Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday fiction & The Luxe

A few weeks ago, I read Mistletoe (a collection of holiday YA short stories) and really enjoyed it. Anyone else read it?

I'm looking for more holiday fiction. Any recommendations?

Tonight, I'll wave goodbye to November! :) I think The Polar Express is on ABC, so I might give that a shot. Or curl up with a new book-- The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. If the book is as good as the cover, it's sure to be fantastic!

PS- I got a very cool e-mail yesterday that I'll share with you guys next week.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas tree and fireplace pic

Here are some pics I took of our Christmas decorations. I was quite proud of how our tree turned out this year! What do you think?
And how's everyone doing in NaNo? I dropped off a while ago and my monthly total hovers around 26k. So sad! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Break plans, Mel B loses Dancing and Holiday Movies

It's amazing how fast this month has flown by! It seems as if the publishing world is starting to slow and with that comes time to rest and prep for next year. Instead of setting New Year's goals now, I'm deciding on goals for winter/Christmas break. Does anyone else do that?

So far, my list looks something like this:

* Finish writing book two

* Send out at least 10 magazine queries (2 at least to new magazines I've never queried or haven't broken into)

* Organize my mountain of papers on book publicity

* Watch season 7 of Gilmore Girls on DVD

* Read! Lots!

That's what I've got so far. I might be traveling a bit, but I'll still be able to write in the car and get those queries out. I won't send them over Christmas break, though. Just prep them and have a batch ready to go next year. I've been having more time to do that recently since I've been foregoing regularly scheduled TV to watch the Christmas specials. Last night it was Charlie Brown and tonight it's Shrek the Halls and the Grinch--my favorite.

And did anyone see Dancing with the Stars last night? I love Helio, but I was SO sad about Mel B! I voted for her all season. It's only the second time I've voted during a Dancing season. In season one, I backed Kelly Monaco since I'm a big General Hospital fan. I was completely addicted to the Spice Girls when I was a kid, so it felt very nostalgic to see Mel B on TV. (PS- could Maks be any more adorable?!) :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Support UNIFEM and Nicole Kidman's petition

As an interruption to regularly scheduled blogging, I wanted to post a link to UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) and offer blog readers a chance to add their name to a growing petition to help end violence against women.

Nicole Kidman, a Goodwill Ambassador for the cause, has several messages on the Website and adds nice celebrity strength to the cause. I signed the petition last night at number 99 and now there are over 2000 signatures.

Here's the link if you'd like to take a look:

This is an important cause! If you saw Sunday's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the family EMHE helped was of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. First she was stalked, he threatened her with knives, she filed a restraining order and then the man killed the woman and her boyfriend. This is still an active problem and I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to look at the link.

Muchas gracias. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

JK Rowling Entertainer of the Year says Entertainment Weekly

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I took Thursday and Friday off and did nothing but eat, watch movies and play card games with my family. We had a blast! :)

Did anyone else see this Entertainment Weekly named JK Rowling as entertainer of the year. Wow! Congratulations to her! Very well deserved.

Also, if you're looking for a cool, new anthology, check out The World of the Golden Compass. It's edited by Scott Westerfield and has essays by several amazing YA authors including Diana Peterfruend.

Remember to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things I'm Thankful For This Year

First, I'm so happy to annouce that I'll be speaking to a graduate class at FSU next Tuesday. I'll be sharing my story of freelancing and novel writing with the students and hopefully can answer a few questions about what I've experienced. I'm nervous, but excited! :)

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

The Serious

Parents: My parents have been amazing throughout this entire ordeal. When I told them in April that I was going to put off grad school to seriously pursue writing they were right behind me.

Friends: I've lost and gained friends this year. I've let go of friends who dragged me down. I lost touch with a few friends and reconnected with others. MySpace connected me to a friend I hadn't talked to in 5+ years and it's wonderful to have her back in my life. I've also made many new friends and I'm glad to have you all in my life!

Health: I went through rough patches years ago, as did others in my family, and I'm glad everyone is doing well this year.

Direction & drive: I'm not afraid to stand up and say, "yes, I'm a writer!" Before, it felt like a cartoon I saw in The Writer. The person tells a stranger he's a writer and the stranger says, "Okay, but what do you do for money." No, the starving artist philosophy is gone. I'm happily working my a** off and can't wait to make writing goals for next year.

Happiness: Confession: I never wanted to work in an office. Ever. I love making my own schedules, being my own boss and making decisions for myself. Being a freelancer and an author gives me the room to do all of that. I'm grateful.

Supporters: Past professors, local librarians, my agent and editor have been all amazing sources of knowledge and support.

Knowledge: I've dubbed this year "Novel Writing Bootcamp" because I've learned more this year about writing, publishing and editing than I ever thought I could learn. And there's still so much more!

The Silly

"Ugly Betty." With lines such as, "Oh my God, it's Perfect Spice!" It doesn't get much better than that.

Craig Wilson's column in The USA Today. Funny, heartfelt and always entertaining.

The movie Mean Girls which I've watched at least a dozen times to channel my inner brat when writing evil girl scenes.

My cat, Jazz, for serving as a lap warmer when I'm typing away at 6am.

Coffee Mate. Seriously, yum.

My pink Motorola. When I didn't have a case for it, I kept it in a sock. Don't laugh--it's too cute to get scratched.

Meg Cabot's Diary. For making me laugh and inspire me to keep working hard.

IncrediMail notifiers. I get waaay too excited when I see a kangaroo with mail bouncing onto my screen.

So, what are you thankful for?

PS- This Sunday, November 25, is Extreme Home Makeover's 100th makeover in MN. The company my dad works for participated and it should be a fantastic show! Look for people in Eniva gear. I'll be posting pics of my family and me in our EMHE get up either tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HarperTeen Writing Challenge

Need something to do over the holidays? If you're a teen, you should consider HarperTeen's Writing Challenge. You can win up to $5000 and a call from a HarperTeen author! You must submit a short story, poem or song by January 7, 2008 to be eligible. Want the rules? Check here: :)

We've got some very talented past winners of last year's HarperTeen contest that are regular bloggers and readers of this blog. So give the contest a try.

I'm back to editing and writing an entry for a new Chicken Soup book. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Golden Compass--another Harry Potter like controversy?

I don't want to ruffle any feathers, really, but there's something disturbing (in my opinion) going on. The Golden Compass is being attacked. Yes, people are attacking a children's movie. I've been reading several online threads of support both for and against the movie and I don't know about you, but it feels like Harry Potter resistance all over again. Anyone else notice this?

A thread somewhere got my attention when a poster said something like, "Oh, some parents think if their kid loves the movie, he/she will want to read the book and then will become an atheist." Really? From a children's novel? Huh. And I was under the impression that reading expanded kids' minds and don't we think they're strong enough not to be influenced by everything they read, watch or hear?

I cannot wait to see the movie. I love Nicole Kidman, love the book and think the trailer looks amazing!

If that felt like a rant, well, it was. It seems that some people go waaaay too far and I'm sure the backlash against the movie will only get stronger.

So, what's your take on the situation?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Teri Brown's new publicity group on Yahoo

Okay, fiction writers pay attention! If you're already published or have a book under contract, you're cordially invited to become a member of Teri Brown's "fiction writers discuss publicity" as a Yahoo! group. Teri created a wonderful group to use a resource for us to share publicity tips and tricks. She's NOT using the group to spam or to promote one's book. If you'd like to join, take a look here:

There are already lots of great (and soon to be great!) authors on board and thank you Teri for thinking of this. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

WGA and studios schedule talks

All right! The WGA and studios have scheduled a new talk for November 26. Sure, that doesn't guarantee anything but at least the sides have scheduled a sit down. Find the details of the talk here:

I'm going to be editing this weekend and probably doing little, if any, typing.

I'm also looking around at new laptops. I'm in need of an upgrade. Any recommendations?

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaNo slow down and congrats

I don't know about you guys, but I haven't NaNoed in 2 days. Two days is a long time in NaNo world! But I've been editing lots and feel good about that. :) I'm sooo ready for the weekend and I've got a couple of movies I've been dying to see.

A big, big congrats to Jackson Pearce on the sale of her novel to HarperCollins!! She's another young writer, so go visit her blog and congratulate her. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dressage and fact in fiction

So, I started seriously riding horses when I was seven or eight and rode until I was thirteen and had back surgey. Now, during that time, I was not a dressage rider. I read about it, looked at pictures of dressage riders in Horse Illustrated, but did not participate in what's sometimes referred to as "horse ballet." But in Chasing Blue, I have several dressage scenes. The horse accuracy is completely on my shoulders, so I had to do some research on dressage including the course, movements, attire and scoring. The more I read, the more I wish I had tried dressage! The benefits to horse and rider are numerous and it's quite a beautiful discipline. I've also been checking out lots of horse blogs and getting inspiration from those.

Do you research any parts of your fiction? How do you decide how technical to get?

And the countdown to Thanksgiving is on. :) What're you doing for the holiday?

Amazon, Chasing Blue update and signing offer from tack a shop

Thank you all so much for sharing my excitement about finding Take the Reins on Amazon yesterday. Yes, the pub date is off but at least it's there in all of it's paperback glory.

Also, I wanted to share that on Saturday, I visited a lovely upscale tackshop downtown. I struck up a conversation with the store owner she excitedly offered to host a book signing in her shop next fall. :) I was thrilled about that and wrote her a thank you note as a follow up.

Chasing Blue, my NaNoNovel, sits at 21k and I hope to get at least 1500 words down today. Except, well, it's sweeps month and every afternoon at 3 I must break for General Hospital. Lots of drama this month! :)

How's everyone else doing with the NaNoNovel? Are you going to type during the Thanksgiving holiday or are you building in some extra words now?

PS- Anyone else dying to see Beowulf and The Golden Compass? Both look fantastic, especially GC. Hopefully, it will turn into a Lord of the Rings type of series.

PPS- Thanks to Em for you-know-what yesterday. :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Take the Reins is on Amazon!!

I'm beyond excited to annouce.... Take the Reins is now listed for pre-order (yay!) on Amazon!! I just found the link today and it makes everything feel so real to see your name on Amazon. Wow. I'm in utter shock! :)

I feel like a real author now. Okay, back to work...if I can stop looking at Amazon...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 10 & Announcement

Finally! Saturday and a few uninterrupted hours to type! I went to a craft fair this morning with my mom and it just made me feel bad that I'm not a crafty person. Seriously, we saw some stuff I couldn't even begin to make.

How's everyone's typing coming? I managed to get in 1900 words yesterday and I'm hoping for the same or more today. I love seeing my little pie graph fill in the more I type and chart on the NaNo progress report. :)

I'm also making a small announcement today. Starting next year, I'm going to be doing video podcasts (when the situation arises) with quick segments of what it's like to be a debut author. From calls with agents, to stacks of paper drafts I've amassed, to visiting the local bookstores (chains and indies), to getting ARCs, deciding on giveaways, going to book fairs, etc. I want to take you all with me on this insane, exciting journey! I'm going to tape the most important moments and start a new section of the blog on the sidebar. So, in January of 2008, look for DIARY OF A DEBUT AUTHOR videos.

Friday, November 9, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 9 & Why is Ellen being blasted?

Okay, so we're at day nine here and I hope we haven't lost anyone! :) In addition to typing NaNo, when I feel I need a break, I switch over to magazine queries. During Christmas break, I hope to write 15-20 queries and be ready to mail them out during January. At least they'll be written and all I have to do next year is e-mail them out. Writing the queries and deciding on ideas really takes the most time.


If you want up to the second coverage, I highly suggest Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke. She's really got an insider's view since I can only report what I've been reading or seeing on TV.

Actors are turning the heat on studios and showing great support for writers. Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Nicollette Sheridan and Julianne Moore are the lastest stars to join the strike.

Also, I was sad to see that Ellen got blasted for continuing to tape shows. As she (and other actors) have pointed out--actors have contracts, too. They MUST work and Ellen has voiced support for the writers, but she is under contract to tape shows. You can't get upset with her for that. I'd hate to see writers turning on actors and vice versa. Everyone in NYC and Hollywood needs to work together to end this. People are out of work--both actors and writers--and with our economy already precarious, I'd love to see a quick resolution to this.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 8 & WGA Strike Update

We're officially onto day eight! How's everyone feeling? I got a little tired yesterday, but I'm getting encouraged again since we're at day 8 and the word count is going up.

Has anyone gone to a sponsored write in yet? Or have you had your own write in? I think I'll have my own private write in party on Sunday and set myself up for four hours of typing. No TV or distractions. Just writing. See, I'm trying to talk myself into it... :)

By the way, has anyone been watching GOSSIP GIRL? I keep meaning to ask. I haven't seen an episode yet, but I plan to start watching them online. I'm curious if people who've read the books like the TV show.


Felicity Huffman and Bill Macy joined strikers in LA. Patrick Dempsey, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh, Sally Fields, Ellen Pompeo, Sara Ramirez, John Stamos and Jimmy Kimmel also joined the WGA strikers. It's so nice to see actors supporting writers. I believe it was Sara who summed it up perfectly and said without the writers, she and the other actors would not have the characters we all know and love.

News reports say no new talks are scheduled.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 7

Brr! It got down to the low 40s last night, so I'm sitting wrapped in a blanket on my couch and typing away for NaNo. Yes, it does get freezing cold in FL, believe it or not. ;)

I've been thinking a lot about my target word count for this MG novel. It's going to be 58-60k, so there will be much more typing after NaNo, but at least I've got the bulk of it down on paper. Anyone else have a target word count?

Oooh, I forgot to mention that HBO invaded my town this week to make a movie about Florida's election (how seriously embarrassing) in 2000. Kevin Spacey, the guy who played Doyle on Gilmore Girls and a couple of other stars are filming downtown. If I could actually get around the barricades downtown, I'd definitely check it out, but everything is roped off. Humpf. :)


Eva Longoria Parker handed out pizza to writers on strike as Desperate Housewives shut down production. No new talks are scheduled for writers and studios. I wish I was in NYC or LA to join them!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 6 and Striking Writers Unite

Week one is almost over! Hopefully, everyone is still going strong! A big shout out to Steph who had no time to type earlier and is now waaay up with the word count! Yay! :)

I ended yesterday at 12,000 and am going to get started in a while. I've got a bit of reading to do on some sections I edited in book one and then it's back to book two.

On the news last night, I saw Jay Leno handing out snacks to the writers on strike. Tina Fey picked up a sign in NYC and Julia Louis Dreyfuss did so in LA. Regis Philbin's daughter, J.J., a writer for Heroes and for The OC is striking as well.

I got my December issue of The Writer yesterday. Only two more issues before my March breakthrough column appears! I'm so excited! :)

Share your word counts and give us a one to two sentence description of your plot. (Hard, isn't it?) I'll post mine later.

Monday, November 5, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 5 & WGA Writer Strike Update

Well, it's happened. The WGA strikes Hollywood. Wow. I'm really shocked and am going to be following all of the coverage. Leno, Letterman and late-night TV will probably be in reruns tonight (already!) and more shows will soon follow. I listened to a sound bite from Marc Cherry (creator of Desperate Housewives) and he thought this was definitely needed. He said writers were hurt by the boom of DVD sales from years ago and didn't get proper compensation. The news also reports that other writer organizations may soon join and back WGA. Anyone a member of WGA? I'm not, but I hope to be some day.

Back to NaNo- it's day 5! I'm around 10,500 words and going strong. The forums are working sooo much better over at NaNo and the site is much faster.

Share your word counts, if you dare. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 4 & Writer Strike

Day four is here! After a lackluster 200 words added yesterday, I'm ready to get going today. How's it going for everyone else?

And, has anyone else been keeping tabs on the Hollywood strike? If this happens, we'll be watching reality TV for months. Soaps, primetime and late-night shows will all be impacted by this very possible strike. Here's an updated article below:

Writer strike looms in Hollywood after talks break off

Saturday, November 3, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 3

All right! It's day three! How's it going, everyone? I got up at 7am (yuck!) on a chilly Saturday to finish edits and start typing. I've been posting over on the forums and people are doing great! Did you know there's a club for extreme NaNo where people write 50k in one day! One day! Now, that's not for me but for those who can...go for it. Amazing. :)

Anyone have a favorite NaNo soundtrack? Share 'em! I use Disney soundtracks, like Fantastia, and Harry Potter soundtracks. Ooh, and Pirates. (Thinking of Captain Jack keeps me typing...ahem...)

Check in today, even though it's Saturday, and let's keep going! I sit at...7587. I'll check in tonight.

PS- The handy word meter has been disabled (!) on the creator's site. Apparently, the NaNoers crash the server so you have to manually update the percentage and WC yourself. And no, the little bar doesn't slide. :(

Friday, November 2, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 2

All right! We're here at day two! The first day of pain (kidding!) is behind us and now we're moving on. Were your word counts what you thought they'd be for yesterday? If not, don't despair! There's plenty of time to make it up.

Anyone going to a local write in? My area is having one tomorrow at my favorite branch of the library, so I may go. I've always wanted to try one.

So, I'll share my word count first. As I mentioned, I'm writing the second book in my Canterwood Crest series (you all like the new title?!) and I sit at: 7000 words. Today, I may not get any typing done since I have edits, so that's why I did such a big WC yesterday.

Share your totals, if you like, and if not push ahead on day two. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

National Novel Writing Month: Day 1

Hear ye! Hear ye! Today begins day one of National Novel Writing Month! So, get out your computers, pens, notecards and let's get started! We can cross the finish line at the end of November with 50,000 words. Yes, we can!

If you're doing NaNo, check in here and let's get the support started. I'm opening my blank document right... now.

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