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Win my ARC Copy of Personal Demons by:Lisa Desrochers

My new giveaway began yesterday. This week I am reluctantly parting with my ARC copy of Lisa Desrochers Personal Demons. This is a YA novel, which I love. I won it from Fiction Groupie and opened it immediately out of curiosity. It was my first win online. I was pretty bouncy. I totally love YA, but I’d never heard of this one (duh – ARC, Julie, think). Anyhow, I read it the same day it got here. I LOVED it, and I immediately went online to see when part two was coming. Hooray for me it won’t be terribly long. Bonus, there’s a trailer on Lisa’s site. *Sigh*

So, if you are a YA fan, or just love Lisa Desrochers, you can enter to win my ARC copy. The book is on shelves now, but mine is free AND how cool is it to have an ARC? Just follow me with Networked Blogs and/or with Google Friend Connect over at the right –> and you’re entered, FaceBook counts too. I’ll choose a name at random on Sunday night at midnight and contact the winner Monday. There are more details on my Contests/Giveaway Tab up top or HERE, and I have a book review on this under the Book Review tab or click HERE.

Also, I will put your name in my post next week with a link to your site, which is a bonus if you blog. Alright, that’s all. I’m looking forward to meeting you soon and hopefully I will be sending you a book next week!

Good luck!

My All Evanovich Weekend

I Love Stephanie Plum

Well, I normally call this “Book Review Monday,” but that doesn’t seem to quite fit the post for today. For one thing, I read three books this weekend, not one. For another thing, they were all by Janet Evanovich, and for one more, I LOVED THEM ALL. So, this post is more like “How Cool Is Janet Evanovich,” or “I Want Stephanie Plum For My Bestie.” I decided to just go with “My All Evanovich Weekend.”

This weekend I read “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen,” “Plum Spooky,” and “Sizzling Sixteen.” Now, my eyes are wagging for the next installment, and can I please have it downloaded directly into my brain. I don’t want to sit around pre-ordering and waiting. Bleh.

A quick summary of her series is this: The main character, Stephanie Plum is a Jersey girl. She lives in an apartment building full of old people, and her roommate is her hamster, Rex. Stephanie is out of work in book one, and she gets a job with her weasel of a relative. He runs a bail bonds office. Stephanie decides to try her hand at apprehending the ones who skip bail and hilarity ensues.

The entire cast is super human (not literally). I mean, her on again off again boyfriend, Joe Morelli, is a cop and he is hawt, loves her, and they just can’t seem to get along. Then, her co worker turned personal guardian and man of mystery friend, Ranger is get-me-a-drool-bib-awesome. Her tag along buddy is Lula, a former, ehem, escort of sorts, is a food addict, bad dresser and I have no words for her antics, plus personality is combustible. Lula and Stephanie’s grandma carry guns and use them, alot. The whole thing is just realistic enough to be believable, but if it were true, Trenton would be a more dangerous place to walk around.

Every single book is a new adventure of astronomical proportions. I actually have to stop reading and wipe tears so I can see to keep going. If you haven’t picked up a Stephanie Plum novel, please do. The first in the series is called One For the Money and it gets you started, but if you want to just jump and read my favorite, it’s Finger Licking Fifteen. Don’t read this one in transit or in a lobby because people will stare when you roll onto the floor holding your sides and gasping “Stop it!”


Win Free Edit from CA Marshall!

Have you met Cassandra A. Marshall? I introduced her to those who don’t and also come by Musings last week. If you have, then you’re obviously jumping around a little right now. If you missed my earlier post on CA, let me tell you, you need to check her out. She is serving hot fudge and awesome on chocolate cheesecake, with coffee.  Well, a writer’s version of that. Her contest winner gets a full manuscript edit from her. Did you die? I totally do every time I think about it!

Who is this woman??

C.A Marshall (that’s Cassandra) is a freelance editor, a YA writer, a literary agent intern, a tea drinker and seriously addicted to her dog. These are her words. They are perfect. You can read more about her on her blog: CA MArshall Freelance Editor. (Once again, I can thank Twitter for this fabulous find).

Details: CA Marshall is now offering a free edit of your manuscript up to 100K words (totally NOT 100K pages as I mis-tweeted to my great entertainment last week), if you win her contest.  An editor and agent intern is offering to peruse your masterpiece – for free.Yessah.

So, now, to enter her contest, you just follow her, friend her, stalk her like only an aspiring writer can. It’s your time to shine LOL! Pop over to her blog and sign up. Then find her on Twitter and follow @CA_Marshall.

Good luck!

Ch-ch-ch Changes

Alright, so everyone knows that I’ve been making major revisions to a manuscript for resubmission. The requested revisions were very specific. Originally, I thought: cake. I know this story inside out. I lived with this cast of characters in my head every day for months last year, and I’ve cleaned it up from time to time every since. Changes = easy.

I was wrong about the cake.

So, the Word Whisperer and I did a nice overhaul to this one two months back and cleaned up every dot and tittle. No ‘t’ left uncrossed. The thing about WW is that she and I, different as we may appear, we’re on the same wave length. Appearances are deceiving and now, please see me doing my cheesy “I’m watching you” routine of two fingers from my eyes to yours. So, on Wednesday night I asked a girlfriend who reads Christian fiction to read the manuscript for me, looking for flow, and pace and basically, “Is this what other Christian fiction reads like” (I am YA obsessed, and don’t read the  genre I wrote – please see yesterday’s post). This novel was originally a whim idea for a flash fiction piece Max.750 words, it just morphed into 80,000. It happens.

So, from her perspective, and trust me, we look more alike, but are more different than similar IMHO. Anyhow, my friend, let’s call her Mary, shall we…Mary has found a bunch of things that she ” just doesn’t believe.” She needed my MC to be 18 not turning 18. She needs housing to be on the grounds or for her to be in college not high school, she needs a lot of stuff.

Then, as I go along and change these things and add the requested revamps from the agent, the whole thing went pear shaped. Big chunks of text were flip-flopped and now her birthday had to be removed and there is an ongoing debate about whether or not Dad would have thrown her over his shoulder if necessary and taken off with her at the 1st sign of danger. I had to change a bunch of he’s and she’s to I’s and we’s.

Basically, I’ve read the thing about 6 times since Wednesday and haven’t slept much , which is not helping my work. It’s like a house of cards. Move one and it all goes flat, or at least it all shifts. So, just when I was ready to send it off today, I will instead be reworking again to make some adjustments that I can live with. Of course, I can’t take all the advice, and let’s face it, we don’t understand why some characters do some things, like who really believes that the girl in the haunted house goes alone to check out the spooky sound. No, she totally wouldn’t. She knows 9-1-1. But, she still goes. So, some things just stay because they make the story better. I want you to pump your fists at Dad for trusting in the team assigned to keep her safe. It just is.

Well, that is my personal writing rant for the day. Revising is a stressful ordeal. Agents rarely give second chances. I certainly do not anticipate a third, and so this is it. Do it right, or lose the opportunity. So, I foresee another pot of coffee and less sleep in my future. The goal is to turn this in no later than Wednesday, a week from the day the requested revisions were given. It is doable, if I focus. I’m in the home stretch.

Ahhhh, feels good to put it out there into the void. I am #revising. It is not cake.

Thanks for reading.

Do Unpublished Writers have Artistic Freedom or Just Chaos?

Let me pose to you a question. If you are an unpublished writer, does that give you freedom or just add chaos to an already busy mind? Speaking from experience, I know that a writer’s mind is like an ongoing trade show at the IX center, or an endless trip to Disneyland, or some other metaphor that makes you envision an enormous place filled with infinite sights sounds and stimuli.

I think learning that I was a writer was what put me over the edge. I blamed my third child for a while, but truthfully, she was a year old when the flood gates opened on me for writing. One day I read a book (for the first time in years) and that was the end of my previous life. I shut the cover saying. “Wow. I want to do that, too.” I now read a couple books a week, and I write every day, sometimes randomly, sometimes with purpose, and my  manuscripts are stacking up.

The randomness of it spawned this post because I have books in progress or various stages of completion in every genre. Excluding Janet Evanovich and a handful of Meg Cabot or Sookie Stackhouse, I read YA exclusively. I do not write YA exclusively. I blame this on my absence of published works.

In my unpublished mind, once we get a book published, we gain direction, especially if the book does well. I mean, I wouldn’t read a children’s book from Stephen King. I’m just sayin.’ So, I think having books on shelves will help to hone the commentary going around in my head.

Most days, I have a very difficult time choosing what to write about because they are all talking at once. All my imaginary friends want their story told – now. So, without a little structure, I flounder. Don’t get my wrong, I’m writing like gang busters, but I have zero direction or boundaries. This goes against my natural attraction to order. I like tidy. I do not like clutter. I like things to make sense, but that is so not my life these days. It can’t be. I am embracing the chaos, but praying for some structure. Otherwise, I will be querying projects in 74 genres to 400 agents and 600 publishers (I’m just trying to make a point with over the top prose).

So, I ask you, am I off base? Does being published help a writer to hone in on their voice, find their strengths, and gear the stories to a genre that best suits them? Or, are there published authors out there whose agent never knows what genre they will be submitting next? Or, and this is probably the more likely answer, Are most authors drawn in to a genre for writing the same way that I am addicted to YA for reading? Do most writers simply write the genre they love without toiling over the smorgasbord of genres they are collecting? Am I nutty-nuts? or just regular nuts?

Penny for your thoughts?

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