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The Everyday Thoughts and Tidbits that catch my fancy - Look! A squirrel!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

What Happened? Where Am I?

Cats


Hello? Only one post this week, Cinette? Where have you been?

I could tell you I was abducted by aliens, and I'd almost believe it myself.
I have been in such a brain fog as of late, I don't even know what day it is, half the time. Worse, I even went to write November in my cheque book the other day. It is still October, right? And if so, where did this past week go? Obviously, I don't know if I'm coming or going.
I have been going non-stop for days now, (I think...) but I'm not sure what has been accomplished, if anything at all. I haven't even been home a single evening this week. At least I've been told I wasn't here to cook a meal all week. (Hubby gets cranky when he's hungry;0)
I need to take a deep breath. And try to get some sleep; not sure what that is anymore. And here I promised I was going to get my crap together for this past week, didn't I? So sorry, my peeps. I've discovered some of my physical limits this week. I hate getting old.



Have you ever been abducted by aliens?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Teasers- Halloween Edition


Here it is, almost Halloween and I haven't done a single Halloweenish post. I LOVE Halloween! My book is based on Halloween! But like every other holiday, it just sneaks up on me. So, today's teasers are all ghost stories. Do you recognise any of them?

1) Kendall Moorehead can't sleep. Not a wink.
Ever since her family moved from Chicago to the small town of Radison, Georgia, Kendall hasn't gotten a decent nights 's sleep. It's just too freaking quiet.
To remedy the situation, Kendall's father brings home a white-noise machine. The soothing sound of static should help Kendall drift off to la-la land.
But what Kendall hears is anything but relaxing: A voice comes through the machine. A voice? Has Kendall completely lost her mind? Or is she waking up to a world she never knew existed?

2) I don't believe in ghosts.
Unfortunately, they believe in me...
Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV...no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I get roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston - and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends - and potential boyfriends - is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with the ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive...

3) Jack is used to danger. His asthma has nearly killed him more than once. But his new home has a danger he's never known before - the spirits of the dead.
They can't breathe. But in Jack's house, they can chase, hide, scream.
Only Jack can see them. Only he can hear them. And only he can learn their secrets in time to save his mother - and himself...

Do you recognise any of these? Care to take a guess?

Mmmwwwwhhhaaaaaaaa!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

'Witches' Chapter Critique Courtesy of Clarissa Draper




Awhile back I bit the bullet and signed up for a chapter critique from Clarissa Draper at Listen to the Voices (see right hand sidebar). I nervously handed over my first chapter of Witches Don't Wear Socks. This morning, I found her critique of my chapter. I don't know what I was so afraid of; I'm still blushing from the kind comments she made, as well as the comments from other bloggers. Go check it out at Listen to the Voices.
If you'll excuse me, I'm overflowing with new ideas for my story. Gotta go! ttfn!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To Plot or Not To Plot...That Is My NaNo Question

This will be my third year doing The NaNowrimo challenge. My first year, I signed up at the very last minute and just grabbed a line one of my daughters had given me during the previous Halloween, when she waited until the last minute to put her costume together. 'Witches Don't Wear Socks' was born. I didn't win that year, but in my defense, I'm a bit faster at typing now;-) (Only a bit.)
Last year, I decided to come at it the 'proper' way, and plotted out a murder-mystery with all the red herrings and a long list of suspects. I lost interest in the story two days into November and dropped out. I already knew what was going to happen. Did I mention I'm a pantser by nature?
This year, I have a rough - very rough - idea of a paranormal murder mystery. The protag is a cop but she also sees ghosts. Original, isn't it?
 Don't ask me why murder mysteries. I love them and all, but I don't know that I have what it takes to write one. Such intricate plot work and all. BUT, I came up with a new title the other day, one that I'd want to put in my WITCHES series. The Gangster Who Loved Me. Again, I have only a very rough idea to start from. Which one should I try to flesh out over the next week? Or should I just pants it? Follow my character into trouble?

Monday, October 18, 2010

MEGAN CREWE - YA Author Interview




CS: The interview this morning is with MEGAN CREWE, author of the YA novel GIVE UP THE GHOST. Good Morning, Megan. Why don't you tell us a little about yourself.

MEGAN CREWE: I'm living in Toronto, now with my husband and two cats of my own. By mornings I write; by afternoons I tutor children and teens with special needs. When I'm not doing either, I'm reading everything I can get my hands on (about an equal mix of YA and adult fiction, with the occasional nonfiction title thrown in), learning Fut Gar kung fu, and planning my next overseas exploration.


CS:  Tell us about Give Up the Ghost. How was your story birthed? What was your motivation?

MEGAN CREWE: The idea just popped into my head--the image of a girl hanging out with her ghostly sister like it was a totally normal thing. I wanted to figure out why she'd be so comfortable with ghosts, and what might have come out of her friendship with them, and the story developed from there.

CS: What messages/life lessons did you wish to teach your readers in Give Up the Ghost?

MEGAN CREWE: Well, I don't write to teach. But I think the main theme of GHOST is that it's better to take the risk of getting hurt and try to connect with people than to totally shut yourself off--that you can't possibly be happy if you close yourself off from everyone else.

CS: Looking back on writing Give Up the Ghost, is there anything you would have done differently?

MEGAN CREWE: Probably lots of things! One of the odd things about being an author is that by the time one of your books comes out, you've already written others and grown as a writer, and the book that's published at that moment is not the book you'd write at that moment, if you had to do it over right then. I try not to think about what I might have done differently very much, because otherwise it'd drive me crazy!

CS: What part of writing is the easiest for you? And the hardest?

MEGAN CREWE: I'd say the easiest parts for me are outlining, which I really enjoy because I get to see the story coming together, and I'm usually pretty good at figuring out plot holes and that sort of thing, and revising, because I find it much easier to focus on making a story good once I have the whole thing down. The hardest is the rough draft, because I'm never sure everything's going to work out on the page until I get to the end, and I'm always aware that there are things that aren't quite right but that I can't fix until I can see the whole picture. Both of those factors can make it pretty stressful, so I usually write the first draft as quickly as possible.

CS: What advice would you give aspiring authors about getting into the game? What do you know now that you wish you had known back when you started in the business?

MEGAN CREWE: I think the most important thing for any aspiring author is to be persistent and not give up. There is a certain amount of luck and timing to being successful in this industry, and not every good book gets published right away. Plus it often takes at least a few books before you're writing ones that are good enough to be published. If you want to make it, you have to be willing to put in a lot of time and a lot of work toward making your writing as good as it possibly can be, and then getting it out there to agents and editors.

One thing I wish I'd known when I was starting out is that getting the first book published doesn't mean you're set for an entire career. It was harder for me to sell a second book than to sell GHOST. I'd expected it to be easier, and I think if I'd known how many ups and downs there can be even after you're published, it wouldn't have worried me as much as it did.

CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?

MEGAN CREWE: That the most important thing you can do for your career is write the next book (and of course, write it as well as you can). It's easy to get caught up in promotional concerns but ultimately, if you write a book that readers connect with, it'll find its audience.

CS: Tell us about your next book.

MEGAN CREWE: My next book is called THE WAY WE FALL. It's about a teenaged girl living on a small island that's suddenly struck with a deadly illness, and then placed under quarantine, leaving her and her family and friends struggling to survive.

Thanks for the interview!

CS: Thank you, Megan, for taking the time to do the interview with me.
And just a little something I found on Megan's site, some news on her THREE-BOOK DEAL:

The Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:


Megan Crewe’s THE WAY WE FALL, in which a 16-year-old challenges her fears, finds a second chance at love, and fights to keep her family and friends safe as a deadly new virus devastates her island community, to Catherine Onder at Disney-Hyperion, in a significant deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in Winter 2012, by Josh Adams at Adams Literary (NA).

Congrats on your new successes, Megan!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Gotta Get This Book!!!

I have come across the next classic instructional writing manual that you need to have right next to Elements and Style. I haven't even finished reading it, and I already know this, it's that amazing! It's The Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine!


TADA!!!

Isn't it beautiful?
It will make you an expert critiquer in no time!
I used to look at other people's stories and mine) and just 'know' something wasn't quite right. Becky taught me (okay, her book did) how to spot the weaknesses, and how to fix them in MY OWN WORK. That's the main reason that this book will be dog-eared and cherished by all. It will guide you to being a better writer.
In the fiction section, she, breaks it down into critiquing for plot, dialogue, character, etc. It blew me away with how easy critiquing can be!
The Survival Guide covers fiction, non-fiction, memoir, you name it. This is a definite 5 star rating, if I ever gave ratings to books. I talked everyone in my writer's group to buy it.You NEED this one. Go buy it. Now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five (More) Random Things About Moi

It may look like I've been negligent this past week, but - okay, I have. But in my defence, I've been trying to catch up in other departments in my life that have been suffering. By Monday, I hope to have my crap together and be back at the helm (as if!).
Oh, and on Monday, I have an interview with MEGAN CREWE, author of GIVE UP THE GHOST!

Okay, here we go:
1) I love to knit and crochet. I have more the eight projects on the go at any given time though, because I get bored with them after a while (notice a pattern, anybody?). I'm trying to finish a baby afghan this month for my new niece (yes, I"M sure it will be my mother's 8th granddaughter) due in less than a month. My money's on Nov.2.

2) I clean house only when I should be doing something else. (or when I'm expecting 20 people over for Thanksgiving.) It's in The Master Procrastination Method how-to-guide I plan to write. Someday.

3) I found out that 40 is the new 70, in my case, anyway. Over the last two years, I've gained 20 lbs, developed rotator-cuff issues in both shoulders, feel like I have arthritis in my hands, hips and knees (the shoulders go without saying), have chronic heartburn and have taken up snoring (so I'm told). I picked the wrong time in life to crack a couple ribs, I guess. Just when I was supposed to up my fitness to stay abreast of old age, I had to quit my running and weight training. Maybe, once the ribs healed, I should have started up again...

4) My idea of the perfect holiday is NOT a hot beach somewhere tropic. I want a hotel room with a hot tub and room service and a masseuse on call, plus a stack of books. The DO NOT DISTURB sign will be on the doorknob.

5) I WANT to have a simple, sparse decor in my house, but too many people live here. To start with, I emptied out an entire room downstairs last spring, but within a week my husband bought furniture and a T.V. to fill it up. I haven't been in the room since. I'm not kidding. It used to be my fitness room.

Your turn! Tell me your deepest, dark secret. I promise, I won't tell anyone...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

At First Sight Blogfest

At First Sight Blogfest


Jacee Drake is holding a blogfest today. Click on her link to check out all the other entries!

Here's my attempt at the theme:


Greyish-white crests topped the countless waves that covered the lake, but I wasn't able to see more than slivers of it through the trees. But in my mind's eye, I was on the shore, back on that day, waiting for Tyler to show. The chilling autumn wind coming off the lake had made me curl up into myself, rocking to keep warm, as well as to comfort myself. "I'd still be waiting," I muttered to myself.
"Do you always talk to yourself, Warden?" A painfully familiar voice asked woodenly from behind me. Warden had sounded ironic on his tongue. Like he was disappointed. Worse, maybe feeling betrayed. But he couldn't possibly know - could he? I slowly raised my hands.
"That uniform might fool any number of backwoods rednecks, but it doesn't fool this one. Why are you here? Who sent you?"
I swallowed the lump that had formed in the back of my throat and took a deep breath. I could feel the rifle he always carried trained on my back. "I'm a true Warden, soldier. Just not from around here, from now."
I could almost hear the gears working in his head. He had always spoke in riddles; I felt a sudden quirk of pride at having possibly stumped him, if only momentarily. Then the lump returned in my throat. The last time I had seen him, his lifeless eyes stared up at the grey sky, with blood soaking into the ground around his body.
"What do you mean? Not from now? And why do you call me soldier?" Anger rose in his voice, an uncommon occurrence, no matter how much I had often earned it.
I began to slowly turn around to face him. He was exactly as I had remembered, no matter how many years had passed since I had seen him last; right down to the grey stubble on his chin, and the scratch next to his right eye he had on that day.
The anger in his eyes flared, then confusion replaced it. He slowly lowered his rifle, but he never took his eyes off my face.
I swallowed hard, but there was still a crack in my voice. I left my hands in the air."You were right, Grandad. They have a time machine. And I found it."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weepy Wednesday

I've been slacking off on my blogging this week, even though I still have a couple of blogfests to catch up on, but I WILL CATCH UP! Someday, I'm sure.

Yes, today feels like a whining day, even if it is beautiful outside, for a change. First, it looks like someone stole my mother-in-law's dog, and two, I'm in charge of Thanksgiving dinner for around twenty or so people this weekend. It's the housekeeping part I don't care for. But I'm always up for a party!

Oh, and I've been adding up what I've spent on books recently.

I went to town this week, hypothetically speaking. (I actually did all my shopping on line.) BUT GUESS WHAT I GOT!!!

I mossied into Amazon.ca, and I picked up CassaStar by...who was that written by again? (Just kidding, Alex!)

At chapters.indigo.ca I picked up a copy of each The Grimrose Path by Rob Thurman, and Breakthough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan by Stephen Tremp (who happens to be one of those little fellas pictured at the top of the page;-) Hi Steve!

Then I made a stop at Kobo for some ebooks, and grabbed Freefall by this week's debut author interviewee, Mindi Scott. While I was there, I snatched a copy of Liz Fichera's Captive Spirit, which I was introduced to via The Bad News Blogfest this past weekend, or at least an intriguing snippet of it!
I also picked up the last Rachel Vincent 'Shifters' title, Alpha, and the third of Jennifer Estep's 'Elemental Assassin' series Venom. Also, I grabbed me a non-fiction title as well (got to stay well rounded) called My Life Among The Serial Killers By Dr. Helen Morrison. (Don't ask if you don't want to know.)

I think I had better put my credit card away for awhile. Hubby's already planning a bonfire with my collection:>)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Debut Author: Mindi Scott

Today I introduce you to one of the new kids on the block, debut YA author Mindi Scott, creator of FREEFALL, due to release October 5th.
Mindi Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich and her publisher is Pulse (Simon and Schuster).

Links about Mindi:

http://mindiscott.com/

http://twitter.com/mindi_scott

http://www.youtube.com/user/authormindiscott

http://www.thecontemps.com/

CS: Thank you for doing this interview with me. Tell us about Freefall . What was your motivation for the story?

Mindi Scott: Freefall is about 16-year-old Seth McCoy who, after a night of partying two months ago, found his best friend dead. This is the story of what happens after the numbness starts to wear off and Seth has to decide how to move forward with his life.
I started writing this because I had an idea for a love story between a boy and a girl who had each faced tragedy. I went against my norm and chose to write the boy's point of view instead of the girl's. Everything just evolved from there. The romance angle is definitely an important part of the book, but Seth's emotional journey became the real focus for me.

CS: What do you hope for your readers to take away from Freefall?

Mindi Scott: Last year, I sat down and determined that my purpose in life is to use my writing to empower lives and broaden perspectives. So that is what I would love to accomplish.
Being less-crazy ambitious and more specific, though, I would love it if readers are drawn in by Seth and the people in his life, and that the words that I wrote make them think . . . and feel.

CS: Looking back on the writing of Freefall, is there anything that you would do differently?

Mindi Scott: You know, I don't think there is anything I could have done differently. I worked hard and revised my manuscript in the best ways that I was capable. Getting an agent took longer than I would have preferred, but that was out of my hands. I will say, though, that there are two lines in the book that recently started bothering me for being a tiny bit over-explainy. Since I didn't notice them in revisions, copyedits, line edits, etc., they are in there for good. Oh, well!

CS: What part of writing is easiest for you? And the hardest?

Mindi Scott: Creating characters and developing voice are definitely my strengths. The hardest part is learning how to use plot to showcase them. Well, that and just getting the job done. Finishing manuscripts has been really difficult for me lately.

CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?

Mindi Scott: Wil Wheaton once wrote on his blog: "Writers write."
I can't remember the context and I don't know if he was quoting someone else. But I think of it often. It's my reminder to get back on task. Being a writer means writing, so that's what I need to do!

 Thank you, Mindi for joining us today, and good luck with your debut launch of FREEFALL!
 
For some reviews on Goodreads, go HERE.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bad News Blogfest


Francine over at Romancing The Blog has decided to host her own blogfest, The Bad News blogfest. This is my submission to the cause, but you may prefer to see the others; click on Francicine's blog link.

Summary: Alex is able to see ghosts, and in dodging an entire ghostly football team by diving into the girls' washroom, she comes face to face with another ghost. (Bad day at school.)
*****
Talk about jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Standing in the middle of the washroom was Prom Girl with the noose around her neck.


“I’m not going to catch a break today, am I?” I mumbled.

She was gazing around the room as if she were in a museum. “Everything looks so strange. It’s the same, yet different.” She turned to me, her bulging eyes searching mine.

It was difficult to hold her gaze. But I’d faced worse. I think the screaming drowned toddler at the local pool was the hardest to endure, and impossible to reason with. Mind you, I was only five at the time. The swim instructor thought I was terrified of the water. But Mom never tried to force me to go back. Maybe because I kept screaming, “Stop it! Just stop it! Leave me alone!”

Prom Girl continued on, breathlessly. “I don’t recognize anyone in the halls, not even most of the teachers. I tried to talk to Mr. Yamashita, but he ignored me. It’s like he couldn’t even see me there, standing right in front of him. But you can see me, can’t you? I feel like I know you, somehow. Have we met before?” She rattled off her spiel without taking a breath, as if she was worried she needed to get it all in quickly, before I took off on her.

As for Mr. Yamashita, he was going deaf and blind and he often didn’t see his living students, let alone the dead ones. I wish I could be so oblivious. As for the football team, I could hear them outside the door, talking among themselves. This was one bullet I was not going to be able to dodge. “Uh, I don’t believe we’ve met, but I’ve seen you around.”

“Why is it no one else seems to see me? I’ve tried to talk to other students and they walk right past me. Are they really all that rude?”

I shrugged and turned toward the mirror. “Kids will be kids.” I pretended to fuss with my hair. Not much you can really do to heavily gelled spikes.

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t introduce myself, did I? I was so excited about finding someone to listen to me I forgot my own manners.” She extended her hand toward me. “Pamela Saunders.”

I ignored her outstretched hand. I could see ghosts – even in the mirror, looking as real as life – but I couldn’t touch them. My hand passed right through them. I turned on the tap and started scrubbing the gel off my hands.

Her reflection showed a flicker of hurt on her face, but she set her jaw as she dropped her hand and busied herself with straightening her gown. “And what might your name be?”

I turned off the tap and turned my back to her as I pulled paper towels out of the dispenser on the wall. “Everyone just calls me Alex.” I was going to do the whole “My name might be…” but I didn’t need to be a total jerk to her. After all, she was dead, even if she didn’t know it yet.

“Alex? Would that be a nickname for Alexandria?”

I sighed as I tossed the paper towels in the garbage can. “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“Silly girl! Alexandria is a beautiful name. That’s nothing to be ashamed of!”

As I turned to face her, I saw her reaching for my shoulder. Her hand passed right through it before I could dodge out of her reach.

Her bulging eyes went even wider as she stared at her hand. “What on earth--? Are you a ghost?”

I snorted. “I’m not! You are.” Crap. When am I gonna learn to watch my mouth?

“No! This can’t be! That would mean I’m…no!” She grew quite agitated. “I am not dead!”

“Pamela, listen to me for just a minute…”

“No!” Then she disappeared. Now, whether she liked it or not, she knew was dead. That made for a whole new ballgame.

I sighed heavily as I glared at my reflection. “That went well.”

I now had a whole ghostly football team following me around the school and a full-fledged specter that could now pop in and out at will. And all before the lunch break. Man, was I on a roll.

I looked up at the window. Not a chance. This addition of the high school was built like a prison; they don’t want the inmates escaping. The window was too small and too high off the floor. I was going to have to face the football team. But hey, how many girls can honestly say they have the whole football team chasing after them?

I took a deep breath, then flung the door open. The players were lined up in two columns facing each other across the doorway, like they line up for their grand entrances on to the field. And they were all looking at me. Funny, none of them seemed to notice how out of sorts the other players looked. The team captain opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him short. “You’ll have to excuse me guys, I have a very busy schedule and I don’t have time to entertain you at the moment. If you wish to talk to me, we can meet after the game this afternoon.” As if I was sticking around for a stupid football game.

I stopped short once I got past the gauntlet. Two guys from my math class had been leaning up against the wall, chatting. Apparently, they thought I had been talking to them.

“After the game, then,” one of them said, smiling as he saluted me. The other just stood there, his eyes wide with surprise, his jaw nearly resting on his chest.

I closed my eyes and dropped my head in defeat. “Let it go,” I mumbled to myself. “ The way this day is going, I might not even live that long.”

******