Thursday, June 30, 2011

Website + Teaser = Giveaway FUN

My author website - - is close to officially launching. I thought some blog fun would help build the excitement. I can't wait to show this site to the world because my youngest sister, Christina, and another super-smart-dude, Gregg, have worked tirelessly to bring my website dreams to life. I dream big.

Why the random beach photo? That photo is actually on my site, among a plenitude of other really cool things (again, can't wait to show everyone!!).

The Teaser Giveaway shall roll like so:

1. In a comment, make an official guess as to where in the world that beach is - the one in the photo. The first person to correctly name the beach and country is the WINNER!!

The PRIZE choices:

- A query letter critique by me


- A critique of your first five pages by me


- A $25 gift card

This Teaser Giveaway is open to ANYONE. You don't have to be a writer. You don't have to be a blogger (I opened up my comments to "Anonymous" - just be sure to leave your first name/email in your comment so I can contact you if you WIN).

I'll keep this Teaser Giveaway open until someone guesses correctly.

I'd sure love some WSH aka Word-Spread-Help. WSH is not a Giveaway requirement, it's just a super cool/kind thing to do ; )

Monday, June 27, 2011

Things I Learned on Vacation

1. Buy books on your NOOK before you leave for vacation, especially when where you're going has no wi-fi.
2. Print out more than one bound copy of your WIP so that a lot more family get to read it and give feedback.
3. Speaking of feedback - there's nothing quite like getting it while on the beach. Best. Place. Ever.
4. Doing final edits from your editor while on vacation is, hands down, still exciting stuff.
5. Purchase a decent raft for next year, you still don't like to touch the bottom.
6. Seared meat on the beach always tastes better. Yay for "Hotdog Thursday!"
7. Eating that third slice of Mack & Manco's pizza was a very good idea. You should've gone for four.
8. Not cooking a single thing the entire week was actually pretty genius. Remember that for next year.
9. Having your iPhone and being able to get online saved your sanity.

My youngest son goofing it up when we were at dinner one night. Yes, that is a restaurant ON the bay.
10. Your big, wild, opinionated, beautiful, funny, steadfast, loving family is still as awesome as ever.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Bit of Recharging

Mighty big family, eh? Believe it or not a lot of my cousins weren't even in this shot. I've got 22 first cousins - there are 26 total including myself and my three younger sisters (and we've nearly all procreated). My mother is one of eight. We used to get together for Thanksgivings and Easters every single year (some of my most treasured memories of growing up) but had to stop when us cousins started getting married - no one had a house big enough to have us all there at once.

We do, however, descend upon the shore for one week in June. Easily 25 houses are rented. This "best week of the year" starts Saturday and I can not wait. I'm bringing a bound print out of my WIP for some sister (and maybe cousin) feedback. I'm psyched the manuscript is at this stage already. I definitely worked my a** off to get it there.

I need this break. My legs will appreciate the circulation boost from walking on the beach as opposed to sitting in an office chair day in and day out writing. Don't get me wrong though, writing is the BEST JOB in the world (besides motherhood and teaching). The charge I get from creating characters and telling their stories is undeniably exhilarating and unlike anything else on earth. Just ask any fiction writer you know!

Have a great week next week, everyone & I'll be back with some hilarious stories to share, no doubt. Write on, my friends, write on....

P.S. Yes, that is a dog's head next to my one sister. You'll just have wonder on that one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Breakthrough

I've been working a new novel. The idea came to me last summer and the thing with really good ideas, well, they poke at you with pointy objects until you notice them. The jabs were getting quite painful so I created my bullet pointed list of ideas and let it simmer for a few weeks or so. Then I cranked out sixty pages in three days. I knew I was on to something.

Freeze here.

I'm the kind of writer that once I start I can't stop. I need long chunks of time to get the first draft out of my head. That sixty page dump took place last October on a weekend where I had the Monday off. Tuesday, my old job took over and the book jumped in the back seat until May 19th.

By the end of May I had a completed first draft, revision notes from my brilliant agent, and I was stuck. The novel was only 30,000 words.

What to do? What to do?

Sarah (my brilliant agent) gave me solid advice: Kate, give it time to breathe, then go back and read it through. Anyone who knows me personally knows I have a difficult time letting anything breathe. I am a "get it done and get it done now" kind of gal. I've been told no moss grows on me - by multiple people. I love progress. I love the feeling of  accomplishment and I really love a challenge. The challenge for me this time was to let the manuscript get a damn breath.

But I did.

I started at page 1 with my re-read and mid-way through - KABLAM - the breakthrough. The missing character detail for my MC tapped me on the shoulder and then headbutted me. I actually yelped at my desk so loudly that my husband came running in. My grin and fist pumping alleviated his fear and then he called me a spaz.

I love this book. I love my MC. I love everything about writing.

Do share your breakthrough stories - and they don't have to be about writing - breakthroughs happen all the time for all sorts of reasons ; )

P.S. I did a google search on "writing breakthrough" to find something I could link up to in this post and I found THIS -- go give her a shot in the arm....

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Staying Connected

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with two fellow/local Apocalypsies Elisa Ludwig and Eve Marie Mont. They are lovely human beings and we laughed and shared our "road to publication" stories and talked shop. On the way home it occurred to me: human connections make all the difference in life. Social media is important. I get that. Building an online presence is important. Yep. Tweeting, FB'ing, blogging are all a necessary (some may say crucial) part of being a writer.

I say it's all about the people.

This morning I read a feature article on author, Jay Asher in my beloved Entertainment Weekly (pause for a moment of silence) and the underlying focus was on how Jay's book 13 Reasons Why deeply impacted readers. He shared comments that he's heard at book signings - touching comments. Comments he heard face-to-face.

It's all about the people.

Remember when I gave that talk at the Detention Center a few weeks ago? If you have no idea of which I speak - click HERE. I'll be here when you get back.

You're back? Good.

I got feedback from my sister Meghan on the kids' reactions to my presentation. One of the detention officers on the boys' side came up and asked her, "So what's with these notebooks all the boys are writing in?" Meghan explained that her sister came in and gave a talk to the kids on how to express themselves on paper. He said, "Oh, that's cool. I get it. Four or five boys are writing a lot."

It's all about the people.

Human connections - I believe - are what keep us all going. Striving. Reaching. Living. Without truly being seen/validated/heard life is an even more difficult (sometimes impossible) journey.

Long story short - It sure feels good to get out there and make the connections. Meet the people. Be present and listen.

Have a great Friday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Being Young

Ask anyone over the age of forty about "being young" and you'll most likely get a form of this:
- A wistful, faraway glance
- A raised brow
- Perhaps a grin
- "What I wouldn't give to go back for just one day."

Last night I got to go back.

My younger sister Nikole had gotten tickets to the NKOTB & BSB concert for myself, my sister Meghan and my Mom - for Christmas and our birthdays.

I was actually an "old head" at the height of these two groups' fame - a crotchety 23 years old. It was my youngest sister, Christina, who, for all intents and purposes was NKOTBs number one fan (a term I do not use lightly - I know of NKOTB fans, know of their ferocious intense love. Believe me). But the girl was in-freaking-sane for this group. I gave up my bedroom to her mid-way through college so she could literally cover every inch of wall and ceiling with photographs. There's a photo of her shrine somewhere. If the New Kids created it, she owned it. *for the record, she was a Donnie girl.

And she couldn't come to the concert. She had a decent reason. She lives outside of Sydney, Australia. Christina - a grown up wife and mother - is so currently distraught over missing this concert that she can't even look at the photos or video from last night.

Her heart is still young.

The stadium was sold out - it was huge - and it was filled with 99.9% women. Every woman in the place got to go back, even if it was only for a few hours. They knew every word. They jumped up and down.

They clutched each other's arms and screamed louder than any concert I've ever been to (except, mind you, the NKOTB concert back in '91, in which my mother paid $500 a ticket for us to be on the floor - ten rows from the stage - one ticket was 2nd row - Christina got that one - deservedly so).

Which brings me to my ultimate point. The magic of being young (or being mentally transported back to a magical time in your young life) is rife with possibilities. Dreams. Hopes. Firsts. Being in last night's charged atmosphere hopefully awakened "possibilities" in those who've let them fall silent. Of course I'll never know. But I want to believe the experience went deeper for some.

There's nothing a good old fashioned dose of time travel can't awaken. If you keep your heart open.

For me, the experience - song after song - brought back wonderful memories. Each song flooded my brain with images of my younger sisters (Christina in particular) singing and dancing and squealing over which New Kid we loved and wanted to marry. *for the record, I was a Jordan girl.

Open heart + Dreams = Possibilities

P.S. My poor sister Meghan got strep throat and missed the concert too (booo). A friend of Nikole's jumped in her place last minute *waves at Jen F.*