Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013

There are dozens of these end-of-the-year blogs today, since, hey, it's the end of the year. I wasn't going to do one, and then I started thinking about all the AMAZING things that happened this year and I decided I really wanted to share, so here goes.

This year I got together with the BEST group of ladies and we made the most amazing critique group known to man. The ladies of The Constellation Society have changed my life in more ways than one, and somehow this group of strangers has transformed into some of my absolute best friends.

I also gave up on a manuscript that was holding me down. Some of you may have known it as Wolfy Love Story. Hailey and Noah's story was so close to my heart for SO many emotionally charged reasons, and it sucked to push it aside but it was necessary. I'd been editing the same thing over and over and it wasn't going anywhere. Mostly because I was already so far ahead of that writing. That book was where I was at three years ago, and it was time to let it go.

I fell in LOVE with my new book. And by new, I mean my newest attempt to write a story that's been in my head for a few years. I had a list of my favorite plot points and a blank document, and I went for it. It took me 16 weeks to finish it, with my amazing CP's reading as I wrote, and I'm so happy to say that I will finally be querying something in the new year. To have something that you're proud of enough to actually WANT to share with the world is one of the better things that happened to me this year.

I wrote my very first query letter.

I wrote my very first synopsis! (HATE THOSE STUPID THINGS, by the way.)

I entered Pitch Wars this year, marking my very first contest EVER, and we all know how that worked out for me. ;-)

My little girl turned one in July! We drove to Oregon to visit my husbands family, and then a few months later we drove to Disneyland (my first time there as well as my kids.)

It was a year of firsts. A year of accomplishments. 2013 is a year I can look back on with real, meaningful milestones not only for my family, but for my potential career as an author.

And 2013 makes me giddy for 2014, and what this next year might bring me. I'm at a place where I'm finally moving forward, rather than circling the same place, and I'm anxious to see what I'm moving toward.

I wish each and every one of you the most amazing new year. I love you all. 



Saturday, December 28, 2013


I've been meaning to blog about this for about a month now, but I have a new tattoo on the back of my neck! And I'm completely in love with it.

(I don't have a  healed picture, this was taken about an hour after it was done, so it's still a little red here.)
I've forever thought of myself as a tattoo person without the tattoo part. I have this image in my head of me at book signings sometime in the future with my crazy colored highlights and arms covered in tattoos. I'm not entirely sure I'm capable of pulling something like that off, but hey, it's fun to pretend you're badass every once in a while.

And by the way, tattoo addiction is a real thing. I didn't even have the bandage on this one and I was already planning my next one with my artist. He's AMAZING, and immediately jumped into planning it with me. Now all I need is another $200 and I'm going back under the needle.

Oh, and before you ask. Yes, it hurt. But not as much as you'd think. Sort of wince inducing, like a bee stinging you over and over for a half hour and then you get kind of numb to it, and the worst part is sitting there bored for the duration.

My nifty new owl took three and a half hours (with my chin to my chest, which resulted in the worst neck ache of my LIFE!!)

Do you have any? Do you love tattoos, or hate them? Do you imagine a whole generation of tatted up elderlies like I do? (Seriously, our nursing homes will be so interesting in 50 years!)


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Having The Confidence

I've blogged before about how frustrating it is to write, and write, and write and never see it go anywhere. About how my drafts kept stalling out halfway through, and Shiny New Idea Syndrome took over and pulled me in another direction.

This isn't going to be about that. Because I've kicked Shiny New Idea Syndrome in the bottom.

My manuscript is done. It's polished. It's in the hands of some final beta readers and I'm itching with a mixture of impatience and worry at the thought of querying. I have everything an agent could ask for: query, synopsis, etc. Everything is done, and all that's left is getting things back from my beta reads and actually querying.

That's where needing the confidence comes in. I'm genuinely terrified every time I share my work, even with my trusted group of CP's (who are the single best group of ladies on the planet, and definitely shouldn't be nerve inducing.) And I'm nine or ten times more terrified to share it with actual industry professionals. I don't know if it's a lack of confidence in myself, or my book, or my ability to make it through this without going COMPLETELY GREY. But it sucks. It sucks worrying that what you've written isn't good enough to impress the way it must in order to get published.

So this week, and next, I'm working on my confidence. And my New Years resolution will be to keep working, and becoming the strongest writer that I can possibly be. This is my dream. I just need the confidence to make it happen.

Happy Holidays everyone. <3 p="">


Friday, December 13, 2013

Want To Hear About My Week? DO YOU?

Well ok, since you asked… :-)

In my last post I talked about obsessively refreshing everything Pitch Wars related. Counting down the days to December 11th was getting really, really stressful. (By the way, I have NO IDEA how I'm going to query without going completely grey. AT 24!)

So on Tuesday I decided to stop looking at Twitter and stop checking my email. It was the day before the reveal and I was tired of my stomach being in five thousand knots. And I didn't actually change my mind a few minutes later! Which is strange, because my willpower is basically nonexistent.

ANNYWAY, I sat online, chatting with my CP's most of the morning, and they were all:

"I've been checking #Pitchwars every few minutes, and I didn't even enter. I don't know how you're not looking at it."

I made a smiley face and kept editing.

"Megan, are you excited? It's tomorrow!"

Another smiley face. And kept editing. (At this point I thought I was being pretty cool. I entered the contest and my CP's were freaking about it more than I was! Score!)

Then, "Megan, something is happening on Twitter."

I chewed on my lip.

"WHAT?!?!? They're talking about a reveal, Megan! Are they going to announce the winners a day early?"

Surely not, right? I mean, why would they do that? Why would Brenda Drake, in all her awesomeness, suddenly decide to put us all out of our misery?

"They're saying something is going to happen in 5-10 minutes!!!"

I closed out of EVERYTHING and opened Twitter. Sure enough dozens of mentors were tweeting about SOMETHING happening in a few minutes. There was talk of the "surprise" being delayed, and I paced back and forth nervously refreshing every few seconds.

And, all in all, I still thought I was being pretty cool about it. I mean, I hadn't reduced to a crumble of Megan in the corner of my living room, rocking back and forth like a crazy person.

That was a bonus right?

Then Twitter exploded with links to Brenda Drake's newest blog post. This one. The one revealing all the mentor picks. And as I scrolled and scrolled, looking for the four I submitted to, my heart raced, my palms sweat all over the keyboard, and my feet danced around like a toddler avoiding the bathroom.

And there it was. 1st alternate to Megan Whitmer! Who is lovely, and helpful, and quite possibly the nicest person ever!

Right about then, when I saw my name in that 1st alternate slot, I lost my cool.

It was a little something like this:

Minion kind of happiness, mixed with an extremely embarrassing happy dance, that THANKFULLY nobody could see. From what I hear there were 2700 Pitch Wars submissions, and based on feedback from the other mentors I submitted to, I made it to the top 10 with 3 out of 4. Something I never, ever expected to be able to do.

The rest of my week paled in comparison to Tuesday, even though I got another 30 or so Twitter followers including a few that made me crazy-smile. The validation that what I'm doing and what I'm creating my actually go somewhere, and isn't a huge waste of my time, is so priceless I can't even describe it. And I wish that for anyone who hasn't felt that yet, as well as high five everyone who has. 

It's the best feeling in the world.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pitch Wars!!

Ok, so I wasn't going to blog about this. Not because I didn't want to, but I didn't think I'd have the time! I'm currently in my hotel room outside of Disneyland, and this week has been as fun as it has been exhausting. We don't head back until Saturday, and it's a two day drive. Blurg.

BUT, I entered Pitch Wars on Monday, and have been obsessively refreshing my email and Twitter feed every few minutes while I wait in those huge lines for the roller coasters. (I love me some Space Mountain.)

And surprisingly, I'm not being as neurotic about it as I thought. Am I stalking the four mentors on Twitter to see if any of their vague tweets apply to me? Yes, yes I am. Do I refresh my email 100 times a day? Of course. Downing antacids like jellybeans? You betcha!

But I'm relatively calm otherwise. I even forget there's people with my chapters sometimes, maybe even for a whole hour, before I scramble for my phone again and refresh everything. ;-)

I know. I'm a bit of a mess. I like it that way though. Makes life interesting.

Did you enter Pitch Wars? Get any requests? TELL ME, I want to know!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Pitch Wars and the SUCKY-NESS OF QUERIES

Hello all!

So a friend of mine suggested I try participating in Pitch Wars this year. So I checked out the site, and looked through all the mentors, and then realized the submission day (December 2nd) I'd be in Disneyland.

Of course, this resulted in a crazy, rush-to-get-everything-ready sort of frenzy that I'm still in the middle of. It is ridiculously difficult to chase around two children, write enough words for Nano, critique for my group, AND write my first ever query letter. That's right. I've never written a query before.

And you know what? IT SUCKS. I listened for so long about people "diving into the query trenches" and "drowning in query hell" and I shuddered and thought "Man, I hope it's not that hard for me."

Ah the naiveté of youth. It is hard. It's very hard. It's so hard I want to rip all my hair out and light it on fire. (Okay, BIG exaggeration there, but you get my point.)

And it's scary. To know you're summing everything you love about the thousands and thousands of words that make up your novel into two tiny paragraphs? It sucks! A LOT. And anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy.

Crazy eyed Nicholas Cage kind of nutballs

So after four days of panic, I think I have a somewhat workable query. Though, it's so not what I want it to be, and I don't know it that's possible. In fact, I know it's not. Because I want it to be perfect, and there's no such thing as a perfect query, much like there's no such thing as a perfect book.

And if anyone is interested, this is what I came up with:

Seventeen-year-old Olivia has one goal: to get her overstressed mother through the station before the train to Charlotte leaves without her. But when she’s inexplicably drawn to the back corner of the terminal and her feet move toward the farthest train without her permission, she panics. An invisible force rips her thorough the crowds and yanks her inside, where the walls bleed, floors vanish, and passengers’ worst fears manifest to the soundtrack of bloodcurdling screams. A place no one has escaped in more than a hundred years. 
After narrowly fending off a psychotic old woman with an oozing, bloody scalp, Olivia is swept into the care of the other passengers. While most are warm and friendly, Richard, their handsome leader, greets her with nothing but disdain, insisting that once you enter the Blood Train there's no escape. Olivia must adapt or die, in a place where her wit and right hook aren’t always enough to keep her safe. 
It soon becomes clear the others won’t risk their lives to find an exit they don’t believe exists, leaving Olivia to figure it out on her own. But her mission is quickly complicated by stolen, guilt-ridden kisses with Richard, and attempts on her life. Someone wants her dead and will go to great lengths to see that she doesn’t figure out the secrets of the train. With only Richard at her side, she prepares to make a run for it, when an explosion sends everyone running for their lives. To save herself and those she’s grown to love, Olivia has to conquer everything—including her own heart.

What do you guys think? Not terrible, maybe. And it's only my… fifteenth draft. Ugh. Kill me now.

Do you have query trench horror stories? Are you participating in Pitch Wars? Tell me, tell me!



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nano, or No No?

I've been trying so hard to meet all my goals so I can participate in Nano again this year. My current WIP is very slow going, but it's coming out well I think. Unfortunately, in order to finish this in time to start my next idea on November 1st I need to write about two and half chapters a week from now until then.

Obviously, having two children under the age of 5, and everyone's birthdays basically happening in a two week span from the end of September to the beginning of October, complicates things.

Normally, my writing habits tend to result in about 2,000 words a night. If that were the case with this story I'd have no problem at all. But, I'm closer to 200 words a night, if anything at all.

So I'm in need of some drafting luck. I'm sending out all kinds of good vibes to anyone who happens to read about my time crunch struggle, and I'm sincerely hoping you are eagerly anticipating your Nano experience, rather than worrying about it.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Music To My Ears...

Freaking LOVE this song. Don't listen if you're not a remix fan (BTW you're obviously nuts.)
Just kidding. 

I hope everyone is having a SUPER productive week! I am. Switching from 1st to 3rd person really seemed like the kick in the pants I needed to write something really awesome. And it's a demon train that abducts people, so everything is awesome! I'm scaring the crap out of myself. 

Anyhoo, off topic. I wish everyone the best writerly luck there is, and have a fantastic week!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Music To My Ears...

I think I'm on a Marianas Trench kick this week...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Self Doubt

I hate second guessing myself. But, as a writer, it's impossible to avoid. I have this vicious cycle that no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to break.

I'm drafting, I'm smiling, the world looks so full of hope because this is the one. This is the story that I'll stick with. After giving up on my last project for (insert excuse) this will be the one that makes it to the dreaded query trenches.

And then I start re-reading what I've written, and that hopeful world I've been living in comes crashing down around me. Don't mess with self doubt. It'll kick you in your lady nards and leave you crying in a huddled ball.

Why can't we just write, and be proud of what we're creating? I think every writer on this planet can understand what I'm talking about. Why is it our first instinct to say everything sucks? Chances are, it's not as bad as you think. I mean, if you spend thirty hours carefully planning out every twist and turn, what are the chances you have un-fixable plot holes? If you've revised three times, it probably doesn't deserve to be burned in the fireplace—no matter how badly you want to. And no matter what you're working on, throwing that computer against the wall is never, never the answer.

And yet, this is me, slipping into that deep dark place, four chapters into yet ANOTHER re-write of The Blood Train.

On the upside, I have the most amazing set of ladies in my critique group to pull me up out of that dark place. I'd be lost and very unproductive without them. So maybe the cure for self doubt is wonderful support...



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Music to My Ears...

I love Imagine Dragons. 

Probably more than any other band I've obsessed over in the last 6 months. 

This song even helped me sort out a super difficult break up scene between my shapeshifters. 


Monday, April 22, 2013

New Blog Design!

I was bored, my novel needed a rewrite on the ending, and I was doing literally everything but that. Including, but not limited to:

  • Watching my 9 month old sway back and forth in her swing
  • Calculating the calories in homemade pizza with crust made from greek yogurt (210 calories a slice, by the way)
  • Looking up Reese Witherspoon's mug shot
  • Sticking and unsticking post-it notes around my computer screen like a wreath
  • Throwing a tennis ball for my dog
  • Tickle fights with a 4 year old
  • Refreshing my email a thousand times (I wasn't even expecting anything)
  • Measuring my wrist size (5 3/4 inches)
  • Practicing my signature, you know, for when I'm famous?
And apparently scrapping my whole blog design and starting from scratch!

What do you think? I've been on a real grey/yellow or grey/orange kick lately. We live in base housing so you have to get paint colors approved, and I was even thinking about taking some orange down to the housing office and seeing what they say because a grey and orange basement would be pretty cool.

I'm more prone to run-on sentences when I'm procrastinating.

Anyhoo, how do you like the new look?



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just Stop...

("The Picnic" by Thomas Cole)

Lately I find myself staring at my computer screen counting how many times that stupid little text line blinks at me rather than writing anything down. It's not so much writer's block, as writer stubbornness.

It's a good kind of stubborn. I'm not going to rewrite the end of my book just to turn around and do it all over again the next time I edit. If I can't get it right this time (or at least close) then I'm not going to write it.

So, last night I'm sitting there counting the line and I shut my computer off. I'd written maybe 6 words in a whole hour and I was done. I watched some TV, cuddled with my beagle on the couch, and went to bed early. And wouldn't you know, first thing this morning I sat down and the words started flowing.

You can't force it. Sometimes you just need to step away, and let your brain relax. It's why I get my best ideas in the shower or while I'm driving. My brain got to take a breath for a second.

After all, it's hard work stringing all those words together.

The next time I find myself counting the line I'm going to do the same thing. And when this book is on submission this summer I'm going to give my brain a well deserved vacation, where all it has to worry about is feeding the kiddos and not burning in the sun.

Does your brain ever need a break?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Music to My Ears...

Still my favorite band of all time. They continue to amaze me, even with their covers...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Getting Past The Major Cuts

Ok, so I'm relatively new at this editing thing. It's taken me a really long time to find a story I loved enough to finish, never mind edit.

You could call this a call to anyone who's got some editing experience. I need advice and I'll take it from just about anyone at this point.

My question is this: How do you get past that point where you feel like deleting thousands of words- or whole chapters- is necessary? At some point the big stuff has to end right? At some point I should move past this and start tweaking the little stuff, but I can't shake that feeling that I have to re-write the ending (which I've done twice) or the beginning (seven times) or reverse the order of chapter 3 and 4, etc. I can't seem to move past the big stuff.

Any tips? I know it can't be as screwed up as I think it is, especially since I've been working on it for two years and I'm in my second round of editing.

Do I just keep going until I realize the big "issues" are all gone?

Do I take a break from the chapter re-arranging and move on to little things for a while to get perspective?"

Am I completely losing my mind?

I'll answer that, I totally am.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Music to My Ears...

Love, Love, Love This Song!

Some songs just fire you up for your writing, and this totally does it. I've listened to it about thirty times. Thank you David Guetta and Sia.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Editing Sucks. There, I Said It...

I have so many notes. They're scribbled on post-its, index cards, and little pieces of paper. I've got scraps of dialogue that may or may not get into my draft, I've got ideas to cut down my word count, and ways to make characters more interesting.

(And this is the cleanest it's been all week.)

Pretty soon my desk is going to revolt and run off to avoid all the litter. And to tell you the truth, I wouldn't blame it at all. I'm about to do the same thing.

It's really going to stink if all this work doesn't make this draft any better than the last one.


Tired of Editing

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Day For Critique Partners

As a person who has probably abused my own critique partners with endless questions and drafts, I think we're missing a very important day. We celebrate dead Presidents for running our country, parents for raising us, best friends for supporting us, and Columbus... who mistook America for another continent entirely. 

At the very least critique partners should have a day before that guy. Right?

So here's a call to every writer out there who has ever valued that perfect stranger who became a fan and a friend at the same time. Here's to hours spent on someone else's labor of love. For all the advice, encouragement, tips, and opinions. If you have someone like this, you should make your own Day for Critique Partners. It doesn't matter what day it is, just pick a day and make sure they know they're valued.

Because without them... where would we be?

Here's mine. I know it's been a while, but I'd like to send a huge thank you to Lena and Celeste, wherever you are out there in the world. Thank you for everything.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Favorite Things About Writing

1. Creating new worlds.

2. Falling in love with my characters.

3. Making my characters falling in love with each other.

4. Having an excuse to blare music with noise cancelling headphones.

5. First kisses.

6. Wrapping up in a blanket, with my laptop, and a cup of tea.

7. Wracking my brain for tender romantic gestures.

8. Researching random things like the origins of wolfsbane, top speeds in various Maserati models, and the average temperature in different states in July.

9. Erasing parts I'm unsure of, and replacing them with parts I love.

10. Waking up in the middle of the night to write ideas down.

What are your favorite things about writing??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Suggestions?

I haven't exactly had a lot of time to read lately. I have this stack of books on my shelf that I should really get to, but I haven't had the chance. And I don't really mind. Usually I'm chomping at the bit to read, and I couldn't figure out the problem, and then I did.

I'm not reading because there's nothing exciting I'm really looking forward to. I love it when an author gets me so hooked I'm dying to read another book of theirs, but its frustrating waiting a year for something new and never finding anything good to read in the mean time.

I'm having bad book luck...

So I'm asking you. What have you read lately that you would recommend?

Any breathtaking love stories?

Or maybe something filled with fantastically breathtaking awesomeness?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Where Does The Time Go?

To this day, I have no idea how I spend all the minutes of my day. Being a stay at home mom should have its perks, I should be able to take a second to write, or bake a cake, or fold some laundry, or, you know, eat?

Anyone that says it must be easy staying at home with your kids, has no idea what they're talking about. I wake up and think "Ok, today I've got to fold that huge pile of laundry, put it away, clean the kitchen, dust that horribly dirty entertainment center, and give the dog a bath." Five things that, when done from start to finish would only take me about an hour or two.

But instead, it goes a little like this:

Wake up.
Change baby's diaper
Open Preschoolers curtains
Turn off his nightlight
Pour cereal
Let the dog out
Make a piece of toast
Put a few dishes in the dishwasher
Let the dog back in
Turn on cartoons
Fold three or four shirts
Clean up spilled milk
Mix up some baby food
Clean off the baby's face, and hands, and elbows... and everything else
Fold a few more shirts, or pants, or whatever
Change another diaper
Grab a granola bar for the preschooler
Put in a kiddie movie
Finish folding the clothes
Yell at preschooler to stop climbing on the dog
Convince him to take a pile of his jeans to his room
Throw a few more plates in the dishwasher
Time for more baby food
Baby takes a nap, toddler starts jumping on the couch
Baby wakes up screaming in terror
Twenty minutes to calm the baby down
Ten minutes of Preschooler time out.
Let the dog out again
Peanut butter sandwich, or grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets, or soup for the preschooler
Wipe down kitchen counters
Change diaper
Rush another pile of clothes up the stairs
Wait for baby to fall asleep... she never does
Give up on giving the dog a bath
Lay on the floor with the baby so she gets some tummy time without screaming her head off
Switch the movie for the preschooler
Back to the floor
Yell at the dog to get off the preschooler
Yell at the preschooler to get off the dog
Send the dog outside, and the preschooler upstairs
Grab a quick sandwich for me to eat, first thing all day
Sit on the couch with the computer, trying to write for a few minutes, and spend the whole time listening to the preschooler explain why he only likes red and green gummy bears
Change another diaper
Make dinner, running back and forth between food and the baby until it's finished
Say a quick hello to The Husband when he gets home
Wipe up the stove and throw the leftovers in the fridge
Play Trouble with the preschooler
Nag at him to pick up his toys
Sit together on the couch with everyone for a little bit before bedtimes.
Bath for the preschooler.
New diaper for the baby.
Brushing teeth, and going potty
Bedtime for the kiddos.
Bring the computer up to bed and get all comfortable. Finally time to myself, that won't be interrupted.
Write for ten minutes and fall asleep with the computer on my stomach.

Wake up, and repeat.

I often dream of having teenagers, or maybe children that have all left the nest, then I'm sad, because I know it'll come all too quickly. So I protect the memories as much as I can, and I clean up the milk, and change the diapers, because that's my number one job. But every single day I look at the clock and think "How in the hell is it 4:30? I just woke up!"

Where, oh where does the time go???


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Honor of Valentines Day, The Stories I Love:

In honor of the day of love I thought what better way to celebrate than to share my top five favorite love stories of all time? 

I think like a lot of people, I connect to a story because of its characters, and when that story has a love story that makes me dream of a happy ending, I'm one happy reader.

So here goes. 

5. Melanie/Wanderer and Jared/Ian from The Host-

 This was by far the strangest love story I've ever read. Melanie loves Jared, Malanie's body is taken over by Wanderer, Jared hates Wanderer, but Ian wants to protect her. Wanderer is lost with Melanie's emotions and feeling spinning around with her own. It was exciting and romantic in a way only a colony of rogue humans could be. I didn't have high expectations for this massive book, but I'm glad it was as long as it was, it left more time for the romance.

4. Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly from The Scorpio Races-

From the beginning they were supposed to be adversaries. She needed to win the races to save her family home, and he needed to win to keep his beloved water horse. But somehow they still manage to help each other more than either one expected. I could read this book over and over, and over.

3. Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale from North and South- 

Their love, hate, really love relationship caught me from the beginning and dragged me through all the ups and downs. She thinks he's a terrible arrogant person, he accuses her of knowing nothing of the world, she tries to give him the benefit of the doubt, he tries to be the person she thinks he is.

2. Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments-

  **** (Possible spoiler alert here) **** 

Are they perfect for each other? Are they brother and sister? Their love story has so many ups and downs that you wait and wait for the next installment to come out and resolve some of the cliffhangers. They're captivating.

1. Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice-

I don't think there's a single couple I've ever rooted for more in my life. There are many great love stories, but I think no matter how many I read, I'll always come back to my favorite. The classic love story of misunderstandings will always be my number one.

What couple makes you dream of happy endings? Who's in your favorite love story?