Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blogiversary Giveaway Winners

Yesterday was the last day to enter my blogiversary giveaway so today I'm announcing the winners. I've never gotten to do this before and I'm kind of excited. Are you ready?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations, Helen and Michael! I will be contacting you tomorrow about your prizes. I think we'll let Helen pick a book and then Michael. The book not chosen will automatically go to Helen.

Thank you all for entering!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Celebrating the Good Things with a Giveaway

I love New Year's because it feels like you get to start over again. All the mistakes you've made in the last year are packed in a little box and placed on a shelf labeled "Occasional Shameful Nostalgic Thoughts." There are only things to look forward to, the potential productiveness of the upcoming days not yet marred by procrastination and failure.

Blogiversaries sort of have the same implications.

These dates bring forth the possibilities of all the posts you have yet to write and all the things you'll do to have even more to write about. It makes you speculate about all the blogs you'll read, the blogs you'll discover, the people you'll meet through those blogs.

However, with this post I wanted to let speculations of what will happen rest and focus on what has already happened. It's been two years since I first posted on this blog. I've done a lot of things in that time.

I finished my first rewrite of THE LULLABY which was my main goal when I began on this Internet journey. I've completed the first drafts of THINKING OF YOU, SHADOWMAN, and GHOST SISTER plus gotten ideas for plenty of other projects. I've become a two-time winner of NaPoWriMo and wrote a short story almost every week for a year with the Chrysalis Experiment. Three pieces of my flash fiction were published in an anthology called CAMPAIGNER CHALLENGES 2011. I've experienced my first few rejections and started working on my first round of revisions.

What have you accomplished in the past year?

In celebration of these things, I'm hosting a giveaway. I went through my bookshelves and picked out three books for the occasion. They're all been read, but are still in great shape.

Girl Meets Boy edited by Kelly Milner Halls

What do guys and girls really think?

Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of he said/she said stories - he tells if from the guy's point of view, she tells it from the girl's. Stories of love and heartbreak, like the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl and the flipside of the toxic girl who never learns to be loved; a basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; and a gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen, teach that us that relationships become complicated because there are two sides to every story.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets an America Online CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook...but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at their profiles fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates - it's all there. But it's not what they expected. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

The List by Siobhan Vivian

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction - and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paper Mountain Awards (Behind the Scenes)

You come home from work and, flopping down on the couch, flip on your TV. A talk show pops up. It's already about half over. The two interviewees look familiar. You wrack your brain, trying to remember. And then it comes to you. That program you went to see! The Paper Mountain Awards.

The two girls sit on a couch facing the show's host. One is in an all purple shirt and skirt getup. The second is in a grey pantsuit. They're sitting as far apart from each other as they can.

"I've got some questions from your fans in my hand here." The host waves a paper in the air. "How about we answer them?"

Brooklynn sits up straighter and Brooke leans forward eagerly.

"Okay. Michael Offutt asks, 'Who are three of your favorite followers and why? Who do you feel deserves more followers?'"

Both of the girls open their mouths to answer, but the host quickly cuts them off. You can see he's learned from experience how they fight. "Brooke, why don't you answer the first question. And, Brooklynn, you can answer the second."

Brooke's smile nearly splits her face. You can't tell if it's because she's excited about the question, or if she's just happy to get to answer first.

"While we love and appreciate all of our fans, there are a few who stand out. The first that comes to mind is Michael Offutt, who asked this very question. He watches all of our shows, reads all of our interviews, and is always lending us encouragement. Trisha is another great supporter. She's been with us almost since the beginning. And last, but not least, Angelina C. Hansen. She doesn't always send us mail, but she's there when it counts."

Brooklynn jumps in almost before Brooke finishes her sentence. "The following people are just three out of many who I feel deserve more followers. Teralyn Pilgrim's articles are always informative and her writing style is refreshing. Angela Scott is hilarious, but supplies good information at the same time. And you can always trust her to be up-to-date on the latest zombie craze. Lastly, I feel the folks over at NA Alley deserve more followers. They support a great cause and the more people that know about the New Adult genre the better."

The host nods, smiling. Looking toward you, he says, "We'll post information about all of these people on our website after the show." Then he looks down at the paper in his hand again. "We have one more question from Michael. Are you ready?"

Both girls give the affirmative.

"Tell us four little known facts about anything. What other 'smart cookies' do you think would have four facts to share?' Okay, Brooklynn, give us two facts and one person. Then, Brooke, you do the same." The host looks up expectantly.

Brooklynn pushes a strand of hair behind her ear and looks straight ahead as if reciting. "One: Male seahorses carry eggs in a pouch until they hatch. Two: Swear words are stored in the same part of the brain as laughter. The person I choose is Carrie Butler."

There is a smattering of clapping from the audience and Brooklynn beams.

Brooke rolls her eyes. "Anyway. One," she holds up a finger, "I'm scared of waiters. And two," she holds up a second finger, "I love pajama pants. As for my person, I nominate Madeline Bartos." Then she lowers her voice, "And hopefully she'll have more interesting facts than Brooklynn's."

Brooklynn glares and opens her mouth, but the host quickly interrupts. Smart man, you think.

"We have one more question. Anna Waggner and Laura both ask, 'What are ten things about you that you'd like to share and who are six people you'd like to know more about?' Brooke, why don't you do the sharing? Give us eight things since you gave us two already.  And, Brooklynn, you can name the people."

Brooke appears pleased at being given the longer assignment. She sets her elbow on her knee and touches her index finger to her chin. Then she starts talking and it's as if someone hit fast forward, she talks so fast.

"Well, the walls of my room are two different shades of purple, two dark, two light. My closet is color-coordinated according to the order of the rainbow. Cheddar-flavored pretzels are currently my favorite snack. Three most anticipated shows right now are Glee, The Walking Dead, and NCIS. I collect porcelain dolls, of which currently there are thirteen. Thanks to my best friend, I sing my phone number anytime I need to remember it. I still haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE even though I've been watching The Lizzie Bennett Diaries since the beginning. And, my drink of choice is Coke."

She's done in less than a minute and you can tell the host is amazed, his eyes wide and his lips slightly parted. Brooklynn doesn't look the least bit fazed. Instead, she begins naming people.

"Tania Walsh, Tizzy Potts, Kate Coursey, Rachel Morgan, Chantele Sedgwick, and Kaylie Austen. These are all people we've crossed paths with a few times or are fans of ourselves. It would be great to learn more about them."

This has given the host time to recover, to let his eyes shrink back to normal size. He rubs his hands against his knees, looks into the camera again, and says, "That's all we have time for today. Be sure to check out our website after the show to see those facts and to learn more about the people Brooklynn listed. Let's give a round of applause for our two guests!"

There's a shot of the studio audience clapping with the show's theme song playing over it. Then, Brooke and Brooklynn stand on the stage, waving. The credits start on the side of the screen.

You pick up your remote and start searching for another show.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Reason I Haven't Been Blogging Much Lately

I haven't been blogging much lately.

It's for a variety of reasons. I've just started tenth grade and, while I don't have a lot of homework, I tend to spend more time on it than I have previously. This year's classes feel more important to me due to the possibility of college credit. I've also been writing another novel, though I've barely even looked at it since August. I've been watching NCIS nonstop. I can't think of anything to write about. I've been reading blogs instead of writing them (though I've fallen behind on that too). There's probably a few others I can't think of right now. But I could get past all that.

No. There's really only one reason. And that's my blog itself.

To get what I've trying to say, you must first understand how my brain works. There's a place for everything and everything should be in its place. Everything must be in its place. Because if it's not, anxiety fills that space instead. That anxiety can reach such a degree that it's almost impossible to bear. So I fix the problem or, if the problem is too big for me to fix quickly, I avoid it. Like the plague.

Another thing you must understand, is that I have to be sure, absolutely certain, that "the thing" is in its place. I cannot assume. With some things, it is easy to check. For example, if my shoes are in the right place in my closet. Other things are harder, such as the labels on my blog. I have almost 300 posts over a nearly two year period. It would take forever for me to go back through all of them. However, this is part of the reason I'm avoiding my blog so it needs to be done.

Something else that greatly distresses me is when I cannot figure out where something goes, where it fits in with everything else or where there's space to put it by itself. This is currently the problem with my Projects page. I'm already making plans for what I want to do with my WIPs next year and I'm worrying over whether I should put those changes in place now since it's organized by current importance. And then there's those two award posts and that tag post I've been working on for months because I don't really like doing them, but feel obligated to.

But a week from today is my second blogiversary. I plan to get my shit together by then.

First, I'm going to tackle that Projects page. I want to update it. Who cares if it's a little ahead of time? It'll be like a teaser of what's to come. And who doesn't love a good teaser? Second, I'm going to finish those three damn posts already just so I can say I did it. Then I will never let an award or tag wait that long ever again. Third, I am going to sit down and make a list of acceptable labels that I will then apply. And while I'm doing all this I might just go ahead and create another page that will link to all of my writing samples that can be found on this blog. Work is good for the soul and my peace of mind.

So I'll see all of you again next week. Be sure to come back. I'm doing a giveaway for my blogiversary.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

NYR Update - 8 Months

  1. I will have complete THINKING OF YOU's ready for query first round of revisions. NA
  2. I will have two new first drafts. I reached 23,090 words on OBJECTION. I also came up with a first line for the untitled princess close fantasy/sci fi.
  3. I will win National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).
  4. I will submit at least two short stories to two anthologies, journals, ezines, and/or contests.
  5. I will read at least one hundred books. I read one book this month and am currently reading three others. Goodreads says that I am nineteen books behind.
  6. I will post at least one vlog a month. NA
  7. I will exercise in some way once a week. In the second week (August 5-11), I played tag for about thirty minutes.