Tuesday, December 20, 2011

There’s a Thin Line Between Literary Genius and Crap

As my current work in progress nears the end, I have moments where I say to myself, “I can’t believe I wrote this. It’s the most amazing story I’ve ever written. It’s emotional, philosophical, scientific and funny.”

And then there are times when I say, “I can’t believe I wrote this! It’s whiney, pretentious, inconceivable and no one is going to get my jokes.” In other words it’s crap.

The problem with writing something you think is brilliant is at some point your bubble will get burst. I love this story I’m creating right now. I love the characters, the world and definitely the dialogue, but I guess it has to happen to authors at some point.

We are too close to the work and then doubts start to creep in. The only way I know how to handle this is to keep writing. If it turns out it’s crap, you can believe someone WILL tell me. It’s just that I recently noticed that I’d written a chapter without thinking much about it. It came from an emotional place and when I read it back, I thought, this is fan-freakin-tastic!

But then a few days later, I lay in bed thinking about that chapter and started to second guessing myself. Is it too emotional? Too preachy? Am I full of crap and therefore my writing must be full of crap too? Inquiring minds want to know, people! LOL.

I can’t be alone in this. Please tell me I’m not. At some point do you think you’ve written the next new classic novel? They will make movies, a theme park and everybody will want to be your characters. And then you think this is utter garbage and is probably not good enough to line a bird cage?

Tell me I’m not alone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Bit of Downtime

With all the writing, reading and online shopping I have no time for blogging. Well, the truth is, I've sufficiently fried my brain so I'll be taking a small break.

Carry on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beta Block

I’ve long since come to the understanding that I’m not going to agree with every beta. That would be impossible. Still, I never want to disregard someone’s hard work. Whenever I get feedback that is a bit hard to take, I always take a few days, weeks, or sometimes months, and come back to it with fresh eyes and an open mind. If I still find the comments off, or bizarre, or just completely out of left field, then I disregard them. Sometimes I don’t need days or weeks or months. I know instantly that I’m not going to heed the comment.

My most recent venture into Beta Land was with someone I’ve never worked with. I want so desperately to form a core group of good betas, but I’m not sure how to do that other than to give strangers a chance. Yeah, you can read their sample work, and like it enough to say, ‘okay, you seem to have some writing chops, take a whack at my work.’ But in the end, it’s still a person you don’t really know pawing over your manuscript. This is what we as writers have to do, so I’m not really disputing this process. I lucked up three times and found betas who give honest, constructive criticism—beta’s who have helped me immensely. One is sadly no longer with us, Zellie, whom I miss dearly. The other is Tere and the third is Abby. I’m looking for two more to have a core group of four. I don’t need a like mind, because sometimes someone who thinks differently will see things I miss. I just need some good tough love.

So tell me, do you debate the disagreements with your beta? Generally, I don’t. Unless I truly don’t understand her point, or I think she has misinterpreted something I’ve written. Otherwise, I don’t bother.

If any of you out there are interested in swapping manuscripts with me, let me know...or should I be asking for a crit partner? Do you think there is a difference? I’m nearly done my current WIP and will need a reader/critter sometime after the new year!

Hope everyone survived the tryptophan coma!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looking on the Bright Side

After a rejection, I often tell myself, “It wasn’t meant to be.” And even if I really don’t believe that at the time, most of the time, I come to believe it eventually. Yesterday I got a reply on a full that wasn’t an offer, and as sad as that may be, it was the first time I truly felt that it wasn’t meant to be. The email was so gracious and complimentary that I had to smile while reading it. (My mother is under the impression that it wasn’t a rejection, but a postponement-lol.) Here is a bit of the letter:

Dear Karen:

I like your work so much. It’s odd, quirky and refreshing; all at the same time. It also grabs my attention. Believe me, I read all the time and it takes a lot to become memorable in my book.

Still, at this point, I’m just too booked. I don’t want to stand in the way of your success and I don’t believe I could even think about offering you representation until sometime in June – or so. That’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to my current clients.

Thus, as sad as it makes me, I’m going to have to pass on this completely fun, exciting work. Now…if you’re still looking for representation come the Summer – 2012 – I’ll hope you’ll let me know…

I have to say, I’m hoping not to be able to take her up on her offer come summer, but I’m glad to know it’s out there. It’s funny, reading the forums and taking count of all the new clients this agent has just taken on, I began to feel like this may not be the place for me. I don’t want to take anything away from the agent; however, I began to wonder if I’d get lost in the crowd. So, I think it was truly meant to be that I was passed over.

Have any of you ever received a rejection and thought, yeah, that was probably for the best?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


While reading, I came across a chapter that I just couldn’t believe. Yes the story was about paranormal activities and entities, however, even in speculative fiction the reader needs to believe that what’s happening is plausible. I was having a hard time buying into the scene and the steps the characters took to solve the problem.

Reading urban fantasy, dystopian or sci-fi means the reader has to come to the novel with a bit of suspended belief. We know that werewolves don’t exist, but we are willing to accept this for the sake of the story. However, if said werewolf suddenly sprouts wings and starts to fly (when it hasn’t been established that he is a flying werewolf), then we as the reader will most likely go, “Um…WTH is going on here?”

My point; think about what you are writing and make sure that it is logical within the world you have created. Don’t just have characters acting in a certain way just because it will be easier to get the plot moving along. Make sure that normal, rational people will say, “yeah, I can understand why she did that.” And if they can’t, make sure you have truly explained why your character has done something so seemingly foolish.

It’s tricky because you want your characters to be active and not passive, so sometimes they are going to do things that make the reader yell, “No dummy! Don’t do that!” That is different from a situation where just about every reader is scratching his head thinking, um…why in the world did she just do that? And even your explanation doesn’t make it plausible.

We’ve all seen it. The horror movie where the people are safe inside their home and suddenly someone spots something out in the dark woods.

“There’s someone out there.”
The crazy person says, “Let’s go check it out.”

Am I the only one who thinks it’s ridiculous to leave a nice, warm, well-lit home complete with possible weapons and a working phone to go looking around in the woods for a lurking stranger? Who do these people think they are going to find? It’s NEVER going to be Publisher’s Clearing House with a big check.

I know you have all read/seen this type of thing before and you’ve said to yourself—or perhaps out loud—“No one would EVER do that!”

Tell me all about it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Profess Your Love....

I haven’t done this in a while, so I think it’s time to share the love. Here are some random things I’m in love with right now.

The only rules: No need to tell me that you love your kids, your husband or your mommy…we know this. I want to know about something that’s putting a smile on your face today.

For me:

I love that my biopsy just came back negative! GO ME! :-)

I love my cinnamon plug-in from Yankee Candle. Makes my house smell like Thanksgivings and Christmas all rolled into one.

I love that I get paid tomorrow instead of Friday because the banks are closed for Veteran’s Day.

I love the OPI shellac nail polish. It’s SO glossy and it lasts for weeks!

I love that I no longer look like I’m storing nuts in my cheeks. (Had two of my wisdom teeth extracted on Friday.)

I love the Pumpkin ice cream is back!

And this one isn’t really a love of mine, more of a question. How many of you have tried the McRib from McDonalds? I’ve never had one, but people talk about it like it’s the best thing ever invented (doubtful). Years ago (years) when the McRib first came out, I asked my boyfriend—at the time—for a bite of his. He said no! Can you believe that? One of the many reasons he’s an ex.

So what do you love now? The McRib? Lol. Let me know, so I can share your love too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I’ve Decided Not to Listen to Audio Books…

…Well, audio books for YA, anyway. I’m about to make a generalization, so bear with me. I listen to a lot of audio books, because it allows me to “read” while working. Usually, your boss frowns upon you reading at your desk when you’re not on break, but as they allow radios in the office, they don’t care what I listen to as long as it doesn’t interfere with my work.

My usually audio books consist of my guilty pleasures, regency romance or some chick-lit. But every so often, I get a YA book in audio form.

The problem I’ve found with most of these audio books—well, at least more times than not—is that the voice is terrible. With the exception of a few, most YA audio books I have read have narrators that make the mc’s sound like babies, or at least far too young for the teens they are supposed to be voicing.

I’ve been listening to The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Her characters are spunky and witty with a touch of sarcasm. The narrator makes the mc sound like she’s on the verge of laughing at any moment, so the sarcastic lines don’t have the same conviction. She’s bubbly when she should be displaying dry humor, and the character doesn’t sound as spunky as the words make her. Fortunately, I actually LISTEN to the words and have managed to tune out the most annoying parts of the narrator.

I know I take this chance when listening to a book over reading it, but I find that I have more problems with narrators when it’s a YA novel. It was only when I started listening to this last novel that I realized this was the reason I read most of my YA and listen to Adult fiction. Not to mention, I think I pay much more attention to YA novels than I do to adult ones. Most of my adult novels have been recommended to me and I don’t even really know what they’re about before I pop in the disc. With YA, I’ve read the summary, looked up the author (if I haven’t read or heard of them before) and I check out who represents them.

So now, this is my decision—I’m sure you were all waiting on the edge of your seats—I won’t listen to anymore YA audio books. There, I said it. I’m not going to say I’ll never do it again, because I never say never-lol.

How do you guys feel about audio books? Is there a certain genre you are willing to forgo the page and grab the CD? Or does it even matter to you? If you do listen to audio books like me, do you find a difference between YA and adult? My inquiring mind wants to know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quotes, Yea or Nay?

While reading a novel the other day, I noticed that each chapter started with a quote. The quotes were either from a poem or something a famous person said that may have been relevant to the chapter or the novel as a whole.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like it, (but who cares what I think, right?). I get it. I’ve seen quotes and songs that seem to speak to the novel I’m working on.

Still, I don’t like it. *folds arms over chest like a stubborn toddler*

It pulls me out of the story. As someone who is naming each chapter in my current novel with a specific title, even that pulls me out of the story somewhat. I’ll take that over the quote, especially if it’s long. I’ve seen some chapters start with a quote that’s a good five lines long. If I’m reading the book, I skip right over this. If I’m listening to the book, it annoys me that I have to sit through this before I can get back into the story. I don’t mind them in the very beginning, and have seen occasions where the quote has fit so well that I’m a little jealous-lol. Not much, though.

So what I want to know is how do you all feel about quotes? Do you use them in your writing? Do you read them at the start of each chapter, or are you like me and breeze right past them?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One of the characters in my new wip develops a medical condition that I needed to research. Fortunately, I work in a hospital with three of the greatest doctors I’ve ever met, so I don’t have to only go by what I find on the internet.

Doing research is always fun, well, most times. I like learning new things, but research for novels seems different to me. It can sometimes shape the way a story is told. While gathering information on this medical condition, (Atrial Fibrillation), I’ve had to go back and add minor things to the story, like the way my character reacts, physically and emotionally to strenuous activity. And learning about this condition has helped me fine tune the ending.

The one thing I’ve discovered about doing research for novels is that I usually have far more information than I’ll ever need. I’d rather have it that way then the other way around. Still, having more than needed is good for back story. Just recently, I had to research, “How to cook a possum,” for this wip. Let’s just say, it was SCARY!

How much research do you do when crafting a novel? And do you trust what you find on the internet?

Monday, October 3, 2011

How Much Broken English is too Much?

Let me explain. As writers, we all know that real people don’t speak in complete sentences, or often times with complete words. My current wip has a lot of broken English in the dialogue. The main male character is a—for lack of a better word—hillbilly.

On a side note, most of my friends and family knows that I am terribly afraid of hillbillies. I suffer from Hillbill-a-phobia, if you will. I’m not just speaking of country/southern people. Some of my closest friends and family are county/southern. I’m talking about the people who view the film DELIVERANCE as a how-to manual. Those are the people who scare the ba-jesus out of me. So, it’s a shock to people when I tell them I’m working on a story where the love interest is a hillbilly. Hell, it shocked me too!

So anyway, this boy slaughters the English language every time he opens his mouth. I don’t want to have a bunch of garbled dialogue in this story where my readers will be scratching their heads and will eventually put the book down because they can’t understand what one of the main characters is saying.

I think about it like how J.K. Rowling wrote Hagrid. He butchered words, but he didn’t have much dialogue, as he wasn’t one of the main three characters in the Potter series.

Fortunately, my male lead is a quiet guy, usually speaking in clipped sentences. Below is an exchange between the male lead and some of the other hillbilly boys. Let me know what you think.

Wulf holds up his hand, and all talking stops. “Despite the fact that y’all seem ready to fetch the preacher man so’s he can marry you, she gone. Whatchu want me to do ‘bout it? Now think hard ‘fore you answer that.” Several seconds of silence linger in the wake of his question.
Samuel-Adam is the first to speak. “I liked her. Bring’er back.”
A scatter of agreement follows the five year olds’ demand. Wulf sighs and rolls his eyes toward the ceiling.
“I’m gonna close my door and get on wit’ my nap. When y’all come up wit’ a plan—a logical plan—wake me.”
Fitch glares Wulf. “You don’t seem like you care at all that she gone.”
“I don’t.”
Have you had a situation like this, where a lot of your dialogue needs to reflect and accent, slang, or poor grammar? How did you handle it?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Story in the Music

How many of you listen to music while you write? Show of hands…one, two—okay, a lot of you. If possible, I always listen to music while I write, if I can’t, then I prefer nothing at all. Mostly, I try to stick to music which has some relevance to the story I’m currently working on, or inspires the story in some way. If there isn’t anything fitting, then I keep the music benign. What I mean by benign is that the song choices can easily fade into the background while I focus on writing. When I’m really into a certain part, an entire CD will play and I won’t even notice.

So, the other day I had my Pandora up on my iPod. The Pandora station was on Today’s Pop Music, because nothing is easier for me to drown out than Pop music. No disrespect to Pop, just my opinion. Suddenly, a Taylor Swift song comes on. I’m not a huge Swift fan, if one at all, but I have to respect someone so young and so talented. The song playing was You Belong With Me, and it proved my former point wrong. Because even though Taylor is a country singer, her songs are Pop music…and this song did not fade to the background.

If you’re not familiar with the song it’s basically about a girl in love with her best friend, (who hasn’t been?), and the best friend has no clue. They never do. But the lyrics really caught my attention. I’ve heard this song before because they used to play it on the only station that comes in clearly in my office—unless I want to listen to sports. Not!—but I’ve never paid much attention to it.

It’s this line that makes me stop writing: Laughing on a park bench, thinking to myself, hey, isn’t this easy.

I could see the story, just pictured two teens sitting on a bench, carefree. She’s in love with him. He’s clueless…or maybe not. I love stories where friends get together. I’ve written a couple and will probably write more. I’ve had that experience when my now deceased ex-fiancé, (okay, I know that was confusing. He was my fiancé from the age of twenty to twenty-three. We broke up and he passed away four years ago. Got it? Good), professed his undying love to me. He was in love with me from the time we were seventeen and I was clueless. Yes, CLUELESS-lol.

Maybe that line and this song spoke to me because of how my cluelessness turned into my first love, or maybe it’s because I write stories for young adults and this is such a YA song/story. I don’t know, but I love when I hear that song and can actually see the entire 200+ page novel. I think Swift did an excellent job co-writing this. It sounds like a teen. She could have made it convoluted, where you wonder what the heck the song is about. Maybe that has something to do with her being a teen, writing for teens about teen issues.

Are there any songs you’ve heard that are visual to you? Or have you heard a song that has inspired a novel? Tell me all about it!

Monday, September 19, 2011


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. My days have been so busy lately and I feel like I don’t have enough hours. I’ve been looking for a new place to live, a new car and a new love…well, I’m not actually looking for the latter, just opening myself up for good things to come.

Still, all that searching, plus getting up at 0530 (I have to list it as military time because it’s too early for civilians to get up unless they are crazy…which I am) to go to the gym. By the time I get home from work, I just want to write. My new wip is taking over my brain and all of my free time.

But I’m making myself this promise. I will post at least once a week. Mondays. Unless I have an extra post that simply can not wait. Life is about juggling. I’m trying to toss lots of balls in the air and not drop any. I love blogging so I don’t want this to be one of the balls I drop.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you stay organized. Believe me, it will help.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Gives You Pause?

As I trudge through my love/hate relationship with Query Hell, I read a lot of posts/comments/blogs while doing my research. I’ve moved beyond the wide-eyed aspiring author who only wants someone to love my work and take it on. I’m now the author who asks, “Are you the best person for my novel?”

Now, there are glaring reasons why one would say no to an agent:

They charge fees.
They have an editorial business that they push on rejected authors.
They have a known history of unprofessional behavior.
They have bad reviews from other clients/submitters. *This is why scrolling writer’s forums are so invaluable.*

While there are many more reasons to remove an agent from your list, (which happens to be the question all searching authors should ask, “Do you deserve to be on my list?”), what this post is about is what gives you pause?

I’m talking about the little things that aren’t the obvious reasons to say no, but may raise a red flag.

For example, I was researching an agent the other day and couldn’t find much information about the agent online. I kept going to the sparse website rereading everything posted. I kept looking for different ways to Google said agent, and reading what little information I found. Then I saw the agent’s email address. It was through AOL.

Is this a reason to keep the agent off my list? Not necessarily. Does it seem odd that an agent—who has been in the business for several years—doesn’t have an email address linked to their business? Little bit, yeah. The AOL address was enough to give me pause, and on its own probably wouldn’t be enough to keep the agent off my list. But combine that with the lack of information, and this agent didn’t make it on my list.

So tell me, have you come across something while researching an agent that made you pause and rethink sending them your query? Was it so-so feedback from other authors? Typos on their webpage? Or comments made on their blog that rubbed you the wrong way?

Friday, July 1, 2011

So I was watching Dr. Phil Today…

…And something on the show made me scream! The episode—which was a repeat—was about feuding mothers and daughters. This one woman told the story of how she was stalked by a serial killer. He’d murdered 37 women and she was next, but fortunately, he got caught before he killed her. As horrifying as this was, it was not what made me scream.

The daughter wrote her mother’s story and shopped it around. She found a publisher, but the deal fell through because the mother threatened to sue, accusing the daughter stealing the story. Thus ended the book deal. The daughter said they had the potential of making $3 million.

So, Dr. Phil says, “Your publisher is here.”

They turn the camera to a woman sitting in the audience. She introduces herself, and Dr Phil says, “And what publishing house do you work for?”

“Publish America.”


Oh, you poor, misguided, delusional family. You think you’re feuding now? Wait until you owe more money then you make.

But this was my favorite part. Dr. Phil asked the lady from Publish America how many $3 million checks they’d written in the past.
Her answer: “I can say with some certainty, none.”

Damn right you haven’t! This family has no idea what a big ass bullet they just dodged! I wish someone would’ve walked away from the fight and simply typed, “Publish America” into Google. I mean, there is an entire thread dedicated to PA on Absolute Write, Water Cooler.

So, is it weird that I was more freaked out about their book deal being with Publish America than I was about the serial killer? To be honest, the mother was more upset about the book deal than the serial killer.

I don’t even have a question to ask you all. I just found this entire episode completely bizarre.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interviewing Your Characters

I’ve blogged about the importance of knowing your characters before. Non-writers laugh at us sometimes when we speak of our characters like he or she is our friend or enemy. But this is how it should be. We should know our characters well, very well. That’s not to say that a character won’t sometimes do something that will surprise us, but when that happens it really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to us, because we know him so well, right?

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of interviewing my characters. Sometimes it’s very helpful. Ever see a politician or an actor get tripped up on a question? Makes you wonder about them, right? Interviewing your characters is a great way to keep him from getting tripped up within the plot of your story. It will keep him from behaving out of character, which is totally different than doing something surprising. And it will keep you secure in who this guy is that you have created.

I love the television show, Inside The Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. At the end of each interview, he has his guest answer the questionnaire made famous by French television personality, Bernard Pivot. Perhaps these questions aren’t for you. No biggie. Make up your own. I have another set I ask my character that help delve deep enough to really draw out my character’s personality.

The questions below are pretty light, but I think they help firm of the edges of a three dimensional character.

I’ve answered the questions like my mc Sayra from the novel I’m currently querying. Hopefully it will tell you something about her without a long drawn out summary.

1. What is your favorite word? Vrrroooom!
2. What is your least favorite word? Murder
3. What turns you on? Working on my car
4. What turns you off? Undeserved Entitlement
5. What sound or noise do you love? The purring engine of my 67 Mustang.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Girls giggling. Ugh.
7. What is your favorite curse word? Shit.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I don’t have a profession, but I’d probably like to be a mechanic.
9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that would require me to wear makeup and nail polish on a daily basis.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I gave you these psychic dreams so you can make a difference in the world.

Since I write YA, I also add:

11. What do you want to achieve by the time you graduate, turn eighteen, return from summer break…etc.? Whatever the setting is for your novel will help to fill in that question.
I hope to have my father embrace my gift, gain better control over my psychic dreams, and use my visions to help people. Oh and maybe get drag racing legalized in Monterey California.

Take some time out and set up and interview. Use these light-hearted questions or dig deeper and see if it helps round out your characters!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Operation Ignore Inbox...FAIL!

I said I'd be honest with you guys about my attempt to ignore my inbox for one week. It was hard! Harder than I thought it would be, because even if I didn't check my emails it didn't stop me from seeing exactly how many emails I had waiting for me. My mind starting playing tricks on me, saying things like, "What if one of those emails is from that agent who has your full?"

Or, "What if 7 of those emails are from agents who want a full?" Yes, they could wait a week to get my manuscript. No harm no foul, but tell that to all the synapses in my brain firing off all those warnings.

"Check the email, check the email, check the email," they chanted in my brain like a crowd holding picket signs.

I had to do it. So, at exactly 9:13pm on Tuesday June 7th, I check my emails. And wouldn't you know, not one was from an agent. Not even a rejection. * le sigh *

Operation Ignore Inbox has taught me something, though. I can go all day without checking my emails and nothing bad happens. I might be a bit distracted, but come on, I'm always distracted writing in my head while I'm working, so what's the difference?

My biggest problem was, I didn't think this through. I'm waist deep in query hell, and for the month of June I said I'd send out one query a day. Well, I can't really do that if I'm not opening that email account, can I? So I had to weigh the options.

Ignore emails, or send out query? *taps chin while contemplating for a nano second*

Sending out queries won. Duh.

Perhaps in July, I'll revisit Operation Ignore Inbox. It's a worthwhile goal for me to have, ignoring my emails within a reasonable amount of time.

So, we shall see how I manage. Hope you all aren't too disappointed in me. :-(

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Experiment

As many of you know, I’m knee deep—well more like waist deep—in query hell. As much as I love having a completed manuscript ready for agents to see, I am driving myself insane!

I check my phone um-teen times a day. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing at night. I love to hear that ding, see that little number indicating how many emails I have waiting. When I tap that little mail icon and see that I’ve got mail in my account specifically set up for all things related to writing—where my queries are mailed from—I get an extra beat in my heart.

Then to see it’s a reply from an agent—triple beat. If it’s a rejection, I say to myself, “Oh well, he/she has just made way for my agent to come in and scoop me up. If it’s a request, well then it’s time to do the happy dance!!! Which is remarkably close to the Humpty Dance. *If you don’t know what that looks like, Google it right now!*

I’m saying all this to say, I’m ADDICTED! I’m checking my emails at an unhealthy rate. As we all know, a watched pot never boils…or so my grandmother says. Still, the disappointment of not finding any new emails in my inbox driving me a bit crazy.

So here is my experiment:

Starting today, I will not check my emails for a week. From Tuesday to Tuesday. I know, I know, calm down people. Take a deep breath with me…let it out slowly.

I’m very interested to see if I can stick with this. I’ll be completely honest with you all, so if I break after a day—or an hour—I’ll fess up. I’m making this across the board for all my personal email accounts. The temptation will be too easy to check the query email address if I allow myself to check the others. I will have to check my work email, as I don’t want to lose my job. Other than that, I’m going cold turkey!

If I make it to next Tuesday, I’ll give you guys a detail of how many emails I’ve missed. More importantly, how many—if any—were from agents. This is something I’d only suggest doing if you don’t have an agent and aren’t out on submission. No one wants to make your agent wait a week when there could be good new about a submission.

So there you have it. Operation Ignore Inbox has begun!

Wish me luck!

Edit: At the time of this posting I had 5 emails according to the little mail icon on my iPhone. It’s 8:09 am and I already have the shakes! Phone goes back in the purse to be forgotten. *gulp*

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Aha! Moment

In addition to working on my new WIP, I’ve been rewriting LIGHT BRINGERS, my YA Urban Fantasy. It was the first YA novel I’d written and I queried it about 2 years ago. After several requests for fulls garnered no agent, I realized that I needed to do a complete overhaul.

First I changed it from third person to first person, feeling like I needed to get more into my main character’s—Ryan—head. I was halfway through and realized that wasn’t going to work, because I had a few chapters that needed to be in another pov.

So, back to the drawing board. I worked on it in while the novel I’m currently querying sat or was with readers. Finally, I finished the rewrite. I let that sit for a few months and just started reading it. I felt the problem about 8 chapters in and my heart sank. I love this story. Love the characters and want so desperately to share it with the masses one day. So, when I saw that something wasn’t working, I couldn’t believe it. What’s going on with this story? I thought.

Then, I saw X-Men First Class on Saturday. LIGHT BRINGERS is somewhat like X-Men in the sense that my characters have special abilities due to a genetic defect. Ryan works for an elite group of soldiers known as Venators, but that’s where the similarities end. However, when I saw X-Men First Class this weekend, I realized what I was doing wrong with this novel I love.

Ryan’s age is 18 almost 19 in my novel. That right there will make some agents say no thanks, he’s too old for YA (which completely baffles me, but we can debate that at a later date). With his mere 18 years, I was trying to make him too knowledgeable, too advanced. Yeah, there are some characters in the novel who think he’s a hot shot, some kind of wunderkind. But what it boiled down to was, I didn’t believe he was capable of the responsibilities I’d put on him. So, how could I expect anyone else to say, “Yeah, I believe this 18 year old could have joined this elite group of soldiers at 16 and in almost three years he could be promoted to Under-Sergeant, able to lead his own squad.”

Nope. It wasn’t working. The thing that I got from X-Men First Class was that these new recruits could do awesome things, and save the day, but they had a leader, someone who trained them and watched over them. It was believable that they would go out on this mission and do what they did best, but under the leadership of Professor Xavier.

I don’t have to change my plot, or my characters. I just need to put Ryan in his place. Stop trying to force him to be more than he’s capable of being at the present moment. He’s a rookie, so let him be a rookie. He can still be cocky, still screw up, and yet, he can still save the day, right?

Now, I’m going to do something I’ve never done. I’m going to do an outline. Eep! I’m a fly by the seat of my pants type of writer, but this hasn’t been working for LB. I need to map out all the ways I can change Ryan into a cadet (instead of a corporal), trying to prove himself and keep his best friend alive. * cracks knuckles * Off I go! I’m so PUMPED!

Have you guys ever had an Aha! moment with your work? It could be plot, character, or that fantastic ending. Tell me all about it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Long Overdue

Last month I went on vacation. My family and I went down to Florida to visit Disney and Universal Studios. Personally, I was only interested in Universal and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

All the same, I promised Tere Kirkland that I’d post pictures from my trip. I should’ve done this weeks ago since I’ve been back since May 14th.

So here are some pics from my trip to the Wizarding World:

My sister and I a bit tipsy at Bonefish Grill.

My sister was supposed to look demented like Sirius Black, but she kept smiling.

The handsome men of Drumstrang. They performed like in the movie (without the fire-breathing), but my sister got that on video.

The Lovely ladies of Beauxbaton. These people really were very much like the movie. Universal really went all out with this park. I was very impressed.

The frog chorus was nice, but I could not make heads or tails of the song they were singing. I don't know if they do more than one song, but I didn't know what the heck they were singing and it didn't sound too good-lol.

This was at Sea World at the Seal and Otter Show. It was a funny show, but that seal was huge! Actually, I don't know if it was sea lion or seal...what's the difference?

Here are some of my souvenirs. This is a tumbler set with all the house seals on them. Nice to have a cool glass of pumkin juice from. Btw, Pumkin Juice tastes like Thanksgiving in a bottle! And Butterbeer tastes like a sweeter version of a cream soda...it was too sweet for me.

My lovely Marauder's Map coffee mug. It holds a large amount of coffee so I can sip and write an entire chapter if my brain is flowing well.

The Triwizard Cup! I saw this and had to have it. I'm wondering if I can drink wine out of it at Boordy Vineyard this summer.

All of my non-nerd friends (which would be all of them) said they won't go out with me if I wear this. But who cares, I'm wearing this shirt! My sister bought a really cute sweatshirt, but it was a bit too expensive for me.

So there you have it, some of the pictures from my vacation. Have any of you been to the Wizarding World yet? If so, tell me what was your favorite part?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just a Quick Post to Let You All Know...

I know it's been a million years since I'v e posted, but I'm working my way back to a regular post schedule. I had to have surgery on my shoulder because of the fall. I'm in physical therapy now and while my range of motion is SO much better than it was, I probably won't be back to myself until next March. They say it takes about a year to recover from shoulder surgery. *Booo-hisss*

Even though I was able to type roughly three weeks after surgery, I kinda fell into a mild depression and didn't start writing again until a couple of weeks ago. I was worried about money--being on disability--worried about all the work that would be waiting for me when I got back to work, and even worried that I wouldn't fully recover.

I have to say that I've been blessed with an awesome doctor--his personality is as dry as desert sand, but I didn't need him to tell me jokes, just to fix my shoulder and he did just that! My physical therapists are awesome as well, even though they kill me three times a week.

So, now, I'm back to writing, back to reading for friends, and getting ready for vacation in Orlando starting Saturday!!! Can't wait to visit the Harry Potter theme park!

It's good to be back. Talk to you guys soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Last Thursday I fell on the ice. “Waaaaa!” The bad part…I dislocated my shoulder. After seeing the orthopedic surgeon I was told that I’d chipped the bone that keeps the shoulder in place so it’ll just keep slipping out of the socket until I get it fixed. OUCH!

If any of you have ever had a shoulder, or any part of you, slip out of joint you don’t need me to explain how mind-numbing that pain is. For those of you who have never experienced this kind of pain, well pray to what ever God you pray to that you never do.

I’ll know on Monday if I need surgery, which I’m thinking I will. I just want it fixed, cause living with the limited use of my right arm SUCKS!!!

It takes me forever to pull up my pants.
I can’t cut my food.
I can’t curl my hair.
I can’t stretch when I yawn.
I can’t scratch my armpit, and the minute you can’t do this is when it itches like a bitch!
I can’t cuddle my teddy bear in bed—that’s not a euphemism. I actually have a teddy bear.
And if all of that didn’t suck like a Hoover, yesterday I was JUST able to type without pain.

So to reference my two most recent posts, I have some random acts of NON-kindness. I don’t want to dedicate a whole post to this, because I don’t want to dwell on the negative. But when I fell, there was a woman sitting in her car and watched the whole thing (she told me so when they took the incident report at the café where I fell). So she clearly saw that I couldn’t get up—hard to do that when one of your arms doesn’t work—and she DIDN’T GET OUT OF THE CAR AND HELP ME!!! Um…unkind lady, unkind!

Then, as I went into to work—no worries people, I work at a hospital so I was going to their ER—the people walking behind me could CLEARLY see that something was wrong with me. And then I TOLD them that I’d really hurt my arm so I let them go in front of me, to get out of their way. Do you think any of them held the door for me? That would be a big fat NO! Totally unkind people. Totally!

Okay, enough of that. Since I don’t want to end this on a grumpy note, I’ll tell you what I’m professing my love for this week.

My Sling!

The one the ER doc gave me was six kinds of sucky, but the one the ortho gave me is awesome! It has a cushion on the neck band so it takes the pressure off. It also has this snazzy thumb loop to keep my arm properly supported.

Man, I’m a nerd.

Be careful out there people!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Profess Your Love

What are you in love with right now?

The rules: I know you love your kids/family/friends and writing--no need to mention them. Tell me what else is currently rocking your world.

For me, I’m loving the Lavender Vanilla sleep lotion from Bath and Body Works. I smell wonderful and I sleep like a snuggly puppy-lol.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I’m a firm believer in paying it forward, random acts of kindness and do unto others… Yeah, I know it all seems a bit hooky and clichéd, but something tells me that even the most pessimistic person would change their mind when they are on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

I find that when I’m down, having a pity party or just having a funky day, someone always does something, or says something that makes me feel better. Maybe I’m just hyper aware of what people do and say because I’m a writer and I pay attention to things like that. Most times the person isn’t even aware that I’m in a bad mood. I’m not whiny or a person who dwells in sadness, so when I’m having an off day, I’m usually trying to dig myself out. It’s not always possible. Sometimes I’m just going to be in a funk for a day or so. This is why it’s so important what you say and how you interact with people. It has an impact that can reach far more than you know.

Well, the other day, I’d just gotten a rejection on a full and was having a major case of the “When’s it going to be my turn?” Complete with sniffles and pouty bottom lip. I hadn’t told anyone about the request nor had I told anyone about the rejection so I was literally having a private pity party. Then, I got this email:

Hi Karen,
I just wanted to send you a little note of thanks for the comment you left on my blog yesterday. I'm glad you enjoyed my story . . . but more than that, I'm glad you're writing. :)
Who knew it was so hard, right?!
Not that it matters, coming from someone you don't even know, but from one writer to another, keep at it, alright? All of it--the writing, the resolutions--all of it.
Hey, You just may be closer than you think!

Yes, Beth, it does matter even if it’s coming from a woman I don’t know. I’d just left a comment on her blog because I was moved by her story of The Call. My blues were completely wiped away when I read this. My situation hadn’t changed. I’d still been rejected by an awesome agent, but how I reacted to the rejection was completely changed.

The entire email made me smile, but it was the last line that really had me feeling better. This author will probably never know that her email came at such a perfect time, and isn’t that really how it works?

I just wanted to share this with you all because it was such a pleasant surprise. Do any of you have a random act of kindness someone showed to you? I’d love to hear it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How Are Those New Year Resolutions Going?

This year, I’ve decided to set goals. Goals for my writing, goals for my health/weight loss, and goals for my social life. So far, on the 26th day of January, I haven’t stuck to any of those goals. I haven’t written 1000 words a day. To be honest, I’ve been reading for friends and that is taking priority right now. So it’s not like I’m just veggin’ out on the couch—yeah, I’m making excuses-lol.

I haven’t been to the gym at all this month. Granted, I’ll be getting the Zumba Fit for Wii this weekend, so I plan to be svelte by summer…tee-hee.

And as for my social life…I’ve been to one party. It was a football party and there were more women there than men. So…um, yeah, not the best place to meet a man. In my defense, the weather has sucked. I’m supposed to go to happy hour this Friday, but they are calling for more snow!
Snow, Snow, go away. Little Karen wants to play! I haven’t given up on my goals for 2011. It’s still early. I WILL get on track.

Tell me, have your resolutions/goals fallen by the wayside already? If not, share your secret to keeping your word to yourself. I could use the help!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Suggestions for 2011...Help!

Last year I set a goal to read 100 books. I fell short with a total around 70 (I know I’m missing about five, but I can’t remember them now so I won't count them). Some of them were rereads like, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Lord of the Rings and a few of J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Some were classics that I’d never read but will now be a part of my favorite lists, like Pride and Prejudiced, and Sense and Sensibility.

I discovered some fantastic YA novels that weren’t in my genre, like Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It’s been a long time since a book has made me cry tears of joy, but that book did it. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was my favorite book for 2010. The characters stayed with me for weeks after reading that book, so much so, that I bought it after borrowing it from the library.

This year, I’m going to keep my goal of 100 books for 2011. Now that I know it’s MY responsibility to keep track of the books I check out of the library—thought they had an archive, but they don’t—I’ll a keep better list and won’t forget any.

I just finished What I Saw and How I Lied. I didn’t know what to expect, but I really liked it. For this coming year, I want to read more books in my genre—YA, paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian. I really want to read more Steampunk and sci-fi too. I like character driven over plot driven and a little romance isn’t bad either.

I welcome suggestions, actually, I’m begging for them. So if you have anything you want to recommend, leave them in the comments for me. Many thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sushi Slippers

Every once and a while you get a gift that, on the surface, seems so ridiculous, you wonder what the giver was thinking when they bought it for you. Well, my brother-in-law thought it would be funny to buy me Sushi Slippers.

What are they you ask?

Well, they’re exactly what they sound like…slippers that look like sushi. (I assume they are supposed to be salmon and tuna-lol) And they just happened to be the most comfortable slippers I own!!!

What started out as a gag gift is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things of 2011. So thank you, Naoki!

What quirky gift did you get that you ultimately loved? It doesn’t have to be from this year.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Word About Jealousy

Yesterday I was at lunch reading a printout of Authoress’ post about how she landed the awesome Josh Getzler as her agent! I loved the story and commented, out loud, that I was 95% happy for Authoress and only 5% jealous.

One of my lunch companions said, “Jealousy is such a wasted emotion. I never get jealous.”

Hum…let’s examine that.

First, I was probably 98% joking and 2% serious, but can anyone honestly say they NEVER get jealous?

I don’t think so.

Personally, I agree with part of that statement. Jealousy IS a wasted emotion. And for the majority of my day-to-day life, I’m not a jealous person. I don’t covet my neighbor’s husband, house, or fine automobile. I really do look at the world and think, “You never know what’s going on behind closed doors so coveting could get you something you definitely do not want.” The grass isn’t always as green as it looks.

However, I’m also honest. And being an honest person means that when I read stories from authors who just signed with an awesome agent (yes, I mean you, Josh!) I get a pang of jealousy. I want that too! And to me, it’s only natural to feel that pang when you’ve worked hard for something and it’s right at your fingertips, but you haven’t been able to grab it yet.

I don’t take anything away from Authoress. She has done far more than I think even she imagined for unagented authors. And while I’m 5% jealous of her, I would never want to dismiss her achievements or even envy them. She’s worked hard and she certainly deserves all the great things to come.

I just want to sign with Josh too…is that so wrong? *blinks kitten eyes*

So tell me, am I alone? It’s okay if I am. I’ll live on my 5% island of jealousy. It’s really only the size of a postage stamp. I swear.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hi all! Hope 2010 was a good year for you. I have no complaints. There were things I wanted and did not get last year and things I got that I never asked for. J

Looking back at my post New Year’s post 2010, I actually asked a Magic 8 Ball to answer my resolution questions? What the heck was I thinking? This year, instead of leaving my life to chance, I’ll be setting a list of goals and constructing an actual plan to bring them to fruition. This way, at the end of 2011 I’ll see how I’ve achieved each goal. If for some reason I am unable to reach a certain goal, hopefully my plan will show me exactly where I went wrong.

I have three goals I’ll carry over from 2010 to 2011. In no particular order…

1. Obtain an agent.
--It didn’t happen for me last year, but to be honest, it couldn’t have happened for me in 2010. I was at the tail end of querying LIGHT BRINGERS and had come to the decision that it needed a major rewrite (something I’m still working on) and then I started on my current novel, PLATINUM DIARIES. That novel wasn’t ready to be queried until mid October. Granted, it was possible to query in October, hear back from an agent and have an offer by December 31st. But with this novel, I queried in stages and thank God for that idea. Needless to say, things are looking up for my novel and I’m happy about it.

2. Get a husband.
--Now those of you who are married and have been for a while, don’t know what’s happening in the world of dating. To sum it up…PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! No other way to put it. Without getting too specific, I had an incident that has really soured me on dating. I’ve NOT given up on love, but man, some guys are just creepy! Nuff said. I know there is someone who will be a perfect match—not a perfect man, but a perfect match for me. So I can be patient, but really, where is he already?! LOL.

3. Reach my goal weight.
--Maybe the reason I haven’t reached my goal weight is because I don’t really have a ‘goal weight’. I’ll know it when I see it. According to my height, and age, the AMA (American Medical Association) says I should be between 107-lbs and 131-lbs. Maybe 131-lbs would be okay, but seriously, something tells me I’d look like a crack head at that weight. I’m muscular so I weigh more than I look like I do. I look at my sister who is my height and 155-lbs and she looks good. She wants to lose 15-lbs and I think that would be fine, but her frame is smaller than mine. I was probably meant to be taller, but somehow got stunted-lol. All the same, I’ve lost 25-lbs and while I still have more to go, I feel good about my accomplishment!

So, now as I add those three goals (and several others) to my list for 2011, I’ll also add a plan to achieve each. Granted, I’m not sure how to set a plan to find a husband, but I know ‘Avoid the nut-jobs’ will be at the top of the list!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if that’s the holiday you celebrate. If not, hope your holiday was wonderful, nonetheless). I look forward to 2011, because I plan to make this a great year!