It's another Christmas Game Day!
To participate in the Christmas Mad Lib fun, come up with a word for the fifteen items listed below (All NOUNS), and then slot them into the poem below that.
1. A Day of the Year
2. A building
3. Name of an animal
4. Name of a male fictional character
5. Piece of furniture
6. Some kind of food
7. Mode of transportation, something you ride in
8. Something that flies
9. What ever is at the top of your Christmas Wish List this year
10. Type of clothing material
11. Name of a fruit
12. Name something white
13. Name something round
14. A food that jiggles
15. Body part
'Twas the night before [#1], when all through the [#2]
The children were nestled all snug in their [#5 in plural form],
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
He was dressed all in [#10], from his head to his foot,
His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He sprang to his [#7], to his team gave a whistle,
"Happy [#1] to all, and to all a good night!"
Now I'm curious: How'd your poem go?
Looks like a lot of my blogger buddies have already been tagged, so I'll try to go with... hmm...
--Nancy J. Parra at A Room with a View
--Heather Snow at Heather's Historical Hodgepodge and
--Claire Ashgrove at From the Muse
Pass on the love, ladies!
And now, here are my answers.
1. What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The last thing I wrote was a letter to my unborn baby.
The first thing I wrote and still have is a book of poems from first grade. Want me to quote one of them them for you...too bad. I'm going to anyway! "From up in the air, to down on the ground, a beautiful rainbow appears. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. A pretty, pretty rainbow."
2. Write poetry?
Since I just quoted my poem from first grade, I guess I'll answer this one yes.
3. Angsty poetry?
Umm...No, not that I recall. As you can see above, I'm more into the happy rainbow stuff.
4. Favorite genre of writing?
Romance--All varieties (YA, Adult, Suspense, dramatic...I could go on)
5. Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
I wrote a quartet once about four sisters--not published. The youngest had her story last; she'd been in love with the neighbor guy forever. I didn't have a problem with her personally, but she was so stubborn, I couldn't get a concrete plot outlined for her story...I think I tried at least a dozen different beginnings, and I still haven't found one yet that satisfies me. Sigh.
6. Best plot you’ve ever created?
I'll call it the weirdest plot I ever created: The heroine has a split personality due to a traumatic car accident she was in a few years earlier (a car accident that was her fault and killed lots of people, making her brain create a new personality to escape the reality of that horrible day). But after plenty of counseling, she thinks she's better, so she goes on with life.
The story starts on her wedding day...where the evil mother of the groom tells her about the car accident and how it was her fault, which makes personality number two come out. Personality number two doesn't know this groom dude, so she splits out, takes off with the limo driver, spending the rest of the evening with him.
The next morning, she's back to her original self, and can't remember what she did the night before. She ends up pregnant from the chauffeur and has to track him down and tell him her crazy story. Since she's pregnant, he sticks around, but eventually falls for both her personalities. It's their love for each other that heals her problem in the end. Ahhhh.
7. Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?
I don't want to give it away. What if I actually sell that book; everyone will know the big surprise. But it's a good one, trust me! I still gasp when I re-read it.
8. How often do you get writer’s block?
Quite a lot. More than once a year.
9. Write fan fiction?
Nope. Never tried it.
10. Do you type or write by hand?
I use whatever is handy. I still have some old, unused invoices from when I worked as an invoicer with story ideas scrawled across the back. But if a computer is handy, I'll type.
11. Do you save everything you write?
Mostly, yes. I'm pretty sure I do.
12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?
Yes, all the time.
13. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
I'm going to have to go with an unpublished story I titled Hot Commodity. It was just so fun to create that hero. Love him.
14. What’s everyone else’s favorite story that you’ve written?
My family likes The Stillburrow Crush best, I think. None of my work will be published until February, so I don't really have reader fans yet; can't ask them.
15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
The Stillburrow Crush IS a romantic teen drama story, so okay, yes, I have!
16. What’s your favorite setting for your characters?
Places I make up in my head. But they're so fun; I can make them look like whatever my little heart pleases.
17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
I don't have enough fingers and toes to count that high. But I've always got plenty of WIPs in progress to say the least!
18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
In high school, I won third at a fiction writing contest. In college, I won an honorable mention and third in another fiction contest. And in August of 2008, the Central Ohio Fiction Writers awarded me second place in their Ignite the Flame Contest after they read the first chapter of "Disaster at 410 S. Elm".
19. What are your five favorite words?
From my writing, you'd think they were that, and, was, suddenly, and then... you know all those words you're not supposed to overuse! But other than that, I can't come up with any favorites. My hubby's found a recent fascination with the word Pumpernickel though.
20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?
I guess there is a tiny bit of me in all of them, but usually I try to have my characters do and say things I wouldn't dare. I like them being more brave than I am.
21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?
From everywhere. Other books, movies, dreams, events in my own life, events in other people's lives, stories I've heard from other people, the news, cereal boxes... you name it.
22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Yes, but I've slept since then, so I can't remember a specific instance.
23. Do you favor happy endings?
Well, I favor romance stories, so yes! Duh.
24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Depends on what mood I'm in. If the story is rolling, I just type as fast as I can and go back later. If I'm struggling with a scene, I'll obsess a little more over spelling and grammar to help pass the time.
25. Does music help you write?
Occasionally. Again, it depends. If I'm captured by a muse, nothing short of the hand of God--or my husband asking where the mayonnaise is--will disturb me. Other times, I'm a bit too easily distracted.
26. Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.
From the first few lines of my WIP, Disaster at 410 S. Elm.
"He’d never tried to stop anyone from committing murder before.
It was definitely a nerve-wracking business, Drew Harper realized as he sat tense in the passenger seat of his sister’s six-year old Honda Civic while she blew a four-way stop and careened around a corner, making the tires screech in protest."
So, please... Enjoy!
Tis the season to see how festive you are. I found a trivia quiz on the website http://www.internetfamilyfun.com/christmas.htm and just had to test myself. I got a C+ on my Christmas intelligence with 11 out of 14 correct. What about you guys? Did you know all these answers? (Psst: Answers are at the bottom!)
1: What country did the tradition of having a Christmas tree come from?
2: Every year most homes in the United States bring something from the outdoors into their homes and decorate it. This object is:
- A Fir or Evergreen Tree
- A Palm Tree
- A log
- A bush
3: What is the name of the head elf in the movie, "The Santa Clause"?
4: In the poem "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore what creature is mentioned?
5: What is dressed in "holiday style" in the song, "Silver Bells"?
- Store Windows
- Train Station
6: In what city did the story, "Miracle on 34th Street", take place?
- New York
7: In "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" the elf named Hermey wanted to be a
- Toy Painter
8: In the song, "12 Days of Christmas", how many Lords a-leaping are there?
9: The biggest selling Christmas song of all time is:
- Bing Crosby's White Christmas
- Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
- Connie Francis's Winter Wonderland
- Pat Boone's I'll Be Home For Christmas
10: In the Christmas classic, "Home Alone," where did the family go?
11: In the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" what is the angel's first name?
12: Other names for Santa Claus do not include:
- St. Nick
- Sint Klaas
- Father Christmas
- Feliz Navidad
13: The name of the girl that asked if there is a Santa in the famous editorial that answered that question.
14: In the movie "The Christmas Story", what did Ralphie want for Christmas?
- Go Cart
- BB Gun
1)Germany, 2)A Fir or Evergreen, 3)Bernard, 4)Mouse, 5) Sidewalks, 6)New York, 7)Dentist, 8)10, 9)Bing Crosby's White Christmas, 10)France, 11)Clarence, 12)Feliz Navidad, 13)Virginia, 14)BB Gun
I think that same thing must be true with manuscript rejections. When I receive a rejection that has personal comments attached, I'm extra aware of trying to avoid doing that same wrong thing in subsequent stories or revisions.
I call it lessons learned--not just the hard way--but the "rejection" way.
And I figured if I can learn to improve from my rejections, I don't see why others can't too. Thus, I decided to write a blog about all the different reasons I've received rejections to help other writers avoid receiving the same rejection letter I did...except that would make one super long post--because there's just so many rejections to chose from. So, I concluded that a series of "Lessons Learned" posts would work better!
Since this is my first lesson learned post, I'll start with the first thing a person can do wrong at the very beginning of their manuscript. I've had my hand slapped twice for this one, so I'm thinking I still need to work on it too.
Back in the days of Charles Dickens and all those great classics, it was perfectly fine to wax eloquent at the beginning of your novel, describing the world at that time, the weather three months before, and all the harvest seasons before you ever started on the true story.
But times have a'changed.
In this age of immediate gratification--ATMS, eBay, Amazon.com--people don't want to wait around to begin their story. They want to start the beginning of their story at the beginning of the story (does that sound as funny to everyone else as it does to me? Well, it's true regardless.).
Try to avoid writing background information at the very beginning of your story. You're an artist, creating a work of fantasy; I'm confidant you can find a way to ingeniously filter in all the pertinent background information throughout the story and not just dump it all at the very beginning.
IF there is something your reader simply MUST know before they can begin the story, then make that the beginning, but don't tell it in past tense, rather show it in a scene as if it's happening now.
That's something I've done wrong, and received a rejection to prove it. I wanted to explain my character, by giving the reader all the juicy details of their life, before I actually showed them in action. But with the new millennium starting and everything, no editor/agent was interested in wading through the boring stuff to get to the true meat of my tale.
So...beware of dumping too much information at the beginning. And if that idea doesn't appeal, you can think of it this way. Just because you can't say everything you want to on page one, doesn't mean you can't say it later on in the book AFTER you've already got the reader hooked on the story, because that's when they'll really want all the juicy background on their favorite characters.
In other people's news, My wonderful critique partner, Claire Ashgrove, had her second book (ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS...IS BIG BLUE EYES) released last week from The Wild Rose Press. Big round of applause for her.
And the biggie: Tess Hilmo, a blogger buddy of mine, just announced she sold her first book, With A Name Like Love, to Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Did you hear that??? Farrar, Straus & Giroux!!! I'm so in awe.
Now for the awards.
Loyal Friend Award
I received the "Loyal Friend" Award from Robyn, over at Putting Pen to Paper. Thank you so much, Robyn! You're the sweetest!
Who Loves you Award
Then, or maybe it was before that, I received the "Who Loves You" Award from Laura Gerold, over at Laura's Reviews.
Super Comments Award
And both Laura and Robyn bestowed "The Super Comments" Award on me sometime during all that. Thank you, thank you, guys. You're truly TOO good to me.
And finally, Tricia J. O'Brien at her blog, Tailspinning passed the "Honest Scrap" Award to me at the end of November. For this award, you're supposed to tell five to ten "honest" things about yourself and then pass the award along to five to ten other bloggers for them to do the same.
I think I'm already taking up too much time and space here, so I'll do all the award passing along later (probably after the new year) and share some "honest" things about myself then!
So...Until Thursday. See you guys later!
Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
So he can hoe, hoe, hoe…
What Christmas Carol is a favorite of parents?
What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Who's there ?
Donut who ?
Donut open till Christmas…
What do you get if Santa goes down the chimney when a fire is lit?
How do sheep in Mexico say Merry Christmas?
What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
What does a cat on the beach have in common with Christmas?
Why was Santa's little helper depressed?
He had low elf-esteem...
What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas ?
Thanks, I'll never part with it…
How long does it take to burn a Christmas candle down ?
About a wick…
Why are Christmas trees like bad knitters ?
They both drop their needles…
Money is the Rudolph of all evil…
I've entered my third and final trimester and I've finally started a journal-type thing for the baby, even titled it "Letters to Lydia." One of my great blogger buddies...I think it was Tamika maybe...made the suggestion to write letters to her, so I've been doing that for a month now. I had no idea writing a few letters could be such an emotional experience. But sometimes I get weepy-eyed just telling her how much I already love her and sharing current experiences in my life (yes, the hormones are definitely working!).
On the statistics side of things, I had another sonogram last week. She is a whopping two pounds and six ounces with a 145 heartbeat (which is perfect). Her current home measured 26 centimeters, which is pretty much on target, and I only gained one pound in three weeks!!! Of course, I had this doctor's visit the DAY before Thanksgiving, so who knows how much I put on since then. Sigh. If you can't tell, I was worried I was going to gain as much this month as I did last month. It's nice to learn I was wrong.
I've provided pictures of both me and Lydia for you to see. Too bad mine's a bit blurry (hee hee). The little princess was too busy wiggling around to stay still a second and pose for her shot, so they didn't come out too well either. This one is a side profile of her face with her head at the left side and her staring up. Her hand is up by her mouth (ironically enough, her feet were up in that area too). In the second shot, I circled her head in yellow and her arm in red--maybe that'll help you see her better. The doctor showed us her mouth, nose, and eyelashes (there was no cleft above her lip either, yay!) and he kept saying, "She has a pretty little face," which I totally appreciated.
She's currently breech, but she has eleven weeks to flip in the right position before she's born. But other than that, all is well, and I'm happy and satisfied!
Anyway, as of November 18, 2009, I was offered a contract for my second book!!!
It had been exactly a year and six days since I'd received an offer for my first book. Sadly, I had submitted seven of my finished manuscripts a total of twenty-five times to a variety of ten publishers. Crazy, huh? The first twenty-two of those twenty-five submissions were rejections, of course, though okay, in six of the rejections, an editor was interested enough to ask me to resubmit my story after I made revisions, so we could call those half rejections if you like (sounds better to me, anyway).
Twenty-two fails out of twenty-five tries... and all within twelve months. You can probably imagine my frustration and mounting depression. But I can’t say I learned nothing from the experience… and I’m still learning. A writer can find out a lot about a publisher from a rejection letter, even some things they don’t mention in their submission guidelines. Some places don’t want the secret-baby, billionaire’s mistress kind of theme in their books and other places would actually prefer to receive these category-line plots. Some places want an even mix between hero and heroine’s point of view. Other places want it to be mainly HER story (this is all in the romance publishing world, by the way--I'm not so knowledgeable in other genres). I could go on with examples, but I won’t bore you. My main point is: it’s all a matter of trial and error.
And out of twenty-five tries, I made twenty-two errors (yep, that sounds like me). Just three more to go and I’d be out of submissions...All filled up with rejection. So, when reply twenty-three showed up in my Inbox on the morning of the eighteenth, I wasn’t so optimistic (Imagine that). But I opened the letter anyway… and in the blink of an eye (well, okay, I blinked a few times to make sure I was seeing what I was really seeing), all my woes turned into one big, “Wow.”
I just sold my second book.
At first, I was a bit breathless and way too excited, I couldn’t have told you much of anything past, “Wow. It’s a miracle.” But since then, I've calmed down AND received my signed contract, so I’ll spill all the juicy details I know. This book is an ADULT romance as opposed to my first book, which is a young adult romance. It will be published by the same publisher as my first: The Wild Rose Press.
It's currently titled THE TROUBLE WITH TOMBOYS, and I think that will stay the same. In a rating scale of sweet, sensual, spicy, hot, to erotica, it's "hot," which will be really embarrassing for me when it comes out. For people that know me, there will be a lot of gasping going around if they read this story. "Linda Kay! I can't believe you wrote something that... that... naughty." But there's a lot more to it than just bedroom scenes, so don't worry too much.
Since I'm still in the editing stage, there is no release date set yet, but fear not, I will most definitely keep you updated on those details. And if you want to know what it's about, here's my one line blurb : Grady Rawlings can't seem to get over the death of his wife, but tomboy B.J. Gilmore refuses to give up on him until she drags him back to the land of the living. And that's all I have to say about that.
So, here’s my motto for the day: Keep on submitting; it does eventually pay off!
On another funny note, a few hours after my big "Holy Cow, I sold a book" moment, I received rejection number twenty-three. SOMEONE must want to make sure I stay humble, huh?!
Don't worry: it's not SUPPOSED to be literary at all... just fun. I originally wrote it for a friend's kid (actually it was for all three of their kids), but since I'm having my own, I couldn't help but plug in my baby's soon-to-be-name this time around.
So, have a great holiday!! See everyone next week; I'll have new book AND baby updates to share!
The Great Hollowsbee Thanksgiving
A long time ago, down in the village of Hollowsbee
There walked the biggest old turkey you ever did see.
With a sleek coat of feathers, he was juicy and plump.
He looked tasty enough to sink a fork in his rump.
He was ancient and wise, but looked lazy and mild,
Till one day of the year, he turned quite wild.
Every Thanksgiving, in the hours before the feast
No butcher or hunter could catch this wretched beast.
It was an impossible feat
To gain his delicious meat.
So, year after year, the town went without turkey,
Eating only ‘Taters. Yes, their future looked murky.
Because without turkey, they had no meat to gain protein,
And without protein, they were wimps, making them so mean.
But one Thanksgiving, the strangest battle was fought.
It was a war with that turkey no one has ever forgot.
The challenger was a girl named Lydia Marie
who lived with her parents outside Hollowsbee.
In only a diaper and her bare hands, Lydia did crawl
To the turkey’s fence till she was nose to nose with the animal.
She pointed at the turkey and giggled, “bird.”
Now the idea of her killing this beast was truly absurd,
And people gasped as she climbed the fence and jumped into its cage;
The news of her actions spread through town in a rage.
“Get that girl out of there,” someone screamed. “She’ll surely die.”
But no one was brave enough to stop her, and they all began to cry.
As the child scampered forth, people saw the race begin.
They edged closer, watching her chase the beast around his pen.
Now poor little Lydia Marie only wanted to pet the turkey that fled,
She was so determined, she followed it into his shed.
Oh the dread!
As the town stood near, mothers wailed and preachers prayed.
The day wore on while the little shack shook and swayed.
No one really believed the tiny girl with two names
Could bring down the great turkey. But as legend claims,
A cheer rose up when Lydia Marie exited the barn alive.
Thus, the turkey was dressed and cooked well done by five,
And the usually quiet little town of Hollowsbee
Partied and ate late into the morning, till three.
They named their new hero, Lydia the Brave,
Because from starvation, the whole town she did save.
It has gone down in history as the day the great turkey fell.
Lydia the Brave saved Hollowsbee, and that’s all there is to tell.
Diane from the “That’s What I’m Here For” Blog, is passing along five words to any writer willing to play her game. The challenge in this game is to incorporate five mystery words she comes up with into their story. So, I thought, “Sure, I’ll try it.” Well, sweet person that she is, she gave me TWO sets of words from I could choose.
square, chocolate, moon, hiccups, and love.
hiccups, bump, knit, nesting and waddle.
But I love a good challenge, so I'm going to try fitting in all ten--well, nine since 'hiccups' is used twice.
AND... here's the scene I came up with:
Pregnant, broke, and starving were a trio of words that should never be mixed. Cora Bristol knew her life sucked when she realized she was all three. She glanced down at the change in her palm—a single dollar, five quarters, three dimes, two nickels and eight pennies—and then up again at the booths of vendors surrounding her, lining the mall’s expansive food court. Pizza, submarines, hamburgers, salad bars, snack counters; a veritable smorgasbord of scrumptious delights.
Her mouth watered.
But what could she buy for $2.73?
The little hiccups of movement under her waistband reminded her the baby was getting hungry as well. She patted the restless bump, reassuring her child she would provide...something...and moved forward.
A couple strolling hand in hand, their heads tilted intimately toward each other as they murmured sweet nothings to one another, paused and shifted to the side, letting Cora waddle past them. She managed a tight smile of gratitude, though inside, envy gnawed at her stomach almost as viciously as the hunger did. But the two looked so in love, the kind of love she could only ache to obtain.
On their own accord, her feet bypassed the nutritious salad bar, and she found herself drawn toward the bakery. Her throat burned as her gaze gobbled up the fancy display of gigantic chocolate chip cookies and specially-made moon pies.
She knew she should move on. The baby needed a wholesome, hearty meal, something full of protein, calcium, vitamin C. This was not the time to indulge, especially with the sparse amount of cash she had clutched in her hand. But the little one nesting inside her gave another nudge to her belly, almost as if he was reassuring, “It’s okay, Mom. I WANT the sweets. Gimme the sweets.”
“Look good, don’t they?” a friendly, male voice asked, making her jump.
She darted a glance up and immediately shifted backward, feeling unreasonable guilty, like she’d just been caught stealing, when all she’d been doing was looking.
The teen behind the counter grinned as he leaned forward, resting his forearms on top of the glass display. His blue eyes twinkled at her. “So, what’ll you have?”
Cora’s brow knit as she glanced down at the arrangement of desserts, taking on the pose of intense contemplation, like she was truly deciding on what she wanted, when all along she knew she shouldn’t… wouldn’t buy anything here.
Biting her lip, she pointed out a lemon square. “Uh…How much for one of those?” she asked.
“Two, ninety-nine,” he answered, already pulling on a clear plastic glove to retrieve her requested item.
She glanced down at her change, though she already knew she didn’t have enough.
“What about the chocolate covered strawberries?” she rushed out.
He paused in mid stretch, his eyes darting up. She snapped her fingers closed around the change ashamed, but his gaze had already strayed toward her clenched fist. Still frozen with his hand only a few inches from the lemon square, he stared at her dollar bill peeking out from the crack between her knuckles.
“The chocolate-covered strawberries,” she repeated through gritted teeth. "How much?"
His gaze lifted, blue and innocent as a clear sunny sky. Then he glanced over his shoulder and further into the bakery.
“I tell you what,” he said, turning back and finishing his reach for the lemon square. Scooping up the two largest pieces, he set them on a plate and nudged it toward her. “Why don’t you try this little sample here before you make up your mind.”
Cora blinked at him.
After darting another peek over his shoulder, he plopped three chocolate-covered strawberries on the plate and then winked.
Her heart thumped against her ribcage. “Thank you,” she whispered, wishing Robbie could’ve possessed even half the compassion this total stranger did when she’d told them they were going to have a baby. As hormones rushed to the surface, she felt her tear ducts open and moisture coat her lashes. “Thank you so much.”
I'm waiting a couple days (boo hoo) for the hoop la to die down before I head out to the theatre but, OH, I WILL watch New Moon. Actually, a big group from my family is getting together and going sometime around Thanksgiving, I think. We'll range from ten-years old to...well, I'll just call the older half of us grown!
I remember bawling through, like, three-fourths of this book. Being the romantic junkie I am, I simply cannot stand watching someone with a broken heart. But this go round, I know things will end happy, so I think I'll be able to refrain from the tear-fest. We'll see.
Catch you all at the movies!
Bad news is... I haven't sold anything since. I'd tell you how many rejections I've received in the past three hundred sixty-five days, but it's a bit embarrassing and way too depressing, so I think I'll refrain.
I do have three different people looking at three different completed manuscripts, ergo maybe--possibly--my year long submission drought is about to come to a grand finale.
Back on the bright side, my book will be out in three months... and so will my baby, making all this rejection look like a faded, distant memory because I'll be swamped with so much joy.
On with the future then. Chin up, soldier. And keep in mind: They can't reject EVERYTHING, or they'd have no books so sell!!
This month, I've learned interesting facts about agents, email submission, perseverance, and how to keep a reader reading.
This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Tess Hilmo on her blog : Tess Hilmo
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 : Wish I Knew Wednesday #1
"Many (not all) editors/agents do not open e mail addresses that are not names. For example hotchick(at)whatever(dot)com or bestmommyever(at)something(dot)com.
They get a lot of emails and spam and are very cautious about possible viruses or other malware. If they run their mouse over your email address and the name that pops up does not match the address, they will most likely delete the e mail w/out opening it."
This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Jessica Nelson on her blog : BookingIt
Friday, October 30, 2009 : Know Thy Self: Guest Post
"It’s so easy to say: I’m going to research every agent inside and out, read their every blog entry and online interview, talk to their other clients, and ask all the right questions to turn down any agent who answers even one of them wrong. That still doesn’t mean the marriage will be perfect."
This guest blogger goes on to explain how an agent may take a writer on because of a single book they wrote, but they might not represent every genre of literature that author is interested in creating. So, make sure to let a perspective agent know what you like to write and where you want your writing to go, so you'll both know if the "marriage" will have a better chance of surviving.
This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Robyn Campbell on her blog : Putting Pen to Paper
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 : Building a writing career
"I'm in this for the long haul. Writing is much harder to do than it sounds. I know it isn't easy. Believe me, I know that. I'm prepared for the ups and downs. But I want it. I can taste it. I can feel it. I wanna BE it. An author."
On Keeping the Reader Reading
And finally, this wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Nancy J. Parra on her blog :This Writer's Life
Sunday, October 25, 2009 : Get the Hook
"You need to write something that catches the reader's attention and doesn't let them put the book down. Each chapter, each scene needs to have two hooks. One at the opening and one at the ending. Your job as a writer is to keep your reader up all night because they HAVE to know what happens next."
Sigh. I miss those days. I gained nine, NINE, freaking pounds since my last check up, and no, my last check up was not ten weeks ago. Try four. Nine pounds in four weeks. Can that be normal? I just want to sit on my couch and eat my misery away. Oh, wait, that's what I'm doing already. Double sigh.
Other than that, me and the butterball are great, well, besides the achy back, way-too-heavy chest, constantly full bladder, and my inability to bend over anymore. The doctor said I'm gaining the right amount of weight and my little girl is growing at the perfect rate, so I can't complain. I'm pretty giddy actually.
I love to watch my belly move around (yes, WHILE I'm sitting on the couch, eating!!). It's fun trying to interpret her movements. She likes to boogie when we're in the car and I have the radio playing. If I like the song, I take her movements to mean she's happy and dancing to the tune. If I don't, I usually say she doesn't either and is kicking me to turn the channel.
I watched the television show Accidentally On Purpose the other night. The heroine was chowing down on ribs (smart woman) when she felt her baby's first stirring. She exclaimed, "The baby likes ribs... or doesn't.... Ooooh. Baby's first opinion." I totally understood. I like thinking baby's trying to tell me something when she moves around.
So, that's what's been going on with me. The hubby seems to be dealing pretty good. He likes it when I wear maternity tops. He grins and says, "You're finally looking pregnant." So, at least he doesn't think I've gained too much yet.
From now on, my appointments will start getting closer together. But I'll try not to make my baby updates closer together...no promises though. This stuff is too exciting not to share.
Anyway, that's all I've got to say today. Toodles.
Every story needs GMC, or there's no story to tell. Just make sure while you're busy describing the beautiful sunset and giving your unique characters their awesome dialogue that you're still working on the GMC (durned ol' chevy always needs its maintenance).
And there's your story. How much does Bob want that car? What lengths will he go to in order to get it? What started this deep-seated need to impress so many woman?
A writer could go so many different directions with a story like that, all because there's a simple GMC propelling it along.
So, there's my single reminder for all you writers out there, creating your masterpieces. FORGET NOT THE GMC!! Good luck and God speed.
Now... I think I'll go and try to follow my own advice!
The Ultimate Halloween COSTUME
Best Costume I've heard of goes to the Pregnant Smoking Nun, whom I blogged about last year on November 3, 2008 (just follow the link on "Best Costume" if you haven't heard that one yet). I still crack up whenever I read the story!! What's a great costume you've seen or heard of??
The Ultimate Halloween SNACK
I still haven't seen a Halloween treat that entertains me as much as Kitty Litter Cake. Great conversation topic too... plus it tastes good (if you can get past the holy-cow-it-looks-so-real-I-simple-can't-eat-that factor). What's a great Halloween snack you like to make or eat??
The Ultimate Halloween Place
Okay, I'm rusty on all the spooky places out there. But come on, they're just so scary and I really don't do scary, so... can you blame me? Since this place is within driving distance of where I live, I'll mention THE SPOOK LIGHT. Apparently, this light--about the size of a lantern--likes to float around the country, and people like to go watch it. A group of my friends and I hopped in a car a couple years ago to find the light. The adventure was more fun than scary because we thought we were lost and never saw anything, though we later learned we'd been in the right place all along. Spook Lighting was big in the sixties, but I think the poor light has retired these days. Still... maybe some people see it around. Your turn: What's a great Halloween place, or even a great scary story that's just too cool not to share?
And that concludes my Halloween Trick or Treating blogs for this year. Have a great holiday and see you in November!! Oh, yum, Turkey Season, a pregnant woman's dream come true...
Why was the skeleton afraid to cross the road?
It had no guts...
How do witches keep their hair in place while flying?
With scare spray...
What did Dracula say when he kissed his vampire girlfriend?
How do monsters tell their future?
They read their horrorscope...
What do you get when you cross a werewolf and a vampire?
A fur coat that fangs around your neck...
Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?
No, they eat the fingers separately...
Why don't skeletons ever go out on the town?
Because they don't have any body to go out with...
What do zombies like to eat at a cook out?
What is a vampire's favorite holiday?
Why did the vampire go to the orthodontist?
To improve his bite...
What do you get when you cross a vampire and a snowman?
What does a ghost get when he falls and scrapes his knee?
A boo boo...
What is Dracula's favorite kind of coffee?
What would a monster's psychiatrist be called?
What is a baby ghost's favorite game?
What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
"Do you believe in people?"
What do you call someone who puts poison in a person's corn flakes?
A cereal killer...
Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
They're too wrapped up in themselves...
What kind of streets do zombies like the best?
What is a vampire's favorite mode of transportation?
A blood vessel...
What type of dog do vampire's like the best?
What does a vampire never order at a restaurant?
A stake sandwich...
What is a skeleton's favorite musical instrument?
Why do vampires need mouthwash?
They have bat breath...
What's a vampire's favorite fast food?
A guy with very high blood pressure...
Why did the Vampire subscribe to the Wall Street Journal?
He heard it had great circulation...
Why did the dyslexic vampire starve to death?
He couldn't find any dloob...
Did you hear about the cannibal who was expelled from school?
He was buttering up his teacher...
What kind of car does a ghost drive?
Why wasn't the vampire working?
He was on a coffinbreak...
Where do fasionable ghosts shop for sheets?
What do you get when you cross a ghost with an owl?
Something that scares people and doesn't give a hoot...
What kinds of ghosts haunt skyscrapers?
How do you make a witch scratch?
Just take away the W...
Where do ghosts go swimming?
The dead sea...
How did the priest make holy water?
He took some tap water and boiled the hell out of it...
What do you give a vampire with a cold?
What do you use to mend a jack-o-lantern?
A pumpkin patch...
Why can't skeletons play music in church?
Because they have no organs...
What did the mummy say to the detective?
Let's wrap this case up...
Above is a Halloween maze for you to enjoy. According to the instructions, "this poor pumpkin is missing part of his smile. Please find the path that the missing piece can take to get in the right spot."
Another treat for you is Halloween Hangman. Follow the link if you want to get harped on by a cranky old skeleton for every letter you miss.
And finally, I have a Halloween Word Scamble below. This games comes to us thanks to the website : http://www.internetfamilyfun.com/games/blhalljumbles.htm. They are, of course, words associated with you-know-which-season. And as always, the answers are at the bottom! Enjoy.
I'll see you guys again in a week or so. Have a hauntingly fun gaming experience.
Word Scramble Answers : spooky, candy, costume, pumpkin, carving, haunted, ghost, witch, goblins, trick, spider, bat, grave, night, cat, apple.
If you weren't aware, I'm hosting a short young adult free-read story on my website, posting a chapter a month. This is my last chapter in Nick's point of view. Next month, we'll be moving on into Kiernan's head. Enjoy!
Nick was about to run, ditching Vinny—had even stumbled a few steps back—when the first adult grabbed him.
“Let me go!” He panicked and struggled, flailing his arms and legs to no avail. Jabbing an elbow in the man’s chin, he stomped on the guy’s instep but still couldn’t break free. (read more)
I thought that was a neat idea, so I copied (hee hee!). Below are the first lines from well-known books (ranging from classics to present day, romance to horror, children to adult stories). See how many titles and authors of each first line you can figure out (yeah, yeah, the answers are at the bottom).
Plus... I slipped the first bit of my story, The Stillburrow Crush, in with these famous pieces of literature. Did you find me... or have to cheat?
Here's the titles/authors you have to chose from:
a. 1984 by George Orwell
b. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
c. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
d. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
e. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
f. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
g. Cry No More by Linda Howard
h. Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
i. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
j. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
k. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
l. High Noon by Nora Roberts
m. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.
n. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
o. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
p. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
q. Paradise by Toni Morrison
r. Temp Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
s. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
t. The Client by John Grisham
u. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
v. The Green Mile by Stephen King
w. The Holy Bible
x. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
y. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
z. The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage
aa. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
bb. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
cc. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
dd. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
ee. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The person who matches up the most correct answers gets, well, the satisfaction of being the winner!
1. "A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.”
2. "At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring.”
3. "Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, biripity, biripity, biripity, biripity—Good. His dad had the pickup going.”
4. "Call me Ishmael.”
5. "Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife."
6. "Eleven-year-old Anne Shirley sat stiffly on top of some cartons at an empty train station. She clutched a shabby bag in her skinny hands.”
7. "Her chances of a decent marriage were about to be dashed—and all because of a ferret.”
8. "'Honey, you need to get laid.’”
9. "I couldn’t believe it. Not until I was standing there along with the rest of the town in the cemetery did it really hit me. She was dead. "
10. "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
11. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
12. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
13. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
14. "Jumping to your death was a crappy way to spend St. Patrick’s Day.”
15. "Mark was eleven and had been smoking off and on for two years, never trying to quit but being careful not to get hooked.”
16. "Milla had fallen asleep while the baby was nursing.”
17. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
18. "My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue.”
19. "Rain fell that night, a fine whispering rain. Many years later, Meggie had only to close her eyes and she could hear it, like tiny fingers tapping on the windowpane.”
20. "Robert Langdon awoke slowly. A telephone was ringing in the darkness—a tinny, unfamiliar ring.”
21. "Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
22. "The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.”
23."The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”
24. "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
25. "They shoot the white girl first.”
26. "This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. And the electric chair was there, too, of course.”
27 "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
28. "When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me.”
29. "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.”
30. "'Where’s Papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
31. You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.”
1. P - Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
2. F - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
3. D - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
4. O - Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
5. BB - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
6. C - Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
7. R - Temp Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
8. H - Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
9. Z - The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage
10. S - The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
11. W - The Holy Bible
12. A - 1984 by George Orwell
13. B - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
14. L - High Noon by Nora Roberts
15. T - The Client by John Grisham
16. G - Cry No More by Linda Howard
17. K - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
18. DD - Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
19. M - Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
20. U - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
21. J - Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22. N - Lord of the Flies by William Golding
23. Y - The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
24. AA - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
25. Q - Paradise by Toni Morrison
26. V - The Green Mile by Stephen King
27. CC - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
28. EE - Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
29. X - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
30. E - Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
31. I - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley