Monday, April 15, 2013

Liebster Award

It's happened... I think this is the second time I've been nominated for this award. The first time I've actually written the post- I suck. Got it. I really just get busy from time to time and then I forget things. This from the female that can remember pointless pieces of info about games, trivia, and movies. But I can't remember due dates for bills or to post up stuff on my own blog. Epic Fail.

I'll get better... one day (that's what I say every time I forget to exercise). Anyhoot or hoo, moving on. I got an award and by golly I'm gonna post about it.

A little history: The "Liebster Award" is for bloggers with under 300 folllowers. The rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It's a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow."- From fellow blogger Wayne who first gave the award to James. 

The Link Back: You need to check awesome follower and award nominator Wolfdreamer25- Jessica Samuels. She holds a special place in my heart because I love wolves. That fact alone means she's good people. See how easily you can snow me. ;)

11 Random Facts:
1. I was once a smoker. 
2. I've been a non-smoker for a year and 1 month. 
3. I have 2 perforated eardrums, meaning if I were to go swimming underwater for any length of time I would drown. 
4. I've gained 30 lbs. from quitting smoking. 
5. I'm getting married to the love of my life in August. 
6. Outside of writing I've been working in the same day job industry for the last 10 years. 
7. I've got 2 degrees (Associates and BS) 
8. I'm a mustard kind of gal! Spicy Brown, Honey, Original, Dijon... bring it on! 
9. I live in Arkansas (Deliverance anyone?) *strums banjo*
10. I can either make you hungry or make you think naughty thoughts. 
11. I'm too damn nice and honest for my own good. 
Side story: The 1st McDonald's window was empty today. I pulled forward to the 2nd window. The McD's associate was ready to hand me my food when I said, "I didn't pay for that yet." And I handed her my card. Yes, way too nice and honest. You'll thank me for it later. 

The questions I'll answer: 
1. What did you want to be besides a writer?
I wanted to be a Broadway actress and singer. That obviously didn't happen. :) 

2. What is your happiest memory as of right now? 
Being with my grandmother and great-grandmother at our cabin in Minnesota during the summertime. I was peaceful, loved, and ultimately give every attention. I learned a lot about being there for someone, and embracing/sharing another person's memories. 

3. What is your latest book or project about? 
It's a romance series focused on the unconventional hero. I want the guy that isn't a rich billionaire or business owner. Now, of course, I have a couple of those, but they don't own the typical business. *wink* It's definitely not suit and tie professions all the time. 

4. Do you have a favorite soda? 
I go back and forth between Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. Pepsi is typically my favorite because it goes well with rum. 

5. Do you have any pets or pets you want to have? 
I don't currently have pets, unless you count my human spawn. I would love to have a dog, but I'm allergic to dog dander. I make up for the loss by working as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for a dog rescue. 

6. Where would you go to if you had a free day and unlimited money? 
There's a ton of options, but I would probably go out to eat with my family at the most expensive place possible near us. Followed by the movies and whatever else they wanted to do. 

7. How do you get rid of writers block? 
I read through the last couple scenes of the story. If that doesn't work I move to music that I associate with my characters. If I'm still stumped then I call a close friend or my crit partner and talk through the block.

8. What genre do you love to read? 
I like a lot of genre's, but my hook for the last couple of years has been Historical Romance with a vengeance.  I'm up for other romance genres, a smack-ling of YA, and Fantasy. 

9. What is your favorite food? 
That's like asking me what my favorite genre of music is. Too numerous to pin point. But if you had to pick one thing that I could eat all the time- Pork Dip. (I'll share the recipe at a later date)

10. Do you have a process you write to? 
I've tried pantsing, plotting and just random writing. I like plotting because it gives me a place to go. Plotting has also reduced the amount of writer's block moments. When I don't know what to write next I can look at the plot outline and get direction. Even if the draft sucks I'm at least getting the words down. 

11. How do you organize your novels and notes?
I separate things out into different word documents. I also have a never-ending notebook of ideas and stuff, stuff. Couple that with some interesting excel spreadsheets and you get a bunch of information everywhere. I'm a little crazy with my organization techniques anyway... at work I operate solely out of my inbox (5000 emails on average). I can find anything I need to the amazement of my co-workers.

My Award Nominees (honestly I couldn't locate 11, but I got as close as I could):
The Pen Punks- For all things Punk :)

My Questions For My Nominees: 
1. What keeps you writing? What motivates the muse?
2. Will ebooks take over the world? 
3. What genre do you think is on the rise or coming back?
4. Where do you get some of your best ideas? 
5. Are you a sweet, savory, or salty fan?
6. What are the essential things you need before starting a writing session?
7. Favorite Social Media site and why?
8. The best things about Social Media?
9. The worst thing about Social Media? 
10. If you were tasked with writing someones memoir (your pick) who would you write one on? 
11. Favorite book when you were 16 years-old? 

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Really Works

When I first found my crit partner (I know I talk about this a lot) and we swapped pages I knew the feedback would be rough. I put on my big girl panties, strapped into my leather skin armor, and waited. The recommendations came and I wanted to cry, but I reminded myself that I wasn't perfect. No one is. This wonderful partner was here to help me grow, help me become a better writer.

I didn't think it would be possible. I didn't think I would get better. There were so many thinks to learn. Tell vs. Show, proper comma usage (I still suck at this), leaving the -ly words at home, making my dialogue read like actual people talking. Pretty bad, right? I'm still not perfect.

Side story: I used to be able to first draft an academic paper and nail it on the first try. A+ all around. This was the way it went in Elementary, Middle School, High School, and College. Hell, I wrote an essay on the state of Kansas in the 5th grade and my teachers wanted to know what books I used because they thought I plagiarized the descriptions. Poo on them for not believing in my flowery, flowing prose. So, to see how much my fiction writing sucked compared to my non-fiction writing was a blow to my very small ego. *smiles*

A year and a half later: My editing skills are better. I can write dialogue for real fictional people *oxymoron, I know* I can see the telling vs. showing. My commas aren't so misplaced. I've learned to write sentences without the typically-not-needed 'was' and 'that'. I'm still having a bit of trouble with passive writing, but if all the other things are becoming clearer I have hope for the future and my ability to clear out the passive for active.

I wouldn't be in this place without my critique partner. I wouldn't be so eager to let others rip up my work without finding someone I could trust to tear me apart. This readied my mind for the people I don't know very well to tear me apart.

Side story: The rip up, as I call the critique process, is something I desire greatly. I know now the importance of honest feedback. No matter how bad it is I want to know every little nit pick. Down to the possibility you hate my heroine's hair color. Recently, in a group crit session I got three critiques on the same pages. Two had barely any comments and some nice supporting remarks. I felt jipped because deep down I knew these pages contained errors. They had issues and I wanted a rip up. The last critique came in and when I opened the pages to red lines and comments everywhere the only thing I could do is smile. Aloud I said, "That's more like it."

The moral of the post is, even if you think critiquing and partners is a waste of time. It's not. It's essential. It changes you from the writer you were to the writer you will be. If we're not learning, if we're not getting better, then what the hell are we doing?