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So my hubby and daughter left this week for Rome. They’ll be gone for a couple weeks. There were lots of tears (mine and the kidlets). It’s been WAY quiet in the house. But my boys are keeping me busy. We still have soccer stuff going on as well as band/orchestra stuff. Needless to say we’ve been doing lots of running.

And I admit, last night we had Lunchables, string cheese, and Cheez-Its for dinner (LOL). Yeah, we had to go with quick dinner over standing over the stove for hours dinner.  Tonight or tomorrow I promised my sons we’d go see Iron Man 3. They’re totally eager. My high school son’s been bugging me for the last two weeks that we go see that movie while my hubby/daughter are gone.

On a sad note, hospice came in for my grandma a week ago. And we also lost my uncle to leukemia. So the last two weeks have been super sad.

As for the writing front, well, I’m doing LOTS OF WAITING. Still in contract negotiations on a series. It’s totally killing me too. I never realized things could move this slow. And it’s complete torture. I’m also waiting to hear back from FAB agent about a YA contemp I sent over. Right now I’m in the midst of researching for an NA contemporary.  I’ve jotted down some notes/funny lines, and have a pile of research to sort through.

With all the waiting I’m doing on the writing front, it has freed up some time for me to get some reading in. In the last two weeks I’ve read:

Poison by Bridgit Zinn ( a totally cute/fun YA fantasy)

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah R. Miller (a LOL fun summer read)

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt (another YA contemporary which was cute/fun)

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (another YA summer read/which was a quick read)

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (YA Contemporary—OMG this book is SO good—I warn you it’s sad, but has a lot of LOL funny moments. It’s one of those books that’ll stay with you long after you read it).

I’m currently reading Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton. It’s cute so far and of course it’s another summer read (LOL). As you can tell from the list above I’ve been on a contemporary kick as of late.

I hope everyone has a FAB weekend! Hopefully I’ll have some news to share in the near future (I know, I know, I say that every time I post. But one of these times it’s actually gonna happen—hehehe).

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Yay, it’s Friday! So ready for the week to be over. It snowed last night so I had to make the long commute on crappy roads (totally makes for a long day).  Some of the drivers were driving like maniacs.  There are times when I wonder if they are wearing blindfolds, I mean, hello–people are in ditches…

GRRRR…so anyway (LOL), I just finished reading A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies. It was a good book, and I have to say I LOVED Asher (sigh).  Also loved the mystery behind Skye and how her emotions were triggering certain things. My only complaint, the cliffhanger ending!! OMG, I hate having to wait to find out what happens to characters.

I started reading Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell this week, which is really good so far. Saundra has a perfect way of painting her characters and settings. I’m like 1/3 of the way through it already.

On the writing front, I’m knee deep in edits (still). Yeah, it’s totally taking me forever. But I’m more than 1/2 done so that’s good. I’m going to have to do some major overhaul on the last 3-4 chapters though.  My goal is to get another chapter done during break today, then try and finish the edits/applying of critiques this weekend and have it over to my beta readers by next week.  Not sure if I’ll get this over to Agent Lady by the end of the year or not, but I’m sure gonna try.

And now for the waiting segment of the show. Yes.  That’s the sound of crickets (hehehehe).  I’m trying so hard to be patient while I wait to hear back from the movie companies and a publisher who has one of my stories right now.  But man, it’s totally hard.  I’ve been trying to stay focused on my edits, however, that’s been mega hard.

At least a couple other ladies in my crit group are playing the waiting game too so we can kind of email back and forth about not hearing from everyone (hehehe). I have a feeling, I’ll likely have to wait for any information until after the holidays (sniffle).

Unless, of course, Santa Claus surprises me (snickers). Okay, not likely, but I’m trying to be positive here!

Oh, and this weekend is my son’s birthday (yay). He’ll be 14 yrs old (is that possible?). He wants a blueberry cheesecake for his b-day cake (he gets that from my hubby). Although, I do LOVE cheesecake.  Still have to drop by the store and get his present.

What’s everyone else doing this weekend? Any big plans?

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THE WINNERS OF STAKING SHADOWS EBOOK ARE:

KRISTEN LYNN THETFORD and ANGELA ACKERMAN

Congrats ladies…will email them over shortly!

 

Yay, Staking Shadows is now available in ebook form through Noble Young Adult

It should also be available soon on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks. Will update with links when it becomes available.

To celebrate the release of Staking Shadows, I’m giving away a free ebook to 2 commenters.  All you have to do is leave a comment and you’re entered.  Make sure to leave an email address in case you win.

I’ll draw the winners on July 5, 2011.

Blurb:

Summer “Sun” McKellar was twelve when her world was shattered by the appearance of the “soul-suckers,” a god-like hybrid with a vapid hunger for human souls. Within mere days entire towns were wiped out. But Summer was one of the lucky ones, or at least she managed to escape with her life—what was left of it.

Now, five years later, Summer is one of only a handful of survivors left on Earth. A place where night dominates and humans are harvested for their souls. By daylight Summer is the leader of a small band of survivors, while at dusk she becomes a hunter, with only one goal in mind; to take back her world one dead soul-sucker at a time. This routine serves her well until an enemy patrolman named Raven saves her life. He causes complications she never dreamt possible, making her rethink her strategy. For their chance encounter and the danger that surrounds it will ultimately force them to choose between loyalty to their own kinds or the forbidden…

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PHEW! The last three weeks have been CHAOS! I repeat CHAOS!!! LOL. I managed to survive several award ceremonies for my kids (for grades/athletics etc), my step-son’s graduation, the talent show my kids participated in (which they were totally AWESOME), and soccer tournament.

 

Oh, and I can’t forget round 2 of edits from my lovely Agent Lady, which I sent back to her late last night. Had to bulk up a few scenes, dig a little deeper into some of my characters emotions.  But in the end, I was happy with the suggestions.  Hopefully, I should only need to do one more read through (once Agent Lady reads through my changes).  Then it’ll be off to the races (bites nails in nervous anticipation).

 

I’ve also gotten the chance to read some pretty good books lately (right now, I’m reading book 3 of the Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa).  In reading, I’ve come to the realization that I always fall for the underdog love interests. Seriously. In Twilight, I preferred Jacob, in the Mortal Instruments Series I wanted Clary to have a few more romantic moments with Simon, in the Iron Fey Series, I want Meghan to have some more moments with Puck.  And don’t get me started on Jem from the Infernal Devices series. Sigh. It’s not that I don’t like the UBER HOT HEROES, because I DO. LOL.  It’s just I always seem to fall in with the “best-friend guys”.  I mean they deserve some love too, right?

 

Just sayin. Hope everyone is having a GREAT beginning to their summer! This weekend we’ll be celebrating my daughter’s birthday by throwing her a pool party.  Should be lot’s of fun.

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So today is the day that decides everything. Okay, so I might be acting a little dramatic. LOL. It’s been a long week waiting for the remaining agents to get in contact. And by the end of the night, I’ll be able to say: “I’ve got an agent.” Four words, mind you, that I’ve dreamt of saying for years. And it still seems so surreal. Like at any moment I’m going to wake up. Might need someone to pinch me (but not too hard, my fair skin bruises easy—snicker).

In the coming days, I can’t wait to share my LOOOONG journey with you. The “almost there” moments, the heart ache, the excitement, the hard work, and of course the lovely ladies of my crit group who helped me along the way.

It’s so hard to fathom that my childhood dream is on its way to being fulfilled. See Mom and Dad, all those years spent curled up with books and notebooks (when I was supposed to be doing chores/sleeping/doing homework) totally paid off.

I hope you’ll all come back tomorrow and share my happy moment with me! ((HUGS)). OMG, I just realized tomorrow is Friday the 13th. Hmmm…I hope I don’t see anyone with hockey masks lurking around my house (note to self: Do NOT wear high heel shoes tomorrow). That’d totally put a damper on things. Yeah, I know, that makes my life sound like a horror movie waiting to happen (LOL).

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Phew! It hasn’t been a crazy 24 hours. Next week, I should have some news of the agenty sort to share (squeeee).  A moment  7 years in the making. So stay tuned for an update…

In other news, yesterday was my anniversary (yay). And my darling of a husband bought me some books. See, he knows me too well (LOL). That’s right. I’d rather have a bouquet of books than flowers (ooh, maybe I should start a business called Bouquet of Books–LOL). He got me Divergent by Veronica Roth, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, and Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt. They will be going into my TBR pile which is GINORMOUS right now. I’ve still got 14 books on my shelf that I haven’t got to yet. Although, I am making a dent (LOL).

And can I just say ZOMGDIDYOUSEEVDLASTNIGHT! The writers for the Vampire Diaries show are freakin geniuses. Seriously. Me and my sister were watching it and we had tears people! I love the twist with Elijah, Jenna, and John. Totally made the show. And I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to happen with Damon. Because I LOVE that character. Le sigh.

Tomorrow I’ll be spending most of the day at the soccer fields watching my son Chase and Daughter Erin play. Should be lots of fun. And tonight, I actually get to go home after work. That’s right. NO RUNNING! It’s like a National Holiday or something (snicker). I can’t remember the last time I got to come home before 8:00 pm. Oh. Right. BEFORE soccer got underway.

And that about does it with everything going on in my life. Will check in for sure next week…

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*Disclaimer* No leperchauns were harmed in making this contest!

In our honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d celebrate by having a contest! Kind of like your own pot of gold, however, instead of gold there are ebooks and a necklace/earrings up for grabs.

The contest will start March 16, 2011 and run through 5:00 p.m. EST on March 17, 2011. All you have to do is leave a comment below! Make sure to include an email so I can get a hold of you if you win.

Prizes:

 

Into the Ether by Vanessa Barger 

The Oceina Dragon by J.F. Jenkins

My Dad’s a Paranormal Investigator: Seeking Shapeshifters by me (Rebekah L. Purdy)

Jewelry:  

An icy-blue polar bear necklace with matching earrings in honor of my story. This is a sweet necklace that my good friend Kimberly made especially for the contest.  

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In case you’re wondering, I am working diligently on applying crits/edits etc to TFGF. Lots I want to get done on it, which means LATE NIGHTS. It’ll be me, my laptop, a cup of tea, chocolate, and Sirius Satellite Radio (Coffeehouse station).

Writing a story is fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Because once you’re finished getting it all done on paper (or computer or both—hehehe), the real work begins. Now comes what I like to call the slash/crash/and keep game. I’m looking for stuff to slash from my MS, like wordiness, overuse of certain words, bad plotlines etc. Then I like to see what might make my story “crash” stuff like telling, plot holes, rushed scenes, too much description etc. And of course, the parts I’ll keep.

My critique group (YAFF), is invaluable for helping to weed some of these things out.

As I write chapters and edit them, I post them to the group for feedback. Sometimes their comments will spark new ideas, other times they’ll bring up things I need to look at. Like, “Wow, your character must be happy because he’s grinned like 15 times in the last 3 pages.” Or “Um—okay, why is your character suddenly acting like this for. They were really happy, and now for no reason they’re ripping people’s heads off.”

What might be apparent to us, as the writer of the story, might not be obvious to the reader. So if we have to go back and explain a scene to someone, we probably haven’t done our job. My rule of thumb for changing things is: If the suggestion makes sense, change it. Or, if more than one person is pointing out the same thing, time to revamp.

And although applying critiques/edits is hard work, I also look at it as something fun. I mean, now’s the chance to smooth the scenes out. Or maybe add in a new chapter that will totally take the story to the next level. It’s the time to bring the story from “good” to “great” by cutting the unnecessary, and making sure everything is balanced. Do character reactions/dialogue make sense to the scene? Are the motivations for these reactions working? Did I drop enough clues/hints about who the bad guy/girl really is? Have I brought the romance/relationships full circle? Do I have Plot lines that are still hanging, and if so, should they be left open?

It’s like working on a piece of art. You start out molding the clay. At first it looks like a lump. Then as you sculpt it, it turns into something beautiful.

So here’s to the editing/revision process.

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I’ve had the chance to sit down with the lovely Vanessa Barger to talk about her new release Into the Ether, as well as other fun stuff! Not only is this a fab story, but Vanessa is also a great friend/crit group member!

Tell us a little something about your book and what genre it is?
Into the Ether is a YA Steampunk Romance, hopefully the first in a series, set in an alternative reality. Think Victorian London with really cool Steampowered gadgets.
I think the blurb says it pretty well, so here it is:
As a Touch-Know, Genevieve has never been required to steal more than a few paltry coins.  But when a powerful stranger requires their help, her family of street-wise thieves sends her to get the most important thing they’ve ever decided to liberate.  It was supposed to be a simple overnight job. Instead, Genevieve is required to appear attached to her mark, the curator of the British Museum.  For Genevieve it becomes more than an act, and her problems are far more significant than the possibility of her lies being
discovered.

When her family betrays her, she must make an important choice – turn to the man who has destroyed everything she holds dear, or strike out on her own.

What character(s) do you like the most and why?
Hmmm… the most? Well, I like Terry, just because he’s a little bit of everything I’d like in a boy. I also really like Phillip because he’s got so many more facets to him than you may realize. I do also like Thomason. Even though he’s not really alive…

What are your favorite books? And is there any book in particular that made you want to become a writer?
I have many favorite books. But I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare and anything Bill Bryson and Katie MacAlister write. In YA, I also love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. I don’t think there was any one book that made me want to become a writer.
I’ve always written and read anything that didn’t move.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without while writing?

Tea. Lots of it. With sugar. And cream, if its hot.

Reality or Fantasy?
Fantasy. Duh! I get enough reality at work.

Your favorite snack?
Smoked cheddar and good crusty bread.

Lastly, what’s your favorite season?
Fall. Halloween, not too hot, gorgeous leaves

Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s been awesome having you. Make sure you check out Vanessa’s book Into the Ether. It’s available from Astraea Press now.

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Today, I’m being interviewed by the LOVELY Joey Nichols! I had a lot of fun answering questions (er fighting over hot, fictional guys). So if you get a chance drop by her blog: Joey Nichols

And I want to give a shout out to a fellow YAFF member/friend (crit partner), Vanessa Barger whose book Into the Ether comes out today!!! Make sure to drop by her blog for a chance to win some cool prizes. Later this week Vanessa will be stopping by my blog for an exclusive interview (LOL–yeah, I totally made myself sound more important than I am).

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