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I'm an aspiring, unpublished writer that likes to capture thoughts and share them. I am in heavy learning, reading, studying mode and thought I'd blog on what I read then what I learned from it as a want to be writer. My main focus is writing picture books and young adult fiction.
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Without a doubt, it's a challenge being a mom, working full-time, writing, promoting a book, and being an MFA student.
Sometimes, I feel like I go from one job to another, so when it's time to cook dinner, it's a source of major stress. I actually like to cook, but I don't know how to cook too many things. This past year, I've focused on eating fresher foods so I'm not in favor of box-a-meals, although I do use them.
I'm fortunate to have a dietitian at work and I've recently starting keeping a food diary on My Fitness Pal. My meals are too carb heavy so I was challenged to come up with some other ideas.
I'd like to branch out and learn more quick meals so she gave me an awesome cookbook, The New Soul Food Cookbook. It's actually a book for diabetics which I'm not, but I am trying to make meals low in carbs and sugars to help me lose weight.
It has delicious looking recipes with only a few ingredients-Perfect for a working mom. I can't wait to try some.
Tonight we made a really tasty meal and my daughter actually made the hot dog dish. I made the quinoa salad.
Here's how we did it:
Hot Dogs: (Let your kids make this)
I put some melted butter in a small bowl, and she painted slices of 100% whole wheat bread.
She put a turkey hot dog in the middle, then wrapped the bread (buttered side out) around the hot dog. We fastened it with a skewer because I didn't have a toothpick.
We baked for 18 minutes on 325 degrees.
I made the quinoa according to the instructions on the box, except I used vegetarian broth instead of water to give it extra flavor. I put some yellow squash, carrots, and zucchini in my mini food processor, then added that to the quinoa. I also threw in some grape tomatoes and green beans from our garden.
Quinoa is a good alternative to rice or pasta. It has protein in it and isn't as starchy. Plus it's a great dish to hide your veggies in.
We added some fresh strawberries as another side dish.
It was a filling meal, not to mention nutritious. It was great to have my daughter actually make part of the meal and she was so proud of herself. It only took 20 minutes, and was minimal clean-up. Two big positives in my house.
Here's a photo:
I remember when I first heard about steampunk. It was a new and emerging subgenre that was getting a lot of press due to the release of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. I checked it out and fell it love with the look and feel of the period. The Victoria era wardrobe juxtaposed with the metals and innovation of the steam era.
This past week-end I attended DogCon2 at the Thurber Center. There were writing workshops, readings, Tarot Card readings, and kid's activities. I attended a workshop on Steampunk so I could learn more about it.
The speakers were from a local Columbus group called Airship Archon. They discussed the clothing and accessories of which the majority are handmade or hand sewn. They named estate sales, vintage shops, and Etsy as great places to find materials. If you live in Columbus, they recommended, The Alley Store.
They also discussed the literature that inspired them. From the classics, you have Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Verne wrote novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days,
and The Carpathian Castle
. H.G. Wells is probably best known for The Time Machine
, but also wrote The Invisible Man
and The Island of Doctor Moreau
For more contemporary literature they mentioned Gail Carriger's novels. They also noted that it's hard to find good steampunk literature that is true to spirit they embody at Airship Archon. Most of it seems artificial with all things steampunk thrown in haphazardly.
They are an amazing group of people. They hold monthly events which are open to the public. They get together to create costumes or other steampunk related items. They also speak at numerous conventions. The list of topics is listed on their website.
There were two surprising facts for me:
One is that steampunk is considered a subgenre of science fiction. For some reason, I never put that together.
Two is that there are subgenres of steampunk such as clockpunk, meatpunk, dieselpunk, and cyberpunk. Each inspired by an era of invention.
I also learned how to make a pair of steampunk goggles from welder's goggles. Each speaker was so creative and a pleasure to listen to. I came away with an idea for an art piece so we'll have to see if that works out.
By: Susan X Bradley
Blog: Mermaid's Musings
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I'm a huge fan of the show, Inside the Actor's Studio. I always wondered how I would answer the 10 questions James Lipton would ask. Since the chances of me being on the show are nil, since I'm a writer not an actor, I'm using my blog to answer them for fun.
1.What is your favorite word? Mommy
2.What is your least favorite word? Hate
3.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Intelligence, Loyalty, a good heart, a great story
4.What turns you off? Unkempt feet
5.What is your favorite curse word? WTF
6.What sound or noise do you love? My child laughing
7.What sound or noise do you hate? The alarm clock
8.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? CSI Investigator
9.What profession would you not like to do? Anything that has bad smells
10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Ya did good.
Congrats to Evernight Teen Blog Hopper, Wendy. She won an ebook copy of Unraveled. Thanks to everyone that participated in our fun event.
Being a writer affords me the liberty of creating characters who mean something to me and have characteristics that I like to see. I love getting to know them, then standing back and letting them tell me their story.
Here is some insight into the men of Unraveled:
Caedon Keene: the hot blackbelt who is interested in Autumn. He's sensitive, but deadly which makes him even more alluring.
Eduardo: Autumn's Taco Bell loving cousin. He's her partner in crime and modeled after Tommy Lee of Motley Crue:
Papi: Autumn's father. He's a baker, and an honest hardworking man. He doesn't understand Autumn's math gift, but believes in her talent.
Now for the cool stuff What’s up for grabs on my blog?
A FREE E-book of UnraveledHow to enter
? Answer this question in the comment section below:What's your favorite mystery novel?What’s up for grabs on during the Blog Hop?
• One lucky hopper will win a KINDLE PAPERWHITE eREADER sponsored by Evernight Teen.
• Every book blogger/reviewer site is giving away one free eBook from Evernight Teen (winner’s choice of any eBook from Evernight Teen’s website).
• Plus, each author offers their own unique prize! So visit each blog hop stop for a host of fabulous prizes to win.
Be sure to leave your answer and your email address in the comments below to be eligible to win an eBook of Unraveled
Continue hopping to the next stop!
Here is the Link so you can go on to the next blog for a chance to win more prizes.Click here
to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...
Am I glad I did it? Yes.
It was worth it to have my bite and teeth fixed correctly for the second time. I wore an expander and braces as a teen-ager, but my teeth decided to move around.
Here's what I've learned:
1) When you tell other adults you got braces and need surgery, they'll show you their crooked teeth despite having worn braces as a teen. Seriously, there needs to be a permanent post-braces process, so we only have to live through it once.
2) Even though SARPE surgery is out patient, if you can stay the night in the hospital- do it. I was well taken care of. Ice for my ice packs was brought to me every 2 hours. My vitals were taken every 2 hours to make sure I was recovering well. Through my IV, I was given antibiotics, anti-swelling and pain medication. Having the adjustable bed was helpful because I could sit up which was more comfortable.
3)Buy your post surgery food in advance. I purchased protein powder, applesauce, pudding, ice cream, soup, and tons of fruits & vegetables that I juiced. My favorite go-to drink was the chocolate carnation instant breakfast.
4) Sit up as much as possible to help with the swelling
5) Make sure you have someone to help you out because you're going to be tired and healing.
6) Get the best chapstick you can because your lips are going to get super dry and chapped.
7) Stay hydrated-nothing will make you feel worse then getting dehydrated
8) Make you sure you have an experienced, reputable surgeon. I had hardly any bruising and wasn't really in to much pain.
9) Be prepared to be gap toothed. As you crank the expander, a gap will develop and you'll look like Madonna.
If you are going to have SARPE surgery, I wish you good luck and speedy healing.
There's nothing like a pair of braces to make you feel like a teen-ager again. I don't have a bad perm and now wear contacts, but I still feel like I'm fourteen all over again. What's been interesting is that people stare. They stared at 14 and they stare at 47.
I have clear braces on top and metal ones on the bottom. My rubber bands on the bottom are turquoise because it's my daughter's favorite color. They didn't have fancy colors when I wore them the first time.
If the braces weren't bad enough, I have an expander in. Once I have my SARPE surgery tomorrow, it will help expand my narrow upper jaw. Right now, it only serves to make me talk weird and is a haven for food getting stuck.
Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to get the 411 on the SARPE surgery. I got some tips like using frozen peas for the swelling since they'll mold to your face.
I also recently watched the movie, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, on Netflix and loved it. I bought a juicer and have been enjoying some delicious juice. It will come in handy for my liquid diet post surgery.
A stack of books is on my nightstand waiting to be read. I hope I feel up to it because I relish the time I'll have to just heal and read.
In honor of my characters' Hispanic heritage, we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo by having the Kindle version of Unraveled on sale for .99 cents.
The sale runs from May 3-May 8th.
I'm doing a blog tour this week and next. Hope you can drop by one of these sites. A few of them have giveaways, so you can enter for a chance to win my book, Unraveled.
15 – Spotlight @ Dana’s YABook Pile
15 – Guest Blog and Giveaway @ A Little Bit of R & R
17 – Spotlight and GIveaway @ The Rambling’s of a Toddler’s Mom
17 – Interview @ Laurie’s Non-paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
18 – Spotlight & Review @ Lindsay’s Scribblings
18 – Spotlight @ The Bootheel Cotton Patch
19 – Spotlight & Extended Excerpt @ Laura Diamond
19 – Guest Blog & Review @ My Guilty Obsession
22 – Guest Blog @ Karen Y.Bynum
24 – Interview & Review @ Out There Reviews and Stuff
25 – Interview & Review @ Girls Heart Books
26 – Spotlight & Review @ Falling into Reading Reviews
29 – Spotlight @ New Age Mama
30 – Character Post & Review & Giveaway @ Reader Girls
(Post from Autumn's Point of view: What makes a great FBI profiler and what she expects to gain from becoming one?)
Happy Valentine's Day to all my fellow YA & Mysterybook lovers.
In honor of Valentine's day, I am giving away an Ebook or paperback (You choose) of my new YA mystery novel, Unraveled.
Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family.
When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder
To win just leave a comment with either your favorite YA or mystery novel and the author's name and I'll choose a winner at random on Feb 18th, so please include your e-mail..
Please visit my fellow Evernight Teen author's websites to win more prizes. Click the links below.
My young adult mystery is out Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.
Available in Paperback and E-book from major retailers.
Forensic Friday is being replaced with Freak-Out Friday.
Unraveled now has a cover and is on the front page of www.evernightteen.com
It's a milestone as a writer to see your book cover. I wish this feeling on all the writers out there.
Forensic Entomology is the study of insects found in and/ around a dead body. Think of Grissom on CSI: Las Vegas. He loved his bugs and used them to solve crimes.
• Necrophagous are the insects that are found on corpses.
• Insects can disturb and affect the crime scene. They can walk through blood and leave tracks. They can ingest blood, and then leave deposits elsewhere.
• Insects found on a body may point to a specific location based on the natural habitat of the insect and the material they eat.
• You can determine time of death based on insect activity and life cycle stage
• Forensic entomology can be used in helping to solve criminal, civil, food contamination, and abuse cases.
• The use of forensic entomology was started in the 14th century in China
• In the novel, Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris, the rare moths were one of the ways the FBI was able to find the serial killer
• Child killer, Kevin Neal, was convicted using forensic entomology
• Dr. Neal Haskell is one of the most renowned forensic entomologists and has participated in hundreds of trials.
• If you are a forensic entomologist, you can join NAFEA (North American Forensic Entomology Association.
1. The study of fingerprints is called Dactylography
2. Fingerprints are identified using three patterns: whorls, loops, and arches.
3. No two fingerprints are alike even on identical twins.
4. Most commonly used forensic evidence worldwide
5. The AIST (Academy of Investigation Services & Training) offers a fingerprint identification course.
6. IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database is used by more than 20,000 agencies worldwide for the identification of fingerprints
7. Fingerprints are produced by the sweat and oil in your fingers
8. Normally, when you injure a finger, the same fingerprint pattern appears on the new skin. If you damage the inner skin layer, you may have a new fingerprint pattern.
9. Gangster John Dillinger tried removing his fingerprints but dipping his fingers in acid. It didn’t work
10. Fingerprints are the “pegs” that connect your outer skin to the inner skin layer
Resources:http://www.forensicsciencecentre.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40&Itemid=48 http://odyb.net/forensics/5-facts-about-the-fingerprint/ http://fingerprintcourse.com/
I'm so excited to announce that my first young adult mystery will be published by
in Spring 2013. I plan to resurrect my blog and chronicle the journey to publication while working a full time job, plus being a mom, and continuing my MFA from Seton Hill.
One of my favorite things about my Writing Workshop class is reading the amazing work of my classmates. One of our directives is to note three things that we love and then we post three questions we have about the pages. I like this approach alot better than picking out something positive then picking out something negative, then ending with something positive.
I don't think it's our place as a critiquer to point out the negative. Is there really a negative? Isn't it really about helping the author produce the best manuscript possible? That's why I like the question approach. Maybe something isn't clear or it didn't come across as the author intended.
For my own critiques, I plan to focus on the similar comments that several people mentioned. Those are the areas that obvious aren't working.
It's interesting that I feel like I'm becoming a better writer by critiquing 70 pages a week. I also love reading the critiques that I'm getting from my classmates and an instructor. I'm always amazed that I have looked at my pages hundreds of times and have not seen something so obvious.
There's such a level of trust in handing over your literary babies and saying "Okay, tear them apart, so I can make them better." It's scary but it's so worth it.
So go out there and find a great critique group.
Okay, so I had no idea on what to expect since I've never formally pitched a story to anyone. The one thing I can say is that Thankg God I was prepared and had some key bullet points listed on a notecard.
My elevator pitch went okay even though it wasn't exactly what I'd written down. I also discussed the bullet points I'd prepared and answered some questions. One of my bullet points was to emphasize my YA mystery had series potential and I shared the ideas for Book 2 & 3. My other bullet points included my hook, the key elements that I felt made my book unique, and why it would speak to a teen audience.
We only had 7 minutes and it was amazing how quickly they passed. There was a person with a stopwatch outside the meeting room and at the 6 minute mark, she knocked on the door.
The editor was so nice and she put me at ease, so I'm grateful for that.
I'm also proud of myself for going through with it. After the COFW conference, I realized that we writers should really applaud ourselves for following through on our dreams of becoming a full-time writer and on being persistent when it comes to trying to get published. It takes alot of courage and alot of picking ourselves up off the floor when we face the rejections that come with wanting to be a professional writer.
At one point, Suzanne Brockman, asked everyone who had completed a book to stand up and we received a round of applause. It's easy to dream about getting an agent or being published or being on the best seller list, but it all starts with finishing and polishing the writing.
So if you're writing, stand up and give yourself a hand.
This is from her website
To celebrate the completion of her manuscript for Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, the Editor is giving away a FREE Substantive Edit of one YA or MG fiction manuscript. Deadline: January 31, 2011. Read on for rules….
You can enter and view details at Dear-Editor.com
It seems like I have so much to say and I think of a ton of things I want to blog about but then something happens and I don't write.
So it's a promise to myself to be a better blogger because I really do enjoy it.
It's way too easy to let life get in the way and use it as an excuse to procrastinate. There's never enough time to write, to get fit, to do household chores, on and on. So one of my goals for 2011 is to be able to find time for the things that I'm passionate about and just stick to those.
My 3, which don't include spending time with my child because that's a given, are 1) Finish current WIP which is another YA mystery, 2) Continue on my Weight Watcher path because I love it and the results I'm seeing, and 3) be a terrific regional advisor to my SCBWI chapter.
They all make me happy and as fellow moms know, we never put ourselves on the list but I think a happy mom is a better mom.
I read a discussion forum today about an author's struggle with privacy. We're not talking, "Hey I want to hide from my fans" but more of "Why are you showing up on my doorstep and how do you know where I live?".
For years we write. We query.We get rejected, defeated, and heartbroken because we haven't found an agent or publisher. We keep our eyes on the prize though. A gorgeous, solid, hardback book with a stunning, artistic cover and our name written in bold letters. Finally an author's Holy Grail has been achieved.
But now what? Hopefully, you'll sell the book, gather a few fans here and there. During this euphoric time in your life, the googling will start. People that love your work want to know more about YOU. So they search and with an overload of cyber information at their disposal, it should be easy to find out everything from your favorite meal to where your children go to school.
It's a scary, scary thought. Hell, it's scary even if your not famous. Stalking occurs for a variety of reasons and not just to famous people.
It's important to be savy now, before you get 'The Call' and before you're on the NYTimes bestseller list.
Some of the suggestions were:
*Have your personal information removed from spokeo.com
*Use a PO Box or have all fan mail come through your publisher
*Have an unlisted phone number
*Have multiple phone numbers. One for personal use and one you can give out and change easily if you need to.
*Have multiple e-mail addresss. One for personal relationships, another for fans, journalists, etc
*Don't post information or pictures of your children on the web
*Use a Facebook Fan Page rather than a personal page
*Have all your Facebook setting set to friends and family only
*Don't link to your family on Facebook and review your privacy settings or turn some information off like the city you live in
*Have home security
*When asked where you live for book jackets, press release, etc. give a vague geographic location or state like MidWest, Texas, New England
With all the info out there, it's important to protect our privacy and loved ones now and not wait until our name appears on a book cover.
I attended a work meeting today where the topic was strategy. Our speaker noted that 9 out of 10 times, we write down and design a perfectly great strategy. But here's the kicker, 80% of those strategies will fail.
Why? Why? Why?
You spent all that time writing down your strategy on pretty paper then hanging it on the refrigerator or you've created some nifty spreadsheet in Excel to manage what you want to accomplish. How could it possibly not work?
So why do most of our strategies fail? Because we fail to execute what we planned.
This got me thinking. As writers, should we have a strategy for managing our writing career? These strategies could even be broken down into mini strategies such as Strategy for Writing Book 1, Strategy for Revising, Strategy for Querying, Strategy for Marketing your book,etc.
From personal experience, I know I had a 'plan' of sorts in my head. Did I execute that plan? Hell, no. Not even close. Why? Because I let my emotions and the heat of the moment get in my way. This is why it would have helped to have a well developed, thought out, and written plan in place before I took the next step in my writing.
I would have created the strategy when I wasn't so emotionally invested in the outcome so logic and reason would have a stronger voice.
Most of us plan our careers, have an idea on how we want to parent, have a strategy to buy our first home, get our of debt, etc.
It seems reasonable that since we should be treating our writing career as a business, we should have a written business plan or strategy.
Here's an example of one that I just made up off the top of my head to get the juices flowing.
*Research literary agents and create a list of agents that respresent what I write and that would be a good fit for me
*Create a spreadsheet so I can track my submissions (Yes, I love Excel)
*Decide on the 6 agents I want to query first.
*Find out more about those 6 agents, read their blog, interviews, tweets, etc.
*Submit to 6 of those agents and wait for feedback/response.
*Promise not to check e-mail every 5 minutes looking for a response
*If I get no requests for a partial or full, revise query. Get some query critiques.
*When I get the first rejection, I will treat myself to something pretty then use the rejection letter as kindling.
*When I get my first request for a full, I will jump, sing, and tell all my writer buddies
*If fulls and/or partials are requested and I get the same consistent feedback such as Plot doesn't work, characters don't keep me interested, take another look at the novel and possibly revise
*Lather, rinse, repeat
So back to the example, if you had create a strategy before you start querying, you'll have an idea on how you want to handle the query process and how to best leverage the responses or non responses. It provides a back-up plan to help you handle the feedback/rejections and move on to the next step. It can help keep you focused and on track toward your end goal.
We all know rejections are hard and painful. They can send your day into a tail spin and plants the seeds of doubt. By having a written strategy, you've given yourself a way to move forward and tackle the next challenge without acting like a crazed serial querier.
So what are you waiting for? Get our pen, your Excel spreadsheet, your iPad and start creating strategies that will lead you toward your writing goal.
The 2010 Agatha nominees were announced today and I'm so glad to see two familar names on the list:
Amanda Flower, Maid of Murder , (Best First Novel Nominee)
Heather Webber, Truly, Madly ,(Best Novel Nominee)
I've had the pleasure of meeting both of these talented writers at my Sisters in Crime meetings. At our Fall event, I won a critique from Heather for my novel, Unraveled. I can't say enough good things about her.
Here is the complete list of nominees and it's always so exciting to see the Best Children's/Young Adult category. We need more mysteries for children which means I better get back to writing.
Congrats to the nominees, especially Amanda and Heather. I'll be cheering for you both.
Agatha Award Nominees
Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (Ballantine)
Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Mira)
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (St. Martin's Paperbacks)
Best First Novel:
The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames (Berkley)
Murder at the PTA by Laura Alden (Signet)
Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower (Five Star/Gale)
Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill (Wildside Press)
Diamonds for the Dead by Alan Orloff (Midnight Ink)
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum (Penguin)
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: 50 Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran (Harper)
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by Stephen Doyle & David A. Crowder (For Dummies)
Have Faith in Your Kitchen by Katherine Hall Page (Orchises Press)
Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Best Short Story:
"Swing Shift" by Dana Cameron, Crimes by Moonlight (Berkley)
"Size Matters" by Sheila Connolly, Thin Ice (Level Best Books)
"Volunteer of the Year" by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin' (Wildside Press)
"So Much in Common" by Mary Jane Maffini, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - Sept./Oct. 2010
"The Green Cross" by Liz Zelvin, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - August 2010
Best Children's/Young Adult:
Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer by John Grisham (Dutton Children's)
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin)
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (Candlewick)
Virals by Kathy Reichs (Razorbill)
The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith (Atheneum)
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I'm taking an 8 week Writer's Workshop through McDaniel College. I'm learning so much about receiving and giving critiques. It's amazing how I can read something a hundred times and still not see something that my classmates have point out.
Our instructor is the fabulous Jill Santopolo who is an author and and editor for Philomel.
On the SCBWI front, the Central and Southern Ohio is planning a fundraising Bookfair at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, June 25th from 11:00-4:00. Hope to see you there.