Uber Agent,

Your website states that you are currently seeking YA, “…character-driven AND page-turning contemporary fiction with real emotional power; dystopian…”

They say religion ended the world in a day. It only took 7 hours. And two years later it was banned. So was reproduction.

Primitive birth, genetically unaltered…mutt, 16 year-old Ezra Thibodeaux only has one goal, be the best Cadet Smith 902 she can be. In other words, assimilate or die. But when the Freedom Fighter’s grandson and future One Globe leader, Thorne bin Laden sets his targets on her, assimilation is no longer an option.

Raped, pregnant, and selected for survival exercises, escape becomes her obsession. In a rare twist of fate she’s reunited with a boy from her past and faces the toughest decision of her life. If she chooses to keep her baby, she must fight her way out. She must also tell the boy she loves that she’s pregnant…with their enemy’s child.

UnALTERED is a 82K word YA dystopian. Per your website, I’m including the first ten pages in this email and look forward to sending the remaining manuscript at your request.

Lea McFalls Zeqiri

Lea McFalls Zeqiri
1234 Sunshine Ln.
Dallas, TX 75666
(469) 222-2222 cell
(888) 515-5555 fax

Now, ready, set, my heart out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Sur Here I Come!

Big Daddy has agreed to my attending the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop! Yay me!

Of course, he’s insisting on tagging along.

Now we are squabbling on how to pay for it and which package to buy. But thanks to the infinite wisdom of a fellow blogger, I’ve come up with a solution. There may or not be a midnight organ snatch on a certain father-in-law who may or may not be living in foreign lands. Well, financing is in order.

So now my new puzzle…

Which manuscript do I use for the workshop?

My very first novel is a fictional piece set in both and Kosovo and needs massive overhaul. And that’s after 4 full edits. It started at 174K so I’ll let you figure out the ridiculous shape of it. ALKONOST-A TATTOO AWAKENS

My second is a tongue-in-cheek YA with major voice issues. McDRACULA

My third is my NaNoWriMo YA love story from this past November that I’m currently editing and it’s getting kind of cute. BLAZE

But my favorite, which I think is the best I’ve written to date is a YA dystopian that I’m letting simmer. UNCLASSIFIED

Should I start editing the fourth, the dystopian, so that I have something that I love to work on or use the NaNo YA love story which is in a better position editorial wise?

I don’t want to get laughed out of my chair, but I think the dystopian has the most potential overall…

What would you do?

Friday, September 23, 2011

To Conference or Not to Conference

The Big Sur Writer’s Workshop is coming up December 2-4, 2011.
And I’m dying to go.

I had wanted to go the one they held in the spring at Seabreeze/Monterrey, California, but I’d just returned from a month off in Europe and couldn’t justify the funds. I considered on cutting the kid’s stipends but was terrified that would lead them to life of crime or pan handling. Or more truthfully have them making voodoo dolls with my face stuck on them.

So what does that have to do with now, right?

Well, my other half chose the same day to announce his father had overblown our patio renovations on our retirement home by a “Democratic Party” amount and funds are once again tight. Like hairball tight.

This workshop is unique in that you work with three specific faculty members throughout and it includes critiques! I could go on and on but don't want to do an ad here. And these faculty are not your typical ‘Jane Harlequin wrote a dirty book, epubbed herself, and is now going to show you how do it’ authors. These are BIG name YA and children’s writers with several NYT Best Sellers under their frockcoats.


But it’s pricey. The price without airfare and rental car is $720 and that’s sharing an adjoining bathroom with a stranger. It’s an additional $150 if, “…you have a special reason to be private…” Doesn’t that sound like they don’t want you to get your own room? If you want to bring a friend that’s not attending the conference but wants to view the redwoods, well that’s an additional $390. Of course, that includes their meals. Why can’t I just pay the $150 extra and he get his own meals?

So now, my conundrum…

Which organ do I sell to pay for it?

See you in December at the Big Sur Lodge in California!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finished, Finished, Finished

Ta dah!

I finally finished my WIP with an ending that will stand. At least until I edit and undoubtedly I will chop it to shreds.

But for now, I have that satisfying feeling. You know the one, you've cleaned your entire house and you're finally soaking in a bubble bath with a case of chardonnay? Sorry, that was just a fantasy it usually entails a guy name Guy rubbing my shoulders and begging me to let him paint my toenails. I don't know why, it's a fantasy, okay?

I've been neglecting my blog and I would like to promise to never allow that to happen again but as I already live in a world of self-delusion I don't want to press my luck. But I will check in more often.

Now that UNCLASSIFIED is marinating, I am taking a little breather and writing a couple of short stories for competition. One thing I've learned so far about shorts, I suck. Short, right? I'm actually surprised at how hard it is to write a complete story in under 2500 words or less. And what should I write about? I mean, do YA shorts even have a chance up against lost love (most common category)?

Please leave me your ideas for short stories so I can shamelessly steal them. Just kidding, I will feel shame, promise.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rethink & Research

I've finished my WIP three times. And I hate every ending.

How did I lose my path? Where exactly did Ezra take over and spin out of control? I could just move on, leaving my three endings and begin the edit. I could do that. I should do that. When I finish a story I like to let it sit for a month or two and marinate, but I can't leave poor Ezra with her swollen belly hanging out.

I backed up a few chapters to where the climax first begins to peak. In this case, it's during her survival exercises when she's forced to make a big choice. Keep the baby and die or skewer the baby and die. Yeah, her options her grim. Reading over these chapters, I realized I didn't like the scene setting.

It's not that I didn't do my homework, I did. Truly, I did. The setting is Post-Apocalyptic Baton Rouge, LA. And I've visited Baton Rouge, granted it's been years and I've never actually been since the bomb, but I googled the fancy out of it. So, I was ready, right? Wrong!

Our memory plays tricks on us, especially Chardonnay tinted ones, and cities change. I told my wonderful husband, yep the one I stabbed, (It wasn't even a flesh wound, relax.) that I absolutely had to go... immediately. He agreed, maybe he's a little afraid of me, suppose he has reason to. Since he didn't make a fuss, I insisted on a private guide for a predawn swamp tour. He agreed to that too, probably hoping I'd be eaten by an alligator.

But my fairy godmother was by my side. The guide was a no show and the two hours waiting on the bank of the bayou was enough for me. (I've got mosquito bites where no mosquito should go.)

To make a long winded blog a wee less windy, the walking tour through Baton Rouge, AKA Red Stick, was wonderful. It was everything I imagined the Mississippi River would be in July. Hot, stick, and fragant. I found a dozen flaws in my manuscript, drank only coffee, and dusted off the cobwebs of my memory. Ezra's survival exercises will be so much better for it, although the Belle Casino may not feel the same.

Well, I drank only coffee anyway, can't say that about my dearest...

Drop me a note on how you research your WIPs...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pantsing Vs Plotting

This is a dilemma I face each time I start a new book. My brain says, “Sit down, plot it out.” But my heart says, “Just go with it, you'll be fine.”

As, I'm not known for my reasonable approach, I inevitably start typing away. About halfway into chapter 3 I no longer recognize my MC and have no idea who this cast of hoodlums are that are following his/her every move. Then I'm stuck....

Do I go back and start over? Or do I incorporate these ballsy bullies who've butted their way in? Well, you've probably already guessed, I write them in. After all, what fairy story doesn't need a one-eyed psychopathic demon-eater with morning breath and a hankering for milkshakes?

And all is fine for a few more chapters.... But once I'm forced to start tying everything altogether, I run into massive roadblock. Boulders are dropped from cliffs, cars crushed beneath and my fairy has sprouted demon horns and developed a madness for poltergeist sherbet. Don't ask...

When all this happens I can't even remember where the story was supposed to go in the first place. Sigh :( Which is where I find myself now. My current WIP, a YA Dystopian is running amok on me. I've tried spanking her back on track, but she'll just have none of it. While this one, I made a flimsy outline of the plot, (spent nights obsessing right before falling asleep and tucking it safely into one corner of my manic brain) I seem to have taken a wrong turn or six.

It's not that I don't like where I am, I absolutely love the story. But I'm on the down slope and the climax is growing instead of diminishing. Is that a good thing? Will my Ezra blow up One Globe or will her rapidly expanding love for both the baby in her belly and the gun-boned ghost from her past slow her down? I don't know! I just don't know...

Drop me your dilemma. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Still looking for a good match on a YA critique partner, help!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Comments, Cookies, and Kooks

I've been pulling my hair out for weeks due to an internal “third-party cookie filtering error”. Sounds like a personal problem, right? Apparently, I am such a wiz at computer security, (coughs into kerchief-I've only blown three laptops in the past two years.) that I made it impossible for myself to leave comments on other blogs.

As we all know, if you don't seek out other bloggers and leave comments, then no one will reciprocate the love. Well, for the most of us anyway. There are those of you, and you know who are, who can insult the pope himself and still gain thirty followers a day. But alas, I'm not one of you.

Even as I was going through my emotional meltdown of the past month, I continued to read and search writer's blogs. But without the ability to say anything, I slowly oozed off the planet.

So, I posted a question on blogger's site asking why I could no longer post comments. Right direction, right? Wrong! I got an answer by a mean spirited, condescending techno geek. He told me all about my cookie sickness and suggested I go to his blog site to get the fix.

Well, I read page after page of insults aimed at us poor schleps that are so pathetic that we purchase our laptops and computers at places like Best Buy and Target, but are too stupid to do more than open the box. I found post after post telling me what my problem is, but advice on fixing it? Not hardly.

Then I Googled my question and lo and behold, got an answer. And I quote... “The fix is simple...Just unclick the “remain logged in” button and enter your username and password.” Posted by the remarkable Level 1, Mikhail Borgin on June 19, 2011. All hail, Mikhail!

And it WORKS! Yay! Back to reading and blogging!

My writing partner and I are still looking for a third or fourth, so if anyone wants to join in, we need ya! We'll read and answer your stuff pronto.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Desperately Seeking Susan

Or someone like her. I'm even open to a Steven. Now that I'm back to blogging and writing judiciously again, it occurred to me I need a third or fourth critique partner.

My writing buddy and I have grown accustomed to each others style and we are a good fit. But maybe we've become so comfortable with each others writing that we are missing the nuances. SO, we are looking for someone to fill that void.

Rules: There's always rules, aren't there?

Drop down to the comments section and express your interest and let me know you're submitting a sample. We, me, and the amazing Gina White at TiredbutWriting/, are asking for the first three chapters of your WIP or whatever you want feedback on. If your style seems like something that would mesh well with us, we will send you the same.

Please note the amount of time you are able to allot for this, and the amount of feedback you want. If you only want someone to read your work, but not offer suggestions, say so. We want it to be fair for everyone.

We both write YA, so we do hope to get a fellow YA'er, but are open to other paranormal or urban fantasy writers. I am currently working on a Dystopian and she is writing the most smashing Zombie story ever.

If you are interested the email address for the sample is

Hope to hear from ya!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bye Bye Daddy

I'd like to apologize for the several weeks hiatus I've had on my blog. But in my defense I've been dealing with quite an emotional journey. I was estranged for several years from my father, but at one point I was his favorite and life was jolly. He passed away this past week.

This blog may seem disrespectful, but if you had known my Dad you would know he would have gotten a kick out of it.

When I got to the hospital he was pretty much gone. I would never have recognized him.

My father was six foot one, but the huffing frame in the hospital bed was only five foot something and that includes the one leg he had left. The smell was nauseating. An overwhelming mix of decay, unwashed body and infection. When I asked the nurse about it, she looked at me strange and offered an air freshener. Turns out it wasn't my father but a couple of guests in the hospital.

My Dad was moved from the hospital to the hospice later that afternoon. I was angry with the decision initially, as I didn't think it fair that he couldn't die at home. But in retrospect, the hospice was the better choice. I waited at the hospital until he was moved and then took my brother and his two daughters to dinner. Perhaps I should have skipped the dreadful chimichanga. He died while we were dining and I had to make peace with his corpse.

The wonderful caregivers at the hospice gave me an hour alone with him and I was able to tell him everything while everyone else waited outside. I loved the old man and I have forgiven him for being such a bastard, but he was what he was and I can't talk him into heaven.

The next day bedlam ensued...but what else could be expected. We're spooky and we're cooky, we're the real Addams Family.

That night was the viewing...

My other sister, better known as Jabba the Hutt, you may have seen her movies, had every right to come and she did. She also brought her three grandchildren, all under the age of four, and allowed them to climb up the side of the coffin and play pat the dead guy. In which they commenced to accurately describe his temperature, “He's cold,” which thanks to their speech impediments came out more like, “He goal—ed.”Seeing as how my father refused to see them when he was alive, I don't think he would have appreciated it when he was gone, but there you have. He couldn't rightly tell them to get off, so someone had to. As we don't speak, I'm likely to kill her if I do, I asked her son to please have the children crawl out of the coffin. Which he did, loudly...

My father's brothers, one of whom at age 82 had just had his heart stopped and restarted by the hospital prior to his trip to view his baby brother's body, were so upset they left shortly after and I didn't even get to say goodbye. Neither attended the funeral.

Ensuring all are informed...

For days I had tried to reach my crazy sister who was committed down in Myrtle Beach for allegedly attacking a gang member who attempted to steal her Clonapin. The nut house was refusing to tell her that our father was ill. So when I called to beg them to tell her our father had passed they kicked her out on the street with only a phone call to her insane fiance, he gets a free check too.

Upon discovering she was out, I convinced him to wake her up. I quite possibly may have threatened to go down there at that instant. I could hear him screaming at her and slapping her through the receiver and I nearly went ballistic. I am a ginger and sometimes can be a wee bit hotheaded.

The next morning my darling husband finally arrived to stay and stated the obvious that we couldn't waste ten hours driving back and forth to Myrtle, so we paid for a bus ticket for her. (She won't fly, afraid of the little men in the engine or something.)

Onto to the funereal....

My father was an atheist. But at one point, trying to get into an old Mexican woman's drawers, he'd decided to become a Catholic. As that same Mexican woman later became the reason we were estranged I was unaware that he had never succeeded in converting to Catholicism. That is until the funeral. The same woman and her daughter, my stepsister, a truly beautiful person inside and out, go figure, right?...insisted on a Catholic mass and that's what we had.

The priest made a point of saying that my dad was not a Catholic, did not believe in god, and yet, lo and behold, he had to come back to the church where apparently he had had some sort of falling out. While not specifically noted, it was insinuated that words had been exchanged with the other priest and thus he was not holding the service. It sorta smacked of a, “Aha! I told you so.”

The service would have still come off without a hitch, except for the guitar playing, I shit you not, male choir leader who was barefoot... yep barefoot. I tried hard not to think of the Athletes' Foot problem that he must have been raging on with as he couldn't wear shoes to a funereal.

My sister, Jabba the Hutt, once again brought the dead-loving children and attempted to have them receive the eucharist. Thank goodness for the all-in-good-stride priest who simply patted their heads and sent them back to their seats. My other sister, Little Miss Crazy hobbled down the aisle half-way through the mass to go throw up loudly, very loudly.

So you can see a good time was had by all.

But alas, that's not the end of the story. There's a back story, isn't there always a back story?

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Jabba the Hutt, had taken the liberty to go to my father's house the night before the funereal to request a photograph on behalf of my mother from his newly bereaved widow. Naturally, she couldn't be expected to wait at least a decorous two months for said pic, my mom had already been waiting 30 years. And with her Alzheimer's she might not remember she had wanted the photograph of her dead husband. Yes, she seems to have an issue remembering that they were divorced. Jabba, not one to let a good opportunity go to waste, asked for the dining room table, a tiller, a box of photographs and threatened to kill the aforementioned Mexican woman, his widow.

So that was a brewing...

Thanks to my husband, the voice of reason, warning me to let it go, I was intent on being the bigger person, not easy when Jabba weighs upwards of 600lbs. Yet, we still needed to say our goodbyes to my Mama after the service, which thankfully she didn't attend. As she made a point of telling me that my father was probably knocking on his casket to have been in a Catholic Church. Great visual, right? She attended the viewing, something about needing to apologize to his widow for having called her a whore by my Dad's hospital bed a couple of weeks earlier. As a great Christian, she couldn't have that little faux pas stealing her seat on her own heavenly bus ride.

Even with the knowledge of Jabba's midnight stroll and my Mama's fit of jealousy over a one-legged man, I managed to not have a conniption. But when Mama made some comment about the kids at the service, I said, "...they shouldn't have been there anyway. It was a funereal, not a trip to a Disney World.”

Next thing I know, Jabba the Hutt comes barreling out of the trailer, nearly rolling down the three swaying steps screaming at the top of her lungs that her grandkids had every right to attend their grandfather's funereal. I ignored her. She turned around headed back into the trailer teetering on meltdown and we thought her tirade was over. That for Jabba was a tiny tirade not counting the effusive use of brilliantly colored language, none of which can be used in polite company.

BUT of course not. Apparently she just needed to catch her breath, her weight in the SC humidity would be tough on anyone, because five minutes later, she's back. The demon bull has been unleashed and my ignoring her screams is infuriating her to a level only seen in horror movies. Next thing I know, she's looming over me, fourteen jagged stitch scars across her forehead and all, threatening to slice me into bacon bits. I may have mentioned something to the affect that I prefer fish so perhaps sushi would be a better choice and my darling hubby was demanding we leave.

I could tell you more, but those are the highlights and I hope you've enjoyed them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm an Idiot, But You Probably Already Figured That Out

It's been an awesome week of writing, but I must apologize for not blogging. So now that that's been said, I owe one more apology. The amazing, the stupendous, the remarkable, (yeah even I'm gagging) the perfect blogger that I can no longer find, sent me one of those seriously sweet blog awards and being the numbskull that I am, I can't locate it. So, I'm sorry.

Getting back to the promise I made to humiliate myself for your amusement, I'm
posting the first and last sentences of the first five chapters of BLAZE, my 2010 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month AKA November) story.

Please be gentle as the goal is to write a novel with a minimum word count of 50,000, and it was mission accomplished. The rest is self-explanatory.

BLAZE is a completed, unedited YA Romantic Fantasy at 66,500 words.

Chapter 1

1. Don’t call Captain Thorton please, just this once, just this year, can’t we skip it?
2. Super crapola, the rest of the handkerchief crowd was headed her way, rheumy eyed and ready for a good cry to salve their conscious.

Chapter 2

1. “What’s up Wheels? Or should I say Mazel Tov?”
2. Shouldn’t she happy for them?

Chapter 3

1. The gate screeched as Blaze pushed the rusty hinges to their breaking point and slipped through the gap into the overgrown brambles.
2. He sent the other half of his soul out after her, but as usual it sang to empty air.

Chapter 4

1. Blaze’s yard was swarming with police officers as she ran up and her stomach fell through the sidewalk, the flowers in her gut turning into liquid acid.
2. And she continued running until she was safe inside the walls of Athens High and halfway to her locker.

Chapter 5

1. Wheels’ locker was below and to the left of Blaze’s and he was already there as she arrived out of breath and frazzled.
2. He’d be ready and waiting when they knocked on his door.

The chapters in this novel are very long and will undoubtedly be cut in half when I actually start editing it. But for now, I can see the plot following through by the first and last lines. So, even though I'm very proud of this one, it will be salvageable when the work I'm on finally gives me a rest.

Now that I've been baring my soul, I hope a few of you, will follow suit and let me know where I can read them. I will be taking a week's vacation at the beach with my darling perfect pixie of a granddaughter, but I will check in.

Happy writing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still Here

I didn't post yesterday as I figured most of you would have been sucked up into the atmosphere and no one would have been around to read it. But as that didn't happen, here ya go:

For today’s blog post I’m continuing the challenge set forth by the ‘oh, so, soon to be published’ Anita Grace Howard, yes I’m still working on that jealousy issue. With the smoozalistic award came the soul baring farce of put up or shut up.

Always up for the chance to embarrass myself, I’m taking that challenge to the extreme and putting up the first and last sentences of the first five chapters of each of my manuscripts.

In my last blog, I drew a line in the sand with my current WIP, this time I’m going down quick.

These are the, ‘make me sick’ I wrote that crap, first sentences from ALKONOST – A TATTOO AWAKENS, the first novel I finished.

Chapter 1 Branded

“You can get naked in there.”
But no more tears came, they would find her later, this was only the calm before the storm.

Chapter 2 Phelan

The doorbell rang for the tenth time, Sorra squeezed the pillow harder over her ears.
Phelan had a way of making a fender bender sound like a 40 car pileup.

Chapter 3 Skender and Fiona

It was three am, “truck driver’s hour for sleep driving,” Skender thought wryly.
Why hadn’t she inherited her mother’s strength, instead of, only her blue eyes?

Chapter 4 Coward

She could not see me; the mist rolling in from the swamp was too dense, the hour too close to the spike of dawn’s rays.
Mama, help me! Please Daddy I need you!

Chapter 5 And So it Began

A stabbing pain skewered Fiona’s right eye and her vision went blank.
Sorra whispered, “Thank you.”

The idea of the challenge is to see where your novel is going. Do you have a plot? Is it so convoluted that even you can’t figure out where it’s going and you won’t the drivel? Is your MC worthy of having their story told or she/he some whining little snit that should just shut the freak up?

I hadn’t opened this story file in months and after doing so today, I wish I hadn’t.

Oh, I’ll eventually go back to my poor little Sorra possessed by an ancient goddess through a tattoo she got on her 19th birthday in a drunken stupor at college. But judging from the lines I read just skimming through here, it’ll be awhile. And this is after countless revisions; I might confess the original novel was 175K word count. *throws up in hand – daintily lops off with chainsaw*

Ick! Yuck! Ugh! What the heck was I drinking?

Since blogger didn’t take my links on the first post, and for some reason my menopausal mind can't decipher I’m reposting them without the link, at least they show up… Gina White Anita Grace Howard Sarah Allen Charmalot Kit Courteney Murees Dupre

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Award For Me?

"Oh no, why I couldn’t! Oh, you shouldn’t have. Oh my, aren’t you sweet?"

As hard as it to believe, I’m still in a twitter about it, but I was lavished with the Versatile Blogger Award by none other than the illustrious Anita, her blog is
"A Still and Quiet Madness". Awesome title, right?
She’s quite literary, accomplished, and soon to be published, so it’s okay to hate her a bit, it’ll be our little secret.

And no that isn’t the award, but as I was poking around for the perfect pic, I found this one and while I totally commiserate with the emotion, I would have had enough sense to stuff my bra before I went on stage. Bless her heart, but I’m just saying, can’t she pay someone to point out her flaws? Maybe she’s needs beta dressers.

Here’s the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious award:

And the way the award works, yep there’s rules wouldn’t you know it, is:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself or the one I chose…
Post the first and last lines of the first five chapters of one of
your manuscripts.
3. Pass the award along to 5 deserving blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them

So, for number one, thank you Ms. Anita and I’m swallowing my jealousy and promise not to feel to much more angst against you.

For number two, I was torn and have decided to do all three of my finished and the my current WIP, but since all that reading would probably make your eyes bleed and I don’t want to be responsible for that, I’ll post them separately. It’s an insightful tool to let you know if you’re on track or not.

My current WIP is a YA Dystopian, UNCLASSIFIED, and it kinda goes like this:

Chapter 1
I am a menstruating female.
One false move and it will be my last.

Chapter 2
There is no doubt phototherapy was good for me.
That star is a bigger insult than anything an Altered to could say or do to me. Traitor!

Chapter 3
The double doors slide silently apart as I approach.
But I can’t block out the truth…I’ll be joining them soon enough.

Chapter 4
My judge, jury and executioner is an Altered.
Maybe her curiosity will get the better of her before it’s too late.

Chapter 5
I sling my backpack over my shoulder and grab the two sterile parcels from the bed next to Bengali and drop them on the bed in the farthest corner of the ward.
Never looking back is my only hope of survival.

The plot is set in the not too far future and after the destruction and reunification of the world into one country post 9-11. My MC, Ezra Thibodeaux, is assimilated into this world, then raped, pregnant, and alone she’s forced to fight for her life. And yada, yada, yada.

For number three, I’ve selected the following deserving blogging buddies:

Gina White
Sarah Allen
Kit Courteney
Murees Dupé

(Just in case, this is the umpthteen time I posted these links, I hope they show up, I can't edit this thing anymore, I promise they are there, just invisible.)

These are all lovely blogs with a humorous side, not bloated or condescending at all. Check them out for a tad of wisdom without the wind.

So now, I’m going to contact them to let them know about the award and get back to writing, this is the longest blog I’ve ever done. Whew! I’m worn out!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's Only a Little Obsession

I have been neglecting my blog, but not because it doesn’t come to mind or due to lack of time to write. I’ve been negligent due to obsession. My current WIP is sucking up all of my cognizant hours. When I’m not writing on it, I’m thinking on it. I go through this with each new story I fall into, but this one seems to be edging on madness.

Is this a good thing? I’ve got three finished pieces, including one that’s in desperate need of editing, and I should be querying them. Sporadically, I am, but not enough to ever move them to the next step. Why is that? I loved the stories when I wrote them, I even loved them through the numerous rewrites, but I just can’t seem to commit myself to time necessary to get their voices heard.

Am I only using this new story as an excuse to not query? Or am I finally writing the one, the story that will be my break through and get me published? I believe I am writing better than I’ve written, and I adore the plot, but if I’m honest with myself, I always feel this way about each new story. Well except for that NaNoWriMo ditty that needs its head cut off.

I abhor longwinded blogs so I’ll get straight to the point. How about you? Do you fall madly and obsessively in love with your MCs? Do you spend your every waking moment, including the ones when you should be falling asleep, imagining ways to make their lives hell?

Drop me a note and tell me about your MC and why he/she deserves the love you lavish on them…

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Wait or Not To Wait or To Write

Oh the anticipation…”You’ve Got Mail”.

You shyly read the sender’s name, yes, yes, yes, it’s one of the agents that you’ve queried, your mind screams to your fingers, “CLICK THE BLOODY BUTTON ALREADY!”

But your fingers stubbornly revolt. See, they’ve taken this trip before, and they know the ride ends in failure, so you wait. The battle rages between your mind and your fingers…open, open, open!

Your body unable to take the tension roiling through you, weighs in…get another cup of coffee, go take a wee, get a little exercise, or check your other email? Or maybe you should get some coffee and exercise? So, you perform these other suddenly monumentally important tasks, but once finished, it’s still there, it’s still waiting…

Your mind forces you to return to the agent’s magical response, your pinkie finger, such a little guy to be put in such an important position, hovers over the ‘enter’ key. Your heart paces like a wild caged animal, and your breathing stops altogether.

Should you wait a little longer? Maybe you should go work on your current WIP, you’ve only written two paragraphs of worthless drivel today…

Your pinkie, unused to such extreme tension, strikes! The damage is done…

Thursday, May 5, 2011

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Living in Texas you’d think I can describe in detail what Cinco de Mayo means. And you’d be right, but not because I learned it here, I Googled it. If you ask a non-Hispanic Texan what it means, you’ll likely get the right answer, the fifth of May.

But if you ask him, why the Mexicans celebrate it, he’s apt to beat you with his ten gallon hat. See, everyone is allowed to equally celebrate the invention of Tacos by a senorita named Margarita.

If you ask the same question of a Hispanic Texan, say from El Salvador or Guatemala, you’ll probably get, “How the heck do I know, I’m not Mexican.”

You must go to the source. And sadly, it’ll probably be the wrong answer.

It is not Mexican Independence Day.

After the Mexican-American war, Mexico entered a civil war from 1858-1861, without the tourist trade or Pollo Loco that pretty much wiped them out. They borrowed a heap of pesos from England, Spain, and France, among others. In 1862 the three bandidos came to collect, Mexico offered them vouchers, (these have been replaced by the ‘all-inclusive’ bracelet). England and Spain, drunk on cerveza and pretty senoritas went on home, but the wine loving French ‘no quiero-ed’ the IOU and declared war. Thus the battle of Puebla, the French got their butts kicked yet again on North American soil and the Mexicans invented guacamole in their honor.

Happy writing!
I’m getting back to it as soon as I finish this bottle of Tequila!