Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dena and YA. Together at last.

So it's the last night before my husband comes back into town. I can't say I've really enjoyed him being gone, like some wives do. I get lonely and I hate sleeping alone at night so I've recruited my 4 year old to sleep with me. Not having that much needed break at 5 pm is not that easy, but I've kind of developed a haphazard routine. My hats are off to those single parents out there that do it all alone 100% of the time. I'm freakin' exhausted.

Luckily, I've been kept company by everyone that participates in Tina's Practice Room. Basically you unplug for an hour to write and then you chat about the progress you made after the hour is up. Unfortunately, both times I have participated I erased more words that I wrote. But I did manage to type out an outline of sorts for a YA novel. Yes, I might be branching out into the YA world soon. But before I really get into that, I need to do my research.

What are your favorite YA books and why? Why would you recommend them to me? I'm creating a list and I want to read as many good ones as I can. I have to admit, I'm excited to branch out into YA. PB's are hard as crap. On the plus side, I finish them quickly. On the downside, they're hard as crap.

So....I'd like to take a stab at this but I'm embarrassingly naive when it comes to YA fiction. I haven't read this stuff in years. I didn't even know if they had sex and hard core violence in them- apparently they have both quite frequently. So my question is this- what makes them young adult?
Anyway, please leave your favorites in the comment section! Thanks, guys!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today my husband left for a week on business and I'm...

Going to write my arse off.

WISH ME LUCK!!!! :-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The Doodlebops. One of the scariest things about parenthood.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rude people suck!

Hey guys...
Do you remember my dream, the one about Grant? Well, I started typing some of it out...but the problem is I have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Or where to start it. Or how to start it. Or what the target audience will be. Or if it sucks. If it it's awesome. Basically, I just have no idea.

In Elana's words, I basically word vomited. I word-puked all over the screen. I used to think I was good at writing know, like adult ones. And then I started writing short stories, and then I started writing picture anything over 1500 words scares the bejesus out of me. How do I get over that? Is there some kind of manual out there that tells you how to start novels? If there is, please let me know!

In other news, my second PB ever is going to be submitted starting on MONDAY! Woot! I'm looking for smaller publishing houses. From what I've heard, the larger ones (you know, the NY, NY ones) are quite picky since the PB market has slowed down considerably. One of my critique partners sent a nice list of smaller publishing houses....if you'd like to see that list, let me know!

In more (non) news, we had a yard sale today and I met the rudest. woman. alive.
I got an e-mail from this whack-job last night asking me to call her about the price of a changing table (I'd put up an advertisement on craigslist about our garage sale) and I called her and left a message. I told her it was $20. Well, this morning at the garage sale this lady comes up (with an ATTITUDE) and tells me that she's the woman I called and she complained that I hadn't left my phone # so she couldn't reach me. Anyway, she says, "You called me and told me this was $3.00." So I told her, I'm sorry ma'am, you're mistaken- I said it was $20.
Well then homegirl decides to actually pull out her cell phone and replay my own message to me- I guess to prove to me that I said $3 (and that is a ridiculous amount for a nice wooden changing table). So after she plays it to me I hear myself say twenty- and I told her, "I'm sorry if you misunderstood me, but I did say $20." Well then she proceeds to go ape-shit (excuse the language) on me about a CHANGING TABLE! I guess she actually thought I lured her out to my house with the promise of a 3 dollar changing table just so she'd come look at my stuff?! Anyway, she goes on to tell me that she could do a LOT better, and she'd bought changing tables for $5 in perfect condition, blah blah blah. I told her she could have it for $15 and she just laughed at me....
Well, I sold that changing table for $20 about 10 minutes after she'd left. HA. HA. HA.

Okay, that was long-winded. Garage sales people get crazy. Who is the rudest person you've ever encountered, and what did they do? Amuse me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I promise I write better than I blog.

Today I was thinking that I might not come across as being a great writer in this ol' blog-o-mine. Maybe a decent writer. No? Entertaining, perhaps?


Whatever. I've recently noticed that some writers actually come off as writers on their blogs. I'm not sure what I come off as, but I want you guys to know something.

This blog is not about showing off my skillz. This blog is not about me or my kids, despite some pictures in the past. This blog isn't about squirrels or bionic lobsters. Or making my followers do things against their will.
This blog is about me, my writing, how my writing has improved....but more importantly,
this blog exists so I can show you things like this:

W.I.B.I.J. IS TODAY!!!!!!!!!! JOIN US!

Monday, April 19, 2010


The joys of critique groups

It's amazing to me how much critiques change a work for the better. A member of my critique group has been tirelessly working on a PB for months and months now, and she keeps revising- and each time she sends a new copy it blows my mind how improved it is. Amazing, right? That's why everyone should join a critique group. There cannot be anything better, as long as the people in the group are dedicated to improving your work and their own. Which brings me to another point.

I believe as a writer you have to have incredibly tough skin. Nothing is scarier to me than when someone picks up what I've written and reads it for the first time. It's unbelievably hard for me to sit through. I literally squirm . I don't feel like this the second or third time, only the first. I think that's another reason for my critique group is so special to me. No one but my husband knew I wrote for years. Now I can name 5 other people that not only know I write, but are appreciative of it and help me writer better.

If any of you guys are not in a critique group, JOIN ONE. I seriously wish I could add more people to mine. But then I know it would be overwhelming. Recently I've been getting a lot of "can I be in your critique group, pretty please?" emails and it's sooooo hard to tell them no. But obviously, critique groups can only get so large before they get unproductive.

If you haven't joined one yet, let me know. I have a list of e-mails from people who are looking for partners.

That's it, guys. I'll write a fun post later!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nothing to see here...but read it anyway

I'm sorry I haven't posted since Monday. Life has been crazy busy this week, what with the new dog and all. That and my husband getting really sick on Wednesday, vet appointments, trips to Kohls, trips to the grocery store, dog-sitting (I do this as a part-time job...SO much fun!) get the idea. It's been busy.
I think I might be ready to submit Alphabet Chase. MWAHAHA! Pretty excited about it. Who knows, maybe this will be 'the one.' But I think that about everything I send out. Maybe eventually I'll be right?!

What have you guys been up to recently? I've got to go and do a critique for a friend in my critique group, so I can't hang around typing out meaningless crap.

meaningless crap.

Well, darn. I went ahead and typed it out anyway. I better go. This always happens when I don't have a game plan before I blog.

Leave me a comment, I miss you guys!

Monday, April 12, 2010



Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of winning W.I.B.I.J. for the 3rd time in a row!!! There will be another competition soon...please come and try to dethrone me. I know you competitive types are out there!

So it's about time I updated you guys on our crazy wild weekend adventures. All of them starring Angel, the new addition to our family!

Here's the story with Angel. We've been wanting to get a family dog for a while especially good with children, the most important thing. We also wanted something manageable in size...preferably that could fit in our Honda civic, the biggest car we've got! This made it hard, considering most kid-friendly dogs are actually quite big. Well, on Friday I went and took a look at the local shelter's 'adoptable' pets and came across Angel- a 2 year old golden retriever mix, about 45 lbs. I was in love.
We went to see her on Saturday and I wanted her the minute I saw her. She is unbelievably sweet, and just a gorgeous dog. She looks just like a full blooded golden retriever, only slightly smaller. We got her and took her home with us!
She is absolutely perfect in every way, from the minute we got her home. She's calm, great with the kids, affectionate, and never barks. She never peed or pooped on my floor and asked to go out by licking my hand in the middle of the night. She was the best. dog. ever.
That is until yesterday.
Sunday morning rolled around and I woke up and let her out and brushed her...things were going great. Some friends of mine decided to come over and meet Angel, so I went to the store before them came. When I got home from the store, I see my husband on the sidewalk with the kids and my friends (who had just arrived) and they tell me that Angel just escaped.

Have any of you guys seen the movie Marley and Me? I swear the next 10 hours were something straight out of that movie. We chased her all over the neighborhood for hours. At one point we even had some random dude on a bike chasing her with us...not to mention me in a car and about 5 people on foot. None of us could catch her. Homegirl is fast.

At one point some random neighbor came out of his house with an entire block of cheese trying to entice her. We had a neighbor (an owner of a golden retriever) notify his 'dog walking group' (those exist??) and all of THEM joined in the chase...and they were all still out there at around 9 pm, calling her name.

She was lost for about 10 hours. We were so tired and upset- and we'd done all we could think of to try and find her. Right before bed we decided to open the front door and look...just one more time.
And there she was. Sitting on the doorstep, covered in mud. She'd come home.

YAY! So now I have my doggie back, my kids aren't freaking out anymore, my husband doesn't feel guilty for losing her, and I have tons of inspiration for children's books now! In the end, a very productive weekend indeed.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Another dream!

Do you guys remember the other day when I had a dream in the middle of the night- thought it was the best book idea ever- and wrote it down on a piece of paper at 3 am and when I woke up it wasn't....quite what I thought it would be?

Well, I had another dream last night.

I dreamed there was this girl who met a travel writer while on vacation-(oddly enough, he looked just like Robert Downey Jr.)-and they have an instant connection...BUT he then disappears (and she's too young to just go off and find him).
Years later she wonders what became of him- so she goes to the bookstore and finds his books. She reads them and 'follows' him during all those missing years- then, because of something she reads in one of his later books (I won't divulge this) she goes after him for real. I remember in the dream his name was Grant. Yum. Grant.

It was quite the dream and I think I might start typing this one out. Thank God this one wasn't about gators.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Now, back to writing...

So recently, I'm sure you've noticed, I've been more focused on posting pictures of my kids and updating you about my monotonous days.

Now it's back to writing, what this blog is all about anyway. This morning I cleaned up Chasing the Alphabet, now entitled Alphabet Chase. I also included a cover letter and just sent it to my critique group. I don't feel like there's much else I want to do with this story- but my critique group has a way of making me change my mind, so we'll see. It's a hard thing to know when a story is finished, you know? Sometimes I'll be totally content with where my book is, ready to submit it, then I send one more "Seriously, this is the last time..." version to my critique group, and BAM. I'm back to revising...and those poor, unfortunate members of my critique group have to read yet another 50 versions of my story before the submission process begins.

To date I have sent the 'revised' version of Sally Circle (remember her?) to 5 publishers. Today I'll be sending it out to three more. This submission process takes longer than I thought- I'm really having to weed out the publishing houses that wouldn't be interested. I don't want to waste their time, my time, or my stamps. There are still about 3 UN-revised versions that I haven't heard back from. I'm only expecting rejections- I just wish they'd go ahead and come in. It's been about 3 months now.

So next month one of my adult short stories is being released by A Fly in Amber. I'll definitely link you guys over to it when it's released. FUN!

Recently I've been inspired to write a story based on this photo of my daughter:

Why this photo you ask? Because I LOVE it. Not just because it's a pic of my daughter, but because of what it represents to me. To me, this picture is the essence of my childhood. When I was a kid my parents drove us to all 48 states. Yes, all 48. In a car. Not to mention we slept in the car, like true hippies. We brushed our teeth in public restrooms, we squatted on the side of the road. This is how I saw almost all of America- through a car window. I used to stare out the window, passing the Grand Canyon, the Great Plains, the Pacific coastline...and I used to daydream. Oh, how I'd daydream. I'd daydream about riding a horse across the plains, I'd dream about flying over the canyon, I'd dream about mermaids in the Pacific ocean, sunning themselves on the rocky coastline. This picture of my daughter, staring out of the car window...that reminds me of me. It reminds me of my family. It reminds me of childhood.

Now that you've read through all of that, here's the question- where am I going to go with it? Should it be an adult short story? A PB? A YA novel? A poem? I'm so inspired when I see it, but I have no idea what to do with said inspiration.

Ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

And the winner is.....

Is that YOU I smell, or a ROTTEN EGG?!?!?!


If you're confused, you might want to take a look at this.

Granted, there weren't many entries because most of you weren't in it to win it (LAME), but I do think Bish Denham's caption sums this picture up quite nicely. Little did Bish know that she hit the nail on the head- Jacob had literally just crapped his pants and Abi was crying tears of shock, anger and disgust. That also explains the uncomfortable, yet somewhat pleased expression on little man's face. There was quite the aftermath. A shame really, because I really loved his outfit. Crap. Yes, literally crap. Ah, motherhood.

Anyway, CONGRATS BISH!!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for participating in my tiny little caption contest! Now please everyone going to her blog and show her some love!


Well crap! I forgot to post this until right now, but it's not too late!!!

WIBIJ game is starting at 1 pm EST TODAY and going on for the next 24 hours! Come join us and please try and beat me!!!

Monday, April 05, 2010


Just Kidding.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! But that got your attention, didn't it?!

Yes, that was evil. But you have to admit, it worked.

Anyway, all you creative types. I had to get your attention somehow. I've had a hard day and I need a laugh.

Come up with a hilarious, creative caption for the photo below. The winner will not only get an honorary post with links included- but you will also receive my undying respect and admiration.
What, that's not enough?! What do you people WANT?!?!


Back and armed with pictures

So this weekend I...

ate a lot of peeps. Well, when little man wasn't downing them like a crazed starving child.

-We had an egg hunt, which, I'm happy to report, gave me TONS of PB ideas!!

-We saw an airplane...and we (well, the one pictured below) stared at it with child-like wonder.

-I think I might have finished Chasing the Alphabet, cover letter included! Yay! (No pic for this news, unfortunately)

So...what did YOU do this weekend?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Easter!

Signing off for the holiday weekend. Take care guys.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Man...lots of gators."

Unfortunately, I don't have much to report but I miss you guys so I'm just saying hi. Not much is going on with me, writing-wise. Still in the process of submitting Sally Circle...other than that, I haven't really done much writing recently. I've been doing some PB critiques for my critique group but that's about it. It's weird, it's like I'm in submission-limbo. Not much else is going on.

My little man is supposed to have his surgery next case you don't remember, he's tongue-tied!
My brother and sis-in-law are supposed to be visiting next Tuesday...I'm planning on staying in town for Easter. Maybe I'll get some writing done then! We'll see. much random crap can I spew out before this blog post is over...
oh, here we go.

-Last night I had this crazy awesome dream that would be PERFECT for a short story/novel so I wrote it down on the back of an index card at like 3 am. This morning I woke up and eagerly grabbed at the index card, excited to remember what my soon to be NYT best selling idea was. It read:

"Man...lots of gators, go lie...funny but ends up his wife."

Oh yes, Dena. That makes for an AWESOME story.

Has anyone else gotten up in a dreamlike state and written out a buttload of randomness on a sheet of paper- completely convinced that this was THE BEST idea ever and that if you don't write it down, the SHEER CREATIVE BRILLIANCE of said idea would be forgotten?

Please tell me I'm not the only one.