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Monday, July 28, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! Update.

Happy Monday, and welcome to another week of. . .

Ready. Set. Write!

What is that?

In the words of Jaime Morrow, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. We will be sharing our goals on Mondays, keeping our posts BRIEF (2-3 lines per heading) so we can spend more time writing and less time blogging. You can sign up at any of the other host blogs (KatyErinAlisonJaime). And don't forget to hop around to encourage other participants. For more information about RSW and a link to our super fun buttons, go here.

1) How I did meeting last week's goals:
     - finish flash/short story      Done!
     - complete notes on beta read     Completed!
     - write another chapter on my WIP     Finished! Okay, I had a slight change on this last one. I decided to follow my inner voice and bounce back to another WIP I've been working on - Fast Food Princess.  I rewrote the first chapter, so I'll let it count.

2) This next week's goals:

- This next week is going to be packed full of family fun, so I'm simply going to shoot for a rewrite of Chapter 2. Not sure I'll get it in, though.

3) One phase that sums up what I wrote/revised:

“Pure gold?” I laughed. Like I knew anything about money outside of my minimum wage paycheck.

4) The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Motivation. I felt lazy this last week on the writing front and had the urge to knit instead. So I gave in, and now, my first Christmas present is already done!

5) Something I love about my WIP:

The 2nd WIP isn't as serious as my other one. My MC is a bit snarky, sometimes naive when it comes to the intentions of others, is down to earth about most things, but knows how to enjoy the smallest things in life to the fullest (like bouncing on packed ice along the edge of a parking lot although she's 16 yr. old or trying on clothes at a vintage store just for the fun of it). I love her for it. 

So, what's up in your writing world?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Grammar Friday!

Ah! It's Friday again! Yes, this week flew by, but thanks to Vikki over at Viklit, it's also time to stop and remember all those small, little things that put a smile on our faces this last week and celebrate them.

This week, I'm celebrating:

1) Smores around a fire.

2) A gorgeous new flower growing in my garden. Since I have no idea what the woman living here before us planted, this is always a huge surprise. Fun too.

3) I won a copy of Kyra Lennon's IF I LET YOU GO. Yay to more books!!!

4) My daughter surprised me with a GC for an online shop, so I could buy a sweater I've been eyeing.

So, all in all, it's been a nice week.

But not anymore!!!!

Now, it's time for . . .


While betaing, I stumbled across something, which really threw me for a few minutes.

"What on earth?"

Tiny, little phrase, isn't it? But oh, the headaches it caused me!  (Not really. I just thought I'd be dramatic for a second.)

My problem?

Uh...should earth be capitalized? I thought so, but suddenly I wasn't so sure.

Rule 1: When using 'earth' is used as a specific noun (for example--in conjunction with the planets), it's capitalized because it is being used as a name.

The three planets closet to the sun are Mercury, Venus and Earth.

Easy, peasy, right?

Rule 2: When using 'earth' in the sense as the planet we live on and with 'the', it isn't capitalized, since this is treated as a common noun.

Scientists try to determine the exact age of the earth.

The earth rotates on an axis.

Rule 3:  When earth means dirt, it is not capitalized.

He let the earth seep through his fingers.

This one is pretty straight forward too.

So, what happens to our 'What on earth/Earth'?"

It is commonly accepted that 'earth' in this instance is not capitalized, since it is seen as the planet we live on, and not naming it exactly.

Where on earth are you going?
We'll travel to the ends of the earth.
There are so many things to discover between earth and sky.

What wonderful things are you celebrating this week? Are you a smore fan? Have you traveled to the ends of the earth, or would you like to go beyond?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bella's Point Challenge

To enter the blog hop challenge by Elizabeth Seckman – here are the guidelines……..
  1. write something readers want to read. No word limit, no guidelines. Your only prompt is: The year was 1865…. (feel free to ignore the prompt, creative genius never bound by rules or prompts)
  2. Display the Bella’s Point Hop Badge (which is lovely and made by the amazing Carrie Butler of Forward Authority)
  3. Add the tour blurb and links to your post (I will email to you when you sign up)
  4. Post between July 15th and July 31st. Notify Elizabeth via email (eseckman@ymail.com) when post is live so she can inform the readers.

And here's my entry. You'll notice I had a lot of fun with this . . . too much fun.

End of Civil War. . .Lincoln assassinated. . .great robbery of Austin, Texas. . .blahblah. . .blahblah. . .blahblah. I slammed my history book shut and let my head fall down on it with a thud. Ouch! Dang, history books are hard!
Rubbing the now sore spot in the middle of my forehead—seriously, I’d die if there was a bruise there the next morning—I trudged over to my beanbag, plopped down and grabbed the new book Mom had bought for herself, BELLA’S POINT.  Mom would kill me for snatching it, but it supposedly took place somewhere around 1865, so it qualified as study material. Okay, maybe that wasn’t real history, but hey, I’d squeeze some sort of answers out of it for the next day’s test. It wasn’t like our teacher, Doc, paid attention to anything we wrote anyway.
I opened the book when someone knocked on my door. My dumb brother probably.
“Margret! Come quick!” called a girl. Okay, that was not my brother’s voice, but he was still behind it planning something. He always was. Usually, I didn’t put up with his stupid games, but anything was more exciting than the end of the Civil War and 1865.
I threw the door open. “Leave me—“
The rest stuck in my throat. In front of me stood a little girl about seven or eight years old. And she was SO cute! She wore a cream colored, poofy dress, and her hair had these super-awesome tight curls. She was probably a kid from one of my mother’s friends. I didn’t know Mom was having anyone over tonight.
“And who are you, Sweetie?”
“Ellen, your sister.” The girl’s eyebrows twitched until they settled into a scowl.
How adorable! She wanted to play house with me. I threw a glance back at the history book and decided the choice was a no-brainer. Gosh, she was cute! “Call me Rett,” I offered and poked at one of her curls. It even bounced!
She smiled, and then grabbed my hand and tugged me forward. “You must hurry! He’s arrived!”
“Okay. Okay.” Talk about a ball of energy!
I let her drag me down the hall to the stairs. At first, I jogged behind her, but as my steps slowed she really did have to tug me along. But I couldn’t help it. I mean, something was wrong with our house. It looked almost the same, but somehow more antique. The green wallpaper with red roses now had leaves on it too. And there was a new table along the wall next to Mom and Dad’s room with an old fashioned oil lamp on it. The wooden floor wasn’t quite right either, not as shiny and smooth as it should be. Mom said she wanted to do some redecorating—something about bringing back the old glance of our house. It was over 150 years old. Guess, Mom did it while I was at school. She had to hate my guts for not noticing earlier.
At the stairs, the little girl smiled at me before continuing down, and I smiled back . . . at least, until we got to the bottom of the stairs. There my smile died.
What had happened to our house? The couch, Dad’s favorite chair, the TV, the entire living room had been changed, and not for the better either. Talk about an antique store! There was a red funky, couch with wooden legs, and a pair of real hard looking chair with seats that looked like they’d been hand-stitched. Yuck! Even Mom’s taste wasn’t that bad. It was as if I’d stepped into some U.S. history museum.
“Mom?” I called, turning toward a door on the far end of the living room, which should lead to the kitchen.
“Miss Margret?”
Switching directions quick, I spun on my heel the other way. As I did so, a huge skirt floated up around me. I stared down to find myself in one of those mushroomy, silky dresses, which the women pictured in our history books supposedly used to wear around the 1860s. “What in the heck?” I reached up, rubbing my hands over my shoulders, neck and face. Everything was gone—my jeans, my favorite T-shirt, even the gauges in my ears. My fingers dug into the huge clump of hair pinned up to the back of my head, and found curls. OMG—I spent my whole last allowance getting my hair straightened, and now, I was a blasted princess doll!
The guy in front of me faked a cough and pulled into a slight bow. I didn’t see much besides the top of head and his sandy-brown hair, but he was dressed pretty snazzy (in an old-fashioned way). He wore a grey suit with long tails and held a hat in his hand. I’d only seen clothes like that in a really old family painting Grandma once showed me—I’m talking one from the 1800’s. Super old.
“May we be going?” he asked, chuckling slightly.
“Going?” I wasn’t going anywhere, not until I figured out what in the world was happening.
I tried to jerk my hand away from the little girl, but at the same time, she tugged down on it hard, pulling me down so she could whisper into my ear.
“He is handsome,” she giggled. “I want a beau like him someday.”
 “Sure, great.” I nodded quickly. Anything to make her let go of me.
As soon as her little clamps released, I stepped backwards toward the stairs. This was all going too fast—whatever it was. It was like I was stuck in some odd, historic dream. I pinched myself. Ouch! It hurt. It wasn’t supposed to hurt in dreams! I grabbed the banister next to me as the world started to spin. This was all a trip, a really weird brain trip. I had to be asleep, dreaming. It was the only explanation.
A hand pressed against my back, and instantly, the world jerked back into stability. Well, the dizzy trash stopped, but the historic thingy was still running full tilt.
“What’s going on? Where am I?” Dream--duh! I reminded myself.
A hand gripped my upper arm, and I was pulled against a warm chest. Reality slapped hard as I realized I was now in Mr. Well-Dressed-History’s arms. “Good evening, Rett.” His words were warm and familiar—comforting and addictive.
"Whoa! Do I know you?" I was sure I should, although I didn't know why. Somehow he seemed to fit into my life perfectly as if he'd always been there and always would be.
"Of course." His breath heated my skin.
Slowly, I turned toward him. His features were sharp as a knife, but there was a softness in his eyes, which let me know I was safe.
I lifted a finger and swiped back a stray hair, which dangled in  eyes. Maybe this was a dream, although something inside told me that it wasn't. Either way, I was never one to turn down an adventure, especially one as surreal as this.

And here's what Elizabeth is celebrating!!!
(gorgeous, isn't it?)

The Blurb:

Isabella Troy Stanley is a divorced, slave freeing pariah surviving in the shattered post Civil War south the only way a fallen debutante knows how. 
She heads to a Yankee prison and buys herself a husband. 

Jack Byron is the former Troy plantation stable boy and object of young Bella's affection. He rejected her then, and he's still not sold on the idea of marrying her now.  

 It’s complicated.

Though to Bella, it’s simple: make Jack love her, marry her, and live happily ever after. The plan seems to work...at least until her secret is revealed.

Elizabeth is a wife, a mom, and a writer. She has four wonderful boys, one dusty house, and three published books to her credit. Feel free to check them out and buy them HERE! Erm, the books, not the kids or the house...though all things in life are negotiable ;)

You can find her here - Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Cover art by Sprinkles on Top Studios.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ready. Set. Write!!!

Happy Monday, and welcome to another week of. . .

Ready. Set. Write!

What is that?

In the words of Jaime Morrow, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. We will be sharing our goals on Mondays, keeping our posts BRIEF (2-3 lines per heading) so we can spend more time writing and less time blogging. You can sign up at any of the other host blogs (KatyErinAlison, Jaime). And don't forget to hop around to encourage other participants. For more information about RSW and a link to our super fun buttons, go here.

Due to 'Action Roof', I had to skip last week (bummer!), so I'll just continue on where those goals left off.

1) Last week's goal: I'm going to try for a huge 1,000 words.
     Well, chalk that one up as done! I even hit 1,500. Plus, I've been writing on another flash story and almost finished up another beta read. 

2) This week's goal(s):
      Finish up that flash and get it posted.
      Take a last glance through my beta notes and send that off.
      Write another chapter on my WIP.

3) One phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised: (remember, I'm an MGer)
      I hated to see Grandma cry. It made my heart hurt.

4) The biggest challenge I faced this week:
      I have two WIPs in the making but have been forcing myself to concentrate on one. But lately, I've been wondering if I should concentrate on the other instead. I love both ideas, but the other one more resembles the type of book I'm going on submission with (a hint of fairy tale), where my current WIP is contemporary with just a tinge of magic (really a tiny, tiny bit). Oh, I'll finish up both in the end--but which should be first? Guess, I'll keep plugging away on the one I'm doing.

5) Something I love about my WIP: (had to come back and add this. . .can't believe I forgot it!)
     The lightening bugs. That's a central theme. Yep, I'm fascinated by them.

And what about you? How's your writing going? Have something you love about your current MS? Which little writing monster is biting on your ear lately?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Grammar Friday!!!

The wonderful Vikki over at Viklit sponsors this weekly meme to help us remember that it's the small things in life, which really make the difference. Need a smile on your face? Then head on over and join in. We all could use this reminder every now and then.

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Seeing my brother and his family again. Yes, this included a new roof, and the time together was more work than anything else, but it was great to have them around.

2) Our car is running again! It all of a sudden stopped starting for no apparent reason. Yesterday, my hubs finally got a chance to look over it and figured out that he had confused the computer system (he had turned off the engine to coast down hills to save gas, and it didn't like that). The poor system just needed a restart. So yay!

3) Despite my weed jungle. . . ummm. . .garden, I'm getting veggies! A few tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers. There's even a watermelon and some pumpkins growing in there somewhere. It's not enough to hold through a hard winter, mind you. But hey, it's producing something.

4) I finally have an idea for Elizabeth Seckman's Bella's Point Challenge. (This is a wonderful way to celebrate the release of her new book, so head on over and take a look. You won't regret it. . . really.)

That's my week. How about yours? What wonderful little things are you celebrating?

And now, it's time for. . .


This week, I'm going to regurgitate something I've already mentioned a long time ago. No, I'm not being lazy. Well, maybe a little. In truth, I was typing along and realized. . . ugh!. . .I don't know anymore. So, it's time for a recap!

What is the difference between EFFECT and AFFECT ?

Well, to figure this out, I picture an ELEPHANT and an ANT. (See, both 'e's or both 'a's. Yep, these little links help tremendously.)

Let's start with our ANT and AFFECT.

Affect can be a noun or a verb, but in most cases, it's a verb. I'm talking action (another 'a' word) like that little ant that always scampers around.

Affect means 'to influence, change or alter'. Ha! Alter is another 'a' word!

For example:

We can't loose this game! It will affect our ranking!


Adding sugar to the coffee affects the taste.

And as a noun? Well, that's only a case for the realm of psychology. In this case, it means the manifestation of a mood. 'The doctor described her affects as desirable.'  Unless you're delving into this area, you won't really need this.

So, let's head on over to our ELEPHANT and EFFECT.

Effect can also be a noun or a verb, but it tends toward the noun side. Yep, it doesn't like to move around a lot. Elephants are heavy, you know. 

Effect means 'the outcome or result'. Our Elephant doesn't mess around. Nope.

For example:

The effect of the explosion was mind boggling.


I didn't realize that swimming after a hard day's work would have such a refreshing effect on me.

The verb form of effect is a little more tricky. As a verb, effect means 'to make happen, produce or cause'. This is a very active intention, something that pushes along. 

For example:

My work directly effected the company's overall performance.


The principal hopes the new rules will effect student's continually improving behavior.

But in general, remember that very active ant (affect) and the extremely heavy, never can be moved elephant (effect), and you'll usually get this right.

So, what elephants have you moved lately? Ready to let a nice swim refresh your mood? Have anything happen to you this week that put a smile on your face? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

Yay, it's Wednesday again!!! Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk sponsor a weekly meme with the purpose to help us writerly people keep in contact with each other and simply say 'What's Up!'

Go on over and join the fun. It doesn't take much, and you'll get a chance to catch up with some fantastically fun, wordy folks.

As for me. . .

What I've Been Reading:

Not much. I read several kids books (FLOPPY THE MYSTERY DOG by Diana Starr and Denise Bloomfield and HARRY AND THE HOT LAVA by Chris Robertson), but that was it. Books had to stay on those shelves this last week.

What I've Been Writing:

Although I didn't post my Monday's dibs for Ready.Set.Write!, I did reach my 1000 word goal + a little more. But it you ask me today what I wrote, I won't be able to tell you. The last few days left my mind a little numb (see below)

What Inspires Me:

Amazing people. I've been talking to all sorts of neighbors and hearing their life stories (just jawing, mind you.) Each of them has experienced some huge hurdles or surprisingly fantastic successes. Goes to show you how rich life can be, although you'd never guess it by the appearance. And each of them has a heart of gold. I find that inspiring.

What Else I've Been Up To:

The last days, the song 'Wrecking Ball' from Miley Cyrus played non-stop in my head. Action Roof was intense, especially for my brother. After finishing his day of work back at his home, him and his family of 8 piled into their car, drove 16 hours through the night, only to pile out here and jump on the roof for another 9 hours of work. The man is a work machine. Period.

And it stayed that intense for 5 whole days.

I felt really sorry for my brother up on that roof in 95 degrees at about the same humidity, pushing 12 hour days (he felt sorry too, I'm sure). And my two teens exchanged places constantly to be up there helping him. Seriously, my kids are amazing. (yes, they had ropes and all safety devices) My sister-in-law ran between kids and work like a chicken with her head cut off. My husband helped where ever he could (usually cutting pieces).

The result: a beautiful roof, tons of cuts and sunburns, kids who had the time of their life and adults ready to collapse.

It was great.

And what about you? What's up in your world?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Soulless by Crystal Collier Cover Reveal

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! Update. . .

Happy Monday, and welcome to another week of. . .

Ready. Set. Write!

What is that?

In the words of Jaime Morrow, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. We will be sharing our goals on Mondays, keeping our posts BRIEF (2-3 lines per heading) so we can spend more time writing and less time blogging. You can sign up at any of the other host blogs (KatyErinAlison, Jaime) every Monday. And don't forget to hop around to encourage other participants. For more information about RSW and a link to our super fun buttons, go here.

How I did on last week's goals:

I was shooting for 5,000 words and ended up with a meager 1,000 or so. BUT I did receive a surprise beta read of over 300 pages and did get that done and back. So I'm still happy.

My Goal(s) for this week:

*sigh* I'm going to try for a huge 1,000 words, but with me (yes, me) having to tear off our old roof so my brother can come and put on a new one Thursday (seriously, the things we have to do!), it will be hard to get much writing done. Especially, since he's bringing his family of 8 with him. Oh, I'm looking forward to it; don't get me wrong. But it will keep me busy! Recipes anyone?

One Phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:

Tidbits here. Tidbits there. Am I getting anywhere?

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

The same one that I'll face this coming week. The same one I faced last week. Maybe I'll just make it my summer's motto. I need more time.

Something I love about my VIP:

The sense of adventure. It's about three kids who try to find a treasure to save a grandma's farm (a contemporary (more or less)). Having them sneak through the woods in search of 'clues' makes me want to go out there and play in the trees and creek too.

And how was your writing week?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things Quick

It's time again for Vikki (over at Viklit's) wonderful weekly meme, Celebrate the Small Things! And isn't the firework gorgeous?

Today, my family is celebrating it's first 4th of July in the U.S. YAY!!!! So without further adieu, I'm just going to wish the rest of you a Happy Fourth of July too!