Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My new books, hooray!

I just googled myself (c'mon, admit it, you do it too) and found out that the three books coming out in January are available to preorder from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  And I'm certain that you could preorder with your favorite local bookseller as well (or if not, then soon).

It looks like they're also going to be available in paperback!

So, go ahead, preorder!  I've seen the layout and they're awesome--I can't wait for everyone to see them!  And of course, I'll sign them if you buy them!


This link will take you to the books page of my website (page down to the bottom)--I linked the books to Amazon for convenience, but please do remember your local independent bookseller when you purchase.  Mine is Willow Books and is located here.

Update: the cover images are visible on my profile page on GoodReads. Whoot!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Em dash Anonymous

I admit it, I overuse the em dash. There, I said it.

According to Wikipedia, "The em dash (—), or m dash, m-rule, etc., often demarcates a parenthetical thought or some similar interpolation."

I recently submitted a draft of a nonfiction piece to my editor.  And much to my chagrin, one of her comments was about my beloved em dash.  I was chagrined mostly because I had removed a half-dozen of the dashes before submitting because a friend of mine noted that I had used so many.

When I confessed this to my editor, she replied how much SHE likes the em dash in her own writing--how's that for karma!

It's important to know your own weaknesses!  I'm also guilty of overusing commas, but that's another post...

Any one else willing to stand up and admit your em dash love?  (See, I only used it once in this post!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grammar and Word Choice

There are countless articles about grammar on writing websites and blogs.  This is not going to be "one of those."

Writers have an endless path in front of us as we sit down at a blank page.  Will the path take you to the dark and stormy coast? Or maybe to through a tangle of dense trees.  We spin a tale of mystery, or romance, or misery just through our words.  Sometimes we just need to get words on a page. 

One of the tools I use is the grammar check option in Word 2007.  Sometimes it picks on words that I've used and a popup asks me if I'm sure (although it has not started saying "recalculating" like the lady on my GPS. LOL.)  Over the weekend it thought my use of the word "fishermen" was too gender specific and it wondered if I didn't want to use the word "angler" instead.  Not that my use of the word was passive (which Word tells me sometimes) or used incorrectly.

At first I was surprised (and lightly annoyed, if I'm honest).  "Angler" is a completely different word and has a different tone.  And I really did mean "fishermen" in my sentence.  But then I thought how cool that my software program was reminding me to be inclusive--just in case I had forgotten.

Do any of your writing tools talk to you?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Musical inspiration

I know I'm not the only one who gets inspired by music.  There are so many songs that whisper to me.  I've always been that way--in junior high, my sister and I spent hours transcribing the lyrics to songs we loved.  I kept a journal of favorite lines.  I tried to write lyrics myself.

I've got a list of songs that inspire my current WIP (see my sidebar).  This is the one that hits me hardest lately.  It reminds me of old summer days--how the heck did Chris Daughtry get in my head??

What songs cut right to your heart and inspire your writing?

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Real Life

So many of the connections we make as writers are online.  Virtual.  Sometimes at conferences, or workshops, we have a chance to connect with other writers in person.  But most of those bloggers, tweeters, and chat room relationships will forever be virtual. No less Real, but not In Real Life.

The fabulous Heather Kelly--of Edited to Within an Inch of My Life--and I realized that we live about half an hour away from each other some time last spring.  We connected through one of our blogs, I can't remember which, but one of us commented on the other and ::Shazam:: (anyone else remember that show?  But I digress...)

Heather and I met at a Borders about half way between our hometowns.  If you know Heather from online, you won't be surprised to know she's just as sweet, supportive, and enthusiastic in person as she is on her blog.  We'd met at our SCBWI conference back in the spring, but we didn't get a chance to talk together about our writing, our process, and querying.  It was so nice to be able to sit with someone who knows what its like.  If you haven't been to Heather's blog, I highly recommend it!  Go now!

Thanks Heather!  If only we'd taken a picture...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Beginnings

Most people think of the new year as starting in January as the calendar slips a digit.  Not me.  Every fall, I get excited about the new school year.  Maybe because even after I graduated, I've always worked in academia.

Countdown?  Forget it, I'll take those crisp clean notebooks--so many things to be written in them.  Fireworks?  Nah, I'll take the multi-pack of colored pencils--so much to draw, underline, graphs...so little time. 
Funny hats? Are you kidding?  Give me those post-it notes, sharpened pencils, crayons and glue sticks any day.

Can you tell I love school supplies?  They are the embodiment of starting over.  I'm spending the last day before school starts with my daughter and some good friends.  We might go and see if we can peer into her classroom so I can imagine her day tomorrow.  I won't cry (I don't think)--we're past that.  But I will envy her as she heads off in her new outfit, with her new backpack filled with those awesome supplies. 

I might steal one of her notebooks and see what new things I can come up with...

How do you celebrate the start of the new year?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Honesty v. Victory

Jay Busbee writes a Yahoo online column about golf--he sometimes features unusual or heartwarming stories.  He once said in an article--and I have this quote on my desktop--"in golf, honesty is more important than victory."

The gist of the story he profiled today is about a kid who won a junior tournament in Wisconsin.  The kid signs the scorecard to make it official, collects the trophy, and goes home.  While celebrating later, he notices an extra club in his bag.  Golf has some wacky rules.  Carrying an extra club costs two penalty strokes every hole.  He calls the tournament director and sends the trophy back.  Honest kid.

Some of you know my novel is a YA contemporary about a girl who plays golf.  So I read Jay's story about an honest fourteen-year-old boy with interest. If there's ever a sequel to my first novel, it might have a character like this kid.  Read the full story here.

 These are my clubs.  If there are more than 14, I'd be penalized. :)

What would you do?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lovely Blog Awards and a Thank you

Marieke of Marieke's Musings just presented me with this lovely award.  Thank you so much! 

She said my blog is "Pretty, funny, insightful!"  Aw. Totally unsolicited (I'll pay you later, Marieke! LOL)

I'd like to pay it forward and present to those bloggers that I've been stalking , really enjoying lately.

I'd like to present this lovely award to the following lovelies:

1. Ansha Kotyk - my wonderful crit partner who coordinated the How We Write Blog Series this summer.
2. Julie Musil -  Writing and Blogging Between Carpools - because I love the title of her blog.
3. Laura Pauling - Exercising the Write to Ramble - another wonderful crit partner - because she always makes my laugh AND think. 
4. Heather Kelly - of Edited to Within an Inch of my Life - because she works really hard, is always cheerful and I'm meeting her for coffee in real life next week. 
5. Tina Laurel Lee - of Watch Me Practice - for continuing to blog while on vacation, jumping into our blog series in week two and never missing a week, and for supporting and cheering on writers at all stages. 
6. Marisa Hopkins - of Elegant Bloggery - because her blog is truly beautiful.

I reserve the right to present this award 9 more times!  And please visit these lovely ladies' blogs.  Here are the rules:

One Lovely Blog Award Rules:
  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How I Write series withdrawal

I wanted to thank Ansha Kotyk my wonderful critique partner for organizing the How I Write Series--A group of writers posted about how we write on Wednesdays from mid-June through August.  It was a great experience, and I learned a lot from my fellow participants.  If you're interested in participating next year, email Ansha. And click here for the list of all the writers who participated and links to their blogs.

I admit I'm suffering from a bit of withdrawal as I realized I have no set schedule for posting this week.   What to do? This week I've posted about Bobby Sherman and wordle.  Not particularly helpful to the world of writers out there.  

I'm open to a series if anyone's interested...let me know.

That said, I'm working on revising a nonfiction piece this week.  I've got an outline due next week on another piece. I'm really excited about both of them--but my fiction is sort of languishing.   I haven't really read the novel that I'm querying, in like, months.

Writing both fiction and nonfiction is sort of a right brain/left brain thing for me.  Not sure if that's typical or not.  I sort of have to turn off the fiction side--but then my nonfiction tends to get dry and boring (which is not what I'm going for, by the way. LOL). But you can't make up characters or invent dialogue in nonfiction (no, really, you can't. Crazy, right?)

Anyone else write both fiction and nonfiction?  How do you manage both?