Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday's Words!


There must have been some sort of mind altering chemical in the air today because ya'll came up with the craziest lists of words. Heavens.

I ended up going with my honey bun's list. Here were his five words, and the story I came up with:


Summer pulled the comforter down from her face and listened. Was that the doorbell? She muted the TV. Yep, there it was again.
She picked up her phone to check the time. 3:32. At least she’d slept some. Her head had started pounding first thing this morning. The slight ache in her throat she had ignored, and gone to school anyway. Junior english was kicking her tail as it was; she couldn’t miss. But the ache in her throat grew, like a slow itch you overlook at first but then couldn’t. She’d left school after second period. Mom had wanted to leave work to take care of her. Good grief, as if she was a first grader who needed coddling. Summer had told her no, eaten a bowl of canned soup, then fell asleep on the couch.
The doorbell rang again. Sighing, she stood and wrapped her comforter around her like a robe. She shuffled across the room, her head pounding with each step. It was probably some kid selling cookies. Or the Mormons. She pulled open the front door. Blake Eastley stood on her front door.
My gosh, she was hallucinating. Fever was surely eating her brain.
Blake gave her a small smile. “Hi.”
Can hallucinations smile? Summer cocked her head to the side. “Hi.”
“Eve said you went home sick.” He glanced at the pink comforter she had around her. The one with the purple flowers on it. Oh my heck. Heat crept into Summer’s face. Blake held a binder up in his hand. “I brought you notes from English.”
Summer blinked. Blake Eastley brought her notes? Blake Eastley who was captain of the soccer team, and who the girls in school all gossiped about because he was so dang cute, brought her notes. What parallel world was she living in? Surely she was just a practice in philanthropy. Blake Eastley wasn’t just popular, he was nice. He probably brought notes to everyone.
“Thanks.” She glanced up at him. “You didn’t have to.”
“I wanted to.” He glanced down the front porch and then back to her. “Plus I wanted to see how you were feeling.”
Surely her body temperature was 200 degrees, and it had nothing to do with her fever. She smiled. “That’s really sweet of you.”
Blake smiled down at her-my gosh, he was so tall-his tentative smile now replaced with a lopsided grin. 
Summer held the door open. “I may have viral plague and be contagious, but do you want to come in?”
Blake grinned. “Love to.” He put his arm above her head, holding the door while she backed back into the living room.
Ohmygosh ohmygosh. Blake Eastley was in her living room. Had brought her notes because he heard she was sick. Summer sucked in a deep breath, her heart now rattling inside of her. Holy crap. Blake Eastley liked her. Junior year had started out so bland and ordinary, but it was about to get shaken up. Blond haired, blue eyed Blake Eastley was about to cause some major seismic changes to her life.

Monday, July 28, 2014

In which Book #1 grew up a little-


This past month has been good and bad writing wise.

Bad in that I haven't written a single new thing/story ALL MONTH. I am dying. I have ideas stacked on ideas inside of my head, and while my cranium is indeed large (I got made fun of in 8th grade when ordering my hat for marching band because my head was so dang huge), there is not room enough in my head for all of this. Must get it out!

Next up in writing: Rewrite and shape Book 3 to get it to a 'sent out to first readers' stage.

Anywho, the month has been good in that I got lots done on prepping Book 1. The synopsis is done (though it's a two pager and if an agent asks for a one page I'll probably respond by crawling into a remote corner at work and moaning something about nausea and impossibility). Query is done. And glory, the first chapter. The first 250 words of your story are critical. And the first few pages are critical. I have torn down chapter one and rebuilt it a dozen times in recent weeks. 

And edits--ah! My online crit partners are fantastic and have given me some great ideas for upping the romance factor in my book by about 40%. It was such a lacking component because the story started in my head as just about her, and there was no love interest (WHAT??), so I had to go back and weave that in. Now, it's not only natural having it in there, it is the story. And oh my, the stuff I've added this month?  Goosies. Absolutely, make you giggle like you're 15, "aww, he's so cute!" goosies. 


Book One has been through the wringer. And every time I stop and think "There. It's good now", I go through it again and find so much to fine tune and tweak, especially when I have outside eyes on it. I've been trimming words like a hairy Italian trims chest hair (or really, the way they should trim their chest hair, because sometimes, let's be honest, guys are way too proud of their chest sweater, er, hair.) 

Feedback from other writers has been so good for me. By far, the best thing I've done in terms of making myself a better writer. I've learned so much since January of this year. Feedback is hard, but excellent. Feedback makes me better. I compared a part in the 'original Final Draft' of Book One that I completed in November to how it reads right now, and OH. MY. The difference. My flabby, thrown together, sweat pants wearing manuscript now has brushed hair and a tidy tank top to tuck into her yoga pants.

For my first novel, I think it's good. I'm proud of it. And I'm querying it, starting tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Hopeful for feedback that can make it even more. 

Love this little story of mine. Love that it gets better, and I get better, every step of this journey. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Wednesday!!

5 Word Wednesday is back!  My lovely friend Sara gave a super hard list, and being the weirdo that I am, I decided to use hers. It was a tough one. I had to google "ermine" and still couldn't think of a good way to use it. But here you go! 

Sara's 5 Words: 

liver oil

Here's the story I came up with:

Sadie turned the word over in her head. What the heck was an ermine? Geez, she’d studied for the SAT’s for months and at this point knew so much useless vocabulary she could probably write an entire book filled with words that made no sense whatsoever to normal people. And of course on the day of the real test she gets some crazy word she doesn’t know.
She glanced over the list of answers and quickly filled one in. Dear gosh, she was going to fail her SAT’s. And not for lack of studying. Judging by the pallor of her skin you’d think she hadn’t seen sunlight in years. It sure felt like it. She’d become such a jittery pile of nerves preparing for the test, her mom had exploded in full fledged hippy mode in recent weeks. Each morning she’d heap things onto Sadie with the intent of helping her be her best. Vitamins (tolerable). Spinach smoothies (Vile). Cod liver oil (Disgusting).
Mom was all too pleased to help. As if marrying husband #3 after six months of dating him could be made up for with healthy junk that made Sadie’s stomach quiver and her gag reflex kick in. Mom wanted them all to be a family.
As if. Sadie had better chances sprouting a horn and becoming a unicorn.
Becoming a family with Mom and Mr. “I work to put food on the table so get me another beer” was not on Sadie’s list of acceptable futures. College? Now that was a different story. Get in, get the darn thing paid for since Mom had money for organic vegetables and essential oils but not for her only kid, move far away from her mom and her issues, and life would be good.
The only thing standing in Sadie’s way was this darn freakin’ test.  She rolled her shoulders and took a breath. Easy. She could do her best, and if she got a horrible score, she’d take it over. A do-over.
She fought the urge to laugh out loud. She knew all too well that life didn’t allow do-overs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Um, this, yes.

Got an email from Publisher's Weekly that said the "hottest YA book for fall" is going to be this. Um, yes, I could agree. Doesn't this sound so good!?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On my bookshelf

I keep finding the most wonderful Middle Grade gems. My latest treasure was "The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky" by Holly Schindler.

(buy it here!)

Here's the blurb:

August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.

"One man's trash is another man's treasure." I loved this story. Auggie is one spunky girl (I'd want to have her around in either a debate or a fist fight-I think she'd win both). She shows a lot of courage in proving that she and Gus -and the rest of her neighbors- are not trashy people. I loved how much Gus loved her and how they worked together to create 'company' as they call their sculpture people. 

Auggie has a rough time at her new school when one of her friends leaves her for the new girl. I love that Holly Schindler put that storyline in here, because great skies above, have we not all gone through that? Especially girls. But Auggie was a trooper (and way more gracious than I would have been). She rides it out and eventually her friend comes back to her.

This book is full of possibility. I love how Auggie goes from admiring everyone else's skills and talents to coming to see her own 'shine' as she calls it. Everybody's got shine, and Auggie finding hers and making company with Gus makes this story the best junk story I've ever read!

If you love trash, treasure, spunk, or shine, you need to read this! Two hearty recycled thumbs up!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Freaking. Out.

Picture me sitting at home watching TV.

Movie trailer comes on TV.

Me: What movie is this?

Holy crap, this looks good.

This sounds like the Giver.

(*heart rate speeding up*)





(*squeal of excitement and sound of running dogs wondering what has possessed me)



The Giver is one of the best books of all time. I had to write an essay for a college scholarship explaining what book I think all Congressman should be required to read and why. Guess what I chose?

If you haven't read this book, do.

If you do not freak out that they are making a movie out of this, you may be something other than human. And I am definitely not friends with you.

Aggghhhh!!!  Cannot control my excitement!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Word Wednesday Results!


Five word Wednesday!  This week I chose Jen's list of words:

optimus prime

Here we go:

Optimus Prime.
Wasn’t that his name? Or was that the other guy? The yellow one that locked Shia Labeouf inside. She’d like to be locked with Shia Labeouf inside something. 
The alarm woke her, it’s shrill tones screaming at her and chasing away the remnants of her dream. Blair lifted a hand off the bed without looking and hit the alarm repeatedly until finally she found the right button and it turned off. Gosh, mornings sucked.
Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was really Saturday, and she could sleep in, awakened not by the garish alarm but the smell of mom making waffles downstairs. She sniffed hard, but nothing but the smell of unwashed sheets and her own lingering BO filled her nose. Nope. Definitely a weekday.
She ran a hand through her hair, the bun she’d stuffed it in last night now loose and spilling brown curls around her shoulders. Owen would be here soon to pick her up. Mmm. Owen. No wonder she’d been dreaming of hot guys and cars. Owen drove a beat up rust bucket, but hey, it was a car. Owen didn’t care that his car was a beat up piece of crap. He rolled out of bed and came to school with his hair barely combed and his shirt wrinkled. Blair blew a stray piece of hair out of her face. Maybe that should bother her. He wasn’t picky about his cars or his looks; maybe he wasn’t picky about his girls. It would explain how he’d somehow chosen her.
Owen was the total package. He held her hand at school, texted her sweet stuff all the time, and could collapse her into a fit of giggles with his jokes. He was the word adorable in masculine form, stretched out into a six two frame and chiseled into muscles. Could words be chiseled into muscles? If Owen was a word, he was adorable.
What the heck did he see in her? Once the film was lifted off his eyes he’d see her for what she was: a dopey sophomore who told corny jokes, was too much a wimp to watch horror movies, and too terrified to go anywhere past second base with him. He’d figure it out eventually and they’d be over faster than a Kardashian marriage.
Blair sighed. Clearly a druggie had crept into her room and given her a shot of something that made her thoughts wonky. If she were a word she knew what it would be. Basket case.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five Word Wednesday: results!

Thanks for all who gave me words to work with--this was fun! I was feeling particularly creative and decided to use all of the words I got via the blog and Facebook. The dogs are outside, I have banana bread baking, and I have time. So here's the list of words.

Iphone nap
remote control
yoga mat

Here's my story:

Maggie sat up on her elbow and chucked her Iphone away from her.  She needed to study, not check her phone. Her eyes flickered over her textbook, the words blurring together in a sea of ink. Good grief. She needed a nap. Or coffee. The sun shone bright today and she'd dragged her yoga mat onto the library lawn in a last attempt at making the words stick. At this point she might as well not be reading, the book as useful to her brain as the bowl of half eaten cereal she’d left on the counter this morning was to her blood sugar.
She’d crammed last night, stuffing the material in. But her brain had enough, exploding the way bubblewrap did when her mom used to her let pop it after opening packages from her grandma in Chicago. She traced the words on the open page now with her fingernail.
This was pointless.
Professor Sharp’s midterm was supposedly killer, and unless someone did emergency surgery on her brain and swapped it with someone else, she was going to be lucky to pull off a C. Not that the subject was hard. No, what was hard was having Ben Myles sit right in front of her. Just seeing his t-shirts pull across the lean muscles of his back stopped her brain from functioning, as if his lats were a remote control that clicked her mind off.
Every class it happened.  Muscles seen, Political Economics off, cue tractor trailer of lustful thoughts plowing through her brain.
Then, oh then, if Professor Sharp handed out papers, Ben Myles would turn around, all smiles and eyes as deep as swimming pools and dark as storm clouds, and her heart would fly like a thirteen year old’s while he handed the stack of papers to her.
He probably thought she was an idiot. If he thought about her at all. Maggie shut her book and glanced at her phone again. What if he did think about her? She closed her eyes, sealing off the image of Ben from any other competing thoughts. What if he sat through class, taking in nothing because he couldn’t stop thinking about her? Maybe he was somewhere right now, trying to cram, but unable to, because he couldn’t stop thinking about the girl that sat behind him, hoping he’d get to turn around today to pass her a paper.
It could happen, right? Maggie scoffed and sighed. Ridiculousness.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Introducing Five Word Wednesday!

Five Word Wednesday!

You know how sometimes when you're brain is stuck, you get up to do something else and all of a sudden creativity comes to you?  Or, if you're like me, you walk into another room and start doing something in there and chase a billion rabbit trails? I saw a picture of a baby rabbit this weekend. His name was Snowball. That was the name of the mouse on "All I Want for Christmas." Don't you just love Christmas?

Where was I?

Ah. Yes. Rabbit trails and quirky brains.

Well, as I am deep into a first draft and have rewrites stacking up, I thought it would be fun for a little brain diversion. So, I am starting a new game (I hope you'll play!)

Each Wednesday on my post, I'll ask you to contribute five words...any five (normal English) words. I in turn will pick someone, take their five words and turn them into a short (under 250 words) story. A little diversion for me, a little tale for you. Sounds fun, yes? (I see you nodding your head.)

Who's in??

Post your five words below and let's see what I come up with!