The Best Kind of Feedback

My crtique partner Kim and her daughter are beta reading (perhaps I should say "alpha" as this is the first draft.  Not just first draft...first draft, people.) my early MG just-finished manuscript.  Her daughter is eight-going-on-nine, and that is right in the age range I'm shooting for, so I've been very excited to hear feedback.

Just got this e-mail, and it made my night (I changed her daughter's name to "X" because I'm not sure how Kim feels about using it on the internet, but her daughter's name actually starts with "X", which is about the coolest thing ever in my most humble of opinions):

"X and I are about halfway through the book.  We are reading together since I didn't want to print it out and X was going to kick me off of the computer to read it.  We both LOVE it.  I'm putting a play by play of X's reactions so you can understand what girls that age think is funny (and there was a lot of giggling from her side of the couch.)  I'm also including places where she was confused.  Mostly words that didn't make sense to her.  

She was very upset tonight when she had to go to bed because she wanted to keep reading.  Just before I sent her off she whined, 'But it's sooooo good.'"
(And, just FYI, don't worry...Kim's not one of those kittens and unicorns critique partners that never finds anything wrong with my work.  When it's get-down-to-work time, she'll rip it open and dig out its entrails with the best of them.  But for tonight, I just need to bask in the thought of my words making a sweet girl giggle and beg her mom for a later bedtime.)

I'm Back Online

But I'm going to stay unplugged for a bit longer.  I finished my MG WIP (woo to the hoo)!  In the interim before I start revising it, I'm working on plotting out my sparkly new YA WIP.  My critique group may go into revolt if I don't have some YA material to show them soon.  :)

Don't forget to sign up for my 101 Followers Giveaway!

Unplugged/Enforced WIP Work Time

Feeling better from stomach bug just on time to find out modem is fried.

In interest of saving my sanity and avoiding thumb sprains on
Hubbykin's iPhone, I'm out until next week.

Have a lovely week!


My apologies for not replying to anyone's comments yesterday.  I ran to the grocery store, and about midway through my shopping, a little wave of nausea hit me.  No, I am not pregnant.

By the time I got home, there was no denying it.  I did not feel good.  The Pea had a stomach bug on Friday night in which he puked a few times.  But other than protesting the shock of waking up with vomit in his ear and being unceremoniously dunked into the tub at midnight, he was fine in the morning.

So imagine my surprise that his little stomach bug must have had time to mutate into something that made me feel like an alien was about to burst forth from my abdomen:
Hubbykins was very sweet and brought me home a movie to watch.  (And I'm not sure if it was the writhing in stomach cramp agony or the lack of being surrounded by a theater full of fellow cougars, but New Moon just wasn't doing it for me the second time around.  I didn't even make it past bad wig Jacob.)  I think that's when Hubbykins knew that I really wasn't feeling well, when even sparkly vampires couldn't cheer me.  That and when I got desperate and asked him to bring me Pedialyte to drink.

I have vague recollections of saying, "I just don't want you to get this," over and over to Hubbykins.  Because apparently, it needed to be clarified that I wasn't like all those other women who would wish that upon their loving husband?

So that was the fourth night in a row in which I had told myself that I would be done with the first draft of my MG WIP but wasn't.  It's like the end of the Truman Show where all he wants to do is leave town, and obstacles are sent to block him at literally every turn.  

Tonight!  Tonight, it is.


It seems to be the hot topic in the blogosphere today.

I won't ask the question "Do you ever doubt yourself?"  Because if you don't, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to be your friend.  Hee hee. just kidding.  Maybe.

But there is One in whom I have no doubt.  And if He gave me the desire to create, the skill to write, and the ability to grow and learn, who am I to argue?  Or so I have to keep reminding myself over and over and over...
And if you want to be inspired, head over to Shannon Messenger's blog, Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.  That first Gavin Rossdale sketch may end up in my nightmares.  Just go read it.

Haven't signed up for my 101 Followers Giveaway?  Do that here before I give in to temptation and keep it all for myself.

Song for a First Child (and any thereafter)

Writing, revising can wait for tomorrow
For children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.

So fly away, edits.  Drafts, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

--with much respect and many apologies to Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton, author of Song for a Fifth Child, originally published in Ladies' Home Journal in 1958.

Technically, this is my mom holding the Pea, 
but it's one of my favorite pictures of my little guy.

Still Snowing

It's like a horrible flashback.

I'm thankful for the small bit of spring that has sprung on my table.  I can't wait to give it away(Oh, and FYI, two of your have guessed the show that the "bracelet buddies" quote came from!)

101 Followers Giveaway!

I heart this giveaway prize because it's like spring exploded all over my dining room table.  (And Happy First Day of Spring, everybody, even though it's snowing hard outside my window as I type.)  Do I want to keep it for myself?  Yes.  Yes, I do.  But I shan't!

Okay, that's not entirely true.  The bracelet was handmade by my sister Ellen, and she made me one, too.  That's right.  Whoever wins this, we'll have matching bracelets.  ("Check it out!  We're bracelet buddies."  "That's what they'll call us." ~ 2 bonus entries to everyone who can name the T.V. show that's from.)

The prize pack consists of a clipboard, notebook, mousepad  tear-off to do list, and the bracelet.  (The only hint I'll give you:  "That's what they'll call us," is said very sarcastically.)
You know the drill...must enter through the form below.  Must be a follower.

+3 Already a Follower
+2 New Follower
+1 Tweet
+2 Facebook Post or Blog Sidebar
+5 Blog Post
+2 Guess the T.V. Show "Bracelet Buddies" is from
+2 Every NEW Follower You Recruit  (So if you're a new follower, be sure to let me know if someone referred you here.)
+1 Tallying up the points yourself (Hip hip huzzah to Beth Revis for giving me this idea!)

Contest ends April 17th.  I'll announce the winner Monday April 19th.

I appreciate all my followers so much!  For your comments, your encouragement--thank you.

You Can't Go Back Friday: Today's Special

Anyone remember this little gem from Nickelodeon in the 1980's?

Today's Special.  It was Muppets Take Manhattan meets the movie Mannequin.  Only Canadian.

The basic premise:  it was a kids' show set in a department store, and every time the workers left, the mannequin came alive.  I think there was a rat (or is that a mouse? Seriously, if that thing wasn't made in Jim Henson's Creature Shop, I smell a juicy lawsuit coming on.*) who was her friend.  To be honest, it's a bit hazy.  It came on after Pinwheel, which my mom referred to as "T.V. junk food", so my brain was nice and mushy by that point.

Sometimes, I feel like my protags do the same thing, develop a personality when I'm least watching.  One in my YA WIP is doing that to me right now.  I'm learning to keep a notebook handy at all times.  If I stare straight at her, she goes all limp and lifeless.  But if I'm brushing my teeth without a pen nearby, BAM, that girl's got moxie out the wazoo.

*Your honor, I rest my case.

And The Winner Is...

This turnabout is the fairest play. Mandy Silberstein won the 1,000 Word Wednesday DVD rental giveaway. (Yes, the same Mandy who inspired it all.) Yay!!

I can't wait for next week to do it again!

FYI, I'm assembling prizes (yes, plural) as we speak for my 101 Followers Giveaway!  Details to follow.  Yee hee!

Still Time...

...To get your Thousand Words in and be eligible to win a DVD Rental code!

On a completely unrelated side note (well, maybe not completely unrelated because it required perseverance and many 1,000 word days), have you heard Beth Revis' news?  She sold her book, Across the Universe to be released in 2011.  And not just sold, she SOLD her book.  Congratulations, Beth!

To celebrate, she's hosting a rock awesome giveaway!

Thousand Word Wednesday

I should let you know the quick story behind Thousand Word Wednesday before continuing.  My friend Mandy sent out an e-mail to my crit group a few weeks ago with a challenge.  Write 1,000 words the next day, and she would send us a treat.  Two of us did it.  And what a fun little treat it was--a mailer of chocolates and girly hand lotions.

That got me thinking about what even a little motivator, a free DVD rental, can do to spur someone on.  And since that's the one thing I seem to have quite a few of, that's what I am offering as a fun little incentive.  I shall say it one more time.  Ask not why, where, or how they were procured.

[ETA:  The deadline for this contest is midnight tonight, Google Standard Time a.k.a. Pacific.  And if you don't make it this week, don't worry!  I'm going to make this a weekly feature.]

And before I forget, HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Farewell, Movie Trivia Tuesday

A flame that burns so bright can only burn so long.  (Plus, this is supposed to be a writerly blog, so I need to focus my energies on writerly things.)

Here's the deal.  I like giving away things.  I have a fun little giveaway thing burning a hole in my purse right now as a matter of fact, but that's for a later post.  And I have a stack of DVD rental codes to give away.  Ask not how they came to be in my possession. No, ask not!

So let me introduce you to...

Thousand Word Wednesdays!

That's right.  All you have to do to be eligible to win a DVD rental code is write 1,000 words tomorrow.  They don't even have to be 1,000 good words.  I'll close the contest at midnight Google Standard Time (a.k.a. Pacific).  It's going to be on a scout's honor system.  Thursday, I'll pick a winner at random and announce who won.

And Thursday, the winner can enjoy a relaxing movie night on me.  I said, "Ask not!"

Take a Bweaf

I'm discovering that one of the best motivators to finish up a lagging WIP and limit your blogging time is to get a sparkly new idea that you are obsessed with interested in completing in a timely fashion.  This has been a unique start to a project for me in that I feel like I am watching a movie unfold in my brain, complete with gasps, jaw drops, and "oh-no-she-didn't"s.

Pulling it off will be something else entirely.

But first I have to whip my current WIP into shape.

So I'm just going to take a bweaf, dive right in, and get it done.


Yay!  I've reached 101 followers.  A giveaway is coming up very soon...details to follow later this week.

Quick Update

The Pea:  took his last dose of prednisone this morning like a man.  Okay, not really.  I had to wrap him up in a towel and stick the syringe in his mouth like I was worming a cat.  But he spit significantly less out this morning.

Hubbykins:  crazy work hours on the horizon, so he's hoarding video game time now.  He even talked me into playing some crazy, destructive dystopian war game demo with him the other night.  Which leads me to...

Me:  trying with all my might to fight Sexy New Idea Syndrome after I woke up from crazy, destructive dystopian war dreams the other night.  Hmmm...wonder where that came from.  Yet somehow, I managed to weave time travel and some romance in.  (You can read all about the symptoms of SNIS at Frankie Writes.  It is a serious, possibly hopeless condition.)


Giveaways Galore!

Okay, so go check out two fantabulous giveaways, the first on Elana Johnson's blog.  Books, books, more books!

The other is at Shooting Stars, Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton's blog.  (I'd actually feel a smidge guilty if I won since I just won a five page critique from them last week...a smidge.)  You can win a 40 page submission/critique from Suzie Townsend, a literary agent at FinePrintLit.

[P.S. Thank you so much for all the get well wishes for the Pea.  He's actually getting a good nap right now.  I should be doing dishes, laundry, or even writing or resting.  I am not.  I am blogging.  Bad Karen!]

I'm Outie...

...for a bit.

The Pea had been nursing (what I thought was) a cold for several days last week.  Then, Saturday night his temperature shot up to 105.1.  (And can I just say that the on-call nurse's "reassurances" that they usually only see brain damage with fevers over 106, so it was my call whether or not to bring him in was not as helpful as it might have been under other circumstances?)  Diagnosis:  RSV with an accompanying ear infection.

My child usually sleeps from 7ish to 7ish.  The steroids he's taking have left me with a demented howler monkey until 11 p.m.  But still up at his usual 7ish.

So you won't be seeing me here on Novels During Naptime for the next week or so.  And judging by the 608 posts in my GoogleReader, I won't be commenting much on your blogs either.  I apologize in advance.  The Pea apologizes in advance.

And The Winner Is...

Okay, before I announce the winner, my apologies for it taking me so long.  It's been a crazy week.

Without further adieu, the winner is...

Sarah Hamrick!!

(Although in order for her to claim her prize, I will need her to rank her entry, "The LOTR Trilogy" into sub-entries.  And, umm, yeah.  Those movies rock like a Mirkwood elf...cheeky lot.  Good pick.)

Good picks all around.  One of them is actually one of  MY all-time favorites.  Bonus Redbox code to the first person who can guess which movie it is.

Here are the contenders:
Two Weeks Notice
LOTR Trilogy
The Count of Monte Cristo
Lost in Austen
Stranger Than Fiction
Last of the Mohicans
Christmas Vacation
The Princess Bride

Movie Trivia Tuesday: Easy Edition

It has come to my attention from some unnamed friends (ahem, Kristin and Mandy) that all some of my Movie Trivia Tuesday questions are ridiculously hard a bit too difficult.

So here is your question this week:

What is your favorite movie?

That's right.  Just tell me what your favorite movie is and you could win a free DVD Redbox rental.

So easy.  (Or is it?)

[ETA:  I've been checking the results off and on all day, and I just want to say that you all have some great taste in movies!]