Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Story

It's my anniversary. Well, technically it isn't because there is no Feb. 29 this year, but for all intents and purposes it is.  So this is part 1 of Emil's anniversary gift. Photos of part 2 will be up tomorrow. ;)

Our Story

Our Story

In Jan. 2007 an engineer/grad student met a rambunctious law student. The two quickly became an inseparable pair. In a matter of days, the engineer openly confessed his love. After dinner one night he walked the law student to her door, put his hand on her face and said, “I love you.”

Now the law student, being the hopeless romantic that she is, stared into him with her dancing blue eyes and said, “Okay.”

But the engineer (if not in life then in love) was persistent. One day later he again said, “I love you.” Having recovered from the previous day’s shock, the law student could be more open to this, so she said, “Thank you.”

Surely, the engineer was ready to kill the law student. But killing law students is a bad idea, because they have nerdy friends who memorize the elements of murder and are ready to pounce on you as proof to their crim law professor that his final really doesn’t prove anything. The thing about engineers is they generally take into account all circumstances before initializing a project. This allowed our law student to live.

The engineer persisted on through all the “Okays” and “thank yous” the girl could give. Finally in the middle of the night, a giggling 1 L called the engineer who offered a groggy “Hello?” To which she responded to with an explosion of laughter. “I love you,” she said as the laughter subsided into nervous giggles(nervous because she’s said this before but not meant it before. Yes, I know, said law student could be a guy). She hung up the phone before even an engineer’s quick mind could respond.

She pulled her lavender satin quilt up to her shoulders, giggled a bit longer and was just about to drop her pretty little head to her pillow when the phone rang. Giggling too hard to offer a “Hello,” she turned the phone on but didn't say anything.

“Did you just call me?” The engineer asked.

“Yes.” 1 L answered.

“And what did you say?”

The giggles exploded again. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Are you going to hang up on me again?”

This is 2011 so here’s to me and you!


Lead Me

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My wow pick is The Iron Knight
It's the fourth book in The Iron FeySeries. No cover or release date out yet but I really hope it's Meghan's happy ending!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Way Things Are...

Yep, that's how I feel today. Let me start with NEVER AGAIN!!!!

Never again will I make meat loaf or rice crispy treats and especially not at the same time. The meat loaf turned out really good but I cannot say the same for the rice crispy treats, and either way the marshmallow cereal mixture in my hair was just not cool.

When I started this post I was in a much worse mood than I am now. It seems after one month of living in the tundra I finally found a grocery store with my staple items!!! YAY!

I haven't really found a bookstore around here yet, which for writer/reader/blogger is a nightmare. I always joked that book events were like concert for nerds. There are stores here that do have book events, just no YA, which is where my heart is. Not to mention, where my blog is. I love to go to book events and pick up autographed goodies that I can give away, or meet knowledgeable authors that I can blog about.

Maybe, things will turn around soon though. Emil and I went to Chicago for a rather adventurous day Saturday. Haha! He found it really inconvenient to stop by the apt (next door) after lunch and get my coat before we headed over, so I froze and went into second hand shops in this "fake" street in Chicago for a coat I could wear over my dress. I never really found one, so I alternated between wearing his coat and freezing. (He took it back when he got cold. Who says chivalry is dead?) I did ramsack this cute little gourmet kitchen store for a cute apron. (I'm new at this house-wife thing. It had to be cute). Then we stopped by a "pizzeria" for dinner on our way to the theater. The pizzeria had no pizza on the menu. I didn't really mind the fact that it was upscale and way over-price because we were dressed for the theater anyhow. Except that in an effort to be healthy I ordered a salad, which consisted primarily of three blocks of cheese (not so healthy) and tasted horrible, so I saved a lot of calories by not eating it.

The theater turned out to be a total sham. We saw Hamlet promenade style (interesting, yes). My favorite part was the curtain call. My not so favorite part was having my knee slammed into by a flying actress. You can find a full review here.

But I stopped at the book cellar and learned that they've been looking for someone to send their YA events to, and have a panel coming in April. I'm really hoping this will be a store I can develop a relationship with. I miss my book events. :(.

Dreamlogic Theater Works Reviewed

I saw Hamlet, but apparently every show this company does is promenade style. The audience follows the cast around and there is not really any scenery. Let me start out by saying I'm not opposed to this idea. I have enough theater hours to know it's where theater started. Now my engineer argues if you want to theater promenade go do a holy play because that's what it was meant for. He says Hamlet needs scenery.

I'm okay without the scenery and quite frankly scenery was the least of this company concerns. I'd give the play a two star rating, but not for $30/ticket.

The director says promenade productions let you interact with the cast, brings the show to life. This is true and it's not. It does allow you up front and optimal visualization and audio, which only works if the cast works. So, when mother fake cried the entire second half of the show it was very obvious that it wasn't real. And the lack of distance did nothing to hide the fact that she held her face the exact same way most of the play.

My biggest problem was the actress that crashed into my knee popping it backwards before hitting her head on my husband's shoe. I wasn't severely injured, but my knee is still sore. The same girl walked into me a second time later. The law school drop out in me says if they want to do shows promenade style they should really set parameters for the actors/audience not to cross. This is a law suit waiting to happen.

Aside from that the costumes were weird. I don't mean abstract but the girls seemed to be dress appropriate for the 50's maybe? While the guys were wearing jeans. Horatio (probably the best actor in the lot) wore modern glasses and looked like Harry Potter. If they didn't have costumes that would have been okay. But having the women dress in 50's attire while the guys wore jean and everyone spoke middle English just didn't resonate.

Last but not least, they had the same people play multiple roles. I've seen this done before, but you usually don't know it's the same actor because the characters are completely different. In this production, when one actor played multiple roles there was no difference from part to part and it was confusing.

The story got told. It wasn't a total loss, but I wouldn't say the quality was there either. I think casting decisions could have been made differently. In honesty, this felt like watching a rehearsal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Iron Queen

After seeing an agent on twitter say she wouldn't represent someone who didn't like one of her clients' books, I had intended to do a book review only in the rare (read non-existing) event that I found a book I thought absolutely perfect. Honestly, I've never found a perfect book.

I picked up The Iron Queen expecting it to be pretty close, because well, I thought the other two were. I picked up an inconsistency about half way through the book and I still REALLY liked it--like it's my favorite in the series. But I wasn't planning to review it because to give an honest review I'd have to point out that there is an inconsistency.

Then by the end of the book I absolutely loved it again (though I still believe there is an inconsistency). I decided that I loved it too much not to blog it. The romance really picks up in this book, but the ending is so so sad. I'm really hoping the Iron Knightis a happy ending.

If you're interested I did a two part interview w/ Julie Kagawa last year that you can read here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Contest Reminder/Follow Friday

Just a reminder my contest is open till March 1st. The contest is open internationally. A $25 visa gift card and a book will be given away. I've decided to sweeten the deal by giving away a second book if I reach 100 followers by March 1st. You can find full details here.

Follow Friday

If you are a fan of Science Fiction what is your favorite book? If you haven't read Science Fiction before...any inkling to? Anything catch your eye?

I'm not really a sci-fan, but I've read Crashed (a YA distopian sci-fi) and The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Out of the two I preferred the host, but seriously it was no twilight and I feed off angsty love gone awry.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Just a reminder. There is still a $25 visa gift card and a book up for grabs.
Kelly Hashway gave me this award yesterday. Thanks Kelly!

Here's how the award goes:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2. Share 4 guilty pleasures that you have.
3. Pass the award along to 6 other sweet blogs

Guilty Pleasures

1. The Morganville Vampires

2. gourmet chocolates

3. cheesecake (geez is it any wonder I'm so fat)?

4. insert random poor food choice here.

Passing it along:

Jen @ whatsonthebookshelf
LM @ LMPreston
Lee @ TheWriteGame
Jen @ Unedited
Brenda @ Brenda Drake Writes
Angela @ thebookshelfmuse

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wed & Writing: Beth's blocks(a tool for the paragraph critique)

For those of you who are published, you've undoubtedly at one time or another received an editorial letter with lines and lines and lines of what doesn't work. I don't know if it feels better to have some not like your work, because hey, at least you're under contract, or if it feels worse because it was good enough to get a contract and now you want me to change it. But I do know the first time I saw a paragraph form critique I thought I would die.

I bought a critique from an agent on ebay. She promised half a page. She delivered a page and a half. The customary first and last lines of the letter were encouraging. The rest of it read pretty much like this: "This is wrong, this is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. You suck, you suck you suck." Okay, so it didn't actually say that last part, but I got it pretty clear! I freaked out. I spent four months writing this and at the time I received the critique, another four revising (read six now). Not to mention, I was devastated that she promised half a page and there was so much wrong she had to give me a page and a half! But then one of my friends pointed out that if she didn't see potential, she probably would have done half a page and called it a day. I'm still not sure about this but that gave me hope.

I didn't know what to do about it. There were so many sentences of so many things wrong, that I couldn't even separate one comment from the next enough to think. But I'm a law school drop out/paralegal. I spend my day organizing things. I got the idea of a table. And that's what I did.

I copied and pasted the whole email into a word document. I read one sentence at a time. If the next sentence was an example of the previous found problem I left it. If it was a new problem I hit enter. I separated each comment in the email out like this until each thought was isolated. I then inserted a table below each thought. I left a column for whether or not I agreed with the comment, a column for my CP's thoguhts, and a column for how to fix the problem.

I found I knew some of the things she said. Some of the things I didn't know had been pointed out to me, but not put quite the same way, so that I didn't get the true meaning of the comment. Some of the things I just didn't agree with. But I now had a clear idea of what was definitely wrong and either had or could come up with a way to fix it. At this point I feel like I've addressed most of the concerns on the critique sheet I made that day. Paragraph critiques used to haunt me. Now I almost prefer them, because while line edits are essential, it's harder to put them in a table.

It's an easy thing to do. You just insert a table from word and choose how many columns you need. I tried to insert an example but the comp isn't co-operating. If anyone needs one let me know in the comments and I'll paste it in next week (when the resident tech guy is here to do it).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Anti-Valentines Day

First of all, thanks to all who participated. You can find a list of participants here and also sign up last minute if you'd like.

So this is the blogfest were we vent about bad dates, wasted time, and Valentine's days gone horribly wrong.

In my pre-Emil days I had a few rough Valentine's days but I think I've pinpointed one for the purpose of this fest. However, before I get started on that I just want to vent. While this year was not by any means horrid it really sucks to go pay a salon for a hair style and come out looking worse than you did when you went in. Seriously, it's Valentine's day so I thought I'd get my hair done. After just relocating to the tundra I no long have my beloved stylist (who was more torn up than anyone when we left Austin). But I have to get a hair cut sooner or later. I figured this was as good of a time to take a chance as any. (I have EXTREMELY curly hair, and thick, very hard to cut). I have no idea how but she managed to instantaneously add a good 40 years to me. I look like a morgue escapee. Thanks.

And now for the real story. The night before Valentine's day in 2006 a very serious ex emails me to tell me that while med school is exhausting he does have some time and it would be great to hear from me. Now, in my college years, I was not nearly smart enough to peg things for what they were. I still have no idea what this guy's aim was but I'm certain he had one.

But I was totally in love with this guy at the time (or obsessed). So I'm delighted that he finally emails me and he would love to hear from me. (And Valentine's day really seemed to be our thing. Afterall, the last time we got back together it was on Valentine's day).

I wake up on Valentines day full of joy. Because I know the truth. I will get my happy ending and it will happen today. I dressed in skinny jeans and heals, grabbed my Spanish book and headed for an 8 am class, not even annoyed that I was up before 8. Because today will be my day.

I get half way across campus and the heal breaks off my shoe. I don't have time to go back and I can't miss so I persevere. Who cares? A broke stiletto will not rain on my parade. So I kinda of hobble to class. I text my friend who brings me a pair of shoes on the way to her class. Problem solved I'm free to finish out the day and go wait for my happy ending. Even if the red checkered slip ons weren't exactly ensemble with my purple top.

The day finally ends and I sprint to my apartment and wait for my happy ending. He calls. I knew he would! I didn't predict that he just wanted to tell me he had a new girlfriend. Why would you do that anyhow? Who calls an ex they haven't talked to in months since they left her sobbing, because the had "to study" to tell her they have a new girlfriend? Oh. But it got better. New girl is prettier than me. I inhaled. Exhaled and calmly said, "There are other med majors in the world!" Before hitting end. Take that.

So my friend and I decide that we will go to dinner. Just us. Who needs a guy anyhow, where my debit card is declined, because of a banking error that I will spend the next week of my life trying to get resolved.

There really were no happy ending for Valentine's Day 06. Ahh--but one year later (to the day) I was building a purple teddy bear with an engineer who gave the doll his name after spoon feeding me cheesecake. And engineers don't owe med loans, so take that Mr. 06!


Sunday, February 13, 2011


If you are here for Kiss Me Already go here.

If you are here for Show Me the Love go here.

Show Me The Love

Before I get started my pathetic little blogfest that could is really in need of participants so if you have enough free time tomorrow to drop even two lines please sign up.

Also, you can win a $25 visa gift card or book of your choice here.

Now Show Me The Love is being hosted by Stephanie.

1- What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
When I first saw this ? my mind immediately went to the chocolate festival Emil took me to right before our first Valentien's day. But after giving it some thought I think it might be the night he picked wild flowers on his way home from school and laid them on my bed. He was in grad school so he'd come home and have dinner then go back to school and stay until the middle of the night/early morning. And that day I found flowers on my pillow.

2- What is your favorite love song?

This is going to be a hard one, because I love most love songs. The one I'm going to go with is way to upbeat to be romantic, but Mine by Taylor Swift. It reminds me of the way my relationship developed with my husband.

3- Do you have a favorite romantic movie or book?

Twilight all the way baby!

4- Do you have any romantic plans for Valentine's Day this year?

Not really. I did get my Valentine's day gift early, an office chair. Not very steamy but it's what I wanted and it's not just any office chair. It's an exec chair.

5- What's your favorite romantic treat? (candy, chocolate, edible body paint, etc...)

Probably the turtle fondue at the Melting Pot, although I won't be getting it this year :(.

Kiss Me Already

Please be my new best friend and sign up for the blogfest I'm hosting tomorrow here.

And because I love you, you can enter to win a $25 visa gift card here.

Kiss Me Already is being hosted by write-brained.

This is from my WIP Chance Encounters, a YA contemp about a white girl who's life is hell and the Indian boy who helps her escape it.

She turned to face me. Standing so close to her, with only inches between us, the feelings I had for her for so long, (really since the first time I saw her, though I wasn’t sure of it yet), overtook me.

I don’t know what I was thinking or why I did it, but I did it. I let one arm drape around her face and though she looked up at me eyes locked tightly behind their bars, she made no effort to move away. I became an animal. Before I knew what happened I had her pulled to me, pinned to me. My face crushed to hers. By the time I realized what I had done the kiss absorbed me too deeply to try to pull out of it. Retreat. I let my tongue trace the inside of her mouth one more time before I forced myself to break away.
I released her from my grasp and stepped back to appraise the damage I’d caused. Evey was so timid. I remembered the day things turned around for us was the day I realized she had to make the decisions. I took this one from her and it was a big one. It changed our relationship and I hadn’t even asked her what she thought about it. “I’m sorry, Evey. I don’t know—why—I’m sorry.” She looked up at me like a fawn, big round eyes full of fright not anger.

“Joe?” The way she gasped my name, I could hear the fear in her voice but it was something else too. As she stepped closer to me I saw her hand come up toward my face. Did she plan to slap me? I guess I had to let her if she did. So imagine my surprise when I felt the inside of soft fingers resting against the side of my face, my eye and forehead, then perfectly round nails dig into my scalp as her fingers dug into my hair pulling my head back to her.

She kissed me. Evey kissed me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When Enough Is Enough

Okay before I get started my little blogfest that could is in need of participants. If you have some free time on Tuesday please check it out here.

Enough is enough. As writers I think our biggest struggle, even our default struggle can be summed up in the three words enough is enough. Q: "What's a good word count for my novel?" A: Enough. This is the most obvious but I think there are countless other questions we could ask about our work that could be answered with the same one word. Enough.

But I think there are other instances when enough is enough that we don't even think about. Like when you have 20 people that all have an opinion on your story half of them contradicting the rest with at least 10 or 15 people that have never read the story! What do you do? If you go one way the group on your left hates. Do the opposite and the righters will be after you. At that point, it seems like all you can do is throw the pages in the air and do a stomp dance on them when they land, then shred them so you never have to see them again. But the thing is everyone liked something about your story. They just all thought something could be changed. So it's probably not so bad that it should be shredded to keep from seeing daylight.

I think there comes a point when it's time to say enough is enough. Quit listening to other people and go with your instinct. Because if you keep trying to chase every blow of the wind you'll find yourself running circles, and the story dies in the process. For me, I've had it. Enough is enough. I've been working on this story for one year. I started writing this particular story for very specific reasons. And as the criticism (all be it well intentioned) continues to come in, I have to remind myself that I saw the guy disappearing in fire. I was there. (In a dream, of course, but still). No one else did. I know what happened. Not anyone else.

Enough people have liked it that I can hope some agent in New York will. If not? Well, life didn't end in law school when I made my first D and life won't end if someone says "Form Rejection. Thanks."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wed & Writing: Back to the Query

Okay, guys I'd planned on doing a post where I showed you a table I made to deal with editorial letters or paragraph form critiques, because it helped me a lot. But I'm still obsessing over the Phantom Fires query, so I thought I would post it again and post the table next week.

This is in the MC's pov. I'll change it to third person if people think the content works this time. When I change it to 3rd person, I'll include her name and age.

Dear Agent,
Violent blue and orange flames leaped from the ground swallowing Laurent. I watched powerless to help. With each passing second my heart tore more. My connection to him was stronger than it had been in years. I'd had this dream before. I just had to wait for it to end. Except, my big sister came through the door and shrieked at the sight of Laurent burning, me on my knees watching it and in bed staring at both a desperate me and a burning Laurent. Turns out it was no dream. I domair. It means I can live in two moments at once, the present and either the future or the past—Laurent's fire, the future.

Laurent's my next door neighbor and former best friend. We were inseparable until four years ago when he randomly turned on me and went to the dark side. Now we just fight, but things are changing. I went to an ice cream shop with another guy. Laurent and his girlfriend were there. He looked up, saw me with Damian, and Laurent lost his mind. He says he's protecting me, that Damian's dangerous. There is more to it than that. Even if he were just warning me to keep me safe, it doesn't seem like he'd be so aggressive about it. I'm beginning to understand Laurent loves me, what I don't understand is what he's hiding, why he can't just tell me how he knows Damian and why Damian won't tell me either. I must find out, because what these boys are hiding—it's connected to the domair. To the fire that will steal Laurent. If I'm going to save Laurent, I must know the secret they share.

Beth Fred is a member of yalitchat, and SCBWI. She maintains a blog and has written for an online magazine. Phantom Fires, a young adult paranormal romance, is complete at 90,000 words.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Line Contest Day 2

Like yesterday, you can win a $25 visa gift card or book of your choice here.

You can enter my first blogfest here and if you do that I'll give you an entry the contest. Just leave a comment letting me know u want the entry.

Hosted by Brenda Drake.
I've revised the sentence based on yesterday's comments.

Name: Beth Fred
Title: Phantom Fires
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Sentence: "Violent blue and orange flames leaped from the ground swallowing Laurent."