This past weekend I got a surprise in the mail. A REALLY good surprise, like fangirl/geek-out-time fabulous. It might not look like much to you, but for this Book Nerd, it was like striking the mother lode. What is it? That’s a personally addressed and signed form letter, postcard for a new release, and signed book plate from one of my favorite authors, AVI. Why was this envelope of awesome such a big deal? For one thing, it was unexpected. I didn’t write to him or ask for anything. What I did do was enter to win one of ten copies of an ARC (advance reader copy) for his 2015 release, CATCH YOU LATER, TRAITOR, from his website. When he posted the winners on the blog a few weeks ago, I immediately forgot about it because I wasn’t listed. But Avi, being the awesome writer that he is, sent these thank-you-for-reading packets to everyone who entered but did not win a book. He didn’t tell those who entered, didn’t blog about, he just did it. Awesome way to pay-it-forward, and it’s fantabutitus. And now my second favorite novel of all time proudly wears a signed bookplate. Maybe I’ll get it personalized one day. Which book do you own that you’d like to see autographed, or is it already signed?
If you know me or have been reading this blog for more than a season, you know that summer is my least favorite time of the year. Yes, I know that it isn’t technically summer, but it’s in full swing on the Gulf Coast. The thermostat has reached ninety degrees and the humidity is at sauna conditions.
Fortunately, I think I reached my yearly low last month (notice there were only two blog posts in the past thirty-one days.) But, never fear, I’ve slowly been on the upswing. The final shove came gently from my critique buddies at our meeting this weekend. Thanks, MeLeesa and Joyce! For me it’s now baby steps to the blog. Baby steps to the Scrivener file. But at least I’m moving.
May was rough, though. The month started with adding another year to my life chart, but ended with a great concert at the Hard Rock in Biloxi. Power metal, country, classical, world, folk, pop, oldies, classic rock, opera, R&B, rap… my music knows no genre boundaries, but I’m very selective about music groups/singers.
Last week, Diamond Rio played at the Hard Rock. They’re my favorite country group—I’ve been listening to them since I first heard “Meet in the Middle” during my freshman year in high school. (Of course, I was also listening to Firehouse, J.S. Bach, and Enya. Like I said, no musical borders in Wonderland.)
Besides the great show, all six band members did a meet and greet next to the merchandise table after the show. Naturally, I bought the band’s autobiography and gushed over the twenty-three years of music fandom while they all signed the book. (Here’s another bunch to add to the Fantabutius roster.) The experience of participating in the creating (composing music), sharing (concert), and spending time with fans (autographing) reminded me of my own goals as a writer. I need to work on my craft to have something for people to read, so I can hopefully inspire others to do the same.
The Diamond Rio concert was a great way to end the moody month and start me thinking about creativity and positive vibes. This past week I finally started a mood music file for my current project and started thinking more about characters and less about the literary rejections. Here’s to a summer of magic and memories in the making. What do you have in mind?
Bonus, I’m going back to the venue for a BOSTON concert on Friday. Rock on!
Since it’s officially a long weekend here (Hello, Labor Day!) I’ve decided to labor over my WIP to get closer to finishing the never ending first draft.
I write slow, with a capital S.
After skipping work for three days at the beginning of the week, I’m making up for it by busting my fingers to get the words down. I’ve added for than 3,500 in the past forty-eight hours. FORTITUDE needs to be finished. This draft has to be complete so I can go over it multiple times with edits. I want this first draft to become a twelfth draft.
Always good with timing, the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson is hosting her sixth annual Write Fifteen Minutes a Day this month. You can find the first post here. For those interested in writing or the workings of an author it’s a great series to follow.
I was tagged/nominated by R.K. Grow, a fellow writer on Twitter @tolkien418, for a Liebster Award. Thank you!
The Liebster is awarded to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. The conditions that go with being nominated are:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator and create 11 questions for your nominees;
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen;
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.
My questions from R.K. Grow are:
1. Twizzlers or Red Vines?
Neither. Licorice isn’t my favorite and black licorice is even worse.
2. Do you have a current WIP? If so, tell us about it.
FORTITUDE: Dauphin Island, Alabama teen Claire O’Farrell and her best friend, Loretta Davis, get caught in the middle of the racial tensions of the Spanish-American War camps in Tampa, Florida during the summer of 1898.
3. What is your favorite punctuation mark?
4. If you could pick the songs for the soundtrack of your novel what would they be?
The soundtrack—complete with YouTube links—for CORRODED, the novel I’m currently querying, can be found here.
I’m only about one third of the way through the first draft of FORTITUDE so it doesn’t have a soundtrack, just a “Fortitude Groove” playlist on my iPod. It has 121 songs with the majority of flavors being Irish-Celtic, country/blue grass, and soundtrack instrumentals that evoke the emotions I hope to create in the reader. For now, I listen to it on shuffle when writing, researching, or just getting in the proper mood.
5. What are three words that describe how you feel about writing?
6. What is your favorite genre to read and why?
Middle Grade, especially those books geared for readers ten years and older. It can be contemporary, historical, fantasy, whatever—I’m just in love with the coming-of-age theme that is prevalent in literature for late childhood and the teen years. Part of that is because I’m still searching for where I fit in. I haven’t found my social niche, but at least now I’m comfortable with myself—usually.
7. What music do you listen to when you write, if any?
Music plays a HUGE part in my writing, but which music I listen to when writing depends on the story. I have over eight days worth of music up/down loaded into my iTunes account from a wide variety of genres. I gather music to fit the mood I wish to create when writing, then I painstakingly chose a soundtrack to mesh with the scenes of the novel as it progresses. This is something I’ve done since I began writing over twenty years ago. See question #4 for a sample.
8. What is your writing goal this year?
My immediate goal is to finish the first draft of FORTITUDE by my birthday (May 3.)
I also hope to hear at least one positive response from my queries about CORRODED in the meantime.
9. Laptop or desktop?
Laptop, but I use it on a desk/table/counter top with a full size keyboard and mouse whenever possible.
10. How do you stay motivated?
MUSIC—I’ve noticed if I don’t take time to listen to my music (as opposed to my kids’ stuff or whatever is playing around me) I lose inspiration.
BOOKS—Reading books by people whom I admire and hearing about them getting recognition for their efforts is inspiring, too.
GENEROSITY—The humility and generosity of some of the authors and musicians I respect the most is incredibly motivating. (See my posts on Fantabutitus.) I want the chance to pay-it-forward so I need to be writing successfully to do that on a higher level.
11. What is the primary focus for your blog?
Literature: both my own and other peoples.
I usually blog about reading and writing, though I often take themes from my novels as blog topics.
Seldom, I’ll post about my family or homeschooling—without it dealing with books—and even rarer do I mention current events.
So, now for awarding the next generation of Liebster Bloggers, and please don’t take offense if you have more than 200 followers—not all the blog have those stats public. If you don’t know these bloggers, take a minute and check them out.
And here are your questions—looking forward to reading the answers!
1. What gets you going in the morning?
2. Morning person or night owl?
3. If you could pick one, what book would you want the world to read?
4. Do you prefer TV shows or movies for entertainment?
5. Is your blog your main writing project? If not, tell us what else is in the works.
6. What is your favorite place to catch up on news—print, online, web, etc?
7. Peter Rabbit or the White Rabbit?
8. What’s on your desktop wallpaper right now?
9. Radio or your own personal music selection?
10. Best or worst concert experience.
11. Fiction or non-fiction?
Last night I was able to catch another Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. This time it was with two of my friends, Lee Ann Ward and Meleesa Swann. We drove more than two hours each way to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, but it was well worth the time and expense.
When I caught the show last year in New Jersey, Matthew and Gunnar had a full band. The current leg of their tour was just the two of them—but they sounded great. Gunnar took lead/electric guitar and Matthew switched between bass and rhythm guitars. And man, the bass lines were smokin’ hot!
My favorite song presentation of the night was “Fools Rush In.” Love the song as it is, but their rendition was flawless.
As I bask in the memories of the good times and fabulous music, I’m still waiting to hear back about the fate of my Rick Nelson inspired novel, CORRODED. If you’re new to the blog, check out the category postings under Corroded and Rick Nelson on the sidebar. And don’t miss the soundtrack!
Last month, I posted more information about the vacation I took in the spring, focusing on the Friday morning I spent at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
This time around I’m going to focus on my night out in Morristown, NJ.
Those who know me—or have been following this blog for long—realize that I love Rick Nelson. Ricky is the King around here, not Elvis. And The Beach Boys trump The Beatles any day.
CORRODED, the novel I’m seeking publication for, is heavily influenced by Rick Nelson. If you haven’t already, check out my soundtrack here. Yes, Corroded begins and ends with Rick Nelson, and noticeably, the main character is named after one of his songs.
The reason I went to NJ/NY when I did was for a Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. As an early birthday gift, my sister bought tickets—Golden Circle, baby! Please excuse my geek moment.
Before the show, big sister took me to get my hair done at a local salon. At thirty-five years old, my virgin hair was highlighted for the first time. Foil wraps anyone? After the show, I met and collect autographs from bassist Tommy Vee (son of the legendary Bobby Vee) and original Stone Canyon Band member David Morgan (who I called “Mr. Morgan” because a SCB member is HUGE in my book.) After standing in line, I got my turn to chat with Matthew and Gunnar—friendly as always for another fantabutitus moment. Enjoy the goofy pictures.
Last week I sent the complete Corroded manuscript to Laurie Halse Anderson. It arrived at her address Saturday the 15th. So the waiting game is on to hear her critique.
In an attempt to keep from thinking about my story being in the hands of one of my writing heroes, I treated myself to a free concert at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores Saturday evening.
And, of course, I had another experience! I was able to meet the members of Firehouse before and after the show. The other guys signed the “vintage” flier that C.J. Snare signed at the show on October 12, 1991 (the last time I saw them—20 years ago!) as well as a CD booklet I brought along and the new CD I bought at the show. C.J. still has his voice, Bill wailed on the guitar, Michael hammered the drums, and Allen played a mean bass. They rocked harder than ever!
Love music, love great people! Hang with me if you want to catch Fantabutitus!