Contests Galore!

First, the winner for my First Ever Contest to win some wall candy for your writing space:

Thanks to those who entered and congratulations to Theresa Milstein! Shoot me an email at strikingnotes(at)yahoo(dot)com with your mailing address and your pick for your second photo! Don't forget that you can pick anything from my website

And in other contest news, Shelli on the Market My Words blog is running a Pay It Forward Contest through Feb. 4. In appreciation for all those that helped her along the way, she's offering up a referral to her own agent. Understandably, she's not randomly picking a writer to recommend--Shelli's generously using her own time and effort to find a new voice and help bring some well-earned attention to them. The rules are on her contest link above, but she does ask that you pay it forward by acknowledging those that have helped you along the way.

In my early days, the El Dorado Writers Guild helped me break a lot of newbie habits. They still meet, if anyone else needs an open, caring group. My YA critique group, including Nancy Herman, Rachel Allen Dillon, Christina Mercer, Joe Vollmer, Thelma White, and new member Janelle Weiner are vital. And betas Karla Nellenbach and Alison Kemper Beard have helped me see where I'm being stubborn, and called me on things I was trying to get away with. Whew, where would I be without all of you? Still writing on my own, repeating the same bad habits, that's where!

And lastly, I wanted to remind everyone that Operation Awesome is doing another Mystery Agent contest starting tomorrow, and this time they are asking for a 25-word pitch. So get flexing those pitching muscles so you can be ready to enter--they fill up fast!

A World of Pure Imagination

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: If you could live within the universe of one book, which would you choose?

The world of Harry Potter seems to be the hands-down favorite today! But I'm breaking out of the pack and picking Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Maybe it's because I ate lunch late, thereby getting really hungry beforehand, but that river of chocolate sounds fantabulous right now. That is, if Augustus Gloop didn't pee in it while he was in there.

And all the candy you could eat! I would only change one thing: if Johnny Depp appears in this world, he should be in his Sparrow-persona rather than his uber-creepy Willy Wonka persona.

So what about you; which world would you pick? And don't forget to enter my contest by Friday!

My First Ever Contest! Win Art by Yours Truly!

I was trying to think of a unique prize I could offer as an appreciation for all my followers and friends, and then it hit me--duh! What about one of my prints? A matted 8x10 should be easy to mail (in my experience, people want to pick out frames to match their decor). In fact, 2 pix would be just as easy to mail!

To enter the contest, just leave a comment on this post before Friday, Jan.28, at 5 pm PST; I'll use a randomizer to select a winner over the weekend and post an announcement on Monday, Jan. 31. No requirements about following the blog, although followers, posts, and tweets are always appreciated. Make sure I have some way to contact you, whether it's your profile or your email, and apologies to international folks but this contest is only open to those with a U.S. address. So here's what you could win:

An 8x10 matted print of a photo of the schoolhouse in Bodie that has proven popular with writer-friends and teacher-friends:

PLUS any 8x10 matted pic of your choice from my website!

Maybe you're the flowery type

Or the scenic type

Or more urban decay

ETA: 1/28/2011 @ 5:00 PM PST
CONTEST NOW CLOSED! LOOK FOR THE WINNER ON MONDAY 1/31/2011, and thanks to all who entered!

Know Any Hard-up Writers?

Do you know a children's or YA writer that has a few published books under their belt, but can't quite give up the day job? Perhaps the PEN American Center and its $5,000 Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship can get them a little closer. The best part is that candidates can be nominated by fellow writers as well as editors.

Who is eligible:
A candidate is a writer of children or young-adult fiction in financial need; candidates have published at least two novels for children or young adults which have been warmly received by literary critics, but have not generated sufficient income to support the author. The writer's books must be published by a U.S. publisher.

I only heard about this one a few days ago, so hurry over to their website and submit the info by February 3rd!
And don't forget to vote on your favorite first line over at the something else to distract me blog. Can you guess which one is mine?

RTW: Blurbilicious

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on thier blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: Give a blurb for your favorite book or one of your own!

Some of the participants are doing blurbs, and some are doing back copy for their books--I'm going to do both. They're both for my YA novel, Spirits from the Vasty Deep.

"Spirits from the Vasty Deep features star-crossed lovers, pirates, comic lines, vengeful ghosts, and a poisoning--a story after my own art." W. Shakespeare

Back copy:
In 1851, Olivia Herald sets a ship afire while escaping its murderous crew—dooming the Empyreal and all hands aboard it. Now their ghosts want retribution, and so do the authorities. With the prospect of a death sentence hanging over her, Olivia must reclaim her forsaken abilities to speak with the dead for a final reckoning with the vengeful spirits. If she fails, she could lose her soul and the way back to the man she loves.

NPR's 3-Minute Fiction Contest

Accepting submissions through January 23, so hurry! If I'm a good little writer and finish my final revisions and my crits for the YA group, then I'll try to squeeze in some flash fiction by then.

Here are the details from their website:

"Our contest has a simple premise. We're looking for original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — that's no more than 600 words.

Our judge for Round 6 is novelist and short-story writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She's the author of the critically acclaimed books Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.

Each round, our judge throws out a challenge for our writers, and Adichie has a good one: At some point in your story, one character must tell a joke. And, one character must cry."

That is quite a challenge--I'm eager to tune in and see what everyone comes up with. Good luck!

Blogger Award: Stylish Blogger

So the kind M.J.A. Ware gave me a Stylish Blogger Award (which made me laugh, because although my art background shows in my blog and website, my wardrobe is anything but stylish). Apparently the thing to do is pay it forward to 7 other bloggers, and also post seven things about myself.

First with the all-about-me stuff:

1. I live in a solar home with a fantabulous garden.

2. I went to 9 different schools for kindergarten-12th grade.

3. I worked in a bookstore for 5 years, managing the children's department.

4. I met my husband there, and we've been together nearly 20 years--about half my lifetime!

5. I volunteer at Fat Kitty City, a no-kill sanctuary for cats and dogs. I socialize the kitties and take the photos for the website and blog. We have 2 cats of our own. Also love dogs, but we are currently dogless.

6. I was a professional storyteller for some years, performing at festivals, schools, and libraries.

7. I started out as a music major (voice) in college. Then I discovered my voice was not very remarkable.

And as for my picks for the Stylish Blogger Award, I like unique banners:

Rachel Allen Dillon, crit partner and artist extraordinaire
Angie at Addicted to Books, especially for her banner
Joann Swanson's It's Dark, Dark in Here for her sinister banner
Jill Hathaway for her cool banner at Jill Scribbles
YAtopia for their fun banner
Operation Awesome for their unique look
And Annie McElfresh's blog deserves a shout for the elaborate banner

Guest Post on WOW!'s Blog

A warm welcome, to everyone who navigated to my blog from the Muffin, WOW! Women on Writing's blog. :)

And for readers of my blog, hop on over and read my guest post. While you're there, check out their great resources for writers on the blog and in their e-zine.

Happy weekend, everybody! And here's a Friday bonus book trailer (I've only read up to the 2nd book, so now I really have some catching up to do)

RTW: Favorite Line

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on thier blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: What is your favorite line from your WIP (or from a book you read recently)?

From Spirits from the Vasty Deep, my YA paranormal/historical, it's still this one from Captain Lee:

"You're mightily well-preserved for a woman old enough to be Miss Herald's mother. Skin like a seagull's breast, you have."

For some context, I did tease from this section a long time ago, and it's still up on the blog.

For a great line I've read recently, I've been catching up on the Bloody Jack books, and there are so many great lines that I can't choose just one!

Just couldn't let another day go by

without posting something to the blog! I was sick over the weekend and am still getting caught up on things, but I have been playing around with a video book pitch. It's hard to condense an entire book, and I was looking around for examples. Stumbled on this video, which has 50 ultra-condensed book summaries:

Okay, technically they're spoilers, but it's a really quick way to get a feel for the important bits of a book. And I loved their comment on Breaking Dawn, hee hee.

A Neurotic's New Year's Eve

Having previously offered a glimpse into how my mind works/dreams, I thought I'd offer up what keeps me awake at night. You know, like on New Year's Eve when I got woken at midnight by neighborhood revelers (after not even attempting to stay up past our Long-Married Couple's Customary Bedtime) and then couldn't get back to sleep right away.

Here is what I thought about:

Remember that episode of "Friends" where you have a list of 10 celebrities that you can sleep with if given the opportunity, without it being cheating on your partner? So what if I ever did get the opportunity to sleep with Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman, or Vampire Bill Compton (uh huh, fictional characters totally count) and they're in a relationship?

What if I'm not on their list? Would it be considered stalking behavior or charming behavior if I sent them a tweet right now that says, "I will rock your world, or at least skew it slightly. Add me to your list RIGHT NOW." I'm kind of afraid I'd end up on some kind of banned list instead.

And then I did get back to sleep, only to be woken later by a slithering sensation across my feet--exactly like a giant centipede would feel if it was step-step-stepping across them. I sat bolt upright in bed, to see my bleary-eyed cat stretched full length (he is approx. 3 ft. long in that position) across the foot of the bed, with his front paws over my feet.

Whew, it's just the cat. I can lay back down and go to sleep. But then it occurred to me, what if it really was a giant centipede and the cat's paws were over my feet because he'd sleepily batted at its retreating pincers? And what if the centipede is just waiting for me to drop my guard so it can lay eggs in my belly button?

I tell you, a writer's imagination is truly a blessing and a curse.