Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Muse is Rebelling!

Dear Muse,

        Please come back. I promise I won’t beat the sh*t out of you again. It’s just…I’m under a lot of pressure and I’m trying my best to get these books in order and my SNN’s (slutty new novels) have been tempting me. You have no idea. And then my LIFE is just hectic and I’m emotionally up and down on a daily basis. I need your help. Why have you forsaken me? I promise not to neglect you anymore if come back. Please.



As you can see, I’ve had my last draw. I can’t do it anymore. I’m stuffing my face under my pillow and I’m never getting out of bed. My muse is mad at me because I pushed her too hard. I made her write when she didn’t want to, I milked every creative idea and awesome word I could. And now she is rebelling. What to do?

Maybe this means I need a mini-vacation…preferably away from the literary world. Just so I can breathe. And think. And rejuvenate her so she will come back out and play with me. We’ll see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


For the last few weeks I’ve been on a reading spree. I’ve read so much that the people at my local library are probably beginning to get tired of seeing my face, but honestly, there is no place I feel more at home (Well, aside from my actual home) than the library. There’s something about walking down aisle after aisle and perusing over walls to walls of books that gets my blood flowing. I love reading just as much as I love writing, and that’s really saying something.

That’s probably why has become one of my most recent obsessions in my quest towards literary accomplishment. It has everything you could ever need to learn more about your favorite authors, the new up and coming authors, and the books they have written/are writing. But the most important aspect of Goodreads is the book reviews to be found there. You can type in the title of practically any book and read a plethora of reviews, each more colorful than the last, and each incredibly honest, sometimes to the point of being painful.

I have to admit, I’ve given my share of negative reviews where I probably could have been more tactful than I was, but as a reader I know what I like to read and how I like my books to end—which, more often than not, is with Happily Ever After. However, after much contemplation, I now realize that as a writer myself I’m far more critical of other authors than I was when I was only a reader. On one hand, I can appreciate the work and effort it takes to write and finish a book, nevermind landing and agent and inevitably finding publication. But sometimes I have to wonder how some authors I’ve read have even made it that far given the quality, or lack thereof, of their writing. The last two books I read and reviewed on Goodreads had this problem.

I hate feeling like I’ve wasted precious hours of my life on a book that either has weak, stagnant characters or a plotline that never leads anywhere. Unfortunately, it’s my weakness that I tragically feel the need to give authors the benefit of the doubt even when I’m ¾ finished with the book, nothing has happened, the characters are driving me insane with their annoying one dimensional personalities, and I’ve read a long line of Goodreads reviews telling me to runaway before I get sucked into the pit of despair. I’m always optimistic that an author will surprise me. I’m always hopeful that the next book I read will be the literary work of the century. I’ve also been more disappointed in the books I’ve read the last two weeks than I have in a long time. I hope this isn’t a growing trend because somewhere out there is that book I can’t put down. Where the characters are layered and complicated, the storyline is exciting and full of conflict, and the ending leaves me with a sense of complete satisfaction. I want that book.

Heck, I want to write that book. Maybe I’ll get that lucky. Maybe I won’t. But for the time being I’m going to keep up the search and I’m going to use to do it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Who are you?

I had a job interview last week. Don’t get excited…I didn’t get the job L  To be honest I am a little shocked they even interviewed me. I guess to get my hopes up for a minute that I might actually get a job after two years of looking. Anyways, they wanted someone with an extensive background in Economics. I have a Social Studies minor, which means I have taken two college courses in Econ.  I thought I did fairly well in the interview, except one question threw me off. It had nothing to even do with teaching or economics. They asked for me to tell them about myself, essentially who am I?

I froze!  Who am I? I paused before starting out. I responded that  I am a single mom with a two year old, I like to write and then I kind of went off on a tangent that had nothing to do with who I am.  All weekend long, I thought about that question. If asked again I won’t be shocked. I know who I am…but I actually had to think about it for a minute. So, I am asking all of you to think about the same question. Who are you? I hope you are happy with the answer to that question, if not you better get working!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


    So, last week I finished Deanna Reybourn's The Dead Travel Fast.  After meeting Deanna at the SOKY writer's convention, and hearing the story line of some of her books, meeting her and her wondrous personality I was coerced to buy one of her books.  "Yeah my arm was really twisted." lol.
    Anyway, long story short, the book was awesome.  It was a quick plunge into, "Theodora Lestrange leaves her comfortable home in Edinburgh to visit Transylvania at the invitation of her childhood friend, Cosmina, now the betrothed of a Roumanian nobleman. Theodora arrives at the Castle Dragulescu to find that nothing is as she expected... 
     To be completely honest, the book was slow at the beginning, but not for long.  After the first chapter, the book starts to heat up early on.  The characters, and plot line had twist that I never saw coming.  It was quite a relief to not predict the story line, for the first time in a long time.  I definitely recommend this book to readers of all ages.  It is innovative, an easy read, and enticing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Path of Progress

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, acheivement, and success have no meaning." - Benjamin Franklin

While my week has been technically less productive that last week, I still feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit. I’ve written two chapters and gone back to write another chapter that had to be manipulated into a place earlier in the book. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a linear writer and, as such, I write in a chronological order; however, sometimes—as I experienced this week—your story and characters take you in a direction you weren’t expecting and you find yourself having to go back and fill in the necessary changes so that the integrity and continuity of your book remains intact.

Now, some writers believe that you need to get everything done on paper first and fill in the gaps later. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, for the most part I agree with them. But I also know for myself that if I don’t go back and fix an obvious plot hole when I realize it’s a problem there is a very good chance, when the time for complete revision comes along and I’m going back to the gaping hole I left behind, I won’t remember what I wanted to do with it in the first place and it will set me even further back than I was before. So, this is one of those instances where editing as you go can have a positive influence over the quality of the book.

Of course, I’ll let you in on a little secret. As much as I try to be a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer, I have a hard time letting go and refraining from perfecting what I write as I write it. Stacey will testify to this because I struggled with it even more with Age of Eden. With Olivia’s Ghost, however, I’m trying my best to let the words take me where I need to go. Giving them free reign as I write, instead of trying to reign them in until my writing slows to near a dead crawl. It’s one hell of a balancing act, but I’m trying my best to learn and grow from all of my past writing experiences. To give myself the freedom to make mistakes and not rush into fixing them as soon as they happen. Intellectually I know exactly what I need to do to keep my writing productivity at its highest level, but knowing what I need to do and doing it are two separate things.

At the end of the day I guess you could say that I am a living, breathing WIP (work in progress). But I don’t know if I ever want to stop being that. Because the key word in that description is “progress” and that is the direction I always want to be going in. I think that’s what every writer should be striving for, a continual journey of progress. It doesn’t matter how big or small that progress is, as long as you’re striving forward, there are no limits to how far you can go.

So, until next time, I wish all of my fellow writers good day, good luck, and good writing. See you next Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Age of Eden Query-Suggestions?

 Well, I’m going to post my query for Age of Eden only for the fact that I don’t feel like blogging properly today. And since Tina conveniently forgot that Monday was her day (it’s not her fault) than I will post today and Thursday, so yeah. Here it goes. Let me know if you have suggestions, this is a rough, rough, rough, rough version. Thanks and have a great day.

Dear Agent,

The fallen angels will stop at nothing to get to seventeen-year-old Ava Monroe, even if that means possessing one of her friends, blackmailing her, invading her dreams, and crashing her prom.

When a group of blood thirsty angels learn of Ava's identity, they attack her but retreat when they are ambushed by the heavenly guardians. The guardians: Barak and his three sidekicks take Ava to their leader where she learns that she is a direct descendent of Eve, her special bloodline creates a key that opens the gates to Eden every hundred years. It is the guardians job to protect Ava and keep her safe at all costs that includes: enrolling sexy Barak into Ava's private school to become her personal body guard, not allowing Ava outside of the house unless it's to school, not allowing her to tell anyone about her heritage, and establishing crappy guidelines that will help her succeed in her mission to open the gates to Eden a.k.a. more dictating rules from the guardians.

Ava refuses to go to Eden until after she graduates allowing the fallen to make multiple attacks on her life. But, they found the perfect way to sway Ava to their side; they have kidnapped her BFF Erica. Now Ava has two choices: to join the fallen angels and save her friend or join the guardians, risk Erica’s life and save all of mankind.

KEY OF EDEN is a 70,000 word YA paranormal romance. It is the joint effort of Stacey Hays and Jennifer Nichols. We are members of SCBWI and contributing authors to the blog Our Pages Aren’t Numbered.

Thank you for your time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My first Blog post!

This is my first time writing a blog!  Thanks Stacey for the introduction! I am really excited to be joining in on the blog.  I am one of those people that needs a buddy to get through things. When I go on a diet, if someone isn’t dieting with me, I won’t stick with it. If I don’t have a workout partner, I am not going to work out. So, having three writing partners to help keep me in gear is just what I need! Thanks ladies for your inspiration!

 I started to love reading when I was in middle school. I couldn’t get my hands on Nancy Drew fast enough. I would read a book a day.  I like to read a variety of genres. I am a huge Harry Potter  fan.  I really think Harry, Hermione and Ron are my friends.  The characters in the books I read become so real to me. I get emerged in their story. Until I feel I am almost a part of it. Crazy I know.

I didn’t know I wanted to be an author. In high school I enjoyed making up stories that used my vocabulary words, but I didn’t think of writing a book. After college I had an idea one day and started writing. I was 22 years old. I didn’t tell anyone at first that I was writing a book. I didn’t even know where I was going with it. I had the beginning and that was it. I didn’t finish the book until years later. I had set it down and never picked it back up until I moved to Kentucky. Right before I met the infamous twins, I finished my romance novel. They were the first ones to read it all the way through!

  I wrote a young adult paranormal, mystery romance while living in Kentucky. I was homesick and based my book back in Michigan and created characters with a lot of the same characteristics of my family, friends, and even some not so well liked people in my life J I even used some of their real first names. I had a lot of fun writing that book, I wrote it quickly too. I wrapped it up a little too soon. It is one of my next projects to go back through and revise the end.

I have been working on writing my synopsis to send to Sue Grimshaw. I was ecstatic that she liked my pitch on, SEA OF PASSION. I planned all along to make it a trilogy. She asked in my synopsis to add in about the other two books I plan to add. The funny thing is, the characters I originally planned to use, I couldn’t come up with their story. I have thought of two completely different ones, and I love them!  I can’t wait to get writing them now!  I hope that Sue likes my first three chapters and will want to see the full. It would of course be a dream come true.  So keep your fingers crossed for me!!  I will keep you all posted!
Rebecca Johnson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


On January 12th, 2011: Our Pages Aren't Numbered: A blog to record the literary journey of two girls, their writing adventures, and the cliché road to living their dreams, we posted our first entry into the blogging world.

Between Jennifer and me, we posted 72 posts on different books, experiences, struggles, anticipations, musings about writing, and awkward ramblings about the literary world.

On October 1st, 2011: we introduced Tina into our ambitious writing group. From there, she sprouted her own wings and I’m proud to say is working on several novels.

We were then recording a journey of three girls, their writing adventures, and the cliché road to living their dreams.

TODAY: I am proud to announce another addition to our lonesome trio, Rebecca a.k.a. my partner in crime, a.k.a. Beck or Becca. She was born and raised in Troy, Michigan. After college and after getting married, fate sent her to Kentucky where we met. She was a history teacher, who taught by day, but thirsted for historical love affairs at night. She finally gained the nerve to create her first masterpiece…she queried it and of course became discouraged with the literary world’s lack of interest. So, she started a new SNN and finished it, but never had the heart to carry that one out to publication.

We became best friends when she lived in Bowling Green and unfortunately, only after two years of living in Kentucky, she was forced to move back to Michigan where we have been in constant contact and where she has taken time off to raise her firstborn (and most awesome child in the world) Ryan.

Only in the last few months have the three of us encouraged Beck to continue on her literary journey. We set out on this mission to help each other and started that by participating in the Southern Kentucky Writer’s Conference. Becca flew in and we spent an entire weekend meeting authors and talking to them about getting published. One of our biggest moments was meeting Heather Graham. Since then Heather has become pen pals with Becca and has given her great advice like joining the Romantic Writer’s of America Society.

Now, Becca has become hell bent and determined to edit her first historical romance so it will be published and shown to the world. On Tuesday night, she attended her first RWA local meeting where she pitched her historical romance to an editor at Random House, and she requested a partial and synopsis for this book and the next two in the series (cross fingers).

Welcome Becca to the Fantastic Quattro! I’m so pleased you have joined us.

From this point forward,we are officially: Our Pages Aren't Numbered: A blog to record the literary journey of four girls, their writing adventures, and the  road to living their dreams.

With all that said, the last year and a half has been extremely challenging. We have all had our ups and downs but now, maybe, just maybe we can all get in sync with a writing schedule that will make us more productive and better yet, we will have a tight knit support group who can help each other out editing and who can pick each other up, when we’re down.

And one last side note, we have assigned days of the week for blogging…
Stacey-Tuesday or Thursday

Stay tuned for updates and the daily muses of four aspiring writers. And thank you again for your loyal readership and for making this 100th post extra SPECIAL!

Methods, Time Management, and Breaking the Monotony

As with a lot of people these days, finding the time to write can often be a daunting task. Whether it’s working on the current WIP, that slutty new novel (SNN), or maintaining a persona within the social media platform, there are a thousand activities that want to dig their claws into our author shoulders and drag us out of our chairs to do anything but write. The devil on our shoulders that whispers in our ears, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  is a particularly influential presence in my life specifically and it’s a constant struggle not to give in to his seductive whisperings. At the end of the day, however, we all need to find our own individual methodologies for kicking that devil back to hell where he came from, putting our butts in the chair, and writing the books that will change our lives forever.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different methods of writing, trying to find the one that suited me best. I’ve tried being a strictly linear writer (writing the book where each chapter is exactly in order), a not so linear writer (writing scenes and chapters out of order according to what inspiration hits me), and I’ve tried just staring at the blinking cursor, praying the words would just write themselves. Surprisingly, the latter method never worked. Oh, if only writing was that easy. Anyone who has ever tried writing a book knows that writing is anything but. However, writing can be Easier if you find the method that suits you best and that method is entirely personal and dependent upon our individual writing styles.

 I can now say without hesitation that my method has finally been found. Thanks to the much appreciated guidance of my good friend Jennifer Hendren, I discovered my method to be something that is decidedly…simple. All I needed was a particular software that would force me to focus and boost my initiative. That’s right everyone, step right up! Come one, come all to witness the wonder that is Focus Booster!  Seriously, if you’re a writer like me who struggles to maintain focus and get the words on the page, the simple act of having  timed, 25 minute sessions, has been my Godsend. It has been a simple change that has had a huge impact on my productivity. It’s not uncommon now for me to get at least 3000 words a day, using this method. The secret is not just the structured time management, it’s also takes the many distractions that keep us from writing and turns the table, turning writing into the distraction instead. (The best part being that the software is FREE. Yay!)

And if the idea of being constrained to 25 minute sessions seems repetitive or monotonous, there are scheduled breaks between the sessions that give just enough time to grab a quick stretch,  rest your eyes, and give your mind the opportunity to reflect upon the brilliance it just created—okay, so that last one is probably not very realistic considering my brain is constantly telling me how much my writing sucks, but you get the general idea. My point is that you don’t have to do more than one session at a time. Do what feels comfortable to you, do your best with the time your life allows, and when you come back to do a session, the world outside will melt away until all that’s left is those 25 minutes, your laptop, and the words flowing out of your finger tips.
Granted, there is a chance this method won't work for everyone because, like I said, choosing a method for writing is very individualized, but I can testify that it works for me and I find myself feeling more excited about writing now than I ever have before. I'm looking forward to the upcoming weeks. At the rate I'm going now, I should have a relatively complete first draft finished in no time.
On a final note, thanks to the SCBWI, I also have the extra inspiration to write in the form of beautiful men...Mmmm. Chris Hemsworth. *drools* If the Avengers say it, it must be true, right?

Happy writing, all!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Picking Things Back Up

I feel like I'm in a AA meeting, but for writers.  Here it goes, "I am a procrastinator.  I've not always been like this, but here for the past months my priorities have been every thing else, other than my writing."  I think this is the first step that everyone has to recognize.  My everyday life seems to prevent me from accomplishing any of my reading and writing goals.  It doesn't help that I'm still a full time student, mom, and now managing a restaurant that has my sleeping, eating, and studying habits all shot to hell.  These are all excuses that we can relate to. 

A few weeks ago after the writers conference, I picked up the first recreational reading book that I've read in months.  Life has kept me so preoccupied and I have forgotten what I enjoy to do so much.  So, I finally read Water For Elephants, which was phenomenal, and finished a book by Deanna Reybourn, an author I met at the conference called, The Dead Travel Fast, which was also amazing. Just doing this, and getting past my finals for the semester has kicked me into high gear to not only read more books at any chance I get, but to also pick up writing on my book again. 

The truth is life throws us dodge balls, and we try not to get hit too much or too hard.  I have now set a goal to write everyday at a minimum of 200 words a day.  I know this isn't a super amount, but I figure every little bit helps.  If I can get back to writing and reading, I know this book can be finished before the end of my summer break.  This is my goal.  It's approximately three months to do what I can do the best way I know how.  Now, it's your turn.  Have you been letting life come before your ultimate goals?  My suggestion, kick yourself in the ass and get to work.  MAKE TIME.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Word Count for the First 22--Reaper Book

43113 / 50000 words. 86% done! This is where I am going to start posting my progress....Seems like a good idea. My goal for my reapers book is 50,000 words. If I get more than great. Now everyone can see my writing status...even though I am only editing. But, I've still been adding about 1,000 words/per day. So, at this rate I should be done in the next couple weeks. Maybe....I hope. :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Conferences and Book Signings!!!

Okay, fellow writerettes….I’ve got some conferences and other author book signings coming up to slap on the calendar.

Richelle Mead-Golden Lilly Book Tour-
Tuesday, June 12th - Lansing, Michigan - 7pm
Schuler Books & Music
2820 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Wednesday, June 13th - Lexington, Kentucky - 7pm
161 LexingtonGreen Cir # B1
Lexington, KY 40503

2012 Midsouth SCBWI Fall Conference
14 Sep 2012 at 1pm - 16 Sep 2012 12pm
Location: Hilton Garden Inn-Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN
-Pre conference insentives offered on Friday
-Pitch sessions with Sarah Davies with Greenhouse literary
-Face-to-Face or Written-only critiques
-Fiction Manuscript Contest in 3 categories PB, MG, and YA

Writers for New Orleans Workshop
December 14 - 16, 2012-Hosted by Heather Graham $250.00 registeration for entire weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Michigan Routine

Still in my conference in Michigan…I’ve had a great time catching up will all my HR buddies. They are all on a health kick so I am forced to eat nothing but fruit and yogurt, blah. Where is the beer and the cokes when I need them? Tonight we are heading to Dave & Buster’s. I am pretty excited about it considering that we don’t have one in Kentucky and this will be the first time that I have ever been.

My flight heads out on Friday morning. I will be horribly sad when I have to say goodbye to my BFF. (I know she won’t be missing me at all. Ha, yeah right. That girl loves me.)

And I can’t wait to get back home so I can write. My days are long…I get up at 5am and then I am going full blast until 9pm. At least then I can start back on a regular writing schedule. Right now, I’m sitting in the dark listening to a droning PowerPoint. My eyelids are extremely heavy. I need to not get distracted. So, I’m getting off of here and getting back to work. Hakuna Matata world!