Monday, May 31, 2010

Mommy Monday- Memorial Day Fun!

Happy Memorial Day, my lovelies!!!!

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Today we commemorate the many men and women who have died while in the military.

I'm spending the day home with Super-Spawn. (Yes, he wound up staying home for the holiday!! YAY!!!!)

Anyway, today is a day for swimming, barbecue, trips to the beach, and relaxation! I hope you all, whether in the US or abroad, have a wonderful day!

On a mommy note today, make sure to check the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Database to find out just how safe your sunscreen is. They rate ingredients in products from 0-10, 0 being the safest and 10 being the worst. They don't only rate sunscreen, you can find everything from bubble bath to foundation in their extensive database.

Sometimes the things we use to protect ourselves turn out to be worse for us than we thought.

A favorite sunscreen of mine is Badger, which rates in at 0. We never get sunburns as long as it is used properly, and that says a lot since we live in sunny Florida!

Now, time for some watermelon!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The importance of backing up your work...

What a freaking day.

Super-Spawn was up at six this morning and I thought, "Hey, I could get some writing done." Tralalala, right? Yeah, until I went to turn my computer on.

And it didn't turn on.


I called tech support and they told me to take it to Geek Squad. My computer is only a few months really shouldn't have died. Plus it was working fine last night. So I took it to the store, oh but they don't open until ten.

Fine. We'll go to the book store.

Aaaaaand, they're having power problems and are closed.


We waste time in Target and return to the computer place, finally. Oh, but they can't fix my computer without my receipt. No, they couldn't look my receipt up either because I paid cash for the computer.

It gets better.

Super-Spawn was acting like he was the spawn of Arch Nemesis as he screamed and attempted to squirm his way out of the stroller. So we high tailed it to the car -- I called the tech people back and have to ship my computer to them to be fixed. At my expense. Even though it is still under Warranty.

Yeah, not happy at all.

We went about our day, lunch and a movie with friends. When the movie was out I thought, "Oh, let's go to the book store across town. I need another book to read and Super-Spawn want's a Three Musketeers book. Cool. This day will get better."

Sigh. If only.

On the way to the book store my tire blew out.

Luckily friends were following us and helped change the tire and get air in the spare.

Oh, and did I mention I'm losing ALL my files off my computer when they repair it? Yeah, ALL. Luckily my novels and most pictures are backed up. I will lose the work I did on editing last night, but that's just a few hours and at least not months worth of sweat and tears.

Still. I cried my little eyes out. What a freaking day! The lesson?

ALWAYS BACK YOUR FILES UP!!!! And have great friends willing to help change a tire in the humid Florida heat.

Forgive me if I grumble about being computer-less for a while. It's gonna suck.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Fun

So, my lovelies, what's fun about this Friday? Lots of cool stuff to report!

I won a contest this week! Over on Eleana Johnson's blog, and I'm totally excited!

AND I hit 30 followers this week! You guys are awesome, that's the truth.

All of this excitement makes me want to have a contest of my own. Then I'll have an excuse to use a bunch more of these - !!!!!

Tell ya what, I'll start scheming, planning, begging, and whatever else it takes to come up with some cool prizes. And when I hit 50 followers, we'll have that contest, oh yes we will!

For now, I'll leave you with some of those inspirational quotes I mentioned in Tuesday's post.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent re-writer. ~James Michener

Writing is physical work. It's sweaty work. You just can't will yourself to become a good writer. You really have to work at it. ~Will Haygood

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. ~Eugene Ionesco

Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position. ~Stephen King

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to. ~Somerset Maugham

Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet. ~Anonymous

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Recommendation - If I Stay

If I Stay
By Gayle Forman

The blurb: "In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands."

This is a novel that you devour in one sitting, and spend the next few days thinking back on. It is haunting and beautiful, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. This is the kind of book that makes you question yourself, and really think twice.

A book hasn't affected me like this in a very long time. I was weary of reading it to be honest. I'm quite emotional when it comes to kids, and I wasn't sure I could handle the premise.

The thing is, the story is written in such a way that, while sad, I didn't cry. I felt like an observer -- not a part of Mia's world. It really helped to have that distance, because while I was emotionally invested in the story, I didn't feel like the author was making my heart break just to keep my attention. She didn't have to. And the result was this phenomenal, life-changing novel about Mia's choice to live or die.
It really will leave you wondering, "What would I do?"
This is probably one of the best books I have ever read. Honestly. And I feel like I could read it 100 more times and never get tired of it, always come away with a new lesson.

Read it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We LOVE Wednesday- Literary Crush Style

The ladies over at YAHighway are taking a break from Road Trip Wednesday this week to offer some fabulous prizes! They are celebrating their one year blogiversary! Make sure to visit them!

So, I thought I'd throw my own question out there. Feel free to answer it on your blog or in the comments! If you post it on your blog, let me know and I'll link you in my post.

Who is your literary crush?

Can be fictional character, Author, Poet...anyone! (Or several if you're like me and can't choose just one.)

I could never choose just one, so here are the people I love and why (in no particular order):

  1. Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games, need I say more?
  2. JK Rowling- Yeah, Harry Potter, again- need I say more?
  3. David- From Aprilynne Pike's Wings and Spells- He is the sweetest, most adorable fictional boyfriend, like, ever.
  4. Peeta- Because he'll go to any end to save you should you ever wind up in, oh ya know -- a situation where everyone is out to kill you.
  5. Juliette Marillier- Have you read her Sevenwaters books? Run-now-read. (The first is the best, but the others are great as well.) The way she writes is just...amazing...I really don't know how else to put it. Her books wrap you in a spell and don't let go. Ever.
  6. Po- From Graceling- He's another really great good-guy love interest who would do anything to save you if you ever found yourself say -- being chased by a psycho king bent on controlling you with his words.

What about you?

Blue Lipstick Samurai says, "A Sprig of Ginger".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday- Keep it Up!

For today's Tipsy Tuesday post, I thought I'd give you bits of inspiration. Keeping up a writing life can be hard. Especially when you're working full time, have kids to take care of, husbands to pay attention to, or any number of other major life involvements.

So, today, I will regale you with ways to keep yourself interested and NOT burnt out on your writing. (They work for me anyway.)
  1. Take a break if you need it- I list this first for a reason. Sometimes you just really do need a short break from your WIP to recharge your batteries. As long as you come back to it, it may do you a world of good.
  2. Post inspirational phrases near your writing space. I'm always seeing them posted on Twitter, and they really do help me keep my drive to achieve strong.
  3. This may sound weird, but-- outline! I really love FreeMind, and I use it to make charts of my characters, chapters, scenes, whatever else I need to keep me focused and moving forward in my WIP.
  4. Talk to other writers! Huge, huge, huge one! On Twitter, on blogs, in person -- wherever you can find a writer -- talk to them. They understand what you're going through, and may even be there themselves.
  5. If all else fails, take your mom, sister -- someone who will tell you they love even your crappiest writing -- your manuscript, and let them build you up. There is so much criticism (even if constructive) and rejection as a writer, sometimes all you need is someone to say, "Hey, this is really great."

    And last, but certainly not least, you can always have one of these:

Red Apple Margarita (YUM!)

Sauza Gold tequila, DeKuyper Luscious Red Apple liqueur and margarita mix served over ice.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mommy Monday- Fostering a love of reading.

I'm a little sad this morning. Just realized the Super-Spawn will be spending the long weekend with his dad -- that means three weekends in a row without him. :( See, I'm the sappy kind of mom that if I never had to leave him with a sitter or let him go with someone else, I wouldn't.

Sure, it's nice to get a break once in a while when he's throwing tantrums non-stop. But to be honest, if it's just me and him -- there are no tantrums.

Okay, enough feeling sorry for myself. I get him all week long.

Today I want to talk about fostering reading in our kids. What do you do to get them to really love reading?

My whole parenting approach is to lead by example, and that doesn't differ when it comes to reading. Every night when I lay down, I read. So, every night when Super-Spawn lays down, I read to him. Well, usually he tries to insist that he is going to read to me, but being not quite three-years-old he actually can't. But he tells wonderful stories that all start with, "Once upon a time." Makes his mommy proud.

He thinks it's a game, to see how many books he can get me to read him in one night. That's why I started reading to him from Harry Potter. First, he loves the movies so he'll definitely love the books. Second, by the time I've read him two, or sometimes three, chapters he's out.

I'd love to hear what you think can be done to foster a love of reading in a child. If you have kids, what do you do? If you don't, how do you foster reading in the other children in your life (nieces, nephews, cousins, etc)?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Fun

First of all I just ran across this- Official 2010 Write Your A** Off Day. Looks like fun doesn't it? It's a challenge to write 3,000 words in a day. I bet I could do it -- if I sat and stared at my WIP for hours. Ha. I'm a short bursts kind of writer, so it'd be interesting to see what I could pull off on a whole day devoted to nothing but writing.

I feel like I'm always linking to Nathan Bransford's blog, but it's for good reason -- he's a flippin' genius. His blog post yesterday was on writing your one-line pitch.

According to him there are three basic elements in a good one sentence pitch:

- The opening conflict
- The obstacle
- The quest

So, in the spirit of good fun, here's what I've come up with for Emerald's Keeper.

Mandy may only be fourteen, but faced with a darkening world and a villain she loves, she must find the strength to do the right thing -- or turn to the dark.

What do you think? Need some more work? I'm seriously struggling with this one sentence deal.

Share your one-liners in the comments!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Recommendation - Spells

By Aprilynne Pike

This is the second installment in the Wings trilogy.

Blurb: "Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever. When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?"

This is a light, fun-hearted story that really centers around Laurel, David, and Tamani. Much like its predecessor Wings the battle for Avalon is more of a secondary plot to the love triangle that Laurel struggles with.

I really loved that we got to experience Avalon and learn more about the faeries. The twists Aprilynne put on fae folklore were really interesting.

Laurel grows even more in this book than the last, finally coming into her own and not depending so much on others to set her life before her. Which is great. Maybe it gives teenagers that kick of, "Hey, this is my life, I need to do what I love."

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, laughed out loud at several parts, and tried desperately to figure out where it would go next. Warning: It leaves you wanting more. ;)

Definitely something I'd recommend, and I look forward to book #3!

Which one should I read for next week? I'm trying to decide between If I Stay and Before I Fall.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's topic is epic, guys. Head on over to YAHighway to see everyone's answers!

What tattoo would you get to celebrate your book's success OR in honor of a favorite book?

I think this is so much fun. While I'd probably never get a tattoo in honor of a favorite book, I would certainly consider the idea if my own book came a big success.

But what would I get? That is the question. I'm a terribly indecisive person, and something so...permanent...well, that throws an extra bout of anxiety on the stockpile.

If it were Emerald's Keeper that made it to successdom (Ha, yes, I know that's not a word, but it's fun!) maybe I'd get a stylized EK. Something like this...

What about you? What kind of tattoo would you consider in honor of a book- either your own or an all time favorite?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday- What I've Learned

Not to make myself sound all important or anything, 'cause let's face it- I'm a rather newb to all of this. But, I thought I'd share a few of things I've learned over the course of writing my novels, and the ridiculous amount of editing I've done.
Without further ado, the writing process:
  1. Don't stress out over the first draft, just write it.
  2. Yay, I'm done! Wait, revisions? Oh, you mean more work? But I just wrote a novel!
  3. Realize a shortcoming- My absolute favorite word to abuse is said. Everybody said something. Just ask my crit partner- she'll nod her head and confirm that she did, in fact, have to bust me over the head with the said stick. Figuratively.
  4. Stress over the revisions. How many -ly words can I possibly know? I must have used them all 400 times, at least.
  5. Stress some more over MORE revisions. Would Mandy really say that? Come on, she's tougher than that!
  6. Begin enjoying revisions again. Hey, my characters are, like, people now!
  7. Revise again. It's fun, okay? I want to go play with my friends!
  8. Put it away and start something new.
  9. Realize you didn't know what you were thinking when you put that scene in Chapter 2 and snatch it out immediately! I mean, really, who cares about the cat? Nobody. If it's not moving the plot forward- goodbye!
  10. Begin to see your penchant for exclamation points. They're just so fun, and so...shiny!
  11. What? Stop working on it? You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

Haha, okay so maybe the last one was a teeny bit dramatic. Just thought I'd have a bit of fun today, hope you got a giggle out of my craziness.

Today's cocktail of choice: Melon Magic

So, I've never had this drink, but the name speaks to me. I'm totally trying one this weekend!

1 part Midori (melon Liqueur)
1 part Vodka
1 part Orange Juice
Lemonade to top up

"Highball Glass"

Shake midori, vodka and orange juice together with a little ice. Top up with lemonade to taste and pour into a glass. Decorate with orange slices and melon balls.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mommy Monday

Warning: I've been thinking again!

Question of the day: Does being a parent affect what you write? Why or why not?

What I mean is- as you're brainstorming/writing do you stop and think, "Hmm, what would Super-Spawn like to read?"

Now, Super-Spawn is a fair distance from being able to sit and read a novel, but I still think about it. It's something I consider especially when I'm brainstorming for new projects, but not anything I've really acted on either. Both of my novels are about teenage girls- probably won't be exactly his cup of tea, but you never know. Though, I have found myself wondering lately if I could come up with a middle-grade story for a boy- specifically with Super-Spawn in mind.

Then I wonder if it would be smart to try and purposefully design a story that way. I'll admit, my ideas are not formulated. They come to me unbidden with full plot-lines at random moments- usually in traffic. So I don't know if I could force an idea out or not.

I think that's about the only way my mommy status really influences my writing. Well, other than the obvious time constraints. I tend to find my way around those- read: Harry Potter is on and SS is acting it out as I type. Heh. His favorite part is the Knight Bus, we watch it over and over as he rides his little school bus doing the crazy fig-head laugh screeching, "It's gonna be a bumpy ride!" Love it. He couldn't care less about the rest of the movie, just the "school bus" as he calls it.

What about you guys?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday Fun

I've got a question for you, my lovelies.

How do you manage your files?
Do you handle them differently for a work-in-progress than a revision?

I was reading a blog the other day- this one on GotYA- and a commenter mentioned the way they keep their files. It got me thinking.

A writer friend of mine houses each chapter in it's own file- all files in a specific folder for the project.

Me? I have one file for the novel, a file for the query, synopsis- you get the picture, and all of those are kept in a project folder on my desktop. I also back them up on jump-drives. I don't save multiple formats of my novel's file, I simply save over it as I revise.

There is no BookRevision1, BookRevision2 for me. I'd never keep it all straight. I do keep a file of scraps if I delete a large chunk of text. Just in case. And I have a copy of the original first draft for posterity. It, however, is saved in a different place.

What about you? How do you keep your files? Perhaps I'm the oddball, I don't know. (Wouldn't be anything new!)

On a rather humorous side note- Super-spawn has gotten to where he can recite the first three Harry Potter movies. (The parts I let him watch anyway.) He's not even three yet! I'm raising him right. ;)

Book Recommendation - The Sweet Far Thing

The Sweet Far Thing
By Libba Bray

Blurb: "The Order - the mysterious group her mother was once part of - is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for."

I couldn't put it down. 800 plus pages, be darned!  It was an enthralling read.

Felicity is definitely what made the story for me. She was such a vibrant character and we really got to learn a lot about her in this book. Finally we understand her motivations that had only been hinted at before.
And Poppy warriors scare me. I'll take the gargoyle from the roof thankyouverymuch.

It's an enchanting world with issues that cross the boundaries of normal YA literature right into your living room. Clear your calendar. You'll be reading.  ;)

Next week- Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

It's Road Trip Wednesday y'all! (Okay, that was a little southern of me, sorry.) It's the weekly YA Highway blog carnival and this week's topic is:

If literary characters had Twitter accounts, who would you follow?

  1. Katniss Everdeen- Because I totally need to be up on the action in the games, and what the Capitol is up to.
  2. Gemma Doyle- If the realms are going to hell I need to know, so I can keep the darn Poppy warriors out of my house! They scare me...and there are lots of crows around here. *shudder*
  3. Westley- (The Princess Bride) "As you wish" is something every woman wants to hear.
  4. Hermione- I HAD to include at least one Harry Potter character.

What about you? Who would you follow?

Special Alert- Must Read!

Got YA goes natural for a cause. A blog post that I simply must share.

Please, please go to their BLOG and read this awesomely inspiring post on body image and the media's negative influence.

Everyone is affected by what the media portrays as "perfection" whether you're woman, man, teenager or child.

It needs to stop.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday- Finding your Muse

Sometimes my Muse is on the precipice of perfection. Other times she torments me with glee.

Here are a few things I've found that bring her back out of the shadows, and willingly whispering in my ear:

1. Sleep on it. If I'm stuck and not another single word is willing to spill from my fingertips, I let it sit. Usually when I come back to it the next morning my Muse is full of fresh ideas to get us back on track.

2. Eat something. I don't know what it is about food that inspires me, but it does. Keep a notebook handy!

3. Get in the car. Maybe it's that what my Muse enjoys most is torturing me. I always have great ideas strike while I'm driving. Red lights are your friend, keep a notebook and pen handy. The voice recorder on your cell phone would work too. ;)

4. A confidant. My sister is my sounding board and confidant. When I talk to her and start bouncing things off her the solution will always materialize. Either she'll see the escape hatch or a whole new plan will formulate before my eyes.

5. Goals. I'm a rather competitive person. If I put a goal down on my calendar to, say, have the first draft of a story finished- I usually blow it out of the water. My goal to finish Emerald? Killed it two months early. Goal for first 50 edits? Wiped them out a month before the deadline. It works for me, but only if I write it in ink on the calendar I stare at daily.

I'm also thinking the Tipsy part of this Tuesday could pull your Muse into better use! Let's experiment! I had the BEST drink on Friday night- a blueberry cosmo. YUM! Here's how to make your own:

Blueberry Cosmo

4 parts blueberry vodka
2 parts triple sec
2 parts cranberry juice
1 part lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker full of ice. Shake until chilled and then serve in a martini cocktail glass.

I have no idea how many calories are in this one, and I'm afraid I don't even care. Gasp in horror, I know. This drink is good enough you won't care either.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mommy Monday

It's Food Allergy Awareness Week!
Go to FAAN's website for more info.

Spreading awareness, spreading safety for our food allergic children.

Even one bite could kill a child with food allergies.

The number of children with food allergies rose 18% between 1997 and 2007, according to the CDC. EIGHTEEN PERCENT. That is HUGE. Over 12 million Americans have food allergies. Over 3 million of those are children.

We need to fight for our cause, stand up and stand out. Find the cause, find the CURE!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Fun

How cool is this? I made it at for my novel, Emerald's Keeper. If you click on it you can see a bigger image.

Wordle: Emerald's Keeper

We also had family pictures made this weekend. Isn't my Super-Spawn so stinking cute?! The photos were taken by the fabulous Brett Butler. He also did some head-shots for my website, so those will be up soon!

In other (not so) fun news- I've fractured a couple bones in my foot. I'm such a klutz! I should really just stay stationed at my computer all the time so as to not injure myself. Super-Spawn also has an infection in a cut on his leg. Greeeat. Ever had to give a toddler 2 different oral antibiotics and rub him in cream three times a day? Is. Not. Fun. He's a pretty good sport as long as I promise him coke. Hey, whatever it takes right? He doesn't need to know his coke is all natural and made from organic ingredients. Just like his cookies. Sneaky mom strikes again!

Do any of my other lovely blog friends live in Florida? I am so looking forward to the 9th Annual Florida Writers Conference! It is being held in Orlando, FL October 22-24 this year. I'm already saving to make the trip. I'm also planning to enter the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Competition with Emerald this year. If you're local and interested you can go to the Florida Writers Association website for more details.

Also be sure to check out Gatekeeper's guest blog post about taking writer's jealousy and turning it into something positive.

Do the Write Thing is going on this week as well as a fundraiser for the people impacted by the Nashville flood. Go over to the blog and bid on signed copies of books, query critiques, manuscript critiques and much more for a good cause.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Recommendation - Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels
By Libba Bray

Snippet of the Blurb on Goodreads: "Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . ."

I really loved this installment of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. The story intensifies, we finally get some answers. The chemistry between Gemma and Kartik is enthralling, and the battle for the realms has reached epic proportions. The magic must be bound before chaos ensues, but the girls don't know who they can trust.

The pages flew by for me as I read this. I enjoyed the writing and the story. This book was a huge hit for me. There is tension everywhere from the budding romance with Kartik to the race for the realms to passing Ann off as royalty. Then you've got Simon who has taken a liking to Gemma and the addictions of her father...scandal is only a breath away.

Definitely a book I'll recommend. I really enjoy the fantasy twist on a historical setting. Just a warning, this book is much longer than the last, but is definitely worth the time.

I've already started the final book in the series The Sweet Far Thing, which is enormous at 819 pages!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

Ah, Wednesday. One of my favorite days of the work-week; second only to Friday. You see, Wednesday means it's Road Trip time on the YA Highway!

This week's topic:
What photos inspire your books?

I so love this topic! Emerald was inspired by images like these:

All three of them I took on an island near where I live. I grew up on these beaches and they are where I set the Emerald Academy of Magic in my novel Emerald's Keeper. These pictures inspired me more than just with setting though. In the first two you can see the play of light against the dark sky. It looks as though the light really is battling to overcome the dark.

Naturally, my mind took that and formed a plot of impending doom.-- Mandy may be magical, but when vampires that consume people's light plunge the world into darkness she knows it will take more than spells to be victorious. If she doesn't change allegiance first.

My work in progress-- well it's inspiration is rather different.

Yeah, I totally went there.

But it's not a political story at all. No, it's about a sixteen year old demon slayer on a mission to save her nephew from the overlord. The working title is This Heavenly Hell, but that's all I'm willing to give away at this point. ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday- Formatting

It's Tipsy Tuesday!! Know what that means? I'm going to dish out writerly tips and a special treat at reader's request!

Today's tips are on formatting your manuscript. Dun dun DUN! Tricky part is, nobody really agrees on formatting other than a few basic points. Some agents will give specific guidelines on the format they expect manuscripts to be in on their websites, some don't, or just don't care. So, have a grain of salt and read on.

  1. A generally agreed upon point is the font. Always 12 point, Times New Roman or Courier. Don't get fancy, it won't be appreciated.
  2. Always use a title page. It should have your title and byline in the center, estimated word count at the top right, and your name, address, phone, and email at the top left.
  3. Double space, double space, double space!
  4. 1 inch margins all the way around.
  5. Paragraphs should always be indented.
  6. In the header you should put- Lastname/ TITLE and in the footer the page number.
  7. Page break after each chapter- trust me, this is totally necessary once you reach revisions.
  8. Write in the correct format from the start. No, it is not easy to go back and change it. I had to do that with Emerald and boy was it a pain!
  9. Four lines of space before your title.
  10. Two lines of space between title and first paragraph.

An example from the Sharkly Janet Reid:

header: your last name/title

(four lines)

(centered) Chapter One

two lines

(tab indent of five spaces or 1/2 inch)

250 words in Times New Roman 12 point. Courier works too. Anything else is a risk. Leave your risk taking for content, not presentation.

Indent each new paragraph with the tab key.
Indent new lines of dialogue with the tab key.

bottom page, lower right: page number

And now the treat!

Try a sour-apple martini made with 2 1/2 oz. sour mix and 3/4 oz. each vodka and sour apple liqueur for a 160-calorie treat. Yum! If that doesn't inspire your writing, I fear nothing will!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mommy Monday

For the last couple weeks I've found my writing time going by the way-side. This is not something I'm happy about. It makes me snippy and leaves me feeling overburdened by work and my emotions. Not a fun person to be around at all. So, sitting at my desk working diligently on a project for my boss I got to thinking.

People often say things like, "I haven't found the time", when asked if they've written anything new. Or when someone inquires on the status of edits they might say, "It's taking a lot of time, and I just don't have much these days."

I've found myself guilty of the last one recently.

The truth may not be what you want to hear. Or what I want to hear either, but I know, for a fact, it works.

You don't find time to do anything, you make time.

Priorities is what it all comes down to. Now, is my Super-Spawn going to be cast aside for writing time? No. He is my first priority always. But, that book I'm reading, that lunch date I've made? Those are negotiable.

I'm not telling anyone to give up reading and a social life. All I'm trying to say is everything you do is a choice. I chose to go out shopping on Saturday with Super-Spawn and Preggo instead of writing. I didn't lose the time, I made a conscious decision. Here I am to admit that I need to start making better writing decisions. My edits are going dreadfully slow and it's nobody's fault but my own.

Just make up your mind and DO IT. It seems ridiculously simple, right? All it takes is the will power to back it up.

Hmmm, now where did I leave my will power?

What does this have to do with being Mommy? Well, everything. Being mommy defines my life. I work full time, cook, play, read, all of it for Super-Spawn. Everything I do is focused on and around him and that even includes my writing. I'd never be where I was today without the punk; he's my inspiration. One day I'll tell you the story of finding my inspiration for Emerald. You'll see then how my writing really is because of him.