Monday, January 30, 2012

Operation: Enter a Contest

It's 11:30 PM, and I just realized that yet again I missed blogging today. Ay-yi-yi! What's wrong with me?!

Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with me.

The last two weeks, I've been on THE MISSION.

Yeah, you writers should know what I'm talking about. THE MISSION, which I chose to accept, was to whip my almost-ready novel into shape and submit it to -- GASP! -- a CONTEST.

Gulp!

I'll have you know that today, Monday the 30th, I hit the "upload" button for probably the last time... and it's gone on its way to the great reviewers at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. (And I'm not lying when I say the reviewers are great--one of judges this year is Donald Maass--THE Donald Maass. You know, the one who has written so many great books on the craft of writing, the one who has his own literary agency?! W-O-W.)

For those who don't know, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest is a fairly big deal. There may be contests bigger. I'm not sure, to be honest. This was the first time I've every thought about sending in any of my work to a contest--and I got pushed into it by a friend from the great state to the south of mine. And, I know I don't have an awesomely-high chance of winning. They're accepting up to 5,000 entries. The first cut takes that number down to 1,000 (I'll know if I make the cut just before my son's BMB next month.) The second goes further still--to 250.

That means I have a 1 in 20 shot to making it through to the 2nd round. If I make it that far--heck, even if I make the first cut--I'll be pleased. Quarterfinals are the top 50--a 1 in 100 shot. Yeah, if I get that far, you can pretty much guarantee my heart will stop. ;)

Anyway, this is starting to digress, and I apologize... it's just I've never really done anything like this before! Sure, I've sent my work in to a handful of agents... sadly, I was ill-prepared, and did it a little too prematurely. Now, I think I may be ready, and I'm getting all jittery about the possibilities and options. Am I really ready? Really??? Do I get this thing out to agents' inboxes, or do I wait and see if I pass the first cut or not?

There are too many questions... Ugh!

Of course, the lateness of this post probably doesn't help... The more I think about it, the more uncertain I become.

Oh well. I'm sure I'll feel different in the morning.

Until next time,

Liberty

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beyondaries!

The magnificent Chila Woychik, who has appeared here more than once, has been busy, starting a new e-zine through Port Yonder Press.


The first issue was released yesterday, and will be quarterly. Make way for Beyondaries! :) I haven't had a chance to explore it fully, but there will be articles of interest to writers and non-writers alike... including the quarterly results of the Team PYP short stories!

I should point out that my name is somewhere in the issue... can you find it? ;)

Back next week with who knows what... it'll be fun!

Until next time,

Liberty

Monday, January 23, 2012

Non-stereotypical

You know you're an odd duck when your husband asks you when the Super Bowl is...

Such is life in my house. I am far more interested in football than my husband, although he seems to "get" the game more than I do.

Last night, we were eating dinner, and TMOTH looked at me (while I was stuffing my mouth with pizza) and said, "The Super Bowl is next week?"

I held up two fingers, and after I swallowed, told him, "Two weeks, Honey."

After thinking about it for a bit, it made me think about how much of the time, the characters I read about are a bit stereotypical. Sure, there's some exceptions, but most of the time, the girls are the shopping-freaks, and the guys can't understand anything else when anything with a ball is on the TV.

As a writer, I hope my characters are never cookie-cutters cut-outs. The main character in one of my projects absolutely HATES shopping, and is very likely to show up somewhere wearing a Kansas City Chiefs jersey (whether it's appropriate or not.) The hero in the same story is as comfortable cooking alongside his girl (the main character) as he is taking his car apart and changing its oil.

If you're a writer, do you find you rely on stereotypes of the genders a bit too much? If so, is there a legitimate reason you do?

If you're a reader, do you notice when characters are stereotypes?


Until next time,



P.S.--I drafted this last night... while I was watching the Giants/49ers go into overtime...

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Plea From the Dog

Me and Mom
My name is Tucker. I am a 3--almost 4--year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever. I live with my mom, Liberty, and TMOTH. I have commandeered Mom's computer to beg for your help (and I am really good at begging.)

You have to stop Mom's obsession with this thing called "writing". It is really getting in the way of my quality dog time. When I first came to Mom's house, everything was confusing, and I did not know how completely obsessed she is with this activity.

First, it was writing a book. That was fine. She would sometimes stay up late while writing this book. This was nice because she would, if she remembered, be up to let me out to go chase opossums and other night-time animals I don't get to see in the daytime. I sure do love to chase them squirrels and rabbits... just wish I could catch one...

But, Mom has now decided this thing called a book needs to go into a contest. If that weren't enough, she is now writing these things called "reviews" and "short stories". I'm not really sure what these are, just that they are starting to encroach on my well-deserved walks. After all, I am the dog. I need these sorts of things. And, if Mom were to take me for my walks, she might not be so concerned about the size of jeans she is (or isn't) fitting into these days.

If that isn't enough for you to help me, maybe this will be. I sometimes hear Mom talking to herself. I think she's talking to me--after all, she using the word "bones" a lot--but when I come to see where the bones are, she barely notices I am there! I know I heard her right. Then she's started talking a lot about getting an "agent" and making lots of "queries". I'm not sure what these are, either, but they sound like a big problem if I'm going to get my dinner on time one of these days. Too many times, Mom can't remember whether she fed me or not. (That's why the kids give me scraps--to make sure I keep up my strength. Someone has to get the word out about Mom!)

Won't you help me? You may know how to talk to Mom about her addiction. I've tried, but apparently, Mom cannot understand me. I will keep you posted on my progress.

--Tucker the Labrador

Monday, January 09, 2012

It's Coming!

... and I don't necessarily mean in a good way!

Since my son was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, we've known one of these days, he'd be having a bone marrow biopsy (BMB).

Well, it's official. He'll have one late next month.

This has left a lot of our family and friends with lots of questions, some of which we don't know how to answer (and are fumbling around trying to at least sound somewhat intelligent when we respond.) Why does he have to have a BMB? Will he have to have it multiple times? Will he be sedated? How long will he be in the hospital? What are they looking for?

I asked my online support group about it, and they pointed me to these two resources:

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration
Bone Marrow Biopsy Day

Am I glad I asked! I think both resources answer more questions than even I'd thought to ask. :)

Probably our next biggest question is how long it'll take to get the biopsy results--TMOTH has asked this, and I told him I had no idea, but we'd probably have results by Easter--let's hope sooner!

More on health: our son's doing better, and it's been 2 weeks since he's had a CBC (Complete Blood Count) run. We go back tomorrow for another CBC. We're watching his hemoglobin slowly rise, and I'm hopeful it's closer to the normal range. As an aside, our son isn't the only person I've learned of in the last few days with low hemoglobin levels--a friend's child was down to 6 last week (never heard for sure if the child had a transfusion or not) and a member of TMOTH's family also had their hemoglobin drop and had to have a transfusion. At least I can understand the worry when it happens now!

Next week, I'm going to try to get back to a post on writing or some such thing. Maybe an update on those resolutions I wrote about a few weeks ago. (Hint: I've lost some weight, but have no clue why! I'm not exercising like I know I should be...)

Until next time,

Liberty

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's the New Year! Will You Join Me...?

Monday has come and gone... and Monday morning, I had NO clue what to write about. Today, I think I do.

I've decided I'm going to do whatever I can to read through the Bible in a year or less. (So far, the "less" part seems probable.) Using my handy-dandy Bible app from YouVersion.com, I've selected a Bible-reading plan, in my case, the Chronological version.

Photo by RudraMel
I've been using YouVersion for a while on my Android smartphone. Instead of taking my Bible with me to church, I've been using this handy (and free!) app. I can switch versions at will (a good thing when our pastor switches from NIV to NLT to ESV in the span of five minutes.) And, I can get a daily reminder to read my Bible that day.

The year is still new. Will you join me and commit to reading the Bible in a year? I've never done this before, and could use the support, encouragement, and accountability. You can join me at YouVersion--I'm user Righter1.

Have you ever tried to read the Bible through in a year--or less? Were you successful? Do you have any tips to stay firm on your commitment?

Until next time,

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