Thursday, November 30, 2006

Better than Eighth?

In under 24 hours, the winner of Harper round 4 will be announced. I know I'm not going to make it this round but there are still rounds 5 and 6! I'm starting to get nervous because there are only 2 chances left. In the first couple of rounds, I wrote 2-3 entries but lately, I decided it's better to concentrate on 1 entry. We'll see if that pays off or not. The last time I finaled, I came in 8th so I'm anxious to see if I do better than that! :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One more note...Made Harper finals!

Harper round 4 finalists were announced and I'm surprised and honored to find my entry "Mission: Spell Book Swipe" in the top ten. :) If you're under 21, head over to Harper and VOTE! All of the top 10 entries are equally excellent and deserving of a win.

Check it out here...HarperTeen Fanlit.

Plans for Break

There is not going to be much writing this week aside from the Harper contest. Finals seem to get in the way and I'm looking forward to one month off before school starts again. My plans for break are shaping up:

Holiday Break Plans:

* Watch Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (I NEVER saw it over the summer! How embarrassing!) and the Devil Wears Prada (Oscar for Meryl Streep, perhaps?)

* E-query at least 10 editors (I've wanted to query Highlights since I started writing but never figured out the best query. Hmmm...) And, does anyone really send out paper queries anymore? I don't.

* Write an outline for a Harlequin American Romance. I've noticed that e-Harlequin offers free help on writing a Harlequin book and even offers a critique service for a fee. Has anyone used their services?

* Read at least ten books on my list that never grows any shorter

* Watch a few episodes of "Gilmore Girls" on DVD

and finally...

* Crack open my young adult novel that I wrote during NaNo and see if it's worth editing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Semester's End

I am able to see the finish line of this semester. Whew! Two more weeks of school left and then...drum roll, please...I start my final semester! I did college quite unconventionally and it worked out better than I thought. I started college at 15 and went full time. (My college advisor was shocked and actually upset that I did it. He kept giving me the "you must not have a social life because all you do is school" speech. Imagine that, someone telling you NOT to do so much school!) I took about 4 months off and then started at a 4 year school. I crammed (and I mean crammed) two years of classes into one year and saved money and time by graduating early. I've met a couple of people who are trying to do this and it seems to really be catching on with certain students. On the other hand, I ran into a girl at school last semester who was in her sixth year of college. She said she was staying for one more semester because she loved the college's football games so much. I kid you not. I can appreciate college football (sort of!) but to stay in school for football seems kind of crazy. Maybe it's me.

I got my schedule set for spring. Classes look like: Article and Essay Workshop, Senior Seminar in Lit, a humanities elective, Modern British Novel and a communication elective.

Today's project: study for finals and find a teen counselor to give me quotes for an article.

Tomorrow: Harper finalists are announced! Cross your fingers!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Summer Scam

I was reading Ella's blog and her post got me thinking about an awful editor I had an experience with over the summer. I won't name any names but I definitely got burned. A few months ago, I replied to an ad for a magazine in my old town that was looking for freelance writers. I got an immediate response by email. The editor said he would like to meet me in person or do a phone interview to discuss my writing. I phoned him and he said he was impressed with my writing samples. He said the magazine was in dire need of writers and that he had 5 pieces he needed done immediately. I said I would do 3 just to be sure he liked my work. I said I would do them for free (to prove my writing was decent) and then he would pay me for future assignments. He sent me phone numbers and email addresses for the people he wanted me to interview. I spent HOURS upon hours on the phone and computer writing and interviewing for the articles. I submitted them early and he said he was thrilled. He asked if I would help copy-edit the magazine in addition to writing articles. I said yes and he said he would send me another assignment. Two weeks went by and I got worried. I sent an email- no response from the once quick to respond editor. A few more weeks passed and nothing. He never sent copies of the magazine (as he promised) and never returned my calls or emails. He got 3 articles written for nothing and now he's MIA. Yep, writing can be brutal and unfair. Sigh...

Sunday, November 26, 2006


So, I got up early and typed like a fiend. I trotted over to the NaNo "official" word counter and pressed "submit." Oh, yay for 50,000 words!! Woo hoo! My wrists hurt, fingers are cramped and I'm sick of staring at my computer screen. I'm off to watch a movie and relax. The next project for my NaNo draft, you ask? March 2007's National Editing Month or "NaNoEdMo." 50 hours of editing on the NaNo novel. Bring it on!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Interest to Romance Writers

Found two interesting things in the romance field yesterday. One is the Great American Romance Contest. Anyone participate or plan to participate? I don't have a finished romance novel and I think the book has to be completed but I'm not sure.

The second item of interest is that the Romance Writers Report is looking for new writers. How cool is that?! I sent the editor a query and asked if she'd consider me for a spot. That would be quite different and it would be fun to write something else.

Still chewing my nails off waiting for a response from Sweet 16. Yes or no, I just want to know! :)

My family put up our Christmas tree today so the holiday season has officially begun. I'm *so* ready!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday and Harper Results

The HarperTeen FanLit results for round 3 are posted. A VERY big congratulations to Mary for winning! You go girl! I'm so excited for her and she definitely deserved to win. Round 4 starts today at 3 and I'm ready to write and see what happens.

So, my chapter landed in 16th place out of 596 submissions. Not too shabby, I guess. :)

I'll be busy today trying to get my NaNo word count up. I'm at 42,000 and counting.

Happy Black Friday!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 22 and Harper Finalists Announced!

Got that comic from NaNoWriMo's daily comic spot. It TOTALLY applies to my daily life when I'm trying to work and my cat will not leave me alone. You try typing 60 wpm with a 9 pound feline on your hands. Not easy, folks!

So, Harper's round 3 finalists were announced. I was disappointed not to make the finals but am proud of the top 10. There is stiff competition this week, more so than any other week. I have rounds 4-6 to keep trying, so we'll see what happens.

I started conducting interviews for my Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine article and haven't had luck reaching anyone yet. I think the holidays have drawn people out of their offices. No big deal, I'll try again next week.

I finished reading a YA book Frozen Rodeo (funny!) and Confessions of a Teen Nanny 2, which was also YA. I've never read YA fiction until the past few months. I think I went from kid-lit to adult-lit and I'm enjoying the YA genre, since that's what my novel is focused on. This week's read Secret Society Girl. I can't wait to crack that one open. It has been taunting me to read it all day but I had to get my NaNo word count up. It's now hovering at 40,781. Yay!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 21

And so, the 21st day of NaNoWriMo comes to a close. How sad and yet exciting at the same time! My word count is lower than what I'd like but 38,000 words is getting closer and closer to that 50k marker. I hope to get a few hundred more words in tonight. The next project, you ask? Writing a Harlequin romance. Fun!

The top ten finalists for round 3 of the Harper contest are announced tomorrow at noon. I'm very, very nervous and hope that I final again! There are some great entries again and there were almost 600 entries this round.

I sent a query to Winner magazine today. I've had great luck with their sister publication, Listen, and will have 3 pieces appearing early next year. I'm hoping Winner will be just as open to my style but I'm not sure since the age group is 4-6 graders and I've never written for that age group before. We'll see.

I have 13 queries circulating now and I hope I get a few responses before the holidays start to draw editors out of their offices.

Monday, November 20, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 20

Wow, only 10 days left until the end of National Novel Writing Month! At times it was painful, depressing and scary but most of all- it was EXCITING! Rarely do we get up the drive to force ourselves to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. Yes, 30 days people. It's an insane contest but sooo worth it! Instead of reading books about writing, scouring the writer's market and reading other writer blogs, I wrote. Plain and simple.

Today's stats shape up like this:

Word Count: 34,620
Today's caffeine intake: 2 coffees and 1 green tea
Character's goals: Make the advanced riding team, hook the boy she's lusting after and outsmart the evil girl who is making her life miserable

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Writing Gig

November is getting to be a crazy month for writing. I got an email yesterday from Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine. They asked me to join their freelance staff and I was assigned an article on conflict resolution for teens. I have to find 2 highschoolers to interview. Still looking...if anyone is interested!

I submitted my entry for the HarperTeen FanLit round three. I can't wait to see how this submission does.

NaNoWriMo stats are coming later. My poor novel has been shoved to the back burner as I try to keep up with Harper and a few other writing engagements.

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Harper Teen Round Two Ends

A big congratulations to "filbertmm" who won round two of the Harper contest! I sincerely thank all of the voters who put me in the final ten and I appreciate your votes! :)

I feel very honored to have been given one of the "Player's Picks" by "EllaEnchanted" and an "Author's Pick." The well-known author Jodi Lynn Anderson endorsed my piece and I am so grateful, thank you!

Also, the wonderful author Rachel Vail gave my piece these comments:

"The dialogue is terrific -- it sounds real and moves the action along. I wanted more! How does she answer Max when he asks her out? What does Dave say to her after?"

I start creating the round 3 entry later today. I'll cross my fingers and hope to do well again.

NaNo stats are coming are some of my favorite comments on my round two entry from other teen participants:

Plot: Excellent - the last lines were really gripping, however, the rest of the story didn't really feel as tense or ominous as it should have been (3.5/5) Style: Awesome (4.5/5) Diction: Quite good (3.5/5) Characters: Definitely solid (4.5/5) Overall: (4/5)

How did THIS get into the Top 10???

I liked it. It was well written as far as I'm concerned and I really enjoyed reading it. You deserved the author pick that you got. Congrats!


It's ok... sort of makes Dave sound like a naive pervert though... I don't think he's supposed to be like that.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 16

The NaNo stats look like this:

Word count: 31,626
Plot holes: 0! Yay!

I'm a few days ahead of schedule which is great since I have lots of other projects for the weekend.

Oh, check out my article published in Next Step Magazine here.

Comment from Harper Judge

Harper Teen draws to a close for round two in 25 hours! I just received this great comment from Namoi Rothwell, one of the judges from HarperCollins, who has assisted on projects by Meg Cabot.

She wrote: "You create a very funny moment when Jane grabs Dave and drags him into the girls' bathroom. I think that's one of the best situational comedy moments I've read here. Dave was a little prickly in this one, which actually made him more complicated (and more like a best friend). Nicely done!"

NaNoWriMo stats coming later today....

Edit: (10:33am)

Just received this wonderful comment from author of Peaches Jodi Lynn Anderson.

"I loved this chapter because it gave me such a strong sense of the characters. I love that Dave can't help staring at the tampon machine, and the comment about the boobs landing on the floor. I also like where we leave off -- you've given us a sense that something big is going on but you've left a lot of room for whatever that *is* to unfold. Great job!"

Ooh! Just got this response from Meg Cabot:

"Fantastic dialogue. Love the pop culture references. Would have liked it if the author had spent a bit more time on the scene with Max asking her out. We never even get to hear her response! Although we assume she said yes, I would have liked to SEE her say yes!"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Finalist in Harper Teen Round 2!

Yahoo!!! Out of 668 submissions, for the Harper contest round 2, I made the top ten! I just found out about five minutes ago and I am estatic! YAY! The contest now goes into a 48 hour voting round and the winner will be announced on Friday at 3pm. Keep your fingers crossed! I'm really, really surprised and quite happy to have made the cut.

If you're 21 or under, head over to Harper and register! Check out and rate my entry "Tissue Issue Number 2."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Well, Harper voting closes in 26 hours! This time, there were only 668 submissions in the pool compared to over 2100 submissions last time. I entered 3 pieces and am keeping my fingers crossed. :)

Noting from Sweet 16 just yet. I think I'm too anxious and need to enjoy the fact that I FINALLY was asked to produce a spec MS.

I haven't started on NaNo yet today. I'm trying to get through enough school work so I can take it easy over Thanksgiving.

I officially decided to take this month off from querying and will focus on fiction for once. I've spent the past 3-4 years solely writing non-fiction and I think I was due to try something else.

I checked out numerous books from the library on editing and proofing so I'm prepared to begin editing my draft in December. I'm struggling a little with that the word count *should* be. One YA publishing company wants 45,000 words, others say up to 70,000. Hmmm...gotta do more research on the average YA book length.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 13

NaNo Stats:

Word Count: 28,102
Character Count: 14ish (minors and majors)
At this rate I'll be finished on: November 21.

Yesterday really picked up. I typed late into the night and managed to type about 2500 words. I'm swamped with schoolwork today, so I won't get to NaNo until later. I'm finished with my entries for Harper and have to wait until Wednesday to find out it I made the finals. My chapters weren't as good as they should have been, so I'm not too hopeful for round 2. I hope to work more on my entries for round 3 and I'll need to be more creative with plot twists and such.

I'll probably be checking my email every 5 minutes today to see if I hear from an editor at Sweet 16. I'm hoping it doesn't take too long to get a yes or no!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 12

So, Sunday is here again. Last weekend, my NaNo word count was huge but this weekend wasn't so great for NaNo. I spent most of my time furiously typing my MS for Sweet 16 and *hoping* that they decide to take it after all. The rest of the time was spent composing 3 entries for the Harper contest and trying to rally for votes. The contest is harder than I anticipated. The writing is fairly simple but keeping strangers from hitting your submission with random zeros isn't easy.

The NaNo word count looks like this:

Word Count: 26,479

I'm not off track. In fact, if I get back to typing as I was before, I should finish on or ahead of schedule.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Quick Update

So, this is unrelated to NaNoWriMo for now. I'll add an update with my stats later. First, the Harper contest round two began yesterday! I submitted my first entry and am working on two more entries. It's time consuming and it's easy to be sucked in to rating, voting and submitting, but it's worth it. I never thought I'd write paranormal (ever!) and I've done that now.

Second, this is BIG. It's not a done deal but a wonderful editor at Sweet 16 asked to see a quiz on spec! I've been querying this editor for over two years and have always received nice rejection letters. This time was different. I opened the email, expecting another rejection and was beyond shocked to see a request for my quiz. I'm trying not to get my hopes up but this would be a HUGE for me to land this.

So, this weekend's writing goals:

* Up the NaNo word count
* Enter 2 entries in Harper contest
* Send quiz to Sweet 16

Friday, November 10, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 10

(That's the English building at my university. About 1500 other English majors are milling around in there either reading Conrad or writing a paper on feminist lit.)

Today's NaNoWriMo Stats:

Word count: 25,266
Sanity level: 97.6%
Character deaths: 0

Ah! I hit the coveted half-way point at last! Yay! That made reaching 50,000 words seem possible. I'm ready to spend the weekend writing and hopefully get that word count up over the weekend.

So, I've been browsing the Internet for resources to help me with my YA novel draft. I've checked out dozens of books from the library on agents, writing a query, writing a synopsis, etc. Then, around midnight last night I found a great contest. The Delacorte Press Contest for First YA Novel. The contest requires the submission of a YA manuscript with the deadline being December 31, 2006. Now- do I furiously edit for a month and submit my MS or do I take my time and edit it for a year and submit in 2007? I would try to submit this year but once a MS is submitted, it cannot be submitted the next year. Hmm. Decisons, decisions.

I'm also participating in the Harper Teen FanLit contest and round two begins today! I didn't make the cut this week but I'll be trying my best over the next few weeks of competition. Check out the contest at

Thursday, November 09, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 9

Word Count: 23,265
Plot Holes: 1 MAJOR hole!
Fits thrown: 1 (mine-not my character's)

Yep, I have this feline staring at me when I'm typing furiously and trying to write. I get a cold nose shoved against my hand, a paw on my keyboard and the occasional lick on my hand.

As you can tell, I'm one of those cliched writers who loves cats. No, I don't plan to be sixty, live alone and mutter to myself while living with 10 cats.

Infact, it was a wonderful book series about Siamese cats that got me interested in writing and desiring my own Siamese cat. Ever hear of the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Bruan? Yep, her famous felines KoKo and Yum Yum made me want to write. And I did. Dozens and dozens of awful cat stories. Oh well, everyone has to start somewhere!

Before cats, I found horses but that's another day. Wait 'till you hear about the hundreds of horse stories I complied. Oh, yeah, I'll have to share some of the plot lines. You'll laugh, that's for sure! :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 8

Today's word count: 20,891 (almost halfway!!)
Coffees: absolutely none
Background noise: Election coverage (go blue!)

Well, I'm not as productive today. I'm trying to write an essay for my Gender and Society in Ancient Greece class and the topic is a bit difficult to work around. But, I'm making progress. I was up half of the night biting my nails and cheering for change in the House and Senate. Looks like I may get my wish! :)

Still plowing through my novel and it's getting tougher as the days go on. I'm waiting for the book Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund to arrive. I met her on a NaNo forum and I think I'm going to love her book. Can't wait to start reading that one! She has been offering me great advice and I'm dying to read her work.

I need to get back to typing and stop wasting time. I should be doing follow ups on a few magazine queries. I sent one follow up to an editor and haven't heard anything for 2 months. Do you follow up on a follow up?!

Ooh...I just heard an interview with Sara Gruen (I mentioned her in a previous post) on WriMoRadio. Chris Baty, NaNo's founder, mentioned that Sara struck a two book deal that is rumored to be worth....$5 million. I couldn't believe it! When I interviewed Sara over a year ago, she was still somewhat new in the book business and I don't think she was making anything near $5 million for a two book deal. That is such exciting news and I'm so proud to have spoken to her. There is hope for the rest of us!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 7

A week into NaNo and I'm still going strong!

Word Count: 17,234
Sanity: 98.5%
Diet Sodas: 2
Current writing location: Living room floor with cat on lap

The plot is moving along at a nice clip. I tried the BIC method "book on an index card" and plotted heavily last night. That helps tremendously! After a week, I was starting to get a bit lost in my plot as to where I was in the month. I really like the book Novelist's Boot Camp and started to use that to help my draft. I struggle with turning off that inner editor!

I've learned a LOT from NaNo forums in the past day or so. People searching for agents aren't limiting themselves to following the "rules" that writing books tell them. I've learned of some unconventional ways to query an agent and I think I'm going to try them.

So, today's goal, you ask? At least 2000 words, hopefully I'll hit 3000.

I'm also working on a holiday short story for a newspaper contest and the deadline is November 15, so I better get going. :)

Reading this week: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I loved her two previous books and had to give this one a shot. I was lucky to interview her last year and highly recommend her novels.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 5

So, NaNoWriMo day 5 is coming to a close. The progress:

Word Count: 13,102
Coffee: 0
Miles walked: 1.5
Treats given to cat: 3

Once again, I've been incredibly happy with the people I've met on NaNo forums, particurarly the YA writing forum. Learning about the agent search from others who are going through the process or have had success is INCREDIBLY helpful.

I've been moving through my first draft at a good clip and I fully anticipate to make 50,000 words. I'm studying agent listings and trying to get a feel for what agents are looking for and see if I can incorporate any of that into my draft.

Okay, well, still typing and trying to watch ice skating. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 4

On this fourth day of competition:

Word count: 8611
Plot holes: 1
Author meltdowns: 0
Property damage estimate: $0
Genre: Still YA fiction
Kisses character has received: 1

It's moving along quite well! Phew! Stay tuned for a status update later in the day...

On another note, sold a book review to a small e-zine. My first experience with e-zines so I'm excited. :)

Waiting to hear back on a query I sent about a celebrity interview that I'll be conducting soon. Crossing fingers!

Friday, November 03, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Words: 6061 by noon today
Sanity level: 95%
Coffee intake: 2
Swear words used: 5

Those are the stats! Lookin' good so far. I've met more people of interest this year in NaNo and the Harper Teen FanLit contest than I met last year. I was surprised to find successful authors on NaNo willing to help someone like me with the agent and publishing process. I figured authors with books on actual store shelves wouldn't give time to the little people but I was wrong! Kudos to those who have offered me goes a long way. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Word Count: 4050
Sanity level: 99%
Coffees Consumed Today: 4
Complaints about Plot: 0
Morality Level: High

And so, on this second day of noveling, things are off to a GREAT start! Last November, I barely cracked 7,000 words and this month is looking far better than that!

My computer screen switches among my novel, a Greek essay, a business paper and a query letter. When I can't stand staring at the screen, I switch over to an actual paper book and am in the middle of reading the biography Nicole Kidman by David Thomson. (Did she ever get screwed in her divorce!) Good stuff! :)