Monday, December 12, 2011


So you all need to go check out the awesome giveaways going on at the YA Highway blog! Tons of great stuff...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can We Guess Your Character's Age?

**WINNER!! (3rd place!)

So the lovely and fab Brenda Drake is hosting a really fun contest! It's all about guessing your MC's age after reading the first 250! Sounds fun, right? Of course, I had to participate! Check out her blog and contest info here.

She's also got Gabriela Lessa as a guest judge, which is awesome and special because one of Gabriela's contests was what got me starting this blog with my very first blog entry. Check out Gabriela's website, too!

Directions say to leave out any information like title and genre so I'm just posting the first 250...

...Enjoy and thanks for reading...

My knuckles slam into the head cheerleader’s perfect little nose. It feels great. Real great. Well, inside it does. My hand burns like hell.

It’s halftime, and the gym reeks of boy—sweat, bad breath, and cheap cologne. Silence drums in my ear so loud it hurts. There are hundreds of faces on the bleachers, and then there’s the basketball team. All staring. At me. Oh, God.

The fluorescent lights buzz, telling me to run, but I can’t. Not yet. Instead, I admire how the blood drips from her nostril, over her ivory skin, and soaks circles into her uniform. It looks great next to the matching red stripe crossing her chest. The white stripe matches her pale face. And the blue matches the developing bruise.

My fist aches like broken bones, and my heart pounds hard enough to bust ribs. But who cares? I may have ruined Cambelle’s face. Completely worth it.

The other cheerleaders freeze—something that doesn’t happen very often. Half of them awed, half angered. Probably fake anger, though. Even her clones have got to hate her, right?

“Eeak!” Cambelle shrieks, shaking everyone back to life. Now, there is noise, and it’s even louder than silence. With one last glare, I turn and bolt, my ponytail bouncing like my skirt and automatically making me appear one hundred percent peppy.

So not me.

I shake my tail better than I walk, but all this cheerleader crap really bugs. It’s shamefully lame, but here I am.


Thanks again for reading! All comments welcome!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to drop in and wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day! And also a great Black Friday if you are brave.

So, anyone outlining/writing/revising/editing/polishing today?

Me? Well, my hubby wouldn't be very happy if I did, BUT I may try to sneak in a bit of outlining for some revisions I want to make to my current MS.

How about you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writers LOVE their pets!

Writers love a lot of things. They love kissing scenes, chocolate, twitter, stalking literary agents on the internet, spending money on newly-released books, contests, the month of November, and name a few.

When I joined my fellow writers in the web-o-sphere, one of the first things I learned was that we love our pets, CATS specifically. On the Query Tracker forums you'll find many an avatar with a cat picture. And yes, I too, at one point had a cat picture. It was my kitty, the late Pepper Paws, using the potty. YES, indeed, he liked to tinkle in the potty, and NO I did not teach him to do that.

I've since changed my avatar to my own face.

Here is my kitty, Mr. Snuff. I've had him for almost seven years, and he was a great friend of Pepper Paws. He has been a loyal late night writing companion on several occasions. BTW, he doesn't know how to use the potty. Thank goodness.

He is, in fact, lying on my ironing board. Don't worry, I never use it. :)

So, in celebration of writers (and anyone else in publishing) and the pets they LOVE so dearly, here's a little video that just cracks me up every time.

Now, it's your turn to TELL ME about YOUR PET! I'd love for you to share in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get it right!! (with funny video example)

Okay, so maybe you've seen this before, but it's definitely worth seeing again if you have. If you haven't, your in for a real hoot! BTW, these are really short.

This is a good example of how important it is to GET IT RIGHT as a writer. When do you need to get it right? How about when you hit that glaring send button before submitting your precious manuscript to that agent you've been web-stalking for the past year.

Just like this girl has been preparing and obsessing over THIS very important moment, so have you with your writing and querying and researching. Right?


But guess what? You're on stage, and your only time to get it right, is right now! Of course, this is easier said than done, and we can only do our best. But don't query before you're ready. Take it slow. Get it right. Then send that finished, revised, edited, POLISHED manuscript to that agent who just might fall in love with it and you.

Okay, you get it. Now watch what happens when you don't GET IT RIGHT:

Yeah, I don't know what she's talking about either. Don't let that be YOU. Don't let an agent read your work and think, What the heck was that?

**For the record, I actually feel really bad for her and completely understand how nerves can really mess up a person! At least when we mess up it's not in front of the world, right? Thank goodness!**

The next one is worth watching too! It's a remake of the first one. It's great because it makes it look like she was PREPARED and thought she did GET IT RIGHT.

Thanks for stopping by! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Can you leave us breathless? Blogfest Contest!

(If you are checking in to see who won King and Queen of literature, scroll below.)

Here is my entry for this super fun contest on Brenda Drake's blog!

This is from my newest YA novel, which is a romantic thriller. Any and all comments welcome. Thanks for taking a peak!

The lid closes. It’s just the spiders and me. I rest my forehead on my knees.

The small ones are fast and already run my arms and around my neck. My skin prickles, and tremors shoot through me. With my nostrils pinched shut, I barely part my lips and take shallow breaths whenever I don’t feel scurrying legs near my mouth. My hair moves as it fills with the nesting creatures, and a slow crawler with a furry belly sneaks onto my ankle and under my jeans.

My entire form shudders and shakes, wanting to hyperventilate.

Breathing slow is torture. I need to distract myself. I try to forget the constant movements and itching and think about Treston. He’s watching me. Has he decided I’m not worth his love? The thought sickens me more than the spiders, and my heart swirls down my chest, landing somewhere near a kidney.

The big spider scaling my chin brings me back. There must be hundreds crawling along my flesh now. On my arms, my neck, my face. Down my shirt. Ugh.

More shallow breaths—controlling my panic hurts.

I try to think about Emerson. His kiss, his feelings. The way we grew up together. But I can’t stop thinking about the haunting creatures.

I bang on the lid. Cool air rushes in, and I stand, keeping my eyes and mouth closed while I’m brushed off.

“I think you’re good. Just shake your legs before you step out,” says Luke. “Now go clean your clothes out in the private area. You’ll get your score later.”

In the curtained area, I undress to nude and shake everything out twenty times. When a spider falls, I grab my shoe and crunch it. Maybe that will help me sleep tonight. But I doubt it.

I’ll be feeling spiders for the next year.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2011

And the KING and QUEEN of literature are...

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy!!!!

Congratulations to Claude Dancourt for nominating them as the most romantic couple in all of literature!

**Confetti, rose petals, and balloons fall**

A great couple indeed! One of my personal faves! They won by quite a margin, but all the couples were amazing!

I really want to thank EVERYONE who participated by nominating and voting, and extra appreciation for those who participated in each round! The competition wouldn't have been what it was without all of you! Thanks!

Gosh, I don't know what I'll do now it's over, but there is something I will take away from this that I hope all of you will too. I found out about some GREAT STORIES with some SWOON-WORTHY ROMANCE that I haven't read yet! So now I'm super excited to go get my hungry little fingers on them, so thanks for sharing your favorites with me!

How about you guys? Did you get the chance to learn about some new couples your curious about? Or did you re-fall in love with any old ones? Hope so!

Thanks again!

*Claude, contact me with your email address, and we'll get that prize going for ya! Congrats! (mbuttars83(at)aol(dot)com)

Monday, October 17, 2011

TOP TEN COUPLES!! *LoveVote Extravaganza - Round 2!



Time to vote for your KING and QUEEN...

The rules:

1. ONE vote each. (In comments section)
2. Again, you MUST leave your name (screen name) with your vote for it to count.
3. Voting closes this Thursday (20th)
4. WINNER announced Friday (21st)
5. Good luck deciding, and have fun!


Allie and Noah -----<---{@ THE NOTEBOOK
Rhett and Scarlett -----<---{@ GONE WITH THE WIND
Bella and Edward -----<---{@ TWILIGHT
Romeo and Juliet -----<---{@ ROMEO AND JULIET
Westley and Buttercup -----<---{@ THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Jim and Della -----<---{@ THE GIFT OF MAGI
Charly and Sam -----<---{@ CHARLY
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy -----<---{@ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Aragorn and Arwen -----<---{@ LORD OF THE RINGS
Annie and Finnick -----<---{@ THE HUNGER GAMES

WOW!! What an amazing group of couples! I'm sure this will be HARD.

*Scroll below to find more information on this competition, including the PRIZE, nomination round, and LoveVote Extravaganza round 1.

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabtabulous week! Can't wait to meet our KING and QUEEN!

Monday, October 3, 2011

*LoveVote Extravaganza!* (Search for the King and Queen of Romance in Literature)

Ding! Ding! Ding! Time for ROUND 1 to start...

**Voting for Round 1 CLOSED. Check in on MONDAY for Round 2!**

First of all, thanks to all those who made nominations. They are all truly great, and voting will be hard.

ANYONE can vote! Not just those who made nominations. That said, I'm giving each person 3 votes each. And yes, you can vote for your own, but each vote must be for a different couple. You can't give all three votes to the same couple. (Vote in the COMMENTS on this post please!)

Also, this is VERY IMPORTANT, your vote will NOT count if you don't have some kind of name for yourself listed with your votes. That means YOU, anonymous voters. LEAVE. A. NAME. Or it won't count. Simple as that.

Let's try to keep this as honest as we can. Each person only gets to vote ONCE. But hey, you can tell your friends to vote too!

Spread the word. Let's get lots and lots of votes in here.

Voting will stay open until October 14th, midnight (EST). The TOP TEN move on to round two.

And here are our amazing couples:

Beren and Luthien -----<---{@ THE SILMARILLION
Melanie and Jared -----<---{@ THE HOST
Allie and Noah -----<---{@ THE NOTEBOOK
Romeo and Juliet -----<---{@ ROMEO AND JULIET
Rhett and Scarlett -----<---{@ GONE WITH THE WIND
Jim and Della -----<---{@ THE GIFT OF MAGI
Jane and Edward -----<---{@ JANE EYRE
Bonnie and Clyde -----<---{@ THE LIFE OF BONNIE AND CLYDE
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy -----<---{@ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Michael and Faye -----<---{@ THE CAROUSEL
Azhrarn and Dunizel -----<---{@ DELUSION'S MASTER
Drogo and Daenerys -----<---{@ GAMES OF THRONES
Annie and Finnick -----<---{@ THE HUNGER GAMES
Anna and Etienne -----<---{@ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
Aragorn and Arwen -----<---{@ LORD OF THE RINGS
Betsy and Joe -----<---{@ BETSY'S WEDDING
Grace and Sam -----<---{@ SHIVER
Anne and Frederick -----<---{@ PERSUASION
Deryn and Alek -----<---{@ LEVIATHAN
Lucy and George -----<---{@ A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Tonks and Lupin -----<---{@ HARRY POTTER
Ella and Char -----<---{@ ELLA ENCHANTED
Haven and Iain -----<---{@ THE ETERNAL ONES
Meggie and Ralph -----<---{@ THE THORN BIRDS
Charly and Sam -----<---{@ CHARLY
Bella and Edward -----<---{@ TWILIGHT
Heathcliff and Catherine -----<---{@ WUTHERING HEIGHTS
Henry and Clare -----<---{@ THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE
Sydney and Lucie -----<---{@ A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Raoul and Christine -----<---{@ THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Aurora and Prince Phillip -----<---{@ SLEEPING BEAUTY
Charles and Caroline -----<---{@ LITTE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
Tristran and Yvaine -----<---{@ STARDUST
Westley and Buttercup -----<---{@ THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Richard and Elise -----<---{@ SOMEWHERE IN TIME (BID TIME RETURN)
Cecilia and Robbie -----<---{@ ATONEMENT
Adam and Mia -----<---{@ IF I STAY, WHERE SHE WENT
Caire and Jaime -----<---{@ OUTLANDER
Margaret and Mr. Thornton -----<---{@ NORTH AND SOUTH
Molly and Arthur -----<---{@ HARRY POTTER
Anakin and Padme -----<---{@ STAR WARS

REMEMBER! Three votes each. And please, PLEASE go spread the word. Thanks!

NOTE: If you nominated more than one couple I chose the first. The last couple is added because the nominator said they tried repeatedly to get it in during nominations, but could not make it work, so I'm adding it for them.

If you see an error in the couples please notify me, and I will make corrections.

Have FUN and get voting...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nominations Closed - THANK YOU

Nominations are officially closed!

Thanks to everyone who participated. I'm blown away by the amount of entries and everyone's enthusiasm. I loved reading through the entries as they rolled in and hope you guys did too.

The LOVEVOTE EXTRAVAGANZA will open Monday so stay posted for that insane amount of funness.

A little FYI:

The voting will happen in two rounds.
During the first round you will get three votes.
The second round will consist of the top ten couples from round one.

Anyone can vote, and I hope all those who made nominations vote.
More to come Monday...

If you have any questions, please comment below, and I will make sure it gets resolved by Monday.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Post Nominations for King and Queen of Romance in Literature HERE!!!

**NEW UPDATE: I have decided to keep the nominations open until Friday (30th) at midnight (EST) The voting will begin Monday morning. Post on voting rules coming soon!**

Okay, now is the time!


Earlier posts on this competition here and here.

Please follow these guidelines:

1. Anyone can participate. If you must comment under anonymous please PLEASE leave your name and a way for me to contact you (email, FB, Twitter...) in case there is a problem or you win.

2. Post the NAMES of your couple and the TITLE of the work they're from. In CAPS please. Make it easy to spot. After that, feel free to say any comments you'd like about why or whatev.

3. Couples must be from literature. No movies or TV couples. But remember some of these are based on literature. Also remember the possibility of operas, plays... I don't care if the couple is hundreds or thousands of years old or from a novel that was released last week. It's up to you.

4. Remember a couple can only be nominated ONCE. And you can only nominate once. **More on who can be nominated below, for those who missed Tuesday's post.

5. Nominations will stay open for at least a week (depending on traffic) or until there are at least 25 couples. So please, SPREAD THE WORD. (Blog, Twitter, Facebook, anything) The more we have the more fun the voting and accurate (I use that term loosely) the outcome will be.

6. LoveVote Extravaganza will NOT start until nominations are closed! (More on that then.)

The prize for the person who's couple is nominated as King and Queen will win a book of their choice from Amazon. ($20 limit). I will order and send it to this person.

Being a "FOLLOWER" of this blog is not required but much appreciated. :)

**Any couple can be nominated. Even if one of the members of your couple has already been nominated with someone else (love triangles and such). It doesn't have to be the couple that ends up together in the end. AND your couple doesn't have to be the main couple of the story.

Okay, I think that handles it. NOW GET NOMINATING! Fast, before someone steals your favorite couple.

Oh, and THANKS for participating. :)
(No worries. The blog will revert back to its much less cheesy look after the competition is over.)

Housekeeping Info for King and Queen Nominations

No nominations until THURSDAY please. :)

Okay, if you don't know what I'm talking about click here and read about the contest coming up.

There are a few things I want to straighten out before Thursday comes...

First, the TIME. I will open the post accepting nominations on Thursday (Sept. 22nd) at noon, 12pm EST (9am PST). I hope that works for most.

A few other things to make note of...

A couple can only be nominated once BUT you can nominate one of the members of the couple with someone else. Like if there is a love triangle or something. Also feel free to nominate any couple, it DOESN'T have to be the main couple in the story

Also, while you can't nominate couples from TV or movies, REMEMBER that many movies are based on literature. Also, keep in mind the possibility of operas, plays...

I'm not closing nominations for at least a week and will not close before there are at least 25 couples, so SPREAD THE WORD! Blog it, Facebook it, Twitter it. Heck, get on a landline phone and call your BFF if you like. :)

EVERYONE and ANYONE can nominate and vote. Following the blog isn't required but much appreciated.

Seriously, so anxious to see your entries and who people vote for. Will it be one of the all time favorites? Or a surprise couple that we all forgot we loved?

We shall see!

Romance is in the air...


Man it feels like February!

While thinking of your favorite couples hop on over to the Ebysswriter blog and read up on some great entries worthy of making your toes curl. (Mine are 4 and 14 BTW but PLEASE vote for your favorites. I believe anyone can vote and up to three times.)

Have a great week everyone and hope to catch you here on THURSDAY!

*photo courtesy acobox.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No, I can't do THAT!

Have you ever heard a tiny voice in your head say those words while working on your manuscript? I know I have. But guess what. Whenever I think that, I smile and then do just exactly THAT. Because, really, torturing my characters is what I do best.

Of course, my poor little helpless characters have no choice. That's the power of being the one at the keyboard. I decide what happens. And while I put my characters through all sorts of pain, I do feel bad. Like when I made my character eat an Oregon-sized slug (similar to picture but BIGGER), I was totally writhing in my seat. (Are ya feelin' the empathy yet?) :)

But guess what, I also give my characters some pretty rockin times too. Like the kiss between MC and the smokin' genius boy she secretly crushes on. Ya, that was me too. So, I like to think my characters forgive me.

So you tell me. What's the worst thing you've ever done to one of your characters? And do you ever question if you can go through with it? Do you hear the voice inside saying, "No, I can't do THAT!"

If you do, just ignore it, and GO. RIGHT. AHEAD. (They'll forgive you)

*Photo courtesy acobox*

**BTW more info on the King and Queen of Romance competition coming soon, so stay posted! If you haven't heard about it yet click that link because you're not gonna want to be left out in the rain, no matter how romantic rain can be.**

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Search for the King and Queen of Romance in Literature (info post)

Do NOT post nominations on this post please!
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

What this post entails, in this order:
1. My weirdness
2. How the Search for the King and Queen of Romance in Literature will work
3. When to post your nominations
4. A bit on the voting
5. The prize

So, I'm laying awake in bed early this morning (okay, early for me is like 7:30, but hey, I stay up late, okay?) after putting baby bear cub #2 back to sleep. Of course, I can't get back to sleep, so I'm thinking about the characters in my WIP, as I usually do when I have nothing better to think about, which is often. Anyway, I decided to come up with something super fun to do on the blog, hence, here I am writing this while everyone else is asleep.

So, I tend to be a romantic at heart, hip, arm, get it. My family makes fun of me because once I told them how fun I thought it would be if all the wives put on corsets and fancy dresses while our husbands chased after us (in the rain, of course). They tease me about it to this day.

It still hasn't happened. Lame, I know.

But I'm sure all of you are exactly the same way, right? Definitely. So let's have some fun. Ready? Here we go...

Between now and when I open the nomination post next Thursday, be thinking of which couple in literature is your favorite. Yes, this couple needs to be from literature, not movies or TV please. This is a writing blog after all.

Once you've thought of your favorite couple, you will want to be quick when nominations open so you get it in before someone else does. Again, the post for nominations will open next Thursday (Sept. 22nd)! Only one person can nominate each couple. Once that couple is nominated they cannot be nominated again, and you can only nominate one couple.

The posting for nominations will be open at least a week.

Once the nomination period has ended, we will start the LOVEVOTE EXTRAVAGANZA! Here, everyone and anyone has one chance to vote for one of the nominated couples and over the span of a couple weeks (or so) we will get it narrowed down to one last WINNING couple, who will be deemed the King and Queen of romance in all of literature. (Per this blog, anyway. Which is pretty much all that matters, really.)

Now there's got to be a PRIZE right? If the couple you nominate wins, you get to choose any book of your choice from ($20 limit), and I will order and send it to you. Awesome right? Oh yeah!

So start thinking of your favorite romantic couple and be ready to put in your nomination before someone else can next Thursday (Sept. 22nd) when I open the post for entries!

Okay, lets have some fun! (Post questions, concerns below please)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Giveaways Galore

Just wanted to post this for ya...

Tons of cool giveaways at the YA Confidential Blog!
Go check it out!

Good luck!

Well, it's time for Word of the Week Wednesday

Well, first of all, I need to apologize for being absent and even missing last Wednesday's word. Well, we got a new computer last Wednesday and made the switch from PC to Mac. So it's been a little crazy getting it switched over, and we also bought a new Canon camera that we are learning how to use. Well, as a result, I haven't had as much time or my regular set up for computer usage, but hopefully now I can get going again. It doesn't help any that my hubby has totally been hogging the new computer. Yes, I am actually typing this post on our old PC, which is on the floor. Not comfy, but what can you do?

Well, the word I've chosen is probably a word you've already gotten sick of during this post...WELL. Yes, well.

I major time overuse this word when I'm typing dialog. All of my characters are well-ing it up, all of the time. It makes me crazy! I wish they'd knock it off. :)

Ya, I don't know what my dealio is, but I need to stop making my characters say this word! It haunts me. It haunts them. Fortunately, most of them get D-leeeeted before anyone else sees them.

Of course, this is only one of several words I have to give a swift kick in the butt to during revisions and editing.

Now you tell me about the obnoxious word(s) that plague your manuscripts...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Word of the Week Wednesday!

Okay, so Wednesday is here! Time for our first Word of the Week Wednesday...


Anyone know what it means? I sure as heck didn't. My husband brought it to my attention from a conversation he had a work.

high-sounding; high-flown; inflated; pretentious.

So there you go!

I write YA, and while this word might not be something teens would know, it totally sounds YA to me. I mean, come on, it has the word bomb in it. As in da bomb. Okay, okay NO ONE says that anymore, but maybe bombastic could be the next da bomb? Well, maybe not. But maybe it could be a word one of my really smart characters might use.

What about you guys? Do you ever use words like this for certain characters? Or any words you've recently learned that you thought were interesting?

Please share!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome to - Word of the Week Wednesdays!

Whoa! That's a lot of Ws.

Anyway, I thought since the title of my still-in-diapers baby blog is "Words", it would be fun to post a word of the week every week. Of course, this will be on Wednesday. (Word of the Week Thursday just doesn't sound right.)

So, every Wednesday, I will post a new word. Maybe one I hate. Maybe one I love. Maybe one I just learned. Who knows. It's all game. Then in the comments section you guys can share your own words, and if I feel so inclined, maybe I'll choose one of yours to post on a different Wednesday.

Fun right? Right! (It will be...I hope.) :)

Maybe we can expand our vocabulary, learn new slang, or share in the I-hate-that-stupid-WORD frustration!

Stay posted for next Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview with ELANA JOHNSON! All Queriers MUST READ!

Congrats again to Mary for winning a copy of Elana Johnson's, POSSESSION, last week with her novel, HEADS UP! (Click here to check it out)

So, I really wanted to post this before I went out of town last Thursday, but I just couldn't find time. But here it is now, and it is a GREAT read. So, read on readers and readettes...

I loooved Elana's book, POSSESSION, and I don't know about you, but everywhere I go in the writer internet world I see her posting on different blogs and so forth. She is one busy bee! That is why I was ecstatic to interview her here. Yes, here!

I only asked three questions, but as an aspiring author, they were ones I was just dying to get some feedback on.

I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did. Answer three is very inspiring and funny for all of us enduring the writing/query/publishing trenches.

What is your favorite part of having a book published?

Seeing it in the bookstore. There is nothing that creates that rush. It’s amazing.

What is your least favorite part of having a book published?
(I don't necessarily mean process wise. It could be, but lifestyle wise and so on)

The balancing act. It’s so hard to make sure everyone in my house gets the attention they need, when they need it, and try to write books at the same time.

And then, if you don't mind sharing some info about your process of getting your book published. Anything or everything! We writers love these stories. :)

Sure! Dude, I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. And hopefully, you’ll read something to help you take the next step, whatever it may be.

Step 1: Write a book. Or if you’re me, you write 12. That’s right. I’ve written 12 novels. Only 2 of them don’t suck. And even that’s debatable.

Step 2: Query a book. Realize it’s a lot of waiting and frantically checking email. Who knew?

Step 2A: Repeat step 2 for 6 months. Too many queries to name. Want to die.

Step 2B: Shelve book. Ouch. Yes, it hurts. No, it won’t kill you.

Step 3: Pick another novel to de-suckify.

Step 4: Revise/Edit/Rewrite the thing.

Step 5: Enter the ABNA contest.

Step 6: Move into the quarterfinals.

Step 7: Gain much needed confidence.

Step 8: Query the book. Get ready to wait it out.

Step 8A: Repeat step 8 for 8 months. 189 queries.

Step 8B: Beg, plead, pray, hope that this book is “the one.”

Step 8C: Make up mantra: “Work hard. Don’t give up.”

Step 8D: Revise twice BEFORE an offer is extended.

Step 8E: Field 5 agent phone calls BEFORE an offer is extended.

Step 8F: Get “the call.”

Step 8G: Cry, laugh, scream, cry some more, grovel in gratitude.

Step 9: Sign with dream agent. After 188 rejections, this feels goooood. Up next: take over the world.

Step 10: Or, uh, revising. Yup, again.

Step 11: And…then again.

Step 12: Wait. Taking over the world put on the back burner while gnawing fingernails to nubs.

Step 2385: Get an offer from a dream publishing house.

Step 2386: Scream, eat a lot of bacon, laugh, smile until face hurts.

Step 2386B: Wait.
Step 8939: Announce the deal!

Step 8940: Wait.

Step 12,094: Edit novel—again.

Step 12,095: Wait.

Step 18,306: Release cover. Freak out.

Step 18,307: Wait.
June 7, 2011 finally arrives. Book comes out! Indulge on pedicures, bacon, and bookstores.

Step 20,000: Start over with book 2.

I’ve also blogged about this journey here
And here

Thank you Elana! (Seriously, I love her! And hope you do too!)

I hope you can take relief from Elana's amazing story. The query process is very exciting, but also exhausting, deflating, frustrating, addicting--Okay, I will stop. You know what I mean. :)

So, where are you in this torturous process? Still working on the first draft? The revision torture chambers? Query #1? Query #111? And what keeps you going?

I'd love to hear from you!

And if you haven't read, POSSESSION... GO. DO. IT. NOW!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We have a WINNER!!! (Finally)

Sorry about the dreadful wait, guys! I've entered contests in the past where the judge talks about how hard it was to decide, because all the entries were so good. I always think "Ya, sure. They just say that to be nice." Right?


It was a bajillion times harder than I thought to choose just one winner. Wish I had prizes for everyone, because you all had fabtabulous entries. Which made my job just plain out bleh.

But I finally decided on one winner for our killer prize: Elana Johnson's POSSESSION.

The winner is......


Congratulations Mary!
(And sorry about cutting your name out of your entry) :)

I thought everyone had really nice tight writing, awesomely naughty characters, and interesting premises. I think it was the vivid, clear descriptions and the He did what?? Wait what? No! factor that got me with HEADS UP. But like I said, it was super hard to choose.

Thanks to everyone for entering! I had a lot of fun reading them and hope you did too!

**Mary, go ahead and email or PM me with your address, and I'll get this book in the mail for you! Congrats again and good job!**

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pitch and First Paragragh

Cleaning up my pitch and first paragraph for CRIMSON (YA) aka REMAINDERS. I've recently decided to start the story during chapter two, so I just threw this first paragraph together and will be working on it throughout the weekend. All help welcome! Thanks!

Old Pitch:

A naive teenage girl becomes hostage by the evil-fighting Remainders who saved her and must figure out what they’re hiding, what they plan to do, and why she fits in.

New Pitch:

A naive teenage girl must figure out why the evil-fighting Remainders saved then kidnapped her, and why she fits in so well some of them want her dead.

First Paragraph:

The alley reeked of cheap alcohol and rotting fish, but it served as a stellar short cut. I checked my cell. Not even midnight. Perfect.

I rounded the dumpster at the back of the building, and stopped short. A guy with straggly hair towered over another that looked just as grimy. It only took the glimmer of the moon shining off his red-stained knuckles to make me turn in retreat. A holler echoed of the buildings to my sides. Was he calling to me? Didn’t matter. I quickened my pace. It matched my breathing. I heard footsteps behind me, but my nerves had wound too tight to turn. A hand grabbed my shoulder, black dirt formed lines under the fingernails. Crap. I never should have snuck out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

CONTEST deadline: TODAY!!!

You have until the end of today to sign up for my contest to win Elana Johnson's, POSSESSION.


Contest closes tonight (the 5th) at midnight PST.

To enter scroll below!!!

If you have any problems or questions leave a comment here.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Rule Change to "NAUGHTY Contest"

Keepin it simple. All you have to do is post in comments of contest post. New deadline - August 5th!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The NAUGHTY contest!!!

**WINNER announced ASAP! Thanks everyone!!**

I've had a real crummy (and not cookie crumbs) week. What better way to turn things around than to start an exciting contest.

Sign up by posting your entry in the comments section of this post! DEADLINE - August 5th! HURRY!!

Your entry must include...

Wordcount of entry
Where you passed this info along (Twitter, Blog...)
(And you must follow this blog)

Your entry should be an excerpt from a completed MS. A scene where your character is doing something they shouldn't. Basically, your character being NAUGHTY! Feel free to get creative with this! (A max of 750 words)

The Prize!
The winner (I will be the judge) will receive a free copy of Elana Johnson's astounding debut novel, POSSESSION! (Where the characters are masters at being naughty rule breakers) It's addicting, fun, and adventurous. And it's a beautiful book that will look great on your shelf.

Let's have a lot of FUN with this one guys!

Now, WOWZA me with your work!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Soon...

So, I'm headed out for family vacay tomorrow morning. I won't be home for over a week and will probably have limited internet access, so I have to wait until July to do something I'm getting really excited about.

What is it you ask?


Details coming when I get back. But the PRIZE will be a copy of a newly released, REALLY AWESOME, novel that just came out, by an AMAZING new author. (Hint: the cover is white and B E A U tiful! The inside is just as good, I assure you. You definitely want this book!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I am entering my first page (250 words) into a contest. It is on Shelley Watter's Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Book blog. The judge is literary agent Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency. She sounds like a fabulous agent, so I am super de-duper excited! I am submitting from my novel REMAINDERS (aka CRIMSON - still going back and forth)

So, it's time to make this baby sparkle! All feedback welcome...

Genre: YA romantic thriller with supernatural elements
Word Count: 90,000

The books reeked of salt and rotting fish. I kind of liked it. Colorado libraries back home only carried the scent of aged paper and dust. Not nearly as charming.

I continued to browse, finding the search as satisfying as the read. It was definitely better than choosing between name brand cream cheese and the cheap stuff. Running errands for Mom really bugged, but it at least gave me an excuse to get out. Alone.

I finally had a driver’s license this summer. The picture had turned out dreadful, but fortunately, a glamorous photo wasn’t a requirement for the freedom it offered. Well, a little bit of freedom. Mom didn’t let it flow freely, but every ounce she let leak, I soaked up like an old sponge. Anything to make my life less vanilla.

Movement near the end of the aisle caught my attention, and I watched as a teenage boy sat by the window to read, bright colors parading over the comic section. My gasp brought his interest from the paper to me. Strings of black hair fell over his forehead, screening his sunken eyes, and the bones in his face stuck out sharp beneath skin that could snap. An invisible darkness hung around him, so flawless I could almost taste its putrid flavor.

But there was more. Something ran deeper, radiated from within. Something I sensed more than saw. He was…different.

I could feel it.

His eyes bore into mine, but I couldn’t look away. I just wanted to gawk as my finger longed to slowly trace his bony features—make sure he was real.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Know You're A Writer If...

I love these sorts of things and thought it would be fun to post some. Please feel free to share one of yours, or one you've heard, in the comments section. If you don't have one, but really enjoyed one of the ones below feel free to comment on that.

You know you're a writer if...

You would rather work on your WIP than go out on a Friday night.

When speaking, you edit the sentences in your head before they come out.

Literary agents become celebrities and you can't stop stalking them on the internet.

The say something nice or don't say anything at all phrase no longer applies to you. You'd much rather have a form rejection than an empty inbox.

You stay up in the middle of the night thinking about people who don't exist. At least not to other people.

You don't shower until 5pm. But hey, you were up late working the night before. Oh wait, you were up way early working too.

All of your friends and family think you're about to make a million dollars now that you've completed your first draft. (A misconception I don't understand)

You have no idea what's going on in your world, although you've considered every possible thing that could happen in a dystopic society, alternate history, mars...

Vacuuming (or some other tedious chore) becomes something you look forward to since you'll have time to brainstorm.

There are little pieces of envelopes, napkins, coloring book pages, and so on everywhere with notes written so scribbly you can't read the ideas you found so marvelous.

Your email is your best friend and biggest enemy, and you must watch it all day long.

You'd rather check QT, Absolute write, or Publishers Marketplace than your personal Facebook.

Thanks for reading and share a comment below!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Romantic Scene from REMAINDERS (aka CRIMSON)

**Final UPDATE** Just found out I got first place! So excited I can barely stand it! It sounds like I get a query critique and first 25 pages critique from Weronika! I can't wait to hear her feedback!!! Thanks everyone! (Sorry for all the exclamation points. :) )

**UPDATE** I am officially a finalist! Thanks everyone!

Gabriela Lessa is having a Love All Year Long Contest judged by literary agent Weronika Janczuk, of Lynn C. Franklin Associates, Ltd.

Seeing as how this is right up my ally, I decided to FINALLY start my writing blog (Still thinking of a better title) and try to participate. (Hopefully, not too late!) Here goes...

Melinda Williams
Entry word count:
738 words
Manuscript word count:
90,000 words
Link number:

“I think we could use a break from all this depressing stuff.” He watched the rain fall through the darkness of the yard. A tilted grin replaced his stern expression. “What do you say?”

“You’re joking.” He couldn’t possibly mean what I guessed.

“No, I’m not.” He stood and held out his hand. “Come on, it’ll make you feel better. It always does me.”

I didn’t move.

“Fine. I guess I’ll have to go by myself.” He jumped from the porch and walked into the downpour. He stopped when he reached the driveway and turned toward me again. His black eyes only met mine for a second before he closed them and tilted his face to the sky. His arms outstretched on each side, palms up.

I stood and leaned against the pillar. Peace filled me as I watched him soak in nature so pleasurably. His divine power seemed to glow around his noble stature. The most graceful thing I’d ever seen.

I decided to do what I normally wouldn’t and jumped down into the wet grass. When I stood before him on the driveway, I matched his position. Soft drops of water licked the skin on my arms, face, and neck. I closed my eyes and let the supremacy of Mother Nature clear my head. I focused my senses on the setting, not letting anything else in. The sound of the heavy rain hitting puddles, the feel of water cooling my flesh, the satisfying smell of refreshed life.

Every inch of my body relaxed, and all my anxiety evaporated. Christian had been right. It worked. So easily, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been enjoying this part of the world before. For the time being, nothing mattered. Something so simple, so beautiful, was more powerful than any drug.

When I opened my eyes again, Christian was watching me. His white shirt had become soaked and clung to his carved body. His dark hair, saturated, stuck to his forehead. Hunger pooled in his eyes.

“Nice, huh?” He stepped towards me. I stiffened, certain I didn’t look anywhere as good as he did completely drenched.

I nodded and folded my arms. The way he was looking at me brought cartwheel type stars circling my head. He slowly got closer and closer.

“You should teach that to everyone,” I said in a cracking voice.

“I just did,” he breathed near my ear and wrapped his arms around me. His palms pressed into the small of my back. I lost the ability to speak as my blood started flowing in rapid speeds. He leaned into me and rested his forehead on mine. His warm breath tickled the bridge of my nose. Mine came out just as rapid and heavy—I needed the extra oxygen to stay conscious.

My arms unfolded and came up over his. My hands ran the length of his arms and stopped just under his shoulders, my fingers sneaking under the hem of his sleeves.

A moan rumbled from his throat. “Do you know how nervous that makes me?” he said, his voice deep.

My grip immediately loosened, and I tried to back off.

He pulled me closer. “No, don’t.”

My hands returned to him.

“Your touch reminds me of heaven,” he said in a whisper. “Literally.”

I shuddered, sure I could pass out.

“This is the beginning of everything that matters,” he said before dropping his moist lips to mine. His hands moved the hair from the sides of my face and pulled me even closer, making each kiss more ardent than the previous.

My head fuzzed, and my hunger for him made it easy to forget the importance of breathing. We’d never been this alone before. His eager hold made it obvious he noticed it too. The delight from my blossoming feelings only increased when I thought of how extraordinary Christian was and how he loved me. It quickly grew overwhelming, but in a good way. I relished in every moment of it.

“Maybe we should get back,” he whispered between kisses. He seemed hesitant but eventually let his face drop near my neck, his hands remaining tangled in the back of my hair. “Yes, we should definitely be getting back,” he sighed.

The overpowering mood lingered, and we had to force ourselves away from each other. I easily felt the respect he had for me, which caused my feelings for him to heighten.

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