Wednesday, April 9, 2014

photo credit: bgolub via photopin cc

Hi, Peeps! 

I'm taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy Easter Break with my little peeps. I hope to see you when I get back, on April 232rd, but until then, do hop around and visit the bloggers in the A to Z Challenge. There are some amazing themes out there and anyone who manages to blog everyday for a solid month is worth taking a look at. 

See you on the 23rd! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z Challenge 2014

Yesterday was April first and while most folks were celebrating April Fool's Day, we bloggers were celebrating the first day of the A to Z Challenge! While I'm not a participant this year, I am supporting them and I hope you do, too! There are many categories for those looking for like-minded blogs, so click on this linky link, visit some blogs, and become an A to Z supporter like me!

Are you A to Z-ing this year? What's your theme? Have you found an A to Z theme that's got you hooked after only one day?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Martha and her life-sized Plot Planner 
You quite possibly have heard of Cesar Millan, the dog whisper and Robert Redford's portrayal of Buck Brannaman, as the horse whisper, but have you ever heard of Martha Alderson, the Plot Whisper? I got a chance to spend five hours with her, and about 100 other writers, this weekend at the SCBWI Writer's Day.

Martha has been successfully whispering plot for over a decade. Her client list includes best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors. Martha's passion is to help writers get their story told as evidenced in her free YouTube videos detailing plot.

Although the L.A. SCBWI Writer's Days lasted for two days, I only attended the Sunday intensive with Martha. Fortunately, I was able to spend the two weeks prior to the event dissecting Martha's book The Plot Whisper, so I was primed and ready for all she had to share. Out of respect for the event and the author's work I will only share the highlights here, but if you want to know more feel free to visit Martha's YouTube channel where she shares all about The Universal Story, The Basics of Plotting, The Four Key Scenes and more.

During the five-hour intensive Martha detailed the use of her Plot Planner and the importance of breaking the story into quarters from the End of the Beginning to the Resolution. She also explained the importance of using Energetic Markers to keep your story active and connected. I really enjoyed this workshop, but I have to say my favorite part of the day was when Martha used her plot planner to plot out John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and Jane O'Conner's Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. Who knew you could plot out the same major steps of a novel in a picture book? It was a feast for this writer's eyes.

Overall it was a great day. I gained a deeper insight to plot, caught up with old writing friends, and got a free lunch, too! (Well, not exactly free, but it was included with my registration fee.) If you get a chance do check out Martha's book. Or if you've discovered the secret to successful plotting, please share!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

photo credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

Have you ever picked up a book and realized, after reading a few chapters, that you've read the book already? Me, too! Actually, I've done it more times than I care to share. Which brings me to my question for today, How do you keep track of what you read? 

I've tried tracking them on Shelfari, but that hasn't work as effectively as I'd like, mostly because I don't remember to add them to my shelf. I've logged a few on Goodreads, but kept getting distracted by the Goodreads from others. A fellow author has a spread sheet on her computer where she logs everything she reads, while my daughter just remembers everything she's read. I don't have the time or desire to create a reading spreadsheet, or my daughter's enormous recall. So, I ask again, how do you keep track of the books you read?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A to Z Challenge 2014

Have you signed up for the A to Z Challenge 2014? Would you like to? Click here and join the fun.

What, you ask, is the A to Z Challenge? It's the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, where bloggers post from A to Z  every day in April except Sundays. Which works our perfectly since there are 26 days and 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” etc. Your post can have a theme or be completely random – just as long as the post matches the alphabet of the day.

I did my first A to Z Challenge in 2012, where I posted, from A to Z, vacation spots our family had or would like to visit. In 2013 I blogged about cookies and books. I enjoyed both challenges immensely and gained a lot of new blogging friends along the way. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I finally posted the letter Z that both times I began contemplating what I'd blog about the next year. Although I'd come up with several great ideas for this year, sadly, I won't be a participant in the A to Z fun this year. Instead I'm hoping to get a new sense of accomplishment in the completion of my first novel.

Even though I won't be a part of the 2014 A to Z Challenge over 1,100 other bloggers will! I don't know if that's a new record, but this challenge seems to get bigger and better each year.

If you are looking for a way to make blogging friends, the A to Z Challenge is a great way to do just that. You still have a few weeks to sign-up, get some posts prepared, the key to a successful challenge, and join the fun. I won't be posting from A to Z, but I'm not going to let that stop me from reading your A to Z posts. For me it's kind of like the Olympics, I may not be in the game but I will be on the sidelines cheering you on.

Go Team A to Z 2014!!!

What are your A to Z plans? Do you have your theme picked out? Blog posts scheduled? How are you going to A to Z next month?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Summary: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 "Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances."—Entertainment Weekly 

"Twilight time for aliens in Rick Yancey’s ‘5th Wave’ "—Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

My Thoughts: Like many of the books in my TBR pile I can't remember how or why The 5th Wave got there, but I'm really, really, glad it did. Once I began reading The 5th Wave I couldn't put it down. I truly enjoyed Rick Yancey's take on aliens arriving, in a uniquely invasive way, and not being the E.T. type, but wanting the earth for their own. Yes, aliens always come and they always want the earth for their own, but what if you learned they have been here long before the mothership arrived and you can't tell them from us? What if they are your friends, neighbors, parents, and their only goal is to destroy humans? Rick Yancey asked those what ifs.

I listened to the audio version, read by Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole, who did an excellent job of  pulling me into Mr. Yancey's story. With each chapter ending I could barely wait to find out what was going to happen next. I found myself carrying the CD's around with me so I could listen as I drove, cooked, and even brushed my teeth! There is so much to say that I can't say it all in here. You can view the book trailers for waves 1-4 below to learn more. If the trailers peak your interest and you want to know what the 5th wave is all about you'll have to get your hands on a copy of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave.





After the way the story ended there was no doubt in my mind that a sequel was somewhere in the works and I was right. The Infinite Sea will be out in September of this year. Oh, and if that's not enough, The 5th Wave will be coming soon to a theater near you: Sony has made a significant six-figure deal to launch a franchise based on what Yancey expects to be a trilogy. Producers include Graham King (Argo) and Tobey Maguire.

Summary: Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
Image of Richard Yancey

Rick Yancey is the author several books for adults, including The Highly Effective Detective. He is also a produced playwright and former theater critic. He lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and three sons. Visit him at

Have you read The 5th Wave? Is it in your  TBR pile? If aliens came to earth do you think they would be friendly?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry 'til a more convenient season. ~ Mary Todd Lincoln

The Los Angeles chapter of the SCBWI recently posted this article in our Yahoo Group: Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators. The psychological origins of waiting (... and waiting, and waiting) to workInitially, I didn't read the article but after it got so much feedback from the group members I had to see what all the fuss was about. I was only a few paragraphs in when this sentence caught my eye: Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A's in English class. I thought, "Hey, that was me!" From that point on I was hooked. Could this be the key to ending my never-ending novel? Could I actually be my own worse enemy? Could my past successes be hindering my future ones?

photo credit: J.S. Pitts

Ms. McArdle does an amazing job of supporting her theory and clarifying why writers, like me, find the task of writing so challenging and why it's taking me FAR longer to finish a project than I thought it would. Another revelation for me was this: “The reason we struggle with"insecurity,” says Pastor Steven Furtick, “is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” I have often said it would be so much easier if I could actually see someone's start to finish project. Because always seeing the end product, just makes me feel hopeless. Perhaps my issue isn't just the problem with seeing the process, it could be that I need to move from having a fixed mind-set, to one of a growth mind-set. (I would define that more, but she does a much better job than I could.)

This article may not be the catalyst that allows me to finish my book, but it does offer me new insight and knowledge on my shortcomings. And, as Sir Francis Bacon states, Knowledge is Power.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

photo credit: mimitalks, married, under grace via photopin cc

February is a National Heart Month and Valentine's Day is this Friday! I love  celebrating Valentine's Day because it gives you another opportunity to show the people you love how much you love them. After 20+ years of marriage my husband and I have celebrated Valentine's Day many ways― nights on the town, evenings with friends, dinners at home, but this year it would be fun to do something fun & different, without breaking the bank. With that thought in mind, I would love to know what was your most memorable Valentine's Day Celebration? What did the love of your life do that made lasting memories for you? I'd love to know so we can make some new memories, too!

To get you in a loving mood, I thought I'd share some famous author quotes on the subject:
  • "Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it." ― Nicholas Sparks
  • "Love is the answer to everything. It's the only reason to do anything. If you don't write stories you love, you'll never make it. If you don't write stories that other people love, you'll never make it." — Ray Bradbury
  • "We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." — Dr. Seuss
  • "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."  — Charles Schulz
  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.—  Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. — Mother Teresa
  • "I love thee, I love but thee With a love that shall not die Till the sun grows cold And the stars grow old."—  William Shakespeare 
  • "Grow old with me! The best is yet to be." — Robert Browning
After reading those quotes are you feeling more loving? Me, too. But before you leave to spread the love around don't forget to share your most memorable Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What??? It's February Already???

Whether I'm ready or not it is a new month and time for another IWSG post. IWSG is a blog hop where writers help each other deal with their insecurities. Thanks to Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his team, for providing a safe and supportive format for writers to speak openly, and without fear, about the insecurities that come with our craft. Be sure to check out the IWSG Facebook page where writers can garner support more than once a month.

Since I haven't finished the never-ending story I'm writing, my writing insecurities haven't really changed much. Hopefully I will finish my story soon and gain a whole new batch of insecurities. Yippee! Something to look forward to. Until that day comes I thought it be nice to highlight a few blog posts that helped calmed some of my writing insecurities. Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure there are many other blog posts that could have the same calming effect, but here's what struck my fancy this week:

How Children’s Book Agents Choose Who They Represent
My two favorite takeaways: ...Be the best that you can be and ...keep submitting

How to Finish Your Novel (While Life Goes On)
There really is good news: can do it. You CAN produce a finished novel – without your fairy godmother waving a magic wand and granting you six months away from your regular life.

How to Achieve Your New Year's Goals
I'm hoping this one helps because it's I'm already behind in my 2014 goals. I think I'll start doing this: Don’t ‘should’ on yourself. 

The Ugly Truth About Writer’s Block (And Its Cure)
I loved this suggestion: Give each part of you the attention it deserves today, and see all your blocks begin to dissolve away.

And perhaps my favorite, since it's perfect for today:
When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities
Best thought: I won’t let my insecurities stop me from writing.

How are your insecurities treating you this month?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It goes without saying that Neil Gaiman is one of the most imaginative writers on around, so when he comes out with writing rules it's probably a good idea to listen. His first rule is one I've heard many times before, but as a writer, I can never hear it enough. I think Nike got it right when they said, Just Do It!

Neil Gaiman 8 Rules for Writing

Just in case you want to print these out and hang on your wall, here they are in text format:
  1. Write
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Did you find a favorite? How about a favorite Neil Gaiman book? My most Neil Gaiman read was Anansi Boys, and yes, it was amazing!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top 10 Tips

I recently saw this and it made me laugh out loud. This is for all the writers out there and the people who love them:

Do you see any favorites? I completely agree with numbers 1, 2, and 3. I need to type out number 5 and hang it on every doorway in the house, especially the one to my writing space. I think we've all done number 8. What's your top tip for surviving life with a writer?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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I cannot believe it is the second week of 2014 already. I think, if it's at all possible, this year is going to go by even faster than the last one. Of course, as someone shared with me in Starbucks this morning, the pace of the passing years may have something to do with my getting older. As to be expected I immediately dismissed his comment. What does he know anyway!?!

With a new year comes another batch of insecurities, which means it's time for my IWSG post. IWSG is a blog hop where writers help each other deal with their insecurities. Thanks to Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for providing a safe and supportive format for writers to speak openly, and without fear, about the insecurities that come with our craft. Be sure to check out the IWSG Facebook page where writers can garner support more than once a month.

Being that it is another new year I'm facing the same concern I've had for the past few years, Will this be the year I manage to wrestle my book into something I feel is submission worthy? I have no doubt I'll finish it, I've done that several times. I have know doubt I'll like the story, since I've gotten great feedback on it. My insecurity is that I'll never like it well enough to set it free. I know at some point I need to push my little eagle out of the nest and hope it flies, but I wonder is 2014 that year?

How about you? What's topping your list of insecurities for 2014?

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm on holiday and will be back on January 8th for the first IWSG post of the New Year. I hope to see you then! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Tis the Season

For our family this truly is The Most Wonderful Time of Year! Christmas break is only two-weeks away, Christmas Day is right after that as well as our daughter's birthday. I can't believe she's turning thirteen!!!  She's super-excited to become a teen while I'm wondering where has all the time gone.

As well as a wonderful time of year, this is also a busy time of year for our family. We had our Christmas Open House on Sunday which left me too worn out to write my Monday post; cooking for 65 persons will do that to you. In the end all the cooking, cleaning, and preparing was worth it to get to spend four hours with friends I often only see once a year. Plus, my sister was the ultimate sous-chef and helped me make sure there was always food on the table.

Since it is December, last Sunday's party was only the beginning. This week I'm cooking dinner for a neighbor going through chemotherapy, next week my daughter and I will be making our first Yule Log for a report she's doing on Canada, and then it's time to start preparations for our two Christmas Celebrations (my family and my hubby's both celebrate Christmas at our house) and get ready to usher in our teen. As you can see it's going to be hectic around here for the rest of December, so this will by my last post for 2013.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a very Merry New Year. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows of 2013 with me. Until we meet again may you find time to celebrate this wonderful time of year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's the first Wednesday of the month time for IWSG where we writers help each other deal with our insecurities. Thanks to Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for providing writer's a safe and supportive format to speak openly, and without fear, about the insecurities that come with the craft of writing. Be sure to check out the IWSG Facebook page where writers can garner support more than once a month.

Like most writers my insecurities run the gamut from I can never do this to I was meant to do this. Each month when it's time to write my IWSG post I have a plethora of insecurities to chose from. Since I don't want to bore you with my angst, I will just pick the one that is screaming louder than the rest this week which is, Will they read it?

After spending so much time writing, rewriting, and rewriting my novel again and again, the thought that no one will want to read it is horrifying. I am well aware that what I write isn't for everyone, but what if it's for no one? What if I've spent all this time writing and no one reads it? Wait! There is one person who will read it and love it, good old mom. I know without a doubt my mom will read my novel and she will love it. She will love it even if it's the worse thing ever written she will still brag that it was written by her daughter. Sigh, I feel so much better. Aren't Mom's wonderful? I love my mom so much and even when she's not with me she still manages to ease my insecurities. After all as Abe Lincoln said, All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Thanks, Mom for always being my number one fan!

How are your insecurities doing this month? Do you have a number one fan that can help smooth them out for you?