Monday, November 30, 2009

Superior Scribbler and Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you! Thank you! Thomas was kind of enough to award me the Superior Scribbler Award and the Kreativ Blogger Award. How snaptastic! And now I get to nominate people too! How fun! Here are my nominations for the Superior Scribbler Award AND the Kreativ Blogger Award (please hold your applause until all the nominees have been read):

1. Bane of Anubis- his posts are testosterone filled, jam packed, and well written. He's enlightened me on several topics such as anorexic models, Twilight spoofs, and my very own narcissism. I've also read his book, The Lost Children Chronicles, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

2. Marissa, although new to the blogosphere, has the makings of a star (on the ice and paper).

3. Ivy, over at Shut Up and Love, has always been one of my favorite reads. She's a poet but also an observer of the fine inner workings of love.

4. Hilary Wagner, already a proud owner of the Kreativ Blogger Award, has wowed me with Edwin Copperpot and is therefore in my mind a Superior Scribbler.

5. Renne Pinner, is always sharing bits of hope, reality, and passion for writing. I visit her blog regularly.

6. L.T. Host over at Quest Published has made me laugh on many occasions, especially when sharing kitty stories. I thoroughly enjoy her Fantasy Tuesdays and she also received an honorable mention over at Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest.

7. Matthew Delman, is also a proud owner of the Kreative Blogger award, but is quite deserving of the Superior Scribbler award because he is always talking about steam and these awesomely weird gadgets.

Rule 3 of the Kreative Blogger Award says that I have to post seven interesting facts about myself.

1. I've been ice skating for 18 years.
2. I own a video production company.
3. When I was young, other than being an olympic figure skater, I wanted to be a whale trainer. And thus I watched Free Willy more times than I care to admit.
4. I have a brother who is in dental school and is constantly asking if he can practice injections on me. Yikes!
5. I'm 29 years old. Got a cat in February 2009 and I don't have the balls to tell my parents. Even though I own my home. Cats are looked upon with distaste in Indian culture and my Mom thinks they are allergy brothels. Anyways, it's been so long now I'm not quite sure how to even bring the subject up. Lame. I know.
6. I've watched New Moon....twice. Yeah, I know.
7. I baked brownies last night and...I forgot the egg. It emerged from the oven like bubbling sludge.

These are the rules for the Superior Scribbler Award:

1.Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

2.Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

3.Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

4.Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

5.Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog

These are the rules for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

1. Copy and paste the pretty picture which you see above onto your own blog.

2. Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.

3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.

4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award.

5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.

6. Notify your 7 bloggers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Side effects of blogging: Memory Wipe

About ten minutes ago I had a mental list of all the things I needed to do before I went to bed tonight. Then as I stepped out of the shower I had a vision of my next blog post. And then at that very moment, EVERYTHING I was supposed to do was instantaneously wiped from my memory. Is this paranormal or what?

I subscribe to a newsletter called Screenplay Mastery. Granted I no longer have ambitions to write screenplays I still enjoy learning about them. Michael Haugue, the creator of Screenplay Mastery, has a post on screenplay structure that is excellent. A lot of screenplay structural theory can be applied to your favorite novel or even your own writing. Below is a diagram of what he believes are the basic six stages for a plot:

While this diagram can be a great tool. He warns:
"But a word of caution: don't let all these percentages block your creativity. Structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the emotional impact of your story. But you don't want to be imprisoned by it. Come up with characters you love and a story that ignites your passion. Then apply these structural principles, to ensure that your screenplay will powerfully touch the widest possible audience."

I highly suggest checking out his post. Good luck to all the Nano Writers- just 7 days left with Thanksgiving stuck in the middle. Oh, what fun challenges can be!

Also, don't forget about Dorian and the add on story.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bursting with Happiness!

I'm just so happy right now. Let me list why:

1. My friend Marissa Spector- well she's more than a friend- I think of her as my little sister, recently started a blog AND just competed in pairs at the 2010 Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships. Her partner and her just placed 3rd! They're going to Nationals in January! Woot! Woot! I am sooooo happy for her!

2. I sent off my manuscript for the last partial critique that I won through Brenda Novak's online auction today. It's exciting and nerve wracking.

3. I'm going to see New Moon in theaters tomorrow with cousin, cousin in law (it happens to be his birthday), cousin in law's friend, Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend), Marissa and her madre! So excited! I don't know why I'm so excited because I hated the first movie (loved the book though- yes I'm not embarrassed to say it.). I guess after seeing the trailers my hope is that it will be better than the first movie.

4. I now have 26 followers!

5. Almost done listening to City of Glass. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Stay tuned for Gossip Time.

Don't forget the add on story. Dorian's mustang has magically healed and is driving, of its own volition I might add, to rescue Dorian or help him find the woman carrying his child. Hard to say sometimes what's exactly going on there, its open to interpretation.

I'm also changing my profile picture to a picture that more exemplifies me. I'm the one on the left, my cool cousin- Namstar (that's not really her name) is on the right. I LOVE to laugh and making people laugh, thus I think this pic is more me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

25! Woo hoo!

I have 25 followers! There are actually 25 people that care about what I have to say! These past few months have been an absolute delight. I love all the blog buddies I've met and the ideas that we have shared. In honor of this milestone, I am going to post 25 snippets from the book How I Got Published, a collection of essays from famous authors. I highly recommend it.

1. Hallie Ephron
Rule 3: Just because an editor says you should change the gender of your protagonist doesn't mean you should do it.

2. Jack Bludis
There is no magic formula-- just persistence and send the damn thing out.

3. Stephen Coonts
Writing in the evening on a portable typewriter on the dining room table after the kids were in bed, I created Jake Grafton and his squadron mates...

4. Thomas Perry
I never stopped writing. I went to graduate school and got a P.h.D. in English, worked as a commercial fisherman because I was sick of being indoors, then became a university administrator, but I still wrote.

5. Ray White
As an unknown, unpublished writer, whose favorite uncle probably isn't an editor at Random House, you must make contacts in the publishing industry. The best way to do this is to attend writer's conferences.

6. Charles Benoit
Your real goal is to write a book that people would pay good money to read...You can't achieve this goal if your reason for writing is to just see your name on a bookshop shelf.

7. Louise Penny
Like most writers I was turned down more often that I care to remember, or cared to admit to my agent.

8. Karen Rose Smith
After six years of writing and the completion of thirteen manuscripts, I sold two books in one week!

9. Shane Gericke
Scared? Do it anyway. I became a best-selling author because of those four little words. You can too.

10. J.A. Konrath
There's a word for a writer who never gives up... Published.

So uh...I know I promised 25...but geez this is taking longer than I thought (and I need to go to bed). So take these 10 multiply that by 2.5 and that should give you 25. Have a good night peeps! And Wooohooo for 25!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our own fictional straight jacket...

When I sat down to write today I felt incredibly blocked. Some mumbo jumbo about british royalty, time travel, and lost siblings- blah blah- was basically slamming the breaks on my WIP.

I keep thinking over and over- how am I going to make this all work. I've brainstormed in the car, in the shower, during many a day dream, etc... I've been waiting for some kind of epiphany on the matter since 2004- and I just can't (and I hate the word can't- in fact I don't even believe it exists) figure it out.

And then after almost five years of trying make something work I realized- why does it have to be that way. Why contrain myself to specific fictional parameters that I made up? Isn't this all imaginary anyway? Does it really have to be the 1480s? Or that specific prince? No it doesn't.

So I turned the prince into a pirate and voila-I'm back in business folks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Character Empathy

I have a friend who is going through a very tough time right now. Every aspect of his life is problematic: career, family, and personal health. I've been kind of down the past few days because of this (and getting a cavity filled that made my face hurt as if it had been beaten by the fury of a thousand fists).

Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) noted I was a bit melancholy. He knows about close friend going through difficult time and asked me, "But, why are you down?"

"Because close friend is hurting," I said. "It makes me sad when's he's sad. It's like when you have a family member that's sad or hurting. It makes me you hurt too."

Of course, our conversation made me think about writing (what can't be related to writing if you're a write-a-holic like us). The books that I enjoy are often the ones where I have empathy for the characters.  It's when we as readers identify or understand another person's feelings or motives are we truly engrossed in that piece of work (yes, that definition was straight from

Recently, I had the honor of being a beta reader for Bane of Anubis. By the end of The Lost Children Chronicles, I was empathizing for Kevin, Prince, and Natalie (Jenson not so much- he's just a smeghead). I'm also listening to City of Glass in the car and wow do those drives go by fast. Cassandra Clare makes you empathize for all her characters, even the bad ones. I'll have to do a gossip time about it when I'm done.

So then I began to wonder if I empathize with my own characters. And I think I do on some levels, and then not so much on others. I definitely have some work to do in the empathy department. How about you guys? Do you find yourself empathizing with fictional characters, whether they be your own creation or belonging to others?

Also don't forget about the add on story. Dorian is apparently walking down a desert road to find the woman carrying his child.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dream Lists...

Let's face it we're all dreamers. We wouldn't be writing if we weren't. Our writing aspirations are often private- shared only with family, friends, and blog mates. We don't let the "real" world know what it is that we're really up to- typing diligently during lunch or "cleaning up" when our kids are asleep.

A life time in the sport of  figure skating taught me many important lessons. One of the most important being, goal setting. Now for the purpose of today's post, let's interchange the word goal for dreams. It is said that to become succesful it is important to actually write down what you're dreams are. The act of writing our dreams makes us accountable to them. And of course, our dreams will evolve as time passes, and thus will need to be updated.

So let's get started....Dream List Time....Just fill in the blanks.

Dream Agent: for me this would be someone quirky, fun, hard working, knowledgable, savy, and gets me.

Dream Publisher: a house with a strong YA department (I haven't actually picked out which one is my dream publisher yet)

Dream Cover: Simple, elegant, with a tad of flashiness to it

Dream Book Tour Itinerary: Start in New York (I have a ton of family there), then go to Baltimore (cause I have more fam there), and then North Carolina (that way Nicholas Sparks can show up and congratulate me and I can oogle over him), from there I'd like to hit Florida, then Atlanta (have a bunch of friends and fam there), then in Alabama I'll have to hit Huntsville (go to my highschool) and Birmingham... oh and then Chicago to see get the picture

Whew...that book tour tired me out. What are some things you would put on your dream list?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our inner lens

Do you ever feel like the way you see or perceive what you write can vary from day to day?

Here's an eye fact:
Did you know that when you focus on things up close (i.e. write, read, type) the lens inside your eye actually changes shape? It thickens, changes dioptric power, and takes up more space in the anterior chamber of your eye. And of course when we're tired our eyes can have trouble focusing.

The other day I was tired, but rather than using it as an excuse not to write, I pushed through and got the scenes written. When I finished, my perception was that my work for the day was mediocre and boring.

Then I looked at the same few pages a few days later and I'm like hmmm....this is good stuff. And just experiencing this shift in perception frustrated me.

Do you ever find that your inner eye randomly shifts focus? One day something that looks good, the next day looks bad, or vice versa?

Don't forget about the add on story =)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I was abducted by a muse

I've always wondered how people write multiple projects. I guess I'm very monogamous when it comes to writing. Since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl that could teleport. I moved around a LOT growing up and always wished I had that ability. That way I could go to the same school and have the same friends regardless of where my family and I lived.

Product of an Illusion initially started as a screen play in 2004 for a screenwriting workshop I participated in. It went through two rewrites in that format. After which I realized, I didn't like writing screen plays. Too technical and restrained for my taste.

So I took a stab at writing a novel (but it wasn't Product of an Illusion), but while I was writing it, I was thinking, man I really wish I was writing what would become Product. So I finished up that first novel, and with some experience under my belt I eventually turned Product of an Illusion into a novel. It had more depth than the screen play, a bigger cast, and was more what I had always wanted it to be. I let that novel marinade for awhile, and realized it needed to be redone. And now I'm almost done rewriting it. My life for the past five years has been all about Maya, Fabian, Laila, Grandpa Miles, etc...

All that's left is to write an ending for Product of an Illusion- a complex escape scene that involves five different "forces." There's a lot of choreographing involved, and it kind of bogged me down, and basically I stopped writing for the past 9 days.

So the weirdest thing happened... this idea started tickling my brain. You need to write about what you know. You need to write about ice skating. I told the bug to leave.

Ice skating. Whatever.

That's been my life for like 18 years....its mundane.... nobody would want to read about that. Besides I've got Maya, Fabian, Miles, Bernard, Laila, think about. Just leave me alone idea.

Then yesterday my filming crew (which is composed of ice skaters) and I were driving back from Louisville. So in passing I said, "You know what I want to write my next book about?"

And Marissa (who is also a beta reader) blurted out, "But, what about this book. Aren't you going to finish it?"

Alex, who read the first version of Product, said, "You're going to write the sequel of course."

"Well, yeah. I'm going to do those thing. But, I was thinking about also writing this...."

And they LOVED it. They said  they would definitely want to read the idea I pitched. I was floored. I couldn't believe that two people who live and breathe ice skating would want to read a book focused around it, amongst other things.

So I got back home at 1 am and all these ideas started attacking my brain. I lay in bed and all these different scenes assaulted my head. And I realized I was being abducted by a muse!

So while in bed, i jotted down a list of different scenes last night on my iPhone and did a basic outline. And then this morning the first thing I did when I woke up was write the first chapter of my new WIP As the Ice Melts.

It feels so good to be writing again! AND I actually feel like I can go back and handle the ending for Product. I finally understand why and how people write different projects.

Do you guys just stick with one project or do you work on multiple things simultaneously? Do you think it's beneficial or does it just produce a bunch of scattered, unfinished WIPs?

Don't forget to add on to our totally awesome story about Dorian here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's the small things that make life exciting....

A rundown of my totally fabulous/odd day so far:

1. When I woke up my hibernating computer this morning the weirdest thing happened. And I promise you I am not kidding, or tripping, or indulging in any mind altering drugs. A little pink pig scampered across the bottom right corner of my screen. It was about the size of a quarter. I swear. Final Cut Pro was open and at the bottom of the screen this pig ran across the timeline.

2. I didn't have to go to work until 10am today!! Wooohooo! I still woke up early and got a TON of stuff done! AND here's the real cool part. I didn't have to drive an hour and a half to get to work. The powers that be placed me at an office only 27 minutes from my house!!!

3. THE BEST PART. I got an email from Alex Glass. It was in response to my email asking how he'd prefer I submit my manuscript for the partial critque I won through Brenda Novak's auction. Nothing ground breaking. But just to see an email from an agent sitting in my inbox... SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! =)

4. I started listening to Cassandra Clare's City of Glass in the car today.

Hope everyone's day is as cool as mine! Don't forget to add on to our explosively awesome story concoction this month!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Let me entice you...

Hope everyone had a fabulously spooky Halloween. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the Add on Story grown and morph. To entice you to add to it, I thought I'd post here what's been written so far. If you'd like to add to the mayhem contribute here.

The tires of the '69 mustang fastback squealed to a stop. Cautiously, the driver stepped out. He coughed and swatted at the puffs of dirt that fogged the air.

"What the..." he said under his breath. It was bright and colorful and moving about wildly, but what was it?

Florian Finkelkrumb narrowed is eyes and pulled himself together. He was not a man to stand about asking himself questions, not with a fortune to win and only two days left to live. He leant back into the car and pulled out his steam-powered blunderbuss. Bam! It backfired and killed him, just as Dorian Dundernuts predicted. Oh well, what was another dead Finkelkrumb?

Dorian stood from the ground. Dusting asphalt chips from his multi colored track suit and beanie. Who said faking a seizure in the middle of a county road couldn't earn you a sweet ride? He kicked Finkelkrumb's body aside and hopped into the Mustang. He revved the engine and fishtailed the hell out of there.

He'd been driving for more than five minutes, a country-western song blaring from the radio, before he realized that he was being followed.

The car following him was gorgeous...a silver Saturn Sky. In it was a beautiful woman. Everything about her was black, save her pale skin: eyes, long silky hair, tongue, nails, and black lips against her stark white teeth, the incisors elongated and the tips slightly showing. She was not a vampire, but what?

Then he heard the chilling song she was singing, instilling fear deep in his heart..."There's a Bad Moon on the Rise..." She laughed as she sang. After all it was 1969 and bad moons were everywhere!

In an effort to calm his nerves, Dorian grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey from under the driver's seat, and took a long swig. After all, Finkelrumb wouldn't miss it.

Now, with the liquid courage kicking in, Dorian slammed on the brakes and fishtailed in front of the Saturn, forcing it to careen to a screeching halt. Dorian got out of the car.

Nothing. Just dust and a faint silver gleam.

He pulled a long Cuban cigar from his left nostril, hoping as he did so that his interest in parlour magic was finally going to pay off.

The door of the silver Saturn Sky opens and a black pointed boot steps onto the pavement. 

Eyes wide. Mouth agape. The cigar drops from his mouth and rolls across the pavement stopping within inches of the boots point. Long manicured fingers, gracefully entwine around it.

She gives it a look of disdain with her cold black eyes. It falls from her hand, breaking up into a fine powder that piled up on the asphalt.
Wh-who are you?" stammers Dorian. "Wh-what do you want?"

"You don't want to know," says a voiuce from behind him. It is distinctly masculine.

Dorian spun in place. The bearded lady from 1944 stood her ground.

"Do it," she said. "Do it now."

Dorian pivots away from the bearded woman, simultaneously reaching for something in his back pocket. But suddenly something black, muscular, and slimy coils around his neck, squeezing his trachea, gagging him.
He looks down the length of the black muscular chord and shudders when he realizes what it is - her tongue.

He realizes that the bearded lady in black is not, in fact, bearded. What he presumed to be hair is little more than...shadows coiling around her, caressing her youthful skin.

The masculine voice floats to his hearing again. A man wlaks up to him--it is.....the last man Dorian wanted to see-the shadow-lady's boyfriend. He lets out a menacing howl and proceeds to give Dorian a tongue-lashing he would never forget. No, really. He inserts his black, writhing, cord-like tongue through Dorian's nose, up to his brain, and his venomous saliva starts to eat away at Dorian's fleshy cerebrum. Dorian's screams of pain give way to silence as his eyes glaze over. On the verge of passing out, he sees...

Sunlight coming through the rear winshield of the '69 Mustang. Dorian stretches his neck and vows to never fall asleep in the backseat again while letting a hitchhiker, no matter how beautiful she is, drive his car.

"You okay?" she asks. "You were making a lot noise back there?"