Thursday, March 22, 2012

Still in the Game!

I feel March Madness in a totally cool way. And it isn't because my bracket is blowing away the hubby's, either (it usually does, mostly because I know absolutely nothing about basketball).

No, I'm in my own sort of bracket right now, called the Breakthrough Novel Contest. I submitted my best novel to it this year, and in February the pitch for it got me into the top 20%. And now? Well, the novel's made it into the top 250 out of around 5,000 novel entries in the YA division. Woo-hoo!

Where does that put me? The sweet sixteen? How in the world should I know. I became a writer because I wasn't any good at math. But if you divide 250 by 5,000, you get 0.05. What does that mean? The only reason I know is that I've been a teacher for the last twenty years. It means my novel's in the top FIVE PERCENT of the novel pool submitted this year (at least according to ABNA judges--whom I adore to distraction!).

I am so grateful for this. I've had so many opportunities over the last six months--from the invitation to write a story for the Death by Chocolate anthology to ghost writing opportunities through other freelance venues--and right now I feel more useful as a writer than I have probably ever felt in my entire life!

Can you tell I'm about to explode with happiness? I sure hope I've made that clear. Then again, maybe all this elation is annoying. At this point, I can't say I really care if it is. I've made it to the next round, and I wouldn't have without all of your help, all of my own hard work, and a bunch of luck along the way.

Oh, and I did have to submit the novel. Are you, perhaps, sitting on something you should be sending out into the wide world? Don't sit on it any longer. No telling how far you'll go.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Wedding Dress--A Review

If you tend to shy away from book reviews, feel free to shy away now.

I tend to love them... so they often end up here--especially since I'm reading like a MANIAC right now. So here goes...

Courtesy of Booksneeze

This book is one of the reasons I love reading. First, I love costuming as much as reading, and I spent a year sewing alterations in a bridal shop, so I absolutely love fancy dresses--especially wedding dresses. But that's not the reason I love this book. It was a review copy from the publisher, so I didn't have to pay for it. Also a bonus, but not at all the reason I loved the book, for I am given full permission to review it honestly. And I am utterly honest.

No, nothing is pressuring me to like this book, but it is still likely one of the best-written books I've read this year (or last, for that matter). Great characters for me to sympathize with, lovely stories, good, solid writing, drama and suspense--add to that a bit of magic, a bit of weddingishness, and the mixed up sort of love story where, at several different moments over the last 100 years, couples are trying to figure out what is love and what isn't. Given the pressure of marriage--but, even more so, the pressure place on young people to BE married, to marry the RIGHT person, and often to marry a person for other reasons than love--this book is a lovely intertwining of people struggling to make the right choice, to act for the right reasons, not out of duty or greed or merely good intentions. It's a sort of fictional instruction book about following your heart, your gut, instead of letting distractions push you into a choice you will regret all the more later.

I fell into this book in a way I haven't fallen much lately. It reminded me of the reasons I married, the years of our marriage, and the serious step I took once, all that time ago. And it reminded me of my own wedding dress, which I designed and made myself, from crinoline to lace edging. A lovely book. A little religious, but mainstream in its focus. I would definitely read more by this author, whether the books figured a wedding dress or not!

What about the rest of you? Any good reads? Anything you'd recommend? Anyone going to see the midnight showing of THE HUNGER GAMES?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why I Love GRIMM

Although I watch television oh so rarely, I've had two shows this year that have maintained my interest, "Grimm" (Friday nights on NBC) and "Once Upon a Time" (Sunday nights on ABC). In the past, as with such shows as "Kings" and "Crusoe," it may mean my current addictions will be cancelled, but after seeing the latest "Grimm," I hope they aren't with all my heart.

Soooo dreamy!  (Courtesy of NBC)

Those of you who've been reading my blog for years know my particular appreciation of beefcake. Now, Nick does not fit the typical (he isn't Crusoe, after all), but he has gorgeous eyes and long eyelashes, dark hair, and an overdeveloped sense of duty, just like the Hubby. Very, very appealing. So far, the show has been more like a cross between "Law and Order" and The Sixth Sense, only he sees the beast in those around him instead of ghosts. Nick's a Grimm, you see, destined to fight the beasties out in the world, or at least in Oregon, where he works as a police detective.

It's been appealing so far, but I actually watched last week's episode TWICE. No joke. And I want to hug the person/people who wrote the teleplay for it--GOOD STUFF. Danger, sexual tension (that's pretty new), destruction on a different kind of scale, suspense through the whole creepy episode. Brilliant. Loved every minute of it.

Now, don't jump the gun on this, though. Don't go to the link above and watch the latest episode. It won't be half as cool if you haven't seen the show before. Go back and earn this episode. Watch at least two or three other ones, preferably all of them. Just like you shouldn't skip to the end of the book, you shouldn't skip around here, either.

Come to think of it, why do people skip to the end of a book? I HATE knowing what's going to happen, even with a short story. If some of you fine readers are also skippers, can you share some insight?

And watch "Grimm." Please. For once I'd like something I adore to last on television. It may very well be the first series I actually buy on DVD.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I can't believe I haven't posted in a week, but at least I know I have been working. My current novel revision is one fleshed out scene away from being complete. And it's fun, and exciting, and I'm relishing the thought of sending it off to beta readers for a good swift bashing.

I'm also grinning at the thought of working on my mermaid novel again, now that this task is almost complete. And I have a play I am desperate to turn into a full-length. And my veggie books are calling me longingly, like sirens.

The piano, too, feels neglected, as do my watercolors. Can I tend to it all? Probably not, but it's nice to be called to, nice to know I have a TON of things to do once this project is finished. So, as with last week, along with three hours of scheduled Zumba fitness today, I have a bunch of other possibilities. The chance to finish a revision is at the top of the list, too.

What feelings does finishing conjure up for you? For me, it's a deep sigh--and perhaps a drink--before beginning on another exciting project. It's a sense of a job well done, a task no longer on my list of things to do. A closure, rather like the last performance of a play's run, the final meeting of class before we all go home, the final entry of grades for the semester.

It's one of my favorite feelings in the world, though it comes with a sense of loss.

What about you? What have you finished lately? How did it make you feel? I'll read through your entries once my scene is complete. In the meantime, happy writing/painting/coloring/singing/playing/doing/FINISHING!!!