Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Critique Group!

I don’t know about you, but I love a good critique group. As writers, we need this almost more than we need an agent or a publisher because without the beta, critter, or reader, our writing may never make it to agent level.

So it’s with that in mind that I want to let you all know about an awesome, new online critique group called Chimera Critiques!

They have a very interesting set up. Currently there are five staff members and you can read their bios, samples, and critique philosophies to see if they match the type of work you write. I can vouch for their work because if you click on each bio, you will see a sample of the first chapter of my wip, DWELLERS that I let them critique for the site.

Make no mistake, I didn’t just hand over my chapter to a bunch of strangers. I met Zellie Blake about a year ago on Absolute Write (you’re all familiar with that site, right?) when she answered my call for a beta for Light Bringers. We hit it off immediately. I liked her way of critiquing and she obviously liked that I didn’t whine about her comments-lol. I will say that it’s because of the help I got from Zellie that I was able to shave off 30k words from the original manuscript. And I believe her comments helped me get the attention of agents like Kate Testerman, Graig Tenney, Joseph Veltre, Emmanuelle Alspaugh, Bernadette Baker-Baughman, and Robin Rue, who all requested fulls!

I’m not bragging, trust me, because none of those ended with representation. But Zellie’s insight helped me step into a place that a lot of writers never get to see, a place I hadn’t been able to get to before. I still have work to do obviously, but I’d say check them out because maybe their help will get you all the way in the door.

It’s free and you can take a look at how each of them critiqued my chapter (which was a rough draft) and who matches you best.

I’d be really interested to follow up with anyone who uses Chimera Critiques and see how you liked them! When I’m finished Dwellers, I’ll be handing it over to someone there…well, if they agree to the whole ms-lol.

I was not paid for this endorsement—lol!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ten Things That Make me Happy!

Thanks to Diana over at Writing Roller Coaster for nominating me for the Happy Blog Award! YAY! This makes me happy!

The Rules…

I have to tell ten things that make me happy and then nominate ten blogs that make me happy. That’s what’s going to be the hard part. I have so many blogs that make me happy, but I’ll try to narrow it down to ten.

First let’s talk about the things that make me happy…in no particular order.

1. Writing.
Of course writing makes me happy. I love thinking about writing, reading writing and actually writing writing-LOL.

2. TV.
I know it became trendy to say things like, “I don’t watch much TV,” because it somehow meant you did more productive things with your time instead of being a couch potato, well I’m here to tell you that TV makes me happy! On a Sunday afternoon, I love nothing more than popping in a dvd of The Office, Psych, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, My Boys or That 70’s Show. There are more, but I could be here all day.

3. Making My Sister Laugh.
My sister is like a comedian’s wet dream. She has a good laugh and she laughs easy. I’ve made her choke, spit her drink across the table, cry and nearly pop her staples after surgery—that was probably the wrong time to start telling jokes.

4. Book People.
I have to swipe this one from Diana because it’s an awesome thing to make us happy. People who read the same types of books I read aren’t in the minority, because hey, I’ve read plenty of bestsellers. But people who read the same types of books as I do AND happen to live near me, well, they are few and far between. Most of my friends read, my mom reads, my sister reads but none of them read YA. When I do luck up and find someone who reads YA or will pick up a suggestion from me, and we get to talk about it…man, it’s bliss!

5. Peanut M&M’s!
Love the M&M’s and it’s weird, I’m not a big fan of all the other kinds. To me an M&M doesn’t need an almond, or dark chocolate or peanut butter, it just needs a peanut. They’re the first thing I give up when I’m on a diet and the first thing I eat when I fall off the wagon.

6. Beauty Salons
I LOVE getting my hair done. As someone who went to a technical high school where my trade was cosmetology, I love everything about salons. I love the smell—well not the smell of perms, they stink! I love having my hair shampooed, love having it combed and styled and most of all, I love trying new styles.

7. Reading Blogs
I’ve learned so much about writing, about books and the publishing industry by reading blogs. I get so happy when I learn something new, no matter how small it is.

8. Having My Parents Closer.
My parents lived in Tennessee for nearly 11 years after my stepdad’s job sent them there. Now they’re in Delaware and instead of a 16 hour drive, it takes me only an hour and a half! With my mom closer, I get good food—excuse me, great food—my apartment redecorated and my laundry folded…can’t beat that with a bat!

9. Unexpected Things
I don’t mean surprise parties as I’ve never had one, but going to a movie that I think will be just okay and it turns out to be AWESOME. Avatar! Finding a pair of shoes that totally look like they’ll kill my feet but not only are they comfortable, they look good with everything!

10. Audio Books
Not many people can listen to audio books at work, but I can! I’ve been able to enjoy so many wonderful books because I have my own office and I don’t have to spend a lot of time on the phone. To me, it’s no different than having a radio playing, but instead of having to suffer through songs you hate and commercials, I can listen to some of the best books out there, get my work done and make the day go by fast. What more can you ask for?

And now for the 10 Blogs that make me happy! It was hard to choose, but here goes:

1. Victora S.

2. Anissa Off the Record

3. Falen Formulates Fiction

4. Natalie Bahm

5. Solvang Sherrie

6. Sharon Mayhew at Random Thoughts

7. Possum

8. Christina Farley at Chocolate for Inspiration

9. Tracy at A Blissful Life

10. Niki at Wool’ N’ Nuts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The American Idol Lesson

For nine years people have lined up to pour their hearts out to the judges and America. Even if I haven’t followed every season all the way through, I’ve at least watched the auditions. Most of the time I laugh at the poor deluded people who can’t carry a tune. However this year, as I sit on the phone, watching with my best friend, I felt sorry for many of the contestants. And it had me questioning how these people can be SO wrong about their talent. Which in turn led me to think about writing—see, all things go back to writing.

A lot of people on the show have their parents and friends with them and they all sing these people’s praises even when it’s clear the people have no talent. My advice to these people…GET MORE OPINIONS! It’ll save you lots and lots of pain.

My mother LOVES my writing, thinks I’m the greatest thing since the word was invented. She always wants a poem—even though I hate writing poetry. She thinks the first book I wrote was great and believe me, it wasn’t. And while my sister thinks I’m a great writer, she gives more constructive feed back than my mother. Still, imagine if I dipped my toe into the big bad world of publishing based on the fact that my mommy and my big sis think I’m great.

Not only that, but most of the people who get rejected on American Idol don’t want to hear it. They reject the rejection, let the criticism—which, admittedly, isn’t always constructive—bounce right off of them like a bullet ricocheting.

So what I was saying to my best friend is that, if I suck, please tell me! I know it’s a fine line between being honest and stomping on someone’s dream. So this is where we, as writers, have to open our ears and our minds and listen to what people are saying to us. It’s never fun to get criticized, to have someone tell you that what you’ve created isn’t perfection. But if you want to get better—for some, it’s just not in the cards—then you have to have someone tell you that you suck, tell you why you suck, and then YOU have to do something about it.

Don’t be like the American Idol rejects who stomp away in tears, cursing and saying the world will see you again and the judges are idiots. While some people are mean and don’t know what they’re talking about, most people who critique your work honestly want to help you. So listen to them!

And that is my American Idol lesson.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Magic 8 Ball

One of my coworkers has a Magic 8 Ball on her desk. For years this thing has sat there without me thinking twice about it, but the other day I picked it up and decided to ask it all the questions I wanted to know for 2010. The answers were as follows:

Magic 8 Ball, will I find an agent in 2010?

Magic 8 Ball, will I sell a novel in 2010?

Magic 8 Ball, will I reach my goal weight?

Magic 8 Ball, will I sell a novel in 2010? (asking again later like Magic 8 Ball said-lol)

Magic 8 Ball, will I meet my husband in 2010?
(No need to use foul language with me 8 Ball!)
Magic 8 Ball, will I get married in 2010? (see, I’m asking it the same question in a different way-lol)
(Damn it Magic 8 Ball quit playing with me!)

Magic 8 Ball, will I buy a house in 2010?

Magic 8 Ball, will I get married in 2010? (asking again later like it told me)

So, it looks like 2010 will be my year as the Magic 8 Ball is NEVER wrong. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted! LOL.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!!

So in an exciting hat—actually bag—drawing of all the names, all the double and triple entries, the winner of a brand new copy of Catching Fire as well as a $20 Visa gift card is…..

SHARON MAYHEW @ Random Thoughts!!!!!!!

YAY! Everyone give her a round of applause.

Ironically, I just won a contest on her blog! Just the luck of the draw.

Sharon, email me at kdrose 72 at gmail dot com…because I don’t have the envelope anymore that has your return address on it-lol.

You guys had some great Resolutions/Goals for 2010. I share a lot of them. For example: Finish my WIP and find an agent. My other my husband, buy a house, and manage my finances. Well, I should probably manage my finances before I buy a house-lol.

All the same, hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. I’ve still got one more day off and I’m going to use it to write!

I want to also thank all the new followers I got from this contest!

Solvang Sherrie
Susan R. Mills
MG Higgins
Suzette Saxon
Lynnette Labelle
Simply Stacie
Diana Paz
Elle Strauss
Book Lover Forever

And of course I must thank all of those who were following before the contest. Thanks for hanging out with me and leaving all the great comments!