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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Twelve Years

In this year of twelves (12-12-12) and the fun of celebrating the end of the world, mayan style, today I'm celebrating another 12

Twelve years of being married to this guy:

Happy Anniversary, Love!

Here's to dozens and dozens of more happy years and surprising twists to come.

xoxo


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Build a blog hop Super Late

On man, I forgot, totally dropped the Christmas ornament...I mean....ball today.

So, while it may be too late, it's still the 20th, so here goes.

In celebration of 800 follows David Powers King is hosting

We're supposed to post our dream blog design element. I would pick a header with those cool old fashioned typewriters with my name coming out the top and then brown paper packages tied with twine with tags for my pages. So when the boxes boxes are hovered over they would open up, revealing bits of nature, a rock climbing quick draw, a yoga mat, my favorite toys, that kind of a thing. 

My other dream, that isn't even logical as I don't drink coffee is from Holly Black's blog. She has a coffee cup with letters that swirl her name when the mouse tracks over it. Of course as her last name is Black it makes a lot more sense. Still, every time I see it, I can't get over what a cool, simple, yet perfect element it is.

Thank you for the blog hop David. Sorry Christmas swallowed me whole and I posted late.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 number facts on 12.12.12

And yes, I'm nerd enough that I set this post to post at 12:12pm.


1. The body has 12 cranial nerves.
2. A 12 sided polygam is called a dodecagon
3. 12 is a sublime number (yes, that's a real thing-I can't believe you thought I made that up)
It means that it has a perfect number of positive divisors (6): 1,2,3,4,6, and 12 and the sum of these is also a perfect number 1+2+3+4+6+12=28
This is huge because there are only 2 known sublime numbers. The 2nd one is 6086555670238378989670371734243169622657830773351885970528324860512791691264
4. The atomic number of magnesium is 12 in the periodic table.
5. The duodenum is the first 12 inches of the small intestine.
6. The United State is divided into 12 Federal Reserve Districts (can you name them?) and all paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank where the currency originated.
7. In ancient Greece the 12 Olympians were the principal gods of the pantheon.

8. In Arthurian legend, Arthur subdued 12 rebel princes, won 12 great battles against Saxon invaders, and had 12 knights of the round table.




9. The 12 Tribes of Israel stem from Jacobs's 12 sons and Jesus has 12 apostles.

10. 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, and the basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all be perfectly divided by 12.

11. In both soccer and American football, the number 12 can be a symbolic reference to the fans giving support to the 11 players on the field.

12. 12 Days of Christmas (most people think this is the 12 days before Christmas, but it starts from Christmas day to the eve of Epiphany or January 5)

I wanted to add more, (such as the number of function keys on most PCs, and the 12 Colonies of Kobol from Battlestar Galactica, or the fact that there are 12 basic hues in the color wheel) but then I wouldn't be listing 12, so I didn't.

 I think I may have a new favorite number.

I'd love to read your favorite number 12 knowledge in the comments. I'm curious too, how many of you realized it was 12.12.12?
*All this wonderful information (and more) is found on wikipedia here 
*Did it drive you nuts that I used 12 instead of twelve? me too, but seeing all those twelve, twelve, twelves everywhere drove me batty too.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's that time again-IWSG Christmas Style


The first Wednesday of every month is IWSG, a bloghop hosted by the amazing Alex J. Cavenaugh to encourage and inspire each other and a safe place to admit our writing doubts.

The elves decorated my house and the tree (a 30 dollar Wal-mart special) is standing and some of the (cheap plastic) ornaments have yet to be used as baseballs.

With the white lights of the bottom half of the pre-lit tree glowing, I feel like our tree is a reflection of me, not dense, or thick, or bushy (although I do need to attack my eyebrows again), but sparse, breaking, and with no lights on top. Since NaNo I've had so many responsibilities and Christmas packages and recitals, and ...and... that the time I'm able to devote to writing is few and far between. And when I do sit down, it's not quality coming from these fingertips.

But there is one saving grace on our tree, my floating, yellow orange, origami star from my CP Emily. When I'm frustrated at one more disaster from Descructo Man, I can look at that star and think, even if I am this falling apart, crap tree, above me is a star, and if I can stand a little taller, I can find a minuscule scrap of its brilliance, and those tiny moments when I can write, they're going to be worthwhile *stands of tippy toes* *wishes for a fireman's ladder* *settles for a stool*

Monday, December 3, 2012

And You Are Bloghop

Emily and Tammy are doing a bloghop with the help of David Spade to determine who's naughty, who's nice, and who should get some presents.


For me, David Spade was never better than in Tommy Boy, so having his 90's self back to do your bidding-crazy awesome. Had to include this clip since the hubs and I are having a contest of who can learn all the words to REM's It's the End of the World (As we Know it).


These are the "And You Are...?" questions:

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?

None, but I have been pulled over twice. The first time I stalled making a left-hand turn into my neighborhood in front of a cop. He pulled me over in my nosy neighborhood, but when he saw it was 3 kids in Sunday dress he let me off.

2. Can you pitch a tent?
Heck yeah-I started camping before I could walk. I can even build a fire.

3. What was your worst vacation ever?
Fair warning, this includes projective vomiting, so feel free to skip to #4.  About 8 years ago my husband was invited to his 1st Therapy Conference at a golfing resort on the coast. We packed up everything-including our 6 month old. The first day was fun, even if I discovered that having the hubs in meetings all day and the baby sleeping half the day, I didn't get to have as much fun as I'd imagined. Then came the first night-and the throw-up from the 6 month old. He'd been known to projectile vomit if I ate anything he didn't like (raw onions, anyone?) so I didn't realize it was stomach flu, until I cleaned him up, put the one extra fitted sheet on the pack and play, and went back to bed for all of two minutes, before he threw up again. We lived in the shower, he was so sick, and we were so gross. When he hadn't thrown up for a few hours I went to the lobby to get some breakfast and climbed the winding resort stairs, holding him over my shoulder. Five carpeted steps before the floor with the food, he projectile vomited in my hair, down my back, and over the railing.

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?

My new phone-Samson Galaxy S3. 

5. We're handing you the keys to what?

Our 2005 tan Dodge Grand Caravan with build in car seats. We call her our sports car. 

6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?
Hmmm...I've been wracking my brain on this one and coming up empty,,,but Saturday I didn't realize the milk had spoiled and chewed my kids out for not eating their cereal-until I poured my own bowl, of course. 

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like  ____?

a rap singer's girlfriend. Before that song maybe a hippopotamus?

8. What was your first car?
1985 Ford Escort-it was the family kid car. My first "real" car I had to marry into:) It was a 1990 gray Saab. Whenever I see one now, I think back to my dating days and all that parking. 

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first?

I snicker, cover it up, ask if she's okay, and then I help her up and we laugh together.

10. What's the worst song ever?
In the Leafy Treetops. It's the most revolting song in existence and if I hear it or think of it, like right now, it starts running through my head and torturing me. It takes me hours to clear it, even with other songs to block it out. If you dare play it, I'd advise going back to the top and letting Tommy and Richard sing it away. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Girl with the Green Pen: An Interview with Taryn Albright

When I was clueless and writing my first query, who did I turn to? 
When I was in the query trenches and didn't know what agents to query or how to find agents, who did I call?
When I finished a 1st draft and needed a quick Beta read to make sure I was headed in the right direction, who did I send my MS to?


This little beauty here. I don't know anyone with as much on her plate as Taryn. She swims collegiality, she's in college (obviously), she writes up a storm, she interns, and she edits professionally. Here's a brief feed from her @tarynalbright #sbscrits feed last Saturday when she did 1st page and query crits for free.
  • Ask yourself why you're leaving that "shocking twist/secret" out of the query. If it's so cool, why don't you use it as a hook?
  • The best word with which to start a query? "When." "When something happens, someone must." 
  • Seventeen-year-old MC. NOT seventeen year old. If it's an adj, USE THE DARN HYPHENS.
  • No query sentence should merely describe your character. Combine it with an action.
  • Does your MC want something on the very first page? Even something as simple as a sandwich. Goals pull readers forward
  • I'm seeing a lot of filter words in the 1st page. Check this post out for tips on how to cut your filters: http://www.tarynalbright.blogspot.com/2012/11/4-common-manuscript-weaknesses.html …
Great advise, right?

And now that she's branching out and opening her very own editing service (with such a fun website that I just want to go and play with all the buttons all day long) I asked her to do a brief interview. Her answers are in green:)

Why The Girl with the Green Pen? Why green?
Most edits are made with a red pen. If someone critiques your manuscript, s/he will most likely cover it with red ink, right? Not so much here. I make all my notes in green because I like to reflect the idea of moving forward. Green means go, it means new life. These are ways to think of your revisions, and this is how I like to think of the editing process.

Green is my favorite color for many of the reasons you mention here, but also because it makes my eyes dance;-)

What's the weirdest query (or MS) you're ever read?
Luckily I don't request weird MSs, and all my clients are fantastic ;) As for the queries, well it's always fun when they write back to form rejections all passive aggressively ("just so you know, five billion better agents have requested the full manuscripts.")

Have you ever squealed reading a query? (besides reading mine, of course)
Not out loud! But I have multiple times gone to stalk the author on twitter :)

What query advice do you wish everyone knew already?
WHITE SPACE IS YOUR FRIEND!!! Seriously, nothing is worse than opening up a query and seeing a thick chunk of black. You do not want the intern going to read with a frown.

Any last minute advise for those to the minute NaNo-ers out there (who might claw your eyes out if they realize you beat Nano in what? 6 days?)?
Write or Die!!! link to site so you don't think Taryn's threatening you:D

Thanks Girl with the Green Pen!

And if you're in the NaNo homestretch, Go. Write. Now. I'm cheering you on from the winners circle. The chocolate fountain and strawberry tarts are delightful, but I had to take off my lei, the horses wouldn't leave me alone.

Have you ever used an editorial service? or Taryn's free query passes?

Monday, November 19, 2012

2011 NaNo vs. 2012 NaNo


When I started my 2011 NaNo I had a only two responsibilities: 1-take care of my four-day-old, and 2-write a new book. On the outside this might look challenging, but I'd had my easiest birth yet (don't worry, I'll spare you the details) so recovery was easy and at least for that 1st month, my newborn did a lot of sleeping. My mom, friends, and husband did all the cleaning and the cooking, and NaNo was attainable.

This year, I have a rambunctious 1-year-old, three older children (that I now homeschool), piano lessons to teach, and multiple commitments with my church, in addition to all that cooking, cleaning, and getting dressed, which, let's face it, I barely did in last November.

Some things are the same.
1. I'm determined to win.
2. I have my CP's to keep me accountable.
3. I use those bribery methods and number nerd activities I mentioned earlier this month here.
4. I get most of my writing in before 8 am.
5. I am loving the community feeling of writing with so many of you.
6. I'm pantsing my novel.

Look for a post soon all about pantsing-for now, here are my NaNo stats:

Day 19:
Days I wrote at least 2 K: 14
Days I didn't write at all: 3
Word Count: 39,049

If you've done NaNo before, how does this year compare?

Keep plunking away at those keys
and
Go.
Write.
Now.
:D

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vote on my Author Photo

I need your help. My husband's coworker took professional pictures of me. It felt more real than my wedding shoot, but then this photographer's camera didn't break before she'd taken her first picture. If you guys live in the Hi-Desert area of California I highly recommend her. We did a family shoot too and my kids-even the shy one-had a fun time AND I'm thrilled with the results.

So, I've narrowed it down to my favorite ones per outfit. Please let me know which picture you like best in the comments.
1. I like the relaxed pose and how the red pops-this one I'd zoom in. 

2. Pink top 1 -does my back look too rigid? If this one should I crop at shoulders? I think this is my best smile,

3. Pink top 2

4. peach top. I'd crop so you can't see the blank pants

5. green top. My favorite color, but do I look like part of the desert?

6. Blue shirt, red tie, wait, tie? That's not me.  That's my other half.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG-NaNoWriMo Number Nerd


The first Wednesday of every month is IWSG, a bloghop hosted by the amazing Alex J. Cavenaugh to encourage and inspire each other and a safe place to admit our writing doubts.

Welcome to November, the month where my house is messier than usual, my children get fewer baths, and I wear pajamas all day long.

This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo, and having landed an agent with my NaNo LOVESENSE from 2011, I'm a big believer in the power and the excitement of writing with a large support group. I am crazy about updating my word count and seeing my bar graph jump. I am afraid of letting it drop below midline, so for the 1st three days I pumped out 10K, averaging over 3K a day, twice the 1,667 word average. I'm adding this widget to my side bar so that during the month my progress will be visible here, as well as on NaNo.




If you're doing NaNo and starting to feel pressure, I'll give you a little advise that helped me.
1. Always write forward.
2. Give yourself permission to write crap.
3. Take a day off. I write 6 days on, with a rest day on Sunday. When I come back to my MS on Monday inevitably I've figured out plot points and I have a big writing day-usually 4K.
4. Do writing sprints. I prefer the 15 minute variety-and if I'm on a roll I take it to 30.
5. Bribe yourself-I have to write 1000 words before I'm allowed to get on the internet. I also have food reward that I can't eat until I've reached a goal-written so many more words, another scene, etc.
6. Write to fun numbers and update you word count often. Seeing that bar graph jump gives me the excitement to write just a little bit more.

NaNo is daunting, but it is achievable. Believe in yourself and get back to that WIP:) If you're doing NaNo let me know and I'll add you to my buddy list:)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Book Birthday Michelle Davidson Argyle and Bonded


I can't resist a good fairytale retelling and Michelle Davidson Argyle doesn't disappoint! After reading an exerpt of Thirds on her blog The Innocent Flower, I have been anticipating Bonded's release date. Michelle was kind enough to agree to an interview on her book birthday. So read this interview, make one of her favorite meals, and go out and buy Bonded;)


I'm constantly salivating over your twitter posts. How do you have the energy to write and to make such luscious meals so many nights of the week?
See, this is why I'm a writer ... all those luscious meals I talk about really aren't complicated or that luscious ... really, they're not! It's the words I choose to describe what I'm eating, and I also think the key is fresh ingredients. I take a trip to the farmer's market every week to get fresh fruits and veggies, I've spent the last year learning recipes to incorporate more vegetables. So instead of just omelettes, I'll post that I'm eating omelettes stuffed with poblano peppers, feta cheese, and cremini mushrooms. Sounds fancy, but it's really not. I chopped stuff up and made an omelette. Voila! Honestly, four nights out of seven at our house, we're eating stuff like grilled cheese or ramen noodles. I try to plan at least two prepped meals a week. I love food, and I love to talk about food, so it's exciting to post stuff I'm eating, even if it's simple!


Could you share your favorite recipe?
One of my comfort foods, and all-time favorite recipe is my mom's sweet and sour meatballs. They are even good leftover, and I rarely like meat leftover.

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS
1 ½ lb fresh hamburger
2/3 cup rolled oats or cracker crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion (red or white)
1 egg
1 ½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup milk
SAUCE (I like to double this)
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/21 cup white sugar
1 cup cup vinegar (I like to use 1/2 red wine vinegar and 1/2 white vinegar)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
1 can pineapple
hot cooked white rice
Mix first 7 ingredients and shape into meatballs. If using a nonstick skillet, melt some shortening first, and cook meatballs until done. Remove meatballs. Pour fat from skillet. Mix starch and sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce until really smooth and pour into hot pan. Bring to a boil until the sauce starts to thicken, then add meat, pineapple, and green pepper. Serve over rice.
We made this meal last weekend and it was a hit. 



Official Short Description of Bonded:
What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the eivl sorceress in SLeeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled iwth magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all--thefairies--in Bonded, a collection of thre fairy tail inspired novellas.

Based on three fairy talkes, Bonded contails a fairy talke continuation (Cinderella), a fairy tale retelling (One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes), and a fairy prequel (Sleeping Beauty).


What do you think the heroines from Cinders, Thirds, and Scales would pick as their favorite foods?
This is fun because food plays an important part in each novella!
In Cinders, Christina loves to visit the kitchen in the castle. She thinks a lot about food and cooking with her mother. She watches Fortune, the head cook, prepare meat and other things for meals. I think Christina would choose beef broth with pepper for her favorite food.
In Thirds, food is essential to the story! Poor Issina is starved for the entire beginning of the book. She's so hungry, in fact, that she eat roots from the cellar. Tree roots. Blech! Later, Issina is happy to discover prepared meals in the forest. I think she'd choose sugared dates as her favorite food.
In Scales, Serena connects her favorite to her mother. There's a scene where she watches her mother make apple tarts from scratch. Later, when Serena is traveling with Lief in the human realm, he asks her what she'd like him to make for her to eat. She immediately choose apple tarts!

If your life were a recipe what would it be?
1 lb simplicity
3 snippets yoga
4 cups patience
1 chocolate bar/per week
Mix everything together and spend time in the kitchen every day with family and/or friends.
Garnish with 2 cups writing on the side.


I had no idea you did yoga-I've been teaching yoga for the past 10 years and don't know how I survived without it. I wish I could live on 1 chocolate bar a week.

Thank you Michelle for the interview! We're adding your Sweet and Sour Meatballs to our go to recipe file.

If you'd like to learn more about Michelle here's another great interview by my CP Kathryn Purdie where Michelle talks more about her road to publication.

Bonded is available 
Goodreads here
Amazon here
Barnes and Noble here
Local Bookstores everywhere :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Next Big Thing-Meme

Jenny S. Morris of Jenny's Imaginary World tagged me for The Next Big Thing and I feel so flattered. She is an awesome writer and blogger. Her book is contemporary with a bit of magic like mine. I would LOVE to BETA it. *crosses fingers* Find her answers here. Taryn Albright, my incredible, I can do All Things, CP, of A Fool's Golden Paradise also tagged me last month. Check out her answers here.

What is the working title of your book? LOVESENSE

Where did the idea come from for the book? My husband claims he can look at a photo of couple and tell if they're going to stay together. It's how he knew his brother-in-law (who he'd never met) was going to marry his sister. That ability was the basis for my 2011 NaNo. I'm a pantser, so all I really knew was that she could read love in photographs. Everything else (such as love literally stinking) came while drafting or through lots and lots of revisions. 

What genre does your book fall under? YA Magical Realism

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie rendition? 
Here's the part where I admit that I don't know actors and I have no idea:) If Lovesense ever gets optioned for a movie I'll let the casting to someone else:)

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book? Love literally stinks for seventeen-year-old Rae, that is, until she smells her match in an unidentified baby picture.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I recently signed with the lovely Julia A Weber of Literaturagentur GMbH. We're currently revising the manuscript and hope to be on sub before the end of the year.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see the intro? Lovesense was my 2011 NaNo. I can't wait for this year! (If you're doing NaNo, let me know, I'd love to be your writing buddy. I'm registered as Robinwrites.) My first page is below.

I often regret my part-time job as the ice cream/photo counter girl at Alfred’s Drug Store. But in a town as small as Sparrow, a seventeen-year-old doesn’t have a lot of options.

No more reading relationships at work, I remind myself as I tap my cross-trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip. It spews three hundred prints of Mary Brighten and her fiancĂ© but I’m not looking, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.

Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock: forty-seven minutes ‘til the bride waltzes in. The whir is louder than our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no, is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction recovery program to save me.

I pull a photo off the top of the stack. Even with the wonderful aroma of fresh ink, it doesn’t begin to cover the stench of this couple. It’s more than that rotten-egg sulfur smell I made in chem lab yesterday. It’s also rotting meat and moldy, squishy potatoes. A good dinner gone wrong.As I squint at the picture, the formally clad couple separates, not mere millimeters like I usually see, but
to opposite sides of the photo.


What other book(s) would you compare it to within your genre? Mandy Hubbard's You Wish. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book? My muse:) Laughing with my husband about the idea of a girl with his "abilities" inspired me. Also, my hubby and I fell in love in a weight room so it was fun to write those scenes and think of Stan and I falling in love. (Although Rae and Sam are quite different than my husband and me--except for extremely athletic, of course.)

What else about this book might pique your readers interest? I had a great time researching the worst smells in the world, and also deciding what real love would smell like. There are a lot of almost kisses and awkward first love moments, and there's an awful sonnet, written by yours truly, that might just make you giggle.

Now to pass this along. I'm tagging the winners from my giveaway last month. You didn't think you were getting those prizes free, did you?

Ilima T. also won, but I know she already posted The Next Big Thing here.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

WINNERS

Here are the Winners for my 100 Followers Giveaway

Winners:
1st chapter crit: Kim
Query crit: Stephanie
Query crit: Kelley
Query crit: Britney 
Choice of my favorite reads of 2012: Ilima
Let me know which one you'd like: Icefall, Insurgent, The Fault In Our Stars, or The Scorpio Races

And the Grand Prize Winner: Suzi. Let me know if you'd rather have the 100 page crit or the $20 dollar gift card:)

Thanks to all who entered and esp. all who wrote haikus!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author Interview: Lana Krumwiede

I met Lana this summer at the Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers Conference. She was super nice, pleasant to chat with, unassuming-even with having an awesome book deal-which she didn't even mention until a long way into our conversation. So take notes authors-chat, be nice, people will like you and then when you mention an upcoming book-we'll think-WOW this super nice person has a book deal, it couldn't happen to a better gal. And then we'll mark the date on our calendars and eagerly await the arrival of your book. I still have the awesome bookmark she gave me that day as we tried to protect our eardrums from the Class Songs and wicked feedback they generated.

First of all, Happy Book Day! I have 3 children born in October, so it seems like a good month to have a book:)

Okay, to the questions:
RH: If you could make your own ice-cream flavor what would it be?

LK: Hmm . . . I'm not sure, but it would definitely involve caramel and chocolate.

RH: You have great taste in ice cream:) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 LK: When I was in third grade, I wrote like crazy. Somehow that faded away over the years. About two decades later, I connected with an old elementary school friend, and she asked me if I had published anything. When I answered no, she said she always thought I would be a writer. Until that moment, I had forgotten the joy I had found in writing as a young child. I even dug out my elementary school papers that my Mom had saved, and sure enough, in my awkward grammar-school cursive, I had written that I wanted to be a writer. It was like my 8-year-old self sending a message to my adult self. I eventually turned to writing again, although it took a few more years to figure out how to create that opportunity.

RH: When did you pick up writing agin?

LK: I started writing again in 2001. I started with short pieces--poems and stories for children's magazines. I did that for 7 years and had many publications in Highlights, The Friend, Spider, Babybug and other magazines. It was a great way to learn about writing for children and about the publishing industry.

RH: Have you always written for the middle grade audience?

LK: Middle grade seems to resonate with me. In my own life, this was the time when I fell in love with books and reading. I love picture books, too. I have a picture book under contract with Candlewick as well, and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

RH: What are you working on now?

LK: Right now, I'm working on the sequel to Freakling, which I'm very excited about! Taemon travels outside of Deliverance and discovers the outside world is not what he expected.

RH: What was your inspiration for Freakling and how long did it take to write/come to fruition, from your head to book in your hands.

LK:  
Thinking about the idea and building Taemon's world = 1 year
Writing the first draft (started over many times) = 2 years
 Beta readers, revisions, writing a query = 6 months
 Finding an agent = 1 month
 Revisions with agent = 6 months
 From contract to release date = 18 months

 Grand total = 5 1/2 years!


RH: I just signed with my agent and my non-writing friends have been asking me when my book is coming out. If they only knew;)

And here is FREAKLING in all its glory!! 
Goodreads Blurb: 
A thrilling, fast-paced dystopian novel about the dangers of unchecked power and the dilemmas facing a boy torn between two ways of life.

In twelve-year-old Taemon’s city, everyone has a power called psi—the ability to move and manipulate objects with their minds. When Taemon loses his psi in a traumatic accident, he must hide his lack of power by any means possible. But a humiliating incident at a sports tournament exposes his disability, and Taemon is exiled to the powerless colony.

The "dud farm" is not what Taemon expected, though: people are kind and open, and they actually seem to enjoy using their hands to work and play and even comfort their children. Taemon adjusts to his new life quickly, making friends and finding unconditional acceptance.

But gradually he discovers that for all its openness, there are mysteries at the colony, too—dangerous secrets that would give unchecked power to psi wielders if discovered.

When Taemon unwittingly leaks one of these secrets, will he have the courage to repair the damage—even if it means returning to the city and facing the very people who exiled him?

I can't wait to read it! I ordered it this morning.

RH: Advise for writers in the query trenches.

LK: I signed with Molly Jaffa, my amazing agent, after sending a cold query, but I think the only reason that worked is because I did a LOT of research up front. I read through agent interviews on blogs and carefully went over agents' websites. I had a list of five things I was looking for in an agent: 1) An editorial agent 2) Likes middle grade 3) Either works for a well-established agency or has plenty of experience in the industry 4) Likes fantasy and science fiction 5) Loves my story. So I guess my advice is know what you're looking for and research carefully. Oh, and you'll need a great manuscript and an equally great query letter. Don't forget that step. :)


These are great questions. Thank you so much, Robin!

RH: Thank you Lana for the interview and your advise! So glad to have you on the blog! 

Lana's amazing debut novel:

Goodreads here
Amazon here
Barnes and Nobles here
Local bookstores everywhere:)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG

If you're here for the 100 Followers Giveaway of crits., favorite 2012 reads, or a $20 dollar gift card, click here.

The 1st Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thank you Alex. J. Cavenaugh. From his site: [IWSG is designed to] "share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

Today's post is mostly a thank you for last month. I was in a panic, afraid to ever query, to face all the rejection that comes with that long road, but your encouragement gave me the strength to push send. I've now been querying for almost three weeks and it's been okay. I've been rejected, gotten requests, heard nothing, and guess what? I'm okay. 

If I hadn't had wonderful encouragement from the IWSG community, I might still be afraid to send out that first query. Thank you for the cheerleading and the kindness that you sent my way. 

So if you're out there, and you've polished your MS and your query, but you're afraid to take that next step, go ahead and test the waters, and when you're ready, jump in head first.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

100 Followers Giveaway!

Edited: Added another option to the Grand Prize: a $20 dollar Amazon card OR a 100 page crit.

This month celebrates not only 100 followers here on the blog, but also the start of my querying and entering online writing contests. Thank you for encouraging me to push send, and for being with me on the journey.

Right now my life feels like this and I'm enjoying the ups and even the downs of the ride:

So, what can my lovely readers win?

1. I've always thought that the 100th followers should get a prize.  So for Kim, who blogs at Confessions of a Bibliophile and is nearing 100 followers herself, I'm giving a 1st chapter critique (or 1st page and query crit. if preferred).

2. Because I've seen the need for new eyes on queries, I'm giving away 3 query critiques.

3. And because I can't live without reading (seriously guys, I've considered learning to read Braille in case I lose my eye sight) one winner will receive their choice of my favorite 2012 reads: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green; Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater; Icefall by Matthew Kirby;  or Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

4. The grand prize winner will receive a 100 page critique from me (Yes, this means when I reach 200 followers I'll be giving away a 200 page critique!) OR (edited to add) a 20 dollar Amazon gift card-winner may choose.

To enter:
1. comment on the blog and tell me your favorite read of 2012  (1 point)
2. follow my blog (5 points)
3. tweet or blog about this contest (3 points)
4. write a hauki about your favorite book of the 2012 (20 points)
4. add up your points (1 point)

Friday, September 7, 2012

What I Did Last Summer: Reveal, 1st Page Crit, and the Coolest Thing I've Learned All Week

First off, please check out my First Impressions Entry on Dianne Salerni's blog In High Spirits. She and Marcy of Mainewords are authors giving back by critiquing 1st pages the first week of every month. They're accepting submissions for October, so if you'd like some spot on feedback, I recommend them.


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I'm the guilty party, so congrats if you guessed 1st one fiction and 2nd one fact. That said, Stan would have left the house without me in it. That day really did happen, but he was still in the driveway when I got home. "Oh, I thought you were out back stretching," he said, and pedaled off like it was no big deal.

I had so much fun with this bloghop. Thank you Emily and Melody!

And now for the Coolest Thing I Learned this Week
The Boomerang plugin for gmail is my new best friend. If you're like me and entering a bunch of online, time-sensitive writing contests, it could become your best friend too. Over on WriterlyRejects I was bemoaning all these 9am EST contests, that they're hard on a California girl (even one that writes in the early AM), and how I wished I could set up my emails to send when I want them too. And guess what? Within minutes a wonderful someone was telling me how to do just that. 
Boomerang is a plugin that can be downloaded here. So at 6am Boomerang sent my entry for me as I slept (which I needed because my 8 year-old decided to get the stomach flu in the middle of the night- Oh the joys, right?)
If you know of another plugin that schedules email for yahoo, etc. let me know in the comments for any non-gmail users out there. 

And readers, I'm nearing 100 followers. *throws confetti* I have a celebratory contest in the works, so check back soon.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Did Last Summer: Fact or Fiction #2 and IWSG


 Emily R. King and Melody Wright are hosting this bloghop where we tell one true and one false story,  in 500 words or less. My 1st story is here. We get to vote Thursday on which one is true or false and there are prizes:) The true story doesn't have to be from this past summer, but it does have to be true.

It's another sweltering summer, but this time I'm sweating it out in Southern Mississippi (hello, no point in ever doing your hair or make-up. So pretty much a great place for me to live). I was on our patio swing reading The Book Thief and enjoying the morning as my children napped. I was still in my pajamas pants and had on my white, threadbare marine biology shirt from sophomore year in high school trip to Key Largo.

When I went to go back inside I discovered I'd locked myself out and no amount of rechecking the windows and doors was going to get me inside my house. I didn't have a cell phone, my neighbors weren't home, but I had a best friend about a mile away. So, leaving my children and praying that nothing bad would happen, I walked (no bra and nursing me made running a no go), the asphalt burning my bare feet, and tried to look confident in my glasses and pillowcase styled hair. My feet were blistering and I could only hop so much without making a bigger fool of myself. I knew I wouldn't make it to Suzanne's. We had a more casual friend who lived closer. I hoped she'd be home and stopped there. Of course her husband opened the door, and let me just say he seemed pretty shocked to see me standing on his porch. Mortified, I tried to act casual AND cover my boobs as I asked to borrow his phone. He was super nice, a sweetheart really, but for me it made it even more awkward as I sat in his car on the ride back to my house. He stayed with me and attempted to break into the house, even though Stan was coming, because we could both here my son crying (he was too little to understand how to open the door).

Fifteen minutes later I was inside my house and rocking my little guy. Everything had turned out fine, but, that day is the reason we have a keypad today. Even I can't lock myself out anymore.

Fact or Fiction: You decide
Voting happens tomorrow, so I'll be seeing you all soon:)

IWSG
I need you guys today. It's as if I've locked myself out of my house again. I posted last month that I was ready to start querying, but I keep on finding excused not to start. Waiting for feedback from one more beta reader, after this contest, after this conference, after GUTGAA. What I really need is someone to kick me in the pants and make me start pushing send. I have my novel, I have my query written. Now I need some guts. Anybody have some to spare? Rejection is fun, right? Right?

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

If you're looking for What I Did Last Summer: Fact or Fiction bloghop click here

The wonderful Deana Barnhart organized Gearing Up to Get an Agent for the month of September and this is the first event. 
Deana Barnhart

Who I am
I am a lover of stories, Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheese, my crazy handsome husband, my children (for whom I started writing), and physical activity in almost all varieties (from rock climbing to scuba diving). I began my writing journey January of 2010. Two plus years--and three manuscripts--later I've finally written a book I'm ready to query. I'm excited for GUTGAA and to meet even more writing friends. The writing community is so giving and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

Questions for the Meet and Greet
-Where do you write?
I don't have a dedicated writing space. In the early morning I write in our lazy boy or at the table. Once the family is up and craziness ensues I hide away and write on my bed.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
My writing journal (I need for the pantser in me: who is that character I created in chapter 2 that had the fro?)

-Favorite time to write?
5 to 7 am. It's crazy early, but I'm so much more productive with no distractions. Plus, I'm not already weighed down by the stresses of the day.

-Drink of choice while writing?
Ice cold water. A must for our 110 + arid climate

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I'm a complete silence kind of girl. If I do listen to anything, it can't have words. I occasionally try soundtracks, but then those distract me too. I do have one of those white noise machines I write to from time to time.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My husband. And I found him in my college weight room-man I loved his muscles-I still do, for that matter:D

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Butt in chair/bed/couch

Thanks for stopping by, if you're doing GUTGAA I'll be seeing you soon!

What I Did Last Summer: Fact or Fiction

If you're looking for GUTGAA click here.

Emily R. King and Melody Wright are hosting this bloghop where we tell one true and one false story,  in 500 words or less. Entry number one posts today. Come back Wednesday the 5th for my second entry. If you haven't signed up yet, but want to participate the linky is still open here. We get to vote Thursday on which one is true or false and there are prizes:) The true story doesn't have to be from this past summer, but it does have to be true.


Running is something from my past, high school, college, and those years when I only had one child to push in the jogging stroller. But this summer I'm running off baby fat from #4. Only it's so dang hot that I'm running at 5am and still, the heat hits me. It's this arid, suck your breath and all the sweat from your pores, so that even when I finish running I'm as dry (or more dry) than when I started. This morning I run to the Chocolate Drop. It's this graffitied hill, a hard incline, but short enough I can push up it and feel like the king of the world. It's my quiet spot, where I see my little town and often do my sun salutations (in my running shoes). Today the climb seems hard, the rocks poking more through my shoes and I know I have a cactus spine in my left heel. But I don't let myself stop. Starting again is more than my old of shape body can handle; besides, the sun is going to rise any second, the light is already filling the horizon. I crest the ridge, breathing hard and make myself stand up tall--instead of bending over like I want to. I rest both hands over my head and suck in all the oxygen I can get as the pink sun peeks over the horizon, and then rises, so fast that each time I watch it I am in awe.

I move into my sun salutes, staying an extra breath in upward facing dog so I can keep watching the sunrise. After three salutes I sit cross-legged on a flatfish boulder and close my eyes, the sun's light visible though my lids. I try to meditate, but the need to get back home (so my husband, Stan, can bike to work) won't leave me, so I stand, say goodbye to the sun, and turn west. And there, biking towards the Chocolate Drop is a guy on a road bike eerily like Stan's. It's read and white and the guy has his same blue helmet. He's bent low over his bike and doesn't look up to me, so far overhead. As he passes the drop I see his shirt, the free Bike for Aids shirt my husband got from a race in Palm Springs. 

I cuss in my mind yell to Stan, but he doesn't hear me. I run my fastest time ever back home, making that mile in seven minutes (not good for my HS time, but for here and now, I flew). I punch in the code and race into the house. It's silent, eerie, and thankfully, my children have no idea they were temporarily abandoned. My husband, on the other hand, gets a earful. 

Fact or Fiction: You decide.