Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tagged, Tagged, Tagged, and Awarded!

Ok, so I've been really lazy. I've been tagged several times for several different things, and never actually got around to answering any of the questions, which makes my two new awards feel a little unearned.

So this is me earning them!

First of all, a big thank you to Alyssa for the awards! I think I'll dive into this first. So I've got to do the usual thing, answer the questions, pass it on, repeat.

First up is the Sunshine award!

Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite animal: Hummingbird
Favorite number: 11
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Lately? Fruit punch, but then again, I'm almost 5 months pregnant and I usually hate fruit punch, so lets blame that on the baby shall we? Normally, its strawberry lemonade. :-)
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
My passion: Writing. I never really understood passion until I started writing.
Getting or giving presents: Giving! I love thinking of just the perfect gift.
Favorite pattern: Pattern? I guess polka dots. I wanted to put them on my car, but my husband pointed out that polka dots on a brand new Kia probably wasn't the best idea.
Favorite day of the week: Thursday. I'm a Vampire Diaries addict.
Favorite flower: Lilies.

Alrighty, next up is the Kreative Blogger award!

This one requires seven interesting things about myself:

1. I've lived on both the east coast and the west coast
2. I got bit in the face by a dog when I was a baby
3. I'm addicted to the sour mix Jelly Belly jellybeans
4. I met my husband in high school
5. I can not for the life of me drive a stick shift
6. I'm scared of the ocean (Jaws did me in,)
7. I think Lake Placid is the funniest movie ever.


So there you go. That's it for the award questions, now all that's left are my 10 nominations! (And these are ten people who I believe deserve both because they're awesome!)

Madeline Jane

Leigh Ann
Sommer Leigh

Lena
Sarah Perry
S. L. Hennessey
Cristina Dos Santos
Lyla Lee
Melissa Hurst

Now, as for the tagging... here's a bit of a problem. You see, I was tagged about ten times, and it seemed like every one had different questions! So I'm just going to list them all. Feel free to skip to the bottom, this could get boring... or possibly a little embarrassing (I'm a tad bit sleep deprived at the moment, so I might read over this tomorrow and think "What the &>$% was I thinking?")

You have been warned.

1. If you had one week left to live, what would you do?
Wrack up a ton of debt trying to get my skydivers license as quickly as I could. The powers that be frown on skydiving while you're carrying a little melon in your belly otherwise I'd be up there right now. But, babies come first, so I'll just have to wait until August. :-)

2.What quote inspires you?
"Write the book you most desperately want to read." I know who said it, but I can't remember exactly at the moment.... I guess you could Google it.

3. What movie scene inspires you?
Anything that makes me feel what I imagine the characters on screen would feel. The one that first comes to mind is that scene in the rain in The Notebook, when Allie finds out that Noah wrote to her every day. But then again, I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks.

4. What comedy do you end up watching again and again as the years go by?
The Love Guru! Cracks me up! "Like I say in my book 'Stop hitting yourself, Stop hitting yourself, Why are you still hitting yourself'" Lol.

5. Do you think love can last forever?
And ever and ever and ever.

6. What fictional character would you trade lives with if you could?
Hmmm, well there's Frannie from Personal Demons. It would be cool to Judo kick a demon. Or lets see... Clary from The Mortal Instruments, Alice from Twilight (because seeing the future is just AWESOME) or Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. You just can't pass up Mr. Darcy.

7. What historical character would you marry if you had to choose someone?
Ummmm..... I have no idea. For some reason the only historical person I can think of is Abraham Lincoln, and that beard... blech...

8. Which do you prefer coffee, hot cocoa, soda, vegetable juice, or water?
Hot cocoa! With a candy cane stirring stick. :-)

9. How long would it take you to drive to the beach from where you live?
Unfortunately, about 14 hours.

10. What are you currently reading?
Original Sin, by Lisa Desrochers

11. If you choose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct
a. 25% There are only 4 options. :-)
b.50%
c. 60%
d. 20%

Tag number 2

1.What two characters would you like to see battle each other?
How about Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries), and Luc Cain (Personal Demons) -but before Luc stopped being a demon. That would be pretty cool to see.

2. Who is your greatest inspiration?
Each and every author that makes me feel unworthy. I'll get there someday.

3. If you could change places with any book character, who would it be and why?
Already answered this one. I think I'm going to have to go with Elizabeth Bennet though (Of course I mean the one from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Everything is cooler with a katana sword. lol)

4. Sum up your current WIP in one sentence.
On the way to visit her father a girl gets sucked onto the wrong train and ends up in a twisted, alternate place that's been kidnapping people for centuries and torturing them with their worst nightmares.

5. Are you a plot-driven writer or a character-driven writer?
It depends on the story, and what pops into my brain first. If I'm inspired by an idea for a character, then the story that unravels is very character driven, but if its the plot that presents itself first, that's what drives me.

6. What is your biggest fear?
That someone will drop me in the middle of the ocean and I'll be devoured by sharks, or giant squids, or a whale or something. There's just too much under you that you can't see until you're swallowed alive.

7. When you walk into a book store where do you go first?
The YA section. Every time.

8. Cats or dogs?
Dogs, totally a dog person. Cats scratch me.

9. You've just been placed in the Witness Protection Program what's your alias?
Megan Belly, the sudden, inexplicable heiress to the Jelly Belly fortune and-more importantly- secret recipes. ;-)

10. Would you rather live in outer space or under the sea? Why?
Under the sea, as long as there was very thick glass between me and the creepy ocean crawlies. And the sea, because the idea of being in space sort of creeps me out. I mean, you get stuck in the wrong chamber and your brains get sucked out of your nose.

11. If you HAD to lose one of your senses which one would you choose to live without?
Smell. There are enough bad smells in this world I'd be OK living without.

And another one...

1.Dessert or main dish?
Dessert, all the way

2. Coffee or tea?
Tea please

3. Biggest pet peeve.
When the person behind you at the checkout line stands so close to you that they're breathing on your neck.

4. Who inspires you?
Anyone who writes better than me... so A LOT of people lol.

5. If you could speak a (another) foreign language which would it be?
Italian. Sarebbe incredibile

6. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Ah, I'm more of a Stargate fan myself. Sorry Spock.

7. The best gift you ever received.
I don't know if this is the best gift, but it's certainly the coolest! My husband got me throwing knives for Christmas. Ha! I'm going to kill myself before I learn to throw them right, but by God I'll have a skill when its time for the zombie apocalypse!

8. If you could go back and relive your high school years, would you?
Knowing what I know now? Sure! I'd rule that place. Lol

9. A book you wish Hollywood had left alone.
Twilight.

10. Strangest thing you've ever written in a note (e.g., random pieces of paper, your hand...etc)
Ummm... I have no idea. Knowing me, it was pretty good though, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

11.PC or MAC?
Mac! RIP Steve Jobs and your turtlenecks.

And another... (yawn!)

1. What’s your favorite book genre? YA

2. Are there any beloved books that you don’t really enjoy? Harry Potter. I've tried and tried to get into them, but I think I have a problem reading the early ones when he's so young, and I can't seem to get through them to the older ones! Frustrating.

3. What was your favorite class in school? English

4. Do you write under a pseudonym or use your real name? I think I'll use a pseudonym. I just want my writing life to be a separate thing from my personal life.

5. Do you prefer reading first person or third person? First.

6. An old question, but e-books or paper? Both. I always buy both if I have the money. If I'm strapped, then paper.

7. You’re stranded on an island that has plenty of food and water, but no electricity or way to contact the outside world. But you have one object of your choice with you. What is it? Umm Pride and Prejudice. That thing could keep me occupied until help arrived lol. I've read that way to many times...

8. Which do you like more, Facebook or Twitter? Again, Facebook.

9. Coffee or tea? Again, Tea

10. Pick one word to describe yourself with. Nutballs. No, Crazybeans.

11. If you had one wish, what would it be? (PS: no fair wishing for more wishes) That I could get my stories down on paper the way they are in my head.

Couple more...

1. You're on a deserted island for six months with one person ~ who would it be and why? My husband, because when I freaked out and started talking to a coconut I know he loves me enough to shake me and snap me the hell out of it lol.

2. You were caught in a meteor shower which left you with strange abilities. Now every time you eat chocolate, you can ... what? FLY!!!

3. A friend takes you to an abandoned castle that has been hidden for centuries. She heard a rumor that great treasure was hidden in the sixth tower. Would you venture inside or turn it over to the authorities to investigate? What would you find? Um, I'm not a fan of the creepy castle, so I'd probably pay someone else to go in for me. I'm a chicken like that though, willing to exploit the thrill seekers of the world so I don't have to face the creepy crawlies in the shadows. :-)

4. You can only drink one type of beverage for the next year - what would it be and why? Fruit punch. (We've already been over this)

5. Have you ever had to face a fear of yours? What was it and how did you overcome it, if you did? I face my fears every time a spider is rude enough to attack when my husband is at work.

6. Have you enjoyed certain ages in your life more than others? What is your ideal age and why? Well I'm only 22, so my options are a little limited, but I'll go with 17. It's the year I met my husband, and I didnt have to worry about bills.

7. Has anyone totally amazed you in life? Who and why? Yes, my son amazes me every day.

8. Have you ever written in a character in a story patterned after a real person ~ out of spite, because that person ticked you off? Oh yes. Sometimes, when I meet someone who is just extremely unpleasant, I'll rewrite my villain to match them. Take that!

9. Do any of your characters make you totally crazy because they have a mind of their own and take you places you hadn't planned on? ALL THE TIME.

10. What is your most favorite phrase/paragraph that you have written? Can you share it?
I could, but I won't. ;-) Not yet anyway. (It's a spoiler)

11. If you could sit down and talk shop with any writer from any time period - who would it be and why? Easy. Lisa Desrochers. She writes whatever she wants to, sex, swearing, religion, whatever, and doesn't apologize for any of it.

One more!

Do you use Word Verification and why? (Better check first)
I know it says check, but I'm too tired. You tell me, do I use word verification?

When visiting a Blog what bothers you most about the format?
When I'm trying to follow them and I cant find the damn button!

Do you have your email address listed on your profile, if not, why?
Yup! I want people to be able to contact me if they want to. :-)

How often do you post?
Whenever the heck I remember. I swear, I'm worse than an 80 year old woman. I'd forget to breathe if it wasn't involuntary.

Are you on Facebook or Google plus?
Facebook.

How often do you check your stats?
Rarely. My stats don't matter to me so much as the comments.

What influences what you write about?
Dreams, people in my real life, other books and what they make me think about.

What is the most important thing that happened to you last year?
My husband went into the military.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland. Hands down. I'd like to go find my distant family over there (the ones that didn't bail when the whole potato thing went down) and scare the crap out of them with my crazy American manners and unwillingness to eat things stuffed in animal stomachs.

If you could talk to a dead person about writing, who would that be?
Jane Austen. I'd love to ask her how she balances out a character so well that you both love and hate them at the same time. Genius.

Whats one thing in the grocery store do you always want to buy?
Bread. I'm always buying bread.

OK! Done. I have officially fulfilled my tag and award obligations! So I would really appreciate it if nobody tagged me for a few days! I need a break!

Just kidding. OH and HAPPY LEAP DAY! See you again in 4 years. ;-)

Toodles!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Broke 100!!


As of... sometime this morning, I finally broke 100 followers! It only took about a thousand hours of my time and two Campaigns, but holy moley I'm excited!

So to celebrate, I've compiled a TON of information on queries.

It cracks me up seeing websites like SlushPile Hell and Query Shark if for no other reason than the sheer number of bad queries out there. Now, don't get me wrong, I would never ever read someone's query and say some of the things they say, but you have to admit they have a point.

There are literally thousands of websites out there about queries. Your favorite agent has guidelines about what they want right there on their websites. There are hundreds of Wikipedia, and About.com articles on what to do and what not to do. And yet.... there are people who still start off their query, telling "To whom it may concern" (since apparently it's too difficult to personalize a query with a specific name) how lucky they are to have such an AMAZING opportunity in their hands, and how stupid they'd be to turn it down, since it's so obviously the next Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, Etc.

In my opinion, comparing your book to anything that's already a bestseller is a bad idea. Why would you want to tell an agent that your novel is the next anything when it can be the first of something new? Why compare yourself to someone else, when you're great just being yourself?

So, I sit around when I'm procrastinating on my own novel and read all these queries on these sites, and I'm cracking up. There are so many people who honestly believe they're doing an agent some kind of favor by even sending them a query! Which, in the grand scheme of things, I suppose all potential authors are, because without any query letters, agents would pretty much be out of business. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOUR SPECIFIC QUERY IS SAVING THEIR CAREER.

If you didn't send yours, they'd have 759 others sitting in their inbox. So before you do anything, remember that they're taking time out of their busy day to read what you've sent them, not the other way around, and the least you can do is send them a personalized query.

(By the way, if you're one of those people who think your manuscript is God's gift to the world, I'd say I'm sorry if I've offended you, but I'm really not. Being published is like driving a car. It's a privilege, not a right.)

So if you're rounding that corner to query land like I am with The Blood Train, then the following list could be pretty helpful! But the most important thing to remember is that a query is very simple and very short. All you need is what your story is about. That's it. An agent might be really interested in your long journey to publication, or the fact that your YA novel was inspired by your kids/dog/mother-in-law/Bigfoot figurine/etc but not in the query.

So, without further ado:

Writer Beware- How to write a query letter

What NOT to do!

How Nathan Bransford says you should do it
How to write a query courtesy of eHow.com

Rachelle Gardner's Tips
Scribendi.com's Advice, and some Do's and Dont's
Top query letter mistakes
Janet Reid: What you need before you query
What's NOT a query letter
About.com sample query letter
Writing a query

Some good examples:

1
2.
3.
4.

Some very BAD examples:

1.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc.

Sorry, I would have gone through and found some more links, but there are just so many amazing examples of what to avoid at SlushPile Hell that I just didn't see the point. (Plus its anonymous so I keep from offending people.)

Oh, and in other news, that nasty spider bite has healed up nicely and I'm back to my old self! And now that I've taken about two hours compiling the right links for this post, it's time to get back to The Blood Train.

I'm almost ready for some critiques, so if anybody's interested in doing a read through you can shoot me an email! There's a tab at the top for The Blood Train if you're not sure what I'm talking about. :-)

Have a great day everyone, and Happy Tuesday!

Toodles!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Just Wanted To Say...

To all my new followers, I'd like to say a huge HI! I'm so happy to see you here and share my writing adventures with you, and see how you handle the crazy world of writing. :-)

To all my old followers, I'd like to say...You're so great!

Sorry, I'm on this crazy medicine that's been called "Benadryl on Crack" even by my doctor and besides making me a little jittery, I also can't seem to post in normal little letters!

But, even though my hands are shaking, I still wanted to take a moment and thank everyone, new and old for your support and I hope I can be there for you all as much as you have been for me!

Oh, and since I can't help but share really gross and morbid things, I'd also like to share that the "Benadryl on Crack" is to treat the spider bite of the century:





Boo!
Yeah, it's terrible.


I hate spiders.


Look for a post later this week about all the query information available out there on the internet and the best way to sift through it all. I promise, that post will be much less jittery, and a whole heck of a lot less spider-y. Yes, I said spider-y.

Toodles, and happy writing!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sharing Is Caring!

I'm in the sharing mood, and since I did nothing but procrastinate on the internet today instead of finishing my draft of The Blood Train, the least I can do is share my spoils with my lovely readers!

Most importantly, and most excitingly... it's time for another Campaign! Rachael Harrie has decided it's time for her 4th Writer's Platform Building Campaign, for all those aspiring authors to build their audience! I participated in the 3rd campaign and had a blast, so I hope you will too.

What are you waiting for? Go sign up!

In other news!

YA Highway shared an awesome post on why it's not a bad thing to start over.

Nathan Bransford, former literary agent extraordinaire, gave some helpful advice on how to get back into the swing of things when your writing life decides to take a little detour.

Rachelle Gardener sheds some light on when it's OK to call an agent or editor.

And last, but certainly not least, my favorite commercials from the Superbowl! It's tied between the Audi vampire party, and the naked M&M.






What do you think? Which one was better?