Updates

Status: Releasing Entranced on February 17!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why I'm not Upset about Not Finishing Nano

I started out strong. I gave it a good go. And I've gotten 42,000 words written.



It's not over yet. I'll get some more writing in today and see if I can't top that off around 44,000 words.

But I won't get 50,000 written. Even more, over the weekend I realized I wasn't too concerned with it. I couldn't figure out why until I discovered that with this book, I've finished the important stuff.

This book is my non-fiction project about Joplin. So it doesn't need to be finished, and yet now it is 90% completed. So I feel ready to enter the next phase: writing up proposals and polishing my first chapter and querying. This is what I needed to accomplish, and I feel good about that.

Now I can also start my other projects. Like the revisions my editor requested for Altercation, or sending out Christmas cards. They still have to go out, you know.

And there's always next year for Nano. Always more books to write.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Plump it Up

'Tis the season for getting fat, and resistance is futile.

After Thanksgiving and the day of stuffing myself crazy, I told myself that I'd be really good and not eat junk on Friday. But then I woke up to pies and potatoes and gravy and cheese. So then I told myself that I needed to eat it and get it out of the house.


I guess the same applies to the candy bowls full of Hershey kisses and mint M&Ms.

The only solution, then, is to get to the gym more.

Which is a joke, because actually I'm so swamped right now that I've been thinking about going less. Just until January, anyway.

Which means I'm just going to get fat. And then I'll make a New Year's Resolution to lose the weight. Just like the rest of America.

Happy Feasting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Exiled

Today I get to participate in my friend RaShelle Workman's blog tour for her book Exiled!


I have not read the book, but RaShelle's in my critique group, and she's an awesome writer.  And if this cover doesn't make you drool, I don't know what will:

Want a peak? Check out this 2 1/2 minute trailer!



I don't really even need to explain what the book's about now, because you watched the trailer. :) But, okay, yeah. Here's a brief description:

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.
Now she wants revenge. 
First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate.
Only she doesn't know the first thing about love. 
Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.
Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.
Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.
But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.

You can get the book here, or pretty much anywhere you want.

Go check it out! I'll be buying it for myself!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crushed

The awesome awesome agent that I thought would be mine rejected me.

It's one thing to be rejected from a query. Yet another from a partial. But from a full?

In my head, I know writing is a subjective business and what one person likes another won't. But in my heart, I feel like they should've loved this book. I really wanted that agent. He also reps non-fiction, and it would be so nice to not have to get two different agents for each different project.

There is a problem with developing confidence. When you get rejected, it blows.

But we continue, right? Because until everyone's rejected us, there's still hope...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting More Commenters (and Killing CAPTHA)

A few months ago I lamented the fact that I had many followers, but few commenters. Quite appropriately, several days later I read a blog that gave a list of several things to do to increase your commenters. I decided to give it a whirl. And it worked! I wish I had the link to the blog, but I don't. So, let me just summarize what I learned from it.

1) Comment on other's blogs. Especially if they are already commenting on yours! When people comment on my blog, I feel validated, noticed, appreciated, cared about, and all the silly things that I thought only mattered to me in high school. Well, it's not just me. Everyone feels that way. So take the time to say hello to other people. Sometimes all we have time to do is read and walk away. But if you can say something, it will invite people to wander over to your blog and say something back.

2) Ask a question. Give your readers something to think about and respond to. It will help make them feel like they aren't just listening to you, but you are listening to them.

Along those lines...

3) Comment in your comments! Your commenters are talking to you. They don't really care if other bloggers read their comments, but they want to know you did. So say something back! Responding back in the comments will help it not be a one-sided conversation.

And finally, the biggest thing for me:

4) Make it easy to leave comments. Recognize this?

This little splattering of letters annoys the heck out of me. Are we really afraid of spammers, or do we just not know how to turn it off? I can't tell you how many times I've posted a comment on someone's blog and hit 'post,' then closed the screen--just in time to see a little box pop up wanting me to enter in those lovely letters. Oops. Too late. I closed it. Do you think I take the time to go back to that blog and retype my comment? I never have. I just groan, feel frustrated that my important thoughts won't be read, and move on.


So, in case you didn't know about those little letters, here's how to turn it off: Click "Customize" up at the top of your blog. Click "Setting". Click "comments". Where it says "Show word verification for comments", select 'no.' You might not even know you have it on, because it doesn't show up to the blog owner. (And readers, if mine ever defaults back somehow, please please tell me!) Don't forget to save your settings!


Well, now you're all set! Let the commenting begin!

Did I forget anything important? Maybe some of you read the blog I did. Anything else?


Nano count: missed about five days. playing catch-up. 29,801

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Cat Came Back

A few months ago we adopted a cat from the animal shelter.

While the kids and I loved this cat, who is very sweet, fat, and well-mannered, he and my husband didn't get along. So after several months, I tearfully and guiltily took the cat back. I felt like such a bad mom.

But my husband was happier, and that's all that really mattered.

Saturday morning at 5 a.m., the cat came back.

Either he escaped the animal shelter, or someone adopted him and he found his way back to our house.

Now I feel even worse because this cat thinks we are his family. He thinks this is his house. Today I get to do the fun task of taking the cat back--again.

Sigh.

Nano: Getting behind. Need a writing day. word count: 26,666.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jerk

I have found my favorite word.

I didn't realize how often I use this word in my writing until my friend pointed it while she read my WIP Shadows Keep. I was, at the time, doing final edits on Altercation.


Once she pointed out how often I used "jerk," I paid more attention. And I was shocked at the sight of that four-letter word popping up all over my MS.

Sometimes it grew. I saw people who "jerked" their heads. I saw people "jerking" their bodies. "Jerking" other people.

I even saw people who were just plain "jerks."

There was even one time where it morphed into "jerky." I might even have seen a "jerkily."

After I did a "find and replace", removing most jerks, the word no longer made any sense to me. And I'm still trying to think up a better synonym than "yank."

What's your most abused word??? Is it easy to replace?

Don't forget to tell people about my Christmas sale if you want to win a free book! It's that easy! Details here.

Nano stats: 22,856

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jesus Took the Wheel

Not of our car, but of the car that almost hit us.

We were not where we were supposed to be. It would've been our fault. We were on our way home from Branson, Missouri, and due to more fun from Google Maps, we kept having to change our route.

It was late at night on a curvy country road. Fearing that once again we'd taken a wrong turn, my husband pulled a quick U-turn. Only as we got to the top of the U, we discovered a ditch on the other side of the road that prevented us from finishing out turn. My husband put the car into reverse, but before we could back up far enough, a large truck appeared at the top of the ridge, coming our direction.

At first we were not concerned. I said, "There's a car coming." But he didn't slow down.

In that moment, I knew he was going to slam right into my door. I knew the impact would throw our car into a free spin. "He's going to hit us!" I cried. Somehow, he hadn't seen us, taking up the entire road.

And then he did. At the last moment he swerved, barreling his truck through the ditch in front of us. He emerged unscathed on the other side, and I sat there gasping, unable to believe he hadn't hit us.

Honestly, when I thought he was going to hit us, I thought about the annoyance of dealing with insurance claims, fixing up the car. It wasn't until he was gone that it fully dawned on me what a collision would mean, especially if his grill rammed into my passenger side at 60 mph.

I cannot shake the feeling that we are blessed to be home. We are blessed to be alive. Someone was watching over us. I am so happy that the lives of my sweet little family were spared.

While you're here, enter my Christmas contest for a chance to win Talli's book. Get the details here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Going Purple

My 3-year-old calls me Purple Mama.

That could be because I love the color purple.

Or it could be because I dressed up all in purple for Halloween, including a purple mask.

Or maybe it's because I dyed my hair purple yesterday.

Oh, yes, the hair's fun. It's kind of a black purple. Note to self: make sure you'll be able to get into the shower after the expected amount of time and not 30 minutes later.

I totally look like a purple-haired Goth girl.


Don't forget, for a chance to win a free book, tell people about my Christmas sale! Information here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Hang up on an Agent

You won't have many opportunities to practice this, so try and get it right the first time.

1) Look at the number. Identify the "New York, New York" area code and assume it's a telemarketer. Ignore the call.

2) Get curious. What telemarketer is in New York? Return the call.

3) Wait. You're expecting an automated recording, after all.

4) Hang up. A real voice answers, and you don't recognize the name. Definitely hang up.

5) Oh, a message! Listen. Verify that you just hung up on a real live New York agent.

6) Freak out. Then send an email apology and hope they still want your manuscript.

Don't forget to tell people about my Christmas sale. Every time you do, you get entered in my Christmas contest!  Check it out here!

Nano stats: 13,794

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Second Draft: Expanding

I always enjoy my second drafts. I'm nano-ing right now, which means first drafting. And I can't wait to revise. While my beginnings are usually rough, by the time I hit page 70, it's flowing. Okay, yes, that means I have a lot of work ahead of me.

But what it really means is that I have a skeleton beginning. That is how I write. My first draft is the bare bones, a slight expansion of the outline. For me, the first draft is the hardest part. Once I have that structure up, I can breathe a sigh of relief. The easy part is the insulation, the brick-laying, the roofing. I can expand. (Don't ask me about accessorizing. Again, not a strong point of mine.)

The second draft can have many purposes. For some people, it's strictly clean up. For some people, they are actually cutting. For me, it's adding. I can safely expect my manuscript to grow between 10-20k in the second and third drafts. I have the tendency to be sparse. To think my reader already understood that, or that I explained something enough. It's only when I read back over it that I go, "Huh? What happened there? We're missing something."

Ah, but I love those moments. When I realize I need a new paragraph. A new page. A new scene.

I just sent over (maybe) the final edits to Altercation, my sequel to Perilous. It is very different from the first book. The first novel took place over a course of six weeks. While it still had moments of being fast-paced, there was also a lot of general day descriptions.

Not this one. This whole novel happens in about two weeks. Which means each moment, each day, each hour must be described. There is something HAPPENING at all times. And since I have two major POVs (and one minor one), I can't spend too much time away from either one.

When I introduced the second POV, I didn't realize it was going to become major. But it has. I now find myself needing to introduce this character more, and in the beginning. I'm not sure how yet. More scenes.

I love it. It's refreshing to watch the novel grow.

Don't forget to enter my Christmas contest and get a chance to win Talli's new book!

Nano wordcount: 10,484

Friday, November 4, 2011

Perilous Christmas Sale

I love how the title of my book makes everything seem dangerous.

But, it's true! I've put Perilous on sale, just for Christmas, for $10.95. That INCLUDES shipping and handling!

You can only get this price through my website, http://tamarahartheiner.com. This is the best deal, and I'm really excited to offer it to you. So if you loved Perilous, now's your chance to buy it for your mom, your sister, your aunt, your daughter. And if you haven't bought if but have been wanting to, you won't get a better price than this!

There's no limit, but I might run out of inventory. So don't put it off. Order yours today!

Spread the word! Share this link via facebook, twitter, or your blog. Every share earns you an entry to win an ebook of Talli Roland's new book, Watching Willow Watts. I'll draw on January 2. Make sure you come back and comment ON THIS POST (even if you don't tweet about it until December or whatever) so I know what you did!

Nano status: Hard at work and loving it. word count: 5141.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making Halloween Ours

I remember Halloween quite fondly as a child. My mom had two or three boxes of Halloween decorations, and what fun it was to put them out. We had a book of short scary stories, and read one each night of the month of October. Then, of course, Halloween: Digging through the box of costumes, getting them on, running from door to door with out flashlights and mom and dad trailing behind us.

What fun!

Now that I'm a mom with my own young children, we're trying to establish traditions. My oldest, at 5, is fully aware of Halloween. This is the first year that's occurred. My youngest, at 1, won't really know what's going on, but she'll see the candy big brothers are getting, and she'll follow right along.

I don't have a house nicely decorated in Halloween themes. I would like to. So what I've started doing every year is wait until the holiday is over. Then I sneak out and buy decorations at 75% off. What a delight it was to open the Halloween box this year and find new decorations!

We didn't read a scary story a night this year. But for three years, I've taken the kids to a pumpkin patch, and we have carved pumpkins on the Monday before Halloween. This year, we also roasted the seeds, though they didn't turn out that great. Oh well. I have several years to perfect them.

On Monday evening we took the kids Trick-or-Treating. It's slim pickings these days, as it seems most people have forgotten that it's funner to knock on a door than walk around the mall or tap a car trunk. Either that, or they don't realize if the porch light is off, we think it means they don't want trick-or-treaters. But we were out there. Helping the kids get a loot. Then we came home, looked through the candy, and forgot to watch 'scary' movies because we were so tired.

Ah, Halloween! It's so much fun!
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