Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five in which I am nervous

1. So, I may have mentioned that I'm speaking/teaching at a writer's conference in AF a couple times. But what I may not have told you is that although I am excited, I am also really nervous. So if any of you are going to it, first of all, pretend like I look really small and petite, instead of large with child and extremely uncomfortable. And secondly, if I totally screw up, let's just pretend like I didn't, okay? Okay.

2. I know this is revealing my inner nerdness, but I am SO excited for HP7 pt. 2. We usually go to the midnight show (my friend does a big party beforehand), but this year I won't get to because I'll have a newborn. I just hope I can see it as close to the release date as possible.

3. On a serious note, my heart goes out to all those affected by the tornadoes in the south. I used to want to be a "tornado chaser" when I was in elementary school (and even beyond that), because I've always been fascinated by them. But to see this kind of destruction and death is so horrible. I just hope the storms will stop. It makes me feel guilty for complaining about the never ending snowstorms here.

4. On a less serious note, I've heard rumors about some sort of big wedding that's going on? That's taking up more news coverage than the tornadoes? Yeah, I'm excited about it, but not THAT much. I used to have a semi-crush on Prince Wills. Probably because of the first part of that name: "Prince." Who didn't dream of becoming a princess at some point? And he wasn't too bad on the eyes. I remember when he and Kate broke up (gasp! shock!), but now here they are. Getting married. *brushes a tear from my eye* *not really* But yay for them. :) *edit: I write my posts the night before, so I hadn't seen Kate yet when I wrote this. I must now admit to being totally sucked into to the fairytale. She looked absolutely stunning. A true Princess. Wow.

5. Did I mention that I'm nervous for tomorrow?

So what's on your mind today? Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What makes you love YA?

The way the YA genre has exploded in recent years has been quite the phenomenon. Luckily for me, it's what I've always written (before I knew what "YA" even was). Well, other than that one unfortunate attempt at writing an adult fiction novel. With the knowledge I have now, I know I could go back and make it a much better book. Maybe someday. But my passion is YA, and for now, I'm sticking with it.

In any genre, there will be books that don't live up to your hopes, and others that far exceed them. In my opinion, the best books are the ones that you are dying to finish so you can find out what happens, and yet simultaneously wish could go on forever because you love it so much. One of the most interesting (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of the publishing industry is that different people can and do have completely different reactions to the same book.

What I'm interested in hearing today is why YOU love YA? (Assuming that you do...) What makes YA something you want to write or read? What sets YA apart from other genres in your opinion?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quote for the Week

"In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet."

- Albert Schweitzer

So true, don't you think? What flowers are you missing out on noticing in your pursuit of the moon?

I know I have days where I go to bed wishing I'd spent my day differently--that I had tried to enjoy the moment I'm in more, rather than dreaming/wishing/longing for future hopes and events.

But I also have days where I know I lived it to the fullest, where I took the time to cherish my boys' smiles, their kisses, the things they say and do. When I paused to watch the sun rise or set. When I took pride in my writing, whether I was able to write 5,000 words, or only 500. When I've kissed my husband like I meant it, and basked in the fact that he loves me for me. When I gave thanks that he understands and supports and encourages me. That I expressed my deep gratitude for friends who shock me with their generosity and kindness, for family who are everything, and other blessings in my life.

Are there dreams I long for that haven't come true yet? Yes. Have there been really hard disappointments and hurdles I've had to overcome (and continue to try to overcome), both personally and in my pursuit of publication? Absolutely. But there are also flowers all around. Have you noticed them recently?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Five

I knew you guys were smart! All the advice you've shared this week has been absolutely perfect. There's a lot of wisdom in what you all wrote. So, once more, thank you very much!

Here's what's on my mind today:

1. This week SonA has had school off for spring break. I had so many fun activities planned. And then the forecast changed from mid-sixties and sunny back to our norm for the year. Freezing cold snowing/raining/doom. We've managed to still find some fun stuff to do, but overall, this has not been a week of spring break win, that's for sure.

2. Last night we celebrated SHH's birthday a few days early (since his birthday is actually on Easter Sunday this year, which has never happened before since I've known him). I surprised him with a couple's massage and then we used his free birthday meal at Benihana for dinner. Ahhh, what an awesome night. We both could have slept until noon today after the relaxation and delicious food overload. Instead, that cute alarm clock (otherwise known as SonB) was up at 7 am on the dot like usual, telling us all to wake up and get him out of bed. Oh well. ;)

3. I'm having a minor complication with my pregnancy (nothing that will cause the baby any harm, just discomfort and pain for me), that requires me to lay down on my side with my legs as elevated as I can get them multiple times a day. Or that's what I'm supposed to do anyway. Usually I find the time to do that about twice a day if I'm lucky. I thought it would be a great chance to catch up on my TBR list, but instead it turns out whenever I finally do lay down is exactly when my kids suddenly need me. Hmmm, interesting how that works.

4. Isn't it intriguing how some days when you're writing the words just seem to flow, and other days.... not so much. Yeah, I'm glad I'm not alone. Right?

5. Dessert is yummy. With this pregnancy I can't seem to feel full until I've had some sugary goodness. Usually I'm good about resisting sweet libations, but it's been a bit harder this time. Okay, a LOT harder. This girl must have a serious sweet tooth.

So, what's on yor mind this Friday? Any fun plans for the holiday weekend?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taking Feedback

Wow, I knew you guys were good! Thanks for all the advice you shared on Monday. Seriously, you all rock.

So here's the question for today:

What's one thing to remember or do when taking feedback?

I'm also teaching a class on taking feedback. I'm excited for this one, because I've had to learn a lot over the years about this very subject. Feedback can be a tricky thing. You have to remember that someone took the time to read and critique your book for you. They cared enough to spend hours if not days working on helping you--whether you think every edit they gave is golden, or whether you completely disagreed with all of it, or fell somewhere in the middle.

It's easy to get offended when someone tries to tell you about something that didn't work in your book. But to be successful as a writer, you have to not only get past the urge to get offended, you have to be able and willing to listen, to contemplate it, and to make appropriate changes based on the feedback you get. It's a process that doesn't end with CPs. Your agent, and your editor will both do the same thing. It's also important as a CP to understand how the author you're working with assimilates the feedback. Everyone has a different way of understanding and absorbing edits, and you can't get offended by how someone takes the critiques you offered.

So tell me, what are your tricks and tips for taking feedback? I'm excited to share some of mine at this conference, but I know you probably have some great ones I haven't thought of. Thanks again for sharing!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Help please!

Happy Monday everyone!

As some of you may be aware, I am speaking and teaching at a local writer's conference in a couple of weeks. I'm excited but nervous about this opportunity. Mostly because I want to do a really good job. I want to be interesting, and funny, and entertaining, but also informative and helpful and yeah, the list goes on. That's not too much to expect from myself, right? Heh, heh. Um...

This is where you come in. I have quite a range of topics to teach during the day, and I already have a good idea of how I'm going to approach them. However, I think it would be interesting and informative to hear what some of your thoughts are. I'm going to be asking for your help or feedback on a few things to help me put together the absolute best presentations possible. My hope is that by taking what I've already thought up, and adding to it with your insights, I will be able to accomplish my previously mentioned goals. Cause let's face it, chances are ya'll are way smarter than me anyway. ;)

So first up: blogging. I am supposed to teach two different classes on blogging, one on how to gain more followers and one on making your blog a success. There are many of you who have waaaay more followers than me, and are definitely much more successful bloggers than I am, so for today here are my questions: (you can pick one of the three, or answer all three if you want)

What is the #1 best piece of advice you could give someone on how to make their blog a success/or to gain more followers?

What is something about my blog that you think makes it "successful" or made you want to become a follower?

What is something a blogger SHOULDN'T do if they want to accomplish either goal?

Thank you for your help! Hopefully I can do a good job on the 30th. *bites nails* *except not really, because I'm not actually a nail biter, but you know, figuratively speaking*

The funny thing about being asked to teach this class is that I don't think of my blog as a "success." Not in the way that I'd imagine a class would expect their teacher's blog to be. I don't have 1,000+ followers, or 50 comments on each post. But then I thought about it, and I realized that for me it is a success. When I get comments telling me how much a certain post meant to someone, or I meet a new friend through my blog, or someone tells me they are going to bookmark my post because it was so helpful to them... that is a great success in my book. And a year ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of having 300 hundred people following my blog, let alone 1,000. So, no. I don't have as "big" of a blog as quite a few, but I guess for me, it IS a little bit of a success after all. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Five

1. My kids have become better than an alarm clock. They both get up at 7 am every day. SonA helps SonB get out of his crib, and then they come in our room. It's a pretty cute wakeup call... but I do wish there was some way to get them to sleep in, at least on Saturday. Oh well!

2. There are certain books that maybe aren't the best to read when you're pregnant, emotional, and already having really weird dreams every night. Though it was really good, all the zombies and death and hopelessness and zombies was a little much for me right now. Lesson learned. Wait to read Carrie Ryan's books until I'm NOT pregnant. And when I'm not going to cry at the part where Catcher talks about the little boy he couldn't save...

3. Isn't it amazing how a book can completely change your mood? I knew I needed something to read that was a little bit... um, less horrorifying after the way The Dark and Hollow Places affected me. I picked up Hex Hall, and so far it was just what I needed. A snarky, fun protag and no zombies in sight. At least, not yet. My dreams were noticeably less filled with half-destroyed bodies of the dead coming after me and my children and my unborn baby.

4. Writing is like eating. You think you're full, and couldn't ever eat again after you stuff yourself (or do a writing marathon); but without fail, you always get hungry again. In the same way, I always want to write again, no matter how burned out I may feel one day. By the next, I am craving it again.

5. Is anyone else a little bit freaked out by how expensive gas is? And that they're predicting it's going to go even higher... and no one seems to be that bothered about it? Wasn't everyone freaking out about gas being this expensive a couple years ago? Why is it okay now? I'm nervous it's going to stay this price forever now. Ugh.

So those are my thoughts today. What's on your mind this Friday? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Get used to it

There are a few different things you have to get used to if you want to be a published author. One of the biggest ones is... waiting. There's lots of hard work, and deadlines, and goals, and writing, and all that. But then there's the wait. We work, we hope, we send off our stuff. And then we wait. And wait.

Hurry up... and wait some more.

Writing, reading, editing, revising, copy editing, printing, PUBLISHING a book takes time. There are moments of hurrying and then there is waiting. Waiting for the response from a CP, waiting to hear back on a query, waiting to hear back on a request, waiting for revision notes from your agent, waiting on editors to respond to submissions, waiting for your edits, waiting for your publication date.

Another time when there is a lot of waiting? When you're pregnant. I have no idea why that would be on my mind, but it is. It has nothing to do with the little person rolling and spinning and kicking and stretching in my belly; basically making herself very well known. How is that I feel like I've been pregnant forever, and still have so long to go? And yet, at the same time, I can't believe I'm going to have another baby in about 10-12 weeks! A whole new person, a lovely, untouched soul entering the world in such a short time, who will be completely reliant upon me... that'll make you pause for a minute, to say the least.

So, back to writing. Getting an agent can be like this, and having your book coming out on a shelf (aka published) does, too. You want something so badly. You go through all the ups and downs, the pain, the longing, the hard work (that's usually more applicable to writing, not pregnancy), the nausea (usually more applicable to pregnancy, than writing), you get the idea. It takes time and work and effort and patience to publish a book, or to bring a baby into the world. Because ultimately, you can't rush things. And you shouldn't want to. No matter how uncomfortable I already am (hello ligament pain, aren't you fun! not to mention a few other side effects that are new this time around but I won't mention), I definitely don't want my baby coming out too soon. I want her to be fully developed, full term, healthy, happy, strong.

The same goes for my "book baby"--I don't want it out in the wild prematurely. I want it to be fully developed and the best it possibly can be before it hits a shelf. And that means I have to wait. Wait for this baby to be done cooking, wait for the timing to be right for my book.

Hmm... did that analogy actually make sense? Or did it just end up sounding like the ramblings of a crazy preggo who's trying to convince herself it's a good thing she still has about two and a half months to go? Eh, I tried.

What about you? What are you waiting for? And do you ever get used to it?

Monday, April 11, 2011


Thank you all for your kind comments, feedback on my blog, and for entering the giveaway.

The random number generator has spoken, and the lucky winner (of a prize of their choosing) is...


Yay! *tosses confetti*

She asked for a critique, so Ruth please email me at sarablarson21 (at) gmail (dot) com, so we can figure out the details. Congrats again!

Happy Monday everyone. How was your weekend?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five (and last chance!)

1. Today is your last chance to enter my blogiversary/300 follower giveaway where you get to name your own prize. Make sure and click HERE to enter if you haven't already. All you have to do is comment and tell me what you would want to win if you get picked. 2. Since I finished my WIP, I had to catch up on my other job this last week. I work from home, cutting/gluing/etc a gazillion preschool projects every month, and it's pretty boring. So I watch TV or movies to occupy the time. I can't exactly write or read and wield scissors unfortunately. However, that means I also caught up on a few other things... like: Love this show. Love everything about it. I still have an episode or two to go to be all the way caught up, so don't tell me. ;)
Ah, hello there McDreamy. I do adore you. Except that last episode? Glee's Anatomy? Oh my heavens. That did NOT work. Abort! Abort!
The new man in my life, who is very close to ousting Mr. Darcy from his place of honor. They are at least tied. I give you: Mr. Thornton.
And YES!!! they actually kiss in this movie. And Oh. My. Word. Was it ever amazing. I almost think the moment when he puts his hand on hers is almost more breathtaking than the actual kiss. Almost. That whole scene was just... perfect.
In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, I stayed up until 1 am watching this last night. LOVE it.

That was a long #2, so let's make it #3 and #4 shall we?

So finally, #5. I used to be able to stay up until 1 am to write no problem. Even when I was pregnant with SonB. But this pregnancy is kicking my butt I guess. I'm tired. I'm in pain. I'm craving sugar like it's oxygen. But despite all that, I am so grateful for this new baby that's coming. Pregnancy is such an amazing miracle (albeit an uncomfortable one), that I am grateful for every day. I don't take it for granted--you can't when it's hard to get and stay pregnant. When I feel her moving, or when I think about holding her in my arms this summer... it is all worth it. Every bit. Also, I better get used to being tired, because sleep deprivation? Here I come. Oh baby. Literally.

What's on your mind today?

(P.S. I'll post the winner on Monday!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dentist of Writing

Some people REALLY hate going to the dentist. I'm not one of them. Of course, I've had very few cavities in my life, and I do hate getting those filled. But the regular checkup and cleaning, I'm okay with. (I'm going today, in case you were wondering. Hoping for no cavities again...)

What does this have to do with writing? There are parts of the process that people really seem to hate. Maybe it's getting that really tough feedback and having to revise a big chunk of your book, or maybe it's writing the synopsis, or sending out the query... it varies from person to person.

But the truth is, if you want a "healthy" manuscript and writing career, every step is necessary. Not just the so-called fun ones, but the ones you might not like as much. Some people actually learn to like and enjoy the whole process, though perhaps in different ways. I do think that's possible, even though it might be hard. Others may only be able to come to tolerate parts of it. But the point is, you have to do it. All of it. You have to brush and floss, and all the little things that aren't too bad. And you have to go to the dentist--even if it's because of a cavity, or heaven forbid a root canal. You have to fix the problems. Or else your teeth will eventually rot out of your head, and the only way to salvage the situation is to get rid of 'em all and go for dentures. With all of that icky paste and the toothless grin at night and all of that stuff. Ew. You don't want to have to go there, right?

Hmmm, this analogy might be kind of out there. Oh well. I have to go to my appointment now, so it's what you get. ;)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway - only two days left, and so far your odds are pretty good at being the winner! Click HERE for more details and to enter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tag, you're it!

The lovely Christine Bryant is hosting me over at her blog today for "Tag-You're It Tuesday!", where I got to answer one question and then tag someone else to be "it" for next week. Carolina Valdez Miller tagged me last week (thanks Carol, it was fun!).

Make sure and go HERE to check it out and see if you got tagged!

Also, don't forget to enter my contest in the last post. You get to name your own prize (and don't be shy about it, I really DO want you to pick something you want). Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, April 1, 2011

One year + 300 =

Wow, can you believe I've been blogging for over a year? (My exact blogiversary was March 27th) AND I reached 300 followers in that time. I am seriously blown away. I am so grateful to all of you who think I have anything of value to say; that my posts are worth your time to stop by and read and comment on. Every comment I get brightens my days, every new follower makes me so happy. And best of all are all of the friends I have made through blogging. You guys seriously rock.

So... let's have a giveaway, shall we?


*Cue the confetti!*

I want this to be a great giveaway, something to really make you feel glad you stop by my blog as often as you do. So.... I'm leaving it up to you! What does that mean? Read on...

All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me two things: 1. What is your favorite part of my blog, or what are your favorite posts of mine (helping me figure out what I can do to improve my blog even more for the coming years) and 2. tell me what YOU want to win! That's right, your wish is my command! Do you have a certain book you're pining for? Would love a critique of some sort? You name it, you got it! (Please keep it within reason, I'm unfortunately pretty tight financially; so as much as I'd love to give you a Kindle, or twenty books, or something crazy like that, I can't.) The contest will remain open until Friday, April 8th at 10:00 pm MST. I will announce the winner on Monday morning! Also, I must limit it to the U.S. and Canada, for the aforementioned reason... unless any of my international followers pick something that doesn't need to be mailed, in which case, enter away!

THAT'S IT! Easy right? This isn't an April Fool's joke, I'm totally serious. You name your prize. The random number generator picks you, and whammo! You get it!

If you really want to earn extra entries, you may do the following:

Tweet/FB: + 1 point each (leave me links so I can verify)
Blog sidebar: +1 point (leave linkage)
Old Follower: +2 points
New follower: +1 point
Blog post: +4 points (leave linkage)
Refer a new follower (the person must give you credit): +4 points

If you do the extra stuff, please be so kind as to add up all of your points for me in your comment. I'm pregnant, remember? That pregnancy brain stuff is no myth, let me tell you.

So, there you have it! I am so grateful to all of you, and am very excited to make someone's wish come true! Hope you all have a great weekend, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. :)

(P.S. don't you hate it when you format a post, and preview it, and it looks fine, and then when it actually posts, blogger squishes the thing into one paragraph? Three times in a row? No matter what you do? Love that. So much.)