Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My top 10 favorite writerly things of 2008

What makes all the seasonal CrAzInEsS worth it? Being able to get 3 active girls to hug, smile and look at the camera at the same time. (trust me! It's a Christmas miracle!)

Hot cocoa and new jamies and robes on Christmas eve.

Catching the joy of my 5 year old while she was in mid-run before the wrapping paper was off her gift and she was yelling "Spongebob! It's a Spongebob game!" As if she had just won a billion dollar lottery.

Catching my 7 year old in mid-jump so that I cut off half of her face from the excitement over her gift.

There was also an nerf gun fight that was wholly satisfying. And don't even get me started on warmed mulled cider and blueberry pie. It was a day of fun, relaxing and family. That's why I collapsed into bed every night feeling like my back was going to break in the month of December. That's why I didn't get any writing done. And that's why I'll do it all again next year.

And now, since it's the last day of 2008, I am going to post my top 10 favorite writerly things of 2008. (Insert "We Will Rock You" melody here)

10) Having my article on the Statue of Liberty published in an e-zine. (I'd post a link, but it's not available for viewing anymore. :0(
9) Re-doing the guest-bedroom so that it doubles as my writing space.
8) Reading a gob of great books
7) The SCBWI Schmooze, hosted by my critique group where Newberry Winner, Frances O'Roark Dowell was the guest speaker.
6) The SCBWI CArolina's Annual Conference
5) having a weeks worth of devotions published in the Good News Daily Devotional Guide. (also available online.)
4) Getting to know and interview some of my favorite authors such as
Kathleen Duey
and Tina Ferraro.
3) Attending the Chapel Hill retreat
2) My critique with editor Martha Mihalik from Greenwillow. Wow! What great insight and advice.
1) My critique with editor Krista Marino, Delecorte. Her advice transformed my entire MS.

Hey wait!!!! I didn't get to mention how I luv, luv, luv, getting to know my blogging friends. The ones who frequent my blog and the blogs I like to visit! Jacqui, Rena, Brenda, PJ, Kate, Kelly, Susan, Bish, Adrienne, Stephanie, Ian, Janelle, Kathy, Tabitha, Angela, Kim. . . Heck! (pardon my language) all the people listed under my 'Cool blog" section on my sidebar. I also luv, luv, luv, the people who take time to leave a comment. I luv, luv, luv and even LOVE comments from anybody and everybody. (even dear mom has left a comment or 2 thanks ma!)

OK. So, this makes my top 11 favorites. I've always been a little off the "norm" anyway. Just par for the course. And I like it. :0P

I'm looking forward to what 2009 has in store. hmmmmm . . . . maybe that will be the topic for my next post.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shake my snow globe

Click on my snow globe to shake it. Shake it baby shake it!

Snow Globe Toy & MySpace Layouts at

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Supernatural encounter with poultry: Is there a Duck whisperer out there?

There's the Virgin Mary's image on a piece of toast,
Fecal matter in the shape of Abraham Lincoln . . . and now we have wax duck-bills . . .

Candles flickering, wax melting and spilling over the side of my silver decorative candle plate until a perfect waxen image gels on my ceramic cook-top stove. No human help is required. This form comes together on its own. A duck bill with a perfect crack down the center that puts me in mind of a smiling Donald Duck! It is true. I've been contacted by the great poultry of the beyond. But what are they trying to tell me? Is there a duck whisperer out there? Anyone who can make contact with dearly departed fowl?

How much do you think this supernatural phenomena will sell on e-bay? ;0D Baby wants a vacation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My blogger friend Bish has nominated me for the Honest Scrap award! I am passing on what Bish posted on her blog regarding the meaning of the Scrap Award.

"Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will. There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to 7 other bloggers."

Ten honest things about me are:

1) I was hit by a car when I was five years old. They didn't think I'd make it.
2) I got to travel around France for a month with my high school french class
3) I've had 3 miscarriages and a stillborn son
4) I once got a 100% on a college tax law class exam even though I'm horrible at math. Guess studying really does pay off.
5) I love being a mom, but my adventurous spirit makes it difficult to adjust to the confinement, of domestic life and the overwhelming amount of cleaning. I always have something to do, but it's usually so dang boring. I'm itching to get back to my old-adventurous, fun and active-self. I'm hoping that this will be a reality as the kids get older.
6) A friend of mine was murdered in Yemen because she was a Christian. She was working as a supply coordinator in a hospital a religious militant snuck into the building and opened fire in the middle of a hospital staff meeting.
7) I've broken every limb on my body except for my right leg.
8) My husband and I had only known each other for about 2 weeks before he proposed. We married young, I was 21. The odds were against us, but we've been married for 15 years.
9) My middle daughter has a chronic kidney disease that will most likely cause her kidneys to fail some day.
10) When I was a kid I wanted to be like Indiana Jones (and I still do)

The 7 friends that I am tagging are:


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Writers 12 Days of Christmas - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Our collective genius has been compiled and it is now time for the unveiling!

I give to you . . .

(I'll start at the end . . . you know how it goes)

On the 12th day of Christmas my writing buddies gave to me

12 Chapters written
11 Movie deals
10 Newberry awards
9 Best Sellers
8 Partial Requests
7 Quiet hours
6 Starbucks cards
5 Cups of coffeeeeeeeeeee
4 Calling editors
3 Ink pens
2 Eager agents
and a Nobel Prize for all the world to seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


I feel so freakin' festive now. :0)

Thanks to all who made this song possible. What a talented bunch we are! :0)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas Writers version: Let's write it together!

OK. So, let's work on this together. The 12 days of Christmas writers version. What should be included. Some of my thoughts . . . .

On the 1st day of Christmas my writing buddies gave to me . . .

A lattee that is sugar free . .. .

On the 2nd day of Christmas my writing buddies gave to me . . .

2 Sharpenend pencils
and a lattee that is sugar free . . . .

OK peeps. What else needs to go in the writers 12 days of Christmas? I'll post the final version when it's complete.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Confession time: My Life as a disco Elf

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
Now you know the truth. I'm not busy because of gifts, cleaning, baking, school programs, Christmas cards or decorating. It's time that I come out of the closet. I'm a Disco Elf, and I'm proud of it. Check out my moves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

pleased as pie and a Mario Cart prodigy

Busy, busy, busy. I haven't had much time to blog, respond to blogs or anything else amid the Christmas frenzy.

Last Saturday we hosted a little Chirstmas party. I was rather pleased with my creative pie baking. I had this last minute idea to use a cookie cutter and arrange little tree's upon my homemade blueberry pie. I was so happy w/ how it turned out. And it was Yummmmy! (if I may say so myself)

The miniature person in the red skirt is my five year old. She smoked the adults in Mario Cart. I think she may be a Mario Cart prodigy.

Just a little update. Maybe I'll be able to get back to my usual blogging after the Holidays. Until then, this is as good as I can do.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The joy of an air-borne heiny: and other things that will help get me through this hectic season

I took a walk today. Needed to get away from the keyboard, the housework, Christmas preparations. This is one of the best Holidays of all. So why do I feel like I'm living in a tornado. Oh! Watch out for the flying cow! Ouch!

I had a good hour to walk around a nearby lake and the thought that kept playing through my mind was how it's the simple things that make me the happiest. Here were some of the things that gave me the warm fuzzies today:

*wind-blown waters dappled by dancing sunlight

*the one duck in the flock that had his head in the water and butt stuck up in the air. I don't care who you are. There's just something funny about an air-borne heiny.

*the sort of energy that can only be renewed by the kiss of crisp autumn air.

*The couple with their grandson, who held onto a string that was attached to a makeshift toy boat in the water. They made it out of a tinfoil roasting pan and a plastic bag for a sail.

*odd shaped and twisted trees. . . wondering how they got that way.

*a bush that looks like a gigantic bouquet of dandelions that have gone white, letting off hundreds of fluff balls that put me in mind of frost-work fairies coasting on the breeze

*sinus' that have finally cleared so that I can enjoy a good walk w/o feeling like a led-headed zombie. (No offense to zombies.)

*a winding path beneath a canopy of trees and padded with a carpet of leaves.

. . . . ahhhhhh! I may be able to survive the holidays after all.

So, how do you do it? What helps you survive the hectic tornado's of life?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And the winner of the Skin Hunger book giveaway is. . . .

Congratulations to


You are the winner of a copy of Skin Hunger

contact me at with mailing info

Thanks to everybody who entered! There will be more book giveaways to come!

And Thank you Kathleen for taking the time to give us an insightful interview and great advice!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Interview with Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger (and a book giveaway!)

I'm very excited to have author Kathleen Duey join us today for an interview regarding her award winning book "Skin Hunger." Kathleen also offers insight to the anticipated release of "Sacred Scars" due out in the Fall of 2009, and shares her thoughts on writing, reading and advice for aspiring authors as well.

And that's not all! I'm giving away a free copy of Skin Huger! Just leave a comment in the comments section and I'll draw the name of our lucky winner on Tuesday!

I've read over 50 books this year. I lost count. There were some that I read a few chapters at a time. Some I trudged through and eventually finished. Some I didn't even finish, I rushed them back to the library. Then, there are the golden few. The ones that kept me up late with burning eyes because I didn't want to put it down. Skin Hunger was one of those late-night-few.

Skin Hunger is told in two perspectives. At first both characters seem totally unrelated, but little by little Duey brings the reader along and shows us how the two story lines come together. I felt like I was opening a present or getting to be apart of the discovery of the story, rather than just being "told" the story. I'd wager that few authors would be able to pull this type of story line off. Duey does it masterfully.

Let's hear what she has to say to us.

On Writing:

I think one of the most remarkable aspects of Skin Hunger is your ability to blend two seemingly different stories into one book until little by little, the reader discovers how the stories come together.

Q. Did you know from the start that you would use two story lines?

A. The idea for A Resurrection of Magic came to me over fifteen years ago. I thought it would be a single book then. It is the very first novel I ever tried to write—what an optimist. I sank beneath the waves about 300 pages into chaos. It has evolved over time in many ways, but the two-protagonists-interlocking-timelines structure was part of the original idea.

Q. Was it difficult to write both story lines or did it come naturally?
A. Since the story was never framed any other way for me, it felt natural. Structure—as a storytelling tool—has always fascinated me. After this trilogy, or overlapping it, my next two books will have atypical story-delivery-systems, too. One of those is a collaboration I am wildly excited about. The other is a stand alone novel that might be a paraquel to the trilogy—I haven’t decided yet.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing the trilogy?
A. The timeline. I just finished the second book, Sacred Scars, so the worst of the timeline wrestling is over. For anyone who hasn’t read it Skin Hunger: There are two stories, 200 years apart. The first story causes the second one. There are two protagonists. One is written in first person, the other in third person and they alternate chapters. In the first story, about 140 years pass by the end of book two. In the second story, about three and a half years will have passed by the end of book two. Book three will be synchronous timelines by the end. I don’t outline, so it could take a turn, but that’s what seems inevitable now.

Q. What was your favorite part about writing Skin Hunger?
A. I loved finally getting the story out. I have been carrying it around in my head for so long! And I have loved readers’ response to it. After years of making a happy living writing my middle grade series, I want to believe that I can write deep, dark, page-turners with at least some literary merit, that teens and adults can’t put down. It is a whole new direction for me. I expected to finish the trilogy and write another few books before anyone noticed that I had changed paths. So the great reviews, the National Book Award finalist’s medal, the Cybil’s short list, etc,—these were all gifts I never expected. I appreciate them more than I can say.

Q. I love how you integrate old cultures in your books and include travel in your research. What were the most crucial items or places that you researched for Skin Hunger?
A. Writing forty-odd historical novels turns out to be good training for building a world from scratch. I’ve read so much about how cultures evolve in response to the people who begin them, punishing weather, immigration, war, sudden wealth (or poverty), the influx of a new religion, a devastating epidemic…When I began thinking about Limori, the pieces fit together fairly logically. I am fascinated with real place names. Limori is a Romany word; its meaning is a key to the story.
Traveling to do international school visits and to speak at writers’ conferences has taken me to interesting places. Some of them have been sources for building Limori. I have borrowed all kinds of things—street sounds, the smells, food, the buildings, especially the oldest ones, more food, the color of the sky, the sound of the wind, everything interests me. I love to travel and it has leaked into my work. At the international schools, I meet kids who speak three or four or more languages and have lived in many countries and I envy their stockpile of settings.

Q. Can you share anything with us regarding your current Work In Progress?
A. Sacred Scars is finally finished, off to the copyeditor last week. I care so much about Sadima and Hahp and all the other characters. It’s going to be odd to be finished with this trilogy in 2009.
Up next, a set of four books for 2-4th graders: The Faeries Promise. It’s a paraquel to The Unicorn’s Secret, set in a world that I created in nightly dreams in the third and forth grade. I would go to sleep there and wake up here. Then go to bed here and wake up there. It was like having two lives, for about a year and a half. It was amazing. I have tried to do it now and can’t. Yet.
Concurrently, I will be working on a really interesting collaboration, setting out to do something very different, using more tools to tell the story than I ever have before. I know that’s vague, but we are just getting off the ground with it. I do think it will be really interesting.

Do you have a regular writing routine?
Full time, almost every day. I am a terrible procrastinator about starting work for the day—but I have learned tricks that work most of the time. Once I get started, I write fairly quickly.

On reading:

What is the last book that you read?
Last: Laurie Halse Andersons’s Chained. (loved it!). Now: The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. I am also reading a partial early manuscript for a friend who has read both of the Resurrection books for me. It’s *really* interesting, really good, and I can’t say a word about it except I know her fans are going to love it.

What is your favorite book(s)?
This is always an impossible question for me. I have a few dozen favorite books. I am rereading The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake—it was written in the 40’s and 50’s remains a literary milestone for me. I read it in the fifth grade and it changed me forever. I loved Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.


Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I have written three answers to this that got so long and workshop-ish that I deleted them all. I would need a few hundred pages to finish what I started. There is so much to say about the art, craft and commerce of writing and so many good books that address all of that.
This is what I wish someone had told me: Patience. Learn the craft. Explore your art. It’s fun and it’s very hard. It will take years, almost certainly. Do not trust yourself or those who love you to evaluate your work—ask others to read it. It will suck at first. Everyone’s does. Keep practicing, like a painter, like an actor, a musician, a magician—it takes time and effort to perform your art well enough to draw a crowd. It just does.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Do you have any other parting words to share?
Just thank you, for reading my work. For liking it. What a gift that is!
Here are my online mainstays:

If you check out Kathleen's blog, you'll be able to see some of the process that she used to create Sacred Scars; her travels and the real life objects that become apart of Sadima and Hhap's world. It's fascinating to be able to see the process as it takes place.

Don't forget to leave a comment so I can enter you in the drawing!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I did it! NaNo

I did it! 50,000 words in one month. I worked on one YA slice of life and 1/2 of a YA fantasy novel. Though both are VERY rough draft, I do think they are both promising enough to work on. But first, I need to polish up and send out my current WIP. This past week has been really hard, becuase I've been sick and had lots of headaches, which made it hard to concentrate and many nights I went to bed after the kids went to sleep, instead of writing. But I plugged along and got'er done!

Stay tuned. . . because I have a special treat to end NaNo WriMo. I have a guest interview with the author of Skin Hunger, Kathleen Duey. Along with the interview I'm going to have a book drawing for skin Hunger. Come back sometime tomorrow. I'll post it then.

For now, my fingers need a break.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I dream about blogging (proof of a deranged mind)

Last week on Rena's blog she posted about lucid dreams, the kind of dreams where you know you're dreaming and can control the outcome of the dream or manipulate the images.

Well, Here's what happened in my dreams a couple of nights ago:

I'm having this really scary dream. So, in the middle of my dream I say to my(dream)self. "This is just a dream. I can control what happens. After all, I just read about this on Rena's blog. I can do this."

So, I keep trying to control my dream, but it's not working. I can't figure out what I can do to get away from the bad guys. So I think to my(dream)self: "OK, this is ridiculous, just wake yourself up!"

So I did. I woke myself up. I felt my heavy eyelids open and my proof of wakefulness was the blinking green light on my bedroom smoke detector. So I lay there staring at the blinking light, trying to figure out how I can change my dream and get rid of the bad guys. I think about creating doors so I can get out of the room or if I couldn't find a door I'd just make a bomb appear and throw it at the bad guys and blow 'em up.

That sounded like a good plan, so I fell back asleep and went right back into the same dang dream. So, I created a door to get away from the bad guys, but guess what!? I went out the door and ended up in an scarier situation than the one I was dreaming about before! What gives? Is my brain playing a trick on me? What kind of sick brain purposely takes you out of one bad dream only to help you escape into a worse one? URRRRGGGHHHH!

So, I wake myself up again, until I see the flickering of the smoke detector light once more, and I formulate a new plan on how to get out of that dream-predicament. "After all," I tell myself. "Rena's blog says I can do this."

And can you figure out what happens? It works, but then once again, as soon as I get out of that dream I find myself in yet another worse dream!

I think I went through this about 4 or 5 times before morning finally came. I was getting really frustrated. I could only control my dream to a point, but instead of getting better, I only found myself in a worse dream than before.

So, tell me people. Am I a total nutt case?

I don't know what is worse, that my brain purposely makes my dreams worse when I try to control them, or that I'm thinking about blogs in my sleep. :0P

Thursday, November 20, 2008

That busy time is here again. It's making it harder to work on NaNo (and everything else), but I'm doing it. So far I've NaNo'd in the doctors office, in the waiting room at the girls dance class, in the car pool line while I'm waiting, at the coffee shop, library and late at night after the kids have gone to bed and I need tape to hold my burning, red eyes open. Why do I do it? Because next to the kids doing and saying cute things, it's the best part of my day. :0)

I only have a little over 10,000 words til I hit the 50,000 word count goal, but I want to do more than that, because when december gets here, I need to put the new idea's on the back burner so I can send out my current WIP out in early 2009.

On another note. Here's a shout out to my critique buddy and friend Ian Sands. His new book How to Milk a Dinosaur is now available on Amazon. What happens when a middle school boy meets with an accident in his eccentric uncles lab? Read this funny, light-hearted book and find out! Here's a link to the interactive book site.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Drawing winner and Wedding Photo Challenge

I did it! I completed the fast draft of my first NaNo project. It only reached 27,002 words. But for this type of book I think that's not too bad. Those Slice of life YA girlie books are usually shorter. And today, I plan on starting my next idea.
In celebration I have drawn the winners for the next two book Giveaways!
(insert the Chicken Dance polka here because drum rolls are becoming too cliche)
Sruble is the winner of KATIE KAZOO
Beth Revis is the winner of the AMERICAN GIRL book
Contact me at with your mailing info and I'll get those out to you.

And now, to the wedding photo challenge. Rena started a challenge on her blog for people to post their wedding pictures. So, here's mine. 15 1/2 years ago. I think that football player is still looking for the shoulder pads that I stole from him. ;0)

My bouquet is a bit unusual. For one of my birthdays my Grandmother had a special Bible sent to me. I decided to include this Bible as a part of my bouquet. The flowers were made to fit and latch upon it. I'm really big into "meaning" and 'sentiment" over tradition.

So, now it's your turn. I'm passing on the challenge. Post your wedding picture if you can!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad new, good news, bad news, good news: In that order

Bad news: Somewhere I had a brain fart and missed one of the book drawings.

Good news: So, for the next drawing I'll giveaway 2 books instead of just one.

Bad news: I realized that my NaNo project isn't going to be long enough to reach 50,000 words. I only have 2 more chapters left and I'll be lucky if it hits 3o,000.

Good news: Last night I did a quick outline, (more like the start of an outline) of another idea that I've had, and I'm kind of excited about it. So I will have another project to start working on. It's a YA Fantasy and it's called (insert drum roll here) Gossamer Crimson (insert cheering here)

So, I will give away two books. I should be done with my 1st story on Friday so I'll draw names then. The books are "An American Girl: Peril at Kings Creek" and "Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: A Whirlwind Vacation"

Leave a comment below to have your name entered for the drawing. If you share with me what clever terms you use to refer to a laps of memory (ie: Brain fart) then I'll enter your name in twice. The drawing is random, it's not based on how clever your term may or may not be.

Now . . . back to my regularly scheduled house cleaning (gag!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Adventures of Super Turkey: Lois Path and Cluck Kent

This is a repost from last year. I can't help it. This is one of my fondest childhood memories that began my love of writing. And, I must add, the above picture is my attempt at art. My adulthood attempt, not my childhood attempt. I know it may be hard to tell.

I was in 5th grade and in white chalk (this was the day of black boards) the teacher wrote:

Write a story starting with this sentence "One day I was face to face with a musket . . . "

wish I had the foresight to keep that piece, but I didn't. I do, however, remember a little bit of how it goes.

One day I was face to face with a musket . . .

I went on to tell the story of a young and strong turkey named Cluck Kent. World famous Bawkporter Lois Path found herself looking down the barrel of a musket. Cluck Kent sensed trouble was afoot and our hero dashed into the nearest hollow log to emerge none-other than Super Hero extrodinaire SUPER TURKEY!!!!!!!! Super Turkey was able to get the musket away from the hunter and saved the day. THE END

I had so much fun writing the story, and the teacher and my parents gushed over my paper and Voila! The seeds of "writing-joy" were planted.

Thanks Super Turkey and Mrs. Whatsyourname for my my 5th grade Thanksgiving writing assignment.

What memories are special for you this time of year?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sup-ah fly! And the winner of the Skinny Bones Book drawing

Congratulations to Adrienne! She is the Winner of the book drawing for Skinny Bones by Barbara Park. Adrienne, contact me at so we can work out the details.

My (jealous) wonderful critique group has brought to my attention that I have (a dreadfully boring life) a SUPER POWER. I guess it's due to (having nothing better to do at home than clean. 3 kids 2 dogs 1 cat, there's always something to clean! Yuck! But I love my kids so I'm not complaining) being whole heartedly devoted to my craft that I have been able to type with great agility and speed. It wasn't until NaNo WriMo that I realized (I had such a boring life and a need to take breaks from the bottomless pit of messes in the house) this Super-ability.

Well, no one with such powers should go without a name or a super costume! But what to call myself? What to wear? a leotard is out of the question. I'm far too mature to wear such a demeaning outfit. (i don't have the body for it.)

So what do you think? What is the perfect super hero name and what shall I wear?

Friday, November 7, 2008

A giant brainsucking amoeba is perched upon my head: Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom with another book away

Last night is when I first noticed the signs. A pea sized seed of NaNo WriMo doubt lodged into my skull. When I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, there was this giant brain-sucking amoeba perched upon my head. It looks a lot like I just got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around my head with a few whisps of hair peeking out. Nope! It's not a towel. It's a giant amoeba and it draining me dry of NaNo power.

I KNOW it's OK if . . . .
-some scenes are boring. They can be fixed later.
-there are some holes. They can be fixed later.
-the dialogue is a little cheesy and needs some work. It can be fixed later.

I started out knowing all of this, but this !@#$ (pardon my symbols) amoeba is stealing this knowledge and replacing it with:

-this stinks!
-you'll never be able to fix this story right. why bother finishing
-even if you fix it, the character is so lame that NO teenager will relate to her and they'll hate the book.

How do I get rid of a brain-sucking amoeba? It's stuck. I mean it's really really stuck. LIke the way my hand is attached to my wrist kind-of-stuck.

I've made such good progress, I can't let this amoeba win.

Help me fight this amoeba (via the the comment section) and I'll put you're name in the drawing for the 16,600 word mark. I'll draw a name this Sunday. I should be there by then, because a brain-sucking amoeba, not even a giant one, can stop Indiana Christy. I think.

H E L P !

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to catch and train a baby elephant AND announcing the winner of the 2nd book giveaway!

The Lucky Winner of the Book Giveaway is

Kim Kasch!

contact me at and we'll talk about getting that book to you.
I'll announce the next book giveaway on Friday.

How to catch and train a baby elephant.

And next, I want to share some wisdom that I gleaned from a 7 year old that I see almost every Tuesday night. I love to see what goes on inside the mind of a child. Here's my conversation. I'll call this 7 year old E.

E: I don't know if I want to have a baby when I grow up.
Me: That's fine. Not every body does. You can go to college, travel the world and get a good job before you decide. You should be a writer. You're very creative.
E: No. I don't write so good and I don't have any ideas. I think I'll go to the rainforest and get myself a baby elephant.
Me: Really. That sounds fun. How are you going to catch it?
E: It's easy. Put out some peanuts and catch it in a deer trap.
Me: Gee. You've got it all figured out. What are you going to do with your baby elephant after you catch him.
E: I'm going to train him.
Me: Train him to do what?
E: To juggle me.
Me: Oh. And what else.
E. To pound people.

I still think she should be a writer. :0)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A case of political warm fuzzies (((((((((hugs))))))))

Free to live, free to speak, free to be!

I just got done voting. I purposely don't talk politics on my blog, because its purpose is to be fun and goofy. Needless to say, political discussion doesn't fit into my blog plan.

However, today I'm feeling all warm fuzzy inside and this is as political as I'll get here:

Thanks to the men and women who fought and sacrificed so that I can live in a free country.

Thanks to the women who fought so that, as a woman, I can vote and that a female can be a candidate for vice president or president. (Something that in my Grandparents time wasn't even a possibility.)

Thanks for the people who have fought for racial equality so that any American, no matter the color of their skin, may run for president. (Another thing that, in my Grandparents time, was not a possibility.)

Thanks to the men and women who fight to keep our country free and safe.

I'm thankful that I can worship in my church of choice, even if my beliefs aren't popular.

Thank you.
I'm glad I have a vote and my voice can be heard.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: Book Giveaway #2

Update!: I'm at 9,466 words. Only 1,544 words to go for the book drawing! Get your names in. The drawing will be Wed. November 5th!

Leave a comment below to win a copy of "The Secrets of Droon" Search for the Dragon Ship by Tony Abbot

I have my hat. I have my latte. I have a book to give away (hey! that kind of rhymes.) Bonus!

I've made it! I've collected my first 5,500 words in the Land of NaNo WriMo. The Great Inspiration Giver, Jacqui won the first Token of gratitude for her Gracious gift of cheering me on as she preformed the "running man" and the "sprinkler."

Now it's time for my 2nd book giveaway to any Great Giver of Inpsiration or Motivation (that's you) who leaves a comment below. I have collected many words, but it has not been w/o peril. I need wisdom and words of encouragement more than ever before.

Day 1:
On day one, my expedition was delayed by the curse of the werewolves of Youkantdothiz. I was cursed with a hairy head cold that muddled my brain and clogged my sinus cavities. Not even the Barista at the Cave of Starbucks could produce a brew that could make me feel better.

Alas! I am Indiana Christy and I pressed on.

My map made the hunt for the first 3,500 words a simple conquest. Perched in my tree, I found a herd of words roaming below. I aimed my bow, shot and pierced the words with a stealthy blow.

What I did not expect was the laundry monster. As I searched for more words, I went from room to room in the castle of Myhowz. At every turn there was a mountain of Laundry Monsters staring me down. They chased me and threatened to swallow me whole! What to do? My first impulse was to run and flee! But No! This monster multiplies too fast. I had to do something. Blob by monstrous blob I fought. Drowning each hideous beast in a vat of a churning current. Drowning . . . drying. . . folding. . . hanging. Finally, I conquered the slew of laundry monsters in my wake. Unfortunatley I know there are more hiding and multiplying as I type. It took a good part of the rest of the day to tackle these beasts. By nightfall it was too late and I ached far too much to hunt for any more words.

Little did I know, the worst was yet to happen. My glowing box, the one with the apple on the cover, the one where I keep my captured words, fell to the cave floor and busted. My loyal Tribe-mate had mercy on me and took my glowing box to the local glowing box store to see if it could be repaired.

I went to bed that night exhausted, wondering how I could hunt the remaining words without my fabulous glowing box.

Day 2:

My Tribe-mate came through for me. Though the glowing box could not be restored, so a new glowing box was purchased and my words were able to be saved and transferred to the new glowing box.

The hunt for the next 2,000 words proved to be more difficult. I have 3 small Elvish monkeys in my care and they chattered all day. The chattering scared away the words, making them more difficult to collect. It took all day, but I did it.

However, I am adept at setting snares (despite the chatter). I was able to collect the next 2,000 words in that manner.

Day 3 is about to begin. Wish me luck in the comments section and you will have your name entered in the drawing for the Secrets of Droon book giveaway. If you provide a clever answer for how to conquer the laundry monsters that multiply and attack on a constant basis, I will add your name a 2nd time, giving you double the chance to win.

See you in another 5,500 words!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And the first winner is . . . . . .

The Winner of my first 5,500 word drawing is . . . . .

Jacqui Robins!!!!!!

Yay! Jacqui.

Please contact me at for details.

But that's not all folks! come back a little later. My next post will announce the book drawing for my next 5,500 word book giveaway.

Thanks to ALL the Great Givers of Inspiration who participated! :0)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm flying! Get your name in for the book drawing. It won't be long!

I'm already a little over 3,000 words on my 1st day of NaNo!

Comment here or in the post below to get your name in for the drawing! At the pace I'm going, I'll be drawing on Monday!

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: The Quest for the Givers of Insipration (psst! It's really a book giveaway!)

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: The Great Book Giveaway!

My plane nears the ominous land of NaNo WriMo. I know my task. To hunt, collect and conquer 50,000 words. Mix them together and soak the skeleton of Thestoryinmymind in the brew. It's that simple. It's that hard.

I turn to my mentor, Big Bertha Binkleschnitz (BB for short), and say, "This is a daunting task. Almost too much for one person. What if I lack the strenght to carry on?" I sigh.

"There are two things you can do." BB informs me. "First, each morning you must go to the cave of wonders. The cave know as Starbucks. There you will ask for my the Mixer of Potions: Barista. Barista will provide you with an invigorating drink. But use it well, my friend. It will cost you dearly."

I nod with a hint of relief and ask, "and what is the second thing?"

"Look into this glowing box." BB says as she leads me to peculiar contraption with a picture of an apple on the outside.

"ohhhhh! pretty!" I say

"On the other side of this box are the all-knowing, all powerful Givers of Inspiration. As a matter of fact, they are reading about your adventure on their side of the box right this very moment."

"No way!" I exclaim.

"Way," Big Bertha continues. "Type a plea into this box and ask the Givers of Inspiration to grant you power and encouragement. Perhaps, you may even want to offer a token of gratitude as well."

I nod my head in agreement and begin to type:

Dear All-knowing Givers of Inspiration who dwell on the other side of this glowing Box. Greetings.

I ask of you to grant me words of encouragement, advice, inspiration or whatever you deem necessary to impart strength for my journey.

I offer to you, in return, an offering of books. For every 5,500 words that I gather, I shall give away one of you a book of your choosing. Please indicate your book of choice in the comment section along with your gift of encouragement. You may enter comments as many times as you like. I don't care if you comment 100 times. I unashamedly admit that the more encouragement that I receive, the more pumped up I become. For every comment you leave, that gives you all the more chances to be drawn for the book offering of gratitude.

Here are your choices:

Airy Fairy Magic Mistakes by Margaret Ryan
Skinny Bones by Barbara Park
Great-Grandpa's in the Litter Box (The Zack Files) by Dan Greenburg
Moose Crossing by Stephanie Greene
The Secrets of Droon City in the Clouds by Tony Abbott
The Secrets of Droon Search for the Dragon Ship by Tony Abbot
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo A Whirlwind VAcation by Nancy Krulik
American Gril A Felicity Mystery Peril at Kings Creek by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
Holbrook: A Lizard's Tale by Bonny Becker

See you in 5,500 words. updates to come! You can also check my Nano word counter listed on the sidebar to the right.

. . . . and . . . keep your eyes open for a Bonus book giveaway and interview w/ author Kathleen Duey of Skin Hunger. I don't have a day planed yet. There's a good chance I'll be able to run it this month. Stay tuned . . . . . .

Now, go ahead and leave a comment and when I reach 5,500 words, I'll drawn a name!

Indiana Christy

Friday, October 31, 2008

One Last idea generator before NaNo WriMo starts

Custom Countdowns & MySpace Layouts

It's just hours away until NaNo WriMo starts so I'm going to fit in one more idea generator. This works weather you have an outline or not. It can even work for any project, not just NaNo.

I must admit, those of you who don't have a plan make me nervous. Not becuase I don't think you are capable of it. I realize some people work better that way. It's just the VERY thought of looking at 50,000 words in 30 days w/o a plan makes me ~twitch~ and my eyeballs go all cattywhompus; one big, one small, mouth open and drooling. (note to self: look into therapy for control issues) See the guy in the countdown ticker above? That's what I look like.

The only way I can get my eyeballs back to normal is to blog about writing plans.

So, w/o further ado . . . . Here's one more way to create an idea roadmap for your manuscript (NaNo or NotMo):

1) Find a book that you love and that you have already read.

2) Skim through each chapter (or selected chapters) and note the general story components that occur in that chapter.
The Hunger Games
Chapter 1
*Introduce two characters that bring out two extreme sides of the protagonists personality (such as her mother brings out her tough, angry side, while her sister brings out her softer nurturing side)

* Show backstory that shows us the relationship w/ these characters and examples of the extreme dualilty of protagonists personality.

etc. etc.

or in chapter 13 of the Hunger Games there is an unexpected source of help for the protagonist. That made me think hmmmmmm. . . . "Is there a person in my story that can be an unexpected source of help in my story?"

I'm not sure yet, but as I'm writing, I'll keep that mysterious "unexpected source of help" in mind.

You never know what you may come up with. Your "favorite" book doesn't even have to be the same kind of book as the one that you are writing. I broke down The Hunger Games, which is sci-fi, but the book I"m working on is a current day slice of life type-of-story. I'm surprised at how much I was able to adapt to my outline despite the difference in genre's.

Good luck!

I'm going to go see if my eyeballs are straight now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plant an idea . . . and watch it grow: Generating an idea - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Need to generate an idea for a story or a chapter? Try looking through some quotes and see if any set your mind to wandering. Do any quotes create a vivid picture in your head? If so, STOP! Don't pass that idea by. Pick it up, dig up some soil, put that sucker in the ground, add some water and watch it grow.

Quotes can also help you focus on a chapter as well. Perhaps one quote may capture an idea that you want to convey in order to give direction to a specific chapter.

Here's some quotes that created pictures in my mind as I was preparing for NaNo WriMo. I'm going to use the premise behind the quotes in specific chapters:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: The Legend of NaNo WriMo - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
6 and 5/8th seconds. That's all I had before the booby traps set off. I picked up the skeleton from its freshly dug grave. Not just any skeleton. It was the Skeleton of Thestoryinmymind. Yes. Shocking. I know. (But I'm Indiana Christy. I can get anything. well . . .except for a big mac at Burger King.)
The walls shook. Chunks of stone fell to the ground in plumes of dust.
I was out of time. I had to get out of there. Run! But I would NOT, COULD not leave without the skeleton.

Cradled like a wee babe in my arms, the bones of Thestoryinmymind clacked against each other as I bolted. I knew what was coming. The horror of all horrors. The wearwolves of Youkantdoothiz emerged, loathesome and angry from their stonewall tombs.

The most punishing odor filled the cave that put me in mind of egg salad. You know, like when you walk into the house and wonder "whoa! who isn't feeling good?" But it turns out that somebody just made a fresh batch of egg salad and even though it stinks you know it will taste really super good on fresh white bread, the kind of bread that is still soft and mushy and not stale in the least but the eggs still stink anyway. That kind of smell.

shoot. now I'm hungry.


Inch by inch, stone by stone, the wearwolves shook themselves free. Thriller played in the background as they moonwalked through the dank hallows of the cave; howling, prancing, breakdancing.

"No! No!" I cried as the Michael Jackson Lyrics caused a pounding in my head like a jackhammer on an alabaster egg.

"Must. . . get . . . skeleton . . . out . . . . of . . . cave" The light in the distance, no doubt from the open air, afforded me the strength to press on.

Wow! those wearwolves can moonwalk fast!

I looked ahead, where the forest trees kissed the mouth of the cave and as I reached my leafy sanctuary, the light of day caused my enemies to stagger and howl in retreat.

Safe. Safe at last! Now, I can find out if the Legend of NaNo WriMo is true. Legend says that the skeleton of Thestoryinmymind will come to life . . . if. . . If only I complete my task.

I have escaped the wearwolves of Youkantdoothiz. I am prepared. I have tools on hand. My plane is waiting. I shall now be on my way. . . on my adventure to the land of NaNo WriMo. . . . I will arrive on Saturday.

To Be continued . . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My life as a teenage time traveler

I should've taken the dogs for a walk. Instead I tampered with the laws of time and space. The good news is. . . I got pictures! :0) the bad news is that I ran into some relatives and it's questionable if I will continue to exist. My nose is starting to disappear as I type.

Anyway, while I still have some time left, I thought I'd post some pictures of my trip. Due to this whole "yearbook" picture blog thing that's been going on, I decided to have my yearbook photo taken in various years.

somewhere in the process of transport to 1974, my chin exploded and doubled in size. (note to self: don't listen to Red Hot chilli Peppers on an i-pod in the midst of time travel. random body part explosions may occur.)

This year left me with a little bit of that time-warp glow. It almost looks like a beard, doesn't it? No wonder I couldn't get a date. Not even with that FABULOUS hair-do!

This is me in 1968 and this little flippy-bob is like totally far out!

This is me in 1958
This was a good year. I learned to bake bread, type and do the jitter bug.

Note to readers: if you choose to travel through time, remember not to "bump" into your old self (very messy.) or alter history in any way. You might erase yourself on accident.

go to if you'd like to take a trip through time too.

Well, I guess I should go back to 1964 and see if I can get my nose back.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My life as a 6th grade dragon-maker

The current "tag" around blogland is sharing your senior picture. So. Here it is in all it's Aqua-Net glory. Looking at this picture I have to wonder how much of the ozone I am personally responsible for.

OK. But here's what I'm really proud of. A middle-school friend of mine (that I've reconnected with through Facebook) has been posting some pictures that have made me rather nostalgic. My best days of school were in 5th and 6th grade. One of my 15 minutes of fame was when I won a snow sculpture contest with 4 of my friends. Those were the days when snow was fun. As an adult, I've gladly turned in my midwestern snow shovel for a NC sand pale. I still like to make sculptures, though my preferred medium includes sunshine, ocean and a bathing suit.

P.S. That's me in the middle.

Anyway. This blog isn't fun when I just talk about myself. Now it's your turn to take a walk down memory lane. Do you have any newspaper or t.v. moments of fame? What are some of your proudest moments?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's a Blogabration!!!!! Let's hear it for The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover

Whooooo Hooooo *\o/* It's a blogabration for P.J. Hoover and the release of her YA novel The Emerald Tablet. It just came out, so I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

You can purchase a copy on Amazon (click here)

Visit P.J. at her blog by clicking here

and watch the book trailer posted below! As if I wasn't interested in the book already, the trailer intrigues me all the more.

Let's here it for P.J. and the Emerald Tablet!!!!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Evil puppet-master sock-nappers and other sock theories

First I will address the obvious:
*Yes those are a picture of our family socks
*Yes I took the picture
*Yes I realize that posting picture of my socks most likely indicates that I have some sort of blogging dependency problem. I will tackle that issue once my friends and family successfully carry out an intervention. (but they have to catch me first)

Now. Take a good look at the picture above. Notice anything? Like maybe NONE of those socks have a match!!!!!! Where did they all go? This is just one load.

Sure, recently I discovered that my 6 year old was using socks for Barbie dresses and sleeping bags but that only accounts for a handful of our missing footwear. What about the others?

I wonder if there are some evil puppet-masters that go around sock-napping freshly washed footwear in order to exploit them for their shows. Or maybe my house is a safe haven for disgruntled socks everywhere. Take a look at the picture. Maybe one of these socks ran away from your house and have sought refuge here. Perhaps I shall start taking individual sock pictures and putting them on milk cartons and junk-mail post-cards. MISSING SOCK!

Strangely enough, a friend brought to my attention (thanks John!) that there are web-sites like that explore the explanation of missing socks. Some of these include wormholes, communism, sock gnomes and my personal favorite is here in quotes.
"Quantum Theory of Socks"

SocksSchröedinger's Special Theory of Socks stipulates that not only do socks in a washing machine exist in all possible states for socks, but they also exist in all possible states for other objects. Theoretically, you have a jumbo jet, the remaining members of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, and Friends, the Lindbergh baby, and God knows what else floating around in your washing machine. It's not really that difficult how to understand that if you suddenly leap into the washing room and yell "Boo!", the ur-laundry will suddenly have to resolve itself into socks. Which means that some of your socks will get it wrong, as the universe can be kind of slow on the uptake sometimes. So don't be surprised when in addition to suddenly missing socks, you also have three of some socks (of which you had two only a few hours previous) and some unidentifiable objects. This is why so many theoretical physicists are also raging alcoholics.

Now it's your turn. What's your theory?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

PlaNo WriMo before NaNo WriMo

I want to give a shout out to my critique buddy, Janelle. She is doing a series of planning for NaNo tips on her blog at

Janelle has done NaNo several times and she was also a Cybils judge last year for the fantasy/sci-fi category.

Click here to go directly to Janelle's blog.

Have you been doing PlaNo WriMo for NaNo WriMo? or are you more of a No Plan-i-mo for NaNo WirMo? OR if you don't do NaNo, how do you prepare for writing a new work in general.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tales from the conference: I wanna know your take on it!

Not only is Alan Gratz a talented author, he also makes a spectacular table-topper! (as pictured above. (sorry Alan. I couldn't resist.)

In Lieu of Alan Gratz's new release, I thought this also might be a good time to bring up Alana's break out session at the SCBWI Carolina's conference this past September. His subject: What makes a book young adult VS. middle grade?

His answer was pretty simple:

1) Age of protagonist: MG is usually 8-12 an YA is 12 and up.

2) subject matter/ The nature of the conflict

After 2 mintues he was ready to dismiss. ;0)

Actually, he did have some great advice on what concerns MG have VS. YA, but here's one thing he brought up. Alyssa Eisner Henkin brought up the same thing. They both said that while we want to be original we should be familiar with what is on the New York Times Best seller list and what is on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles. These places will tell us what is selling. What's hot.

As a preface, I must say I completely agree. But here's the thing. The buzz question around the conferences was "WHY?" if you want to be original why care about what is fad?

I have my own theories, but I want to hear it from you. What good does it do to be up to date in current trends?

Personally, I think it's good to know what publisher are into what topics. Who is publishing what. In addition, I've been shocked at how few original idea's there are. There have been at leat 3 changes I've had to make in my current WIP because I've read a book and somebody already wrote something similar to it!!!!! Can you believe it! They stole my idea before I even wrote it!!!! So I had to change it so I could seem more original. So, being up -to-date not only lets me know what is hot, but also helps me realize that I'm not as clever as I would like to think. :0P

What's your take on it? Why does it help you to be up to date on current MG and YA trends? Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something Wicked, Something Rotten: Something goooood!

Alan Gratz, my fellow Carolina SCBWI'er and all around nice guy, deserves a Shout Out! Now through the month of November you can listen to his book SOMETHING ROTTEN" online and it won't cost you one single cent! Click on the picture of his book cover to go straight to the link.
You can read my review of SOMETHING ROTTEN by clicking here.

But wait!!!! That's not all. Alan has a new book coming out this week. Gratz's Horatio Wilkes Mystery series is a clever modern day twist on Shakespearian classics. SOMETHING WICKED is said to be "Macbeth as you've never seen it before."

Look for it in stores near you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When the fog lifts at sunset: Contrasting Characters

The fog ran away!

Two years ago my husband and I were in Arizona for a business trip. We had a couple extra days and decided to see the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had seen it before. We drove and drove and drove, and when we got to the canyon we couldn't see a friggin' thing. It was too foggy. My husband had always wanted to see a sunset at the Canyon. It was near sundown, and we were freezing. Who knew Arizona could be cold?! Certainly not this Carolina girl!

Anyway, I wanted to go back to the car. But my husband wanted to stay for the sunset. CrAzY man! We couldn't see the sky for the fog.

But wouldn't you know, as if on cue in a movie, with only a few minutes until sundown, the fog rolled away and cleared the canyon. "Rolled away" isn't the best way to describe it. If clouds had feet, it would have been more like running!! Or as if God himself were pulling back the curtains for an unveiling. We got to see the sunset. The picture above is the contrast of the fog clearing. I had hoped to get more of the fog in the picture, but that's how fast it was moving! You can see in the left corner how little could be seen.

This is part of the sunset we saw. Pictures don't do it justice.

Contrast is striking. A fog clearing at sunset made this moment memorable.

Contrasting characters do the same thing. They accentuate your protagonists personality and make them memorable.

One thing I've noticed while reading THE HUNGER GAMES is that Suzanne Collins uses a lot of contrasts in characterization. Right away the story starts with two people who are driving forces behind Katniss (the protagonist) Both forces bring out dual sides of her personality

THE MOTHER: a source of bitterness and hardship for Katniss
HER SISTER: brings out her softer side.

Then later we meet PEETA: The boy who saved her life years ago becomes someone who is plotting to kill her.

These contrast bring out the best and worst of Katniss and heighten the tension in the story.
So, the lesson I learned from THE HUNGER GAMES is to deliberately use characters as a painter uses colors or as God used a fog at sunset.

The results can be breathtaking!