Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tying Up a Bad Year, New Beginnings, & the Shatter Me Winner

The Shatter Me winner will be announced at the end of this post. It's just more dramatic that way.

It's the last day of 2011 with mere hours left until this year is over, and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. I would say it was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, but I think it was down right bad.

I started my first blog and finished my first ms in 2010. I knew my first ms wasn't good, but I also knew I would write again and project 52 would help me do it, because all the reading was teaching me things. I wrote another manuscript which I still love, and I don't mean some mature kind of love where I can love in spite of its flaws. I love it with the burning passion of a first love and it is so perfect it can have no flaws. Anyone who thinks otherwise just has bad taste. So you can imagine my surprise when even after 180 pages of cuts and about a year of revisions/edits it earned me 105 rejections. I finished project 52 with six hours of 2010 left and high hopes for 2011. Because my phenomenal ms was complete and sure to get me an agent, and I was half way through a third manuscript which in all reality should be even better. I mean I improved like ten fold between my first and second ms, why would it be any different between the second and third? Except, my third ms was so bad I couldn't bare to read it and only sent it to my CP after some degree of coaxing.

Now, I'm hours from the end of 2011 and rather than being elated I finished my project and am off to start a new life within the month (last year my husband and I moved to WI in Jan--I was excited about this until I realized it was horribly cold, Milwaukee is no bigger than Austin, and I don't like the food) I'm lamenting a year of a lack of accomplishments and loss. My grandfather, who I called dad until I was ten years old, because my own dad didn't feel a need to speak to me until I was 24, died 12 days in to 2011. No way to start a year. I miss my central/south Texas town, 50 degree winters, and tacos. I haven't exactly done anything to be proud of this year, and when you're an over-achiever, that's hard. But it's time to put all this behind me and go into a new year. Even if it's really bad 2012 cannot be worse than 2011, and my daughter should be here in May, which means I'll feel way better than I have for the past 5 months and have a baby girl to love. It's time to move forward.

So I'm starting a new Project 52, and in some ways I'm going into 2012 the same way I went into 2010--aiming to complete a project that will have only intangible benefits but most of all knowing what I want to do and wondering if the world will ever let me be successful at it. In other ways, this new year and revamped old project are completely different. I've learned a lot the last two years. I'm going into this with specific goals. Most of my rejection was because I just didn't fit anywhere. No where. One person told me "I'm stuck in cross-genre hell." A well respected editor told me I just can't be part one thing and part another. So now I'm looking for something I can love like YA yet a box big enough to fit my writing.  I also know my grammar isn't up to par to be a writer, so as soon as I find one I'm taking a grammar class.  It's scary and a little depressing to think that since 2009 other than having a few completed projects, I'm more or less in the same place. But it's also promising. I went into 2010 like this and had a good year. Maybe, 2012 will be as well.

Goals for 2012
finish adult novel by Feb. 1 (yes, it has no title)
send adult novel to 2 CPs by March 1 (this will mean finding one more CP)
Query adult novel by June
Rewrite Phantom Fires
Complete P-52 and either know I have a genre or should self publish
Eat Healthier & work out more
be a good mom

I will quit complaining about 2011 and head off for greater frontier.

And the winner of Shatter Me is commutinggirl.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be Right Back

I'll be back after the new year with a contest winner and other goodies.  See you soon and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How To Deal?

Not to long ago I was working on a YA manuscript with a lot of really good things about it. It must have had some bad things about it to, because some people liked this and hated that and other liked that but hated this. Slightly more than half felt one way about it, and slightly less than half felt the other way. It was frustrating and confusing, but I loved the manuscript and the slightly more than half felt the way I did about it so naturally I took the direction of the majority.

Now I'm working on an adult novel. I think this may be a one time thing for me, but either way I'm 14000 words into an adult manuscript. I thought the writing wasn't strong enough, so I sent it to my critique partner who's opinion I trust deeply. She wrote back that she didn't find the MC believable. (Her husband had an affair, and she's agreed to continue living with him so their daughter has both of her parents. They live in separate rooms but operate like a married couple other than that. Three years later her husband is trying to convince her to date him, but she turns him down). My CP thought that since she obviously still has feelings for him refusing to even date him after 3 years, but continuing to live with him, cook dinner, and pick up his dry cleaning was unbelievable. Her suggestion for making the MC believable would also make her someone I'm not willing to spend 300 pages with, and the kind of girl I'm not sure I want to write about. Even if I did want to write her like that I wouldn't know how, because it's not a perspective I can begin or even pretend to understand. And I think it changes the book significantly.

I sent the book to someone else with a worldview closer to my own. She found the premise completely believable but didn't think the MC was mad enough at her cheating husband. My CP says she's plenty mad. Maybe, too mad because it's three years later and she still won't even go out for coffee with her husband.

If they didn't like the same thing that would be easy. I would know either something needed to change, or I just shouldn't finish the book, because it's not a change I'm going to write. But since I'm getting conflicting advice I don't know what to do. It's frustrating. It makes me want to beat my head off a wall, and the same thing happened with the YA ms I last worked on. Since then, I wrote a book that I chose no to revise/query because it wasn't worth it. The feedback was stuff I already knew and it didn't matter, since I wasn't querying it. Then I got sixty something pages into another ms that I decided wasn't going in the right direction, so I threw in the towel. I'm fifty pages into this. I thought it was going in the right direction, and maybe with the clearest plot I'd ever worked out. (Characters and voice I'm good at, plot not so much). And the conflicting opinions are already rolling in. I don't know what to do. I really don't want to spend the time to finish another ms that's going to receive 105 rejections, and on the other hand I've already put a lot of work into this. I don't want to just leave it unfinished.

How do you deal with conflicting advice?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Special Thanks to The Book Stall & A Contest for You

A special thanks to The Book Stall, my favorite bookstore is in order. They just sent me a huge box of books, many ARCs several signed.

Look at this. It's like Christmas early.

"Wow! So many books! Thank you Book Stall!!!!

My personal favorite is Embrace coming out spring of 2012. The ARC has no back cover, but it did come with a letter from the MC's mom, which did way more to pull me in than any cover copy ever could.

I love this one too much to part with it. Today, I'm giving away an autographed copy of Shatter Me, not because I don't love it. But because they were nice enough to send one autographed ARC personalized to me, and one autographed ARC not personalized.

For this contest, you don't have to follow me to win, but if you want to follow me I would love it.  You will get one entry each time you blog/facebook/tweet my contest. You will get 3 entries for me in your side bar until the contest ends next Saturday and 3 entries for following liking The Book Stall's facebook page and leaving the comment "Thanks for Beth's contest."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Insecure Writers Support Group

The only thing I'm feeling insecure about today is finishing my WIP. It's my first ever adult manuscript, which makes it hard because I'm not sure if the voice is right. But more than that with everything that's been going on, I can't write for a long at a time. I so wanted to finish this project by January, which is looking implausible if not impossible. I definitely don't want to be working on it past February. It seems like when you don't finish something rather quickly it tends to get stale--or at least to me it does.

Special thanks to Alex for organizing this.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do you need to follow to read?

I've recently learned as of March 2012 the GFC (more commonly known as the "follow me" button) will not work on non-blogger blogs.

My first blog was a blogger domain and there are many things about that interface that I miss. However, after someone hacked my google email address I came dangerously close to losing a year's worth of work, an experience I'm not willing to repeat. supports RSS feeds, but GFC is my primary follower source. I have the best followers in the world. With everything going on in my life until this Wed I'd been unable to blog in nearly one month and lost only one follower. I thank you guys so much for sticking with me through this all. Now I have a question for you. How important is a follower button? Would you still read my blog without it, or maybe not because you wouldn't know when it had been updated? Should I try to add network blogs or some other follower method, or should I just not worry about it?

I really need your input on this one. Part of me wants to remember that I didn't have a follower button (unbeknown to me) and thus no followers for the first six months I blogged, and although it was disheartening I maintained quality posts. But then I can't help but wonder if I would be impossible to find without some sort of follower button.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Blues

Ahh--I shouldn't complain. I feel better than I did a few days ago. I'm just not in the holiday spirit this year. In fact, I'd kind of like them to just blow over. But my husband has been singing Christmas carols for two weeks, so it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Mostly, I just feel guilty. I know there is a lot I should be thankful for, but I'm not.  I chalk it up to it being a hard year with lots of transition, most of which I haven't enjoyed, like losing my grandpa and moving to the tundra...I'm sure the bronchitis and morning sickness combo isn't helping my mood either.

The mood shall improve though. I'll decorate the house for tomorrow's lunch later today and start cooking and I'm sure I'll get over my funk.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Authentic Teen Experience

A couple of months ago an editor critiqued my YA ms and said that a marriage proposal felt too mature for YA. My first reaction to this was complete annoyance. Partly because for my characters I felt it was a natural choice, but also because Perfect Chemistry, The Twilight Saga, The Shiver Trilogy, and The Lost Saint series, all have marriage proposals in them.

I returned home from the conference and discussed this issue at length with a friend. She said she thought they were looking for an "authentic teen experience" and that most teens aren't thinking about getting married. She said she'd had similar critiques in her writing just not regarding marriage proposals. This is when I went from being annoyed to pissed off (not at the friend, at the situation). Because am I writing a book about the majority of all teens, or am I writing a book two teens both orphans looking to build the family that was taken from them? As I'm flying to Texas for a 19 year old's wedding next week, I don't find a YA marriage proposal to be inauthentic.

But what makes me angry is who is an editor/agent to decide what's "authentic?" I turned 17 on 9/11/2001. I left for college on 1/14/02. I moved hours from anyone or anything I knew when I should have been a junior in high school. I was hazed for being one of the two youngest people there and for a rare sometimes medical condition. I met a lot of interesting people there too, including a couple of married teens and another married couple who were young adults when I met them, but married as teens. I met an 18 year old honor student with a four year old, and from what I understood of her situation his father was no longer in their lives. I bet all these people think their experiences were authentic. By the time my class graduated I'd been through a couple of heartbreaks, acted in some independent films, forced back to the town I spent my life trying to get out of and escaped again. It obviously wasn't the norm at the time, since I did all this before I should have graduated, but every moment of felt real.

My little brother moved out of my parents house and into an apartment across town at 16. His apartment was behind the home of a diabetic old lady and when dogs tore her trash open insulin needles were scattered in the driveway. My parents accused of him of being on drugs. In a very authentic fight with my step dad in front of his school, he was expelled and got a fine which he still finds authentic today. My husband graduated from an all boys high school without ever having gone on a date or even having a crush. I was his first love, and he met me at 24.

I must be lost, because I have no idea what the "norm" is. I don't know what the majority of teens think/don't think. I'm clueless as to what this "authentic teen experience" editors want is, and I must be a bad writer or just stupid because futhermore, I DON'T CARE!!!! I met a girl on page one. She was carefree and in total denial of her crush on the boy-next-door/former best-friend/ex-almost boyfriend. I had to follow her through a whole lot of pages and the only thing that mattered that whole time was what she thought and what he thought and how they related to each other.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thought For the Day

Before I get to the actual thought for the day I just want to say I'm sorry I'm not posting regularly, and even sorrier I'm not around much these days. Morning sickness is exhausting me and making just the work day hard to get through. I come home and almost fall asleep on the couch, eat dinner, and shortly after fall asleep for the night. The nausea got bad enough that I had to go on Zofran to keep food down which was accompanied by more fatigue and other side effects. All of this being said, I miss blogging. But I think I can't commit to more than once a week posts until ELF has arrived. If you could check me out on Fridays, there will probably be something new. That's my day off and Emil's day not off so it's a good day to post.

Now for the thought of the day.
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
― Cyril Connolly

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is a good day for this post, because believe me I'm feeling insecure. I think I've recently came to the decision to self publish my YA novel Phantom Fires. It's so scary. Lots of people have read it by now. It's been through 7 rounds of revisions and 180 pages of cuts. About half of the people love it, and half want it to be something it's not.  I think it's pretty much a given half the reviews will love it, and half the reviews will hate it for not being something it's not. I guess the good thing is no one feels middle of the road about it? LOL I don't know.

I love my story. I worked hard on it and I'm not giving up on it. I think if I were willing to make some major plot changes I could go the traditional route. I've been told as much. But I'm not willing to. I'm not just not. If I do that, it's a different story. And I wrote the story I want to tell. I think if it isn't the story someone wants to read they can give me a one star review on goodreads and move on. That being said, with the stigma against self publishing, and the inability to reach bookstore and library markets it's still a terrifying thing. I hired a freelance editor because I just think a  professional should edit something before it's published. And before it's over, I'll hire a cover artist and a book formatter. It's not a small investment, and I'm okay with that because I love it. And I don't love being told what to write, but I just hope it goes over well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The ELF is coming, the ELF is coming

Okay, so most of you probably already saw this on facebook, but the ELF is coming! Emily Lace or Edward Luke Fred is expected to arrive on or about May 11, 2012 ;).


Oh, and you have a better L name for a boy please let me know ;). This is awesome. What urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer doesn't want her own elf?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Now Hiring

I'm looking for a freelance editor to edit my 324 page YA paranormal romance Phantom Fires. I hope to find someone reasonably priced with experience in YA.

If you are interrsted, please send an email to bethfred08 @ with "freelance editor" in the subject line. Tell me the last ten books youve read and your five all time favorite books. Include a list of projects you have edited along with the names of the authors and/or a resume.

I appreciate all the responses, but please tell me your favorite books. I know it sounds silly, but I'm looking for someone with a similar reading list. I want the editor to enjoy this gig and be as passionate about the book as I am.

Wed & Writing: The Problem With My Writing

Forgive the title. This was scheduled to post last Wednesday and somehow didn't.
In December of 2009, I decided I wanted to be a writer. While I had decided this a couple of times before one thing was different this time. I knew what I wanted to write, so I set out to write it. I did, and it sucked. I wanted to fix it, but I didn't know where to begin. My gut feeling was the whole book needed to be thrown out, and re-started from the first line. The only way to fix it was to re-write it. But after spending two months on it, and knowing the concept was amazing (and I still believe this) I was in no place to re-write. I didn't. I decided I'd start something new. I tried and 60 pages in, I could tell it sucked. I kept the premise in the back of my mind and read and blogged and contemplated how to fix first book. I had a dream that I knew would translate into a book. I just didn't know when.

So I got bored one day and decided to just write the book from the dream. I combined the original premise with my dream and spent the next four months working away on my second novel, Phantom Fires. I wrote a book, and it didn't suck. I was aware of this. I sent it off to betas and cps expecting it to come back with grammatical errors and the few plot holes I knew about, and just needed a break before fixing. It came back with much more than that, and when you're as stubborn as me this is hard to accept. But I did. I paid for agent critiques, and I took a revision class. I cut 120 pages. Now I knew not only was it brilliant, it shined. My teen readers agree.

I queried, and it seems New York doesn't agree. This is disheartening but I wouldn't give up. In fact, by the time I felt novel #2 had been through enough revision to query, I had a complete draft of #3. The only problem? It just wasn't as good. I degressed! Now my CP kindly pointed out that for personal reasons #3 was harder to write, and that it's a genre I don't write or even read. But still. I wrote something brilliant which NY either refuses to appreciate or simply can't comprehend, and my next shot was a step backwards?  Can't a girl catch a break.

I didn't think I would query #3 but decided to edit it anyhow. After all, I could learn from the revision. I read through it and came to this conclusion: I need to cut one narrator and 58,000 words which will change the theme of the book. I have no idea what the new theme is, just that the only way for the story to survive is to cut the girl and her 58k. But writing this book was hard, like a root canal. So I decided to put off editing for a while, send it to my cp even though i know im cutting 58k, because she may be able to tell me something about the remaining 42k, or what parts she thinks I should try to keep and rewrite from the guy's pov. In the meantime, I'd be working on #4. I started. The first 30 pages were really good. But after that it felt forced and had so many plot elements I had no idea how they would all come together. By now, I cried. I had to. I have the brilliant #2 which will never see the light of day, and since then I've gotten WORSE. Wow. I was okay with the first one being bad. Really. I could improve and I did. Then I unimproved.

I must be smarter when I sleep b/c my last 3 concepts came from dreams, but so did the reason I started sucking again.

*You are now entering a weird freaky Beth dream.*

I'm walking on a road not far from my apartment, but far enough getting there on foot would be a loong walk. A white 90's model car is speeding along, but begins to lurch to a stop as it approaches me. Instinctively, I know this car is for me and I know the driver, but I have the strangest feeling that I'm not supposed to know the driver just yet.

The car was much nicer on the outside. The inside is bright maroon and the vinyl in the door is cracked in places. The car even has a unique smell. I think to myself, take it all in. Don't forget anything. You'll need to remember this so you're able to write it at some point. Then dream Beth looks straight at me (the best way to describe this is like a cameo shot in a movie) and says, "Get out of my head. It's no wonder you suck. You get your inspiration from your dreams. You can't control them."

*end dream sequence*

And I think dream Beth was right, because one constant struggle I had in the first sixty pages of the book I left undone was remembering that the protag was not me, remembering that writing is not editing. The challenge was taking my overly ambitious writer conscious out of the story, or in this case out of the dream. So how does a writer not try so hard?

And in contrast to this there Julie Musil has a good post up about how hard work pays off. So what's a girl to do?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tag, You're It.

First of all, my posts have been crazy sporadic lately and I've been a horrible commenter, because life has be insanely crazy. I'm sorry and I hope to get better, but make no promises.

Secondly, Jen tagged me last week. And now I must tag someone else. The tag means I have to share 10 random things about myself that should help my followers to know me better. The hard part is I feel like I say everything I think/feel/am on my blog. In other words, if you read me you know me. But I'll try.

1.  I think (not know) that I have a huge secret I can't share for a while and it's eating at me.

2. I've become a new addict of selzter water and crystal light.

3. As I type this, I really want to be asleep. (Yes, I'm that boring but more than that I'm that tired).

4. I have no idea what my favorite song is, but I'm almost sure it's Taylor Swift.

5. The pharmacy closed early today and I could not get my inhaler. Sucked.

6. If you're on my fb you know it's my birthday. Sharing a birthday w/ 9/11 sucks more than a prematurely locked up pharmacy.

7. I <3 Cheesecake Factory, but don't know what my fave cheesecake is. I often order the faves of people I miss. Like my bff's fave cheesecake is vanilla bean so tonight I ordered a vanilla bean and ate it for her.

8. I went to Canada last weekend. It was amazing.

9. I'm so ready for Breaking Dawn to come out, or if not Breaking Dawn just any decent chick flick. The last four times hubs and I have wanted to watch a movie, we've ended up checking the listings and deciding against it.k

10. I love the garlic, serano, chili chick peas, but try so hard not to eat them. I have a food addiction. Seriously.

And now I'm tagging:

Brenda Sills

Catherine Johnson

MG Higgins

Stacy Jensen

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leaving today....

Okay, so I'm flying by myself for the first time since 07, and some time tonight I will be in LA. Wish me luck!!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let's Be Fair

Recently, I was at a conference that I feel sure a few self published writers attended. There were some comments made by an agent and a moderator about how unprofessional self publishing is, and how it's always been around but professional writers will always go the "real" way.

I feel for this post to matter I need to point out that I'm not self published, and that while it's tempting I'm not really sure I ever will be self published.

I do editing for people. I've edited for traditionally published writers, self published writers, and unpublished writers. Some of the stuff I've read has been really good, some not. I didn't say some of the stuff I receive from the traditionally published has been really good (though some of it has). I said some of the stuff I see is awesome, and some isn't.

If you jumped over with me from P-52, you probably know I also read. A lot. To date, most of what I've read (other than what I'm sent) has been traditionally published because I don't own an e-reader. My vision isn't great, and with no e-reader print is just the best option for me. You can't usually buy self published books in the store, and I don't shop online so in an industry controlled by a select few, most of what I read is traditionally published. And I have read some really bad traditionally published books. Last year I did 52 book reviews.  This year my goal was to review 30 books, and even though I've read way more than 30 books, I've reviewed a handful. I quit doing negative reviews. And while I always make an effort to give balanced reviews if my list of annoyances is longer than my love list I just won't review it. Now having read more than 30 books and only having reviewed five, I'm sure you can guess that I read more than one traditionally published book I didn't feel okay reviewing. But it gets more complicated than that. I read a book that was expected to do fairly well. It jumped from first person to third person for whole sections with no warning it would do so and the sections had no rhyme or reason. It felt like the writer needed to convey something mc couldn't know, so she'd just jump heads. Wow. I went to another signing where the writer got confused by their own writing! I never talk about these things on my blog. I'm not out to insult anyone, or their work. And I'm not out to make enemies. But lots of book bloggers also write. And lots of writers know that they can't be too harsh about a book that may have really had some things wrong with, because they may need to work with that editor.  And so traditionally published books, that I have to pay $15-$20 for may not be fairly reviewed. While on the flip-side, a self published book that you usually pay less than $8 and often less than $3 for is overly criticized, because the notion is it must be bad or it would have been traditionally published. The reviewer opens it with the expectation of mistakes, and when you look for something, you usually find it. Not to mention the reviewer probably won't have to work with the editor in the future.

I'd also like to point out that not all books are self published because they couldn't be traditionally published. There are many good reasons to self publish. I have a fairly complex YA ms out right now. Some people like it. Some don't. But some people would like to see it altered in a way that will make integral changes to the story. I'm not sure I'm okay with that. And I know there are some things about the book that I will not change, not even if it means keeping it on my hard drive. I have respect for a writer who chooses to self publish and be true to the story they wrote, over rewriting for one person. Sorry, I just do. (I need to say I'm not advocating no one ever make revisions. That's not what I mean, but I think there comes a time when you as the artist know when something is too far from your vision to work).

I'd like to see changes in the blogosphere reflect changes in the industry. I really do think it's okay to be critical of the self published as long as you review the traditionally published by the same standard. And I'd like to see writer/blogger circles move away from the view that the self published couldn't otherwise be published.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waiting On Wed. The Iron Knight

I think I posted this one before the cover was out, but I like it so I'm posting it again. And I technically already have it as a galley and am loving it, but I can't read it on my comp, so I'm still waiting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

You know the game. I leave a word in bold. You type the first word that comes to mind. The next commenter will type the first word your word made them think of. This will go on until Wed. ;)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Changes in the Industry

There has been a lot of talk lately about how this industry we all love or love to hate (whatever the case may be) is changing for the first time. That's true in part. It is changing; it's just not the first time. And I think we'd be fools to think that it will be the last time.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, books were printed in installments, like magazine sometimes even included in something else, even more like a magazine. They were distributed in London and crossed an ocean to the new world. Readers (the few and proud) made a mad dash for the latest installments. It was the pre-television soap opera. It carried a message. It was artistic. It became a classic...IT WAS WRITTEN AS ENTERTAINMENT.

Times changed. The industry caught up with the rest of the world, evolved. With other forms of entertainment becoming accessible and popular and the reading population larger, installments weren't a good option. Today, we like our books bound, preferably in one casing to be completed at our earliest convenience. (This is also the reason classics have a tendency to feel entirely too long and overly descriptive; the repetition once served as a reminder of the last installment).

But what we consider the modern novel has been around for a while. And society like technology has continued to change. Today, we live on phones that are basically hand held computers. We chat in sound bites of exactly 140 characters, and the publishing industry once again must catch up. Agents are now representing self published. Harry Potter has gone digital, and 30% of books sold are e-readers. So the industry will change. True, change is hard, but life will go on like always. And really, change can be good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wed. & Writing: You Tell Me

It's kind of ironic because not too long ago I posted conference tips, but i'm just a bundle of nerves. I guess there isn't much to be nervous about since there are no pitch sessions. But I feel like this conference is so important, some kind of opportunity or something. I guess, in truth, I know that this is a networking event, and that networking is not my strong suit. Don't get me wrong. I'm a friendly person and I love meeting people. But most of the time I'm too shy to just approach people. I've learned to use my bookmark as a tool. I feel better talking to strangers if I can give them something, like somehow my 40 cent bookmark will make them want to talk to me. LOL. And to make matters worse, I'm kind of awkward. Like I don't say the right things at the right times. In the blogosphere I can. It's easier. I prefer to write than talk anyhow, and I can see what my response looks like before I send it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

Here's how the game goes: I put a word in bold. Commenter #1 types the first word they think of. #2 types the first word #1 made them think of and so forth and so on.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Contest Winner has declared Beverly Stowe McClure the proud owner of the Cold Kiss ARC and autographed Forever. Congratulations! But it will probably be next Friday (12th) before I can get the books out to you due to the SCBWI con this week and preparations for it.

On the same note, that is why there is not much of a post today! Posts this week will probably be short and sweet. I'll be reading blogs until I leave thurs and probably even from the conference, but much of that will be from my phone so if I'm not commenting this week, that's why.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Allison Can Read.

Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

I have no idea. I own 3 t-shirts, 2 with a hideous red hog on them from the University of Arkansas and one with Edward, Bella, and Jacob on the front and Jake's face is exed out with permanent marker. It's my fave but obviously has no slogan, except maybe that I take paranormal romances way too seriously.

Thursday, July 28, 2011



You can also see what author Amy Garvey thinks about writing here and what she thinks about her new book here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amy's Answers Part II

Cold Kiss is definitely heartfelt. What inspired this book?

A bunch of people were talking about YA trends, and someone mentioned zombies. And I thought, yeah, a girl with a zombie boyfriend, that would be funny. But then it stuck with me, and I realized it wouldn’t be funny at all. I have a lot of issues around death and loss, and the idea of someone bringing a loved one back to life really appealed to me, just to explore what that would mean.

If you had to describe Wren in 3 word what would they be? ...And Gabriel?

This one is so tough! I think for Wren it would be: headstrong, curious, independent. And for Gabriel: steady, challenging, protective.

Wren learns a lot through the course of the book. What do you think her most important lesson is?

I think the most important lesson she learns is that love is so much more than a happy ending. It’s not just about how you feel, either. Love comes with a responsibility to the people you care for, and sometimes that means letting them go. Love has to be selfless to a certain extent.

Both Wren and Gabriel have rather unique abilities and the magic that runs through the books is unique. How did this idea develop?

I’ve always loved the idea of ESP or any kind of psychic ability, which is generally purely organic – you either have it or you don’t. I don’t see why magic couldn’t be the same kind of thing – one of those “humans generally only use ten percent of our brain capacity” things. If it’s part of the ninety percent that doesn’t usually get tapped into, I thought it would be something that ran in a family, like a gene or a talent.

But I also like the idea that magic is out there the way electricity is, and that if you can figure out how to harness it, you can use it. So someone without that natural ability, but with focus and determination, could use spells, too.

One thing that was important to me was making the story feel as real as possible, as if everything that was happening could actually happen to any girl in the world. That’s why I didn’t want to create a whole magical school or community. I wanted Wren to have to figure out what to do with her power, the same way I would have if I had suddenly realized I could turn a paper bird into a live one, or change the color of the walls with just a thought. It works better as a metaphor for me that way, too.

Don't forget you can win a Cold Kiss ARC  & autographed copy of Forever here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wed. & Writing: Amy's Answers

In honor of Cold Kiss week, this Wed. we have words on writing from Amy Garvey.

Who is your greatest inspiration in writing?

Probably writers like Nora Roberts and Stephen King. Writers who just kept at it, as long as it took, and who value story as much as style. There are probably a dozen more I could name, but I really respect an author who spends the majority of his or her time writing. There are a lot of distractions out there, and some of them are necessary and even beneficial, but the most important part of being an author is giving yourself space and time to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It’s a big cliché, but I was a kid when I knew. In elementary school I always went all out with the creative writing assignments, and I was lucky to get a lot of them. I have notebooks from those years with these nascent, completely embarrassing stories, but they were my greatest joy aside from reading. Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, even when I knew I’d have to do other things to pay the bills.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

To keep at it. To study the market, because in the end, no matter how brilliant some stories are, if there’s no audience for them, they won’t be published (traditionally, anyway). Know what you’re getting into if you decide to self-publish. Work on your ideas and your use of language more than you develop your Twitter persona or expand your network. Know that there is no magic formula and that publishing, like a lot of other arts, usually involves as much luck as talent. And always keep reading.

Were there any specific resources that helped you in querying process?

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful agent, Maureen Walters at Curtis Brown, Ltd. So all that stuff gets left to her.

Was there one moment or event that you really feel catapulted your career?

Two things have certainly boosted my self-esteem. I worked for Kensington Publishing as an editor for years, and the first books I ever had published were through them after I quit. But there was always a nagging feeling that it was a favor to me, that I was simply being helped out by friends. So when I sold a manuscript to Harlequin (for a line that sadly died before it was ever really established, although my book was released within Superromance), I was thrilled. Someone who didn’t know me personally loved my work! I felt the same way when Cold Kiss sold, because not only was it another publisher, but it was a new genre for me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday Cold Kiss Style

If you missed it yesterday you can enter to win a Cold Kiss ARC & Signed Copy of Forever  here.

Now that the serious business has been tended to we can get to our weekly word association game. You know the rules. I put a word in bold at the end of the post and the first commenter types the first word that comes to mind. The next person piggy backs off that comment with just the first word they think of  and so forth and so on.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cold Kiss Review & ARC Give Away

Author Amy Gavey, The Bookstall, and I have teamed up to bring you Cold Kiss week, which will feature a two part interview, and is being kicked off with an ARC contest! Details on how to win are at the end of the review, more ways than usual ;).

"Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. " (goodreads synop)

This book was brilliantly executed and just beautiful. Wren, the main character, has powerful magic that runs in her family, but her mother wants to deny it. She's never been taught how to handle it or what the limits are since her mother pretends it doesn't exist.  I think Wren is an awesome protagonist. She's strong but not damaged like Katniss. Though she is damaged in her own ways.

Because she has power she's never been taught what to do with, in heartbroken desperation she does something horrible and incredibly stupid. She brings her dead boyfriend back to life, but he comes back rather lifeless. She tries to be everything he could possibly need, and she can't. It becomes obvious she's going to have to do something about her zombie boyfriend. But she doesn't want to. She loves him.

To make matters more complicated the hot new boy at school is determined to help her with her zombie problems, because he "likes" her. Something else she's not ready for. But she maneuvers pretty gracefully through it all, in a story about love, loss, and letting go.  And she learns a lot along the way.

When I first started reading this story, I thought the author should have done more relationship building between Wren and zombie boy to make me care about him. But it's woven through out, which was a good move.  Because by the end of the story your emotions are as twisted as Wren's. You want her to have Danny back, but you know Gabriel is a good guy for her too. You know what has to happen has to happen and yet you don't want it to. And more up front relationship building would have made me hate Wren for talking to Gabriel. The way the author handles it is brilliant.

But the lesson that you can't hold onto someone you love just because you love them is the best part of the book. Most of us have lost someone, in one way or another, that we weren't ready to part with.

Now how to win Cold Kiss which you can't buy until September.

You don't have to follow me to win, but it will get you 2 extra entries. You will get 3 entries for fb, twitter, blogging, google buzzing, google plussing, the contest, you will get 3 entries for liking The Bookstall's fb page which you can find here and 2 entries if you just leave a comment saying Beth sent you. So there are lots of ways to rack up points. This contest is open internationally and it will be open until midnight Saturday 30 CST.

This is an amazing book so good luck!!!!

UPDATE: This ARC contest just got sweeter. My autographed stock just came in and since the B&N incident rendered last week's contest impossible the ARC winner will now receive an autographed copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Forever too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Epic Signed ARC Give Away

The epic signed ARC give away is being hosted by Sara at Babbling Flow. And it really is epic! She's got five autographed ARCs up for grabs, including the sequel to Anna and the French Kiss, and lots of paranormal goodies. Winning is easy so check her out, and be sure to tell her Beth sent you ;).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hereafter Book #4

I really enjoyed this book. The premise is fresh and intriguing, and for those of us who spend our lives in YA paranormal romance fresh is getting harder and harder to find. The characters are well developed and the story is AWESOME!!! Page one starts out with dead girl, Amelia, trying to help Josh out of the water before he dies, and the story keeps going from there. The romance is strong. I don't know if it's quite Twilight strong, but it's definitely stronger than what has become the status quo.

But as much as I loved this book, I can only give it a 3.5 star rating. Because I feel some things should have been done differently. A sub-plot magically appears somewhere between half way and 3/4  through the book. This bothered me in part b/c there was no evidence or reason to believe it was even a problem and the MC was overly concerned about it. Once I'd gotten to the end, I felt the new sub-plot was part of a set up for a sequel. That would be okay, except it didn't feel organic.  Also it's true that the characters were well developed, but that being said there were a lot of eye brows being raised. Sometimes, it felt like a natural reaction, when someone was questioning something. But it often felt like a default reaction which seems like that would be a trait of one person, rather than everyone in a novel. I've been told this is a picky  critique, but to me it didn't feel that different from an overused word, which many reviewers would point out.

Overall, this was a good read, fast and fun. I recommend it for fans of the YA paranormal romance. Actually, if I have enough interest, I'd like to mail this one around for a blog tour. Let me know in the comments section if you'd be interested in reviewing it and sending it on to another person.

Wed. & Writing: Critiquing

Critiquing is a great way to improve your writing. Exchanging critiques is also a good way to get free input on your manuscript, and you all know what I think about having a critique partner. Not to mention, a lot of unpublished writers are REALLY good and it's an opportunity for free reads some of which are amazing.

Bottom line is if you're critiquing someone's work, most reasons you'll have for doing it are good ones. But the critiques need to be good too, and good intentions don't always translate into good suggestions.

So how do you critique? What makes a suggestion a good one?

I don't think there is any right way to critique/edit. I think most of the time our critique methods will be as different as our writing styles. But some basic standards can/shoud apply to all of us.

You should start out with an agreement of how thorough critiques need to be and a timeline for returning work. Clear expectations are easier to meet, which is better for everyone involved. You can avoid frustration on both ends this way.

But what about the actual comments? What you actually say when you critique someone's work is what I want to talk about today. You need to be as specific as possible. Don't use a phrase or expression you assume is common knowledge. There is a good chance it might be, but there is also a chance it's not. And even if it is what if the person you're critiquing for is from a different region of the country/world where that expression is not used? Or hasn't been writing very long so while "show don't tell" is ad nauseum to lots of writers it means nothing to them? So instead of "show don't tell," try "I need to know what the quilt looks like." An agent once left a comment on my query, "I don't care about any of these people." I read it and thought she just wasn't a nice person, because I had heard that there were things in my book that needed to be fixed, but it was pretty much a consensus that characterization is my strong point. A month later at a conference, I put my hook into a critique basket. The commentor read it and said, "This doesn't tell me anything about the MC. There has to be more to her than this."--That made sense. I suddenly understood what the agent meant when she said "she didn't care about my characters." They were developed in the book, but i hadn't described them in the query.

Ask questions. Sometimes asking Why? or How does the MC do this when X event is happening. Or any number of questions is more helpful than a comment. It lets the writer know what's missing, or what you're looking for. But sometimes you can see something is missing the writing and don't know how to specify what. Asking a question helps lead the writer to that detail of what exactly is wrong.

In a nutshell, be as clear as possible. Critiquing is hard work on both ends. It's a tough balancing act to have to point out everything that's wrong with someone's work product without feeling like a bully. And opening a document full of red ink is no fun either, but that writer would rather see it from a friend or partner than an agent/editor. Since it's such a painful process, it should be as productive as possible. Ambiguity doesn't help anyone. And if you think you've been clear, worded the comment as precise as words will allow, asked all the right questions and aren't seeing a change, you might find a different way to say it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

You know the rules. I post a word in bold at the end of this post. The first person to comment types the first word that pops into their head. The next person types the first word the last comment made them think of and so forth and so on. I will be back to play in the comments.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

4 Things on a Friday

1. I like this song.

2. Make sure you drop by the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be doing an ARC Give Away and my first ever blog tour!!!

3. Read Hereafter and Cold Kiss. They are awesome. (They are also what will be available via give away/blog tour in weeks to come.

4. There is no four. Happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Cliche of Cliches

I have to tell you, I think the most cliche I've ever heard is "That's cliche." I know you're rolling your eyes and scoffing at me right now, but just hear me out.

I wrote a book (an awesome one) about a girl and her boy next door. Before I'd even finished editing the book, I heard more than once "Don't you think the boy next door love story is cliche?" No, I really didn't. That's why I wrote it. But I finished editing it and the time to query came. I started researching boy next door love stories to compare to in my query. LOL. I couldn't find any. None. I met a writer friend who recently got an agent for her boy next door love story. But this is a rewrite of a previously queried project for her. She told me she got so much hell for writing a boy next door love story, and when she researched to find things to query she couldn't find any either! Yes, Beth is not crazy. They don't exist as much as you would think. We talked about it for a long time and decided that because "the girl next door" is a way to describe "every girl" and because the "boy next door" is a subplot in lots of things it has became "cliche." So because we have the notion that the concept is overdone, we're now underrated "cliche" artists for using it?

And this isn't the only reason the term "cliche" bothers me. When I was in college, the final project in my media class was to debunk a stereotype. My group chose to debunk the stereotype that all college kids party on the beach for spring break. Interestingly enough, spring break came in the middle of this. We thought we'd interview some people from our group who didn't party. Unfortunately, I was the brokest college kid in our group, had three jobs and still managed to party on the beach. I rode to Galveston with a few friends. We took a $30/night hotel room (something you can only do at 20 because once sanity kicks in you stay away from $30 hotel rooms)and because we were splitting it 3 ways it was $10/night ;). We expanded our search to the rest of the class and finally ended up interviewing random people in the student union. We found a couple of kids who went on a mission trip together and one girl who wanted to party but had to work. We edited the film to cut out the part about she wanted to party and left "I worked." Obviously not every college kid parties on spring break, but our research indicated at least at our school most of them did. Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. So does your character being the norm make them any less interesting? Or does it just make them easier to relate to? And my guess is if 30 college kids party on the beach, some of them had more fun than others. Or they partied for different reasons. (I'd never seen a beach before and the only way to get there was to ride w/ my partier friends). Are their experiences less important because it's "cliche?" If 15 football players are rich jerks who drive convertibles, but have 15 different reasons for being a jerk does it matter? Is the guy who is a jerk because he feels like he's messed up to bad to be on the straight and arrow now the same as the guy who is a jerk, because he thinks the world just revolves around him?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wed. & Writing: The Bottom Up Technique

Most of you know, I come from a stage background, and when I changed my major and went to law school I thought those wasted years were the end of the world--until I started writing YA. Because methods for charicterization and stake building I learned for stage translate easy into my writing.

I've been contemplating writing two very different paranormal romances at once. The worlds, characters and "rules" of reality will be very different. And anyone who has ever tried to live in multiple worlds at once can tell this is very difficult. To make it easier on myself I've decided to write in character.

You're probably wondering what on earth I mean by that. Doesn't everyone who writes in the first person write in character?

Well, probably not like this. I've decided that on days I'm writing Katie's story, I'm going to be Katie (who is actually Rachel) and on days I'm writing Emily, I'll be Emily (who is just Emily, thank God).

Katie is a Vegas show girl. I'll start with sexy heels and build a show girl costume complete with jewelry and make up around it. The bottom up technique always starts with the shoes. Shoes matter. They have a serious effect on your posture and often your confidence. Not to mention a character who spends 14 hours on her feet would most likely not wear the same shoes as someone who sits in an office, or moves at leisure.

You've heard the expression, "walk a mile in his shoes," and the bottom up technique wants you to do just that. Because by walking in your character shoes, by being confined to their wardrobe you start to understand their movements and reactions better.

Emily is an Arkansas school girl. She wants to be comfortable but cute. I see her in flip-flops with a skirt that rides above the knees and a tank top. Very different, from Katie's risque dress and four inch heels. And Katie has some skeletons in her closet but those four inch shoes are hard to walk in, don't you know? ;)

If you get stuck this week, I challenge you to walk a mile in your character's shoes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

Okay, it's that time of the week again. Time for random word fun!!

You know the game. I put a word in bold at the end of this post, and the first person who comments types the very first word to pop into their head. The next person types the word the first comment made them think of and so on and so forth.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Proof That My Followers Are Awesome & Contest Winners.

I couldn't find a good visual of my MC Evey for my book Chance Encounter, so Maggie sketched her out and mailed her to me.

[caption id="attachment_576" align="alignnone" width="81" caption="Thank you Maggie!!!"][/caption]

That's awesome. Thank you guys for following me, and thanks for helping me clean out my bookshelf.

The YA winner is Kelly Hashway, and the adult winner is Bonnie.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A post for my Grandpa

Today is my grandpa's birthday, and those of you who followed me from P-52 know he's not here for it this year. So this post is for him. I've got his favorite song and a song for him below.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Thanks to fellow blogger Nutschell at The Writing Nut for giving me the Liebster Award.

I'm now passing it on to 5 people with less than 300 followers.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wed & Writing: Conferences

Since the season of conferences is upon us, I thought we'd talking about that instead of craft this week.

I tackled my first conference recently, all be it a small one. But I'm glad I did it. I feel more prepared for the big one coming up in LA.  I wanted to come up with some practical real world advice for people who may be going to their first conference this year.  I'll give you as much as I can for how to handle the overall conference, and then we'll talk about pitching.


First thing is first. These things aren't cheap, so get as much as you can out of it. Be prepared for workshops with whatever you need to write with. We're writers. I know most of us have a blank book and pen tucked away somewhere on us anyhow, but make sure you do while you're there. It doesn't mean you have to be overly prepared like me with your mini and a journal, but have something to take notes on. Take lots of them. I know every workshop isn't going to apply to you, and you're going to hear lots of things you already know, but even in those workshops there is usually some tidbit you can use. If you're at a conference big enough to have choices choose the option most appropriate to what you write and where you are in your career. If you know you don't have an agent, a seminar on how to launch a book and market it might not be as helpful as a query workshop or another seminar aimed at unpublished writers.

Another thing you can do to get the most out of it is be prepared. If you're ready to query or almost ready to query have your pitch and your query on you. You never know who you might run into and while being prepared might not lead to a request (though it often does) it could lead to a good critique, or insight. Information that could help you for the long haul.

And participate. I write too. I know it's hard to have your pitch read in front of 300 people even if it is anonymous. Do it anyhow. If the pitch sucks, you'd rather learn it here were no one knows who wrote it and you're not losing an opportunity then when you use it as the hook of your query.

Make friends. Really, this is a good place to connect to others with the same interests as you. We spend lots of time alone in our writing cave, so it's an opportunity many of us don't have often. And being friendly and charming is a good way to meet a mentor.


The hook of your query or your elevator pitch (often one in the same) is a good place to start.  I've heard different things from 35-50 words to three sentences. Honestly, I believe a sentence or two is good, and I think tweet is a pretty good length.  The big thing I learned at the conference is you need some sort of description of your MC and if it's a romance your hero/heroine too. You'll combine this with the major plot elements. You don't want your last pitch session to impact your next one.

So you'll deliver this line and wait, but you don't want to sound over-rehearsed. The agent will probably ask you a few questions at this point. Just answer them. Be confident in your work and yourself. Do not let anything that happens during the pitch session bother you.

Best Advice

Find the goody room as soon as you get there so the good things like ARCs, autographed books, and interesting swag are still available. If you wait, you'll only get bookmarks ;).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

So I tried this for the first time last week, and it seemed to go over well. I know I had fun, so we're going to play again.

It goes like this, I'll put a word in bold at the end of this post. The first person to comment will type the first word that pops into their head, just the first word. The next person who comments will type the first word that word made them think of and so forth and so on. I will be playing in the comments to.

Because it's summer even in Wisconsin: SUNSHINE

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nerdier Than I & Leaving Paradise Winner

The winner of Leaving Paradise is Beverly Stowe Mclure.

So the hubs took me to see Bad Teacher this weekend. It was funny, but there was more moment I found more a relief than slapstick.

"I am a member of al'ge'bra. I have weapons of math instruction."

And while fellow movie watchers laughed hysterically at the stupidity of this statement and the fake mid-eastern accent the woman used to deliver the line, I drew a heavy sigh of relief. You see, I am well aware that I'm a nerd. But even though I stood in line at midnight for the release of Catching Fire and every edition of Twilight, even though my favorite band sings Celtic, and my husband and I used to cruise the hills of Fayetteville, Arkansas jammin' to White & Nerdy there are people nerdier than I!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

We're Playing Let's Make Room on Beth's Bookshelf

Yep. Pretty much says it all. As far as books go I'm pretty much living outside of my means. I had to shred my first manuscript tonight just to make room for my new ARCs. *clap clap* I LOVE ARCs. Thank you bookstall.

That being said I'm sure I'll buy more books, and at this point I don't even have space to neatly put my autographed books on the shelf, and I really like for those babies to be shelved.

Now, I have way more books that I've read, but right now I can only part with five because I'm attached. (Of course, this probably means there will be more contests to come, so stay tuned).

If you're into adult I have The Maiden's Hand, The Charm School, and Scoundrel's Kiss. If YA is your thing I have Raised by Wolves and The Magnolia League.

In the comments section tell me if you want the YA or the adult. Contest ends at midnight Tues. The winner will be posted on Wed.
2 points for following
5 points if someone follows and says you sent them
2 points for each social network shout out provided you leave a link.

I'll add points and if there is a tie, I'll use to break.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

If you are here to win an autographed copy of Leaving Paradise go here.

If you are here for Follow Friday go here.

Freebie Friday

Yep, it's that time of the week when Beth is out of intelligent things to say, and as always, out of room on her bookshelf.

It seems the only plausible solution for such a predicament is that I give something away.

I picked up a brand new, nice shiny copy of Leaving Paradise at a conference a few weeks ago, and Simone was nice enough to sign it for me. This is a one day only contest. Leave me comment love and give me lots of social shout outs between now and midnight. Since this is a one day contest and the winner will be announced on Monday, let's make it easy for me. Two entries for following, two entries for dedicating a blog post to this, and one entry for fb, twitter, google buzz, and any other place you might want to leave a should out provided u post a link in the comments. This contest is open internationally.

Thanks for the love!!!! And see you on Monday, now turn off your pc and run for the door. ENJOY THE WEEKEND!!!  HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!

Follow Friday

Q. ACK! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction?

Answer: Edward Cullen and I would faint!!!!

P.S.  Please leave a link back so if you comment/follow me I can return the favor.



Ohh--P.P.S. You can win an autographed copy of Leaving Paradise here.

Thursday 13

Thursday 13 is a weekly meme. The goal is to post a list of 13--13 whatever you want. 13 top or bottom picks, 13 random things, just 13.

13 Random Things

1. I'm no closer to my $100 than I was when I posted my Dear Beth Letter.

2. I seriously have to wash walls today, oh what fun.

3. I can't decide what to write next. I'm torn between a complete and total rewrite of my first ms and a whole new book about a dead dude resurrected.

4. Thank God for tea.

5. I wish sweets where calorie free.

6. Sometimes, I wish I were a better blogger, like more dedicated and stuff.
7. Posting 13 random things is harder than it seems.
8. My favorite color is purple.
9. I love Lindt truffles.
10. I'm only 26, but I've been going to the senior weight lifting class, because I can't keep up with the youngsters!!!! HAHA.
11. This list sucks, I'm thinking of rewriting it.
12. My favorite book is still Eclipse.
13. I refuse to read the sequel to Shade, because I don't want Aura with that stupid Scotty. No offense to any Scotts who might reading this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wed. & Writing: Scheibl Says

Way back in April, author Mary Jo Scheibl came to our local RWA meeting to share things that helped her on her journey to publication and still help her even now. I loved the way she just kind of talked about things like they were second nature to her, but more than that she was very honest and still encouraging with real world advice. She's given me permission to share with you the information she gave us. Mary gave an hour and a half conversation so I'm obviously not going to be able to put everything here, but I'm going to highlight the points that helped me.  But you can learn more about her and her work here or here.

The first thing that really resonated with me isn't even on her list, but it's a quote I love. "You're good no one unless you're good to yourself." Since I heard that I've made an effort to be easier on myself when I miss a blogpost or get behind on something trying to live life.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

She suggested taking an inventory of what you're good at and what you're not, and maybe soliciting your CP's help with this. I loved this, because I solicited my cp's help and it turns out I'm good at more things than I knew. However, the things I'm bad at I'm REALLY bad at. Mary Jo suggested that you pick one thing to improve on as you right your next WIP. Write it on a note card and tape it to your computer or keep it on your desk, so you can focus on that one thing, improve that one thing.

Introductions/Getting Stuck

Mary Jo actually made these two separate points, but I feel comfortable combining them here, because I think you deal with them essentially the same way. She said if you don't know where to start your book, start with the very next thing that happens. That's usually the right place to start anyhow. For getting stuck she recommends leaving it but not forgetting it.

A year ago, I was so stuck that I was essentially writing two different books at once just to see where the plot was going to go. Another published writer told me each day they wrote only what they were interested in. I tried this. It worked. At this point, it's pretty much how I roll. But I think this is essentially what she's saying. You don't know where the book starts? So what. Move on and write the parts you can. You got stuck? So what. Move on and write what you can.

Writing is hard work.

Enough said. And editing is even harder work. I think we all need to remember this sometimes.

Trust your talent and skill, but look at others to see what they do and how they do it.

You might find a tool to make something easier for yourself, or help you improve on an area of craft you're weak at.


I haven't mastered this one yet. Rejection hurts, especially when you've worked so hard on something. I guess the main point here is you have to know it's something we all suffer through and isn't any reflection on you or your ability.

Writing is a process:

  • come up w/ idea

  • think about story, characters, etc.

  • research

  • write rough draft

  • revise and it again, and again, and again

Writer's Block:

There is no such thing. You haven't thought about it enough. You don't know the characters well enough, or you haven't slept on it enough.


This is one I really need to remember.

Volunteer--It's the best way to network.


"I started getting really serious about my writing in 1986 and got published for the first time in 2009." Wow. I think that was the most impressive thing I heard all day. It gave me inspiration, and I thought anyone who can play this game that long deserves to be published.

Pulling It All Together

  • Don't let your self be idle for too long. Keep writing.

  • Trust your talent and instincts.

  • Change up these tips to best fit you and your writing style.

Tipsy Tuesday...

Okay, so I'm not really tipsy but by the end of this post and its comments my goal is for people to think so! LOL!

I want to play a game today. I'm going to put a word in bold at the end of this post. The first person who comments will type the first word that popped into their head when they saw my bolded word. Just the first word that popped into their head (and of course you can leave a blog link so I can hop over). The next person who comments will type the first word that popped into their head when they read the comment.

And so on and so forth. And they I will come back and comment too, and by the time this is over we will all look tipsy on this Tuesday. ;).


Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Stop Now Signing & Give Away

First of all an apology to the winners of my Delirium Contest, I haven't got your books out yet. I plan to in the next day or so. Sorry, be patient with me.

And now a few weeks ago, I posted about a signing at The Bookstall and now I finally have the pictures posted! Plus Julie, the author of Don't Stop Now autographed and doodled in a copy of her first book, Get Well Soon which I will be mailing a copy of to the first person who comments here today.

[caption id="attachment_499" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Don't Stop Now is a book about a summer road trip, so the Bookstall set up a table of road trip snacks."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_500" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Julie packed a crowd. This was before the reading started, but even more people showed up."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_501" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Julie jokes before she reads. She's funny too ;)."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_502" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Julie made bingo cards using the pit stops in the book. She gave us candy to cover spots with and the winners received souveniers."][/caption]

And as I said earlier, I'm giving away a copy of Get Well Soon. So what's the last signing you went to?

Friday, June 24, 2011

MC Blogfest

The MC Blogfest is being hosted by Elizabeth Mueller .

RULES: Pretend you are one of your MCs and answer all 3 questions.
Question 1: What is your greatest fear?
Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Question 3: What is your biggest regret?

My name is Rachel Vespette, and I'm answering some questions for Beth. But I swear if these answers get anywhere, I'll disappear before anyone can find me. And my boyfriend will come after you. He had his best friend killed in a jealous rage, so if you think you're safe guess again.

My biggest fear? That my past is going to catch up with me even though I've burned my finger prints off, dyed my hair, and people know me now as Katie. Every time there is a knock at the door or an unknown number on my phone, my throat clenches. Have they found me?

My biggest accomplishment--I'm not sure how to answer that. I have some accomplishments, but most of them aren't really things to be proud of. I support myself and I'm only 17, though everyone thinks I'm 18. Of course, I have to dance to do it--and those damn drunk tourists like to get grabby because they're leaving in a few days. They can be as horrible as they want here and no one will ever know. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Here is one for you though. So far, I've gotten away with murder, and I'm from the state with an express lane for execution. That wasn't an easy feat. Believe me. And in spite of all of this, I'm about to graduate high school and one way or another I'll be pre-med in the fall.

I bet you expect me to say that the man I killed and left in a barn the night I took a midnight greyhound out of the state is my biggest regret. Well, I won't. I'm not even sure I regret it. My biggest regret is the abortion I got two days later. I know. I'm just your average 17 year old crack whore, but the thought of something with his genes growing inside of me was enough to kill me. And then before I could even react, really process it, Mom said she's marrying him. We'd go live with him and if that happened there was no chance it would ever stop. No chance my life would ever be normal.

You've seen the skeletons in my closet but...judge not lest ye be judged...And either way my boyfriend really does have my back. Don't toy with me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Jennifer!!!

It is the girl with the best CP in the world's birthday today. Yep, my CP Jennifer Duffy has a birthday today, so stop by and tell her happy birthday. She's giving stuff away from her birthday too.

She's old this year. It makes me glad I still have my youth...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beth & A Big Sonic Coke

Ha! I have my big Sonic Coke. For those of you who caught me last week this is because I finished my YA contemp Chance Encoutners, which may in later days become known as Defying Physics. It is complete at 101,287 words, but this will change. It may actually go up a little before it goes down. I don't know. All I know is it will change, and that I'm celebrating today.  I was supposed to watch Eclipse which didn't happen, because redbox didn't have a copy of it. Instead, me and my big Sonic Coke watched Just Go With It which was fun all the same.

But I also want to talk about the process today, almost like a bragging right. LOL! I wrote this entire book, all 51 chapters at random. I wrote 12,000 words that didn't even make it into the first draft. When you write at random, you can write whatever you want and still not have to worry about cutting it later. That's the high of it. That and the fact that you can write whatever you care about today, because tomorrow you might not be interested in it anymore. And sometimes because you're not really that interested in the scene you think you should be writing today. The low of it is it makes for a lot of inconsistencies. For example, I have a character I know got dropped somewhere between chapter six and ten, and any chapter with him in it must be cut. I also know that my MC gets hospitalized on page 200 but has never mentioned being sick before. Obviously this must be remedied. But my last manuscript, I wrote the first half in order and the second half at random and the first half actually housed more inconsistencies than the last half. So maybe inconsistencies are just a plague of the first draft.  I don't know, but either way I'M GLAD IT'S DONE!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dear Teen Me

Okay, so I've seen this a lot of places recently, and I don't know if it's a meme I wasn't invited to (talk about remembering the teen years) or what, but I thought it sounded like a good idea. So here goes.

Dear Teen Beth,

You're fourteen and life sucks. It gets better. It takes about ten years, but it does get better.

I know you think you're in love with a jerk who's goal in life is tormenting you right now, but the good news is you're not. The thing is after some of the messed up things he does (i.e. publicly humiliating you whenever possible and calling you at home when no one is around), you'd realize this if you weren't pre-conditioned to believe that it's okay for guys to do effed up things, especially guys that care about you. It's not okay. Guys that care about you don't do effed up things, and really most guys that don't care about you don't do effed up things. It wouldn't be worth the time. Effed up guys do effed up things. The problem is at fourteen you've known enough effed up adult males to accept effed up behavior from boys as normal.  It's not and it takes you a while, but you figure it out.

You get tired of being tormented at school, and sitting through a meaningless eight hours every day, (most of which you spend ignoring lectures because you're doing homework for other classes), and you home school yourself. You've always been an honor student, and though you're not top of the class you're ranked fairly well, especially considering your studying habits. So when you go to home school, you're required to take a placement test. You score so high you test out of the eleventh grade for everything but math. But you hate Paris. (You know this). So you start your classwork in July not late August. You're through with school completely by Dec. 2001, and in Jan. 02 while the people you started school with(the class of 03) are all chilling in bad chairs courtesy of PISD, you're chilling in Arlington.

It's not all smooth sailing. Right before you leave, you meet a guy with eyes the color of yours. He's funny and completely different from that effed up guy you spent years shamelessly following, and most importantly for a girl with no self-esteem, interested in you or so it would appear. As you're writing this twelve years later, he's a jerk. Part of me wants to tell you to blow him off when you meet him. Tell him he's pond scum, but part of me knows that if you do that, there is a guy waiting for you in Arlington. He's beautiful and reminds us of someone we used to know. He's truly and legitimately interested in you, in ways no one ever has been. You date him for a while after you break up with this loser, but you're such a mess that you manage to eff it up REALLY soon. You regret this for a long time, because you know it could have worked. The things is, it's for the best that it doesn't work. Because the guy you marry is the man you've always needed.

You shuffle through school for a few years. You have a group of friends, and you're the cool kid. You manage to get four cable stations to a school in Texas with no football team. And you're next real boyfriend isn't until after that. He's hot and Peruvian ;). And still a jerk! You know how to pick them. It's an on again off again thing, and you think this is okay because men who are supposed to care about you, leave you. You waste too much time on him, but I don't know that I can blame you. Hot might be an understatement, and he's a damn good kisser. Yeah, good kisser or not, he's a jerk. Leave the fool alone.

Considering your 42 hour work week and full class schedule, you do exceptionally well on the LSAT, and you get into law school. You swear off all the guys you know when you leave except James. Because James is probably still the best friend you've ever had with the exception of Stephanie. Stephanie has your back. You don't know these people yet. I know that, but they're real friends. The kind you don't really have in Paris. They'd both protect you/take care of you and worry about the consequences later. You'd do the same for them. You love them.

So you get to Arkansas, and it doesn't take you long to figure out that there is a lot of injustice in the justice system. As ironic as that might be, it's the kind of place that sucks the life out of an idealist. You're still working A LOT against ABA regulations, so not only do you hate it, you have the the lowest grades you've ever had. EVER.

You're at your lowest and you make a new friend, your best friend. He picks you up one night and you're not really sure if it's a date. You think he's probably the law school version of James. But when you get to his car, you find the dozen roses he tucked under the seat for you. You smile and ask, "For me?" His eyes dance in a way you didn't know they could, and he says, "Do you think I would take someone else out?" He's legitimately interested in you, and he's what we need.

He's so calm, it makes it hard for you to freak out, a good thing because you eventually learn that not all of your asthma attacks are asthma, lots of them are anxiety. And the only thing that prevents an anxiety attack is not getting anxious. His goal in life is making you happy, and since you've never known anyone like this before, you don't know what to think of it. The first time he says, "I love you," you say, "okay." But it doesn't take you long to figure out he's your true other half. You compliment each other well, and together you're one whole functioning unit. Four years later, you're still happy.

You move back to Texas and start a life with this guy. You work for the government for  a few years, in a gig that's exceptionally good for an English major, but you don't love it. Our guy tells you to start a blog. You don't know why, but you do. In fact, you start two. One that is a project and the other is supposed to be about your life. Your moderately happy boring life is completely uneventful. The one about your life sucks. The project takes off. The project becomes your life. Your life becomes the project. Our guy enjoys all of this. When you interview your first best seller, he's more exicted than you. You finish the project six hours before deadline, and now you're a decent blogger. We keep at it, and we figure out not only that we want to write, but that we're pretty good at it. We even figure out what exactly we want to write. And twelve years from sitting in that stiff chair with people who don't get you and don't appreciate you, I think you've met as many best sellers as a NYT reviewer. Middle listers occasionally send you copies of books as do bookstores. You're enjoying your life even if you're not published, and the people you talk to now appreciate you. You got a clue and quit talking to people who don't.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Book Stall

The Bookstall in Winnetka is hosting a staged reading of Julie Halpern's Don't Stop Now tomorrow. I've never been to a staged reading before, but it sounds interesting. And I love the bookstall. Winnetka is a cute little suburb of Chicago and the bookstall is on what I believe is their main street downtown.

It's where I met Lauren Oliver and was able to get an autographed copy of Delirium and a bookmark to give away. They've sent me an amazing box of arcs which you shall be seeing some of on this blog throughout the summer, so stick around.

I'm only two chapters in to Don't Stop Now, but so far I'm enjoying. It's light and funny, and I love the voice. If you can't make it not to fear. I'll post pics sometime next week probably, and Julie has agreed to do an interview on the blog at the end of which I'll be giving away something, but I haven't decided what yet.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Beth

Dear Beth,

When we finish Chance Encounters, we will get a big Sonic coke and watch Eclipse on the couch in our socks. After we do pilates of course.

Also, when you lose ten pounds your husband will let you spend $100 on clothes. The fact that he doesn't know this yet is insignificant. You still can, because we make the budget.



P.S. if you won my Delirium contest and haven't sent your address yet, please do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wed. & Writing: Critique Partners & Why You Need One

Critique Partners & Why You Need One

The most obvious reason is so that you have someone who truly feels your to talk you out of eating the whole gallon of Haagen Daz after receiving yet another rejection. But there are more reasons, complicated reasons, BETTER reasons. Like who else is going to read your manuscript 13 times in the course of one year? OMG that's more than once a month. I love each and every person reading this today, if for no other reason than you are reading my blog. But I don't love anyone enough to read their ms 13 times this year! Except of course my critique partner. But she has to read my ms that many times!

But the truth is a good critique partner knows your story as well as you do. They know as much about your characters as you do. They're a go to person when there is a plot or character issue there is just no getting around. They're tons of help when it comes to writing queries because they know the plot just that well.  They're a warm body to go through rejections with and a support system when you have a story that is just giving you hell.

But finding a good CP is like finding a spouse. You don't usually marry your first boyfriend, and you don't always connect on your first swap. I think sometimes you will find CPs in unlikely places. My cp writes contemp that's a mix of romance and action. I write paranormal romance strong on the romance. When I looked for a cp, I thought I was looking for someone who wanted to run away with Edward Cullen as much as I did, and who couldn't read without magic. Not true. We both write romance, but our ideas of a hero are completely different. I can't honestly pinpoint what she's looking for in a hero because her dream guy is that undreamy to me. But I can tell you that I like guys like Edward Cullen protective and well aware that I'm priority number one. She finds this insane. Still our combination works and our writing is improving at about the same time. We learn about the industry together too. So like in marriage, opposites attract.

A year into this, we've went from just editing to querying together to  now we brainstorm our individual next books together. People say that agents are like a business partner, and I don't know. I can't say, because I don't have one, but I would say my CP is like a business partner. I consult all major writing decisions (even the blog) and sometimes life decisions(not to say u have to be bffs w/ ur cp but it does help) with her.

When you start working with someone who understands and appreciates your work, you'll grow leaps and bounds in your writing. If you don't have a CP go forth and date around. Start with 50 page swaps. Trust me, it works.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rules of Writing

Rule 1. If you write something really brilliant that you adore--something so good that when go back and read it you can't even imagine that you actually wrote that, everyone else will hate it. Seriously, what do they know? So what? Maybe they are an agent. Did you really want one anyhow? Come on, especially one that overlooks your obvious brilliance. The real problem is your writing is just too brilliant for them to fully grasp. Maybe one day, others can be as enlightened as your brilliance and then that brilliance will hit bookshelves.

Rule 2: If you write something you hate, something so bad you think you should be shot for having written it, others will delight in it. Yep. You write it and it's just not coming out right. You keep working on it and it's just getting worse. You know this scene is not what you had in mind--it doesn't even match the picture in your head. This is not the way it was supposed to work. In a mad frenzy, you send it out to your CP hoping she can work some kind of voodoo and save at least part of it. But what you'll find is an email that says "This is really good. But just so you know you spelled a word wrong in the third line and your MC's name changed. But this is the best scene you've ever written. This is my favorite scene in the whole book. Why would you change it?"

Rule 3: Where rule 2 applies, seriously consider giving into others and ignoring your harsh inner editor unless that editor's objections are grounded in all sorts of extremely logical reasoning. Then throw that reasoning off of someone else and see if that alters their enthusiasm about your scene.

Rule 4: Where rule 1 applies, think long and hard before giving into others. If they really completely miss your brilliance, the changes they'd like to see are probably big not small. That could be a whole different story. Do you really want to see this story published? Bad enough to make grand scale changes? If you make grand scale changes and get published would that be seeing this story published?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back To Life & Delirium Contest Winners

Sorry guys. I know I was supposed to announce winners last week. There at the end of this post, but give me a week to mail prizes, because I'll be in a conference all weekend.

Okay, so back to life.

The husband and I spent an awesome three day weekend in the Wisconsin Dells. It was a well needed break, but I spent Friday packing and we was exhausted when returned Monday night, which is why my posts have been scarce. I will post pics tomorrow if you're interested ;)

In the meantime, this week I've learned I accomplish a far greater word count in less time if I go to Barnes and Noble to write. So I've been doing that. I get myself a nice steamy cup of tea, and a 130 calorie biscotti (that's pretty good for chocolate) and write my little heart away. I need to start blogging as soon as I sit down to do it though. Either way I wrote close to 3500 words in a few hours on Tuesday and about 2100 in less than two yesterday. Yes!! B&N is a secondary muse!!!

I think at home it's just too easy to get distracted doing other things. Who would have thought the bookstore is less distracting?

As soon as I get back to a scheduled exercise routine, I think I'll be back to my normal self. This move took more adjustment than I thought, but now that it's warm I'm starting to feel at home.

Okay, so enough of the boringness about Beth. It's time for winners:

Autographed Copy of Delirium--Nicole

Dance W/ A vampire and Autographed bookmark--Regina

Book-- Lucy


Congrats everyone. Please send a good mailing address to bethfred08 (at)!!!!