Starting October Big

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Since October is my favorite month of the year, I'm going to start it big. For the next couple of weeks, my blog's going to be packed with a variety of entertainment.

Starting the 2nd and going through the 17th, I'll be hosting two different author interviews on two different occasions, throwing a two-book prize giveaway contest, having a birthday, resolving a certain gender mystery (of a certain baby, who lately feels more like a mouse burrowing around in my stomach), posting a new chapter on my free read story, and starring as a guest on another author's blog.

So, make sure to stop by every couple of days and check it out because, honestly, there will be something new and fun to read... or do... every two or three days!

Banned Book Week 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's here again! From September 26 to October 3rd, The American Library Association is hosting yet another year of Banned Book Week to "celebrate the freedom to read." Being a librarian AND a writer, I feel this is a very important event. Without books--all variety of books--I just don't know what I'd do with my day, or what I'd read to my baby every night, hoping to get him or her used to the sound of my voice.

For example, I've been reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum aloud to the baby . But next, I'd like to start on James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, which happens to be on the list of most-commonly challenged books in the United States. And if not for BBW to help support challenged books, fun pieces of fiction like these might become banned.

So, support Banned Book Week, and read a challenged Book. Here's a list of my favorites if you don't know where to start:

Not My Preciousssssss!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Since I’ve been busy submitting book queries lately, I’ve been more into the revision process of writing instead of creating new stuff. So, when I heard Tessa McDermid (author published by Avalon and Harlequin) was going to give a talk about writing revisions at a somewhat local writer’s group, I HAD to go. And listening to her was indeed a smart thing for me to do.

I have to say the most helpful piece of advice I came away with was, “you are not married to your words.” They can always be changed. Nothing in your story has to be permanent. Taking them out might be the hardest thing to do, but sometimes giving up a darling word, phrase, or chapter MUST be done... for the greater good.

There have been times, I've turned all Gollum where I'll clutch my manuscript to my chest, stroking the lovely words with a tender caress and cooing, "My precioussss." But, honestly, they're just words. Who's to say the next one you come up with won't be even better, stronger, more meaningful. So, you gotta be open to change. Yes, you must.

This is easier said than done though. So, I've learned a nifty little trick, which I'll share now. My secret is: Delete nothing. Deleting that precious word or phrase or chapter means it's gone forever. You'll never get it back. But... cutting it out of your current document and pasting it into a new one, then saving it to a file labeled "Outtakes" or some such name, means it's still out there, easy to be retrieved and stroked and caressed again! This way, you know you can always go back to your precious... if you need to. Sometimes, I have gone back and slotted an "outtake" somewhere else in my story, but a majority of the time, I never go back. And the story is honestly better without it.

So, don't be afraid to "test" the story without a line or phrase or chapter that really needs to go. You might just be surprised how good it improves the book.

Now, I gotta know... am I the only one out there that gets attached to words and phrases and has a hard time letting them go? What are some of your tricks to saying goodbye to a precious piece of your writing?

Bad Boys Don't Play Hero - CH 2

Thursday, September 17, 2009
OK, it's up. I've uploaded chapter two of my short free-read YA romance, Bad Boys Don't Play Hero. You can click HERE to check it out or start at chapter one by going to My Bookshelf at

At a chapter a month, you should be able to finish reading the story in January, so you'll be all prepared to check out The Stillburrow Crush when it's released in February. Come back again next month to read chapter three. I hope you enjoy.

In other blog news, Laura's Reviews is having a contest giveaway for the book "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison. Leave a comment on her blog before midnight of September 25th if you want to enter.

Also... Claire Ashgrove is about to release her FIRST novel at The Wild Rose Press. So, I'm sure she'd like all the support she can get right now. You can check out her blog "From the Muse" here. She might be willing to interview on your blog if you're interested... she did mine!! But you gotta wait till October to read it (hee hee)!

And in the TWEET world... yes, I've gone Twitter. So, if you're a twitter-pated follower, you can follow me by clicking the "FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER" button on this very blog, located on the left hand side, way down, right under my Fav Blogs List.

Monthly Baby Report

Friday, September 11, 2009
I had another doctor's appointment and got to hear my baby's heartbeat again. Yay. My hubby showed me how to use the voice recorder on my cell phone (he couldn't attend the appointment this trip), so I was able to record the sound of the heartbeat for him. It recorded very quietly but was still amazing to hear. I just want to pull out my phone every few hours and listen to it... reassure myself there's really someone alive in there.

Everything was good though... normal. I can't complain. I gained a whopping three pounds this month--that's four overall for my entire pregnancy. I'd like to say I'm feeling "quickening" as they call baby movements. There's all sorts of bumps and thumps down there. I have no idea what they are. I haven't gotten a fluttery, bubbling, crawling sensation they say you're supposed to feel, just quick little jabs here and there. So, it might or might not be baby.

Next month is the biggie appointment. I get to find out if it's a boy or a girl. It doesn't matter to me either way. I just want one or the other, and I'm uber curious to know which. I have a feeling I'll be a lot excited and little disappointed whatever answer turns up. Excited because I'll finally know and, wow, it'll be a ----, yet slightly bummed because it won't be the other gender. Can't have both... well, unless it was twins and that would totally freak me out.

The only issue that concerns me is my thyroid. About... well, exactly a year ago, I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease (hypERthyroid--or in other words, I had an overactive thyroid). So, I swallowed this radioactive iodine pill to kill off my thyroid, or most of it anyway, which in effect made me hypOthyroid--under active--and now I have to take a pill every morning to control my thyroid levels (the pill doesn't hurt the baby, by the way. I made sure of that).

BUT... being pregnant, my thyroid has been thrown all out of whack and has to be monitored more regularly so that I'm taking the correct dosage. This would be all good and well, except for the fact that my thyroid specialist and my OB-GYN had differing opinions about how to treat me--opinions that contradicted each other. It turned into one big mess with me caught in the middle and having no idea which doctor to believe (because I've had so much medical training and could tell which guy was right. Not).

This being a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, I decided to let just one of them check my thyroid. I feel a lot less stressed out after making my mind up. And life is once again good.

So, that's all the news I have on the pregnancy front today. It's probably more than you needed or wanted to know, ergo I'll try to hush up about my little boxer until next month... and then there'll be no way to keep me quiet because I'm gonna have to share what gender it'll be.

Until my next blog...

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
September 14-18 is Book Blogger Appreciation Week. So, today, I’m all about blog introspection. Is it doing what it’s supposed to be doing? Well… since a blog is basically a journal, and a person can blather on about anything their heart desires in a journal as long as they do it with some kind of regularity, then okay, I fulfill the general rule. I blather on—I mean BLOG—about topics at least once a week if not more frequently.

To go into a little more detail, a blog is an online journal, meaning you’re posting it on the WORLD wide web, so anyone and their dog can read what you’re saying. Throwing the whole world into the mix makes you want to put a little more purpose and possibly discretion into what you say. It’s not quite “anything goes” anymore. And you’re not so much generalized as you are specific about what you’re saying. Be the goal writing, politics, business, family, cooking…whatever... you narrow a blog down to a main theme.

Goals, purpose, theme, discretion? Bluck. But I just wanted to write a simple blog, for crying out loud. I didn’t know it could be so complicated.

But, honestly, it’s only as complicated as you want to make it. Since I like to keep things simple (a college professor of mine was big on the KISS principle: Keep it Simple Stupid. It’s stuck with me ever since), I just want to make sure I give my reader base what they come looking for. So, I ask myself: who the heck is my reader base?

I’ve come up with three groups of people for that answer: 1)Other writers, 2)Other readers, and 3)Friends and family.

For fellow writers, I like to post about the trials and joys of writing and muddling our way through the publishing world, whether a person be published or unpublished. For fellow readers, I post reviews and book discussions. I also hold contests to win books and provide the occasional excerpt or update about my own stories. For friends and family, I’ll pop in every once in a while with news about what’s going on in my life. Of course, readers and writers can also listen in there to learn a little more about me and discover where I come up with some of my insane ideas.

So, to re-cap: I post at least once a week and my most specific purpose here is to blog about books and my life… or hey, “My life with books.” I suppose I accomplish the main goal. But can I do it better? Yikes, new introspection! Time to turn the tables.

All suggestions are welcome now. What are some things you guys like reading best in a blog… in anyone’s blog? Personally, I’d like to be able to announce, “Hey, I sold another book today!” more often than the one time I have. But, sigh, not happening.

I’d also like to interview more authors and learn who’s out there writing stories these days. And, oh man, I’ve become obsessed with reading Linda LaRoque’s blog for the recipes she posts. The woman can up with some yummy dishes, let me tell you. Nancy J. Parra can always make me feel like I’m visiting a different place when she describes the view outside her window. And Jackie Bannon never fails to make me laugh on her blog.

So, don’t be shy now… spill all. What do you like best about reading blogs? Why do you keep going back for more?

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Saturday, September 5, 2009
My crazy college town is at it again. But this time, they sucked me into the enthusiasm. Last week it was "Paint the Town Red." To celebrate the first home football game of the year, businesses around the city painted everything red and yellow (the school colors--or if you want to be PSU correct, the colors would be "crimson and gold"). Trees were wrapped with red cloth. Red balloons were tied to poles. And windows were painted with Gus, our gorilla mascot.

This week, it being Labor Day Weekend and the town's Little Balkan's Days, the place is even busier with activity. And I, quite by accident, won Skybox tickets to the second home game of the year. So, right about now, I'm painting myself red and entering Gus's Jungle to watch Pitt State play Chadron State. I hear they have a buffet of finger foods, private bathrooms, and comfortable inside seating in their luxury skyboxes (perfect for a pregnant woman, huh?). This'll be the first time I attended a game since they installed their Jumbotron score board too, so I'm counting on being thoroughly entertained.

It'll be a new experience anyway. And, hey, maybe I'll glean an idea for a new story from the day. We'll see! I hope you all enjoy your Labor Day Weekend.

I'm a Star!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I feel like such a braggart, but I can't help it. It's exciting to see your book title out there. So I gotta share.

The Stillburrow Crush was mentioned in :

1. The Climbing Rose of the Wild Rose Press Blog : September 1, 2009 Blog

2. The Climbing Rose of the Wild Rose Press Blog : August 27, 2009 Blog

3. The Publishers Weekly 2010 Sneak Previews (we're way at the bottom under the WILD ROSE PRESS/CLIMBING ROSE listing - posted 7/20/09)

and I think I told y'all about this one but,
4.OPWFT (Old People Writing for Teens) Blog : July 1, 2009 Blog

Okay, I'm done bragging. But I'm still excited. Wow.