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Friday, September 30, 2011

Scene Charting and Revision

When you revise your story and fall in love all over again, it makes you realize that you're on the right track.

My agent (Vickie Motter) and Crit partner (Ansha Kotyk) have both encouraged me to get my butt in gear on a plot map. To get a handle on my timeline, to make sure my characters are consistent. I've been dragging my feet. But yesterday, I went through my manuscript and charted (in an excel spreadsheet) each scene in each chapter. I included the chapter name, pages, characters appearing, and what happens in the scene.

I may not be the best student of Darcy Pattison's model, but her book on craft is easy to read, and easy to follow. You can follow along as much as you want--I chose to take her advice for putting together a scene chart, it seemed a bit less overwhelming than a plot map.

What methods of scene charting do you do?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Golf Tip Tuesday: Manners

It is both polite and shows good sportsmanship to compliment an opponent if the hit is exceptional. 

Golf is supposed to be the "gentlemen's sport" -- which means that manners matter. Of course, show up on any golf course at any time, and you can probably find your share of cursing and bad manners. At least quietly.

But one of my favorite parts of golf are that people tell you when you've done something well. And you always know the serious players by their good manners.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting


This is a duplicate from a post I did on AfterGlow Book Reviews -- just trying to get some mileage out of my blog posts... :)

From Author Kimberly Derting's website:

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.


***
I've been glowing about this book for a week. And recommending it all over twitter. My agent recommended that I read it specifically for the romance arc--so of course I had to! And while the book is probably characterized as supernatural or paranormal or something like that, the romance was so real. So believable. I found myself completely and utterly sucked into Violet's world.


Be warned, parts of it are a little grizzly. But if you can stomach the horror, you won't regret it for the absolute sweet love story.


Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big Books and Good Friends

Sometimes kicking back with a good friend and a book is the best thing to clear your mind.

It's no secret that I've got a lot going on--scouts, work, family, and oh yeah, revising my novel--not to mention writing something new. But this weekend, on a mini-vacation with my family, we ran into my good friend Ansha Kotyk, on vacation with her own family. We didn't plan it, but we spent the day together. And. Had. A. Blast.

How could we not take this picture with a giant story book?!?!

Some day soon I'll get back to insightful and relevant blog posts, but until then, enjoy!

And by the way, if you live in So. New Hampshire or Eastern Massachusetts (or elsewhere, but you like to drive!), join both Ansha and me at Aprile's European Restaurant on September 27 at 7:30 in North Chelmsford, MA. It's our bi-monthly NESCBWI Meet Up!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anna Staniszewski's MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE

Anna Staniszewski's MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE Blog tour has begun! Check out the first two reviews!

Heather Kelly's review of MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE
Check out Heather's contest while you're over there!

Tess Hilmo's review of MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE

I also had a chance to read this ARC--my review will be up in a few weeks. Stay tuned! And make sure you pick up this great Middle Grade for your favorite preteen this fall!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Golf Tip Tuesday: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Okay, so it sounds so basic, right? Just keep your eye on the ball.

But it's not that easy.

You want to look where it's going to go so you pick up your head before you actually hit the ball.

The problem is, when you do that, you're likely to lift your arms and shoulders. And if you lift your arms and shoulders, even just a little, you might ::gasp:: whiff. Whiffing in front of witnesses is about the worst thing you can do in golf. Even hitting the ball out of bounds is better--because in that situation, you actually hit the ball.

So, the tip today, is keep your eye on the ball.

picture credit: http://www.blackstonedaily.com/bosma/golf.htm

Sunday, September 11, 2011

World Trade Center Memories

Of course I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I spent the day comforting new and returning students at Brandeis University, where I worked at the time.

But I wanted to remember my one and only visit to the World Trade Center.

In January 1987, I had just turned 18. Colleen and I wanted to visit the city. I don't think either of us had ever been. My dad drove us down during Winter break. It was our freshman year in college.

 I had to sit down to take this picture. I think Colleen had to support my back.
 View from the top.
I remember that day so clearly. We had the best time. Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Seeing the Statue of Liberty. My stomach flip-flopping as we rode the elevator all the way up to the visitor's center in the World Trade Center.

And it still absolutely floors me that it's no longer there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life in the Fast Lane

Well, actually, not really. I just like to say it. And it's a great old Eagles song.

Anyway, I think everyone's been taking a blog break lately--what with school starting, and random hurricanes, and summer being over.

I know I have not had the time to be a good blog commenter lately -- even though I've been trying to post to my own blog at least twice a week, my content has been less than riveting.

As you might have noticed, I just started a Tuesday blog series called Golf Tip Tuesday--I'll be posting random golf tips, duh. I also think I'll do a contest soon. I've got some extra books kicking around here to give away--still thinking about what to do and exactly when.

I've also been trying to participate in some of the weekly Twitter chats (#mglitchat on Thursdays at 9, for one).

As far as my writing goes--and I have been writing--this summer I logged almost 20K words on a WIP. I'm pondering some new revisions for the novel, and I finished two more work-for-hire projects for Capstone (look for them in January--on Ancient Egypt.)

Remember to Proofread
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Golf Tip Tuesday: What To Wear

One of the things Kate, my main character, struggles with is what to wear when she's playing golf. She wants to look good (you know, good) for her crush. Unfortunately there's a lot of twisting and bending in golf. And she forgets to do the bend-over test before a big tournament. Yeah. Not good.

Dress code is important in golf. I remember being in a KFC with my husband a few years ago and the local golf team walked in.

You know how I knew?

Teenage boys wearing khakis and collared shirts. Dead giveaway. Preppy.


So what's a girl to do? Back when I was playing junior golf, they didn't have cute outfits for girls who played. You had to sort of make do--skorts and your mother's collared shirt. But today's girls have so many more choices. There are even websites devoted to clothing for girl's golf.

Here's a whole pinterest board devoted to golf wear for girls. 

I'm not sure who these girls are, but they look good. And they are right in line with the dress code. But I do wonder if they've done the bend-over test. Kate would approve.

Friday, September 2, 2011

THE POPULARITY PAPERS by Amy Ignatow


Okay, so technically, the blog series I hosted with Jon is over. But I read Amy Ignatow's Popularity Papers based on a recommendation by Kate Messner. And guess what? I found gay parents in a middle grade book. Not an issues book. But a regular old graphic-type novel. Just there. Adding to the fabric of the story. Adding to one of the character's, well, character.

From Goodreads:

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.
Amy Ignatow’s hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.


***

You might notice, gay parents aren't even mentioned in the blurb. Huh. Isn't that awesome? It's a great book--my eight-year-old is reading it as I type this. True, real life characters, awesome art and graphically cool, and a very fast read. There are also two sequels which I haven't yet read.


You can read more about Amy Ignatow at www.amyignatow.com.