Monday, December 29, 2008


Well, I did it. Are you surprised?

Frankly, now, I really wonder how much more I can add to The Ultimate Evil. Making existing scenes longer and more interesting is one thing, but adding new ones is another. I added I think one new section, but it only has about 200 or so words in it. Everything else is just extended.

My friend who gave me the advice said that The Ultimate Evil, in a way, reminds him of Lord of the Rings. I'm not sure how to take that. Of course, they are some of the best stories ever told, but I never wanted to draw a lot of inspiration from that trilogy. But considering that my friend used to be a huge Lord of the Rings buff, I'll take it as a compliment from him. :)

One thing he did say was that my writing style is unique. For the past year I have seen a definite writing style emerge from my jumble of letters and it's nice to hear that from someone. Gives me hope. :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Who'd have thought that I (with all my struggling) would get The Ultimate Evil's word count higher? Not me. Nope, definately, not me.

But guess what? I did! As you can tell from the title of this post, the story is up to 54,000 words! My friend's suggestions were great (haven't fully completed them yet) and there's a chance that I will be able to get The Ultimate Evil up to at least 55K. Wow, I can remember when it was only 48K. That was a long time ago.

It's been a week since I first submitted to Firebrand but I haven't heard back yet. Not surprising, but I will continue to keep you updated.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm Happy!

Why? Hmm, glad you asked that question. One of my friends finished reading The Ultimate Evil. He's the first person besides me to have read it from beginning to end. And what did he have to say about it?

Very, very impressive.

Seriously, I'm not lying, those were his exact words. He also called it awesome and cool. Well, he actually typed 'kewl', but you get my drift.

Do you know how happy that made me? SUPER happy! He's going to talk to me about it and hopefully he can help me make it even better.

I know I'm not published yet, but him loving the story was a dream come true. Why? I wrote a story that someone enjoyed. That's what I've wanted to do ever since I wrote my first story at the tender age of 6....for people to like what I do and enjoy it. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Imagine what will happen when I get that publishing deal! :D

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry Christmas!!! :D

I wish you a Merry Christmas!
I wish you a Merry Christmas!
I wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!! :D

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!!! :D

Can anyone believe that it's Christmas tomorrow? I can't. 2008 has flown by!

I finished my final edits for The Ultimate Evil yesterday, now I'm just waiting on friend's comments. Once those are done this story will be 100% finished! Good Christmas present, huh?

But you know what would top that? Firebrand Literary e-mailing me requesting a full. I'd scream so loud! :D

Merry Christmas Eve, all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Reason For The Season

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Agustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was the first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them at the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
Good will towards men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the sheperds said, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told to them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told to them by the sheperds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the sheperds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2: 1-20 KJV

As we spend time with family and friends this Christmas season, let's not forget why we are celebrating. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God's free gift of salvation. So when you join hands with family and friends around the Christmas dinner table and say your prayer, don't forget to thank the Lord for all He has done for us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Submitted

Tonight, I sent The Ultimate Evil out to its first literary agency. Based on everyone's suggestions (thanks, guys, even though I've already thanked you!) I decided to take part in the query holiday. I personally love my first chapter and find the idea of not having to write a query letter EXTREMELY attractive! :)

My 20th birthday is in April and if I'm lucky there's a chance I could get a literary agent before I turn 20. Wouldn't that be so awesome? Talk about the best B Day present ever! :D

I know a lot of people are not here in cyber world so much now that the holidays are here, but I still will be, posting and talking away. I'm staying home for Christmas. My family does it right...we have the family come to us!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I've Got A Problem

On my last blog post I said that I would be sending out my query letter on January 15. Since my query-several-agents-at-the-same-time policy hasn't worked in the past, I was going to query The Ultimate Evil off one letter at a time. Slow, but seemed practical for me.

I still have a problem.

I found out this morning that Firebrand Agency is having a query holiday. What does that mean? It means that when you submit to them you don't send a query letter, but rather the first chapter of your complete (only one submission, please) WiP. This started Dec. 15 and ends midnight Jan. 15, the day I send my query letter that I've worked six months on to the Nelson Literary Agency.

My finals edits are not quite done, but chapter one is all set and ready to go. I don't know, should I take part in this query holiday? It sounds like fun whether I hear from them or not. (This is a don't hear, not interested thing).

So, what do you think I should do? I'll tell you this though, I'm asking all of you before my mom! (That's saying something!) LOL :D

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ultimate Evil Update

OK, here's the pictures of Arvil that I promised. The first two didn't show up quite as well as I had hoped they would, but in the story (if some of you remember from Chapter Two: you see that he is described as being very dark, blending into the scenery, so in a way these mess-ups are kinda accurate. :)

On this one you can see the scar on the left side of his face and the permenant scowl. Do you like the chopped and chipped horn? It was my mom's idea.

As you can probably tell, Arvil is MAD in this picture. Why? I guess you'll have to wait till it's published to find out. :)

So, those are my Photoshop pics of Arvil. I know I'm not the greatest artist, but I enjoy it when I have nothing to write.
The final edits for The Ultimate Evil are underway and on January 15 I will send out the first query to my dream agent. Wish me luck! :D

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stuck In The Middle With You!

So, the good news is that I finished the last three chapters of Khaladin about an hour or two ago. The bad news is that I have to finish writing the middle. *SIGH* I know what happens, I just can't find the words yet. Words are stubborn. They only come when they're ready, not always when you want them.

On the bright side I have nearly finished a children's fantasy chapter book. I only have a chapter and a half to go before the first draft is done and then the edits can start.

Once I'm done with the first draft of Khaladin the edits will begin with that story. My BFF has offered to read it and be VERY harsh. Yeah, I LOVE harsh critiques! Those are the ones that make you a better writer.

Well, it's 12 AM here in North Carolina. Better sign off and go get some sleep. See you later in cyber world!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Picture Time! :)

It finally let me upload pictures! Here's the one I made in Photoshop of Khaladin:

OK, so his mane and tail aren't as copper as I see them in my imagination. I can't find the right shades on Photoshop and I'm too impatient to try. This is close enough for me. :)

I've been working my tail off in Khaladin (see picture below) and have written 21,000 words, but I don't think I'm going to make it to 60K. No big deal....60K is long for middle grade, so I'm not too bummed.

So, here's the story with the picture. That's me (duh!) writing on my laptop, but WHY IN THE WORLD am I writing in the middle of the Grand Canyon overlooking the Colorado River? Simple: these two natural landmarks are in my story. There's a great chase through the canyon and maybe even a river rescue. It's going to be so much fun!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Q and A With Marianne Mancusi

Hey, everyone, I was fortunate enough to be able to conduct this interview with author Marianne Mancusi to discuss her most recent novel (and first hardback!) GAMER GIRL. This is my first Q and A with an author and I am SO excited! Here we go!

1) OK, first I want to ask you a question that doesn't deal with your book. When did you discover your passion for writing?

I’ve always loved to tell stories. Even before I could pick up a pen, I’d dictate stories for my mom to transcribe. In high school, I would spend class time writing stories for my friends to read—romances about them and the rock stars who loved them.

2) GAMER GIRL is your most recent novel. Can you give us a few tidbits about what it's about?

It’s similar in premise to that “You’ve Got Mail” movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but with videogames instead of instant messaging. My heroine, Maddy, is friendless and bullied in the real world, but discovers love online. Problem is, she’s not sure if her new virtual friend will actually like the real life her.

3) What gave you the idea for GAMER GIRL?

I am intrigued by the idea of people who have never met in real life falling in love in the virtual world and wanted to explore how that happens. Can that online attraction grow into a real life romance? How truthful are these relationships—which are based solely on what you choose to tell the other person?

I also wanted to write an empowering tale to help tweens and teens survive high school bullying, of which I, myself, was once a victim.

4) How long did it take you to write GAMER GIRL, including first draft and edits?

Probably about six months.

5) GAMER GIRL is not your first book. What other books have you published?

I’ve done a variety of books for both teens and adults in a number of genres. Comedy, time travel, vampires, cyberpunk, zombie apocalypse – you name it, I’ve probably written it.

6) What type of reader would enjoy GAMER GIRL?

My ideal reader would be a tween or younger teen who loves videogames and/or manga. (My heroine is a budding manga artist, so a lot of the book focuses on that world.) But any girl who has, at one time or another, felt like a freak or a loner at school will hopefully relate.

7) GAMER GIRL released very close to the holiday season. Do you think (or hope!) that this will increase sales?

That is the dream. I personally think it would make a great Christmas gift for a tween or teen. And it’s a lot cheaper than a videogame. :)

8) How do you see the economy slump affecting the book world? There's been a lot of controversy about this topic.

I know it looks bleak, but I refuse to believe that books are going to go away. Maybe the method of delivery will change (more e-books, for example) or the big chain store model will shift (Maybe more independent bookstores? Or online sale?) but there’s always going to be a need for good stories. And I’m prepared to keep telling them.

9) How excited are you about GAMER GIRL?

It’s my first hardcover, which is definitely exciting, and I’m proud of how it turned out. Even after twelve books, it’s still thrilling to go in and see it sitting on the young adult tables in bookstores.

10) Is GAMER GIRL your favorite book you have written so far, or does another hold that title?

That would be like choosing between your children! I love every book I’ve written in different ways. I will say I am particularly fond of my Blood Coven series. (Boys that Bite, Stake That, Girls that Growl.) The characters and stories are just so much fun to write.

11) Who inspires you to write?

My teen MySpace friends who write me all the time and beg for more books. It’s always so encouraging to go and read their emails—especially when I’m feeling down and unmotivated to write.

12) There are a lot of aspiring writers out there who are looking for a literary agent. What's the best advice you can give them on that topic?

Don’t settle. It’s better to have no agent than a bad one or one who doesn’t fit your style or career goals. I have an amazing agent now—Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency—but that wasn’t always the case. Find an agent who supports your career goals and believes in your writing. Find someone who will “tough love” you when you get lazy and push editors to give you the best deal possible. Someone who goes over contracts with a fine tooth comb and doesn’t let anything slide. Someone who knows the market you’re writing for inside and out and has contacts in your preferred genre. (Otherwise, they’re just sending out manuscripts as blindly as you could do yourself.) Find a good communicator who always answers your questions promptly, and who treats you exactly the same as they do their A-List clients. You deserve respect and should accept nothing less.

13) And the last question is: what is the best piece of advice you can give to a writer?

Don’t be in a hurry to get published. Work hard, learn the craft, tell the story you want to tell. And finally, when you truly believe it’s the best book it can be, then send it out to agents and editors for publication. I see too many writers who are in such a rush to get published that they don’t send out their best work and then get defeated by rejections they receive. Or they try to copy other successful authors in order to get published rather than writing in their own voice. They begin to lose the joy of writing that they once had and become disillusioned and end up quitting in the end.

Doctors and lawyers spend years in training before they can start working in their chosen professions. But since writers have little formal training required, they seem to want to take short cuts. They believe their first book will be published and don’t take under consideration that they’re still actually in school/training mode. A doctor can’t perform an operation in his first year of medical school. But for some reason many writers truly believe their first book should become a bestseller with very little effort.

Write because you love to write. Stay dedicated to the craft and the storytelling. Never lose sight of that in a desperate attempt to get published. I guarantee when that day comes when you eventually do hold that first book in your hand the wait will be worth it!

That's it! Thanks so much to Ms. Mancusi for this interview. I think any writer can take her wonderful advice and put it to good use. I know I will! GAMER GIRL is on sale would make a great Christmas gift for the tween or teen in your life.

So, how'd I do on my first Q and A?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

OK, So I Might Not Reach My Goal

This post isn't near as depressing as the title suggests. I've been working my butt off in Khaladin, am in chapter 19, and only have about 20,000 words down. I'm past the halfway point in my plot (I think) so I'm not sure I'll make my 60K goal. But hey, that's all right. Most MG books are 20K to 40K, so I'm good.

I did a picture of Khaladin in Photoshop, but this stupid Blogger won't let me load it. The "Sorry, this page cannot be displayed" keeps coming up after it's loaded the picture, which, of course, it hasn't. So, if I ever figure it out, I'll show you what Khaladin looks like. Since I have also created photos of Arvil from The Ultimate Evil, I could share those as well. But alas, I am no computer genius. I'm not really even computer smart, which is pretty lame considering the fact that I like (and write!) science fiction. What can I say, I'm a dork! (and I love it too!) :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

OK, I Need Your Help

My new story, titled Khaladin, is a story about a girl named Judy. Her aunt's horse, Penny, ends up giving birth to a unicorn foal. Well, technically, he's a half unicorn. Long story short, they try to keep him a secret, but the baddie finds out and kidnaps Khaladin. In trying to find more unicorns, said baddie tortures Khaladin.

Here's my problem. The age group I'm targeting is upper middle grade. I don't want anything real gory and gross, like Khaladin lying there dripping in blood. But I would like something that appeals to both sexes. Most girls don't tend to like a lot of blood and guys are like, "Yes, blood!" I'm somewhere in the middle. But do any of you have any suggestions on how to do this scene? Yes, it will be told from either Khaladin's or baddie's point of view.

PS: If you are a member of (aka AW) you can go to the children's section and read one chapter that I posted of this story. Also, I have a thread about the torture topic in The Sanbox titled, Unicorn Help......Again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Already?!?

Yeah, I can't believe that this is the last month of 2008. Has this year gone by incredibly fast or what?

So, I have already made two new year's resolutions and since they have to do with writing, I am going to post them here and all of you can help me stay on track.

Resolution #1: Find an agent for The Ultimate Evil.

It's taken me a little over two years to fully complete this novel. A long time to me, but very fast for a 53K novel from draft to completion. Of course, it's taken me longer than that to write this story. I created the character of Arvil when I was eight years old. That's eleven years ago!
Finding the agent will not be hard, considering I've found several to query. Snagging the agent's going to be a little more difficult. Cross your fingers for me! Queries will go out after the first of the year!

Resolution #2: Finish the first draft (at least) of Khaladin.

OK, I know, I've never mentioned the title before, but all of you know the story. At least, I told you that it was MG unicorn book. I'm hoping it will reach 60K and I already have 10K down. Yes, I'm one sixth of the way through! :-) I'll post more details on the story later....I need some help on a few things.