Monday, November 30, 2009

We Wish You a Query Christmas. (Not Really).

There's nothing merry about querying around the holidays. I keep finding blogs that say it's a terrible idea. Okay, not "terrible," in that exact word, but agents who blog are nice, and nice people aren't going to say, "Stop querying, you dummy. Wait until after the holidays." 

Agents see the tinsel, too. It makes them want to creep out of their slush-filled caves and have a little holiday cheer. Their families, friends, and associates are having parties and get-togethers. They (probably) like to read-- not manuscripts-- but published books they don't have to edit, with a mug of hot chocolate, wearing cheesy holiday gifts like Snuggies and cozy socks (Old Navy had cozy socks on sale last week... sooo comfy!). In any case, they are just like you and me! Or maybe just like me, and I definitely don't take subbing jobs around the holidays. It's just too crazy. I'm too busy! (Sorry Ms. X, your class is awesome and I'm sorry you've got bronchitis, but I have all this holiday cheer going on!).

You still may not believe me. I have to admit, I hadn't thought about it before. So, in an effort to help out my writerly Followers, here are reasons not to query until after January:
  • NaNo writers. Not you guys... you guys used NaNo as a jump start to your novel, or to finish a novel, or even to polish up a novel you'd already written. I'm talking the crazy kind of NaNo writer, as soon as they hit fifty thousand words, is writing up query letters to send to agents, without one moment's revision. And if that's you, I mean no offense. Maybe you'll prove me wrong. But you might want to check out what agents think on the subject:
  • NaNo writers. Again. This time, you guys! Yes, the hardworking writer who used NaNo to revise and polish up that existing novel. Now it's ready-- really ready-- and lots of you are sending out those query letters, adding to agents' already high slush, and mixing yourself in with the crazy NaNo types.
  • Writers have time to query. It might seem like a weird reason, but with time off, writers who have been putting off querying finally have the time to sit down and research agents. This means, all those writers who finally have time to query are adding themselves to that NaNo slush pile, (the slush pile that might have also become an agent's "let me race through this so I can get to that holiday party" pile). Here's Nathan's take on it:
  • Agents would rather us wait. If you aren't convinced, read for yourself: 

So for anyone who didn't think about all this and sent out queries recently, have some cookies. Or pie. Pie is big around this time of year. And hey, I'm sure some of you will find exceptions to this, and agents who are asking for NaNo work in December. Here's one:

What do you think? Are you going to query against all odds? Will January be just as bad, with New Year's resolution-types filling agent inboxes? Does it even matter when we send out our queries?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reasons to Celebrate: It's Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Yes, no surprise to some of you, I took the kids to Disneyland this week. There were no Thanksgiving-themed decorations, so I give you Mickey in all his holiday cuteness.

Is anyone else COMPLETELY swamped this week? I keep sending my kids' school the stinkeye, because their school made this entire week a holiday. Aren't we frazzled enough trying to get all this holiday magic to happen-- especially those of us with "people" coming over-- without having bored kids fighting and arguing all the live-long day? I'm in favor of school. a) It's educational, b) they have people with whistles to break up arguments (maybe that's what I need. A whistle...), and c) the kids come home mentally exhausted-- PLUS school sends homework to keep them busy at home. I miss sending them to school. Yay for Mondays! (Can you just see my kids' glaring faces as I cheer them off to school?).

But this is Thursday, and as loyal followers might know, we do happy shiny shout outs on Thursdays-- woot woot! Here are some of mine:
  • It's Thanksgiving! There will be pie. Oooh, is anyone else in favor of a backwards Thanksgiving? It could be an all-pie feast! With turkey and green bean casserole for dessert. I don't know about you all, but by the time we roll out dessert, everyone is so full they say things like, "I couldn't possibly have pie-- oh, maybe a sliver." I'm ready to cut to the chase. Give me the pie first and I'll have a sliver of turkey.
  • A Rejection-Free Disneyland Day! Some of you may know about my Rejection-at-Disneyland, (it isn't a very long piece of backstory, but click HERE if you want to reminisce with me... ahh, good times). This may be the only downside, and I mean ONLY downside to Blackberry: mobile rejections. However, once you've taken the big R standing in line at the Happiest Place on Earth, you can pretty much roll with ANY rejection and keep moving forward. So I say, Blackberry rocks! (See? Notice it's still positive. It counts-- neeners).
  • A Surprise Party! Surprise birthday parties for adults are so awesome. My good friend's party was last weekend and I think my favorite part was the moment right BEFRORE the unsuspecting birthday girl walked through the door, where all these adults hid and giggled like little kids. It's so rare to see adults with genuine joyful gleams in their eyes. (Psst. Hey good friend, [who reads this blog but has never set up an account to become a Follower. That's okay, it's cool] you're getting a blog post mention! Yes, it took me long enough, but I couldn't find a way to work in sweet bread and coffee mornings. The surprise party was golden).
Okay everybody, don't be shy. What happened in the last week that made you smile?  Share your good news! No announcement too small! No exclamation point too over-the-top!!!!! If it made you smile it's worth sharing, because positivity is what the Coaster is all about. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giveaway Winner Announcement (finally)!

I hope everyone had fun entering the Maze Runner Giveaway. I loved all the made-up words and poems and other creative entries. You guys are so awesome!

Last night I used my best matharmatics and tallied up all the splendiocious entries. This morning I put them all on slips of paper... and it wasn't until about halfway through writing all the names that I realized I didn't HAVE to put everyones FULL name down on the slips of paper (hello!!!). It's not like the Giveaway Police are going to come gallapaloozaCruisin around, full of snarkiliciousness (you know how those Giveaway Police are), saying, "Holy shnikey, this is an outrage! The name on the slip should read 'Emily,' not 'Em.' You'll have to start over." Anyway, I have to admit I'm glad the giveaway is finally over. I need to watch a good grawflik and have some cococroissants.

Sesquipedalian might be pulling her hair out... anyway, enough of my yapping. There's a winner to announce!!

Congratulations Girl with One Eye

Interestingly, Laura actually had the most entries with ten total, including her extra bonus for being the one with the most entries. Girl with One Eye was up there too, with seven entries, and I drew her name, (actually, I just drew the letter "G" because I had figured it out by then) and I am so excited to send out The Maze Runner!

Thanks again for playing along, or joining in the comment fun, or for just lurking. I hope you had fun, and I really hope Girl with One Eye puts up a review for The Maze Runner... it'll be fun to see if she likes it as much as I did :)

And the Winner is...

...going to be announced soon! It's taking me a lot longer to get this raffle drawing organized than I thought it would! All these names on little pieces of paper... sorry, it's my first giveaway. If anyone's done it before and has a better way, let me know! I feel like I'm writing everyone's names like spelling words. Except I'm not crying at the dinner table, an hour past bedtime while my mom yells at me to hurry up and finish.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Giveaway and Flashy Fiction

Before anything else, don't forget to enter The Coaster's First Book Giveaway if you haven't already!

In other news, I flashed today. That's right, flash fiction!



“You know, they invented a word for guys like him.”

“Yeah, a few words,” Carmy said. 'Hot,' 'chiseled,' even 'dreamy' came to mind. It showed how good a guy looked if she was using kitschy words like dreamy. She exhaled long and slow before biting the rubber mouthpiece of her snorkel.

“And I don’t like the way he’s looking at you.”

This was enough to bring her focus back to Justin. She yanked out the snorkel. “Since when do you care the way a guy looks at me? All you and Ricky care about is football practice and playing Madden.”

“Since… never. It isn’t you, I just hate when guys look at girls like that. In general.” Justin glanced at her as he swished spit and ocean water around in his snorkel mask.

Was there something wrong with the plastic lens of her mask? A wave lapped up, gentle as it poured over her legs, and for a second she thought she read something in his dark, spike-lashed gaze.

“Hello,” a voice said.

Carmy blinked up. Mr. Dreamy was standing right beside her, casting a shadow over Justin.

“Hey,” she said. Rock-hard body alert! Water droplets clung to the guy, each one an invitation to keep staring.

“I am Miguel,” he said, offering his hand.

Carmy took it and stood. “I’m Carmy,” she said. Stop staring, she told herself. And lifting her mask might be good. She smiled big. “It’s Carmen, actually.”

Justin stood up, too. “Come on, Carmy,” he said. “Your parents are waving us over.”

“No they aren’t--”

“Who is this?” Miguel asked.

Carmy unclenched her teeth. “My parents let me and my brother each bring a friend for vacay.” She glared at Justin and added, “This is just Justin. And he was just leaving.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“What’s that supposed to--”

But he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her up so close she lost her breath. His lips were close enough to hers that she felt his breath as he asked, “What do you think it means?”

I have the kids home all week long, so forgive any frazzled posts. Happy Monday everyone! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Still Unplugged!

Hi all! I'm still Unplugged, mostly. Wendy is keeping me in the loop of what's going on in the blog-world. I also started Pride and Prejudice and Zombies... LOVE it!!

If you haven't had a chance to enter the Coaster's First Ever Giveaway, the deadline is Tuesday November 24th at midnight, the prize is a copy of The Maze Runner, and you can enter HERE

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shh, I'm cheating.

I won't tell if you won't, but... I'm putting up a blog post-- SHH!!! Dude, I'm still unplugged! I just had to share this incredible link of how the bloggy and tweety Debra L. Schubert just accepted an offer of representation from Baker's Mark Literary Agency. Thank you Wendy for sharing this, it's inspiring (unless you get choked by jealousy. Then don't read it). The lesson for me is, query widely. If you all knew how unwidely I query you would want to shake me. Seriously people, it's bad. But at least each query I send is tailored specifically to each agent. I query only out of love.

Okay, unplugging again and entering my cave of solitude. If you need me throw up a comment. I can reply through my Blackberry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Unplug Week- Are You In?

I'm late on the draw here, but did you guys know monthly Unplug Week starts on the third Monday of every month? I found out about this fabulous idea from the lovely B.J. Anderson's Blog.
Here is what she says on the topic:

If you get tired of networking and need a break, join me for Unplug Week. It starts the third Monday of each month and it's a chance to just write. Go ahead and check your emails once or twice a day or anything else that will stack up while you're gone, but after that, turn off your computer and go write. Unplugging means no blogging, facebooking, myspacing, twittering, or anything else that keeps you from writing. Good luck and happy writing! 

I'm semi-participating-- as in, I'm still checking my email and replying to blog posts (there's no way I'm unplugging my Blackberry!) I just won't be posting anything new. I realize I'm posting something new now, which contradicts the concept, but to quote the great pirate Captain Barbossa: 

"The code is more what you call guidelines than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner!"

So if you want, adapt the rules to suit your needs and free up some time to write! For those of you who aren't ready to pull the plug, even a little, have you entered the Coaster's First Ever Giveaway? See the post below. Also, here are some links full of enjoyability:


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book Giveaway! The Maze Runner

**Comments are now closed! Thanks to all
who entered the giveaway!!**

No Book Talk today... I haven't read anything this week, and yeah, I could do a Book Talk about an old favorite but here's another idea...

In honor and appreciation of reaching fifty Followers,
and because I want to pay forward the fact that 
I won this book in The Literary Girls Book Giveaway,
everyone is welcome to join in

The Coaster's First Ever Book Giveaway!

The winning entrant will receive a copy of 
The Maze Runner by James Dashner

For my vague and gushing blog about this exciting book, click HERE. For actual reviews of the book, go HERE to read Jessica's or HERE to read Mary's. I still think it was fun reading it "blind," from page one, with no idea what it was going to be about.

International, national, natioregional, regional, wherever you are is fine. Future giveaways, if any, may be more geo-restrictive depending on how much it ends up costing me to ship out a book, but for this first giveaway the party is all-inclusive-- yay to inclusivity! (I'm sure it's inclusiveness, but Google says both are actual words so I'm going with it. And I AM a fan of made-up words that could pass as semi-real, so it would have worked either way).

Deadline and Other Rules:
  1. All entries and bonus entries must be posted in the comments section before midnight on Tuesday, November 24th
  2. Bonus entries may be submitted apart from the initial entry, but must be received by the November 24th deadline.
  3. All entries and bonus entries must be posted in the comments of THIS blog post. 
  4. Barring any strange occurrence, the drawing and grand giveaway winner announcement will be held on Wednesday, November 25th

How to enter:
Post a comment with your email.
Please let me know in your comment if you have any bonus entries coming at ya!

Bonus entries!
  • Old Follower +3
  • New Follower +2
  • The Coaster is in your sidebar +2
  • The Giveaway is mentioned on your blog +1
  • The Giveaway is mentioned on a forum or is pimped by you in some other way +1 (no max on the number of pimps)
  • You include a made-up word in your entry +1
  • You have the most bonus points +1
And one more secret bonus point... are you an alliteration aficionado? Haiku-lover? Rhyming wizard? Throw something creative in your comment for an extra entry point (I always liked it when teachers gave extra credit for creativity). Maximum of two creativity bonus points per entrant. Good luck everyone!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Always Reasons to Celebrate

There are reasons to be happy, yes there are. Here are some of mine:
  • I just discovered the Internet Archive, which has many things including primary source documents from Marie Antointette's life. My wip concerns the French Revolution (sort of), and this site with letters, glorious letters, penned by and to this fascinating person, makes my brain feels like a garden that someone just threw Miracle-Gro all over. (Happiness).
  • I went to the ocean yesterday. (More Happiness).
  • Life is good. Really. I live in a free country, I have food in my kitchen and the love of my family and am blessed enough to have extra time (somehow) and can occupy my life with a passion (writing), and that is worth being happy over... at least once a day, anyway.
Is there anything good going on you'd like to share? Share the positivity! Let's spread some good vibes :)

Before I move onto awards I have to give props to Wendy, who left a comment yesterday that makes my non-committal Top Comments E-v-e-r Posted list. Woo hoo Wendy! A gold star for you!

And now...

THANK YOU Natalie from The Sound of the Rain

for the Heartfelt Award
Here are the rules:
1. Display the logo.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs that make you feel comfy or warm inside. 
3. Link to your nominees.
4. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting.
5. Link to the person from whom you received the award.

My award nominations go to the following (I decided to just give one to everyone who replied to my post on Papa's passing. I thought that was very heartfelt of you all, but if you aren't much for awards-- or if you and I have made a pact about not giving awards-- just accept and don't worry about the rules.)

Melane from Chasing the Dream
Bethany from Shooting Stars

I have other awards to catch up on, especially the One Lovely Blog Award from Mary Anne at Starlight Blog. I will soon, I promise! 

In the meantime, Mary Anne from Starlight Blog AND Natalie from Sound of the Rain BOTH gave out the Icing on the Cake Award to all of their followers, and my followers are the icing on the cake too, so I'm doing the same thing. Thank you everyone, and please accept The Icing on the Cake Award, you guys are the sweetest followers ever.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing Winter on a Summer Day

So today I am getting back to my writing. My wip is at a fun point with lots of action, and it will be nice to step into those shoes for a while. 

I remember reading some good advice about painting that I think could apply to writing. Maybe you've heard it before... 

On a blazing hot summer day, an art teacher told his class to paint a snowy winter scene. When the students complained that they couldn't get in a wintery mood on such a hot day, the teacher told them that if they were ever going to be working artists, they must learn to channel their past emotions into current projects. By seeking out their own inner inspiration, rather than waiting for inspiration to strike, they would always find a way to create. After all, if an artist mastered a winter scene during the summer, imagine how effortless it would be to paint a winter scene during the winter.

Applying this to my writing, I  tend to take on my characters' moods and feelings, not the other way around. If I'm feeling angry, I don't need to write an angry scene. I write whatever comes next in my story, and bring out from myself the emotions my characters need. I find that almost right away, I am writing not as myself at all, but as my character. It's incredible and thrilling, and sometimes I don't even know it's happening until I'm interrupted for some reason. I don't need to be in the same mood as my character, because it feels like I've become my character... moods and all. I'm sure other writers can relate. For me, becoming my characters is one of the many reasons why I love and adore writing. 

What about you? Obviously it's easier to write a sad scene if you're already sad, but can you overcome it and write what needs to be written? Even if it's a joyous wedding scene or a powerful first kiss? Is it problematic if the way you feel doesn't match your characters' emotions?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A New Day, Possibly with Chili

Thank you so much for your sweet and touching comments, guys. I never thought when I started blogging I'd end up with a support system for a major life event. Actually I pretty much doubted anyone would read my blog, just another blog out of hundreds of thousands, so thank you for that too. You guys are, as Wendy might say, awesome with a big scoop of awesome on top.

I have nothing really to blog about, other than to say, "I'm here!" Today I've been catching up with laundry mostly. It's nice mindless therapy. Plus it's a familiar old adversary, always there when I need it. 

I'm so not used to blogging like this... without an idea of what I'm blogging about. It's like, real-time, moment-to-moment blogging. Right now, as-I-think-it-blogging. Right now I'm craving chili-cheese fries and a strawberry milkshake; right now I'm listening to my kids play Wii; right now I'm ignoring the enormous pile of clean clothes that needs folding; right now I'm texting my little sister-in-law about my craving for chili cheese fries and a strawberry shake; right now I'm happy that she's back from the East Coast because she brings my "friends who read books" count up to two people; right now I'm contemplating going to visit my little sister-in-law with a condolence offering of chili cheese fries and a strawberry shake. 

What's everyone else doing right now (besides being bloggerific)? In case you don't tell me, I shall guess...
  • You are thinking about your wip
  • You are procrastinating something... like a school assignment, your wip, or housework
  • You are watching Temptation Island, The Littlest Groom, or some other form of Reality TV/Junkfood for the Mind. If you want, check out this LINK to the fifteen worst reality shows ever made... Can you hold your head up high and say you've never seen a single episode of any of them? Sadly, (*sigh*), I cannot.
  • You are being a Super Mom. I am proud to say I am not! Check out Shelli's hysterical blog on this at Market My Words and you'll see why :)
  • You are eating chili cheese fries and having a strawberry shake (I'm so jealous)
Thanks again you awesome people you :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


When I was sixteen

My boyfriend was “The One”

Handsome, smart, respectful,

He also was your son


You were a caring father to us both

Watching our love and lives progressing

And when your son proposed to me

You gave us both your blessing


The years ahead brought grandchildren

You thought them all so clever

Until the doctors told the news

That changed our lives forever


There should have been a cure

But Papa, they couldn’t make you stay

We watched you take your final breath

And God took you away


Your suffering is over now

But you didn’t want to go!

And we can’t hear your happiness

As you watch our children grow


God took you for some golden purpose

At the age of fifty-seven

But my heart can’t understand

Why you must watch us from heaven