My News: I've Joined Operation Awesome!

Yesterday, Operation Awesome ran a fun contest where they introduced half of their new bloggers by presenting three truths and a lie. And I couldn't guess on any of them, because I was Mystery Blogger #1! The reveal post is today, so now I'm able to make an official announcement.

I've joined the group at Operation Awesome! My posts will go up every other Monday, with my first one on February 4.

I've been a follower of OA since their debut, lured in by the fabulous Mystery Agent contests. If you're not familiar with that contest, go check out the archives! It's a great way to see a ton of pitches all in one place, with an eye for what works and what doesn't.

When I was invited to join OA, it was a no-brainer--this group is so supportive to the writing community at large and I needed to be part of it. They even contributed a crit/swag package for Pens for Paws Auction last year! 

There will now be fourteen of us blogging (the other four new bloggers will get their Mystery Blogger contest tomorrow--don't forget to enter for a critique!) so the Awesome will only increase. Click the shiny new button in my sidebar to go to the Operation Awesome site, and you may also want to like us on Facebook.

Pens for Paws Auction 2013

Pre-script: I mentioned I'd have a big announcement this week, and as big as this is, it's not it. That will come tomorrow, so check back! Now on to today's post:

Last year, I decided I needed to do something extra to help out the cat sanctuary where I volunteer, Fat Kitty City. I started up the Pens for Paws Auction and contacted agents, authors, and artists to see if they'd like to donate items to help out. And the response was overwhelming! So many great items to bid on, and we raised over $2,600 in much-needed funds. So I'm running the auction again this year and am now accepting donations:

Let's make 2013 even bigger for the Pens for Paws Auction! Items will be posted on this blog from March 12th through the 16th, with bidding open for TWO days on each item.

Donations will be accepted through March 10, but the earlier you can let me know what you'd like to donate the better, so that I can get everything scheduled ahead of time. Please keep the following in mind as you consider what you would like to donate:

  • The donor is responsible for postage/mailing their item to the winner. Please take that into consideration for the value of your item.
  • Minimum bids will not be set on any items. This may mean that your item goes for less than you expected, but it also allows people (including kids) who may not have as much funds available to participate
So what kinds of items are we looking for?

  • Books: signed editions, ARCs, swag (bookmarks, postcards, tie-ins), etc
  • Critiques or editorial services: these generate a lot of interest on their own, or you may want to donate a critique along with your book
  • Artwork: prints, jewelry, crochet, knitwork, custom art or web design
  • Your item does not need to be cat- or pet-oriented--it's all good!
If you'd like to donate something for the auction, please copy and paste the questions below, along with your answers, into an email to pensforpawsauction (at) yahoo (dot) com . You may also attach a photo of the item to use for the listing.

What is the item you'd like to donate?
(short description for listing title)

Your name
(as you wish it to appear in the listing)

Your contact info
(email address is fine; if you need a tax letter, we will need a mailing address. No addresses are added to a list--they will be used strictly for correspondence regarding your item)

 Item description
(for the actual listing--may include whether it's signed, a special edition, back copy of book, etc)

Ship to U.S. addresses only, or open internationally?
(obviously not an issue with items that will be fulfilled electronically, but international postage can add up so some donors choose to limit the shipping domestically)

Attaching a photo?
You may also include a link to the photo you'd like to use if it's already on the web.

Thank you!

Teaser Tuesday in Images

I used to do a Teaser Tuesday post, featuring a short teaser of my current WIP.

I'm doing a little twist on that today, with a heartfelt message going out from my main character, Avery, to Daniel, her crush-next-door. Note: this Avery-ism has been edited for language.

Click on an image to see it larger.
P.S. Yes, this ate up some of my editing time, but my inner artist really needed to come out and play. I'm considering including my artwork in Crow's Rest (the above images are the marvelous Arthur Rackham's) but am waiting to see what an agent or editor says about that before putting too much time into it.

Revision Surprises

Good thing I got up early this morning, because I forgot to set up a blog post for today! I've been deep in revisions for Crow's Rest. Here's a cover design I did last year, just for fun:

One of the steps I wanted to do for revisions this time around was to use Martha Alderson's Blockbuster Plots method to chart the scenes in my book. I had tried it for my first book but didn't get very far--it can be kind of tedious, and I felt like I'd gotten the insights I needed just from charting the first 4 chapters.

But this time around I stuck it out, and I'm glad I did! Found all kinds of inconsistencies. Like my timeline was off; I had a single day that lasted like 40 hours, eep. And I had one of those writer faux pas, where my MC suffered an injury that wasn't ever mentioned again. Oops.

I also found a few scenes that were not necessary, which is where this type of revision tool really shines. Once you see the entire book laid out in tables, it's easy to see where your momentum lags or where you're being self-indulgent with characters and scenes.

So over the next week I'll be finishing the edits and getting pages out to my beta readers in preparation for querying in February. I'll also have an announcement next week (no, not an agent-y announcement) so check back for some news!

Don't Miss Out on These Opportunities!

Over the weekend, the aptly named Operation Awesome collected a wealth of posts into a New Year's Revision Conference. Agents, editors, and authors all chimed in with advice on tackling revisions, no matter where you are in your publishing journey.

But if you missed out, don't worry--they've archived all the contributions and you can go back and read them at your leisure. And don't forget to enter their giveaway!

Also, WOW! Women on Writing Workshops is putting on a free teleseminar: Show VS Tell and Overwriting in Children’s Fiction by Margo L. Dill tomorrow, on January 8th. They've already filled up the workshop, but there are plans to record the seminar and make it available. Make sure you follow the instructions to sign up for the class or otherwise let them know you're interested in it.

Seems like the 2013 conference season is starting out with a bang!

RTW: Across December

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: What's the best book you read in December?

I did a lot of writing this month (finished my draft of Crow's Rest, yay!) so I didn't do much reading. I did find a few steamy romance ebooks for free that fell under a "guilty pleasures" heading, but I only read one YA book in December. We actually started it on audio in November on a real-life road trip but didn't get to finish it. Bought a hardcopy with my Amazon gift card so I could find out how it ends:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis has popped up on others' RTWs in the past, but I'm glad I waited to read it. The third book in the trilogy comes out this month, so I won't have a horribly long wait to see what happens! Of course, I need to find time to read the second one before the 15th.

Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!