Harry Potter 6 Trailer

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is released today. Hallelujah! The movie comes out Novemeber 21st and I'm more than excited to see it. I feel like I'm turning into a blogger for popular young adult fiction, though, since I went on and on last week about the Twilight Saga. But honesty, those are the only two YA series I've read lately. I still want to go through The Spiderwick Chronicles and then the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

But, okay, I'll talk about something else now.

RWA's National Conference begins today. Wish I was there. Here on the home front, I'm still waiting to hear from four contests and three book submissions. My critique group as gone through one of my stories and will start the second next week. I haven't finished any manuscripts lately but I am working on A Father's Sacrifice, Bachelor Seeks... Single Female, and Disaster at 410 South Elm.

2008 RWA National Conference

Monday, July 28, 2008
The Romance Writers of America's National Conference starts this Wednesday at the San Francisco Mariott, only 1,842.20 miles away from me. I won't make it this year and am incredibly jealous. There are so many different workshops I'd like to attend and speakers I'd like to hear. I can only imagine how entertaining it'd be to listen to Suzanne Brockmann MC the awards banquet. And all the editors and agents that will be there... Grr. There's too much to miss.

Twilight Saga

Monday, July 21, 2008
My almost-high-school-senior niece from Oklahoma clued me into a popular new YA series about vampires and werewolves... and romance. Stephanie Meyer is writing the Twilight Saga. Her fourth book, Breaking Dawn, will be out August 2nd. Right now, I'm half way through book three (Eclipse), but I'm totally addicted.

I'd say the series is comparable to the Harry Potter books, but the main character is a girl, Bella, and she's pure human... at the moment. Also, her books are written in first person and, as of yet, she doesn't have to defeat one main bad guy to save the world. She has more internal than external conflicts to overcome (Definitely, since I bawled through most of New Moon, the second book). I guess the series reminds me so much of Harry Potter because of the paranormal aspect, the fact that it's written for young adults, and because all the books tie in so well together.

What's really ironic, however, is that the first book, Twilight, will be out in the movies December 12th and the main hero, Edward, will be played by Robert Pattinson, who previously starred as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies. Weird, huh?

Anyway, I'm jazzed about these books and I can't wait to finish reading the series and watching all the movies. Thanks a bundle, Katie Ann, for recommending I check out Twilight.

Contest Results

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Ice cream is such a versatile food.

Yesterday, for example, I arrived home from work to find contests results in the mail. This was the first romance writing contest I entered that actually offered feedback with score sheets and personal comments from judges. At this point, finalists for this contest had already been announced so I knew my entry wasn't adequate enough to proceed to the next level. And therefore, I figured I'd read comments such as, "Writing dry. Needs work. Too much back story..." and so on. I'd found some grammatical errors after sending it in so I knew the mechanics section of the score sheet would definitely rate low.

To brace myself for these awful--but true--comments, I went to the freezer and pulled out a carton of Cookies and Cream. Settling myself on the couch, I flipped open the ice cream container and, with spoon in one hand, I opened the dreaded results. And here is what they were...

One judge rated me a fifty out of fifty possible points and the other judge gave me a forty-seven out of fifty. Their end remarks were, "I can see this being published," and "Would love to read more. Keep up the great writing, good descriptions, great potential." I'd been expecting scores of twenty-five or hopefully thirty. But both score sheets had nothing but nice, complimentary things to say with no suggestions for improvement. I'm not sure if I lucked out with a pair of kind judges, but I'll certainly take what they gave me!

After reading all their notes, I glanced down at the melting ice cream in my lap. I'd been ready to delve in this comfort food for some major moral support. Instead, I grinned and polished off the rest of the carton in celebration.

Seven Years

Monday, July 14, 2008
Happy seven-year wedding anniversary to me. Happy seven-year wedding anniversary to me. Oh... and to my husband too, I suppose . This, right here, is a true-life romance and has been a great source of inspiration to me through much of my writing. I can't wait to celebrate our happy ending in Branson, Missouri at the nice, relaxing Cameron's Crag Bed & Breakfast. We're going to sit in a hot tub, go out to eat, and vegetate the entire time. I'm so excited.

The Writing High

Thursday, July 10, 2008
Maybe I don't get out much but, to me, the ultimate high is that very moment I finish writing the last word on one of my stories. Picture that scene in Romancing the Stone when Joan Wilder concludes her novel at the beginning of the movie. "Oh, God! That's good," she cries and goes in search of a kleenex. Well, that's right on. I've never actually bawled before but I've definitely expererieced the euphoria.

Of course, then I'll go back later and wonder, "What the heck was I thinking to write this crap?" And I'll have to change a bunch of stuff and lose my ego high. But we're not going there today. Today it's all about the feeling of finishing your creation. This is why I love to write so much. When I tie up something I've been working on for weeks, or sometimes months, nothing tops the accomplishment and pride that pulses through me. Writing "The End" makes all the tough parts worth it. And with that, I'm going to start a new story so I can complete it.

July Nightstand Reviews

Monday, July 7, 2008
Ah, the Fourth of July. Fireworks, homemade ice-cream, family fun, and unforgiving sunburns. I wonder if our founding fathers would be pleased that their grand struggle for independence has narrowed down to this? Either way, I’m still grateful they provided for such a lifestyle. Not only did I experience all the above, but I caught a three-day weekend and did some much-needed reading. And now, I can provide you with my monthly nightstand review.

Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh (Paranormal). #2 in the Psy/Changling Series. This novel is about Faith and Vaughn. I think Singh has a very interesting mystical world created with this leopard pack.

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (Paranormal). #3 in the Psy/Changling Series. I really liked Judd and Brenna’s story. Those hard, alpha men that think they’re unfeeling are so awesome. I like the possessive changling men that are her usual heroes, but Judd, the ultimate psy, really got to me too.

Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh (Paranormal). #4 in the Psy/Changling Series. And here we have Clay and Talin’s story. Their story really focused on the idea that once a changling male finds his mate, she’s it for him. I love the history the two main characters have together.

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter (Paranormal). #2 in the Lords of the Underworld Series. Lucian (possessed by the demon of death) and Anya, minor goddess of Anarchy, might be complete opposites, but they go together so well. They’re like two halves of one whole. And I couldn’t get enough of Anya’s character. She’s one of my favorite heroines, all tough and devious, not putting up with anyone’s crap, but also an absolute marshmallow when it comes to her true love. I really, really like this story if you can’t tell.

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter (Paranormal). #3 in the Lords of the Underworld Series. After The Darkest Kiss, I assumed Reyes (possessed by the demon of Pain) and Danika’s story would be a let down. I was braced for it and everything. But Showalter came up with a twist about Danika that made this just as rich and strong as its preceding story. I loved it too.

Death Angel by Linda Howard (Romantic Suspense). Holy Guacamole. If you like a steamy story, you’ll love this and you don’t have to wait long for the windows to fog. But, wow. If an aspiring writer, like me, needs an example of a chapter one that really hooks a reader into the story, then Howard has provided an excellent illustration here. I’m still shuddering over that way-hot first scene.

Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann (Contemporary). After I find an author I like and start reading their earlier work, I’m usually a little disappointed because they’re not as good at the beginning of their writing career. They have to grow and develop. But I think Brockmann was born into the book world at the top of her game. This is one of her first stories and yet it’s just as engaging as her most recent publication. Now, if only I could be like her (Insert dreamy, wistful sigh here).

After the Kiss by Suzanne Enoch (Regency Historical). In my opinion Enoch has to be one of the most talented conflict builders. She is always able to heighten the tension until I’m sweating and thinking, “How in the world are these two going to end up together. It’s hopeless.” And yet, there’s always, always a happy, satisfying ending.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008
In the past month, five different writers have reviewed my writing. Two of those women are published and one even sold a self-help writing book. What struck me as funny was that three of them told me on entirely different occasions that I have great dialogue. I found this ironic because I’m NOT a conversationalist… at all. In fact, they call me Gabby at my day job as a joke because I don’t talk.

At the beginning of one first date I went on, I remember panicking because I feared my silence was going to ruin the entire night. The cab of his truck on the way to the movies was utterly quiet and I was like, Say something, Linda. So, I blurted out, “I hope you’re as nervous as I am,” and he actually laughed in relief. He told me I must’ve been reading his mind and then he proceeded to take care of the rest of the conversation. He didn’t care if I wasn’t much of a talker. So, I married him two and half years later.

I’ve heard most writers think dialogue is the hardest part of creating a story. I think it’s the easiest. I’m not sure what I do that my critique friends think is good, but I do enjoy reading stories of authors who have strong dialogue. To name a few, there’s Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Catherine Anderson, Suzanne Brockmann, and tons more. I like to skip ahead when I’m reading their stories to the talking parts. I also put dialogue as soon as I can in my stories.

But honestly, I have no idea what makes dialogue good, so I’ve looked up a few help sites and here they are…