Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sleep, Summer, Sleep

As I drove to the grocery store today three words rolled around inside my head: Sleep, Summer, sleep

I grabbed my pack of post-its and pen at a red light and jotted them down. Navigating through the kitty litter and deodorant, a poem began to coagulate.

Goodbye, Summer. I will miss you so. May I present a small token of my deep and unbridled love for you...

My poem.


Sleep, Summer, sleep
You have earned slumber
Bringing back the withered
Pushing nighttime
Warming souls

Sleep, Summer, sleep
Rest and restore
We need you...
when we need you
But you know that

Sleep, Summer, sleep
Dream of delicious smoke
and sand
and sweating drinks, people...

Sleep, Summer, sleep

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Piling on the Drama

A few weeks ago I had a total "escape from my day moment" that lasted two hours. I intentionally got lost in a the middle of the day. The movie? Nights in Rodanthe.

I never read the book by Nicholas Sparks so I had no idea what to expect. The house where the film was shot was unique...the characters fairly well developed and interesting...the chemistry believable...but then...


Let your eyes lift to the title of this post. Read it. I called it "Piling on the Drama" and good, sweet mama does Mr. Sparks pile on the drama. He had me going for a while with the characters finding each other and then finding themselves. All compelling and romantic. But then...


...but then he freaking kills the main dude...Richard Gere. Now, I'm not opposed to a good cry in a movie or read. Believe me. But I swear to you that I said, out loud, "Oh, come on!" when Diane Lane's character found out he was dead. It REALLY felt like Mr. Sparks was simply piling on the drama for the sake of piling on the drama. The movie (and book, I suspect) would've been so much stronger if the characters reunited at the end and continued growing and falling in love. It was the dumbest thing ever that he died. Drama for the sake of drama.

After the credits rolled and I silenced myself from shouting obscenities at the TV, something dawned on me. An ah-ha moment if you will. I needed to do a read through of my one manuscript to be sure I wasn't piling on the drama for the sake of piling it on...thinking it would resonate and make my readers feel. Was the drama real and authentic and not ridiculous overkill? I never want my books to come off as sappy. Or have anyone say, "Oh come on!" while reading them. Or shout obscenities.

I want my drama real and necessary. Perfect example...when Dumbledore was killed in the 6th HP book. Did I want the man to die? Hell no. I loved him. But it was real and necessary drama. Harry had to face Voldemort completely alone in book 7. He had to.

Having the Richard Gere character die while she sat waiting for him at a candlelight dinner she made. Clee-freaking-shay. Ohh, it made me so mad.

Thoughts? Feelings? Opinions?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Courageous Writing

A few weeks ago I finished reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD -- and I'm embarrassed to say it was for the first time. I can't remember what prompted me to pick the book up and then buy it, but I did.

After closing the book for the last time I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. Two thoughts competed for top billing:

1. I will never understand the hatred and racism black Americans faced (and face). Never.

2. How bold and courageous of the female author, Harper Lee, must've been to write that book.

I know she was white, which gave her immediate privileges. But she was also a woman, a white woman, writing a book which shined a bright light onto deeply evil thinking and attitudes...and actions. And she didn't hold back. Her beautiful writing read true and honest.

She boldly created the forward thinking character Atticus Finch, who I'm guessing served as an outlet for to share her own thinking...but that's just speculation.

Oh how I would love to have lunch with Ms. Lee. Tell her that we're raising our two boys to respect all human beings regardless of color (or sexual orientation or religious affiliation or any other damn thing) -- that all human beings deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity. Tell her that I admire her a a writer.

Can you imagine?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stay on the Path

Dorothy Dryer asked if I would write a guest post over on We Do Write.

So I did.

Click HERE to have a read...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Sky is Everywhere

Very few times in my life has a book left me breathless...breathless to the point of clutching it to my chest after reading the last word, sick to my stomach that the read was over.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE was one of those books.

I learned about this book from Christine over at Write Brained. Thank you, Christine!!!!!!!

The writing can be summed up in one word...exquisite. Jandy Nelson is my new hero. I want to be her when I grow up. She is a brilliant word weaver and her poetic talents shine through every sentence. Every sentence.

I don't know how this book didn't win the Printz Award (I'm not saying GOING BOVINE didn't deserve it...but this work-of-wonder deserved, at the VERY least, an honorable mention). This book is a masterpiece in original character voice. The MC is...honest...true...deliciously clever

Lenny is the seventeen-year-old MC who has recently -- and very suddenly -- lost her older sister, who she idolized. She's lost in every way possible, and it takes two different boys to help her re-group and start living again...and one of them is her dead sister's boyfriend.


One of the 10,000 things I marveled at from Ms. Nelson's writing style was how she rarely used "like" in her clever comparisons. Which I know is called a metaphor in fancy writer-speak. See, I'm a simile gal and I didn't realize the power of removing the "like" until I read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Let me demonstrate using a sample from the book:

From the book:
Maria's stirring a vat of sauce beside me, a witch at her cauldron, as I try to cover the fact that I've broken yet another pastry shell.

How I probably would've written that sentence:
Maria's stirring a vat of sauce beside me, like a witch at her cauldron, as I try to cover the fact that I've broken yet another pastry shell.

Jandy Nelson's sentence is SO MUCH STRONGER and the only word difference is the absence of the word "like."

Some of you may not find this as revolutionary as I, but I remain blown away. I can't wait to try it out in the next book I write.

A final word, if you haven't had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) of reading this book, treat yourself. And tell me what you think when you've finished reading!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Voice...shouldn't every human (and character) have one?

It was back in the summer of 1997, in a Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP) class, when I first heard the term "voice" used in connection with writing. Teacher as Writer, that was the class, and it was also the first time I viewed myself as an actual writer. I remember the ten-or-so teachers in the class with me discussing and struggling to define what voice is and how to explain it to our students.

It's quite elusive.

In true PAWLP style, the teacher suggested we turn to mentor text -- or in non-teacher talk -- examples in essays, poems, memoirs or novels, in other words...real writing, to find where the writer shows a strong voice.

It's easier than it sounds, and it took me ten years in my middle school classroom to amass enough examples to feel like I was doing an adequate job explaining voice. And some kids still didn't get it.

Ralph Fletcher wrote this great book for kids on how to start and fill a Writer's Notebook. It was one of the many tools I used to teach my sixth graders how to write and write from the inside. I think that's where voice comes from, whether it be the actual writer's voice or the voices of the characters the writer creates. Ralph tells kids its easy to write about yourself and your experiences because you know you the best. Simple, yet so true.

Each year I would watch student after student shed layers of doubt and fear...and find their voice...on paper.

I'd like you to try a small experiment with me. Let's call it A Voice Finder. Come on...don't stare at will be fun. Ready?

Grab a sheet of paper and your favorite pen. Press play when you're ready.

Now that your back, read through what you wrote and I want you to highlight sentences and phrases that strike a chord with you...make you feel something. Or you just like how they resonate in your head as you read.

I beg that you take your time with this, roll around in your writing a bit, hold hands and snuggle. Get to know how you put words together. And only pay attention to what you like -- silence the critic, stuff a sock in its mouth good and tight. Now is not the time. Put on your rose colored reading glasses and have a sunshiny go with your word-filled paper.

What you highlight...what you connect with, my fine blog friends, is voice. The essence of you. It''s what makes, and you captured it on paper.

So I ask you Mr. and Mrs. Writer, don't your characters deserve the same TLC? Don't they deserve to fill the pages of your manuscript with their essence...their soul? Let them out. Let them romp and feel and fail and soar -- let them do these things in their own voice. Make it real. Always make it real.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Bowl of Random, Juicy Goodness

In my bowl of goodness I have a few delicious things. Here, let me share. Better grab a napkin because these things are juicy.

1. My contract with the one, the only Sarah LaPolla is signed, sealed and delivered. Check it out:

When I opened the mailbox and saw that bright orange return address I nearly passed out. I happened to be in the car with husband-Todd when the mailbox was opened, and we both screamed. His scream was really manly though, in case you were wondering.

**(See that awesome pen? My sister Christina had it made for me, out of the blue, a week before I had my offer from Sarah. It says, "K.M. Walton Professional Writer." She's got magic powers that Christina.)

And here I am signing my contract. Note the smile -- that is pure happiness right there. The flowers and balloons were from a celebratory lunch the amazing Margie organized with two former teaching colleagues. Hi Jennifer and Monica!

2. I would like to send a colossal THANK YOU to every blogger who shared my news on their blogs. If you want to "meet" some interesting people then give them a visit:

aka Ron Smith


BIG PLAIN V aka Ray Veen

LISA AND LAURA WRITE aka Lisa and Laura, which is sort of the same thing, but I didn't want to break the trend I started. I digress.

(look in the Congratulations chunk)

Also, thanks to everyone who tweeted about it too. Those I caught were: WeronikaJanczuk, Casey_McCormick, FelizaD, YABooksRock and nnsakusha. Check them out on Twitter.

3. Just for the heck of it I entered Steph Bowe's contest by creating a book trailer for her upcoming release of GIRL MEETS BOY. Check it out HERE.

4. I signed up for WRITEONCON just this morning. Better late than never. The uber-informative Casey McCormick gives a full rundown of the what's and the when's over at Literary Rambles.

5. This made me laugh. Click HERE.

6. And my BETA buddy, Christina Lee, shared news of her own!

7. My super talented sister, Christina, the one who created my blogtopper up above, changed the words for me to reflect where I am right now in my journey towards publication. Thanks, Christina. Oh, and if you are ever in need of insanely spectacular, one of a kind invitations, then you need to visit HERE.

8. And finally, thank you to every single person who has congratulated me, shed a tear with me or felt inspired by my story. I have read and re-read the comments on my last three posts and feel honored and humbled by all of your kindness.

Friday, August 6, 2010


If you haven't read MY NEWS then do that first.

If you haven't read MY JOURNEY then do that second.

I'll be here when you get back. Promise.

Are we good? Good. Here goes...Support can be found in the form of bras and jockstraps; they're both good for supporting our junk. But what about supporting you, as in your dreams and goals? See, we humans like to know someone's got our back when the seas get rough and the water starts pouring in.

We humans like when someone tells us we're beautiful or handsome, intelligent or savvy, talented or brilliant, tenacious or determined. Maybe you're lucky enough to have someone tell you you're all of those things. Well maybe not beautiful and handsome. That would be weird.

When the damn voices in our head start to poke and gnaw and eventually scream in our ear we need to listen to the support. I know sometimes I would say in my head, "Uh-huh, right, thanks but it'll still never happen for me." You can insert any dream into the "it" slot. But I'm saying to listen and listen closely because the people in your life who support you were put there for a reason.

I have these people in my life who never let me quit, and believe me I wanted to. Take a gander but I advise no cigarettes around this photo. Too dangerous.

It's circa 1991. We had a very close relationship with the Aqua Net can back then. And we had a very close relationship to the woman on the right. Our mother. That's me on the other end and the other three lovely ladies are my sisters...otherwise known as my biggest fans and best friends.

I've blogged about my sisters -- complete with more photos to make you smile. When you have a minute, check it out. They are each extraordinary in their own way.

Meghan. Nikole. Christina.

One person I haven't blogged about is my mom, Mary Anne Becker-Sheedy. I keep telling her I'm waiting for the right moment to say the right thing. The moment is now. I've been told that I am determined. And tenacious. And focused. And hard working. I learned all of those things from my mother. I have watched her make things happen my whole entire life. I have watched her want something, work her ass off to get it and then get it. She's a decision maker and a doer and a brilliant business woman. The woman knows how to get things done, whatever those things may be.

Usually people like, the go-getters, are jerks. And they don't mind stepping on anyone or anything to get what they want. But the beauty and contradiction of my mother is her flip side...the side where she'd rescue anyone who needed rescuing and I do mean anyone. She showed my sisters and I by example how to be kind, thoughtful, generous, empathetic and helpful. She didn't simply tell us to be like that, she was, and is like that. She's stunning both inside and out. I mean, look at her...

And her greatest gift, in my opinion, is her ability to make me (and my sisters, husband, children, etc...) believe that dreams are possible...all you have to do is make them matter what. She is the living embodiment of support in her actions and in her words. Nothing is more important than her family and again, she proves that with her actions. Words can sometimes be hollow. She shows her support and always has. What a great thing to learn from her.

No one has gotten more excited to hear news I've shared over my lifetime than my mother. Her reaction is pure and true and full of love and encouragement. It's like chocolate for my ears, and I love chocolate.

Ultimately my point is this, listen to the Mary Anne Becker-Sheedy's in your life. Allow yourself to be encouraged and pushed. If you don't have a Mary Anne Becker-Sheedy in your life, let one in. Put your walls down or open up that closed door. And if your walls are down and your door is open and you still have no Mary Anne Becker-Sheedy then YOU must be what you need. Tell yourself those bits of encouragement, write yourself notes, journal, believe.

You can't get to the top without a foundation underneath you. Go get 'em tigers.

p.s. You can always print out the picture below and borrow my mom...she wouldn't mind. How cute is she here? It's from 1969.

p.s.s. Lest you think I have a clod of a husband, rest assured, he is a rockstar of a husband and my best friend - we really make the most wicked team and have for 23 years (we met when I was 19...but that's a whole other post). Love you, Todd. I just wanted to make this post about my fantastic mom...she deserves the spotlight here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Part B...Here I Come

I am overwhelmed by everyone's kind words - those are some mighty fine comments you left me! I've never had 42 comments on this blog since it started! And I got 20 new followers in two days (Hi new followers!).

Bewildered. And lost. I feel like a lost puppy now. See, nearly every day for two years I've sat in this chair and either researched agents, worked on one of my three previously active query letters, or sent queries. All Part "A" stuff. And I'm in Part "B" as of Monday, August 2nd at 5:07 p.m.

Let me back up a bit and share the very end of my Part A. Actually, I think I'll back up a bit more and take you through a time line of events leading up to the culmination of Part is my journey...

March 24, 2008: I completed my first novel and I swear my brain was altered during the writing. I know it sounds hokey but I'm dead serious. My brain (and body) experienced physical phenomena as I wrote. Very hard to put into words -- the closest I can come is that I had a new, heightened awareness.

April 7, 2008: I mailed my TWO page query letter to my very first agent. Notice the mere two week turnaround time. But mind you, the book was read by my family and got rave reviews.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

July 17, 2008: Very first agent calls me on the phone. We talk for 20 minutes. She says insanely positive things about this book. I almost pass out as we're talking. She tells me "her readers" gave the book "rave reviews" and she can't wait to read it herself. Give her three weeks, she said, and she would contact me then.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

October 17, 2008: After a few back and forth emails between agent and myself I ask her permission to query other agents since no decision had been made by her. A bold move on my part...a risky move...but a move I made nonetheless. Secretly I wanted her to say, "NO! Don't you dare query anyone else. I must have your book!" Agent kindly wrote back, apologized for "holding me up" and encouraged me to query other agents as she made her decision on me.

I died a little bit inside.

October 18, 2008: Emailed six new queries out with hope and belief. I was never so sure about anything. I mean, my book got a full request from a HUGE agent on it's first time out in the big bad world. It would be a quick turnaround from here. Another agent would snap this book up and I would be on my way. Luckily my soul didn't know of my journey to come...or it may have never sent those six queries out.

October 30, 2008: Had racked up 18 rejections. It was only the beginning. Que self-doubt.

June 30, 2008: Racked up 51 more rejections. That's 69 total if you're counting; I know I was. And there were 11 more that never even got a response. A whopping 80 queries sent. However, I had also racked up 4 requests. Even with my crappy query. I had yet to read Elana Johnson's book.

July 1, 2008: Started book II for my planned three book series and finished draft 1 on August 20, 2008. Got hideous reviews from family readers. Self-Doubt laughs at me and says, "See, I knew you could only write one good book!"

January 28, 2009: Attended my first SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC. Met the cool, Ron Smith and his lovely wife and got incredible table reviews of the first 500 words of Book I...and the idea for the book that landed me Sarah LaPolla as my agent took shape in my hotel room. I scribbled down four pages of ideas and notes and put it away for a while.

More querying. More rejections. More waiting.

February 10, 2009: Started writing my third novel. A conspiracy thriller with two eighth grade boy MC's. The words flew out of me like released birds. And then I couldn't pull it all together for an ending. I got it up to page 142 and abandoned it. Poor thing.

June 19, 2009: Quit my teaching job after twelve years in the classroom teaching middle school students Language Arts. I wanted more time to write so I took a coaching job where I worked far less days...coaching teachers on how to become highly effective in their teaching practice.

July 3, 2009: Started writing my fourth novel...EVERYTHING'S NOT LOST...the one I cooked up in NYC. Finished writing draft one on August 17, 2009.

September 8, 2009: Sent my first query for EVERYTHING'S NOT LOST. It was only one page and it was tight. Thank you Elana!!

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

September 30, 2009: Received a form rejection...from her assistant. I'm sure you've forgotten by now, but remember back in the spring of 2008? First book? First query? First request? Blah, blah, blah? Well, on Sep 30th I received a letter in the mail from that agency...and it was a form letter rejection. Icky times infinity. What a blow. I swear I cried a bucket. I nearly threw in the towel.

January 28, 2010: Sat in the audience at my second SCBWI Winter Conference and listened to Libba Bray share words of wisdom. One nugget stuck with me, "Ask yourself, 'Is it real?' And if it isn't real, go make it real." That forced me to do a re-write of three of my novels, revising out the hollow writing and realing them all up.

April 10, 2010: By this time I've pulled up the weeds of doubt and started my fifth novel. A contemporary YA with a sixteen year old girl MC. She ends up having the best/worst summer of her life. I finish the first draft by June 18, 2010

June 3, 2010: I quit. I swear. I did. Don't believe me? Click HERE. I was done with this whole damn thing.

June 10, 2010: I un-quit. I swear. I did. Don't believe me? Click HERE. The Universe had spoken. One of those full requests I refer to is Sarah LaPolla's. How cool is that?

Now we get to the good stuff. The stuff dreams are made of.

July 28, 2010: I get an email from Sarah in which she says...and I quote..." I fell in love with both characters and think you did a great job with their voices. I think the contrasts between Bull and Victor were really beautiful and well done. They were realistic and funny and heartbreaking all at once. Excellent writing! You also did a good job with the pacing of the story, building both the characters and their circumstances at an equal pace before finally bringing them together at the hospital." And she asked me to do an exclusive revision of my opening chapter and add a scene between one of the characters and his mother...before making an offer. I think I read that one line 784 times!!!

July 29, 2010: Stayed up till 1:15 a.m. doing revision and spent the morning re-reading for clarity. Sent Sarah the revised draft at 11:12 a.m. She said she would need the weekend to re-read and she would get back to me on Monday.

Cue LONGEST WEEKEND OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. Couldn't sleep. Brain wouldn't shut up.

August 2, 1010 - 9:34 a.m. - checked email for the first time.
August 2, 2010 - 2:41 - checked email for 397th time.
August 2, 2010 - 2: 54 - decided to check the Absolute Write message boards for what the troops were saying about Sarah. Saw that at 10:00 a.m. Sarah had offered representation to a YA romantic comedy writer (Hey Feliza!!) and I puked in my trash can. Sorry, but I did. I thought, there is no way I'm getting an offer. I sat at my desk and boo hoo'ed, called my husband and then went to get lost in a movie.
August 2, 2010 - 3:39 - Sarah's reply email comes in...but I don't know it because I'm lost in a movie.
August 2, 2010 - 4: 53 - Movie over. I slump into my desk chair and bammo, there it is. I stare at the email for 10 or 15 seconds before I click it open...certain it's going to be a, "While I liked your book...I just don't feel strongly enough about it to offer representation" email. I mean, rejections always came in email form. Agents only called to offer representation. And this was an email. I seriously had another wave of nausea wash over me. I clicked it open. IT WAS AN OFFICIAL OFFER.
August 2, 2010 - 4:54 - Went screaming through my house trying to find my kids. They barreled up the basement stairs and we stood hugging and crying. It was a real offer. From an agent who loved my book. And it was real.
August 2, 2010 - 4:55 - Called my husband and we freaked out together on the phone. Then I called my mother (my most incredible supporter -- I'll blog about supporting people soon).
August 2, 2010 - 5:01 - I forgot an important part. Four other agents had three of my books. One agent requested the full for my first book back on the same day Sarah requested ENL. In her offer email, Sarah expressed her concern about my books being out with four other agents - one of which I had emailed to alert her to Sarah's upcoming decision on Monday. The other agent asked me for a decision no later than close of day on Monday. And it was 5:01. I had to call Sarah to make sure this was all real and it was really happening.
August 2, 2010 - 5:02 - I fret and think, I don't want to start this relationship with my agent thinking I'm a PIA. My husband reassures me and says, "You have to call her, hon, that other agent wants an answer. Just do it."
August 2, 2010 - 5:07 - I dial her number. It rings and I press in her extension and she answers. And I proceeded to bumble through our conversation like a nut. She on the other hand was lovely and gracious and kind. Me = A-duh. So embarrassing.
August 2, 2010 - 5:17 - It is officially official. I have a literary agent. And not just any old agent mind you. Oh no. She's the real deal. One that is a match for me and my writing. One that I can't wait to start Part B with...

And that, my fine blog friends old and new, is my story.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Biggest News of My far

I am sitting here, staring at my laptop, and I'm coming up blank. I have dreamed about typing this blog post for over two years. Tears typically leak from my eyes as I read fellow writers' posts of this type. The tears are two fold: happiness and dread, all rolled up into one messy nugget. Happiness for the writer sharing news of this magnitude and then dread...dread that it wasn't me. That month after month it was never me.

Today, it is me.

I accepted an offer of representation from Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown Ltd. I, my dear, dedicated blog friends, have an agent. An agent who loves my book and my characters and is excited to work with me...and I am blown-away-excited to work with her.

Today, is my day.

Now, since I've had considerable amounts of time to analyze why today is my day. Why it has finally happened for me. I'd like to share...

It has been such a tumultuous journey so far - well, you know if you've followed my blog since the beginning. You know of my many requests and then subsequent and heartbreaking rejections.

You know I took Mr. Ray Veen's advice and wrote another book. And then another. And then another. And then another.

You know I've been to three SCBWI writers' conferences where I listened, networked and came home and wrote.

You know I had three brilliant fellow writers BETA my latest YA novel for me this summer. Thank you brilliant fellow know who you are.

You know I joined YALITCHAT, SHE WRITES and TEEN FIRE to post my work, join their contests and get my name out there.

You know I put my query on Evil Editor for public critiqueing as well as Absolute Write.

You know how much I LOVE Elana Johnson's book FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL. I'm serious...if you haven't read her book yet...why the heck not??

You know I entered three Secret Agent contests through the years over at Authoress's brilliant blog.

You know I religiously read Casey McCormick's blog for her Agent Spotlight and then query like a madwoman.

You know I've encouraged every writer to "Stop Looking at the Warts" -- give it a read. It just may inspire.

You know how much the book The Alchemist means to me -- give this post a read. It's rather inspiring.

You know I made book trailers for two of my novels in an effort to get my name out there and get some buzz.



You know I made a song parody for fun and to help encourage fellow writers to NEVER give up their dream.

I know my "real" journey is just beginning, but without the past two years of dedication and fight I don't think this would feel so sweet.

Lastly, to any writer reading this, who is doing everything in their power to land their agent...DO NOT GIVE UP. Never give up. Only you can make it happen. The power is in your hands to research and query and write and revise and query some more. Believe it will happen. Envision it happening. Make it happen.

Also, anyone reading this who thinks, "It will never be me...why can't it be me..." believe me, I've been there and feel your pain and desperation and self-doubt. I say again, never give up. Only you can make it happen.

Tell your inner voice to shove it. And get back to work. Get out there, get your work out there, build your own buzz, join groups, visit every site you can and make comments. You can do this.

I'll tell you what, this feels damn good. Go make it happen for you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Niceness of Blogging

Thank you to Medeia for my lovely blog award. If you haven't met Medeia then I encourage you to visit her blog and give her a read. niceities

In an effort to pass along this niceness I am obliged to share the award with 5 bloggers. (no worries or pressure to pass it along yourself - only if you want to :)

Here you go...nice blogging people:

Hayley at The Writer's Hollow (she's so genuine and kind)

Casey at Literary Rambles (her blog is filled with uber-helpful agent spotlights)

Susan at A Walk in My Shoes (even though she's on a blog hiatus, her blog is filled with uber-helpful writer'y stuff)

Christina at Write Brained (she's a fellow writer with a big heart)

Ray at Big Plain V (I do believe he needs a bit of uplifting at the moment)