Friday, March 30, 2012

Bloggiesta

So bloggiesta starts today, and I have no idea how much time I'll have to put into it especially with two books left to read for my A-Z posts. But I'm going to knock out as many of these goals as I can:
  • Write an "About Me" that fits my personality--since I'm out there this should be fun
  • Make a badge for Beth's Blog & The Book Stall
  • Figure out how to get my blog to auto feed to Stumble upon and Diggs (This is no longer possible).
  • Finish my A-Z posts
  • Kick blogger b/c it won't let me update my dashboard (still need to do this...Is anyone else having problems deleting old blogs)?
  • Set up Blogger to e-mail when I get a new comment
  • Set up Amazon Associate links
It seems like I'm forgetting something, so I may add more later.  If anyone knows how to do the digg/stumble upon thing I'll love you forever if you tell me!
P.S. contest ends tomorrow!!!!


EDIT: Things highlighted have been done!!!!...No mini challenges so far, though I really hope to get to the SEO challenge.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Pig Book Signing

A few weeks ago, my husband and I met Kristi Yamaguchi at my favorite bookstore. She's written a couple of picture books and we got one of each autographed for our yet to have arrived daughter.

I thought it would be fun to post a few of the pics.
Book Reading

Kristi signing ELF's books...Wow! Can I just say I've gotten so fat w/ flat hair that I didn't even recognize myself

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Fate" Query

REVISED: When twenty-four year old Tiffany escapes her sister's(Kammy's) too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she finds herself in a bar with the unwanted attention of a gorgeous local named Luke.
Luke may be charming but Tiffany is leaving in two days and doesn't need any complications. Then the cops show up to raid Kammy's party. When Kammy is arrested Tiffany agrees to have dinner with Luke, so he'll help her get her sister out of jail. Her sister's arrest forces her to spend an extra day in Cancun meaning she'll miss a crucial meeting and she is already drowning in tax season. Not to mention, every second she spends with Luke makes it harder to leave.
Will the airport be their final goodbye?





Hi guys! Could you help me with my query.


Dear Editor,

Hardworking, twenty-four year old Tiffany escapes to the hotel bar when her sister's bachelorette party gets too wild. And the local man beside her, Luke, is paying too much attention to her.

Luke may be charming eye candy, but Tiffany is leaving in two days. Then the cops show up to raid her little sister's party, and she has to admit she needs a translator. Her little sister's arrest makes things even more complicated. Tiffany agrees to have dinner with Luke so he'll help her get her sister out of jail. With the arraignment pending, two days turns into three. Tiffany must miss a crucial business meeting, and she was already pushing the April 15th deadline that is every accountant's nightmare just by being in Cancun. Not to mention, every seconds she spends with Luke is making it harder to leave.

But Luke is there every step of the way. Except Luke doesn't like people to know about his family's money, so he hasn't been completely honest with Tiffany.

Even if she get over being lied to again, it doesn't change the fact that Tiffany has to go back to the U.S. Will the airport be their final goodbye?

“Fate” is a sweet romantic short story complete at 13,000 words. Per your submission guidelines, I have attached a synopsis and sample pages.

Thank you,
Beth

Unearthly Book 7

Okay, so based on my love of paranormal romance and all the 5 star reviews on goodreads, I expected to love this book, but I can't say I loved it.  It was a fun and light read, I just don't think it could live up to all the hype.

Clara is part angel, and all angels on Earth have a purpose. One reason for their existence which will become clear sometime during their teen years. From the beginning of the book, it's obvious that Clara's purpose centers around saving a boy, Christian, from a forest fire. Her family picks up and moves from California to some small town in Wyoming, so that she can meet this guy in order to fulfill her purpose. This bothered me. It seemed like if this were her purpose and she was destined to fulfill it, she shouldn't have to move across the country to pursue it because she would have been at the right place at the right time anyhow. Once she gets to Wyoming and meets the guy, he's not interested in her. In fact, no one is. She goes through the typical "new girl w/ no friends" bit. But what I found particularly funny was that her mom, her new found friend, and she all think for a while she should be dating Christian. I didn't really get this. If her purpose was to save him from a fire, why should she date him? Not to mention, he has a girlfriend.
Halfway through the book, the romance is this paranormal romance finally picks up. This after Christian left her at prom and another guy brings her home. The romance is with the other guy. It's cute and believable, but her mom still thinks she should be dating Christian. This is where I got really annoyed. Purpose or not, there is no way I can see encouraging a teen ager (or anyone probably) to date a guy who took her out and left her somewhere to take another girl home. Wow. No way. I don't care that he had a good reason.  Clara does find Christian at the forest fire like her vision said she would, and this happens with a nice little twist. But it doesn't seem she's fulfilled her purpose. And finding Christian at the fire doesn't seem like it's going to make it any easier for her and Tucker (the other guy) to be together.
Throughout the book, there is all this mystery surrounding the mom and her past. It goes on to the very last page and is never resolved. Clara has a repeated vision she knows is connected to her purpose, but isn't sure what her purpose is. This is also not resolved. Clara spends most of the book trying to decide if she date Christian who isn't interested in her or Tucker. This is also not resolved. So I think my major qualms with the book are the lack of resolution and under developed characters. I just never really connected to any of them, and Clara seemed very self centered. The most interesting character to me was Angela, the half angel best friend. But this wasn't Angela's story, so that bothered me.
In spite of all this, the story has a strong voice and manages to be engaging. I couldn't put it down, but at the same time I was annoyed with it. But it made me remember my high school summer breaks. It was a fun book, but it will never make it to my favorites list. I give it 3 stars.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Plot Point Tuesday Twilight

I thought I was the last person in America to read Anna and the French Kiss, but I learned last week I'm not. So this week we're breaking down Twilight. If you want to know more about plot point Tuesday, you can read why we're doing this here. This will be the last plot point Tuesday until after  A-Z blogging challenge (so May).

If you feel this is incorrect, please let me know.

  1. Inciting Incident-- Bella meets Edward.
  2. First Turning Point-- After Edward holds a van up to keep it from crushing Bella she demands to know why. 
  3. Second Turning Point-- Bella realized that Edward is a vampire, but that she's in love with him anyhow.
  4. Midpoint-- In spite of the fact that Edward wants to drain her, Bella decides to pursue a relationship with him anyhow. (The meadow/Lion & the Lamb).
  5. Third Turning Point-- While playing ball with Edward and his family, a tracker happens on to Bella. He wants to kill her.
  6. Climax-- Bella goes to meet the tracker alone, because she is convinced he has her mom.
  7. Resolution-- Bella learns that she is safe, the tracker has been killed, and Edward promises to stay with her as long as it's in her best interest.


I saw something online that said the inciting incident of Twilight was the baseball game, but that doesn't seem right since it would mean there is 200 pages of backstory. Have you read Twilight? Is this how you break it down?

P.S. contest is still open until midnight March 31st. 

A Picture Is Worth a 1,000 Words

A picture is worth a 1000 words is being hosted by Charity at Unicorn Bell. The goal is to let one of several pictures inspire a short story of 1000 words or less.

Lost



 We'd gone to some remote village for vacation. Not much of a vacation. There was absolutely nothing to do. Desperate to get out of that one room log cabin—well, two rooms if you count the bathroom—I headed out the door walking the dirt path. I could only go one direction unless I wanted to battle grass and weeds and God knows what else.

“Don't go far,” Mom called from the door.

“K.” Seriously I was eighteen. I could go as far as I wanted to. I couldn't even remember why I let her talk me into spending spring break in the middle of nowhere anyhow.

I walked as fast as I could away from that stupid little cabin. It didn't take long before I had to make a decision. I could turn back now and let mom teach me how to cook on an “open fire” or I could follow my now narrowing dirt path into an opening in the forest.

I spent four hours getting here in the car with mom. She didn't like my college plans. She didn't like my friends. She didn't like my clothes. I kept waiting on her to say she didn't like me. I was in no hurry to get back to that. Besides, I'd never seen a real forest before.
I trotted into the forest.

But it wasn't long before the dirt path ran out completely and vine overtook the tree. I had to be careful where I stepped. There were branches and bits of dried wood and vines springing up from the ground in every direction. I kept my arms as close to my body as possible, because they were starting to get scratched up.

It was time to turn back, and I did. But after forty-five minutes I still hadn't found my dirt path or seen light from the opening in the forest. At this point, I thought I might be walking around in circles, but I couldn't be sure. Green stuff all looks the same to me.
Then it happened.

It popped its oblong head out of the grass, its beady little eyes fixated on me. If its eyes hadn't been so round and white, I would have never noticed. After all, it was the same color as the grass.
When I was five years old, my mom made me go to girl scouts. It didn't really work out. I was allergic to the uniform. I broke out in hives, and stripped naked before we ever made it outside. But I remembered one thing. When you saw a snake you we're supposed to slowly step back and scream "Snake," so someone could help.
I took a step back screaming, “Snake,” the whole time. I took another step back. My foot hit something behind me. The next thing I knew I was flipping through the air, then I came crashing down.

I struggled to stand. I wondered how far away the snake was. I had to get out of here. But I couldn't get myself into an upright position. Pain radiated from my right arm like someone was trying to yank it off my body. And I felt something wet on my forehead. I moved my arm to feel my head and then I screamed out in agony. Moving the right arm was a bad idea. So I stayed there on the dirty wet forest floor crouched on my knees not knowing what to do. I brought my left hand up to touch my forehead. Blood. Lots of it. It was on my cheeks now too.

So I couldn't stand up. I couldn't move my arm. There was a snake. I wasn't sure where or how far away. I didn't know how to get out of this forest and I had a concussion. I drug my body to the trunk of the nearest tree and situated myself so I could lean against it. I prepared to die here in all this greenery. I closed my eyes hoping I could sleep through the pain.

“Miss, are you okay? Let me help you.”

I opened my eyes to find Prince Charming. No really, knee high boots, leggings with a sword and all. He could clear the brush for me. He could carry me out of here. Maybe I could live! Plus, he was hot.

“Uh-uh...umm,” I stammered.

“Let's get you out of here.”

He leaned down and picked me up like my weight was nothing.

Then that little demon popped its head up again. “Snake,”I screamed.

Prince Charming chuckled. “Oh that—that's just a grass snake. It's harmless.” He kicked the snake with his boot and sent it flying away from us.

The clearing Prince Charming took us out of faced a highway. A real highway with four paved lanes. In the grass that between the highway and the forest, I found other people dressed like Prince Charming. I pointed to a beautiful girl in a brocade dress. “Is that your Cinderella?” I asked.

“What? No. This is my drama club.”

So I broke two bones and bloodied my head outrunning a garden snake. But Prince Charming's real name is Matt, and he's pre-med at the U in town. Mom likes my new college plans, because I'll only be four hours from home. But Matt and I know we don't wander beyond the paved roads.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Critique Partner Needed

I'm looking for a critique partner. My current project is a romantic adult short story of 13,000 words or 41 pages. I've been writing for two years and in that time I've written 3 novels. The first and third were pretty bad. I still insist the second one was genius. I'd like to find someone in about the same spot.

Some of my favorite books are Twilight, Born Wicked, and Perfect Chemistry, basically anything with a strong romance plot. My writinig tends to be PG-13 as is most of what I read. And this short story is adult but my novels are YA.

I'd like to swap 40-50 pages with someone to see if we are a good fit. After that, I'd like this to be an ongoing thing (assuming we're each happy with the feedback we've received). I don't expect to have a novel ready to be critiqued before the fall, but I'm happy to critique your stuff until then. If interested please send me an e-mail with some of your favorite books, what you're looking for in a CP and let's set up a swap ;). I'm at bethfred08(at)gmail.com.

Thanks,
Beth

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View.


Q: What is the longest book you've read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

I think the longest book I've ever read was Little Women. My version was 1043 pages. And my favorite book over 600 pages is Breaking Dawn.

P.S. You can win $25 for the book depository here.

Small Blogs Are Okay

Just over a week ago, I saw an article where some media expert offered advice to bloggers to drive traffic, comments, followers. You know the things we all live for. Most of it was stuff people who blog regularly already know. It's fair to say no one knows when they start out, or at least I didn't. But I asked other bloggers, and they told me. No experts needed.

But one thing really bothered me. This person thinks that if you're planning just to blog some here and there, you should give it up all together. Because you need frequent posts (at least daily, but really multiple times a day is best). This is what you have to do to get traffic, and if you're not going to have traffic don't wast your time. Wow! 


This is probably good advice if you're hoping for a Julie to Julia style book deal, but in that case  you need more than just multiple posts. You need luck. And even if that is what you're hoping for, your blog has to have some kind of aim. No one is going to read trash three times a day just because it's updated. It's true bigger blogs with lots of followers have a larger number of comments than some of their smaller counter parts, but if you look at the number of comments as a percent of the followers, it's often less than 1. I'd rather have a few followers that read and value what I say, than a lot of "LOL" gibberish, just because my URL shows up everywhere.

People blog for lots of reasons. I started my first blog, because I needed to write every day and I wasn't ready to start a new manuscript. I have no real hobbies, so the only thing that seemed natural to me was book reviews. Besides, Stephen King said writers need to read. Project 52 made me read and gave me something to write about. It was six months before I got one comment. Lots of days, I thought about quitting, but wanted to finish my project. Then I decided I'd just suffer through this project unread and when it was over just stop. But when I got my first comment, I learned people had been reading me. They couldn't follow me or comment due to some technical problem with my template. And in the six months I blogged with no comments and no followers I'd taught myself basic html, how to write a decent review, voice, and characterization, as well as to have a thick skin because no matter how hard you work no one is reading you anyhow!

Last week, I lost all of my followers thanks to another google error. Don't get me wrong, I felt like quitting. But I had another project to finish, so I didn't. I've got some followers back, not as many as I had, but I'll re-build. I'm not quitting, because I'm learning to plot, furthering my voice, finding a good genre fit for me, and either meeting or maintaining relationships with interesting people who often know more than me.

Traffic is not the most important thing, unless that's all you're interested in gaining from blogging. I don't think anyone should ever tell anyone to just "give up all together." This is a great experience, and it's true you're going to get out of it what you put into it, but even if you only blog for six months before life takes over and you can't anymore, you'll most likely learn something--come out of it more well-rounded or with some new perception.

Okay, I'm off my soap box now. *Beth steps off of box*


Reminder book depository contest is open until midnight March 31st.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preparing for A-Z Blogfest

So I'm preparing for the A-Z blogfest this year. Last year, I attempted this with no preparation and that resulted in lots of missed days, me posting non-sense to fit letters in, and not really finishing the challenge.

This year I'm going at it with a theme of sorts. It's a little ambiguous, but it will be Beth's Picks. It will revolve mostly around bookish and blogish things, like the best book I've ever read starting with that days letter, or maybe a significant book, or it might be an author. I think it will be fun, because I'm going to be able to link back to a lot of the things I've done over the past 2.5 years, and it will be interesting to kind of re-live some of the better moments of the journey. Lots of days, I drew up an absolute blank for, so I'll be pretty quickly reading another 3 books for P-52 to knock out some letters, killing two birds with one stones. (I want to have all my posts written before April. Even if I go into labor, I can finish the challenge).

But I'm a loss for X. Can anyone recommend a book, author or even a character's name that starts with the letter X?

Introducing Plot Point Tuesdays

Early in 2011, I realized I have a problem with plotting. I wasn't terribly upset about it, because everyone who mentioned my plot could use work also mentioned I have a strong voice and well developed characters. I mulled over these comments and realized I shouldn't be surprised plotting is not my strong point. When I think about my favorite books, they have strong emotional connections and life like characters but have been criticized by everyone under the sun for poor plotting and pacing. I wrote what I loved, but it would be a hard sell. I took a class. I feel like I learned a plotting formula from the class, but not how to plot, and I'm pretty sure that's the important part. I've talked to better writers and read books, nothing seemed to work and then I realized I should just teach myself how to plot. So plot point Tuesdays will be a new weekly feature where I attempt to identify the seven plot points of a well known book, and ask you to correct me when I'm wrong. It's really okay for you to tell me I'm wrong. I want you too.

This week's book will be Anna & The French Kiss 



  1. Inciting Incident--Anna meets Etienne.
  2. First Turning Point-- Anna & Etienne start hanging out alone, going to movies, etc.
  3. Second Turning Point-- Etienne stays in Anna's dorm room for a few days, but becomes more distant when everyone returns from Thanksgiving.
  4. Midpoint-- Etienne kisses Anna in the park then goes to find his girl-friend when they are caught by a friend.
  5. Third Turning Point-- Anna confronts Etienne about not breaking up with his girlfriend and he says she's pretty much guilty of the same thing, because she was holding out hope for her crush back home & dated someone at school too.
  6. Climax-- Anna finds Etienne on the stairway in Notre Dame. (He's afraid of heights but has climbed a winding stair case for her).
  7. Resolution--Etienne tells Anna he loves her and there colleges will only be 20 minutes part in the fall.
Have  you read this book? Is this how you would analyze the plot?

P.S. Please help me re-build my blog & you can win $25 for the book depository here.

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Anna & The French Kiss Book 6

    Anna's parents (it's her dad's idea, but mom goes along w/ it) send her to boarding school in Paris her senior year. Anna's angry about it, because she wanted to spend her senior year at home, misses her family and her friends, doesn't speak French, and didn't have any choice in the matter. Her first night there she meets Meredith(Mer) who instantaneously becomes her best friend and Mer lets Anna in her group of friends. (Now, this is rather ideal. I started college away from home what would have the second semester of my junior year and it did not go that easy)! Leaving Mer's room, Anna bumps into a hot guy, Etienne. He's looking for Mer, so she knows he's off limits. The next day he's at breakfast with Mer and her friends, and they invite Anna to join in. Etienne orders for Anna because she doesn't speak French. And the story begins to unfold.

    All of the characters in this book were extremely well true to life. Well rounded would be the technical term, but I like "true to life" better because I think it describes the way you have clear visual images of these characters and what they're doing at any given moment. Anna is not the overly altruistic YA heroine. She's somewhat self centered but still cares about other people--human. Etienne is not a perfect hero either, but that's what makes him appealing. And all of the secondary characters were just as well developed. The voice is interesting and engaging. I couldn't put this book down, but at the same time I was annoyed that it was taking Anna and Etienne so long to get together and found a million places where they should have gotten together. That's my only real complaint with the book--it just took too long for them to get together and got to the point where they should just decide to be together or quit talking already. I liked the ending. This was a cute book. It's probably the best contemp I've ever read, but I think I'm still more of a paranormal kinda girl ;).

    What have you read lately?


    Reminder: You can win $25 for the book depository here.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Follow Friday

    Follow Friday is hosted by Allison Can Read and parajunkee.


    Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?.


    A: The best book I've read in the last month is probably Anna & The French Kiss. The worst book I've in the last month is probably The Vow.




    P.S. Please help me rebuild my blog, because google ate my followers & you can win a $25 voucher (even if you're outside the US) for the book depository here.
    Also, if you have an upcoming contest or blogfest let me know and I'll put it in my sidebar.

    Rebuilding Beth's Blog

    If you missed my post earlier this week, google ate my friends and followers. I went from having 250+ followers to 0 overnight. Fortunately, I posted about it and some of my old followers have seen it and came re-followed me. But for now, I'm re-building. The irony of it is, I've said several times since 2012 that I feel like I'm completely starting over, because I made so much progress in 2010 and digressed in 2011. And now I really am starting over.

    So I'm hosting a contest for to celebrate a new beginning. I'd like to give away a $25 and a $15 voucher for the book depository. I have not yet figured out how to do this, but if I don't the winners can select books and I will order the books and have them shipped straight to the winner. This contest will be open internationally as long as I can procure a voucher or the international picks a book that can be shipped directly to them. You will get 1 entry for following, 2 entries for posting this to social networking sites per site per day, 5 entries if you tell me you're an old follower re-rofollowing, 3 for putting me in your sidebar and 3 if you dedicate a post to my contest.

    Thanks guys. I know these contest are everywhere, but I really appreciate the help.

    XOXO,
    Beth

    EDIT: I just realized I didn't post an end date for the contest. Let's call it midnight CST on March 31st.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Google Ate My Friends & Followers

    So it appears that when Google said they were removing GFC for all non-blogger blogs, they were actually pretty non-discriminate about it. Shutting down my blog for a week back in December and then backing up all my posts for the past year, and paying for a re-direct didn't matter. They still took my followers. Thanks, Google.

    The irony of it is I would have never left Google in the first place had Google not locked me out of my account in 2010. Again, thanks Google.

    If you were following me before and are still interested, I would be thrilled if you could re-follow me.Some of the people in my friend connect I've known since 2010. It was heartbreaking to realize everyone is gone.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Chime Book 5


    "Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

    Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know."

    This book was weird! Weird enough, I've put a whole lot of time into trying to figure how to review it. The problem is I don't want to be overly harsh, but there were a lot of things I didn't like about it, and I'm not sure it's so much that I didn't like them as they just didn't work.
    I've seen reviews that call Briony a clever main character. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I agree. She hates herself, and based on the things she believes about herself that is understandable, but she never tries to explore why she remembers more about being told these things than actually doing them, or why only one person would notice and keep telling her that. Sometimes, she almost reads like a whipped victim. Another problem is she likes to talk about herself in the 3rd person. It doesn't work because the book is in first person, but most of it reads like 3rd person narration anyhow. Then when Briony goes on for paragraphs in the third person, it's very easy to become completely lost.
    I think (the best I could tell) the book takes place in some small village in England. (I assume this b/c of all the references to London and the queen). The dialect is distracting to show you just how distracting I'm going to include a couple of lines of dialect. These aren't an on-going conversation, just two separate lines that I easily remember.
    "Girl what can see ghost." Translation: Girl who can see ghost.
    "Don't believe nothing what no witch said."
    "It was the boggy mun who kilt us."
    And whole paragraphs of that is a pain! Not to mention it sounds more like the South than England. Fortunately, most of the narration isn't written like that, but I think in places it is. And even the narration isn't easy to follow. I've seen people complain that it's overwritten. I didn't really think so. I admired the metaphors. My biggest problem was just that it jumped around so much. Sometimes multiple times in pages. Once I got into the writing style, the book was actually witty/funny in places and I finally started to care what happened, but it took me 200 pages to get there.
    Lastly, (and for me this was the smallest problem), every assumption you make in the first chapter is correct. It's not really a surprise ending.
    The inside flap and even the prologue talk a lot about Eldric, the romantic interest, being a beautiful stranger who refuses to believe that Briony is wicked. It sets up a romance. This is not a romance. Don't be fooled. This book gets really dark in places and can be very detailed. I think this is the best thing it has going for it and it will appeal to some readers, even though it completely turned me off.
    The only thing I really liked about it is the undercurrent of emotional abuse. It wasn't really even painted as abuse more like a parent telling Briony things that would harm her in order to manipulate her, so the parent could get what they needed. But the damage it did to her and the way she struggled with trying to figure out what actually happened and if she was a bad person was very real. I think/hope kids in situations like that are able to see the parallel.
    I know this book has got rave reviews and won awards, but I cannot give it more than a 2 star review. Because this book is so unique, I was worried about how to review it fairly. I finally made a list of things I liked and things I didn't like and realized there was very little I liked about it. Therefore, 2 stars it is.



    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Progress...Finally Making Some

    YAY!

    If you come here often, you've probably noticed that lots of weeks I'm barely posting once a week, and there has been a lot of talk about how I can't seem to get anything done. This week was very stressful with two major deadlines with the day job and some office related technical problems that slowed the process down.

    It turns out that's what I needed. I'm exhausted. My stomach hurts. My legs are still doing the weird spasm thing, and I cannot wait until Little Baby Fred decides to show up. BUT I FINISHED MY SHORT STORY!!!

    I realize for lots of people finishing a short story is really no big deal. Once upon a time, it wasn't for me either. I used to be able to write that in a day or two. But I'm as thrilled as if I finished a novel. I've also been around commenting again. I was reading blogs before I was just too tired to leave a comment. Sorry guys. I've done my requisite 3 critiques for my critique group this week, and I'm pretty much caught up on the day job.  The only thing I'm behind on is P-52. At this point I should probably have reviewed 10 or 12 books and I've only done 5, but I'm not going to freak out.

    Nova Suma is teaching a class at mediabistro on how to write a YA novel in 12 weeks. I decided to register the course, partly because she will be providing page critiques each week and I hope to improve my writing, but I thought with my current lack of productivity this would force me to get words on paper. But after I read the syllabus I realized that even though my first drafts tend to be 100+k, if I just write 1075 words/ day or 7500 words/week I can finish a full length ms in 14 weeks. I've been too hard on myself. I've set my goals too high and that's part of the reason I can't accomplish them. So my new plan is to spend a week or two editing my short story and re-writing an older one then not write anything else before the class and just catch up on reading. Slow and steady really does win the race. Who would have thought?

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    5 Things on Thursday

    1. You probably don't care, and I wish I didn't know but my hair is unbelievably frizzy.
    2. I'm so tired I feel like my eyes are going to bleed. I tried to work out but felt like I would pass out after ten min. I haven't accomplished anything today.
    3. My hair stylist was out last week so someone else cut my hair. She didn't do much cutting and now when I read, write, or do anything that requires my head be tilted slightly down, I have to pin it back to keep it out of my eyes. My husband finds it amusing to steal my pin and replace it so i have a ponytail on top of my head. He says he made me the Flintstone's baby. Great, I'm Pebbles.
    4. I bought a bag of books from the library yesterday. I picked out four I'm going to read just to try a new genre. The rest I'll donate to RWA.
    5. I really want/need to write & clean today, but I'm not going to make it any long without sleep.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    The Insecure Writer's Support Group

    The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavenaugh.

    And here's what I'm insecure about.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    What Do You Recommend?

    I want to apply to an MFA program this fall to start fall of 2013. I'm not sure what my chances of getting in are as I'm only applying to one school. If accepted, I'll go part time and take four years to finish a two year degree. But it's low residency, so this way I still don't have to pay for day care and can avoid taking loans.

    The application deadline for the fall isn't until Feb, but I'd like to have my application completed and returned around Oct. or Nov. My problem is I've been out of college for six years. I doubt any of my professors even remember me, and it's been five since I left law school (where I didn't do very well anyhow). I need recommendation letters. I think/hope I can get one from work that speaks to my ability to draft professional correspondence and work independently, but I don't know how to acquire a recommendation letter from someone that says I can write creatively and have academic aptitude. I've been out of school for so long and the jobs I've worked have nothing to do with academics or really writing.  Does anyone have suggestions for obtaining recommendation letters?


    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Book 4 The Vow--A Review of Sorts

    First of all, I need to give a shout out to my friend Jennee Thompson. I'm sorry I missed the Suess blogfest! I planned on posting and my mind went blank absent of rhymes.

    Now for The Vow.  This is going to be a weird review for a couple of reasons. I can't really talk about this one without talking about the movie, because it's non-fiction, and I would have never read it if I didn't think the movie was compelling but could be better. I don't read non-fiction, but I picked this book up thinking it would be better than the movie. Wrong. And I want to apologize in advance to the Carpenters as this won't be a five star review. I couldn't decide whether I should review this or not, because it's a true story, and I don't want to offend anyone. But I've checked the amazon reviews and my thoughts seem to be on par with a lot of people's.

    The Carpenters are in a car wreck the day before Thanksgiving which leaves Krickitt in a coma. The movie opens up here. The book starts a year and a half earlier. The problem is this is the inciting incident. I know it's non-fiction, but I've read memoirs need to be as compelling as a novel. The story starts here. Another difference is that the movie moves pretty quickly from the car accident to her trying to rebuild her life. The book spends way too long on the details of her hospitalization and recovery.

    The thing that surprised me is even though this is a memoir and the movie is fiction, I found the movie more believable in many aspects than the book. The couple were basically pen-pals for the first year of their relationship. They met in person 2 months before they got married and were only married 10 weeks before the accident. It then took a year and a half after the accident for them to rebuild any sort of relationship worth having. I know it's true, and I don't doubt it did happen, but there wasn't enough relationship building in the book to make me believe it as I read it. A couple of other things bothered me about the book. For example, I found the characters in the movie easier to relate to. Now, it's true an over-achiever who finally drops out of law school to do something artsy and takes crap from the whole family for it hits close to home for me, but I just felt the characters in the movie were more well rounded. (I'm not in any way implying that the Carpenters are not well-rounded individuals, just that you don't get that from the book).

    Part of the reason I chose this book was because I caught part of an interview with the couple where they said they liked the movie but wish it paid more attention to the role their faith played in staying married. I find lots of expectations when writing and lots of things available for reading to be anti-faith. I thought I'd give this a try. I think the fundamental problem is that it's too much the other way. Rather than building characters (which should be easy to do--the writer knows these people) and building relationships, the writer spends the majority of every page in excerpts from prayer journals. If he really felt it was necessary one or two excerpts for examples would have been fine, but this book reads more like a list of events squeezed between prayers than a story. And I don't know that the overtness makes God's role more apparent to the story. If you're going to have massive head trauma and memory loss, Krickitt Carpenter's situation is the ideal way to do it. They had lots of really supportive family and friends. Her family wanted them to stay together. Had they taken advantage of her memory loss the way Paige's family in the movie did, I'm not sure this couple would have made it. In spite of having a family that wanted to get rid of her husband and not being able to remember who he was, Paige still ended up where she was supposed to be. When she dropped out of law school the second time for the same reason, I just thought, "Wow, you always end up where you're supposed to be. All roads lead to the same place." If I didn't believe in God, I'd have to call it fate. Then she ends up with her husband again. I actually found that more amazing than being able to stay together with lots of encouragement and support. And it's kind of reflective of life too. We make bad or dumb decisions from time to time. It's called being human, but years later when I look back on it, I often find that had I gone another route I'd still end up where I am today.