Tuesday, January 29, 2013



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Dea and Kirsten! I have emailed them for their addresses and will be shipping the books shortly. :)

Have you entered any good contests/giveaways lately? Share in the comments!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Post-Conference Wrap Up

In case you missed it, go here for the Post-Conference giveaway.

In this post, I thought I would share a few tidbits of information from the conference. This is by no means comprehensive, and you should take ANY OPPORTUNITY to hear these speakers. Everyone presenting at this conference was amazing. EVERYONE.

In the Novel Intensive:

Michael Stearns enlightened us about how his book packaging company works. It was really interesting! I loved this quote that he shared: "I write only when inspiration strikes me," Maugham explained. "Fortunately, it strikes me every morning at nine o'clock sharp." (His presentation was about how the in-depth outlining a book packager uses could be helpful to writers in their own work.)

Bruce Coville spoke about plot and character. He said a good story can be summed up as "who wants what and why they can't have it." Character is plot, and plot reveals character. Bruce is an outstanding speaker.

Elizabeth Law did a presentation on revision. She used examples and letters from her own authors and edit letters, and it was a fantastic and eye-opening talk! The point that stuck with me from this talk was to listen to your intuition--whatever piece of the critique makes you most defensive probably needs the most work. (I believe that particular advice came from Micol Ostow.)

In the First Page critiques, Bruce advised getting rid of very, suddenly, began to, just, there, and was as much as possible. Michael referred to much of some of the openings as "rhetorical throat clearing" or the stuff that needs to come out first, but is only for the writer, and should be deleted. He said, "When readers know something, they stop paying attention." Bruce added, "The questions carry you more than the answers do."

So, that was the first day. I think I will come back on Thursday with nuggets from the second day of the conference. Remember to click the link at the top to enter the giveaway!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Post-Conference Giveaway 2013!

Yay! I'm back from the AMAZING SCBWI Florida Regional Conference in Miami. I had tons of fun and met wonderful people and learned a lot!

As usual, I have a giveaway and some tidbits of information from the conference.  For the giveaway, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. I will post some tidbits tomorrow.

I'm giving away signed copies of the following:

BUT, I wanted to share some wonderful information today, so here it is:

As many of you know, the FABULOUS Elizabeth Law left Egmont USA as of last Monday. Elizabeth was at this conference, and she is the most gracious, funny, and brilliant editor I have ever met. I love her. And though many are sad she isn't at Egmont anymore (including me), it leaves us all with a wonderful opportunity. Because, while Elizabeth is between jobs, she will still be doing what she loves best--helping authors make their manuscripts the best they can be.

In other words, she is freelancing, and AVAILABLE FOR HIRE.

By you.


With Elizabeth's permission, I am posting this information, including her contact email:

Having had a 10-page critique with Elizabeth at this conference and attending many of her presentations, I cannot tell you how amazing this opportunity is, because there are not words. Seriously.

Okay, enter the contest below, and come back tomorrow for the conference tidbits.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WriteOnCon Pitch-Fest Special Announcement!!!

 OMG SQUEE!!!!! I have a super awesome announcement from the awesome people behind WriteOnCon:

We here at WriteOnCon have decided that we sleep too much. To rectify that, we're organizing a mid-winter "Luck 'O the Irish" pitch-fest, where agents, book bloggers, and authors will team up to read and vote for the best pitches of 2013.

You read that right! A pitch-fest! At WriteOnCon!

But you won't need a pot 'o gold--or a lucky leprechaun--to participate, because our goal is to make sure you're well prepared. After all, we have bonafide literary agents coming to this thing! Yes, they will be reading the pitches, and yes, they are looking to sign clients. It could be you!

Not a writer? WE STILL NEED YOU! We're recruiting book bloggers and readers to spread the word and to vote for their favorites. Advocate for the books you want to see published--contact us at to become an official WOC 2013 Pitch-Fest Blogger. You'll even get a special button. Ooooo. Shiny buttons.

The details:
--Pitch-fest runs from March 18-22. Authors, book bloggers, readers, and our fabulous literary agents will be voting on the pitches. The favorites in each category will win prizes, including some great agent feedback or membership in the official WriteOnCon mentorship program!

--There will only be a limited number of pitches accepted. That number is unknown at this time, because it depends on how many agents attend. We're still recruiting agents and will let you know the final numbers as soon as we do! Pitches will be selected randomly, so it doesn’t matter what time zone you live in.

--The agents have selected their top three genres, and pitches will ONLY be accepted in those genres. Again, all genres are unknown at this time as we're still finalizing agents, but don't worry. We will make announcements about genres and numbers as things solidify (sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss a thing!). At this time, we are only focusing on the children's market, so you can know now that this pitch-fest will focus only on middle grade and young adult genres.

--We're announcing this now, before all details are finalized, because we're running a "perfect your pitch" workshop in February. This will take place in the WriteOnCon forums, and will work much the same as the query critique boards do during the annual WOC. You will post your pitch, and your peers will critique it. We will have posts from industry professionals on writing pitches and genre classification.

We're doing this for a good reason. We want your pitch to be as perfect as possible once the submission window hits in March. We will only be accepting your entry for the pitch-fest one time. We will not change your genre or edit your pitch after it has been submitted. This workshop during February is the time for you to fine-tune your pitch and get feedback about which genre your novel really belongs in.

--Only one pitch per person. Put forth your best work.

--Pitches should be for polished and query-ready novels only. That means if you haven't finished your novel yet, you shouldn't pitch. Still revising? Don't pitch. The agents attending are looking for material, and when they request, you want to be ready to send out your novel. We're announcing early to give you time to finish!

Dates to know:
February 18-March 10 - Forum peer pitch critiques (Carolin has the forum boards built! Check them out HERE)
March 11-13 - Submission of final pitches (this will be done through a Google form, NOT in the forum--details to come!)
March 14-17 - We build the boards in the forum (they will be hidden until March 18)
March 18-22 - Voting and commenting by literary agents, mentor authors, and book bloggers

We can't wait to see you at the Luck o' the Irish Pitch-Fest! Watch the WOC newsletter and site for more updates as we get closer to liftoff. Yeah, that was totally a mixed metaphor.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Writer's Creed 2013

My friend Sheri Larsen has posted the following Writer's Creed, and invited everyone to join her.

So read the Creed below, and in the comments, tell me what you plan to do with your writing this year. Then jump over to Sheri's blog, and grab the Creed for yourself!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Kiss Blogfest

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

So, I was super excited to see a link to the 4th annual No Kiss Blogfest hosted by the lovely Frankie Diane Mallis. (<---click the link to find the other No Kiss Blogfest entries)

I had so much fun last year, and got really excited to participate again this year.

And then I thought about my WIP.  My very dark WIP during which my hero and heroine are separated for most of the book. :-/

And besides what I posted last year, none of my other mss have anything that would work. *sigh*

I could post a you tube video, or type out an excerpt of a great non-kiss from a favorite book (HEX HALL, anyone?), but I dunno. I just didn't want to do that. I even tried to write something, but that totally did not work.

So, I'm cheating a little. I'm posting a scene from my current WIP--a flashback scene of how the main characters met, which may or may not make it into the final draft. They don't almost kiss in the scene, but I think it has that flirtiness that is at the heart of many almost-kiss scenes.

It's a little long, but I hope you enjoy it. Leave me a comment and let me know, and don't forget to scroll back up and continue on the hop!

Inside, I shrug off my backpack and unload the stuff from the store.  Chrissy must have heard me, because she comes in just as I take the carrots out.
“Hey, slow poke,” she says, grabbing a cutting board.
My cheeks heat.  “Sorry.  Class went over.  I grabbed the stuff at the store as fast as I could, although I did get distracted by a super weird conversation with a guy,” I say, knowing the guy will distract her from bugging me about my tardiness.
“Wait.”  She pauses mid-chop and turns to me.  “What guy?  Tell me everything.”
Laughing, I tell her about the guy, who, now that I think about it, was pretty cute, if a bit muscley for my taste.  “So I was like, ‘Yeah, yum,’ and then I went to get the rest of the stuff on your list.” 
I wait for Chrissy’s comment, but she’s silent.  Surprised, I glance over at her and laugh—she’s staring at me with her mouth open.  “What?”
“You just left? You didn’t even smile at him or anything?”
“Uh, no.  Why would I?”
She rolls her eyes.  “Oh, Bree.  I guess I have to spell it out for you.  He.  Was.  Flirting.”
I burst out laughing. “Yeah, sure he was.  Over the yucca root.  Riiiiiight.”
She waves her hand.  “Not the most romantic place, I’ll admit, but he was improvising.”  Turning back to her chopping, she mumbles, “I wonder who it was?  You said he was muscular and tall?”
I nod, closing my eyes to picture him. “He had brown hair.  Kind of wavy, but not long.  Just sort of shaggy, I guess.  And green eyes.”  Really nice, piercing green eyes.  I shake my head.  If I say that out loud, Chrissy will hound me to death.  She might even go hunt the guy down.
“And you thought they were football players from Park?”
“They kind of looked familiar.”
Chrissy sighs.  “What am I going to do with you, Bree?  You have to pay attention.”
I snort.  “I was paying attention—to what I was there for.”
She shakes her head and finishes chopping the vegetables.  I help her arrange them on a tray and pour some dipping sauces into bowls.  She starts putting frozen taquitos on a pan while I carry the tray out to the table.
I nod at a few people who say hey as I walk by.  It’s so weird for everyone to know my name when I only know a few because I’ve only been here a little over a month.  Shaking my head, I set the tray on the table.  Chrissy had laughed at me for suggesting a veggie tray, but given the way a bunch of people descend on it as soon as I step back, I’m not the only person who likes a little variety in the normal, greasy party fare.
Glancing up, I notice the ice bucket is almost empty.  I turn around to get more and run smack into a large, muscled chest. 
“Sorry!” I say, lifting my gaze to see who I bumped into.  “Oh.”  Holy crap, it’s the guy from the store.
His green eyes spark with humor as they meet mine.  “Nice running into you again,” he says.  “I didn’t get to introduce myself earlier.  I’m Brian.”
“Uh, Bree,” I say.  Oh jeez I feel like an idiot.  “I, uh, need to get some more ice.”  My cheeks feel like they’re on fire.
“I’ll help,” he says, turning and gesturing me through the doorway back to the kitchen.
I cringe, but lead the way.  I do not want to think about what Chrissy will say when she sees Brian.
Increasing my pace as I enter the kitchen, I hurry over to Chrissy and whisper in her ear.  “He’s here—right behind me.”
“Who?” she asks, turning.  Then her eyes widen as Brian saunters in, leaning his hip against the doorframe. 
“Hey, Chrissy.  Did Pete bring the extra food in here yet?  We grabbed a few things at the store before we came.”
“Yeah, thanks,” she says, then throws a mischievous glance my way.  “I heard you guys were at the store.”
The corners of his mouth creep up, and he turns his gaze to me.  “You did, did you?”
My cheeks must be the color of the strawberries Chrissy is cutting up.  “Chrissy…”
But she goes on, just like I knew she would.  “So.  Brian.  You can settle an argument for us.”  Her eyes twinkle.  “Bree ran into a guy at the store who sounded an awful lot like you.”
He nods, still staring at me.  I can’t look away, even though I feel like running and hiding.
“She told me about an exchange they had, and I told her he was flirting, but she doesn’t believe me.”  Chrissy is full-out grinning now.
My heart is pounding, and I have to lean against the counter.
“Oh, he was definitely flirting,” he replies.
Holy shit.
Chrissy nods.  “That’s what I thought.  Bree, why don’t you and Brian go get a drink.  I’ve got the food.”
Brian holds his hand out to me, and without even meaning to, I take it.  As he leads me back to the table where the drinks are, I turn back to glare at Chrissy.  She just grins at me, and I find myself grinning back.