Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awesome Pixar medley

I thought you'd enjoy this inspiring Pixar medley.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meet AKA teammate: Katie Lee

Here’s another one of my awesome AKA Literary teammates. Hope you check her out.

Name: Katie Lee

Lives in: Rockville, MD

Family: Parents, siblings, nephews, niece

Writes: Contemporary romances

Day job: Attorney

Titles of books you've written: MATCH MADE IN HASTE, MAN OF MY DREAMS, MATCH POINT



Favorite book: Just one book? That’s impossible. I read so much and I generally love the books I read so it’s hard to pick a favorite.

Favorite book character: Again, this is asking the impossible but I do like the spunky heroines. . .especially in young adult fiction. . .Hermione from Harry Potter, Anne from Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking. I also enjoyed Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich series.

Book you've learned the most from: LIFE LESSONS by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and what would you ask him/her? I’d love to sit down with either Elisabeth Kubler Ross or J.K. Rowling. They are both fascinating women and probably have wonderful perspectives on things. Mainly I’d ask them about their lives because they’ve both had some very interesting experiences that no doubt shaped their literary careers.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received: Don’t get so attached to what you’ve written that you can’t edit it to make it better, and you can always make it better.

Finish these sentences:

I wish I...was writing full time. . .in my villa in the South of France!

If I long and hard the journey to publication would be. . .I’d still do it!

Previous profiles:
Aaron Tate
Louise Caiola

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twitter hashtags for writers

Check out this list of Twitter hastags. Here are a few.
#amwriting posts from people who are writing
#amediting posts from people who are editing
#askagent agent questions and answers

Quote of the day

"Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible." --John Wooden
What are you working on today? See it, feel it, believe it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meet AKA teammate: Aaron Tate

I thought it might be fun to introduce some of my AKA Literary, LLC teammates. My friends who follow this blog are such a terrific group of people and I wanted to introduce you to another terrific group of people. First up is Aaron Tate. Here’s the skinny on Aaron.

Family: Wife, Denise, 31; Two sons, Corbyn (4) and Aaden (2)

Writes: YA

Day job: 7th-grade Science/S.T.E.M. teacher; Bromley East Charter School (K-8)

Titles of books you've written/sold: COLD SECRETS: A SoNaR ADVENTURE



Twitter: @TateSoNaR

Facebook: SoNaR Adventure Books

Favorite book: THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett

Favorite book character: Robert Langdon

Book you've learned the most from: TEACHING WITH LOVE & LOGIC: TAKING CONTROL OF THE CLASSROOM by Jim Fay and David Funk

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and what would you ask him/her? I would love to sit down with Stephen Hawking and ask him to talk to me about all of his theories on the universe and beyond.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received: “You have a 0% chance of ever getting published if you don't give it a shot!”

Finish these sentences:

I wish I...can watch as my wife and boys read the dedication that I wrote to them in a published copy of my first novel.

If I satisfying writing fiction is, I would've started many years ago.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finding a balance in life

"That said, my kids are at home right now with my husband and I'm missing something important at my daughter's school which makes me feel sick inside. It's a lot of balance and a lot of really hard decision making." -- Reese Witherspoon

I think a lot of us feel like Reese. Striking a balance in our lives is challenging, at least it is for me. I'm a mother and wife, a journalist and author, a sister and friend, a church council member and school advisory committee member and the list continues.

What I think makes the many roles I have even more difficult is that I never settle for mediocre or good enough. Whatever I do I give it 100 percent. Yes, I'm Type A. Yes, I'm a perfectionist. Yes, it's a demon that I fight every day, sometimes a blessing and at other times a curse. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Fortunately my kids are older and don't need me as much and I have an incredibly supportive husband. I try to save the weekends for him, but even that is sometimes difficult with both of our schedules. So I've learned to get the time when we can and make the most of it.

But to be honest, the juggling can be difficult, even for someone with pretty decent time management skills like I think I have. Sometimes you have to make choices because you can't do it all. If you visit all of the blogs on your blog reader, that's an hour or so that you don't have to write. If you spend an hour in a tweet chat, that's an hour that you don't have to write. So, you have to make decisions.

I wish I had time to do all of the things I want to do, but I don't. So I do the best I can with what time I have. 

Nathan Bransford had a thoughtful post on this just yesterday. Check it out when you have time and tell me how you handle your many roles.

Sometimes I think it would be great if we required no sleep. I think of how much I could accomplish if I were awake all of the time. But then I remember how much I love my sleep. I mean, really, really love my sleep. (Wish I could go back to bed right now!)

Anyway, have a super day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quote to start your week

"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you."
— Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote of the day

"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers."
--Logan Pearsall Smith

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I say, you say for St. Patrick's Day

Copy and paste in comments and finish each sentence.
ie. I say shamrock, you say ... shake

1. I say leprechaun, you say .....

2. I say shamrock, you say ...

3. I say bangers, you say...

4. I say Irish, you say ...

5. I say Blarney, you say...

An Irish blessing
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What you've learned...

What are three things you've learned about yourself from your writing journey so far? I'm sure there are more than three, but just list the first three that come to your mind. And tell me if you were surprised.

Then list one thing that you've learned about the writing world. And tell me if you were surprised by it.

For me, here goes.

Three things I've learned about myself:

1. I have the ability to write a book. I wasn't surprised by this but as a journalist I’m accustomed to producing far shorter pieces in a fraction of the time. Writing a longer piece was, well, dang hard and a lesson in patience and perseverance.

2. I love writing for kids and teens. I wasn't too surprised by this since my mind seems to be that of a 12-year-old. I think I've found where I belong, and it feels perfect.

3. I need to work on having more patience. This process takes time. I'm used to publishing a daily newspaper and seeing the result of my work almost instantaneously. Let's just say it's far from that in this business.

One thing I've learned about the writing world:

1. The online writing community is extremely supportive. I was surprised by this. There is so much talent out there. Everyone is pulling for everyone else. It's like being a member of the biggest and best cyber sports team in the world. You might not ever meet your cyber mates, but their spirit and enthusiasm and support encourage you to do your best. I love you guys to pieces!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Writing advice from the pros

Margaret Atwood
Don't sit down in the middle of the woods. If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

Diana Athill
Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear).

Roddy Doyle
Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy.

Helen Dunmore
Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue.

Geoff Dyer
Keep a diary. The biggest regret of my writing life is that I have never kept a journal or a diary.

Anne Enright
Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.

Richard Ford
Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself.

Jonathan Franzen
You have to love before you can be relentless.

Esther Freud
Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they'll know it too.

Neil Gaiman
Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong

David Hare
Never take advice from anyone with no investment in the outcome.

PD James
Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more ­effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.

AL Kennedy
Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and ­irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won't need to take notes.

Do you have some writing advice you'd like to share?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Trust God and we'll see what happens

I’ve been thinking about trust lately. A lot. In fact, ever since Pastor Greg's sermon three weeks ago (Matthew 6: 24-34) I've said to myself repeatedly: Trust God.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

“Do do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

I’m a worrier. I don’t deny that. But I need to trust God to take care of the things I cannot take care of. I need to live in the present moment and know that tomorrow belongs to God.

So how does this relate to my writing? Well, I've been thinking about ELLA'S RAIN (formerly ELLA'S DANCE) lately. I'm revising it. I don't know why I've been worring about this book so much, probably because I want it to be published so badly.

This book means a lot to me for reasons too numerous to go into in this post. Suffice it to say that much of a writer’s material is born out of personal experience. Such is the case with ELLA’S RAIN, which deals with a 17-year-old girl who loses her grandmother, who raised her, to cancer.

The grandma leaves Ella 365 notes, one for every day of the coming year. Grandma wanted to share some of her thoughts, things for Ella to think about as she journeyed through life. And she hoped that the notes would comfort Ella and provide the guidance she would not be there to give.

And so, I trust the Lord that if ELLA’S RAIN is to be shared with the world, it will be. I’ve written the book I had to write. My agent will do an awesome job trying to sell this book. But we can only give it our best shot and hope that it's good enough.

So, no more worrying that it's not good enough or whether people will like it. It is what it had to be.

 May you always find hope in despair, life in death and that big things can happen to little people if we put our trust in God.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quote of the day

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” --Agatha Christie
I'm often surprised by people who have dreams but lack the confidence to begin the journey. Maybe they're scared or nervous or whatever. But here's the thing, you will never get a hit if you don't step up to the plate and try. I hope that each of you hit a homerun.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March minute list

Use one word to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute.

Wind (ferocious)
Lion (wild)
Lamb (cuddly)
Shamrock (lucky)
Beer (green)
Spring break (rowdy)
Mid-term (difficult)
Snow (dirty)
Daffodil (buttercup)
Dancers (Celtic)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quote of the day

"A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words." -- ORHAN PAMUK

What do you think about this "second being" stuff? Agree or disagree?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I don't think Charlie Sheen likes me

I think I pissed Charlie Sheen off this morning on Twitter.

My tweet: Hey @Charliesheen, are you taping this for a reality show episode of Life With Charlie? Seriously, dude. Get help. It's OK to ask, ya know?

His response: @Buffyandrews no. I'm making a reality show called "Winning!". You will NEVER be on it.

That kind of hurt. I mean, it's not like I'm a bad person. I seriously hope he gets the help he needs.

More Charlie Sheen stuff on my other blog.

From my WIP: Crap I Could Never Make Up

I'm having so much fun writing this book. Here's an excerpt.

Where's that pink line?

Well, maybe I was pregnant. Seemed like the most logical explanation for the weight gain. So what if I was 47 and Hubs had a vasectomy more than 100 years ago. (OK, a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like 15.) It was possible. Anything’s possible, right.

I started to imagine what it would be like being pregnant and the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that the scale inching up was the result of a miracle of sorts.

So, I tell Hubs. He’s not too happy to put it mildly. I mean, after all, he did have the snip-snip years ago and was finding it a little hard to believe that after all this time the dang thing could have come undone. And, he definitely did not want to be raising a child on Social Security.

So I buy a pregnancy test at the drug store. Two as a matter of fact. Just to be double sure.


Turned out that I wasn’t pregnant. I was just getting fat.


I'm thinking maybe this for my book intro:

First there was Lucy, then there was Roseanne and now there’s Buffy. OK, OK, maybe a bit of a stretch, but my life would probably make a great sitcom. (Just ask my co-workers or Hubs.)

Here are some tidbits from my world. The sad part is that they’re all true. The good part is, well, maybe there is no good part. Except if they make you laugh or bring a smile to your face on a day when you need it most. I’m not above providing comic relief for those less neurotic and obsessive. Enjoy!