Adventures in Queryland Day I Don’t Even Know Anymore: Create a playlist!

Have you ever found a song that so completely embodies your story it makes your heart burst (or your eyes well up or your adrenaline rush) nearly every time you listen to it? Like, you can’t even listen to it for enjoyment anymore because you’re staring off in the distance imagining all the scenes that were inspired by the words that perfectly sum up your characters and their relationship?

Yeah. For me, that song is Phillip Phillips Unpack Your Heart. I Don’t know if it will have the same emotion-inducing impact on any of you, but I went ahead and linked it below… because 1.) PPhil is adorable and 2.) It’s a great song. It’ll totally make your heart soar, trust me on this one.

I plan to have a page on my site for playlists as I create more, but for now, the one for my first book is living over on Facebook. So visit me! Like my page and listen to some of the songs that made me almost crash my vehicle several times over… Then tell me what song is the song for your book!

 

 

 

#NovelBootCamp with @EllenMBrock

Schedule of Shenanigans 

I upped my game on my Twitter profile in the hope y’all would come visit me at this here blog. As such, I figure if I’m going to promise weekly shenanigans, I should probably put my money where my mouth is and post something. “Weekly” might be a typo, though, and I may have meant to type “monthly”… possibly even “bi-annually.”

Novel Progress

I’ve been working on a Paranormal Romance for a year and a half and I think a finished first draft is finally, finally in sight. I started it in April of 2015, so I guess technically it’s only been a year and three months, but whatever, close enough. Point is, it’s been a while.

Besides a long road, it’s also been a tough one… I’ve worked as an advertising copywriter for nearly 20 years, so when I decided to write fiction I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to switch gears.

See, in advertising the goal is to convey your message in as little words and time as possible. Total opposite of fiction. I’ll just set that right there so you can ponder for a few seconds how many times my brain wanted to implode.

On top of the brain splatters, I didn’t really have a process. I had no idea if I was a plotter or a pantser… whether I wrote linearly or jumped around… no clue about plot points, character arcs, scene structure… yeah.

This is where I tell you about Ellen Brock’s Novel Bootcamp.

Ellen Brock is running her Novel Bootcamp again from July 1 – July 29. It’s FREE and, yes, I dropped the ball with this post since July is almost over, BUT, you should go ahead and mark your calendars for next year so you don’t miss it.

NB is a series of videos on Youtube that are super informative and insightful. Also? Ellen is a freelance editor, so you know she has experience and isn’t just some rando basing her advice solely on personal opinion. Also, also? She offers free critiques on your novel opening and also has a peer critique session during bootcamp, which is a total bonus.

So, yeah, that’s my writing PSA for the day. Go check it out. And, hey, even if you missed most of NB this year, you really haven’t. I believe access to the videos are still public. Not sure for how long, though, so I’d skedaddle on over there if I were you. If you don’t have time now, no sweat, there are a bunch of great topics on her blog for you to peruse later.

And with this, I bid you adieu…

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@LMBryski… ☀️Blog is ⬆️

As previously mentioned, I was nominated for the Sunshine Blog by @LMBryski, an LOL-inducing Canadian who loves food as much as I do. And she saves lives. Literally. She’s an ER doctor! Bless her heart. Her first novel Book of Birds comes out in a couple of months, too. I’m telling ya, this one’s going places, folks.

So, first, I answer some questions given to me. Second, I nominate others and give them some questions to answer. Yeah… about that second part. I’m kind of a recluse, see, and that not only goes for real life, but also the Internet. The only two people I’d feel comfy nominating have already been nominated to do the Sunshine Blog. I’m going to have to think on that last part for a bit and see who I can come up with. In the meantime, and without further ado, my answers…

 

What is your advice to other writers that has helped you?

Oddly, the advice that has helped me the most came from a complete stranger, over Twitter. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very nice about it, which, being the delicate, thin-skinned newbie that I was (and still am) sent me scurrying back under the covers for days. I was a mess… flipping it this way, flopping it that way, holding it up to the light… but eventually I came to the conclusion that, however rude and insensitive her tweet had been, she was right. Her advice? I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this: Stop worrying about what other authors are doing, get off Twitter, sit your ass down and write.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is important, integral even, to what we’re all trying to achieve here, but it also has the potential to be a crutch for our ever-present insecurities to lean on, am I right? So, whenever I start getting sucked into the black hole of social media, I picture myself as a bedraggled woman in ratty slippers and a coffee stained housecoat surrounded by an old typewriter and waist-high crumpled sheets of paper and rejection letters barking:

LISTEN, SWEET CHEEKS, YOU WANNA BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR? THEN GET OFF THE TWITTERS, SIT THE EFF DOWN AND WRITE.

*shoves coffee stained housecoat into laundry, smiles nervously*

OMG, you guys. I think I blacked out. How long have I been answering this question?

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

Bewitched, hands down. I lived for that half hour of Samantha’s hilarious nose-twitching hijinks. I also loved: Fantasy Island and Wonder Woman. Linda Carter rocked those badass bulletproof bracelets like nobody’s business.

Where in the world would you like to live and why?

I’m not a big water person, so uh, we can scratch beachy-type places off the list. Bugs, snakes, spiders and bats can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned so the rain forest and Australia are out. I’m a pasty white girl who sizzles like bacon in the sun, so the desert (and Arizona) is also out. I’m a huge fan of history and historical places, though. Love folklore. Enamored with castles. Adore potatoes… I’m about as tall as a leprechaun… and I dig red hair. There you have it, I would like to live in the Irish countryside.

Mountain, volcano or cloud. Which one and why?

Are we talking places to hang out? Places to have lunch? Let’s go for settings for novels, shall we? YA Fantasy: Mountain. Suspense Thriller: Volcano. Paranormal Romance: Cloud.

What is your favorite cereal?

Cap’n Crunch in my youth. However, my palate has graduated from Crunch Berries to Cinnamon Life these days.

If you could name a star, what would you name it and why?

I already have. He’s eight-and-a-half years old, and he still lets me call him honey bunny baby boo boo. He’s a mamma’s star.

What is your essential item for traveling?

Socks. My feet are always cold. In fact, I sleep with slippers on. Not even joking. Oh, and my glasses. I’m as blind as a bat without them.

What famous person have you been in the past? Describe how it feels.

I was going to say Howard Hughes minus being a tycoon, flying airplanes, long creepy fingernails and peeing in jars, just because, you know, as previously mentioned I’m somewhat of a recluse. Then I remembered I have no problem eating a day old, half-eaten Pop Tart off my son’s plate. I’m pretty sure that’s something germophobe Howard would have avoided at all costs, so now I’m thinking Marie Antoinette… One, because I have big hair; two, my spending habits at Target are out of control; and three, I am a huge fan of cake. 

Do you believe in magic? Why or why not?

I do, but I believe in Karma more. Why? Well, that’s a story for another (life)time.

Agnes says we need you to save he world. How do you do it?

Call Wonder Woman. Seriously. Ain’t nothing that woman can’t handle. In case you’re wondering, yes, I would totally be her sidekick.

What song best describes your current life?

Not to get all sappy here, but my wedding song. It described my life ten years ago and it describes my life now, especially the very first line. I’m working on the first draft of my first novel and… the tears, the frustration, and good Lord, the uncertainty. A writer’s life is a lonely one, and not just for the writer. It would be a gross understatement to simply say that my husband has been there for me and call it good. Not when he’s sacrificed hours upon hours of time with me so I can spend it with my characters instead. Not when he’s cleared every obstacle out of my way so I can lob a few in front of my protagonist. Not when he’s endured my flagrant displays of less than flattering character traits. And definitely not when he’s done so without question, without hesitation and without complaint. Nope, I’m going to finish this book to prove his sacrifices weren’t in vain.

My second, less sappy choice is Emimen’s Lose Yourself:

  1. I feel like an underdog most days.
  2. I have a soft spot for Detroit.
  3. I, too, have spaghetti on my shirt.

 

Sunshine Blog: Pre-Game

I got nominated by @LMBryski, the bestest cyber sister ever, to participate in the Sunshine Blog. I know, right? Needless to say I feel quite special.

*beams*

For those of you who don’t know what the Sunshine Blog is, I’ll explain more about it in my subsequent post. For now, I’ll just say that, along with spreading joy and happiness and camaraderie across the Internets, there is a series of questions I must answer.

Well, I don’t have to… but that wouldn’t be any fun. Plus, it wouldn’t show how appreciative and honored I am at being nominated, nor would it demonstrate my impeccable sportsmanship-like conduct very well, now would it?

Here’s the thing: I’m up to my knickers at the moment, so I’m going to answer them over the weekend and (hopefully) post them on Monday.

In the meantime, check out my fellow nominee Eliza Nolan and our awesome nominator Lisa Bryski (Whose The Book of Birds will be hot off the press soon…yay!).

 

DIY Writing Retreat

I was looking around for writing workshops in my area a while ago. I was 36K words into my novel, still in love with my story, but royally stuck. Unfortunately, everything I found was either thousandsof miles or hundreds of dollars beyond my reach.

But then, just when I thought all hope was lost, images of mimosas in the mornings, surrounded by nature all day working on my novel, reaching for one Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuit after another until the entire box was gone and not even caring flashed through my mind. Needless to say, looking for workshops promptly turned into searching for the nearest writing retreat.

Again, I didn’t have much luck finding anything even remotely affordable, or relatively close for that matter.

Then I thought, hey, you have at least one other writer friend… and I bet she has other writer friends… why not put together our own retreat? Where the only distraction would be views like this:

So that’s what I did. I asked my one awesome writer friend (Don’t judge, writers are solitary creatures, you know this.) and she asked a few of her writing friends. When work, families and high school graduations were done being factored in, we had three of us saying, “Yes, please!” for a weekend in the woods with the sole purpose of writing our faces off.

It took us about 60 emails to get there, but long story short, we rented a cabin as equidistant as we could get, divvied up a food list, and voila, we had ourselves a DIY writer’s retreat..

Giant marshmallows in lieu of corks work brilliantly, btw.

 

It was one of the best weekends ever. I only wrote a little over 2,000 words, but I got so much feedback and thinking and plotting and insight and inspiration… it was everything I had hoped it would be. Besides getting to see my EFF (Electronic Friend Forever) in real life, I made another awesome writer friend.

So basically, I’m saying this DIY writer’s retreat turned out being three days of greatness. I learned so much being able to talk shop face to face. There’s also something to be said about actually seeing how someone reacts to your story. You know, while they are actually sitting at the table across from you and not from out in cyber space. You can see, with your own eyes, if your shit’s got legs or not. It’s humbling, inspiring and just about the best motivator to keep going.

Caution: Pink wine may impede the effective use of index cards.

It took a fair amount of planning, but in the end my dream of mimosas, Triscuits and writing came true. I highly recommend DIY weekend write-ins. And now for some obligatory flower pics…

 

 

 

Oh, Okay. So that’s how it’s going to be.

Hello all my Imaginary Followers.

First, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t make a lot of sense right now. I’m coming off a 30-hour freelance bender and, as Virginiaca would say, I am overheatin’.

I guess the only thing I wanted to say is I switched to WordPress a while back, but I’m still getting all sorts of traffic on my Blogger.

What do you think? Should I go back? It’s not like I was mad at Blogger or anything. I guess I just thought the grass might be a little greener over at WordPress, cause you can follow blogs real easy like and all.

Oh, dear. There I go not making any sense…  Let’s not attempt to go any further, shall we?

Bub-bye.

*pushes stop button*

Yes, I woke up like this.

First, how about that Leo, huh? Finally. FINALLY, he wins an Oscar. Just so you know, I’ve loved him ever since Arnie in What’s eating Gilbert Grape? I literally thought they cast a mentally impaired actor for the role. He’s that good. What a long-running and distinguished career… and he’s also an advocate for the environment? Yes, please.

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Any hoodle. In other news, been up ’til 1:00 am two nights in a row. Midnight the two before that. Wondering what sort of rocking party is keeping a middle aged woman with poor vision up so late… early?

Continue reading

How much is that doggie in the mud room?

1.) I am now officially on WordPress. Yay!

2.) I haven’t written in weeks and it’s bothering me. Boo!

I’m writing a romantic comedy, which is strange in and of itself since most of the flash fiction I write is sort of dark and/or has a twist of some kind. I haven’t been able to write much for the past few weeks and it’s making me very, very anxious. I started my book last April and my goal is to finish the first draft this April. I am only a little over halfway.

*sobs, moans, stuffs an excessive amount of snacks in face*

3.) Speaking of flash fiction, one of my stories will be published online at Flash Fiction Magazine on February 16th. Double yay!

4.) I got to spend my morning with this dude.

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His name is Kingston. Of course, I didn’t know that when I saw him wandering around the sub this morning while at the bus stop. I was afraid he was going to get hit, seeing as some people in our subdivision give zero f*cks when it comes to speeding. I couldn’t have that kind of guilt on my conscience, so, even though we are not pet people, I scooped him up and took him home. Luckily he had a phone number on his collar and his mom came and got him. Not before I ran to the store for a leash and 17 pounds of dog food, though. Hey, you never know when the Zombie apocalypse will hit and your only companion is a squatty little dog you found running around your sub. Always be prepared, people!

4.) Have you heard of Jenna Moreci?

I stumbled across her while searching for ways to do an outline. Something I’m finding that, for me at least, the more detail you have hammered out in the beginning, the easier it is to stay on track. I didn’t do a very detailed outline and now I’m finding the task of going back and adding more meat to the potatoes a bit of a motivational buzz kill. Anyway, here is the link to her vlog. She’s really quite entertaining. She also gives a lot of helpful advice. She could also technically be my daughter… because I am that old. That’s not depressing at all. Nope.

And that’s all I got. Until next time…

💘 Kerri