Sunday, February 27, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge

I was bouncing around in the blog-sphere and found something completely awesome. It is something that will take up the entire month of April (minus Sundays) and I am so super excited about it. I can't wait. The "blogfest" can be found here. It is the A to Z blogging Challenge done over on Tossing It Out by Arlee Bird. I'm already trying to plan all this out. The idea is to make a post everyday (again, with the exceptions of Sunday) with the theme being around the letter of the day. I really hope I can keep up, as we're all familiar with my ability to be consistent.

The idea is, I'm going to try to keep each letter centered around something to do with writing. Should get pretty interesting with those odd letters (I'm looking at you X and Z). But that's the plan.

Either way, I'm very excited and I hope all of you will keep me motivated. If you're doing it also, leave me a comment, let me know what kind of ideas you have! Are you already planning it out? Feeling the pressure? I can't wait.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Entry: Pay-it-forward Blogfest

So, I'm a day late (shame on me, my own blogfest and all) but I suppose, its better late than never.

The scenes I'm posting gives a couple examples of paying it forward, almost a cause and effect thing, although, probably not in a way that most people would consider. It comes from Joanna, one of my favorite human-hating vamps with a bad attitude. She has just robbed a bank, and her "protector," the werewolf Jude has already called and warned her not to or there would be consequences. So, here's the scenes.

Scene #1

Her phone rang. She had bought a new one letting the old one die in the accident. She picked it up without looking at the number. “Hello?”

“Joanna, I can’t believe you. When are you going to stop acting like a child?”

“Hi, Jude. Why do you have to call and ruin my good mood?” She smiled as she flipped through another stack.

There was a short pause on his end. “You want me to ruin your good mood? Fine. You come to me and I won’t call the police with helpful information.”

“You’re bluffing.” She froze.

“Am I?” he challenged.

“You’re going to pay for this,” she snarled.

“We’ll see about that.”

“Where are you?” she sighed, putting the money back into the briefcase.

“Minneapolis. You have forty-eight hours.” The line clicked dead.

Joanna sat the phone down next to her on the bed. She clenched her fists into balls and took a deep breath. She wanted to scream and break something—mostly Jude—but the hotel room wasn’t the place. She’d wait until she was in the mountains and destroy a few trees to vent some of her frustration.

She closed the briefcase and made her way from the room to the lobby. She rang the bell at the front desk and turned to stare at the fish tank.

“Can I help you?” the night manager asked.

Joanna turned around and smiled at him. The young man, barely twenty, seemed totally immune to her charm. “I need to check out.”

“Is there a problem with your room?”

“No...” she looked down at his name tag, “Alex. There is a family emergency and I need to go.”

“Oh. Well, let me get you out of here, then,” he replied. “What’s the room number?”

“Six twenty-three.” She slid the key across the counter.

“And your name for security purposes?” He smiled politely.

“Josie Carpenter.”

His brown eyes glanced down to the monitor in front of him. “Thank you, Miss Carpenter. I hope you enjoyed your stay and have the opportunity to do so again in the future.”

Joanna nodded at him and turned for the door. The door opened as she reached for the handle and the officer waiting on the other side held it for her.

She waited until she was three blocks away before flipping her phone open and dialing Jude’s number.

“Hello?” A man’s voice came from the other end. It flowed smoothly—he was a vampire.

“Is Jude there?” she asked, keeping her tone light.

“Yes, just a moment.” She listened to him call for Jude before returning. “Is this Joanna?”

“Yes,” she answered. Her eyes narrowed.

“Jude said you would be visiting us soon. It will be nice to meet you.”

“Right.” Joanna scowled.

“Here’s Jude.”

She waited while the phone changed hands.


“Jude, I’m going to kill you,” she hissed.

“Oh, come on. You didn’t get caught. Though, it probably would have done you some good,” he mocked.

“I barely made it out the door, you stupid mutt.” Her voice jumped an octave. She was darting through alleys now. She ducked behind a dumpster as blaring sirens came closer.

“Yeah, and if you hadn’t made it out the door, you’d just’ve jumped out a window or over a few roofs. You ain’t fooling me.”

Scene #2
The sun was just behind the trees when she suddenly felt the need to check around her. She scanned the river banks and stopped at the man standing by the branch with her clothes.

“Shit,” she mumbled. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough.” He grinned. His voice was deep and serene. It wasn’t unpleasant like most humans’.

“You know I’m going to have to kill you now.” She smiled back, unable to resist.

He shrugged. “You’ll have that.”

Joanna studied him for a moment. His olive complexion made his hazel eyes stand out. His dark mahogany hair was shaved close on the sides of his head but strands stuck out from under his camouflage hat. His hard nose contrasted his soft, full lips. His lip and ears were pierced. He was tall and lean and carrying a rifle.

“What are you doing out here?” Joanna asked.

“You know. Hunting... enjoying the scenery.” He chuckled.

Joanna rolled her eyes and shook her head. Great! A smartass. “You think you could be a pal and turn around until I’m dressed?”

“Why? I’ve already seen it all.” Another smile tugged at his lips.

“Ugh. What ever.” She took her time swimming back to the shore, trying to appear human. When she walked out he didn’t look away. He didn’t look down either, choosing to look at her face, instead.

“Are you an angel or something?” he asked, his eyes narrowed slightly.

“Or something,” she declared. “Why do you ask?”

“You’re too god damn gorgeous to be human and I have never smelled anything as good as you come out of water.” He looked away before he finished. Joanna watched his eyes cloud and wondered what he was thinking.

Her eyebrows rose after she put her blouse on. “I think you messed that up.

He turned back, his eyes smoldered. “What do you mean?”

Joanna pursed her lips and shrugged. “I thought it was like, ‘Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?’”

They both stared at each other for a moment and then burst into laughter. Neither spoke again while Joanna finished dressing.

“So, my name is Jackson,” he offered.

Joanna nodded.

“That’s when you’re supposed to say, ‘nice to meet you Jackson. My name is...”

“Is it now?” Joanna looked away.

“Or not... So, what are you doing out here?”

“That’s not really any of your business.” Her guard went up.

Jackson nodded slowly. “So, is my time up? I have a gun if you’d like...” he trailed off.

Joanna sighed. “If you leave now, I think I’ll spare you. This time.”

His face lit up. “Is that right?”

“Before I change my mind,” Joanna warned.

“Right. Well, it was nice to meet you.” He held his hand out to shake hers. She accepted reluctantly and both gasped when their skin touched. His felt like fire and she knew hers was barely warmer than the water.

He hesitated for a moment. “So, yeah. Until next time.”

“In your dreams.”

“Definitely.” He winked at her and turned away.

Alrighty! That's that. I know there's a lot of before and after, with one example of Jude calling the cops (bad, at least bad for Joanna) and the cop holding the door open for her (though that's not really a good thing, either). She ends up repaying that kindness by letting a lone hiker live later on. Not to mention, I really love that scene between Joanna and Jackson.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On An Off Note... (1st)

All I ever talk about on the blog is the writing. It's fun and great and everything, but sometimes, I just don't want to talk about writing. Not to mention, if it weren't for the things that happen every day, I would have nothing to write about to begin with. I wouldn't have two finished (but not polished) novels, or dozens of others started. So, I'm starting a post called "On An Off Note"

It's not something I'm really planning for posts, but I've decided whenever I have something I find interesting to fill some space, I'm going to share it. You can completely ignore these posts if you want. (Although, I would be thrilled if you didn't ignore them...)

So, today I want to share something with you fantastic readers. This week was the first time I had wine.

Let me say, first of all, I have always wanted to try wine (and while I know champaigne is a type of wine, I don't count that). The way I saw it, the people who drank wine were classy, sophisticated, and grand. I wanted to be like that. Of course, that was some time ago. These days (being legal drinking age, and all) I realize there is a wine for everyone. Sure it may not be the highest quality, but nonetheless. So, we picked up some merlot to go with our dinner and that was that.

Now, for those of you who have never had wine before, I don't suggest you start off with something as robust as Merlot. WOW. And don't drink it too fast. It doesn't sound good when you say you got trashed on wine.

All in all, I think I will continue with the wine. I'll keep trying different types, and all that. So, that's it for now!

Tuesday's Blog Spotlight

Here we are again, with the Blog Spotlight. I will give you the link and the info about one of my faves!

Remember, if you'd like to be one of my Blog Spotlights, leave me a comment or send me an email.

Without further ado... This week's Blog Spotlight!

Seeking The Write Life

Blog Created by: Aimee L Salter

What can you find there?

This blog was created by a writer for other writers. She has great advice for each step in the process of writing. Trying to come up with a concept, she has tips to help you on your way. Trying the self edit route? She's got an entire series of posts for you. And they're all amazingly helpful and easy.

Interesting Things to find there:

One of the coolest things I've seen on Aimee's blog is the Twilight Debate. It wasn't just a couple posts for or against, it was a week's worth of posts beginning with your take on Stephenie Meyer and her success and then the for and against the messages in the book. It was very thurough.

Why I love it:

There is just so much info. If there is anything, as a writer, that you need help with, she's sure to have a post (or five) about it. And she does it in a way that makes it easy to understand a follow through on.

If you haven't checked out Aimee's blog yet, you need to head over there ASAP. Again, here's the link. When you're finished over there, pop back over and tell me what you thought. If you've already been over there, you should leave a comment about what you thought so other's will know. Thanks much. And that's it for this week's Blog Spotlight.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Synopsis Troubles

So, for the last few days I have been scouring the interenet. First thing I looked for was how to write a query letter and how to do it well. What do I need to include, what's going to get me thrown into the rejection pile quicker than... well, something really fast.

That all went fine and well. I have my query letter nailed down, the only thing I'm still tweaking is the tid bit about the story. And I'll have that part figured out here in a few minutes. Usually the first thing I write with a story is that very thing that ends up in the query letter about the book.

But does it hold that I'm done with this and can start sending these letters out. Well, no. There's still a lot I need to do. I have started researching my possible agents. My John Herman's reference book is great! But man, it is disheartening to see that so many agents are against the sci-fi genre... Moreso, there are quite a few agents are very vague about what kind of book they want. I found myself searching the WWW for the difference between literary and commercial fiction... :: sigh ::

Sadly, that isn't even my biggest problem. So many of them want (wait for it) a synopsis! (Insert dread soundtrack here) It feels so wrong to give away the whole story in summary form. I find myself stomping my foot and shaking my head, saying, "I WON'T DO IT AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" Yeah, I can be a bit dramatic at times...

Anyway, that's what I'm wracking my brain with today. Synopsis, ugh.

Tomorrow, I have a blog spotlight for all of you. I just need to find the URL again. So, there's that! I'll catch you all later!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Where have I been...

Agh! I disappeared again! What's wrong with me? :: facedesk ::

Actually, I've had a really busy week. All last week I was patiently watching USPS trackers to find out when my new books would come in. Oh there were quite a few, too. I so rarely splurge the way I did at the beginning of last week. I got the Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures as a reference book for a series I plan to write in the next couple years. I've peeked around in it, and its fabulous. Also, I bought "The Princess Bride: S Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure" which I just finished reading followed by, that's right, the movie. I also got a couple others.

The first book which I read straight through (took me all night, didn't make for good work the next morning) is "You Might Be a Zombie: And Other Bad News." This book, which I would not really call a story, is a series of articles from the team of writers over at The book includes things like "Six Cute Animals That Will Destroy You," "Five Ways Your Brain is Screwing With Your Head," and of course, five things scientists say will lead to the Zombie Apocolypse. If you've never checked out, I encourage it, and the book was hilarious and very insightful. I think I may get an extra copy and give it away in the future. (Hint Hint)

The final book I got was "Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times Into the Best of Times" Again, this book was hilarious! The book goes through everything from food (recipes included) to clothing, to making that cave or bunker look like a home. There are constant references to other chapters and tons of footnotes. I loved it, and moreso, I loved that it was in full color. Every page is unique and it just adds to it. Another great read, and something you should get before its too late. Who knows how you'll fare when the Ape Overlords are telling us what to do. :D

Of course, that isn't all I've done this week. With my novel being done, I found a site that would print it for me (at a decent cost, too) and send me a couple copies. So I did that. Why? Well, its easier for me to see problems in a BOOK. Looking at the computer screen, it all starts to blend together. I found, my book isn't really done yet, there are still some mistakes I can't believe I missed. It sucks, but I'm not detered. Also, the boyfriend has been wanting to read it since I finished it, and now he finally has the chance (really hoping he misses the mistakes I've found, though) and not only that, but it gives him some pretty decent bragging rights too. So, theres that.

All in all, I got six books on Monday, and I've finished every last one of them. One even got added to my Comfort Reading List.

So, that's that. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled stuff by Sunday (have to work tomorrow and rest on Saturday) and am super excited about the upcoming short story contest and blogest in the next couple weeks!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Novel Update!

"A Place Called Earth" is finished. I am happy with it. For me, that's big news! It is ready for submission, and I bought myself a copy of John Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. I guess that means I'll be working on my query letter now. Hee hee.

So, the plan is, I'm going to query like mad. I'll give it a year, if I don't manage to find an agent or publisher interested, I'm going to go the self publish route. And when that happens... I'll let you all know.

Well, that's about it. I don't have much to say for once. I do have a few reminders, though.

I could still use some ideas for what to give the winner of the 50 follower giveaway. Let me know. The link is on the sidebar, and you can view the post here.

If you would like to be a part of my blog spotlight on Tuesdays (or every other Tuesday, if I don't have enough blogs to spotlight...) you can email me, or check the post, also on my sidebar or here.

And last but not least, the "Pay-it-Forward" blogfest is going on for another two weeks. The details are in the Pay-it-Forward post. There is also a link to the post on my sidebar. Don't forget to sign up for it in the Mr. Linky box so we can all check out your post on the 23rd!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Little Contest

For a while now, I've been toying with the idea of doing a contest. I haven't really been sure what I've wanted to do, though. Tonight the idea hit me. When I was a member of WDC, I ran a contest called the Paint a Picture contest. Participants of the contest were given a picture as inspiration and then had to write a 500-1000 word story to go along with it.

The idea behind this contest is similar. I have a picture for you, and I want to hear a little story about it. Just not as long (unless you really want to). The story can really be about whatever you want. I'm just giving you a picture to inspire you. Post your story in the comment section for me to read. The deadline is Feb. 24th. The "story" can be in any format, and any length. It can be two sentences or 600 words. You could even do a poem if you want!

On the 24th, I will go through the posts and pick my favorite. Obviously there should be a little technical merit involved, so I'll be looking at things like spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The winner will get a post devoted to their awesomeness showcasing their story, an award to post on their blog (or where ever they want) and the bragging rights to go with it, and maybe a little something else in the mail (if they're cool with emailing me their address).

Here's your picture!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Announcing a blogfest!

I really miss doing blogfests, but I can't seem to find any going on in the blogosphere right now. So, I was thinking to myself today, if you can't find any, you should start one! Yay! I'm doing a blogfest!

I'm a little excited about this, in case you couldn't tell. I got the idea today from the boyfriend. He stepped on the puppy's foot and said that he was just giving it to her in advance for all the times she'll do it to him once she's grown up.

So, what's it going to be this time, Haley Jo?

Here it is: Introducing the

Pay-it-forward Blogfest!

Now, for the details.

You have until February 23rd to post a scene (either from scratch or something you already wrote) to your blog that deals with paying it forward. How your characters do so (good or bad) is up to you. I'm looking forward to some really interesting entries here. When the day of the blogfest arrives, everyone on the list will go around and read all the scenes and tell everyone how awesome they did! Sounds like fun, right? I think so.

So, if you would like to join in on the "Pay-it-forward Blogfest" all you have to do is fill out the little form at the bottom. If you would like, you can also spread the word by tweeting about the blogfest and where people can join, or even posting about it on your blog with a link to here!

Good luck, everyone. I can't wait to read your posts!

Blog Spotlight--Labotomy Of A Writer

Welcome to my new weekly feature. If you decide that you like this, or would like to have your blog spotlighted sometime, leave me a comment or email and let me know! As this is week #1 of the Blog Spotlight, I should probably explain the process to you. These are blogs that I've found (or been led to) that I absolutely adore. For you twitter addicts like me, it is much like #FollowFriday or #WriterWednesday, only its on Tuesday, and its about the blog.

And onto the Blog Spotlight!

Labotomy Of A Writer

Blog owned by Anastasia V. Pergakis

Anastasia is a powerhouse with the writing and blogging. She works on two other blogs aside from this one, not to mention she is in the business of helping writers hone their craft. The woman is super busy, and she still manages to keep it all together. If that isn't enough of a reason to check out her blog, then let me give you some more!

On her blog you will find tons of randomness from her day. A recent post talked about how the Princess Bride and publishing were similar. A lot of posts are dedicated to helping writers. She had an entire series of posts dedicated to world building and character building. Anastasia will write about anything to do with writing. So if you are, like me, a writer, you need to check her out.

I love her site. The color is beautiful, as are the graphics, everything is laid out nicely. You can breeze through the posts getting an idea of what's in there, or read them in detail. You can find out what she's up to, and usually what others in the blogosphere are up to, as well.

There hasn't been one time that I visited her blog and not ended up giggling. She's awesome. As one of my first teachers at WDC, she has always super helpful, even lacking sleep. I swear she's a superhero, and you'll love her, so go check her out!

Tell me if you've already been to Anastasia's blog. Leave me a comment. What did you think? Would you recommend people see her blog? What do you like about it?