Friday, December 30, 2011

Fingertips itch in anticipation...

Excitement bubbles in your chest...

Muscles tense, ready for the spring....

The world seems to tilt sideways as you grip the weapon in your hand. Sweat drips down the sides of your face as you zone in on the one thing you know you must destroy. The one thing that's been eating at you all year. And as you lift your weapon, ready for the kill, only one thought runs through your mind. You're either going to conquer this piece of crap or go down trying.

Sound familiar?

Looks like you're either ready to beat some vampires to the pulp or you're making a goal list for 2012. If it's the former, I'm sure you'll win. The latter? I know I'm not that confident in my chances.

Instead of rambling further, because I'm sure you need a break from my thoughts, I thought I'd pass this one onto my lovely. If there is someone on this planet that doesn't know the meaning of the words, "I can't" it's Aaron Shamy. This was a scholarship application video he submitted a couple years ago. (Yes, he did get the scholarship *winks*) If you're looking for some motivation on goals, take a look!


What's on your list for 2012? Do you have a list? Do you write things down and check them off? Or are you like me where jumbles of ideas bang around inside your head all year and sometimes something gets done?

Red. Head. Out. :D

Monday, December 26, 2011

Inkpop, Rejection, and my HarperCollins review

Exactly two years ago this week, I made a decision that changed my life. I joined a site called inkpop.

For those of you who don't know how inkpop works, it's kind of like American Idol for writers. You post your work, people vote or "pick" it, and it rises up the charts. At the end of the month, the top 5 picks get a review from a HarperCollins editor. (REALLY cool... how often do you get to have a real live breathing editor review your work before it's query ready?)

At this point, I had the first ten thousands words of Shadow Watchers written and decided to upload it onto inkpop to see how it was received by teens.

My story rocketed. I was floored. Within two weeks, it shot to the number one spot and stayed there for the remainder of the month. Usually it took months to get into the top five, if that. And that's if you knew how to work it.

When my review from HarperCollins came in, I was sick. Sure, I had fooled teens to like my work *winks* but what about a Harper editor?

It ended up being a great review. And I took the advice whole-heartedly. A little too heartedly as you'll see below.

Part of my advice was and I quote: "There can be a fine line between intriguing readers and frustrating them by doling out too little information." This was in response to the editor saying there was not enough  answers being given up front. Great advice. I needed to hear it.

But I went overboard. I grasped onto this advice like a dying man in need of water. (Who wouldn't?) This became clear when the feedback coming in from agents was that the action never stopped. That I didn't slow down enough for the reader to take in the setting and catch up. Funny huh? Note to self: Find balance. 

Right after my review is when I believe I lost sense of my story--when I began to lose "that feeling" I wanted to surround my words. Because I was writing to appease advice I was given instead of what I knew was right deep down. And I won't expand further, because I've already done a post on this here. 


But it's okay. Because now it's clicked. I don't regret any advice I've taken and I don't feel remorse for a single rejection I've received. <-------and it's taken quite a bit for me to get here. But I am finally where I need to be. I'm in the part of the V for Vendetta when Natalie Portman is standing in the rain, crying, lifting her arms to the sky because she isn't afraid anymore.

I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not afraid of rejection.

As Herald Angus Penn (inkpop buddy, aka Ryan Greenspan) once told me, "It makes us stronger, doesn't it?"

I'm glad I'm not there yet. I'm going to enjoy the refiners fire. Because if I had had an easy "success" story, I wouldn't have learned that the success I needed first was conquering fear of rejection--not getting agent, getting published, or letting my friends down.

And why was it that I joined inkpop in the first place? To see how my work would be received. I ended up getting so much more. I've connected with the world's best breed of people, aligned myself with the most talented beta readers, and most importantly, made friendships that go far beyond the writing world.

Red. Head. Out. :D

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How the Nutcracker Suite is Sweet with my Writing...

For those of you who know me, you know that I was a ballerina for years and years and years. Like, hard core. Loved it. After dancing, I became a teacher and at my peak, was teaching just over 300 students a week. Madness!

DANCING is so closely knit with WRITING for me... it taps into that same part of my brain that longs for a creative outlet. In fact, I'm just as passionate about writing as I ever was with dancing. If not more so. I can't explain the link, but it's there.



This time of year stirs magic in my blood. You know how every now and then time seems to stop and you have to catch your breath because there's a real, physical change in the air? And you try to pause and just experience the moment because you know it'll be gone in seconds? (and if I'm starting to sound crazy, you can just nod and smile)

For some, there's a trigger... a "special something" that'll put you in that moment every time. For me, it's The Nutcracker.

For seven years, I danced in The Nutcracker with Ballet West--the big ballet company here in Utah. I was one of the lucky few that successfully auditioned out of thousands to be part of this production. Still to this day, nothing affects me like hearing the opening overture by Peter Tchaikovsky. Every time I hear it, it puts me right back in the wings, waiting backstage to perform. The smell of coffee, resin, and the sound of pointe shoes clicking on the Marley floor as dancers warm up... Such a high! There's nothing like being on stage in front of hundreds, being part of creating a story, creating art, creating magic.

The more writers I meet, the more I realize they have a history either in music, musical theatre, or dance. Why is that? What is the connecting factor? It's interesting! How many of you have a history in these areas? Or what is that "something" that taps into that special place in your soul?

Red. Head. Out. :D

Friday, December 16, 2011

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas, My True Love Gave To Me...

A signed copy of Timeless and soundtrack by Alexandra Monir!!!




I've got them in my hands, ready to send out... now all we need is a winner... 


*goes to random.org*


*inputs the number of contestants*


*pushes the generate button*


Annnnnnd...


                                               

The winning number is...

41!!!!!!

Not including my comments, the 41st person to enter was...

LEXIE!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS, LEXIE!!!!!

You've just officially become the 4th winner of the 12-Days of Christmas Blog Hop!



Special thanks to Sarah Belliston for putting this fantastic giveaway together! Make sure to stay tuned on Sarah's blog for the rest of the Blog hop winners!

And many thanks to all of YOU. Not only for entering, but for being such an amazing support system to me on this writing journey. You really are remarkable. Truly.

Red. Head. Out. :D



Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Day To Enter For The Giveaway!

That's right.

Just a friendly reminder that tonight at midnight, the 12-Days of Christmas Blog Hop ends! The winners will start  tomorrow the 13th.

Remember that I'm day FOUR, or the "Four Calling Birds" day of Christmas, so the winner will be announced on Dec 16th!!! Click here if you haven't entered!

And if you haven't seen all the giveaways yet, head over to Sarah's Blog to check out all of the amazzzzing stuff being given away!

I'm excited to see who wins. We've got some great entries! (Well, you're all great--except those of you who said you were half sparkly *winks*)

Red. Head. Out. :D

Monday, December 5, 2011

Agents/Querying/Writing and the Twisted Cycle it is...

I've decided to bring it down a notch today. I knew I wanted to do a post, but I'm not up to my usual snuff. I'm feeling a bit... morose, but not in a "woe is me" type way. Never that. I think once you've been through some pretty big issues like having a small child surviving cancer and other things that put a true perspective on life, you know to be wholly grateful for all that you've been given. (I know you know what I mean--most of us have been there)

But the truth is...

This writing/querying thing is probably the toughest thing I've been through. Emotionally. Ever. Am I crazy for saying that? It's something that (and not to sound cliche) I know I want/need/have to do, but it's also soooooo draining.

I know it's wrong to think that it gets easier if you have an agent. I've got plenty of friends in the business to know that isn't the case. But, I feel like it does say something to have an agent in your corner. It gives you credibility. It gives you confidence to know your work is good enough that someone of significance backs you up--that in and of itself says a lot.

I wish I had that.

Of course I've got amazzzzzing friends and family, but it's different. It's hard on this side of the fence. The fighting. Fighting. It's a constant inward battle to make yourself sit down and write not knowing if your efforts will ever come to fruition. How many times have I said, "I'm done!" ... only to find myself typing away at the keyboard five minutes later? It's a twisted cycle. 

The funny thing is I've never doubted my skills. I only doubt if the universe will line up for me. From what I've read/heard, it takes a bit of luck on your side too.

I do think that when (and I'm saying when not if) I get that agent who says, "yes" I'll take a deep breath. Because that one person does make a difference. At least that's what it looks like from where I'm sitting.

Am I way off? Or am I right? It's hard to know because I'm not there yet. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Oh, and on a side, happy note, if you haven't entered the 12-Days of Christmas giveaway, click here
 
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