Friday, July 29, 2011

Pitch Contest with Victoria Marini

Chanelle Gray is hosting an agent judged contest on her blog Beyond Words.

Victoria is with Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency. The winner gets a chance to submit their entire manuscript, and in Victoria's words "at the very least, a critique." And since she seems totally awesome and I'm querying her anyway, I will be entering.

So, you wanna see my entry?
I thought you'd never ask.

Two sentence pitch:

To sixteen-year-old Melinda, getting a boyfriend is at the top of her To Do List, although she never imagined that he’d come from a hidden magical society. Of course, she also didn’t imagine she’d find herself in the middle of a civil war with a target on her back.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Design a Book Cover Blogfest

Brenda Drake is hosting Redesign a Book Cover Blogfest with CA Marshall. Or we can design a cover for our own yet to be published book. Fun! My cover is original artwork for my YA urban fantasy.
Head over to Brenda Drake's blog and check out the other participants.

Monday, June 13, 2011

When You Look at Me Like That

Do you have an
with your cat?

Most people do,
myself included.

I wrote this poem
with her in mind.

Her name is Mouse.

Our relationship’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
While I offer you my love, you offer me a wing.
I appreciate the thoughtful gifts you always give to me.
But I really liked that bird alive, singing in the tree.

At night you drive me crazy. You scratch and run around.
You want me when I’m sleeping, but by day, you can’t be found.
You rub and purr so sweetly that I offer you my hand.
Then you turn around and bite me. I just don’t understand.

You always keep me guessing. Is it love or hate today?
The only thing I’m sure of: you’ll never run away.
You may wonder how I know this, why you’ll never leave my side.
It’s because you are too lazy to give up on your free ride.

The cheerful dog, she tries so hard to be your friend and yet
You hiss, and swat, and torture her with every chance you get.
You think the dog is stupid to pursue the bouncy ball,
But you don’t look much brighter when you’re staring at the wall.

You run like you’re a cheetah; a leopard climbs like that.
But when it’s time to come back down you’re such a scaredy cat.
What goes up must then come down, I’ll say it once again.
“It’s only in the movies that they call the firemen!”

I love the way you proudly lead the kids to school each day,
And wait outside the window ‘til it’s time for them to play.
I know you love the children, your devotion’s plain to see.
Sometimes I think your plan is just to do away with me.

I try to tell the family; they seem so unaware.
I think it was no accident you tripped me on the stair.
I see it in your eyes when you look at me like that.
I think you want to kill me! And who’d suspect the cat?

And while we’re on the subject, I thought that you should know.
I’ve left a note for family on the chance that I should “go.”
I really do quite love you and all the laughs you bring.
Our relationship’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
~Michaele Stoughton

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

The better part of the last three years have been devoted to REACH: writing and rewriting, learning and networking, querying and submitting, contemplating and, of course, rewriting.
I needed to unplug from social media for a while (for the most part), regroup, and work on my overwhelming To Do List.

1. Clean my house. (I think that dust bunny had teeth.)

2. Clean OUT my house. (Before a producer from the TV show Hoarders shows up at my door.)

3. Paint just about every surface. (I hate cleaning the brushes.)

4. Install new flooring. (Then obsess. NO ANIMAL WILL RUIN IT THIS TIME!)

5. Renovate 2 1/2 bathrooms. (Just. Yuck.)

6. Sell the house. (Which hasn't happened yet.)

7. Find jobs for my husband and I in Florida. (Can't take another NY winter.)

Then there were things not on the list, some crazy, some for pleasure, and the "Oh man, why now?" projects.

1. Install new garage doors. (That was unexpected. While sitting in the family room watching TV one evening we heard a loud bang. The huge spring on our 30 year old garage door split in half, which in turned snapped the heavy wire that makes the door go up and down.)

2. Convince husband to let me spend over $200.00 on surgery for our turtle. He had a double ear infection.

3. Adopt more rats.

4. Come across a good deal on like 27,000 feet of nylon webbing, and think, "I could make dog collars." (WHAT?! Sometimes I really wonder about my sanity. And BTW... this is what 27,000 feet looks like.)

5. Sew lots of dog collars. Which can be found on my new site Greyt Serendipity

6. Read. Read. Read.

7. Experience Reike.

8. Discover the therapeutic powers of writing ...yet again. (I wrote about a traumatic event that happened when I was eleven. I will eventually share it with you.)

So, there it is: the many distractions of life. Thanks for hanging in there.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Awesome Contest

Want a chance to win the newly released A TOUCH MORTAL by Leah Clifford?

She is having an awesome giveaway and up for grabs, are five ... yes I said FIVE ... prize packs!

Hop on over to A Touch of Leah to enter.
The contest is open to Canada and U.S. only and ends March 31st.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Books and Goodreads

I finally took the time to figure out how to put the books I'm reading
over there -----------------------------------------------------> on the side.

In my search I found Goodreads. I'd seen the name before, but wasn't sure what it was. It looks pretty cool. If you aren't familiar with Goodreads, you should check it out.
Anyway...this is not a very exciting post, just proves that I am still alive, and that I do read. Sorry, no ratings yet. I will say that I just finished HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick, and I love, love, loved it!

I can't wait! This weekend I am finally getting around to reading THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cool Agent, Hot Book

Literary agent Diana Fox of
Fox Literary
has a new blog, leaving behind her

She hopes to have more content
at her new site,
and to celebrate
she is offering up an
ARC of Claudia Gray's AFTERLIFE.

So, hop on over and check it out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Letting Your Family Read Your Work

Over at the The Graceful Doe's Blog she did a post on Why You Shouldn't Ask Your Spouse's Opinion. I've seen this kind of advice before: don't let your family read your manuscript. I understand the reasoning; family members will have a biased opinion for their loved ones, they are excited to see what you've worked so hard on, and they don't want to hurt your feelings.

Well, that's most families.

My oldest (teen) daughter has always been an avid reader. She is excellent with grammar and punctuation, and can offer an in-depth review of the books she's read. Even though I was working with a critique partner, I really wanted a teen to read my young adult novel, and I thought she could be quite handy to have in my corner. I say could, with a grain of salt and a dash of hope, because she can also be quite critical.

In fact, for over a year she downright refused to read it.

At first when I asked, she said s didn't want to because she didn't think I would even finish writing it.

Fair enough.

When I asked her to read my completed and revised manuscript, she quite honestly replied, "I don't think I'm going to like it."

Okay, I know that was harsh. Please don't judge her. Trust me, I'm judging her enough for all of us. Just kidding. We really do have a wonderful relationship.

Then one day she said if I wanted to download it onto her Nook, she would read it. I casually said, "Okay, whatev."

I had to force myself to leave her alone, and not stare over her shoulder. I thought I would literally crawl out of my skin, waiting for her to finish.

Luckily, she is a fast reader.

Thankfully, she couldn't put it down.

But then the brat my lovely daughter didn't say anything. I tried not to push her, coolly asking, "So ... uh, what'd ya think?"

She flashed me a funny smile and sighed. I immediately realized what was going on -- she doesn't like to admit when she's wrong. I kept a straight face and waited. Finally, she said, "It's awesome."

That honestly is a moment I will never forget. It meant so much to me. As did her excitement as she discussed a certain character and that characters conclusion.

So, that's my story. Do you have a story about sharing your work with family?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Therapy & Psychics

As a teen, writing helped me deal with my emotions. When my kids were little, I had fun writing and illustrating a couple of children’s books. I thought about trying to get them published, but I mostly wrote for myself. Several years passed, I didn’t have a lot of time for writing. Until three years ago...

I was working as a Dental Assistant. I enjoyed my job, and the people I worked with. One day I woke up and my pinky hurt. Yeah, I said pinky. Hold on. There’s more to the story. I couldn’t bend my finger; it felt like I had jammed it, although I couldn’t recall anything happening.

Then the next morning I woke up and my whole hand hurt, and I couldn’t hold or grip anything – not good when I’m handling a sharp object over the patient’s face. Don’t worry, I didn’t hurt anyone. In the days to follow, the pain spread to different parts of my body and I began to worry. I saw my doctor, and the worry changed to frustrated concern as we began the testing process.

For a while it was believed to be Lupus, but upon further testing the doctors determined it to be Fibromyalgia; which I mention, because apparently that’s common. Fibromyalgia is not the end of the world, but it does take some getting used to: the pain, depression, and exhaustion. The fact that I couldn’t preform my job added to my problems. I needed time, so I took a leave of absence.

Suddenly I felt OLD (I should mention I had just turned forty). I felt like I hadn’t done anything with my life, and now it was over. So I used my time off to write and reflect. Who knew that one would turn out to be the answer to the other? But it was. I wanted to write, like a whole novel. And I wanted it to be young adult, which I’d never done. Sadly, my family thought I was just going through a phase. So at first I didn’t feel whole lot of support or understanding.

I struggled a little at first. Then I fell in love with the process it, and my story. I found writing to be therapeutic. Getting lost in words. Creating worlds. I wasn’t in pain when I was writing. I also found that I was good at it. Like I said, that was three years ago; I guess I’m not going back to work. But on the upside, I completed my first novel and got the family support that I needed.

Now, as many of you know, I am working towards publication. And because of what a psychic said, I am confident … well, guardedly confident, that I will be published one day. Don’t laugh. Those guys are amazing. Well, I imagine that they are amazing. I didn’t personally see the psychic, my sister did. Never mind, you can laugh.