Book grabbing survey results

Okay, so the results weren't THAT exciting. And I don't say that because I don't appreciate you voters out there... but I had another poll up at first, and for some reason it went all wonky on me and disappeared, so I think there were more votes than this is showing. Oh well. Thanks for voting, guys! (If this post comes out weird, I apologize. Copy and paste isn't always my friend.)

Here's the results to last week's poll (yes, I voted, too!) :

How many of you finish a book, even if it's not grabbing you?

I read it anyway.

4 votes

I skim through the pages to finish faster.

1 vote

I flip to the back to find out how it ends.

1 vote

I stop reading. Life is too short!

Tah dah! And there's the results. Were you guys surprised?

7 votes

FOREVER cover debut & pre-order signed copy info

And here it is - Forever, the last book in the Shiver trilogy. I love the jacket design (to all three books, actually), don't you? You can pre-order your signed copy here.

Check back on this week's Thursdays with Snip to learn how you can enter to win some great Linger and Shiver stuff from Maggie. =)

When you have friends & interests but your interests are not your friends'...

*Warning - the following post is a rant. If you do not have hours of time and at least one full cup of coffee, please proceed to the next "to do" thing on your list, and come back later. ;)*

Friends. Acquaintances. Pals. BFFS.

I have friends. Not a whole lot, like, friends friends, but I have friends.

(Let's try this again. I feel as though I'm defending myself. That isn't what I'm trying to do.)


I have friends. I have a lot of friends, and a few close friends. (There. That's better.) I'm not *as* close with my friends as I used to be, due to kids/work/school/writing/life plus whatever it is that occupies their time and takes them away from the phone/computer, too. (For some reason I felt the need to make sure you all knew I had friends before I went into today's actual post. I'm not sure why.) And that doesn't bother me, us not being as close, not speaking all the time like we used to, really it doesn't. I get it. Life. Life happens.

Anyway. Even though I *do* have friends (and they mean a LOT to me), I've found myself, over the past year or so, moving into a completely different direction. As in, well okay fine, I'll just come right out and say it: I'm obsessed. Obsessed with reading, obsessed with writing. And I've always been obsessed with movies. Every single time I go to open my mouth, either

1) a movie

2) a book/author/story line


3) a writing idea/experience

tries to force itself from my mouth.

And I swear, I try, I try *really* hard not to do it all of the time, to say things like, "Uh, so, the sun is yellow, right?" instead of "Oh my gosh I was reading this book and the best idea came to me and I ran to my journal...", but it's hard.

It reminds me of new parents. (Now, I was one once, almost 13 years ago, so I know what I'm talking about here. And if for some reason you don't happen to know any new parents, and have not been a new parent yet, then please, think of it as new pet owners, instead. It's pretty close to the same thing.) When someone has just had a kid, and that kid is pretty much the only thing the parent/s are dealing with every day, then that kid, and the experiences with the kid, and the cute times and the annoying times and the "once, when she threw up all over my face..." stories (and everything else you can think of that you've heard/told over the years) come out. Constantly. Until you get to the point where (and don't deny it, people) you want to scream, I DON'T CARE HOW CUTE YOUR KID LOOKS WHEN HE EATS A FRENCH FRY!

It's not that the new parent/s are *trying* to only talk about their kid all of the time, but that's their life. All the time. It's all they know. They're absorbed in every little bitty detail of it.

Well that's me. It's not that I'm *trying* to think about reading/writing all of the time, it's just my life now. It's me. I read, write, parent, drink coffee, steal the occasional date with my husband, and breathe.

And so, in trying not to drive everybody bonkers, I hold a lot of the experience, the enjoyment (and of course, the dejection and frustration) INSIDE. Which is a good thing, I'm sure, for those who know me. Less rambling for them to hear.

BUT. I've found myself wishing, over the past few months, for someone to just sit with, someone I could have long conversations with about everything in the writer/readerly world... in person. It's not that I don't appreciate you all out there across the internet, because I do, I wouldn't have survived this past year without you, but to look someone in the eye, see their reaction, hear their feelings about this character or that ending, and get it... I don't know. After a while, the "oh I don't reads", and "it's only a book" looks just make me sad, you know?

There. Rant is over. A cup of coffee has been emptied, and I feel better now. Somewhat.

I came across this quote, and had to share it in today's post.

"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating." --- Niyi Osundare

How about you? Does the solitary writer life get to you sometimes, too? What to do you to get over that lonely hump?

Friday Focus - successful writers

"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties." --- Bonnie Friedman

Whoo boy is this a good quote for me this week!

Keep on writin' my writerly friends! =)

Happy Friday!

Thursdays with Snip - contests & news


30 and under authors: Narrative Magazine is holding its annual Thirty and Below Contest.

THE DUFF and PERSONAL DEMONS: Author Lisa Deshrochers (Personal Demons) is giving both books away to one lucky winner on her blog! Enter here for a chance to win! (Contest ends September 24th.)

Hungry for Harper Teen contest: Great book giveaways going on at the Hungry for Harper Teen contest.

Critique/Mentorship Opportunity: Angela Ackerman at The Bookshelf Muse is throwing a contest as a thank you for reaching 1000 followers! Check it out here. (Contest ends Wednesday, September 29th.)

Beautiful Darkness ARC: The Page Turners Blog is giving away a Beautiful Darkness ARC & swag. Check this link for the entry form. (Contest ends October 1st.)

Dear Lucky Agent contest (Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy writers): Looking for a crit on your first ten pages? Winner will receive a critique by Marisa A. Corvisiero. Check out the Dear Lucky Agent Contest for more info. (Contest ends October 6th.)



Speak Loudly - I'm sure by now most of you know about the uproar on the internet over the past few days regarding Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. If you haven't, please check out the link and show your support!

Looking for an agent? Elizabeth Craig had a great post on thoughts and resources for that very thing!

Deliberate practice can make you a better writer - When do most writers ever practice? Check out this great post by guest blogger Barbara Baig on the Writer Beware blog.

Time Management, Creative Productivity, and Multitasking - Debbie Ridpath Ohi (better known as @inkyelbows) talks about those three very things on her post for the MiG Writers blog.

Gauging Your Story's Marketability - Lydia Sharp at The Sharp Angle had a great post regarding the marketability of your book and making your pitch stand out.

Essence of Setting - The Writers Alley tackles the question, "Is the choice of setting really that important?"

Jane Austen fans, unite! - If you're a fan of Jane Austen, check out the Austen Authors website (comprised of 24 Jane Austen literary fiction authors). They're hosting a launch extravaganza - including giveaways - now through October 6th. (One of them just happens to be my pal, Sharon Lathan! Hi, Sharon!)

Happy Thursday!

Tense - There's no time like the present. Or is there?

This morning I read an interesting article by Phillip Pullman regarding writing in present tense. Personally, I love reading present tense. It makes me feel up close and personal with the MC. In fact, my WiP, This Too Shall Pass (and other phrases that I hate) is IN present tense.

So I honestly thought I'd be annoyed, think the man was crazy, and move on to the next article on my list as I clicked on the link. Phillip Pullman Calls Time on the Present Tense? Puh-leese.

But you know what? He made some good points. This one was my favorite:

"It's an abdication of narrative responsibility, in my view. The storyteller, in film or novel, should take charge of the story and not feel shifty about it. Put the camera in the place from which it can see the action most clearly. Make a decision about where that place is. Put it on something steady to stop that incessant jiggling about. Say what happened, and let the reader know when it happened and what caused it and what the consequences were, and tell me where the characters were and who else was present – and while you're at it, I'd like to know what they looked like and whether it was raining."

Have I changed my mind, decided never to write in present tense again? No. I will, however, bookmark this article and refer to it often as a reminder not to sound like this:

"We were there when these things happened. They were real. We didn't have time to adjust the focus on that shot or swing round in time to see who said those words or keep the camera steady. It was all happening there right in front of us. It was all urgent and real."

How about you? Do you read present tense? Write it? Which tense do you prefer in writing or reading?

Last day to enter FREE EDIT contest!

Just wanted to remind you writers out there (who, like me, would love to have your MS edited) that today is the last day to enter Cassandra's FREE EDIT CONTEST! (According to her blog, that's plot, pacing, character development, et cetera.)

Good luck to all!


Do you give books a chance?

Last week I tweeted a question:

How many of you finish a book even if it's not "grabbing" you?

Now, I had two reasons for asking this.

1) Sometimes I start reading a book with (probably way too high of) expectations. These high expectations could be due to internet buzz, a good blurb by an author I like, a good review, or the fact that I've read other books by the author and am wanting to read another one just as great.

2) As a writer, I figured it would be nice to know how many people read on just to... read on.

I was surprised at how many people said they did not continue reading - if it didn't grab them, they were done - and thought it would be neat to see more responses.

So. I set a poll up on the sidebar last Thursday, and will be closing it at the end of this week. If you guys have time to vote, please do so. I think the results will be very interesting!

Happy Monday!

Friday Focus: Writing a book is a struggle

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one was not driven on by some demon who one can neither resist nor understand.” ~George Orwell

Yep. I am totally loving this quote. Loving it.

Happy Friday!

Thursdays with Snip - contests & news

Whew! There's been tons of buzz this week! Here's a few I thought I'd share!


Requested Manuscripts -- Agent Sara Crowe give you a look into the requested manuscript phase on her blog, Crowe's Nest.

On Self Doubt -- Author and agent Mandy Hubbard shared her two cents on her blog with Self Doubt... getting it written instead of getting it right.

Rejection -- Need a rejection pick-me-up? Check out A Bestseller's Rejection Story on Dystel & Goderich Literary Management's blog.

How to Write & Sell Fantasy and Sci-Fi Webinar -- Agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary is offering a webinar on September 30th. Check out this link for more info.

When Dreams Become Expectations: My favorite of agent Nathan Bransford's posts this week. Check it out here.


Amazing Amazingness & Query Critique -- writeoncon is throwing contests galore this week, including a live event and epic giveaway and query critique, here.

ARC, Query Critique, Bookmarks -- YA Author Kirstin Hubbard is throwing a great giveaway! For a chance to win an ARC of her upcoming book, Like Mandarin, a query critique, or signed booksmarks, click here.

Signed copies of Sisters Red or Audrey, Wait! book giveaways - Check it out at See Heather Write (giveaway ends Friday)

Free Books -- Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents is giving away three books - 1) How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack 2) 2011 Guide to Literary Agent 3) Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript here.

(There are many book giveaway contests going on in the blogosphere, good luck to those who enter!)

* Don't forget -- YALITCHAT's Query Kick-Around contest (ends September 30th).

In which I brag about contests I lost

Yes. I've decided, as I sit here bawling my eyes out (no not really, just feeling a *tad* dejected and fighting the urge to cram a few candy bars down my throat), that the best thing to do when one loses a lot is to brag about said losingness. How else would one be able to go on with one's day?

So first, the contest I entered last month. Yeah, I lost. (Are you surprised? Shoot. I think I set this up backwards, didn't I?) And I'm sad. Not surprised, which kind of sucks because it would be nice to have that "I'm awesome and am totally rockin' it" feeling (it does show up every so often, thank goodness, but why so many empty days in between?). But guess what? Oh well. I am going to be like Stephen King and add the loss to an ever-growing pile of misses on my wall (it's actually a manilla envelope in a drawer, but still. You get the point.) After all, I put myself out there. That's what we writers do, right? All the time? Over and over again?

Now for the second contest -- it was actually a random contest to will a full critique. Which I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want/need/am desperate for. Lucky for my ego, being as both contest results were announced today, it truly was random. Take a picture of Natalie's friend Kiersten's recently released book, Paranormalcy, "In the Wild", and you will be entered into the critique contest. Judging not based on the actual picture, just a random draw, with the opportunity to have some fun and take a pic, to boot.

Neat. Quick. Simple.

I didn't win.

BUT. Natalie did put my picture on the announcement post, which gave me a smile (and I really needed that). According to her post, "there were a lot" of entries. So I'm going to use my imagination here and say that there were hundreds, thousands of entries, and mine was one of the few she chose to share with everyone.

See? There *is* always a silver lining. It may be a thin, practically transparent lining; not a thick, fuzzy and bright one, but it's there.

Now excuse me while I go find more contests to lose.

Friends, readers, writers -- lend me your opinions...

So today's post is going to be short and sweet. I need your opinions on three sentences. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? ;)

I'm working on my query... and was lucky enough to receive some great feedback. Now. Here's the thing. As a writer, you tend to hold on to your original idea, even if it isn't necessarily the best one out there. I received a suggestion, and a good one at that, but I'm not sure which one sets up the query better.

Here's where you come in. Being as none of you really know much about it, I'd like to know which setup grabs you more, which one makes you think YA more... I think you get the point.

What do you think? 1 or 2?

1) Most teenage girls dream about their first love. Dahlia Kennedy's first love is the man in her dreams.


2) Dahlia Kennedy's first love is Rowan, the man in her dreams -- literally.

That's it! And... you're done!

And now, as my thanks, here's a virtual cup of coffee! *clink*

Blah blah blah... and now I like him. (Or, getting the moods in the right order)

So last week I was trying to tell myself I was done with editing Flora. In fact, I tried to convince myself A LOT. I drank some coffee. I wrote a query. I drank more coffee. I messed around with Flora a bit. I messed around with Flora some more. I held my eyelids open with toothpicks and whined that the kids shouldn't always be on my computer because the caffeine was kicking in and I needed to get on there now. I did some laundry. Then I went back to the computer...

And, and...

Still. Something just wasn't right. =(

I was so angry with myself. See, I hadn't been getting much sleep. My eyes were burning for a few days straight, my head was mush. Lovemuffin even laughed at me as I tried to tell him the FIRST TWO sentences in my query. They made no sense. (They did on the computer, but my tongue and brain refused to work together, and I couldn't say them.) I couldn't make sense of anything after a while, and every time I went over two specific parts, I changed them up. And then I hated them even more. (This is when the I SUCK AND WHAT THE *insert whatever expletive word here* AM I THINKING I'M AN IDIOT I CAN'T DO ANYTHING thoughts started to pour in.)

And then... It dawned on me while I was doing dishes. It was the mood. It was the feeling, the way Dahlia, my MC was being. Basically, she wasn't being anything. She was blah, people. Completely blase (<--- I have no idea how to insert the little mark above the e). The reason for that, my dear readers? I am a very unorganized writer. As in, I never write in order, ever. Whatever comes to me comes to me and that's how it is. Only after all that do I tie everything together. So. I had written these emotional scenes, and then I had to go back and set it all up. No wonder I didn't have any emotion! I was thinking backwards!

Example: And then he slapped her in the face and she hated him for it, counted all the ways she could put him out of his misery right then and there, and he grinned, and it made her sick, and next thing she knew a hole puncher was flying through the air at his head.

Course, that is just something I typed out (without editing, to see how long of a sentence I could make... no, not really that last part) to show how things come to me. BIG HUGE DRAMA. So after feeling all that, and writing about the poor girl wanting to strangle Mr. Figment-of-my-writing-example, it's not always easy to go back and write the calm, getting to know-the-guy interest before she wanted to hole punch his eyes out. "And as she passed him in the hall, he nodded, and she gave him a quick nod back, pretending not to care, but the second they passed each other she allowed herself to grin. After months of being in the same office, he'd finally looked her in the eye."

So what is my point? My point is twofold.

1) Mood changes everything. It can make a story sound one way or the other, make the reader feel for the characters or not give a care. This is important stuff. Obviously we need to get it right.

2) If it weren't for Maggie Stiefvater's (hello Shiver and Linger!) post, More Wind, Less Snow: Revising for Mood a few days ago, in which she wrote about doing JUST THAT, I may not have figured out the problem at all. (I do believe I owe her a major thank you.)

Once I knew what the problem was, I went back and fixed the problem with ease. It was great. I felt great. And I had to share my little lesson with all of you. Hopefully at some point this may give someone else an a-ha moment, too.

Blogfest 2010 - contests galore

Quick note to all you blog/book lovers out there, today is the last day of Blogfest 2o10. (I don't know how it happened, but I didn't come across this until Friday, so it wasn't in this week's Thursdays with Snip.)

Anyway, talk about your MAJOR giveaways! And the list of participating blogs is, well, there's no other word for it. It's INSANE! You can find all the info about the blogfest here, at A Journey of Books, and see the list of participants directly underneath their entry form. But if you haven't started until today, beware... I'm pretty sure you won't be able to hit all of the blogs by midnight. (Yes. That's just how many there are. I told you it was insane.)

Happy Sunday, and good luck to all of you who participate in Blogfest 2o10!

Friday Focus: Having the guts to write

"I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all." -E.B. White

Perfect quote considering what time of year it is, don't you think? Submissions, queries, critiques... everyone's trying to get their stuff polished up and sent in, and amidst the chaos is a whole lot of frustration and disappointment. Well guess what? I'm proud of each and every one of you writers out there, because having the guts to write in the first place (and stick with it) is a wonderful thing!

Happy Friday!

Thursdays with Snip - contests & news

Happy Thursday, everyone! It's been a busy week, so though I don't have much to share this week (normally I'm all over the blogosphere and twitter looking for stuff), what I do have is, I think, pretty good! (Especially the contests!) So, on with the show...

Writerly News

Query Advice: The always insightful Nathan Bransford had a great post Tuesday on How to Deal with Contradictory Query Advice. Great read.

I Should Be Ashamed: As usual, Tahereh has posted something I lurve. If you haven't see the I Should Be Ashamed post yet, check it out here. (You YA writers out there will appreciate it, and those of you who aren't will probably like it too.) And you may as well read her How to Write a Novel post while you're at it. *So* great.


Free Edit Contest: Cassandra Marshall is holding a free edit contest. Check this link for more info. (Contest ends September 20th.)

Teeth and Bones Editing Contest: The Novel Matters blog is hosting an aptly named teeth and bones editing contest, with the winner to receive a first chapter and synopsis edit by Bonnie Grove. Check this link out for the details. (Contest ends September 17th.)

* NEW: Signed copies of Lisa McMann's Wake, Fade and Gone: Late Bloomer Online is hosting a giveaway to win signed copies of Lisa McMann's Wake series. You can find the contest form here. (Contest ends September 12th)

Personal Demons prize package: Elena Johnson launched a book blog tour yesterday. Check out this link to learn how to be entered in the contest to win Personal Demons.

Decatur Book Festival Giveaway : Heather at See Heather Write is holding a contest and giving away two books -

SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce or AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway

Random Acts of Publicity

Quick blog post guys, as I didn't want this to slip through the cracks by the time I posted Thursdays with Snip.

#BookLove/Random Acts of Publicity : According to Holly Cupala's blog, author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison is inviting authors, bloggers, and so on to participate in Random Acts of Publicity this week. Basically, it's a fun opportunity to spread the word about the authors and books you lurve.

Feel free to use the hashtag #booklove on your book tweets throughout the week, and there's even an event on facebook!

Sounds like a great thing to me! Well what are you waiting for? Let's spread the reader/writerly love, people! =)

Free Edit contest

So here's a Sunday evening blog post for everyone, just in time to kick off your Monday!

Cassandra Marshall is offering a FREE EDIT CONTEST! (everyone ooh and ahh together now...)

Here's the proof, in her own words:

I'm giving away a FREE substantial edit! (That's plot, pacing, character development, etc, up to 100k words) to one lucky reader!

Check out this link to her blog for more info!

Good luck!

Desperately seeking betas

Desperately seeking betas who read more than five words per minute, know how to keep their red pen marks to a minimum, and are willing to laugh at my jokes (even if I have to point out where they are).
Who would write a want ad like that, right? In all seriousness, though, I'm at that point with Flora where I'm desperate to get a few people's opinions. Many of you writers out there are blessed with a few good betas, and my question is, how? How did you find them?

Now, before everyone raises their hands and blurts out the words critique group, I'd like to point out that, for many reasons, one being my fear of driving in large towns, going anywhere not where I live is pretty much out of the question. I read about writers singing the praises of their betas all the time, and can tell many of them have met over the internet.

So please, for my sanity, share the details if you feel even the least bit of pity. I'd love to learn how you out there met your beta peeps.

Friday Focus: The muscles of writing

The muscles of writing are not so visible, but they are just as powerful: determination, attention, curiosity, a passionate heart. ~ Natalie Goldberg

I'd like to add another one to the list: faith.

Happy Friday!

Thursdays with Snip - contests & news

Happy Thursday! As usual, feel free to add any contests or interesting news in the comments!

Writerly News
(Ha ha, I switched the order on you this week!):

* Agents Who Blog - Lia Keyes has posted an awesome, insanely long list of Agents Who Blog, along with great query tips and even Pitch Workshop links (all in one post)! --> quick note... not all of the listed blogs have been updated recently.

* Twitter chat: TONIGHT, September 2nd at 7:00 CST, Kari Olsen of A Good Addiction will be holding a Twitter chat with at least six YA contemporary authors. Check out this link to find out the hashtag she will be using for the chat, along with names of specific authors. (And while you're over there, check out the contests listed at the top of her blog!)

* Operation Awesome: There's some awesomesauce (and a bit of Nutella) being spread over at Operation Awesome. Check it out. If you dare. To be aweseomed.

* If you haven't read Tahareh's Query like Shel Silverstein, you're missing out, my friends.

DL Hammond is on a quest - a quest to get followers from as many countries (and states) as possible. Check out this post to see if you could help him out.

* Check out Lydia Sharp's continuing On Queries, Part 2.


Query or One page critique:

Getting Past the Gatekeeper (deadline - this Friday at midnight).


* Enna Isilee is hosting a month long birthday bash on her blog, Squeaky Books. Twelve separate giveaways, twelve author interviews... this is one of those contests way too good to pass up! Check out the list of books being given away here.

* Grey Griffins Week Mega Giveaway: Shannon Whitney Messenger is giving away some great stuff this week. Check it out.

* Firelight: Win a signed finished copy of Sophie Jordan's Firelight at [Bloggers [[heart]] Books]. The interview with Will, the main character, and entry form is here.

* Win Books & Coffee: Shannon at Wringing out Words is hosting a contest for, well, a few reasons ! ;) Check out what's up for grabs (copied and pasted from her blog) below:

The grand Prize will be something that no true lover of books, whether it be writing or reading can do without. Coffee. Or, because of the postal system, a Starbucks Gift Certificate along with a copy of book one of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Guilty Pleasures.

Second place is two books from Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Series, Bitten and Stolen.

Third Place is the first book in Jacqueline Carey’s series, Kushiel’s Dart.

A guest blog will be offered to places 4-6 on my blog, Wringing out Words. And if there are more than 6 people who enter this contest, I may find prizes for places 7-10. Thanks for checking it out and good luck!