Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Okay -- Shoot!

I'm in a bit of a slump, and I spent 6 hours today outside in 95 degree weather with an entire elementary school full of children.

Yes, friends...it was those two words that make adults run screaming and the strongest men's blood run cold...

FIELD DAY

It was really fun, but exhausting. I'm totally and absolutely wiped out and have a wicked case of heat stroke.

On top of all this, I just finished a big edit on my WIP and my brain = fried. So, my bloggish friends, I'm turning to you. Take pity on me and help me figure out what kind of blogs you'd like to see. What questions do you have for me? Any deep burning topics you'd like me to discuss? Any specific questions about my journey/my process/what makes me write scary stuff? Etc?

I'd love to know what you guys have a hankering to discuss. Do tell! :)

P.S. Am I the only one that giggles when she reads the word 'hankering'?  ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

And I'm Kind of a Navy Seal

Up until the last couple of years, I could barely swim at all. The doggy paddle was the max end of my aquatic skill level. I'd never taken much of an interest in swimming because I have asthma and doing a classic freestyle is out of the question. My lungs just don't have the capacity to maintain my breathing in that way--no, I know what you're thinking, it isn't simply because I'm ridiculously uncoordinated.

No, that's not it.

Really.

Anyway, so two years ago I decided to try swimming for exercise and see how that worked for me. I figured maybe I could make up a stroke I could do on my back or something.

Yes, I said "make up" because that is exactly how much I knew about swimming. The idea that someone else had already made up a stroke that could be done on your back...a back-stroke per se...never occurred to me.

While at the pool that day, I noticed someone doing a stroke on their side so I copied the motions and have been doing it ever since. I started out unable to do even a quarter mile at a time, now I easily do a mile every time I go.

And. I. Love. It.

So the other day, I decided to check out You Tube and see if they had any instructional videos on the side stroke--I thought it might be a good idea to see if I was doing it correctly. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the side-stroke, the stroke I've been doing for a year, is the official swim style of the Navy Seals.



Yep, that's what I do six days a week. Yes, I recognize that I might look more the part of the seal than the navy when I swim, but the point is...um...the point is--------that swimming with me could very well save your life.

At least that's what I got from it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yay for Gritty Dark Lovely Covers!

We're into the last few days of school and my life is insane. So rather than trying to pull something cool and amazing together, I'm going to direct you to the Friday the Thirteeners blog where my coolio friend, Elsie Chapman is revealing her cover for DUALED.

It rocks. Go check it out and give Elsie some cover love. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Remembering Not to Suck

Every time I dive into edits there is an adjustment to make. When I'm drafting, I turn off my inner editor and give myself permission to suck. When I dive into revisions and edits, I turn it back on and it responds a little something like this:


And there is much suckage throughout the land. So, I take a deep breath, remember it is like this with every book, the sun will come out tomorrow and all that. And do my very best not to look like this:


Or this:


Because we have to go through the Bog of Suckitude to get to the glowing Wheat Fields of Brilliance...or sometimes just as far as the lush Meadow of Mediocrity. Either way, we're better off than where we started, because really...who wants to live in the Bog?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Communication Skillz

Last week, I posted about how my husband traded a gun for a truck.

No, I'm not kidding. See here.

If you couldn't tell from that post, Hubs and I are stellar communicators. I mean, we should teach classes. Don't believe me? Allow me to demonstrate.

After we got said truck, I had a conference. I went, mingled with cool people, had dinner with them and there was a general consensus that we'd go back to my house for more fun/hot-tubbing/visiting my Greek-god-kitten, Zeus

Some of the people headed straight to my house, but I had to make a stop on the way. Being the excellent communicator I am, I called my husband to warn him of the incoming par-tay. Apparently my friends spend their weekends at Nascar, because they had already arrived. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, hun! I have some friends coming over. Please have pants on.
Him: Too late, they're already here.
Me: Oh...please tell me you had pants on.
Him: I did. I'm kind of mid-project.
Me: Okay, well give them the kitty and some licorice and I'll be right there.
Him: Done.

So, I rushed home, and when I arrived, there was a living room full of people chatting and my husband was in the garage...with the truck. Which was now being spray-painted in some sort of camouflage. Because he wants to blend in when driving through the woods on a dark night? Because it's never too early to prepare for the coming zombie/robot apocalypse? I don't know. I've learned not to question him.

Me: Why are you out here?! Couldn't you entertain them for a few minutes?
Him: Oh, you don't want me in there right now.
Me: Why not?
Him: *steps into the light* Look at me.
Me: *blinks at amazing amount of skin actually covered by paint* Why are you painting yourself to match the truck?
Him: *laughs* Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Me: *groans and heads inside* Well, I hope they're entertained.
Him: Hey, let me know if they're getting high from the fumes in there.
Me: Perfect.

As you can see, my husband and I have flawless communication, and a camo truck. Meet at my house when the apocalypse starts...also, we have licorice and a kitten. What else could we need?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bartering

My husband called me other day and this was our conversation:

Him: "I think I want a truck."
Me: "But, we just bought a car."
Him: "Okaaaay, what if we didn't have to pay for it."
Me: "Weeeelll, what kind of truck would we not have to pay for."
Him: "I don't know..."
Me: *crickets*
Him: "But you're saying that if I didn't have to pay for it, you'd be fine with me getting a truck?"
Me: "Does it involve jail time or prostitution?"
Him: *far too long of a pause* "I don't think so..."
Me: *shrugs* "Fair enough."

The next day, he brought home the crappiest old brown truck I've ever seen. I immediately dubbed it "Herpes" and told him I'd prefer he be sanitized before touching me or the children.

Me: "So, how did you get it?"
Him: "I traded for it."
Me: "Traded what?"
Him: "A gun."

Sidenote: I'm not a gun fan. And yes, I know this means I'll be the first to die in the coming Zombie Apocalypse...I'm okay with that.

Me: *jaw drops* "Seriously? Someone traded you a truck for a gun?"
Him: *Looking rather proud* "Yep."
Me: "So someone agreed to let you come to their house with a gun, and take away their truck? Isn't that called Grand Theft Auto?"
Him: "Not when you leave the gun behind."
Me: "Alrighty then."

So, this got me curious...what would you trade your hypothetical crappy old truck for? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Conference Notes: How To Pitch

One of our classes at the conference last weekend was on Crafting a Killer Query & Pitch, but there was one section I had to cut because of time. It was on pitch delivery. So, I thought I'd post my notes on that section here and you guys can ask any questions you might have. :)

So, here we go:

Show Your Passion
Now is not the time to play it cool. Show how much you care about your work and your story. If they can see how much you feel it, they are twice as likely to feel it too.
Don’t Jump Ahead
While being excited is good, getting ahead of yourself is not. The point is to grab their interest, not to close the deal. Make them want to hear more, and you’ve succeeded.
Be Clear
Speak up. Look them in the eye. Use common language that everyone understands.
Be Concise
  —Your actual pitch should take between 30–60              seconds.
Be Prepared
You never know when someone is going to ask what your book is about. Write and memorize your pitch in advance so you can be ready.
Be Targeted
When possible, write a pitch geared for the agent/editor. Make sure to pull out and focus on the elements of the book that the audience will love and drive those points home.
Be Confident, Not Arrogant
They need new authors as much as new authors need them. If you don’t think of them as being above you, it will help you come across stronger.
Be Grateful
Thank them for their time, but don’t suck up or belittle yourself. You are both professionals, remember that.

~~~

So, what do you think? Was this helpful for you? Any questions?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dude, So Much Awesome

I presented two classes (Querying & Dialogue) at the Storymakers Conference this weekend, and honestly, I don't think I've ever had this much fun at a Conference. It was amazing.

Here is an example of just one meal. I'd name everyone, but it would probably blow your minds, and I wouldn't feel good about doing that. You probably recognize a few of them...but that many cool people at one table? I'm pretty sure we surpassed the ratio of coolness normally allowed in a single location...and it rocked.

I met so many fantastic people in one weekend! And I discovered something: agents in person are my new favorite group of people. Michelle Wolfson and Holly Root were utterly lovely and SO much fun!

Anyway, great books + great people + great classes = a fabulous weekend. I have the best job ever. I'm totally re-energized and ready to dig in to my edits and sequel.

What about you? Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hooray for Conferences!

No, this picture has nothing to do with conferences...I just think it's hilarious. :)

Don't judge.

Back on topic -- I'm really excited, and SUPER busy right now, getting ready for the LDStorymakers Conference this weekend. I'm teaching two classes (Query & Dialogue) with Kasie West & Natalie Whipple. I love those girls and it's going to be so fun spending that time together. On top of all this awesome, I get to see so many fun friends from the writing community that I just don't see except for at conferences.

Oh, yes. Much fun fantastic-ness shall be had.

Conferences are so great for many reasons, but I'll be honest. My main purpose for conferences is that they re-charge my writer battery. They make me remember why I love doing this and how much I need to keep doing it. It helps me remember the joy that this part of my life gives me.

And I always need that.

What about you? Have you ever been to a conference? What was your favorite part about it?