Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Guest Post for NaNoWriMo

Hi! It has been shamefully long since I've posted on here, but it's because of good stuff! Since I've been gone, I've finished a draft of a new YA (it's a creepy contemporary told from two points of view that involves a home security system). I've also done a revision to ASHES AND INK that I'm totally proud of. I've written poems for magazines (crossing my fingers on those). And then there's been lots of family things like the addition of a super baby to one of my favorite relatives.

If you're still with me, hop on over to Red Sofa Literary's Blog to see one of the cool things I've learned this year about plotting and planning. I'm represented by Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary, and she asked me to do a guest post. The Red Sofa Literary blog will have a new post up every day in November in celebration of NaNoWriMo, so it's a great blog to follow!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lovers, Haters, and Creators

Creating is natural. Beautiful. Fulfilling.
Sharing is liberating. Gratifying. Gut-wrenching.
Yeah, I said it: Gut-wrenching. Because not everybody loves every creation.
We aren’t all attracted to the same people, and that’s a good thing. I’m thankful I don’t have to pry other women off my man every time we go to Target. That would be awkward and all sorts of time consuming. He’s a good-looking man, mind you, but most women notice the gold band around his finger and realize there are other options.
I follow many writer feeds, and over and over I read this advice: “Don’t read your reviews…EVER…unless someone reads them first and filters them and only hands over the ones that say you’re brilliant.” It’s as if the path to Goodreads is Disney’s Splash Mountain ride. A boatload of writers bopping along to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah getting the tummy squirms as danger signs and buzzards appear.
So why does it bother us if what we create isn’t for everyone? We don’t all like the same foods, music, or people.
But when you create something, it’s different. It comes from you. You love it, nurture it, and groom it. When it seems less fragile, you allow a select few to hold it. And when you are confident your creation can walk, run, or even fly on its own, you let go.
Or pretend to.
But it’s still your baby.
And when someone calls your baby ugly, it would be easy to go mama bear on them.
But we mustn’t.
I am North Carolina born and raised and grew up under the rule of “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” so I’m guessing I should probably avoid reading my own reviews when that glorious day comes…or maybe I’ll peek through half-closed fingers like a kid watching a horror movie.
There’s an awesome episode of Victorious called The Bird Scene. It should be required that all actors, artists, and writers watch it before throwing themselves or their work out for public eyes. Seriously. Wisdom from TeenNick to creators everywhere.
What do you recommend? How do you handle someone not loving your creative baby? Comment and let us know.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Five Advantages To Being A Writer

I love being a writer. Seriously. LOVE. So as we start the new year together, I thought I'd share a countdown of five fun reasons why:

5. Funky hair color and attire is encouraged.

4. People Watching totally counts as research.
3. Creating imaginary friends, enemies, and boyfriends for others is all kinds of fun.
2. Furry mascots for the win!
1. The skills I’ve picked up from youtube and google searches ensure I’ll always be on somebody’s watch list.
So whatever you are (a writer, a dreamer, a magic bean buyer), join in the fun. Comment below to tell us something you love about what you do. Happy 2015!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When A Turtle's Not A Turtle

Last Saturday morning, I was teaching my youngest how to make shape pancakes because FUN! But her smile drooped, her forehead wrinkled, and I sensed she was ready to hurl the ladle across the kitchen.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I keep trying to make a turtle, but it looks nothing like a turtle,” she grumped.
I tilted my head and opened my eyes wide. “WHOA!”
The pancake she had tried to make into a turtle had shifted into golden phoenix. It was incredible. When I told her what it looked like to me, it became an insta-favorite.
This happens with so many things. Stories. Guys. Relationships.
We have in mind what perfection looks like. We see it so clearly, we can almost taste it. And then it morphs into something we hardly recognize. It may still be amazing, or it may be horrific, but all we can think is, “That’s not a turtle.”
Has this happened to you? Did you learn to love what it became, or did you start all over again? Leave a comment to share!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


I’ve been thinking about firsts this summer and how, um, AWKWARD they can be. So in case you wanted to think about awkward firsts too, whether for late night bonding with a friend or for a writing exercise, here’s a list to get you started:
First Time Putting On Makeup
First Date
First Kiss
First Crush
First Dance
First Audition
First Show
First Tryout
First Time NOT Making The Team
First Time Making The Team When A Buddy Doesn’t
First Game
First Time Being Dumped
First Time Having To Dump Someone Else
First Fight With A Best Friend
First Time You & Your Bestie Liked The Same Guy
First Big Party You DIDN’T Get Invited To
First Time Playing Spin The Bottle
First Time Saying “I Love You”
First Time Hearing He Only Wants To Be Friends
First Time Falling Asleep While On The Phone
First Time Tasting Liquor
First Time Hiding A Hickey

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A PitMad Victory, A Winter's Hibernation, And POOF! It's Spring!

Today there is a feeding frenzy happening on Twitter called PitMad. Some writers knock contests saying that they are time sucks and that writers should stick to querying agents they've researched. I think that advice is only half true. Writers should always research an agent before deciding whether or not to submit pages to them. Just because someone has Twitter followers and an agency, doesn't mean he/she is a good agent or a good agent to represent your writing.

But contests can be amazingly helpful for writers hoping to find agents. You see, my fabulous agent Laura Zats found me because of last fall's PitMad.

*stops to do the Peanuts' happy dance*

It's true! I pitched my young adult suspense ASHES AND INK, and Laura Zats requested a partial...followed by a full...followed by a request for a phone call which led to an offer. Some would argue that I could have found her on my own, but here's the thing: It hadn't been announced that she was an agent yet. *gasps* That's right! I snagged a ninja agent that I would have never known was an option had it not been for pitching ASHES AND INK into the PitMad frenzy. So I researched her, emailed her references, and signed with her a week after our phone call. Initially, I was going to take two weeks to decide, but we clicked so well, and I loved her ideas and enthusiasm so much, I could not wait another week to team up with her and Red Sofa Literary.

This led to my winter hibernation from my blog. On top of being a driven agent, Laura Zats is an extraordinary editor. She sent me fantastic revision notes to help fix plot holes, draw out scenes, and make my YA shine. So that's where I've been. Hibernating in my revision cave. And now that my manuscript is polished and pretty, I get to work on my next one.

Good luck, PitMad peeps! I know it seems crazy to throw your manuscript into the Twitter rapids, but wonderful things can happen! So take a chance, do your research before hitting send, and know that I'm cheering for you!

Comment and tell me your Twitter handle if you're participating in PitMad. I'd love to see your pitches and cheer you on!

To read the interview with Laura Zats and myself, check out Jamie Corrigan's big reveal.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thankful For Great Characters

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought we’d put a bookish spin on things and talk about characters we’re thankful we've met. One character I’ve loved since I was a little is Pippi Longstocking. She’s creative. She always has a story to tell. She’s much stronger than she looks. Annnnnnnnnnnnd she has a pet monkey. Ha!

So how about you? Is there a character you’ve read about recently or one from your past that inspired you? Share about him/her in the comment section. On Thanksgiving, I’ll draw one sharer's name to win a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. This contest is only open to U.S. residents. Be sure I have your email address, Twitter handle, or some way to contact you in case your name is picked. Good luck, and thanks for sharing!