Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~Double Life Style

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
A good mystery always has a twist. A popular version of this is the character living the "double life".  The perfect wife and mother turns out to be a government spy.  The all-American husband turns out to be a psychotic killer. So, today, let's talk about the double life.
Here are some examples I have for you: 
So, swap with me! 
What is your favorite "double life" plot?
If you were going to lead a double life, what would your other life be?   

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Literary Confessions

Thinking about Thursday

I have a confession to make. This will probably shock and appall you. I hope after you have heard what I have to say, we can still be friends.

Here goes:
I've never read anything by Jane Austen.
I've never read Little Women or seen the movie.
I abandoned the Harry Potter series after book three.
I've  only read one Nancy Drew mystery in my lifetime.

In my defense:
My favorite classic book is The Secret Garden
I read and re-read the Anne of Green Gables series more times than I can count.
I have also read all of the J.D Robb In Death series,  Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and the entire Twilight Saga.   
(Not sure if that last one adds much to my credibility)

Whew! I feel better getting that out there.

What about you? Is there any author or series you are hesitant to admit you haven't read? Or  hesitant to admit you have read? Let it out. I won't judge.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Telling My Story

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Today, I am telling my story on Keli Gwyn's blog 

Please stop by and say HI!
If you leave a comment, you will be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a 1st chapter critique from me! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~Reality Style

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one
Reality Style
 Ever have something happen to you or someone around you that would make a great plot? 

Here is what I have for you this Friday:
 For those of you writing YA:
When I was fourteen, I met a boy at an amusement park. He lived across the country. After seeing each other twice that weekend, we wrote letters every week (no cell phones or internet) for three years. A week before my senior prom, I broke up with my boyfriend and as a graduation gift, my parents flew my pen-pal down to be my date. 
For those of writing mystery or suspense:
Three members of my mom's immediate family all died in the same week in July. Exactly 8 years apart. 
For those of you writing paranormal:
My oldest daughter had an imaginary friend until she was five. Her friend's name was "Grammy" and, obviously, a grandmother type. She had all of her Pre-K teachers convinced Grammy was real. She talked about spending weekends with Grammy, getting ice cream and Grammy's cute dog having an accident on the rug. This was all sweet until she started talking about Grammy spanking her with a tree limb. This is a child who has never been swatted with anything other than a hand in her life and has never seen any one beat with a "switch". The weirdest was one night when she told me about going to see Grammy. But Grammy was in bed, wouldn't wake up and her face was blue. Then she didn't talk about Grammy anymore.
So, swap with me! What's happened to you or someone around you or your neighbor's cousin's sister-in-law's best friend that would make a great plot? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thinking about Thursday

Welcome to My Virtual Birthday Party!

I am celebrating the 7th anniversary of my 29th birthday!
Come on in.
Have some cake and ice cream. 
Oh, you brought a present!
What's in it?
Thank you so much!
Should we play some games? 
Should we sing some Karaoke?
Should we dance?

I'm glad you stopped by! 
Thank you for coming.
Hope you have a terrific day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Popping the question

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

My current work in progress is non-suspense romance. It was a nice change to write about love that didn't involve the characters standing over dead bodies or fleeing for their lives.
I wrote most of the story as a NaNoWriMo last year. I made over 50,000 words, but I didn't actually finish the story. This week I added about 4,000. Two of those words were THE END. Of course, I know it isn't the end. I have rounds and rounds of revision before me, but right now I am basking in the "completed story" glow.

So, in celebration of the two proposals in the story. I want you to tell me your story! How were you proposed to? Or did you do the proposing? What would be your idea of the PERFECT proposal?  

Here is my story:

The week before school was to start in 1998, I was helping a friend set up her classroom. I stayed late and chatted with her knowing that my then-boyfriend, would work until 5:30 or so then wait until at least 7:00 to head my way to avoid rush hour traffic.

I arrived at my apartment to FIVE messages from Scott on my answering machine asking if I wanted to go to dinner.  They started out casual:
"Hey, got off early today. Thought we could go to dinner. Call me at my parents' house."

and progressed to: 

"Where are you? I am starving. Let's go eat. Call me."

I remember saying aloud, "Good grief, if he's that hungry why doesn't he just get something to eat."

But, I called him at his parents' house (which was much closer to my apartment than his apartment was at the time) and offered to meet him there.

When I arrived he was acting very strange and barely even hugged me. I found out later, it was because he had the ring in his pants pocket and was worried I would feel the box. We went to Outback Steak House (which is funny because it is not a favorite for either of us). 

Right after we ordered our drinks, I remembered all the dust I had been touching all day and excused myself to wash my hands. When I returned and lifted my napkin from the table, a small box was under it. 

I remember staring at it, wondering how it got there. Scott reached across the table and took my hand, "Aren't you going to open it?" he asked. I just shook my head. He opened it and said some words (that honestly I don't remember) but I heard the important ones. 

"Will you marry me?"

Obviously, I said, yes. 

This proposal wasn't exactly a surprise. He had already asked my Dad (who thought it would be hilarious to make me think he had told Scott no).  You can read about that experience here.

It wasn't what I would consider his most romantic gesture ever. You can read about How He Won My Heart with a Hammer here.

But I can tell you, almost fourteen years later. I would still say yes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Space

Thinking about Thursday

I have been reading Stephen King's
On Writing .

I found it fascinating he did most of his early writing in a laundry room in his family's trailer. He discusses later having an office and a great desk. The desk eventually becomes a symbol of his career's place in his life. my favorite section was when he talks about starting to write part of Misery in a hotel at desk used by Rudyard Kipling .

King says this about a writer's need for space:  

"You can read anywhere, almost, but when it comes to writing... most of us do our best in a place of our own." 

I have a desk. 
Isn't it pretty? The picture really doesn't do it justice. It is a beautiful desk with all kinds of little drawers and cubbies. I love it. 

I would love to show you the inside. I really would, but unfortunately, that would cause an avalanche of old paperwork, children's art work and a pile of pictures I never seem to get into an album. 

This is where I write. 
  The left side is mine. 
The right side belongs to this guy. 
 He gets up every time I do, so he was utterly confused by my attempts to get a picture of him in his spot on the couch.

So, that is my space. Tell me about yours. Do you have a beautiful desk, but write on a love seat? Are you in the laundry room of a double wide trailer? Do you have  a furry friend who keeps you company?  

Feel free to add a picture or two. You can post them on your own blog and give the link. We can do a blog-hop. I love seeing pictures of where other people work. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lindsay Cummings

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


Lindsay is a 20 year-old YA Science Fiction writer. I met her at DFWCon and can honestly tell you she is an amazing young woman. She is currently represented by Louise Fury.  

Lindsay is also hosting a huge giveaway for those who support the cause for Cancer research.  You can find out more information here.

Let's Get to Know Lindsay!

  What made you decide to write?  What did you do before becoming a writer? 
    Books! And of course, my dad has been a writer his whole life! He’s totally my hero, so ever since I was little, I’ve been writing like him. When I was diagnosed with Chronic FatigueSyndrome, writing became my escape from the world! I write because there are stories in my head that HAVE to be told! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all the novel ideas I have. It’s hard to pick just ONE story to write!

 Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?
        I try to write every single day. Usually it involves me sprawled out on the couch with my laptop burning my thighs, while two wild German Shepherds sprint circles around me with their squeaky toys going “WHEEEE!” …yeah. It sounds soooo inspiring doesn’t it? =]

  Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different?
             The life of a writer is about 50% solitary confinement in a place that has lots of peace and quiet, (when the dogs are outside) Starbucks peppermint hot chocolates, and lots of books spread out around me for inspiration. I LOVE the writing life. I do it full time and would never trade if for anything. It’s so fun to have a creative profession that will (hopefully someday) pay off. I always say it fulfills me to the utmost!

   Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?

               I sort of got lucky. Having CFS meant leaving college and quitting my day job. Which, despite the exhaustion, totally rocks, I have to admit ;) because I get to write literally all day every day. My normal life has always been writing, so when I am sitting at home “hanging out with my characters” I’m actually focusing on my career! It’s a nice mental trick! (I do have real human friends and a sexy non-literary boyfriend. I swear.)

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
             My agent always says “Relax.” And she is so right. I SO need to work on that! If she’s reading this she is probably rolling her eyes thinking THANK YOU GOD SHE FINALLY UNDERSTANDS! Lol. Publishing is about patience. It is a lot of “hurry up and wait.” When you get stressed out, pick up a book, get some Dove chocolate, snuggle up on the couch, and breathe. Or you could always rent I Am Number Four and stare at the hotness of demi-god Alex Pettyfer. Yes. That is exactly what you should do. 
Just in case you needed visual aid
  What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?
             Honestly…none! I have been so blessed with a wonderful community of writers and beta-readers who have helped me every step of the way! I have to credit writer’s conferences for being such a god-send. You guys…GO to writer’s conferences! You will meet amazing people who will be critical support for you in your writing journey!
     What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that?
               Hmm…I honestly don’t believe in burnout! I believe if you are a writer, you should ALWAYS have stories to tell! Even if they suck. So far, I haven’t run out of ideas. I have a notebook full of little plot hooks that I am itching to work on. But I do have one suggestion: TAKE NAPS. Dream. You will be surprised what wild ideas will come to you when you are asleep. Also, sit in the shower and close your eyes. The stories will come.

    What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?
               Sappy, happy scenes. I am so not good at those! My books are about murders and blood and smoking guns! Not smiles and feather hair extensions and trips to Paris! =0

      Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?How do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?
               Haha. I love this question. I have a lot of characters that get completely messed up physically. I channel my ex-boyfriends, and inflict injuries on them in my novels. It sounds creepy because it is. But mean boys deserve things like that. ;)

     What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)
               Rain! Snow! Cold weather! Also, Starbucks has the BEST writing music, and the coffee smell gets my writing brain going, so I love to go there a lot to write.

   What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Read. Blog. Take the wild Germans to the doggie park. Try to convince my boyfriend to man up and propose already. And dream about moving to Portland.

     Tell us a bit about your work in progress.
               Oooh. I don’t think I can. ;0 It’s too good to share, someone might steal it! I’ll give you a hint though: science fiction. Dark. Death. (are you scared yet? You should be!)
    What is next for you?
               Hopefully going on submission soon and, God willing, getting a book deal! He’s gotten me this far already, so I have faith that the deal will come!

 How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?

                     Please stalk me! 
My twitter is


and I am constantly on there. 
It’s sort of a crutch. An awesome crutch.
                     Facebook Author Page
Thank you for stopping by, Lindsay!

So, what else do you want to know about her? 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~Time Travel Style

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one
I am Beta reading a YA Time Travel right now for the great Janet B. Taylor. 
I have enjoyed it so much I decided to we needed a 
Time Travel Plot Swap
My favorite time travel type thing was  
Quantum Leap
Loved this show
I am also a fan of the movie 
Paul Walker and Gerald Butler
What's not to like? 

Which is based on this book by Michael Crichton.

And, what discussion of time travel would be complete without
Back to the Future ?
I decided to include the ZZ Top video that summarizes the whole trilogy.

And I will confess to having a HUGE crush on Michael J. Fox, until I found out he is short. 
So, swap with me. What is your favorite Time Travel plot (book or movie)? 

Bonus: If you could time travel, "when" would you go and why?

Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer

 Thinking about Thursday
*This was originally posted in September of 2009*

Maybe God Doesn't Want Me to be a Writer

I have a passion for writing. A deep, sincere calling. I always have. I have written many stories the others will never read, simply for my enjoyment. In the past year, since I have truly started to consider the option of becoming a published author, I have prayed...often. I am believer in Christ and a believer in prayer. I am also a believer that sometimes, God likes to toy with us.

At the end of the last school year, I was finishing up what I consider to be my best work to date. The characters and plot ricocheted around my head like a song you can't stop thinking about. I HAD to get it on paper... or at least on the computer screen.

During the spring, I am blessed with some free time at work. I was using every minute of it ( shh~ don't tell!) to get this story finished. The problem? Every time I would get "in the zone" so to speak. Some thing would happen to remind me I was a teacher.

At first I thought it was coincidence. I start writing and my classroom phone rings to inform me a parent is there to pick a recommendation for a former student. This particular parent, whom I love dearly, took the time to tell me what a talent educator she felt I was and what a positive impact I had on her son's life. That is a great feeling.

Then it happened again, I started writing and a former student, home from college for a weekend visit popped in. And it happened again! Another student from TWO YEARS before stopped in to say hello , let me know he had joined the military and would be leaving for Iraq soon.

I love these people. I truly, truly do love them. They have impacted my life every bit as much as I impacted theirs. I began to question if God was trying to show me that education is where I belong... where I should stay.

I wrote often this summer. But not as much as I could have... After all, I do still have two children who need attention and taxiing to various activities. I started a new manuscript ( I am trying to get in the habit of calling them that... Story seems too trivial). Parts of it are really good, but parts of it still need much revision and I am no where near the end yet. As of yesterday, it had not been backed up anywhere. The only copy was on my laptop.

You think I would have learned my lesson when I lost the first 25 pages of a new manuscript during a hard drive crash. But I didn't. The 45 pages of my latest were here on this computer. Completely vulnerable. A chance I was willing to take.... until my youngest spilled an entire 32 ounce cup of water on to the computer.

At first, everything seemed fine. I dried it all. The computer booted up and all was well. Until I started viewing some pictures.Then, after a quiet buzzing noise, the screen went blank and the computer would not reboot.

I spent the next two hours cleaning the house. Moving from room to room, putting away clutter, toys and laundry... praying I had not once again lost everything on my laptop. Allowing the doubt to creep in... Maybe God really does not want me to be a writer.

I wrestled with this thought the whole time. I even had a flashback to story I wrote when I was in the sixth grade. I was proud of this story. So proud, I took it every where with me for the week after I wrote it. I am not sure why, but I know it must have made since to my 11 year old self. I was riding in the back of my mom's Beretta, my dad was driving. For some reason, I had put the story in the back window. He rolled down the passenger window and the wind grabbed it.

It was gone. I still remember screaming and looking out the back window as the papers scattered over the highway. Then I cried.

That was before computers. The story was handwritten on spiral notebook paper. There was no back up. I never rewrote that story. I can barely remember the plot now. But I remember the devastation I felt. I got a fresh taste of it yesterday while staring at a blank computer screen.

Today my computer is fine. My latest manuscript is still here and now has been copied to a back up DVD.

I am still leery though. Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer... or maybe he just wanted me to get off my butt and clean my house.

So, what you you? What has led you toward writing? What had led you away from it? 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cleaning out my closet

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

 Please enjoy this 
clip to get you in the mood for today's post. 
Just push play. I'll wait.  

Funny, right?
I would think so, too...If it wasn't my life.
This is my project for the week.

I must make all of this fit somewhere in here.

And trust me, this is a "good" picture of this room. There is so much lurking out of the camera range, it makes me want to cry.

Kind of like doing revisions.
I am taking a class from
Candace Havens .
I just finished what she calls
  While avoiding the closet pondering ideas of great meaning, I was struck by how similar the process revision  is to cleaning out my closet.

Step One:
Feeling   overwhelmed
I walked by said closet probably ten times, opened the door, sighed, closed it
I opened my WIP probably ten times, changed two words, sighed, checked Twitter.
Step Two:
I have been researching closet organizational options, mentally deciding where things should go, giving myself pep talks: "I'm sure there isn't actually a troll living in there."

I made notes for my WIP, mentallyworked through scenes and dialogues, gave myself pep talks: "Candy is going to kick your butt if you don't get this done."

Step Three:
Going in
I made work on the room that the closet stuff needs to inhabit. It's like one of the those puzzles were you have to move everything else to move piece. I told myself I only had to work for 15 minutes. I ended up working over an hour.

I made myself sit down and do my Revision Hell process. It took a couple of hours a day, but it was worth it. I finished the whole WIP. It will need this process again. I know that, but I also know that I can do it. Hopefully, that will make steps one and two less intimidating.

So, what did I learn from all of this?
  1. Eat the elephant one bite at a time, or if you aren't into pachyderms, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In otherwords, quit staring at it and get started.
  2. Nothing can make you feel inferior without your consent. (I may have paraphrased a bit) or, plan your work and work your plan.  I needed to think and process what needed to be done. Stressing over it and dreading the tedious process  ahead did nothing positive for me.
  3.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  I gave myself plenty of time to work on the revisions. I took breaks when my brain locked or my butt went to sleep from sitting in this chair too long. I am giving myself a week to complete the closet to playroom transfer. Burnout isn't productive.   
So, Tell Me Your Story:
What elephants do you have on your plate? 
Done any revising lately?
Side note: I am looking for authors to be featured on Tell Me Your Story Tuesday. If you would like to be interviewed, or know anyone who might, please email me!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Plot Swap~TFLN STYLE

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
This was so much fun the last time I thought we would do it again.
Ever heard of Texts from Last Night? 
While some of the post are quite disturbing, they would definitely make for an interesting plot. 
Here are a few that got my mind working:
 I needed a laugh today. All of these would fit best in a romantic comedy. 

So, what's got you laughing today?