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I've been on a contemporary kick lately and, in my opinion, few are as quirkily wonderful as Robin Mellom's. I will never forget reading one of her early manuscripts about a boy named Trevor, which has since become the basis for the upcoming series entitled, THE CLASSROOM.
I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh. This girl is gooood." And so it was no surprise that her debut novel DITCHED is no different. It's funny and adorable and has that trademark quirk that is vintage Mellom.
From Amazon: High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together -- stain by stain on her thrift-store dress -- exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix eggs and water. Combine crackers, cheese, and seasoning. Dip fillets in egg mixture, then in seasoned cracker crumbs. Place in greased pan and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with Lemon Parsley sauce — which, in my opinion, MAKES the dish.
LEMON PARSLEY SAUCE
3 green onions, chopped
2 T fresh lemon dress
1/2 unsalted butter
1 T parsley, chopped or dried
salt and pepper
worcestershire sauce - a few shakes.
tabasco - a couple of shakes.
I found a brown rice and lentil mix at Whole Foods and served it with that and some fresh green beans. It was divine. Try it :)
A few weeks ago while keeping the nursery at church, I met the adorable Janie Travis, who is an incredible baker and aspiring writer. Following in Julie Powell's footsteps, Janie is cooking her way through Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Beranbaum. And in order to bake the 99 cakes in one year, Janie has to cook approximately two cakes a week. TWO CAKES A WEEK!
Needless to say, I've dropped several hints that I want to be on the receiving end of a slice of one these babies.
Recently, Janie posted a video and I wanted to share it since you can actually see her in action.
It's been a while since I've worked on my WIP and I have to admit, it's starting to make me crazy. I've been all about the business of writing for what feels like the last year and I have really missed the creating part of this career — that juicy inventive time that is meant to be the real meat of a career in words.
So today I'm leaving the business to my agents and I am going to start back on my WIP, but I've been sitting here staring at my computer for almost an hour and that's when it hit me that I hate this part — the inital draft part. I'm a Revision Goddess. Revision is where I thrive. It's where I get the most creative. Revision is my sweet spot.
But here in first draft land... I'm dying.
Choking on nothingness.
Sweating in fear.
I tend to hyper focus on getting the intro JUST right, which I've always thought was fine, but now I can see that it's holding me back. Therefore, I've decided to press on through my crummy opening and get the meat of the story with the knowledge that WHEN I am able to finally start revising.... I'll rock it.
At least that's the plan. (of course I took a break to write this blog post. *cough cough*)
Anyone else struggle with getting into a new story?
Last night at Bible study I was hit with the title of this post: The Protection of Rejection. . .
There I was listening to my friend Stephanie talk when I suddenly realized that God often protects us through rejection. (gasp!)
Looking back at my eight-ish years writing, I can honestly say that I am so thankful that my books didn't sell when I wanted them to. I wasn't ready. I was still learning. God was protecting me from a whole host of new problems by simply delaying the big sale. He had more to teach me. I wasn't strong enough.
So if you're in a pit of rejection today, turn to God. Thank Him for protecting you from whatever it is He's protecting you from and ask Him to direct your path. His ways are infinitely more creative than our own and I assure you, He knows what He's doing. You're time will come in His perfect time.
So relax. It's all good. And in the meantime, keep working. Build those muscles and finish strong.
Have y'all seen Shelli's e-book experiment? I have to say, I'm fascinated. In order to broaden her marketing expertise, she is tackling the ever-growing world of e-books. She has promised to give her readers all of the inside information (including costs) as to what it really takes to put an e-book out there.
Recently my own agent has mentioned this opportunity to me and we are in talks about submitting Kiss & Make Up to Amazon's new e-book imprint. The prospect is scary to say the least, but also very exciting. It's changing every day and is clearly the direction of the future.
"Remember when those dating websites like e-harmony were first introduced?" my friend said to me the other day. "I thought they were absolutely nuts. I was convinced my neighbor was going to be the victim of a serial killer if she joined."
I laughed in total agreement.
"But now they're completely normal. That same neighbor just married a guy she met on one."
"So did my dental hygienist," I added.
"I think e-books are going to be the same. Today it might seem odd and even cheesy to some, but that won't be the case for long."
I knew she was right. "But I just hate that it feels like self-publishing," I told her. "Because the way it's structured now, it's not. Many of these writers are agented, have had offers, and/or been professionally edited before choosing to do it. It's not just junk anymore."
"That will change," she assured me. And then came her question. "So are you going to do it?"
I thought about it for a while, but knew it felt right. Why not? So, YES. I have decided to join Shelli in this wacky journey and venture into the world of e-books. Like Shelli, I still very much believe in traditional publishing and hope my next book is bound in tree-derived paper, but for today, for this book, I think I'll give it a shot. Now, off to the revision cave. Wish me luck!
Tis true. I'm not sure why, but I have simply lost my ability to blog. It's not that I'm not busy writing. As a matter of fact, I have been asked to be a ghost writer. Cool huh? That means I have just finished writing a picture book for a certain celeb and I must say, it was may-jah fun! Who knew? I am so thankful for Sarah Frances and her blooming career. I never imagined in a million years that as I watched HER journey to learn the craft of picture book writing, I would be preparing for this future task in my own career? Crazy. God sure works in mysterious ways. So anyway, I am finishing my last round of edits before this fun new project goes on submission.
As for KISS - it's is being read by all kinds of exciting producers in the film industry, as well as some overseas peeps. Several seriously major players have asked for it and I am freaking out, to say the least. Fingers are crossed. It's my ultimate dream to see it on the big screen, so this is what occupies most of my daydreams.
Also, I have *almost* finished my first ever non-fiction project (a memoir :) Of all my projects, this one holds my heart. I'll keep you posted.
Finally, I have started another young adult novel that swirls around my head like a creative firestorm, teasing me with its promise. It's a hard sucker to reign in though — so big that I spend most of my time simply plucking feathers off it's giant body while I try and reach for it. That's a bizarre metaphor. ha! Anyhoo... I'm taking notes.
All in all, a very busy summer. I wish I had some big sales to report, but not yet - just a lot of interest. It appears I am still being schooled in patience and what it means to trust God and wait.
Oh the wait....
Hope y'all are doing well and I'll try to blog more often.
Oh! I got my braces off! See above photo taken quickly in the car the other day. Straight teeth are my new favorite accessory :)
Have you ever felt magic swirling through your veins? That's where I am right now with my WIP and while exciting, it's a crazy mish mash of frustration too. I have TOO many good ideas for how to start and hardly any for what happens in Act 2. Ahhh the joy of writing.
Perhaps it's just the heat. But whatever the case, things are cracking and sparking over here and I intend to dig deep until I figure this story out!
Okay. That was weird. That Haiku was NOT the blog post I dreamed I wrote, but it must be some kind of fabulous karma that I just wrote one now? My creative mojo kicking in? But after I wrote those first two lines, it felt poemish, so I counted the words and realized it was becoming a Haiku.
Sadly, I can't remember the blog post of my dreams, but I assure you it was more interesting than this one. In real life I am writing so much on my two WIPs that I have very little left for my poor blog. Hopefully some day soon. Maybe this summer.
I have to admit, I'm on spring break and forgot today was Bookanista Thursday, but the other day when one of the Bookanistas asked me what I was going to post about, I said, "Well, I haven't really been reading anything current."
"So?" She said. "What have you been reading?"
"A lot of Roald Dahl, actually. . ."
So, she suggested I post about his books and I was delighted! Who doesn't love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda? But the book I have found the most interesting so far is called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. What's interesting about this book is that it is a collection of stories Dahl wrote for various magazines. In other words, it's his EARLY work, including a short story called Lucky Break in which he tells the reader how he became a writer - kinda by accident.
I still have many more to read. He wrote in almost every genre, including a TON of children's books. And while I was searching for pics for this post, I found THIS, which of course, I had to buy.
So what's so great about Dahl? It's his word choices, his style, the beginnings of his books, his subject matter. Lordy, I could go on and on. He's massively creative. But what I like most is how he sets up his antagonists to be really, really slimy. Unlike Dahl, I often think while writing my own work, "well... I can't make the parents TOO awful, because they have their own issues. Issues I will have to address, etc..." But Dahl will flat out say, "The mother was a worm of a woman with the most hideous hair." hilarious! He is the master of telling it like it is.
Spring break has made my brain mushy and left me at a loss for words, but if you've never read Dahl, you must. He is a true treasure and I, for one, will never tire of his books :)
So, if you've read the post below this one, you learned that my first book didn't sell. And although I am still very at peace with that outcome, I do not feel at peace about starting over - beginning another book, that is. For some reason, trying to figure out another book feels literally impossible. I have a wonderful idea and I've taken gobs of notes and tried various beginnings, but nothing seems to stick. That being said, I'm stubborn. I refuse to give up. Because the fact still remains that I've never found anything I enjoy as much as writing. It continues to bring me the most joy and present the biggest challenge I've ever faced.
This past weekend, I decided to check out one of my favorite writer's blogs - Laini Taylor. And praise God, she has written an entire post about just this topic - beginning a new book. I felt like I wanted to cry as I read her reassuring words and helpful tips about starting over. And not only that, her process sounds almost identical to mine, which made her words so easy to understand and digest. It would have been a whole 'nother story if she had said she whips out first drafts like NaNoWriMo and never looks back. She doesn't. She spends the same amount of time on her first 20-30,000 words as she does on the rest of the book! That's me! Oh dear Lord, what a sweet blessing when I needed it most.
I didn't think I'd feel like blogging for a while. I didn't think I'd feel like doing much at all. But by the grace of God, I feel fine. And perhaps that's why I know that my first book not selling is exactly what was supposed to happen.
That's right. This past week I got my last rejection for my first novel, KISS & MAKE UP. It was a bittersweet day in that it took 3 1/2 years to write that book and saying goodbye was strange. KISS taught me how to write. And it's good! I'm so proud of it. It went to acquisitions at 4 houses and even got an offer - one that I turned down in order to do an exclusive revision for my dream editor. In the end, she passed, but thankfully, by that time, I had started another novel. One that I think might even be better.
Today, I don't have many words other than THANKS. Thank you so much for all of your love and support during my first foray into writing. It has been nothing short of spectacular. Truth be told, I feel a bit like I'm back at square one, but the good news is, I'm excited. Scared but excited.
Now, since KISS is safely under my bed, I thought I'd share the first chapter with you. So, without further ado.... I give you, KISS & MAKE UP!!
The other day on Twitter, Carrie Harris extended a spork bouquet to someone and I thought, "Holy Taco Bell, I haven't thought of a spork in eons and yet, it might just be the funniest thing I've pondered all day?"
Thus began a spork-a-thon (some might call it a "spork smackdown") that would totally bore most of you. BUT, in the end, I decided that a brief affair with an unlikely spork is exactly why I love writing and writERs.
Seriously. The spork is the most innovative thing to happen to cutlery in decades, yes? And isn't being creative just the thing we writers try to do on a daily basis? To make something new out of something old?
Rock on spork makers. You inspire me.
You've all heard the factoid that there are only ten original stories, and we are all just writing new versions of them. Well, the spork is now for me a reminder to push the boundaries. Set higher goals. Aspire to combine concepts!
So, next time you feel stuck in your writing, look to the spork!
So last week we bought the kiddos an ipad, and even though I have both an iphone and a Macbook, I have no idea what apps to download? I remembered the Alice in Wonderland app and it is, indeed, awesome. But what else should I get? I wonder if there's one that explains grammar rules? I am the world's worst at comma placement. Hmmm....
WHOA. Check this baby out. I had heard a bunch of buzz about Myra McEntire's new cover long before I actually saw it, but Man, isn't it cool? Now tilt your head to the left.
IT'S HALF UPSIDE DOWN! How do you say that? Half-side down?
So the right side is the FLOOR?!
But if you tilt it, so the floor is on the bottom, it's still weird because her feet are on the wall? And her hair? Don't get me started on her hair.
This is an example of a cover that makes me totally want to read the book. I don't even care what it's about. It's just that cool.
But in case you want to know :)
"Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange things - dead things - swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She's tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing's worked. So when Emerson's well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to give it one last try.
Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He's barely older than she is; he listens like no one she's ever met before; and he doesn't make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of the Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future--and her very life.
Oh I am so reading this.
Here's what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to this week:
I set out to post the trailer for the movie SOMETHING BORROWED. But, for some reason, all I got was this? I thought it was a commercial - which, okay. It sorta is. But pretty fun, huh? It definitely made me want to try using whatever Google Demo slam is.
A couple of months ago I was cleaning my laundry room and found this hanger on the ground. As you can see in the second photo, it says PERSEVERE in big pretty pink letters. For any aspiring writer, the "P" word is critical, so I picked it up and hung it on my locker, deciding it was a sweet reminder from God to keep on keeping on.
But then today, I was once again kicking around in my laundry room and for some reason, I picked up the hanger and HOLY HANGERS, Look at it! On the other side is ANOTHER sweet message from the pink hanger fairy - this time HOPE.
Before I start, I want to express my deepest sympathy for the family and friends of Lisa Madigan, who passed away yesterday. I met her in Los Angeles a few years ago and feel so lucky to have known her for even a short while. She will be missed greatly. Her agent wrote a lovely post about her here.
Every once in a while, I read a book and think, "Dang. I wanna do that." In every case, these writers push me to think outside of the box in my own writing, and Kirsten Hubbard is one such writer.
I've said this before, but when I pick up a stack of books, I always read the first few paragraphs to decide which book I'll start reading. I did this recently - got a big stack of arcs and read the first page of each one until I found the one that made me turn the page and read on. LIKE MANDARIN was the winner. Listen to Kirsten read the opening paragraphs:
Bam. I wanted to know about those winds. It's no wonder she's a travel writer in her real job 'cuz this chick can capture "place" like few others. I could immediately FEEL the setting, and that's what makes this a great book for me. Not only is it a very poignant coming of age story I think rings true of many girls - wanting to be someone else. But I love a story with a strong sense of place, and LIKE MANDARIN is all that and a bag of wild west Doritos.
Here's what Kirsten's website says:
I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening.
I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I'm so tired of being inside my body.
I would give anything to be like Mandarin.
It's hard to find beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances and pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless and utterly carefree.
Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.
When the misfits are united for a project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and constantly searching for someplace magic. Grace even plays along when Mandarin suggests they make a pact to run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds that plague their badlands to
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What a week of releases! In addition to many new YA's, including the much anticipated SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD, several of my peeps introduced their new covers. And boy what covers they are!
Who wouldn't pick up any one of these?
THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting
A romantic fantasy set in a dystopic, war-torn world, in which a teenage girl realizes that she may be the key to saving her country.
POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by the hunky son of the police officer who got her father killed, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Turns out the voices are demons--the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind--and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them.
San Francisco's senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget's help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession. But when one of Bridget's oldest friends turns up dead in a ritualistic sacrifice that mirrors her father's murder, Bridget realizes she can't trust anyone. An interview with her father's murderer reveals a link between Bridget and the Emim: a race of part-demons intent on raising their forefathers to
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