Thursday, June 20, 2013

From Small to Big

As I've been chugging away at new novel I've come to appreciate the concept of little things making big things.

Take for example these seeds. They'd been sitting in a ziploc bag for a year. But, then you stick them in the ground and add some Alabama torrential rain.

And you get baby okra plants! I don't even know how to cook okra. But I'm so excited and in absolute awe of nature.

Or how you can tap on these.

And the keys make words. And the words make sentences. And the sentences make a story (or a partially printed novel because I ran out of ink along the way).

Sometimes I only get 30 minutes to write and it doesn't seem like much. I might get half a scene or just a few sentences. But if you put all those short writing sessions together, it will eventually become a draft of a novel. I love watching the word count on the bottom of MS Word go from 0 to 152 to 1582 to 5824 words and today to 14,882 words. So don't give up! Just do what you can, and eventually you'll get a tiny okra plant or a half printed novel like me. LOL.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Release Day, Laura Golden!

I first met Laura at an SCBWI conference in Atlanta back in 2012. Back in 2012. It really wasn't that long ago, but it feels like I've known her a long time. She's just one of those sweet people you instantly feel comfortable around. I'm thankful to have her as a friend and to be able to turn to her when I need writing advice and encouragement. I am so happy and proud to announce that Laura Golden's middle grade novel, EVERY DAY AFTER (Delacorte Press/Random House) releases today! Congratulations!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I'm happy to say that I made it safely through wedding planning land, enjoyed a fairy tale wedding, a tropical honeymoon, the reality crash land, and finally after so long a return to my writer life.

Last week was full of book reading. I read JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman. I heart this book. It's about finding yourself, breaking through parental molds, some European travel, and of course love abroad (the best kind). After that I started reading PRODIGY (the sequel to the awesome LEGEND by Marie Lu). And it is intense. It's hard to imagine that in this dystopian world, the United States of America has turned into well...what it has in PRODIGY and LEGEND. But no matter what I continue to cheer on the two main characters June and Day, who were at first enemies, and then realized they had more in common then what they thought. And then when I wasn't reading I was listening to THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. OMG. This book takes fantasy to a whole new level and talk about forbidden love. Yikes. After finishing THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE on audio book, then began the hunt for the sequel on audio book, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. It only took me two libraries and renewing an expired library card before I found it. This sequel is beautifully written, but it is haunting and sad. I'm still at the beginning though, and so I hope things start looking up soon.

Last week was also the return of me drafting my new shiny novel about an ice skater. It's actually a rewrite/revision based on a critique I received from an agent from an SCBWI conference (SCBWI...if you're children's writer you should be a part of this organization. Seriously). But, I'm enjoying writing it so much this time around because I'm not stressing about wedding planning anymore. My mind is soooo much more free. And creative. And just me. I'm so happy that I'm back to being me again.

I also have a vegetable garden. Yes, I know it's random. But, it's something I take pride in cultivating along with my writing. I have a cherry tomato plant that has exponentially increased in size. So far I've only harvested three tomatoes. But, they'll be more. Just wait. Beside that I've got a cucumber plant. It's feeling a bit overshadowed by the tomato plant, so it's being timid in it's growth. I keep encouraging it to grow up the trellis. But, it's yet to built it's self esteem up for that. On the other side of the garden is Japanese Eggplant. I love the purple hue of it's stems. And this little guy had a rough start as well. At first it's lower leaves kept turning yellow and falling off and I thought he wasn't going to make it. I think he too was getting intimidated by Mr. Giant Cherry Tomato plant. But, in the end I think the eggplant decided enough was enough, it wasn't going to be pushed around by any weenie tomatoes and so this past week, it doubled in size. Last but not least are the sweet banana peppers. I think this trio of plants may have been planted a bit too close together, and so they were like roommates fighting for closet space. And then last week they realized, that growing up and not strangling each other was the answer. And so they too have increased in height. Tomorrow, I plan on planting some very special okra seeds. I have no clue how to cook okra, other than to give them to my best friend and beg him to grill them for me (grilled okra is AMAZING!). The okra seeds are special because they are from a friend of my aunt's. And this lady, Ms. Norma, has had these seeds in her family for over a hundred years! They're like from her great great grandmother, and after every year's harvest they would save some seeds for the next year. Talk about tradition. I'm very honored to be growing these seeds in my garden.

And last but not least, you have got to check out this blog, Open Hands, Overflowing Heart. It's a blog written by a teenage girl that was recently diagnosed with cancer. It really touched my heart and I admire her bravery and how forthcoming she is about her disease.

And last but not least, author Natalie Parker is now hosting critique camps. Two years ago Natalie donated her time to a project she dubbed CALL ME ICARUS, through which she gave aspiring writers free critiques of their work. She was giving back to the writing community to celebrate signing with agent Sarah Davies. She gave three levels of critique, peach, apple, and coconut. Her critique was so valuable and helpful. It really helped turn my novel around. And now Natalie is offering critique camps and I highly suggest checking it out.