Tuesday, June 28, 2011

200/1000 Followers Book Giveaway

Its GIVEAWAY time, my lovely friends. I officially have over 200 followers on my blog. And. I have over 1000 followers on Twitter. With all the monumental giddiness flooding through my wee being, I feel it’s time for a supercool giveaway for the blessed event of my follower count.

Because I loveth you all to deatheth, I want to give you a chance to win one of the following books:

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
GoodReads: Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
GoodReads: Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.


There will be two winners chosen by randompicker.com. The first person drawn will get first pick; the second winner wins the other book.

Open to domestic U.S. only (sorry, I’ve got to save on postage)

You must be 13 years of age or older

Contest closes on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 3:16 P.M. MST

Comment the following things on this post:

Do you follow my blog? Your picture must appear on the sidebar. (Offer your name as shown on sidebar) +1

Do you follow me on Twitter: @writingjewels1 (Offer your Twitter name) +1

You must tweet and/or blog about this giveaway. (Both would be fabulous, but only one is required) Provide link +1

You must give me your email address (to contact the winners) +1

You must leave a comment on this blog post that makes me giggle (if it doesn’t, I’ll still let you be in the contest. haha) +1

Winners will be announced on Friday, July 15, 2011 on my blog

Everyone, thank you for making this possible! I love sharing my thoughts on my blog about my journey to be published. I especially love tweeting my blah blah blah’s and that people still respond.

Good luck!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inspired to Read

One thing that inspired my writing was reading. Back in 2007, I super got into reading. Nope, I wasn’t a prodigy child who read everything I could get my hands on. It just wasn’t my thing at the time. 

My thing was watching Nick-at-Nite when it REALLY had the good classics like the Dick Van Dyke Show and Get Smart. 

Ok, tangent. I really liked infomercials, too. Back to the point, now.

I can say with complete confidence the Twilight series was the pivotal point where I realized the value of reading. That series opened my mind to the creative power of words. I kept reading other books until I was carrying one in my bag all the time.

So, my grammar/punctuation guru beta said it would take him some time to read my manuscript because he gets sidetracked—just can’t focus on one thing for a long time. Within a week (he told me it would take a month) he’d finished my novel and with rave reviews. The following day he asked me if I had any book suggestions. I asked what he liked to read. He said 1984 was a fav. I instantly knew he’d enjoy a dystopian book. Now he has my copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis in hand.

While I talked to him, he said that my book sort of inspired him to read. Hearing that was like fireworks exploding out of my ears, possibly nose, too. I was beaming and sort of wanted to cry. One of the purposes of my writing is to inspire people to read. It happened to me, and I want it to happen to others.

Words really do have immense power.

I’m glad to say my novel has been an inspiration to someone, and hopefully my other beta’s, too. I hope it can inspire many people to read as well. And I know it WILL be published one day. Look out world; I’m on my way. Uh, or at least to bookshelves.

Which books have inspired you to read? Or for that matter write?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Power of Consistency

Over the last couple days I've been craving the TV show Arrested Development, so on my way home I decided to rent the first season. I planned on writing this blog post as well as writing up my comments from beta-reading for a fellow tweep. At any rate, episode after episode flew by and all I had written was a couple crappy sentences. I promptly deleted them after finishing the first season of the show.

I felt drained, not because I'd written with all my gutts and strength (btw, that's a really good feeling) but because I had wasted valuable time that could've been devoted to my love of writing. I went to bed feeling utterly useless in the realm of my craft.

At any rate, this has been a learning experience for me. I've learned the value of being consistent in writing. I mean consistency in the fact that for a certain amount of time every day I should devote some of my time to writing. This could mean writing a blog post, beta-reading, reading (research for an author), or, yes, writing or editing your very own story.

Here's a little real world example I came up with: When I'm driving, I get into my groove, driving at a consistent speed. Until. Some person (excluding expletives) pulls out in front of me when they obviously don't have enough time to accelerate to my speed. I have to press on my breaks and my groove is thrown off. The car that pulled out symbolically represents the things that distract me from my goal of writing.

I relate this to writing because getting out of the writing groove can and quite possibly will throw off the balance, pulling you out of your zone. Possibly make you feel pathetically worthless as a writer.

The best way to keep going strong in the writing world is to be consistent. Now, I'm the last person to say I'm perfect at this attribute. However, I'm trying and will try even harder now that I've seen the consequence of my lack of writing within a given night.

Now, I work full-time, so the last thing I really want to do is go home and relinquish my evening of relaxation to working again. But. At least writing is super fun--the love of my life. This isn't to say you can't relax or take some time to recoup, just to remember to keep writing a priority in your daily routine.

So, I'm determined to come out of this learning experience with extra vivacity to be more consistent with the things that are important to me when it comes to my career in writing.

Have you had a similar experience? What have you done to get back into the groove of writing?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Something Silly for Your Friday

Today is going to be a silly Friday for me; I can see it now, therefore, I share something silly for your Friday entertainment. I was going to write a pretty cool post about reading, but, alas, I didn't have time to write it last night. I will save that for next Tuesday's post. For now, I present something one of my twitter friends shared with me yesterday.

So without further adieu, I share Ministry of Silly Walks a Monty Python original! haha 

Enjoy your Friday and have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Words Handed Off

I’ve never, ever liked others reading my writing. Ever since I was an elementary school girl, I wanted to throw up with the thought of someone else catching even a glimpse of what I wrote, even if it was just two sentences. Yep, I hid my little talent under a bushel and really lost great opportunities to grow as a writer. In college, I found myself in the same predicament. Yes, I have never let people read my writing . . . until now.

Recently, I’ve handed off my manuscript to a handful of people. I was TERRIFIED and that’s an understatement. I wasn’t just sharing a couple sentences; I was sharing over 70K words. Yet, I’ve become a diehard fan the whole experience. What was I thinking in the past? Seriously, friends, I was stupid. I will never go back to not letting people critique my work. When I am published, tons of people will be reading my books, so I may as well get used to the whole happy routine.

The thing is I’m excited to have people read my story. And. I hope that one day soon, you’ll see it in bookstores. Yep, I am that determined. You know what? Having others read what I write is the best way to get me there. They help me see what can improve, what I’ve overlooked, and encourage me with a happy little pep talk!

Now, I’ve somewhat overcome the horrifying, self-conscious problem of releasing what I write to the public. I’m happy I have because my writing can only get better from here.

FYI: Instead of posting on Tuesday and Thursday, I'll be posting on Tuesday and Friday from here on out. Thanks wonderful followers. *hugs*

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Happy Query Letter

A couple days ago, I wrote a query letter for my novel—my baby. With the help of a couple Tweeps, I’ve tried to make it more polished. Of course, it will probably evolve over the next couple weeks. Perhaps it never will BE perfect. I can sure hope it will be seamless enough to get some requests and, ultimately, an agent and publisher. There IS a lot of weight bearing on this one short letter. The book I’ve worked on for a year and a half now could be shot down or embraced by a few paragraphs. I’m freaking out. But. I’m really, very excited to venture into the agent querying stage of my desperately wanted writing career.

To be honest, I look forward to the rejection letters because I’ll know an agent HAS responded to me. But, in my squealing and giddy ways, with a sheepish grin clothing my face, I’d rather get a nice fat YES from an agent or two, three, maybe four. I won’t be greedy, though. It is what authors dream of at night. Um, I never had that dream, but I’m sure it will come soon.

For all who have written a query letter, I feel your pain, now. After at least one more manuscript edit and another round of beta readers, I hope to be turning that letter in to agents who may or may not take me on as their protégé.

I look forward to this stage and hope I can overcome the obstacles that surely will blow into my life. Uh, like more rejection letters than I’d like to receive. But as the quote at the top of my blog says: “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up . . . published.” – Joe Konrath. So let’s not give up, champs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fahrenheit 451

I’ve been eating up a lot words lately. With work, revising my own book, writing blog posts, tweeting, eating, sleeping, enjoying ice cream, having some sort of social life, twiddling my thumbs, day-dreaming about having my very own puppy, etcetera, I‘ve still been able to read the following books:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Almost finished DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Now that I look at the list, it doesn’t look very long at all. Sigh. But it is was it is and seems like a lot more than I should be able to read under the circumstances. I’ve got to have time to brush my teeth and shave my legs, ya know. TMI all the way! Plus, I'm beta reading for one of my Tweeps. I keep myself busy.

Anywho, I love reading. A lot. It’s a part of my life I could never, ever give up. Which brings me to the audio book I’m listening to: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The premise of the novel is books are outlawed and burned if found. (Pretty Dystopian if you ask me) In the society, thought has been diminished to practically nothing due to the lack of being educated through reading. And the lack of real social interaction. As well as the lack of looking around to see what really is happening in the world. Life’s “happiness” is based around robotic actions that truly won't bring lasting joy.

Its made me think about all the books I have, will have, and currently am devouring. If someone told me I couldn’t own them, read them, enjoy them, what would I do? Would I hide them in my air conditioning shaft? Would I succumb to the maddening law? Part of me says I would give in because I’m a pretty law-abiding individual—except when it comes to the speed limit, of course. Another part of me says I wouldn’t. Couldn’t.

It’s difficult to decide which path I would choose—the one I love or the one I know I’d hate.

Reflecting upon this thought brings me to a decision: I can’t live without books. I can’t live without feasting upon a story that lulls me away to a far away land, driving my imagination wild. Reading has become a large part of me, and I’m not willing to surrender it. I can’t. I won’t. Because I love it too much.

Now I pose the question: What would you do if you found yourself in such a society?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writer's Crash

For the last week or so I've been editing. Outside of work, it was really the only thing I spent my time doing other than sleep--I love my sleep. My zone consisted of my laptop, iPod, some treats, water, and me. All else pretty much fell to the back burner. Social life--what's that? Seriously. 

As you read on my last post, I finished an edit. Clearly that made me way happy. The moment I finished, I felt like my life was pointless, I felt empty, and a sense of doom seeped into my skin. Uh, that ended the very next day. I started beta-reading for fellow tweep. Fun experience, for sure. 

Yesterday, though, as I drove home from work, my body fought me, saying, "You need a break, girl!" Pulling off to my local grocery store, I hit up the Redbox, rented "The Tourist" (been wanting to see that since it came out), and went home. Laying down on the couch with comfy pj's and my favorite blanket, I watched the movie without feeling that much guilt. I crashed. Nope, did nothing to do with writing. 

Ok, I lie, after the movie ended, it was way too early to go to bed, so I dipped back into reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. After about 50 pages and not wanting to stop reading, I went to bed. 

After such a whirlwind editing/revising week, I thought I deserved a break from the happy craziness of writing. 

How about you? Do you give yourself a wee break after a maddening writing binge? Do you crawl up in a ball and watch a movie, or go shopping? Or am I totally alone on this needing a short break? Please, tell me I'm not. haha