Monday, April 30, 2012

Nose to the Grindstone

I'm going to be taking a short blog break to really concentrate on my wip. I attended my writer's retreat this weekend, and I got some wonderful plot suggestions during my manuscript critique that I can't wait to start applying. Time to put my nose to the grindstone! I'll be back soon to blog about my fantastic retreat experience!

Did you do anything fun/exciting/productive this weekend?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Today is:
My oldest daughter's sixteenth birthday! And Earth Day! I'm posting early this week because tomorrow I'm going on my younger daughter's field trip. We're going to the courthouse to watch a trial. I'm excited - I've never seen an actual trial before.

Thought for the Week:
I know we've all heard countless ways to be greener, but  the following tips I found on were new to me and I thought I'd share them in honor of Earth Day...

Foods actually last longer than their "best if used by" expiration dates. To see how long foods typically last, check out

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a computer for three hours - so recycle, recycle, recycle!

Some coffee shops offer a discount when customers use their own reusable coffee mugs rather than paper cups. Starbucks, for example, offers a 10-cent discount when customers use their own reusable mugs or tumblers in company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Plastic shopping bags are not biodegradable, only about 9 percent of them are recycled, and the ones that aren't leak chemicals into our soil and water supply. You can find resuable grocery bags at (and usually in your own grocery store as well.) offers waterless car cleaning and detailing products to get a clean car without using water.

To read the full article, click here.

How About You:
Have you ever watched a trial? What's your favorite "green" tip? Did you do anything to celebrate Earth Day?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Edgar Awards

I finished The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall yesterday. It was fantastic! I thought the ending was extremely clever and I couldn't put it down until the mystery was solved. Next up: Shelter by Harlan Coben.

As Theresa Milstein pointed out last week, my reading has had a theme lately. I'm reading the 2012 Edgar nominees for Best Young Adult. The nominees are:
Shelter by Harlan Coben
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall
The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines
Kill You Last by Todd Strasser

So far I've read The Silence of Murder and Kill You Last and loved them both. The Edgar Awards will be presented on 4/26/12. I'd love to have read them all by then, but I'm just not that fast of a reader. I'll probably try to bury my head in the sand and not find out who the winner is until I've read the nominees myself.

Do awards and nominations such as the Edgar Awards influence your decision to read a book? Have you read any of this year's Edgar Award nominees? What is your favorite mystery novel (YA or otherwise)?

Have a great week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Second Drafts

I just finished Kill You Last by Todd Strasser and loved it! It's a 2012 Edgar Award nominee for best Young Adult. Today I'll start reading The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall, another nominee.

I am so excited to be writing the second draft of my new ms. Things are flowing so much more smoothly than they did in the first draft. Now if I could just disable the internet on my laptop until 6pm everyday, I could get some serious writing done! :)

Now that I'm writing my second draft, I feel like I have a much better idea where I'm going and what needs to happen in each scene. And since I revised the first fifteen pages pretty heavily for the writer's retreat I'm going to later this month, I feel like I've got those down pretty well. So now I'm tempted to revise just as heavily with each new scene I write, which is something I've never done. Normally I zip through the draft as quickly as I can and then revise at the end. I've always thought what's the point of taking too much time revising when I'm probably going to still be making major changes anyway? But now that I feel like I have a good idea where I'm going with this draft, and I have the beginning in pretty good shape, I find myself wanting to keep the rest of it in just as good of shape so I'm not left with my usual mess at the end.

Do you revise as you go along, or do you zip through quickly and figure you'll clean it all up later?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tagged Part Two

WHAT I'M READING: The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford. This was a 2010 Edgar Award nominee for Best Young Adult. The main character is so funny and likable, I was hooked on it right away.

HOW MY WRITING'S GOING: Slow! But I'm getting there. My rough draft is done, so now I'm revising the outline and getting ready to start again. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I read where Cynthia Leitich Smith said she used to write a "discovery draft" and then throw it away. I don't think I'm quite brave enough to throw my first draft away, but I did make major changes to my outline and plan to start from scratch with the second draft, though I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of "borrowing" from the first draft.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Heather Murphy at Random Interruptions tagged me with the ten questions below. I'm supposed to answer and then tag seven more people. Here we go...

1. What is your dream vacation?
I'd love to visit Greece. Second choice would probably be Switzerland.

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
I'm a total planner. Though with three kids, things rarely go as planned. :)

3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don't dare do it.
Scuba dive

4. What's your biggest phobia?
Creepy crawly bugs - I don't mind anything that flies, but crawlers freak me out.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island-what three things would you want with you? (Not including your family or laptop.)
Lots of growing foods because I don't think I could kill anything
Drinking water

6. Name three blessings in your life.
My family
My friends
My writing

7. What was your nickname in High School?
I don't think I had one. Yes I know - how boring!

8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?
Good luck! (and that would be for any president, not just the current one - what a tough job)

9. If you could be any literary character, who would you be?
Katniss - I just love her!

10. What is your favorite quote?
“Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”  - Martin Luther King Jr.

I've been doing a lot of tagging lately, so with this one I'd like to tag anyone who wants to answer these questions, either in the comments or in your own post. I always have fun learning more about you guys, so I hope you'll play along!

Have a great week!