Friday, October 29, 2010

Not NaNo-ing *sniff* but Another Giveaway

Welcome to the last weekday before insanity! Most of you know that I'm referring to NaNoWriMo, which begins next Monday. I did NaNo last year and killed it, in several different meanings of the word, but I'll have to sit it out this year.

Instead of NaNo, I'll be doing ReviseMo of my last year's NaNo. :) I'm over the halfway point of massive rewrites and I've gotta get this puppy finished. My goal is to do it by the end of November. So while thousands of you will be cranking out 50,000 words in a month, I'll be finishing the polishing of 50,000 words. And then it's on to querying and the fun fun of the agent hunt.

GOOD LUCK to all of you NaNo-ers! Stop by once in a while when you need to take a break because your brain is oozing out your ear and your fingertips have gone numb from pounding on the keys. And because I think so many of you are frantically getting ready for the start of NaNo this week, I'm going to extend the deadlines for this week's giveaways and add one more.

Comment on any posts this week and next week for the chance to win a copy of Graceling, a Manic Bloom CD, or the book Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey.

Confession: I have no idea if this book is even any good. I picked it up purely for the sheer awesomeness of the title (title=win.) and the back cover copy. I haven't actually read it.

From the back cover:
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn't fit into Jessica Packwood's senior-year "get a life" plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth and he's her long-lost fiance. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But Jessica has never even been kidssed--how can she possibly commit herself to a long-term relationship? Or an eternal relationship, for that matter?

It sounds exactly my kind of romance: tongue-in-cheek and no moping for several months. The story could be pure cow's tripe, but I really hope not. If you win it we'll have to both read it and compare notes.

Good luck with your last weekend of freedom!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Word of the Week #120 - noctivagant

noctivagant - [noc-tiv-A-gant]- adjective

Definition:
Pertaining to going about in the night; night-wandering.

Usage:
My husband suffers from insomnia, so lately he's taken many noctivagant trips to work at 4:00 a.m.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Giveaway

That's right, girls and boys. Another day, another giveaway for this week. Just comment on yesterday's post or today's post for a chance to win a copy of Graceling, and the thing I'm going to talk about. But first, Dragon Wrangler is giving away a copy of The Replacement.


Is it not the best Halloween-y cover? I can see a Tim Burton film opening with this very image. I want to read the book, so I even entered the contest. But if you don't want to enter that's okay. More chances for me to win. :) If I'm eligible.

Last week I talked a bit about music and how it goes hand in hand with the creative process for a lot of writers. It only makes sense that I would give away some more music, right? Right.

I love a lot of popular music, but I also listen to a lot of less-known or independent artists. And there's some good stuff out there, let me tell ya. Like Under the Influence of Giants (favorite "Mama's Room"), Jem (favorite "24" or "They"), and Broken Iris (favorite "A New Hope" not on player but the ones are there are good). The links are to Myspace pages or places you can listen for free.

One of my favorite bands-you-may-not-have-heard-of is Manic Bloom. This is some seriously awesome music. I won't write an in-depth music review, mostly because I don't know enough to do that. Just imagine me speaking with a nasal voice and an English accent: "The tonality of the main singer's voice mixes perfectly with the harmonics of the guitar, all pushed by the syncopated beat of a mixture of drums which showcases the classical pedagogy of the keyboardist. Blah, blah, blah." (Don't ask me what that means, cause I have no idea.)

Here's my review: I love their music!! And so I'm giving away a copy of their latest EP, "In Loving Memory." Free music...


You can listen to some of their songs at www.myspace.com/manicbloom. The song that I first fell in love with is "Running to the Scene." You can also learn more about them at www.manicbloom.com.

If you want more than one chance to win the CD, Dragon Wrangler is giving one away this week, too, and so is Lori Cunningham on her blog (she also tells more about them, since she's one of those knowledgeable music-types, minus the English accent.)

Have a happy Tuesday, all! I'm off to fight with the midpoint of my book. What I planned isn't going to work, but I think I've finally figured out how to shuffle, shift, and adjust. Now to do it and see if it works.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Awesome Giveaways All Week Long!

Don't look, but it's the last week of October, and I've been saving up some of my giveaways to finish the month with a bang. But first, the winner of the Lori Cunningham CD from last week is...

Stephanie McGee

Congratulations!! I'll be in touch to get your address and get the CD in the mail.

That means it's time to announce the giveaway of today. (Oh, yes. You heard me right. This isn't the giveaway of the week, this is the giveaway of today.) Everyone knows I'm a book addict, and so we have another of my favorite books to give away: Graceling by Kristin Cashore.


From the back cover:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...

There is a companion book, Fire, that is more recent, but I liked Graceling more. And it's my blog where I have all the power (Muah-ha-ha), so this is the book I'm giving away. Comment on any posts this week to be entered to win.

If I were Graced with a skill, I think I'd like to not need sleep. Or maybe the skill to make anyone I talk to feel better. However, being Graced could have a downside. Maybe if I had the Grace of no sleep I would yearn to dream and withdraw from consciousness. If I had the Grace to make others feel good just by talking to them, maybe I would be constantly barraged by others and not want to uplift them anymore. Hmmm...

What Grace would you like to have? And if you want to take it one step further as a writer thinking exercise, what would be a downside of that Grace? (Inherent conflict, baby!)

*Pop on over to Dragon Wrangler's blog for a chance to win a book from her. I might even try to win because I want to read the book she's giving away. It's very Halloween-y.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Set Goals...Sort of

As November and NaNoWriMo draws near, many in the writing world start thinking about GOALS. For NaNo the goal is 50,000 new words in a month. Or maybe it's 50,000 words while sleep deprived because it also happens to be Thanksgiving when family comes to town and everything else in life seems determined to eat away the writing time you optimistically thought you'd have when you considered doing this crazy thing.

I'm a big goal proponent. I have my own goals for various aspects of my life, like my goal of reaching a certain 10K pace in my running. Then there's my goal to focus a minimum of 2 hours a weekday on writing--not blogging, not Twittering, not emailing, but actual writing. I have the goal of biting my tongue instead of barking at my children like a drill sergeant. I also have the goal of really listening when I talk to people, rather than planning my response. One of my goals is to finally decorate my bedroom (we've lived here 7 years and the master bedroom is still the second-hand-stash-everything-here room). I also should probably clean out from under my refrigerator--eventually.

I've had a goal for the month of October, and I even told 3 or 4 people about it (accountability and all that). My goal was to finish the rewrites on my MG fantasy so that I could begin querying in November. And how am I doing? With 11 days left in the month, I am just shy of the halfway point in my book. Unless I totally ignore the rest of life and my family, it's probably safe to say I'm not going to make it.

And that's okay.

I'm loving how the rewrites are turning out, and if it takes me longer to get the book I want and that others enjoy reading (including an agent and publisher) then that's okay. That's the more important goal anyway.

I think sometimes we focus so much on OUR GOAL (yes, it's capitalized for a reason) that we choke out all possibilities for flexibility. And then when we fall behind in OUR GOAL, we feel like a failure. One of the techniques teachers learn is to monitor and adjust. That has stuck with me ever since I heard it.

Set your goals. Work toward them. Periodically monitor and adjust. Then keep working toward them.

Life usually doesn't go as planned. Things get in the way, you lose sleep and can't think, your kidlet gets sick, you get sick, the car breaks down, etc. If you are so cemented into doing things one way, then you're just setting yourself up for failure.

So by all means set goals, but keep them flexible enough that you can actually reach them.

What goals do you have? And how are they going?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Word of the Week #119 - mussitate

mussitate - [MUHS-i-teyt]- verb

Definition:
To silently move the lips in simulation of audible speech.

Usage:
It's amazing how my children can technically not talk back; they mussitate back.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Awesome Giveaway #3

It's Monday, so that means it's time to announce the winner of last week's giveaway, I Capture the Castle.

L.T. Elliott

Random.org kicked out the random number of 7, and L.T. had the 7th comment of the week. I'll be in touch.

Let's keep the fun going with Awesome Giveaway #3 in the Month of Giveaway Awesomeness. But first, make sure to check in often in the next 2 weeks, because we will be giving away more than one thing a week. (Oh, yeah. Sprinting to the finish, baby!)

If there's one thing that writers love almost as much as books (no, I'm not talking about chocolate) it's music. And often that's because music and writing go hand in hand. Many writers have certain music to go with specific stories. It helps get them in the right frame of mind and kick start their muse.

When I'm doing heavy revising, like right now, I tend to listen to movie soundtracks, like from the "Bourne Supremacy" and "King Arthur," or keep things silent. But I have written entire scenes to single songs put on repeat, like a final, climactic battle scene to "Sahara" by Nightwish. And this song is my YA Paranormal. All I have to do is listen to it and I am instantly transported into the story. (Ack! I have to quit listening to it! I have to finish my MG first.)

There is also a music genre out there that is less known but is a great muse catalyst for me. It's called Electronica, and it's often dramatic and lyrical at the same time. Groups such as Delerium, Blue Stone, Conjure One, and Balligomingo are big. (Raise your hand if you've heard of them. No?)

Because I love and listen to Electronica A LOT when I write, I want to introduce you to the sound, and what better way than to give away a CD!

*cheering**applause*

I have, in my very own possession, the Unseen Album from up and coming Electronica artist Lori Cunningham. All you have to do is comment on any blog this week to be eligible to win.



“Unseen” features thirteen beautiful original works ranging from soaring vocalizes set in soothing soundscapes to complex instrumentations that interweave driving beats with Lori's intricate vocal style. While each song is unique, they all invoke you to experience emotions unseen by most.

You can find out more about Lori and listen to samples of the songs on the Unseen Album on her website, www.Loricmusic.com, but here's a sampler of her angelic voice. Emeria is her latest project and isn't out on CD yet, but this video gives you a great feel for the electronica genre.




What music do you listen to when you write?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Obscure Supernatural Heroes

Since it's Fall Break at my house (which means I have kidlets under foot, clamoring for constant entertainment) today's post is a little light and fun. Over on agent Lucienne Diver's blog is a guest post by Michele Lang called "To All the Ghouls I've Loved."

Michelle talks about how Halloween is a great time to consider the possibility of the more Halloween-y (my own word) potential heroes out there. She lists her Top 5: Angels, Demons, Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies.

Those are all great, and they are also the ones that easily come to mind. So that puts the onus on me (onus = great word. Go look it up and use it this weekend, I dare you!) to come up with at least 5 different supernatural heroes. I'm up for the challenge, though. And for my list I'm digging into my research for my first MG novel, "The Spear of Victory."

Obscure Supernatural Heroes

1. Cat Sith/Cat Sidhe

A fairy creature from Scottish and Irish mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Some common folklore suggested that the Cait S├Čth was not a fairy, but a transformed witch. Just imagine the possibilities! Especially if it's a shape-changer (even better if it's a hot guy shape changer).

2. Bean-Fionn/Water Woman/Jenny Greentooth

This faery is very protective of children and a kiss from her renders a child almost indestructible. She has also been known to give directions to lost travelers. She will however, drown those who displease her or who hurt and abuse children. What a heroine! What if your MC is abused and gets help from this supernatural creature? (Just throwing out ideas.)

3. Blue men (not the Las Vegas group)

These supernatural sea creatures were said to live in underwater caves in the Minch, a straight between Lewis, Long Island and the Shiant Islands near Scotland. The Blue Men looked like humans with blue skins. They where infamous for swimming alongside passing ships, and attempting to wreck them by conjuring storms and by luring sailors into the water. If a captain wanted to save his ship he had to finish their rhymes and solve their riddles, and always make sure he got the last word. Some think the Blue Men may be Fallen Angels.

4. Mimi

Mimis are fairy-like beings of the Indigenous Australians of northern Australia. They are described as having extremely thin and elongated bodies, so thin as to be in danger of breaking in case of a high wind. To avoid this, they usually spend most of their time living in rock crevices. They are said to have taught the Aborigines how to hunt, prepare kangaroo meat and use fire. Believed to be trickster spirits, the Mimi disappear into the rock walls of caves and shelters and sometimes leave their shadows behind, which appear as paintings.

5. Kelpie

A supernatural Water elemental which takes the form of a horse, malevolent. They are Scottish water faeries. Usually they are seen as young horses, but sometimes they appear as hairy men. They haunt rivers and streams, letting men mount them and then riding off into the water, dunking them.


There's my list of obscure supernatural heroes, and yes, all of them are in my book.

What about you? Which supernaturals are your favorite?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Word of the Week #118 - quaggy

quaggy - [KWAG-ee] - adjective

Definition:
1. Marshy; boggy.
2. Soft or flabby.

Usage:
When people wonder why I get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to a weight class, I tell them it's to avoid getting the old woman quaggy arms.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sense and Sensibility... and Sea Monsters?

If you thought they were done with the Jane Austen horror fusion (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), you thought wrong.



Oh, yeah. Where can I get an idea like that?

You have to watch the book trailer. ROTFLOL





Don't forget that any comment on a blog this week will give you an entry into the Awesome Giveaway #2.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Awesome Giveaway #2

It is time for the next Awesome Giveaway in my Month of Giveaway Awesomeness.

Oh, wait. You want to know who won the delciously mouthwatering yummilicious caramel apple of delight from last week?

Mmmm. So tasty...

Well, I had 29 comments on the blog that were eligible for the giveaway. I used random. org to generate a random number from 1 to 29, and it spit out the number 4, which would would be Yamile!

*applause*

She commented, "I will eat one of those babies even with my braces! So delicious looking." (Just promise you won't tell your orthodontist I'm the one who gave it to you.) I'll be in touch.

Let's keep up the giveaway fun by giving away something you'd expect from a blog called Bookmom Musings. And that would be...

A Book

One lucky commenter on any of my blogs this week will win their very own copy of one of my favorite books, but one I'm not sure a lot of you have read.


I fell in love with the book, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, in the first two sentences.

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with the dog's blanket and the tea-cosy."

I Capture the Castle relates the adventures of the Mortmains, an eccentric family struggling to live in a decaying English castle in the 1930s. Narrated through journal entries of the intelligent and delightful teen-aged girl, Cassandra Mortmain, we meet her extraordinary family. First, there is her eccentric father, a writer who had one literary masterpiece published years ago, but has been unable to write since. Then there is her sister, Rose - beautiful, vain and bored - and her stepmother, Topaz, an artist's model who likes to be dramatic and commune with nature. Finally, there is their neighbor Stephen, incredibly handsome and hopelessly in love with Cassandra.

Cassandra records events and her feelings with humorously insightful honesty. The result is a book both marvelously funny and genuinely moving. It made me smile, chuckle, laugh, and even stop and think.


Any comments on any of the blogs this week gets you in the drawing for this. Don't forget to pop on over to Dragon Wrangler's blog for her giveaway of the week, too. Good luck!

(And just so you know, I'm toying with the idea of doing a second giveaway this week, too. But for the moment I haven't decided. I'll let you know when I make up my mind. )

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Write Your Own Rejection

"I couldn't identify with the characters, the plot was hard to follow, and the world didn't live up to it's promise."

Ouch. Anyone else cringing at the words of this rejection? Yeah, it's pretty harsh. But it's honest. I know, because I wrote it to myself.

"Whoa! Back up. You wrote your own rejection?"

Yes, I did. It was part of a lesson in a a monster-load-of-work-but-completely-worth-it course on novel revision. After two excruciating months of reading and re-reading my rough draft without TOUCHING it (which was like dragging myself up a hill in a hailstorm by papercut-covered fingertips) and taking copious notes on what worked (10%), what didn't (90%), I could finally look at my book objectively and know what needed to be fixed and why.

Before we actually started figuring out specifically how to fix our books, the teacher made us write our own rejection letter. We had to try and see our book with the eyes of an agent or editor, and make it brutally honest. You've now read part of mine.

After the gut-twisting "Oh my gosh, I totally suck!" faded away, I knew that I wanted to make sure no editor/agent/reader ever thought that about my revised novel. It gave me direction and motivation. I now keep it where I can see it while I'm revising.

Try it. Look at your current WIP, not with the eyes the author who ripped out bits of your soul with each keystroke, but as an editor/agent who will look at it totally objectively. Then write a rejection letter--with specifics--to yourself.

Once you have it, read it over and over. Then vow to yourself that you will never actually get that letter, because you *will* fix those things.

And go do it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Word of the Week #117 - jape

jape - [JAYP] - noun, verb

Definition:
1. A joke or jest.
2. A trick or prank.
3. To joke; to jest.
4. To make fun of; to mock.

Usage:
The funniest comedians are the ones that jape about the normal aspects of life in a new way.

Brian Regan is a master of this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Awesome Giveaway #1

Since I'm a writer and voracious reader, I know that you're probably expecting something bookish for the first giveaway in The Month of Giveaway Awesomeness.

Nope.

Don't get me wrong, this blog is about writing and books, but it's also about whatever else I feel like. And for the kickoff giveaway of the month, I feel like giving a lucky blog reader something from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

"WHAT?!" say those of you who know me and know I don't like chocolate. No, the world hasn't ended. You see, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also sells Caramel Apples.


Like the Apple Pie Apple: "This is not your ordinary apple pie. We take a large Granny Smith apple, apply a thick coat of fresh, creamy caramel, then dip it in sweet white confection. Then, while still hot, we roll it in brown sugar and cinnamon. Like Grandma used to make, only better!"




You get 8-10 slices of delicious goodness that will send your taste buds on a frenzied journey to ecstasy! Sigh.

One lucky commenter will win one of these babies this week!

The actual logistics of this giveaway are a bit tricky, since I can't really mail one to you. ("Oh, look, I got apple pie mush with a stick in the mailbox.") I can place an order for you, but then you have to go to a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location to pick it up, and there may or may not be one near you. The other option is to send you a Cold Stone Creamery gift card, because many Cold Stones also have Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory products, and there are a whole lot more Cold Stones around the country than Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory locations. (You would have to pinky swear you'd use it for an apple, though.) Once we have a winner, the two of us will figure out the best way to get you your apple of yummilicious awesomeness.

And for those of you who *must* have something involving chocolate, Dragon Wrangler's got your back. (Just give her a little time to get the blog up, since she probably tore her rotator cuff the other day and typing is painful.)

Happy commenting to fight for that apple!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Month of Giveaway Awesomeness!

By a raise of hands, do we have any Lord of the Rings fans out there? How about any that became fans once they saw Orlando Bloom in the movies?


I'm a LOTR fan, but not a LOTR fantatic.

**Confession: I didn't actually read LOTR until I had my first child. My brother was/is a LOTR Fanatic (yes, with a capital "F") so I think I rebelled against it for a while. Either that or "The Hobbit" cartoon traumatized me for 20 years. (Oh, the horror!)

What does LOTR have to do with October? Well, dear readers, I shall tell you. In the hobbit culture, when someone has a birthday they give gifts rather than receive them. For those who don't know, I just had a birthday. And I thought that rather than dwelling on the fact that I am *old*, I would celebrate it all month long by giving away things to YOU. And then I got 100 followers and that just makes the idea even more perfect!

"Great!" you say, "Now what crazy hoops do I have to jump through to win?"

Sometimes blog giveaways can get a little...complicated. In order to get an entry you have to become a follower, blog about the contest and link to it, tweet every other hour on days that begin with an M, T, or S, put a placard on your dog while you walk him in a parade, answer a bunch of questions, play a game of Twister where every time someone has to put a body part on a yellow circle you have to chant "I will win the blog contest," etc.

In case you can't tell, sometimes that annoys me. So, because this is my blog and my Month of Giveaway Awesomeness, I'm gonna make the rules. In order to be entered to win any of my giveaways you have to...

Wait for it...

Comment on my blog.

That's it.

Post a comment--any comment--on any of the posts for the week (except this one), and you are entered to win the giveaway(s) of the week. Now, if you want to blog about my giveaways, become a follower (and I hope you do), tweet about my blog, or put up a billboard, that's great! If you tell me about it, I may arbitrarily grant you anywhere between 1-100 extra entries, depending on my mood, how much my kidlets are fighting, and the phase of the moon.

And if that wasn't awesome enough (which it is), I also talked Dragon Wrangler into doing some giveaways, too, although I think she's doing it just because October is her favorite month. So you can mosey over to her blog and get double the chances to win something in the... drum roll and reverberating echoey movie announcer voice...

Month of Giveaway Awesomeness!!!