Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yes, I'm on a Break, but You Gotta See This!

My hiatus hasn't even begun, but I'm breaking it already. Told you I couldn't do it! But I've found some links out there in the blogosphere that I just had to share. There's some great stuff going on right now. Check it out:

Agent Sara Megibow has posted a letter on Natalie Bahm's blog to romance writers. If you write romance, you'll want to get over there ASAP.

DL Hammons over at Cruising Altitude is on a quest to find blogging buddies across the globe. He's still got a ways to go, so let's help him out! In the U.S., he still needs buddies in Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. If you know of any bloggers in these states, please help spread the word!

Karsten Knight has posted an awesome instructional dance video for men to celebrate 100 followers. You DO NOT want to miss this, unless you've got something against laughing. Seriously, you need to check this out.

I shouldn't even be telling you this (because I want to win!), but Marcia Hoehne is giving away critiques of the first 1000 words of your manuscript. She's an author and a writing instructor. The deadline is June 22 at 6am. LATE BREAKING NEWS: I won this critique! Thanks so much, Marcia, and don't worry guys, she's giving away two more critiques next month!

I'll miss you guys, but I'll check in when I can (and hopefully be a little more disciplined about actually staying on break!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Digging Deeper

One comment that came up often in the Next Top Title Blogfest (with my titles and others) was that a title was "generic." Special thanks to Margo Berendsen at Writing at High Altitude, who suggested I could dig deeper and make one of my titles, The Reluctant Prince, more evocative. She asked what else is striking about my character besides being a prince? What other trait does he have that's more active, with more attitude.

I gave it some thought. When I have a question about my writing, I challenge myself to come up with ten answers. I allow crazy, dumb, out-there answers, as long as I get ten. That way I get past the obvious surface answers, and hopefully find something more creative.

Here goes. What's striking about my mc? He's
1 - a prince
2- an eldest son
3- the heir to the throne of his country
4 - a brother (this is a story about three brothers)
5 - a murderer
6 - lives as a peasant (unaware of his true ancestry)
7 - an abuse victim
8 - a loner
9 - a hero
10 - a survivor

What traits does he have? He's
1 - reluctant
2 - forgotten (by his parents - not really, but he feels that way)
3 - noble
4 - heroic
5 - defiant
6 - brave
7 - royal/aristocrat/blueblood/regal
8 - isolated
9 - abandoned
10 - independent

Keep in mind, the purpose of this post is not to find the perfect title for my book (though that would be nice...), but rather to elaborate on Margo's suggestion of digging deeper, finding a more evocative title.

So here are some variations on The Reluctant Prince:

The Forgotten Prince

The Abandoned Heir

The Peasant Hero

The Reluctant Son

The Peasant Prince

I'm actually not sure how good of a job I did of finding a more evocative title - this was hard! But it was a good exercise and I definitely have some more options here. The important thing is, I went a little further, past the obvious traits that first jumped to my mind, and found some titles with a little more depth.

I mentioned before that I have a lot of family obligations coming up this summer. With that in mind, I'll be taking a blogging break for the next three weeks. Honestly, I don't know if I'll last, I may have to sneak in a post here or there, and I'll definitely try to visit some blogs whenever I can. I'll see you in July!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One Blog Life to Live

It's Wednesday again - time for my news and award post. I think my brain and fingers are rested up from last week and ready for some more linkage. :)

Writing Update:
Still making slow progress on In the Seventeenth Year. I've revised 11 chapters out of 71, with a goal of 1 chapter revision a day, which means another couple of months. But since it's summer and we have travel plans, family reunions, etc., I'm prepared for it to take longer than that. The good news is that after all my lovely bloggy friends voted on my titles in the Next Top Title Blogfest, I can keep calling it In the Seventeenth Year.

Free Conference News:
Head over to WriteOnCon for information about a FREE online writing conference for children's writers on August 10-12. Wow - you do NOT want to miss this!

Contest News:
Kimberly Franklin is giving away autographed copies of The Body Finder, and more.

Kelly Polark is giving away the first three books in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Each season of True Blood is based on a book in the series.

Carolina Valdez Miller, Sara McClung, and Alexandra Shostak are giving away four Barry Lyga books.

Blogfests in the Coming Week:
Shelley at Stories in the Ordinary hosts the "I Can't Say It" Blogfest on June 16.

Elizabeth Mueller hosts the Breaking the Rules Blogfest on June 18.

Tina Lynn at Sweet Niblets hosts the Bad Boy Blogfest on June 20.

A huge thanks to Julie Dao at Silver Lining for awarding me with the Happiness Award (isn't it lovely?) I'd like to bequeath this award to:

Margo Berendsen at Writing at High Altitude. Margo made a very insightful comment on my First Top Title Blogfest post which really reminded me that I have to dig deep to achieve excellence. Margo's comment will be the subject of Friday's post (so stay tuned!) Thanks Margo!

Catherine Winn at The Writing Room. Catherine was kind enough to mention my post on Picturing Your Characters on her blog not once, but twice! She commented to tell me how helpful that post was to her. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. Thanks Catherine!

For this award, I'm supposed to list ten things that make my happy (I'll forego the obvious here, but never fear, my husband, kids, naps, and coffee do make me very happy!)

1. listening to my cat purr

2. vanilla-scented candles

3. summer thunderstorms

4. taking the dog for a walk in the park

5. having the windows in the house open

6. warm butterscotch pudding (I only like the cook-n-serve kind, that's what my mom always made)

7. baking cookies

8. getting blogger awards like this one :)

9. watching movies in a movie theater

10. when I actually get on the treadmill instead of just thinking about it

What makes you happy?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winners of the Title Wars!

Thanks to everybody who came by during the Next Top Title Blogfest and cast your votes on the prospective titles for my two manuscripts, and a huge thank you to Angela at Slushpile Slut for hosting this fantabulous event! I not only got to hear many great opinions on my own titles, but I also loved reading the titles of the other participants. All in all, it was a very fun and educational blogfest. If you haven't had a chance to read the other participant's titles, I highly recommend it, and read the comments, too. Many times the commenter explained why they liked a title (or not), and I learned so much by reading through these comments.

For my wip #1 (a paranormal romance), Killing Kessler got 18 votes and Three Days in October got 17. Killing Kessler is the title I've been using for quite some time now, so I was thrilled that it took top honors. However, I just came up with Three Days in October last week, and I really like it, too.

For wip #2 (epic fantasy), In the Seventeenth Year (which is the title I've been using for a long time and was suggested by my good friend Sharon over at Random Thoughts - thanks, Sharon!) received the most votes with 14. The Reluctant Prince came in second place with 9.

The thing that struck me the most on the comments I received was that people seem to like titles having to do with time. Probably the comment I got most often was that people liked Three Days in October because it make them feel like something important was going to happen in those three days. The shorter time frame gives the impression of a ticking clock and urgency. This is something I'll definitely be keeping in mind.

I learned more, but I don't want this post to get too long, so I'll save it for next time. Do you have any title wisdom you can share? What do you like or not like in a title?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Next Top Title Blogfest

It's blogfest day! Today I'm taking part in The Next Top Title Blogfest hosted by Slushpile Slut. We're supposed to list 3-5 possible titles for our WIP without any background or logline. Then you (if you're so inclined - and I hope that you are!) can leave a comment to let me know what you think of the titles and which one you prefer. Slushpile Slut said if we had more than one WIP, we could post titles for both, so I did. :) Thanks for reading!

WIP #1 (paranormal romance - modern day)
Killing Kessler
The Virus
Love Thy Enemy
Three Days in October

WIP #2 (epic fantasy)
Darkest Days
The Reluctant Prince
In the Seventeenth Year

Mark of Gideon
Prince of Hearts

Now I hope you'll head over to Slushpile Slut's blog to find the list of other participants and check out their titles as well.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

As the Blog Turns...

I'm still working on this blogging schedule thing. It looks like Wednesdays are going to be the day for taking care of blog-related things, like updates on my writing, contest and blogfest news, and award bequeathing (I just read that term over at Myrna Foster's Night Writer blog and it stuck with me, hope you don't mind if I borrow it, Myrna!)

Writing Update:
I'm making slow progress with revising In the Seventeenth Year after its eighteen month hiatus. I'm continuously amazed at the sheer number of was's and were's in the manuscript, and that I didn't seem to notice this during the first several revisions.

Contest News:
Erica at The Book Cellar is giving away books, a tank top, and random swag.

Shannon Whitney Messenger is giving away a signed copy of The Body Finder + awesome swag.

Christi Goddard at A Torch in the Tempest is giving away gift cards of your choice in her 106 Followers Contest.

Michelle Hodkin is giving away four ARCs.

The Slushpile Slut is celebrating 104 followers and giving away a copy of Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages or another writing book if you've already read that book (which I have, and it's fabulous!)

Blogfest News:
The Slushpile Slut is hosting the Next Top Title Blogfest on Saturday, June 12. I've already entered. Have you?

I received the gorgeous Journey Support Award from Michelle Teacress and Crystal Cook at Write Because You Must (Thanks, Ladies!) I'd like to pass it on to:

Lydia Kang at The Word is My Oyster. Lydia is not only a wife, mother, writer, and blogger, but she's also a part-time doctor and hosts Medical Mondays at her blog, a feature where she answers medical questions emailed to her by us curious writers. She just answered a question for me on her post this Monday, and I can't thank her enough for her help.

Pam at The Chronicles of a Veteran Kindergarten Teacher. Pam visited my blog during a blogfest I entered and left one of the most encouraging comments I have ever received. I smiled for a long, long time after I read her comment. Thank you for your wonderful support, Pam!

Okay, that was a lot of linkage for me...I'm worn out. What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Got a Medical Question?

True confession: I HATE research. Did you ever wish you knew a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor so you could ask them all your questions pertaining to their area of expertise? I wish that all the time, which is why I was so excited recently to find fellow blogger Lydia Kang at The Word is My Oyster.

I'm in awe of Lydia. She's a wife, mother, writer, blogger, and part-time doctor. Wow - and I thought I was busy! Not only that, but Lydia runs a cool feature on her blog called Medical Mondays. You can email her a medical question (for writing purposes only), and she'll find the answer to your question. How cool is that?

I'm in the very early planning stages of a new novel that involves a blood donation. Before I could go much further with the plotting, I needed to know if there is a certain blood type/quality that would make finding a donor difficult, and if it's possible to do a blood transfer on site, from one student to another. I emailed Lydia and she emailed me with the answers within a couple of days. I'm not going to tell you what she said - you'll just have to go over to her blog and check it out, because she used my question as her Medical Monday question today! I hope you'll hop over and meet Lydia (click here) if you haven't already - you'll be so glad you did!

How about you? Do you enjoy research or is it a necessary evil? Do you have any research resources you can share?

Friday, June 4, 2010

VIDEO CHALLENGE: Twilight - Edward vs. Jacob

It's Friday again, time for Jen at unedited's Friday Something v. Something. Today's battle is Edward vs. Jacob, so here goes...

Be sure to check out the other entries. Here are their links:
Jessica - The Alliterative Allomorph
Candace - The Misadventures in Candyland
Sarah - T.J. Carson's Writing Endeavors
Katie - Creepy Query Girl
Shannon - Shannon McMahon
Rachel - Open a Window
Susan - Susan Fields
Clara - Pinches of Madness
Angela - Slushpile Slut
Jennie - Garden Full of Lily
Jen - unedited

My in-laws are visiting this weekend, so I probably won't be getting around to visit you all as much as I'd like. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you soon!

Late breaking news: (the website where we create these videos) has started charging for them, so this will be Jen's last Something v. Something battle. She promises she's got something else fun and creative up her sleeve to replace it, but for now, make sure you check out these links - it will be your last opportunity!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Award and a Contest Winner (Me!)

I appreciate the input everyone gave me about keeping a blogging schedule. I was surprised to find how many bloggers keep schedules and really like them. So I'm giving it a try. I'm sure it will change from time to time as I iron out the kinks, but at least it's a start.

In other news: I've been hoarding awards, so I'm going to make a start at passing them out (this will be part of my Wednesday schedule for a while - as long as the awards hold out). Today I'll pass out the Quillfeather Award, given to me by Karen G at Coming Down the Mountain. Thanks Karen! And I promise I didn't know this when I planned this post, but I just went over to get the link to Karen's blog and found out I won her contest! She's going to analyze the first three chapters and query for my manuscript. Wow, Karen! Super Duper Thanks with a Cherry on Top! (Sidenote: I won a The Mockingbirds bookmark at Kimberly Franklin's blog today, too! Thank you, Kimberly! I'm so psyched - today was my lucky day!)

I'm almost too excited to go on, but there's still an award to give away so I'd better finish up. I'd like to give this lovely award to Shelley Sly at Stories in the Ordinary. Shelley is hosting the "I Can't Say It" Blogfest, where you can post a scene about a character who has something to say but can't get the words out. Doesn't that sound like fun? Hop over to her blog and sign up (or just tell her "hi!")

I'm also giving this award to Julie Dao at Silver Lining. Julie has another blog dedicated to science writing, Jules on Science, with some really interesting science articles. You should definitely check it out!

That's it for me today. I get to go figure out which manuscript I'll use for the chapters Karen's going to analyze. Have a very happy Wednesday, everyone!