Thursday, April 25, 2013


Okay, I finally have to admit defeat, at least for a little while. My new college career is turning out to take up more of my time than I'd anticipated. I'd hoped to be able to go to school, write, and blog, but it turns out there just aren't enough hours in the day for all three. Unfortunately (because I'm going to miss you all terribly!), blogging is going to be the one to go.

I'll check in whenever I can, on breaks and such, but until then...

Keep writing, friends!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Break

Image courtesy of

I'll be taking a couple of weeks off while my kids are on spring break and I take my midterm exams (yes, both those things are happening at the same time - very bad timing!)

I hope you all have a great couple of weeks and happy almost-spring!

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Reading List

I've been in school for almost half a semester now (I can't believe I've got my microbiology lab midterm next week - just about the halfway point!) and I'm loving it, really I am. But there is soooo much reading. Which really isn't so bad because for the most part it's pretty interesting stuff (especially anatomy & physiology.) The problem is, all this textbook reading doesn't leave nearly enough time for what I really want to be reading...

I just finished The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (I loved it but not quite as much as The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.)

I'm reading The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey right now. I saw this book mentioned on another writer's blog last week and it sounded so interesting I had to give it a try. I didn't realize when I reserved it at the library that it was written in 1949. I very rarely read older books, but it's definitely caught my interest right from the start.

Next up: Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (just because I love his writing) and Starters by Lissa Price (which was recommended to me by a dear friend - hi, Sharon!)

How about you? What are you reading now? Do you find yourself getting frustrated by not having enough time to read, or do you make reading a top priority? And do you like to read older books?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Setting Descriptions

Last week I talked about an author whose character descriptions I admire. Today I'm going to continue the theme by spotlighting an author whose setting descriptions just blow me away. As a reader, I'm not really big on reading setting descriptions, but Holly Black does such an amazing job putting me right in the scene that her descriptions are a joy to read. Both these excerpts are from Chapter 1 of Tithe:

The air was heavy and stank of drying mussels and the crust of salt on the jetties. Waves tossed themselves against the shore, dragging grit and sand between their nails as they were slowly pulled back out to sea.

A few lines later:

She loved the serene brutality of the ocean, loved the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.

I can see the waves, feel the heavy air, smell the drying mussels, taste the briny air, and feel the grit and sand. All in three sentences that are poetic and effortless, not dragged down with the effort of trying to convey too much.

Do you have an author whose setting descriptions you particularly admire?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Character Descriptions

One of my favorite ways of improving my writing is to study authors who are particularly good at what they do. One thing that struck me when I read Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane was his character descriptions. They're unusual and remarkably vivid. They don't just describe what the character looks like, but usually give a glimpse of his or her personality as well.

Here's an excerpt from Lehane's Moonlight Mile to show you what I mean:

He was a small guy, wiry and bearded. His baseball cap, cotton hoodie, and battered jeans were streaked with grime. The ripe odor coming off him told me it had been a while since he'd bathed. He didn't have nut-bag eyes, though; there was no meanness in him, no crackhead edge.

Can't you just see this guy (and smell him)? I may not know his exact eye color or hair color, but what I do know about him tells me far more. I already feel like I'm getting to know him in just four sentences.

Do you have a favorite author for character descriptions? Have you read any of Lehane's books, maybe Mystic River or Gone Baby Gone?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Query Time

Happy Friday!

Well, I survived two weeks of school (barely, but I'm still here!) The homework is overwhelming, but it's fascinating stuff, so that helps a lot. My first bachelors degree was in electrical engineering. I'm really not sure how I managed that one because I have no interest in it at all. But my classes now (Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology) are geared towards nursing students and are all about the human body, so it's like learning about myself. Pretty cool! And the labs I was so nervous about have actually been fun so far. So all in all, a very busy but good two weeks.

In writing news, I think my query is about ready to go. I spent a lot of time with Elana Johnson's From the Query to the Call, had several critique partners review my draft, and I'm still spit shining, but I think it's close. I've also been lurking on Query Shark and learning quite a bit from reading the archives. I'm considering the idea of submitting my query for critique, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough. Has anyone out there ever had a query critiqued on Query Shark? Do you have any other sites or resources for getting your query critiqued? And what references do you like to use when writing a query?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!