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Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Giveaways

Liesl is one of my writing friends I met this summer because of WIFYR. And, we're related-my sister married her uncle, so we're practically family. She's a lovely in person and fun to read on her blog. Plus, even more exciting, when I met Liesl her agent was submitting her middle grade novel Rump to editers AND now she has a publishing house-Knopf/Random House. Yeah Liesl! Yeah Rump! I'm so excited for her and glad that I got to read her book over the summer. It was just sitting there, innocently, on my sister's end table. I couldn't help myself, I gobbled it up and then belatedly apologized for not asking her first. Liesl was very sweet about the whole thing, but I do have to wonder if she asked her uncle to move her manuscript to an undisclosed location:)

Here we are together. I know, I don't look the best, but it's the only shot I took. Plus more proof she's amazing. She gave away her 5 page editor critique to my best writer buddy. I'm excited for her book-we need more funny, middle grade boy books. By the time Rump is published my son will be ready for it.

Over on Writer Ropes Liesl Shirtliff is giving away a book for every day this week. I know it's already Friday, but you still have until midnight tonight to enter all four giveaways. They are books from her publisher Knopf. Plus, if you read today's giveaway entries for Flipped, you might just learn about my first crush the summer before 7th grade.

Books she's giving away-
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Book Their by Markus Zusak
The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Also in Book Giveaways is my critique partner Taryn Albright. She's giving away an audio book of The Fox Inheritance over on her site A Fool's Golden Paradise. This website is fun and quirky-lots of writer thoughts, book reviews, and illustrative pictures. Taryn makes me smile each time I read her site. For example, I've recently feasted on hot swimmer guys as she compares writing genres, seen the "plotting room" and her latest entry is entitled "On Making Out with a Pool Deck." You can't beat that.

Because of Taryn's posts I'm currently reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox and I'm so glad I am. I can't get enough of her grandmother Lily and of course the mental workings and struggles of Jenna herself.

Goodreads summary:
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

Read book. Read book now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Day Late and A Pedicure Short

I tried, I really did, to finish my book yesterday. I wrote 5,300 words,  my biggest day since I started the Month to Complete challenge, but I hadn't realized how big endings needed to be and that glossing over some of it, just to get to THE END would be cheating myself and cheating my book.
But tackle her again I did, and my first rough draft of my first book is complete. I can now say . . .

wait for it . . .

I have written an entire novel!

I know, I know, revisions are awful and long and hard, but today I don't want to think about them, today I'm celebrating my success. Tomorrow or the day after, or the day after that, I'll deal with the R word.

I finished my first ever novel!
It's a journey that started Jan of 2010 with lots of revisions at the beginning, tons of changes, then a WIFYR conf. big plot change that forced me to write almost my entire book over, throwing out over 40,000 lovingly crafted words. I don't regret it, I'm glad for the experience, and I can tell you now that writing quick and dirty and getting to the end feels pretty dang incredible. If I were a drinker I'd be popping that champaine cork right about now, but instead I'm putting some sparkling apple cider in the fridge for tonight.

The honey and I are going to celebrate! I might even convince him to eat a little chicken-he's paranoid with all that estrogen they shove into them these days. So, party tonight at the Hall House.

A day late and a pedicure short, and although my toes may be regretting it, me and my book, we're very happy:)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bad, Robin, Bad

This morning I did the unthinkable and slept in. Yes, my body didn't wake me up like it's supposed to and I awoke when my husband's alarm went off. Oh no, I thought, I should be writing. And then I listened to my house. Caramel, our wiener dog, outside excited that Stan was up, jumping on the sliding glass door to our bedroom, and from the girls room-chattering already. How come I needed extra sleep and they needed less? Okay, maybe it had to do with the seven errands I ran with my three children here and in the town 30 minutes away yesterday and the stress of forcing my five-year-old to have her blood drawn so that she could go to school. Feeling the dislike of the technician, "We don't force children here." and my unacceptable response, "but she can't go to school without this". I was lowered to those awful moms that bribe their kids and then when that still doesn't work help hold them in place. Trust me, I hated myself too, but that phlebotomist, her disgust in me ran deeper. Let's just hope she's not the one when I go in for my glucose test.

Also. Why is the tooth fairy so fickle? Last night she forgot to come to sweet Eliza's room and Eliza was in tears this morning. "How could she forget me? She never forgets Israel (her older brother)." What could I say to this tear stained face? Well what I did say was that she must have been a novice and I'd have a talk with her. I also traded the tooth for 4 quarters and told her I'd put her tooth under my pillow tonight. Stan explained that the tooth fairy is a lot like Tinkerbell being naughty and not doing what Peter asks of her. Eliza, a Peter Pan lover, totally related to this explanation. I asked Stan later which one of us was Tinkerbell. He laughed and refused to say, meaning of course ME. 

So, not only did I not wake up early and fail to perform my tooth fairy duties. Instead, I lay in bed, finishing Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride and waiting for my girls to make their way to my bed for snuggles. And after that, I stayed in bed, coming out only to pour milk, and go pee of course, I am 6 mo pg after all. I read page after page, tearing up as I neared the finish. Loving the vibrancy of Dessen's characters, her ability to write full-circle, and just feeling so many of the emotions of Audin, her MC. These feelings I have reading Dessen, I want to have with my own book, with my MC. I chose reading over writing, compelled to finish Audin's tale instead of finish mine. What does this tell me about my own writing? The depth that I've taken my MC? How much further I need to go? I want my readers to feel this same longing, and understanding of Mara's life (my MC) as I did with Audin. I want their hearts to respond as mine did this morning. Here's to hoping that I can get there.

And thank you Dessen for the wonderful example of getting it done right.

This is my fifth Dessen read in two months and my favorite. This North Carolina author, professor, and mom blows me away. If you haven't read Dessen yet, add her to your list.

Now to figure out where in my day I'll be able to fit in my 1000 words . . .as one of my critique partners would say of my morning, "BAD ROBIN, BAD." Capitals included.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week Two Report

Goal Achieved! I can't believe I did it. It feels really amazing to have written this much. I know for some writers they can churn this out in a day, but I already have a day job, and a night job, so this goal has challenged me and let me know that I can write more, and focused. I do have to admit my eyes drift constantly to that word count tally at the bottom of the page. It's such a rush to watch the numbers climb.

10,625 words last week.  Biggest day: 3303 words
I haven't rewarded myself yet via kindle purchase, but I'm carefully looking over my options.

My current goal spans until Aug 24th-finish my rough draft. Write every day, 1000 words minimum as usual. I think I'll need 12000 to finish it, so I'd better get back to writing.

Planned Reward: Pedicure
And I usually only get one a year for Mother's Day. I finally clued my husband in that I didn't want vacuums or double strollers for Mother's Day, I wanted pampering, so each year he gets me a massage and a pedicure.

Happy Writing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing Goal Week One

Daily Goal: write every day but Sunday-1000 word minimun. Can slip up 1 day/week
I wrote every day this week, but on Thursday failed to reach my goal. I eeked out 634 words before utter brainless failure.
Goal achieved.

Weekly Goal: 5000 word minimum
7,843 total.
Goal achieved.

Next Week's Goal: the same with a bonus treat (my first non-free kindle book purchase) if I can write 10,000 words

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I should be sleeping . . .

But I woke up in the night at 3 am:
1. having to pee-that's what pregnancy will doing for you
2. having to eat-also what pregnancy will do to you
3. unable to stop thinking about Louise Plummer's thriller Finding Daddy that I started at 7:30 the night before.

So finally, I crawled out of bed trying not to wake my husband (success), grabbed my cell phone and Louise's book, and headed for my favorite reading chair in our living room.
I won't tell you about the book, except to say that if I'd read one more chapter last night I would have had to read it to the end before I could fall asleep. What can I say, as a totally unbiased student of Louise-she is AMAZING. It also freaked me out a little that it was written for her granddaughter that died at 4 months so I have to admit I looked up her obituary to make sure it wasn't from the causes written in the book (it's not).

Then I got online, because, well, it was 4:30 and I usually get up around 5:30 in the morning to start writing. No alarm guys, my crazy body just wakes up and I use this precious quiet time to get in my mandatory 1000 words a day. I shoot for another 1000 or so as the day progresses, but this morning time, well it's sacred. And since I was early, I had to read Taryn's Post because it's about our critique group. The best thing I took from WIFYR was an incredible critique group. There are 5 of us girls and Taryn, the most experienced, youngest one of all wrote about us on her blog last night.

Here I am with Tayrn. I shamelessly took pics on the last day with our entire class so that one day, when they're all famous I can prove that I know them- and that just maybe I helped them be a better writer:)
This is my longtime friend AND the one who got me started writing my book: Kathyrn Purdie

 Emily with Kathryn. Emily was everyone's new best friend and has an awesome reading voice to boot. She lives in sunny CA too, but in Northern CA, so she's just as far as my Utah writing friends (boo). And I had to add the link to her kindle post. I've just gotten a kindle (finally with my b-day money from Jan.) I kept dreaming about one, but then fighting them because I love holding the thick books, turning real pages, enjoying their crispness or their library use, imagining all the people who had read the copy before. And in the back of my mind always was Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Honestly, did this book hold back any other kindle interested people? Here's her post: Ahem. Public Apology #1.

 Ilima (with me) Isn't she gorgeous? and her book-well I just got to read the entire manuscript (on my new kindle) and I'm so excited for her. She's already working on the sequel. AND she homeschools. I am in awe, complete and utter awe.
Well, that's my group. Thank you girls for your inspiration, your knowledge, and your ability to tell me when my writing is awful and when I'm getting it right.