Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DECISIONS, DECISIONS--or lack thereof

"We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision."

~Gary Collins
I started writing a new manuscript.
It's an adult story.
But I write YA, so I should stick to that.
No, apparently I write adult too.
Or do I?

It's easy for me to start an idea and watch the words pour onto my computer screen. The imaginary minion on my left shoulder kisses my cheek and tells me it's fabulous, keep writing!
The minion on my right shoulder slaps the side of my head and screams, "What do you think you're doing? This is garbage!"

So I send the first ten or so pages out to trusted writer friends and wait. They will be honest. They will tell me if I'm wasting my time.

Meanwhile, I open my first YA story and decide to tackle those revisions that I know will make the story stronger. And it works. And I smile. And it feels great. And I remember why I write.

Then the emails about the adult MS start hitting the inbox, and one writer (who I have the utmost, bow-down-because-I'm-in-the-presence-of-greatness respect for) says, "Karen, this is one of the best things you've written."

And I tear up. And I smile. And it feels great. And I remember why I write.

Then I realize I have to make a choice.

Do I revise the old YA manuscript? (I love the characters and story so much it hurts.)
Or do I work on the adult story? (Writing every sentence hurts because it's filled with so much love.)

Decisions, decisions.

I attempted to spend time on both, but it doesn't seem fair to either story. Plus, I worry that the voice from one story might carry over to the other by accident.

So instead, I've been procrastinating. Waiting for a sign. Waiting for the minions to whisper in my ear or smack me upside the head with a steadfast decision. YA or Adult.

I don't know. But I can't keep doing nothing. I have to decide. Because I miss smiling, and tearing up, and feeling great, and I like remembering why I love to write.

What about you? How do you choose between project ideas? Do you stick to one genre or do you branch out? Do you know that feeling I'm talking about when you've just created a new scene, character, or line that gives you "that feeling?"

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I can officially announce that I'm going to the RWA annual conference in Orlando!
*does a happy really fast paced waltz dance around the coffee table*

My writing gals and I discussed it, but it didn't seem like anyone could realistically attend.
So, I pitched how much fun we'd have at the resort's pools, or eating sundaes at Ghiradelli's at Downtown Disney. I pointed out that we haven't had a get-together with all 4 of us since SCBWI in January. Then, I worked some Disney magic and got us a free room. (Thanks Mom and Dad, and Disney Vacation Club!)
That sold them. It's a go.

For the record: I don't write straight up romance. My stories always have some sort of love story going on but they'd never be shelved in the Romance section. So what. RWA is a stellar organization and has tons of stuff to teach me.

I love writers conferences. SCBWI, Pikes Peak, they have all been fabulous, but this RWA one is at Disney World! My own backyard. Where I spend many of my weekends! Seriously, if you're attending and need insider tips about where to go, how to get there, or anything else Disney related, come find me. I won't lead you wrong.

But besides the Disney aspect of this conference, RWA has an AMAZING line up of workshops, authors, agents, editors, and events. Seriously, I looked at the list of attending agents and editors and lost count of how many superstars will be there. It's madness. Fun, exciting, I-wish-it-was-July-28th-already kind of madness.

We'll have to plan a blogger friend meet up. I mean, where else can you meet me, Natalie Bahm, Megan Rebekah, and Marie Devers, all in one place? Oh! And the fabulous Roni Griffin will be there too! If you want to attend, there's still time to register, but they're filling up fast so hurry! Here's the website.

Great writerly peeps, fabulous writerly seminars, and good times with treasured writer friends. I'm so excited that I must break into song. Come one, sing along with me...

Boom De Ya Da (Walt Disney World Remix) from WDWNTube on Vimeo.

Boom de yada, boom de yada...

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Lately I've received some great blog awards from some fantastic people. I appreciate these awards, I swear I do. Swear it. I'm SO grateful for your kindness, and that you like me enough to give me an award. Swear.

However, I SUCK at actually following through with what's required as a recipient. Things like: share 603 things about yourself that no one else in the world knows, pass this along to 171 people and link back to all of their blogs, scale Mt. Everest then create a vlog of you at the top and add 43 new users to your YouTube channel with this award edited as a logo in the corner of your video.

These are superb projects, but I JUST DON'T HAVE THE TIME.
Or maybe I'm just lazy. Or maybe I worry no one will really care to read my 603 facts and I'm pretty sure I would die of frost bite before making it to the top of the big E.

So, leave me.
Save yourself.
Just give up on me.
Forget trying to give me a blog award.
I am not worthy.

My apologies go out to the following recent award givers:
Jon Paul- For my Journey Support award.
Sydnee-For my Quiller award.
Ezmirelda-For my Versatile Blogger award.
Bec-For my other Versatile Blogger award.
Melissa- For my Fantasy/Sci-Fi award.

I failed you, and I am sorry.

To the rest of you: If you're not already, follow all the people listed above. They're spectacular. They are worthy.

I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, so if you gave me an award and I haven't followed the rules and blogged about it, but you aren't on this apology list, please let me know. I will add you to the list and make sure you get the "Top of Everest or Bust" award sent to you ASAP.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The grand prize winner of a magical Disney gift AND a brand new copy of HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins is...

Commenter #12: Rachel Hawkins!

*throws magical confetti and pixie dust!*

Wait. The author won? No. That can't be right. I read my mom's notes wrong.
(But how cool is it that Rachel stopped by to comment?)

Okay, so, the real winner is...

First, I want you all to know that my mother had a VERY difficult time choosing just one winner. So much so that she bought several of the magical Disney gifts to give to some of her favorites. If we had won the Powerball Sat night she was going to buy EVERY ONE a prize. But we didn't win, so she had to limit the number of winners.

So, the grand prize winner is...

Oh! And she was very impressed and super happy that so many people commented. She read and reread and reread again. It was amusing to watch her process. Many times she said, "Aww, that one is so sweet," or "Aww, that person should win something." At one point I think she had twenty winners written down and I had to remind her that unlike Sophie in HEX HALL, we could not make prizes appear out of thin air.

She changed her mind quite a few times, but in the end she finally decided the grand prize winner is...

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess

The thing that won over my mom was that Courtney "gets it." She acknowledges Disney is more than cartoons and memorabilia. She understands the magic behind it all, and that's always been a big belief in our family. Plus, my mom thought her beautiful writing showed in her comment. She even went to her blog to see what other kind of stuff she writes and was very impressed. Courtney, you have a new biggest fan.

My mom also chose a few people to receive Magical Mentions.

As I said, she loved so many stories and comments but she had to narrow it down. These people will receive a magical Disney trinket, so please email me your address so we can mail out your gift. The Magical Mentions are (in no particular order):

Mireyah Wolfe
Cynthia Reese

And, while Mom didn't think HEX HALL was Simon's type of book, or that he'd like the Disney trinket, she was impressed by his poem, so...
Simon C. Larter, you also earned a Magical Mention, and if and when you are ever at Disney my mom will give me money to meet up with you and buy you two alcoholic drinks of your choice.

*Note: Sorry, but winners will not receive the pictured Disney Vinylmations. I chose them from my mom's collection to represent each winner.*

Congrats to all the winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Well, not the actual Hex Hall. I can't pick up the school and deliver it to you. THAT would be a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious contest, wouldn't it? Who wouldn't want to win a school of magic?

But no, I meant win HEX HALL the novel.

See, my loved ones have great taste. In my Bday Bookalicious post I mentioned Sara McClung sending me HEX HALL as a gift. Then last night at my bday celebration with my parents I opened my gifts and guess what? Another HEX HALL!
My mom is an avid reader of my blog so she had seen my post and was bummed that she ordered me a duplicate book. But then, being her usual wise and brilliant self, she said, "Maybe you could give it away on your blog." (She knows me so well.)

Notice returning the book was not an option? As an aspiring author I don't believe in returning purchased books--duplicate or not. Help keep bookstores alive. Help keep an author's sales as high as possible. Don't return books! Instead, share them with the world.

I'll be heading to Disney's Coronado Resort tonight to meet up with Megan Rebekah and some other SCBWI attendees.
If you know anything about Disney, you know they're all about the "Disney Magic."
HEX HALL is all about magic.
Hyperion (a Disney publisher) is the pub house for HEX HALL.

Are you seeing the connection?

So, this will be a "HEX HALL contest with a touch of Disney magic."
One lucky winner will win a brand new copy of HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins AND a prize revolving around Disney and/or magic. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but I'm going to buy it while at Disney World this weekend. (I will update and add a photo after I find it.)

Since giving away this book was my mom's idea, and because she LOVES Disney (I'm not exaggerating--my parents house is filled with collectibles AND my mom works at one of the resorts part time), SHE will be choosing the winner. (Cool thing is I didn't tell her yet, so when she reads my blog today she'll be surprised. Surprise, Mom! You're choosing the winner!) :)

Here's how you enter:

Leave a comment that will make my mom choose YOU.

It's that simple. Beg, be clever and creative, tell her your best Disney Magic story, whatever. Whichever comment she loves the most will win the prizes. (Oh, and of course, you have to be a supporter, aka follower, to qualify.)

You overseas people--especially my beloved Brits and Aussies--are welcome to enter too. I'm happy to ship internationally.)

My mom will read all the comments (like she always does) and choose a winner Sunday night.
You have all weekend to win her over.
You can enter multiple times (most of you are writers; it's a cruel law of nature that we usually think of something better to write AFTER we hit the send button).
As you can see from this drinking-together-on-a-Disney-cruise pic, my mom is very hip. She has a great sense of humor too, so no need to be all stuffy and formal with entries. Don't hold back!

Good luck to all who enter!
Winner will be announced Monday morning.

(P.S. My mom's name is Sandy in case you want to personalize your entries.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've had a busy week.

Sunday I bartended for a friend's boat party and, as always, it was a amazing time, but pouring drinks for 5 hours NON-STOP left me exhausted.

Then yesterday (Tuesday) was my birthday, so you know how that goes. No time to blog.

However, I did want to brag about my bookalicious goodies.

First off, the precious Sara McClung sent me HEX HALL and a gift card for Borders.
So, yesterday I started my day at Borders drinking a yummy frozen coffee (on Sara) and picking out two new purchases. It's like my writing pal was right there celebrating with me (in spirit) when they swiped that gift card and I walked out with THE BOOK THIEF and ELSEWHERE. Oh, AND she sent me cute cupcake undies. (See Sara, you send me that kind of gift and I WILL announce it to the world with pride.)

Then, the soon-to-be-a-best-seller Elana Johnson sent me THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX and a B&N gift card AND PB girl scout cookies. (Okay, so I actually won this stuff in her fabulous contest BUT it all arrived on my actual bday so to me it's the same as a bday gift. Thanks Elana!)

Then, my brother sent me a $35 gift card for Amazon. And I've heard they sell things other than books on Amazon, but I'm pretty sure it's just a myth so you know that money will be spent on books. I'm thinking I'll pre-order my copy of MOCKINGJAY and CLOCKWORK ANGEL and NEVERMORE.

Then, my roomie got me a bottle of my fav wine (because wine goes great with reading--and writing) and some more chocolate, and a cupcake gift card to Tar-jay (aka Target). Notice how the cupcake gift card matches the panties. Mmm hmm, I like to be coordinated!

AND...yes, there's more. Tomorrow I'm heading out to Orlando to visit my parents and celebrate, so I'm thinking I'll be getting another book or two since books made up the majority of my bday list.

Then, this weekend I'm meeting the awesome Megan Rebekah at SCBWI Orlando, so that will be more writerly love and fun.

Not too shabby, eh? I promise I'm going to try to catch up on blog visiting in the next few days. Please excuse my slackerishness. I blame it on the birthday.

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