Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday with the Marvelous and Magical Jen Daiker!

So, when I started planning my 100 followers celebration, I knew I wanted to interview Jen.  She was one of my very first followers - like, literally, I had 5 or something when suddenly she popped up.  I was so excited! Over the last few months I've met lots of other awesome folks and learned to navigate the waters of the blogosphere, but I'll always remember how she befriended me when I was brand spankin' new!

I imagine you already know Jen, because she has an awesome blog and I see her comments on blogs all over the place.  But, in case you aren't already acquainted with her, she's got a really fun, cool and addictive blog, so stop on by Unedited!

Let the interview begin!

What is your writing process?

For me it's simple. I get an idea and I write. I know several people outline, learn about their characters, make road maps. I'm not that way. A panster through and through. I write fast, but I revise slow.

Share a writing ‘aha’ moment with us, when you experienced a breakthrough or lesson of some sort.

The day I started blogging. I thought getting published was simple. Write a book, call a publisher. The aha moments have been each time I talk to a fellow writer and several authors. They always say it's tough, but they wouldn't change it for the world. Those are the moments I cherish.

How did you gain 1,000 followers in one year?

Everyone asks me that! They're hoping I have a secret, I often tell people it's the sparkle dust that's spread all over my blog, it's like a drug, draws you in and captivates you. Really I suppose it's hard work and dedication. I keep the blog 100% me, what I'd want to read, no matter how random. It seems to be working so far.

Which industry professionals are you most addicted to and why?

I'm not one that really follows the professionals, I ask those who are new in the industry what it's like. Fellow writers trying to get their big break, authors who've done and are to be published within a year or two. They seem to have a great understanding of the NOW. I heard them for it.

Tell us about your current project.

My current project is titled In The Mind of a Celebrity Stalker. It's about a 24 year old girl named Jules who has a complicated life, to cope she journals and since she is so ecentric she decides to talk to celebrities in which often times she takes things a little too far. There's love, hate, and just some outrageously fun moments in her life.

What is your MC's favorite cocktail (or other beverage)? Dessert?
For Jules she loves herself a martini, any flavor, all depends on her mood. Her dessert of choice would be Paula Deen's Apple Pie.
You rock, Jen! Thanks so much for stopping by and spreading the love.

The interviews continue on Wednesday, so pop on by to hear the latest from Jennifer Hillier!  Happy Monday, writer friends!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's Get It Started!

Welcome to the grand revealing of the previously top-secret and greatly anticipated (right?) lineup for my 100 followers celebration!!

You have your choice of a martini or some bubbly:

But first, before I blow your minds with all the fun we’ve got planned, let’s toast to you! Because without all of you awesome peeps that stop by, we wouldn’t be having this super cool mega rad party. You guys rock!

So, without further ado, I give you the schedule:

(Do you hear the angelic voices singing in the background over the Black Eyed Peas?)

Monday, January 31st – The ever fabulous and amazing queen of the blogosphere, Jen Daiker of Unedited!

Wednesday, February 2nd – The release of her thriller Creep is swiftly approaching, and the super cool Jennifer Hillier is going to tell us all about it!

Friday, February 4th – She knocked the socks off the Amazon sales charts with her book The Hating Game. Yes, I’m talking about the delightful Talli Roland!

Wednesday, February 9th – A very special guest from the other side of the writing spectrum - publishing professional Eric from Pimp My Novel!

And! And! Prizes?

Yes, of course, writer friends. You guys are just that totally awesome. There will be two $15.00 Amazon gift cards awarded by random draw. To be entered in the contest you must a) be a follower, and b) comment on this post. The contest ends Wednesday, February 16th, and I will announce the winners that weekend!

Now, I also want to pass along the Stylish Blogger Award! This was awarded to me by Lindz of Rapturous Randomocity, a really cool blog which you should definitely check out.

I am supposed to pick 15 bloggers to pass it along to, but since this is a party and I always have a hard time choosing amongst my awesome bloggy friends, I would like to award it to all of you. The award rules are that you share 7 things about yourself. Since we’re having a party here, I’m going to list my 7 favorite things to nibble or gulp at a party:

1) A fruity cocktail
2) Cheese
3) Mini quiche
4) Spinach artichoke dip
5) Tomato tartlets
6) Mini desserts (key lime pie, petit four, etc)
7) Black bean salsa

So, I will see all of you on Monday (hopefully your hangover will be gone by then) for the start of the interview extravaganza! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply Hot Blogfest!

All right, peeps! This is my third and final (for now) blogfest in the crazy fun blogfest triathlon!  But before I carry on ad naseum about my favorite mug, which believe me I will, I want to invite everyone to stop by on Saturday for my announcement of the lineup for my 100 followers celebration.  Come on by and help me kick off the party! We'll have some cocktails and it'll be grand.

Okay, so first, thank you Erica and Christy for such a fun idea for a blogfest! Stop on by their blog for more entries.  Here goes:

I am very particular about mugs.  I don't like anyone else to use my favorites and have been known to be snappish on the subject.  At home I mostly drink tea.  Green, Earl Grey, Spearmint, Chai, Chamomile, fruit or flower flavors.  All sorts.  Coffee is for work, or for when I run by a Starbucks or Borders or something, in which case it is more like a dessert than coffee.  It always cracks me up when they ask if I want whipped cream.  Um, yeah. Always.

My favorite mug was purchased at Starbucks, which is part of the reason I love it. Did you know that while they are an overpriced conglomerate, they are actually quite socially responsible?  I studied them once for a business class. They have really good fair trade and environmental policies, and have great benefits for their employees.  I sort of love the hell out of Starbucks. 

The second reason I love this mug is that it is roundish in shape.  Like my wineglasses, I like a fat, round shape.  It fits your hand better (and holds more, of course). Okay, this just got super anal retentive.  I mentioned I'm particular, right? This mug is also made out of recycled materials (high five environment).  And the final and main reason I love this mug (I know, finally, right?) is the word on the side, because my novel is about someone who's lived through a whole bunch of lifetimes.  So when I saw it I was instantly in love - simple, elegant, awesome.  Here it is:

I realize in the pic it doesn't look that round, but it is :)
And my second runner up is this one, because I love the artist, Laurel Burch, and it has horses (need I say more?):

So, if you're still reading, congrats and thanks for indulging my neurotic diatribe about mugs!  Pop over to
E & C's blog for more mug obsession :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top Ten Countdown!

Time for the second leg of my blogfest triathlon! On Friday you heard from my lovely husband Keith for the Significant Other Blogfest, and now I bring you the Top Ten Music Countdown Blogfest hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.

Let me start by saying that this topic is hard for me.  I have incredibly eclectic musical tastes, and what I listen to depends entirely on my mood.  Further, I'll go through stages where I'm really addicted to a particular musical genre, and then I get sick of it and switch to something else.  So, what I did was pick 10 of my favorite songs that a) are guaranteed to make me smile any time I listen to them, and b) have stood the test of time - that is, any song I've been really into within the last year was disqualified as I have been known to love a song when it first comes out and then later hate it passionately. 

So, without further blabbing, I give you my list:

Prince Kiss
Cold Play Yellow
R.E.M. Shiny Happy People
The Rolling Stones Wild Horses
Dave Matthews Satellite
Alanis Morissette Head Over Feet
Natalie Merchant Jealousy
Smashing Pumpkins Today
INXS Need You Tonight
Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest!

Before my hubby gets his turn, let me just say I am super excited to have reached 100 followers! Now I'm in the 3-digit club!  Thank you to everyone who comes by to visit and listen to me.  You guys are all awesome!!

Of course, I love parties, so there is going to be a huge celebration.  It will last for many days.  There will be interviews.  There will be a contest.  It will rock!  So, stay tuned for the grand revealing of the full lineup I have planned for you guys as a thank you for being the coolest followers ever.

And now, I will hand it over to my beloved husband, Keith:

Well fellow significant others and aspiring writers, where to begin? I was asked (with a bit of uneasiness and hesitation) to participate in the “Significant Other Blogfest.” I must confess that I enter this undertaking with a cautioned trepidation. For you see, I, like you, risk the wrath of the spouse if too many grumblings are put to paper (or virtual paper in this case).

First let me begin by saying that I UNEQUIVOCALLY support my beautiful wife (points for flattery?). She works at a hellacious pace at her day job, and deals with some of the most pompous and idiotic people I’ve ever heard of. Does she take it out on me though? No (the official answer although, sometimes yes). Instead, she opens her laptop and the fury flies from her fingertips like the killing curse from Voldemort’s wand.

Everyone has their tension release or creative outlets. Mine for instance (and most men’s) will remain unmentioned at the risk of mortally embarrassing my wife. For others, it is the literary art. It is the eloquent translation of dreams, emotions and the make-believe into the written word that helps maintain her sanity. Unfortunately, the seemingly never-ending journey to publication robs me of the “quality time” that we used to enjoy.

Now, I must endure a certain amount of shunning while the blogging and typing go on. For all of you feeling “left out,” I truly understand. I try and find the occasional diversion to fill the void, but I do dearly miss her. Hopefully, when all is said and done, I will look back and remember that it was all for the greater good. And more importantly, I pray she won’t hate me for my pouting and run off to Greece with her publisher. But if (and when) my wife becomes the next J.K. Rowling, her penance for my suffering is a 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350. If not, I will love her just the same and remain her biggest fan.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Tuesday/Monday

So, all day I've been fairly confused since yesterday was MLK Day.  I kept thinking I needed to take my son to boyscouts after work, forgetting that it was Tuesday and not Monday.  And I kept thinking since it was Monday, it was only two days since I'd done a blogpost, when really it's been three.  Btw, I've been super busy at work lately and have not had the time to be as good a blog commenter as I like to be... I am trying to catch up, so please bear with me!

Over the weekend I came across several really great blogposts that I wanted to share.  The first was from the ever awesome Guide to Literary Agents, which I adore.  It is an amazing story about an author who self published and was crazy successful.  But her process for how she did it is extremely relevant for any of us, whether we want to self publish, find an e-publisher, or get an agent and traditional publisher.  Go check it out now!  You won't regret it.

The other one is also from GTLA, and it's a really awesome example of a synopsis - wait, let me say that again - THE DREADED, TERROR-INDUCING, GUT WRENCHING SYNOPSIS!!  I hate them, you hate them, I've even heard an agent say they're truly evil.  But this article was terrific.  Read it!

Finally, I re-came across this fantastically informative post from Pimp My Novel, which is full of much needed info for after we actually get books deals.  I know I personally am guilty of knowing far more about agents than I do about publishers and that whole process.  Lots of stuff us writery creatures need to know.  Let's go ahead and plan for getting that kick-ass book deal.

Also, I must have been a good girl lately because I received two new awards!! Double yay!  Thank you so much to Liz at Novel Moments for a new Versatile Blogger Award and to Abby at Above Water for the Making Smiles on Faces Blog Award!  They both have lovely and addictive blogs, so pop over, say hello, and enjoy yourself.

Okay, so the Versatile Blogger Award requires me to share 7 things about myself, so here you go (warning: highly random zone ahead):

1) I love strawberries.  When they are in season, I buy huge boxes and eat them every night as my before-bed snack.
2) Although I love chic flicks, most of my favorite movies are action/adventure types.  I love LOTR, Star Wars, Kill Bill, The Matrix, Transformers, Fight Club, X-Men, and a ton more I am forgetting at the moment.
3) I dress either preppy or sort of funky Boho chic.  It depends on my mood.  I think I give people fashion whiplash.
4) My son just starting reading the first Harry Potter book.  He loves it, and I love sharing it with him and enjoying it all over again from his perspective (he loves the part where Scabbers bites Crabbe's finger - or was it Goyle?). 
5) I like red and white wine.  Nothing too dry or too sweet.
6) I love gardening, but I kill most of what I try to grow.  I call it Darwinian gardening.
7) I have these hurt-your-eyes grape purple rain boots that I got to go out and feed the horse friends in, so I don't get all muddy and whatnot.  They rock.

So, blog friends, since I dearly love you all, please choose an award for yourself.  Really!  Pass it along, share about yourself, spread the joy.  You all rock, and you deserve it.

Happy almost Wednesday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yay Weekend! and Other Randomness

I am so grateful for the long weekend... I finally recovered completely from my cold about midweek, and was so delighted just to sleep in this morning.  I hope this Saturday finds all of you having a glorious time, staying warm and safe from January's bite and maybe making productive headway on your WIPs?  *cough* I have been procrastinating myself, which I'm going to talk about more in a minute.

But first! A few bits of random writing/blogging news.  My first piece of news is that there is no news yet on the partial request on my novel.  Alas, waiting is the writer's bane.  Second, I wanted to draw your attention to all the pretty blogfest buttons to the right - yes, I am participating in 3 fests in one week! Kind of like a blogfest triathlon or something.  My first blogfest was the Be Jolly By Golly last month, and it was so much fun I decided I wanted to do more. 

Third, I have been awarded the Fair Dinkum Award by Rachna!  I am really stoked about this one because of its Australian goodness.  Rachna, thanks, you rock so hard!  If you are not familiar with Rachna, please go check out her blog.  She always has great posts about writing, very educational and uplifting!

I am passing along the Aussie joy to:

Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings
Lydia at The Word is My Oyster
Joann at It's Dark, Dark in Here
Shayda at Shayda Writes
Erica and Christy

So, now we come to procrastination.  Notice I managed to talk about lots of other stuff and procrastinate talking about procrastination? Now that's skill. 

Is procrastination part of your writing process?  In one of my favorite movies of all time, Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances describes her writing process as thus:  "The procrastination is coming along fabulously. Soon it will breed abject self loathing, and then I'll become a writing machine."

I tend to procrastinate a lot.  Especially since I started blogging!  For me, it works to set deadlines, because I work better with a clear goal in mind.  When I first started writing my current novel, I was working full time and taking online classes to finish my degree, so I wrote pretty sporadically for a year or so.  My characters and story were constantly pounding in my head to come out, but I was just too busy most of the time.  Then, when I finished my last semester, all of that pent up writing desire came pouring out, and I went from 70 pages to 300 pages in a month.  I had decided I wanted to finish it by March 1, 2010, but ended up finishing at the end of January.  Having a goal in mind really helped me focus my energy and get it done.  For editing, I tend to make lists of things I need to work on and then tackle them one at a time.

So, do you procrastinate?  If so, what helps you beat it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe for a heart-racing, knot-in-stomach, loss-of-breath good time

1) Decide to do a major rewrite of your novel.

2) Begin said rewrite and get really psyched about it. Your novel rocks so hard now that you are doing this rewrite.

3) Proceed merrily along for over a month, editing your happy little heart out. Man this is fun.

4) Do several different types of outlines to make sure you’ve covered all bases, there are no glaring gaps in your story. Do some character profiles while you’re at it.

5) Abruptly discover that you are done with all editing and it’s time to start querying again.

6) Feel the butterflies attack your stomach. It kind of feels like they are nibbling away at your insides.

7) Open up your last query letter, which you wrote randomly a couple weeks ago while in your oh-so-happy artistic editing stage. Still happy with it.

8) Fire it off with great gusto to a new agent that is looking for books just like yours.

9) Ten seconds after hitting send, discover a glaring redundancy in use of phrase.

10) Begin to doubt the entire query letter, which moments ago you loved.

11) Stare at the query letter for half an hour, then avoid anything productive for the rest of the evening.

12) Wake up the next morning. Realize you’ve got to get back on the horse. You’ve edited your brains out. You’ve now entered a place where you are simply stalling to avoid rejection.

13) Obsess over your query letter for just a few more minutes. Feel a glimmer of hope. Mostly, know that you must have faith in yourself and your writing.

14) Ignore the butterflies, and fire off some more queries.

*Editor's note: I wrote this about ten days ago when I started my latest round of queries. Coincidentally, the query that made me write this (with the horrific glaring redundancy) is the one that the agent ended up requesting some of my pages. Now, whether she will like my pages is still a story to be told.  But this is just another bit of evidence that agents are humans after all and will forgive some of your errors.  Unless you are in The Matrix, in which case agents are not human and they will kill you.

Heehee, couldn't let that one slip by ;-)

Friday, January 7, 2011

TGIF and writing news and other stuff...

Happy Friday writer friends! I've had a rough week fighting off a nasty cold, so I am hugely grateful for the weekend.  I hope your weeks have been better!

In writing news, I sent off five queries at year end and have gotten four responses - three rejections and a partial request.  Boo rejections, yay partial!  We'll see how it goes.

Also, I got some unexpected exciting news.  My local writers association is having a spring conference, and they actually have a pretty sweet lineup.  Chuck Sambuchino of the awesome Guide to Literary Agents blog is doing some workshops, and a couple agents are coming from New York.  From reputable agencies I recognize!  I have to say I'm kind of surprised that my city, which is medium-sized at best, has such cool folks coming. 

And the really cool part is that you can get a 25 page manuscript critique from one of the agents, so I signed up.  Totally stoked!  I am really excited about getting an expert opinion, and know I'll get some great feedback on ways to improve my writing.  I promise to share all the juicy details of my evisceration. 

I mentioned a while back that I'm going to World Fantasy Convention this fall, so these two are probably going to more than eat up my budget.  But I'm curious as to what conferences and conventions my blogging friends are thinking about going to this year.  What are the most popular ones?  Or what cool local stuff do you have going on?  Do share!

P.S. Have a kick ass weekend :~)

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Top 10 of '10

Top 10 Writing Experiences of 2010

10. Learning the joys of editing, editing and more editing. And by joys I mean brain-scrambling masochism.

9. Learning how to write a query letter and synopsis and properly format sample pages.

8. Having the guts to put myself out there, and learning from my query mistakes.

7. Reading Janet Reid’s Query Shark blog in its entirety (like several hundred blog posts but worth every bit of time it took).

6. Choosing my top pick agent as my first query to send, getting rejected and crying my heart out. Followed by significant amounts of comfort food.

5. Growing a thick skin from that one rejection (putting on my big girl pants).

4. Getting a partial request from an agent!

3. Getting rejected on the partial request, but getting feedback that validated my own thoughts on the weak points of the book, thus leading to the biggest rewrite of them all.

2. Starting this blog and getting to know all of you awesome writers!

1. Finishing my first whole novel!

Here’s to a 2011 with writing dreams fulfilled for us all!