Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Update Starting with Punk Dog

Tango's New Haircut
"Let's walk the Mohawk."

I took my crazy-haired terrier-chihuahua mutt to the groomers for a cool 'do, and I think he rocks it well. 

I was at Petco, so while I waited for Tango "The Rug" to get buzzed, I perused the lizards. The Chameleon's were my favorite...so funny! One rushed to the glass and seemed very sociable. I don't know much about lizards, but I do love the look of their skin.

Chameleon #1

Chameleon #2

Chameleon #2
Close-up

I would feel remiss if I didn't post my latest flower picture from my garden...

Hydrangea Blossom

 ...and to give a short update on what's happening in the writer's den:

* Book #2, Will's story (cover and title coming out soon): the copy editor is exactly half way done. Once the manuscript is complete--probably in August--I am planning to upload it to Kindle Scout to see what happens. Why not? It might be worth exploring.

* The first book I ever wrote and completed was a late chapter book/early middle grade read. I'm making some edit touch ups then will figure out some illustrations before self-publishing. I wrote it for my kids, and they're at the perfect age now to enjoy it.

* I'm also working on a third young adult romance but haven't made much progress. My gray matter is churning away at chapter four.

* The PNWA 2016 conference is coming up next week! It's big, and I heard it's intense, too. I'm a little nervous...four days of mingling...ugh! But I have my business cards printed, and I'm ready as I'll ever be!




An Update Starting with Punk Dog

Tango's New Haircut
"Let's walk the Mohawk."

I took my crazy-haired terrier-chihuahua mutt to the groomers for a cool 'do, and I think he rocks it well. 

I was at Petco, so while I waited for Tango "The Rug" to get buzzed, I perused the lizards. The Chameleon's were my favorite...so funny! One rushed to the glass and seemed very sociable. I don't know much about lizards, but I do love the look of their skin.

Chameleon #1

Chameleon #2

Chameleon #2
Close-up

I would feel remiss if I didn't post my latest flower picture from my garden...

Hydrangea Blossom

 ...and give a short update on book #2. The copy editor is exactly half way done! Once the manuscript is complete--probably in August--I am planning to upload it to Kindle Scout to see what happens. Why not? It might be worth exploring.

The PNWA 2016 conference is coming up next week! It's big, and I heard it's intense, too. I'm a little nervous...four days of mingling...ugh! But I have my business cards printed, and I'm ready to go!




Friday, July 15, 2016

Currently...
Ignoring, Finishing, Judging, Playing, and Snuggling

1.) I'm currently ignoring my garden as shown by the aphids on this overgrown broccoli, which went to bloom. Oh, ladybugs! Where art thou?

2.) I'm currently finishing How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn. I'm done reading it, but need to research my sticky notes before I return it to my writ-crit buddy at our meeting tomorrow. She's critiquing the third chapter of my third young adult romance. Can't wait to see what she has for me.

3.) I'm currently judging a book by its cover. I bought Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith today at the University Bookstore in Bellevue. I don't know what its about, but the cover sure looks cool. Love the artwork.

4.) Today, I played tennis with the family and saw snowberry shrubs with teeny-weeny pink blossoms. It reminded me of being a kid in the Flathead Valley where these grew everywhere.

5.) Tonight, while snuggling with my little Tilly Bean, I couldn't help but admire her underbite. I think she must be camera-shy, because when I pointed my phone at her for a snapshot, she got all freaky-eyed. She's a cutie-pie...honest!

___________________________

"Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams."

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Rebooted eBook Cover

Left: Previous Cover / Right: New Look!

I'm slowly bringing about a new look for Dealing with Blue, starting with the ebook cover! Hello, world!

The paperback has the same "previous cover" look, but will be updated, or rather rebooted (I think that's the latest marketing jargon), when book #2 is ready to publish. Once that happens, I will:
* include book #2's intro chapter at the end of DWB,
* change the width of the spine for the added pages,
* add "Author of book #2" or "Award Finalist" bling at the bottom of the cover,
* yadda, yadda. Suffice it to say, more work is involved, but I'm playing the waiting game.

So, begins the new cover roll out, dribble out...breadcrumbing? Whatever the trendiest buzzwords are, it's in the works!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Currently in July

Independence Day
Stars and Stripes

1.) Yesterday, for the July 4th festivities, I went to my friend's house, and while the kitchen was abuzz with cooking burgers and onions rings, I meandered around her garden and snapped a few pictures. See below:

Ladybug
Polka Dots

Hydrangea
Buds and Blooms

Buddha's Head

Sun-seeker
Tilly Bean

Patriotic Pooch
Tango

2.) We played a very cool game called Codenames, which we ended up buying for ourselves!

3.) We then watched two movies, one I'd never seen before called Book of Life, which I loved! The other was one of my favorite knee slappers, Mrs. Doubtfire. Oh, the laughs. Sigh.


4.) We devoured decadent brownies with gooey middles, which later made me understand the phrase, "death by chocolate," and...

5.) While laying in bed with the caffeinated chocolate jitters, waiting for sleep to take me, I picked up my first Sarah Dessen read off my TBR pile...Someone Like You (circa 2004).

 
_____________________________________

"It's not my job to make everyone happy. That's what chocolate is for."

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Coming Up with a Title

In the beginning, I always title my stories with the character's name(s). As in the case of my debut book, Dealing with Blue, which was originally called "Suzy & J.J." At the time, I saw lots of teen romances with the couples' names on the cover--sort of like Jessica Sorenson's Callie & Kayden, Violet & Luke, Seth & Greyson--so no big deal, was my thinking.

Until I attended a conference at SCBWI a few years back...

At a round table event, I was one of six authors reading my first five pages to one professional, either an agent or an editor, in exchange for some professional wisdom. After I read mine to the group, the agent handed back my manuscript with the words written at the top, "Suzy's name is too old-fashioned." That was it. No further investment necessary. Have a good life.

As an author, you only get one chance to impress and simultaneously unimpress. If an agent, or an editor, or more importantly, a potential reader sees something they don't like...boom. That's it. It's over Johnny. "Suzy & J.J." was a working title, and not one I'd given much thought to. Apparently, this cost me the agent's attention that day.

I wasn't willing to forgo Suzy's name as a character, but I was willing to change the title. Soon after, "Suzy & J.J." turned into "The Pretend Girlfriend." I searched out the title on Google and Amazon, and it wasn't overly used. It was a possibility, but one that didn't resonate with me. It portrayed one aspect of my story, but it wasn't a good representation of the whole.

Gypsy Moth Caterpillar
Book Worm Says...

So I did a little research, and it paid off. Check out the awesome advice!

1.) A title can have hidden meaning, says Writing-World.com.
2.) Make certain your title matches your story, says Writer's Digest.
3.) Character names can work, but another option is to describe them. Check out Miss Literati's advice.
4.) After the book is written, then peruse through plot, theme, characters, and motivations. "...it is simply a question of sorting through [raw material], searching for hidden diamonds," says Novel Writing Help.

And the best one, my favorite, is one I read SOMEWHERE, and now I can't find the source to give credit where credit is due. Natch. If anyone recognizes this gold nugget, please let me know!

5.) The title probably lies somewhere in Act 2, the middle, the 25% - 50% section. If you read, Blake Snyder's book on screenwriting, Save the Cat, he gives the label "fun and games" to Chapter 8. Could what happens around this chapter be the best title ever?

Petco lizards
Act 2

For Suzy & J.J., the middle section, the fun and games, started when J.J. approached Suzy with his pretend girlfriend scheme. That's when things started getting interesting. They'd made a deal. The title, Dealing with Blue also has multiple meanings: it's Suzy's last name, Suzy needs to deal with her mom, her mom needs to deal with the Blue Room, and J.J. is dealing with Suzy.

___________________________

"Writers spend [a lot of time] rearranging 26 letters of the alphabet." ~ Richard Price


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Hat Trick

I'm in Montana with my folks, visiting my grandma in the nursing home, helping out on our acreage, getting my "rural" on...when I received some very good news!

Working on my farmer's tan.

I got an email today from one of my writing friends that said, "Did you see that you're listed as a finalist in YA, too? Hat trick."

Neat Wheat

Here's Google's definition of a hat trick: three successes of the same kind, especially consecutive ones within a limited period. This I already know from reading one of my all time favorite hockey romances: Rachel Gibson's See Jane Score.

Now, I've pulled my own hat trick.

No hats...just new boots.

Back in June, PNWA contacted me with exciting news, letting me know my work is a finalist for the middle grade unpublished category and that Dealing with Blue is a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award.

Today, I've just learned that Will's story (book #2 in the chute) is a finalist in the PNWA Literary Contest for the young adult category. I'm so excited! Especially since PNWA never contacted me regarding this one. 


Wanna dance, Tilly Bean?

The end of July is the PNWA conference where the winners will be announced. Can't wait!
__________________________

"In order to kick ass you must first lift your foot." ~ Jen Sincero

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cool Photo Bomb

While driving down a muddy road, I hailed the driver to pull over ("Hey, Dad. Stop the car.") so I could snap some weed pictures. The thistle plant is ugly but the blooms are beautiful.

Musk Thistle

Wonderful contrasts...brilliant spirals of hot pink against muted greens. Soft fringes against coarse bristles. Flat and orderly petals...then gnarly, twisted leaves.


Soft Fringed Bloom

I wanted to zoom in close to show the soft, fuzzy center when a bee showed up and bombed my image. The wings were crystal clear! Lucky shot.

Bee Bomb!

__________________________
"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us." ~ Ashley Montagu
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