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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do You Have to Pee?

"Do you have to pee?" A lady at the grocery store asked me last month.
I was overtired, confused, and waiting for her to get out of my way so I could get to the milk.
Out of my mouth came, "No, I don't. In fact, I haven't had to pee all day."
 The lady looked at me like I was insane and pushed her shopping cart out of the way, giving me access to the milk.

That's when my brain caught up to my mouth I realized what I'd said. And that I was bouncing up and down like my 4 year-old does when she has to pee.

It took me a while longer to realize why I was bouncing when standing in place (and rocking side to side when I'm seated.) I HAVE A NEWBORN and these are soothing actions. I do them whether baby is in my arms or not. Hopefully this will be a little tick that I'll get rid of along with the inability to shower daily or change my clothes.

One month later as I thought of the generous blogger awards I'd been given I decided that as I tell you a little bit more about myself I'd give you a character sketch with some of my now conscious ticks and a little bit of random thrown in the mix.

 Cassie Mae of Reading Writing and Loving It and Caitlyn Byers of Random Thoughts from Caitlynville gave me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks ladies! So here are 7 facts about me.

1. As mentioned I no longer have to capacity to sit or stand still even if baby JT is not attached to me.

2. If I'm getting uncomfortable in a conversation (or bored) I fiddle with the necklace I wear every day. It's the Hebrew symbol chai. It represents life and luck and is a constant reminder of my study abroad at BYU's Jerusalem Center Winter of 1999.
2.5When doing yoga, particularly down dog, I put my necklace in my mouth so it doesn't hit my teeth or nose as I do my pop backs or pop ups.

3. I have Norton's Toe (now don't get all excited thinking I have some fungal problem that Dermisil can't cure.) It means that my 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.
 For the entirety of my sophomore year in HS I realized how imperfect my feet were and refused to wear open-toed shoes, but I got over it and am now an open toe girl. So far the only definite is I can't wear these toes shoes that I spent forever coveting.

4. When I'm nervous or trying to psych myself up to do something I crack my knuckles and then instantly worry that I'll get arthritis and try not to pop more. But, if I start popping my knuckles I have to pop all the rest of them before the need to crack them goes away.

5. I can't sneeze just once. It's at least a double. And if I have a cold, sometimes I'll sneeze 4 times in a row. Side note: my grandmother, upon finding out that my parents were engaged, said of my mother, "But she doesn't sneeze like a lady." (i.e. delicate and and high pitched cute.) Well, I sneeze like my mother.

6. I'm left-handed, so college lecture classes were torture with their tiny desks that folded out on the right side. I was paranoid that the people sitting around me thought I was cheating off their papers.
But being left-handed has advantages. I played weak-side hitter in volleyball, first base in softball, plus I could switch and slap hit. On a double-date with the hubs pre-marriage we kicked serious trash buddy bowling (he's a righty) and to this day we can eat holding hands.

7. If the sun is up I can't go back to sleep. So, if baby JT wakes up at 4:30 am for a snack, I can't fall back to sleep. On a positive side, I write best first thing in the morning and usually wake up by 5:30 if JT hasn't done it for me (no alarm needed).

I'm awarding Andrea Teagan and JayBird and Kate Scott

Carissa Taylor (who lives in Australia where I've dreamed of going since 7th grade) gave me the  Kreativ Blogger Award. Ten Questions:

1. What is your favorite song?
2. What is your favorite dessert?  cheesecake with raspberries on top
3. What ticks you off? barking dogs and toenails in the sink
5. Which is/was your favorite pet? Until I was five we had a golden retriever named Arnie that let me rides on his back. No other pet has been as perfect.
6. Which do you prefer, black or white? Weird question. If it's a wet t-shirt contest I'd pick black. (not that I'd enter a wet t-shirt contest in the first place)
7.What is your biggest fear? That I'm not good enough
8. What is your attitude mostly? I'm a glass half full kind of gal
9.What is perfection? Sunday afternoon naps
10. What is your guilty pleasure? reading

I'm awarding Erin Shakespear and Jaye Robin Brown

What are your unconscious ticks? What about your current MC?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy CP News and Giveaway Winner

First a shout out for my CP Kathryn Purdie now agented by Weronika Jankzuk, the first agent she pitched to. This girl didn't have to send out a single query-though she wrote a darn good one. If you haven't already go over and give her a HUGE congratulations. She shares her experience HERE. If you're wondering if conferences are worth it-she'll answer with a resounding yes. If you  want to learn more aobut her amazing MS, here is the song she composed for her MC.

As some of you know I had my first giveaway last week. Thanks to all who entered. I think I'll wait until I have 100 followers to do my next one:) The winner was choosen by my highly scientific-write initials and numbers for each entry on strips of paper and let my 6-year-old pick.

Drum Roll Please:

The winner of Tim Wynn-Jones YA thriller, Blink and Caution, is Ilima Todd!! Look for an email from me and a package soon.

I'm leaving you with a video of WIFYR (there's still time to register) starring the lovely Kathryn Purdie and me! Notice how the professional actor is totally calm in front of the camera and I'm the exact opposite. Act natural, the lady said. Yeah, like that's possible with you're pointing that lens at me.

                                            Dates are off, it's the 18th through the 22nd.

BTW: I've been given 3 blogger awards over the past two weeks. If you'd like to be nominated in my next post let me know.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves

If you're looking for my Tim Wynn-Jones YA Thriller Blink and Caution giveaway click here
Thanks for stopping by on Alex J. Cavenaugh's First Loves Blogfest where we're posting our first love in movies, music, books, and people.

First Movie
In 10th grade all the cool kids were invited to Dana Micheal's party (in my neighborhood). While 4 of my good friends were invited, I was not. It was one of those awkward times when you learn about the party by inviting people to go to the new Sandra Bullock movie, While You Were Sleeping, and everyone being busy. Thankfully Emily Pike hadn't been invited either. We went to the movies together and it was SO funny-with a great supporting cast-and romantic and real to my 16-year-old self that I didn't mind I wasn't at the cool drinking party. I still watch it a few times a year and love that Sandra Bullock won MTV's Sexiest Woman of the Year with her out of control hair and baggy sweaters. The scenes that I watch over and over are not when Pullman splits his pants open,  or when she finds Joe Jr. trying on shoes in her closet; but the early morning paperboy scene when he throws the paper so hard he falls off his bike and the family dinner "these mashed potatoes are so creamy."

First Song
Violent Femmes, Blister in the Sun, the theme song for My So Called Life, was the first CD I ever bought. I still love the song and rock out to it any time I hear it, but the CD is long gone as most of the other songs on the CD scared me.

First Book(s)
This is a hard one, I love so many books, so I'm cheating on this one. Favorite baby book? (Babies, by Gyo Fujikawa) says my mom. Early Chapter Book? (Double Trouble by Michael Pellowski) Young MG? Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George is the first book I read repeatedly. I wanted to be Julie, tough, surviving in the wild, strong. The books from my youth that I still read today, the ones that spoke to me, the awkward, "big boned" "crooked-nosed" girl were Robin McKinley's Beauty and Katherine Paterson's Jacob Have I Loved.  The MC's were me, their struggles and lack of confidence with their beautiful sisters, those were my struggles as well. I was tough, better at sports, like Wheeze and her crabbing and Beauty with her horses and farm work. I, like them, grew into myself and found where I fit; these books gave me hope that I could.
First Love
Anthony from my 1st grade class. I had a serious crush on the fastest runner in my class (I was 2nd). I remember vividly our one play date when he came to my house and we sat on the curb, our feet danging over the storm drain, sitting close together, my pale thigh against his chocolate brown one. I still have a thing for sprinters calves.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My 1st Giveaway AND WIFYR

When I began researching writer's conferences (Feb. '11) I stumbled upon Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers and was blown away by the incredible faculty and the week long small class (read 13 or less) writer workshops.  Even  though I live in S. CA it was well worth the extra travel expense to attend. (You can read about my experience last year here.)

In fact, it was so worth my while that I'm going again. This year I'm returning for the Middle Grade class with Tim Wynn-Jones. Now while I have to confess that the beard scares me (more on that on another post) I can't wait for his feedback. The MG class was the 2nd to fill up after Fantasy (with Matt Kirby). Don't worry if you haven't signed up yet, there's still some awesome classes available, but they're filling up fast, so don't twiddle those thumbs either:) Click here to register.

From the WIFYR website:

Tim Wynne-Jones has written thirty-two books including novels, picture books and
three collections of short stories. (He's won a gazillion awards click here)

He teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College and lives on 76 acres of
land near Perth, Ontario. He has three children, all grown up now and living hither
 and yon.

I'm reading his newest novel, a YA Thriller, Blink and Caution. And I'm giving away a
copy to one of my followers. (Giveaway will close 5/15/2012 at midnight PST)

How do you enter? So glad you asked.

1. Follow my blog
2. Comment and tell me that you did (1 pt)

3. Follow me on Twitter @robinhallwrites (1 pt)
4. tweet or blog about this giveaway (1 pt for each)

I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 16th

Hope to see you at WIFYR!

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Impressions

You can find my 1st page of Lovesense, see what 2 authors think of it, and add your two cents here at In High Spirits or here at Mainewords. Please do! I'd love to know what you think:)

All these fresh eyes are really helping.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

It's 3:41 am.
I should be sleeping.
No really, I need to be sleeping because real life is going to hit any second.
But I can't.
I'm obsessing about my first ever Insecure Writer's post.

If that isn't the epitome of insecure I'm not sure what is.
Here I am, joining a group of people who post their fears, stresses, terrors of failure in the competitive world of writing, and I'm worried what readers will think of my post.

I'm over analyzing.

If my computer was cooperating and I organized my photos better I could find the full-size picture of my little photo on the left side column. You would see me in the foreground and in the background sunning on an SUV, is a lion, the king of beasts. And if I enter his enclosure he might tear me to pieces.

Right now the querying world can feel like that lion's enclosure. I can stay safe on the outside of the fence, continuing to write new stories, to revise old ones, to watch my friends braving the lion's den (query), but I need  the courage to jump the electric fence and take the beating that will come with querying. My parania thinks this will happen: dissecting of every word, laughing at my poor comma usage, deciding my characters aren't nearly as quirky as Lola, as tough as Katniss, or as smart as Kate Grable (even under the pressure of a zombie apocalypse).

Or even worse-they might never read a single word.

Especially if I don't start putting my writing out there. No matter how scary I think the lions could be.

But to query, I have to LET SOMEONE READ MY BOOK.
(I know what you're thinking-if I can get the agent request a full, but just go with me here)

My fear-letting the world read my writing, and tearing it to pieces. What if my skin isn't thick enough? What if I can't handle the emotional roller coaster. I'm focusing on my new MS instead of revising Lovesense. I'm telling myself I'm giving it a rest so that I'll have more perspective, but what if it's because I'm afraid of letting the lions maul my baby?

My words NEED to be out there. I'm practicing positive self talk and I tried for a  First Impressions slot on Dianne Saleni's blog. I got this Friday-am I scared? Pooping my pants terrified.

I love my CP's and my hubs, but they know me, they're nice to me because of, well, because they know me. But Friday-strangers (she has 300 followers) will be reading my first page.

Nail Biting.

And hopefully *crosses fingers, toes, and eyeballs* what I learn will help me perfect my 1st page and have a better experience when I begin facing the lions.

What small steps are you taking to conquer your writing fears or tame those imaginary raging lions?