Thankies!




I got a surprise award from a new follower today. It's always so fun to get awards. So Thank You Stina Lindenblatt!


So winners, here’s what you need to do:
1. Accept and post the award on your blog.
2. Link to the person from whom you received it.
3. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.
4. Let them know they've been chosen for this award.

Ok. I'm cheating a bit today. I know it says choose 5 people, but I hate choosing only a handful of the wonderful bloggers out there in bloggy land. It feels like I leave out so many people and this community is not about excluding. So I will change it up a bit. Everyone who post a comment on my blog today deserves this award. So go ahead and take it for yourself. You are all great bloggers.

Critiquing

One of the best ways to improve your writing (other than actually getting a formal education and reading lots and lots of books on craft) is through critiquing.

As a writer it is so hard to distance yourself from your own work. You can edit to your hearts content and still miss things.

Through critiquing, we train our eyes to look for problems. Is there too much passive voice? Are there too many echos? Is there an obvious abuse of the dreaded -ly's? Do we lean on crutch words? Does the dialogue sound too wooden or forced?

I've noticed that after a good session of critiquing, I can return to my own work with a stronger critical eye.

I begin to see the things wrong with my own work and often, while making my notes, notice that I am giving myself the same or similar advice that I gave in my critique of others.

It's not 100% fool proof. I'll still never catch all of my mistakes, but the process helps me get closer to something that will be ready to submit.

And also, let' not forget the other benefit of participating in a critiquing group. What we don't catch ourselves, others will likely catch.

Crutches

Crutches. Be they words, phrases or descriptions, we all have them even if we don't want to admit it. We lean on them when we need "something" to complete an idea, a story, or even a simple sentence.

I recently had a critiquer shred one of my chapters. Every other line it seemed he had a comment to say about my story. I'll admit it was painful to read. I wanted to break down in tears at some points, but because I knew it was in the spirit of making my work better, I read on.

Every other comment it seemed was about my eyes. Yep eyes. It seems, and I was completely unaware of this, that I am obsessed with eyes.

Just a few snippets...

Fallon fixed me with a narrow gaze.
She locked her eyes on me.
Her narrow gaze was on me like a predator ready for the kill
I rolled my eyes
I saw the proverbial light bulb go off in Fallon’s eyes
Her eyes grew wide, pupils dilating, her breath quickening
Fallon sat quietly, eyes wide with fear
Fallon breathed a sigh of relief but something in her eyes told me she was not going to let me go.
His eyes narrowed and he fixed me with a deadly stare.
I turned my head quickly, refusing to look into his eyes.

This is not all of them, there are many more uses of eyes in this chapter, all in the span of 4k words. Clearly I have a problem. Eyes are my crutch, my go-to item of description.

Clearly I need help. Thankfully, now I am aware of the problem. Like the old G.I. Joe saying, " Knowing is half the battle." At least now I can be prepared with edits. I can be on the lookout for those excessive eye's and learn to explore more body language and facial description.

So, question for you. What is your Crutch?

Lazy Linkies

I've been absolutely swamped lately, but I am still here.

I've been working hard to reach the August deadline I set for myself. One week left and Hunters & Prey is still so far from first draft status. Ugh. But enough whining.

I'm still here, lurking and responding to post when I get a free moment. In an effort to at least make one quicky post this week, I am going to do a linkspam day.

Enjoy!

Informative Blog topics this week...

Agent - Rachelle Gardner, discusses briefly, Should you go to a Writers Conference?

Agent - Jessica Faust, discusses Hiring a Publicist.

Agent - Kristen Nelson, discusses How to get money out of a Publisher.

EditorialAss - Moonrat, discusses Agent Follow-ups. Make sure your Agent has a good Submission plan, and they are actually using it.

The Intern - discusses Making Money While you Wait.

And finally, a personal plug if you will. Sue Provost (my wonderful mother) just started a blog. Check it out if you have the chance. Let Your Life Sing.

Motivation

My husband was supposed to be the writer in the family. He got his degree in Film. He has books and books on screenwriting, plotting, and scene setting. He always jokes that I got the benefit of his degree. In the beginning I would him why he doesn't write? He would always shrug his shoulders and grumble about how hard it is to break into the market.

Today, as we were shopping, we ran into one of his old professors. You should have seen his face light up. He was so excited to talk to someone who was once a mentor to him. The professor asked what my husband had been up to and he admitted the never used his degree. After a bit of a chat with the professor regaling us with the accomplishments of other students that my husband had known, he said something I had been telling the Hubby for a long time. "If you want to write, just do it". You can't get anywhere if you don't do the first step. He even suggested Hubby try to adapt my novels to screenplays, just to have something to do.

It was a great little chat and as we walked away and husband seemed like he was a little more willing and motivated to take the plunge. He said he was going to revisit his original screenplay and get it ready to try and shop. He also has another screenplay in mind, something he had been bouncing around in his head for years.

I have my fingers crossed that he will actually stay motivated. He can be easily discouraged at times and breaking in to film is supposedly as hard if not harder than publishing.

So today's question is about motivation.

Let's face it. Sometimes we hate writing. It's not always glamorous. We don't always get a thrill from it. Sometimes it can be boring and monotonous. Some days your characters just aren't speaking to you. Your muse might have taken a vacation to the Bahamas and not told you. In short, some days it's more work than fun.

But we still do it.

Why?

Because something deep down is driving us forward.

For me, it's a combination of dream (to hold a book in my hand that was written by me), recognition (there is a certain sense of pride that comes with saying, 'I'm a published author.'), and escapism (let's face it, sometimes the fantasy world is so much better than the real one).

All together, those driving forces push me to create.

Don't get me wrong. I don't write every day. But I do call on these little motivators when I have received a rejection letter or when I have gotten a bad critique and yes especially when my muse has left and I am struggling to get through a scene.

So what is your motivation? What is your reason to write? Is it purely a need to create? Is publishing in some form or another your ultimate goal? What do you call on when you are feeling down and need that push to get back to the pen and paper again?

Thankies



D.L. Strange over at Ranch Girl Ramblings gave me this awesome award. Thank you so much. These things are so much fun to pass around. It's always such a treat to get and share them.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Seven things about me:
1. I have an over active imagination that causes me lots of trouble after watching scary movies. I once thought Freddy Kruger was taking a wiz in my bathroom. It might sound funny to you, but It was a scary nightmare. Especially when I was sleep paralyzed and he stalked around my bedroom afterwards.
2. I have a great family who really tries to understand my writing. My daughter now tells me she wants to write "her" stories, which at 5 consist of the words she can write from memory. "I Love Mom & Nick so Much". It's a short story but it always has a happy ending.
3. I'm still struggling to quit smoking again. *sigh*
4. I’ve lived in Vegas for 14 years, and I am ready to move away.
5. I have three insane cats, which provide hours of entertainment. Who needs cable when you have kitty's.
6. I wouldn't mind having one more child. I just have to convince the hubby. He's content with keeping the family small.
7. I recently learned that I like Romance novels.

Now it's time to pick some more winners. Again, I am going to do this at random, because you all deserve an award.

1. Market my Words - Shelli
2. Fiction Groupie
3. Elana Johnson
4. Bookingit - Jessica Nelson
5. Megan Rebekah Blogs
6. Ergo - Scott
7. The Invisible Sister - Amy Allgeyer Cook

Happy One year



Today is My one year wedding anniversary.

We've made it one year without Killing each other! Ha ha ha. No seriously He is a wonderful and good-hearted man. And he must have the patience of a saint to put up with me at times. LoL.

Nick If your reading the blog from work today. Happy Anniversary Honey. I can't wait for our date tonight.

Finding time

I know I have been quiet over here lately and that is not on purpose. I just can't seem to find the time to do everything. Between work, writing, critiquing, and blogging I have been literally drained (pun intended).

At the moment I am back on Critique Circle posting two different stories; Hunters & Prey and Immortal Pleasures. Keeping up with critiques to keep those stories in the weekly queue is feeling a little overwhelming right now on top of the writing and revising I've been doing. On top of all of that I have my work and family obligations (someone has to get the boss coffee and make the hubby and munchkin dinner).

So I apologize that the blog has been neglected. I'll get it all sorted out soon. I just have to prioritize a little better.

You can't make this stuff up!



I was hoping to find a good image of a possessed microwave but alas, google has failed me.

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

I was sitting at my desk last night, legs propped up, book in hand, enjoying a little down time after putting the munchkin to bed. All of the sudden I hear the microwave beeping.

Thinking my husband might be preparing a late night snack I look over to the kitchen. No one was there.

"Hmmm, that's odd." I say to myself and return to my book.

Husband walks into to the room. I casually ask if he had heard the microwave? He says no, shrugs, and sits down at his desk.

Moments go by in silence as I return to my reading and husband plays with his computer.

"Beep, Beep, Beep." The sound comes again from the kitchen.

"What the hell!" Both my husband and I look at each other in shock and turn our heads towards the kitchen.

I bravely get up to go investigate. The microwave looks normal. It's showing the time and appears to be just fine. "I don't know what's up with this stupid thing." I say. Husband shrugs and gets up to inspect it himself. He presses a few buttons, open and closes the door, and walks away shaking his head. "I dunno what's wrong with it." He walks toward the bathroom.

As soon as the bathroom door closes, the microwave beeps again. And this time it turns its self on.

I jump in my seat. "What the hell!"

It takes me a few moments to gather the courage to walk over and inspect the microwave again. I reach a shaky hand out and stop the microwave wich has 23 seconds left to cook it's imaginary dinner.

Husband walks out of the bathroom to find me looking like a deer in the headlights. "Honey it just turned its self on."

"Really?" He looks almost as frightened as me at this point. He again walks over to inspect it.

I walk back to my desk and make a small joke about the Microwave being possessed. As I sit down the microwave beeps again and turns back on. I let out a little squeal of a scream. "Turn it off, un plug it. Do something!"

Hubby gasps and yanks out the power cord.

"If that thing turns on again, were sleeping in a hotel." I say half hysterical, half laughing.

Thankfully it did not turn back on after that.

So what do you think? Do I need to call a repair man or a priest? Ever have something like this happen to you?