WC Bound & The Winners!

So…I was planning on posting earlier, but my internet connection decided to take the whole day off. Decided it needed to go on vacation. Vacation? Vacation…. VACATION! What a wonderful word that is! And it’s even more WOOT-causing because I get to use it next week. Sunday through Friday you shall find me at:

WRITERS CONFERENCE

AKA:

WRITER WIFE/MOTHER REJUVENATION CAMP     

BOUNCERS ANONYMOUS

WRITERS OASIS           WRITERS HAVEN        WRITERS RETREAT

CREATIVE JUICES CHARGER              INSPIRATION FEST        

FRONT PORCH GANG       ODD DUCK CONVENTION

As you can tell, I am a little excited to get to my home away from home. To relax, rejuvenation, be revived, and inspired. To be around a whole group of people who are unique in our sameness. A group of people passionate about writing and learning and growing as a person and as a writer. CANNOT WAIT! I’m going to try to post while I’m there, so stay tuned to learn as I do!

And now, before I go find a rocking chair and close my eyes, it’s GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! I just wanted to say thanks for all the comments, new followers, likes and encouragement I received from hosting Mary Jane Hathaway on my blog! It was tons of fun. Think I’ll do it again soon!

GIVEAWAY WINNERS*

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits:

Pam Hunter

M. Weidenbenner

Laura

 

 

Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs

Maria    

Kelli H.   

Lynda E

*Names were put in a cup and picked by my middle son.

Winners please email your shipping address to: volleyball143@yahoo.com so we can get you your new book!!

CONGRATS!!

YAA! Chat with Mary Jane Hathaway

Introducing Mary Virginia Munoz, or as her books like to call her:

MARY JANE HATHAWAY

JL: I’m sooo excited to have you on my blog today. Thanks for agreeing to be the first interview on YAA! Chat. And thank you for donating for the book GIVEAWAY!

MH: Thank you for having me, and I’m absolutely honored to be your first interview!

JL: Before I start the questioning, I just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and I’ve seriously fallen in love with your books!! I like LOVE all things Jane Austen, so of course I had to read your Jane Austen Takes the South series. Boy was I in for a pleasant didn’t-get-much-else-done-for-the-rest-of-the-week reading spree. Your books aren’t merely entertaining twists or retellings of the classics. Yes, they have all the main hero/heroine, major plot points, themes, love story, and ending, but the journey to get there is a refreshing, very well-written surprise! And I must say, you definitely win the TASTEFULLY HOT award! Especially for Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs! *Cue self-fanning*

Some “Serious” Writer Questions

JL: Where do you get the inspiration for your character names?

MH: Ohhh, so funny you ask. I take their names from the books in front of me on my desk. Franklin Keene is from my Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, for example.

JL: I absolutely love your covers! Who designed/inspired your them?

MH: I have about 3 different versions on my covers. The first version was a stack of books, which did NOT scream romance, so that was very confusing for some readers. I got reviews that said, “I thought this was a history book about food”! The next cover was very pretty and simple. The first professional cover was through the Killion Group. And these are by Howard Books. They have a great design team!

JL: What’s your favorite way/method to get past writer’s block?

MH: Dishes. And take a hot shower. Something about NOT being able to write anything down unlocks that place in my brain.

JL: Did you do anything weird while researching this series?

MH: I actually like to try out all the food my characters might be eating, so when I’m working on an Austen takes the South book, we eat a lot of interesting dishes! And I like to watch a lot of documentaries.

JL: Do you outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you? (Plotter, Pantster, or my favorite, Staller (You play on Pinterest, facebook, clean, do tons of research—not much actual writing until deadline time…LOL)

MH: HAHAHAHA! I haven’t heard that one! I’m definitely more of a Panster, but with a twist. After I write the scene, I scribble in a big map I have. I write down who, what, where, and when. Then I step back and see how it matches with what happened before. I might move it, but it gives me a good idea of what’s happening next… even though it’s backwards.

JL: Which actors/actresses do you have in mind to play your main characters?

MH: Ohhh, someone asked me that once and I had no idea. I don’t really watch many movies, but I see Shelby as tender-hearted girl with a tough exterior. I’ve seen Sandra Bullock play a character like that and she was just perfect. Hardnosed and funny, then so vulnerable she made me weep! And I used Richard Armitage’s picture for inspiration with PPCG. For me, he can look very serious and dour, when on the inside, he’s actually feeling something else. He has a good “make my day” face.

 The Randomness Questions

Favorite accent: I LOVE the New Orleans accent. *swoon*

What do you have on your fridge door?: Lots of kid art! I try to put ‘to do’ lists there and they just get covered with art.

What’s your favorite joke?: “What’s green and has wheels?”

“Grass. I lied about the wheels.”

What was your last dream about?: Hm. I have no idea. I don’t sleep much, and when I do, I don’t think I dream! But the last one I really remember was being in a giant house and trying to round up all my kids. Just when I’d get four or so, I’d lose a few and start looking again. I’d get close to getting them all together, but never quite finding all of them in all those rooms. Very funny…

Favorite party game: Quelf! My kids make me play it and I laugh my fool head off.

Would you like to build/design your own house? What would it be modeled after?: Interesting question! When we moved to our house, we had one child. It had two rooms and one bathroom. Ten years later we had six kids and it STILL had two rooms and one bathroom. Yikes. So we recently built on and that was a very fun/frustrating project. We had to interview contractors and make plans. If we had to start from scratch I’d definitely build up, not out. My husband likes the ranch style homes, while I prefer stairs and levels.

When writing with ink, which color do you prefer?: Thick black.

Choose a movie title for the story of your life: Cheaper by the Dozen, haha!

What color is your toothbrush?: Purple

What’s your favorite quote?: I love quotes. I have hundreds of them written down. But one of my favorites is from Anne Lamott about writing:

“I’ve managed to get some work done nearly every day of my adult life, without impressive financial success. Yet I would do it all over again in a hot second, mistakes and doldrums and breakdowns and all. Sometimes I could not tell you exactly why, especially when it feels pointless and pitiful, like Sisyphus with cash-flow problems. Other days, my writing is like a person to me― the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me.”

I loved that and it resonated with me because I feel like the whole process of writing and creating and publishing is very personal, and each process is different. I look back at how I wrote a book and when, and it seems that time is a blessed one for me, as if I was meeting and learning about a dear friend the entire time.

JL: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

MH: Just that this is probably the funniest interview I’ve ever done! And thanks so much for having me on your blog!

JL: So glad you came over! :)

LEARN MORE ABOUT MARY & HER WORK

 BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

All right, readers: Leave a comment for a chance to win Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits (signed!) and Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs (signed!) I’m giving away 3 copies of each, so if you can keep your friends from coming over to the blog, you might be able to get all of them to yourself!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YAA! CHAT

This has been in the I-REALLY-want-to-do-this phase for awhile. So, without thinking or talking about it anymore, I’m just gonna start it. Introducing the newest feature on my blog: 

 

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YA = Young Adult

A = Adult

! = EXCITEMENT

Chat = Interviews–a behind-the-scenes tour–with other writers.

I’m super excited about hosting (from time to time) other writers, whether just published, mega-published, or on-their-way-to-publication.

So, STAY TUNED! The first guest to appear on YAA! Chat is busily filling out the “100 random questions” questionnaire! (LOL…Just kidding…not that many, but I can safely promise that half of them WILL BE random.) 

Also…BONUS!!…a BOOK & OTHER AWESOMENESS GIVEAWAY!

Wai-Ting

I’m thinking of changing my name to Wai-Ting. Or at least making a T-shirt with WAITING printed on it. Then I can just point to it. WAITING is pretty much the answer to every question at this stage of my life:

What have I been up to lately? WAITING.

Do you know what’s going to happen next in your WIP? WAITING for a good dream/inspiration.

Have you heard anything about your book? Not yet, WAITING.

Have you heard from that agent yet? Still WAITING.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that people are interested in the happenings of my writing career. But it’s grating on me, having to answer every inquiry about my writing life with “I’m still WAITING.” Seriously, the writing life makes professional waiters out of all of us! I understand that this is a long process, and that I will get published all in good time. I just wish I could convey the long process to others so that the looks of “you do nothing”  and “You soooo need to get a job/life” would go away…

And yes, I do believe that waiting is an action word. (As I’ve said before.) There is so much that I am doing while I wait: actual writing, plotting, outlining, working on proposals for my other WIP’s, networking (meeting AMAZING authors everyday! Thank you Facebook!), making boards on Pinterest, reading YA’s–checking out what’s HOT on the market, watching YA movies, watching Sherlock & Star Trek, playing in the dirt, hanging out with my boys… All this work-in-the-waiting is just not seen by many of my question-asking friends and family…Which is probably a good thing, seeing as I drink a lot of coffee and stare at my computer an awful lot.

OK, the WAI-TING vent is over…now back to my coffee and waiting… ;)

Here’s hoping to being able to change my name to WOOT!

 

**Hmmm….if I do change my name to Wai-Ting, I think I’ll go buy a Chinese silk robe. At least I’ll look great lounging around waiting… What do you think? One like this, or a different color?

Proposal = “YES!”

Why are proposals so hard??? Wish I could just send an agent a Mountain Dew box filled with fireworks and my WHOLE book…

BTW: That’s how my hubby proposed to me. Christmas day…his WHOLE family immediate & extended…annual white elephant gift exchange…beautiful ring in a box inside a Mountain Dew box filled with newspaper and fireworks (which we shot off that night)!

As you probably guessed, I’m working on a book proposal for my YA, urban fantasy BOUND. I’m trying to remember that this is good for me, that I CAN do this. It’s just a struggle trying to sum up your book five thousand times in fewer and fewer words…

For those of you who don’t know, a book proposal is what sells your book–an abbreviated and specialized business plan for your book.There are SO many components that go into a book proposal: Premise, tagline, audience, market, competitive books already on the market, author bio, marketing strategies, outline of your book, chapter-by-chapter outline, and sample chapters of your book.

Awhile ago, I had the privilege of proofing this book by Dave Fessenden:

Note to Authors: Even if you’re not writing a Christian book (which I’m not), this book is an invaluable resource.

I opened my official copy today. Inside was the blurb I wrote for this book:

Stop! Before you even write one word, read this book! Author Dave Fesseden makes the case that the proposal should come first, and that writing it can actually be enjoyable. Dave’s invaluable wisdom saves countless hours of Googling “How to write a killer book proposal.” It gives writers the how-to and examples they need to catch the editor’s eye and nail down the ever-elusive publishing deal. -Janelle Leonard, novelist, and blogger at The Writing Life: Behind the Scenes with an Author of YA Fantasy

Guess I should take my own advice… So, off I go…setting up my proposal using the format from this wonderful book. Bring on the coffee!!

*Writers, anyone have tips or things they’ve done for writing a killer book proposal?

Brain-Tweaking

This post is about brain-tweaking. Don’t worry, it’s NOTHING like twerking…PROMISE! Brain-tweaking involves, for me, having a conversation with myself that changes my perspective/way of thinking. (usually in a little, insignificant-to-the-world way). 

I’ve been querying like a crazy writer. And with great (amounts) querying comes rejections.

Last month, in my “distracted-from-writing” time, I made a spreadsheet so I could keep track of which agent/agency I’ve sent to. Of course, there had to be a column for the response. Originally I had in the column a lot of NO’s. But that word is so final…and kinda depressing in regards to querying. So, this is where the brain-tweaking comes in! Instead of typing NO each time, I now write PASS. Image

This changed my perspective, giving me a happier outlook with each “rejection”. When an agent passes, I have to remember that it’s not about me, or my novel, it’s just that BOUND (my witty, YA, urban fantasy) is not right for that particular agent at that particular time. By passing, the agent is actually granting me a kindness, saying “I’m not right for this.” This keeps me open for someone better that will be perfect for me and my writing. EXCITEMENT! 

So . . . besides querying, I’ve been playing a lot of card games. And in games, if you don’t have a card or you don’t have a good enough hand to bid, you say “pass.” This doesn’t mean that you’re a loser, or that you can’t play the game. It just means that this round you don’t have a card or hand to win big. But as you keep playing, keep improving at the game, eventually you will have a card to play, or a hand that will win the jackpot. And hopefully, if you play your cards right, the score will be higher than it would have been if you had bid or played that random card when you shouldn’t have. 

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As much as I hate getting rejections, these PASSES are just weeding out the “cards/hands” that won’t win big for me. So, I’m going to keep playing, and some day (prayerfully soon) I will get a hand that gets me an agent and then a publishing contract! 

 

*What brain-tweaking things have you done?