Friday, February 27, 2009

Christy Needs . . . .

First off, Thanks to Rena, I have been able to answer the life long question that has been gnawing at the pitt of my soul. What would I look like if I were an M&M.
Now I know. The hair, the coffee cup, the flip flops, the color. It's totally me!

There is also another question that we all ask ourselves. "What do I need?"

There's a fun Meme going around facebook, and I thought I'd bring it out to my side of blogland too. What you do, is type {your name} and the word "needs" in your google search engine and then list the first 10 things that it says you need. Here's mine:

here's mine. funny! ;0)

christy needs . . .
1) to blog
2) help
3) her own series
4) to take her opinions elsewhere
5) more pop video on AOL
6) a new computer fund
7) an intervention
8) to take a good hard look in the mirror
9) to know where her inventory is at all times
10) to go to sleep.

So. What does Google say that you need? :0D

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And the winner of The Emerald Tablet is . . . . Poetry Blender

Congratulations Kelly! Contact me at so I can get your mailing info!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Interview with Author PJ Hoover and a book giveaway!!!

I'm excited to have PJ Hoover give us some of the low-down on her debut YA Novel, The Emerald Tablet. This is a fun read ya'll! So creative, filled with cool gadgets and hidden worlds and a fun twist on mythology and legends. I can tell that PJ had fun writing this. Her creativity got my own imagination-a-spinnin'

Leave a comment below to have your name entered for a free copy of The Emerald Tablet. Let me know in the comments section of you refer your readers over here. If you do, I'll put your name in the mighty tupper-ware-bowl-of-free-book-drawings twice.

Getting started:
1) Tell us a little about how you decided to write the Emerald Tablet?
It was pretty soon after the birth of my second child. She (unlike my first) was a great sleeper, even early on. So I went from a chaotic existence to both kids in bed by eight o-clock. (Which is wonderful; I fully realize that) And on top of that I'd sworn off TV. So all of a sudden I had a bunch of extra time on my hands.
I'd always loved reading science-fiction and fantasy, so while trying to figure out what I could do productively with my new-found time, I decided to give writing a shot of my own.

2) How did The Emerald Tablet come into being? (slush pile? Agent? Contest? Etc)
I'd gone to the National SCBWI conference in New York, and there met an editor who for some odd reason offered to read my manuscript and give me feedback. Her feedback was phenomenal, so I revised and asked if she'd read it again. Which she did and then gave me more feedback. This went on a couple more times until she offered to buy the trilogy.

3) How long did it take to write The Emerald Tablet?
The first draft took about three months. After that I revised for nearly a year until I let someone read it (even my husband). At that point I started writing book two in the series, and continued revising based on critiques I received on book one. Combine that with time and learning more about writing, and I just kept on revising. Spark to publication was about four years.

1) Do you have a writing schedule?
Definitely! Before I quit my full-time job, I only had the evenings to write. So I'd write from 9-11pm EVERY NIGHT. Really. Every single one. I never missed a night unless dire circumstances came up. I decided to focus on writing full time in April 2008, and since then I've added from about 10-2 during the day for writing stuff. With a book out now, the time is more than appreciated. Marketing, revising, kids...they all need their place!

2) Have you always wanted to write a book?
Somewhere in the back of my mind was that thought so many people have—that they'd like to try to write a book. But I just never did it. Instead I got my degree in Electrical Engineering and designed chips for 15 years.
That said, I love the writing life. It's perfect and meshes with so many things in my personality. And the best thing is I want to write all the time, unlike engineering (which was great but just not my passion).

3) How do you think your experience as an electrical-engineer influenced the way The Emerald Table was written?
I love sneaking bits of science and math into my writing! For example, how lower floors are numbered based on i (the imaginary number). What a meniscus is. Counting starting at zero. And most seemingly random numbers I used are actually powers of 2 (as binary numbers are the basis for Electrical Engineering).

4) Are there any interesting or noteworthy stories behind some of the idea’s in The Emerald Tablet? (ie: the geodine, or any of those creative things that makes your story unique?)
Totally! The Kinetic Orb comes from my passion for the Rubik's Cube. Solving it with eyes closed comes from my son putting Transformers together in the dark.
The Geodine the size of a golf ball is a small tribute to my husband's love of golf.
The scene in Bangkok is based on my love of the song "One Night in Bangkok".
And my all time favorite poem (which I have memorized), Kubla Khan by Samuel Coleridge, inspired the Xanadu scene.


1) What was your favorite childhood book?
I read Gone With the Wind more times than any other, but my all time favorite book from childhood is The Hobbit! It reads well, has a perfect mix of fun and drama, and is great for kids!

2) What are some of the books or authors that have most influenced your writing?
Of course I love the Harry Potter books (especially the first three), but my favorite author is Rick Riordan of The Lightning Thief fame. I love everything about this book, from the story, to the voice, to the roots in mythology.

3) What is the most recent book you have read?
I'm just finishing up the Kiki Strike books by Kirsten Miller. I read almost soley MG and YA, though I'm trying to venture out a bit.

Thanks for taking the time to share these bits of wisdom, information and inspiration with us, PJ! Congratulations on an awesome debut novel! I can't wait to read the others.

And don't forget to leave a comment to have your name entered for a free copy of The Emerald Tablet. Let me know in the comments section of you refer your readers over here on your blog. If you do, I'll put your name in the mighty tupper-ware-bowl-of-free-book-drawings twice.

The drawing will be on Thursday. Please check back on Thursday to see if you have won so I don't have to track you down and hunt you. ;0D

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How do you become "gazelle intense" in a cheetah world?

The conference that I went to this past week was business related, not writing. The speakers were about money management and business related success, but one thing that I've found is that the basic concept of "success" in one area can almost always carry over into other aspects of life. So I sought to apply and adapt the info into how it can relate to writing.

So, when I heard Dave Ramsey Speak on money management, there was one application that stood out to me. He showed a movie clip of a gazelle outrunning a cheetah. He likened "debt" to the cheetah. And said that to stay out of debt, you have to live gazelle intense. The cheetah is the fastest land animal, so gazelle intensity means that they have learned to outwit the cheetah by swift and cunning movements. To stay out of debt you have to run from it like a gazelle runs from a cheetah. A statistic that I heard was that a cheetah will catch a gazelle only 1 out of 19 times despite their speed and strength.

Doubt is the writers cheetah. That's how I figure it anyway. Between rejection letters, self esteem issues, negative comments from others, years of working and perfecting the craft . . . doubt is always crouching in the brush, waiting to pounce.

Great application. Right? The only problem is . . . how do you become the kind of Gazelle that can outsmart the cheetah? How do you get to the point after years of rejection, negative comments and hard work with no results, that you can still outsmart the cheetah. Either you're going to tire out, or the cheetah is.

Here's some things that I think may help stand the test of time. But these are all guesses, seeing that I'm still pretty new to the writing game. I can't boast that I've been a smart gazelle. I'm just a young one. Is my perseverance because of my immaturity in the game or will I be able to outlast the hunter? Will I pass the test of time? Who will win in the end. Me or the cheetah?

Anyway I'm guessing:

1) support. Either a writing buddy or a writing group of some sort. blog buddies :0)
2) a realistic attitude.
3) a love for the craft of writing.
4) dedication to becoming better.
5) finding an agent or editor or someone int he 'biz' that believes in you.

I'd love to hear from you guys. How do you stay gazelle intense? What's the secret?

The clip below is of a gazelle outrunning not just 1 cheetah, but two! Get a visual. One is self doubt, the other is a pile of rejection letters . . . hunting you, wanting to tear you apart and devour you. But do you fall prey? No! You run, dive, out smart them, you brilliant gazelle you! We ARE gazelle intense.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When the star of the show doesn't show up . . . .

I'm back from California. I got to hear some good speakers, and thanks to the loooong flights across the continent, I was able to read 2 books (Gracelings and Skin Deep) both great.

Jessica Simpson was on my flight from LA to Dallas. And NO! She's not fat. She looks fabulous. And while she was sitting in 1st class with a big pillow, a comforter and real food, I was in the clear back of the plane sitting with my styrofoam cup of bad coffee and the engine (very loud BTW) on one side of me and the lavatory on the other (I could hear every blessed flush). Lovely. There's nothing like an airline to help you remember your pee-on place in the world.

But there was one stretch of bliss on my trip. I got to go whale watching. I almost didn't. It was scheduled for Monday but was canceled because of bad weather. But then . . . on Wednesday, I was able to get on another tour.

OK, so there ended up being no whales on this whale watching tour. But I'm not Jessica Simpson for crying out loud. The whales probably would have showed up for her. Heck, she probably even has her own private whale. But . . . I'm OK with that. I have to take what I can get. I was in the middle of the ocean with other kinds of marvelous marine life which is way better than bad coffee, a loud engine and listening to the atomic flush of the lavatory. No whales, but I was happy with the alternatives:

There were sea lions

gorgeous scenery decorated with seagull grafitti (aka poop splatter)

and best of all. . . DOLPHINS! hundreds and hundreds of dolphins swam and played around our boat. They made up for the lack of whales.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On my way to CA - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I'm on my way to the other side of the continent. . . . well, tomorrow morning, anyway. I'm packing and cleaning today. It's a business trip but there will be some down time that I'm looking forward to that is supposed to include whale watching and something about Catalina Island.

I've been thin on blog idea's so maybe the change of scenery, boring meeting time that gives me time to daydream, flight time and new experiences . . . maybe that will all give me some fresh idea's.

I'm one of those that doesn't mind long flights and boring meetings. That means time to think, read or brainstorm. Just give me a pen and paper or a book and I'm happy.

If I have internet access, I'll be around to check in. If not . . . I'll see you sometime next week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Interview with editor Krista Marino: link

Here's a link to Shelli's blog. She did a fantastic interview with editor Krista Marino re: the importance of a web-presence for the writer, what she's interested in acquiring, among other things. It's worth checking out!

Click here to teleport yourself from my cyber room to Shelli's. :0)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The signs are all around us. The Freaky Friday phenomena really exists - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I have a theory. The whole Freaky Friday phenomena is real, it's not just in the movies. Look around you and you'll see that it's really happening. Children are jumping into the bodies of adults. It may even happen to you and you don't even realize it? Oh, you may think I'm crazy. One slice short of a whole pie . . . but look around. You'll see evidence of this everyday. It first hit me this weekend. I had finished shopping at Sams Club. On my way back to the car there was a lady ahead of me wearing a business suit, she looked to be in her 40's. She was pushing her cart when all of a sudden she speeds up, put's her feet on the back of the cart and rides the cart the rest of the way to her car. (good for her BTW) But I couldn't get the movie "BIG" (starring Tom Hanks) out of my mind. The whole scene could have been straight out of that movie. This lady looked sophisticated, didn't strike me as the cart riding kind. It must be the Freaky Friday Phenomena!

Scientists can't figure out exactly what triggers this paranormal experience, but I know one thing that does it for me. Bouncy houses. Yep! I took my kid to a B-day party at a Bouncy house place this weekend and it happened to me. I got near the giant slide where you need to go through an obstacle course before sliding down and "BOOM!" the adult me was quickly replaced by a 5 year old. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I was giggling, climbing and sliding with the other kids.

Have you been a victim? Have you witnessed this type of paranormal phenomena?

I really think I'm on to something here. . . .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What if you could hire a dream team to help you get published?

Customized Basketball Jersey -

Imagine a dream team of professionals that would help you get your book published. Lets say this team consisted of: a couple editors and agents, an award winning author, copy editor, art director and a Senior VP of a publishing company (among other skill sets and experiences). What if they worked with you as you prepared your book for submission and used their connections to get your manuscript in the best possible hands?

Our quick-sand economy, along with the Amazon monster is swallowing bookstores, publishers and editorial jobs whole. (Go ahead and click here if you'd like to read and get more depressed about it.) That means less books, less money and less of a chance that hopeful writers will become published authors. This bleak moment in time gives us little hope for future publishing. It has always been difficult to get your foot in the publishing door and now it's only going to get harder. Having a dream team on your side, like the one mentioned above, would be a good group to have on your side. I would think it would certainly improve your chances of climbing out of the slush pile and getting noticed.

Here's the good news. The dream team, that I mentioned above, is real and has responded to the changing times. They recently banded together to form a company called Namelos. I think they are worth checking out. Their credentials are impressive. Once I get a few more pennies in my piggy bank, I may even consider it myself. I had the pleasure of meeting one of their members, Joy Neaves, at an SCBWI conference a couple years ago. She's a fabulous and talented editor.

I just thought I'd pass the good word around. Despite the downturn, it looks like hopeful options have begun to sprout!