Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To all those that are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, have a wonderful holiday. For those who are not, have a wonderful week!

I will be taking the week off and will join you again next week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoRevMo Report

Thanks for the comments on my "I'm not doing NaNo pity party" post the other day. With your encouragement I decided to try and report some of my stats. I am revising like a madwoman, and that's worth some stats, isn't it?

Yesterday: One chapter polished. One sick kidlet taken to the doctor and fussed over. One dinner cooked. Several homework assignments completed needing my nagging encouragement. Well over 50 emails sent and received.

Today: One chapter polished. One chapter revised. Word count on the revised chapter stayed approximately the same, but half of those were new words. It's much better now but still has a couple spots needing some major fixage. A bunch of emails taken care of.

I am 7/10 finished with my major revision. And I'm liking it, I'm really liking it. *celebration*

How are you doing with your projects of the month? (Even if they're not NaNoWriMo.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

On the Outside of NaNo, Looking In

Happy halfway point of NaNoWriMo for those of you doing it! How are you holding up? How are the areas of your life that you're neglecting to write holding up? :)

I told you last month that I'm not doing NaNo, and I'm not. I still stick with my decision to focus on revising my current project, but as I see the NaNo camaraderie and drama (i.e. "I didn't get my wordcount in because my dog died!") on Twitter and Facebook, I'm feeling a little left out. I want to post wordcounts, or participate in a 1K in an hour sprint, or go to a NaNo writer's retreat.

*Envision Jaime outside a store, her face pressed against the display window as she gazes longingly at the inside.*

Solution: I don't have to stay at the window! I'm going to start reporting my revision progress.

I think.

Revision is tricky, because I do a lot of it longhand (so counting words would be a beast). Plus, the train wreck I'm fixing requires tossing entire chunks (we're talking entire chapters sometimes) of my rough draft. So in a day I might have tossed 10 pages and written 4 pages, which would give me a negative total.

I still want to participate in the writing frenzy, though. Now I just have to figure out how.

Keep writing all you NaNoers!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Word of the Week #120 - saccade

saccade - [sa-KAHD] - noun

1. The movement of the eye when it makes a sudden change, as in reading.
2. The act of checking a horse quickly with a single strong pull of the reins.

Sometimes keeping an eye on my kids tests my saccade abilities to the maximum. They are rarely still.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Using the Right Words

A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but when it comes to interacting with people (especially kids), presentation is as important as the words. Sometimes simply changing the way you use the words changes everything. A movie announcer voice doesn't hurt, either.

My kidlets have started tuning out when I talk, so I've decided it's time to get in touch with my inner movie announcer and awesome-up my presentation skills. These skills can easily transfer over into my writing. My plan isn't complicated. It merely involves slight changes to the way I talk, mainly by adding "-inator" to the end of words (which automatically rockets the coolness factor).

For example:

My car is no longer a van, it's now the Family Transportinator.

It's not doing the dishes, it's loading the Eating Utensil Scrubbinator.

We're not spraying wasp nests in the rock wall, we're wielding our Evil Stinging Pest Eradicator.

When it's raining, you open the Rain Repellinator.

Forget homework, it's time to work on the Future Education Placinator.

I'm not wasting time on Twitter, I'm becoming a Networking Informinator.

And, just for my boy kidlets, they have to take turns cleaning the Flushinator, because they're contributing Poopinators.

**Note: I actually used the last example when helping Kidlet #2 study the suffix "-ator" which means "that which."

**Note 2: Since I wrote this post, I have discovered that the villain in the Disney cartoon Phineus and Ferb adds "inator" to all of his evil genius inventions. However, I came up with the idea first.

Here's a short, less than 2 minute video on how presentation can make anything cooler.

Have you had any experiences where presentation mattered almost more than the words?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PERILOUS review and Win a Kindle

While reading the book Perilous, by Tamara Hart Heiner (pause for a cover shot),

I started thinking about some of the perilous things that have happened in my life, like:
  • Getting caught in waist deep mud in an irrigation canal while going after my favorite toy mermaid. I didn't drown, thanks to an older brother who pulled me out. But I didn't get my mermaid back. *sniff*
  • Being run over by a car when I was 3. I remember getting woken up in the middle of the night in the hospital by the nurses shining flashlights in my eyes. Rude!
  • My sister and I slid several times on our butts on the cement slopes underneath a freeway overpass. It wore holes in the seats of my jeans.
  • Pretending to be characters in a story that were magically transported to another world. Of course, the paranoid neighbor's yard was much more otherworldly than mine. They called the cops on me for peeking in their windows. (It was a castle! And I was, like, 9 years old.)
  • Getting completely and inappropriately screamed at for throwing those red berries on decorative bushes at passing cars. I figured out after several unsuccessful attempts with my friends that in order to hit the car, you had to throw the berries just before the car passed. This psycho guy slammed on his breaks, backed up, and chewed me out up one side, down the other, and then repeated. My friends all bolted and I stood there taking it. To the psycho man: it was a child-size handful of red berries on your windshield. Go get some help for your road rage.
  • Exploring several derelict buildings that were probably on the verge of collapsing. As a mother I have nightmares my kids will "explore" in their mother's footsteps.
  • Having the police called on us because we discovered that super rubber balls bounced incredibly awesome in the post office (off all the PO boxes) and it was the perfect place for a rubber ball bounce off. Not so much.
Now compare my perilous experiences with real peril, like in Tamara Hart Heiner's book.

From the back cover:
Jaci Rivera has plans for her sophomore year: go to regionals with the track team, make the honor roll, and eat too much pizza with her best friends, Callie and Sara. Her biggest concern is Amanda, the pushy girl who moved in a few months ago. What she doesn't plan for is catching a robber red-handed, or being kidnapped. The desperate thief drags her and her friends 2,000 miles across the Canadian border. They escape from his lair, only to find that he has spies and agents watching their path home, waiting to intercept them and take them back. Then Jaci finds something out about her family. Something which irrevocably connects her to their kidnapper, and makes her question their chances of escape.

My perilous experiences don't hold a candle to what the girls in the book go through. Kidnapping, murder, escape, trekking across the country, corrupt law enforcement, etc. Perilous is a true YA suspense that will keep readers turning pages to find out what happens. And there are rumors of a sequel/series to help tie up some loose ends.

Confession: For some reason I had in my mind that this was a paranormal. Once I realized I was completely mixed up, I enjoyed the book much more since I wasn't waiting for a vampire/werewolf/demon/angel/witch/psychic to show up. This is no way a criticism of Perilous, it's more a confession of my own airheadedness.

Overall I enjoyed the book and recommend it to those who like suspense.

That being said, there were a few things that marred my enjoyment of the story.

I would have liked to know the other girls that were kidnapped along with the main character. I almost started thinking of them as sidekicks, and sometimes had to stop to remember who was who. If some chapters had been from their point of view, I could have connected with them more as individuals. For example, after a particularly traumatic thing happened to one character, it would have further invested us in the story to show in her own thoughts how her experience completely changed her outlook and approach to circumstances. I wanted more about the characters and how they changed, rather than just the events happening.

The girls also spend a lot of time on the run in wilderness areas. I think there needed to be more set up at the beginning showing that the girls actually had survival skills. Even just mentioning one went camping all the time with family, or something. If you dump your average 3 teenage girls in the wild--even with a few supplies--there's no guarantee they even know how to start a fire or find shelter. That pushed the believability envelope a little for me, but I wanted to know what happened so I suspended my disbelief.

Perilous will be out Nov. 16th, but I think you can get it now on the Kindle. You can find out more about Tamara, her books, and her blog tour on her website, at You can also read the first page of Perilous on her site.

Tamara is doing two giveaways in connection with her release.

First, anyone who comments on a blog tour post is entered to win a copy of her book. That giveaway begins October 15 and ends November 15.

Second, ONE person will also win a KINDLE.

The Kindle giveaway is point-based. It begins October 15 and ends December 15.
Whoever gets the most points during those two months wins.

Ways to get points:
1 point: blog comment (can comment on all the blogs, multiple times, on the tour)
1 point: follow Tamara's
1 point: retweet
2 points: blog about the blog tour
5 points: purchase the book (For the ebook or paperback, email Tamara the confirmation email as proof. If you actually buy the book in the store, which is not possible until November 16, mail her a copy of the receipt.)

Add up all your points and gather your proofs (links, etc) and email it all to to Tamara at the end of the blog tour (tamara at tamarahartheiner dot com). There's no limit to the number of points you can earn.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Some of you may not know when you were commenting the last 2 weeks that you were being entered to win the last 3 of my October giveaways. If you are one of the lucky winners, then... surprise!!

I used to randomly pick 3 random numbers. (Did I mention it was random?) And then I matched those numbers to the comments from the last 2 weeks. Give the winners a round of applause.

The winner of a copy of Graceling is...

Comment # 19 -- Shallee

The winner of the Manic Bloom CD is...

Comment #11 -- Crystal

The winner for a copy of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is...

Comment #18 -- Elana


Tomorrow you'll want to stop by for my late book review of the book Perilous, which you won't want to miss because the author has some of her own awesome giveaways, including... I kid you not... one of these.
I want I want I want I want!

*Just for the record, I hate being late, and so not meeting the deadline for this book review has made me twitchy.

Wednesday we shall return to regular bloginess, which in my case means posts on writing & books, running, stuff that makes me laugh, words of the week, and a smattering of everything else.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm a Slacker

It is best to finish a book before you review it.

Explanation of my sentence:

Today I am supposed to post a review of Tamara Hart Heiner's book, Perilous. She contacted me ages ago and sent me the PDF. Unfortunately life and Halloween got in the way, and before I knew it November was here, the kidlets had major projects due that required use of the computer, etc. (No one else has that problem, right?)

So I haven't finished Perilous yet (Oh, to have an e-reader!) and I don't think it's fair to review it until I reach The End. I shall finish it this weekend and post a review next week, so come back then. Perilous will be released Nov. 16th, but here's a sneak peek at the cover.

Have a great weekend, NaNo-ers!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Analogy woes

Oh, for an analogy better than the craptastic "as out of place as a grandma in a boys locker room."

(I know. Gak.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Revising: When You Have to Fill In "all the cool stuff"

Revising can be tough because it's when you have to actually write those tough parts you marked in the rough draft, like "Get character to this place without boring the pants off readers" and "Something really cool happens here."

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Sentence Week

It's the beginning of Nano, which means all of you writer-types may only have time for one sentence blogs. So here goes. Don't forget that every comment enters you to win my giveaways of last week.

Today's sentence:
If ignored, emails can bury you faster than an avalanche, and are just as hard to dig out of.