Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writer's Retreat Agenda

Writer’s Retreat Agenda- Lake Barkley Resort 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011
8:00 am to 11:30 am Tina leave house 20m>pick up Stacey 1h>pick up Jennifer 30m>Walmart 30m>Lunch in Hopkinsville (20m lunch) 45m>Lake Barkley Lodge
11:30 am to 3:45 pm We can drive around LBL, find a place that inspires us to write---and WRITE
4 pm Check In- Lake Barkley State Resort Park
5 pm Dinner
5:30 pm Hike Blue Springs Trail (1.3 m)
7:00 pm to whenever Drink wine, swim in indoor pool, critique each other’s work

Saturday, October 1, 2011
8:00 am to 8:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am to 11:30 pm Find a place to write---and WRITE
11:30 am to 12:00 pm Lunch
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm Lena Madesin Phillips trail (.6 m) take to Cedar Grove Trail (1.7 m)
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm Find a place to write---and WRITE
5:00 pm to 5:30 pm Dinner
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm Find a place to write---and WRITE
7:00 pm to whenever Drink wine, swim in indoor pool, critique each other’s work

Sunday, October 2, 2011
5:30 am Get up-hike to meet the sunrise
6:46 am Sunrise
8:00 am to 8:30 pm Breakfast
8:30 am to 11:30 pm Find a place to write---and WRITE
12:00 pm to 3:00 pm Check Out-45m>Lunch in Hopkinsville 30m>Drop of Jennifer 1h>Drop of Stacey 20m>Tina drive home

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Inspiraton, HA!

This is a real conversation between Jennifer and me:

“Jennifer, I need inspiration. Give me inspiration.”

“Dude, I can't inspire you when I don't have any inspiration of my own. You need to have a talk with your Muse.”

“I would but she isn’t answering my phone calls.”

“She probably needs a vacation too.”

Every day for the last week, I have been pounding my head against this imaginary concrete wall called writer’s block. Jennifer’s solution was to send me a bunch of links to blogs talking about writers block and what did it teach me? Writer’s block is when you are having issues writing a scene or writing around a storyline….writer’s block is not emptiness. And that’s what I have. No ideas, no grand theories or storylines floating around in my noggin. A matter of fact, all I hear is crickets.

And then these blogs listed solutions to my so called ‘emptiness’ and that’s what I am going to do to get inspired…this road trip is not just a writer’s retreat. It’s a dream haven of excellent ideas. I hope the lake is as full with fish as my brain will be with ideas when I return on Sunday. I want to be overflowing with words instead of this emptiness that has filled my body. I’m going to drink down plenty of inspirations and wine—in the hopes of making huge leaps and bounds in my books and maybe, just maybe will I be successful in my attempt to finish my YA paranormal novel. If not, I have all next week to work on it because I’m on vacation. Thank God.

Is there a right way to write?

Since Stacey and I have been trying to organize our writer’s retreat for next weekend, it’s brought to mind a couple of topics that I don’t think I’ve addressed before. Or, if I (or Stacey) have, I don’t remember it. If the later is true, please pretend this is the first time you’ve read about it lol.
I’ve particularly been thinking about writing styles. Is there a specific method of writing that is better than another? For example, I am a very detail oriented writer. I take my time, I plan my scenes in detail with an outline, and it takes me a lot longer to produce a certain amount of words or pages because I am so picky about how my sentences sound as I write them. For Stacey, she is for the most part a “write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” kind of writer. When she sits down to write the next chapter of a book, she gets it done. She writes whatever comes to mind as it comes and goes back to do a thorough edit later. In the mean time, she can double, sometimes triple, my word count for the day because while she’s working on her third of fourth chapter, I’m still on my first.
So, is there a right way to write?
I’m thinking the answer that question is no and I’ll tell you why. At the end of it all, Stacey and I end up near the same place in our writing because by the time she’s finished writing and then editing, I’ve caught up with her and the writing I’ve done is all ready edited (and when I say edited for both of us, I mean pretty much a quick run through that deals with very generalized issues) and we end up being on near equal footing again.
With our unique methods of writing in mind, I find myself wondering now how our writers retreat is going to go. We’ve all ready started creating a tentative agenda full of writing blocks, critique sessions, and communing with nature—which I’m oddly looking forward to lol. But with our separate methods of writing, it’s going to be interesting to see just how much we can get accomplished. Positive thinking is key! This retreat is going to charge up the internal batteries that have been drained by real life, it’s going to vamp up our inspiration meters, and it’s going to give us the opportunity to take a deep breath and reassess where our writing is going. I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome and there will be pictures upon our return. Wish us luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Writer's Retreat!

As promised, I wanted to share with you all the first glance of the location of our Writer’s Retreat planned for this weekend.

• Lake Barkley was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966
• The water temperature average is 45 to 65 during winter months and 70 to 80 during the summer months
• Lake Barkley is 134 miles long with 1,004 miles of shoreline
• The lake covers 57,900 acres at summer pool, elevation 359 mean sea level (the sea level halfway between the mean levels of high and low water)
• The Barkley lock was opened to navigation in July of 1964 and has clear chamber dimensions of 800’ x 110’ x 57’. The gravity fill and empty system, exchanges 37,500,000 gallons of water per lockage.
• The project was first identified as the Lower Cumberland Project, but was later referred to as Barkley Lock and Dam and Lake Barkley in honor of the late Alben W. Barkley, the 35th vice president of the United States and late senator and a Paducah, Kentucky native.
• Each of Barkley’s four generators is capable of producing 32,500-kilowatt hours.

We are so excited about spending the weekend away. Surely, we will be inspired to write!!! All of that nature, we are bound to either be either successful or distracted…hopefully will be productive either way, he he.

Works Cited:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Alive!!!!!

After almost a week and half without internet—and yes, I can’t believe I lived without it for that long—I am back and ready to go!
I’m so lucky to have a co-writer that has my back all the time. Seriously? If Stacey wasn’t on the ball all the time this blog would never get updated. Major fail on my part, but major kudos to my partner in crime.  Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. She balances working over sixty hours a week with writing on her WIP and working with me to edit AoE, not to mention doing an awesome job of building up our media platform. The girl is a superhero, seriously, and she’s been super patient with me which I appreciate more than I can say.
Like she mentioned in her earlier post, we’re going to be going on a writer’s retreat next weekend and I am so excited to just get away from everything. We need a weekend without the distractions of family drama, attention diverting TV shows, and anything else that wreaks havoc on a writer’s attention span…especially those writers who suffer from the dreaded disease of chronic procrastination. I swear, someday there will be a cure and I will be first on the list to get it.
With that said, I’m sure both Stacey and I will have plenty to blog about when we return and I have high hopes that it’ll be just the thing we need to jump start our creativity again and maybe I can get some work done on my new WIP.  I think Stacey and I both have the potential to really make something of ourselves in the literary world, we just need to keep our heads in the game and our eyes on the prize and I truly believe we will be successful. In the mean time, I hope you all keep following and tell your friends about us! We love meeting new people and, heck, we struggling artists have to keep together, right?
So, goodnight all! I’ll see you on the flip side!

I got a Golden Ticket!

As depressed as I am, nothing can perk me up like a last minute WRITER’S RETREAT, with none other than Jennifer and a few other book lovers. After being down in the dumps for a few weeks, it was just announced that GM Bowling Green will be down the week of October 3rd. So what does that mean for me? That I will be off of work from September 30th through October 9th!!!!

Some people will be depressed about the announcement but let’s face it, I need a break. I am burnt out and I am EXTREMLY exhausted. I need to be inspired by nature, hell—by other people that aren’t coworkers or spouses. I need an OUT and I need one NOW. So, next weekend, Jennifer and I have arranged a little road trip to Lake Barkley Lodge in western Kentucky. We will have pics posted on October 3rd of our trip and the things we’ve learned, what our goals were, and if we met our own expectations at the writer’s retreat. Either way, we will give you guys the scoop.

So I bet you are wondering, where in the hell did you get an idea for a writer’s retreat…none other than a group of fellow writer’s: The YA Muses. Jennifer and I have been pounding our manuscripts and we came to halt in production and I think it’s because we just ran out of ideas, storylines, whatever it may be…procrastination included, we are hoping that this road trip will be the first of many successes in our writing career. Until next week, when I will post pics of the place we’re staying in—adieu.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm as Cold as Ice

Many of you have noticed that my blog has come to a halt. All I can say is after opening and closing every day at work for almost two weeks straight, I barely have enough energy to shower and brush my teeth. And Jennifer hasn’t written this week because she hasn’t had internet so needless to say, our blog isn’t exactly the ‘happening place’ right now.

I haven’t wrote in any of my books in over a week and it is depressing me…Kelly Hansen from Foreigner said it best last week when I attended the Journey, Foreigner, and Night Ranger concert in Nashville, Tennessee. He said that, ‘Any artist, singer, dancer, and writer have to make new material and keep making it or they will shrivel up and die.’ And I am starting to believe him; my eyes are sinking in as we speak.

It’s been a difficult month for me. I have literally cut myself off from my family, writing partners and just the whole world in general. I’m aggravated and disappointed with everyone and everything and I feel like I could actually move to the other side of the United States and it wouldn’t bother me emotionally. Is that crazy or what? The people who are reading this who actually know me, must be thinking that I have lost my marbles because they know how family oriented I am. But seriously, after my Twin’s wedding, I’ve just been getting the shaft from everyone so I cut myself off and haven’t communicated with anyone.

Sort of gone into a depression, not to mention that the YA muses have had our Age of Eden manuscript for over three weeks and they still aren’t finished critiquing it. Really? I mean, I am glad after all, that I won the critique but dang, they are killing me. Okay, I’m done. I’m getting off here and getting back to life. Have a good one.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lessons in Writing!

Once a marine, always a marine--after serving six years and a two year tour overseas, my twin sister still carries herself with the marine mentality that was engraved in her since she was seventeen. And as warped as some of the military ideas were, they are still beneficial to everyone. So…I’ve accumulated a list of ideas—ways of thinking, which can help a writer, strive to achieve their goal….PUBLICATION.

1) Adapt and Overcome- Most literary agents have difficulties with authors after suggesting that they make changes to their manuscript to make it more appealing to publishers. For one—if you get a request for a full or partial manuscript that’s AWESOME. That means that you have something that interests a literary agency. So, if they send you a 15-page rewrite letter don’t take offense to it. Everyone, sooner or later has the same thing happen to them. It’s not like the agent HATES your novel. If they did they wouldn’t have prepared such a lengthy edit letter. They are trying to make your book marketable…make it better. So, suck it up. Adapt and overcome. Do the suggested edits and move on. The sooner you do, the sooner you will complete the goal of every writer. Being PUBLISHED.

2) Success Doesn’t Happen Over Night- Yes, you might get the occasional, “I had a pitch session with a BIG NYC LITERARY GURU and they requested a full manuscript and then I had my book published in a year.” Yes, those stories are out there. But realistically, we all want success and we want it now but 9/10 times it doesn’t happen that way. You start writing a book…and then in eight months you start the query process only to get rejected 50 times. So you decide to do a re-write and then you start querying again and then you receive 50 more rejections. And then after what seems like the tenth round of massive edits and changing your book title, you finally get one hit. And that’s all it takes, which could take YEARS. Don’t be discouraged. There is someone out there looking for your book, they just don’t know it yet. So keep writing, no matter what.

3) It’s Okay to Fail-Everyone has heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” After writing for over a year, I have to say that it is tough work and even if we work on a project and put our heart and soul into something, it doesn’t mean that it will get published. There are thousands of authors who have unpublished manuscripts piled up beside their desktops. Works of art that they put their sweat and tears into that will never be seen in print. But that doesn’t make you any less of a writer. The publishing industry is so competitive and subjective. What’s popular today won’t be popular tomorrow. And as a writer it’s your job to not give up after one failure but to write through the gunk that is holding you back onto bigger and better things.

I hope that what I have written encourages some of you. Because even when life gets you down, you have to keep your head up and keep writing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Writing Partners and the Three T’s

Writing with a partner can be aggravating and at other times it can be awesome. I say this because Jennifer and I have been writing partners for over a year and at times she has made me want to pull out my hair and the rest of the time we’re giving each other pats on the back with encouragement. So I thought I would break down the Three T’s of choosing a writing partner and how to make it a successful literary journey.

Trust: For one, you have to trust that your partner is fully committed to the completion of your “goals.” As writer’s you should have independent goals and goals for the project that you’re working on—I’ll wait another time to discuss goals but for now, TRUST. I would never put trust into a writing partner who I couldn’t rely on. Who wasn’t honest, trustworthy, or even remotely devoted or consistent in their production of work.

Time:: You need to ensure that your partner is committed to the same, if not more, time to your project than you are. The last thing you want is to have a deadline and you are left waiting on your partner for the last edits—come to find out they have no time, no resources, and no motivation to ensure that your project gets completed.

Talent: Everyone has weaknesses and downfalls in writing. What’s important is to recognize those pitfalls and ensure that your partner doesn’t have the same downfalls as yourself. You should complement each other’s talent, not make them worse. It’s like a marriage, one divine partnership where you can rely on each other to give you comfort when you’re down and give you praise on your achievements.

You can find writing partners anywhere—forums, writer critique groups, or just people interested in the same project as yourself. But do not wholly devote yourself to a project that you know in your heart won’t be successful because in the end, you will be wasting your time and efforts on a half-hearted project.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

V.C. Andrews--Author Review

Is it too early to do another author review? I hope not because yesterday I went home and watched Flowers in the Attic which prompted me to do a bio on an awesome older and deceased writer V.C. Andrews, also known as Cleo Virginia Andrews.

SPOILER: When I was in high school, my mother let me watch a terrifying movie of a family who lost their father. Their mother, Corrine, was financially burdened after his death and felt she had no choice but to take her four children to Foxworth Hall--the home she grew up in, the home she had ran away from seventeen years before. Upon arrival to Foxworth Hall, her children: Christopher, Catherine, Cory and twin sister Carrie are locked away in an attic in an attempt to hide any trace of their existence.

Corrine sways her children to stay locked away in the attic by telling them that all she has to do is win back the approval of her father in order to be written into his will and upon his death she would gain Foxworth Hall and its contents. What she fails to tell them is that Olivia Foxworth, her mother, is a religious selfrighteous condemning bit** who taunts them and poisons them with quotes from the bible. Olivia tells them that they are abominations and unholy because of the marriage between their parents was incestuous and unwholesome.

During this time, Corrine stops seeing her children and Olivia goes days without feeding them all together. No sunlight, poor dieting, and a mixture of other components lead one of the children to their death.

After years of promises and Corrine’s lack of commitment to her children, Christopher and Catherine turn to each other for love and support because they are all each other have. They plan an attempt to escape the attic and find out that their grandfather has been deceased for months and that their mother is to be remarried. The will specifically states that if any children are found from Corrine’s previous marriage that she will lose everything. And they realize that their mother never had planned to let them escape from that attic.

Catherine, Chris and Carrie escape Foxworth Hall and find a doctor who willingly takes them in, nursing them all back to health.

I might have gone completely overboard with the description of the book, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC but it is one of my favorite books in the whole Dollanganger series and after reading them all, I can tell you that V.C. Andrews never disappoints and Foxworth Hall holds more secrets that Monica Lewinsky’s closet.

Now about V.C. Andrews, she was born and raised in Virginia. After a tragic teenage accident she was forced to spend the rest of her life on crutches or in a wheelchair. In 1972, she completed her first manuscript and gothic romance and published them under a pen name. As for the Dollanganger series: “Promise gleamed over the horizon for Virginia when she submitted a 290,000-word novel, The Obsessed, to a publishing company. She was told that the story had potential, but needed to be trimmed and spiced up a bit. She drafted a new outline in a single night and added "unspeakable things my mother didn't want me to write about." The ninety-eight-page revision was re-titled Flowers in the Attic and she pitched the new novel to Anita Diamant, a literary agent with The Writer's Workshop, on January 13, 1978. Just three days later, Anita requested the entire manuscript. Virginia sold the novel and was paid a $7,500 advance. Her new-generation Gothic novel reached the best-seller lists a mere two weeks after its 1979 paperback publication by Pocket Books.

Petals on the Wind, her sequel to Flowers, was published the next year, earning Virginia a $35,000 advance. The second book remained on the New York Times best-seller list for an unbelievable nineteen weeks (Flowers also returned to the list). These first two novels alone sold over seven million copies in only two years. The third novel of the Dollanganger series, If There Be Thorns, was released in 1981, bringing Virginia a $75,000 advance. It reached No. 2 on many best-seller lists within its first two weeks.”

V.C. Andrews is and was an amazing author and upon her death in December 1986, she was amongst one of the best gothic romance novels of her time. I would suggest any of her series to read and hope that this enticing review will send you hopping on your ereader and downloading her series.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It’s such a struggle to blog when you have a full time job and a family. Since I’ve graduated I have been so scatter brained and haven’t felt like I have accomplished anything. With that said, I’m still trying to do weekly book reviews on the blog but I would also like to start doing some weekly author reviews, starting with some of my favorite authors.

This week we’re featuring one of the paranormal fantasy romance genre authors (if there is such a genre.)

Mrs. Laurell K. Hamilton the brilliant writer of the Anita Blake Series, the Meredith Gentry Series, Nightseer, Star Trek's Nightshade, and Ravenloft's Death of a Darkloard. I have already done a book review on her most recent book Hitlist, but I still feel that is important to give her the credit she deserves. She is my FAVORITE author…those are some very steep words and shouldn’t be used lightly, but it’s true. She is my absolute most favorite author, which is subject to change, of course.

Since the very first few paragraphs I read of Guilty Pleasures, the first of her twenty novel series, I was sucked into the St. Louis drama with none other than her lover Jean Claude. I have been addicted to the Anita Blake series and am one of those die-hard fans that are patiently awaiting the date for her next release.

And for aspiring writers, this is her own writing publication Experience,” I sat down and began to write a novel in Anita’s world. I had about 70 pages done when I went to Archon a St. Louis convention. There I would read those few pages to a packed room. Why a packed room for an unknown writer? They thought I was Melissa Snodgrass who was doing scripts for Star Trek: Next Generation. She’d had to cancel at the last minute, but her name was still on the door of the room. Since they didn’t know what she looked like, and didn’t know me, they sat down for her, but stayed for me reading what would eventually be GUILTY PLEASURES, the first Anita Blake novel. I read them those pages because I needed to know I wasn’t wasting my time. When I finished reading the room was dead silent, and my heart fell to my feet. I thought they hate it. Then out of that silence came gasps, applause and cries of, “When will it be published?” I had no idea. “Read us more!” I couldn’t, because I’d read them all I had, but it gave me hope and I went home and finished it.

GUILTY PLEASURES would take at least two years to sale. Everyone liked it, but no one wanted to buy it. It was the same problem that I’d had with the short story. It would finally sale to Penguin Putnam, as an Ace original. I got a three book contract out of it, and I was ecstatic. After my first series dying with only one book out, I knew there’d be at least three Anita Blake novels.”

So even if you have the best novel in the world, sometimes its years before you receive recognition. I hope you all enjoyed my personal joy of her books and if you would like to find out more information about her visit her website: