Wednesday, May 30

Project Wrap-Up

Well ladies and gents, it's over. My family is back, and the solitude, productivity, and cleanliness that have been the last two weeks of my life are gone. This has also brought an end to my Twelve Day Project, and while due to computer issues that I am still in the middle of (grrrr...) I wasn't able to post everyday like I wanted, I was able to stick to my general productivity outline.

To catch you up, in twelve days, with no family in the house, my goal was to finish my WIP. Did I do it? No. Did I honestly think I would? I hoped I might get close, but honestly, no. Does it matter? Not at all.

I knew my goal was basically impossible when I started out. My word count for each day, with out fail would have had to been more than 7000, and at my best I am at 4000 to 4500 max. So why set such an impossible goal? Here, I'll show you:

See that? Not where I wanted to be, but at over 16,500 words in under two weeks, not at all shabby! And if I hadn't have set a goal, I know myself well enough to know my number would not even be close to that high.

Goals are supposed to be hard. They're supposed to be too hard, at least sometimes. Otherwise, how else will you know what you can really do? We've all heard the 'shoot for the moon, land in the stars' line, but for me it have more to do with not selling myself short. If I would have set a smaller goal, I may have made it, but I would have wondered if I could have done better. Now I know.

Monday, May 28

Twelve Day Project ~ Day Twelve

Quick Update. This is my last official day of writing for my project, and thus far I am at 26,466. That may be it for the day, it may not, we'll see.

Full project recap tomorrow, but for now, Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 26

Twelve Day Project - Day Ten

Long overdue update, but I am still having major computer issues, so thanks for hanging in there with me. :)

Just to you know (and don't think I am totally delusional) I am more than aware I will not be reaching my goal, but I will also not be giving up. Not reaching goals is fine but giving up is for squares. :)

Wednesday, May 23


All right folks, update time...

I know I've been lax the past few days, and as it turns out, my computer has decided she wants to turn onto a piece of crap. Took her into Best Buy today, and we may even have to put her down. This is being posted via my iphone, so forgive me it's riddled with errors, it's kinda hard to type this way.

Can't upload the ticker, but my word count is 19,748. Not shabby considering the circumstances, but not great either. I'll keep you posted, and thanks to those who have reached out to yell at me for slacking off! You guys are awesome!

But wait... do you hear that? No reliable computer... no way to write... yep, must mean the edits to my books  from both my editors will be here any minute. That'd be about right.


Sunday, May 20

Twelve Day Project ~ Day Four

Haha... yeah...

So, word count for yesterday is a big old 0, but you know what, I'm fine with that. Had a great time playing board games with my book club, and it was a nice day. Needed a breather, you know?

Plus, I am happy to say that I have already been going pretty strong today, so I have added my words from just this morning on to my ticker getting me to 17,188. More to come, but not bad so far! :)

Saturday, May 19

Twelve Day Project ~ Day Three

Did well yesterday with 2205 words, but still not what I would have liked. Today is likely to be even worse, as I have my book club coming over for a game night this afternoon.

Though that isn't my biggest problem. My biggest problem begins and ends with a GIGANTIC mistake I made last night. It was something everyone has been telling me about for months, and I've been putting it off, but for some reason, I thought last night would be a good night to start it.

Huge mistake--called Once Upon A Time.


Friday, May 18

Twelve Day Project ~ Day Two

Here we are at the start of day two and at 14,248 words, up 1,255 from yesterday.

Sucky start, I know, I know...

I got a bit stuck yesterday on one of those chapters that is no fun, and tricky to write because nothing really happens, but it still has to be there... You know the kind I mean?

Yeah, that. :-/

But I am past it now and actually really excited for the next couple of scenes, so I'll see if I can't bang a few chapters out today and have a more satisfactory word count for you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 17

Twelve Day Project ~ Day One

Okay, here we go! 12 days from today, I will have a new ms! (For explanation behind this project see previous post)

For a little story background, it is a YA Historical Romance, and while I'm not going to tell you what it is about, you can go here and check out my inspiration board if you are so inclined.

At the moment I am in the middle of Chapter 5, and at a word count of 12,993. I was not able to add one of the word count widgets to the side of the blog as it didn't fit right, but I have made a lovely little ticker that I will put on the bottom of my post each day.

I've got snacks, I've got tea, let's do this! :D

Wednesday, May 16


Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make...

At 6:40 pm last evening, my Husband and two daughters boarded a plane for Orlando Florida without me. The three of them have gone to visit my in-laws for... ready...


That's right folks, I am the only person in my house for the next two weeks, and since writing and being a mom are my only jobs, I have two weeks of freedom! A freedom I haven't had since my first daughter was born, two and a half years ago!

Guess what time I woke up this morning?


Guess who I had to make breakfast for?


Guess who can curse, whenever she wants, as loud as she wants, without having to worry about little ears?



But don't worry, great as the break is, I will not be squandering my time. Any writer I know would kill to have two weeks with nothing to do but write, and I promise you all, I will take full advantage of my gift. In fact, I am counting on all you guys to be my accountabili-buddies.

My Goal: To have my WIP finished before my family comes back. At the moment I'm only a few chapters in, so it's an ambitious goal to be sure, but I think I can do it. When I get into a book, I write fast, averaging a chapter or more a day, so if I buckle down and don't let myself get distracted by, you know, picking a TV series to start watching from the beginning, or watching a ton of movies on Netflix that I can't watch with my kids around, etc., I should be good.

Every day I will post my progress. I will be honest, and if I start to suck, it is your job to let me know it and, yell at me, call me names, etc. I will even get one of those WIP progress bar widgets for the blog, (which I normally hate as I think they are incredibly ugly).

Tomorrow will be my first official day--as today I need to focus on cleaning this house--and I will post my start stats then.

"The End", here I come! (But in the meantime, cookies, cleaning, and loud, inappropriate music, hear I come!)

(Disclaimer: The only thing that could possibly derail this plan is if I get edits on one of my two books from one of my Editors, as obviously those will have to come first.)

Tuesday, May 15

Cupcake Monday ~ Death By Oreo

One day late, but worth it! ;D Happy Tuesday!

Death By Oreo Cupcakes

1 package Oreo Cookies, regular size
1 package Mini Oreo Cookies, for decoration (optional)
1 package chocolate cake mix (mix according to directions on box)
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix packaged cake mix according to directions (do not bake). Line cupcake tins with liner, place a regular size Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner. Take 1/2 of remaining cookies and chop coarsely and add to cake mix. Fill the cupcake tins. Bake for 15 minutes (or according to box directions). While cupcakes are baking make the frosting.

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla, then add powdered sugar slowly until blended well. Chop remaining regular-sized Oreos very fine (I put the cookies in the food processor instead of trying to chop them up super fine and it worked out really well). Add to frosting. After cupcakes have cooled frost and decorate with Mini Oreos.

Friday, May 11

Over the Hump!

I am happy to announce that this morning I made it over the hump! :D

I think we all have 'humps' when it come to writing, or the part of the story that you really have to struggle to get through. For me it is always the beginning. I never know how to start a new book. I always know where I want to start, and what will be happening in general, but am usually unsure how to do it. And this last hump was particularly hard, because my WIP is historical, and I had to 'set the scene' in addition to pulling off everything else the beginning of a story has to do.

But happily, once I make it over the hump, I can fly, so with any luck this new book should be finished by the end of the month--provided I don't get edits in the meantime, as they will have to come first.

So my question is, what's your hump?

Thursday, May 10

Woe To Me ~ or ~ The One Page Synopsis

You hear it all the time: 'How can they want only one page?', 'That's not possible for my book.", 'That is what a query is for.', etc, etc, etc... Now, I am by no means an authority on the subject, but I have written quite a few one pagers in my day, and know of a fact that it is possible. I have also found a few things that have helped me along the way, and think maybe they could help you too. So here it goes...

Yes, more and more agents and editors are wanting one--yes one--page synopses of your book, and yes it is possible.

Is it easy? No.
Is it fun? No.
Does it make your book, which you have spent countless hours writing, editing, crafting, and perfecting sound like an utterly horrible piece of crap that no one would ever want to read? Yes.
Is that bad? No.

What you have to remember is that agents and editors are not reading your synopsis--or your book, for that matter--for enjoyment. Sure, they want to enjoy it, but that's not really the point.  It is your job interview. They are using these items do determine if they want to go into business with you. The point of the one page synopsis in this process is to determine, without having to read the entire book, if you know how to craft a story. To see if you know how to create a satisfying and engaging beginning, middle, and end.

Sidebar: While we are on the subject of endings, never, ever, EVER leave out the ending of your book in a synopsis. No, you are not ruining the book, agents and editors need to know this information. Leaving the ending off is the equivalent of going to a job interview, and the boss asking you, "What do you believe you can bring to our company," and you reply, "Lots of great stuff, but you will just have to hire me to find out what." Needless to say, you will not be getting the job.
End Sidebar.

"But,it's just not possible, my book is too long/involved/too many characters/too many years pass/too much subplot to be summed up in only a page.

Okay, let's get real for a second. If War and Peace, one of the longest books ever written can be summed up by Wikipedia in five pages of 12 pt. Times New Roman font (and it is, I've checked) then your novel can be summarized in one.

But nothing. It can.

How, you ask? Easy, just tell what happens.

ONLY what happens and in what order. NOT how the characters feel about it. NOT what the characters think about it. No emotion; just what happens and when. Yes, it will be dry, and boring, and dull, but agents and editors know how to read through that. They will know that your book is not boring just because your one page synopsis is.

Those of you that know me have probably heard me use that War and Peace example before, so here is another: The following is the short synopsis for Jame Eyre, courtesy of Wikipedia. This is a book which has approximately 500 pages (anywhere from 433 to 646 depending on the edition), and the following summary is one and a half pages in length at 12 point Times New Roman.
(The synopsis is in purple lettering. Skip to the end of the purple if you do not wish to read.)

     The novel begins with a ten-year-old orphan named Jane Eyre who is living with her maternal uncle's family, the Reeds, as her uncle's dying wish. Jane’s aunt Sarah Reed does not like her and treats her like a servant. She and her three children are abusive to Jane, physically and emotionally. One day Jane is locked in the red room, where her uncle died, and panics after seeing visions of him. She is finally rescued when she is allowed to attend Lowood School for Girls.
     Jane arrives at Lowood Institution, a charity school, the head of which (Brocklehurst) has been told that she is deceitful. During an inspection, Jane accidentally breaks her slate, and is branded a liar and shames her before the entire assembly. Jane is comforted by her friend, Helen Burns. The eighty pupils at Lowood are subjected to cold rooms, poor meals, and thin clothing. Many students fall ill when a typhus epidemic strikes. Jane's friend Helen dies of consumption in her arms. When Mr. Brocklehurst's neglect and dishonesty are discovered, several benefactors erect a new building and conditions at the school improve dramatically.
     After six years as a student and two years as a teacher, Jane decides to leave Lowood. She advertises her services as a governess, and receives one reply from Alice Fairfax, the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. She takes the position, teaching Adele Varens, a young French girl. While Jane is walking one night to a nearby town, a horseman passes her. The horse slips on ice and throws the rider. She helps him to the horse. Later, back at the mansion she learns that this man is Edward Rochester, master of the house. He teases her, asking whether she bewitched his horse to make him fall. Adele is his ward, left in Mr. Rochester's care when her mother died. Mr. Rochester and Jane enjoy each other's company and spend many hours together.
     Odd things start to happen at the house, such as a strange laugh, a mysterious fire in Mr. Rochester's room, on which Jane throws water, and an attack on Rochester's house guest, Mr. Mason. Jane receives word that her aunt was calling for her, after being in much grief because her son has died. She returns to Gateshead and remains there for a month caring for her dying aunt. Mrs. Reed gives Jane a letter from Jane's paternal uncle, Mr John Eyre, asking for her to live with him. Mrs. Reed admits to telling her uncle that Jane had died of fever at Lowood. Soon after, Jane's aunt dies, and she returns to Thornfield. Jane begins to communicate to her uncle John Eyre.
     After returning to Thornfield, Jane broods over Mr. Rochester's impending marriage to Blanche Ingram. But on a midsummer evening, he proclaims his love for Jane and proposes. As she prepares for her wedding, Jane's forebodings arise when a strange, savage-looking woman sneaks into her room one night and rips her wedding veil in two. As with the previous mysterious events, Mr. Rochester attributes the incident to drunkenness on the part of Grace Poole, one of his servants. During the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason and a lawyer declare that Mr. Rochester cannot marry because he is still married to Mr. Mason’s sister Bertha. Mr. Rochester admits this is true, but explains that his father tricked him into the marriage for her money. Once they were united, he discovered that she was rapidly descending into madness and eventually locked her away in Thornfield, hiring Grace Poole as a nurse to look after her. When Grace gets drunk, his wife escapes, and causes the strange happenings at Thornfield. Mr. Rochester asks Jane to go with him to the south of France, and live as husband and wife, even though they cannot be married. Refusing to go against her principles, and despite her love for him, Jane leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night.
     Jane travels through England using the little money she had saved. She accidentally leaves her bundle of possessions on a coach and has to sleep on the moor, trying to trade her scarf and gloves for food. Exhausted, she makes her way to the home of Diana and Mary Rivers, but is turned away by the housekeeper. She faints on the doorstep, preparing for her death. St. John Rivers, Diana and Mary's brother and a clergyman, saves her. After she regains her health, St. John finds her a teaching position at a nearby charity school. Jane becomes good friends with the sisters, but St. John remains reserved.
   The sisters leave for governess jobs and St. John becomes closer with Jane. St. John discovers Jane's true identity, and astounds her by showing her a letter stating that her uncle John Eyre has died and left her his entire fortune of £20. When Jane questions him further, St. John reveals that John is also his and his sisters' uncle. They had once hoped for a share of the inheritance, but have since resigned themselves to nothing. Jane, overjoyed by finding her family, insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins, and Diana and Mary come to Moor House to stay.
    Thinking she will make a suitable missionary's wife, St. John asks Jane to marry him and to go with him to India, not out of love, but out of duty. Jane initially accepts going to India, but rejects the marriage proposal, suggesting they travel as brother and sister. As soon as Jane's resolve against marriage to St. John begins to weaken, she mysteriously hears Mr. Rochester's voice calling her name. Jane then returns to Thornfield to find only blackened ruins. She learns that Mr. Rochester's wife set the house on fire and committed suicide by jumping from the roof. In his rescue attempts, Mr. Rochester lost a hand and his eyesight. Jane reunites with him, but he fears that she will be repulsed by his condition. When Jane assures him of her love and tells him that she will never leave him, Mr. Rochester again proposes and they are married. He eventually recovers enough sight to see their first-born son.

There you have it. Jane Eyre is one of the most romantic books of the era--do you get that from the synopsis? No, not at all. It is simply what happens and when. Very matter-of-fact. No thoughts; no emotion.

Now just so we are clear, everything I have said applies only to the one page synopsis. Longer synopses of the 3, 5 or more pages will be much more interesting, and 'meatier', if you will. These longer synopses are the should have some emotion and style to them, and will be used to sell your book. They will not only tell your story, but also portray the feel and atmosphere of your book. But this is not a problem, because you have more space to to it in. And trust me, once you master the one page synopsis, anything more just feels like gravy. :)

Well, I suppose I am done preaching. I hope some of this was helpful to a few of you out there, and for the rest of you, if you are still reading, consider this a pat on the back from me. *pat*pat*pat*  :)

Wednesday, May 9

Wordless Wednesday: WIP Inspiration

For the rest of the WIP inspiration images see:
(Yes, yes, I'm a hypocrite, I'm aware...)

Monday, May 7

Cupcake Monday - Raspberry White Chocolate

Happy Monday!

Raspberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

Vanilla Cake:

Sift together and set aside:

1 & 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream together until fluffy:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar

Add, one at a time, beating well after every additioon;

4 eggs at room temperature

Beat in 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Gently fold in the dry ingredients in three equal portions, alternately with

1 cup undiluted evaporated milk

When adding dry and wet ingredients alternately in any baking recipe, always begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Pour batter evenly into paper lined muffin pans. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Watch them carefully, you will not want to over bake these cupcakes, as soon as the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack once you have removed them from the pan.

Raspberry Compote:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1 ounce water

Slowly simmer the berries and sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes. Dissolve the corn starch in the water and slowly pour into the boiling berries stirring constantly until thickened.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
3 1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
a little milk

Blend together the cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter, then slowly add the icing sugar adding a little milk (a tablespoon or two) with it until all the icing sugar is used and the icing is a smooth, creamy, spreadable consistency. Use only enough milk to get it to this point.

When the cupcakes are completely cool fill them with Raspberry Compote. Using a piping bag with a large star or a large round piping tip, fill the center of the cupcakes from the top pushing the tip to the middle of the cupcake and squeezing as you retract the tip. Do not overfill.
Pipe or spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cupcakes after they are filled.

Friday, May 4

Grrr... Love Triangle...

Okay, here is my problem with love triangles.

... you know, since you asked...  :)

When you love two people, you don't love either of them enough. Love triangles run rampant in the YA market, but lately they have squirmed their way into adult romance as well--and my question is why? Why is that so desirable? I guess I can see why having two men fight over you would be hot, and make you feel wanted and all, but to flip-flop and not know who to chose makes no sense to me. If you are seeing guy one, and guy two comes along, there should be no doubt at all that you are taken unless you give guy two that doubt. And if you give him that doubt, then you don't want guy one as much as you may lead us to believe.

In any romance I read--YA or otherwise--I want the two MCs to love each other totally and completely. When you have a triangle, you kill that, because no matter who ends up together, now there will always be doubt--and doubt is not romantic.

Not to mention that this whole idea is a TOTAL double standard. Somehow it's become romantic for a woman to have two guys fawning over her, while she has to "follow her heart", and "make the impossible decision", blah, blah, blah. Yet a guy debating between two women is a dog. Think about it, if you best friend/sister/etc. told you that she was in love with a guy and that he loved her too, but he also loved another girl and he was trying to decide between them, what would you tell her? Would you say, "Oh, well you just keep waiting and I'll have my fingers crossed for you." Hell no. You'd say, "Kick him to the curb, and go find a man who will love you, and only you!"


Needless to say there will never be a triangle in anything that I will ever write.

You? Am I alone here? I'm thinking I am, but I'd love to hear your two cents.

Thursday, May 3

Bounce and a Meme!

It's Thursday, so time for one blog hoppin'! Feel free to join in the bouncy fun!

As for my post, I was tagged by the lovely Angela to partake in the 11 Questions Meme!

So here it is...

What are you working on right now ?
Decided to start a new project while I wait on edits. It is another YA that I have been thinking about for a long time, and it's historical, of all things. :)

Do your stories tend to be plot driven or character driven?
I have one of each, so for me it depends on the story.

Name the craziest thing that has ever inspired you.

A Celtic jewelry website. This one, in fact: That was where my YA series, The Holders, was born.

Do you make up character names, or use the names of people you know?

Both, but even when I make up a name, it is usually a name I have heard before somewhere. I'm not sure why, but when I make up a name totally on my own, for some reason it sounds 'fake' to me. Like, "yeah right, no one would ever be named that". 

Do your main characters always have the same hair color as you (thanks Marian!)?

Haha! Why, yes. Yes, they do. ;)

Name a television show you watch that you consider a guilty pleasure.

The Vampire Diaries! Which is on tonight, yay!

What's the first name of your first crush?

Dann Lanse. He was a foreign transfer student from Holland in my fourth grade class.

What's the first concert you ever attended?

As a girl who has only been to four concerts total in her life I have a pretty impressive record (if I do say so my self), starting with my first ever which was Aerosmith, the The B 52's, then Reba, and last but not least, Poison. 

Which would rather eat, pie or cake?


When you were a kid, what did you always want to be when you grew up?

Music teacher.

What was the happiest day of your life (other than getting married/the birth of your children)?

The day in college when I not only got to conduct the choral and wind symphonies, but conduct a piece I had composed myself.

Though I am pretty sure that will change the days my books come out! :)

I am supposed to tag 11 people, but I'm not sure I know that many who haven't already been tagged, so how about this: if you haven't been tagged on this one, then your it! :)

That's me conducting. This was actually only the dress rehearsal, and you'll have to forgive the
flash mark--I had to scan it with my phone. :)