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Monday, December 31, 2012

What Rebecca Wants--2013

I am dispensing with the resolution list and going straight to the:

 Rebecca's Want List--2013

1. To lose 10 pounds. Cliche, I know, but good glob Rebecca, stop eating cookies and Cold Stone--okay?

2. To Finish MIDHEAVEN. This one actually needs to happen pretty quick...I kinda told my publisher it would.

3. To Finish DAY OF THE DEAD. Sort of the same as the want listed above except I kinda told my agent I would on this one.

4. I want to pay off my student loan by the end of January. This is totally happening, I have been working like a dog to make this a reality. 

5. I want more blog followers. This is basically because, in reality,  I am no more self-actualized than a 13 year old girl looking for a lunch table. So if you're looking for a blog to follow, click that button on the right. And if you're not, CLICK IT ANYWAY.

6. I want 3 book sale reports at RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) in 2013. I have two...I want one more.

7. I want DAY OF THE DEAD to sell before June. This makes #6 a reality.

8. I want to vacation on a beach in the summer of 2013. This one sorta relates to #1, I would like to rock a bikini this year. But even if I am unable to give up cookies and Cold Stone, I want to lie on a beach in a one-piece suit with a cellulite hiding butt cover.

9. I want to go to Vegas in February. I LOVE playing craps and roulette.

10. I want to attend the Pikes Peak Writer Conference in April....there's a certain editor attending that I have serious stalking plans for. I'm just kidding...there are several editors I plan on stalking.

P.S. I want to become a better person that has less material, self-serving wants. When I am 10 pounds skinnier, I'm certain this person will reveal herself to the world sporting a smoking hot black bikini. She will then Tweet pics of herself lying on the beach.

What do you want MOST in 2013??

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Did Rebecca Read In 2012?

What did I read this year? (these probably aren't in order)

Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mocking Jay
Night Circus
The Tiger's Wife
Freedom
Graceling
Fire
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
The Book Thief
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
The Twelfth Enchantment
The Raven Boys
The Book of Elsewhere--The Shadows
The Fault in Our Stars
Gone Girl
Personal Effects
All the Broken Pieces
The Diviners (Currently Reading)

19. I may have forgotten one or two, and this doesn't include any non fiction, but I thought it would be more--I think it should be more. 

Next year, I will read more.

What have you read this year? If you blog about it, put your link in the comments, I would love to come check out your list!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

8 Things I Love About Being a Writer (And 2 I don't)


It's that time of year again, the winter break from school. This basically means that once all the gifts are distributed and opened, I'm writing every day as much as I possibly can before my eyeballs glaze and the words blur. So it's getting late here and I'm looking over today's crop of word widgets that took up space in the current WIP and I'm feeling kinda grateful. 

Here are 8 things I love about being a writer (and 2 I don't.)

1. The new idea. When it just springs on you out of nowhere. Jotting the notes, saving that pure first thought with no idea or care, yet, as to just how you might execute it. The excitement of something new.

2. The flow. When time stops existing because you are in the thick of your own story. Very similar to reading for me, the words pour out of you without too much prying.

3. The plan. I'm a biwriter, half planner half pantser. My plans are rough and yet calculated around the main plot points. Now getting from point A to point B, pure pantser. Making that road map is one of my favorite things about writing.

4. The daydream. I'll admit it, I daydream about one day selling big numbers of books to readers who love my work. It's a fun dream, like thinking about all the things I would do for my family if I every won the Powerball.

5. The conference. I once compared attending a writers conference to a lost soul finally finding its tribe. We all manage in our day to day worlds, but when we gather at conference time, our peoples come together and raise the freak flag. I never feel so much like I truly belong somewhere as I do when I'm surrounded by other writers.

6. The know. When I read a book or watch a movie, and I see what the writer is doing beneath the story. Even better, when I think I'm being a smartie and they fool me! 

7. The time to. This is right now. No work for two weeks and every day my only job is to write this book. I like to pretend it's always this way.

8. The growth. When words pile up in my WIP. They are so measurable, we had 39,987, we now have 42,659. At the end of a session or a day, I can actually measure my productivity--this makes me very happy for some reason.

Now, the 2 things I don't like.

1. The wait. Lord help me, I hate to wait and there is nothing in publishing that is not about waiting.

2. The rejections. I've learned to take them in stride, but I still don't like taking them. Hey, I know what, how bout all you editors just say yes then we'll hold us one of those auctions. That would be so much nicer, don't you think?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pulling Yourself Out Of The Mud (Part Two In: No One In Publishing Is Ever Going To Save You


Okay, so this is Part Two of my not-sure-how-many-part series in "Writers, No One In Publishing Is Ever Going To Save You." Here is the link to Part One.

Pulling Yourself Out Of The Mud.

In 2002, I started writing my first book. I didn't know why, I didn't know exactly what it was, but for some reason, six months pregnant and living in a crappy little apartment in Chino, California with horribly napped carpet that had been dyed a color that can only be described as almost black, I opened my giant Toshiba laptop and began writing the book I would (much, much) later self-publish, A BETTER LIFE.

I didn't know what I was doing and it didn't even matter. Unable to keep flying (I was a flight attendant at the time) I was passing long pregnancy minutes on maternity leave. There was no thought of doing anything with these words, they were just words collecting on a hard drive, words becoming a story to fill the hours.

Now, because this is a blog post and not a memoir, fast forward through five more years: babies are born; graduate school is started and dropped out of, homes are bought and sold; a move is made from California back to Colorado; graduate school is started back up--life continued.

And I began attending my first writers' critique group. It is at these group meetings, that the publishing seed is planted.

I began paying attention to publishing stories; seemingly miraculous events where it looked like obscure housewives were just minding their own business and then, they had a dream they wrote down and the next thing they knew a multimillion dollar publishing tour bus carrying power agents, smart editors, and savvy publicists parked outside their house and proceeded to sweep the rest of their life off to New York and other far flung international ports of call.

Sign me up for that!

Seriously, guys, where do I sign up for that?

Having never found that particular 'Instant Success' booth at the job fair, the months and years of querying, revising, and submitting made me lose hope, made me question what I was thinking, made me believe that if my story didn't happen like magic too, than it probably meant I was not "supposed" to be a writer--never mind "author."

In comparison to pursuing a writing career, balancing new motherhood with graduate school was a snap. Clearly, this was my 'get real' destiny.

Only, it wasn't that simple. Like a filthy writer addict, I kept lurking the agent blogs, crafting new queries, reading the deal reports. All of this watching others accomplish what I (now secretly) desperately coveted, was making me very, very unhappy. I could no longer even pass by a bookstore, and you can forget about going inside, without experiencing great self pity.

I was utterly sad and pathetic. Mired in the mud of my own making.

Now this next bit I share, I am fully aware, opens the door to full fledged ridicule and skepticism. But it's the truth, so here it is. In 2007, while my almost four-year-old and two-year-old were taking a nap, (in true housewife fashion) I was watching an episode of Oprah. She was talking about a film, THE SECRET. I'm sure you've head of it?

Like it, love it, hate it, dismiss it--say what you will. What I say is that day in 2007 was a beginning for me. It was on that day I began to understand that I DO have power over what happens in my life. The intentions I focus on coupled with the choices I make and the actions I take are what propels me though life and toward any number of potential possibilities. Up to that point, I had focused on intentions and made choices that created a version of me as a mother and a graduate student--while I had walked away from intentions and choices that would lead to a version of me that was also an author.

I DID THAT. Not publishing. I gave up, didn't give it my all, and stopped believing (although I don't think back then I ever really believed I could in the first place.)

I am no The Secret master, or more accurately, I am not a Rosicrucian; however, I do know that anything you truly want to accomplish starts with the belief that you can get there and must be followed by taking action in its direction.

It does not take a quantum physicist to tell you that of course I was never going to become an author when I had given up writing all together!

So great! I'm out of the mud, (or getting out anyway) and I'm starting to recognize I have some power here. What now?

Next in the series: Taking a Look Around and Picking a Mountain.            

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Writers, No One In Publishing Is Ever Going To Save You

HELP ME!!

This post is for my fellow (yet to be published) writers out there. I've been thinking for quite some time about how to word this post and now, having failed to come up with anything brilliant, I've decided to just pour it straight up.

If you are waiting for your publishing white knight to ride up and save you from the depths of your own obscurity, go ahead and get comfortable, cause you are (more than likely) going to be there for awhile--maybe forever.

Now before you think I'm about to get all ranty and foot stompy about "Why not me publishing world?!?!" Give a girl a second to explain herself.

First off, who is this magic white knight leaving waiting-to-be-discovered writers in the dust? Maybe it's those contest judges who are marking up your manuscript with a careful balance of praise and critique. It could be your dream agent (or hell, let's face it, it might be ANY agent.) What about that editor at that small press you submitted to last week. Maybe it's any one of the Big Six who have been sitting on your submission for six months (confession--this was my white knight all through 2011 and half of 2012.) My point is, wherever you are along the continuum between "Just Started Writing My First Book" and "My Book Is Being Published" if you are waiting for some "professional" to pull you up out of the collective mud--stop.

Stop waiting for someone else to crown you, "Author" or "Professional Writer" or "Grand Master Writer Of All The Stories Worth Reading." You must (MUST) move into the life that you want first BEFORE any of the other people (judges, agents, editors, givers of the 5 star review) will show up at your party. YOU have to pull yourself out of the mud, look around, spot the particular mountain you want to climb, make a plan for getting there, and then show up everyday (or as often as you possibly can) to implement your plan.

It took me a long time to get this--I'm still "getting" this. But I want to share my personal examples (because I like me some personal examples) about my own journey (so far) starting in 2002, when I started writing my first book, to 2013 when my first YA novel will be published by a small press.

Disclaimer: I am STILL on my journey. I am STILL learning many, many things about myself, publishing, and how to create the change I want in my own life. But I think it can be valuable (to some people) to see what changes have happened in my life in this pursuit of becoming an author and, more importantly, how NONE of these changes had anything to do with being rescued by a "professional" and had everything to do with deciding on a target, taking aim, and shooting at my mark.   

So on tap for tomorrow: Pulling myself out of the mud and washing the dirt from my eyes (back then, it was probably with my own tears.) 

  


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trashing Books I Hate


In response to someone complaining about Pollyanna type reviews--here is a not exactly quoted example, "I don't understand people who say they love every book they read. Have some balls and don't be afraid to give a book a negative review if you thought it sucked."

Here's the thing--I am not a book reviewer. Nor would I ever care to be.

I am a book recommender. If I've read a book, and I enjoyed it somewhere on the scale between "Liked It" and "The Aliens Can Take Me Now!!" I want to tell people about it--and I do.

I respect writers personal decisions about whether they choose to negatively review other writers' work or not, but it's not a choice I would make. There are many, often very popular, books I've read that damn near made me want to rip out my frontal lobe. Invariably, because people in my life know I read a ton, someone is going to talk to me about that very popular book and then proceed to gush at me about how much they "The Aliens Can Take Me Now!!" that book.

And while I likely glowered at that book so hard it burst into flames the minute I finished it, I have no wish to do that to someone I care about--or don't care about for that matter. I respect that others will like books I hate and realize people will probably hate books that I love. This is the magic of preference.

So, to sum up, you won't hear about the books I didn't like. You might hear that I read them which would be followed by a strange and eery silence. You will, however, see me do back-flips for the ones I thought were great.       

Monday, September 24, 2012

Negative Reviews That HELP Book Sales?

SOME of my latest purchases

As I have recently been on a somewhat obscene book buying spree, it occurs to me that some negative reviews might actually help book sales. When I'm browsing through them, I find I'm much more likely to buy a book if it has several negative reviews from people I don't feel a 'book identification' with. Here is what I mean:

1. They can't construct an even somewhat reasonable sentence.
2. They have slammed several books (although sometimes even just one other) that I LOVE.
3. They say, "I didn't read past chapter one."
4. They say, "Based on the blurb..."
5. They are complaining that "This book" is very different from the writer's other works for which they are a loyal and dying fan (and I wasn't a fan of that other body of work.)
6. (This is a big, big red flag for me!) They give one or two stars to classics that I hold in reverence and make comments such as, "boring, slow, unreadable, etc, etc..."  

Do negative reviews ever prompt instead of discourage your purchase?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I Thought: Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie


I'll will spare you another blurb and get right to the point. I read this book in a day, hardly put it down, and was completely spent and satisfied when I came out the other side. The last YA I've read that had a similar effect on me was Green's Fault in Our Stars. E.M. Kokie has crafted a pace perfect emotional roller coaster with complex characters. I loved this book and hope she is working on something else. I recommend this Personal Effects to anyone who enjoys contemporary YAs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pictures! Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference 2012

Well I had a wonderful time and met so many fantastic people. Here are some pics of the awesomeness.
Anjetta McQueen, Rebecca Taylor, Catherine (Chris Lafata lurking in the back :-)

J.A. Kazimer--Author of A F**ked Up Fairytale

Veronica Roland

(If someone from the conference sees this, please remind me, what is the name of the lovely women on the far left in the back. I'm at a loss and didn't grab a business card.) Patricia Beal, Anjetta, Me, Heidi, and Veronica



Bonnie Ramthun, Chris Lafata




With Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary--and an amazing instructor I should add.)

Me and Anjetta--we hung out a lot and even planned out my next book in her room. "We Invited Them!!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fact or Fiction Reveal

Well I've already read a few reveals, I'm apparently not very good at guessing other people's fact or fiction! But here are mine:

Story #1
I think I had a few of you going for awhile...until I posted my 2nd story anyway. This one was totally false! We did go to Hawaii last year, I even blogged about it here. So the trip happened, but the flight was practically perfect in every way. No cancelled flight, no separated family (and by the way, I NEVER would have let that happen in a million years. We would have been sitting at that gate not going anywhere until the airline figured out how to at least have one adult with each kid.) And my kids have been flying since they were babies and are complete angels when we do.



Story #2
This is completely true. I almost drowned when I was 10 at Raging Waters. I remember feeling a hand beneath me pushing me to the surface but there wasn't anyone near me. I think once I posted this story almost everyone guessed right!

Oh well...next time right.

Today I'll be heading over to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. Pictures to follow.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gearing Up for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference 2012


What am I doing today you may ask? Well, I'm getting ready for the start of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference (or RMFW for short.) Here are a couple pics of what "getting ready" entails. Basically lots of pre-release marketing.
Goodie bags to pass out
Close up of that white label. Inside is a red pen and chocolate. Cause it really is ALL you need...although I could have added a tissue for when you are completely overwhelmed and need to dry up all those tears.
Back of the postcard stapled to the other side
Front of the postcard
 My goals for this years conference?

1. To pass out every single one of these bags
2. To talk to and network with as many friendly people as possible
3. To meet fellow CMP author Marne Ann Kirk, in the real!
4. To visit the famous "hospitality suite"

I will take as many pics as I remember to and share them all next week. Also, tomorrow I will be blogging the reveal for this weeks FACT or FICTION blog hop...stay tuned...


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Did Last Summer Fact or Fiction Blog Hop! Part Deux


I am participating in the WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER FACT OR FICTION BLOG HOP! Hosted by Emily King and Melodie Wright.  So what is this? Basically I've written a short little story below and you need to determine if it is Fact or Fiction and leave your vote in the comments. On Wednesday September 5th I wrote another story that is either a fact or fiction story (the vice versa of my either fact or fiction posted below.) And commenters should make their best guess about which one is true and which is a dirty writer lie. On September 7th, I'll tell you which was which.

Give the Girl a Hand. 

When I was ten, my best friend on the planet was having her birthday at Raging Waters in Southern California. I had never been to a water park before so as my mom drove up the fifty seven freeway towards San Dimas, I sat in the passenger seat beside her with a mixture of thrill and fear that made my skin sweat beneath my new purple one-piece suit.

When my mother pulled our aging Datsun into the Raging Waters parking lot, I could see Alyson and her family gathered together with a group of girls--her older sister had invited some of her friends.


Inside, Alyson's sister and her bikini clad friends headed for the wave pool. I had no idea what a wave pool was but I, along with the other ten year olds, followed the older girls like baby ducks. Once there, I saw an enormous swimming pool and hundreds of people floating calmly on rubber tubes. All the older girls started leaping from the side wall that was five feet above the water's surface. Alyson jumped, Alicia jumped, Renee jumped, so I jumped too. We swam, we floated on our backs, we splashed each other, and then a loud buzzer sounded. I stopped and listened as a collective voice of excitement rose from the hundreds of other people securely ensconced in their doughnut floats. What was happening?

Slowly, the water began to move. Up, down, up, down. A little higher, the older girls began swimming for the ladder against the wall. Up, higher, down, deeper, Alyson was climbing up the ladder. I tried to swim towards the ladder, Up, up, up I rode but then down, down, pushed, sucked, deep, oh my God, I'm under the water. This happens again and again. Swim, struggle, gasp breath, I see Alyson and all the other girls standing on the wall watching, their bodies blur before my eyes as I'm sucked under again and again and again.

I'm tired.

The next time I come up, I see the life guard now standing there too. She also watches me get sucked back down. On the next up wave, I don't come up. The waves, powerful and fierce, are happening over my head. I'm very deep now.

I'm very alone now.

And then, I feel it. I am at the bottom, fifteen feet of water pressing me down, and I feel a single hand on my purple clad butt. Pushing me, up, up, up, halfway now, I'm coming up, my lungs are bursting, I kick and kick and kick. The hand disappears. Kick, kick, pull, drag. Finally, I break the surface and gulp air. The ladder is right in front of me.

Shaking, crying, I clutch at the rungs. The life guard, dry and holding a long red float she never used, is rushing to me. Everyone clusters by while she pulls me to the deck and makes me lie down.

To this day, I have no idea who, or what, saved my life that day.  
  

Monday, September 3, 2012

What I Did Last Summer Fact or Fiction Blog Hop!

I am participating in the WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER FACT OR FICTION BLOG HOP! Hosted by Emily King and Melodie Wright.  So what is this? Basically I've written a short little story below and you need to determine if it is Fact or Fiction and leave your vote in the comments. On Wednesday September 5th I will be posting another story that will be another fact or fiction story (the vice versa of my either fact or fiction posted below.) And commenters should make their best guess about which one is true and which is a dirty writer lie. On September 7th, I'll tell you which was which.
 
GOLDFISH

Last summer my family and I traveled to Oahu. It was the first time we were taking our children who were six and eight. We were all looking forward to having a wonderful time relaxing on the beaches, playing in the hotel pools and seeing the sights of Hawaii.

Unfortunately for the plane ride over our flight was cancelled and customer service agents had to scramble to place over three hundred passengers onto other flights. As a result, we all ended up with middle seats spread across three rows. When we boarded the plane one passenger was kind enough to give up his aisle seat so that we could at least have two seats together. Since we only had one portable DVD player for the kids to share, we decided to let them sit together and I would sit in the row right behind them.

The kids started off well but soon became fidgety and bored with the inflight movie, RANGO, that failed to capture their attentions. It wasn't long before they began messing with the seat recliner buttons, talking loudly, wanting things from the packed bags over our heads, and generally annoying everyone, including myself, who sat within two rows of us. When I checked my watch, I was completely distraught to see that we still had three and a half hours of flight time left! In an attempt to find something to occupy them, I grabbed my backpack from under the seat in front of me and took out the snacks I had packed, two sandwich sized baggies of goldfish.

This worked for about two minutes.

Next thing I knew they were tossing the goldfish at each other and trying to catch them in their mouths. I thought the man sitting in the window next to them was going to implode! I stood up for what seemed like the hundredth time and told them to, "knock it off," in the scariest mom voice I could muster. That was when my daughter threw one more goldfish into her brother's mouth.

Furious, I got out of my row and crouched down in the aisle next to her so I could give her a good telling off. That's when I noticed violent convulsions coming from my son's seat next to her. He was trying to stand up with his seat belt still on and his face was turning a terrifying shade of blue. Before I had even fully registered what was happening, the man sitting next to my son unbuckled both their seat belts, walked over both children, pushed me out of the way, grabbed my son and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on him in the narrow aisle. Agonizing moments passed while I watched my son's body racked by the man's attempts to save his life. I started screaming for help but before anyone could even respond, my son was throwing up all over the floor and the seats of the passengers who had moved out of the way.

After we determined that my son was stable and that Oahu would have the nearest medical facility for him to be properly checked at, the man who saved us from disaster gladly gave up his window seat for the remainder of the flight so that I could sit with both kids who behaved like perfect angels the rest of the way.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Getting What You Want Can Be Scary

T-Shirt I'm wearing today. All that's left (besides all the books I bought with my employee discount) from my days as a book seller at the long closed down Stone Lion Bookstore in Ft. Collins Colorado.
When your dreams start coming true, you might get a little bit scared. This thought occurred to me this morning while lying in bed and thinking about all the THINGS that needed doing and the logistics of HOW and WHERE the writing part of the day would happen. Truth: I felt overwhelmed. Yes, there were many items on the To Dos list, but there are always many items on that list...I'm used to them. The overwhelmed feeling was stemming from someplace else, someplace I hadn't expected. The reason I was feeling a bit over the edge was because:

1. My book is actually going to be published and real people will one day very soon be reading that book. These people might love it, hate it, or feel completely indifferent about it, but that book that I clawed up and out of my brain is going to be the fodder for their opinion about it. And I'll be honest, I fear the one star review.

 2. I now have a contractual obligation to finish the next book in the series. Where as before, I just wrote and wrote and no one really cared if and or when I finished or how many words I'd written or if the thing was actually readable...I now have people expecting and waiting on not just a stream of words but words compiled in such a way that they make sense, are entertaining, and move the original story forward (but, you know, no pressure or anything.)

3. I also have my lovely agent waiting on me to finish another completely-unrelated-to-this-series book. She likes what she's seen so far and is encouraging me to finish it. And I want to finish it. Yes, I want to do this and everything else.

 I never thought that when all the things I had been wanting to happen actually did start happening I would feel anything besides pure joy. Now, don't get me wrong, compared to the days of desperately waiting on agent responses, and then feedback from editors I was on submission to, there is some measure of joy with what I have accomplished. And I realize that these are good stresses to have. These are the stresses of progress, the signs that I am closer to my goals for my writing. But back when I was just trying to learn how to even finish a novel, I never gave much thought to what the day to day life would look like once I had the agent and the book deal.

To be honest, it looks very much the same. I still have to stop and sit down for the words everyday. I still need to juggle life and the words. And I still hope someone will like what I have to share only now I'm mostly hoping that someone is the reader instead of just agents and editors.

As you move closer to what you want to be doing with you're goals, is it what you expected? Did you even know what to expect?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Poll: Why is your favorite book your favorite book??

I realize you probably love many books (not just one) and the reasons you like that book are probably a combination of the attributes listed below. But if you can pick one book that stands out especially to you, what do you think is the BIGGEST reason behind why you love it so much?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pictures of Me Camping (or) Writing in the Wild!

For the last five days I've been hiding in a tent, one of my favorite places to go when getting away from the computer and all its many, many distractions is required. This time, the family and I were down at Lake Pueblo where we camped, fished, hiked, water skied and swam, swam, swam. 
You might be wondering: Rebecca, with no computer and two books to write, how could you dare go hide in the wilderness?
To which I reply, "Ah, the wonders of pencil and paper."

Matthew in front of our home away from home
My daughter trying to give me a heart attack
A rare sighting of siblings getting along in the wild

Me cooling off in the lake--100 degrees all around me, water felt amazing

One of the quiet coves we swam in

Me and Beth, long arm self photo

Matthew, Beth and Rod--I'm treading water taking the picture, damn I'm good

Yes, he did jump. Also, in another part of the lake we saw crazy people jumping 100++ feet off cliffs into the water.

Yes, writing happened. Sometimes it happened here.

Other times, it happened here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Research Dumps in Your Manuscript


Writer friends....what are your thoughts and/or practices about including facts from your research in your MS?

My current project is set in Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-hawk-a) Mexico during Day of the Dead festivities. THERE ARE A MILLION COOL AND INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS PLACE AND THIS HOLIDAY. All those facts are great for nonfiction books and travel guides, however info dumps like that make for great big road blocks in the progression of your fictitious story that is not, I repeat to myself, not primarily about all those cool and interesting facts.

So right now, I'm taking a sprinkle lightly and pepper approach for info that relates most directly to the story. Realizing that I am probably still being a bit heavy handed with the information shaker.

Have you written a book that required the judicious use of research. How did you handle info dumps?? Any words of advice...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Book Found a Home!!!


Here's my news!!

I'm happy to announce that I've signed a two book deal for for my Ascendant series with Crescent Moon Press. The exact publication date is yet to be determined but, believe me, you'll hear it here first.

I've never really posted much about this work so here's the low down on the first book (currently titled) ASCENDANT.


Charlotte's mother, beautiful and kind but always a mystery, disappeared unexpectedly four years ago. Charlotte Stevens is sixteen now, grieving for her missing mother, and facing expulsion from West Christian Academy. She is not usually a liar, or a cheat, but she did turn in a downloaded paper on Richard II. When her father, famous for the Dirk Kruger mysteries, shows up to the discipline meeting drunk, Charlotte is sent to stay with the only relative she has, an uncle she's never met in England, while her father spends three months trying to sober up.

Once in England, Charlotte meets Caleb, a budding Egyptologist, and his younger punk princess sister, Sophie. Together they explore Gaersum Aern, the lavish family manor her mother grew up in. While staying in her mother's childhood room, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother—clues to her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte, Caleb and Sophie piece together family trees, Shakespeare and arcane Egyptian symbols, while trying to discover who is working to derail their efforts--and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant and graceful mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

So I am thrilled beyond measure that ASCENDANT has found a publishing home and I can't wait to show and tell more in the near future!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Blog Address

Yes, I've moved here!!

Please re-follow or, if this is your first time, just regular follow :-)

News on the recent events transpiring in my writing life will be posting tomorrow (or Saturday if I'm being lazy.)

Good times people...good times.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Letting Go


I am a clearing, cleaning, whirlwind of clutter destruction. It is all coming down and out. Yesterday I tackled my daughter's room and today it will be the boy's. Gone baby gone, every outgrown toy, book, shirt and sock.

It needed to be done.

When I had finished with her room, I was a tiny bit worried that she would be shocked. The room looked sparse, bare in comparison to only hours before. I took everything off the walls (she wants to change the paint color) and Space Bagged all the stuffed animals except for BooBoo. The Barbie's are packed and waiting to go to Goodwill and all her princess dress up clothes are boxed and waiting to travel to a younger cousin who will actually play in them. Her room looks like we are either just moving in or getting ready to move out and so, I wondered if there might be some emotional reaction. Some tears, some changing of the 9 year old mind. Some, "No, I'm not ready." or "My animals can't breathe in those air tight bags!!"

But she only smiled and then ran across the street to get her friend so she could see too.

Her room is like a blank slate, ready to start over with her bigger girl ideas.

It got me thinking (because when I'm cleaning is when I do some of my best thinking) about letting go. About moving on and making space for new things. It can be hard, it can be work, it might even be sad--but it's important. Unless we want to be forever stuck, buried under the clutter and dust of outgrown things, outgrown ideas, we have to have to learn to let go and move on.

I have to learn to let go.

I started writing something completely new and sent the first two chapters to my agent who was very encouraging about continuing with it.

It feels good, amazing even, to be writing again. But I'll be honest, I'm not yet over my old MS. I miss him and all the promises for the future together we had planned. If my old MS called with an offer to get together, a writer's booty call, I'd go running back to him with a slick black pencil in hand.

Maybe I just need some more time.

Is there something you're hanging on to? If you cleared some mental space, would a room open up for something even better?     


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting There

Pic of the kids fishing last weekend with their dad and granddad. Note: No writing occurred this day. 

What does your writing routine look like? I'm curious because I seem to have misplaced my usual 4 am, crawl out of bed, grope for the auto-brewed coffee, stumble back up the stairs to the computer and crank out a couple thou. Do you have a schedule that is currently working for you and, if you do, can I borrow yours? Just tell me where and when works for you and I'll be there, coffee, keyboard, and the shiny new WIP. Like a predawn writing boot camp thing?

Yep...I'll be there.

Anytime.

I'm ready.

Sitting here, with my butt glue, long enough for the magic to start to flow.

Any minute now...

What? You're calling me a procrastinator?? Me? But, but...

*hangs head* It's true.

What is it with me and a new book? Why does it seem like it's such an ordeal to get the momentum going, like an old lady trying to hoist her aging frame from a too deep recliner. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, back and...oh, up, almost, almost standing...and we're back down again. Forget pulling, the first few chapters feel like growing new teeth.

And still, I feel it coming.

You know, that time, place and space when you keep coming back to the story. Involuntarily. You'll daydream about it, start taking spontaneous notes about it. The skeleton of an outline you constructed months ago finally begins to sprout tendons and blood vessels.

Wooden puppet characters are becoming real boys.

Until, one day, all this thinking and spinning and changing and noting taking culminates in an energy urgency. "I must write this scene now!" And it has to be now because the fear it will otherwise be lost is too great (like a half remembered dream that you can't ever catch.) And that one scene, before you know it, is bleeding and breathing life into the next and the next...you're on a roll again.

Suddenly it not so hard to remember that you used to crank out up to 2500 words a day. (never mind that lately it has been more like 25.)

I do wish it were different. And, honestly, I suspect it is different for authors who choose to (or are blessed enough to) just sit down in front of their computer and shut themselves off from the outside world long enough to get there faster. It's just not where I happen to be in my journey right now. Right now I still have to manage transitions between a writing and non-writing life.

I love to write, it's true. When it all pulls together. When I look at the screen and word after word has piled up--just right. The joy and satisfaction that brings me is tremendous.

But I happen to have other joys. Louder joys. Living joys that need me. And I need them.

So, again, working-mom-writer is again blogging about her never ending quest for balance between all worlds. We get there, we always do. A little here, a little there, back and forth, give, take, beg the kids for five more minutes.

I wouldn't change a thing. 

  


Monday, April 23, 2012

"Making it" As a Writer


How can you tell when you've "made it" as a writer? Positive feedback from someone other than your mother? Placing in a conference contest? Personal notes scribbled at the bottom of rejection slips?

Getting an agent?
Landing a publisher?

Here is when I knew I had made it: In a moment of sheer desperation I cried the question to the heavens, "Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Am I wasting my time? Will the sweet waters of the publishing heavens ever rain down upon my parched and wanting self?"

And before I even had a second to contemplate the numerous numbers I would need to call, immediately, should I begin receiving actual answers to my pleas (shrink, husband, nearest medical facility, possibly a priest) I realized I already had an answer.

It didn't matter.

It didn't matter, even if the answer I heard was, "Yes, Becky. You ARE wasting your time. This will NEVER happen for you so go back to making those beautifully crocheted blankets that make such wonderful, and practical, Christmas presents...that is all."

I would STILL keep writing. Even if I knew for sure what the end result was, and that result was BAD, BAD news, I would still keep on.

That was the very second I knew I had "made it" as a writer. It's when you know for sure you'd do it anyway, even if your only audience ends up being the inside of your drawer. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Watched Pot Never Boils


Just a friendly mental health reminder to all my fellow writing peeps. If you are currently WAITING (and I know you are waiting for something)--stop.

Stop waiting right now. It's nothing more than a mental trick, so perform a cognitive back flip out of the waiting place. 

Stop checking your email
Stop stalking on Twitter
Stop googling the same agents and editors over and over
Stop rereading interviews by the above mentioned agents and editors
Stop trying to devine some personal (to you) meaning from their latest blog post
Stop checking your horoscope
Stop playing online tarot
Stop trying to predict if your darling is ever, ever, ever going to snag you an agent or finally sell

If fact, stop thinking about publishing all together.

Think only about your life (you know, that thing you're supposed to be enjoying when you're not obsessing) and your writing.

Kiss your spouse, hug your kids, go for a run, notice the sky. Now, buy yourself MacFreedom, turn off your internet, open Scrivener, Word, or your purple spiral notebook and write.

Just write. 

Because the process of publishing is worse than going to the DMV. At least the DMV gives you a ticket with a number. But with publishing, you are standing in a line that you will never know the length of until you are the one standing at the front. There may be five people or five hundred people in front of you--who knows?? You can't even be sure if the person working the counter is "in", "closed to submissions", "on vacation" or simply "drowning in emails." YOU DON'T GET TO SEE THE COUNTER. All you can do is stand, breathe, and try to act like you are not "waiting" while hours of your life tick past.

The hours of your life. Find something better to do. Anything really.

Send out your work. And then, forget that you did.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Float that Hope


I realized the other day that I started writing my first book in 2002. My God, ten years. Ten years with what to show for it?

Hope. Hope. More hope.

I'm still hoping for the same thing I hoped for back then--to one day see my (professionally published) books on a bookstore shelf.

Will that happen? Hell if I know. But still, I hope.

In those ten years, I've learned to love the small (and seemingly increasing) victories. Here's a break down for your personal amusement and my own personal perspective.

2002: I'm going to write a book!
2003: I'm still working on my book.
2004: Typing.
2005: Joined my first critique group.
2005: Someone not related to me said after reading my first 5 pages, "Wow, I wish I could do that." (I will never, ever forget that person...EVER)
2006: More writing.
2007: Finished my book that I started 5 years ago!
2007: Wrote a personal essay.
2007: Personal essay accepted for publication at university press.
2007: Attended my first conference.
2007: My first Pitch Session...and they requested the full MS!
2007: I receive my first (of many, many) rejections.
2007: I wrote a query!
2007: Queried 78 agents. (I don't actually remember the exact number, it's a rough estimate)
2008: I'm self publishing my book!
2009: Tattered Cover is going to carry my book!
2009: Tattered Cover put my book on the 'staff picks' shelf.
2009: Oh, I can't stop thinking about this new story.
2009: Writing next book.
2009: Making very serious goal like plans for a career in writing.
2010: Finished 2nd book.
2010: Attended 2nd conference.
2010: Agent asks to see 2nd book.
2010: I wrote a new query!
2010: Queried 21 agents. (this number I do remember)
2010: Four full requests.
2010: Agent offer!!! *died, dead, went to heaven*
2011: Submission to publishers.
2011: Made it to acquisitions.
2011: Requests to revise.
2012: I am rewriting and pushing myself, and this story, further than I have ever done before.
2012: Agent said, "love, love, love.
2012: Back out there.
2012: Major epiphany occurs...yesterday.    *see below

*there is no end. You just keep plugging along. And if you're a "real" writer, you one day recognize that, while you may flail around in non writing funks that can last for days, weeks, even months, you will eventually, one day, be washing the dishes, or taking a bath, or mowing the lawn and the smallest seed of an idea will float through your consciousness. It will embed itself somewhere deep within your cerebral cortex and take root. Yes, it's true that you swore off writing 6 months ago. Promised yourself you would never get caught up in this agonizing cycle of creation, submission, and rejection again.

But.

But.

But, I'll just jot down the main idea. Maybe a character sketch. A THEME! And here is the inciting incident, "oh, that's good."

itch, itch, itch
scratch, scratch, scratch

There is no end. There is no stopping. Eventually, your hope floats back. The ideas keep coming in spite of yourself, ideas that must be scratched. Yes, you're dying to share those words of yours in a public way, but not being there yet does not stop the root cause of the need.

Only the writing helps.

itch.