Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twitter Dialogue Blog Hop

Twitter Talk
Tweet, Tweet, Twiddle Deet!

Creative and crafty Juliana Brandt started this fun dialogue blog hop. Check out her post here to learn the deets:  Juliana L. Brandt

Only rule, the dialogue has to be written Twitter style, only 140 characters or less per line. I love fun challenges; I get all twitterpated. ;)
This scene is from a subplot within my most recent shiny idea! It is not a ghost story; it just happens to have a ghost in it as a minor character.

Characters: @bewilderedguest and @peskyghostgirl

@bewilderedguest: What're you doing in my room?

@peskyghostgirl: The stupid paranormal ghost dudes are downstairs, again.

@bewilderedguest: And you chose to hide in my room because...?

@peskyghostgirl: Cuz it's dark and quiet.

@bewilderedguest: I know. It's in the middle of the night!

@peskyghostgirl: Oh, is that why you have bedhead? Anyways, ghost dudes are trying to exterminate us.

@bewilderedguest: I think you mean investigate.

@peskyghostgirl: It's not nice to roll your eyes. Anywho, exterminate, investigate...same diff.

@bewilderedguest: Not really.

@peskyghostgirl: Moving on. What're you doing here?

@bewilderedguest: Ugh! Not your concern.

@peskyghostgirl: Usually someone staying at a B & B is looking to get away or hide away. Which is it?

@bewilderedguest: I'm here for work.

@peskyghostgirl: Ho-hum...booorring!

@bewilderedguest: Sorry to disappoint you. Why are you dressed like that?

@peskyghostgirl: Duh! I'm from, like, the 80's. You hitched or what?

@bewilderedguest: Again, not your business.

@peskyghostgirl: Touchy, touchy, don't get ur bra all twisted, spaz.

@bewilderedguest: You mentioned earlier "us," as in more of you?

@peskyghostgirl: Not that it's your business, but yes.

@bewilderedguest: This oughta be good.

@peskyghostgirl: They'll all be here in a sec. I told them your room was safe.

@bewilderedguest: I can't wait. I've always wanted to spend the night with a bunch of creepy ghosts.

@peskyghostgirl: Put on your party hat... cuz tonight is your lucky night!

@bewilderedguest: Grrr...why me?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stay Postive My Writer Friends

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~Brian Tracy

 

"I am a writer. Here me roar!"

 


If you say you're a writer, then write. See it. Do it. It's that simple.


As writers, we sometimes lose perspective along the way, slipping into the dark abyss of "what-the-heck-am-I-doing-land." Many of the great artists that have come before us are familiar with this dark place. I believe for some true artists, it may be a constant battle. It's a cold, lonely place, a place where you may feel there's no turning back. But there is.


All you have to do is coach your way back through the tangled web of negativity. As Nike would say, just do it. Turn around and walk away. Don't look back, because the negativity, which spreads like a infectious disease in artists, will suck you back down into the abyss.


In Candy's land, I too, struggle with the battle of staying positive. It's only natural IF you tend to allow your focus to stray toward the negative. Unfortunately, that's the way some of us artists are made.  I'm not trying to sound preachy, please don't think that of me. I'm merely expressing a side of the artist I feel some of you may share with me.

 

In a world, where sometimes the possible seems impossible, writers MUST learn to focus on the positive and be thankful for all that comes their way. 

 

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”~Buddha


I've decided to make a change, for the better. Starting now, I'm going to show gratitude for every single (no matter how large or small) thing that happens to me. Not only will I show gratitude, but I'm going to adore what comes my way, bad or good, and try to focus on the positive. Seek out the good in the happenings around me.


~I adore my short story "On the Edge of Postal" being accepted and published by Sucker Literary Magazine. Thanks, Sucker!

~I adore that I've received personal feedback & a hint of possibility on Little Acorn's Big Fall. Thanks, Literary Agent :)

~I adore my latest drafted picture book. Thanks, creative mind.

~I adore my progress with revisions on Vinegaroon Moon. Thanks, patience & computer.

~I adore the fact that I have great health insurance and a super team of spine doctors. Thanks, hubby's employer.

~I adore my blog followers, Twitter pals, She Writes gals & SCBWI support, including my critique partner. Thanks, to all!

~I adore the "tilde" symbol on my keyboard. It says, "I'm totally cuter than the dash, and way sassier than a bullet or an asterisk." Thanks, computer keyboard. ;)


I, of course, adore my family, but this post is for my writer family. Thank you for showing up to my page, commenting and spreading the love for the written word. (Thanks, Blogger for providing the space.)


What do you adore? Do you sometimes suffer from the negative darkness? How do you break free? How do you stay positive?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Award Awesomeness...Passing on the Love

Today's all about passing on the blogger love.

Kelly over at Between the Bookends (see her link below) and all her awesomeness, passed on two blog awards to me last week. Along with passing them on, I'm opening my closet and exposing a few bones to my faithful followers, and those who happen by The Trail. So get out your hiking stick and let's take a stroll down the dirt path. Promise, even if your shocked, you'll still follow me?





The rules for the Kreativ Award are share ten things about myself and pass it on to six bloggers. For the Versatile one I'm to share seven things about myself and pass it on to fifteen bloggers. As did the Fabulous Kelly at Between the Bookends , whom awarded me BOTH blog awards, I'm following her lead. I will combine the two awards and give away both to several well-deserving bloggers, shaking up the rules. 

Yeah, I'm kinda rebellious like that.


Here's the bones:


1. In the 3rd grade (maybe the 4th), I refused to turn in the school library's copy of Ribsy by Beverly Cleary. I pretended (lied) to lose it, therefore my parents had to pay for it, so that I could keep it forever under my mattress. Reading it over and over. Until now, where it happily sits upon my bookshelf. Do I feel a ping of guilt every time I look at it. I should, but I don't (okay, maybe a fraction of a ping for the librarian whom showed me the book in the first place). No, when I look at the beautiful (mustard) tattered cover, I see a young girl, a great book, and a coveted piece of literature that changed the girl's life, forever. Yup, that's the very same copy. I even wrote my first name in the book on the inside of the front cover. Back then, Henry Huggins and I were BFFs. He just had no idea.


2. My left nostril is pierced with a tiny diamond stud. Did it cause WWIII with the in-laws? Yeah. Did I do it anyways? Yeah. I'm like a Honey Badger and just don't give a crap. It's my nose. I'm a yoga instructor. Yoga was born in India over 5,000 years ago. Females in India are known to pierce the left nostril. The left side of the body represents the feminine side. My nose piercing is a small symbol of Hatha Yoga, in which I've been trained. Besides, my husband thinks its cute. ~Namaste'

The next one, my husband says I shouldn't tell you, because you may not like me anymore or think I'm just plain nuts.


3. I've been haunted, followed, harassed, and stalked by a ghost. A real, live (dead) ghost. He, a young Native American spirit, clung to me while attending a ghost hunt. No joke. He was felt and seen by several visitors in my home, including my daughters and myself. He disliked my husband so much, when my husband was home from work, he would hide in the back of my closet and pout or so said the lady who helped me rid him. I contacted a psychic who explained to me, without knowing where the ghost hunt was held (an old Native American burial ground), who he was, why he was with me, and sent him "into the light." It was one of the most unbelievable things that ever happened to me. To this day, as the memory fades, I even wonder if it all really happened.


4. On cold mornings, I like to dress like a bag lady. At least that's how my husband and girls describe my outfits. I like to think of it as more of a "layered" look. We're talking yoga pants, socks (non-matching of course!), t-shirt, hoodie, scarf, leg warmers, and sometimes mittens.


5. One of my B.F.Fs' is a dog. No, not a two-timing scoundrel, but a four-padded canine. That's her to the right. I love her to pieces, EXCEPT when she steals my Burt's Bees lip balms and hides them in her bed. She like really, really loves me. Unconditionally. Not matter what. I heart Glen Ellen.




6. I lived on the island of Okinowa, Japan for a year when I got married twenty years ago. I also worked there as a bartender at a karaoke bar. Favorite song to sing was Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra / Candy. ;)


7. I'm a freak about The Vampire Diaries on CW. And I'm a Damon fan. Elaina must choose him or I will.


8. The first thing I ever wrote was a poem about my baby sister picking her toes, when I was nine.
*************************************
So there y'all have it. Bits of me you never knew.


As for passing along the awesomeness, each of the following super-great bloggers will receive both awards. A few are established bloggers, they're blogs are either mucho creative and / or unique beyond words or I just adore them! Several of these bloggers are new to the blogging world, and I've enjoyed seeing them get started. Don't lose hope y'all; it gets easier!


Visit their blogs and make a new friend. :) Congrats to all of you, because you all deserve it!


Shirley over at 


Elizabeth at


Roland at
Writing in the Crosshairs


BragonDorn at
Meet Sammy the Squirrel


AnaKae at
AnaKae Albach's World of Words


Katie at
The Intrinsic Writer


Catherine Stine at
Idea City


Juliana at
Juliana L. Brandt

Melanie at
Adventure Writes

Two other bloggers that already have the awards, but I felt like adding them anyways. :))

Cassie Mae at (Cassie is just that awesome, so I'm acknowledging her!)
Reading, Writing, and Lovin' it!


And how could I forget, the totally awesome Kelley. No, you don't have to do the thing again, I just wanted to acknowledge you and your blog! She's strolling down Bourbon St. as we speak.
Kelley & Between the Bookends

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sucker Literary Magazine Releases Jan. 23

The first issue of Sucker Literary Magazine releases in just 3 days!!! An online YA publication showcasing 13 stories written by 12 writers. Do you adore reading compelling stories with an authentic YA voice? I happen to know you will find exactly that in Sucker Literary Magazine.

See here what Publishers Weekly had to say about Sucker:


On the Edge of Postal, my edgy YA short story, will be featured in the first issue. (Who says that the number 13 is unlucky?) When I wrote the first draft of On the Edge, my inspiration stemmed from an incident from my own young adult life, coupled with an angry teen "voice" that had been nagging me for some time. At first, I accused the voice of being one of those shiny things I'm sometimes plagued by, but then, a plot idea hit me. From there, the story unraveled on the screen. Plus, you'll get to see some cute pics of the writers & staff with lollipops!

Teens today need to read stories they can relate to and meet characters they can connect with. Authentic YA  VOICE  is essential to the genre. If you don't have it, seek it. Find it. Write it. Another great link about voice: Mature Voice for the YA Market

Hanging around the teen scene is not exactly first on my list of fun things to do. It is a must. By raising a nineteen-year-old and an almost fourteen-year-old, I'm often involved in conversations I'd rather not be in. With that being said, I'm relieved my girls are honest with me, confide in me, and include me in their lives. 

As a mother of teenagers, I'm both blessed and cursed. As a writer, well again, I'm blessed and cursed.


So, beloved followers, mark your calendars for January 23, 2012 and check out Sucker Literary. I always knew 2012 would bring something HUGE!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Revision Party & Blog Awards

Woot, woot! I'm having my own little blog party. Just me, myself, and my (icky) 1st draft of Vinegaroon Moon. Well, and anyone else who wants to stop by and wave a party favor!




As you can see on my cool little gadget over to the right, I'm 10% done with my first rewrite of my ms!!! I know, that doesn't seem like a lot when you look at my total word count. (I'm trying not to focus on the big number!) However, 10% is a mile marker for me! *blows kazoo*


Okay, enough tooting my own horn, now on to the good stuff.


Kelley over at Between the Bookends has awarded me not just one, but two blog awards! I'm so humbled. Thanks, Kelley!! I've got some things to do with these awards, but as some of you may know, I've got this issue with my back, and I'm off to the dreaded Spine Center downtown Houston this morning. So, I'll be back later to give you a few of my never-heard-before-secrets about myself and pass on these great awards.

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Imaginary) Conversation With a Really Cool YA Author & Thanks

Thanks to all of you who commented on the last post about working on my rewrites or starting with a fresh idea. I've decided to take the advice from many of you and work on both, giving my rewrites a bit more attention and time. 

Fridays will be my *free* day (a break from rewriting) to explore the wild possibilities for my new story or anything else I'm working on. It'll be a let-my-creative-crazies-out-of-the-brain soiree. The rest of the week, I will rewrite, redraft, cut-the-crap, bang my head, choke myself, and mark up the pages.


Now, for my conversation with a Really Cool YA Author (RCYAA). Drum roll please...


Okay, honest moment here. It was all in my head, but so profound. I thought I'd share it with you.




Me: "Hey, Really Cool YA Author, guess what?"

Really Cool YA Author: "What?"

Me: *jumping up and down* "I've written a super-awesome YA novel!'

RCYAA: "Really? That's cool."

Me: *thinks to self* Does she have to use the word cool? Oh well, moving on.

Me: "Yeah, I finished it about 6 months ago. I've been letting it breathe. Now, I'm ready to get it published."

RCYAA: "That's cool. What's your word count?"

Me: "It's a bit long."

RCYAA: "How long?"

Me: "117,000 words."

RCYAA: *eyes popping* "Um, you might want to think about trimming the word count down. Have you gone back and read it?"

Me: "Uh...no. Not yet."

RCYAA: "Well, I suggest that be the first thing you do, if you're ready that is."

Me: "Oh, yeah, I will. It's gonna be great. I think the teens will really love it! There aren't many books like it out there."

RCYAA: *smiles* at me, but doesn't say anything.

Me: "Hey, you got any advice for me, like how do I edit it?"

RCYAA: "Edit? I think you should probably read it first. Go through with a red pen and JUST make notes; cut this, add here, not working, awkward word / phrase, move X here or there, check for flow issues, holes in plot, you know, be your own Beta reader."

Me: "Beta what? Like the fish?"

RCYAA: "No, silly. Beta reader, someone who reads your ms for major issues, like I mentioned.

Me: "Oh, I see."

RCYAA: "Consider cutting parts that don't seem to move the plot forward. Don't cut yet, just make a note above the text. This will help you lower the word count."

Me: "But, when do you think I should start submitting to agents? I'm super-uber excited to get it out!"

RCYAA: "Whoa! Preparing a finished manuscript, one that is ready for an agent's eyes, is not that simple."

Me: "Why not?"

RCYAA: *shakes head* "Because, after you read through it once, making notes, then, you have to go back and redraft, not just once, but twice, maybe three times."

Me: *freaking out* "What???"

RCYAA: "And, with each new draft you will be able to enrich the dialogue and the prose, add voice and life to your characters. You'll have the opportunity to really make your story sparkle!"

Me: *chokes self* "Ugh!"

RCYAA: "Promise me you'll not submit the ms to anyone."

Me: *hangs head* "Fine, I promise."

RCYAA: "Cool. Now, get to reading, and call me when you're finished with the first read through, and we'll talk."

Me: "Alright. Oh, and Really Cool YA Author?

RCYAA: "Yes?"

Me: "Thanks."

RCYAA: "Anytime."


I had this back and forth banter over the weekend going on inside my head. I'm thankful to my imaginary Really Cool YA Author. Stay tuned, as I'm sure my RCYAA will visit again, on my 2nd run through of Vinegaroon Moon. Ever have conversations with yourself...or is it just me?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hmm...Revision or New Story & Rappin' Hamsters (And, cute new background I designed!)

January 1, 2012 marked the date I was supposed to go back and begin redrafting my YA Fantasy / Historical novel, Vinegaroon Moon. Obviously, I'm confused as to the exact genre, which may be part of my hesitation. It's a deluxe combo of fantasy, Texas historical all wrapped into a western adventure package. 

I even have someone out there in agentland intrigued w/ Vinegaroon! Call me loca en la cabeza, but as of  Jan. 8, 2012, I still have not re-opened the file. Trouble is, I've got a nagging itch to spill my energy into my WIP. 


I feel like those rappin' grunged-out hamsters. Hamster wheel or Kia? I can go with this or I can go with that...



Should I run circles in the hamster wheel of revision or take the cool Kia ride with my work in progress...I'm interested, which would you do? Maybe a little of both?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January's Insecure Writer's Group Thoughts

A few months back, I joined Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group . Alex hosts a monthly blog check-in where we can vent our writerly insecurities without guilt or feeling like we're whiners. Permission to post our thoughts, feelings, fears, and on the flip side, offer support to others in the same situations. Thanks, Alex for hosting the group!!!


It's January 2012, the start of what I feel is going to be a spectacular year! I just have a feeling something big is heading my way. I'm not sure what, but at least I've got my big girl britches on today and feeling good. I did have a bit of a set-back (a literal slap in the face) last week with my current PB, but I'll deal with it. Somehow.


Now, I will lead you down Pity Pot Street, if only just for this post!

Yesterday, I finally received some much dreaded confirmation of an issue I've been suffering from for quite some time. Since August, my pain as been constant. Every day. All day. According to my MRI results from last week's test, it shows I suffered an injury to my cervical spine somewhere in my young adult life. To my knowledge, I don't recall an incident. I did suffer a horse accident six years ago, but the doctor says the injury would've been earlier in my life.


Along with a few other insignificant bone spurs and two other bulging discs, my C5-C6 area shows a "rather large" bone spur (6mm) coupled with a herniated disc, pressing into my spinal cord. No amount of chiro, acupressure, acupuncture or massage therapy will remove the bone spur says the Spinal MD. Surgery it is. At least I finally have confirmation that I'm not making it all up. The constant pain, numbness, tingling, shocking spasms and weakness in both arms and hands is not a figment of my imagination.


I meet with the Neuro Surgeon in a few weeks to go over my options. They've also ordered an EMG, Electromyography, a test which will determine my nerve and muscle function. I'm not exactly thrilled about sitting through the nerve test, which feels like several bee stings.


What does this mean for my future in writing. Nada, nada enchilada. Am I scared? Yeah, a bit. But, if I must, I will learn to type with my toes. Heck, don't they have voice-to-text nowadays for Word? I think my writing will prevail. According to the doctor yesterday, I can't say as much for the threat of permanent paralysis or the loss of my bodily functions...Yikes. 2nd opinion before surgery, definitely. But, I won't wait too long, as it's went on long enough.


There you have my current writerly fear in a nutshell. I wish y'all the best in 2012. May your writerly awesomeness rock the literary world this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Writing Resolutions for 2012

Setting New Year's resolutions usually leads to disappointment when I fail to meet my own expectations. I thought long and hard yesterday about setting some reasonable goals for my writing resolutions for 2012. Here's what I've set for myself:


  • Continue to search for a literary agent for my picture book, LITTLE ACORN'S BIG FALL. (Hopefully, one whose interested in my other wips.)
  • Complete my non-fiction wip.
  • Write (something-and make every word count!) for at least 1 hour every single day.
  • Redraft VINEGAROON MOON.
  • Fine tune my critique skills with SCBWI group. 
What are some of your goals for your craft?