I Won, I Won, I Won, I Won!!!


I won a copy of Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. You can read the entry about my painfully awkward first kiss here.  Or not.

Oh, fine, go. Nicole's blog is truly sparkletastic and not to be missed. Even if it is full of my pain and awkwardness today.

But I won!!!  Squee!!!

ETA...Just realized I have high school friends that read this. A little part of me just died.

Quick Quote Saturday

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."
-Steve Martin

Awesometastic Contest!

How fun is this? Pam Calvert is celebrating the release of Princess Peepers Picks a Pet with this huge giveaway. Between this and The Liar Society, it's like pink has taken over the internets...dunh dunh dunh.

In Which I Give Picture Book Writers Their Props

Yes, I just used the word "props." You can gag me with a spoon and give me the 411 later.

I'm working on a picture book. While I primarily think of myself as a novelist now, I began my writing journey focusing on picture books, and I still L-O-V-E them. There's a picture book writer in me yet, gnawing its way out occasionally. I've had the idea for this story several months, but it wasn't until a few days ago that the characters started speaking to me...and making me laugh. (That's when I know I have to commit something to paper, when I start giggling at inopportune moments during the day.)

There's such a skill and finesse to writing picture books. The reader needs to fall in love with the characters, cheer them, laugh with them, bite a few fingernails for them...all in less than 750 words. Ahem. That is no small feat.

Now for my plea: Anyone out there write picture books and interested in a swap? I promise no tooth fairies, Santa Clauses, talking bunnies, or doting grandmas were inflicted upon my word document.

Also, if you haven't entered my Still a Cheapskate Giveaway yet, why not, silly? (Oh, and I'm enjoying the bonus answers immensely, by the way. I'll share some next week.)

Good Reminders.

Natalie Whipple wrote an excellent, brutally honest post Monday about dealing with jealousy. It crops up. We're all human. Except for the robots. You know who you are.

It made me think of this post by my rather awesome older sister Ellen (who should update her blog more regularly). You know you've written a good blog post when it still has your little sister thinking about it over a year later.

What it all boils down to is something that I say to the Pea far more often than he'd like: "You get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit." 

And then, you keep writing.

If you haven't already, go enter my I'm Still a Cheapskate Giveaway!

Also, Nicole McLaughlin's hosting a fun giveaway over on her blog, and you could win a copy of Anna & The French Kiss. (I'm sincerely debating whether I should send you all over there because I describe my first kiss, in all its awkward glory, in 99 words for my *hopefully winning* entry.)

Time for Another Cheapskate Giveaway

Yep, I'm still cheap. And I still love books.

I do feel I should confess that this book was purchased before the last giveaway. I've had it for awhile but decided it's time to set it free. In reforming cheapskate news, I've purchased two books since the last giveaway. One is still being used for research. The other, you're going to have to pry from my cold, greedy hands.

So I'm gifting my lovely copy of A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce. It's a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. If you haven't had a chance to pick it up yet, it's a great read.
To enter, just follow this blog and fill out this form (a bonus entry for answering this question: "If you could live in any fairy tale, which one would you choose and why?") Contest will close Monday, March 7th at 11:59 p.m. EST:

In Which the Pea and I are Pinkified

I'm kind excited about next week's release of The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker. And I tend to drag the Pea into all my shenanigans. Enough said.

Quick Quote Saturday

"What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on."

-C.S. Lewis


I WON!!!

Yay! I won a copy of Shelley Moore Thomas's (Ooh...I never know how to punctuate the possessive of "Thomas") A Cold Winter's Good Knight and some awesomesauce bookmarks she made (the idea for which I hope to steal someday) and a blank book (which will need filling pronto) and a reusable LOVE shopping bag.
Also, just a little FYI, I'm going to announce a new feature of the blog tomorrow that I'm kind of super excited about.

It's Official...My Day Has Been Made

Not only did I win an Honorable Mention in Shelli's awesome Pay It Forward Pitch Contest, I got great feedback on the pitch and a big old smile to boot.

For Those Of You Curious...

...about the cigarette, it involves copious amounts of chocolate, a handmade Valentine drawn by the Pea, and a card full of lots of blushable words written by Hubbykins.

The Pea chose his own box of chocolates to give me. It has two hamsters on the front. No clue what that's about, but to each his own.

A Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Actual Conversation With The Pea

Yesterday morning, Hubbykins took the Pea to get a haircut and run some errands. When they arrived home, the Pea ran up to me, gave me a hug and said...

Pea: Daddy got cigarettes.

(Now I feel at this point, I should insert the fact that Hubbykins is not a smoker, has never been a smoker, and to my knowledge, has no desire to ever smoke.)

Me (looks at Hubbykins): Did he just say...?

Hubbykins (glances furtively back toward the garage): No.

Pea: Daddy went to store and got cigarettes.

Me: What??

Hubbykins: He's not saying what you think he's saying.

Me: It really sounds like he's saying...

Hubbykins: He's saying "secrets."

Me: Oh. Wait...what?

Hubbykins: We got you a surprise.

Me (remembers it's Valentine's Day tomorrow): Ohhhh.

So, as much as I love surprises (and this morning, I was booted from the dining room while they further worked on the super-cigarette project)), I'm not exactly all yay about the fact that after Hubbykins gives me the gift tomorrow morning, the Pea is going to announce to his Kids' Day Out class that now "Mommy has cigarettes."

Quick Quote Saturday

“Rituals? Ridiculous! My only ritual is to sit close enough to the typewriter so that my fingers touch the keys.” 
 -Isaac Asimov

Now More Than Ever

Last night, as I was getting dinner ready and Hubbykins was putting the Pea to bed, I ran to my computer to check the latest update on sweet Kate McRae, and this was the heart-shattering update.
I promptly let dinner burn in the oven and, with tears in my eyes, hijacked the Pea's bedtime prayers for Kate and her family. In that moment, I needed to hold the Pea and tell him how much I loved him. To snuggle my Little Pea and tell him stories about what Mama Pea was like when she was a Little Pea. To tell him how waited for and prayed for he was, how much I delighted in him. I needed to allow my heart to break for Kate's mama.

But I also wanted to share with you a bit of hope and encouragement. I know that published writers (as well as soon-to-be published writers and want-to-be published writers) read my blog. As a way to help pay for Kate's care and to celebrate her life, her family and friends held a fundraiser to participate in a Karen Kingsbury Forever in Fiction auction. One of the character's in Kingsbury's book Unlocked is named after Kate.

"Forever in Fiction" is trademarked by Karen Kingsbury (at first I thought it was an actual organization, but it's not), but what an incredible way to use your writing to build others up, to encourage, to benefit. Obviously, there are so many ways one could go about this. Rather than an auction, naming a character then designating proceeds of signed copies to their care fund. Simply choosing a recipient and giving the gift outright to celebrate them.

Just random thoughts that have been swirling through my head. Sometimes, I think that I spend more time thinking about how I could use a published book as a tool than I do about the actual publication of it.

Snow Day. Again.

So this happened.

And for the record, I realize that some of my readers may be from places that are accustomed to receiving 22 inches of snow in 12 hours. We in the Mid-South are not. I'm just thankful I have a can of sweetened condensed milk on hand to make Paula Deen's snow ice cream. Needless to say, I spent the entire day glued to both my T.V. and the window. This being the third major snow storm in 8 days, I've gotten out of the house only once, and yes, I am experiencing a little lot bit of cabin fever.

Along with the snow came a massive Arctic front that has pummeled my already precarious sinus passages with pressure. Last night at 4 a.m., after less than two hours sleep, I gave in and took some Sudafed and Excedrin. Some of you may be able to ingest that much stimulant without it affecting you. Again, I am not one of those people.

If I ever have to take that combo of medicine during the day, it usually sets off a frenzy of productivity.

Clean All The Things!
If you've never been to Hyperbole and a Half, you must go now (well, after you finish reading this post). Two caveats: I cannot be held responsible for any salty language she uses. Also, I cannot be held responsible for any pee-pee stains that result from laughing so hard you wet yourself.

As it was the middle of the night, though, and I didn't want to wake Hubbykins or the Pea Yes, that's the reason I didn't clean, I stared obsessively at the back of my cold pack in between peeing every twenty minutes, thoughts running rampant through my medicine-infused noggin.

Write All The Blog Posts!

Sadly, the Pea did not receive the memo that Mommy slept all of two hours. He woke up his normal, cheerful self bright and early.


But. I jotted the ideas for posts down. Now, I just need to write them.

Almost Forgot!

Shelli Johannes-Wells is hosting an incredible Pay It Forward pitch contest over on her blog in which the winner will receive a referral to her agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin.

Hmmm...I've gotta tell you, in terms of owing a debt of gratitude, I will never come close to what I owe to my parents. My mother instilled an amazing love of reading in me from a young age. She taught second grade and then Reading for years, so I bet there are many people out there who can thank Mom for that as well. My dad placed a huge value on curiosity and chasing that curiosity wherever it took you. Add those things together, reading and curiosity, and they led me right here. To writing.

So thanks, Mom! Thanks, Dad!

All I Need

The Pea has been going through an interesting phase lately where he'll grow attached to a random object, say a spoon. And he'll carry that spoon around all day. And want to sleep with it. And scream loudly if one tries to take away his spoon.

And then, the next day, it will be a rubber duck.

I've realized that I do this in my writing. I grow attached to a scene, a chapter, a character, a plot point. Which...fine, whatever...until that scene/chapter/character/plot point isn't working. Suddenly, that loved element is weighing me down. Oh, but I love it. Sometimes, I'll  hit a point where I'll start tinkering with everything around it, the stuff that is working, so I can avoid the inevitable. Because I can't just cut it.

Except that, yes, I can. I must. Revising is a ruthless activity.

Have you ever clung to a story element far longer than you should have? What kept you from changing it--love of the element or fear of what cutting it would do?

P.S. I've decided to go forward with the So Long And Thanks For Nothing, High School Blogfest even if I'm the only one doing it. Please, please don't let me be the only one doing it. It will be High School all over again. Details to follow about the when/what/where.  :)

You In?

So...after reading this brave and heart-grabbing post by Carrie Harris, I have an idea for a blogfest brewing in the ol' noggin. To test the waters, how many of you would be interested in posting pictures of yourselves from high school and writing a story/scene/vignette from a high school experience you had in the name of humiliating yourself encouraging teens that yes, indeed, there is life after high school and it can be good?

**crickets chirping**

Come on! You know you want to humiliate yourself encourage with me!

Happy Groundhog Day!!

I don't know about you all, but I think Phil may be pulling a fast one on us. It's 7 degrees out. And looking out my window, all I can see is white, white, white.

A Breaking Heart

I'm so sad to have to post this, but please, please, please join with me again in praying for sweet Kate McRae. She had been in remission from brain cancer this past year, but today, her family received the devastating news that the cancer is back. I can't imagine the horror of what her parents are going through right now. Of what this precious little girl is going through right now. All I can do is pray. Please join me.


It has arrived.

The thing I like about being a writer (and a stay-at-home mom) is that things like snow days don't usually throw me...too much. If anything, snow can jiggle my creativity.

But lest I go too far down that particular path, I thought I'd share my favorite mash-up trailer of all time with you.