Monday, January 31, 2011

Commuty Theater and writing

A few weekends ago a student of mine was in a play at a community theater and asked me to go.  Since I have a shocking lack of a social life, Hubby and I were able to go.

It was two one act plays and they were excellent.  The one my student was in was about Juliet and Cinderella in a therapist office talking about how "things just didn't work out how they expected it." Spoiler, Cinderella was disappointed that Juliet didn't die at the end of her story.

The second play was good too, it was about a guy who thinks he's a super hero.

The night opened with two musicians, a girl and a guy.  The girl had a voice like a soul singer from the 40's.  She was breath taking.  I could have listen to her sing all night.  She was raw talent and I couldn't figure out why she was doing on a Saturday night.  There was only 56 chairs in the whole place.  She should be on Broadway.

The guy playing piano was good until he decided to break out a new song... and it got awkward FAST.
Somehow in my mind it's ok for a teenage boy to sit on a stage and sing about his broken heart but it gets creepy when he's forty. 

I couldn't tell if the songs he sung were good, bad or cheesy.  I don't know enough about music to be able to tell the difference... but I think I could compare it to reading the Twilight books.

So that got me thinking about different forms of art and writing.

I fully admit I got back into writing thanks to fanfiction but a lot of the writing community and most of the writing industry looks down on fan fiction-- much like the acting community looks down on community theater.  There are tons of talented writers who write  fan fiction. I'd even lump unpublished writers in the community theater label.  We've all read stories of writers who query their first draft and it makes the rest of us *headdesk headdesk headesk*   Unpublished writers are a mix bag of talent and "still learning how the industry works"  We're getting close but we're not quite there.

I would called a writer with an agent like a actor in a playhouse-- the venue sits at least a hundred people and they do plays that are well known like Alice in Wonderland, they have a budget and their doing well, but their exposure is limited.

Actors on Broadway would be writers who have had their book published, it's selling alright but they aren't a blockbuster. People who are like John Green, doing well, great in fact. No one is questioning his talent but he's not out selling Percy Jackson or Twilight.

A list actors are like New York Times Best Sellers.  Really in the population of writers and actors it's only like .5% that hit it big (I'm totally make up that number but it seems about it).

What other industry can you compare to the publishing industry?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Page 99 Blogfest

Today is the day and here's my 99th page of my book No System at All:

 Adrenaline pumped through his legs and arms. He needed to take action, soon.

“Who sent the text?” Colin asked.

“Russell Harris, my ex. I didn’t even want to do it in the first place. He totally pressured me into it. Thank god it didn’t last through the commercial break.”

A plan formulated quickly. Leah had been wronged on the most personal level and Russell Harris was not going to get away with it.  He didn’t know her very well, either, so he wasn't breaking any rules.

“Lizzy, can I borrow your cell phone?” She handed it over to him without thinking. Colin typed away but didn’t hit send. He headed over into the jock territory of the lunchroom where Daniel Walker sat with his lacrosse team. At Millbrook High school the Lacrosse team was the football team with weapons. Another field Daniel dominated.

As he approached the table, he realized it was like those documentaries, where there were thirty lions at a water hole. He was the elderly gazelle with a limp leg. He swallowed the extra saliva in his mouth and said, “hey Daniel.”

He put down his gray hamburger and nodded at Colin, “what’s up?”

“Is your team having a Pre Season party, and if so, would they like my band to play it for free?”

It wasn’t Daniel who spoke up, but Jared and three other guys Colin didn’t know. “Hell yeah!” 
Daniel smirked, “what do you need?”

“Back up, in about two minutes.”


So did that make you want to turn the page?  Do you want know what Colin's planning?  

Go and check out the other people doing the blogfest-- go forth and meet some new people!

Thank Alicia for setting this all up!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

HOCO Thursdays- Birthday Parties

My daughter turned 3 last weekend.  She's been talking about her birthday party non stop since October.  At one point she said that the dragons from How to Train Your Dragon's were going to be there but the "zibbleback couldn't come because he was too big and had to stay in the car."  That's a direct quote.

When she hit three we knew we couldn't BS her birthday anymore.  She had real friends and a pretty good awareness of the world around her, (expect for the whole thinking the dragons were real).  Hubby and I didn't want it at our house, because twelve kids under five at our house would not be a good thing.

Besides it's a winter birthday which means it has to be indoors.

Yep, it was time to do what all HOCO parents do, throw an expensive shindig at some sort of place.

We picked My Gym off of route 100.


I scored big time and got Miss Melissa and Mr Dan as the party leaders.

The staff at My Gym had this whole thing timed PERFECTLY.  We walked in 10 minutes before our party--- I had NO IDEA there was a party before us.   My daughter to got play on the bounce house by herself for a little while.  Then at noon all of her friends showed up.  They ran around and played for a while.
Ms Mellisa leading a game-- even the parents are digging it

Every kid was completely engaged.  My daughter was the center of attention without being too over bearing.

While Miss Melissa was playing with the kids Mr. Dan set up the birthday cake and sliced the pizza (into smaller slices so kids could eat them easier--- he had his own pizza cutter)  They sang happy birthday to my daughter and then passed out the pizza.  Kids could only get cake AFTER they ate their pizza.
My daughter is a little bit of a drama queen for the camera

Next was more games and the birthday parade.  Guess which one is my daughter?
The drama queen and Mr. Dan

The party was over an hour and half later.  By the time we cleaned up and pack up my kid in the car, the next family was coming in.

No clean up, no stress and she took a nap.... WORTH EVERY PENNY.

Anyone else have a good birthday party location suggestion?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- living in another world

YA Highway asks, if you could live in any story world which would it be?

Harry Potter's world is pretty fraking awesome... flying cars, cool trains, any flavor jelly beans, what's not to like?

But here's my issue, Volermort-- the dude is pretty evil, right?  But he gets his ass handed to him by a TEN YEAR OLD.  Oh and he can get his body back but he can't grew a nose.  No wonder why he so pissed off, he's super congested and can't blow his nose.  I'd be pissed too.

Oh yeah and he had the his ass kicked by baby. 

But beside that, yeah I vote for Harry Potter world because everyone has cool names too.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog News!

In no order what's so ever.
Congratuations to Alicia the winner of the first line contest!! 
With 46% of the vote her first line was "The infestation started the month prior."   YAY you!

My blog hit 100 followers!!! WOOT--- doing a little dance of awesomeness right now.  Thanks James  Garcia Jr. for being my 100 follower.  

I won't be doing a contest for it because there's like a BILLION contests going on right now.  My birthday is coming up in about a month, so maybe I'll do a contest for that. 

Did you sign up for the 99 Blogfest?  Go forth and do it.

Other contests:

YA Highway is doing a SUPER AWESOME giveaway
They are giving away 5 sets of two arcs... 
All you have to do is tell them why libraries are awesome.. which should be a no brainer.

Kirsten Hubbard is giving away a copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver!  I am dying to read this one. 

Shelli (srjohannes) is paying it forward-- you submit your pitch to her and she will pick the best one and send it to her agent... awesomeness. 

And as you know by now I sort of have a literary crush on Brendan Halpin and he has a new book out.  He's doing another contest... take a picture of yourself holding his book and post it on his facebook. 

There's SO many cool things happening in the literary world right now.

Maybe I should finish blogging and get working on my book so I can join in on the fun...

STUPID Toy Tueday- Moon Sand

Moon Sand--- oh it sounds so cool doesn't it.  Sand from the moon, how could this NOT be fun to play with?

My daughter got it for Christmas this year-- she was two turning three.  She saw the cupcakes on the box and said, "I want that one." I had to tell her, you don't eat it, you make it.  She was brokenhearted and went to play with one of her other toys.

The moon sand was put away and forgotten until I unearthed it.
Because I looked at the pretty pink box and thought, this might be fun.

I cracked open the box and saw two bags of pink and yellow sand, a small bowl (for mixing the sand to get new colors-- the only color you can get is orange) cupcake molds and two tiny spoons.

Instantly I knew this wasn't going to be as fun as the box made it out to be.

I opened up the pink bag-- not resealable by the way, poured it into the bowl-- a useless step, and my daughter and I started to stick the sand into the cupcake molds.

About 24 seconds later we were done.

About 36 seconds later, the cupcake fell apart.

Do you know why?  It's SAND.

My daughter looked up at me and said, "that's it?"

"Yep. We're done." I told her.

We spend a half an hour painting instead. 

Clean up sucked... do you know why? Because it's SAND.  It's like going to the beach, but it's on your kitchen table.  three weeks later I"m still finding pink sand everywhere.

Moon Sand you fail. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music BlogFest- Top 10 Songs

So Alex Cavanaugh is hosting a Blogfest about the top 10 songs that move us. 

My Top 10

10) AC/DC Shook Me All Night Long--- this is my get pumped song

9) Live Lightning Crashes --- this song was on EVERY mix tape of mine during my teen years.

8) Rise Against Entertainment A song about the music industry, "despite these petty fortunes we can't afford our lives," sums up the complexity of the music industry in the simplest terms.

7) Saving Jane  You Say--- this band never breached the top 40 but I was always very impressed with their albums.  You Say is perfection heartbreaking and wonderful.

6) Ludo Streetlight--- a song that's totally Ludo and yet not like them at all, beautiful and haunting.

5)Green Day  Good Riddance (Time of your life)--- Best Green Day Song EVER

4) Derek and the Dominoes Layla-- sure it might be about some other guy's wife (that other guy being a Beatle and all)  but when still, awesome.  When the piano kicks in towards the end of the song I remember thinking, "Yes that is what songs are missing."

3) The Airborne Toxic Event - Gasoline/ Sometime Around Midnight  Gasoline is one of my favorite songs on the album but Sometime Around Midnight was the first song I've ever heard that made me STOP what I was doing, shh my husband and listen to the song- the first time I heard it.  The world stopped.  I remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. 

2) Jeff Buckley "Hallelujah"---- This is possibly the greatest cover song of all time.  This song inspired me to write a novel.  

1) Bruce Springsteen Candy's Room- I'm a Bruce fan, some might say Thunder Road, other's might say Born to Run, but my all time favorite is Candy's Room. it starts out with a whisper and ends with an explosion.  As Fire is amazing as well.

In other news- last week I ran a contest and we have a four way tie.  Pick your favorite out of the the four.  This is the best opening line in a novel.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Thank you to EVERYONE who entered.  The winner will be announced on Monday.   You can only vote once but tell your friends about the contest.

Quizzes by

Don't forget to scroll through and see ALL the submissions before voting! 

Thanks everyone and good luck. 

Here's my entry but I'm not in the contest:  "My g-string was so far up my ass it felt like an organ." 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Line- how to start.

So after skimming this wacky thing called the internet I've learned a few things about first lines.

1) Don't be boring- I guess this means a really long sentence that doesn't say much expect describing Tupperware or trees or dirt or something.

2) Make your writing accessible-- I shouldn't have to look up five out of the twelve words in the sentence. If you're a smarty pants that's fine but ween me into it.

3) Action-- keep it interesting, put the reader in the center of the action.

4) No extra words--- don't use two words when one will do.  Cut all your useless empty words, like, pretty, that, just, --- by cutting those words your book is already a lot stronger.

5) Pick only the best word- you want to sucker punch your reader not gently nuzzle them.

So those are my tips for how to write a stellar first line.  Time to show off.
You can either e-mail me your first line or leave it in the comments below.  I will set up a cool looking contest page, and you can vote on the one you like the best- the winner gets an i-tunes gift card.  WOOT.

Fricking Awesome First Lines.
  • You will need to e-mail or post your first line in the comments on Thursday's post. 
  • You need to be a follower of the blog. 
  • Vote for your favorite on Friday.
  • Winner will get a $10 gift card and a 10 page critique from me.
My e-mail is fussymonkey2 at gmail dot com in the subject line say "first line"

All entries must be posted by 11:59 pm Thursday.

The Friday blog will go up sometime on Friday.
Voting ends Sunday 11:59 pm.
You need to be a follower to post a first line but you don't need to a follower to vote-- so tell your friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- write a blurb

This blog will come to you in three parts.

Part 1:  Page 99 BLOGFESTAlica, Holly, Pam, Quinta and I will hosting a page 99 Blogfest-  you post page 99 of one of your WIPs and see if other people would read more based solely on that page.  Awesome, right?  The idea is page 1-50 are normally SUPER polished and perfect, but let's pick a page at random (page 99) and see if the writing is interesting enough to keep the reader's attention. It's based on the website

It will be on January 28th!  A week and a half away. Go here to sign up

Part 2- Road Trip Wednesday- blurb all about it.

The word blurb is funny.  It's one of those words that sounds like it shouldn't even be a word. 
Say it a low, blurb blurb blurb blurb blurb blurb blurb blurb, see how it lost all meaning?

Anyway writing a blurb is tough, it's like a query letter but even shorter.  It's like a one paragraph pitch.

So I'm going to mash up my query letter and see if it works as a blurb.

Colin descends upon the bullies in town and unleashes punishments so swift and fitting, the bullies either changed their ways or moved.  Now in his senior year, Colin is trying to keep a low profile.   Because one of his “victims”  wants to crush Colin’s spinal cord into powder.  But his popularity-obsessed girlfriend, and the garage band he formed with his brother, are making that impossible.  
Much to Colin’s surprise, the band is good and gaining a following.   As he reluctanly steps into the spotlight he has to face public scrutiny when he doesn’t get into Julliard and discovers the people he trusts are keeping secrets from him. 

Yeah it's not great but neither is the word blurb.  

Part three: Fricking Awesome First Lines.

Tomorrow I will open my blog up for a contest. All week I've been talking about the importance of a first line.  Thursday you can post your first line of any work (short story, novel or non fiction).  It's open to all genres.  All comments will be closed to the public so no one can see who posted what.   On Friday I will post ALL the first lines.  Voting will last through the weekend.
  • You will need to e-mail or post your first line in the comments on Thursday's post. 
  • You need to be a follower of the blog. 
  • Vote for your favorite on Friday.
  • Winner will get a $10 iTunes gift card and a 10 page critique from me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Line- where to start

Most stories don't start at the beginning.  Because, damn, that would be boring. The beginning... seriously? The beginning of time? The big bang? When the main character's great great great grandmother came to America and was attacked by a sheep?  Nope.

Most novels start in the middle.

It's the events that just happened and that are GOING to happen, that's what's interesting.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
"Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day.  Lucky to be alive-that's what everyone said."
WOW! Oh what happened?  Lucky to be alive, really!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
" 'You've got to be kidding me,' the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest."
What's so weird that surprises a bouncer? What is the bouncer looking at? Who is he looking at?  How did they get there?

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
"There thing I know this second: I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking up next to a boy I don't know."  
Yeah do I even need to say anything?  What happened the night before? How is the narrator going to react?  What's next is just as interesting as what happened.

This week I'm focusing on the first few pages of your book.  This week there will be a Contest on Friday--  Fricking Awesome First Lines.
  • You will need to e-mail or post your first line in the comments on Thursday's post. 
  • You need to be a follower of the blog. 
  • Vote for your favorite on Friday.
  • Winner will get a $10 gift card and a 10 page critique from me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Contest pimping

Guess who got 100 followers?  

Quita and Pam

Guess who's having kick tushy contest?  

Quita and Pam

 Go check it out:

4 Prizes 

1) A 10 page critique from BOTH of them

2) A 3 book prize pack of some of the most anticipated books of 2011

3) A $25.00 gift card to

4) A query critique from KM Walton

Go forth and check it out

First Lines- welcome to my world

Twenty six letters mixed together in a seemingly random order creates words.  Words create sentences.  All sentences need two things a subject and a verb.  Of course you can get fancy and throw in a prepositional phrase, or an absolute phrase.

After lots of sentences, lots of words eventually a novel is born.

So why is the first line so important?

Well reading a book is a big commitment and  you as the reader have to be willing to make that commitment.  The author's job is to make you care and the sooner the better.

 Here's a few of the first sentences of a few books I've either read or want to read

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
"Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day.  Lucky to be alive-that's what everyone said."

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
"First the colors.  Then the colors. That's usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try."

Paper Town by John Green
The way I see it, everyone gets a miracle.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
There were dragons when I was a boy.

Here are the opening lines of books on my To Read List

What I saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
"The match snapped, then sizzled, and I woke up fast."

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
"Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat."

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
" 'You've got to be kidding me,' the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest."

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
"' Claire? It's Rachel. I'm afraid I have some bad news.'"

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
"There thing I know this second: I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking up next to a boy I don't know."

What do they have in common?  They're awesome.

What's your favorite first line to a book?
Do any of those first lines make you want to read the book?  Why?

This week I'm focusing on the first few pages of your book.  This week there will be a Contest on Friday--  Fricking Awesome First Lines.
  • You will need to e-mail or post your first line in the comments on Thursday's post. 
  • You need to be a follower of the blog. 
  • Vote for your favorite on Friday.
  • Winner will get a $10 gift card and a 10 page critique from me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blog News!

This week I will be running a contest on my blog! If you're a writer, you can post your first line on Thursday and be entered into the contest.  Followers and friends will vote for the winner on Friday.  It's fun easy and you might win a 10 page critique from me and an i-Tunes gift card. 

Also this week a BLOGFEST will be announced, I'm not saying what, or when just yet, but it's pretty cool.


So if you found me via, welcome.  I hope you like what you read and it makes you giggle once or twice.

BTW I've blogged for the week already-- yep, I had nothing to do this weekend?  Can you tell?
Is my house a mess? Yep. Is my kid still in her PJ's? Yep.  Is it 5:17 right now. Yep.

But hey, I've blogged for the week.   So that's something.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Things I Don't Understand Week- looking sexy at the gym

I go to a really nice gym.  It has marble floors, three pools, two water slides, a rock wall, a spa and a cafe.  It also has a child care center that revels most daycare centers.

I wear loose fitting work out pants, a long sleeve shirt, and my i pod.  But I'm feel a hideous troll when I see some of the other women at the gym.

Christ how are we the same species?

How do we have 99.9 of the same DNA?

Well no, that's not true, most of their DNA has been altered with the inclusion of extra plastic and silicone.

I've watched women dress in cute little outfits and put on lip gloss to work out.

I'm not going to rant about beauty or how unfair it is that some people look hot all the time.

But come on people.

It's the gym.

Don't let the spa fool you, the air stinks like sweat for a reason.

You might look how going in, but you smell on the way out.

But I guess the life of a trophy wife is very difficult.

Wow sorry for the snark.

Next week- we're going to talk about the first 10 pages of your book. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things I Don't Understand Week- no parents in children's programing

Things I don't get it--- why do so many children's shows lack parents--- or at least responsible parents.

Max and Ruby live in a big ass house by themselves and next door to their grandmother who shows up every once in a while.

Dora has parents but they're extremely irresponsble letting her get into a car  and a plane with a purple squirrel.

Freshbeat Band is a bunch of teenagers living in a house with no adult superivison.

Kicking it old school

Smurfs had one girl and one old guy.

Snorks were exactly like smurf but under water.

My Little Ponies didn't have parents either.  By the way look at the outfit on the dancer pony...totally 80's.

Charlie Brown's parents couldn't speak at all and left him alone to be raised by a dog.

None of the children running around Seaseme Street had parents.

Yo! Children's programing parenting is hard enough without you telling our children that we're obselete. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- favorite lines from your WIP.

What's your favorite line of your WIP (or of a recently read book, if you're not writing anything)?

Penny and Hank is a retelling of the Persephone Demeter Myth.  Hank and Penny get exposed to a deadly virus and they are locked up in quarantine.   In this little bit, Hank has just woken up, he's wearing one of the doctor's office paper robes.   He's just figured out where he is and that the people who are holding him captive and no idea who he is.

Penny and Hank

          I looked down at my arm where they had drawn blood. “Listen you’re going to march up or down which ever direction it is to the fifth floor, run my blood sample through the DNA database. Shit your pants when you see my name, go to your boss and figure out the best way to tell him you’ve got the CEO’s grandson locked in a concrete cell. Then your boss is going to come down here and answer any questions I have, got it?” I lifted my legs up and rested them on the glass.
           He blinked at me. “Boy, you’re not wearing any underwear so I would appreciate it if you put your legs down.”
           He stood up and walked out. Flicking the light off and leaving me will a full view of my junk.
           Christ, why could nothing be as cool as it was in the movies?

No System At All

Colin and his brother bully the bullies out of the school.  When Colin doesn't achive his life long dream of going to Julliard he opt to become a rock star instead. 

Here are some tiny bits of dialogue from my WIP that's the closest to being done.

In these two bits Colin the MC is walking around with his best friend Dave, a comic book geek.

           As they walked through the cafeteria, a lump caught Dave’s eye. “Christ, is that Tyler? He looks worse than Wolverine did when Magneto ripped out his adamantium skeleton in "X-Men" number 25.”
           “Really, that’s the reference you want to go with?” Colin said.

Colin jammed his hands into his coat pocket, “try to remember who you used to be, then you’ll understand.”
           Dave blinked at Colin, “That’s some serious Yoda shit there.”

In this scene Colin has just met his idol the bass player in his favorite band.  The bass player is giving Colin some life changing advice:

"I’ve heard this story a thousand times, the precise moment that inspires a kid to take the leap from screwing around to turning pro. Hmm. Word to the wise: the competition is heartless, the hours suck, the money’s worse, and there comes a time in every touring musician’s life where he has to shit in a bag.”
           “You’ll shit in a bag and hopefully it’s a plastic one.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things I don't understand week- comments at the end of news articles

The Internet is both amazing and evil at the same time.  It's a wonderful way to connect people all around the world. 

It a place where anyone can express his or her opinions.

On the down side, anyone can express his or her opinions.

Whatever, everyone is entiled to them-- that fine.

Expect for news stories.

When Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Gifford was shot over the past weekend, I read about it on-line. I get 99% of my news on-line.

The tragedy was haunting and senseless.

Then I read the comments about the article.

80% were horrifyingly negative, stating things like she desevred it.

I don't know anything about her politics and I don't care.   No one ever deserves that level of violence. No one

The internet makes us forget on the other side of the screen there's a person. 

Let's not forget-- let's be nicer to one another.  Let's get rid of all the internet trolls. 

That's all I have to say. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Things I Don't Understand Week-Dinosaur mating

Yep I've run out of things to say. 

I knew that was going happen.

I've decided to focus things I simply don't understand.

Right now, as you're reading this, someone is studying dinosaur sex.

You read that right.

So one is trying to figure out the mating patterns of dinosaurs.

The issue is the many dinosaurs are big...really big-- in case you didn't know.  And the physics behind the sex would in fact kill the female dinosaur, if dinos did it in the "traditional" manner. 

Let's stop and discet that sentence...  someone crunched the numbers and figured out the physicis would kill the female dino, IF dinos did it in a so called traditional manner.

Whoever is researching this needs to make a living.  They had to write a grant or a proposal stating they wanted to figure out how brontosauruses bumped and grind.   People are either just giving money away for the hell of it or whoever wrote the grant is a master of persuasion. 

Dinosaurs died over 65 million years ago.

Their mating patterns are not at all relevant to today's world. 

Dinos lived, mated and died and now we have gas... that's what it comes down to.

It's something I just don't understand.

I don't recommend typing dinosaur sex into google images--- my brain will never been the same. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Snow in Maryland.

Last year we had three blizzards, each dropping over a foot of snow. 

Here's a good picture to show you how much we got in 2010.

That's a lot of snow- and my daughter was trying to steal puffs for a snack. 

Today I have a two hour delay.

This is how much snow we got.  It looks like my deck has dandruff.  

Half the counties had a two hour delay today. 

Can you say overkill?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Why I love writing...

No System At All has been my labor of love for the past three years.  I write a little, get pissed off, spend my self into a deep suckfest spiral and then go back, rewrite, and fall in love again.

I've written before how I sent an epic failure of a query experiance.  It's cool. I've learned SO much and now I'm ready to try again...eventually.  Very soon.  Promise.

The hold up has been I don't trust myself.  I sent my books out to betas to read  I take their feedback and I make the changes.  Sometimes I think "um, no." Most of the times I think, "crap they're totally right." And sometimes I think "Holy crap that's awesome and I need to go off and write....right now!" 

So KO read the lastest draft and pointed out (citing my blog too) that How To Train Your Dragon introduces the conflict and all the main characters without getting bogged down with back story.

No System At All has has a new opening for nearly every draft. 

After reading a suggestion by KO I ran off and wrote this:

There was a rumor floating about the New Jersey suburbs of Princeton that the McCaffrey brothers destroyed lives.  If you were a douche of unspeakable proportions they paid you a visit.  The McCaffrey’s brothers' punishments, or pwnings, were so swift and fitting the douches, or noobs, either changed their ways, moved or went to jail. 

The rumor was true.

Bryce, nineteen, pwned noobz because he had a hazy moral compass. He knew God punished the evil but He took too long.  And he knew for a fact that God stole the good far too quickly. Bryce wanted to live as long as he fucking could.

Colin,  younger brother and  mastermind, pwned noobs because it made his life infinitely easier.  He was an easy target, skipping a grade and being the youngest Senior at Millbrook High School. He worked hard to keep a low profile, avoiding all the social trappings of  High School.  If something came onto his radar it must be bad and worthy of pwnage.  

They had been pwning since elementary school and the meek had finally inherited the school.  Or at the very least, they could walk down the hallways without being harassed.  But this was his senior year and he had a lot of shit on his plate.  The meek would have to take care of themselves, until he got his acceptance letter to Julliard.

So yeah, it might not stick around or it might.  I guess really its up to you guys.

But I write because I love that ahah moment.  That moment where everything clicks.  I love when I can't wait to get to a computer so the words can leak out of my fingers and fill the screen.  

That's why I write. 

Why do you?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- Best Book of 2010

Here's a list of my FAVORITE books of 2010

I read a lot of books this year--- most of them trendy and cool with lots of buzz.  The Duff, Paranormalcy, If I Stay...  these books were excellent reads and I highly recommend them, but there were a few books I wanted to feature because I enjoyed them more.

 Anna and the French Kiss, and not because I blogged about it yesterday or because it was the most recent book I read.  It was incredible and everyone who read it would agree.  Read yesterday's post for the full review.

Half Life of Planets:
I loved this book- I reviewed it on my blog and e-mail the author.  I loved this book more than Will Grayson Will Grayson.  It's a story told from two POV and one of the character is an boy with Asperger's syndrome.  As a teacher, every year I teach at least one student with  Asperger's syndrome and I never stop to think how they are going to handle their first love. This book touched me on personal and professional level.  And I wasn't the only one who loved this book.

The Ghost and The Goth
100% solid FUN.  Every page 100% fun.  The voices of the two characters were very distinct voices and very different motivations.  The plot was solid.  Will was one of the most interesting characters I've read all year.  I even gave him a Christmas Gift this year.  It is also the nominee for a Best Fiction for Young Adults award (BFYA) through the American Library Association (ALA),

Little Brother
Possibly one of the most important books I've read all year.  The story about a boy who's a techie kid and the government thinks he's a terrorist.  He's not and doesn't become one until the government kidnaps him and goes too far.   It's about friendship and impossible odds.  It raises lots of questions about privacy and safety. 

Perfect Chemistry:

HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT. Did I mention this book is HOT?  A gang member makes a bet he can sleep with the perfect girl in school.  Seriously her rep is that she's perfect.  However once the story goes on, she's not perfect by a long shot.  It reads fast and it's fun and powerfully touching.  I loved this book.

October Sky:
I didn't want to teach it.  I didn't want to read it. I was convinced my students would kill me or complain the board of ed and have me fired.  You know what? I loved it.  I cried at the end.  I whimpered. My students LOVED it- three students finished it in a week.  Before we left on winter break nine students finished the book.  20% of my students finished the book before the class got to page 60.  Nearly 50% of the students were further in the book then we were reading as a class.   The story is about a boy growing up in a West Virgina Coal mining town who decides to build rockets.  It's a wonderfully inspirational story. 

Does this post look shockingly a lot like a post from last week?  YES!!!  Thanks YA Highway for making this EXTREMELY easy for me.  It's like you knew today I was going to be with a computer today.  THANKS!!!!!

Go forth and read-- What are your top books of 2010?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

I spent my entire winter break either playing with my kid, watching Dino Dan *groan* smelling stinky dog farts, or reading.

Playing with my daughter and reader were the best parts.

I read over five books in 10 days. 

But Anna and the French Kiss was by far the best.

There was buzz about this book for a while.  Almost every blog I read did a review about it.  John Green listed it as one of his favorite things about 2010.

Back over Thanksgiving Break, I turned to my husband and said, "Hey, if your placing an order at amazon, there's a book I want."
My husband places at least 4 orders a month with amazon, 95% of our christmas shopping was done on Amazon.  I knew for a FACT he was going to be placing an order.  He was on the website as I was telling him I wanted Anna and the French Kiss.

Then the waiting started.  Boxes started to arrive, but no Anna. 
Presents were under the tree and wrapped, but no Anna.
More reviews more praises and for the LOVE OF GOD I WANTED TO READ THIS BOOK! But no Anna.
Then FINALLY I SNAPPED. "Babe, did you order my book?  It hasn't come yet and I'm sort of freaking out."
He went to the tree and handed me the wrapped christmas present, "I thought I was going to run short of gifts so I wrapped it instead."
I ripped the paper.  ANNA!  "How long have we had this?"
He shrugged, "About three weeks now."

But I didn't sprint up stairs and read it.  No, I had a library book and several books I needed to read on my fall reading list before I could dive into it.

Totally worth the wait.

So this is how I can tell I LOVE a book. I put it down. I walk away or I lie in my bed.  I ache to write my own book.  I remember the scenes I haven't gotten around to writing yet.   My day dreams lasts for a few more minutes and then I go back to the book.

Good books inspire me to write.

EXCELLENT books make me wish they would never end.  That's why I stop.

Because when I return to them, it's like coming home.  It's like Anna was my best friend and I so desperately wanted to talk to her again.  With every passing page I'm filled with a love and sadness because the book will be over soon and I'll never have the experience of reading it for the first time again. 

I fell in love on page 19.  I almost NEVER directly quote a book, but Stephanie Perkins nailed it.
"If this were a vacation I'm sure I'd be charmed. I'd buy an Eiffel Tower key chain, take pictures of the cobblestones and order a platter of escargot. But I'm not on vacation. I'm here to live and I feel small." 

PERFECT.  Variety of sentence length.  Embodies the typical tourist habits.  Sets up the internal conflict.  And while this experience is strictly Anna's.  Doesn't everyone feel small?

If you haven't read this book, stop what your doing and go order it. 
It's completely worth it. 

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Years Resolution-- Goals

Happy New Years--- belated.

It's Monday, the first Monday most of us are returning to our normal lives.  No more vacations.  No more sleeping in.  Now we have to return to work.  Reality.  Lame.

I'll be honest, I've been struggling on what I can blog about for a while.   It seems like 2010 was a crapfest for most of America-- I thought I was sort of Meh about the whole year,  I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. 

But 2011 it has a special feeling doesn't?  Can you feel the excitiment?  Can you?  Bizillions of new books are coming out.  Even the internet seems hopeful.

I don't do resolutions... mostly because it's a hard word to spell and it makes me think of pixels for some reason. 
I do goals.

Goals are achievible.
Goals you can write down and check off. 

Real life goal:
As always spend more time with the family and be in constant awe of what a cool kid I have. (She really is)
Say at least one nice thing to my hubby a day.  He's a good guy and doesn't get enough credit for it.

Professional goals
Grade papers in a timely manner.
Do at least one TOTALLY new lesson for every unit.
Try to keep my classroom slightly cleaner then it is.

Writing goals
SEND OUT QUERY FOR NO SYSTEM AT ALL-  After 3 years, and like 15 drafts, I finally feel like it's at a place where I can send it out.  I know, I know, I've said it before.  But I'm going to send it out to an agent who nicely requested it and then if that doesn't work out, I'll start to query in March.  I have the newest Guide to Literary Agents, I feel like I have NO REASON not to use it .

Revise New York Karma--- I haven't opened the document in over a year.  I think it's a deep and profound fear I have of rejection as to why I haven't worked on it.  Because then I'd have to query that one too.

Rewrite Penny and Hank--- As my writers group keeps telling me, Hank's voice is wrong and I need to fix it.  So some time in 2011 I'll do it.

Reading Goals

Read AT LEAST two books a month--- after all YA HIGHWAY keeps asking me which book was the best one of the month. 

Most important Goal

HAVE FUN-- everyday.