Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Authenticity ~ Thanks, Libba Bray


It seems a seed was planted back at the SCBWI winter conference in NYC, a rather important seed, crucial if you will. And it's all thanks to one, Ms. Libba Bray. I'd like to give you the backstory - even though readers apparently loathe backstory - I'm still giving it to you, because you need it or it won't make sense. You'll see.

As I sat in the huge ballroom being pleasantly regaled by one, Ms. Libba Bray, I listened to her words of wisdom, laughed pretty hard at her humor and took copious notes for my blog report. I had no idea a seed had been planted by one, Ms. Libba Bray. No idea at all.

Fast backward, yes, backward, to January 22, 2010. I received a rejection from an agent who had the full of my middle grade novel. The rejection said she found my MC a bit whiney and unsympathetic, and she couldn't connect to her voice. My first reaction was anger then tears, then some whoa-is-me.

I'm getting to the seed.

Now, fast forward to about a month after the NYC conference, early March to be exact. Those words, whiney and unsympathetic repeatedly gnawed at me...in a good way. As did one, Ms. Libba Bray's advice to always ask yourself, "Is it true yet?" Seed germinated.

Seed sprouted: I have spent the past month revising the dialogue in my middle grade novel...making it true. After "going back in" for the zillionth time I noticed that what I originally thought was adolescent-speak was actually whiney and unsympathetic - and not true. I have roughly 60 pages left to "true-up" and then I'll feel as if I've accomplished some truly good revisions.

Thanks to one, Ms. Libba Bray, and one agent's honest (and ultimately helpful) rejection, my journey towards authenticity became, well, authentic.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Bit of Good News...Round 2



Click here and check out # 3 because # 3 is MY BOOK.

Holy wowie zowie is all I have to say on that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Bit of Good News (actually, it's a hunk)

Remember my other book? The one I co-authored with my teaching colleague? Click here for a quick explanation of the book and step one on our journey towards publication.

Today, we received an email from the Senior Acquisitions Director saying the eight reviews were in and they were all very positive!!!!!!!!!! She also said she would like for us to address the review points and make decisions as to what we'd like to listen to and revise.

AND SHE WANTS TO PRESENT OUR BOOK TO THE BOARD!

Now, if the board likes what they see THEN a contract offer comes. One step at a time. One step at a time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

D # 4 Destiny


Destiny...is it a fixed sequence of inevitable events or can one choose or influence those events? Good question, eh? I am of the belief that true destiny is a magical brew of both.

Riddle me this. Was this destiny?

A high school senior badgers her parents to go away to college, she gets there and hates it. She drops out after three short weeks and spends the rest of the school year nannying and receptionist'ing. Applies to much bigger school, gets in and starts the following fall session, August 1986. Meets stupid boys. Parties hard. Loves big university.

A high school boy graduates and gets into local Penn State campus. Goes. Muddles through. Nearly drops out completely to "get a real job". Eventually decides he wants to actually go away to college and not live at home. Applies to same bigger school as high school girl. Gets in. Starts winter session, January 1987.

Boy ends up getting assigned a room on girl's floor in dormitory in January 1987. Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. Dating ensues, love ensues, twenty three years later, boy and girl still like each other. A lot.

Think about the random factors that got boy and girl to end up in the same dorm at the same time. Her hating first college, him wanting to go away, both choosing to apply to the same school, etc... To me, it smells a lot like destiny. And destiny smells good.

p.s. I'm girl and my husband is boy. Married 18 years this July.

Riddle me this? Was this destiny?

I write a novel the spring of 2008, my very first. The experience alters me permanently and deeply. The feedback is glowing, heck, I'm glowing. A new found desire emerges...publication. April 2008 begins my tumultuous query journey complete with dizzying highs and heartbreaking lows.

If you have followed my blog for a while you know this about me.
I.
Refuse.
To.
Give.
Up.

So, when I land an agent, will it be the destiny that I had no influence on? I say no way! I say every query and revision and edit and conference attended and blog read and crit group joined and new book written and minute spent researching...reading...thinking...was all me, baby. All me. I'M influencing my destiny. I'M pushing it along. I'M doing everything in my human power to make it really happen.

I guess I riddled my own riddle. Sorry 'bout that.

Hear me, blog readers and fellow writers in the struggle, hear me. Believe. Work. Do. Believe. Work. Do. Believe. Work. Do.

And destiny will be yours.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

D #2 Determination

DETERMINATION

The greatest, random thing happened to me today. My younger cousin sent me an email completely out of the blue. I love this cousin - love seeing this cousin at family events - love laughing with this cousin. This cousin knows of my drive to land an agent, knows of my writing and my dream of seeing my work in print.

Here's the connection...see, I've been struggling on what to write for my next D post on determination. Wait till you see the gift that was plopped in my lap via the cousin email...

My cousin wrote:

Subject line: soon you'll say, "I did it!"

Email: April 1944, Anne Frank wrote: "I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?"

(We both know what her Diary became).

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is determination in it's purest form.

Thanks, cuz.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

D #1 DRIVE

My first post on the 4 D's.

D number 1 is Drive.

Inner drive. The human mind is quite the machine and quite the motivator...but only if allowed to motivate and not sabotage. Think about a time when you talked yourself out of achieving or experiencing, a time you lost your drive. What did you say to yourself to get off track? Why did you say those negative things to yourself?

Can you tell that voice to shutup already?

I found a very interesting ezine article on the topic of inner drive. The writer gives his formula for success:

1. Purpose
2. Inner drive
3. A winning mindset

Well would you look at #2?

Here's what drive means to me, aka, a writer on a mission.

- Write and write a lot, especially when that voice tells me I can't.
- Never waver from my well planned path towards publication. Ever. No matter what.
- Only let rejection hurt for a short amount of time. I'm not a robot, I have to allow myself to cry and feel frustration and even throw a short-lived pity party. It feels good. But then I move on and get right back on my well planned path.
- Keep putting my writing out there in as many public forums as I can. Blogging, website, beta readers, contests, critiques, advice sites, writer's groups, etc...
- Continue to research agents and trends and query accordingly.

Get behind your wheel and drive!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cool New Contests

Heard about this from Lady Glamis. Two new contests running:

Elana Johnson has a contest for a boatload of signed YA books! And that runs in conjunction with a contest over on Shooting Stars where there are book giveaways and agent critiques!!

Check them out...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Quote

A friend of mine shared this quote with me the other day and I thought it worthy of sharing it out further...

Nancy Andreasen , a neuroscientist said, "Sucessful writers are like prize fighters who keep getting hit but won't go down, they stick with it until it's right."

If Ms. Andreasen were standing in front of me I'd look her straight in the eye and say, "You get it."

And she might say back to me, "Oh, K.M. I do get it."

And then we'd smile at each other and have nothing else to talk about. Because what do you talk about with a freakin' neuroscientist? The weather? I don't want to sound like a big dummy.

See, it isn't the money or the fame that makes success - to me it's the passion and the drive. If it matters to you, then dammit, do it. Just get out there and do it. Make it happen for yourself and stop waiting for someone else to make it happen. If you want it, then you have to develop a plan, do some research, make whatever it is you do the absolute best it can be, and do it. Over and over and over and over again. There is no giving up. There are no hands thrown in the air. Oh no. There is drive and determination and desire and destiny.

The 4 D's.

I just made that up. But it sounds really good and I think I may blog about each D at some point.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Second Award & Some Cool News


Do you remember when I boldly stated that 2010 is going to be The Year of Kate? Well, I did you know.

From my 12-12-09 post:
In honor of the upcoming 2010 or as I like to call, The Year of Kate. Yeah, I said it. 2010 is all about me and me getting everything I ever dreamed of. And I mean everything. I think 2010 is going down in the history books as the year of years...for me. My brain tells me so. My heart tells me so. And my soul tells me so. I have no secret news -- nothing to reveal -- just a feeling.

2010, I welcome you, fine year, welcome to my life. Come on in and make yourself comfortable, Best-Year-Ev-Ah. I have a feeling we'll be tighter than peanut butter and jelly.

I HEART 2010.

Apparently the universe listened because I've received my second blog award, and I'm humbled yet again. This is the Sunshine Award from Hayley over at The Writer's Hollow. She said I radiate happiness and make her smile,AND that I was balanced and coordinated, as in balancing my home life with my writing. That's all super good in my book.

A big, huge thank you goes out to Hayley for the support of my blog.

I also have a bit of good news. Over at TeenFire I entered a contest for the first 250 of my YA and I'm a semi-finalist. I am in the process of locating the link info on that so ya'll can check out my entry.

And one final thing. And this is a good thing. I read this from an agent I submitted a partial to back on February 14th:
I am really enjoying this material. Could you please mail me the full ms? I would like to continue my read. Thanks!


I get a goofy smile every time I read it. Wish me luck everyone...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And theTruth Is...

This was fun, thanks Ray Veen. I found the varied truth selections beyond interesting. I have to say I wish #6 and my mad gaming skills were real, but it is sooooooo very not true. As in embarrassingly so. In short, I suck at video games.

# 2 - I was a little too social my freshman year of college, hence the solid F I earned in Macroeconomics...whatever that is.

You couldn't pay me $100 bucks as a kid to climb a tree. I was too busy pretending I was Laura Ingalls Wilder in my back yard and bossing my three younger sisters around...in an oh so loving way of course. So #1 is a lie.

We did fly to Australia summer 2007 but all of our food stayed deep inside our innards. Thank God! #4, el-lie-oh.

#7 - I really did cocktail waitress at a South Jersey bar, but never fell, never dropped a tray of drinks. Oh no, I was drinking the drinks along with the customers. What can I say, I was 21 and skinny. Tray dropping = lie.

If #5 were to say I was afraid of spiders and anything spider related then that would be an enormous truth. Choking, while not something I'd put on my list of "stuff I'd like to do before I die", it isn't one of my fears.

So, the big reveal.

# 3 is TRUE. 100% true. Every word of it. Oh and, that husband of mine, I met him my freshman year of college and he is totally and completely the reason I failed Macroeconomics. Apparently staring into his eyes was way more important. Alright, it still is. (that was for you, Hayley :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Award & Tag Fun

Thanks to Big Plain V I've received my very first blog award!!! How cool is that?



A BIG T. Y. goes out to BPV!

Now onto the tag part of my award. First, I tag: Patti, Lisa & Laura, Susan Mills, Casey McCormick, Prince Balthazar and Jewel for being eternally supportive of my blog...and me. Thank you. (side note, I totally would've picked Mercedes, but she was already tagged by BPV)

Here are the rules to those I've tagged:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link them.
2. Add the award to your blog.
3. Tell six outrageous lies about yourself and one truth.
4. Nominate six creative liars ... I mean, writers and link them.
5. Let your nominees know they've been nominated.

Second, here are my six outrageous lies and one truth. Any family readers out there, mums the word on the true story.

1. When I was eleven I climbed an apple tree on a dare, made it half way up the tree, stared down at my "dare'er", picked an apple, took a bite, and promptly fell from the tree and landed at the "dare'er's" feet. No broken bones, only bruised pride.

2. I struggled in college my freshman year...socially. I'm not sure why, but I did. When my roommate would bounce into our dorm room with news of a party I'd recoil, lie, and feign some sickness or paper to write - I was a college hermit - I went nowhere. It didn't take long for my roommate to figure me out. Thanks, roomie.

3. When my husband and I got engaged we were your typical young-with-no-money, and he bought me a beautiful engagement ring (but it was in direct proportion to our dirt poor'ness - aka - modest). He always promised me that one day he'd get me the ring of my dreams. Well, two weeks ago he came home with a bottle of champagne and a spectacular emerald cut engagement ring, got down on one knee (in front of our two boys) and asked me to re-marry him. Uh-huh.

4. In 2007 my boys, husband and I flew to Australia to visit my sister and brother in law. The whole leg of the LA to Sydney flight my son vomited 23 times (not that I counted or anything). The people around us had that oh-crap-I'll-be-sick-too look on their faces and if they had possessed weapons of any kind, probably would have felt zero guilt using them on the lot of us.

5. I am deathly afraid of choking or my kids choking or my cat. Whoever. Choking and thought of choking consumes a large part of my day when food is around. I'm so bad that when we leave our kids for a night out, they aren't allowed to eat - anything. It doesn't go over too well but they've gotten used to it. My younger son even reminds his "babysitting" big brother as we're walking out the door, "Don't eat anything! Mom'll freak." I love him for being so responsible.

6. I am really good at video games. Like butt-kicking-good. I'm so good that my older son refuses to play me on anything because I whoop butt like a pro. I seriously don't know why I'm so good at video games because I'm a real life sports zero - in every way. I guess it's my psyche's way of redeeming itself sports-wise. My favorite game - wait let me rephrase that - my most butt whipping game that I OWN is LEGO Star Wars. I should go into a tournament or something because I'm that freakin' good.

7. When I was in college I cocktail waitressed at a bar at the Jersey Shore (NO, nowhere near the fist pumping lunacy of the MTV show - this was in South Jersey). Anyway, one night I had a tray full of drinks and shots and beers - I'm talking not one more drink could've fit on that tray. I lifted it above my head, turned around to shout my way through the smooshed together crowd of 21 year olds, and I slipped. My left foot slipped backwards on the beer soaked floor, stopped as soon as it hit the bar behind me, and the tray FULL of drinks went flying into the crowd of really cute guys. I ended up down on one knee, the tray ended up clear across the room (like five feet away) and the drinks went everywhere!

Okay, so I am dying to know which one you think is true. Dying. Dying. Dying. Come on, guess away!!!!