November 28, 2011

Doing the Rewrite Dance

I'll be getting feedback from my beta reader any minute now, which means I'm getting ready to work on Bound rewrites. I may have mentioned before that I love rewrites. Most of you out there who have written anything might call me a sadist. Most people hate rewrites. It's work, it's not fun, it's so much easier to just vomit on the page (aka writing the first draft).

That's all true, I'll admit it.

It is work. There are times when I look at my work and say, "What was I thinking?" But still I love it. Even as I was writing the first draft of Bound, I had changes and additions I wanted to incorporate. Changes like:

  • Boring scene! Ack! Boring scene. Help it, please!
  • Add a little more romance between Wyn and Tom. Yup, the cute boy is named Tom. And no, I'm not giving away more details than that. But this story is definitely more romantic than my previous two novels have been. It just really fit the mood. And Wyn just really needed a nice guy in her life.
  • Add more details of x (you remember jr. high algebra when you always solved for x?) so that a + x = b. Don't worry, there's no math involved, but it's that whole I'm-not-giving-away-details thing. But the point of the equation was to show that looking at the entire story allowed me to see what was missing so I could fill in more details early on. You know, the whole foreshadowing thing.

While I was writing the first draft, I didn't let those ideas slow me down. I just made a note of it and then plunged ahead until everything was on the page. Then when I was done with the first draft, I took a deep breath, enjoyed my sense of accomplishment for two minutes, and then proceeded to dive into my rewrites.

I guess I like rewrites so much because it's like a puzzle. I get that from my grandma. She can sit and work on jigsaw puzzles for hours. Doing that makes my eyes go buggy, but it's the same idea. Take the little pieces, decide how they fit and then make a big, beautiful picture.

November 24, 2011


'Tis the season, and since we're celebrating all the things that make us thankful today, I wanted to share those things that I'm most grateful for in my life.
  1. Awesome family. They're incredible. We have so much fun laughing and eating and goofing off. We eat way too much pie. We all have the gollywoggles afterward. What are the gollywoggles you ask? That icky feeling in your tummy after you've eaten too many sweets. I got the term from my wonderful mother, and I've converted quite a few to the word gollywoggle.
  2. My own sweet girls and wonderful husband. They're the constant in my life, the sun I revolve around. They bring me the biggest joy and the biggest frustration. I wouldn't have it any other way. They're amazing and fulfilling.
  3. You. My readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. What can I say more? I love the writing, but I love even more that people actually like reading it. You're the ones that make all this worth it.
  4. My faith. I know Jesus Christ is my savior. That brings me the peace I need every day of this life. That faith gets me through the hard times, buoys me along during the good times, and steers my course during everything in between.
  5. Being able to write. It's always been a dream of mine to write everyday. Thanks to my husband and my girls, they let me do it. And it makes me so happy.
There are too many others to name, but right now, those are the biggest. What are you thankful for today?

November 17, 2011

It Makes My Day

I heard from one of my readers that she stayed up late into the night because she had to finish The Burn.

Being an author is hard work. I probably spend more time promoting my book than I do writing. I hope one day that won't be the case, but as I'm just getting started, that's the way it has to be right now. When I finish doing marketing stuff for the day, and I switch over to writing, my brain just breathes a sigh of relief and says, "Finally. This is what I love."

The writing is what I live for. But if I want my book to go anywhere, then I need to work for it, and work I do. Sometimes I get so frustrated I want to yank my hair out and rant for a few hours and just throw something. Don't worry. Nothing was harmed in the making of my novels.

But then I hear comments from readers like "I stayed up late just to finish it," and suddenly all the frustration melts away and all the work I've put into it is totally worth it. Because I know that feeling when I have to stay up late to finish a good book, and I'm so grateful to the author for all the hard work that went into the book.

So to you readers who've read and enjoyed The Burn and Dragon Sister, thank you. Thanks for reading. Thanks for making me smile.

November 15, 2011

When the Muse Strikes

Today I was working on a blog feature for April at My Shelf Confessions. (I'll let you know when it gets posted there.) She asked me to talk about where I write and where I get my best ideas. I've heard lots of authors talk about this subject, and the answers are varied and many. A sampling: while walking, while outside, while in the shower, while on the toilet (eww, by the way), while lying in bed, etc. For the sake of the feature, I wrote about getting my ideas in the car. It's a quiet place where I don't have to worry about the girls running amok. But it's too simple an answer.

I get my ideas anywhere and everywhere. I'm busy with life, with my daughters, being a good wife for my sweet husband, taking care of myself and my writing time, fulfilling my responsibilities at church. You get the picture. And with how much I have going on, I can't afford to be picky where my inspiration comes from.

So I write everything down. My weapon of choice?

I love these notebooks. I buy them at Target and these particular ones are by greenroom. I love them because they're cute and cheap and don't fall apart when I look at them.

I try to always have my notebook and a pen with me, because as much as you think you get your best ideas when you're walking the dog, or fixing dinner, or shut in the water closet (what kind of ideas do you get in there? I mean really, it's quite gross), you just never know when the idea will come. And if you're like me, if it doesn't get written down, it gets forgotten as soon as one of my girls asks for a snack, or the phone rings, or my husband needs his shirt washed.

And I don't want to forget any ideas, because you never know which one will be the best one.

November 11, 2011

Sacrifice and Service

Thank you to the veterans that have bravely served. Who were willing to pay the ultimate price to keep us safe. Who cared more about freedom and our country than their own lives. Who honor our flag and the ideals that this nation was founded upon. And thank you for coming back home.

November 08, 2011

My Favorite Retold Fairy Tales

Retold fairy tales are some of my favorite books to read. That's why The Burn was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "A Little Mermaid." I love seeing how authors take a fairy tale and rework it into something new and interesting, but still magical. So here are some of the retellings I've loved:

The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale
The retelling of a lesser-known Grimm's fairy tale about a princess sabotaged by her lady-in-waiting. She has to take care of the king's geese before she can become queen.

Spindle's End, Robin McKinley
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but this Briar Rose has spunk and no intention of being the princess. I love the ending of this book.

The Magic Circle, Donna Jo Napoli
A retelling of Hansel and Gretel, though those pesky kids don't come in until the very end. This story is about the witch and how she finds redemption.

Confessions of an Ugly Step-sister, Gregory Maguire
A historical-fiction take on Cinderella with a lot less magic.

Beauty, Robin McKinley
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Makes you wonder if Disney found most of their inspiration here.

Mira, Mirror, Mette Ivie Harrison
Did you ever wonder where the mirror in Snow White came from? Here's your answer.

November 04, 2011

Ode to Book Bloggers

Okay, so this isn't really an ode. I don't have time to sit down and write poetry. But this post is to sing the praises of some people that I've found along my publishing journey that I have really come to love.

Book bloggers.

Before I started publishing, I had no idea these people even existed. I had never stumbled upon one of their blogs; I had never had anyone ever mention anything about them. But then I published my first novel and shortly thereafter my second, and suddenly, I discovered the world of book bloggers.

Book bloggers are people who devote their own time and expense to acquire books, review them, open our eyes to new reads, and have lots of fun along the way. They're creative--some of their blogs are incredible! They're all avid readers, a trait I can really relate to. And they do giveaways of great books and other swag. Seriously. Who knew?

I've contacted quite a few book bloggers asking for reviews and help promoting my books. Every single one of them has been respectful, gracious, and kind. If I weren't so busy juggling mothering my girlies and trying to squeeze in extra writing minutes, I could see myself loving being one of these people. And so to you book bloggers that have helped me and other authors along the way, thank you.

And for those of you who, like me, never knew such a thing as a book blog existed, google  it. You'll find gobs of great blogs in every genre to help inform your reading choices.