Thursday, January 27, 2011

What have I learned today?

NemoBesides being an avid reader and TV junkie, I want to be a writer.  A published writer to be exact.  I know, what’s the difference.  Um, hello?  The published part.
With that said, I’ve been doing this for 2 years and have learned much along the way.  Yet I have nothing published to show for my late nights writing or my weekends staying indoors to finish a scene.  Or my countless emails to a writer friend about style and writing and the latest on The Good Wife. 
And sure, I’ve been down in the dumps about it, especially when I got a mean beta back from someone a year ago.  (Yeah, I don’t communicate with her anymore.)  Yet, I’m still chugging along, cranking out paragraphs and stressing over my word count and always wondering if my MC would do that. 
Recently, I finished a YA paranormal novel that I started last November.  I brainstormed this baby to death and when came time to write, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get it all down on paper (or computer).  I’ll be honest, I had some road blocks and life took up a lot of time but I finished and I re-read and edited and then offered it up to the highest bidder.  (Not really, but you get the point.)
Within like 2 days I got input back from a new beta I was using.  I read for her before and it went well and I asked if she could return the favor.  I don’t remember her exact words but the message went something like this: “OMG, Yeah, send that puppy over *jumps up and down*”.  She’s awesome BTW and she has musings too!  (Today she has posted an awesome blog.  Check her out at
She had only gotten through the first 50 pages and had to stop because she saw a lot of the same mistakes and would rather I go over it again, using her tid bits of writer knowledge, and then resend it to her.  I won’t lie, I was upset.  Sure, I didn’t think I had written a perfect MS but I thought I had done well enough to forgo re-editing.  And I wasn’t mad at her.  She was doing what I asked (and way nicer than the previously mentioned beta!).  And actually, her advice was amazing!  I mean, I got it. 
So I pouted for like 5 minutes, pulled myself up, dusted off the negative attitude and vowed to get it right, the 3rd time.  I have a good story but I need to work on the grammar.  And as much as I would love to have someone else do the writing part and me be ideas woman, not gonna happen.
So the moral or the story is never give up.  Half faith in yourself and in your MC that you can tell their story.  It might take a lot of revisions, but it will pay off in the end.  Just like our good friend Dory, "Just keep swimming..." 
Finding Nemo « Pixar Talk

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Calling all Betas!

I asked on Twitter today: Do you show family your work to read or do you rely mainly on strangers?  A close writer friend (theames) said she only relies on strangers. 

The reason I asked was I just recently finished my 2nd novel.  I've sent to one beta that I read for and one cousin who doesn't have a lot going on in her life and loves to read.  But I also shared my recent work with my mother-in-law *waves*.  Now, I didn't really give it to her hoping for a critique but I shared it with her becasue she has been uber supportive. 

But all of this got me thinking.  Is my friend right and strangers are the way to go?  Or can your family be brutally honest and offer the best critique?

Writing is very personal even though we all hope to share our work with the world.  But even then, we don't know everyone in the world and have to worry about weird looks at Christmas from Aunt Sue because she beta read your work and thought you needed a lot of work but feels she has to tip-toe around you.

For me, I agree with theames in that I think strangers, reliable ones that you have developed a writing relationship with, can offer the best critique because even though they don't want to hurt your feelings, they also know that this is strictly business and their job is to offer you, the writer, their best critique.  It's a partnership.  The person I read for I truly want them to suceed and I feel they want the same for me.  We're in the same boat so I give her 110% and expect the same in return.

Although, I have just added my cousin as a reader and I believe she will be all business and offer her best.  She's that type of person.  (Lucky me!)

Now of course, this is what works for me and not what works for everyone.  And like most of you, I'm still learning.  But I've been at this for about 2 years and have had my share of readers that didn't work out but I've learned from those experiences and know what I needed to do to find the ones I have. 

With that said, if you are interested in developing a beta relationship with me, drop me a comment and I would love to look into it with you.  Me personally, I'm really quick but not the best with grammar.  I think my strongest part is character development.

What do you think?  Family or strangers?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review of Shadowfever by Karen M Monings.

Ok, so I literally just finished reading Shadowfever by Karen Monings; the #5 book in the Fever series.  My friends over at VampBookClub said it best: Intense! 
Let me back track just a bit and tell you why I even started reading the series.  A spunky, shifty devilish book reader friend of mine (you can follow her blog at started reading the series and mentioned that at first it was a slow go.  But when she got to the 3rd and 4th book she really liked it.  I have to agree to a certain extent.  I love the paranormal/fantasy but I also love the angst and sex and there was some angst in the beginning but didn’t get to the really good stuff until later.  And man did it get good!  (Excuse me, I need a minute.)
Okay, I’m better.  This series is not for the faint of heart.  It’s dark; sexy; and violent.  Like most stories, the series is about good versus evil.  Who can you trust?  Who can you love?  And will they love you in return if you give them everything you have?  Can one person save the world?  And ultimately, do you have to be bad to be good.
In this installment, we find out who Mac killed in that alternate Fae world and I have to say, I didn’t like that part at all!  But, it got better.  Waaaaay better!  Her ultimate goal was to get the Book (it’s like a person so it needs the emphasis of a capital letter) and restore order to an unorderly world.  But she’s afraid one wrong step on her part will doom the world.  And it might, but she finds the strength from within; the confidence from her lover; and the faith of her parents to make the right choice.
Like most, my favorite part is the relationship between her and Barrons.  He’s mean and kick-ass but I think from the beginning you could see a spark of a man who wants to love deeply but with all of his secrets, it’s hard for him to trust.  Can he trust Mac?  And hell, the sex scenes were pretty good, too!  
I couldn’t put this sucker down!  I was lucky enough to have a snow day and a kid home sick to read most of it.  I’m half tempted to read the entire series again to see if I can see any clues to the ending and marvel in the creative writing of Monings.  I haven’t read anything else of hers but I might just now.  The way she has created this world within our world and all of the details is just amazing. 
I highly recommend you reading this series today!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I think you're a little late.

My area was hit by a tornado a few weeks ago and while I've heard different numbers, the news has stated anywhere from four to ten actually hit the ground.  There is a direct path the storm took and you can see the destruction it left behind.  Many were lucky and yet the devastation was amazing.  Unfortunately, last week it was announced one person in our area had died due to the storm.

My house was fine and during the storm we didn't get hit at all.  But our church did.  We attend regularly and even though I'm not a very religious person, I am still amazed at the help and salvation in the wake of this storm.  Our rectory was destroyed, the windows in our school were blown out and our church had roof damage.  All in all, it could have been worse because no one was hurt.  For a Friday, the school was closed and mass was not being held since it was around 11:30 am.  Our priests managed to find shelter in their basement. 

When the storm was over and the entire town stopped by to witness the destruction, many of us noticed a few additional miracles.  One, the 3ft plaster statue of Mary that stood in front of the rectory remained standing and unharmed while a truck from our parking lot was found upside down 2 blocks away.  Two, our wooden manger was knocked over but Mary, Joseph and Jesus remained intact (I might add that they are made out of plastic).  Three, the cross on top of our steeple stood proud and tall, shadowing the ground below and proving to be a light to those in the dark. 

A week after the storm and the clean-up had begun, our priest noticed city maintenance crew in front of the rectory digging a large hole.  Now, a week or so before the storm hit, a safety digging team was out marking the ground to show where power lines were laying.  Father, ever curious, went out and asked the workers what they were digging a hole for since he was unaware of any need for a hole due to the storm.  The maintenance man told our father that the hole was for the new tornado siren tower.  Surprised, Father turned, looked at the destroyed rectory behind him, returned his attention to the worker and said, "I think you're a little late".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review of Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

First off, if you haven't read the other two books in the Jane Yellowrock series, what are you waiting for?  Go!  Hurry!  I'll wait.  (insert Jeopardy music)

Glad you're back!
Jane Yellowrock is a pistol packing, semi-automatic toten, silver stake throwen bad ass boot stompin' rogue vampire hunter that was hired on retainer by the big wig New Orleans vamp leader Leo Pellissier.  Hot, hot and triple hot.  I know, she kills vamps but why was she hired by one.  Crazy but she only kills the rogue ones and Leo needs her around because she is a tough momma and can take down who or whatever crosses her path.  She is also a skinwalker and I'll let you read what that is without giving too much away.

So in the 3rd book, she has a boyfriend, NOPD cop Rick La Fluer and he is all kinds of sexy and tough.  He's undercover and can't tell his main woman what's going on but she knows he's involved with her case, in some way.  This time, Jane, her vamps and the occasional witch are not the only sups around.  We have were-cats, were-wolves and a grindylo (some reptilian guardian, mercinary thing that's lightning quick). 

Since she hasn't seen or heard from Ricky Bo in awhile, her eyes and body want to linger towards Leo's main blood servant, George, a.k.a Bruiser.  Now he is big, strong and able to handle a tough woman like Jane and they...not gonna tell ya.  Read the book.

What I love about this series is all of the detail to the heirarchy in the vampire world.  Sure, at times, I get lost with all of the names and families but Faith Hunter does a great job of reminding the reader who each person is and how they fit in with the main characters.  I also love how this time you could see some real emotions from Jane.  Sure, she's always been pationate about her work and the people she cares about but her love life has always seemed to be on the back burner.  But in this book, you really see how frustrated she is and how she's not all kicking ass and taking names but she does have strong feelings for a guy in her life.  It's not all sex and pleasure. 

Oh, God, and the cliffhanger at the end.  Not some much as a hanger but more like I'm climbing a mountain and I'm attached to the side of it and I'm out of rope.  So now what?  Well played Ms. Hunter.  Well played. 

I not only recommend Mercy Blade, but you must read the first two as well.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm addicted

I must confess, I love bad TV.  I love the shows that nobody, my age, will admit to watching unless conversing with her closest friends  who are also closeted bad TV watchers.  My vice is not reality TV.  I like my televisions shows like I like my books.  Fiction.  I want to escape reality and enter a world that I know I can leave at anytime when things appear to be tough.  Or stay when things are way too good to be true. 

Okay, so you might be asking yourself what makes any of this addictive.  In my home, we have 4 TVs.  Not too bad, I know.  We recently added that service that allows us to record on a TV and watch it anywhere.  Again, not so bad; we just love our TV.  I have my own personal DVR (best invention EVER) that I DO NOT share with anyone in my home.  The basement DVR is mainly for my husband.  Then the last one is in our playroom which allows the kids to record their goofy shows.  The problem is on some nights I could have up to 6 shows recording within a 3 hour window and still have another show or 2 recording on the other 2 DVRs. 

Most of my shows are not really "kid friendly"so I retire to my closed bedroom around 8pm and begin greedily absorbing the juvenile, trashy shows I've recorded.  Before the kids go to bed around 8:30, I usually can finish one show but am forced to take a break to tuck the kiddos into bed.  And then re glue my eyes to the TV and place my butt in the molded spot on my bed.  And there I remain until around 10pm when hubby goes to bed. 

Now, I have to give praise where praise is due and thank my family for noticing the addictive TV watching traits and keeping their distance because nothing is worse than being interrupted just as character A is making out with character B while jealous character C watches, plotting the ultimate revenge.  I know what your thinking.  I can just hit pause.  But I think its more of the climax interruption I hate.  If a show or a book has captivated me so much, I can feel the highs and lows and being stopped right at the height leaves me with a crashing feeling.  Heck, I don't even answer the phone without giving the receiver a bit of attitude. 

I'm not going to reveal my shows just yet but I think as time goes on and we've become closer, I might just let you into my secret bad TV club and we can discuss details.  I will say this, not all of my shows are bad.  Actually, a few have won awards and normal 30 somethings watch as well.  But until the new seasons begin ( I really think they are trying to kill me with the wait) I will continue to enjoy myself immersed in my ereader. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm new, be gentle.

It's a Friday night and I've decided to start my blog. 

Watch out!  Party animal on the lose. 

I've wanted to start a blog for some time and I guess liquid courage was all I needed.  I really am a light weight.

I welcome you all to read my reviews on the most recent books I've read (it's actually disturbing how much I read) or listen to me go on and on and on about trying to find a literary agent.  I'm a writer and my goal is to be a published writer.  I've been working towards this goal for about 2 years (little wet behind the ears) and in those years I've learned SO much.  I've made a lot of awesome friends on my journey and will share their comments, advice and blog postings.

Input is always welcome and comments are a must.  Thanks and welcome!