Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Book Review for "Near Death"

This is my first book review, so bear with me and let's see if I can do justice to
                                "Near Death" By Richard C Hale.

First off, I am a big fan of Stephen King and rarely do I read books by other authors, but I had read a portion of the first chapter of "Near Death" in November on Richard's blog, and it made me cry, so I put it on my Christmas wish list and my oldest son bought it for me.

"Near Death" Is about Jake, who loses his wife in an accident and he goes on to develop a special technology to record other's near death experiences. (That's the only thing I am going to tell you about the plot.)

I did find two small parts in the beginning that I'll call hiccups. One was where he introduced Frank and the other was the part about the plane and the war. I would have put at the beginning of the plane part, "In the meantime, in a desert somewhere in Afghanistan" But that's just my opinion.

I also found myself agreeing with Teri about Maddy (Both characters in the book) That I didn't like Maddy, but I am guessing that's a jealous female thing. :-))

Richard didn't give a physical description to all of his characters, which I liked, because it let's the reader use their imagination as to how they see them. Sometimes less is more when writing.

Overall I give "Near Death" five stars!
I found the book quite enjoyable. It pulled me in and hooked me to the point that I didn't want to put it down.
I look forward to reading more books by Richard. Watch out Stephen King you have competition.
Oh! And as a new writer myself, I read a lot of help blogs and one thing they tell you is proofread...
There is one typographical error on page 97, but if you want to know what it is, you'll have to buy the book, because I'm not telling!

If you want to buy "Near Death" You can find it here...
and here for your nook

You can also follow Richard on twitter Richard_C_Hale
And find him on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Richard-C-Hale/165798456830067

Now quit reading my review and go out and buy his book!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stress? Me? Never! UGH!

First reason for the stress reduction kit...
The holidays are fast approaching!
And I'm NOT ready!

Second reason for the stress reduction kit...
I have been writing query letters and I have come to the conclusion...
I write Sucky Query letters!
The hook is okay. It's short, but says what I want to get their interest..
 I've got my contact information down to a "T"
But, It's that first part where you tell the publisher or agent why you are submitting to them. Do I really have to say why? I mean, I wouldn't submit to them if I didn't want to get their attention. I mean, I'm not sending out a million query letters, just a few hand picked chosen ones, that I have found in google search and that I have heard about through other writers and authors.

Okay well, most people request your query letter to be no longer than 1 page, so with mine they really don't have to worry, I think mine is a half a page long!
I know...But mine is short and to the point! It basically says, "Here's what I've got and here's where you can contact me." End of query. Hopefully, I will get better at it. I guess my main problem is, I'm not really good at sucking up, but will make you fudge and cookies to sweeten you up!

Well that's the reasons for my Stress Reduction kit. Feel free to print one up for yourself and use as needed!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Everyday there's a holiday!

Well not quite, but if it's someone's birthday, that could be a holiday too, right?

Hi Everyone! I had tweeted today about using plastic tablecloths for wrapping paper. Hey!
It works great for those BIG gifts. But here's something you didn't know, and that is that I love to use a twin bed sheet for a table cloth for a child's birthday party!

First, put a plastic tablcloth on the table, then put the sheet over it. Now with fabric paint, write Happy Birthday and the child's name, add some balloons, or frogs or whatever your child likes. (Don't forget to let it dry) Then when the guests arrive, leave some permanent markers or fabric paint pens on the table for the guests to write messages for the child on the sheet! After the party's over, throw it in the washer and Ta Da! The child has their own personalized bed sheet!

For great custom party sets, check out http://myuniquebaskets.blogspot.com/ 

How to write a book?

I have read 10,000 help blogs on "How to write a book." Well maybe only 500, but it feels like a heck of a lot more! And every single one of them tell you something different. Not only do help blogs tell you how to write books, but there's also the ones who tell you how to write queries and synopsis'. And then there are the submission processes of agents and publishers.
First you have people telling you, "No purple prose" If you don't know what that is you can find out about it here;
http://www.debstover.com/purple.html and yes, there is one small line in my book that has it, but in my defense, that part of my book took place in the '70's. And I didn't know what "purple prose" was until about 10 minutes ago!
Okay so now you are done writing and it's time to query.
First they tell you how to write a query and you would think it would be a simple process, but no it's not. It can be one of the hardest things you'll ever do and I think I just submitted the shortest query in history! Very short and to the point. Oh well. It was my first submission and let's hope I get better as I go along.
Second they tell you, "Don't query a series." So what if they are asking for series?

So here's the deal;
I've written my book. I wrote it the way the story played out in my head. I proofread it and did the edits and reread it. It's done! It might be only 55,000 words, but it is a tragic love story with closure and I cried through a major part as I was writing it. Hopefully that's because of the story and not my writing. No, it doesn't have a happily ever after. Not yet anyways, because it is the first book in a series of four books and then you get the happily ever after. Which, by the way, has been written also and is apprx. 93,000 words.

So the moral of this story is...
Write your way, in your own words. Take time to double check spelling. Make sure the story flows and comes together nicely and do your best on queries and the synopsis and if they like it.... Read the help blogs either before you begin writing or after finishing the first draft. And once you've submitted that book to the agents and publishers you want, take a deep breath and don't start stressing on what you think you did or did not do. It's been sent and it's up to the the people you queried now.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My 2011 Christmas Newsletter

I've never done a Christmas newsletter. Some people do and some don't. I have received them off and on, from family and friends. This year I received one from a friend of my dads. What do you put in one? I mean, you either have great news you want to brag about, or sad news, or, maybe you just want to get everything out and have a sympathetic ear, or shoulder to cry on. So I thought I'd do mine here, but do it more as a conversation between me and you. We'll see where it goes and what happens! :-))

Karen tells her readers, "Oh I hate the thought of a new year."
And they want to know, "Why?"
"Because it's always depressing."
"I don't get it. Why is a new year depressing when it's a brand new year, a new beginning, a way to start over?"
"Well for one, I'll be another year older! And then there are all the things we leave behind."
"What kind of things? I know, tell me how 2011 was for you."
"Well in January it's a new year! Haha! Sorry, guess I should be serious. There are all the decorations that have to come down which seem to leave everything looking bare and empty. And since I had my gift shop, there was double the work and emptiness. February wasn't too bad. No wait, I turned another year older and closed down my gift shop in February!"
"Oh I'm sorry to hear that. Why did you close your shop?"
"Well for one thing, my business partner started flaking out on me in August the year before. He was going through a nasty divorce and evidently hadn't been paying the rent, which I found out in February. Luckily I had an awesome landlord. Yes, I'm responsible for the back rent, but at least he's taking payments. I could have stayed open. I had someone else that wanted to come in and be partners with me, but I decided it was time to close that door."
"Well it sounds like you were dealing with it in a positive way."
"It was just one of those things. Everything happens for a reason, right?"
"What happened after that?"
"Well, March and April were pretty quiet, except my oldest son turned 35. May had it's good and bad.
On Mother's day my middle son called me to wish me a Happy Mother's day and in the next breath, told me his dog, Slick, had been hit by a car. Now Slick is my only grand baby, none of my boys are married, and I was devastated. I told my son, "I'll have to call you back, when I can compose myself a little", I did call him back later that night and we both spent some crying time together. But there was good in May also. I started writing. I was tired of cleaning and laundry. There's only so much you can do, you know, and I had this story in my head for months, so I thought, "Might as well put it on paper." And that's what I did. Actually finished the first draft of that book on the 30th of October. Right in time too, because I started NaNoWriMo on the first of November. But let's go back to June. My son got a new puppy and her name is Sandi. Now I have never been a lover of pitbulls, but she is sweet and shy and I have grown to love her. July, August, and September, pretty much flew by. (Both my younger boys had birthdays in September. One is now 27 and the other is 22.)  Writing tends to do that to you. You seem to get lost in the story and when you hit that final period, you look up and say, "Wow where did the time go?"
And this is Sandi, who loves to smile!
"So is there anything else about 2011 that you want to tell us?"
"Well let's see...Spent Memorial day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends in San Diego. Got my little dog Duggy, neutered the first week of December, and I finished writing and editing my second book! So will be submitting it this coming week, so hopefully next year's newsletter, will be a little more exciting and not soooo boring! And how was your 2011?"

This is Slick and Duggy

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy, happy and Wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

No One Knows

I've been told that no one knows your book better than you!
So my question is, "How come it's so hard to write a query and synopsis?"

I was talking to a friend a couple of weeks ago. She is an English Lit professor and a writing instructor.
Right now she is grading and reading finals, but when she's done, she's agreed to read my book that I just finished. I told her she needs to be impartial.
 "Yeah right" she tells me. We've been friends for 18 years now.
Anyway, she was asking what my book was about and was trying to pull out all the details.
It didn't dawn on me until after I hung up that she was trying to get a synopsis out of me.
I should have realized this and maybe my synopsis would be done! Oh well. I'll probably get together with her next week and hopefully she can teach me some things about writing!

Have a great week everyone and if you get a chance check out my other blog on wordpress.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Write? Distractions?

Good morning and Happy Thursday! Let's take a journey through my mind today. Just remember to hold on because it could get quite bumpy and turn upside down and...

Okay first I love reading my horoscopes every morning. This is one of the many for today and I thought it might work for my blog post today...

You could toss hours of work at this project, and it would look only slightly different in the end. However, let it roll on without much supervision, and you'll deserve the righteous feedback coming your way.

I interpret it as JUST WRITE!

I want to talk about writing, especially if you are planning on becoming a writer.

I guess I should put my disclaimer in here! I am new to writing, I am not an expert, everything you read here is just my opinion and take everything with a grain of salt. :-))

I was 3 chapters into my first book when I decided, "Hey I should search the web and see, "How to write a book" Okay so I'm a little backwards."

And that's where my distractions began. If you have a story stuck in your head, my advice to you is either

#1 Sit down and write it, just write it however it is in your head. Write from your heart, your mind, and your soul. Don't go searching for writing tips, just write. Then after you have finished your story, then find all the help blogs and edit your story using all the tips you find.


#2 Before you even put that first word on the paper, search all the help blogs and make a short list as to what to look for as your are writing. POV, transitions, character development, etc. Then as you are writing your story, you can refer to your list.

NaNoWriMo has the concept right. Just write! No matter if it goes off in every different direction, just write, no editing, no deleting sentences, just write straight through.

And Stephen King agrees;

"Upon being asked by a fan how to become a writer, Stephen King replied, "Write."

Stephen King

We have enough distractions to deal with. There are the cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking, and all the other every day distractions that pop up.

Then you have your twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. And the blogs are my biggest distractions, because...

I follow a lot of writers, author's and agents help blogs. And when you are writing these tend to be big distractions because...You stop writing and start going back over what you have written and start editing. Wondering did I do this right, or should I have said he said/she said, or...

So either write first, then find all the help blogs and edit, or

Find all the help blogs first, then write your story.

A word of caution. Every person has a different writing style, everyone has a different way of looking at how stories should be written. You need to find your way, your inner voice and as Stephen King says,

"This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit. Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do -- not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less bullshit."

Stephen King, On Writing"

Stephen King

Anyway, I do love the help blogs and one of my favorites that I follow is Paul Dorset's Blog called "Utterances of an Overcrowded Mind"

He has written a book on becoming a writer and shares some great insights on how to write a book.


Okay now that I've told you how I feel, Maybe I should be writing...Or finding another help blog to share to help you on your way. Nah It's time for me to get busy and write

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Duggy Shoes

My new shoes! Thanks dad!
I went to my dad's last Sunday. I wore a nice pair of jeans, a tank top, and a button down sweater and my Duggy shoes. Now for those of you that don't know what my Duggy shoes are they are my favorite tennis shoes, that my little dog Duggy has been chewing on since I got him. Anyway my dad called me Tuesday and wanted to know what size shoes I wear. I asked him why and he said he just wanted to know how big my feet were. So I told him a 10, (yes, I have BIG feet) Which seems unusual because I am only 5'5" and weigh about 135 lbs.
Now I am not poor, nor am I rich, and I have other shoes, but I like my Duggy shoes. They are comfortable.

Sorry back to my dad, He told me he went out and bought me a new pair of shoes, Sketchers to be exact, and paid $97 dollars for them. WHAT! I cringe if I have to pay more than $25 for a pair of shoes!

Oh well, wonder if they will go with my holey 80's look jeans....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Was it good for you too?

Okay now that I have got your attention...Get your minds out of the gutter! I'm talking about NaNoWriMo.

I've been seeing blogs and posts on comment boards, or is that comments on post boards, (Shaking head) Hmmm...
Anyway whichever way you look at it, Some say they enjoyed NaNo and some say they didn't.
Personally I thought it was a lot of fun and I'm kind of sad to see it done.
It was my first time...
I wasn't sure I could do it, but I prevailed and look forward to next year.

I wrote my 50,000 plus words. I decided my book would only have 4 main chapters, so I finished the first, third, and final chapter. And got the beginning and end of the second chapter, but need to fill in the center.

The hardest part about nanowrimo for me is writing in a straight line...beginning to end. I tend to skip around some.

The book I wrote is actually the first book in a series of four books. I decided to write it, because I had just finished the fourth book. But on the plus side I have started on the first chapter of book too and have the ending chapter of book three done! Did I mention I skip around a lot?

Oh Well, I hope to see everyone back writing next year!

Here are a couple of blogs from fellow NaNo writers! Check them out!

Simon's Blog This was his first year too!

And Cheryl captures the writers block/procrastinator in all of us with her short videos! http://www.cherylreif.com/2011/12/01/for-all-you-fellow-wrimos/#comment-3843

Happy Dec. 1st You survived, you may all get up from your chairs now! Take a bow and pat yourself on the back!

For those of you that like the comraderie that goes with NaNoWriMo here is a link on FB where you can continue writing your nano