Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Friday! --- No it's not!

NOTE: Since Blogger changed it's format I have screwed up the dates at least three times now.  ERINN FAIL. 

It's the first full week of my Summer break and I've written several articles for The Patch, revised my novel. Don't get excited I'm not done, I did the paper revision first, and loaded it up with notes for things to fix and NOW I'm in the middle of fixing it on MS Word.  It's not really moving as fast as I would like.

In other news today marks my ten year anniversy with my hubby.  A decade ago we started dating.  You can say, 'aww' here.

Love you, Babe.

His name isn't Babe, that's just what I call him.

So in honor of all these good things how about a contest?

Did you enter, Pam and Quita's contest?  Did you enter Kat's contest? What about Alicia's?

NOW IT'S MY TURN!  I'm giving away a HUGE Brendan Halpin Prize Pack.

Signed Copy of Notes from the Blender,

PLUS a weekend of Awesome tote bag!
WHAT?!?! Seriously?  Yep three books and a bag!   All you have to do is enter below.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

too many cooks

I've heard the expression too many cooks spoil the soup.  I don't know much about this since the only soup I eat comes from panera.

But I have noticed when it comes to feedback too much can be a bad thing.  I drafted and revised my query about seven different times and I've revised my novel based off of feedback at least, well let's just say WAY more than seven times.

So a few months ago I started the query process and I helped host a query blogfest.  It was great. 
This is what I posted:

Colin McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. Overachiever extraordinaire, he spends every spare moment training for his Juilliard audition because the last thing he wants is to end up a directionless slacker like his brother, Bryce.  

Bryce has his life mapped out too -- hitch a ride on his little brother’s coattails.  As long as Colin succeeds, there’s no reason for Bryce to face reality.  Responsibility sucks.

When the brothers form a band with their friends, Bryce gets a taste of success, and Colin gets distracted from his practicing. As their popularity grows, Colin’s past comes back to haunt him.  See, Colin and Bryce have a secret pact -- protect those who need protecting, and punish the bullies for their douchey behavior. Now his “victims” want to pound his spinal chord into dust.

And  I kept getting the same basic feedback, "what does punishing bullies have to do with your plot?"  Well that's a valid point.  So I revised and took it out of my query.  Here's the problem, the book opens with Colin and Bryce punishing a bully.  It's scene 1. 

So that created a lot of confusion for the people who read the revised query and the first couple of pages of the book. 

Thing is I've done that alot with this book, I'm excellent at taking advice, but I take TOO much advice and then  I end up with something that's totally different and sort of wrong.  

When it comes to revising, listening to other people but don't give into the little demon of self doubt. 
Publishing is extremely subjective and opinions differ.  Stay true to your story, do what's best for it.  

Cutest demon of self doubt. 

Because you might end up in revision hell. 

I'm there now.  It's not a fun place and I don't recommend it.  
Lots of times, I'm awesome, you should totally go out of your way to be just like me.  NOT THIS TIME!

I'm off to return to revision hell.   There will be tears.   And I will end up looking like this:

And no, that's not my kid, that's a kid I pulled off of google... ironic that for once it sort of gave me what I was looking for.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Google fail

So I was doing a little research for one of my books. I went to google to do see what a wealth of information it could give me.

This is what I got:

Somehow I think these searches are related but it's pretty gross.  I think if you're searching these things in google you may need to rethink some of your life choices.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Five for Friday- Inspire me

My good friends over at the Paper Hangover asks,

What are 5 things that get's your creativity juices pumping?

1) Betas--- when someone makes a suggestion about my book, I think, "oh very cool" Lots of times a new idea pops into my head right then and there.   I play with it in my brain for a little while and poof I have a new scene. My lovely beta's have made each draft a 100000% better.

2) Other writers- lots of times when I'm reading something really amazing, I need to stop.  I stop for two reasons.  One I don't want the story to end.  Two, it inspires me to write.  I think, "oh, I know what I want the characters to do or say?"  Or the interactions of the characters inspires me to write something for my own book.

3) Music-  Lyrics about teen angust or love that slipped through someone's fingers.  Music about life, heartbreak and lighter funnier times.  Music get's me pumped to write.  All Time Low makes me want to write about No System At All, Motion City Soundtracks makes me want to write Penny and Hank.  Fall Out Boy makes me think about New York Karma.  And Universal Breakdown doesn't have a soundtrack... YET.

4) Dreams-  No System At All was inspired by a dream, so was New York Karma.  Weird images, fragments of plots,  that linger in my head hours after I wake and cling to the side of my brain like a barnacle holds on to a boat.   The longer I think about it, the better the book will be.

5) TV and Movies-- Sometimes it's a documentary about parallel universes and inspires a book.  Sometimes it's an episode of Friends.  More times then I'm willing to admit it's Doctor Who.  Art inspire me. 

What inspires you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last day of school

So today wraps up the last day of my tenth year of teaching. 

I've come to this conclusion-- I"m going to be a teacher forever. 


In ten years I've seen the 3 major changes in state testing.

In ten years I've moved classroom twice.

In ten years I've taught 1500 students.

In ten years I've cried at least once a year in school.

In ten years I've considered quitting twice.

In ten years my heart breaks every time the students board the bus for the last time.

In ten years I've only taught at one school.

In ten years I've read The Giver 40 times.

In ten years I've read Romeo and Juliet 40 times.

In ten years I've laughed every day.

After ten years I'm happier then I ever thought I'd be.

As much as I love writing, I love teaching.

Do I complain about it? Sure.  Are there things I wish I could change?  Yes.  Could I do anything else with my life?  Probably not. 

I will have the next few weeks off and by the beginning of August, I start to miss my second family.  I start to miss my second home. 

Ten years down, forty more to go.  BRING IT ON.

(Please remember this post come August 30th when I start to complain about my job.)


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Winner is....

This post will come to you in a few parts.

Part 1:
The Winner of the The Room Contest is.....


Because her reason for wanting The Room is:

Because I checked it out after you all blogged about it, and holy crap. I MUST own this so I can share it with everyone I know. I'm having my first Room viewing party tonight before I send it back to Netflix.

And that, ladies and gentleman is the ONLY reason to own The Room.

Part 2:  The Patch.  So I write for this thing call The Patch, and I will be reviewing books for the Summer Reading Club over the summer.  But guess what, the books on the Summer Reading list are books I WANTED TO READ.  Seriously that like NEVER happens.  EVER.
I plan on reading, Ship Breaker, The Name of this Book is Mystery, If I Fall and a bunch of others. WOOT

Part 3:

My daughter has had a language explosion in the last few weeks. She's gone from talking like a little baby into talking like a teenager.  Her new favorite sayings, "are you kidding me?" But imagine it in a little three year old voice.  So stinking cute.
Then she was in a store with hubby and when he said, "we need to go to another story." she responded back with, "Daaaddd you're driving me craaaazzzzy."

And this is why I write YA, because I have a teenager at home.  A teenager trapped in a three year old body.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five for Fridays- Twitter

Paper Hangover asks:

Who are the top 5 people YOU should be following on twitter?

!) Agents you want to query-- BUT UNFOLLOW THEM WHEN YOU SEND YOUR QUERY. That's really important. Otherwise you read an agent saying, "Grr I've been locked out of my apartment by my cat for the tenth time this month." And of course you think, "Um, is that a metaphor for my book? It is, isn't it?"

I will completely admit to over analyzing tweets from agents. It puts me in an outrageously bad mood. I don't recommend it.

2) @realjohngreen Follow him. He's always witty and funny and when he's not, he's insightful or interesting. He's basically the best reason to be on the internet.

3) @TheOnion--- doing fake news for years before the daily show. The onion is one of the funniest and honest distractions on the internet.

4)@JackAllTimeLow and @AlexAllTimeLow -- so All time Low is a alt rock band from Balitmore. I'm a big fan of their music but I'm way to old to go to their shows. I learned from my last concert going experaince. Anyway this is why you should follow them: They are teenage boys (well now they're in their early 20's) but if you want to know what's happening in the mind of a teenage boy--- THESE ARE YOUR GUYS. It's sex, sex and more sex. Plus they're funny and clever. I follow them for "research." and I've found that when I'm writing a guy, lots of times what I write is very similar to what Jack and Alex would say.


One last day to enter my contest


You get a copy of the Masterpiece THE ROOM, plus popcorn to throw at the screen and the drinking game I created.  With rules like, "drink whenever someone laughs at in inappropriate time" you're sure to have a BLAST with your friends.

Please note due to content of the movie you need to be at least 17 to enter and to really really really really enjoy to movie you need to be 21. 

Swing by the other WOA Girls to see what they are giving away-- I can promise you, it's pretty cool!
Contest ends next Friday at noon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Story-it's so shiny!

I have a new idea for a novel.  I'm about 25 pages into it.  While I was at Weekend of Awesome, I did the following things:
Gathered resources for research
Wrote up a COMPLETE outline
Created 10 different worlds (it will make sense when you read the pitch)
Created character sheets
Wrote the first 23 pages.  

I have to say, I LOVE this idea.

This is the sort of book I'd want to read and since that's the single BEST advice I keep repeating I figured it's about time to follow it.

Um, Erinn, don't you have OTHER BOOKS, you've written?

*awkwardly glances at the side bar* um, yeah.

Well, what's going on with them?

*awkwardly stares down at my feet* I'm doing stuff with them.

Really?  Are you?


I'm revising them.  And stalling.

Erinn, why are you stalling?

Because I don't know if you got the memo, but writing is hard.  VERY hard.  And it's heart breaking.  I'm querying one book, and honestly I don't really want to go through that stress again.  not right now.

But I have a plan.  A serious plan. And if I blog about it, I feel like it holds me accountable.


Write Universal Breakdown over the summer- First draft to be completed by August 20.

Revise New York Karma and send it to one last beta (Little does Holly realize it's her... insert evil laughter here.)  By October.

Revise Penny and Hank and send it off to beta's (WOA girls and writer's group) Decemeber.

Start to query New York Karma; March 2012.

Revise Universal Breakdown. March 2012.

Yes it takes me a long complete the whole process. Mostly because I put a HUGE amount of time between drafts. 

But this is my logic, if (when) I get THE CALL, and the agent asks, 'what else do you have?" I can say, "Well, I've got three other books sitting on my harddrive, wanna hear about them?"

With every book, my writing get stronger, I learn more about the industry.

Besides, the logic, a new book idea is so exciting.  It's so shiny.  It's so pretty.  New characters to play with, new worlds to explore.  Is there anything better?   I say no.

Wanna hear an early pitch?

When Cassandra is laying in her bed, she can see paraelle universes.  One blink and she's surrounded by dinosaurs, another blink and she's in a world where Hilter won WWII, one more blink brings her to the world where the boy she's in love with lives.  But the membranes holding the universes together are breaking down and now she must travel between them to help build the one device that can save not just her universe, but all universes.  The good and the bad.

Ok so that's an early verison of the pitch, but cool right?

So I'm going off to go write it.

Later gators

Don't forget: 


You get a copy of the Masterpiece THE ROOM, plus popcorn to throw at the screen and the drinking game I created.  With rules like, "drink whenever someone laughs at in inappropriate time" you're sure to have a BLAST with your friends.

Please note due to content of the movie you need to be at least 17 to enter and to really really really really enjoy to movie you need to be 21. 

Swing by the other WOA Girls to see what they are giving away-- I can promise you, it's pretty cool!
Contest ends next Friday at noon

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's wrong with this Picture?

There's a movie coming out called Bad Teacher.  I heart Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.

But I really hate movie that makes my job a billion times harder then it already is.

What I really hate is when movies don't do either their research.

What is wrong with this picture?

Is it a  teacher dressed nicely in a gym?

Is it the big red ball they don't use anymore?


It's a coffee cup without a lid.


They lose the heat too quickly and it's too easy to spill.

It's a rookie mistake.

For shame. For shame.

Come on Hollywood, step up and do your homework.

Happy Monday.


You get a copy of the Masterpiece THE ROOM, plus popcorn to throw at the screen and the drinking game I created.  With rules like, "drink whenever someone laughs at in inappropriate time" you're sure to have a BLAST with your friends.

Please note due to content of the movie you need to be at least 17 to enter and to really really really really enjoy to movie you need to be 21. 

Swing by the other WOA Girls to see what they are giving away-- I can promise you, it's pretty cool!
Contest ends next Friday at noon

Friday, June 10, 2011

Five for Fridays- Summer Reading

Five for Fridays asks, what's your top 5 summer reads

1) Notes from the Blender-  I plan on starting this bad boy soon.  Imagine you a crush on someone, and your dad marries your crush's mom, and your going to be living with that person.  Insert the awesome here.

2) The Queen of the Dead- It's the follow up to the Ghost and the Goth and it's brain explodingly awesome.  LOVED IT.  Go read it now

3) The Gone Series-  Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague are all out now.  Imagine a world where everyone over the age of 15 vanishes, how will kids run a world.  It's gritty, realistic and tons of fun.  Its one of the fastest moving series I've ever read.

4) Immortal Instrument Series- I have not read it yet, but it's on my reading list. I plan on doing a lot of reading this summer and this series is high up there.

5) The Name of this Book is Secret-  This book keeps popping on my radar and I'm super excited to dive into it. 

All of these books were books talked about WOA... speaking of Weekend of Awesome


You get a copy of the Masterpiece THE ROOM, plus popcorn to throw at the screen and the drinking game I created.  With rules like, "drink whenever someone laughs at in inappropriate time" you're sure to have a BLAST with your friends.

Please note due to content of the movie you need to be at least 17 to enter and to really really really really enjoy to movie you need to be 21. 

Swing by the other WOA Girls to see what they are giving away-- I can promise you, it's pretty cool!
Contest ends next Friday at noon

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What the Room taught me about writing

 What The Room taught me about writing:

Characters.  They have to be real.  They have to be realistic. And they can't be creepy as hell.

Ok step 1 watch this:

Now there's a lot of things wrong with this scene. In fact you could probably write a doctoral paper on all the errors in this scene.  But we're going to focus on DENNY ( or is name MIGHT be Danny- it changes depending on who says it)

Denny is super creepy.  He likes to watch. He walks right in to a private moment because apparently Johnny and Lisa don't know how to lock a door.   He asks SUPER inapportate questions like "How much was it?"  refering to a red dress that Johnny bought Lisa.  Then he sneeks into their bedroom and here's where it gets SUPER gross, he has a pillow fight with him.

WOW. I mean WOW.
But here's the thing, I know why Denny does EVERY ACTION.
He walks in to show the viewer- he's comfortable with Johnny and Lisa.
He asked how much the dress is to show that Johnny makes a lot of money.
He sneaks into the bedroom because well he's a little prevy and to show the viewer that he's lonely for a family and extrememly desperate to be part of one.  And judging by the way Johnny and Lisa act, they "love" him too.

Denny's roll in the movie is to show the viewers that Johnny is a great guy.  Johnny is so great that he adopts an 18 year old kid... (Yep that's weird).

Then there's the drug scene.

Yeah, um yeah.  So we've all done this haven't we?  We've written an entire scene where the whole point is to do one thing.  The point of this scene is so Johnny can get the gun for the climax of the story.
This useless and over dramatic scene might even be your baby.  It's so clever, it so your depth as a writer. 
But one wrong step and you end up with THAT MESS.
Denny deals drugs for one scene.  But he assumes it's going to be ok because "that guy is going to jail."It's sort of the if I close my eyes the problem isn't there.  In reality he just walked off the scene.  The character assumes a lot of things. 
But I'll admit it, I've done that with my writing.  Who hasn't?

Then there's Johnny's good advice to Denny.

Denny wants to know what movie they're going to see then drops a bombshell, he's in love with Lisa, because she looks hot in a dress. Johnny is tell Denny, that Lisa loves him as a son. That's not all creepy, nope.
But then another bombshell is drop, Denny has a girlfriend named Elizabeth and he wants to marry HER and have kids with her. WHAT? All of this in a two minute scene?

But look at what the scene does, presences a problem, an inner conflict Denny loves Lisa, and poses a solution, "nevermind he loves Elizabeth" While it's EXTREMELY badly written, it also has every aspect needed for a good scene. It does push the overall plot forward, um if the room has a plot.

After watching The Room  three times I think the plot is Johnny is a nice guy but his girlfriend is cheating on him.

What The Room taught me is that EVERY character needs to be there for a reason. And if you try too hard to show something then it can come off creepy.

Subtlety is the secret to good writing.

Go check out the other Weekend of Awesome blogs for more What the Room Taught me about writing tips.

Pam and Quita, Kat and Alicia.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Five Best parts of WOA

This weekend was Weekend of Awesome and it was AWESOME.

Some background on the weekend.
Alicia and Holly wanted to do a meet up with a bunch of bloggers, then I barged in and took over. We came up with meeting in June at Hilton Head because my Dad has a timeshare there.  We were able to get the house super cheap.   The weekend was designed give writers time to write, to giggle with our friends and to hone our skills. 

Alicia, Pam, Marquita, Kat and I all had an amazing time.

Here is my top five most awesome part of the weekend.
1) Meeting everyone.  I've known and hang out with Alicia a bunch of times.  I heart her.  But Kat, I've gchated with but never met in person.  And Pam and Quita, I had never really talked to at all.  Would our personalities match?  Would they think I'm too loud or not nearly as funny as I am on my blog?
Everyone was super cool.  Seriously.  We walked in as not quite strangers and we left as friends.  Yep it was like very special episode of Saved By the Bell in here.

2) Chatting with Brendan Halpin.
We chatted with author Brendan Halpin for 45 minutes.  It was beyond awesome.  Brendan was so  nice and down to earth.  He told us about the real struggles of being an author as well as the successes.  He was also piss you pants funny too.  We were all really impressed by him and couldn't stop talking about it for the rest of the night.  Stay tuned to our blogs all months for Brendan Halpin giveaways!

3) The Room.
I've seen the room 3 times-- an impossible task in itself.  But the best part of watching the room is watching it with people who have seen it and with someone who hasn't.  The wonderful badness of the movie, it's... well there are no words for it.  Stay tuned  What the Room Taught be about being a Writer.

4) Chating about books.
I'm a comic book geek, I'm a book geek, and I get excited about books.  But I rarely don't get to talk to be people about books.  It was so cool to hear about book recommendation, things that drove us nuts about books but we would never blog about,  spoilers about books that again we could never blog about.  We spent HOURS talking about books, the industry and twitter.   Stuff that in the real world, no one else but me cares about.

5) Time to write.
I came up with a shiny new book idea and I was able to outline, world build, create character sheets and bang out a couple of chapters.  I've never been this organized for a book before.  I'm pretty excited about it and I don't think it's going to take 16 drafts like another book that I won't mention.

On Friday all of us are doing a Weekend of Awesome Giveaway!  4 different prizes from 4 different blogs.  But one giveaway isn't enough.  NOPE we're also all doing a BRENDAN HALPIN givaway too.  Keep checking back on Fridays to see what it is.

We're doing WOA again. 
But next time we're going to meet up at a conference- mostly likely on the East Coast.  We'll do a conference and then have one day for all of us to hang out.

As soon as we figure out which conference we want to do, we'll let everyone know. 
Because let's face it, you want to be awesome too.

Me, Kat, Quita, Pam and Alicia - we are WOA girls

Friday, June 03, 2011

Five for Fridays- excuses

Paper Hangover asks  FIVE excuses you're ready to give up to be a better writer.

1) I don't have time to read--  LIES-- GOOD WRITERS READ!   

2) Not everyone gets published, there's no point in trying-- TRUE-- But you learn, you get better, you become stronger, and most important, you don't stop trying.

3) Being published is the only thing that matters- WRONG- a good story is a good story, WRITE THE STORY YOU WANT TO READ, publishing is a business, but at the end of the day, you need to be proud of the words on your screen.

4) I need to write constantly, avoiding all human contact will make me stronger--- UM, no.  And it will make you one step away from being a hobbit. 

5) My manuscript is perfect, I don't need anyone to read it, I can just send it to an agent and poof I'm a New York Times Bestseller.  --- I'm so sorry I can't hear you because of my laughter... BETAS ARE REQUIRED and if you're not social enough to find one on your own, to show your work to 1 person then HOW are you going to handle being a New York Times Bestseller.   



Expect a super awesome recap next week.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

First Page ReviewThe (Absolutely, Positively) True Adventures of a Religious Prophet

 I want to thank Meg for letting me use her AMAZING book on my blog.  Go check out her blog where she posts fun stuff about  her novel.  After you read the first page... READ THIS BLOG. 

First page Review: 
Title:The (Absolutely, Positively) True Adventures of a Religious Prophet

  Word Count:60 K
Genre: Humor 
The (Absolutely, Positively) True Adventures of a Religious Prophet

The hardest part of being a religious prophet, Claire Elizabeth Rogers has found, Not loving this word choice is the constant delivery of bad news cleverly disguised as good news. Years earlier, when God appeared on her doorstep and handed her a pen to sign with, Claire failed to read the fine print of the contract in front of her.[1] If she had, she might have changed her mind about the whole thing right then and there. It was only later, after a particularly awful job, that she realized a prophet’s job closely resembles that of an errand boy, or girl as the case may be. Pitch perfect VOICE.  It's an excellent hook and leaves me wanting more.
She’s a glorified messenger and at the ripe old age of 33, wearing her single status around her neck like a long dead albatross, Not sure how I feel about this image, it's sort of gross even thought that's the intent she now understands why everyone thought Joan of Arc was crazy. Telling someone the world is absolutely positively going to end on the last Sunday in January will not only get you thrown out of the local deli, but banned from the grocery store as well.[2] 
I think the last sentence the stakes could have been raised a little bit, but other than that I think is a SOLID first page and I want more more more...

[1] Not to mention that the fine print of a contract drawn up by God is so fine it takes a microscope created by Archimedes and a whole lot of luck to be able to read the damn thing.

[2] It really wouldn’t be too terrible, all things considered, but now she has to drive to Bangor for groceries and it’s a pain in the ass.