Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Truth Shall Set you Free-Or Not

Missouri law enforcement and I do not get along.

Background: I'm one of those "letter of the law" type of drivers. The annoying ones that don't go even one mile over the speed limit, turn the lights on when the windshield wipers go on, use my blinker, etc. etc.

I find it highly ironic that I'm the one who always gets pulled over while people going 15 mph faster than me are ignored.

Incident 1: Right outside of Springfield on I-44, a cop pulled me over for not getting out of his way. He said I was going too slow and needed to either speed up or move to the side of the road when he got up on my bumper. Setting: I was going 60 mph in a 60. It was night. I could only see the headlights of the vehicle behind me, which got up on my bumper. Solution: TURN ON YOUR COP LIGHTS!

At least he let me go without a ticket. Not so lucky with #2.

Incident 2: Right outside of Ft. Leonard Wood on I-44, a cop pulled me. Offense: Running a yellow light. Yes, you read that correctly. The cop, who was sitting at the light ACROSS from me in the intersection, thought I ran a red light. To his credit, by all means, he should've been right. His light turned green and my vehicle was making a left turn in the intersection. He assumed that I must've run a red light. The problem: I didn't. My light was yellow. The bigger problem: I could not prove this, as I had no camera in my car to tape the incident. Solution: CHECK THE TIMERS ON THE SIGNAL LIGHTS BECAUSE SOMETHING'S OUT OF SYNC! That's not what he did, of course. I always thought that if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. Just TELL THE TRUTH. I'm very sorry to report, that is not the case.

So, one ticket later, I'm now the kind of driver that STOPS at an intersection as soon as the light turns yellow. Sorry, folks. That ticket cost me big bucks.

Tell me I'm not the only one this happens to. Have you ever been wrongly ticketed?

The blog tour is still going strong! Check out this awesome post by the Southern Princess! And Tuesday's post is none other than Tristi Pinkston, who is also holding her own very awesome blog contest!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crockpot Cranberries

It's Thanksgiving! Well, almost. I'm in the middle of preparations, and I'll bet you are too. So let's keep this sweet and simple. Bitter-sweet, to be exact.

(This isn't my picture. But that's what they look like.)

With so many recipes, I'm always looking for ways to cut corners and avoid dirtying more pots and pans/turning on my oven. So this year, I've employed my crockpot. The first thing I made was these cranberries, and they are awesome! Here's the super-easy recipe:

12 oz. cranberries (if you use frozen, add 30 min. to cook time)
1 C sugar
1/2 C water
zest of 1 lime

Cook cranberries, sugar, and water in crockpot on high for 2 1/2 hours. Add lime zest and refrigerate up to 3 weeks!

Told you it was easy! This only makes 2 C. If you've got a crowd, you might want more. It's really yummy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's the last blog tour this week: Tara McClendon!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Down on One Knee

I'm begging you.


Reviews are overrated. I think we can all agree with that.

But on some places (:::cough:::Amazon.com), the reviews really mean something. That's great--if people are reviewing you. Problem is, people aren't.

So here's my plea. If you've read my book--please post a review. Only one person has. (And, um, it doesn't look like they were too impressed with my book.)

Oh, and apparently my book appreciates with time. The used copy is for sale for $19.95, while the new copy is only $14.95. So get it while you can! You'll be able to resale it for more!

I'm getting off my knee now.

The blog tour and the contest are not over yet! Click here for Monday's post! And for Tuesday, click here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter PREP

In preparation for the upcoming release of Harry Potter, we are re-watching all the movies in an awesome Harry Potter marathon.

Things I've noticed:
#1: The points system feels very plot-centric
#2: Harry looks like a very normal adolescent: slightly chunky and awkward
#3: the Dementors have really creepy hands

Anyway! We're getting excited!

And today for my blog tour, the very cool Sara McClung. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now on YouTube

We did it! We fixed up the sound issues with my trailer and

I'm happy to present to you

the new trailer!

What do you think? Even better?

And Wednesday's blog stop is Danyelle Ferguson! For Thursday, the one and only Elana Johnson!

Monday, November 15, 2010

To Be Perfectly Honest

Thanks, everyone, for participating in my book launch!!! It was a blast! If I haven't been by to visit your blog yet, I will soon!

Now, on to another subject. I've had two people on my blog tour line up contact me and tell me that their reviews are less-than-stellar. Both asked me if I preferred to remove them from my tour.

Of course I told them I still want them on my tour!

We can all agree that for the most part, honesty is the best policy. Right? Blog tours are no exception. Here's the way I see it:

1) Like it or not, we all know that not everyone is going to like my book. Of the 40 people I have on my blog tour, if 35 of them like it, I'm thrilled. If all 40 liked it, I would probably think that someone was afraid to tell me what they really thought.

2) My book is NOT PERFECT. I'll be the first to admit this. I see the flaws. Others are going to see the flaws. Some people it's going to bug more than other people. I hope the majority of readers will turn a blind eye, but I am certainly not surprised when there are negative responses.

3) Negative reviews create controversy, and controversy creates interest. At least, I hope so.

Give it to me straight! When I get my first 1-star review, we'll have a consolation party!

And for Monday, we have the wonderful Niki up on the blog tour! Tuesday is Lynn Parson! Be sure and check them out! Contest details on the tab at the top of the blog!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's a BlogParty in the USA!

It's time to celebrate my book!!! Perilous is scheduled to release later this month, in nine days...give or take a few. (Yeah, that's Miley over there. So? I'm a fan.)

And the point to this party is to get to know me and to meet other people! Here's how it works:

* Follow my blog and I'll follow yours (b/c I'm nice that way)

* Comment on this post telling what snack you've brought to the party, and something about yourself. Food that's already here: mint brownies, pumpkin bread, and pineapple punch.

* Find at least three new party-goers to visit, comment on their blogs and follow if you like

* Click on the twitter and/or facebook icons at the bottom of this post to invite more people to the party. That means more followers for everyone! (Did you even know those icons were down there? Really? I just figured it out.)

This party goes on for one week! That's how long this post will be up! Um, no. No pole dancing, please. Yes, you, in the pink shirt. Get down. Thanks.

Anyway! Just for fun, each day I'm going to post some random trivia about Perilous. Just so we remember what we're celebrating.

Day 1 trivia: Jaci Rivera (the MC)'s Tio (uncle) Oscar taught her how to change a car tire before she could legally drive.

Day 2 trivia: Originally all four girls survived until the end of the novel.

Day 3 trivia: The villain's name was changed from "The Trump" to "The Hand." Apparently The Trump was too much like the name of a certain celebrity.

Day 4 trivia: When I first wrote Perilous, Jaci's name was Joyce Little. She was still Latina, though, so when I rewrote it, I changed her name to Jacinta Rivera to better reflect her ethnic background.

Day 5 trivia: The first title to Perilous was Walk Beside Me.

Don't forget the blog tour! Monday is at the awesome Jen Daiker's blog! Catch it here! Tuesday we have Carolina here! Wednesday is the fantastic Elizabeth Mueller!

Still with me? Thursday is here at Christine Danek's blog! And Friday we're at Elle Strauss's!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deleting Scenes

I've had a lot of experience now deleting scenes. It started when I needed to chop 20K from Perilous. That ended up being about 60 pages! At first, it was really hard for me. I cut out some of the scenes that I thought were necessary, some of the extra POVs, and some scenes that didn't flow quite right.

And then I wondered why that was so hard. I'd always thought those scenes didn't flow quite right. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to hit that delete button. Well, let me tell you, after that I became quite delete happy. I cut and cut and cut. And the result was fantastic! The story is tighter, more action-packed, extremely relevant.

So how do I know what to cut? Here's what I've looked for.

Is it realistic?

This was a big problem for me in Perilous, mostly because I wrote this book when I was 12. To my teenage mind, some of the things the girls did were perfectly logical. And who knows, maybe they were, because the girls at the time were also aged 12 to 14. But as an adult, I couldn't relate to kids who would act so irresponsibly. I changed the ages to 15 and matured their actions. All of the sudden, a lot of the scenes I'd included as a child no longer fit. They simply weren't realistic.

Does the story really need it?

Sometimes I'd write a scene, maybe even an entire chapter, with some exciting event, something to keep the suspense up in the story. The odd thing was, it really wasn't relevant to the plot. If I cut out the entire adventure, the entire chapter, it had absolutely no impact to the rest of my story.

Granted, many scenes we write can be cut out and the story can continue. But some of the scenes we write really do add to the quality of the story. Others drain it. If you're not sure...ask a reader. They'll tell you!

Do I need this character's POV?

As I've stated before, one of my biggest problems was trying to tell the story from everyone's POV. These were some of the hardest scenes to cut, because I wanted to tell the story from that POV. Sometimes I could bring out the relevant information by using another character who was present, showing the incident from that POV. Other times, though, there was no alternative POV to use. These scenes were hard to delete. But it needed to be done for the consistency of the story. I miss those POVs. But the overall quality of the story is better. It felt like a plot gimmick to throw in a different POV for only one scene in the entire book.

Do I enjoy reading it?

You would think this would be obvious, but to me it wasn't. Sometimes I'd write a scene and it wouldn't sit well with me. Everytime I'd read it I'd get that uneasy feeling in my stomach. But I'd think to myself, "It's just me because I wrote it. Nobody else will think this." Ha! Well, guess what! They notice it even more than you! When I realized my critiquers were pointing out the very scenes that I felt uncertain about, I realized I didn't always need to ask. If I didn't like it, the reader wouldn't either. This has been so helpful to me and allowed me to cut without even feeling guilty!

Now, there were scenes that got cut from Perilous that I wish hadn't. We cut an additional 10k to streamline the novel a bit more. And many of those scenes added dimension to characters, showed a little bit more of how they reacted to each other. But they didn't necessarily increase the tension and action. So...bye-bye.

The thing that helps me the most as I'm cutting is to save my deleted scenes. I like to think of it as in the movies: some scenes have to be cut. When you watch the deleted scenes on a movie, you can often tell why it was cut. Yet it's still fun to watch. Someday, I promise you'll be able to read these scenes. Then again, I might recycle them into other books!

For today's blog tour: An interview at Annette Lyon's blog, and a book review at Jaime Theler's! And don't forget to check out the contest details at the top of the page!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Traveling Adventures

Vacation is always so much fun.

Sometimes it's more than we bargain for.

Here's what we've been doing:

1) We discovered that my car has an anti-theft device. If the wheel is turned a certain way, the car won't start. It's a very effective device. It took me and my dad 10 minutes to figure out how to start the car. We were just starting to panic.

2) The bad reviews online for our cheap motel weren't exaggerating. I let my dad kill the roaches.

3) My 4yo son was either too excited for Disney World or infected with a 30-min bug, because we had just put him and my 2yo to bed when he threw up on everything. The wonderful hotel staff gave us new sheets, but didn't clear out the dirty ones. Yeah. Our room reeked.

4) 4yo tend to break things when they try to use them. Like our portable DVD player.

Isn't vacationing fun?

And don't forget about the blog tour! Contest details on the tab at top. Wednesday stop: here. Thursday stop: here. See you there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Launch Party!

On November 16, my book releases.

I love parties. So I'm throwing a launch party, and I want you to be there!

This is a chance for everyone to mix and mingle! We'll meet new people and new bloggers and it'll be awesome!

Here's how it works, in case you've never participated in one of these: You make a comment, say what snack you're bringing to the party, what you blog about, and invite people to come visit you. Then you go visit at least 3 new blogs, leave a comment and follow if you like it. The more you comment & follow, the more commenters and followers you'll get. It's a great opportunity to expand for new bloggers.

The Launch Party will begin in one week, on Monday, Nov. 8 and continue through Monday, Nov. 15. My book (if everything follows schedule) launches the next day! What better way to prepare???

And my blog tour is still going on! check out Monday's here, and Tuesday's here!
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