Monday, February 28, 2011

Hold Your Breath

My life has been full of unexpected twists and turns.  Full of happenings that crumble the bedrock of everything I believe of people.  Many times I've pondered the different paths I chose, and many times I've wondered if I chose correctly.

I'm facing a new fork in the road, and though it is something I've anticipated (and maybe even secretly hoped for), it's no less daunting standing in front of it.


Left or right, no matter how I choose, the repercussions are going to follow me for the rest of my life.

So I'm holding my breath.

As it turns out, holding my breath is great for my writing.  All these emotions, confusions, fears, and uncertainties have compiled themselves into fuel.  I've started that SNI.  My MC's voice came to me in the middle of all of my confusion. 

I now know exactly how she feels, and exactly how to put it to words.  It all just clicked into place.

It's amazing how things work, isn't it? 

And as for which path to choose, that will come with time, and I'm hoping it will bring great things.

Do you find this happens to you?  Is your writing dependent on your own emotion?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Think Positive Thoughts

You know, they say you should surround yourself with things that inspire.  Who "they" is, I have no idea, but it sounded good.

I follow this philosophy no matter who said it first.

My office is a goldmine of inspirational quotes, artwork, pictures, and such.  I spend most of my time there, so why shouldn't it be the place that houses my inspiration, right?

Right.  I'm so glad you agree.

Sometimes it surprises me how much it works.  I'll be staring out my window (I'm easily distracted), thinking about what project to tackle next, and BAM!  Solution to all my plot problems hits me.  I give credit to the plants and the gorgeous sunshine that floods my office every day. 

Another day, another hour, I'll be sitting at my desk frustrated by paperwork or some other necessary task and I'll look above my computer screen where this hangs: 

"Why, yes.  Yes, I will," I think, and carry on my task with a lighter heart.
I have a lot more of these in my office, but I won't bore you with pictures of them all.  The point is that if you surround yourself with positive inspiration, it makes it harder to be discouraged.

Do you do this?  Do you have quotes or pictures that inspire you stashed around your living space?

Write on, lovelies.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Book Lookout

Well, I do not have a new book to recommend to you this week, lovelies. Because I have a list! And we all know how much I enjoy list-making.

I simply couldn't decide on a book to read this week because OMG have you SEEN all the AWESOME coming out next week?!  It's a veritable calamity!  I mean, how do I choose what to read first?!

Check it out:
The Liar Society (The Liar Society, #1)

The Liar Society By Lisa and Laura Roecker debuts on March 1.

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) 

Demon Glass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins releases on March 1. 

Falling Under
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes debuts on March 1.

Hourglass (Evernight Series #3) by Claudia Gray: Book Cover

Hourglass (Evernight #3) by Claudia Gray releases March 3. 

 Whatever will we do, lovelies?  ;)  Enjoy some nice quiet time with a few good books, methinks.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

Today on the YA Higway they're challenging us!  We are supposed to come up with our own question and then hop around and answer everyone's.  Sweet!  I'm good at questions.

So, in honor of my wonderful WIP which you all helped me title, Happily Never After, I'm going to give you a fairy tale question.

If you could live inside your favorite fairy tale, which would you choose?

What will it be?  
Sleeping Beauty?  
The Little Mermaid?


Answer in the comments!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Nothing is meant to last forever.  

Especially not TV shows, no matter how much you adore them.  In honor of these fallen loves, Erinn is hosting a blogfest.  The Gone but Not Forgotten Blogfest!  It is taking place on March 4th, so get signed up.

All you have to do is list your top 5 TV shows that are no longer making NEW episodes.  They may still be on the air, but in syndication.  

Then on March 4th, hop around and see what shows we've all lost, but not forgotten.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When the weekend is too strong

You get random posts like this.

Dear Saturday,

Super Spawn and I had a great time with you.  We really enjoyed the movie and playing at the book store, but why did you have to go so quickly?  Please come back.  I'll buy you ice cream.


Dear Sunday,

I don't know what you did to Super Spawn, but it wasn't very nice.  All I wanted was a quiet day at home.  When your mother points out the pulsing vein in your forehead, I think the opposite has come to fruition.  Go away.

I'm serious,

Dear Monday,

Hurry up, I need a break.


**Disclaimer:  I am in no way complaining.  I love Super Spawn through and through, he was just a little more challenging than usual on Sunday.  That's all.  I didn't have any coffee on Sunday, and I'm sure that didn't help anything. lol**

Did you all have lovely weekends?  I hope so.  It's back to work today, my friends.  I've got two betas to get to as well as the work I'm doing on my own MS.  Great fun!  Here's to hoping for a nice, smooth week.  The day job should calm down for me some this week.  Hopefully.  :) 

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 18, 2011


What a week, lovelies!  I have been ridiculously busy at my day job this week, which has made for less than par blog posts I fear.



My brain is in overdrive and by the end of the day I'm in full-on melt-down-mode.  Not only have I been pulling my hair out at the office, but this week Super Spawn has given up his last bit of babyhood.

Yes, my Super Spawn is officially a big boy.

He gave up his binky.

Now, I know this may not seem like a big deal, but it's huge to us.  I've been trying to get rid of that binky for a solid year.  It has been torture.  I've tried everything to get him to let go of that thing.  Bribing him, poking a hole in the end, going cold turkey, candy...I've tried it all. 

Then Monday night we couldn't find one.  I just knew that meant I was in for a long night of tears.  I went for it anyway, I told Super Spawn, "Well, your binky is lost.  But that's okay because you are such a big boy that you don't need it anymore, and that makes Mommy so proud."

And he hasn't asked for it again.

I'm elated!  But at the same time, I'm so sad.  My tiny little barely six pound baby is a 38 pound big boy who can spell his name, do simple addition, and read simple words!

Where does the time go?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Recommendation - Leviathan

Steampunk Month FTW!!  Today, I'm recommending an awesome steampunk that Susan is having a contest for over on her blog.  Make sure you're entered for your chance to win! 

By Scott Westerfeld

Blurb from Goodreads: "Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.  Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever."

Westerfeld is a master at world building.  The world he created here, the beasties and machiens, are just amazing.  I seriously am just in awe at his brilliance.  

From page one it's an action-packed adventure.  Not once did I find myself bored or feeling overwhelmed with detail, even though there is *so* much to learn about this alternate world.  The descriptions are seamlessly woven into the action, leaving you salivating for more.

And the characters are jump-off-the-page good.  Alek and Deryn both have very distinctive voices, and are easy to tell apart as the story shifts between their POV.

Be ready though, when you pick this up, you won't want to put it down.  ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Is My Town

**Not sure what today's Road Trip is, so I'm posting something I've had saved for a while to tell you a little more about me.  Hope you enjoy.**

On the outside, my town doesn't look like anything special.  But on the inside, it's something spectacular.

In my town, the police stop traffic for funeral processions.  They step out of their patrol cars and hold their wide-brimmed hats to their chests.  The Captain of the police squad himself will lead the procession, and heaven forbid someone should decide not to pull over.  The Captain's car will swerve across both lanes, ensuring their quick departure into the grass.

My town is all about respect.

You won't find big buildings in my town.  No, it's full of dusty roads and pickup trucks lifted to the sky.  You walk into a store and people shout your name.  On Friday nights, the whole town can be found at the high school's football stadium.  There aren't a lot of things to do in my town, unless you like to be outside.  We've got beaches, rivers, natural springs, and more wildlife than I can name.

Wakulla Springs - wakulla springs state park
This really is my town.  A favorite place to visit in the summer.

My town is all about community.

In a crisis, the neighbors are always right there to help.  Teenagers host candlelight vigils in memory of lost friends.  Everybody may know your business, but it can lead to unexpected happiness.  Like Christmas gifts brought by a stranger, left on doorsteps, without a word of thanks expected.

I grew up in this town, and I'm proud to call it mine.

And this post has no purpose other than I needed to write it.  So, there ya go.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things I Love About Steampunk

So, today, in celebration of Susan's Steampunk Month, I thought I'd share some of the images I've stored up for my newest WIP.  Images of some of my favorite parts of Steampunk.  It'll give you a little glimpse into what I'm planning...

Every Steampunk needs a set of brass goggles:

steampunk goggles Steampunk Goggles With Variable Aperture

What kind of heroine would my MC be without a spectacular look?

My story is based around the invention of the revolver...

And the world building might just be the best part:


What do you think, guys?  Look like fun?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day, lovelies!!

I hope all of your days are full of love today.  Consider this your official V-Day hug from me: 


The new WIP title won by a landslide on Friday.  (And it helps that it was for the title I was favoring lol)  So, WIP is now officially going to be known as HAPPILY NEVER AFTER.  Thank you all for voting and voicing your opinions.

romance fairy tale #5

(Don't you love the photo?  I'm drooling.  This guy is seriously talented, click the credit link and look at his amazing pictures.)

I also finished another round of revisions this weekend.  Yay!  This round wasn't quite as grueling as the last, thank goodness.  There were just a few things one of my awesome beta readers pointed out. 

I love that feeling of finishing a round of revisions and knowing, without a doubt, that the story is stronger.  That you made the right decisions for changes.  It's awesome.  Don't you think so?

Now I'm sitting out on the back patio in the sunshine, watching Super Spawn play and trying to think of what to blog about.  But all I can think about is the fact that spring is coming, and it's bringing good things with it.

I've said it before, lovelies, and I'll say it again:  This is going to be a good year. 

Thanks for being such awesome followers.  I couldn't ask for better blog buddies!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lets have some fun...

So...  I thought it might be fun to do something different today.  I've been considering changing the title of my WIP. (Why I'm so worried about it, I don't know. I know if I get an agent or publisher it may change, but whatever.  Just humor me.)

If you don't know, here's what my WIP is about:

Sixteen-year-old Kate is trapped in a fairy tale, and if she doesn’t escape soon, she’ll lose all her memories. Or worse, she’ll get killed.

Without further ado, I give you options!  Cast your vote, and if you have any brilliant suggestions, leave them in the comments. 

Thanks for playing along, lovelies. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Recommendation - Kat, Incorrigible

Kat, Incorrigible
By Stephanie Burgis

 Blurb from Goodreads: "Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!"
So. Freaking. Cute.
So, I wouldn't classify this as Steampunk, but it is an alternative history/fantastical take on history MG novel.  And it's adorable.

Kat is a spunky know-it-all little girl who is determined to go to any lengths to save her sister from the sacrifice of a "good" marriage, to a man old enough to be her father, to save her family from financial ruin.

I so enjoyed reading this.  Kat's voice jumps right off the page at you and drags you down into her little attic bedroom where all her secrets are kept.  Within the first page I was sure this would be a book I loved, and boy was I right.  It kept me up far too late giggling and flipping pages as fast as I could to reach the end.
I don't read a lot of MG, but this one is excellent.  I will be recommending this for everyone who enjoys sarcastic, quick wit and historical settings.

It will be released on April 5, 2011 by Antheneum (an imprint of Simon and Schuster), and I suggest you rush out and order it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday and More!

First of all, lovelies, if you haven't seen, Susan is giving away a copy of LEVIATHAN on her blog!  Go!  Enter!

Also, Ali Cross is hosting an event on her blog!  Ninja Novel Revising Month aka NiNoReMo!  I joined (see the cute button in my side bar? Over there -->) and can't wait to get my revising on with Ali and the others.  So jump over there and check it out. 

Now, I'm ready to hit the road.  It is Road Trip Wednesday after all.  ;)

Today's topic on the YA Highway is:

Who are your favorite literary couples?

 This is tough.  I mean, there are so many that I love!  

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, for one.

[via weasleysgonewild] 
Need I say more?  Really?
Katniss and Peeta.

Who are your favorite literary couples?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Steampunk Month

The fabulous Susan Dennard is having Steampunk month over at her blog.  Which I think is pretty freaking awesome.  I <3 Steampunk.

In fact, that shiny new idea that keeps cropping up?  It's a Steampunk.

Doesn't that make you want to squeal from excitement?!

It should, but most people I've told about my SNI respond like this, "What is Steampunk?"

*Gasp*  Allow me to enlighten you.

Wiki says,"Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history."

An example I always use is THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN.  Also LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld.

So, in celebration of Susan's Steampunk month, I am going to feature some of the research I've been doing for that SNI, and I'll be reading some Steampunk novels to recommend to you guys.
This is going to be so fun!  Do you guys love Steampunk as much as I do?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Processes Part Two: Revisions

Today I'm continuing our in-depth look at my writing process.  Enjoy!

So you've written a book.  You've done the celebrating.  You've jumped up and down and shouted from the rooftops what an amazing genius you are.

Now what?

Hold tight, my friends, because now comes the hard part.  Some people like to wait a while before they jump into revising a manuscript.  Me?  Not so much.  Not if I'm still in love with the story.

Whenever you're ready, this is how I suggest you start.

1.  If you don't have a critique group / partner / beta readers -- start looking for one or several.  Be prepared to critique their work in return for having your own critiqued.  This is one of the most valuable relationships you can form during your writing career, in my opinion.  I tell ya, I don't know what I would do without my crit buddy and beta readers.  Not only do they give solid, helpful feedback, but they're my friends.  They're always there to lend an ear when I've got a new idea, or if I need to whine.  :)  But I try not to whine too much.

2.  While hunting for that amazing group of writers to work with, dust off that first draft.  Look at it and accept the fact that it still needs lots of work.  That may seem like nothing, but I promise, this is a necessary step.  You must realize, and be ready for, the amount of work you are going to have to do.

3.  Start reading.  Try not to focus on the little things like comma placement yet.  You need to read for big picture problems.  Plot holes, structure, pacing, and development.  (Yes, I realize you are still going to fix grammar as you go, and that's fine, but don't get bogged down in it.  I do it too.)

4.  After you've gone through your draft at least once and revised out any issues you found in that step, it's time for fresh eyes.  In steps the critique partner.  At this stage, I find it easier to go scene by scene with critiques.  It allows for a much more in-depth look at each piece of the story individually.  You're going to get a better feel for the pacing and basic scene progression this way.  Plus, when the comments come back, it's not quite as overwhelming to go at 6-10 pages at a time.

5.  Okay, so after probably a few months, you've made it through the story with your crit partner.  Woot!  But, you've probably also spotted one or two major plot holes that need to be addressed as well.  Right?  Yeah.  I know I always do.  So, dive back in, lovelies, we're getting close!

6.  Look at that shiny and bright MS!  Oh, my, it's practically a Cullen with all those sparkles!  You've done a good job polishing that up, friends, but don't hit send on that query quite yet.  We're not quite done.  This is the step that can really take that MS from Cullen sparkles to diamonds.  Beta readers.  By now you and your crit partner are so familiar with this story you can't be objective any more.  It's time for betas.  I, personally, have three people I trust to beta my WIP.  They all bring different strengths to the table, and they'll all find different little problems to be fixed.  You may want to send your MS to all of them at once, or you may stagger it to fix some things in between.  I do the latter because I'm a perfectionist.

7. Wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Because with betas you send the whole MS at once.  So it's going to take a lot longer to get feedback than just a scene would.  And waiting is no fun, I know, but it is so necessary.

8.  Once you get that beta feedback, and make the necessary changes, guess what, lovelies?  We're still not done.  Gah.  Are you sick of me yet?  I never realized what a convoluted process I follow, but it is so worth it!  I promise!  Because now, we're going to print that MS out.  Put it in a different font, trust me.  Now we're going to do our nit-picky line edits.  Woot!  That different font is really going to help you catch things you wouldn't otherwise.  Neatest trick ever.

After that, my dears, you should have a MS that sparkles like the brightest diamond.  And you should celebrate all of your hard work!  What do you guys think?  Do you take all these steps in your process?

Friday, February 4, 2011

We Haz Winnerz!!

The winners of the 100 Follower Contest are here! 

Thanks to the prizes are going to...

Prize pack #1 (the critique pack) goes to SARAH!!

Prize Pack #2 (the box of books) goes to LOGAN!!

Prize Pack #3 (the snack pack) goes to ERINN!!

And the three inspirational quote frames go to: Mrs. DeRaps, Jamie, and Abby!

All the winners please email me at holly (at) hddodson (dot) com to claim your prize!  Yay for winners!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Recommendation - As You Wish

As You Wish
By Jackson Pearce

As You Wish

Blurb from Goodreads: "Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.  Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever."

This was such a cute book.  I read it in a single sitting, on a day I was home sick.  It's light and funny and just plain fun to read.

It alternates point of view between Viola and Jinn, and it's done flawlessly.  Never once did I find myself confused about who's head I was in.  Which is awesome, because that can be hard to do!

I loved the character development in the story.  Viola grows and learns so much through the course of the book, and so does Jinn.  Best of all, it feels genuine.  Their growth comes because of genuine concern for others, and real learning moments.

You should definitely pick this up if you're in the mood for a quick, fun read.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writers and Reviews

I'm willing to bet most of you have heard the raging debates over whether or not writers should be critically reviewing books by now. 

A couple of really excellent articles on the whole matter are Stacia Kane's and Susan's guest post over at Regan Leigh's blog.
You decide.

I don't want to get into any debating on here, but I thought it was an important enough discussion to be pointed out.  I think all of us here are working toward that future goal of publication, and not a single one of us want anything we do online to jeopardize that.

Have you all seen this topic flying around?  It has certainly opened my eyes and made me think.  Either way, it's something we each have to decide for ourselves, but it needs to be an informed decision just like anything else.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who I Am

*Disclaimer: I am doped up on cough meds and Tylenol, so cut me some slack if this makes no sense today, lovelies  You're the best!*

Keeping with the answering my call for feedback.  Several people asked to know more about me...

Have you ever heard that country song that goes something like this:

I am Rosemary's granddaughter, the spitting image of my father, and when the day is done, my mama's still my biggest fan.  Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy, but I've got friends that love me, and they know just who I am.


I am Super Spawn's mother, a writer and lover, and when the day is done, my sister is my biggest fan.  It's often that I'm clueless and I'm clumsy; I'll fall flat down on my face, and get back up to try it all again.  Determination runs deep, and some may say I'm stubborn, but that's okay 'cause I know just who I am.

I'm a dreamer, not a quitter.  I'm a giver, not taker.  I refuse to be a loser.  And when the day is done, I can face myself and smile.

And that tells you, well, practically nothing.  And it doesn't fit the song's tempo, but oh well.  :)  I hope you enjoyed this installment of Holly On Meds.  Come back tomorrow for another dose.  lol