Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Cheer!

December brings many holidays to celebrate to everyone in our world.  So this month, the Merry Go Round Blog Tour is discussing holidays.  I will focus on what I know, Christmas.  It is a blessing and a curse every year in so many ways.  But no one wants to hear about the bad...

This year, my family descended upon my home yesterday afternoon.  We have a very long yet narrow living room full of 15 people.  The youngest was 3 months old all the way up to my grandma who is in her 70's.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  Which is always a blessing because that means there are no arguments.  My mom loves a peaceful holiday.  Missing, of course, was my brother so it wasn't a perfect day.

My 3 year old grandniece was so precious.  Every gift was special.  Each outfit received a snuggle before it went on mommy's lap.  Every toy opened was followed with the large eye, open mouthed "yay" even the books I gave her.  It is so refreshing to see the enjoyment of the young ones.

I would be remissed if I didn't hit on the reason we celebrate Christmas.  It is a time of year for giving and caring.  As a Christian, we remember the birth of Jesus and the sacrifice he was born to make.  We draw together as a family and give thanks as well as enjoy each other's company.

I hope each of you has had a blessed holiday no matter what religion or holiday you celebrate!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Inner Workings of a Writer

November is self-interview month on the Blog Tour.  So I will attempt to ask creative questions and give honest answers.  I hope this will offer insight into my mind for myself as well.  Here we go:

What genre do you read?
I mainly read Young Adult novels because that is what I tend to write.  I do read Chick Lit as well as Classics.  However, I feel it keeps me current in topic and dialogue if I read what is being published now.

Do you have a favorite author?
Yes and no.  Since writing in first person is hard for me, I greatly admire Barry Lyga.  He does so with such style.  A true inspiration.  In general, though, I tend to like several authors.  Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Maureen Johnson, Alice Walker and many more.

Where do you get your subject matter from?
Simply from the state of affairs in our society today. As well as watching things in my own life unfold.  My husband always says your life is the best writing fodder.  I agree.  A very awesome story came out of a birthday dinner last year.  Look all around.  There are stories everywhere.

What topics are the most important to you?
I tend to deal with mental issues in teens.  From cutting to homosexuality to eating disorders.  I have seen at least one deal with each of these types of issues.  I know how the real situation occurs and I attempt to offer a learning experience that does not mirror that one but is also not a "happy" ending.  I do not believe sugar coating the consequences teaches teens anything.

Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband, Dan, of course.  He is my writing drill sargent.  He keeps me going and makes it possible that I can write.  I have friends also who are supportive which helps.

I hope this look into my brain and the logic I follow has enlightened you.  Right now I am writing about Bulimia which is a subject near and dear to my heart.  I wish you all a great weekend and healthy eating.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writer's Worst Fear

I just realized a writer's worst fear: the computer won't boot.  I put it into sleep mode with a webpage open.  Then I opened it and woke it up.  Out of no where is shuts off.  Now I have tried booting with and without storage expansion media several times and I get to the same place then off.  I say this all to make a point.  Save often and in multiple places!

I have a dropbox, thumb drive and main computer as well as the netbook I write on.  However, none of my backups include the last 2000 words written.  Devastation since my husband is sleeping and he is the computer technician who works 8 to 5 tomorrow.  Another day lost in National Novel Writing Month.  I am determined if I have to start over though.

A warning to all writers:  make multiple copies everytime you save!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Revision, revision, revision

October is a good month to discuss revision.  It is such an important step in the writing process.  And as many people know, November is National Novel Writing Month.  It is a challenge to get you writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  When I am writing, I never look back.  To keep momentum, I look forward and follow my outline and notes.  Preparing for November this year, I am looking at past novels and short stories I have written.  The revision process was so important.

Revision is where the best writing comes from.  You can fix plot holes and rewrite bad scenes.  Picking up on mistakes I have made makes a stronger, tighter story.  The more revision you do, the more sellable your novel will be in the long run.  So I look forward to writing another novel this year but even more so, I look forward to revising another novel after the best two words: The End.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crossing Lines

The topic of September is crossing genres on our Merry Go Round Blog Tour from Forward Motion.  Such a good topic for me as I plan my next novel.  A lot of the stories I write follow along the lines of the Young Adult, Realistic Fiction line.  With this in mind, I started to think about books I read and have loved and one thing keeps repeating in my mind.  Every author crosses the borders of genres.

An epiphony if I have ever had one.  It is not a new concept for authors to write young adult mysteries or fantasy/Sci-Fi novels.  My personal opinion is that this keeps your readers interested on the journey you ar leading them on.  The next plot twist is unexpected. 

As I am research Bulimia for this novel, I have a quandry ahead of me.  Should it be young adult or a 20-something woman dealing?  Are we looking at the diet side or the mental health side?  Is there another genre that fits this type of story better.  Whatever I decide, I am sure it will cross over many lines and I will enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vacation offers more than relaxation

My husband and I spent 6 days in Indianapolis this last month.  It was a glorious time!  Good food, good fun, and good ideas.  We spent those days at Gen Con, the convention for gamers of all types.  People watching was abound!  So, when asked where my newest ideas came from, my only answer is Gen Con.

Meeting several new people and learning about their lives gave me story lines to follow.  Plot bunnies started hopping through my mind.  It wasn't until I saw a bulimic young lady that the story all fell into place!  I am excited to get started on this project.

I have characters in my mind that I am going to be creating profiles for.  An outline is not far behind.  Then the real fun begins.  I am diving into the dark places that drive the human mind to do the things that they do.  I am excited to move forward!

Check back on the 26th of September for the next installment of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What books are on my nightstand?

A question proposed by the Forward Motion Writing community Merry-Go-Round Blog tour for the month of July:  what books are on your nightstand.  Like many others, I do not have a nightstand.  My bedroom is just too small.  However, I have a 4" tall bookshelf in my living room that I call "To be read".  As I sit here and write tonight, I see this shelf packed full of all the books I want to read.  Each one seems like it should be next.  The decisions are tough at the end of each book.

My tastes in books vary widely.  I have classics, women's fiction, young adult fiction and lots of craft books.  On the list right now is the Artemis Fowl series, the last two Jodi Picoult books, the Demon-hunting Soccer mom books, several books by Ally Carter, Sue William Silverman's memoirs plus craft book and other craft books.  There is no rhyme or reason to this collection.

I just finished reading Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga which was quite interesting.  Lyga can write a teenage girl like no other man I have ever read.  I learn a lot everytime I read one of his books.  He nails the mind-set of a girl messed up by the circumstances of her life.  If you want to write in the first person or like young adult, give Barry Lyga a try.

I am currently reading Things we didn't say by Kristina Riggle.  She is a local author from Grand Rapids, MI.  She will be doing an author sign this Thursday in a local bookstore a little north of my hometown.  She is a wonderful speaker and educated about things aspiring authors would like to know.  She will be answering questions about the process and this book in particular.

Not on my shelf:  World War Z by Max Brooks.  I believe this is the next book to read.  It is for a friend but I want to read it first.  So, what is everyone else reading these days?

Follow me and other writers who blog at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

This week has been eventful for me.  I hit the publish button at createspace for the personal essay collection I have been working on for two years.  It has been a heart-wrenching time.  The essays cover the highlights of my life with my older brother.  He passed away on April 22, 2009.  The book includes color pictures and space at the end to journal your own memories about him.  I gave the first copy to my mom and it was awesome to see the pleasure of the cover followed by the emotion of the manuscript.  The Scorpion Guardian has it's own page:

I have finished researching cutting and eating disorders for the mental health series.  My next step is to research the Chicago area.  I am still tossing around names for the town that the series will take place in right now.  I am thinking of some place that resembles Schaumberg, IL.  The city has wonderful memories.  The atmosphere and people make you feel welcome.  I welcome suggestions for town names.

I have been playing a lot of Shadowrun RPG the last few months, especially this week.  I am now thinking about writing about the future and living life as an outcast.  I am better at Young Adult but some Sci-Fi might be out there in the future.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Death and other stuff

I have ignored this blog for ten days and even missed WIP Wednesday.  Not really how I wanted to start out with this endeavor.  It seems like every time you get a groove going, life throws curve balls right straight at you.  That has been the last week.

Yesterday, we finally laid to rest the ashes of my mother-in-law.  It has been a sad and lonely time for my husband and I.  She is deeply missed but it feels good to have closure.  But the closure of one emotion opens the flood gates for the What if's and How do we go on without her.  It is a process.  Grief, like many things, is a journey.  I have buried two grandfathers and my older brother in the last two years.  The unexpected deaths are the hard ones.  My brother was only 37.  My mother-in-law was 67.  Both died too young.  It is time to pick ourselves up, dust of our legs and move on with our lives.  Enough of the sad stuff.

Writing has been going alright too.  I started meeting with some fellow, local writers at the cutest little book store called the Book Nook and Java Shop.  It is a cozy atmosphere and the employees are very nice.  The people I meet are totally different than my critique group.  Different lifestyles and backgrounds offer vast variety of opinions.  I am looking forward to next Saturday when we meet again.

This week has been research week.  I spent time looking into flashbacks and prologues.  All things I struggle with on the mechanics end.  I spent even more time working through the depths of websites on cutting and eating disorders.  Some of the stuff out there is down right scary.  The thoughts in young girls minds are hard to believe and our society planted them there.  Absolutely amazing!!!!!  It made me take a hard look in the mirror as I am struggling with weight loss.  It seems like everything I do for my writing comes full circle back to my life.  May I never need to go to a pro-ana or pro-mia site for myself!

Come back Wednesday for an new installment of WIP Wednesday and on July 26th, I will be guest blogging for which is a project started by the fabulous folks at Forward Motion Writers Community.  Check in with them often as well.  There are guest most days of the month.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Okay, so I stole the concept from a writing buddy. (Thanks, Ray)  I think it is a good idea so I am going to run with it.  Each Wednesday I will try to update what things I am working on for the week and where I am at in my process.  This week is a good news/bad news week for me.

Good news:  I ordered final proof copies on a secret project that I have been working on in my spare time.  I am not sure if I will let Createspace sell it or if I will try to go the traditional publishing route.  We will see when the proofs are here and I give it more thought.

Bad news:  I wrote a novel and a sequel.  Then thought they should go into one book as two parts.  So I started to edit and had my awesome critique group read it for me.  Today I realized that they need to be separate and the second part needs to be overhauled, adding a larger plot through out the book so that it can stand alone.  On the bright side, this will allow me to turn this project into exactly what I wanted from the beginning: a setting and a group of friends that would each get a book dealing with the problem they are struggling with at the time.

Good news:  This will allow my mental health project to start from the ground up and be a better set of novels in the end.  World building here I come.  (Good news doesn't always come out of bad news but today is the exception.)

This next week will bring lots of world building and research about the Chicago area.  Also more about the cutting behaviors that plague so many teens in our society.  I have my own experiences and reasons for cutting but I want to find other girls' reasons.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blog Tour and July goals

As I prepare for the holiday festivities, I am overwhelmed with all I want to accomplish this month.  So, I will start with the easiest one.  I belong to an online writing community called Forward Motion and we are doing a monthly blog tour.  The website is: and I will be posting on the 26th of each month.  The other writers are amazing so check them out each day.  I fully intend to!

My personal writing goals are as follows:
1. Finish my preliminary read through with line edits of The Cutting Edge
2. Go through critique group's comments and figure out which ones to incorporate
3. Read Proof copy my secret writing project and order more copies
4. Read and comment on a critique group member's novel
5. Make a new electronic copy of The Cutting Edge and enter edits

This seems like a long list and a bit overzealous.  I am hoping I have not bitten off more than I can chew.  I will let you all know on August 1st!

UPDATE: As of July 5th I have ordered my proofs.  One item knocked off the list.  Four more to go!!!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

On Monday, I set a goal for this week.  The week isn't over yet but my goal is far from being reached.  My nephew is visiting and my roommate's daughter is here.  This sucks the motivation to edit right out of me, until today.  The thunderstorms rolled in off Lake Michigan last night and the need to hibernate overwhelmed me.

This morning I woke to more rumbling thunder and the great desire to curl up in the chair with my book and edit.  This afternoon should be quite productive!  The next step is to start all over again next week.  Set another goal and challenge myself to reach it.  Offer myself an indulgence to keep on target.  Whatever works to keep the forward movement of my writing career.  Thank you to my online community at Forward Motion ( and National Novel Writing Month (  Both give me the push to become the best writer I can be.

My goal is within reach.  Given Sunday is my 12th wedding anniversary and Monday is the 4th of July, I have confidence.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and can meet their goals by the end of the week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Setting Goals

As Monday morning dawned, I thought of only one thing:  what do I want to accomplish this week?  Easy question, right?  Not so much.  Rolling out of bed, this thought faded as dirty dishes and pets to care for filled the first half hour.  Phone rings and time for a shower.  Writing?  Not even a thought anymore.

Lunch having been eaten, I sat down at my computer.  Now it is time to set a goal and make a plan for the week.  If I publish it online, surely I will follow it.  Umm, maybe.  Facebook beckoned me first.  Then the emails.  Wow!  ADD is in over-drive!  Now I am ready to make my goals known.  After I answer a text or two...

My goal this week is to finish the first read through with line edits on The Cutting Edge.  My long term goal is to get the best manuscript I can ready for queries by the end of the summer.  This is edit number 672 or something.  We'll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 24, 2011

As a way to get me social presence out there as an aspiring author of young adult and Christian young adult novels, I have started using which serves as an online business card.  It gives links to each social media outlet you use on in one place.  This is a campaign run by BzzAgent to help get the word out there.

<img src="" alt=""/>

My page is:
Check it out.