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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pitch Contest 2

"So let the games start, you better run your little wild heart." - "The Price You Pay" by Bruce Springsteen

A while back I mentioned a pitch contest from the Beyond Words blog that was really fun and a great opportunity for your work to be seen by an agent. Well, here we go again! Chanelle has another pitch contest going and the prizes are fantastic! The contest is judged by her literary agent, Victoria Marini, of the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, who sounds wonderful. First prize is a read and critique of your FULL manuscript by Victoria, and the runner up will have half of his/her manuscript read. I can't stress what an amazing opportunity this could be for an aspiring writer.

Do you have a completed manuscript just waiting to be picked up by an agent? You do? Then what are you waiting for? Go to and enter today. Hurry, the contest ends tomorrow! Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can Hardly Wait...

"And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!" - "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" by Meredith Willson

This goes for nannies too! Maybe this song is stuck in my head because of Christmas in July, or maybe it's because there is only one month left until the girls are back in school. Yes, one month to go! Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed my time with them this summer (the 10-11 hour days, the sibling rivalry, the chaos that is my job - just kidding!), but I'm ready to get back to normal. We have been very busy with lessons, putting on plays, art projects, and studying various regions of the world, and I am exhausted!

So, will I use my time off while the girls are in school (until 2:30!) to sleep, lay around the house watching TV and eating bonbons, aimlessing surf the Internet? Of course not! I will be writing! I can't even tell you how excited I am to get back to my novels. I am still working on editing Dreams, the fourth book in the Willow Ryan series, and have pages and pages of notes on my next novel that I'm liking more and more each day. I do think it will be a challenge though, to write about different characters in a different time and place. Have any of you, my fellow writers, written a series and then moved on to something else? If so, did you find it difficult? All comments are welcome, as always!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


"I've just reached a place/ Where the willow don't bend/ There's not much more to be said/ It's the top of the end." - "Going, Going, Gone" by Bob Dylan

I finished book four in the Willow Ryan series this week! It took six months, quite a long time for me to write a novel, but I'm done. I'm really happy with the way it turned out and am excited that revisions are getting underway. As I'm rereading the book, there were several little things that I had forgotten about, and I am becoming more and more happy with this first draft as I read on. Maybe that means I won't have to take a hatchet to this novel and edit it to death. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I have plans to write a fifth Willow book in the future, but my next big project will start after I finish editing this current novel. The next book I'm going to write is not related to the Willow series at all, but will instead be mainstream fiction set in Southeastern Virginia where I live. It will center around a group of friends from high school approximately ten years later. More info to come as the story progresses...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Words and the Beat

"It took so long to get me back on my feet/ It takes so long to find the words and the beat." - "Stay Lucky" by The Gaslight Anthem

Brian Fallon and the guys of The Gaslight Anthem are musical geniuses. They have a way of putting poetry to music that stops me cold, makes me think, and impresses me so much, which is not an easy thing to do. With their songs like "Here's Looking at You Kid", "I Could'a Been a Contender", "Film Noir", "Stay Lucky", and so many more, they join the untouchable ranks of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty in music and storytelling, at least in my opinion.

The song I am using today has been my own personal anthem while writing the last half of my latest Willow Ryan novel, so it makes sense to use it as my song of the day since I am now on the final chapter. Yes, I am finishing the book! After six long months, about twice as long as it typically takes me to complete the first draft of a novel, I will type the final words this week. I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to write this year, so it took me a while to find the words and the beat at times. The important thing is that I kept going though.

When the words didn't read right, when the beat and the tone seemed a little off, I didn't give up or get discouraged, I just hit delete and tried again. I think that may be the key to succeeding in this business. For every rejection letter I get, for every negative thought I have about the odds stacked against me, I have to hit backspace and try again until I get it right. And I will. Maybe someday everybody will call me lucky, just like in the song, my anthem until further notice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back to Work

"Well, I should be sittin' in an air conditioned office in a swivel chair/...Instead I'm stuck here rubbin' these fenders with a rag/ And walkin' home in soggy old shoes/ With them steadily depressing, low down mind-messin'/ Workin' at the car wash blues." - "Working at the Car Wash Blues" by Jim Croce

Okay, it's not quite that bad. The girls' house is air conditioned and I'm not washing cars for a living. Instead, I'm knee deep in laundry and dishes, so that's not pleasant, and I had to sit by the pool in the heat and humidity while the girls had a two hour long swim team practice. I considered jumping in, fully clothed, but decided against it. The kids would have loved that though! Instead, I melted in the humidity which caused my hair to frizz out like I'm wearing a bad Afro wig. Have you seen the episode of "Friends" where Monica's hair gets horribly frizzy from the insane humidity? I think mine is worse.

Alright, alright, enough whining. It was great to have the girls back and continue with our summer lesson plans, but the real drag about being back to work is that I can't write all day like I have the previous two weeks. With being so close to the end of this book, I really want to pump out the last 25-30 pages and then start the editing process, but it will probably have to wait until this weekend. Tomorrow the girls and I start our Sahara Desert studies and have a lot to do, so I better get busy on a few last minute lesson plan details. Until tomorrow...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

"Some folks are born, made to wave the flag/ Ooh they're red, white, and blue/ And when the band plays "Hail to the Chief"/ Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord." - "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Happy 4th of July, everyone! No fireworks for me, just enjoying the last day of my vacation. Tomorrow I'm back to work and my days of writing for hours on end are over. Sigh... My goal for my vacation was to have Book 4 in The Willow Ryan series finished by today, but unfortunately that did not happen. I have two chapters to go and will finish this month, but I fell a little short. This book is the longest in the series, currently at 350 pages or so, and I have a little more work to do.

This latest installment in Willow's journey has brought some changes to the people of Santa Elena and I am so happy with the progress of this series. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the story I forget that I'm the one who created it! Does that happen to any of my fellow writers out there? Maybe it's just me...

Anyway, have a happy and safe 4th!