Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friends, ABNA, and Dreams

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

- Mark Twain

~ Mark I find myself using the terms, “blogging friends” and “writer friends” and “Facebook friends” to qualify my friendships. There are also “teacher friends” and “childhood friends” and “Cambridge friends” and “New York friends” and “friends through my husband”.

Do you categorize friendships too?

There’s nothing that really diminishes these friendships by qualifying them. I’m being more specific. Some of these categories overlap. And sometimes, I meet someone through blogging, Facebook, or a conference and find over time that the friendship deepens. We e-mail and maybe even call one another. We check in to see how the other is doing. There’s something special about my friends who are also writers because only writers understand writing woes. And the writer friends whom I also share non-writing issues are even more important to me.

Conferences, Blogging, and Facebook have enriched my life. Without these opportunities to meet other writers, I’d be lonelier and have had fewer opportunities to hone my craft.

I want to say thank you to all my writer friends.

In addition, I want to congratulate my writer friends who have made it to the 2nd round of ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) Contest with me last week. The 10k submissions were whittled down to 2k. (As you can see below, I’m in good company.)

Samantha Verant (Especially because she helped me with my pitch. Thank you!)

Judy Mintz (She also helped me with my pitch. Thank you!)

Jessica Bell

PK Hrezo

Hart Johnson

Roland Yeomans

Tamara Hart Heiner

Charity Bradford

If I forgot you, please let me know in the comments of via e-mail and I’ll add you (and apologize profusely)!

The complete YA and General Fiction list is HERE!

I didn’t make it to the 3rd round for The Mist Chasers last year, but the critique I received by making it to the second round helped me recognize problems with my excerpt. Even if I don’t make to the 3rd round with Naked Eye, I’ll appreciate the feedback. The list of 2k will be slashed to 500 quarter-finalists.

I wish all the writer friends who made it to Round 2 good luck in Round 3!

Dream with me.

Love, Theresa xo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stalking, Reading, Writing


“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”.
- Benjamin Franklin

Recently, I was out having lunch with my husband. A young woman stood up wearing a micro-mini. The man with a gray sweatshirt stood next to her. I watched them leave. Mere seconds had elapsed.
My husband said, “What are you looking at?”
I said, “First I noticed the woman’s skirt is really short and thought she’d be cold. Then I noticed the guy she was with is good looking. I wondered if they were a couple. If they were a couple, I wondered what stage they were in their relationship. Did they sleep together last night? Had they just started dating? Were they engaged? Would they get married, have kids someday? Or would they wind up with other people?”
“All of that?” he asked, incredulous. “I don’t believe you.”
I swore it was the truth.
He said, “I just noticed she had a short skirt.”
A couple of more times, my husband brought it up to make fun of me. Then he said, “I guess that’s why you’re are writer.”

I’m much more of a writer than a reader these days, but I’m still reading. Throughout 2011, I updated a January 2011 post to list all the books I read last year. I decided to do the same on this post for 2012.

Books read in 2012 (as of 12/26/12):

1. Open Minds, Susan Kaye Quinn
2. Foiled, Jane Yolen
3. The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Heather McCorkle
4. The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
6. A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, Matt Blackstone
7. Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson
8. American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
9. Where I Live, Eileen Spinelli
10. Peace, Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson
11. Love that Dog, Sharon Creech
12. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
13. The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett
14. Watching Willow Watts, Talli Roland
15. Plain Kate, Erin Bow
16. A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett
17. The Humming Room, Ellen Potter
18. Rumors from the Boys' Room, Rose Cooper
19.  The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman 
20.  Holes, Louis Sachar 
21. The Owl Keeper, Christine-Brodien-Jones
22. Dust, Arthur Slade
23. Cesar's Rules, Cesar Millan
24. Hate that Cat, Sharon Creech
25. Perfect, Ellen Hopkins
26. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. Holes, Louis Sachar (Yes, twice.)
28. Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
29. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
30. Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu
31. The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester
32. Inside Out and Back Again, Thanha Lai
33. A Million Suns, Beth Revis
34. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
35. The Day Before, Lisa Schroeder
36. Build a Man, Talli Roland
37. Save the Cat, Blake Snyder
38. 100RPM, ed. Caroline Smailes
39. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
40. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
41. The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan
42. M is for Magic, Neil Gaiman
43. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
44. The Giver, Lois Lowry
45. Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce
46. Let's Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, Jenny Lawson
47. Lost Girl, Sangu Mandanna
48. Well Witched, Frances Hardinge
49. Bloomability, Sharon Creech
50. Closed Hearts, Susan Kaye Quinn
51. Esio Trot, Roald Dahl
52. Alanna: In the Hand of the Goddess, Tamora Pierce
53. Moonglass, Jessi Kirby
54. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger
55. The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, M.T. Anderson
56. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling
57. Lucky Breaks, Susan Patron
58. Criss Cross, Lynne Rae Perkins
59. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
60. Book of 1000 Days, Shannon Hale
61. A Tale Dark & Grimm, Adam Gidwitz
62. Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, M.T. Anderson
63. Gossamer, Lois Lowry
64. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling
65. Eye of the Storm, Kate Messner
66. Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
67. Crash, Jerry Spinelli
68. Who is J.K. Rowling?, Pam Pollack
69. The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
70. Bread and Roses Too, Katherine Patterson

I’ve been on a writing streak. I wrote and submitted a 9k short story for an anthology inspired by the beautiful picture above from JT Taylor Publishing. I leapt out of my genre to write something for it. (There’s still time if you’re inspired too.)
My most recent manuscript is increasing word count almost daily. Since 01/12 when Write On to Build On, I’ve only owed $3 to the Build On charity.
So, I’m writing. And I’m looking at couples and wondering what they’re doing. I’m pretty sure this proves I’m a stalker creepy chick writer.

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
— Albert Einstein

How’s your writing these days?
Finding any inspiration in pictures or random couples?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Real Stories


You may write YOUR STORY as a mini-biography, a snapshot or a vignette. You can write about your adventure, misadventure, your life as a wife, a mother, a sister, a girlfriend, a daughter, a student, and so on. You can write about a single defining moment in your life!
Sometime ago, when you were looking for a job and couldn't seem to find one, do you remember what it felt like? What were the challenges you faced? What were the lessons you learned from the experience?
When you became a mom and you looked at the face of innocence, of someone so fragile in front of you...were you scared?
Sometime in your life, you fell in love...and then what happened?
You have an ocean of stories inside of you. You only have to pick one! Let's get your story written down! What you may consider as a humdrum, boring life may not be just fascinating but inspiring for others.

Please email your final draft to on or before 29 February 2012. (If you don’t have the story completed by the deadline just contact them and let them know you’re working on it.)

I’m going to have a story included. Here’s a list of CURRENT CONTRIBUTORS.
Hope you’ll join us. Good luck!

In other news, I have a post up at Lynn Kelley’s BLOG.

Find out what a gullible kid I was and what I looked like with big curly hair. Old Kitty
shares a story on the post too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This is the poster that started it all…

“Burning the ground I break from the crowd

I’m on the hunt I’m after you.”

- Heneker, David William; Taylor, John. Song: Hungry like the Wolf, Duran Duran

Duran Duran broke my arm.

Let me explain.

Nicki Elson and friends are hosting the I'll Tumble 4 Ya BlogFest

Here’s the deal:

“Post a picture, video, or whatever of the celebrity you most tumbled for in the 80s. We'd also love to know just what it was that made ya tumble 4 them.”

I took the challenge literally.

Here’s how it began: I discovered Duran Duran when I was thirteen when I saw a poster of the band in Modell’s. Yes, I saw them before I heard them. My two best friends and me memorized lyrics, watched their videos until our eyes teared, and chose favorites band mates. I waffled between John Taylor and Simon LeBon.

Good video. It was filmed in Sri Lanka.

When I was fourteen I saw them in concert TWICE: once at Madison Square Garden (okay seats) and once at Nassau Coliseum in the THIRD row, center stage. (You’re jealous, aren’t you?) I was crushing on John Taylor then.

Which mullet is your favorite?

Here’s where Duran Duran breaks my arm: One of my best friends was a cheerleader. I didn’t hold it against her. She wanted me to try out for the cheerleading squad. The feminist in me wasn’t thrilled that cheerleaders tumbled and chanted on the sidelines while the boys played the game. I was even less thrilled that the cheerleaders periodically baked brownies for the players. In addition, I had never taken a dance class and was uncoordinated, so this seemed like a ludicrous idea. This didn’t stop her from teaching me the moves.

Monday was tryouts. The Sunday before, I was moving my posters around.

I was so lame, not only did I plaster my walls with their photos,
I decorated them for Christmas, AND took a picture.

I had a narrow, four-drawer, wooden cabinet that I kept papers in. I used a chair to get to the top of it so I could reach the posters near the ceiling. Said cabinet wobbled. It swayed. It went backwards. So did I. I used my left wrist to break my fall. (Did I mention I’m left handed?) Pain shot up my arm.

My sister was vacuuming in another room, so it took a while before anyone heard my cries. By the end of the day, I was a proud owner of a new cast and would spend the next six weeks having my books carried and asking people to take notes for me.

Needless to say, I did not try out for cheerleading.

While I was never one of those girls who fainted at the sight of John Taylor or Simon LeBon, I had it pretty bad. My post is proof I tumbed for Duran Duran Literally and Figuratively.

Check out the other posts HERE

I bet they’re less lame than mine.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Open Mind

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

- Terry Pratchett

I read all reviews about books with suspicion. There are too many friends or people worried about hurting an author’s feelings. While I know reviews are subjective, each and every YA book reviewed on blog cannot be a 5.

At the same time, I am wary of hurting author’s feelings—especially friends. If I read a friend’s book that I won’t give a 4 or 5, I don’t give it a rating on Goodreads. I’ve only agreed to review 2 books by authors on my blog because I believed in those books. I’ve done a few unsolicited because I’ve love those books so much. This is such a post!

This problem isn’t limited to friends. I’ve heard agents gushing about two YA books from last year that were all premise, but slow plot.

Another issued I’ve had is because many writers are bypassing the gatekeeper, the sheer volume of books published per year has SOARED. Sometimes the quality of books has suffered. If I’m interested in the premise or author, I’ll download a sample chapter. Sometimes it's clear the big six have backed books with sparkle and no substance. And sometimes I can tell the inexperienced writers from the experienced ones who took the extra effort to hire an editor. And I’ve read self published books that were just as high quality as anything put out by an indie press or the BIG SIX.

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn is such a book.

She did her homework as evidenced by her blog post HERE.

Here’s the premise:

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Susan’s premise intrigued me. She already published a book with a small press, so I know she’s an experienced writer. I downloaded her chapter 1. It hooked me. Before I got a chance to buy the book, I won it. It was one of those books that suck you in, like with happened to me with Divergent last year.

At first I was annoyed with Kira. She seemed to let others make decisions for her, but was in a tough situation. How do you confide in people who can have their minds read by others? Keeping a secret is nearly impossible in Kira’s world. There was a love triangle, but this one was different from the typical YA. In a sea of damsels living for their men, Kira is kickass. I liked that Susan Kaye Quinn didn’t make her dystopian set too far into the future. It made the technology and phrases feel authentic. Thoughts, actions, and dialogue were all believable.

My only gripe is that Susan self-published, so she doesn’t have some big publisher making sure this book is in Walmart and has its own display in bookstores everywhere. I want Open Minds to have a BIG audience.

This book had it all – 5 stars.

It's available: