Monday, February 27, 2012

Goal Setting and *Really* Accomplishing

I'm about two weeks shy of finishing my WIP.

I'm so excited. There's nothing like connecting the last few pieces of your story together and seeing it come to life.

Finishing a novel is a huge feat. But for me, finishing my second is an even BIGGER feat. It takes a lot to swallow rejection and try again. To put yourself out there. But you know what?

It's worth it.

So, because I'm completely consumed in finishing my project, I'm going to turn it over to my hubs who is the king of making crazy goals and accomplishing them. This year for his 30th birthday, he made a list of doing 30 items of 30 things in one day. Enjoy Project 30!

What are your current goals? How's your WIP coming along?

Red. Head. Out. :D

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Page Critique

Jamie Ayers  is hosting a First Page Critique contest where you post your first page on your blog and then hop around to the other entrants and read and comment on their first page. Five people will receive a critique from author Heather Burch who has a debut book called Halflings. You can read Heather's interview and more information about the contest on Jamie's blog here.  Today is the last to email Jamie and post your first page for critiquing.

*** New Note: Apparently I was too late for this contest, LOL! It ended today. I thought today was the last day to enter. Well, we'll let this post be a plug for Heather and I'll have to be more on top of things next time! :D 

Here is my first page of WESTRIDGE, a YA light fantasy:

Warmth spread over me, deadening my muscles and mind. I held onto the feeling, knowing it wouldn’t last long. The air around me was a gigantic cushion, tingling and caressing my skin as though it were lifting me from the couch. I felt languid, free, good.
“Nice, isn’t it?” Zach murmured next to me.
I snuggled closer, careful not to move too much so it didn’t ruin the effect of the drug. I closed my eyes and let the sensation carry me away… away from school, stress, and Lady Edna’s dirty basement.
I didn’t know why I’d fought against Zach for so long. This was wonderful, this feeling of utter freedom, this numb, warm place. Maybe Zach and I would take that next step tonight. After all, he had been patient. I opened my mouth to say so, but stopped, waiting; words would spoil this moment.
The coziness continued to stretch beneath my skin, wrap around my toes. I felt equal to everyone else on the planet. Nothing mattered. My lack of parents, money—and as cliché as it was—love. Even Jason, being the over protective older brother, couldn’t bring me down.
We’re all the family we need, you and I.
The thought of Jason’s words dampened the high. I shoved him from my mind, trying to focus on the moment, although it was hard knowing he was upstairs probably doing his homework being the perfect person that he was. He would kill me if he knew what I was doing down here with his best friend.
Double crap.
There went another bit of the high. I sighed and rolled away from Zach, placing my hands on top of my thighs. My legs barely registered the contact, just the slight impression of heat. I felt disconnected from my body, like my hands were a million miles away from my head. I rubbed the fabric of my jeans, slowly, because it was hard to move.
Just as I began to give into the feeling again, a crash sounded from upstairs. I jerked upright. My head spun. 
Thanks Jamie for hosting this! Also, I wanted to thank Hope Roberson for giving me the "Happy Valentine's Kiss" Award from the Is It Getting Hot In Here Valentine's Day Blog Hop! *is honored* I hope all you fantastic writers are being productive and making good headway on all your projects!
Red. Head. Out. :D 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Are All Authors X-tremists?

... And by this I of course mean nothing to do with political or religious views, but extreme as in great, adventurous, high risk, going above and beyond the normal…

Yesterday I finished WILD LIFE by Michael Modzelewski. It was a riot! The story is a memoir of the author’s life as a Cosmo bachelor and his journey to where he is today. It’s verrrry adult, so all my teen readers close your eyes, but for my not so innocent friends, the story is not only hilarious, but layered with lovely discoveries about life, love, and emotion. You can read my 5 star review or purchase the book on Amazon here.

After I finished Mr. Modzelewski’s book, I checked out his site and discovered aside from his writing, he’s a total renaissance man. Completed 15 Ultra marathons (For those of you who don’t know, they’re like 100 mile races), climbed several of the world’s highest mountains, is a motivational speaker all around the world, had his life dramatized in an Off-Broadway play along with being made into a major motion picture, and the list goes on… and on… and on….

I live with an X-tremist. He too has done Ultra marathons and climbed incredible peaks (i.e. the Matterhorn), and accomplished great feats that the “normal” person would never dream of doing. The reason I bring this up is because there are certain type of people in this world that Just. Aren’t. Afraid. They’re missing that chromosome that tells them “no.” They see what they want, go out there and do it. Why? Because they can.

I’m not one of those people. I exude confidence and hope on the outside, but inside? I go back and forth and back and forth on whether something’s right for me, if I really have the skills, whether or not I’m wasting my time… I’m a hard worker, but it’s a mental strain every step.

But then it hit me.

Even though I may be missing that “I can do anything and be successful” chromosome, I’ve realized I can still be an X-tremist. Regardless of what one feels on the inside, the end result can be the same. As long as I can train myself to push through those negative mental barriers.

We writers may not be ultra-marathoners, but it takes just as much perseverance, time, sweat, training, and heartache to be an author. We are X-tremists. Just like one trains for an ultra marathon (which takes hours and hours of physical training and pain), we face that same type of adversity/doubt/frustration every day staring at that blank page, that sentence that just isn’t right, or that one word that is ruining the mood like a drop of iodine in water.

So, even though we may all not be Michael Modzelewski (super human), we still can be extraordinary.

Where do you fall in the X-tremist scale? Does the word “no” affect you? Or are you more like me? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Turn...

How amazing is this blogging community?


In the last week I've been tagged by these 9 awesome people in the 11 Questions game:

Rachel Morgan
Hannah Hale
Avery Marsh
Selah Janel
Melissa Maygrove

Now, I know I'm missing someone, because I stumbled across it yesterday, and I can't for the life of me remember who, so if it's you, poke me and I'll put your link up!

Since I don't want to bore you and take up the rest of your day by answering... *calculates* 99 questions, I'll just pick from the whole lot and then continue with the game:

1. Who was your favorite author when you were a child: No one. I hated reading. Loathed it! Awful huh?

2. If you could put yourself in any book, what would it be? Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Yeah, I wouldn't mind living amongst hot Scottish men in kilts ;)

3. What is the best writing advice you've ever received? As Tymothy Longoria once told me:
IT will happen for you. 
It WILL happen for you.
It will HAPPEN for you.
It will happen FOR you.
It will happen for YOU. <---I loved that. 

4. What song is currently stuck in your head? Moves Like Jagger from Maroon 5... Man, isn't that song addicting???

5. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do? I'd sit in an agent's office as they went through the query pile... wouldn't that be fun???

6. What punctuation mark best describes your personality? Why? The Semicolon. Because I'm a bit old fashioned and I feel like I live my life in the middle of everything ;)

7. What's one misconception people tend to have about you? Hmm... I'm not as confident as I come across. Every day is a battle, even though I *think* I put on a good show. ;)

8. Name one of your strengths when it comes to writing. I enjoy the technical side of it sometimes more than the creative. It's my left brain kicking in. 

9. Favorite Indie book you've ever read. The Little Universe by Jason Matthews. 

10. What's the next planned event you're looking forward to in your life? Finishing my WIP and querying again ;)

11. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Hahaha... Yes and no. I'm not a very good friend when it comes to going out into the world and hanging out--I prefer to be home. But I'm loyal, and will always be truthful. ;) 

That wasn't so bad, was it? And if you blurred through the questions without reading, I'm totally not offended :D  But let's tag some others so the game can continue, eh? My tagging today is dedicated to the special male bloggers/writers out there who survive (in what feels like) a female dominated society:

Your questions, which you are welcome to answer or no:

1. Do you like being tagged in question games?
2. If you could stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
3. Do men like chocolate as much as women?
4. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
5. How do you balance social media and writing time?
6. Describe yourself in one word.
7. What is your favorite writing related website?
8. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? 
9. What fictional character do you most resemble?
10. Star Wars or Star Trek?
11. What's the first word to come to your mind right... now?

Alright, now off to write.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Friday, February 10, 2012

What are YOU destined to WRITE?

I had an interesting discussion this week with my hubby. I told him I was *thinking* about writing a memoir. I mean, I've definitely got the life experience for it. Not to get too deep or go off on a sob story (because really, we all have them) but we've dealt with some pretty extraordinary things.

Dying child brought back to life, toddler surviving cancer, living with a world class athlete... to name a few. I swear sometimes my life feels like a soap opera... only I'm short losing my memory and finding out I've had a long lost twin my whole life.

So yeah, why not write a memoir?

I don't think I'd enjoy it.

I love fantasy. Being transported to a world that takes you away from the real world. I like to escape the mundane things of every day life and feel what another character feels. To me, that’s what reading is all about.

No offense to books like The Kite Runner, which I’ve read and did find amazzzzzing, but I really don’t *enjoy* reading books that make me… well, feel. It's difficult to know how horrible the world is outside of my little bubble. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard enough to just survive inside the bubble.

So no, I don’t think I’ll ever write a memoir. Unless that long lost twin shows up and tells me I’m supposed to *winks*

How did you choose your genre? Do you write what you like to read?? Did you have to sit down and think about it? Or did you always know? And have you started writing one thing only to do a complete turn around and write another? 

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Do You Handle Rejection?

I've done quite a few posts on querying and agents, so the topic of rejection has come up, but I haven't focused specifically on how one *handles* rejection.

So here we go. I'm daring to talk about the big R.

I could start out this post by saying the obvious: We're all there. We all face it. And it was a lovely friend of mine a week or so ago that reminded me that yeah, no matter what stage of the journey we're in, there's always going to be rejection.

But let's get to the dirty truth.

I've always prided myself on my ability to bounce back, brush things off, be strong. It's just the type of person I've always thought myself to be. <---Notice I used the word thought. But I'm going to share with you something that I'm a bit embarrassed about.

Last summer, I fell into the trap.

I became one of those "I'll be happy when" people. Ugh! Can you believe it??? I mean, how obnoxious are these types of people? They're miserable to be around, a torture to talk to, and nothing anyone says can affect their mindset.

I've never been one of those people before. Not until the R's started coming in from submissions. (To be clear, R's from query's didn't affect me--there are so many factors that bring those types of R's. But when it's an R on a submission, your actual story, that's a difference).

I didn't handle it well. Sure, I put on the "I'm fine" facade, but I went through a period where I began to doubt everything around me. Doubt my passion, my ability, whether or not I had wasted the last year of my life. I wasn't the person I wanted to be and I started to become someone I didn't recognize.

I also began to resent writers around me. I didn't like their perky posts I'd see on twitter or how someone was working on revisions and had a deadline they were stressing out about. (Don't worry close friends, these feelings were purely for people I didn't know... it's easier to dislike people you don't know, LOL)

Shame on me.

Long story short, I'm back. And because of where I am today, I would kiss every agent that gave me an R. I wouldn't change the last nine months of my life for anything. The perspective I've gained, the inner strength I've forged, and the priorities that have been lined. Not to mention how much stronger my writing's become. Like Ryan Greenspan said in a comment on this post"All rejection should do is validate that our passion is writing, that writing is our calling. If it doesn't, then it isn't."

I hope that no matter where we are on this writing journey, we're not (or won't become) one of those "I'll be happy when" people.

How do you handle rejection? Do you internalize it? Let it brush off? Cry every day? (Lol) Or zap it with your super "I don't feel emotion, so I must not be human" power? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm knee deep in my WIP, so...

... I'll be quick. 

Just wanted to announce that Rach Harrie's Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign starts today! It's a great way to "meet" a ton of other writers. Go check it out and sign up! 
Annnd just because I feel like I need to fill space, here's a little tease of what I wrote this morning in my WIP: (which you can read more about here)

The group moved down the hall, all except Vincent. He stood in the middle of the space, head down, hand gripping his cane. His dark hair cast heavy shadows on his cheeks, deepening his defined bones. Then, almost like I had known it was coming, his eyes slid over and up to mine. My heart reacted on instant, jumping like a spastic rubber-band. My first instinct was to tear my eyes away, but I couldn't. I stared back, daring him to say something. He didn’t. His eyes slithered back down and he moved forward, a slight smile turning the corners of his lips. 

Happy Writing!

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Friday, February 3, 2012

In Which I Reciprocate Awards...

Uh oh... Morg is about to get all sentimental... don't worry, it won't last too long *winks* (which is good, because apparently I've taken to talking in third person)

I've loved what's been going on in the blogging community this last month. Lots of awards, shout outs, support all around. It's so refreshing and nice to be among such great people.

Being a new blogger myself, I was nervous about this whole bloggy thing. But it's only opened my eyes up to another side of the writer community that ROCKS.

This past month, I've received awards from some awesome blogger friends and I wanted to reciprocate. I've loved the Skunk awards, Versatile blogger awards, Love awards... So I wanted to do was give out: *clears throat* "The Most Fascinating People I've Recently met" Awards. <---LOL! How's that for a stretch?

And dim the lights:

Tiana Smith She writes books for tweens and blogs about reading and writing (but not arithmetic). I always look forward to what she has to say. Definitely a strong voice in this writing community. 

Shawn Klomparens Shawn is the real deal. Yes, don't be fooled by his Hollywood good looks--he's a real, live breathing author. *titter* I wanted to give a special shout out to Shawn because his books are amazzzzing... (Mental note: Do a special post on his books alone) He's the author of Jessica Z. and Two Years, No Rain. Go check out his site. Seriously... Have you done it yet?

Mark Koopmans
He's a husband, former journalist, current writer and stay-at-home dad to three boys under the age of five. And his blog is HILARIOUS. He turns real life situations into stories that have me "ROFL."
Courtney Pearson  I met Courtney at a SCBWI conference this last fall. Her work is AWESOME and she's definitely someone all agents need to be on the look out for.

Cassie Mae How does one not include Cassie when doing awards? This girl is a blogging goddess. Her positivity and enthusiasm in the writer community is astounding. Don't you agree?

Jolene Perry Jolene just "gets" it. I look forward to every post she does and can't wait to sit down and read her book The Next Door Boys that everyone is raving about.

Awesome peeps, huh? Go check out their sites and support their work. Of course, there are a few others of you out there that I'm thinking of... So don't worry, I'll get you on the next round.

Okay, cheesy sentimental Morg is out :D

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bad Guy = Good?

What is it about the "bad guy" that we love?

Come on, you know the type. Dark, brooding, conflicted soul...

I've been watching (Sh! Don't tell!) The Vampire Diaries series. (Haven't read the books, so can't tell you how those are)

Damon is totally my fav character. Why? I have no clue. Besides that he's hot? He sure doesn't have any redeeming qualities. (So far--I'm only a few episodes in) I mean, the guy's a total jerk. Kills people left and right without thinking twice.

So why do I root for him? Is it the hope there's some good in him that'll surface eventually?

And it's like this everywhere. Girls are naturally drawn to the bad boy. Maybe it's the inner desire to save a lost soul. Is there some sort of chromosome we women (or men) have that makes us think we can rescue the bad and make good? It's like how I always root for the losing team, regardless of who's playing.

Underdog syndrome.

Maybe I'm only speaking to 90% of the population, but I'm pretty sure that most of us agree. Which doesn't make sense. Because, it's not like in real life we want to be kidnapped by some dark mysterious stranger who ends up being a vampire that has an undying need to kill us.

So what is it? What is it about the bad that compels us so? Do books and movies tap into some dark unspoken part of our souls or subconscious that longs for something more than the good that's right in front of us?

And when did bad = sexy? Does it in your opinion? I don't have the answer. Which is why I'm asking YOU. I'd REALLY like to know the answer!

Red. Head. Out. :D

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